Epilogue

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Ten years later

Bastian and I have two children: William and Nathaniel. One was named after my father (William) and one named after his (Nathaniel). Bastian's father passed away three years ago now and it was a hard time for us all, however that does make him Lord Neville now and I lady Neville. William is nine and Nathaniel is five.
"What are you doing?" Bastian asks kissing me on the cheek.
"Oh, nothing much. Just writing something down, nothing of importance." I say and smile at him. Nathaniel runs in with a stick and yells at Bastian. He plunges it between Bastian's chest and arm. Bastian holds it there and screams in pretend agony and falls to the floor.
"No! Ship-mate!" William yells running in and seeing his father. "You killed my ship-mate you scally-wag!" he yells at Nathaniel who is now screaming in delight. William points his stick-sword at him and says. "Arrrrr, I'll have to make -ee walk the plank."
"You'll have to catch me first, pirate." Nathaniel screams and runs from the room, closely followed by William.
When they leave, Bastian picks himself up off the floor. "Dear Lord, do they never cease?" he says chuckling. "Two boys. You had to have two boys." he says laughing.
"I see you in them." I say smiling.
"I don't see how. I was a miserable sod when we first met." I laugh.
"Go on, ship-mate. Go and save your sons from killing each other." he makes a mock sigh and runs after them, kissing me on the cheek again first.
I decide that I want to join in. I run after them. "Last one to the magic tree loses!" I yell as I run past them all. That is the tree where I told my children stories of pirates, fairies, witches, wizards, knights, druids and dragons -just as my father had with me.
I sprint across the fields behind the house, across the small bridge we had made together which led across the small stream where we throw sicks and leaves and pebbles.
"Wait!" they all yell not too far behind me. Bastian has Nathaniel on his shoulders and William still holds his sword.
I smile and cheer as I reach the tree, closely followed by William. Nathaniel decides to abandon his comrade and leaps from Bastian's back, coming in at third.
"Ha, ha!" I laugh. "Does father lose?" I ask the children and I'm answered by cheers of approval.
"Oh no. That doesn't mean-" Bastian says, his face now etched with worry.
"Father has to jump in the river!" William sings.
"No. Please." He begs. "Have mercy, my loving children." he is on his knees pleading the children to no avail. Nothing will stop them seeing their father get drenched in freezing water. They giggle.
"This is them getting their own back. You shouldn't have taught them to swim in that freezing thing!" I laugh.
The children grab their reluctant father by the hands and lead him to the river. Bastian takes off his waist coat and boots.
"One, two, three!" and he's in. Partly because we all pushed him before he had the chance to jump voluntarily.
"Sweet Moses! It's freezing!" He yells.
Feeling a small amount of pity for him, I go to the bank and hold out my hand to help him out. He takes it, but instead of getting out, he pulls me in. "Oh Lord! It is freezing!" we laugh together.
We are soon joined by two children and similar cries of cold. We all laugh and play together.
Bastian looks deep into my eyes. "Thank you." he says.
"For what?"I ask.
"For my life as I know it, for our children, for your loving me." I reply by simply kissing him which arouses cries of protest from the children. Basdtian picks Nathaniel out of the water and throws him in deeper, followed by William. But it fails at being a funny punishment when the children decide it's fun and beg him to do it again.
"I'm too old." He protests.
"No you're not!" they yell in delight.
"Well if you can tell me my age, I will do it again, one more time before dinner."
They stay silent for a few seconds before William says "Forty-three."
"Forty-three?" Bastian cries. "Have I aged that badly?"
"Forty." Nathaniel says.
"Forty? This is insulting."
"We're only pretending, father. We know you're actually thirty-four. And, mother, you're twenty-six." William says. "Throw me now, father." Bastian does.
"That's not fair!" Nathaniel says in a sulk.
"Oh hush your whining." Bastian jokes throwing him in as well.
"Come on. Dinner time." I say. That gets some upset responses.
It's as we're walking home that I see just how lucky I am, I have everything I could have hoped for.
"Thank you, father." I say looking to the heavens, before catching up with my family as we walk home for a big family meal.

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