Flood my mornings: Ian (II)
Notes from Mod Bonnie
- This story takes place in an AU in which Jamie travels through the stones two years after Culloden and finds Claire and his child in 1950 Boston.
- See all past installments via Bonnie’s Master List
- Previous installment: Ian (need I say more?)
“I’ll bet the nuns LOVED you.”
Jamie jumped, startled out of his stone-like state. “Nuns?” he asked of the nurse, dumbfounded….or rather asked as best he could through the great yawn that overtook him without warning the moment he opened his mouth.
The woman laughed at him, which gave him enough time to regain his composure and apologize profusely for his rudeness. “Ye caught me by surprise,” he finished lamely.
“Well, that’s what I was getting at!” she said. “The nuns at my school were INTENSE, and you had to sit up straight and stay focused, or you’d get the whap! with a ruler across the knuckles, or worse. I’ll bet you were the star pupil, though, the way you’ve been standing straight and still all this time.”
Jamie relaxed and gave her a tired grin. “I didna have any nuns in my own schooling, I’m afraid.”
“Aye, just so,” he said, impressed. “How did ye ken that?”
“You’ve just got that well-trained look about you, ya know?” Her humor softened into evident concern. “Honestly though, you should go sleep for a bit or get a bite to eat, at least.”
“Thank ye verra kindly, Nurse…Thompson,” he said, reading her name pin (and in his beleaguered state, feeling inordinately flustered over having just peered at her bosom like a lecher), “but I’ll do.”
He glanced immediately back through the glass, reassuring himself that Ian was still there. Aye, second row on the left, asleep in his tiny bonnet and swaddled in blankets. All well. Unless…was he staying too still? How long had it been since the lad had moved or kicked? How often were new weans supposed to wake up? How—
“He’s okay, don’t worry,” Nurse Thompson said, following his line of sight. “Vitals are great, and he’s sleeping like a champ.”
Jamie exhaled and smiled sheepishly down at his shoes, realizing how much of a simpleton he must seem. “I find myself overworrit at every turning, tonight.”
She gave him a knowing smile. “First-time dad, huh?”
“Nay,” he admitted, “we’ve a daughter as well; she’s three in November.” Knowing well the implication of the question, Jamie offered, “I was away—at the war, when she was born, and a good deal of time thereafter.”
“Ahh,” she said, turning back to the glass as well, her voice soft with understanding. “So it’s an even bigger day for you, then.”
Those minutes with Claire just after the birth, with the three of them joined in absolute peace and love as Ian nursed for the first time, had been nothing short of perfect.
There had too soon come the moment, though, when Reynolds had stepped closer to say that ‘while all seemed well, they would both need—No, Mr. Fraser, nothing specific to worry about as of yet—He’d only feel better if both Mrs. Fraser and the baby received a more thorough medical examination.’ There was the afterbirth to attend to, of course, and then mother and son would need to sleep in order to properly heal and get back their strength.
Only concern for their safety could have made Jamie pull his hands from them, but in fact, he found himself gritting his teeth in frustration at how SLOWLY everyone seemed to be moving. If there were medical problems to discover with HIS wife and HIS child, these people needed to be moving with all haste!
Lost in his angst, he was completely taken aback when Claire suddenly grabbed his sleeve and said anxiously, “Go with him?”
The nurse had just taken the babe from her arms and Claire’s eyes were wide with worry of the impending separation. “Might I?” Jamie had asked the nurse, hardly daring to hope and already dreading another confrontation with hospital security (for he’d do whatever was necessary to heed Claire’s request, Nurse Kline be damned). But to his relief, he soon learned there was a large window that opened out onto the newborn nursery where he might stand and watch over the bairn as long as he wished.
He’d scarcely moved all the while, standing there overseeing every single action involving care of his son. The boy was washed and wrapped; weighed; checked and prodded, notes made about him on papers and forms. Jamie was aware of the progresses of his heart: racing when Ian woke and cried, quieting again to see the nurses come at once to tend him, Nurse Thompson among them.
“Look.” The woman crossed her arms and gave him a very stern, unnervingly Claire-like look. “You’ve been standing here for what….six hours?”
It had been the stroke of nine o’clock when Ian was born. Glancing at his Wristwatch, he found that she wasn’t far wrong. Still, he smiled and tried to make light of the situation while still making it clear he had no intention whatsoever of budging from this spot.
“Here’s the thing, though,” she cut him off neatly, gesturing through the glass. “Your little peanut there is snoozing away. Your wife should be doing the same, and so when they wake up in a few hours, they’ll be all rested and fresh while they’re getting to know each other.” She tilted her head, a master wheedler at work. “Stop me if I’m wrong, but I would imagine those are moments you’d like to be awake for, right?”
“And how about when your daughter arrives to meet her little brother? How much of a lovely memory will that be if you can’t keep your eyes open for it?”
He opened his mouth to reply, but then closed it and laughed a bit, rubbing a hand over his face. “Aye, you’ve maybe a point.”
“I most definitely do,” she said with authority. “Go on now, find your wife’s room and get some shut-eye.”
“I shall,” he promised, relenting at last.
“Let me or someone know if you need anything, like a blanket or pillow, okay?”
He nodded assent, then added, “My wife always says I’m stubborn as rocks, and I canna just say she’s wrong. I truly thank ye for the talking-to.”
“Not my first rodeo,” she said with a smile. “Had a new dad just last month who stood for so long and was fool enough to LOCK HIS FOOL KNEES and ended up getting admitted to the fifth floor for a concussion!”
Jamie laughed, thanked her again, made to turn, then faltered, looking back through the glass to where Ian slept.
I should stay wi’ him…I shouldna leave my son…
She was already shooing him on his way, but Nurse Thompson’s voice was earnest and solemn as she promised, “I’ll take good care of little Ian.”
And fact that the woman kent the boy’s name, among more than twenty newborns under her care—
That allowed him to make his way through the halls with his fears—for the moment, at least—at bay.
She was so lovely, in the faint light from the window. Her hair had been washed, he saw, and the fresh, soft curls framed her face.
He felt a deep, aching tenderness pulling at him in watching her sleep. She’d gone through hell and come through it in safety, she and the bairn, God be praised. This woman….she was his own heart; and thrice, now, she’d given birth and given him an entirely new heart, without any diminishment of the original. The wonder and love and miracle in that fact…..
Sleep, he reminded himself. In his haze of exhaustion, he spent a comically-long space of time looking from the bed, to the chair, and back again. He didn’t wish to wake her. Lord knew, she needed to sleep after her ordeal; but he couldn’t bear to be apart from her, either.
Silently, he removed his shoes and slipped onto the bed, curling up next to her on his side. Sleep tugged at him almost at once, but he couldn’t resist kissing her cheek and putting his arm over her to hold her close in sleep.
“I love you, Claire.”
She didn’t wake, nor did she need to. Her love was on him all the same.