amy higgins

anonymous asked:

In Modern Glasgow, Jamie and Claire go see Joe about their troubles conceiving a child. Could we see a few moments that led up to that decision and how they supported each other since they both want children so badly?

Modern Glasgow AU

“Claire! There you are!”

Claire Fraser looked up from her medical journal, perched at one corner of the crusty table in the ER’s dimly lit break room. “Dr. Abernathy?”

The kindly American doctor allowed the door to creakily swing shut, wiping his sweaty forehead on the back of his scrubs sleeve. “It’s a madhouse out there. I know you’re on a break, but would you mind pitching in?”

But Claire had already risen. “Of course – lead the way.”

It was spring – the first truly nice evening since the previous autumn – and, seemingly, an occasion for people to do whatever they did that landed them in the emergency room. Claire was just finishing up her second year of medical school, and had been lucky to land an internship in the emergency room at one of Glasgow’s leading hospitals. Learning the art of triage.

Dr. Joe Abernathy was on a long-term exchange from Boston – his specialty being OB/GYN – but on a night like tonight, everyone and anyone with advanced medical training seemed to be needed.

“What have you done tonight? I thought it was your anniversary?”

Joe quietly laughed and shook his head as they walked down the hall together – quickly darting around the nurses and orderlies. “Well it was – still is, I guess. But I somehow had a gut feeling that things would be crazy around here tonight – it’s the first full moon of the spring, after all. And it’s fun to be doing sutures and setting broken bones – God knows I haven’t done that for a while!”

By now they’d reached the nexus of the ER – overflowing with half-drunk men bleeding from various places on their bodies, mothers clutching wailing children, and a smattering of elderly people.

Nurse Murdina Bug – who reminded her so much of Mrs. Fitz – appeared at her elbow, clutching a stack of clipboards. Deftly she handed one to Claire and nudged her and Joe toward a small area to the side of the waiting room, where patients waited amid partitions separated by thin curtains.

“Here ye are – I thought this woman would be perfect for ye, Claire. She’s seven months pregnant – complaining of cramps and bleeding. Dr. Abernathy – ye can lead, but I’d like Claire to observe?”

“Of course,” he smiled at the red-cheeked nurse who always had a kind word and smile. “Lead on.”

Claire glanced down at the chart, and Murdina pulled back the curtain, and then she and Joe met Amy Higgins.

“Good evening, Mrs. Higgins – Mr. Higgins,” Joe greeted the nervous-looking couple. Amy sat up straight against the headboard of the bed, tracing the large curve of her belly – her husband stood right next to her, face ashen with worry.

“Hello,” they said softly.

“I’m Dr. Abernathy and this is Claire – she’s a second year medical student and one of the finest I’ve ever seen, if I may say so. You’ll be in good hands with us. Now tell me – what seems to be the problem?”

Claire thanked God yet another time that she had found an internship so close to her and Jamie’s flat – just a fifteen minute walk and she could be home. And after pulling a double shift, full of blood and broken bones and screaming children and just a little bit of heartbreak – she wanted to enjoy the late afternoon sunshine, drink a restorative cup of tea, shower, and go to bed with Jamie – in that order.

*Be home soon,* she texted him as she turned onto the main avenue about five minutes from home.

*Waiting for u mnd,* he replied immediately, followed by ten heart emojis.

How he always brought a smile to her face. A smile which he kissed with such sweetness when she finally strode through their front door, and he swept her into his arms, and time stood still.

“Have you been drinking?” she whispered against his lips a bit later, after he had set her down on the edge of their kitchen table.

“Aye,” he breathed, kissing the tip of her nose. “We got word a bit after noon – Scarlett went into labor this morning. The bairn came around two – so Rupert’s got three now, in less than three years. Can ye believe it?”

And then a most profound feeling of fear and regret – and shame – surged through her heart.

Of course Jamie felt the change in her. He reached down to take her clammy, trembling hands in his.

Her pulse picked up – rapid breaths in and out. Vision blurring.

“Claire?” he whispered. “*Mo graidh* - ye’re scaring me. Did something happen today?”

“I’m having a panic attack,” she observed – voice absolutely detached. She closed her eyes as the room began to spin.

Her senses sharpened – and she heard Jamie swallow.

“Claire? Claire – what can I do?”

Slowly she looked down at their joint hands – distractedly admiring how the J tattooed just inside her right thumb perfectly lined up with the C tattooed just inside his left thumb.

“It’s what *I* can do – or, rather, *can’t* do,” she said, so quiet. Lost.

Jamie gently cupped her flushed cheek with one of his hands, tilting her chin so that his eyes met hers. Waiting.

“How come I can’t get pregnant, Jamie?”

He physically reeled back. Shocked.

“What?” he croaked. “What – what do ye mean? These things take time – ”

“We’ve been married almost two years. We’ve *never* used protection. And I’m still not pregnant.”

Now he stepped a bit closer – eyes still locked on hers. “Aye. So?”

Tears welled.

Where was this fear and pain and sorrow coming from?

“We’ve made love a thousand times, Jamie – but never conceived. Statistically that’s – that’s terrible. Beyond terrible.”

He pursed his lips, and swallowed. “What are ye saying?”

“I’m saying that I don’t think I can get pregnant. If I haven’t already – I’m not going to.”

Now his eyes narrowed – and color flared on his own cheeks.

“How *dare* ye say that?” His voice rose – not in anger, but in emphasis. “Are ye giving up, then? Giving up on our dream of a family – of a house full of children?”

“I’m surrounded by women who get pregnant as easily as sneezing – I treated a woman today who has been married for three years and is pregnant for the second time. Rupert and Scarlett met not too long before we did, and she’s been pregnant non-stop since they married.” She closed her eyes, chest heaving with feeling. “Why can’t that be me? How come I can’t do that?”

Jamie leaned and wrapped his arms around her so tight. She buried her face in his shoulder, and all of a sudden let out a sob that shuddered through her entire body.

“Sshh,” he soothed. “Sshh. My love – my heart. Let me comfort ye.”

And she clung to him, mourning the life she didn’t have – and feared she would never have with him, this incredible man who deserved so much more than she felt she could give him.

Sometime later he carried her to their bedroom and helped her shed her sweaty scrubs. They burrowed under their plaid quilt, naked, but not wanting to make love – just craving skin-on-skin intimacy. Oneness.

“I want so, so badly to give you children,” she whispered after a while. “And I’m so afraid that I won’t be able to.”

“We can always adopt,” he replied softly, thumb tracing the contour of her hip, dipping into the hollow of her navel. “There are so many needy children in this world – we could give one a proper home.”

“Yes,” she breathed. “Of course. But – but it is selfish to say that I want a child that’s part you and part me? That I want our lovemaking to create a product of our love? That I want to grow and shelter a child inside me? That – that I want to make love when I’m pregnant? And – and that I want to feed you, so close to my heart?”

His thumb skimmed up her side to swirl around one areola, watching in fascination as her nipple puckered.

“Those arena selfish things,” he said after a while. “Lord knows I want to see you pregnant – show it to the world. Have a daughter that looks like ye, or a son that looks like me.”

He shifted his hips a bit closer toward hers, tracing his hand down her side and then cupping her lovely round arse, anchoring her to him.

“Are ye telling me ye’ve given up on that dream?”

She jerked her hips against his, seeking friction.

“I want you inside me,” she pleaded.

He stilled her against him. “No, *mo nighean donn* - no. Not now. We need to talk about this.”

She closed her eyes. He watched her – would keep watching her for as long as it took.

“No – no. I haven’t given up. But I don’t think we can do it on our own.”

He pressed his thumbnail into the sensitive flesh of her lower back. “All right – so what do we do?”

“I’ll ask Joe. We should both meet with him – he’d give us an honest answer. And then we’ll know.”

He leaned in for a long kiss. Full of strength, and promise.

“I love you,” he breathed against her lips. “I will love you until the day I die. No matter if we have no bairns or adopt fifteen or you carry a few of our own. I have *you,* Claire. That’s the most important.

“I so, so want a family with you,” she whispered. “I want what I didn’t have.”

“So we shall make one together.” Gently he eased onto his back, letting her straddle him. “Full of so much love that we won’t know what to do with it all.”

She leaned over to kiss him. “I love you, Jamie. I – it just keeps growing. I can’t believe how much I love you. How lucky I am to have you.”

He nudged up a bit. “God blessed me with you – and God will bless us with children. He may just need a bit of help from your friend.”

She reached down between them, stroked her thumb back and forth to prepare him, and took him inside. They both gasped. Yet she held still.

“You astound me,” she whispered. “In everything. Always.”

“It’s because I love you. How could it not be so?”

Impatient, he rolled his hips. Helped her take power in that moment – so that she could take power in the days and weeks to come.

And prayed that their firstborn would have her eyes.

“I love cats because I enjoy my home; and little by little, they become its visible soul.” ― Jean Cocteau

I wasn’t quite ready yet for goodbyes, though, and stepped into the wood to pull myself together. The grass was long beside the trail, soft and feathery against the hem of my weighted skirts. Something heavier than grass brushed them, and I looked down to see Adso. I’d been looking for him most of yesterday; typical of him to show up at the last minute.

 “So there you are,” I said, accusing. He looked at me with his huge calm eyes of celadon green, and licked a paw. On impulse, I scooped him up and held him against me, feeling the rumble of his purr and the soft, thick fur of his silvery belly. He’d be all right; I knew that. The woods were his private game preserve, and Amy Higgins liked him and had promised me to see him right for milk and a warm spot by the fire in bad weather. I knew that.

 “Go on, then,” I said, and set him on the ground. He stood for a moment, tail waving slowly, head raised in search of food or interesting smells, then stepped into the grass and vanished.

 I bent, very slowly, arms crossed, and shook, weeping silently, violently. I cried until my throat hurt and I couldn’t breathe, then sat in the grass, curled into myself like a dried leaf, tears that I couldn’t stop dropping on my knees like the first fat drops of a coming storm. Oh, God. It was only the beginning. 

I rubbed my hands hard over my eyes, smearing the wetness, trying to scrub away grief. A soft cloth touched my face, and I looked up, sniffing, to find Jamie kneeling in front of me, handkerchief in hand.

 “I’m sorry,” he said, very softly. “It’s not—don’t worry, I’m … He’s only a cat,” I said, and a small fresh grief tightened like a band round my chest.

-An Echo In The Bone 


 “Come along, Roddy, you can be first to tell your mam that Himself and his lady have come back!”

Jamie took my hand and squeezed it hard. He was flushed from the walk, and even more from excitement; the color ran right down into the open neck of his shirt, turning his skin a beautiful rosy bronze.

“I’ve brought ye home, Sassenach,” he said, his voice a little husky. “It willna be the same—and I canna say how things will be now—but I’ve kept my word.”

My throat was so choked that I could barely whisper “Thank you.” We stood for a long moment, clasped tight together, summoning up the strength to go around that last corner and look at what had been, and what might be.
Something brushed the hem of my skirt, and I looked down, expecting that a late cone from the big spruce we were standing by had fallen.

A large gray cat looked up at me with big, calm eyes of celadon green and dropped a fat, hairy, very dead wood rat at my feet.

“Oh, God!” I said, and burst into tears.

-Written In My Own Heart’s Blood

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bermuda hill plantation by Amy Higgins
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SOME MUSICAL EPISODES OF ANIMATED SHOWS THAT HAPPENED:

DEXTER’S LABORATORY - LABRETTO (11 min., Season 2)

Creator Genndy Tartakovsky

Music by Thomas Chase & Steve Rucker

Written by Michael Ryan

Directed by Genndy Tartakovsky

BATMAN: THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD - MAYHEM OF THE MUSIC MEISTER (22 min., Season 1)

Batman Characters Created by Bob Kane

Developers James Tucker & Michael Jelenic

Music by Kristopher Carter, Michael McCuistion, and Lolita Pitmans

Written by Michael Jelenic

Directed by Ben Jones

THE POWERPUFF GIRLS - SEE ME FEEL ME GNOMEY (22 min., Season 5)

Creator Craig McCracken​

Music & Lyrics by Dave Smith

Written by Chris Savino & Dave Smith

Directed by John McIntyre & Chris Savino

Story by Craig McCracken, John McIntyre, Amy Keating Rogers, Chris Savino, and Dave Smith

WANDER OVER YONDER - MY FAIR HATEY (22 min., Season 2)

Creator Craig McCracken

Music & Lyrics by Andy Bean

Written by Andy Bean, Frank Angones, and Amy Higgins

Directed by Dave Thomas, Eddie Trigueros, and Justin Nichols

Story by Craig McCracken, Andy Bean, Frank Angones, Amy Higgins, Todd Casey, and Noelle Stevenson

RUBY GLOOM - HAIR-LESS THE MUSICAL (Parts 1 & 2, 44 min., Season 3)

Creator Martin Hsu (Characters)

Developed by Mighty Fine

Music by Ray Parker & Tom Szczesniak

Story & Lyrics by Carolyn Hay

Directed by Robin Budd

UPCOMING MUSICAL EPISODE:

HARVEY BEAKS - STEAMPUNKS! (Parts 1 & 2, 44 min., Season 2)

Creator C.H. Greenblatt

Music & Lyrics by Ego Plum

Tonight on Wander over Yonder

As the countdown begins for the final five episodes of Wander we feature two episodes that focus on your favorite tough as nails Zbornak with the heart of gold, Sylvia. First up…

Sylvia takes her job as Wander’s protector very seriously and takes great pride in her ability to keep his unique spirit safe. But when a rival do gooder rides into to town and starts stealing their thunder she not only grows suspicious but maybe a little jealous as well. THE HOT SHOT also gave us an opportunity to explore the idea of those who try to cash in on other peoples successes for their own selfish gains, just because you look like a hero and act like a hero doesn’t mean you have the heart, sincerity, and talent to truly save the day. 

Written by: Amy Higgins, Frank Angones, and Craig McCracken

Storyboarded and Directed by: Dave Thomas

We love Dominator, she is the most evil, dangerous and unstoppable villain in our goofy little galaxy, she is THE BAD GUY and it appears that nothing can take her down. As cool and fun as she is we wanted an opportunity to explore another side of her so with THE NIGHT OUT we stripped her of her armor, her ship, and her bots to try and get a glimpse of the evil that lies underneath. Which Sylvia will soon find out it is still pretty bad.

Written by: Noelle Stevenson

Storyboard by: Vaughn Tada

Directed by: Eddie Trigueros

In case you missed it, a transcript of one of the most musically pleasing parts of Pitch Perfect 2
  • Ester Dean: *singing a beautiful soul rendition of a freaking PITBULL SONG, HOW IS THIS POSSIBLE*
  • Anna Kendrick: They say you're a freak
  • Beautifully diverse and funny a cappella nerds: Wha ooooooh whaaaa oh ohhhhhhhhhhhh *literally resurrecting a Ke$ha song into an anthem*
  • Anna Kendrick: We got the wooooooroooooooooooorld
  • An angel of a cappella gods from the heavens: We got got got got got got got TONIGHT
  • Anna Kendrick: And we never st- *breaks into full DJ mode* sto-sto-stop, I'll be the ooooooooooone
  • Greek Pantheon of full vocal ranges: *continual beautiful harmonies* FROM SEA TO SHINING SEA *performing for the freaking President, get patriotic up in there*
  • Brittany Snow: *killing it*
  • Alexis Knapp: *killing it*
  • Hana Mae Lee: *killing it*
  • Elizabeth Banks and John Michael Higgins: WTF I mean our brains cannot comprehend how is this a cappella Jesus take the wheel
  • Rebel Wilson as freaking FAT AMY: I CAME IN LIKE A WRECKING BAAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLL *dangles in the air, with metaphysical flames bursting from her aura*
Tonight on Wander over Yonder

With Season 2 we wanted to try and make Wander/Hater cartoons without having them just be a repeat of the “RAAA I HATE YOU WANDER!” Chase, chase, chase, cartoons of Season 1.

So tonight’s episodes feature two different attempts at telling funny stories with our two mains, without them being just chase cartoons.  First up…

A lot of the Wander crew grew up loving Bugs Bunny cartoons and the key to most Bugs cartoons is that they are simply about character 1 trying to kill character 2 and how character 2 is able to survive by comedically distracting character 1 from going through with said killing.

With THE BIG DAY we thought it would be funny to do the opposite. What if in an attempt to distract character 1 from killing them, character 2 not only embraced the idea of their utter demise but insisted that they do it up right and make it memorable and special?

Never a show to pull any punches when it comes to comedy, we realized the only way to make character 2′s demise the most memorable, the most special, and the most hilarious is to treat it like a wedding!

So you’re invited to the THE BIG DAY our tribute to the classic Bugs, Elmer, Yosemite Sam, and Daffy cartoon dynamic.

Written by Ben Joseph

Storyboarded and Directed by Dave Thomas

One of my favorite things about Wander over Yonder is that it’s a show that can literally do just that, we can wander all over the place and try different, and unique things.

And with THE BREAKFAST we wanted to try something REALLY different and REALLY unique.  I thought it would be cool to make an episode that demonstrated how Wander and Hater are opposites by showing how they tackle the same simple problem, like making breakfast. To make it more interesting I thought it would be a fun challenge to tell their stories simultaneously, via split screen using mostly visuals, and with very little dialog.

This was not an easy cartoon to make, in fact it’s practically two cartoons at once. We realized early on that if not done right this could be a really hard cartoon to watch, because you’d never know where to look.  So starting with the story meeting all the way through the final mix we carefully planned which side we wanted the audience to pay attention to as the two stories progressed.

Written by Amy Higgins and Craig McCracken

Storyboarded by Justin Nichols

Directed by Dave Thomas

Everyone on the crew did an incredible job on these cartoons and we are really proud with how they turned out. Hope you enjoy watching them as much as we had making them!

New Classic Sailor Moon dub cast list!

Just announced from Anime Expo at Viz’s panel, the new dub cast for the classic 90s Sailor Moon series!

“How shall I tell ye what it is, to feel the need of a place?”

he said softly. “The need of snow beneath my shoon. The breath of the mountains, breathing their own breath in my nostrils as God gave breath to Adam. The scrape of rock under my hand, climbing, and the sight of the lichens on it, enduring in the sun and the wind.” His breath was gone and he breathed again, taking mine. His hands were linked behind my head, holding me, face-to-face. “If I am to live as a man, I must have a mountain,” he said simply. His eyes were open wide, searching mine for understanding. -Drums Of Autumn


“I will arise and go now,” I said softly, “and go to Innisfree, and a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made; nine bean rows will I have there, a hive for the honeybee, and live alone in the bee-loud glade.” I paused for a moment, and as I turned away, added in a whisper, “And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow.”

I made my way briskly down the path then; no need to apostrophize the ruins of the house, nor yet the white sow. I’d remember them without effort. As for the corncrib and hen coop—if you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all.
I could see the little gathering of horses, mules, and people moving in the slow chaos of imminent departure in front of the cabin. I wasn’t quite ready yet for goodbyes, though, and stepped into the wood to pull myself together.
The grass was long beside the trail, soft and feathery against the hem of my weighted skirts. Something heavier than grass brushed them, and I looked down to see Adso. I’d been looking for him most of yesterday; typical of him to show up at the last minute.
“So there you are,” I said, accusing. He looked at me with his huge calm eyes of celadon green, and licked a paw. On impulse, I scooped him up and held him against me, feeling the rumble of his purr and the soft, thick fur of his silvery belly.
He’d be all right; I knew that. The woods were his private game preserve, and Amy Higgins liked him and had promised me to see him right for milk and a warm spot by the fire in bad weather. I knew that.
“Go on, then,” I said, and set him on the ground. He stood for a moment, tail waving slowly, head raised in search of food or interesting smells, then stepped into the grass and vanished. I bent, very slowly, arms crossed, and shook, weeping silently, violently.
I cried until my throat hurt and I couldn’t breathe, then sat in the grass, curled into myself like a dried leaf, tears that I couldn’t stop dropping on my knees like the first fat drops of a coming storm. -An Echo In The Bone


“ICOULDN’T STOP BREATHING. From the moment we left the salt-marsh miasma of Savannah, with its constant fog of rice paddies, mud, and decaying crustaceans, the air had grown clearer, the scents cleaner—well, putting aside the Wilmington mudflats, redolent with their memories of crocodiles and dead pirates—spicier, and more distinct. And as we reached the summit of the final pass, I thought I might explode from simple joy at the scent of the late-spring woods, an intoxicating mix of pine and balsam fir, oaks mingling the spice of fresh green leaves with the must of the winter’s fallen acorns, and the nutty sweetness of chestnut mast under a layer of wet dead leaves, so thick that it made the air seem buoyant, bearing me up. I couldn’t get enough of it into my lungs. 

“If ye keep gasping like that, Sassenach, ye’re like to pass out,” Jamie said, smiling as he came up beside me. “I’ve brought ye home, Sassenach,” he said, his voice a little husky. “It willna be the same—and I canna say how things will be now—but I’ve kept my word.”


My throat was so choked that I could barely whisper “Thank you.” We stood for a long moment, clasped tight together, summoning up the strength to go around that last corner and look at what had been, and what might be.
Something brushed the hem of my skirt, and I looked down, expecting that a late cone from the big spruce we were standing by had fallen.
 A large gray cat looked up at me with big, calm eyes of celadon green and dropped a fat, hairy, very dead wood rat at my feet.
“Oh, God!” I said, and burst into tears. -Written In My Own Heart’s Blood

Originally posted by aniaarievilo

Tonight on Wander over Yonder

Hey we’re back, with new episodes and some new characters! With these shows we explore the theme of what may be seen as a weakness could actually be a great strength! First up…

Wander S2 focuses a lot on stories about new bad guys but that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for stories about new good guys, or in the case of The Loose Screw “old” good guys.  When writing this cartoon we wanted to make sure that it didn’t come off as if we were just making fun of old folks so it was essential to cast the role of STELLA STARBELLA respectfully. 

Enter Academy Award Nominee June Squibb!  Ms. Squibb had never done V/O work before but she took to it like a pro and we had a blast recording this session with her. We knew that her sweet but sharp sense of humor would play perfect against Jack’s bright optimism. 

Guess we weren’t the only ones to think so, for not long after this was recorded we found out that she was cast along side Jack once again, on Adult Swim’s: Jack and Triumph show. 

This episode also respectively tips it hat to a lot of classic Sci-fi from the past, which like Sylvia says “May have a lot of light years on them but they were built to last!”  

Written by: Amy Higgins/ Craig McCracken

Storyboarded and Directed by: Eddie Trigueros

One of my favorite kinds of cartoons to make is to take one character, give them one little problem, and watch them deal with it over the course of 11 minutes.  With THE IT we watch as Hater’s little problem becomes a BIG problem for Commander Peepers.

These cartoons are less about plot and more pure character study. We’ve done it with Wander ( The Nice Guy) and Sylvia (The Hat) but this may be the first time we did it with Hater.

Another big first for this episode is this is the first episode storyboarded by the great Ben Balistreri. 

http://benbalistreri.tumblr.com

Ben and I have worked together for years and he’s one of those artists who when you look at their work they make you question why you had the gaul to think you actually knew how to draw. We are all super exited and lucky to have him as a part of Wander S2!

Written by: Frank Angones

Storyboard by: Ben Balistreri

Directed by: Dave Thomas

Fic-off

So, you gave us a WONDERFUL start last week, how about some more ;) MWAH.


Well… Since you asked so nicely! I just have to say, this might breech my top 5 favorite OL fics I’ve ever written. Wow. I’m impressing myself!


Amy Higgins was laughing at me. Not giggling, not coughing to cover her amusement, but true, guttural laughter.

“Would you stop?!”

“I have never seen you like this before, Claire! I didn’t believe Mrs. Fitz when she said how well you and the Scot had hit it off.”

“Amy, this is Scotland. Nearly every man on the street is a Scot.”

“That may be, but from what I heard, not every man on the street looks like the young Fraser lad.”

I gave her my best glare. Amy and I had been friends for years, one of the first I made after moving to Scotland. She was married to a nice man and they made a very fitting couple. Part of me had always envied them.

“No,” I said, my voice turning wistful. “Not like him.”

“My. GOD! Claire! You’re smitten!”

My eyes went wide and I stared at her, my mouth hanging open.

“What?! I’ve known him less than a week!”

“Yes, and you talk of nothing else. He calls you regularly and texts you almost hourly.”

“So?”

“My grandmother would have said you have starlight in your eyes.”

Now I was rolling my eyes, turning back to my small closet.

“What am I supposed to wear to a dinner date? It’s technically the second date, but it’ll feel more like the first.”

Amy grinned at me.

“Oh, I think you know the one.”

“Not the red one…”

“Yes, the red one. You want to make a good impression, don’t you?”

“Aren’t we past that?”

Amy shook her head.

“Nonsense. Red dress, those black heels. And no underpants.”

“You expect me to go out on a date with no knickers?!”

“Yes! Hurry up and put it on! I want to see you before I go home to Bobby.”

Muttering under my breath, I dug the red dress out of my closet and Amy left me to try it on.

Amy was right, as she usually was. This dress was flawless.

“Well?!”

“I’m not going to say it.”

The door opened and she squeaked.

“Oh I was right about this one. He’ll be here soon, right?”

“In an hour.”

“Good. I should be going home anyways. Please, please text me when you eventually get home. Even if it’s tomorrow morning.”

“AMY! I’m not sleeping with him on the second date!”

“Well I said nothing along those lines. That was your mind making that connection.”

I huffed at her.

“Don’t you have a husband to feed at home or something? Why are you pestering me?”

“Because you deserve to be happy, Claire.”

“Thank you, Amy. But really, I’ll be fine. You go on home.”

After a smile and a wink, Amy got to her feet and went out to her car.

One hour later, I got a knock on my front door. Already my heart was thudding and racing. I shrugged into a black coat and grabbed my clutch.

He was stunning. That curling red hair was combed back, his face clean shaven, and his smile as radiant as the sun. Oh God, I thought. Amy was right.

“Good evening, Sassenach.”

“Hello, Mr. Fraser.”

If it was possible, his full lips parted even further, making his smile worse.

“Are ye ready, then?”

“Yes, I am.”

Politely, he offered me his arm, which I took after I locked my front door.

“So where are we going?” I asked as he led me to his car.

It was a common enough car, but well maintained. He opened the door for me and I did my best to keep the skirt of my dress from slipping up too far.

Amy had talked me into buying it. Normally I would never wear something so form-fitting, but she’d insisted that I looked good. The bright red contrasted nicely with my skin, or so she’d said. I was worried it made me look even more pale, but the glint in Jamie’s eyes hinted that maybe Amy had been right. Again.

“A wee restaurant I thought ye might like.”

The car fell silent and awkward. I took a deep breath in through my nose and felt my heart skip. He smelled of the outdoors; sunshine and grass and sweat. It wasn’t at all bad.

“So, ah… Mrs. Fitz says she knows your godfather?”

“Och aye. Murtagh stayed wi’ her and her husband for a time many years ago. Mrs. Fitz kent my mother verra weel.”

“Did you tell him you’re taking me out for dinner already?”

He gave me a crooked smirk.

“Aye. And he said I’d be daft if I didna.”

I laughed as he pulled the car into a spot near the restaurant’s entrance. He got out and came around to open the door for me.

“Thank you, Jamie.”

“I think I forgot to say when I first saw ye tonight, but… Ye look verra beautiful, Claire.”

I felt my flush rise and couldn’t hold his gaze. The juvenile ‘he thinks I’m pretty’ thought ran through my head and I smiled.

“Thank you. I have to say you look rather dashing yourself.”

“I bought a new shirt and everything.”

I took his arm again as we went into the restaurant. The hostess took us to the table and set our menus down before excusing herself. Jamie, ever the gentleman, took my coat and helped me to my seat. Why had I let Amy talk me into wearing this dress? It had a fairly deep scoop neck, displaying my ample bosom nicely. I did not miss how Jamie’s eyes ran over me, now seeing the full effect of the dress.

“I was wrong, before,” he said, taking his own seat.

“About what?”

“You’re more than beautiful, Claire. You’re breathtaking.”

“O-oh,” I stammered, feeling my blush deepen. “Well thank you.”

“I’m a verra lucky man, to be taking ye to dinner.”

And here I thought I was the lucky one.

“I’m glad it’s you,” I blurted before I could snap my bloody mouth shut.

The tips of his slightly pointed ears turned a faint pink.

“Oh? Are ye then?”

“Ah… Yes. I am very glad.”

“As am I, Sassenach.”

We sat and talked again, but it was more than our lunch date had been. That had been more about breaking the ice, talking about families and work and friends rather than ourselves. Tonight… Tonight I decided I was in love with him and if ever I was to marry a man, it would be him.

“So tell me, Sassenach,” he said quietly as he took a bite of his dessert. “How has no man snatched ye up yet? A woman as smart and beautiful as yourself must have many gentleman callers.”

Because none of them had yet been you, I thought.

“Is the second date too soon to talk about exes?”

“I dinna ken. If ye dinna wish to share just yet, I’ll take no offense.”

“No, it’s… It’s alright. I hope I don’t sound too forward but… I find myself wanting to share these things with you.”

He sat forward, interested but not too eager. It was clear to me that he wanted to hear about my past solely because it had happened to me. And he wanted to know everything about me.

“I… I was engaged once, to an Englishman. He was a good man, at first. But he didn’t like the idea of me becoming a doctor, not just a nurse. He was a professor of history.”

“Was?”

“He slept with one too many of his graduate students.”

“While he was wi’ you?”

“Yes.”

Jamie muttered something that sounded dark in the Gaelic tongue I didn’t understand. No matter what he said, likely a nasty remark about Frank, it was beautiful coming from his mouth.

“I’m verra sorry, Claire. Ye dinna deserve to be treated that way.”

“Well, I didn’t know about the other women until after we’d broken up. He told me he’d thought my becoming a doctor was nothing more than a passing whimsy. But when I got in to medical school he told me it was being a doctor or the family we would one day have.”

“Christ,” he said, sitting back in his chair. “He made ye choose? That was verra wrong of him.”

“Maybe it was, but… It left me free.”

For you.

I’d almost said the words aloud, but the way Jamie’s eyes shot up to meet mine told me he’d picked up on them anyway.

“Then, for that alone, I will be thankful. But I canna say I’ll ever be thankful he cheated on ye or treated ye so poorly. I promise ye, Claire Beauchamp, I willa treat ye so.”

“You’re nothing like Frank, Jamie. I don’t think you ever could be.

He smiled very softly and reached across the table to take my hand. His was warm and rough from his work on his family’s estate, but very strong. The large thumb began to caress gentle circles on the back of my hand, sending tendrils of electricity up my arm. Those electric shocks went straight to my heart and then down, settling awkwardly in my lower abdomen.

I hadn’t been this sexually attracted to a man in quite some time. I didn’t know what to do with the feelings or how to mask them. Uncle Lamb had always told me that was my greatest blessing and greatest weakness, my ‘glass face’. Perhaps Jamie wouldn’t be able to read it in my face yet, we hardly knew each other after all. 

But the way he tried to hide his smile proved otherwise. Jesus H. Roosevelt Christ. What would those hands feel like on my skin? Rough and work-worn against my soft and supple? How tightly would he grip me while he took me? Would he leave bruises? A part of me hoped he might.

Get a hold of yourself, Beauchamp! You don’t sleep with a man on your second date!

“What about you, then?” I asked, my voice trembling a little. “How have you remained single for so long? The way Mrs. Fitz talked about you, it sounded like she would have married you on the spot.”

“Ah. Weel… It isna as painful as your story, to be sure. I just havena found the right woman yet.”

“Right woman?”

“The one to match me. One that I can gi’ myself to wi’out fear or hesitation. I’ve had a girlfriend here and there, but nothing serious. It worries my sister. She fears I’ll die alone and the Fraser name will die wi’ me.”

Oh heavens… We would have stunningly beautiful children. Big and broad, tempered with my slender aspects. Oh God I wanted his children…

“And,” I fought to control my voice. “How will you know? When- if you find her?”

Glancing up, I met his gaze straight on and time stopped. The muffled noise and piano music of the restaurant around us disappeared. I could hear my own heart in my chest, loud as a thunderstorm. I could hear his breathing, feel the heat of his body even from across the table. His hand still held mine, never ceasing to caress my skin.

“I think,” he said, voice deeper and rasping in a way that made my body quiver. “That I’ll ken it when I meet her.”

“Th-the first time that you meet her?”

“Aye. Verra likely.”

“What will you do when you finally meet this woman?”

Those blue eyes bored into mine, searching out all my secrets and pieces of myself.

“I’ll take her out to a nice dinner. I’ll be a perfect gentleman. I’ll walk her to her door and gi’ her hand a soft kiss goodnight. I’ll dream about her. I’ll take her out as much as she’ll let me. I’ll bring her to meet my family, but I’ll already have my mother’s ring for her. I dinna care much if my sister likes her, Jenny has verra high standards. I mostly care if she likes them. Jenny can be persuaded to accept this woman. And, if this verra special woman likes my sister, I’ll marry her. She’ll take my name and we’ll make a go of it. She will be the first and only woman I have ever been in love with.”

I didn’t realize I’d begun to cry until he reached around and wiped the tears from my face.

“I’m sorry,” he said. “I said too much.”

“No, Jamie that’s… That’s beautiful.”

He half-smiled.

“I just hope she feels the same about me, even if it’s been a short time that she and I have kent each other.”

“Do you think it’s possible? To fall in love that fast, I mean?”

“Aye, I do. It’s how my parents got together, ye ken. They’d only kent each other a week and she was wi’ someone else at the time. But when she saw Brian Fraser… Jenny said she always had a wistful look in her eye when she spoke of my da. That’s the kind of love I want wi’ her, whoever she may be. I want her to have that look about her face when she things o’ me. Do ye think she could?”

“Yes,” I breathed, my heart pounding so hard I thought it might burst from my chest at any instant. “I think she could. I think she does.”

“Does she? After five days?”

“Yes, I do.”

The corners of his eyes crinkled a little in a sweet smile.

“Aye, that’s verra good, Sassenach.”

The strange spell over our table was broken when the waiter returned with Jamie’s receipt. He let go of my hand and I wondered if I’d be able to walk. Perhaps I could just float home on the cloud that seemed to have surrounded me. He hadn’t said it outright, but if I was to understand him, he felt the same way I did.

Just as he’d said in his declaration, he walked me to my door and bent to kiss my hand.

“I thank ye for a lovely night, Miss Beauchamp.”

“It was my pleasure, Mr. Fraser. I hope to see you again soon.”

I had my keys in one hand, ready to unlock my door. But a sudden impulse took hold of me and I turned back to him quickly. I saw the same desire in his eyes as we reached for each other. 

Our teeth came together and pain shot through my mouth. Jamie swore and stepped back a little. My bottom lip was bleeding, the strange metallic taste overtaking the lingering flavors from dessert.

“Are ye alright, Claire?”

“Yes, I’m okay. Mortified at what just happened. I’ve never been so rubbish at kissing before. I’m sorry.”

I fumbled with my keys and finally got it into the deadbolt when his hand shot out and gripped my arm. Oh yes, there would be bruises if he made love to me the way I imagined.

“Aye, t’was a bad first kiss. Perhaps the second will be better.”

The only explanation for what happened next is that I died and had gone to heaven. His lips were soft against mine, full and warm. One of his hands came up to grip the back of my neck, which made me tremble in delight. His tongue was hot as it touched my own. Bright colors exploded behind my closed eyelids and my legs gave way.

When my vision finally returned to me, he was smiling.

“Can we count that as our first kiss?”

He got me through the heart will his full smile and nodded.

“Aye. I willna tell if ye don’t.”

“That was amazing.”

“I hope ye have a lovely night, Miss Beauchamp.”

After he was sure setting me on my feet wouldn’t result in my toppling over, he reached around me and unlocked my door. He gave me a sweet kiss on my cheek before bowing slightly and leaving.

That was it. There was no one else for me in all the world. Only James Fraser.

Diana’s Daily Lines - “Go Tell The Bees That I Am Gone” (Book 9)


There was a stone under my right buttock, but I didn’t want to move. The tiny heartbeat under my fingers was soft and stubborn, the fleeting jolts life and the space between, infinity, my connection to the endless night sky and the rising flame.

“Move your arse a bit, Sassenach,” said a voice in my ear. “I need to scratch my nose and ye’re sitting on my hand.” Jamie twitched his fingers under me, and I moved by reflex, turning my head toward him as I shifted and resettled, keeping my hold on Mandy, bonelessly asleep in my arms.

He smiled at me over Jem’s tousled head, flexed his now-free hand, and scratched his nose. It must be well past midnight, but the fire was still high, and the light sparked off the stubble of his beard and glowed as softly in his eyes as in his grandson’s red hair and the shadowed folds of the worn plaid he’d wrapped about them both.

On the other side of the fire, Brianna laughed, in the quiet way people laugh in the middle of the night with sleeping children near.

She laid her head on Roger’s shoulder, her eyes half-closed. She looked completely exhausted, her hair unwashed and tangled, the firelight showing deep hollows in her face…but happy.

“What is it ye find funny, a nighean?” Jamie asked, shifting Jem into a more comfortable position. Jem was fighting as hard as he could to stay awake, but was losing the fight. He gaped enormously and shook his head, blinking like a dazed owl.

“Wha’s funny?” he repeated, but the last word trailed off, leaving him with his mouth half-open and a glassy stare.

His mother giggled, a lovely girlish sound, and I felt Jamie’s smile.

“I just asked Daddy if he remembered a Gathering we came to, years ago. The clans were all called at a big bonfire and I handed Daddy a burning branch and told him to go down to the fire and say the MacKenzies were there.”

“Oh.” Jem blinked once, then twice, looked at the fire blazing in front of us, and a slight frown formed between his small red brows. “Where are we now?”

“Home,” Roger said firmly, and his eyes met mine, then passed to Jamie. “For good.”

Jamie let out the same breath I’d been holding since the afternoon, when the MacKenzies had appeared suddenly in the clearing below, and we had flown down the hill to meet them. There had been one moment of joyous, wordless explosion as we all flung ourselves at each other, and then the explosion had widened, as Amy Higgins came out of her house, summoned by the noise, to be followed by Bobby, then Aidan—who had whooped at sight of Jem and tackled him, knocking him flat—Orrie and little Rob.

Jo Beardsley had been in the woods nearby, heard the racket and come to see…and within what seemed like moments, the clearing was alive with people. Six households were within reach of the news before sundown; the rest would undoubtedly hear of it tomorrow.

The instant outpouring of Highland hospitality had been wonderful; women and girls had run back to their cabins and fetched whatever they had baking or boiling for supper, the men had gathered wood and—at Jamie’s behest—lugged it up to the crest where the outline of the New House stood, and we had welcomed home our family in style, surrounded by friends.

Hundreds of questions had been asked of the travelers: where had they come from? How was the journey? What had they seen? No one had asked if they were happy to be back; that was taken for granted by everyone.

New Sailor Moon Dub Cast Revealed at Anime Expo

Viz Media revealed details behind its upcoming Sailor Moon Blu-ray release and the series’ new dub cast at its panel at Anime Expo on Saturday. The cast is as follows:

Pre-orders for part one of the first season’s Blu-ray and DVD release will open soon with release scheduled for November 11. The Blu-ray box set will include three Blu-rays, a chipboard box with space for part two, and a collectible 88-page booklet filled with art, character profiles, episode guides. Video extras include an interactive art gallery, dub recording behind the scenes, announcement panel and fan reactions, hype trailer, clean opening and ending, and trailers.

WRITING WRAP ON WANDER OVER YONDER S.2!!!

The script for the 22-minute Wander Over Yonder Season 2 Finale has finally been approved, officially bringing writing on the season to a close.  Of course we’ve still got a few months of boards to wrap up, so there’s still plenty of writing odds and ends to be taken care of, but I felt the need to mark this momentous occasion.  

We are SO UNBELIEVABLY EXCITED to share The Dominator Saga with you guys.  You shouldn’t have to wait too much longer to see our goofy little galaxy face the greatest threat they’ve ever encountered.  It’s been a labor of love for all of us here, and everyone, from our unparalleled directors, board artists, and art team, to our phenomenal production crew, to our amazing cast, has come together to make this season something truly special.

I want to take this opportunity to personally thank the writers who made this the single best project I’ve ever worked on.  Shout outs to the incredible Andy Bean, Ben Joseph, Sam Riegel, Rachel Vine, Nate Federman, Mike Yank, and Scott Peterson, who contributed some truly amazing work to our season.

But most especially, thank you Amy Higgins, Noelle Stevenson, and Todd Casey, the finest writing staff I’ve had the privilege to work with.  Thank you for caring about every single script as if it was your own and loving these characters so damn much.

And of course, thanks again, Craig, for the best job ever.


(The above image is my favorite piece of fan art of my favorite WOY character, the Black Cube of Darkness, by our own Noelle Stevenson.)