The Rebel and the Rose. Part Three. Chapter Three.

Previous: Part’s One, Two, and Three.

(NB: A single ‘f’ in Welsh is pronounced as a ‘v’ :))

Since their talk she had been sleeping better but she still had uneasy dreams. As he fell into his own slumber he prayed tonight she’d sleep well.

He was woken only a few hours later by the sound of her struggling. He hated to do it but she’d been tugging at the wounds on her wrists as if trying to free them from imaginary bindings, which caused the cuts to reopen and bleed mercilessly, and he’d been forced to take hold of her hands and pry them away as she did this.

She squealed and pulled a little, trying to get away from his hold over her. She’d started to shake, spurred on by the terror of her dreams as her sweat soaked the sheets beneath her. The only thing to bring her round was Jamie. He’d discovered that one particular Gaelic folk story soothed her more than most and he started to whisper in her ear. Strange stories of kelpies and underwater giants with silken skin. Her hands stilled now, wrapped as they were in Jamie’s, as her breathing evened out. His calm voice echoing in her ears, bringing her out of the darkness.

Letting his hands relax against hers he began to kiss the hollow behind her ear, stopping every now and again to continue his story. He felt her tense and then relax as she finally came awake.

“It’s me, Claire. Only me. Dinna fash.” His voice covered her, her chest suddenly feeling warm. She slowly opened her eyes as he loosened his hold on her hands further. He’d been there in her dreams again, his cruel face pressed against her cheek as he’d spat mocking words at her. She’d been chained, bound and unable to move as he’d surrounded her. Her toes curled at the mere thought as she wet her lips.

“Some nights I get so lost in my nightmares that I’m almost certain I’ve dreamt you into life once more, that I’ll wake and I won’t be in your arms but in that cold cell.” Her breathing stumbled as he pulled her close to soothe her.

“Ye dinna need…Claire…”

“No, Jamie. I want to tell you,” she stopped him, before he could tell her she needn’t continue. She needed to get it all out. “There are those moments when the fear sets in and then I feel this…warm throb by my side and I cling to it. I know, deep down, that I’m dreaming. So I push myself towards you, and when I wake in your arms I thank God that you’re here, that you rescued me.”

She buried her head then, inhaling his sleepy scent as her hands fisted in the soft fabric of his shirt, grounding herself in him.

“Oh, Claire. I love ye so.” He had no more words. He could envision the horrors of an English prison and he had no wish for her to linger there any longer, even in her sleep. “I’m here, no’ a dream, and I’ll never leave ye again. Ever.”

They lay together for a time, just allowing the silence to float around them. Claire hadn’t left the room since they’d arrived except to go into the lounge that linked to the bedchamber. He watched her as she turned towards him. Her cheeks were tinted a slightly dark peach but overall she was incredibly pale.

“Claire, how do ye fancy helping wi’ the animals? There’s a couple that need tending. I think it might do ye good no’ to be hidden away in here.” She looked nervous at the prospect, her brows drawn together as she contemplated his suggestion.

“I-I don’t know much about animals, only a little about human healing.”

“Claire, a nighean, ye canna go from one prison to another. We needed to stay inside for a wee while, just in case anyone came this far looking for us. But now, yer healed more and we should be safe. Ye dinna need to lock yerself away.” He locked their fingers together, trying to reassure her with his touch. “Dinna fear, Claire.”

“Alright.” She tried to make it sound more confident than she felt as she pursed her lips and nodded. She knew he was right, she had to leave at some point. “After breakfast I’ll go out, I promise.”

“Ach, a good choice. I’ll take ye, then me and Murtagh have some business to attend to. I’ll feel much happier if yer out keeping yerself occupied.” He smiled, a wolfish grin that showed off his teeth. “Ye’ll have fun, I know ye will.”

He had food brought to them and they ate in peaceful silence by the glowing embers of the un-stoked fire. It was warm enough now that they didn’t need it replenished, but it was nice nonetheless to have the small burst of warmth surround them.  

Once he’d made sure she had a full belly he helped her to dress and walked her to the stables. The tavern had a small farm attached to the back; only a small array of animals but enough to keep Claire occupied for a few hours. They were mostly in good health but he had noticed a few had the odd sore here and there. She’d take good care of them. He’d always been good with horses and he kent how calming they could be. He was sure it was the perfect way to help her overcome some of her newly acquired fears.

Jamie left Claire in the capable hands of one of the young lassies. They fed the wee lambs, cleared the stables and completed general chores. When they were done she took Claire to see the horses. One large dappled mare stood alone in a rather large stable away from the others.

“She’s far gone, you see. About to drop any day now. So she’s alone. I’m sure she’d love a bit o’ company if you have time, mistress.”

Claire nodded as she walked towards the stall. The mare in question, Afal, aptly named ‘Apple’ in Welsh, stood braying at her door.

“I’ll leave you a brush, she likes that. She can get a little…tense. But don’t fear, just rub her belly, it’ll calm her.” With that she handed Claire a little half flat brush and left.

Claire stood for a time, her hands fiddling with the wooden bristles beneath her fingers. Afal watched her, her massive black eyes standing sharp but soft in the dim light of the stable. She watched as she swayed to and fro, her distended tummy leaning to one side and then the other as she got herself comfortable.

“You’re going to be a mother, such a beauty, I’m sure it’ll be the most desirable foal.” Claire took one step closer, talking in a hushed soft voice the entire way. “I didn’t ever know my mother, really, nor am I one.” Her tone held a hint of sadness, her eyes watered and she blushed feeling a little silly for getting upset over a horse.

She held her hand up, palm down as Jamie had taught her and allowed the mare to sniff her. Her big nostrils flared and snorted as she took stock of her new acquaintance. She nodded her head once, flipping her mane as she did so. Claire took that as a sign of acceptance and opened the stall door.

“Look how big you are!” she exclaimed, walking along Afal’s side, her hand running gently over her soft short hair. Afal moved her head, watching Claire with interest as she went. The minute she started massaging her side Afel dipped her head and whinnied. In that moment Claire felt something pass between the two of them, she laid her head against the mare’s’ belly as she rubbed and just let the words flow from her.

“I remember seeing a baby born. It was one of the most magical things I’ve ever witnessed. I think uncle Lamb saw it in my eyes at that moment. It wasn’t long after that he suggested I be married.” Afal swished her tail, the ends fanning Claire as she continued almost unconsciously. “I’d accepted it probably wasn’t to be, I turned thirty, I was still alone.”

She allowed the tears to fall then, dripping down her cheeks as she hiccuped. Her hands never ceased rubbing the unborn foal, keeping her companion happy.

“I don’t know who I am anymore, I feel like half a person. All of this…” She sighed, a heaviness weighing on her heart. “He should have left me there to die. He should have returned to his men. I’m just a burden to him now, a wanted traitor with nothing to offer but half an existence.”

Unable to continue she lost herself in brushing Afal, the sweeping sound of the bristles against her lush coat filling Claire’s ears and taking away the constant clink she now heard. No matter what she did, her time in prison hovered over her like a dark stain.

“Maybe it would be for the best if I just disappeared. He can’t even get a decent night sleep by my side.” she whispered, coming face to face with Afal now. “All this time waiting for me to recover, it’s just holding him back. He could be long gone by now.”

She let her forehead rest against Afal’s as she stroked her neck lovingly, her face red from crying.

Jamie stood with his back against the side of the stable. He’d meant to surprise Claire but what he’d heard sliced his heart in two. She was contemplating running away? He had to find a way to make her see how much he truly needed her. His hand unconsciously ran over his chest as his lungs constricted painfully.

Steeling himself, he pushing himself around the corner and into the small space. She had her back to him, her shoulders were shaking. She was crying.

“Claire…” Her name fell off his tongue like a sad prayer, filled with longing. He swallowed back the emotions gathering in his throat and willed himself to hold it together. He was going to make no mention of what he’d heard.

When she turned to face him, she’d wiped her face trying hard to hide the evidence of her tears from him. Her eyes shone like finely aged whisky, the moisture swimming in their golden depths. Her nose was a little red and her lips were trembling. She felt so raw, having not addressed these feelings before now, not even realising she felt this destroyed.

“J-Jamie.” She nearly didn’t manage to speak at all. Her hands hid behind her back as she tried to stop herself from worrying at her wrists. “Have you done for the day?”

“Aye. Would ye like to come for a ride wi’ me. There’s a place I’d like to show ye? If yer up to it.”


hammerhead-class cruiser (kotor) & hammerhead corvettes (swr)

i was watching star wars rebels commentary, and hidalgo talked about how these ships were inspired from kotor ships. and me and my shitty memory, i was like….. wait rly. had to immediately go google it lol, but APPARENTLY SO


Inspired by @meldy-arts‘s Are You Afraid (Link:

Author does not own Star Wars Rebels or characters named therein.

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