“I love you, Cleo,“ he said, the words finally coming to him, with no effort at all because of how true they were. “I love you so much it hurts.” Her eyes widened. “What did you just say?” Magnus almost laughed. “I think you heard me right.” (….) He loved her more than anything else in this world.”
I lost my fucking mind
It happens all the time
‘Cause I can’t stand myself
I’m an asshole baby
Oh, I’m fashionably late
I’m the one you love to hate
'Cause I can’t stand myself
'Cause I’m an asshole baby
Queen Cleiona Bellos stood on the pier, feeling the cool afternoon breeze that whipped up from the ocean. The now familiar scent of the salt tickled her nose as the sun reflected brightly off the blue-green waters. It hadn’t been all that long ago that she had stood here, waiting for the return of her husband, King Magnus Damora. In fact, that had been over four months ago.
The first time the king had left, he had been gone for almost six months to take care of conflict in one of their kingdoms. Back in the first years of their reign, Cleo had joined him on several of these excursions, none quite as long as that trip had been. But now she remained in their home base of Mytica to take care of the domestic affairs.
There was a tug on her skirt. “Mommy, look!”
And most importantly, she had remained in Mytica to take care of their two children.
Cleo has a really hard first trimester because of morning sickness and there is no food that does not make her sick. Magnus is super worried and attentive and tries to get her to eat bread and honey as often as possible (it’s not appetizing but she can keep it down). Cleo hates the sickness because she’s so used to fine foods and eating until she’s full but she just a can’t and it’s frustrating.
Once the morning sickness passes, she’s literally the happiest little pregnant lady you’ve ever seen. She’s so excited and she checks her belly in the mirror every morning and Magnus pretends not to notice her doing it, but he totally does.
The first time the baby moves Cleo FLIPS OUT. She’s finally putting her embroidery skills to use making something for the baby, and it flutters inside her and she almost falls out of her chair because at first she thinks it’s a spider or something. But then she calms down and a few minutes later it happens again and she almost starts crying, just sitting there alone in her room with her hand to her abdomen, waiting and laughing. Magnus finds her like that and he’s worried at first because she’s so still so he goes and kneels in front of her. She’s smiling and tells him and he gets this look of pure awe on his usually serious face that just melts her heart. She puts his hand where she felt it so he can try, but the baby is still too small for him to feel anything yet. He’s not disappointed though, because Cleo is just so happy.
Then several weeks later they’re walking around the gardens (they’re in Auranos because Cleo’s being pampered) and Cleo YELPS, gripping Magnus’s arm and stopping in her tracks. He’s like “WHAT WHAT IS IT WHAT’S WRONG” and she’s not sure. They sit on a bench and a minute later she feels it again–a kick. Magnus kneels in front of her again and she places his hands on her stomach and they both sit completely still for like five whole minutes and nothing happens. Then Magnus says “Maybe it doesn’t like me.” And the kid kicks right where his fingers lie. Cleo laughs and suggests the baby responded to Magnus’s voice. He starts denying and scoffing and the baby kicks again. Cleo is giddy! She begs Magnus to speak to he child, and after a few minutes of pleading, he does. Low mutters of “your mother and I love you,” and “we’ll do our best to teach you.” And Cleo starts crying because it’s so perfect and she’s hormonal anyway and Magnus kisses her, keeping one hand on her stomach.
He says he’d like to talk to the baby every day from then on, and that’s what they do every night before falling asleep: Magnus gets on his knees, his voice level with the baby, and he talks (or sings) for a few minutes. Sometimes longer.
Magnus is hyper-aware of her, even more than usual. He lets her sleep as long as she needs, and knows when she wakes up even if he’s not in the room. In the middle of a council meeting he’ll pause to send a servant to check on her, ordering a tray of fruit and bread sent with them. Cleo never figures out how he does this.
In the middle of arguments, Magnus will roll his eyes and look at her abdomen and say something like, “Can you believe this?” or “Would you settle this please?” And Cleo, despite wanting to remain angry, can’t help a small smile. They calm down and talk things out more carefully, then.
Magnus and Cleo spend a long time discussing names, or rather, how their child should be named. Cleo insists they should pay homage to people they knew and lost. Magnus thinks it’s best to go with something new, a fresh start, for their child and the kingdoms. Up until delivery, they hadn’t decided. But as soon as they see their child, they immediately agree on a name.
By the time she’s nearly due, Cleo is very uncomfortable. She spends most of her time in their room, sitting, pacing, or lying down. She uses the time to practice drawing and painting, working on an image she’s dreamed where Magnus holds a tiny bundle in his arms. It keeps her looking forward to having the baby, rather than focusing on the discomfort.