Sequel: In Unexpected Places

Against the Odds

Chapter Seventy Six Part One

A/N: After going back and forth about it, I decided to split this chapter into two parts. The problem was that I wrote some of the last stuff before the beginning of the chapter, but once it all began to really unfold, I wanted to add more than I had originally planned. And it ended up very long and also like it shouldn’t be covered all at once. BUT. The good news is that it’s all finished, so I’ll post this one today, and part two tomorrow :)

Enjoy, and as always, I’d love to hear your thoughts! :)


With each step that Harry took as he swiftly moved with her away from the cottage and towards William and Kate’s apartment, the noise from the sirens seemed to fade a little bit more for Alex. They became distant noises, secondary to the sound of the gravel as it crunched under their feet and the sound of Harry’s heart beating in his chest.

It calmed her for some reason. Though - like hers - it was beating a fast pattern, it was still steady. Just like him as he carried her to safety. She could only imagine how terrified he’d been; but there he was, strong and steady and sure as he carried her away from the madness. And she couldn’t help but hold him tighter, pressing her face further into his neck as more tears pressed from from her eyes.

“We’re almost there, love,” he murmured, pressing a kiss to the top of her head. “It’s alright, we’re almost there.”

She felt him slow and then she heard a door open. He stepped inside and the warm air that enveloped them somehow made her feel safer. But she still kept her face buried in his chest, preferring to listen to his heartbeat his steps and cling as tightly as she could to him then look up to see where they were.

They moved up a set of steps and Alex heard a door open and then she heard the only sound at that moment that could have ever pulled her face from Harry’s chest.


Alex’s breath sucked in and she turned to see her beautiful, sweet, wonderful eight year old daughter standing from where she had sat on a couch, tucked up between Matt and Donna. She’d been crying and she looked unsure of what to do and Alex nearly broke as Harry set her on her feet.

“Come here, baby,” Alex called out, her voice hoarse and her throat tight with the words. And Emma came running, throwing herself into her mother’s arms without any further hesitation.

“Mummy, I was so scared!” Emma cried into Alex’s neck. “I was so scared I’d never see you again!”

A sob escaped escaped Alex’s lips and, keeping her crying daughter wrapped tightly in her arms, she sank to the ground, and she cried right along with her.


When Alex finally pulled her face from Emma's hair, when the little girl finally felt secure enough with the fact that her mother was back with her, the rest of the family moved in; each wanting their chance to embrace her, to make sure she really was there. And she was, crying as her parents hugged her, as Matt wrapped her up in his big arms and kissed the top of her head, as even Charles with tear-filled eyes and his warm voice, whispered his relief in her ear.

But for as much as it seemed like the chaos that was that day might settle; it didn’t. At least not right. One minute she was in Harry's arms, the next she was hugging Emma and before she could really register the embraces of her loved ones, she was being pulled into a room with just her, Harry and the family doctor.

It was something that had to be done. They could keep the police at bay for the time being, but she had to be seen by the doctor. Even she knew that trying to protest wouldn’t do anything; and she really didn’t have it in her to object anyway.

Dr. Andrea Foster had been working for the Royal Family for close to ten years. She was a trusted and valued member of the staff and though Alex had never personally seen her before; within just a few moments of sitting down with Dr. Foster, she immediately understood why.

The doctor was kind and gentle but very matter of fact as she quickly checked Alex out. She wasn’t looking for sordid details; she genuinely just wanted to make sure Alex didn’t leave anything out and was fully taken care of.

She looked at the bruises on Alex’s arm from where Patrick had grabbed her several times. The marks were a dark purple now but would fade away in several days. She was slightly concerned about the index and middle fingers of Alex’s right hand, which had been twisted and pulled back as she’d struggled for the gun with Patrick.

“There may be a slight break in your middle finger; but if there is, we can’t do much about it anyway,” Dr. Foster had said with a soft smile. She pulled out a couple of velcro finger splints and slipped them over Alex’s index and middle finger, holding them together and restricting the movement of both fingers. “Keep those on as much as possible. Your fingers will heal just fine.”

In the end, she’d written Alex a prescription for a mild pain reliever and given her something that would allow her to sleep - or more accurately, she’d strongly encouraged Alex to take it and to get some sleep - her body needed it more than she realized. And then she left them, promising to follow up the next day.

And Alex and Harry were left in the room alone together. Her eyes lifted to his; tired and teary and unsure. “I’m sure it was hard for you to hear some of that.”

Harry swallowed back the lump in his throat and moved to her, sliding in next to her on the couch. “Not as hard as it was for you to go through it.”

“Yeah,” Alex nodded, tears springing to her eyes as Harry’s gaze held hers. “I...I know you want to know what happened in there...”

“Hey,” Harry murmured, his arms moving around her and pulling her into his embrace. “You don’t have to do that now; not until you’re ready.”

“I’m so tired, Harry,” Alex whispered, tears spilling from her eyes as she buried her face in the warmth of his chest. “I’m so tired. I just can’t think anymore. I can’ with anything right now.”

“You don’t have to, love,” Harry soothed, pressing a kiss to the top of her head.

“But my family...your father…they’re out there and...”

“They will completely understand,” Harry interrupted, his voice gruff with the emotions that were running through him. “You’re here and you’re safe and that’s all that matters right now.”

And before she could help herself, Alex began to cry again; big, heart-wrenching sobs that made Harry ache inside for her. But he let her cry; he let her cry in his arms until her sobs became sniffles and then shortly after, he felt her breathing even out. He looked down at her and realized that she’d fallen asleep. He was sure that the medicine that Dr. Foster gave her had kicked in and taken her into slumber without her brain being able to keep her awake and he was thankful for that. She hadn’t slept more than an hour in two days and the next few days were going to be hard; she needed to let her mind and body rest.

He settled her back on the couch gently, not wanting to wake her, and then quickly stepped out of the room to tell everyone waiting that she’d checked out fine with the doctor but that she just wasn’t up to doing anything but sleeping for the rest of the night. As he knew they would be, everyone was completely understanding. Donna and Mike were going to go home with Mike and Charlotte for the night and would come back the next day, Charles promised to call the next day, and Will and Kate let Harry know which rooms they’d set aside for them and told him to let them know if they needed anything at all.

And Emma, who was not ready to let her mum out of her sight for any longer than completely necessary, asked Harry in a small, teary voice if she could please stay with them that night. And there was absolutely no way Harry could say no to that.

It wasn’t long before he’d carried Alex to the bedroom and gotten her changed into a pair of pajamas Kate had handed over for her to borrow. He smiled as Emma giggled at how long the pajama pants were on Alex and then he’d tucked his wife and daughter warm and safe into bed before climbing in alongside them.

It was only once Emma had drifted off to join her mum in a deep sleep that Harry finally let the tears he’d been holding back for hours and hours go. They silently ran down his cheeks for a long time as he finally allowed relief to wash through him. It wasn’t over; not even by a long shot. But Alex was there; she was going to be okay. And once he’d cried out all the tears he could right then, he finally, finally drifted off into a restless slumber.


He woke with a start, his eyes blinking open into the dark, unfamiliar room. He knew without looking that she wasn’t there, but when he turned and saw the Alex definitely was not in the bed, his heart jumped into his throat. Emma was still there, curled up under the covers, but his wife wasn’t there, nor was she in the room with them at all.

He threw the covers off and quickly moved from the bed towards the door, wasting no time in going to find her.

He didn’t have to look very hard; he found her in the first place he thought to look actually. His heart tightened in his chest when he stepped into the library and saw her. She was sitting on the window seat, her knees tucked up to her chest as she gazed out of the window into the dark London night. He stood rooted to his spot in the doorway for a long moment, unsure whether to let her be or to go to her. But before he could make up his mind, her voice called out softly into the quiet library.

“He was hiding in our house.”

Harry took a deep breath and then moved over to her, sliding slowly onto the window seat with her and turning his body to face hers. “We figured that out. I don’t know where though.”

“In the attic,” Alex answered, turning her eyes to his, the haunted look there making him feel sad and helpless. “He was dirty and...he smelled terrible. He didn’t even look like the same person.”

“I shouldn’t have left you there,” Harry muttered, his gaze moving down to where his hands rested on his lap. “I just...fuck. I shouldn’t have left.”

“You couldn’t have known,” Alex shook her head, swiping at a tear that was sliding down her cheek. “And Jesus, a way I’m glad you weren’t.”

“What?” His eyes snapped up to hers. “Why would you say that?”

“Because,” Alex whispered. “He would have tried to take you out to get to me.”

Harry shook his head, his gaze moving out of the window for a moment. “He wouldn’t have succeeded.”

“Harry...he already almost did.”

Harry’s gaze turned to hers, confusion flashing across his features. “What do you mean?”

“The car accident,” she said, her voice hoarse as she choked back emotion. She hated that she had to tell him this; to deliver the same news to him that Patrick had sent her reeling with hours before. “He tampered with the brakes. He tried to kill you.”

Harry blinked several times as he absorbed the shock of Alex’s word; at what they meant and how they changed his view of his accident in an instant. His face went white and he leaned back against the wall of the window seat. His lips parted as if he wanted to say something but couldn’t find the words.

“I’m so sorry,” Alex murmured. She reached out for his hand, wrapping her fingers around his. “I hate that you have to hear this from me…”

“No,” Harry said, his eyes widening and he leaned in closer to her. “I’m sorry you had to hear that from him. I can’t believe this is fucking happening, Alex. I had written the wreck off as an accident; but that crazy asshole is the entire reason I...and he tried to take me out that long ago to get to you? Fuck!” His cheeks reddened and he ran a hand through his hair. “This should not have ever happened.”

“I know,” Alex nodded before taking a deep breath. “He was...deranged, Harry. Completely insane. He...when I came downstairs from my shower he was waiting in the foyer…”

“Oh don’t have to do this right now,” Harry shook his head, not wanting her to stress herself out more than necessary.

“Yes, I do,” Alex replied, though tears were slipping faster from her eyes. “I need to tell you. I need to...I can’t sit here being the only one in the world who knows what happened, Harry. It will make me crazy to sit alone with this.”

Harry swallowed hard and then squeezed her fingers gently with his. If she needed to tell him, then he was going to listen. “Okay, love.”

Slowly and with tears streaming down her face, Alex recounted everything; needing to get it out so she wasn’t living with it all alone. She needed him to know what she went through. She told him Harry about finding Patrick in the foyer and how he let her put Gus outside - and how she’d wanted to run out that door with Gus so badly. She told him about Patrick dragging her into the living room; where he told her about how he caused Harry’s accident and then had humiliatingly stood over her as she got sick and vomited in reaction.

And Harry listened; with a nauseous stomach and tears in his own eyes, he listened as she recounted the horrifying details of what she’d been through. It wasn’t until she recounted how Patrick had drug her upstairs and ordered her down into their bedroom that Harry couldn’t hold back his instinctive reaction any longer.

“Oh God, Alex…” His voice was choked as he shook his head. “Did he hurt you? Did he force himself…”

“No,” Alex shook her head quickly, a sob falling from her lips with the word. “No. I would have told the doctor if that had happened. I thought he was going to at first and I don’t what I would have done if he had tried…”

Harry reached for her then, unable to sit there another moment without pulling her into his arms. She let him wrap his arms around her and she leaned into him, grateful for his warmth and his steadiness as she took a deep breath and prepared to continue.

“He made me pack.”

“Pack?” Harry replied, confusion evident in his voice.

“He said he was going to take me away,” she explained quietly; her voice much calmer than the chaos going on inside of her. “I don’t know how he thought he was going to get me out - other than I don’t think he considered that I wouldn’t go willingly.”

“Jesus…” Harry breathed, his hands beginning to shake as he rubbed them over her back.

“He drug me into our room and made me pack and he just...he knew where everything was, Harry. Right down to my underwear.”

His hands froze on her back and she could hear his heart start to pound faster in his chest. “He’d been in there before.” It was a statement; not a question.

“Yes,” Alex confirmed with a teary voice. “More than either of us would like to think about probably.”

“God damn it,” Harry swore, leaning his head back against the wall. He felt like he was going to be sick. It just kept coming; hit after hit after hit. He didn’t know if he wanted to cry or punch something at the thought of what that psychopath had done to his wife, at how he’d nearly ruined their lives twice.

“And that’s...that’s not even the worst of it,” Alex continued, her voice barely audible.


“He knew that we haven’t had sex in months, Harry.”

Harry sucked in a breath and sat up, his eyes narrowing as they met hers. “How in the hell did he know that?”

Alex bit her lip and her body started to tremble as she remembered how it had felt to realize the lengths that Patrick had gone to, to feel so violated that it overwhelmed everything else in her brain. “He was...listening to us. He bugged our home.”

“Fuck!” Harry burst out, losing his battle to stay calm. He pushed himself up from the window seat and paced away several feet; his entire body radiating tension and anger as he did.

“I’m so sorry,” Alex whispered as her face fell into her hands.

Harry spun around at her words and immediately softened, feeling incredibly selfish for getting so angry. He was back to her in two long strides; sliding onto the window seat and hauling her back into his arms.

“This is not your fault, Alexandra,” he murmured, kissing the side of her head. He rocked her gently back and forth as she cried; each sob like a knife to his already broken heart. “Don’t apologize for telling me. You needed to tell me.”

“I shot him,” she said after a long moment, her words slightly muffled by the way she was pressing her face into his chest. “I shot him.”

“It was self defense, Alexandra,” Harry protested instantly. “And Jesus, that motherfucker deserved to be shot.”

“I know,” Alex nodded slowly before she pulled back to look at him. “But it doesn’t change the fact that...I shot him. I did. I pulled the trigger, he went down, and I turned around and ran. I didn’t even see where I hit him. I just had to get the fuck out of there. I don’t even know where I dropped the gun. It was in my hand when I left the room and I didn’t have it when I ran outside.”

“You were so brave,” Harry breathed, a bit of pride shining in his eyes. “Don’t you see? You got yourself out. “I’m...God, I’m proud of you for being that brave and for defending yourself…”

“Proud of me?” Alex shook her head and her eyes went wide. “For killing a man?”

“You didn’t kill him, Alex,” he replied with a shake of his head. “The SWAT team killed him.”

“You don’t know that.”

“Yes, I do,” Harry said firmly. “I know that.”

“How could you possibly…”

“The Chief of Scotland Yard sent me the brief on my phone,” he revealed with a sigh. “Your shot hit him in the thigh. He was hurt but not mortally. But they encountered him in the hallway outside of our room. You must have dropped the gun out there and he had his hands on it…” Harry swallowed and shook his head. “They saw him as an immediate threat and they took him out.”

Alex sucked in a deep breath and then her eyes turned towards the window again as she let it out slowly, letting the information run through her mind. “Okay.”

Harry’s eyebrows lifted. “Okay?”

Alex shrugged and her gaze moved back to his. “I don’t know, Harry. I really can’t fully process it yet. It still feels...almost surreal. And I’m just...tired. It’s only making my brain turn more to try to make it make sense and…”

“Let’s go back to bed?” Harry said softly, his hands moving to her face, his thumbs stroking at her cheeks. “I think we’ve done all we can do tonight.”

Alex sniffed and nodded, her emotions whirling at how wonderful he was being with her. “I think so too.”


They both slept restlessly the rest of the night and by the time the Sun started to rise and light began to peek in through the windows, there was no hope for getting back to sleep. It was a new day and they were both aware that the things that needed to be addressed weren’t going to be held back for very long.

The first thing they knew they had to address was the public. The whole world had been utterly enthralled by the Duchess of Sussex’s bout with captivity. Along with the very few truthful details that had been released, there were tons of rumors and so much incorrect information running through the media that their press team didn’t even know where to start.

They quickly decided that they would release a formal statement from Alex and Harry, thanking everyone for their concern and well wishes, but asking for privacy for the immediate future. They also decided that in order to try and curb the salaciousness of the story, once Scotland Yard had completed their investigation, Kensington Palace would agree to allow the release of specific details. However, in order for the investigation to get fully underway, the detectives needed to interview Alex.

And so, for the second time in less than twelve hours, Alex sat down that morning and spoke about what happened in the cottage with Patrick. This time though, the process was much more structured, detailed, and thorough, and it left Alex exhausted and emotionally spent. It was only mid-morning when the detectives left and already she wanted to go back to bed and sleep for hours. But it seemed like there was so much going on; William and Kate’s apartment wasn’t small by any means of the word, but with them there along with Alex, Harry, Emma, Alex’s parents, and various staff members who had come in and out to coordinate the effort to control the response to the public, Alex felt overwhelmed and almost...suffocated.

With teary eyes and a shaky voice, she’d told Harry that she couldn’t do it; that she wasn’t ready to be around so many people while locked in a palace in the middle of London. She needed fresh air and space and the people closest to her.

And Harry had jumped as the chance to give her exactly that.

A plan was made; one that would give Alex much needed space and time while keeping her in comfortable surroundings. They were going to leave that afternoon for her parent’s home in Berkshire. They would stay a week and then would head to Highgrove for another week. The hope was that being on private property would keep the press at bay, but just in case it didn’t, a second media release was prepared to be released after they’d left Kensington Palace and arrived in Berkshire.

“His Royal Highness The Duke of Sussex has issued a letter to all media outlets warning them that as they will be staying on private property, any photographs taken and/or published of HRH The Duchess of Sussex or HRH Princess Emma during their time away from London will not be tolerated. Formal complaints to the Press Complaints Commission and legal action will follow any publication of such pictures. Additionally, trespassing arrests will be made against any photographers found in the act of obtaining such pictures.

The Duke would like to remind the press that The Duchess is recovering from a traumatic event and that he would appreciate the respect and consideration of allowing their family this time to recover in peace and quiet.”

Additionally, Charlotte offered to suspend her maternity leave for the next couple of days to be in charge of handling issues the warnings to the media and fielding what was sure to be a mountain of requests flooding through the KP offices.

The only obstacle in their way was quickly solved by Alex’s wonderful friend and amazing assistant, Mia. The police were able to pull out Harry and Emma’s clothing and possessions from the cottage that they would need to head out of London, but Alex didn’t want hers; not after Patrick had forced her to pack so much of it. Each piece of clothing held memories of the most frightening moments of her life and she just couldn’t take it right then. Mia was quick to handle the task and after an hour at Harrod’s, she arrived at Kensington Palace with an armful of bags containing new clothes, shoes, makeup, and toiletry items for Alex. They were just basics; jeans, tennis shoes, some wellies since they were headed out into the country, soft, comfy blouses, a new coat, and of course, a selection of new pajamas and bras and underwear.

Alex took them with tears in her eyes and then wrapped her friend in a fierce, tight hug. She was incredibly grateful for the amazing people that surrounded her in life. She wouldn’t make it through this without them; she knew that.

It was late afternoon before they were ready to go. The Cambridges would come out and spend more time with them when Harry and Alex and Emma went to Highgrove, but for then, they had to say goodbye. They all shared warm hugs and kisses and then, the Sussex’s were loaded up into two waiting Range Rovers. Wanting to be able to concentrate on his wife and not on the road, Harry slipped in the backseat with Alex and Emma, while his P.O. Mark and Emma’s P.O. sat up front. Two additional P.O.s were in the second Range Rover that would tail them out to Berkshire. Donna and Mike had already departed, wanting to get there before Harry, Alex, and Emma did and get everything ready. Charlotte and Matt said that they would give them a few days and then come out with Cooper if Alex was up to it, which she knew she would be. They were family and right then, she needed them too.

Though they hadn’t publicly announced that they were leaving yet since the press release wouldn’t go out until after they were out of London, they still knew the press would be waiting at the gates.

And they were; waiting in droves as the gates began to open. The cameras lifted instantly when they realized who was exiting the palace and Alex immediately felt the anxiety creep in. Before she could stop herself, she dropped her face into her hands, not wanting anyone to see her in what she felt like was an incredibly private moment.

But Harry was right there; he turned and reached for her, pulling her shoulder so she faced him and then he leaned forward, covering both her and Emma with his broad shoulders, keeping their faces out of the glare of the media and of the world for time being. If she didn’t want anyone to see her, then it was his job to make sure that they didn’t.

But as they moved away from Kensington Palace and further and further away from London, Alex began to feel some of the overwhelming anxiety and trapped feelings fade out a bit.

She was far from okay. She was far from coming to terms with what had happened to her. She was far from accepting that she was even really safe. But, she was with Harry and Emma and they were on their way to a place that would help her begin to get there.