As simple a wedding as Claire wanted, she hadn’t realized just how much went into planning one. With a constant stream of calls and texts from Jenny with lists of menus, guests and invitation designs, available dates, dresses; with her work schedule and all, Claire’d been ready to head straight for City Hall and be done with it. But it had been important to Jamie, so she bit back any objections she had and finally just defaulted everything - but the dress - to Jenny to sort out.
“All we need is a priest, a church and each other, and I’d be satisfied,” she told Joe during a quick lunch break. “But even small weddings need some fanfare, I suppose.” She pawed uninterestedly at her salad while discreetly eyeing Joe’s spicy chicken wings and chips, who - noticing her insistent glances, sighed and switched their plates - much to Claire’s appreciation.
“It can’t be that bad! Is there nothing about the whole thing that’s got you buzzed?” He asked, and seeing her cheeky smirk, added, “Apart from the honeymoon!”
She thought for a moment, there hadn’t been much either Jenny or Jamie had told her about their traditions - most sounded old fashioned, but awfully beautiful. And of course, there would be a fair bit of drinking involved after. “Jamie said the ceremony is done both in English and Gaelic, but other than that, it was pretty much a standard ceremony. His sister recited some of the Gaelic ones for me the other day. There was one vow though - that isn’t really practiced anymore actually, sounded rather incredible. I asked her if she could teach it to me so I could surprise him. But my Gaelic is - as of yet - atrocious!”
“So you won’t exchange your on own vows, then?” He asked, curious. Joe had never been to a Scottish wedding before and was thoroughly looking forward to attending this one.
“I thought of it, but the moment I heard this one and its meaning - its really old - it just felt… Right.” She smiled. As much as she found the whole process somewhat tedious, she couldn’t deny the gratifying summersault her stomach did at the mere thought of becoming Jamie’s wife, and he her husband.
“There is one other thing I do really want.” She eyed Joe as he picked his way around the spinach in the salad and answered her with a distracted “Mmm?”
“I want you to be my maid of honor.”
His face went through an extraordinary sequence of emotions at once. From blank confusion, to dubiousness, to finally dawning excitement. “You serious, LJ? I mean, I wouldn’t wanna step on anyone’s toes, and from what you’ve said about his sister…”
“Yes I am serious. No you won’t step on anyone’s toes. And it was her idea I pick a maid of honor. Someone special to me. And Joe, you are! If it wasn’t for you switching your shifts with me whenever I asked - and even when I didn’t - I wouldn’t have had nearly as much time with Jamie as I have. You’ve been my best friend, my cheerleader, my confidant, my chicken wing peddler, ever since you started here. Do me the honor and privilege of walking me down the aisle and stand by me as I marry the man of my heart?”
He stood and opened his arms, gesturing for her to join him in a hug, which she did gladly.
“Guess this means,” he said into her shoulder, “I’m gonna have to meet this man of yours, finally.”
Jamie watched as Murtagh wandered around the apartment randomly picking things up and putting them down. It wasn’t his first time there, in fact, since Jamie had moved in with Claire, Murtagh had been over more times than he could count. But his gruff godfather hadn’t been relaxed now, since Jamie had asked him.
“And yer sure, lad?” Murtagh asked for the hundredth time.
“Aye, we both are! Ye know Claire’s come to love ye like her own. She wants this as much as I do,” Jamie replied, watching as Murtagh did yet another lap of the flat.
Murtagh had always known about Jamie’s feelings for Claire, but could never understand them. Jamie after all, had never interacted with her. Yet, when the time came, Murtagh had quite readily accepted her. He and Claire had quickly become connected - or rather Murtagh bonded with her easier than he did other people - over not just Jamie, but on a number of other (to Jamie, at least) random topics. He’d even walked in on them once in the midst of an extremely heated discussion about The Great British Bake-off. Murtagh comfortably slotted into their lives, even freely coming and going into their flat as he pleased - though after a few unfortunately and terribly timed visits on his part (catching Claire and Jamie in more or less the buff on a number of occasions), had taken to knocking whenever he came over, and on occasion, calling ahead of time.
Now, Jamie sat patiently waiting for an answer. He and Claire had discussed it and had quickly and in unison come to the same conclusion. They knew the man he was and there’d been in no doubt whatever.
“So what d’ye say, a goistidh? Will ye do us the honor of being godparent to our bairn?” Jamie asked once again.
“And what of yer sister and her man? Surely they’re better suited-”
“Jenny and Ian will mind our bairns as well, nay worry, but ‘tis ye we choose to stand wi’ us all when time comes. We want all of our family wi’ us. And ye, a goistidh, are our family too. Always.”
He saw his godfather blushed slightly and mumble a gruff ‘mmmph’ at his words. Finally, Murtagh nodded, then cringed as Jamie engulfed him in a bear hug.
“What did Murtagh say,” Claire said, as she stroked the damp hair from Jamie’s face, where it lay, cheek pressed against her chest. She smiled down her nose at him and saw the curve of his cheek as he grinned, his finger tracing her belly button, then down hip bone and thigh. Both of them not a little out of breath.
They hadn’t much time to speak when she got home - Jamie being of one thought alone, had picked her up and marched to the bedroom, without so much as a ‘by your leave’. She’d worked a double shift the day before, and even though she was exhausted, she always seemed to have energy to spare when it came to Jamie.
“Let me take a quick bath first, Jamie.” She said her chin perched on his shoulder.
“No,” he’d always reply, definitely.
Gently putting her on the bed, he began the slow process of carefully undressing her. She never objected to this, seeing as how he always started at her feet - knowing how long she had to stand, he meticulously massaged his way up her body from feet to scalp, taking off whatever clothes hindered his progress. And when he was done using his hands, started using his tongue - kissing his way from her forehead to the soles of her feet, then lightly back up her inner thighs.
“Oh,” Claire watched soundless starbursts against her shut eyelids. She felt weightless, yet every nerve ending felt delicately raw all at once, sparking waves of sensation coursing through her body. She writhed uncontrollably, but was held in place as she spasmed. She lay trembling, ears ringing, having no recollection whatsoever of him undressing. She came to herself when she felt her knees nudged apart once more, crying out involuntarily as he delicately slid home, sensitive skin notwithstanding.
He took a deep, satisfying breath, enjoying the scent of her; her skin flushed from lovemaking. “Murtagh didna - well, no - he couldna say so much as nod. Oh and if the bairn is as ‘hard-heided as his Da,’ then he ‘reserves the right to rescind his station’.” He laughed, his breath tickling her bare skin. “He was very touched, Sassenach,” he kissed her on her tummy. “What of Joe?”
“He said yes too, but he’d kind of like to meet you before the ceremony so I set up a dinner with the four of us. I hope you don’t mind,” she teased, running her fingers down his back.
“Of course I don’t mind! Wait… Four?” he said, lifting his head up to look at her.
Darkness falls upon the great Earth
Through the blood of dragons, a revival comes again
Bound by the covenant of old
When the four dragons assemble
The sword and shield that protect the monarch shall awaken
And the red dragon shall return at dawn
Ik-Soo, Yona of the Dawn, volume 3 - official English release.