A/N: Wow, okay, so this final chapter took me a while, a LONG while. Why, you ask? Well, I was just going to leave it where I stopped at in Chapter Eighteen but then the story kept poking me and Lancelot, well you know how he whines and so here it is.
THANK YOU for the reviews that you have all given me on this story. I couldn't have done it without you and now is the time to close the book on this story! Please review and be good. Hope you enjoyed it, I know I did. Till next we meet!
Joy of Life
For once, incredibly, Regina remained true to her word. The spirits of the inhabitants of the city seemed to rise shortly after the Roman and her carriage disappeared over the hill, several Roman soldiers following after.
Victoria pushed any thought of Regina and memories of her father from her mind, content to remain at the Wall helping Vanora at the pub, learning tasks from the villagers and spending her nights in Lancelot's arms where she knew she belonged.
Not to say that any of it was easy for they still bickered time to time like children and occasionally their spats were the amusement of all the knights.
Still, she knew she could not ask for more of what she had been given, the life she had lived before an unbelievable journey in the back of her mind. She had much to learn, much to grow and continue to strive towards but for now she was happy.
Victoria was so lost in her thoughts as she wiped the counter she didn't even notice Arianna, another young barmaid, coming up beside her.
"Soon there will be no wood to polish."
She paused, shooting the redheaded petite woman a small smile. "I do believe I am about done for tonight."
"Indeed and to rush off to your handsome lad I assume."
Victoria blushed but nodded and threw her rag at Arianna. The woman caught it easily, giggling.
"Not that I wouldn't do the same mind you," Arianna smiled, "Especially for a dark, mysterious knight of the Wall."
Victoria frowned as she watched Arianna start to polish mugs, the woman not looking at her as she worked. Her eyebrows rose as she leaned forward. "Perhaps you have a certain knight in mind?"
"No, of course not." Arianna blushed, answering all too quickly.
"There is!" She grinned gigglig. "Tell me! Who has captured your eye?"
"You must say nothing!" Arianna sat down the rag and glared at Victoria with as much seriousness as she could muster. "I am not saying I fancy anyone or that I am acting silly about a man but…" She sighed, "It is foolish of me, quite stupid actually."
"Tristan!" Arianna paused and looked around but thankfully the pub area was devoid of a single person. Vanora had long returned to her own home and to Bors. "I feel stupid. He does not even realize I am alive but there is something about him."
"Do not feel stupid Ari, it is not stupid to be in love."
"I am not in love!"
Victoria smiled, "Whatever you say my dear. I must be going." She made her way around the bar and shot Arianna another small smile. "Perhaps if you make yourself more noticeable… He is not a bad man Ari, I'm sure he just needs time."
"Did he? I mean you were married to him but I… Is it rude of me to even ask?"
She shook her head. "Tristan is a man of honor, respect and skill. I owe a lot to him, especially my happiness. Trust me Ari, be yourself and leave love to time and your efforts."
Victoria tried to act casual as she made a quick stop by the barn, looking around for any sign of Tristan when she paused directly at his horse's stall. "Tristan?"
No deep familiar voice answered her and with a sigh, Victoria turned to head out. She jumped, a short gasp escaping her as she bumped directly into Tristan behind her.
"You must wear a bell or something! I simply will not leave this earth because of a heart attack!"
His lips twitched and slowly Tristan glanced over at his horse.
"I didn't give her anything this time, I promise." The horse neighed as if agreeing with displeasure and Victoria grinned as she straightened. "I came by to see how you were."
"Excuse me if I fail to believe you."
"You caught me, literally and figuratively." She cleared her throat. "When your life is done at the Wall, you will be a free man, one free to live a life of love and journey, yes?"
His eyebrow cocked and he said nothing, so typical of Tristan that it made her smile.
"I'll take that as a maybe." Victoria shrugged, plowing head on even though she was still unsure of what she was doing. "Perhaps you should think of that life now, maybe in the shape of a nice looking lass named Arianna. Well, I think I need to go." She made her way around him quickly, shooting him a quick look over her shoulder. "Just think about it!"
Tristan watched her go then fixed his attention on his horse, reaching out to stroke the soft nose with loving attention. "Any clue what that was about, aye?" He smiled as she pressed her nose into his hand, neighing softly and stomping her left foot. "Yeah, I may have an idea or two myself."
"I heard from a little bird today…" Lancelot's amused voice drifted up to her from behind as she shut the door to his room. "That you are making trouble."
Victoria turned around quickly, wide-eyed as she spotted him on the bed. She smiled at the sight of him sprawled out, his ankles crossed and elbows propped up. "How did you hear about that? I just came from the stables and-" She stopped at seeing his confused look and cocked eyebrow. "We're not talking about the same thing are we?"
"I'm starting to think not, my love." He grinned as he motioned her towards him. "I was speaking of your tirade on Bors today and how he should call his children by their real names and not by their numbers."
"Well, it's simply barbaric I tell you." Victoria giggled as he pulled her onto the bed, wrapping his arm around her waist and he buried his face in her neck. "They are children."
"Barbaric is a word Bors is fond of using Victoria." Lancelot pressed a soft kiss onto her neck then pulled back, "I am more interested though now to learn what you were talking about however."
"Me, I was talking of nothing." She closed her eyes as she snuggled against him. "Nothing at all."
"I know you too well to believe that but for now I will take the excuse you offer."
They lay there for a few minutes in silence, both listening to the other's heartbeats until Victoria cleared her throat.
"Have you begun to think of life beyond the Wall?" She whispered into his tunic. "I mean, life after service and what is to become of you? Of us?"
"Of us? Why, we will be together of course." He gently placed his hands on either side of her face, pulling her back so their eyes connected. "I have gone through too much to keep you by my side, I would not give you up now for nothing. What is the meaning of that question?"
"I just… I do not want to be apart from you, the days waiting for you to return each mission grow harder but the days grow even harder now…"
"But why? I do not understand, Victoria…"
"You see, it is not only you I have concern for now, it is our future." Victoria licked her lips. "The future of our love and our child."
Lancelot's eyes grew wide, an instant smile on his face. "You are with child? My child?"
"No, it's one of Bors, of course it is yours Lancelot!" She laughed as he crushed her to him, pressing kisses all over her face and hair. "Lancelot, I cannot breath!"
"You are having my child, we are with child." He slowly pressed his hand to her stomach, playing his fingers as he continued to grin. "You truly are a blessing to me Victoria, I will never give you up, this I swear."
"And I am blessed to hear that."
They continued to lay there, Lancelot still with his hand on her stomach and Victoria closed her eyes in contentment.
Her eyes opened at hearing the knock on the door and both glanced at each other before looking at the door.
"Open this door right now Victoria!" Bors roared. "This blasted woman who bears my children won't leave me alone now thanks to you!"
Victoria giggled into her hand, Lancelot grinning but neither moved.
"Shall we answer him?" He grinned, wiggling his eyebrows. "He surely will give you an ear full for corrupting his dear Vanora with such ridiculous ideas."
"I think not kind sir." Victoria smiled back. "For we have more important matters to deal with at hand."
"I agree, shall we escape his bellowing and attend to us?"
"No!" Bors pounded on the door. "Come out here and fight me you ninny!"
Instead they moved closer to each other, Lancelot covering her mouth with his own and Victoria met his kiss with eager happiness, the world falling away until nothing remained but the feel of him and the joy that continued to grow inside of her.