Sequel: In Unexpected Places

Against the Odds

Chapter Eighty Four

A/N: Here you go! I hope you enjoy. And please, please don’t be afraid to let me know what you think! Happy reading :)


They had decided to wait until she was eight weeks along before they shared the news with their families. And it wasn’t easy keeping the secret to themselves; not only that Alex was pregnant but that they were expecting twins. The truth was that Harry constantly looked like he had slept with a coat hanger in his mouth and Alex knew that she wasn’t much better. But they’d decided to let it settle for themselves first and they both stuck to that; not even telling Emma, who besides William and Charlotte, was the only other person in their lives who knew Alex was expecting. Though Alex was still suffering from morning sickness, the tips Dr. Farthing had given her to help ease those symptoms helped quite a bit; enough to assure that she wasn’t having to cancel engagements. She had lost a little bit of weight, but not enough to bring any real attention or worry from those around her.

So for two weeks, they shared their secret only with each other; waiting until they were alone in bed at night to whisper about the excitement and possibilities of bringing two children of theirs into the world in about seven months time. And it just so happened, that those two weeks were two of the most public and busiest weeks that had been and would be planned for them in quite some time.

The Danish Crown Princely couple had made a three day visit to London and their activities included two that involved the Sussexes as well. The first of which had been a formal affair; a dinner in Frederik and Mary’s honor at Buckingham Palace, joined of course by other various members of the British Royal Family. The second had been a more low key, relaxed affair; the opening of a children’s park near Kensington Palace - the designer of which was Danish. Emma joined this outing, along with Mary and Frederik’s four children; Christian, Isabella, Vincent, and Josephine. Though Alex had met both Mary and Frederik when she and Harry had married the year before, she hadn’t had a chance to speak very much with either of them then, but was found herself liking them both very much this time around. And the fact that Emma seemed to immediately become as thick as thieves with Isabella and Christian made it easy to momentarily forget the big secret they were hiding, to not worry for the afternoon if their faces were giving anything away.

At the end of the two weeks came the event that was personally and professionally one that Alex had been looking forward to for months.

The opening of the new branch of Healing Family Through Friends.

At times it had been hard on her; having to bring her experience with Patrick over the summer to the front of her mind in order to remind herself and those she was working with exactly why and how she had wanted to form this program. But it also been incredibly therapeutic; to talk about her harrowing ordeal and the way she felt after it happened - which is what she hoped it would do for the individuals that had been selected to be the first to participate in the program.

“Are you okay?” Harry murmured, scooping up her hand and squeezing it as their car rolled through the streets of London towards the HFTF offices. “You look nervous.”

“Ha! I feel like I want to throw up,” Alex shook her head. “And for the first time in weeks it has nothing to do with…” She waved a hand over her stomach, laughing when she caught Harry’s gazing lingering there for a moment longer than it should.

“Sorry. Sorry,” he chuckled, squeezing her hand once more. “Is it the speech?”

“Sort of,” Alex shrugged. “It’s more like...speaking to the entire world about what happened that day. I mean, I know everyone knows...but, you know…”

“It’s very, very personal,” Harry agreed quietly, the mood growing a bit more solemn in the car. “And very, very brave.”

“Mhmmm…” She smiled softly up and him and squeezed her fingers around his. “I do have to admit, however nervous I may be, more than that I’m very excited to go back and see everyone.”

“I know you are.” Harry’s smile brightened. He was happy she was going to get to step back in her old offices as well, as place that probably felt like home to her more than she would ever admit. “And after all of this, we have dinner with our families…”

“To tell them about the babies,” Alex whispered, the nerves vanishing for a moment.

“Well, officially, it’s in celebration of you for opening of the new branch of HFTF,” Harry chuckled.

“Yeah, yeah…” Alex giggled. “We both know what it will turn into once we let the cat out of the bag.”

“Probably,” he laughed and nodded. “The cards are all ready to go?”

“Yep. They’re sitting on the table in the entryway. We’ll stop by and grab them going over to your father and Camilla’s for dinner.”

“Fantastic!” Harry grinned, clapping his hands together in excitement. “I can’t wait.”


Alex glanced down at her notes, taking a moment to gather her building emotions before looking back up - at the cameras and at the small crowd; silent and waiting expectantly for her to begin speaking. Her eyes moved to Harry and he smiled soft, full of pride and encouragement. With a small nod and smile, she took another breath, let it out, and began.

“As most of you know, Healing Families Through Friends was first opened nearly ten years ago. At the time, I was a very young, and very pregnant, war widow who didn’t quite know how to go on. But I began to find solace and understanding and hope in talking to others who were going through what I was going through - people who had lost their loved ones in active duty in the Armed Forces.

“To be quite honest, I don’t know where I would be without each and every one of those people I met throughout the years,” she continued. “And that was the heart of what I wanted to create when initially formed Healing Families Through Friends. And it worked; for me, and I hope, for the thousands who’ve come through the doors here in the last decade.” She took a deep breath and blinked back the moisture that surged in her eyes.

“A Traumatic Event is defined as is an experience that causes physical, emotional, psychological distress, or harm. It is an event that is perceived and experienced as a threat to one's safety or to the stability of one's world. And as most of you know, I am very personally familiar with the safety of my world being ripped out from under me.” She could feel the breath suck from those in the room; it wasn’t new knowledge to anyone, but she knew that no one had expected her to speak so frankly.

“Last summer, I was attacked and held hostage in my home. For ten hours, I was terrorized by someone who was supposed to be protecting me. I was lucky enough to come out alive and physically okay, but it destroyed a part of me that I wasn’t sure I could recover. And more than that, I didn’t think anyone could understand what I was going through. I felt like something had been taken from me that I could never quite explain; at least not to them. ” Her voice caught on the last word and a tear slipped from the corner of her eye, but she brushed it away quickly and pushed forward, keeping eye contact with the group in front of her as she did.

“And that’s part what I hope people will take from this. Just as with losing a family member or in any number areas, being able to voice your fears and feelings can go miles to helping a person heal. But even if are as lucky as I am to have an incredible support system that held me together, sometimes there’s nothing quite like someone who’s been where you are. Sometimes being with a group of peers, a group lead by peers, can be the most powerful place for rebuilding.

“Years ago, creating this place and finding the inspiration and strength from those who came through these doors, guided me through the first major tragedy in my life. The hearts and open arms of the people I came to know sustained me through so many highs and lows; they helped give me the strength to smile, to be happy, to be a whole person again, and most important -- to be a mother to my daughter. And after after my most recent tragedy, it was the strength that I’ve seen for so many years from those who’ve served and have been served by this organization that ultimately helped me to take the biggest steps forward in my own healing process.”

She paused and took a deep breath, feeling the smile begin to pull at her lips, the excitement at her announcement taking her over now that the hardest part of the speech was over.

“And I’m happy to say that I’m standing here today, changed forever but once again whole, in part because of the healing process I once again found in this place, with these people, And now, on the other side of a giant mountain that I once wasn’t ever sure that I would summit, the natural thing this for me to want do next is to take this organization one more step forward.” She shifted her gaze and it caught Harry’s and her smile pulled even wider at the pure pride radiating from his eyes. But before she could get caught up in that, she turned her eyes over to the team from HFTF. Her gaze grew softer as she looked at them and continued, “Over the last several months, I’ve been working with Susannah Griffin, the wonderful woman who took over Healing Family Through Friends when I left, on opening up a new division of the organization. The primary focus of this new division will be focusing on people who have lived through traumatic events.” She paused and smiled, shifting to her next page of notes as a small smattering of applause went through the room.

“For the past few weeks, Susannah and the team here have been working hard to select an initial group of twenty individuals to participate in this program. I’ve been lucky enough to sit in on some of these meetings, to speak frankly and at length with most of these individuals and I find myself absolutely blown away by them. The bravery of the people who will become part of this new program is astounding. It is my greatest hope that this place will be for them what it has always been for me; a second family that gives them the chance to recover, to rebuild, and to find themselves again. Thank you.”

She took a deep breath as she stepped back from the podium. But as the applause sounded out in the room, she couldn’t help but smile, feeling an intense relief and sense of accomplishment wash over her.

And she realized, as much as anything else, this had been incredibly therapeutic for her; publicly talking about her ordeal and how important it was to help others that had felt like she had because of it. Telling the people in that room, telling the whole world, gave her a voice she hadn’t known she was missing.


“There you are…”

Alex turned in surprise, her smile pulling wide as Harry stepped through the doorway, closing the door softly behind him. “Sorry, I just needed minute to take a breath. I took the opportunity to slip away.”

“Do you want me to go?”

“No no,” she shook her head and turned from the window. “I’m good. Deep breath accomplished.”

Harry’s smile softened as he looked over her and then stepped closer to her. “Alex, you were amazing up there today.”


“Don’t even try to brush it off,” he laughed and shook his head. “You were. I am so proud of you that I felt like I was going to burst with it during your speech.”

Alex’s lips twisted up. “Did anyone ever tell you that you’re incredibly corny?”

“Ha!” His laughter filled the room around them and he reached for her then, his hands circling her arms and pulling her to him. “Yes. But you like it.”

“I do,” she sighed, leaning into him. “Thank you, Harry. That means a lot to me, it really does.”

“You’re welcome,” he murmured as he bent to kiss her sweetly and then lifted his head, meeting her eyes with his for a moment before looking around the room. “This is...your old office, isn’t it?”

“Mhmmm,” she nodded, her smile pulling wide as she looked around as well. “It was the first place I thought to go to when I slipped away.”

“It’s Susannah’s now?”

“Of course,” Alex nodded. “She runs the show.”

“I see she got rid of that horrid chair that was in here. It was huge and...wasn’t it pink?”

“It was red,” Alex snickered, smacking at his chest. “And it was old. But sooooo comfortable.”

“Of course,” Harry shook his head with a chuckle. He stepped away from her, moving to the bookshelves and his fingers along them, obviously lost in thought. “I still remember the first time I was in here alone with you. After I did the official visit here. There were different books on the shelves, the furniture was arranged differently, was very you. I think I knew that even then.” He stopped and pointed a finger at her. “And that’s not corny. It’s true.”

Alex’s fingers rose to her lips, her smile pulling up behind them. “You know what I remember about the first time you were in here?”

“How devastatingly handsome I was?”

“Sure,” she laughed. “And the fact that you nearly kissed me. And that we got interrupted by Mia banging on the door because like an idiot I forgot to sign Emma’s permission form for some field trip.

“Ha!” Harry’s eyes crinkled up at the sides and he clapped his hands together, clearly finding the memory incredibly humorous. “Ah, well. It turned all turned out fine, didn’t it?”

Alex sighed, nodding her head slowly as she looked around the office once more. “I really don’t think it could have turned out better, Harry.”

“Three years later...married...with a beautiful daughter and two more babies on the way?” he grinned, moving back over to her, his hands slipping to her waist.

“Happily married,” she corrected, leaning into him. “But yes, all of those things.”

He smiled down at her, letting the nostalgia and the moment sit with them both for a moment. He bent to kiss her, soft and sweet, and then nudged her nose with his. “There’s a few more pictures that need to be taken out there. And then we can leave...head over to Clarence House for dinner?”

“Mhmm,” Alex smiled nodded, her forehead moving against his. “To tell our family about the babies.”

“Emma is going to be beside herself...I hope anyway,” Harry chuckled as he stepped back and reached for Alex’s hand.

Excitement of her own flashed in Alex’s light blue eyes as Harry opened the door and led them out, back to the waiting group upstairs. “Are you kidding? Two little kiddos to boss around? She will be, absolutely. I can’t wait.”


“I’m so glad you came,” Alex smiled, leaning in to kiss Molly’s cheeks. Along with Emma, Alex and Harry had stepped into the dining room at Clarence House moments before, finding their families already there waiting on them.

“Oh psh,” Molly waved a hand and then turned to let Harry kiss her cheeks in greeting. “I couldn’t miss the chance to celebrate your amazing accomplishment. Thank you for including me.”

“You’re family,” Harry insisted, giving her an undeniably charming smile. “You’re always included.”

“It’s true,” Alex nodded before turning to continue on with greeting everyone gathered in the large, opulent room. Her parents, Matt and Charlotte, Will and Kate, and Charles and Camilla all moved in and Harry looked on with immense pride as everyone took time to offer their congratulations to his wife; to tell her how proud they were of her.

“We watched the footage,” Camilla said, glancing at Charles and sharing a look with him. “You were absolutely wonderful.”

“Thank you, Camilla. That means so much to me,” Alex beamed.

“We’re so proud of you, Boot,” Mike added, moving his arm around her affectionately and smiling down at her.

“Thanks, Dad,” Alex said, laughing lightly and pressing her hands to her cheeks that were flushed from all the attention.

And then, she was quite literally saved by the bell. The bell signaling that dinner was about to be served sounded out into the room, and formality took back over for the moment as everyone moved to take their seats at the long, ornate, immaculately set table.

“This is a far cry from family dinner back in Texas, no?” Alex murmured to her brother, who was seated to her right.

Matt chuckled and leaned in closer to her. “Think we’ll get Chicken Fried Steak for the main course?”

Alex pressed her fingers to her lips, smothering a giggle as a servant came around and began to pour wine in their glasses. She looked at it and then looked up, catching Harry’s amused gaze across the table. She would simply have to hope that no would notice that she wasn’t drinking from the glass, until it was time to make their announcement, of course.

The meal began in earnest very quickly, with the salads being brought out as the conversation around the table hummed out into the room. Alex could feel herself getting antsy; she had to stop herself from bouncing her knee under the table, afraid she was going to bounce it too high at some point and bash it right into the underside of the table. They had planned to wait until dessert was served before passing out the little gifts they had for everyone, and Alex was seriously wondering why they just hadn’t led with the news about her pregnancy when the servers started to come through from the kitchen with the plates containing the main course.

And she smelled it.

Her nose wrinkled up and pressed herself back in her chair, trying desperately not to be obvious. But Harry, ever attuned to his wife, immediately caught on when he saw her reaction at the same time as the plate was slid down in front of her.

Red meat. Steak to be exact. Something that was not on the list of foods that Alex was decently tolerating these days.

“Ahem, Dad?” Harry spoke up, seemingly nonchalant. “I thought chicken was on tonight’s menu.”

“We had trouble getting them in from the farm. Organic, you know,” Charles smiled proudly, nodding towards Donna, who was seated next to him. “But the beef was readily available. I wasn’t aware you had an aversion, Henry.”

Harry nearly snickered at the use of his real name; his father’s way of telling him to zip it and stop being rude. He took a quick glance at Alex, and seeing that her fingers were now pressed to her lips and the color was draining from her face, he only had one choice. Even if it was rude to do it right during the main course.

“Actually, before everyone starts...I’d like to say a few words,” Harry said, rising to his feet. “Alex, if you would join me?”

Alex’s eyes flashed wide for a moment and her cheeks flushed pink, but she stood, understanding that he was purposely pulling her away from the offending plate of food, even if it was disrupting dinner.

“Harry, what on earth are you doing?” William called out, amusement on his eyes at the confusion and irritation he saw on their father’s face. “Can’t this wait until after dinner?”

“No,” Harry said firmly, offering a smug smile to his brother as Alex came around the table to join them. “It can’t. I am very, very sorry to interrupt. And I can explain...but first...Emma, do you have the gifts?”

Emma perked up from her place in between Kate and Mike, a wide smile spreading across her face. “Yes. Do you want me to do them now?”

“Please,” Alex murmured, nodding as her smile pulled wider.

Emma grinned and moved from her chair, reaching under it to pull out a small bag. She pulled a small stack of plain envelopes from the bag and handed it half to Kate and half to Mike. “Can you please pass them down? They’re all the same.”

Both Kate and Mike, humored and curious about what was happening around them, agreed and the envelopes quickly made their way around the table.

“This is just a little bit of something,” Harry chuckled, looking down at Alex with a wide, kid-like grin. “To everyone at the table. The people we love the most.”

“Harry, this night is supposed to be in celebration of Alexandra,” Charles narrowed his eyes slightly at his son.

Harry laughed. “Believe me, Dad. It still is. Come on, open it.”

Charles lifted a brow and then slid his finger into the envelope, breaking the seal. The sound of ripping paper sounded out into the room and everyone else quickly followed suit. There would be no confusion on exactly what was happening once they all saw what was included in their envelopes: a picture of Harry and Emma followed by a plus sign, a picture of Alex with her hand over her belly, followed by an equal sign and finally, a number five; indicating the new size of their little family. Alex took a deep breath as that moment of silence hit; that brief moment between unknowing and knowing. The split second before the room was let in on the biggest secret that either Harry or Alex had ever kept.

Donna was the very first one to react; as Alex knew she would be. Her audible gasp of surprise and delight was followed nearly instantly by everyone else’s.

“You’re PREGNANT?!” Donna squeaked, tears rising to her eyes as she looked hopefully up at Alex from her chair.

“Oh Henry...” Charles murmured, emotion and delight immediately surging through him.

“Wait Mum!” Emma called out. She was looking at the card in Kate’s hands next to her, picking up on something that didn’t seem to be occurring to anyone else at the table. “MUM! This is wrong!”

“What’s wrong?” Alex smiled, even as everyone else stalled for the moment to glance back at their cards. “You’re not going to be a big sister?”

“No no no,” Emma shook her head and pointed at the card. “I am. But the card says five. There will only be four once the baby is here.”

And then another gasp sounded out from the table; this time from Charlotte. She’d known Alex was pregnant, had been keeping the secret for nearly as long as the parents-to-be had. And just like Emma, it was the lack of shock that let it click in her brain. “Oh. My. God. Five. You’re having twins. Are you having TWINS?”

“No way…” Emma’s eyes flew wide and she stood straight out of her chair. “Mummy? there two babies?”

And suddenly Alex could keep silent no longer. She let out a breath, a wide grin broke out across her face, and a giggle fell from her lips as she nodded her head. “There two babies. We’re having twins!”

And the room exploded into chaos.

The seats around the table were empty within half a second and Alex and Harry found themselves pulled into hugs and kisses, tearful congratulations, and humorously, into a round of rapid fire questions.

“I can’t believe it! Two!” Donna sighed “How far along are you?”

“Are you feeling alright? Everything okay so far?” Mike was quick to ask, checking up on his little girl as always.

“Do you know what kind yet? Fraternal or identical I mean,” Will asked after hugged his brother tight and clapping him on the back.

“When did you find out?” Molly asked with a grin, obviously delighted to be included in this moment.

“Does this mean we get to do up TWO baby rooms?” Emma asked, making everyone in the group laugh.

Alex laughed and swiped at her damp eyes, looking up at Harry and sharing a smile before turning back and attempting to answer some of the questions. “We found out I was pregnant about a month ago. I’m eight weeks along. I was having some pretty serious morning sickness so we went to the doctor a couple of weeks ago...and that’s how we found out that it was twins.”

Charles chuckled and shook his head. “I can’t believe Harry kept it to himself for an entire month that you two were expecting.”

“Well, I did blow it Will. That Alex was pregnant, not the twins bit,” Harry chuckled. “And of course Emma knew she was going to be a big sister. And...Charlotte knew.”

“You knew?!” Matt turned wide eyes to his wife. “I can’t believe you!”

Charlotte smiled smugly and nudged him in the side. “Of course I knew. I know everything.”

“And...the doctor says they are going to be identical, though we don’t know what sex yet of course,” Alex continued, mentally ticking off the questions they’d been asked.

“Oooooh, I hope it’s girls,” William snickered.

“Of course you do,” Harry laughed and shook his head before turning to Emma. “And Em, sorry kiddo, they’ll still only be one baby room.”

“But two cribs, right?” she looked alarmed for a moment and Alex couldn’t help but laugh.

“Yes, two cribs,” she assured her adorable daughter.

“Okay, but most importantly,” Kate spoke up next, her trademark big smile on her face as she addressed Harry and Alex. “Are you happy?”

Alex and Harry turned to each other, sharing a warm smile and a look of love.

“Over the moon,” Alex said softly.

And there’s no way anyone could doubt that; their absolute bliss was written all over their faces. They were happy; about the babies and about the fact that they were finally able to share this amazing time with the people they loved the most.