Well here you are my darlings! This isn’t the end of the Vegas AU, but probably one of the last you’ll get for a little while. My plot monster @outlandishchridhe has been an amazing partner to write with and I look forward to where this story takes us! A very special thanks to @shortiemcbealle for her amazing ideas that we got to incorporate into this chapter.
Thank you all SO SO much for your support and encouragement for this story.
Catch up on previous chapters HERE or on my Master List HERE
Claire was still in complete and utter shock. Jamie had embraced her, dropping the small stick to the floor and lifting her off her feet. She couldn’t tell if the noises they were making were laughter or tears, but they were joyful nonetheless.
She had followed him out into the kitchen, perching on a stool to watch him put together supper for them. It could have been minutes or hours later when Claire came to, a delicious looking meal of chicken and rice with a salad placed in front of her by Jamie.
“Are ye alright, Sassenach?” he questioned her softly, taking care not to spook her. “Ye’ve been verra quiet.”
“I’m fine,” she replied, looking off into the distance. “I know that I had thought that I was, but it…it feels different now. Knowing.”
“Is it what ye want?”
She startled and looked directly at him for the first time since they’d left the bathroom, a masked look of anxiety coloring his features.
“Yes! I promise it is! It just feels so surreal that it’s thrown me off kilter a bit. I’m not having any kind of second thoughts.”
“That’s good. Ye didna have much for breakfast, so eat up.”
With her hand over her stomach, she wondered for a moment if the test had been a false positive.
“I will in a moment. I’ll be right back. Go ahead and start eating. I’ll just be a moment.”
After a quick kiss on his cheek, she slipped into the bathroom again and looked at the box of pregnancy tests. There were four more in the box. If she took them at intervals, it would give her the best result, right? Hoping Jamie wouldn’t notice how long she was gone, she took the second test and waited. A mix of relief and fear twisted in her gut: PREGNANT.
While she washed her hands, her heart began to race. Two tests could be false positives, couldn’t they? Unlikely, but still possible.
Jamie was scrolling through something on his phone when she returned to the table. Glancing up at her, he smiled.
“Yes, I’m just fine. We,” she put her hand over her stomach. “We’re both fine. Just had to pee. Again. Too much water.”
His eyes narrowed at her for a moment before he nodded, trying hard not to let a smile escape his lips.
“Good. Can ye eat now?”
They sat and had their dinner quietly, her mind whirling with possibilities. What would she do? Between work and school, her life was already busy. And now to add a newborn to that?
“Are you sure we can do this?” she asked, watching him clean the dishes. “Have a baby, I mean.”
“I think that ship’s already sailed, Sassenach. And I seem to recall telling ye that I’d be by your side every step of the way. What’s to do next then?”
“I’ll need to call my doctor and get an exam done. They’ll give me a test to confirm the pregnancy and then we’ll start the process of check ups and all that.”
Jamie nodded, eyes distracted.
“Ye’ll tell me when yer appointments are? I’ll no’… I don’t want ye to go alone. I want to come wi’ ye too. I want… to see the bairn. If ye dinna mind,” he said, looking down quickly as his face and ears turned pink.
“Of course.” He looked up to see a large smile gracing her beautiful face. “I’ll call first thing in the morning.”
Going to bed that night was comfortable. They moved around each other easily, neither feeling shy anymore. Jamie gathered her into his arms, one hand resting on her stomach again, attracted to it like a magnet.
“Sassenach, I’ve something I’d like ye to think about.”
“What is it?”
“Ye dinna need to give an answer right now, just give yourself time to think it over. But… If ye think ye wouldna be opposed to it, perhaps we might no’ annul our marriage. But I’ll leave it to you to decide. Just think about it for a time, aye?”
She nodded and laid her head back down on his chest, content. Around midnight, Claire extricated herself from Jamie and went to try another of the home tests. As she waited for this one to reveal it’s answer, her mind began to wander. Did she expect a different result? Did she want a different result? If it did come back negative, would she believe it? She had two previous tests that were positive. When her phone’s timer vibrated quietly, she turned the stick over.
Tossing it into the small bin Jamie had for a trash can, Claire sighed and slid back into bed. Jamie flinched as her cold feet moved between his, but he drew her close in his sleep. Without thinking, she reached up and brushed his hair behind his ear. That heartbreakingly soft smile pulled at his lips before sliding away again.
“You do break my heart with loving you,” she whispered before laying back down and going to sleep.
In the morning, while Jamie made another impressive breakfast, Claire stood in the bathroom and stared at her reflection.
“You’re being ridiculous. You don’t need to take those last two tests,” she told her reflection, sternly. She sighed and eyed the box. “But, I suppose if I’m in for a penny…”
When the time was up, she turned both the sticks over simultaneously. They both read the same result: PREGNANT.
Feeling relieved and fairly certain that all 5 tests couldn’t possibly be wrong, she called her OB/GYN. She answered their questions and made an appointment for later that afternoon as they’d had a cancellation.
The drive to her doctor’s office was quiet, both of them still fraught with nerves.
“We’re here, Sassenach,” Jamie said, startling Claire from her thoughts. She looked over to him and he grabbed her hand. “It’s going to be alright.”
“I know. I’m just nervous.” She tried to smile at him reassuringly, but wasn’t sure it came across more as a grimace.
“Aye, well then. Let’s go.”
Sitting in the waiting room brought on more anxiety. There were a few women in there, all very clearly pregnant. Claire’s hand drifted unconsciously to her abdomen, rubbing small circles. Jamie held her other hand in his, his grasp reassuringly strong.
She jumped and abruptly stood, pulling Jamie with her, and they followed the nurse back into the office. Claire provided them samples to test for pregnancy again and then was put into a room.
“Go ahead and put the gown on and the doctor will be in once she’s seen the results,” the nurse said, smiling at the couple.
She knew it had only been about 20 minutes, but it felt like a lifetime.
“Relax, mo chridhe,” Jamie soothed, rubbing her leg softly.
A sharp knock echoed from the door and the doctor walked in.
“Well, hello there Miss Beauchamp,” the doctor said to her, smiling. “Tell me why you’re here today.”
The doctor looked up and had a flicker of surprise cross her face at seeing Jamie sitting next to Claire, but she refocused on Claire almost at once.
“And it says here that you took…5 at home tests?”
“Um, yes.” The flush crept farther up her cheeks, a even darker shade of red forming there. “I wanted to be sure.”
“Don’t worry, it’s quite normal for expectant mother’s to do that,” the doctor stated with a smile. “So, let’s get down to it then, shall we? Your test results came back in and both your blood and urine samples show that you are, probably, pregnant. We need to do the ultrasound to confirm it, but everything is pointing to yes.”
Jamie’s sharp intake of breath caused Claire to turn her attention from the doctor to him. His wide grin was answered by her own and she could have sworn she heard him whisper ‘Thank God’ before he stood to hug her.
“By the date that you told us, it would appear you’re probably about 10 weeks or so along, but we’ll do the ultrasound to check and see if our due date matches with how big baby is. I’ll give you two a few minutes and then we’ll come in and get started.”
Claire’s face was still buried in Jamie’s neck.
“Thank you,” she answered, attempting to hold back tears.
As the door closed, Jamie pulled Claire’s face to look up at his.
“Ye took all the tests in the box?” he joked, light shining in his eyes.
“Don’t you make fun of me, James Fraser,” she pouted. He laughed again and kissed her pursed lips, feeling a smile return to them.
They didn’t have to wait long for the ultrasound. The warning of This will be cold! didn’t really give Claire any time to get ready before the jelly was applied to her abdomen. They both sat, mesmerized by the screen, but unsure of what they were seeing. It all just looked like a fuzzy TV channel.
Suddenly, a small, throbbing sound emanated from the machine.
“Oh, there you are!” the tech said, triumphantly, as a small form appeared on the screen. “There’s your baby!”
Claire’s vision blurred and she realized that the throbbing sound was that of her baby’s heart. She turned to face Jamie and saw that his mouth was slightly open and tears were in his eyes as well.
“Is that -” he choked out, then cleared his throat to try again. “That sound. Is it…?”
“That’s your baby’s heartbeat!” the tech responded, smiling widely at them. “Sounds good and strong too. Would you like a print out to take with you?”
They sat together in their living room, staring at the small, black and white printout of their ultrasound.
“I canna believe it,” Jamie said in wonder, fingertips just brushing over the top of the picture.
“I can’t either. It’s amazing. It’s so small.”
He turned to face her, full to bursting with pride and happiness.
“I found it amusin’ that your doctor, she looked a wee bit surprised to see me. But then, I suppose that many women, especially here, end up at those kind of appointments by themselves.”
“I don’t think it was just that, actually.”
“What do you mean?”
“Well, she’s actually seen Frank before. Met him once as well. She’s been my doctor since I moved here.”
A sickening thought formed in Jamie’s mind.
“Claire, I have something I need to ask ye.”
She started at his abrupt change in demeanor and felt her whole body stiffen with anxiety.
“Is there…any possibility that this bairn…that he isna mine?”
“What?! Jamie, I wouldn’t lie to you about something like this.”
“And I dinna think ye are. I’m only askin’ ye to think back and see. Could this bairn no’ be Frank’s?”
“Oh, um, no actually.” She gave a rueful chuckle that made him simultaneously relieved and worried. “Not only had Frank and I not been having sex in the couple weeks prior to my ‘discovery’ in his office, remember what he said, about me not making the time or effort? Well, I had a pregnancy scare a little over a year ago now, but it turned out on that occasion that I was wrong. We also found out that Frank can’t have children. I believe the phrasing the doctor used was that he was ‘shooting blanks.’ Rather unorthodox way of telling someone that sort of news but anyway. So, yes, Jamie. I know this baby is yours. I haven’t made it a habit of running about sleeping with other people.”
She said the last part with a tone full of distaste, her eyes hardening as she remembered that day she had walked into Frank’s office, so naive and unknowing. Though she really couldn’t be bitter about it now, not when that discovery had brought her to where she was now.
“I dinna want ye to think I asked solely for my own sake. I wanted you to be sure as well. It didna occur to me until just now, when you mentioned him. I’ve never been happier, Claire, and it still wouldna change anything.”
“I don’t think much now could change things,” Claire replied softly, leaning into his side. “It’s alright, Jamie. I’m not angry. You couldn’t have known about it. But I’m pretty sure that’s why she looked at you like that. She would have known I couldn’t have children with Frank.”
A short while later, he felt Claire breathe deeply and then falter, as if she wanted to say something, but needed to work up the nerve.
“It’s a little scary, don’t you think?” she asked, voice small.
“Aye. Terrifying. But dinna be afraid, mo nighean donn. What we dinna ken about this, we’ll learn. Together.”
She tilted her head up towards his and reached for a kiss.
His eyes shone with joy, his face in a permanent grin.
“Now that we know for sure that I’m really pregnant, I think I might need to find new work.”
“Aye, I think so too. I dinna want those rowdy men starin’ at ye.”
She smiled a little but shook her head.
“No, it’s not that. Or not only that, at least. But it won’t be healthy for us, me and the baby. Not with all the cigarette smoke inside the bar. I won’t put our child at risk.”
His mouth was suddenly on hers, fingers sliding into her hair.
“What was that?” she asked when he released her.
“Sorry, Sassenach,” he said with a sheepish smile. “I only like the way it sounds when ye say ‘our child’.”
“Well it is ours. Yours and mine.” Her hands spread over her womb and she smiled. “Our little peanut.”
“I dinna want ye to worry overmuch about a new job, aye? Ye’ve got enough going on.”
Snuggling up into his side again, she sighed and relaxed.
Claire’s job at the bar had ended shortly after their first ultrasound and she’d been hunting for a new one relentlessly. The difficulty was finding something that would allow her to finish her schooling and that wouldn’t be too much for the baby.
Every time he thought about her pregnancy, he smiled. The lads at work were giving him a hard time about it since he’d put a copy of the ultrasound in his locker. He came home one night to see her at her desk, glaring at her computer.
“My mam always said if ye frowned at somethin’ too long, yer face would be stuck like that,” he said, hanging his keys on their hook.
“Oh! God, is it that time? I completely forgot about dinner, I’m so sorry Jamie.”
“Dinna fash. We’ll order something in. Tomorrow’s my day off, so I thought I’d take ye out for a nice date.”
She closed her computer and stretched. He wrapped her in his arms and hugged her close. Even if he lived forever, he would never tire of holding her.
“That sounds lovely. I think I’m beginning to go cross-eyed from filling out job applications all day.”
“Aye, and I dinna want ye to put the bairn at risk by working too much. So tomorrow we’ll just have a nice day. Now. What are ye in the mood for?”
“I picked dinner last week.”
After a soft kiss on her forehead, he went to the menus he kept in a drawer.
“Aye, but I’m no’ the one that’s pregnant.”
“You spoil me.”
“That’s my job, Sassenach.”
The next morning, Jamie drove them out to Springs Preserve. Claire’s mouth fell open as they parked, her eyes alight with excitement.
“Oh Jamie! I had no idea this was out here!”
“Aye, it’s no’ what ye’d expect in Las Vegas. It’s a nice place to get away from the city. Fresh air, aye?” One arm went around her waist while his other hand rubbed her stomach gently. “Good for you and the bairn.”
“Is that all you think about these days?” she said with a laugh as they headed into the botanical garden. “The baby.”
“No’ all I think about, no. But I think of it quite a bit.”
As they began exploring, Claire surprised him. She knew what the plants were before he’d finished reading their name card. More than that, she began explaining what they were good for and what they had been used for. She was a fount of knowledge about almost everything they walked by. An idea began niggling in the back of his mind as he watched her joy at being around these plants.
“I could kill for some chips,” she said, eyeing the cafe.
“Weel then let’s get ye some chips.”
She began digging into her plate and he smiled at her.
“Sassenach, I ken you’re still lookin’ for work, but I had an idea.”
“What if ye applied to work here? Like I said the clean air would be good for the bairn. But ye seem happy here, ye enjoy being around living and growing things.”
For a few moments, he watched the thoughts form on her face.
“You know, that’s a great idea, Jamie.”
“I’ve been known to have them from time to time.”
She gave him a flat, though amused, look.
“I’ll have to see if I can speak to someone about an application. It would be nice to have regular hours like a normal person.”
“Aye, it would. And it would make me feel better too. I ken ye’d be safer out here.”
Jamie paid for their lunch and they went off to find someone who worked at the gardens. Once they learned the application was on the website, like everything was these days, they decided to go home.
It was the first time in days that Claire had felt hopeful about finding work, especially when it was something that she loved. As they snuggled into bed that night, whispering words of love to each other, she sighed contentedly. This was the happiest she’d ever been, and she couldn’t wait to see what their future held now.
“Princess Emberlei, it is an honor to meet you,” Cadewyn, future High Lord of the Night Court bows to Crown Princess Emberlei Whitethorn Galathynius of Terrasen and… it all clicks into place.
It’s not his eyes, though they are the exact same blue-violet she has been seeing in her dreams since she was five, nor is it his gorgeous face or his beautifully styled black hair. It isn’t his scent that is now fully intoxicating the princess as he stands in the same room with her, though Ember is starting to feel a bit lightheaded. Rather, it is his voice. The deep but still young sounding timbre that settles into her very bones that makes Ember realize the answer to the question she’s been wondering for two weeks.
Only now she realizes she has been searching for the answer since the first time she saw him, almost fifteen years ago. Cadewyn straightens from his bow, looking identical to his father with the slight smirk placed on his enticing pink lips. Ember nervously searches his eyes - violet eyes - for any sign of her own inner turmoil reflected there. She finds none. He doesn’t know. Or he’s very good at hiding his shock.
Surviving Christmas Day with what Feyre feared was a fractured wrist was not fun. Tamlin was back to his normal self, doting on Feyre and even helping her cut her lunch when he saw she was having trouble. It almost made Feyre feel bad when she called Rhys as soon as Tamlin was called away on an urgent meeting in the afternoon.
Rhys had picked up after two rings.
“Hello?” Rhys asked over the booming laugh of Cassian in the background.
“Hey. It’s Feyre.”
“Feyre?” Rhys asked shocked. Feyre heard Rhys shushing people in an attempt to hear her better. “Did you call me last night too? I’m sorry I tried ringing the number back but it said it was disconnected.”
“No, um that was probably Tamlin.”
There was a long pause before Rhys continued. “Are you okay?”
The pain of Feyre’s wrist and her isolation in Tamlin’s huge home came crashing into her and her voice cracked as she responded, “He found your number Rhys. He was furious, I don’t know how to fix this, I can’t-”
“Did he hurt you?” Rhys’s quiet voice interrupted.
Feyre felt ashamed to feel tears making tracks down her face and at herself for still not being able to admit that she was hurt because of Tamlin.
“I think I may have fractured my wrist.” She managed to get out in between gasps.
On the other end of the phone, Feyre heard movement and people talking in hushed tones.
“It’s alright Feyre. Just breathe, Mor and I are coming to get you.”
“Tamlin’s not here.”
“I don’t care, I’d still be coming if he was there. Can you keep talking to me?”
So for a few minutes, Feyre talked about her family. She hadn’t heard from them in a while and despite not having the greatest relationship with her sisters she still missed them. Her father too. Rhys listened patiently, occasionally updating Feyre on their location. Talking calmed her down and took her mind off her increasing hysteria and pain.
By the time Rhys and Mor found her curled around her injured hand in the living room, Feyre was breathing easily again and had stopped crying. Rhys helped her up with her good arm while Mor disappeared down the hallway. Rhys kept a supportive arm around her out of the house and all the way out to the car which Cassian had kept running. Feyre’s legs were working fine and didn’t need the help from Rhys to remain upright but she was leaning too much into the warmth of him to think about pulling away. She hadn’t even realised how cold it had gotten in the house once Tamlin had left.
Mor returned from the house carrying an armful of Feyre’s possessions, some clothes, and essential items. Feyre was too tired to question any of this as Rhys slotted her into the middle seat between him and Mor. As the car pulled out from the driveway Feyre noticed a flash of red disappear from the window of Lucien’s house.
At the hospital, Feyre felt too exhausted to explain anything, so Mor got her in to see a nurse and be examined. Rhys hovered nearby with Cassian, whispering rapidly between themselves. Cassian seemed to be on the losing side of an argument as he stalked from the room.
The nurse asked a few questions as to the nature of the injury which Feyre did a poor job of answering, mainly just grunts or shrugs. As Feyre’s arm was being bandaged up the nurse took Rhys and Mor a few paces away to talk.
“Her wrist is fractured but it’s small and won’t need surgery. After a few days of being wrapped and little to no movement, it should heal by itself.” The nurse seemed to be at war with herself over whether to continue. “The fracture is strange though, not what you would see from a fall as she’s trying to tell me.” At this, she gave a pointed look at Rhys.
Mor looked worriedly between the nurse and Rhys. “How does a person get the injury Feyre has?”
“The bones are nearly crushed, as if a great force was used. Maybe if it was trapped under a heavy object or,” another pointed look at Rhys, “if a person crushed it with their own hand.”
Rhy’s face showed anger but he managed to calmly tell the nurse, “Neither myself or Mor was there at the time. Her boyfriend was though.”
The nurse looked to Mor for confirmation who nodded. The nurse then pulled out a folder.
“I’ve seen that girl’s face around here too many times these past weeks. Her records show in a month she’s been here no less than four times. Suspected broken bones, a bad ankle, even a suspected broken nose once.”
Rhys felt sick. He hadn’t even picked up on half of Feyre’s injuries. She had always shown up to work and rarely seemed to be in pain. He knew something was wrong for weeks but didn’t want to get involved in Feyre’s relationship, in case anyone thought he was meddling for purely selfish reasons. Mor looked just as distraught as him.
“Now clearly this girl doesn’t want to talk to me, I get that. But can I trust you two to make sure I don’t see her in here again?” The nurse asked.
“Don’t worry, we’ll talk with her. I’m going to see if she wants to stay with me for a few days.” Mor said, seeing that Rhys was in no state to talk.
“Good. I’ll leave her with you then. We’re also sending her home with a few pain meds but other than that she should be good to go.”
Once back in the car Rhys noticed that Feyre looked much better. She had some colour back in her face and her eyes didn’t look as empty. How had he not noticed how thin she had become lately?
“Feyre, how do you feel like coming and living with me for a few days?” Mor asked gently.
Rhys felt hatred pulse through him as he saw fear widen Feyre’s eyes.
“He wouldn’t like that.”
“It’ll just be for a few days Feyre. You can call… Tamlin, if you want. We just think you need some more company around you, Tamlin’s always working and we just want to make sure you heal properly. It will be like a big sleepover with just us girls.” Mor smiled.
When Feyre still looked uncertain, Mor looked at Rhys for support but he could only shake his head, knowing that if he opened his mouth up now, he would only say something Tamlin deserved, but it would make Feyre more upset. So Mor waited patiently until Feyre finally nodded her head.
“Just for a few days.” Feyre nodded, sounding more like she was trying to convince herself.
Cassian dropped Mor and Feyre off at Mor’s house which she shared with Amren. Cassian smiled sadly at Feyre as he drove away with Rhys back to their shared house. Rhys had been ever so quiet in the car and Feyre had been unable to decipher his silence.
Holding a few meagre possessions which Mor had grudgingly allowed her to take with her good hand after insisting she could help, Feyre made her way into the small house.
Inside was warm and despite the old appearance of the house from the outside, the inside was very modern looking and was only a few blocks down from the coffee shop. Amren was waiting for them in the kitchen with some food.
“Hey roomie.” Amren smiled, something Feyre was not often accustomed to seeing and the effect was a little alarming.
“Come, have some dinner Feyre.” Mor said while ripping an entire chicken leg off for herself.
“Thanks but I’m not very hungry. I think I might just go to bed if that’s alright.”
Amren and Mor shared a worried glance but Amren showed her down the hallway to a spare room with a bed already made for her. Feyre didn’t even pull back the covers before collapsing on it in a heap.
“We’ll save you some left overs for when you wake up.” Amren said, but Feyre was already asleep.
Only a few hours later, Mor and Amren were watching television together when Mor’s phone rang.
“Az, I already texted Rhys 10 times that Feyre is okay, tell him to stop rin-”
“Rhys is in hospital. Tamlin was here. Part of the house caught fire.”
Wolf familiar Shiro escaped from the galra seeking a safe place to
recover. He’s led by a raven, Black, to veterinarian Lance’s animal
hospital and he accidentally establishes a bond with the kind animal