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Chapter 39: Epilogue
Well, that's it! It's officially the end of Someone's Gotta Give! This is the last time I'm going to be writing to all of you like this. I just wanted to thank everyone who took the time to review every chapter (you know who you are:) and everyone who gave me both positive and constructive criticism. You all helped shape this story, and you kept me going with it. There were times when I considered abandoning, or at least not writing for a bit, and then someone would review, telling me that they loved my story or that they couldn't wait for what came next. If you're someone who did that, then you're one of the reasons that you and everyone else is sitting here right now reading my aimless thoughts of gratitude. I thank all who ever read, new and old, and everyone who's favorited this story throughout the time I've written it. Oh, and to all who still remember the Penny and Sheldon banner; my god you've been here a while! So, from me, thank you so so much:) you helped more than you ever will know.
Actually posting this final chapter is scary. I've grown up with Kiersten, and saying goodbye is like saying goodbye to an old friend. Like I've said, Kiersten McCabe has been a part of my life for a while now. Thanks to all who put up with her moodiness...that was mostly a reflection of my moodiness ;) Because, guys, this is it. This is--THE END--officially. There's no more after this. So, please, read, enjoy, and know that I love you all. Thanks for sticking with me this long!
It was snowing.
The fat, white snowflakes fell from the night sky covering the trees, the houses, and the sidewalk we were making our way along. It made Godricks Hallow look like a Christmas photograph in a catalogue. The lampposts along the street flickered on, shining on the undisturbed ice covered streets like Christmas lights.
I pulled my cloak tighter around me as we rounded the corner onto Teddy and Victoire’s street. Right ahead of us was the biggest house, shining brighter than all the rest. Victoire had obviously made an effort this year to decorate for Christmas, she even had what appeared to be live fairy’s hanging outside around the roof. I was guessing it was because this would probably be the first Christmas that both Remus and Annabelle would remember. Or at least that’s what Dom says.
“It’s so cold.” I said to James as I hurried along the path to their door. He pulled me into his own cloak protectively as we stepped up onto their doorstep. Before either of us could step inside, Teddy opened the door for us. He looked tired, but happy. Parenthood was taking a toll on him.
“James! Kiersten!” He boomed, kissing my cheek and shaking James’s hand. “Get inside—Vic’s gonna kill me if any cold air gets in.”
“Where’s my godson?” James asked as soon as the door shut. Just then a small boy with sand colored hair appeared out of nowhere, latching onto James’s leg.
“Uncle James!” He yelled, letting go and allowing himself to be picked up. Remus was tall for his age, he was only four. “Look, I lost my toof.” He opened wide to reveal a missing front tooth. Then he turned to me for a hug. “Mummy says that a new one’s gonna grow soon, and that a fairy’s gonna take it for her toof castle and leave me a sickle!”
“I always got galleons.” James said with a shrug, but when he saw the look on Victoire’s face he cleared his throat. “Er—no, I got sickles too.”
“Hello Kiersten.” She smiled to me, hugging one side of me seeing as she had the new baby, Samuel, on her other hip. “Teddy—Teddy I think he needs to be changed.”
“I did it last time, dear.” Teddy said, obviously attempting to be civil.
“Well I’m cooking, so you’ll just have to do it again.” And with that she handed Sam off to Teddy without a backwards glance. He stared after her for a moment before shrugging.
“Don’t ever get married.” James gave him a look and he shrugged again. “Just a word of advice.”
I drifted away from James and Teddy, instead going into the family room where everyone else was gathered.
Teddy and Victoire had three kids. Remus who was four, Annabelle who was three, and Samuel who was only five months. Their house was easily the largest of all of ours, so naturally it was the place for dinner tonight. Around the family room most of the Weasley’s were gathered. Next to the tree near the fireplace Rose and Scorpius were off in their own little world, still so in love. On the other side of them was Albus and his girlfriend Emily, who was a muggle. Arthur Weasley, or Granddad Weasley as I had been instructed to call him, was sitting around Percy, Audrey, Molly, and some guy. Poor guy—poor Granddad Weasley. No wonder the rest of the family was keeping some room in between.
“It’s about damn time!” A voice came from the right of me where the kitchen was located. I looked over and saw Dom. She had let her strawberry blonde hair grow long these past few years, and now had it tied back in a loose ribbon. The red dress she was wearing looked more like something that would belong at a New Year’s Eve party, but dramatic was always the way she rolled.
“Hello Dommy,” I practically ran over and eloped her in a hug. She hugged me back hard. “How long’s it been?”
“Too long Keri, too long.” She said into my hair. “Almost four months.”
“Well it’s not my fault you decided to temporarily live in Prague for half a year.” I shook my head. “And you’re not actually cooking, are you?”
“I told you before, my modeling contract was ending. I needed to hook up with a new agency.” She looked back toward the kitchen and snorted. “And are you shitting me? I may be a changed woman and all, but I don’t cook. I’m sure you remember?”
She winked at me as I recalled the two years we lived together after Hogwarts. A partially blown-up kitchen was a reoccurring mental image. Looking back now they had been great times. I didn’t know it then, but they were. It was hard. I had to get myself through healing school and work a job to pay rent at the same time. Also, getting Dom to keep a job for more than a couple of months proved hard until she took up modeling a year into it. After that I decided to move in with James and her then boyfriend—Craig what’s his name—moved into the flat with her. Needless to say that was a short relationship.
“We’re totally hanging all the time until I go away again.” She said, moving over to sit on the crowded couch. “Are you working this week?”
“No,” I shook my head as Fred wrapped an arm around my shoulder. “No, I’m off. Stop by tomorrow. I think that the Potters’ are all coming over then too. And hello, Freddy.”
“Kier, looking lovely as ever.” He beamed. I leaned over to hug Caitlin. Surprisingly enough, they had been the first of us to get married. We all thought it would be Dom and Drew, but that relationship kind of fell apart not that long after school ended. James and I still saw Drew a lot, though. It was Dom that was never around due to her exotic lifestyle.
“Kiersten—guess what?!” Caitlin asked me.
“What?” I asked as Dom giggled.
“I’m pregnant!” She said happily.
“Congratulations!” I said, hugging her again. “When did you find out?”
“Just last week.” She said sheepishly. “Fred wanted to keep it a secret for a bit, but I’m too excited! Halley practically cried when I told her.”
I was surprised Halley hadn’t told me. She and I still worked together, but I guess she kept the secret for Caitlin. And she was really busy planning her own wedding right now, seeing as it was only a month away.
“I dunno why everyone’s so wrapped up in having kids.” Dom said sourly just as Victoire’s daughter, Annabelle, ran over to sit on her lap. “They’re so god damned needy.”
“Auntie Dominique!” Annabelle said with a gasp. “You just swore! Mummy says never to swear.”
“Well, you can tell Mummy to go and shove it where the sun doesn’t shine, Annie.” Dom said. “And while you’re at it, tell her that she needs to start using that anti-wrinkle cream I got her this morning. Her eyes are looking a bit old.”
“Dom!” I said with a shake of my head. “This is a three year old. And not to mention, your goddaughter.”
Dom just waved that off and scooted Annabelle up on her lap. They looked remarkably alike. The same reddish blonde hair and devilish smile when they know they’ll get their way. “That’s more of a reason to teach her my ways. I don’t want some little ninny going to school and dismembering my reputation. Annabelle, promise me that you’ll be a rule breaker like Auntie Dominique was. And if you ever get into trouble, just say you’re related to me. That’ll explain everything.”
“You’re setting the kid up for a life of destruction.” Fred said with a snigger. “God help your kids...”
“That’s why I don’t have kids, you idiot.” Dom glared at him quickly. “I don’t want to turn out like old Vicky. I mean, she’s twenty nine and her life’s consumed by diapers and Whizzy the Wacko Warlock on rerun.”
“I love Whizzy!” Annabelle said happily.
“You see?” Dom acted as though this proved her point. It really didn’t.
“Well I take it that my pregnancy news isn’t good news for you then.” Caitlin huffed.
“Oh no, you two go and destroy your own lives. That’s fine by me. Just don’t invite me to the kids birthday parties unless you plan on serving alcohol. If you do? Then I’m there.”
“Thanks, Dom.” Fred said with a shake of his head. “That was—er—highly terrifying, but nonetheless pretty heartfelt coming from you.”
Dom just beamed at him, not catching onto the sarcasm. Before dinner I said hello to Ginny and Harry whom I had seen in the morning to open gifts and have breakfast, Fleur and Bill who were both sitting on the floor playing with their grandchildren, and Louis who was surprisingly currently single.
At dinner I sat between James and Albus, with Dom on the other side of James and Rose and Scorpius across from us. The food was delicious. Part of me suspected that Victoire had taken to using Nana Molly’s old recipes. She had passed two years back. I ate until I couldn’t eat anymore, and helped myself to some Mulled Mead. Dom swore to Victoire that she was only going to be drinking Butterbeer tonight to set a good example around her kids, but by the time the dessert was coming out her cheeks were rosy and she was swearing every other word.
“What’re you guys doing this week?” Albus asked me, looking over to James and I.
“Well you’re coming over tomorrow aren’t you?” I asked him. “And James is cooking?”
“What?” He asked from next to me. “No, we never agreed on that.”
“Well you invited your family over and said that we’d cook. Now me, like the smart person that I am, didn’t ever say that I’d cook. So you’re facing that one on your own, dear.”
James only grinned over to me. “Well if you don’t want me to blow it up this time, you’ll have to supervise.”
I ruffled his hair and smiled back. “For such a pretty head you don’t have much inside it, do you?”
He laughed at me and squeezed my hand underneath the table. “That’s why I make my money up on a broom, Kier.”
I was about to respond when Teddy and Victoire stood together at the head of the table. Victoire spoke first. “First, I’d like to thank everyone for coming tonight. It’s a pleasure to see all of you. We know that it’s hard during the year to see everyone as much as we’d like to, so this is the perfect opportunity to all get together.” She stopped and ran a hand through her now short blonde hair. “Teddy and I have an announcement to make.” She looked to him as if to say she wanted him to say it.
“Vic’s pregnant again.” He said. She shook her head at him at first for his bluntness, but then eventually she smiled and pecked his cheek.
We were all quiet for a moment, taking it in. Then there was claps and cheers from all along the rectangular table. James wolf whistled over to Teddy, Dom kept her mouth opened, obviously shocked, and Caitlin was whispering excitedly to Fred. Obviously she wasn’t ready to announce yet. I guess it was different, this was going to be Victoire’s fourth kid.
I just leaned my head onto Potter’s shoulder, taking in the view.
We had moved in together about two years after graduation. I had been a little wary of it at the time, I didn’t want to ruin what we had. But surprisingly James and I got on really well living together. I loved seeing him all the time, it was so much better than the conflicting schedules we had when we didn’t. He was always traveling during Quiddich season, and I was on call or working a lot up at St. Mungos. Our house wasn’t big, but it was big enough for the two of us. We’d had it for just about three years now.
Victoire was in a considerably better mood as we cleaned up after the food was done. Dom’s only response to Victoire’s announcement was “bless you, you really do have a heart” which sent her scowling for a few minutes after. To Dom’s defense, she had said the same thing when they announced that they were having Samuel. But then she went as far as saying that she’d only love the kid if it had her name included in its own, so she was kind of on Victoire’s hate list.
Ah, some people never change.
James and I were some of the last people to leave. Fleur, Bill, Dom, and Louis were still there, but that was it. I think that Fleur had made Dom stay, because as she hugged me goodbye she gave her mother the finger behind her back. Dom was staying with her parents until she went away to live in Morocco after Halley’s wedding for the winter months on her new modeling lease. And yes, she still manages to complain about her life more than anyone else I know. It’s amazing, really.
When we left the house it appeared to have stopped snowing, and the full moon above was shining in the sky. James wrapped his arm around my body again as we traveled back up the street so we could apparate home. I was in deep thought, not really paying attention to where we were going, just allowing James to lead.
“Can you believe they’re having another kid?” I asked him quietly.
James snorted and shook his head. “They’re creating an army. I’m going to run out of free box seats for his family at the rate they’re going.”
I shook my head with a smile, he still loved Quiddich more than anything besides maybe me. “I guess.”
“What’s wrong?” He asked me, looking down.
“Nothing.” I said with a shake of my head. “I’m just—I’m just worried about Cay. Lori’s going to kill her, James.”
“Well, you don’t know that…”
“But she will, I know she will! Cay’s following the same path as she is, and she’s legally an adult now. Lori will kick her out at first. Remember when she found out about the drugs? I know she will. And then she’ll come to me. I know you two don’t really get along, but I won’t turn her away.” I stopped, suddenly feeling like crying. “She’s my sister, and I won’t turn her away.” I felt a single tear slide down my cheek. “I’m not-not going to abandon my family.”
James wrapped his arms around me and held me close. The cold air blew around us frigidly, but I was warm in his arms. I wiped my face on his shoulder.
“Kier,” He touched my cheek and made me look him in the eyes. “You’re right—as always—but you can’t worry about that yet. You said Cay said she only just found out. That means she has at least eight months until she’ll actually have the baby. At least three months until Lori’s going to have to find out. And yeah, I find her to be a stubborn brat most of the time—” He trailed off at the look on my face. “—But she’s your sister. And if she has to stay with us for a bit then that’s fine. I’m just not going to tolerate the drugs.” He paused and kissed my forehead. “I’m always here for you, you know that right?”
“I know.” I said moving my head up so that it was level with his. He kissed me on the lips, and I leaned into him feeling the familiar sensation that I’ve had for six years now. James Potter still fails to bore me.
Afterwards I looked around the street, realizing that we had walked a bit too far. We were standing right next to a fountain that normally had water spewing from it, but because of the weather it was all frozen. I grabbed his hand and made a move to pull him back to the corner so we could go home, but he stopped me.
“Keir,” He paused, taking my hand and turning me around. “I need to talk to you about something.”
I looked at him strangely, but he started before I could say anything. “You know that I love you, right?” He didn’t wait for a response. “And I know that we’ve got a crazy life with crazy jobs that take us everywhere, but I honestly do it all for you. I’m still so happy when I see you at the end of the day. You make home—well—home. And I want to spend the rest of my life with you.”
I smiled, wanting to cry—again. But I didn’t this time. Instead I allowed a happy feeling to wash over me. I had nothing to go against what he was saying. For once we wanted the same things. I couldn’t ever imagine being with someone else. My heart started beating faster and faster as James slowly lowered himself into the snow and onto one knee. His eyes shined with a sense of hope as he stared up at me in the dark. He only broke eye contact once to reach into his pocket and pull out a small box.
I couldn’t believe it—well, I could—but still my heart was beating with excitement. Here, in the light shining from the lamppost above and reflecting over onto the iced filled fountain, James pulled out a silver ring with a small diamond. His voice was for once vulnerable as he whispered the words into the dark.
“Kiersten McCabe, will you marry me?”