Red Jamie and the White Lady - Part 7
I’d say sorry for teasing, but I’m not. As always, @diversemediums is a total gem and an amazing brainstorm partner. If you haven’t read any of her stuff or talked to her, you’re seriously missing out. Anyways. I’m still overwhelmed with how much fun this story is and how much you all are loving it. I hope I keep it up!
Read part 6 HERE
Murtagh read his morning paper, sipping his tea. Jamie came down and sat at the table beside him.
“I need to Look,” Jamie said quietly.
He’d been waiting for this realization. If they’d been found, Jamie needed to See the immediate future to know how much time they’d have. It wouldn’t be the first time.
“Aye, lad. Ye do. We need to ken if he’s found us.”
Jamie took a deep breath.
“No’ now! Ye wee idiot! Ye canna Look on an empty stomach and ye ken that well. Or have ye forgotten what happened the last time ye did it?”
Jamie’s eyes rolled.
“I’ve no’ forgotten.”
“Then eat up. And I’ll keep watch while ye Look. Dinna stay too long. Claire’s no’ here to heal ye.”
Nodding, his godson settled down and began eating his breakfast. It might be time to move again, even if they hadn’t been found. They’d been here too long, gotten a reputation.
“Alright,” Jamie said a few minutes later. “I’m going to See.”
“What is yer aim? To See him now? Or future?”
“I want to See as close to now as may be, to see if he kens where we are.”
Murtagh sat forward and faced his godson. Each time Jamie did this, it made him nervous. Now that they’d found the healer, maybe it wouldn’t worry him so much.
Jamie closed his eyes and focused on the name and the face. Calling on that something extra he’d had most of his life, the world around him swirled and faded away.
A door closed and he walked forward. He took a deep breath and turned to face the mirror. He ran a hand over his bald head before pulling out a cell phone and tapping away for a moment.
Jamie pulled himself out of the vision with a gasp. Murtagh was watching him carefully.
“Are ye alright lad?”
“Aye, I’m alright. Christ, Murtagh. He’s here.”
His godfather began to get to his feet but Jamie shook his head.
“No’ here. But in the city.”
“Before ye gi’ me a heart attack, tell me what ye just saw.”
Focusing on the memory of the vision, he recalled it to Murtagh.
“And ye recognize the mirror, ye say?”
“Aye. It was the same one when I saw wi’ Claire. If he’s no’ found us, he’s found her.”
“He couldna ken that she’s the healer ye need. We didna ken it until she healed ye.”
Jamie began drumming his fingers against his thigh. Whatever unknown feelings he’d begun to develop for Claire, he couldn’t let her get hurt because of him.
“Aye, aye. But what if he does ken what she is?”
“Then we tell her and bring her here. Move again, but bring her wi’ us.”
Jamie made a frustrated noise.
“No. We’ve talked about this already, Murtagh. I’m no’ telling her what she is. And I’ll no’ tear her from the life she’s built here.”
Murtagh held up his hands in surrender.
“Alright, I’ll no’ argue wi’ ye again. But ye might change yer mind when the migraines get worse.”
Jamie sighed as he got up from the table. On some level, he knew Murtagh was right, but what about Claire? Just the thought of leaving her made his chest tight. Not that she’d go willingly, the brave wee thing…
“Are ye alright lad?” Murtagh asked, watching Jamie closely. “Ye look a bit pained.”
Jamie swallowed but nodded.
“Aye, I’m fine. Perhaps… perhaps we should call Jenny. Let her know we may have to relocate again.”
His godfather gave him a narrow eye before pulling out his cell phone, leaving the room the make the call and start preparations. Jamie exhaled. He was pained, but it wasn’t his head that was hurting now.
Claire sat on the couch with a blanket around her shoulders as she sipped her wine. The volume on the movie she watched was up a little louder than usual, but Geillis had had a ‘friend’ over when she’d gotten home.
A knock at the door forced her to pause the movie and get up to answer it. Frank looked at her with a worried expression. She waved him inside and they sat down on the couch beside each other.
“I wasn’t expecting you,” she said self consciously, pushing her hair back.
“I know, I was just worried. You haven’t seemed yourself lately and I wanted to check on you. Are you coming down with something?”
“I’m not coming down with anything. I’m alright, Frank. You didn’t need to come over.”
He reached forward and cupped her cheek in one hand. For a moment, he searched her eyes. Then a rhythmic ‘thump-thump-thump’ picked up from Geillis’ room again and Claire turned the movie back on.
Claire sighed and gave Frank a smile.
“I think I’m just going to go to bed. You don’t need to worry, Frank, I’m just tired. That’s all.”
“It’s no wonder,” he said, giving Geillis’ room a dirty look. “With all that racket. Does she ever spend a night alone?”
“Rarely. But that’s usually if she’s found a ‘friend’ at a bar beforehand.”
When she turned off the movie and got up, Frank joined her. They walked to her room and she closed the door. It was much quieter with the door shut.
“Do you want me to stay with you?” he asked quietly.
“You’ve got an early class in the morning. Go on home. I’ll call you later.”
With her sitting on the bed, he nodded and leaned down to kiss her sweetly. Then he left, closing her bedroom door behind him. After changing, Claire turned on her white noise machine and got into bed. But no matter what she did, she couldn’t get comfortable. Constantly tossing and turning, her lips burned in memory. The thing that was beginning to bother her, however, was that the memory wasn’t of Frank’s kiss. It was the kiss the lovers had shared in that strange shared vision. The passion and the heat between them was undeniable and something she’d never felt before.
She knew it was wrong to compare that kiss to Frank’s, but she couldn’t help herself. It wasn’t as though Frank was a bad kisser, just not the same intensity as the lovers had had. She recalled the night she’d had that vision, how her body had responded. Not one night with Frank had felt like that. Perhaps that passion they shared had grown from their deep love, and love like that was something Claire refused to share with anyone ever again. Everyone she’d ever loved had been torn away from her.
Her mind wandered to the last time she’d seen Jamie. That stray thought about kissing him, how she felt around him… It confused her. Before she could get herself tangled in her sheets, she got up to make herself a cup of tea. She needed to calm herself down so she could get some actual rest.
No more noise came from Geillis’ room. Maybe she’d finally passed out. No doubt she’d been quite drunk when she’d come home with her ‘friend’. As she got out her favorite tea, she heard a door open. Turning around, she thought it might be Geillis. Instead, it was someone she’d seen before.
“You must be Claire,” he said, his words tinged with a hint of an accent.”
“I am. I’m afraid I can’t recall where we’ve met before.”
“Here, actually,” he said with a kind smile that didn’t quite reach his eyes.
His shirt was partially buttoned and he wore jeans, but no shoes or socks.
“Right, you were here with Geillis before.”
“I was. She’s a very unique woman.”
Claire snorted and started to turn back to her tea preparations.
“That’s one way to put it.”
“But you,” his voice came closer.
Claire jumped when a hand rested on her shoulder. Stepping to one side, she turned and looked up at him, not liking the gleam in his eye.
“I’m afraid I’m with someone,” she paused, searching her memory for a name. “Dougal?”
“I find you a most singular woman, Claire. I’m here if you should find yourself wishing to sample…” he reached out to touch her face as Frank had. “Other pleasures.”
Pushing him away, Claire grabbed a coat and her keys before slipping into a pair of shoes near the door. Without looking back, she left the flat, eager to put distance between herself and Dougal.
Shortly after she’d left, she realized she was driving to Jamie’s home as if she was being pulled there. Had he had another vision? One that was giving him a migraine? She worried about those, with their increasing regularity and intensity. If they got too much worse, it could cause some serious damage.
When she knocked, she half expected Jamie to answer, smiling as if she’d arrived for an appointment. But it was Murtagh who opened the door.
“Miss Beauchamp,” he said, nodding his head. “What is it I can do for ye?”
“Is Jamie alright?”
“Aye. He’s up sleeping at the moment. Is something the matter?”
“Ah… No. No I don’t think so. I just thought he’d… Never mind. I’m sorry for disturbing you.”
“Claire,” he said as she made to leave. “I think we should have a talk.”
The serious look on his face had her walking into the flat after him. She followed him back to the kitchen and sat in the chair he pulled out for her.
“What is it we need to talk about? Is Jamie alright?”
“Aye, he is for now. But I think ye should ken just what it is that’s going on here.”
Claire relaxed into the chair, sensing this conversation would be a long one.
“Alright. I’m listening.”
“I ken ye keep coming back here, that ye care about the lad. Ye agreed to keep his secret, but I think ye should ken exactly what that means. So what I’m about to tell ye is something I’ll trust ye no’ to share wi’ anyone. Ever. No’ yer man, or roommate.”
Murtagh took a deep breath.
“The Fraser family has had a long and colorful history. Most men in the family have the Sight, like Jamie has, but no’ all. I’m a Fraser as well, but I dinna have the Gift. Jamie had an elder brother, William, and still has a sister, Jenny.”
Murtagh nodded, looking down at his clenched hands.
“Aye. Before I get to Willie, I need to tell ye about his mam and da, Ellen and Brian. They were a True match, meant to be. Anyone could see it when they were together. Brian was a Seer, like Jamie is, and his Gift got stronger. We kent he needed more help than hospital could offer. Ellen had her own Gift, something that only worked on Brian. It was she who kept his visions from killing him for many years.”
“What happened to her?”
It was a long time before he answered.
“Brian was out helping a family he kent wi’ something. The children were out somewhere, I’m no’ sure. Ye have to understand, Claire, the Fraser Gift is a strong thing, wanted by many people. Governments across the globe would love to have the power of a psychic to See what will come to pass. One such government found Ellen at home. She wouldna tell them where Brian was. They’d been prepared for something like this, kent it would come eventually. Ellen was… She was a brave lass, strong and fierce. Her family meant everything to her, and keeping Brian safe was her first priority. Willie and Jamie had started to show signs of having the Gift as well.”
Claire shifted in her seat, knowing she did not want to hear what happened to Ellen Fraser.
“Ellen fought them, determined to keep them from Brian and her sons. One foolish boy was afraid of her, having heard rumors she could stop a heart wi’ a look. It wasna true, her Gift only helped Brian, but he didna ken that. His weapon discharged and Ellen fell. I arrived at Lallybroch shortly after the military had fled. Having no Gift myself, I did all I could to keep the family safe. Maybe if I’d been there when…”
Lines of guilt crossed his face and he turned away from her then. Claire waited patiently, giving him the time he needed to compose himself.
“You found her?”
“Aye,” his voice cracked. “She had such life in her, Ellen did. Jamie got his hair from her, ye ken, and some of her face. But when I saw her… I kent she’d gone and wouldna come back. Brian came home before the children did, thank God. He wept over her body and I cleaned myself before going out to meet the children. They didna need their last sight of their mam to be her body on the floor in their sitting room. So we buried Ellen in the family plot and went about our lives. I stayed at the house then because I kent it was partly my fault Ellen had died. Brian started telling me about what would be happening for the boys in the coming years.”
“Why? If he had the Gift as well, why wouldn’t he teach them himself?”
“Weel, the visions get stronger, ye ken. They cause migraines which get worse as the power increases. He and I both kent his time was growing short, wi’out Ellen there to help him. So he prepared me and charged me wi’ their welfare, naming me their godfather. Brian died three months after Ellen. I say he lasted so long because he was a stubborn bastard.”
Wiping tears from her cheeks, she thought about how kind Jamie was. She’d lost her own parents at a young age in a car crash, but they hadn’t been stolen like Jamie’s had. Her heart ached for him.
“How old was he?”
“Ten. Willie was just sixteen, Jenny was thirteen. She’d just started to get her Gift - she can hear thoughts. Thirteen is when the Gift usually comes, but Jamie was only eleven when he got his. It was strong in a way nobody was prepared for. Willie kent Jamie would need someone to help him, like Ellen helped Brian. So he Looked as often as he could, trying to find whoever it might be.”
“Willie died too?”
Murtagh nodded slowly.
“Aye. Same as Brian, though much too soon. Jamie Saw it, his first true vision. He’d seen bits and pieces here and there, but nothing ever enough to be a real vision. But he Saw how and when Willie would die. Since then, he hasna looked too far into someone’s future. Willie did his best to find a way to protect Jamie, but… He couldna.”
“How old was Willie when he died?”
“Twenty-three. Jamie took it hard, as ye can imagine. He’d kent when Willie would die for some time, but he couldna do a thing to stop it. He carried that guilt for a long time. Still does, sometimes. Jamie is now the only Fraser Seer left, ye ken.”
Everything Murtagh had just told her weighed heavy on her heart. Jamie had lost so much in his life, grown up without his parents and carried the guilt of his brother’s death.
“Jenny’s still alive?”
Now Murtagh smiled.
“Aye. Verra much alive. Marriet to a fine young man who she canna read like the rest of us. He’s like a shield for her, which she needs. Helps her stay grounded. But we havena seen her in nearly two years. I keep in contact wi’ her when I can. Wi’ Jamie’s Gift, it isna safe for him to stay home, much as he’d like to. We have to keep moving to stay safe.”
Slowly, Claire shook her head back and forth.
“I can’t imagine how hard this is for him. His only family and he can’t see her. Growing up without his parents, losing his brother…”
“From time to time, he feels himself a coward for running, but he couldna stand the thought of something happening to Jenny like it did Ellen. So I stay wi’ him to keep him safe. I help him in what small ways I might, teaching him the things Brian told me.”
“So why are you telling me all this? I already promised I wouldn’t share anything with anyone. I’ve been lying to my roommate for weeks now.”
Murtagh nodded and rubbed a hand over his face.
“Aye, I ken ye are and I canna tell ye how much I appreciate it. Yer helping keep Jamie safe. But if ye intend to be his friend, ye need to ken the danger. It isna fair to ye to keep ye in the dark about all this.”
“Thank you for trusting me with this, Murtagh. It can’t have been easy to share all of that. How is he? How are his injuries?”
“Quite well. The injuries are healing up verra well. Ye do fine work.”
The floorboards above them creaked and Murtagh rolled his eyes.
“The wee fool is supposed to be sleeping.”
“I’ll go check on him. You should get some rest too. If you’re to be the one protecting him, you need your energy.”
“Actually, if ye wouldna mind staying here a bit? I need to get a few things to stock up on, but Jamie couldna leave earlier. If ye wouldna mind staying here until I got back?”
Murtaugh gave her a final nod and disappeared into a back room. Carefully, she climbed the stairs to Jamie’s room and found the door slightly open. There was a large lump on the bed, beneath a beautiful tartan quilt, that she assumed to be Jamie. He looked heartbreakingly young as he slept, ruddy hair curling over his forehead and lips slightly parted. She could see the young boy he had once been. Compelled by tenderness, she reached out and brushed his hair back. The sweetest smile curled his lips up for a brief moment before his eyes shot open.
She jumped back from him, startled as his wide eyes rolled around the room, unseeing. He thrashed, limbs tangling with his blanket.
"Claire… God no…”
"Jamie,” she said loudly, heart breaking at his tone of voice. “Jamie, I’m right here. Are you alright?”
He eyes snapped to hers, finally seeing her, and his mouth began moving, but no sound came out. She moved back to his side, worried. He must have had another vision. Damn Murtagh for leaving!
“Claire! No, ye canna- AAHH!”
His eyes lost focus again and he grabbed at his hair, blood beginning to run freely from his nose.
"Jesus H. Christ!” she gasped, reaching for the discarded bath towel in the hamper and pressing it to his nose as best she could.
He thrashed again, groaning and whimpering. Claire stood for a moment, afraid of the choice before her. She had no training to deal with whatever was happening to Jamie, but taking him to the hospital would be dangerous. Given everything Murtagh had just told her, she thought it might be a bad idea. Then, his eyes rolled back and he fell back onto his bed.
“Jamie,” she said urgently, shaking his shoulders. “Jamie wake up!”
Jamie didn’t move. Blood still poured from his nose, staining his sheets crimson.
“Don’t you dare, James Fraser!” she demanded, frantically grabbing her phone and calling for an ambulance.
She gave as much information as she could, realizing how little she still knew about him. With Murtagh gone, Claire climbed into the ambulance, trying not to bark orders at the EMT’s. She touched Jamie’s shoulder, needing to feel close to him, and sudden disjointed images flashed through her mind. Herself. And blood. So much blood. Fear gripped her, and she had to focus on controlling her ragged breathing.
“Oh Jamie,” she said in a quiet whisper.
His nose had stopped bleeding, thankfully, but his entire face was red with pain. Impulsively, she reached out and put a hand against his face. After a moment, he seemed to relax a little. His heart rate dropped to a more normal rhythm and he seemed to breathe easier.
After Jamie was checked in and settled in his own bed, Claire felt her eyes drooping. Her hands wrung together as Jamie slept. She kept wiping the tears from her face, worrying over the man before her. Had she done the right thing?
When his eyes opened, she sat up.
“Jamie,” she said, trying to grab his attention. “Jamie it’s alright.”
“Wh-where am I?”
“You’re in hospital. I didn’t know what else to do. I-”
He began to thrash in the bed until she grabbed his face, forcing him to look at her.
“I’m not going to leave you alone,” she said quietly. “Relax, Jamie. Breathe in slowly, that’s it.”
Their eyes met and he began to calm until his breathing matched hers.
“I shouldna- shouldn’t be here.”
“I’m sorry. I didn’t know what else to do. You were bleeding and you passed out.”
He started to speak again, but stopped and exhaled instead. Claire was glad to see his eyes were clear, though his skin was still pale.
"Do… do you want me to go?” she asked timidly. “I can go back and find Murt-”
“No!” he exclaimed suddenly, grabbing weakly for her hand. “No,” he said again, softly.
Claire interlaced her fingers with his, shocked to feel the warmth of him. His hands were strong and slightly callused. She had no problem imagining him working on his family estate.
“You look tired, Claire.”
She looked up from their clasped hands and saw him worriedly watching her. She sniffed out a laugh.
“If that isn’t the pot calling the kettle black I don’t know what is,” she said dryly.
He gave a light chuckle.
“Please,” he said, suddenly sober. “Don’t go.”
An unfamiliar desire urged her onto the bed beside him. He shifted, making a little more room, and she kept hold of his hand.
“I’m not going anywhere, Jamie.”
He nodded slowly, eyes drifting closed again. When his mouth fell a little open, she knew he was truly asleep. She wasn’t far behind him.
A man stood in the corridor, just out of sight of the pair on the bed. Putting the cell phone to his ear, he waited for the call connect.
“Well?” came the voice on the other end.
“I found him.”