AN: Well guys, its happened. I've finished a story. And I know it feels like I rushed it, but this has been building up for weeks. So I had all the material in my head, I just needed the time to write it. So, again, thank you all for reading and reviewing this, its been a long three years but its at an end now. There probably won't be a sequel, I want to leave that up to your imaginations. Wow, this is weird. Thanks again, and I hope you like the ending, I think they both deserved it. :)
Five Years Later
Sarmatia was as vast and beautiful as Tristan had described and it was their home for five years. It took some time to find his village, as they had moved in the years he left. And when he did only a few cousins remained, but they were glad to see him. They were happy for him and accepted and loved Liara, Ellia, Aris and the two children they bore while in Sarmatia, Egen and Alema.
But, four and a half years after they left Britain, Tristan decided it was time to return. Liara agreed. She loved Sarmatia and the people, but she knew her home was not there. Ellia was seven and sad to say goodbye to all of those she had grown attached to, but she remembered Orea and Vanora and all of the others in Britain and was excited to see them again. Aris was six, Egen was four and Alema was three and a half and they were ready to travel.
Tristan got them safely to Sarmatia before and Liara trusted him to get them back to Britain just as safe. The trip took almost six months, and when they returned, they found the only thing that had changed was children were taller and there were more running around.
They went past Gawain's house, that was empty, and onto their house. Liara was almost in tears when her eyes fell on her home. It hadn't changed at all. Orea had maintained it perfectly. Tristan parked the carriage and unleashed the horses and took them to the stables while Liara took the children inside.
"Mama, we home?" Egan asked in his quiet way.
Liara nodded. "This is our home." She sighed happily.
Ellia already had the door open and ran in. "Orea!" She cried, looking around for the old woman.
In the kitchen something fell to the ground with a clamor and Ellia and Aris ran toward it, squealing when they saw Orea, whose jaw had hit the ground. "Orea!" They both cried and ran at her and hugged her. Egen and Alema chased their siblings and hugged the woman they didn't know because they loved to copy Ellia and Aris.
"Oh my goodness, how you've grown!" Orea cried in amazement.
Liara walked into the kitchen and smiled at the sight of all of her children holding on to Orea. "They were fed well in Sarmatia." She said laughingly.
Orea looked up and smiled as well. "And I see you were as well, returning with two more than you left with." She said patting Egen and Alema's heads, making them giggle.
Liara couldn't help herself, she walked right up to Orea and hugged her tightly. "It's wonderful to see you." She murmured.
Orea sighed and patted her back soothingly. "And I you, but where are we going to put all of these children?" She asked.
"I'll sleep with the horses!" Aris offered whole-heartedly.
"I wouldn't stand for such a thing!" Orea cried. "You all follow me, and I'll get you properly set up in a room." She ordered as she went up the stairs.
All of her children looked up at her, waiting for her permission. "Go," Liara said shooing them off with Orea.
They scattered up the stairs and Liara chuckled to herself as she took in the house she hadn't seen in five years. Orea had changed next to nothing and maintained it perfectly. As she was taking in the living room, she heard little feet behind her shuffle in, she turned around and saw three little girls with dark curly hair, vibrant eyes and pale skin looking at her expectantly.
"Hello," Liara said waving to them.
Before any of the girls could say anything, Cerise ran in, looking a little older and fuller. "Liara!" She cried, rushing in and hugging Liara tightly.
Liara hugged the younger woman just as tightly before pulling away and looking between Cerise and the three girls.
"Are these your daughters?" Liara asked in shock.
"Yes," Cerise smiled widely. "My oldest, Arela, she's almost five and my twin girls Hyla and Iden, they're three." She introduced, each girl giving Liara a small, polite smile.
"They are beautiful." Liara gushed.
Lancelot walked in with a groan. "Don't remind me, please." He pled.
Liara smiled. "Lancelot," She said as she took him in for a hug.
"We were coming to share a meal with Orea, but this is a nice surprise. Where is Tristan?" Lancelot asked confused.
Liara saw her husband appear in the doorway behind Lancelot and Cerise and smiled. "Behind you," She answered smugly.
Lancelot glanced over his shoulder with a raised brow. "Ah, still sneaking I see." He said with a sigh.
Tristan only grinned.
Lancelot walked to him and they hugged as men did. "Welcome back." He said sincerely.
They ate together and talked of what happened over the years. The children played well together, though Lancelot was uncomfortable with Aris sword fighting with Arela. Tristan just smirked and clapped Lancelot on the back. After supper Cerise and Liara helped Orea clean and Tristan and Lancelot sat and talked more when Gawain and Galahad rushed in.
"I thought for sure we were seeing things!" Gawain yelled.
"You did come back!" Galahad cried in disbelief.
"Couldn't stay away." Liara answered with a smile.
"And more children too." Gawain noted. "You've been a busy bastard." He said as he smacked Tristan's shoulder.
"And you?" Tristan asked.
Gawain and Galahad talked of their five years with Liara before dragging Lancelot and Tristan away for pints at the Tavern, promising to send Vanora her way. Liara winced a little at the thought, knowing she would be reamed by the red head for not seeing her first. Cerise and her daughters stayed at the house, waiting for Lancelot to return, and it wasn't long before Vanora rushed in as well.
"Why didn't you come and find me?" She yelled as soon as she was in the house.
"I'm sorry," Liara said apologetically.
Vanora ran up to her and hugged her painfully. "You better be!" She yelled, almost in tears.
Liara managed to get Vanora to sit at the table with her and Cerise and stop yelling at her for being gone for five years and for not seeing her first.
When Vanora finally calmed down she took in a deep breath. "How have you been?" She asked casually.
Before Liara could answer, Alema ran into the room. "Mama!" She called out, running to her.
"Busy by the looks of it." Vanora said with a grin.
"Yes Alema?" Liara asked trying not to laugh.
Alema raised her arms up and looked at her mother with her big green eyes. "Up," She said simply.
Liara sighed and picked her up to sit on her lap and Alema cuddled into her mother's clothes. "She's precious." Vanora cooed, reaching over to tuck Alema's brown curls behind her ear. "You missed the births of my grandchildren." She said instantly.
"Ginessa has children?" Liara asked in shock, looking over to Cerise. She nodded happily.
"She's got two and my oldest boy is going to have three as soon as his wife gives birth, and that should be any day now." Vanora answered proudly.
"I feel so much older now." Liara muttered.
"You feel old, they're my children!" Vanora yelled.
All three women laughed heartily.
"Arthur has no doubt caught wind of this sneaky entrance and will be here as soon as duty permits him. He has missed you both." Vanora said once she stopped laughing at herself.
"And we missed him." Liara said sincerely.
Vanora stood and leaned down to hug Liara again. "It's good to have you home." She whispered.
Vanora, Liara and Cerise talked amongst themselves for some time before Tristan, Lancelot, Gawain, Galahad, Bors and Arthur showed up. Bors gave Liara, and subsequently Alema, a hug powerful enough to lift her off the ground before she even saw Arthurs face. The King still looked the same as he did when they had left, but there was a twinkle in his eye that he didn't have before.
"Your brood has doubled and mine has not, I feel inferior." Arthur noted as he saw Aris, Egen and Ellia run up to Tristan and Alema hide in Liara's hair.
"It's good to see you Arthur." Liara said, reaching out to hug him.
Arthur was much gentler with his hug than Bors. "And you as well, and in good health no less." He said happily when they parted. "You must tell me of Sarmatia. But not now, you should come tomorrow and tell Guinevere and the children as well, they love a good adventure. I'm sure you're tired from your travels." He said knowingly.
"We are, they aren't." Tristan said glancing over to his children.
"Children rarely are." Arthur laughed. "Goodnight to you both and I hope you will come tomorrow." He said with a small bow.
"We will." Liara promised.
Arthur smiled at her and turned, giving Tristan a brotherly hug and left their home. Lancelot sighed and walked over to Cerise, who had her twins on her lap, half asleep.
"I should get my girls home. We'll see you tomorrow, Cerise won't let much time pass before she visits." He said with a sigh, picking up Hyla from Cerise as Arela walked over to them after saying goodbye to Liara's children.
"Goodnight," Cerise whispered as she left with her sleeping daughter.
"Goodnight," Liara repeated, smiling.
The home was empty of all visitors except for Vanora, even Bors was outside pissing in the bushes.
"Am I supposed to leave now?" Vanora asked Tristan as his eyes bore into her.
"Yes," Tristan said forcefully.
"Fine, but I will be back tomorrow and I'll be bringing my brood with me." She said pointedly.
Tristan looked afraid as she left.
The house was empty of all guests, only Orea could be heard in the very back of the kitchen, and the children were starting to drag their feet. "Its time for bed." Liara said nodding up the stairs.
"But Mama, we're not tired!" Ellia complained.
"Ellia, you can play more tomorrow, now you need to sleep." Liara said firmly.
Before Ellia could say anything to her mother, Tristan swooped her up and took her up the stairs. Aris followed close behind and Egen tried to keep up, but Alema was content to stay in her mother's arms. Liara followed her children and helped her husband put them all to bed.
Orea had set up two rooms for them, since the other rooms weren't suitable for them yet. They put the boys in one room and the girls in the other, sharing a bed for the night. They didn't mind since they were used to sharing a tent with their siblings as well as their parents. Tristan and Liara crept to their bedroom at the end of the hall and fell into bed.
Before they could blink their eyes, the shuffle of little feet filled the halls and their door was opened. Tristan and Liara could make out four small shapes as they slid up to their bed. Ellia helped Alema onto the bed while Aris helped Egen.
"Mama, I like our house but can we sleep with you tonight?" Ellia asked sweetly.
Alema already cuddled up to Tristan's side and Egen was burrowing at their feet while Aris was waiting next to Ellia. "Come on," Liara said with a little chuckle.
Ellia bounded over Liara and lay right between her and Tristan while Aris cuddled up to his mother. Holding all of their children, save Egen because he wanted to sleep at their feet. Liara rolled her head to look at Tristan.
He smiled down at her and Liara could remember the first time she saw him, and how the thought of seeing him smile would have been equal to a miracle, but now he was almost a different person. A protective, doting father and a loving husband.
And Liara knew she had changed as well. She had accepted her past and left it behind her. She wasn't a slave any more. She was a mother and a wife. She was strong and happy. She smiled at Tristan and laughed a little.
"What?" Tristan asked amused.
"I never thought the bed was this big." She whispered, glancing at their children around them.
Tristan let out a chuckle of his own at the thought and closed his eyes. Liara stared at her sleeping husband and children until her own tiredness dragged her into sleep. And as she closed her eyes she didn't need a perfect dream to make her feel better, because there was nothing a dream could give her that she didn't already have.