Early Winter, 2011
They arrived at Platform 9 ¾ just as the Hogwarts Express was pulling to a stop.
"Can you see her?" The little boy in Oliver's arms demanded. "Is she here? Can I go find her?"
"Calm down," Katie told her son with an amused smile. "Look, people are only just starting to get off the train now. We'll watch for your sister."
"Keep a look out for a kid with funny colored hair, too, would you?" A voice asked from behind the family (temporarily) of three.
As one, both Katie and Oliver turned to see none other than Harry Potter standing there.
"Harry," Katie smiled warmly and went to give her old teammate a hug. "It's been a while. How are you? How are Ginny and the kids? Actually…what are you even doing here?"
"Good, all good," Harry replied with a smile of his own, returning the hug easily. "I'm here to pick up my godson. You've met Teddy, haven't you?" At Katie's nod he continued, "Well there's no telling what he's going to look like today; he likes to think it's his job to keep me on my toes."
Although he complained, it would have been hard to miss the obvious affection Harry held for his godson.
"But never mind that," Harry said with a wave of his hand. "How have you been? I haven't seen you since…Merlin, it's been a while, hasn't it?"
"Freddie's last birthday party?" Katie offered. "That was more than a year ago. We couldn't make Roxie's back in August because someone had a match out of the country. And he couldn't even make it worthwhile that I had to miss my goddaughter's birthday party…"
"Oi!" Oliver interjected, the barest trace of a smile on his face. "There's no 'I' in 'team,' remember? It's not completely my fault we lost that match."
"Mummy said you didn't make enough saves," The boy in Oliver's arms piped up just then.
"And now you're trash-talking me to the children?" Oliver questioned his wife dramatically. He turned his attention back to his son, "What other lies has Mummy been telling you about my excellent Quidditch-playing abilities?"
The boy scrunched up his face as he thought. "Well…Mummy did say that playing Chaser was the best position ever. Does that mean it's bad that you play Keeper?"
He spoke with such solemnity that Harry had to bite his lip to keep from laughing. Some things about Katie would never change…
"What?!" Oliver cried, his attention back on Katie now. But Katie was determinedly looking at their son.
"And do you remember what else Mummy said when we had that conversation?" She asked him.
"That Daddy would actually believe me when I said that," he replied with a giggle, "Because Daddy is silly if he thinks that you think there's ever been a better keeper than him because he's your most favorite keeper ever."
"That's my boy," Katie said with a smile, giving her son and her husband each a kiss on the cheek.
"You've trained him well, Katie," Harry said with an amused shake of his head. "But I swear, it must have been longer than I thought since I saw all of you; Darren was barely out of diapers and definitely not talking then. How old are you now, mate?"
Darren held up five fingers proudly. "And really, really soon I'll be six and then I'll be almost old enough to go to Hogwarts with Jos."
"You know, I have a son exactly the same age as you," Harry told Darren. "You'll be at Hogwarts together."
"Is he here?" Darren asked eagerly. "Can we play Quidditch together? Can we be friends?"
"Now I know he's definitely your son: first and foremost it's always about Quidditch," Harry informed Oliver with a grin before turning back to Darren. "He's not here today, but I'm sure he'd love to play with you sometime."
Darren's eyes widened with excitement. "Thank you Mr. Harry!"
"You know," Harry said, looking considerately now at Darren. "I do have a niece taking the train here today. She's in her first year and I think I might have heard a rumor about who her best friend at school is. I don't suppose you know anyone named Joscelind Wood, do you?"
If possible, Darren's eyes became even wider now, this time in amazement. "That's my sister!"
"I had a feeling she might be," Harry said with a smile.
"Speaking of your sister," Oliver began thoughtfully, his gaze out across the crowded platform, "I think I might see her over there."
"Where?" Darren demanded immediately, turning in his father's arms in order to look in the same direction. "I see her! Mummy, look! I see her! The boy and girl with her have orange hair!"
Darren squirmed in Oliver's embrace, until his father set him on the ground. As he ran off through the crowd, his parents followed along at a slower pace, chatting a bit more with Harry. By the time they caught up with him, the three students had been joined by several more people.
"Hey Bill, Fleur," Harry greeted his brother-in-law and his wife before turning to the boy standing with Joscelind and Victoire. "Trying to go home with the Weasley's instead of me again, mate?"
"Never," A very ginger Teddy Lupin grinned cheekily at him.
"Uncle Harry?" Harry looked down to see Dominique pulling on his sleeve earnestly.
"What's up, Dom?" He asked the young girl.
"How do you know Oliver Wood?" She asked in awe, her eyes wide as they flicked back-and-forth between her uncle and the man he'd walked over with.
Oliver, in the middle of a discussion with Bill Weasley, looked over to the pair at the sound of his name.
"We used to play Quidditch together," Harry replied with a shrug, holding back a grin in anticipation of his niece's reaction. It was practically unheard of for any member of the Weasley family to not like Quidditch, but nine-year-old Dominique was far beyond obsessed.
"You used to play Quidditch with Oliver Wood?" Dominique demanded, sounding completely scandalized. "And you never told me? Uncle Harry! He's my favorite Quidditch player of all time!"
"And he's standing there talking to your dad," Harry said, nodding in the direction of Bill and Oliver, who was holding Darren again by this point. When he saw both men were now looking at him, he winked at them. "You know, I bet he would love to meet you."
If possible, Dominique's eyes opened even wider and her mouth opened in a silent 'O'. "Really?" She finally managed to squeak out.
Harry nodded earnestly. "Sure thing; I'll introduce you."
The following two minutes were clearly the best moments of young Dominique's life. But when the reality of the situation—she was shaking hands with Oliver Wood!—finally sunk in, she narrowed her eyes suspiciously.
"Hang on a minute," Dominique said, "What are you doing here? You don't go to Hogwarts anymore…"
"He's picking me up," Joscelind piped up, having watched the exchange curiously even as she introduced her friend to her mother.
"But why?" Dominique's attention was on Joscelind now. "Is he your uncle?"
"No, he's my dad," Joscelind said, as if this was the obvious answer.
"What?!" Dominique rounded on Oliver now. Oliver, for his part, was quite sure that he had never been more afraid of a nine-year-old before in his life. Some fans… "You have a daughter?"
Oliver looked to Katie helplessly. Katie, for her part, laughed silently at her husband's obvious distress. None of this escaped Dominique's notice, nor did the fact that her idol was holding another child who looked very similar to her older sister's new friend.
"And a son?" She continued. "And…And you're married? B-But, Puddlemere is my favorite team ever and none of the magazines or your official player biography say that you have a family."
"Well I see the cat's out of the bag, now," A voice said from behind the group.
"Uncle George!" Joscelind and Victoire exclaimed at the same time, then looked sheepishly at the other.
"What are you doing here?" Joscelind asked.
"Why I came to see my favorite Hogwarts-aged goddaughter, of course," George replied, "Before her parents attempted to keep her all to themselves for the whole time she's home from school. And my favorite Weasley nieces and nephew, too."
"Hey!" Teddy protested.
"Oh, yeah, and that kid," George amended, jerking his thumb in Teddy's direction, his grin growing wider as both Joscelind and Victoire rolled their eyes at the jokester. He turned back to Dominique then, "You didn't even get to the best part yet."
"There's more?" Dominique demanded.
George nodded earnestly. "The woman Oliver Wood is married to is Katie Bell."
Dominique frowned thoughtfully. "I think I know that name…"
"You used to play for the Holyhead Harpies," It was Teddy who had spoken up. The adults all turned to look at him in surprise, but he had eyes only for Katie, who looked rather impressed that he'd recognized her, considering… "When I was a baby, and a little bit before I was born. My mum had an autographed picture of you. I think you would have been her favorite player; you were even better than Aunt Ginny—I mean…er…sorry, Harry."
Harry just smiled at his godson. "I won't tell if you don't."
"I remember now! You only played for one season but you were really good!" Dominique interjected excitedly. "You still hold the league record for most goals scored in a single match. I know because it was a match against Puddlemere, which is my favorite team."
Katie couldn't help the laughter that escaped her at this pronouncement. "That I do. And you know," She leaned a bit closer to Dominique and lowered her voice conspiratorially, "I scored all of them against Oliver Wood over there."
Dominique glanced at Oliver quickly before looking back to Katie and confiding in equally hushed tones, "I thought someone was going to break your record in Puddlemere's loss against Bigonville last August for sure."
Katie smirked at her husband over Dominique's head. "I knew I wasn't the only one who thought he let through a few more goals than usual in that match."
"Would you look at the time?" Oliver interrupted loudly. "I think it's about time to start heading home."
Still smirking slightly, Katie rolled her eyes at her husband, but went to help Joscelind with her trunk. Once the members of the Wood family had said their farewells—"Don't forget to ask your son to play Quidditch with me, Mr. Harry!" Darren called over his dad's shoulder—Katie and Oliver apparated their children home. No sooner had they entered the house, than Darren was out of his father's arms once more and challenging his sister to a game of Quidditch.
While their children raced off to so that Darren could find his favorite Quaffle and Joscelind could put her trunk in her room, Oliver turned to his wife and wrapped his arms around her waist, pulling her close before she could attempt to remove her cloak.
"Well that was certainly a surprise," Oliver said as Katie wrapped her arms around his neck as well. "I wonder if anyone made the connection with Joscelind at Hogwarts; she never mentioned anything in her letters."
"You just have obsessed fans everywhere, don't you?" Katie teased.
"Turns out you do too," Oliver teased right back.
"You know," Katie said, suddenly thoughtful, "I think I remember that autograph. It was just after I signed on as a reserve; it must have been the first autograph I ever gave anyone. Fred and George said it was a wedding gift for a friend."
"Do you ever miss it?" Oliver asked, genuinely curious about the question he'd been meaning to ask her for years.
"Sure," Katie said honestly. "I loved playing professionally, and it was great while it lasted. But I wouldn't give up Joscelind and Darren for anything."
"You could always go back," Oliver was the thoughtful one now. "It'd be easy enough now that Jos is at school and Darren is older."
"I could," Katie agreed, and Oliver easily recognized the playful glint that had suddenly appeared in her eyes. "But I think I'd much rather live off your money, instead."
"I always suspected you were only with me for my money," Oliver said with a sigh.
"And don't forget your dashing good looks," Katie informed him. "And your sexy accent."
"All very important things in a good husband," Oliver agreed solemnly. Then he and Katie broke into identical grins and she leaned up on her toes to give him a chaste kiss.
"Plus," Katie continued, pulling away from him as the sounds of Joscelind and Darren's footsteps approached them at a rapid pace. "The last time I even considered going back to work, we ended up with Darren."
"Hold on just a minute," Oliver retorted, keeping his arms firmly around her, "I thought we ended up with Darren because I got named captain of Puddlemere."
"Come on, Dad!" Darren announced his presence as he skidded to a stop in front of his parents with a Quaffle in one hand and holding the other out to Oliver imperiously. Joscelind stood just behind him. "You promised me you'd play with me and Jos today."
"And we need you to unlock the broom shed," Joscelind added quickly.
Oliver scrunched his face up theatrically. "But it's snowing today…"
"Da-ad!" Both Darren and Joscelind sounded scandalized that a little snow would stop their dad from playing Quidditch with them. "You promised!"
"Hmm…I guess I did," Oliver mused. And, in one swift motion, he released his grip on Katie and snatched the Quaffle from Darren's embrace, only to toss it to Joscelind, who caught the ball reflexively as Oliver swept Darren into his arms and threw him over his should like a sack of flour. "Quidditch it is!"
"And I'm going to beat you, too!" Darren declared, his face slowly turning red as he dangled half upside-down.
"Me, too!" Joscelind chimed in.
"Try to go easy on your dad," Katie called out with a laugh as Joscelind followed Oliver and Darren through the house. "You know he's used to playing all those crazy professionals."
"Okay, Mum!" The shout rang out just before the back door was unceremoniously slammed shut.
The smile remained on Katie's face several minutes later as she watched the trio through the window, her cloak still draped across her shoulders.
It was true, she couldn't help but think to herself, what she'd told Oliver earlier. A part of her would always miss playing for the Harpies. After all, Katie Bell had always been a fantastic Quidditch player. But Katie Wood had a superb life, one she wouldn't give up for anything. She had two wonderful children and she was married to the man she'd been in love with since she was a teenager.
A triumphant shout distracted her from her thoughts and she refocused her attention only to meet Oliver's gaze. Darren had his arms raised in victory while Joscelind was retrieving the Quaffle from where it lay on the ground behind Oliver, clearly having been shot through one of the low hoops Oliver had been guarding from their five-year-old son. Oliver raised a hand and gestured for Katie to join them.
Katie's grin widened as she stepped outside into the cool air and Darren called to her, "Come help us beat Daddy again, Mummy!"
Yes, playing for the Harpies had been fun, but who really needed a professional team when she had such intense competition right here?
a/n—I could tell you all sorts of fun things about this epilogue. Like how I wasn't going to work on it because I wanted to write something else first. Or how when I did write it instead of the other story I was going to work on first, I wrote it in 2 hours flat and promptly didn't post it. Or how after getting through writing the whole thing, I realized a lot of it didn't make sense and I was going to need to rewrite pretty much the whole thing. Or even how for much of the two hours I wrote this in originally I drove myself nearly to insanity by listening to "The Answer to Our Life" by Backstreet Boys nonstop (love 'em but dear lord…the constant repetition…). Yes, I could tell you many things about the adventure getting this epilogue to you entailed. But, instead, I shall leave you with this:
Trivia! If you have read any of my other stories and have paid particularly close attention, you'll know that Joscelind and Darren have each made their own appearances in separate stories (well, I suppose Darren's was more of a detailed reference than an actual appearance, technically, but whatever). Do YOU know which two stories they are? I'll give you a hint: it's not the one-shot I haven't posted yet, in which Katie and Oliver discuss names for all of their potential children. And on that note, I will hopefully be finishing a one-shot very soon that explains where Joscelind and Darren got their names.
In other news, can I tell you a secret? This story was only supposed to be 5 chapters long. Yes, FIVE. So thank you to all of you wonderful readers and reviewers for sticking through the several dozen epiphanies I had along the way. I hope you enjoyed the story! Thanks for reading!
A/N March 2015: In addition to the one-shot about Katie and Oliver discussing baby names (The Fine Art of Naming), I now have a second companion story posted called The All-Star Game that takes place 7 years after this Epilogue.