Sequel: In Unexpected Places

Against the Odds

Chapter Seventy

A/N: I'm SO SORRY this took so long. And I really hope it is what you were hoping for. Please, please let me know what you think :)


Harry felt like he was walking around in a haze. He’d felt like that since they’d gotten the call the night before that his grandfather had died.

Even now, as the family began to gather at Buckingham Palace before they were due to start leaving for the funeral, the voices around him were almost muffled, just background noise to the thoughts in his brain.


He blinked, coming out of his thoughts and turning to find the voice that had called his name. The haze faded a bit when his gaze settled on his wife who was moving in next to him.

"Hello," he murmured, leaning in to kiss her cheek. “You look lovely.”

“Thank you,” Alex replied with a small smile, smoothing her hands down the skirt of her simple but classic black dress.

“And you,” he said, turning his eyes down to Emma and feeling his smile brighten just a bit more. “You look very pretty. As always.”

“Thank you,” Emma said, her voice quiet. Her eyes widened, darting back and forth between Alex and Harry. “Is that okay? That I look pretty?”

“Yes,” Alex nodded, reaching out to tuck a piece of Emma’s long blonde hair behind her ear. “That’s okay, Em.”

“Okay,” Emma nodded, looking relieved.

“Good morning,” Kate said softly as she stepped up to them with William by her side.

“Good morning,” Alex greeted her first, stepping in to kiss her cheeks before doing to same to William. Harry greeted them both as well, and Alex and Harry both smiled as Will and Kate each bent to greet Emma in the same manner, making her feel more grown up on such a grown up day.

“Harry, Father wanted to see us both privately for a few moments,” Will said, visibly swallowing back emotion at the thought of what might come from the words from Charles.

“Okay,” Harry nodded, taking a deep breath and then turning to Alex. “You’ll be alright?”

“Of course,” she smiled softly. She reached up and laid her hand on his arm, offering her silent support as she rubbed his arm quickly before he pressed a kiss to her cheek and moved off with Will.

“Mummy?” Emma called up quietly at the same time as she reached up and tugged on Alex’s hand. “Louise and James are here. May I go say hi?”

Alex glanced over to make sure that Edward and Sophie weren’t in the middle of something that shouldn’t be interrupted and then nodded down to Emma. “Yes you may. But just for a few minutes. We’re about to go in and see Gran shortly.”

“Okay,” Emma nodded and then moved off. Alex turned back to Kate – the two Duchesses sharing a look of sadness and of sympathy for their husbands.

“How’s Harry holding up?” Kate asked.

“He’s sad. He was a lot like Philip in a lot ways. I don’t think he realized just how much he would miss him. How is Will doing?”

“You know Will, he’s not terribly open with his emotions – especially about things like this,” Kate sighed. “But he’s been determined to give a eulogy that really honors Philip. He’s been pouring himself into that and I’m proud of him for that. He doesn’t take things lightly but he’s been very dedicated to this.”

“Oh I’m sure he had. I’ll bet it will be wonderful. And you?” Alex smiled a bit, her gaze moving down to Kate’s tiny baby bump and moving back up. “How are you and the little one doing?”

“So much better,” Kate nodded. “I think the worst of the sickness has passed. I’ll be getting back to work in a couple of weeks. I’ve been looking forward to getting out of the house but…”

“Not for something like this,” Alex murmured.

“No,” Kate whispered as both of their eyes filled with moisture. “Not at all.”


“William, Henry,” Charles’ voice was low and a bit gruff as he greeted his sons in turn, pressing kisses to their cheeks. He motioned for them to sit and they did, taking two chairs next to each other as Charles sat slowly in the one across from them.

“I wanted to see both of you privately for a moment to talk to you about…well, about fatherhood.”

“Fatherhood?” Harry murmured, his eyes lifting in surprise.

“I’ve been doing a lot of thinking in the past week,” Charles continued. He clasped his hands in front of him and took a deep breath. “We’ve spent more than enough time over the years talking about the transgressions that have transpired between members of this family. My father and I…we never really did though. Lord knows how I tried to force him into it, even taking my feelings public. The truth is though – we were just different. He thought I was too sensitive and I thought he lacked emotion and we just never really saw eye to eye.”

“Dad…” William sat forward but Charles shook his head and held his hand up and William sat back in his chair, understanding and giving his father room to say what he wanted to say.

“It took a long time for me to accept that he was never going give me what I wanted from him. But when I did realize that – when I finally accepted that – it was because of the two of you.”

“Because of us?” Harry asked, surprise evident on his face.

“What do you mean by that?” William joined in, his expression every bit as surprised as Harry’s.

Charles smiled and leaned forward in his chair a bit. “William, when Henry was born, did you think to yourself, ‘I know exactly how to do this’? Did you walk out of that hospital without fears that you didn’t know what the hell you were doing?”

“Of course not,” William chuckled. “I have no idea what I was doing.”

“And you, Harry,” Charles continued, turning towards his youngest son. “When you adopted Emma and brought her into this family, were you free from worrying about becoming a father? Were you not scared about how to raise that little girl in this world?”

“I still worry about those things every single day,” Harry smiled. “I’m not sure it will ever go away.

“It doesn’t go away,” Charles laughed. “Like everything else in life, you simply do the best you know how to do. It may not always be the perfect way. There are many, many times your children won’t like it and you may feel like you’ve completely failed sometimes.” He stopped and took a deep breath. “But you haven’t, not if you’re doing the best you can.”

“I hope you aren’t worried that we think you are a bad father,” William said, his eyes filled with worry.

“No,” Charles shook his head. “I know I raised two fine young men who in turn, are wonderful fathers themselves. I just…” He trailed off and swallowed at the lump in his throat. “I wish my father would have said this to me – would have told me he was only being the best father he knew how to be. I eventually understood – but I would have loved to hear it from him.”

“Thank you,” Harry said, his voice tight with emotion. “For saying this to us. I think – and I’m sure Will feels the same – that we could both only hope to be the kind of father you were – and still are – to us.”

“Mhmm,” Charles smiled and reached out to cover Harry’s hand with his. “Thank you, son. Though that’s not why I told you this. I just…when I was reflecting on my relationship with your grandfather, I decided that I needed you to hear the words from me.”

The grandfather clock in the room chimed out just then, its tones signaling that it was half past ten and Charles eyes shifted to it for a moment before moving back to his sons.

“Alright, my darling boys. It’s time for us to go join the rest of the family before it’s time to go,” he said, taking a deep breath as he stood. Harry and William rose with him and after Charles had hugged and kissed each of his boys, together the three men moved from the room.

And on to the next part of the day, which would surely bring just as many – if not more – emotions than this one had.


The cars were lined up and waiting when the family began the process of leaving Buckingham Palace. One large van left with quite a few family members and then the cars from the Royal Mews began to pull up one by one, the doors opening for their passengers and then pulling away.

Harry, Alex, and Emma were ushered into a Rolls Royce when it was their turn to go and once the doors were closed, the car immediately pulled out into the courtyard and toward the large ornate gates that would lead them out onto The Mall. Will and Kate would be following behind them; little Henry had been left behind – he wasn’t quite two yet and sitting quiet and still for two hours would undoubtedly be too difficult for him. Charles and Camilla would leave after Will and Kate and of course, the last person to leave and the last one to arrive at the Abbey would be The Queen herself.

“Wow,” Emma breathed, her eyes widening as the car proceeded down The Mall and she took in all of the people lined up on the side of the street, not allowing the drizzling rain to get in the way of paying respects to the Duke of Edinburgh. “I think maybe there are more people out here than there were for your wedding.”

“I think so too,” Alex murmured, her eyes filling with moisture at the thought.

“They loved him,” Harry nodded – though he couldn’t quite bring himself to look at the crowds for too long without fear of breaking down into tears.

It was really quite amazing – just how much the public had voiced their love of Philip and just how sad they were at his death. And now, as they drove the route to Westminster Abbey – he saw the physical representation of all of the wonderful words of condolence that had been printed in the paper and broadcast on TV during that week. His grandfather had been a fixture in the lives of the people standing out on that street for all of their lives – and in some cases, the lives of their parents, grandparents, and even great grandparents.

“It’s sad that so many people are sad,” Emma said softly, her face growing a bit sadder as she watched the faces go by. “But it’s nice that so many people loved him.”

The drive to the Abbey wasn’t long – just under five minutes. When they arrived, their doors were very quickly pulled open and all three of them stepped from the vehicle. Alex couldn’t help but think just how happy and excited she had been the last time she had stepped out of a car in front of the Abbey. It was quite a strange thing, to be back at this place that held such a big place in her heart not even two months later for something that made her heart ache with sadness.

They stayed close together as they walked up through the drizzling rain to the doors of the beautiful church, Emma’s hand tucked securely in Alex’s. They stopped to be created by the Bishop and the Archbishop and then were escorted down the aisle towards their seats in the front. They passed many people they knew and even more that they didn’t, but every single one of them had something in common – their faces were etched in sadness.

Will and Kate arrived just after them, followed by Charles and Camilla. And then right before eleven AM, the trumpeters sounded out and a hush fell over all of the guests in the Abbey.

Her Majesty the Queen had arrived for her husband’s funeral.


If there was any influence that Philip had in Harry’s life, it was the desire to be strong, to hold himself together when he needed to. Though he had more of his father’s emotional range, Harry was very much like Philip in the way he strove to present an appearance of strength and solitude on occasions when he felt the people around him needed it.

It had begun all those years ago when Philip walked beside Harry, William, Charles, and their uncle, Charles Spencer, behind their mother’s coffin. Neither him nor William had wanted to walk; they were so heartbroken, so devastated by the loss of their mother, that the act of walking behind her coffin in view of the entire world had seemed too daunting.

But Philip had stepped in and offered to walk with the boys, to stay strong with them. He wanted them to show how proud they were of their mother, how they wanted to walk with her as long as they could. And they had. It had been one of the hardest things Harry and William had ever done, but it gave their earliest lesson in being strong for the people around them.

And the day of Philip’s funeral, as they sat in the Abbey and listened to music that had probably been selected for this occasion many, many years ago, Harry kept that lesson close to him. He listened to the readings and to the lessons spoken by the Bishop and the Archbishop of Canterbury, taking the words to heart, knowing that his grandfather had chosen them for specific reasons.

The only moment that he faltered, that made the emotions surge to the surface, was when it was time for William to step up to the front of the Abbey to deliver the eulogy. He took a deep, shuddery breath and swallowed hard, but before he’d even let that breath out, Alex had reached for his hand hand, her fingers curling tightly around his. His eyes turned to hers and he knew she had sensed his emotions rising before he’d even realized what was happening. He loved her more in that moment than he could possibly say. And when Emma looked over at that moment too and gave him and sweet, encouraging smile, he was able to pull it together – needing to be as strong for his girls as they were being for him.

His fingers squeezed hers in return in a silent thank you as his brother’s deep voice began to fill the air around them and their attention turned fully to him, to the words he had so carefully crafted to honor their grandfather.


“Look, all of the people are still here,” Emma said, turning her wide blue eyes up to Harry as they moved to the doors of the Abbey, the family preparing to depart in their cars very shortly. The service was over and the royals were the first to leave and head back to Buckingham Palace. There would be a private reception for close friends and relatives of Philip to be held that afternoon.

“They are,” Harry nodded, exchanging a smile with Alex as she listened to her husband and daughter. “They’ll be there until everyone leaves probably.

“Oh,” Emma said. Her bottom lip pulled between her think and Harry knew she was thinking about something, working over an idea in her head. “Hey Dad?”

“Yes, Emma?” He smiled down at her, waiting for her to tell him what was going on in her mind.

“Before we go back to Buckingham, can we go meet some of them?”

“Some of the people waiting?” Harry asked, his eyes widening a bit in surprise.

“Is that not allowed?” Emma rushed out, thinking Harry’s reaction meant he thought the idea was crazy.

“No,” Harry shook his head and then laughed softly. “I mean, of course it’s allowed, Emma. Do you want to go meet some of them? We wouldn’t have very long, but we can certainly spend a few minutes talking to some people.”

“I would really like that, Daddy,” she nodded. “Do you think they would like that?”

“I think they would love that,” Harry smiled, so taken with just how big his daughter’s heart was. He turned to Alex and lifted his eyebrows. “Do you want to join us?”

“Of course,” Alex nodded, her smile soft and her eyes bright with the idea.

And so, joined by William and Kate and with the Queen’s blessing of the idea, they stepped out of the Abbey and to the happiness of the crowd waiting, made an impromptu walkabout – thanking people who had been there for hours and hours for their support. It helped to see them smile, to see their expressions of gratefulness at being thanked for coming out.

And as Alex watched her daughter shake hands like a pro, sticking close to her and Harry while she did, she had honestly never been more proud of her daughter in all of her life.


“Harry looks so much like him in that photograph.”

Alex spun at the words, her face softening when she saw Harry's grandmother standing behind her. The private reception was long over but most of the family had taken the opportunity to stay gathered together. Alex, in a particular habit of hers, had found herself wandering around, looking at picture after picture of the family. She’d come across one of Philip when he was probably Harry’s age, dressed up in his navy uniform and had stopped to take it in for a moment, thinking to herself exactly what Harry’s grandmother had voiced to her.

“Ma'am,” Alex said with a small smile as she dipped into a curtsy. Her gaze flickered back to the picture she’d been looking at for a moment before turning a smile back to The Queen. “He really does.”

"Harry often reminds me of him," Elizabeth murmured. "And please Alexandra, call me Gran. All the grandchildren do."

"If I call you Gran, will you call me Alex?" She responded with a bit of a shy smile, bringing a small laugh from her Majesty.

"I think that is possible, yes," Elizabeth smiled.

"I'm very sorry for your loss," Alex said quietly. "I know it's not the same as almost seventy years, but...I know how hard it is to lose the person you've pledged your life to."

"Yes, you do," Elizabeth nodded. Her eyes drifted for a moment and when they turned back to Alex, she blinked back the moisture that had risen there. "It was a happy almost seventy years though.”

“You loved each other very much.” It wasn’t a question; it was a statement that Alex knew was true.

“He only ever said this to me mind you, but he told me from the moment he saw me that he just…knew,” Elizabeth murmured, drawing a smile to Alex’s lips and tears to her eyes.

“Harry said the same about when we met,” Alex whispered, blinking at the moisture in her eyes.

“Well, my dear,” Elizabeth said, reaching out to touch the picture frame from that held a young Philip smiling back at her. “If ancestry has anything to do with it, he’ll still feel the same way in seventy years.”

“Mhhmm. I hope so.”

“He will,” Elizabeth murmured. The two women turned away from the photo, beginning to walk slowly down the hallway and back toward the room the family was gathered in. “He absolutely will.”

Silence fell between the two of them as they walked and Alex’s thoughts ran over Elizabeth words.

Harry’s loving her for seventy years? God, she hoped so. A soft smile moved across her face as she pictured that in her mind; Harry as an elderly man – still as handsome in her eyes as ever – with grandchildren and maybe even great-grandchildren running around. He could picture the way he would smile with them and laugh with them and play with them and she knew without really knowing that they’d probably think he hung the moon, just as he did with Philip.

And then her thoughts ran over the thought of losing that – of losing the man who had all of that with her; to wake up one day without him next to her. She couldn’t imagine it without getting emotional and it only made her more in awe of Harry’s grandmother. She was standing tall and leading her country – giving them her whole life just as she had promised to do; even after she lost the man who’d given her his. Alex wasn’t sure she could ever do that, that she could walk strong and tall and not crumble without Harry by her side.

When they stepped back into the drawing room, Alex had damp eyes and an urge to turn to Gran and hug her tight. Her eyes lifted then and he was there; of course he was there. He lifted his eyebrows and she smiled back, nodding that she was okay.

And she couldn’t help but think how much she saw Philip in him right then – strong and tall and steady.

She took a deep breath and closed her eyes for just a brief moment, sending up a quick prayer to whatever God might be listening to her that she would get to have Harry for seventy years – that he would still be standing next to her then.

And when she opened her eyes and let out her deep breath, she moved from her spot and straight to him – moving into the place she always wanted to be.

Right next to Harry.


Alex wasn’t at all surprised when Harry turned to her that night when they finally got into their bed. It had been an incredibly long day and the need to be with him was intense; they had been so close all day, almost able to read each other's minds. She wasn't ready to give that up and she guessed he wasn't either when he pulled her into his arms. She went without hesitation, her arms wrapping around his neck and her lips opening to his.

“Oh Alex,” Harry groaned as his lips moved to her jaw, pressing soft, slow kisses along her skin as his hands gently pushed at her clothes. “I love you so much.”

“I love you too,” she breathed. Her fingers slid into his hair, pulling him closer as his lips moved over the sensitive skin of her neck to that spot right under her ear.

“I couldn’t have made it through today without you,” he murmured, lifting from her neck to find her eyes with his.

“Oh Harry,” she whispered. “You could have. You’re so much stronger than you think you are.”

“I’m so much stronger with you,” he shook his head, his lips dipping to find hers again, kissing her with a passion that made her gasp into his mouth. “Have you by my side makes everything so much better.”

Alex’s breath caught in her chest with his words. She knew he meant them, that he felt complete with her and Emma in his life. But the way he said them, the way they were laced with a hint of desperation sent off alarms in her head.

“Harry, no,” she said, her hands moving to grip at his shoulders. “Baby, stop and look at me.” He pulled his face up to look at her and her hands slid to his cheeks, her eyes searching his. “Harry, don’t do that. Please don’t do that.”

“Don’t do what?” His voice was hoarse and his eyes dark with want as he tried to take her lips again.

“No,” she shook her head, not letting him kiss her. “You can’t use me to deal with your emotions.”

He stiffened just the tiniest bit - but Alex caught it and the alarm bells in her head only got louder. "You're doing the exact same thing, Alexandra."

"I'm not," she shook her head, her voice staying soft and soothing, trying to calm him. "I just wanted to stay close to you tonight - to keep the connection we shared all day. It's about being with you, it's not about my emotions over your grandfather's death."

“Jesus Christ, Alex,” Harry groaned, moving off of her and sitting up on the bed. “I can’t say I need you without you throwing my fucking PTSD in my face?”

She sighed and sat up, righting her pajama top and facing him. She couldn’t believe after the day they’d had, after the moments they’d shared, this is where this moment between them was going. “I’m not going to let you get mad and turn this around on me, Harry. I don’t want to fight with you. I want to make love with you, but you know I’m right. What you want from me right now is not the same as what I want from you.”

Harry’s jaw clenched for a moment and she knew he was working it over in his mind; trying to stay calm enough to think rationally and not deflect her words back on her.

“Fine,” he finally sighed with a shake of his head.

“Fine what?” she asked, lifting her eyebrows.

“We won’t have sex.”

“That is not what I meant, Henry.”

“Then what the hell did you mean, Alexandra?”

“You know what?” she sighed and rubbed at her tired eyes with her fingers before running them through her hair. “You’re right. We shouldn’t have sex.”

His eyes held hers for a long moment. “If that’s what you want.”

“It’s not what I want,” she said, her voice low. “But I can’t let you…”

“I get it,” Harry held up a hand and shook his head.

She bit her lip and then, because she couldn’t let them go to bed like this, she moved closer to him, rising on her knees and moving so the front of her knees were touching his. “I’m not mad at you, Harry. I love you.”

His eyes lifted to hers and he nodded, though the smile she wished to see never appeared. “I’m not mad at you either, Alex. And I love you too.”

“Okay,” she nodded and then took a chance and pushed a little bit further. “We can talk about this tomorrow?”

He took a deep breath and then nodded. “Of course.”

“Thank you,” she whispered, relief evident in her eyes as she leaned forward to kiss his lips. He returned her kiss but neither of them deepened it. Instead, they both pulled back and without discussing it any further, they both shifted back onto the bed and under the covers and into their pillows.

But even though they’d argued and there was still a bit of tension between them, Harry reached for her, pulling her into him and wrapping and arm around her from behind. And she went easily, not wanting the distance either.

Tomorrow they’d talk about it. Tomorrow they’d discuss the issue when they weren’t so tired and worked up emotionally.

But for tonight, they would sleep – wrapped up in each other.