Well here is the end of the story. I admit I am a little sad to see the story end, but I had a lot of fun writing it, and I hope you all had fun reading it! As this was my first story in a very very long time, I never expected to get so many great reviews and messages about it, so I thank you all so much! I plan to start my next story this weekend, I am going to try my hand at a modern Bates/Anna AU.
John opened the door to the sound of laughter. He smiled. He slowly closed and locked the door behind him and walked into the living room. His wife and son were sitting in the center of the room, heads bent over a book. He stayed as quiet as possible, enjoying the sight before him.
He must have made some noise, because Anna looked up at him and smiled, and even after all these years John's breath was still taken away. It had been six years since that day in the meadow when Anna had gone into labor and John loved his wife more and more every day. His mind drifted back to that day all those years ago.
After making sure Anna and the baby were okay, John had walked back to Downton Abbey and phoned the doctor and had several of the male staff help him get Anna and his son back to the safety of their cottage. After Dr. Clarkson had arrived and checked on Anna and the baby and declared that they were both perfectly healthy, John had come back up to their bedroom and walked to the bed where his wife and son lay. John looked down at his perfect family and felt the tears streaming down his face.
"He's perfect Anna. And you're perfect. Thank you for giving me my son."
Anna smiled up at him. "We will have quite the story to tell him when he is old enough to understand what it means."
"We will tell him how brave his mother was and how scared his father was."
Anna laughed. "Trust me John; his mother was pretty scared too. The next time I am two weeks from giving birth we are going to be staying very close to home!"
John looked down in surprise, "You just gave birth and you are already thinking about the next one?"
Anna laughed, "Maybe a little. However before we start planning for the next one too much, maybe we should give this little one a name?"
They both looked down at their son, who was sleeping against Anna's chest. John had never felt his heart so full. He reached down and gently passed his hand over the baby's soft hair.
"I have been thinking of names for the last few weeks. What about Andrew David?"
Anna looked down at the baby and softly whispered the name. She looked up at John and smiled. "Andrew. I l love it."
John smiled and leaned down to press a kiss on his forehead. "Welcome to the world Andrew David Bates. My son."
John was brought back to the present when the subject of his thoughts looked up and noticed his father. "Papa! You're home." Andrew was already tall for his age and was the spitting image of his father with John's dark hair and green eyes. John watched as his son rushed over and threw his arms around his waist. He wrapped his arms around his son and bent down to place a kiss on the top of his head.
"Hello Drew. How are you son?"
Drew started to speak but was cut off by a high pitched giggle as a little streak of blond curls hurtled herself down the stairs. "Papa, papa!"
John managed to drop his cane just in time before catching the small bundle of energy as she threw herself off the stairs into his arms. He kissed her soft curls before placing her gently on the floor. She immediately wrapped her arms around his legs. John looked down and smiled as he remembered the day she came into their lives.
Anna had been in labor for hours. This baby wasn't coming as easily as Andrew had six years ago. John paced the small living room for what felt like the millionth time. Dr. Clarkson was with her and John knew she was in good hands, but he was crazy with worry. The air was punctuated with moans of pain and John knew the end must be near. He was taken back to the memory of Andrew's birth and how it had felt to deliver his child and he wished he could be in the room with Anna now. His head jerked up as he heard a loud scream followed a few moments later by the cries of a baby. John's eyes filled with tears at the sound. He was a father for a second time. He started up the steps stopping at the top as their bedroom door opened and Dr. Clarkson stepped out.
"Doctor, are Anna and the baby okay?" John asked nervously.
Dr. Clarkson smiled. He reached out to shake John's hand. "Mother and baby are fine. You can go in and see them." John smiled in thanks and walked through the door, his breath momentarily gone as he saw his wife with their child for the first time. He had to hear from her that they were both fine.
"Anna are you okay? The baby?"
Anna looked up and smiled. "We are very fine, come say hello to your daughter."
John's eyes filled with tears at Anna's words. A daughter. He had a daughter. He slowly walked over to the bed and Anna moved over to make room for him to sit down beside them. He placed a gentle kiss on Anna's lips before looking at the bundle she was holding in her arms He could already see that she would have Anna's blonde hair. He brushed a hand down the soft fuzz and placed a gentle kiss on the top of her head.
"Would you like you hold your daughter Nora Grace?" John could hear the question in Anna's voice as she offered the name.
John looked at Anna as she spoke the name. "Nora? It's beautiful." John reached for baby Nora and as he held her in his arms he knew what complete happiness was. He thought back to a few years ago when Anna didn't remember their life together and he hadn't known what their future would be. Yet here they were with a handsome smart son and now a precious daughter. Things he had never imagined he would have until he met Anna. Now he had a family beyond his wildest imaginings.
John was once again brought back to the present by a persist tugging on his pants leg. He looked down at three-year old Nora, who with her blond hair and beautiful blue eyes looked just like his Anna. He slowly walked to the settee with the small girl wrapped around his knees. Once he was settled down he picked her up and placed her on his good knee, bouncing her up and down until she starting giggling.
Anna walked over to them and rubbed her hand over Nora's curls. "Sweetie, it is time to change into your night clothes and get ready for bed." She looked over at her son and smiled. "Drew would you mind helping your sister? I need to talk to your father for a minute."
John smiled as he watched his son take hold of his sister's small hand and lead her up the stairs. He turned back to Anna and reached out to wrap his arms around her. Anna went into his arms willingly and giggled as John pulled her into his lap. He pressed his lips to down to hers and Anna opened them slightly to allow him to deepen the kiss. After a moment she pulled away, but not before placing one more gentle kiss on his lips.
"I love you."
John smiled. "I love you too. Now what is it you have to talk to me about? "
Anna smiled and reached for John's hand. "Well you know how I haven't felt well the past few days?" John nodded. He had been concerned for his wife after coming home the past several days to her complaining of not feeling well and being tired. He had finally convinced her to see Dr. Clarkson. "Were you able to see Dr. Clarkson? Is everything okay?" John felt the panic fill him up. If anything was wrong with Anna, he wasn't sure how he would be able to cope.
Anna laughed and stroked her hand down his face. "I am fine, John. In fact Dr. Clarkson says I am very healthy. I am very healthy and also very pregnant. You're going to be a father again."
John looked at Anna with shock in his eyes. "You're going to have a baby?" John was shocked. They had talked about having another one after Nora had been born, but when trying hadn't produced any results they had both agreed they were very happy and satisfied with the two happy healthy children they already had. They felt blessed with their life and had made peace with not having any more children.
Anna smiled and nodded. She giggled as John's face broke out into a huge grin. "Oh Love, just when I thought my life couldn't possibly be any better." He pulled Anna back down and kissed her on the lips. He placed several quick kisses there before leaning her back to look at her face. "Have you told the children?"
She was about to answer when she heard an upstairs door open and Drew appeared at the top of the stairs. "Mama, Nora is ready for bed and she wants Papa to tell her a bedtime story." She looked down to see John grin. Reading to his daughter was always a highlight of his day.
"Tell her I will be up in a minute son."
Anna rose from John's lap and offered a hand to help her husband up. "Instead of the usual story, why don't well tell her about the princess getting a new brother or sister? We can tell them both."
John nodded and followed his wife to the stairs. As Anna walked up the stairs, John looked around and took in his home. It had been filled with a lot of laughter and love these past six years and soon it would be filled with the noises of a new baby. It was everything he had always wished for but had never dreamed to hope for until he met a beautiful housemaid all those years ago.
He turned off the light and followed his wife up the stairs and into the bedroom. He closed the door behind him and soon the house was filled with giggles and cheers as the happy news was heard for the first time. Those sounds would fill the house for many years to come.
Once again thank you for reading "Love Will Always Win." It was so much fun to write. Any final thoughts are greatly appreciated! Look for my new story "Two Is Better Than One" very soon!