AN: I'm sorry I haven't been posting as much. And I'm going to be honest. I'm thinking about taking either "Yes, Master" or "Prisoner of War" and changing them to stand on their own, not be fanfiction. Hey, if the lady who wrote Fifty Shades of Grey could do it, why can't I?
Anyway, I've had a LOT of overtime at work. And this idea came to me today. It's a conversation that I have these characters have often, but Elphaba's reasoning - thanks to her unique and traumatic experience - is a little different here.
Chapter 8: Fear of Loss
The next afternoon, Elphaba sat and read on the couch as Fiyero washed the dishes. He glanced over at her, watching as she turned a page and sighed. Fiyero smiled quietly, studying the way the lamplight hit her skin, the way her braid was beginning to come undone, the way her eyes scanned the page so intently.
Elphaba looked up and caught him staring. "What?"
"I was just thinking."
"I wonder what our kids are going to look like."
Elphaba slammed the book she was reading shut. "No."
"We are not having children, Fiyero."
"Where did that come from? Why not? And you realize we have to, since I need an heir?"
"They didn't tell me that when they told me the queen's duties."
"I'm pretty sure they thought you knew. What's the problem?" Fiyero noticed Elphaba's sentences were getting shorter and her voice was tense.
She took a deep breath, but would not look at him. "I don't want to bring children into this terrible world, Fiyero."
"Have you ever thought about the things we'd need to tell our kids? Or what might happen to them if they were kidnapped by a rival tribe?"
"Because nothing terrible happened to you."
But he knew about the horror that had happened to her. He was a part of it. "Fae, please, don't get like this. There are good things in this world. We will protect our children."
"My father thought he was protecting Nessa. She's dead. So is he. I'm not having children. I will not lose anyone else. It's hard enough to love you thinking that something could happen..."
He sat down beside her and struggled to understand. In one awful day, every person she loved in the world had been taken from her. So now she was too afraid to love anything else. No wonder she still had trouble saying "I love you," more than once every once in a while to him. She couldn't imagine having a child because all she thought about was losing them. How could he possibly relate to that? He pulled her into his arms. "We have to."
She resisted, but gently. Fae shook her head. "Fine. Let's ignore what I just said. That's not all there is to it. When our children get to be old enough, they will want to know how their parents met. And how in Oz do you propose we explain that?"
He had no answer for that.
"And that they have literally no family to speak of. No aunts, uncles, or grandparents because they are all dead?"
Fiyero opened his mouth, but he still could not think of something reassuring to say to her.
"But I'm jumping ahead of myself, aren't I? Fiyero, when... when that awful thing happened and your father insisted I have that..."
He put a hand on her shoulder and nodded. She was talking about the abortion. He didn't want her to think about it.
"I got an infection, remember? I had a fever. How do we know that didn't cause infertility, anyway?"
"Well, we don't." Fiyero blinked. "But that doesn't mean we can't try." She had pointed out so many flaws in his little plan that his head was a whirlwind. "I shouldn't have brought it up."
"Don't say that. You should've. It is a discussion we need to have. Because you're right, it was very clear to me when I married you that you would need an heir, but I was more focused on the immediate future – on Shiz, on you."
"Did you think you'd just ignore it?"
"I don't know what I thought, Fiyero. I didn't want to think about it. The idea of having children is somewhat bothersome to me."
"I could tell."
"I can't do it, Fiyero. I can't bring a child into this world."
He cupped her cheek in his hand. "I know you are afraid. I understand that. And I'm not saying we need to do it now. Obviously, we need to finish school. But Elphaba, I will protect you and I will protect our children. You're right that I can't promise nothing will happen to me or to them, but I will do my best, as will every soldier in the tribe, every servant we have. Your family didn't have that, as tragic as that is."
"Your father was a king. He's dead."
"Of a heart attack. On a horse. No one killed him. And he went out alone by his own decision. I will not do that. And I will not let our children out alone."
"I don't want to suffocate them in an attempt to protect them."
"We are talking about children who do not even exist yet. Fae, we'll find a happy medium."
"You were a prince, and yet when you went into battle, you got injured – could've been killed."
"That was during wartime, Fae. Hopefully we will never go to war again. And if we do, I will not allow our children to fight."
"I don't think your people would appreciate that."
"You're catastrophizing!" Fiyero was getting frustrated. "You are not letting me find a happy ending here. Please, Fae, stop being so negative. Like I said, we have time. All I'm asking is that you don't just dismiss the idea completely."
The fierceness in her eyes faded. "Fine."
Maybe in time she would feel safer. After a few years with him, after knowing he wasn't going to leave her or die on her, she may feel differently. He could only hope her mind would change. Because he wasn't exactly sure what would happen if they didn't have children, but he knew it could become a problem. "I love you."
"I know, I know."
"And I love you. Why do you insist on making me say it so often?"
"I like to hear it." He shrugged.
"You really are difficult," she informed him.
"Sometimes, you are, too," he told her. "But I think I love you more because of that. Someone who agreed with everything I wanted and said would just be too boring."
"That is true," she smiled at him. "And I do love you so much, Fiyero. You have to know that."
"I do," he grasped her hand, smiling back at her. "I knew even when you didn't yet."
She raised her eyebrows. "That just sounds like you were overconfident," she teased. But she rested her head against his chest.
"Sometimes it's hard to understand your thought process, but I haven't been through what you have. I can't possibly understand not wanting to have children, but I can at least acknowledge that after what you've been through, it's not necessarily surprising. But perhaps we should not discuss it for some time."
"Perhaps. It's not just what I've been through. I never wanted children of my own. Then again, I never thought I'd really be married, either."
"Maybe it's an idea you need to adjust to. I like to think that you like being married. Maybe you'll like the idea of having children one day, too."
"I do like being married. At least to you."
"I would hope so!"
She laughed and got up. "Come. We may not have children soon, but we can certainly practice..." Fae disappeared into the darkness of the bedroom.
Fiyero followed eagerly.