bespectacled gentleman

anonymous asked:

Imagine Claire taking Jamie through the stones and ordering a battery of vaccines and tests and doctors are shocked by his medical history and the scars on his back

Vietnam AU Part 1

Vietnam AU Part 2

Vietnam AU Part 3

Claire extended a hand toward the visitor.

“Dr. Gowan – so nice to meet you. I’ve heard so much about your work.”

The doctor – a bespectacled, older gentleman carrying a battered satchel – doffed his cap.

“The pleasure is all mine, Nurse Randall. And I’m pleasantly surprised that you’ve heard of my work.”

Claire smiled kindly, noticing the mud splattered on the neurosurgeon’s olive trousers. “Well, reading your studies of the impact of combat injuries on the cerebellum are an interesting way to spend the time here at Chu Lai. We’re a bit short on other forms of entertainment.”

Dr. Gowan shook his head. “Well then – I’m impressed. And as for our soldier here – Joe told me a bit about him, but perhaps you can fill in the details?”

“Of course. Can you help me wheel him to one of the examination rooms? I don’t want to disturb the other patients.”

And a few moments later they had carefully guided Jamie’s bed to the room adjoining the doctors’ offices. Dr. Gowan had politely introduced himself to Jamie – who had gripped his hand and whispered something in return – and now in the spare room, he pulled up a wheeled stool directly to Jamie’s side.

“…and it seems to be some kind of dysphasia, as he’s lost the ability to speak English. But he hasn’t lost his ability to speak Gaelic – and he can understand English perfectly well. His back is healing well – no infection – so I doubt the injury is contributing to the condition.”

Dr. Gowan glanced up as Joe Abernathy padded into the room and sat behind the desk, but proceeded with his examination of Jamie’s vitals.

“That’s good – move your eyes to the left. Now to the right. Splendid.”

He jotted down his observations in a dog-eared notebook, so worn from use its shape had conformed to the angles of his battered satchel.

“Now – Captain Fraser. Tell me about your family.”

Jamie furrowed his brow, but began to speak.

And spoke, eyes darting between Dr. Gowan and Dr. Abernathy – but always returning to Claire. Short, quick. Piercing her heart.

After a while he paused, glancing to Claire. She recognized need when she saw it, and quickly rose to help him sip a cup of water.

“Hu chen-na?”

Joe, Claire, and Jamie’s heads swiveled to Dr. Gowan.

Jamie coughed in shock.

“Hu chen-na?” Dr. Gowan repeated.

“You never told me you spoke Gaelic, Ned!” Joe exclaimed. “You could have saved us a lot of trouble – ”

To Claire’s surprise, the older man blushed. “Oh no no no, I don’t really *speak* the language. My great-granddad immigrated from Edinburgh, and taught me a few words when I was small. I just asked Captain Fraser about his mother.”

Jamie’s reply was soft, full of feeling.

This was a man who loved women, Claire realized. And not for the obvious reasons – because he genuinely cares. He reveres them.

*He would revere you, Claire.*

But she shook the thought – warm but traitorous – from her head. No. No – she had to keep to what she’d said to him earlier.

But why did she feel such a gaping hole in her chest?

“Well. No obvious signs of trauma – and he can answer questions asked in the same language. His Gaelic is perfect – were you taught from birth?”

Jamie nodded, wincing as the motion pulled at his wounds.

“So – I assume you already did an x-ray when he came in? To check for bleeding on the brain?”

“Yes – and there was no swelling that we could find.” Joe tapped his fingers on the desk, pulling his collar away from his neck with his free hand. Despite the fans lazily circling overhead, it was impossible to escape the near-oppressive humidity. “But that was three days ago – I hadn’t thought of doing another one. You think it would be a good idea?”

“It couldn’t hurt – and I’ll be staying the night anyway. Nurse Randall – could you make the arrangements?”

“Of course.” Any time to just be near Jamie – as long as he couldn’t touch her. She wouldn’t be able to honor her promise if she was touching him.

She rose. “I’ll leave you three to it – will go speak with Alec.”

She smiled at them – and Jamie’s eyes, open wide, followed her to the door.

Past dinner now – and Claire was finally off duty.

Drs. Gowan and Abernathy had invited her to dinner in the officers’ mess – a rare treat. Ned had wanted to hear more about her interest in his work – and finally able to share her clear love for all things medical with an esteemed doctor, Claire was in her element.

“See, Ned – I told you. She’s a natural. She’d be a shoo-in for any medical school that wanted her, especially after spending time at Chu Lai. There isn’t anyone else I’d want next to me in the OR than this gal here.”

Claire had blushed – and her heart had lifted at Joe’s praise. She worked so hard to be recognized for her brain, and perhaps with the goal of attending medical school front and center in her mind, that could take her focus away from Jamie.

But when Joe had gone back to the bar to get them another round – the booze was certainly better here than in the mess hall – Dr. Gowan had hunched across the table.

“I told you my Gaelic isn’t perfect – but I know enough. And Captain Fraser – Jamie – when I took him for the x-ray, he gripped my hand and asked me to tell you something.”

Claire stiffened, heart skittering in her chest.

“What did he say?” she breathed.

“Let me get this right – the language is actually quite formal. Ah. He said that you take very good care of him. He said – tell her I’m grateful. Tell her I trust her to make the right decision. And tell her that I understand.”

She released a shaky breath, laying her trembling palms flat on the table. Frank’s gold ring jeered at her in the fluorescent light.

“Claire – it’s none of my business. I won’t pretend to understand it – but that man is *drawn* to you. That is something very, very rare. And I recommend you take the gift that is being offered.”

“Why so serious?” Joe slammed down three more tall beers. “This party is just getting started!”

Claire swallowed, suddenly incapable of speech.

Two hours and five drinks later, Claire – surprisingly steady – decided to walk the long way back to her quarters.

If by the long way, she meant walking through the recovery ward.

What was it that drew her to him so? Yes, he was good-looking. Yes, he was clean-cut – a Marine Captain, and a brave one, after all.

His voice was beautiful. His hands were beautiful. His flaming hair was beautiful.

They had never truly had a conversation – so why did she feel she’d learned more about *who* he was, and in three days, than she’d ever learned about any other person?

And then her feet had led her to his bed. From the gentle rise and fall of his bandages she could tell he was in a deep, restorative sleep. The painkillers undoubtedly helped – but he needed as much rest as he could get.

What did he dream about?

Powerless to stop herself, she stepped to his side and knelt to be eye-to-eye with his heartbreakingly beautiful face.

And watched her fingers reach out to gently tuck a few loose strands of hair behind his ear.

And felt her heart stop as his lips curved into a smile.