DISCLAIMER: WICKED is not my creation… unfortunately.
"Are we there yet?"
Elphaba fixed her husband with a stern glance. "Fiyero, I've already told the girls that if they keep asking that, they'll be in trouble. What makes you think you're any exception to that rule?"
Fiyero sighed impatiently, and Galinda giggled at him.
"You two are such an old married couple!"
Elphaba smiled at her best friend. "Wait until you and Tobias have been married for five years, then you will too."
Galinda sighed happily, admiring the large diamond ring that adorned her left hand. "Oh, I can't wait! Only five months to go! It seems forever away."
"That's because Miss Galinda Upland just had to get married in the spring," Fiyero teased her and she made a face at him.
Liviana, sitting next to her godmother, giggled and copied her facial expression and Elphaba laughed at her youngest daughter. Ally was now four years old (and eleven months, as she was quick to correct people) and was a quiet, dainty little girl who had inherited her mother's love for reading and animals (and Animals). Two year old Liviana, however, was clearly her father's daughter, and adored music and dancing and was constantly moving. Getting her into bed was a nightly struggle for Elphaba, who luckily now had an excuse to leave that task to Fiyero. She was five months pregnant with their third child, which they knew to be a boy and at that stage of her pregnancy where she was beginning to tire easily.
"Of course you would get married just after I've had a baby," Elphaba grumbled good-naturedly, who was due a month before Galinda's wedding, but Galinda pointed a manicured finger at her.
"Um, excuse me, Your Highness, but I was engaged before you got pregnant. So you have no one to blame but yourself."
Elphaba laughed. "That's not true, Glin. I can blame Fiyero."
"Hey!" he protested.
The five of them were on their way to Munchkinland for the wedding of Nessarose Thropp and Boq Poulsen. The two had begun dating the semester after Ally had been born, and during the summer, Boq had finally proposed. Elphaba, Fiyero and their children had made the trip from the Vinkus, and decided to stop by in the Gilikins on their way. They'd spent a few days with Galinda and her fiancée, Tobias, and then Galinda had continued on with them to Munchkinland.
Galinda was blissfully happy. She had met Tobias a year after graduating Shiz, and had been dazzled by the wealthy Gilikin socialite. Plus, it turned out Fiyero and Tobias had briefly been roommates at one of the schools he'd attended and been expelled from before Shiz; and he was amazed to learn he was married with a small daughter.
"The Fiyero Tiggular I knew never would have been with a girl long enough to get a last name, let alone marry her," he'd remarked when he'd met Elphaba and Fiyero for the first time and Elphaba had snorted at her husband.
"That sounds about right," she'd rolled her eyes.
Ally was sitting on her mother's lap as they rode along, snuggled in Elphaba's embrace and dozing quietly, her little face paler than usual. She suffered from motion sickness on long journey's and Elphaba would be glad to reach Colwen grounds for that reason.
Other than the comfort and health of her daughter however, she felt no emotion other than apprehension at the prospect of returning to her childhood home. She hadn't been back since Fiyero had rescued her what seemed to be a lifetime ago, and this would be the first time she had seen her father since Ally's birth.
She and Nessa wrote regularly, and Nessa and Boq visited several times throughout the year, including their annual long visit for Ally's birthday and Lurlinemas, but Elphaba had severed all contact with Frex for five years, and wasn't looking forward to seeing him again.
Elphaba knew the Munchkin's believed the same story the Vinkan's did about her and Fiyero; that they had been secretly engaged, but wanting to graduate from Shiz before marrying. However, then Elphaba had fallen pregnant and there were complications, meaning that no-one had mentioned the pregnancy until Ally's birth. Elphaba and Fiyero had then been married in a private ceremony, attended only by family and close friends.
Frex and Nessa had been publicly praised for keeping the matter private when the story came out, and Elphaba had to supress a bitter laugh every time she thought about it.
'If only they knew the truth,' she thought to herself as Colwen Grounds came into view.
Fiyero met her gaze and raised an eyebrow, silently asking if she was ready for this. She nodded discreetly and he shot her a loving and supportive smile.
Frex was upstairs in his bedroom when he heard Nessa's excited greeting of "Fabala!" from the foyer. He paused for a moment, then cautiously walked to the top of the stairs to look down. Then, he studied his eldest daughter carefully, seeing her for the first time in five years.
She looked a great deal healthier than she had the last time he'd seen her, exhausted, weakened, but radiating emotion. Now she stood taller, more elegantly, more confidently. Her dress was still dark and relatively plain, but the style was more elegantly cut, fitting for her royal status. In her arms was a sleeping little girl, whilst an even smaller girl was being hugged tightly by Nessa.
Frex felt nothing as he realised he was looking at his granddaughter's for the first time.
"How's Ally?" he heard Nessa ask Elphaba sympathetically.
"Asleep. She'll be fine when she wakes," Elphaba replied, one hand gently stroking her daughter's long brown curls.
Elphaba turned to see Carmela entering the room from the kitchen and smiled. This was the first time she'd seen her since she'd left Munchkinland, and this would be the first time Carmela would meet the little girl who's life she'd saved- in the eyes of Elphaba and Fiyero, anyway.
"Carmela, it's so good to see you," she said sincerely.
"You too, dear. Or should I say 'Your Highness'?" she asked and Elphaba laughed.
"Please don't," she begged and Carmela chuckled.
Then Carmela's gaze caught Alitash, and she smiled softly. "These are your children?"
Elphaba nodded proudly. "Yes. This is Ally- who's asleep at the moment, and this is Liv, who is about to go to sleep."
"No! Not sleepy Momma!" Liv protested from Nessa's lap, the daily routine when it came to nap time.
"Oh, I think you are," Elphaba disagreed, who had seen Liv grow weary towards the end of their trip.
The front door opened behind them, and Fiyero entered with Galinda and the first load of luggage.
"Hey, Nessa," he greeted her, pecking her cheek and she smiled.
"Hello, Fiyero. Hi, Galinda. I'm sorry Tobias couldn't make it."
"So is he, but he sends his best wishes," Galinda replied as she greeted Nessa.
"Is Boq here?" Elphaba asked her sister, and Fiyero nodded outside.
"He's helping me unload the carriage, and then I'm going to go help him put up the wedding tent."
Elphaba nodded. "Ok. I'm going to put the girls down for a nap."
"No nap, Momma!" Liv begged, but her parents ignored her protests.
"You want some help?" he asked her but she shook her head.
Carmela interrupted. "Elphaba, I've put you and Fiyero in the guest room and arranged your old room for Galinda- just because the guest room is bigger and you have the girls. Are you sure they'll be alright sleeping on the floor in your room?"
"It's fine," Elphaba assured her. "It's only for a weekend."
She helped Liv to the ground from her aunt's lap and took her hand. "Come on, Livvy. We're going upstairs."
"I don't wanna!" Liv whined.
"Liviana, listen to your mother," Fiyero ordered her and then disappeared back outside as Nessa, Galinda and Carmela headed towards the kitchen.
Frex heard Elphaba pass his door on the way to the guest room and couldn't resist quietly following her and looking in the door, for what reason he didn't know. Elphaba lay Alitash down on the bed, who stirred faintly, her dark eyes fluttering open.
"Shhh, sleep sweetheart," she murmured to her gently, and then picked up Liviana, placing her on the bed beside her sister.
"Momma, I'm not sleepy!" Liv argued through a yawn.
Elphaba smiled slightly, and moved a few strands of black hair out of the way so she could see Liv's blue eyes, inherited from her father and appearing even more striking by her black hair and pale complexion.
"Ok, so you're not sleepy," she agreed. "But Ally's not feeling very well right now and needs to have a nap. Do you think you could be very still and very quiet, and cuddle with her for a little while?"
Liv, always eager to help her big sister, who she adored, nodded happily and lay down beside Alitash.
"Momma sing?" Liv asked and Elphaba nodded as she made sure both girls were tucked in securely.
To Frex's surprise, still eavesdropping at the door, she began to sing an old Munchkin lullaby that Melena had sung to her as a child, and she had then sung to Nessa, without Frex's knowledge. In no time at all, Liv had succumbed to sleep and Elphaba finished the song quietly before rising to her feet. For the first time as she did so, Frex saw her stomach, her baby bump just beginning to show and was startled- Nessa hadn't told him Elphaba was pregnant again. He quickly retreated down the hall as Elphaba left the room, closing the door gently behind her, and headed down to the kitchen. Then Frex went the opposite way, down through the foyer and into his study. He wasn't sure if he wanted to speak to his daughter.
No-one in Munchkinland, save Nessa, Boq and Carmela, knew that Frex was anything less than a proud father and grandfather. He was used to it now, people asking after Elphaba and the children, and saying who would have thought that a girl like Elphaba would turn out to be the Princess of the Vinkus? Nessa was a proud Aunt, and the girls already called Boq by "Uncle".
It was maybe an hour or two later, that Frex had to return upstairs to retrieve some papers he needed from his bedroom. He stilled in his tracks however when the door to the guest bedroom opened, and the littlest girl stepped hesitantly out of the room, Liviana, he recalled.
The little girl froze at the sight of Frex, however, not recognising him or seeing anything familiar, evidently forgetting where she was.
"Momma?" she asked in a trembling voice, looking for her mother.
When she saw no one but Frex however, she burst into tears. "Momma?" she sobbed and Frex couldn't move, unsure what to do.
However, there were hurried footsteps on the back stairs and then Elphaba appeared.
"Momma!" Liv ran into her mother's arms, and Elphaba knelt down to bring her daughter close.
"I'm here, baby… I'm here," she soothed, comforting her. "You're okay…"
Over Liv's head, her gaze found her father and her eyes hardened for a moment, before she refocused her attention on her daughter.
"Did you wake up and you weren't at home?" she asked her and Liv nodded miserably.
"Mommy?" another small voice appeared and Ally entered the hall, glancing at Frex briefly before finding her mother.
"Hello, my pretty. Are you feeling better?" Elphaba asked, bringing Ally into her arms for a hug too, and Ally nodded.
"Yes. Are we at Auntie Nessa's?"
Elphaba nodded with a smile. "Yes. And she made chocolate chip muffins, your favourite. Do you want one?"
Ally nodded eagerly and Elphaba stood up, swinging Liv onto her hip and taking Ally's hand.
"Come on then. She's very excited to see you."
Elphaba shot one last look at her father over her shoulder and then took her daughter's downstairs. Frex, figuring they may as well get this over and done with, followed them.
"Auntie Nessa!" Ally cried, dashing across the kitchen to hug Nessa as they entered.
"Ally, there you are!" Nessa beamed at her niece, giving her a hug.
Galinda saw Liv's tear-stained face and frowned at Elphaba.
"Is she okay, Elphie?"
Elphaba nodded, kissing the top of Liv's head. "She's fine. She just woke up and wasn't sure where she was," she explained.
Nessa glanced behind her sister and saw Frex standing there, and Elphaba noted her expression and gave her a small nod.
"Liv, why don't you sit with Auntie Glin and have a muffin?" she asked her daughter, handing her to her godmother.
"I'll be back in a minute," she said to Nessa quietly, who nodded.
Elphaba strode out of the room briskly and Frex followed wordlessly. She went into her father's study and whirled around to face him.
"Stay away from my daughters," she said bluntly.
Frex bristled at her tone. "Elphaba, need I remind you that you are a guest in my home and I will not be spoken to like that."
Elphaba glared at him. "No, I'm Nessa's guest. I am only here to see her and Boq, and then we're leaving. I meant what I said- don't go near the girls."
She made to leave, but then Frex spoke up quietly. "You're a good mother, Elphaba. The girls are beautiful. Alitash reminds me of your mother."
Elphaba looked as though she'd been slapped, and then she drew herself up to her full height.
"No. You don't get to care suddenly or be interested. Particularly in Ally, who- I don't know if you remember, you tried to give away and almost killed. You do not get to have an opinion on my children or on me. If you don't stay away from my children, we will leave, and Nessa's day will be ruined. And we both know you won't do that to her, even if she knows what you really are like now. Understood?"
She stood there, staring him down and Frex was amazed at the change in his daughter, seeing her as the Vinkun Princess that she was. She stormed out of the study without another word and Frex was left alone.
Nessarose Thropp, the Governor's daughter, was married to Boq Poulsen the next day. Her sister, Princess Elphaba of the Vinkus had (reluctantly) agreed to be the matron of honour, and the bride's niece, Crown Princess Alitash, was the flower girl. It was a beautiful ceremony, and all the Munchkins attending thought the Governor was every bit the proud father as he gave his daughter away. The guests delighted in seeing the two little Vinkun princesses, who were adored by their Auntie Nessa and Uncle Boq, but had never been to their mother's homeland before.
And there was much gossip about the fact Elphaba was expecting again, a boy this time. Amongst the Munchkin's, where it was preferred and expected to have a male heir, this fact was of great interest. But none of the guests could deny that Elphaba and Fiyero were fine, proud young parents. Only one guest, a second cousin of Boq's, spoke aloud the observation that neither of Elphaba's daughters were green, and she was quickly hushed.
As the sun set, Elphaba stood talking with Boq's mother, holding a sleeping Liviana in her arms. Her new brother-in-law was dancing with Nessa, whilst Fiyero swung around a giggling Alitash nearby. Galinda was being swarmed by a bunch of gossiping maiden aunts of Boq's, all pressing for details about her engagement to Tobias and allowing her to show off her ring.
Elphaba's conversation was interrupted by Ally running over and tugging on the sleeve of her dress.
"Alitash Tiggular, what have I told you about interrupting grownups when they're talking?" she said with a raised eyebrow, turning to her daughter.
"Sorry, Mommy," she apologised in a small voice.
"Where's your father?" Elphaba asked, looking around for her husband.
"He had to go rescue Auntie Glin," Ally giggled. "He said she was sending mayday signals."
Elphaba laughed and turned back to Boq's mother.
"Deanne, I don't think you've been formally introduced to Ally. Ally, this is Uncle Boq's Momma."
Deanne smiled at Alitash warmly. "It's very nice to meet you, your highness. I thought you made a beautiful flower girl."
Ally blushed. "Thank you," she replied politely, giving a small and dainty curtsey, and Deanne sighed to Elphaba.
"They're just beautiful, Elphaba. Both of them. Nessarose and Boq are always raving about them… I can't help but wonder…"
Elphaba knew what Deanne was wondering. The truth was, no one knew if Nessa and Boq would be fortunate enough to have children of their own. Although Nessa had told her sister that she wouldn't mind so much if they couldn't, "because after seeing you have Alitash, I don't think I could do that."
Elphaba had argued that Nessa wouldn't be weakened by milk flowers if she was to give birth, and when Liviana had been born, it had been quick and drama free. However, Nessa was still hesitant.
"I never thought I'd ever get so sick of talking about me!" Galinda cried dramatically, as she and Fiyero joined them.
Elphaba laughed. "It's a miracle," she teased her friend and Galinda smiled tiredly.
"Ally, do you want to finish our dance that Auntie Glin so rudely interrupted?" Fiyero asked his daughter, shooting a teasing smile at Galinda but Ally shook her head.
"No thank you, Daddy."
"Oh, Ally you're going to make Daddy cry!" Elphaba laughed at Fiyero's crestfallen face.
Ally hesitated for a moment, then her face brightened. "You should dance with Momma, Daddy!"
Fiyero grinned. "Now there's an idea. Fae?" he turned to his wife questioningly who shook her head.
She may be a princess and after five years, become accustomed to attending balls and parties, but she was never able to shake her dislike of dancing, always feeling like everyone's eyes were on her.
"Uh, no," she replied.
Fiyero pouted and she pointed to Liv, asleep on her shoulder, rolling her eyes.
"I have a sleeping child. I'm not going anywhere," she said firmly.
"Fae," Fiyero whined.
Galinda and Ally giggled at his facial expression. "I'll take Liv, Elphie," Galinda offered.
Elphaba looked between Galinda and Fiyero, finally sighing and carefully handing Liv to Galinda.
"You are such a bad influence on our children," she said as she took Fiyero's offered hand and Deanne laughed as Fiyero led his wife onto the dance floor.
"So, how are you holding up?" he asked her as they danced and she sighed.
"I'm ready to go home. And even though it's horrible that Nessa and Boq should always have to come to us… I don't want to come back here. Ever. I just… I can't stand by and watch as everyone assumes Frex is this proud Grandfather. There's too many memories here, and too few of them are nice enough to make me want to come back."
"What are your best memories from here?" Fiyero asked interestedly. Even now, after five years of marriage, Elphaba never talked about her childhood much.
Elphaba paused for a moment, thinking. "There's really only three that stand out," she said honestly.
"I remember once… I must have been about three, because my mother was pregnant with Nessa. She was helping me feel the baby kick, and promising that I could help with the baby… I wanted a little brother, because I thought if it was another girl, Momma might love her more than me. But she promised that she'd always love me because I was born first and we'd always have special mother-daughter time together… it's the clearest memory I have of her."
Fiyero kissed the top of her head softly and drew her closer. "And the others?"
She smiled softly. "Realising I was pregnant with Ally. Before Frex found out, before anyone knew but me. And I was so scared to write to you, and what you'd think… but it was amazing to know there was something growing inside me that was a part of us."
Then she sighed, remembering the months that followed. "I think the memory I love most though, is coming into the foyer and seeing you there, and just knowing you loved me."
It was impossible for Fiyero to bring his wife any closer, and his grip on her hand was so tight it almost hurt.
"I'm a big fan of memory three," he smiled and Elphaba chuckled.
"Me too. I love you, Fiyero," she said softly.
"I love you too, Fae."
Then he held her close as they danced under the stars.