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i found the cure to growing older (and you're the only place that feels like home)

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Margo has been in love with magic since she started at Brakebills, even before when she didn’t know it was real. There’s far more magical ya novels than she’d ever admit to reading, especially not around Q. She’s adored learning about it, the easy stuff anyways that she got in a try or two, and testing with Eliot the finer points of magical alcohol creation. She loves magic in a way that she’s never loved non-Eliots.

But fuck, is she ready to eviscerate whatever bitch thought dropping an enchanted forest in a haze of opium was a good idea. They’ve been walking around for hours, haven’t seen any other people or animals since they got deep in the woods. (A very minor boon that this means no flies in the sweltering heat.) She can’t even panic properly, starts giggling if her emotions get too high. Which is even more bullshit, she finally balanced out to regular levels of Fillory’s atmospheric opium and then ended up here.

“We’re going in circles!” Julia sings gleefully.

…with her ever-helpful adventure companion.

Margo pulls the map out again, as if it’s going to say something different- the fuck even.

“Look at this,” she says, pointing to a newly edited section. There’s unlabeled indigo trees, which could either be really good or really bad. (Because Fillory doesn’t believe in a middle ground, extremist whimsical fucks.)

Julia’s eyes light up, her fingers twisting in a way Margo doesn’t recognize, and golden sparks shoot to the center of the new trees on the map, and then light up the path ahead of them.

Margo takes a deep breath, her voice going all high pitched customer service, “You didn’t wanna do that oh, three hours ago?”

Julia giggles, grabbing her hand and skipping after the golden sparks. “I just made it up silly!”

Of course. Because Wicker is in fact that level of bloody genius that she can do spell creation while tripping balls.

They follow the twinkling sparks, and sure enough after a few minutes they reach some indigo trees. Which shouldn’t even be possible, they’d walked in every direction for miles, not escaping that magical woodsy labyrinth. So while Margo isn’t excited for more trees, she can admit these ones are more visually stunning at least.

The leaves are a dark navy-purple, the trunks a pale mauve with a tan shadow. There’s an ambiance that makes walking towards them easier, it even feels cooler, as if the air conditioning kicked on- or maybe Margo’s that impatient to get out of here. Once they reach this mystical druid they can go back home to the castle with a solution, deal with all the petty bullshit problems somewhere with beds and good food. (Her fingernails are so grimy they feel gross, and she’s gonna take a bath for hours once she’s home.)

They’ve passed a few trees when Margo notices these trees are prettier, the leaves more scarlet-purple and the trunks larger. Large enough that it brings a childhood fantasy back to mind, of hollowing out the trunk of a living tree and creating a secret house inside.

Abrupt silence pulls her out of her head- Julia actually quiet for the first time since the opium saturation went up, and unease drips down her spine.

Something isn’t right.

Margo’s barely finished the thought before something slams into the back of her head, knocking her unconscious.


Julia is half naked, lacy green bra with a broken strap and her jeans are torn off below the knee. They’re in a meadow now, not a tree in sight. There’s blood dashed over her shoulders like a cape, and her hands are cupped around a clear liquid chanting. It’s probably lube, and Margo is so ready for this fantasy of post-apocalyptic Julia to sweep her away.

Margo’s had this dream before, well set in the real world and with chocolate syrup instead of blood, but otherwise basically the same. She’s content to stay here until she gets her rocks off or they send Penny into her head (and isn’t that a fun concept.)

“Good you’re awake, how are you feeling?” Julia asks, eyes soft and Margo sighs happily, yes she could get used to Wicker looking at her like that.

“Not bad hot stuff. What’s that?”

“Charmed water,” Julia says, and Margo mentally rolls her eyes- usually her fantasies are more direct to boning. “It’ll help with your leg.”

She looks down, and huh, her thigh is mangled in a way that would suck if she were awake. Fuck, she hopes it isn’t a real injury, it looks nasty and painful.

“What happened? All I remember is us coming down from unsanctioned magical burning man,” Margo asks, wanting to push through the exposition.

Julia snorts, “Yeah, starving carnivorous trees happened and then the druid we were seeking got annoyed we harmed her ‘happy garden’. So I- I didn’t want to, but there was no time and they were too strong, and she was hurting you- I fed her to the trees.”

Margo blinks, her subconscious has obviously gotten darker from living in twisted fairy tale land for too long. “Well fuck.”

Julia flushes, hands warm as they pour the gel over her thigh and rub it in, the familiar tingle of magic spreading with her fingers.

“There,” she says, wiping her hands on her jeans.

“My hero,” Margo drawls, delights in Julia’s cheeks darkening even more. “How ever will I thank you?”

“That’s not-” Julia starts, and Margo kisses the words off her lips. Julia tastes like the bland crackers they packed for the trip- odorless and nearly tasteless so it won’t attract anything- and the echoes of a cigarette. Her mouth slides open, cupping the back of her neck, turning closer, and a sharp pinch twinges in her thigh.

Huh. She isn’t dreaming.

But Julia’s kissing her back so it doesn’t matter, her fingers running through her hair. Margo feels like a teenager- making out in the middle of nowhere, feels like she could live forever in this moment.

(Fuck, whimsical nonsense Fillory might have just become her favorite world.)