Sequel: In Unexpected Places

Against the Odds

Chapter Eighty Three Part One

A/N: I ended up having to split the chapter. It just got way too long with too much going on. The good news is that part two of this is just a few paragraphs from being complete so you’ll get it tomorrow. But for now, here’s part one. Let me know what you think :)


“Jesus Alex,” Harry groaned. He ran his hands through his mess of red hair and looked helplessly at her. “I feel like I can’t win with you.”

Alex’s face twisted in confusion. “What are you talking about?”

“What am I talking about?!” Harry threw his hands up and his voice rose, as much as he didn’t want it to. “You just get...mad at me about everything. I know you haven’t been feeling well, but for the past few days it seems like I can’t do anything right. And even when I inevitably apologize for whatever it is that you yelled at me for, you just...yell at me some more!”

Alex narrowed her eyes and crossed her arms over her chest. “Maybe if you weren’t so God damned patronizing in your ‘apologies’...”

Harry’s eyes widened and his lips parted, stunned at her words. “I’m sorry...but...what?”

“You treat me like some breakable object! Like I’ve got the words ‘Handle With Care’ stamped across my forehead!” she shouted, her eyes flashing with anger and her cheeks flushing pink. “I know you’re protective and I get it, Harry. I really do. But you have to quit fucking hovering over me.. I know how to take care of myself! And more than that, I know how to take care of this child!”

Harry’s lips tightened and he could feel himself flush all the way to the tips of his ears. “I hope you know how ridiculous you’re being right now.”

“Well,” Alex snapped with a roll of her eyes. “I’m sure you’ll try to act all patient and caring while you tell me exactly how ridiculous I’m acting.”

“Alex! You’re pale and I know you’ve lost a little weight and you are barely eating anything! Why are you being so fucking stubborn about admitting that you feel like shit?!”

“Because you’re making a huge deal about nothing!” Alex yelled, her fists balling together at her sides.

“Oh fuck this.” Harry threw his hands in the air and then turned away from her. “You know what, Alex,” he called as he strode towards their bedroom door. “You can just be miserable by yourself.”

“Fine!” she shouted after him.

“Fine!” he hollered back, and then slammed the bedroom door behind him.

***Two Days Earlier***

“Harry! Harry!!”

“I’m right here, love,” he replied, his eyebrows lifting as he stepped into their kitchen, finding her standing in front of their fridge, the freezer door wide open in front of her. “What’s wrong?”

“What’s wrong?!” she nearly screeched, making Harry taking an involuntary step back in surprise. “What’s wrong is that someone STOLE all of my ice cream!”

Harry’s lips twitched. “What?”

“Someone STOLE all of my Bluebell stash!” Alex repeated. She jerked the freezer door wider and waved her hand in front of it. “Look! It’s gone.”

Harry shook his head and stepped closed to her. “No one stole your ice cream, Alex. I threw it out.”

Alex’s eyes nearly bugged out of her head and Harry let out a nervous chuckle, which only served to make her cheeks flush even further. “You did what?”

“Alex,” he said slowly, peering at her, trying gauge exactly what was going on in that kitchen. “I had to; there’s a Listeria outbreak at several of the plants in the States. We can’t take that chance.”

“Oh.” Alex blinked, the frantic look about her fading for a brief moment before it flashed back in her eyes. “Well you should have warned me!”

“But...I did,” he insisted as she slammed the freezer door shut. “We talked about the outbreak of Listeria a few days ago and how you weren’t going to be able to eat Bluebell until they figure it all out.”

“Well, I didn’t know that applied to the stash we already had!”

“Darling,” Harry stepped up to her, his voice soothing as his hands moved to her shoulders. “I can go get you some ice cream, just not Bluebell.”

She rolled her eyes and then shrugged his hands off her shoulders. “It’s not the same, Harry. And honestly, you acting like it’s no big deal is pissing me right off.”

Harry’s entire face flashed confusion as she pushed past him and towards the kitchen door. “What in the...Alex…”

“Don’t follow me!”

He stopped in his tracks, unused to her tone of voice and somewhat irrational reasoning. “Well...fine then,” he muttered to himself. He turned away from the door she had gone through, intending to make his way out of the other door. “Jesus Christ!” he jumped, startled to see his brother standing there, a knowing, smirk of a smile on his lips.

“No, just the Duke of Cambridge,” William chuckled as Harry rolled his eyes.

“How long have you been standing there?” Harry grumbled.

“Long enough to be assured that pregnancy cravings aren’t just limited to my wife.”

“Nice. What are you even doing at Clarence House?” Harry narrowed his eyes.

Will shrugged. “I had to pick up some papers from Father and decided to drop in on you before I head home. Best decision I made all day.”

“So you could see my wife lose her shit at my over ice cream? Nice,” Harry pulled a face as he plopped down on one of the stools at the breakfast bar. “I don’t know why she’s so mad. I would think that protecting herself and our child from a listeria outbreak would be…”

“Harry,” William laughed and shook his head. “She’s mad because right now she would probably sell you off to have just one bite of that ice cream, and you’re in here acting like she’s being ridiculous.”

“She is being ridiculous.”

“Well, yeah…” Will shrugged. “But you would be too if you were in her place.”

Harry let out a sigh, knowing that William was right. “I know. It’s just...Ales is supposed to be the level-headed and reasonable one. I’m supposed to be the irrational one.”

“Well, it’s good to see that she’s keeping things down. Kate didn’t have cravings until after the first trimester with either baby because she could barely eat anything at all.”

“For the most part she’s been alright. She’s been throwing up in the mornings,” Harry replied, his forehead creasing as worry flashed momentarily across his face “A lot in the mornings. She didn’t get sick like that with Emma, but she says it’s normal.”

“When’s her first doctor’s appointment?”

“Two weeks,” Harry said. “I tried to get her to go earlier, but you know...she’s being stubborn. Wanting to keep it to ourselves and all for right now.”

“Understandable,” Will shrugged. “I’m sure she’s fine. She would go if she felt like it was a danger to the baby, I’m assuming.”

Harry took a deep breath and smiled reassuringly - as much for his own benefit as well as his brother’s. “She would. Absolutely.”

****One Day Earlier****

“Alex, are you sure you want to do this?” Harry asked, his eyes full of concern as he watched her bend down to tighten the laces on her sneakers. He wasn’t sure that anyone else would notice the paleness of her face, but an hour of strenuous activity with young rugby players might not help the nausea that had plagued her earlier that morning. “I can go and play with the kids. You don’t have to go out there. We can make up some excuse.”

“I’m fine,” she huffed, her eyes flashing up to his as she stood and straightened her shoulders. “I don’t have to restrict my activity just because I threw up hours ago.”

“You were bloody sick for two hours this morning,” he insisted, his voice dropping down to a whisper as he stepped closer to her. His body angled so that the press or anyone watching couldn’t get video of their conversation. “I don’t want you to stress yourself…”

“You don’t want?” Alex’s eyes snapped up to his, narrowing briefly as she processed his words. “What about what I want?”

“Hey, that’s not what this is about,” he bent closer, his hand moving out to rest gently on her shoulder. “I’m just making sure you aren’t pushing yourself too hard.”

“You think I don’t know my limits?” She lifted her eyebrows and Harry saw much more of a challenge in her eyes than he’d expected.

“Why are you acting like this?” he found himself hissing down at her as the tension between them grew at an alarming rate.

Alex glanced around, meaningfully pausing at the pack of photographers aimed at them before turning back to look up at Harry. She artfully let a wide smile across her face and then spoke her reply through her teeth. “You really want to do this right now?”

Harry opened his mouth but quickly snapped it shut and let out a sigh. “No. Of course I don’t. I want to play rugby with the kids.”

Alex’s smile widened, though the flash of irritation aimed at him remained in her eyes. “Thought so.”

And with that, his wife turned and sauntered away, giving him no choice but to follow her across the rugby field towards the waiting group of kids and leave their disagreement behind them.

*****Present Time*****

After pouring himself a large whiskey, he found himself settling himself down on the couch in the living room. He turned on some mindless program on the TV, something that was just background noise. When she’d gotten upset about the ice cream several days before, he’d thought it was just hormonal and he’d understood. But the aftermath of the spat at the rugby event the day before and the fight they’d just had left him feeling incredibly uneasy. He hated fighting with her. He hated that he couldn’t seem to say anything right. He hated that he couldn’t seem to fix it. And what’s more, he hated that he felt like there was some underlying issue that had nothing to do with him being overprotective - and maybe nothing really to do with him at all.

“Damn it, Alex,” he muttered to himself. He shifted restlessly on the couch before finally giving up and laying back on it, stretching his long legs out in front of him as he sipped his whiskey. For all the things he didn’t know, the one thing he did know was that going back up to their room right then wasn’t going to solve anything. He would give her some time to relax, he would let the fight settle, and then he’d go back up. He took a deep breath, then tipped the last of the whiskey in his glass into his mouth, the burn oddly soothing as it made it’s way down his throat, and then he settled back into the couch, ready to just bide his time until he could try and talk to his wife without it ending in a screaming match.


“Dad? Dad! Wake up!”

Harry started awake, but it took a few seconds for him to realize where he was, to realize that he had fallen asleep on the couch. He blinked several times as Emma’s face came into focus above him, her eyes wide and ringing a tiny bell of alarm within him.

“Em? What are you doing out of bed?”

“Mummy’s throwing up,” she said, her little fingers worrying together in front of her.

“Oh sweetheart,” Harry soothed, sitting and then reaching to smooth back a wild piece of blonde hair from Emma’s face. “It’s okay. Sometimes the baby makes her sick.”

“No, I know that,” Emma insisted, her little chin sticking out in determination that he would listen to her. “I got up to get a drink of water from my bathroom and I heard her. I know I’m not supposed to walk in without knocking when the door is shut but I did anyway and saw her in your bathroom. She looks really sick, Daddy. She was...crying and you know the thing where you feel like you need to keep throwing up but nothing is coming out?”

“Christ!” Harry breathed, flinging the blanket from his legs and rising to his feet. He knew Alex had told him to stop hovering, but if Emma thought it was bad enough to wake him up, nothing was going to stop him from going to her.

“I’m sorry I had to wake you up but…”

“Oh Em, you’re not in trouble at all. You did exactly the right thing,” Harry stopped to assure his daughter. He pressed a kiss to the top of her head and then turned from the room to hurry down the hall to his wife.

He strode into the bedroom and then straight to the bathroom door, pushing it open and quickly rushing inside. He moved straight to his wife, who just as Emma had said, was still leaning over the toilet, heaving and coughing though there didn’t appear to be anything else coming up.

“Jesus, Alex,” Harry breathed, dropping down to the floor next to her. He immediately reached up to pull her hair back from her face and then let one hand drop to her back, warm and comforting. “How long has this been going on?”

“Too long,” she choked out before her body heaved again. Harry could see how flushed her chest and cheeks were, showing the strain her body was going through, and how red and swollen her eyes were from that same strain and from crying. “I...I haven’t felt good all day...but this is…” She leaned over again, a combination of heaves and sobs wracking her small frame.

“Alexandra,” Harry murmured, trying his best to remain calm. “When was the last time you kept any kind of fluid down? Have you kept anything down today at all?”

To his surprise, tears pooled in her eyes and she shook her head slowly. “No…I can’t.”

“Oh good grief, Alex,” he groaned, though his eyes were full of concern. “You haven’t kept fluids down in nearly twenty-four hours? Listen, I don’t care if you get mad and yell at me, but I’m putting my foot down. You’re probably dehydrated and this can’t go on. You have to go to the doctor. Now.”

It took several long, shuddering breaths before she was able to turn to look at him with tired, red-rimmed eyes. She nodded slowly, even as more tears pooled in her eyes. “Okay.”

To be continued....