Chapter 20 : Epilogue
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I quicken my pace to catch up with her, but she’s already on the aforementioned swing, pumping her legs and wriggling to try and get the swing moving. “Hurry up, Mummy, you’re too slow!”
It’s because I’m getting old. I’m nearly twenty-one, for goodness’ sake. That’s scary.
I’m about to tell Sophia to stop wriggling, when I realise she’s somehow got the swing moving on her own.
“Mummy, look at me go!” she says gleefully. “I’m moving the swing all by myself!”
You are not, Sophia Potter. All you’re doing is twisting in your seat, that’s not going to make you go up and down. It’s the wind. But I don’t tell her that.
Wait a minute.
There’s not that much wind.
Either my three-year-old daughter has found a loophole in the laws of physics, or –
“James Potter!” I yell.
He doesn’t emerge, as I expected, from under his Invisibility Cloak behind Sophia – he’s still walking towards us.
“Did you charm the swing?” he asks. “She should be moving in circles, the way she’s twisting around.”
“I thought you were invisible and pushing her.”
He turns to me with a frown. “You don’t think she’s—”
“No way. Mine wasn’t till I was six.”
“Mine was at seven. That sort of thing’s hereditary, right?”
“I think so. I’ve never actually asked.”
He stares at Sophia for a long moment. “How do you tell?”
“I don’t think she even knows she’s doing it.”
“Cass, if she can do magic now, our house is doomed.”
“It might just be the wind,” I say feebly.
“I’m sure she’s too young,” James says, brow furrowed.
“James, your dad beat the most powerful Dark Lord of all time when he was one.”
“Yeah, but he didn’t actually do anything.”
“What about Albus and Lily? How old were they?”
“Dunno about Albus. Lily was five or six, I think. Hey Soph!” James calls suddenly.
“What?” she shouts back.
“How are you swinging that swing?”
“I’m strong!” she declares. “I’m big and strong!”
“She’s not that big and strong,” James mutters. “Hey Soph, come hold Daddy’s wand?”
Sophia’s eyes widen, and she leaps from the swing and barrels towards him. “Am I big enough to hold your wand now?”
“Maybe. We’ll see what happens.” He hands it over, and Sophia stares at it in wonder before running off, waving it excitedly. At one moment, a shower of sparks erupts from the end of the wand, and James and I stare at each other in amazement.
“Mummy!” Sophia yells at the top of her lungs. “Daddy! Did you see what I did? Did you see what I did, Daddy? I did magic! Mummy, I did magic! Mummy, can I get a wand now? Can I go to Hogwarts?”
“You can’t get a wand until you’re eleven, Soph,” I tell her.
She frowns. “But that’s…one…two…three…Mummy, that’s ages away!”
She’s right, it is ages away. I can see it now: seven years of incessant Hogwarts-related whining, stretching out towards the bleak horizon.
Luckily, I know how to distract her. “You know what’s not ages away, Soph?”
“What?” she asks.
“Your little brother or sister.”
“You said it wouldn’t be born till next winter! That is ages away!”
There’s no winning with this child.
If Sophia can do magic now, I am definitely in no hurry to share my house with her and a new baby at the same time. I almost wish it was ages away, except for the fact that I don’t like being pregnant.
“There’s something else for you to look forward to,” James says.
Sophia turns her dubious face towards him. “I bet you’re lying. I bet it’s ages away.”
“Your mummy and I are getting married.”
Wait a minute.
That’s news to me.
“James,” I begin, “Aren’t you forgetting something?”
“I figured this would be the funnest way to propose,” he replies matter-of-factly. “Soph, I need to talk to Mummy for a minute, can you do something fun and not hurt yourself please?”
We’re such responsible parents.
“Can I go play with Patrick?”
Patrick? I glance in the direction Sophia’s pointing and sure enough, the Lupins with their son Patrick are just entering the park. That was lucky timing.
Sophia bolts off to join them, and James leads me to the little bridge that spans the creek at the far end of the park, taking both my hands in his.
“Cassia,” he begins, taking a deep breath. “I know this isn’t much of a surprise because you’ve probably been expecting this for a while and I did make that random trip to see your dad that I wasn’t very good at lying about, but I love you. I’ve loved you since I was fourteen and I love you more now than I ever thought was possible, and I want to spend the rest of my life with you. I want us to grow old together and I want you by my side for everything I do. Cassia Rutherford, will you marry me?”
“Well, you’ve already told our daughter we’re getting married, so I can’t exactly say no, can I?”
“Don’t look so worried, you idiot. You didn’t even need to ask.” I pause, realising there’s a more traditional line that people tend to use in this situation. “So yes, James Potter, I will marry you.”
“Well that’s good, because I bought a ring, and I don’t think it would suit me.” From his pocket he pulls out a small box and opens it. Inside is nestled a silver ring, with a beautiful purple stone inside it. I slip it onto my finger, marvelling at the way it glistens in the sunlight. It’s perfect. It’s amazing. I’m engaged.
And pregnant, and with a three year old daughter. Screw the natural order of things.
“By the way," I tell him firmly, "We’re getting married in your parents’ garden, on a sunny day, and you’re wearing a tux.”
“Good luck with that,” he says with a snort. “It’s never sunny in Godric’s Hollow.”
A/N: Well, my dearest readers, that's it. The end. It's been a long journey, full of writers block and extremely sporadic updates, but if you've stuck with me, and Cassia, till the bitter end, I thank you. Your reviews have been fantastic and inspired me to write even when I had no idea where this story was going. Thank you to all of you, and I hope to see you again :)