13 DAYS OF OUTLANDER ~ 2x02 Not in Scotland Anymore | Favorite Moments
“Scotland is a beautiful country. It’s glens. It’s lochs. It’s mountains. We’re a people of the land. A simple people with no great love for outsiders. We will fight - have fought - each other more than not. But you ask us to shed our blood for what? To put a more sympathetic arse on the English throne? Is that cause enough for a cotter to exchange his scythe for a sword? To leave his home, his crops, and charge into a cannon’s blast?“
Happy Birthday Sam Heughan born 30 April 1980 in Balmaclellan, Dumfries and Galloway.
Sam attended Kells Primary School in New Galloway before the family moved to Edinburgh when he was 12, he went to James Gillespie’s on the edge of the meadows before finishing his school education at the prestigious Rudolph Steiner School.
After leaving School at 18 Sam worked and travelled before returning to Scotland and enrolling in the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, graduating in 2003.
Sam built a solid career in theatre in both Scotland and England starring in productions of Plague Over England, Macbeth, The Talented Mr. Ripley, Amphibians, and King John. He has also been featured in notable indie films, “Emulsion”, and “Heart Of Lightness” but of course it is one particular role that has catapulted him into worldwide stardom, that of Jamie Fraser in Outlander. For those who don’t know Outlander (yes there are some!) it follows the story of Claire Randall, a married combat nurse from 1945 who finds herself hurled back in time to the 1740’s in and around the time when The Jacobites and Bonnie Prince Charlie made the final illfated attempt to put the Stuarts back on the throne. Sam plays Claire’s “love interest” she is forced to marry.
Heughan is also very active in several charities, raising awareness as well as donations, by personally participating in marathons, and triathlons, for The Leukemia and Lymphoma Research Organization. He is also a patron of the Youth Theatre Arts Scotland.
I have a number of friends who follow the series and have read the series of books by Diana Gabaldon that Outlander is based, there is a lot of speculation amongst the massive online following as to whether Sam and his co-star Caitriona Balfe have continued their online romance into the real world.
“I wanted to do that with you,” I sighed, nestling my bottom back against his hips, “for a very long time.”
“Oh, aye?” I could hear the grin in his voice as he kissed my shoulder and nipped kisses down my arm. “How did ye ken I’d be any good at it?”
“Who’s saying you were?”
He heard the obvious teasing in my voice —calling a spade a spade: he’d been pretty bloody fantastic—and he gave it right back to me as he tsked with a mock-wounded, “Och, but she’s a vicious, cruel thing.” He slipped his arm under my head and brought the hand around to hold me close, whispering, grinning, “Cruel, cruel, cruel,” as he nipped his way up my still-flushed neck.
I hummed a happy laugh. “I didn’t know. But…” I turned my head back toward him, and right on cue, he brought his ear down near my mouth, so that hot breath moved against him as I finished, “…I knew I wanted you inside me.”
I felt him shiver at that, and he moved his hips ever-so-slightly against me, tracing a slow, warm hand up and down my hip and abdomen. A devilish grin still in his voice, he murmured, “Have I married a wanton, then?”
“You’re going to have your hands quite full with me in your bed,” I laughed, giving ‘devilish’ right back to him, “whatever rude name you wish you assign to it.”
“It’s wonderful, mo nighean donn,” he said, his voice suddenly soft. “I never dreamed—I—I didna even ken what it could be like.” I melted as he kissed my shoulder, my neck, my jaw. “How….perfectly happy a person could feel.”
I had known—
but to feel it with him…
Itwas a new kind of perfection.
“When I’m inside ye, Sassenach….” My husband pulled me tighter, seeming to fix his entire being on surrounding me, pulling me into him. “….I feel like….God himself.”
The laughter fizzed out of me before I could suppress it, which startled Jamie, but another moment, and the both of us were giggling uncontrollably. I had trouble getting the words out. “Is—that why you—took his name in vain so much??”
“While you’re already laughing at me—” Jamie choked out, the whole of him quaking behind me “—shall I tell ye that I didna ken there—was more than one position for coupling?”
“No!!!!” I gasped, feeling my cheeks would break from delight. “WHICH ONE??”
“The—back way—” he groaned, his voice wobbling as absurdly as his belly against my back, teetering on the edge of hysterics, “—like HORSES—”
“Jamie—” I moaned, coughing, a full two minutes later, “…hhhhhhhhORSES!!!”
“So YOU’RE—” Jamie gasped between veritable sobs of laughter, “—a—w—wanton, and I’m—a daft—LOON—”
More giggles. And hacking and coughing and still more giggles, until we were little more than a quivering puddle of flesh, our muscles absolutely spent from laughter.
I sighed a huge, deep sigh, exhausted from all the love and happiness. He did, too, and we settled back into each other, spooning close, snuggled under his plaid.
“So, what will we do, now, love? Make for Lallybroch?”
“Aye,” he said, “taking a verra indirect route, so as to stay off MacKenzie lands, but we’ll begin heading that way, to be sure.”
“And…we’ll stay there? Indefinitely?”
I hoped the raw eagerness didn’t show too obviously in my voice. I’d never had a real home, before—a place on the earth that was mine in some lasting way; and I’d never truly acknowledged to myself just how much something in my soul yearned for such a thing—a place to settle and grow—to fill with love and good food and memories. From what Jamie had said to me of his home, I knew Lallybroch could be that place; but I didn’t want to get my hopes up if we were going to be uprooted again.
“Well,” he said, shifting at my back and sounding nervous. “I suppose it’s—something we must decide together, aye?”
I smiled, touched. He was acknowledging my choice. That it might always be together.
“’Tis naught but a humble farm estate, ken?” he was saying, his words rushed and clumsy. “If ye—think you’d be happier someplace more–”
“No, I didn’t mean—!” I rolled to face him and let the truth of it show in my eyes. “It’s only that I don’t want to fall in love with a place we might have to leave.”
Happy relief flooded his face. “I dinna ever wish to leave, truthfully. I do think you’ll love it, Sassenach.” A flicker of doubt. “But do ye truly think ye can be happy? It’s no’ an easy life, a farm. We’ve servants and laborers, but there shall still—”
“I know I can, Jamie. I know it.”
And just as I vowed it, just as I savored the happy joy radiating from him, from me, the weight of history came crashing down around my shoulders.
My face must have fallen, for he was turning it up to him. “Mo nighean donn?”
And though it threatened to crush my heart into dust, I told him. About the war to come; the ‘45, and Bonnie Prince Charlie. The doomed cause. The famines. The Clearances. The endless upheavals and hardships that would all but destroy the Scotland he knew in just a few short years. How our life together would almost certainly be shaped—friends and family destroyed, if not ourselves, and that only by the grace of God— by an utterly doomed cause.
He said not a word while I spoke, but I watched his face harden into a mask of control, a sign of just how deeply he, too, felt the fear and dread of the devastation that loomed so close at hand. He had come to lay on his back, staring up at the ceiling of stars as I prophesied doom over the perfect happiness of this night, our life.
“Is there…” he said, long after I’d fallen silent, “…anything we can do against this?” I turned onto my side to face him, though he still stared at the sky. “Mightn’t we—” He ran a hand backward through his hair. “Since we ken what’s to come, might we take steps to change things?” The desperate hope in his eyes… “Prevent some of this tragedy before it can run its course?”
My mind reeled. Intentionally change the future?
“I don’t know how much two people could do, Jamie,” I said, giving him honesty.
He set his jaw and nodded, closing his eyes for a moment as though committing some prayer upward. I brought an arm up and across his chest, half-laying on him as I put a soft hand on his cheek. “But we will do what we can. We’ll take measures to keep Lallybroch safe, at the very least; to keep our family safe. I promise.”
A sigh escaped him, something like relief, and he pulled me close, my cheek on his chest. “Then lead us, wise woman,” he murmured, “and keep us from harm.”
There was no laughter in his voice—only feeling, and genuine supplication. “Perhaps, Claire….Maybe ye were brought back to this time no’ just to save me, but many in these troubles to come.”
God, the weight of those words upon me—the burden of knowledge of what was to come.
“I don’t—It still might not be enough—”
He put a gentle finger to my lips. “I trust ye, mo nighean donn. And whatever must be done, we’ll face it together.”
I kissed him, long, soft, and deep. Together.
A long time later, my parched throat overcame coziness and I stood, at which he made the most adorable little needy sound of protest. “I’m only going to get the canteen, you animal!”
Still, I made a little show of sauntering over to our bags by the adjacent wall, bending luxuriously over, and taking a long swallow with my back to him, nearly spitting out the water to hear his sounds of distress all the while. “You do know how to make a girl feel gratified, Jamie. Positively got it down to an ART!”
“No’ art. Sheer. *animal*. weakness.”
We both laughed, but when I turned back to face him, on his side watching me, his expression was serious, sweet with love. “Ye ken…I loved you, Sassenach, since I held you in my arms, that first day we arrived at Leoch.”
I could only beam with happiness at the memory. God, that fireside…
(…and given the evident solemnity in what he was about to say, I refrained from mentioning the rather vivid association in my mind between that encounter and HORSES.)
“I loved you, then…” he went on, grinning, “—but Christ, when you fell into that river–”
“Pushed,” I couldn’t keep from correcting with a playful grimace.
“Oh aye, when Ned Gowan—may he be sainted for it—pushed ye into the river,” he amended with a flash of a grin before continuing, quiet once more “—and ye let me carry ye… undress ye… hold ye… Christ….” He sat up and stared at me, shaking his head. “Claire, mo chridhe: my entire life just—rearranged around me.”
“I wanted it to be you.” My throat was so tight, it came out in a pitifully flimsy whisper.
“What was that, lass?” he asked eagerly, standing and crossing to me where I stood leaning against the cool stones of the wall.
“When you set me down by the fire, that night, I knew I needed body heat.” I splayed my hands across his broad, smooth chest, tracing the beautiful outline of him. “I was so far gone I couldn’t get the words out, and Murtagh, bless him, he was on the right track, so I just curled up and let things take their course, but—Jamie, I so badly ached for it to be you. I wanted….I kept trying to pluck up the courage to just say it.”
He brushed a curl back from my face. “Say what?”
“‘Jamie! You. Me. Warmth Cuddles! Spit spot!’”
We both laughed, but I felt my belly clutch in memory. “But I was afraid, for so many reasons.”
He pressed me gently back against the wall and kissed me, giving me the gift of not having to speak aloud the main reason for my fear and shame over my feelings that night. “Well, if you were afraid, Sassenach,” he said against my lips, “I was fairly shitting myself.”
Memory, sadness, shame: banished. I chortled rather gracelessly into his mouth. “Oh, yes, that was quite apparent, love.”
He rolled his eyes as he smiled, sheepishly. “Christ, I wanted ye so badly I could scarcely breathe. A green, virgin lad handed a naked goddess and asked to mind her through the cold, dark night??“
“I wasn’t naked, you oaf!!”
“Ye should have told that to my cock. It couldna seem to tell the difference.” We nearly dissolved into another fit of giggles before he groaned ruefully. “Had to say my hail marys to keep from embarrassing myself. WELL, I did embarrass myself, did I not?—to keep from doing something lecherous.” He stepped a pace back from me, shaking his head with a kind of dark awe as he surveyed me from head to toe. “It certainly felt as if it should be a sin….to behold you, so.”
I gave a dramatic look backward at my posterior, then another conspicuously between his legs, raising my eyebrows in pleasant surprise at what I found there. “Makes one wonder whether sin is half so bad, after all.”
THAT fast. Fire burned in his eyes as he closed the distance between us, jerked me off my feet, and pressed me against the wall—NOT gently. I came alive for him, wrapped my legs around him in visceral, lightning-fast permission, and he entered me with a sharp thrust that sent a deep gasp wrenching from my throat. And he was moving deep, deep, deeper inside me as he growled into my ear:
“Then give me my sin again, Sassenach.”
Thank you all SO MUCH for your support of this story!
I’m leaving things open-ended on purpose, just in case there comes a prompt that fits nicely with this AU that compels me to open it back up (just like I did with this renewal!).
But for the time being, I’m perfectly happy to leave the Frasers to ride off into the sunset. Thank you all again :)
In Shifted, the premise is simple - what if Claire had gotten pregnant with
Brianna a month or two earlier in the story, and she and Jamie had
re-evaluated their priorities and decided that the cause was lost, and
they were able to slip away from the army and quietly return to
hurried introduction to various nieces and nephews while the servants scurried
about – and then the three of them were in Jamie’s study. Claire settled behind
Jamie’s desk and gestured for Roger to take the chair in front of the desk.
Jamie bolted the door behind them and stepped over to Claire, standing beside
her and resting an arm around her shoulders.
she said softly. “Tell me why you are here.”
licked his lips. “Your husband looked for you. He found you.”
hand flew to her mouth, wordless.
on.” Jamie’s voice was low, steely.
watched Claire’s chin crumple, but her gaze remained strong on his, her cheeks
kept in touch with the Reverend over the years – would come to visit every once
in a while when I was growing up. Within a year of your – disappearance – he
came to peace with the fact that you’d never be found.” He rubbed the back of
his neck idly. “Mrs. Graham – he’d gotten to speaking with her every time he
visited. He became more and more open to the idea that you’d, well, stepped
through time. And that maybe you were in a place that you couldn’t come back
from.” He shrugged. “It’s as good of an explanation as any, I suppose.”
moved back to Oxford – began teaching again. Became a Jacobite scholar – the
’45, Bonnie Prince Charlie and all that.”
all that,” Jamie said softly, shaking his head. He rubbed Claire’s shoulders.
you legally declared dead, Claire, in 1949. You’d been gone four years, without
a trace.” Roger watched as she sighed and closed her eyes.
married again, Claire. In 1950. She’s a librarian at the university – they met
when she helped him with his research.”
took in a deep breath. “Do they have any children?”
No, they don’t.” Roger dropped his eyes and starred at his hands. Claire pulled
back and looked up at Jamie with a trembling smile. His troubled eyes relaxed.
ended up studying under him at university,” Roger continued. “He and the
Reverend got a great kick out of it. I was helping him with some research, two
years ago, focusing on how the British Army gave amnesty to proven rebels right
after the Rising. And I found Jamie’s pardon.”
cleared his throat. “Was he still looking for her, then?”
shook his head. “No. But when I found the deed of sassine where you signed over
this place to your nephew, and saw Claire’s name on the document…” He swallowed
and raised his eyes. Claire’s fingers twined with Jamie’s on her shoulder,
showed it to him – and I thought he was going to faint, right there. We knew it
was you, Claire. We’d found you in 1746.”
tilted Claire’s chin to lock his eyes with hers. His free hand gently traced
her cheekbones. It was an intimate gesture – one that spoke of deep feeling
born of many years of a shared life – and Roger suddenly felt like an intruder
on a very private moment.
unspoken was communicated between them, and Jamie gently released Claire’s
face, sliding his hand down to rest on her other shoulder.
why come, then?” Claire asked softly. “Just to bring me news of Frank? Because
he’s clearly moved on from me – and I hope you can tell that I’ve clearly moved
on from him.”
sighed. “Once we figured out what had truly happened, I started researching
whether I could do it myself. To come back, I mean.”
brow furrowed. “How on earth do you research something like that?”
shrugged. “Spoke with Mrs. Graham, for one thing. Met with some local druids,
if you can believe that. Did some research at the Inverness newspaper to find
other unexplained disappearances in the vicinity of the stone circle.” He
paused. “Frank tried to go back – he went to the stone circle first.”
started. “Is he here? Did he follow ye?”
rose and rested a hand on Jamie’s chest. “Jamie – no – ”
He grabbed her hand. “If he’s here, I must…I must speak wi’ him. I-”
not here,” Roger said softly. “He’s dead.”
crumpled into the chair. “What?”
attack, six months ago.”
closed her eyes. Jamie stilled beside her but his body tensed, still coiled for
waited a moment to speak – and when she did, her voice was soft, weary, but
firm. “I will ask you again, Roger. Tell me why you are here.”
see you, of course. To see if it was really you – and to see how you’d lived
your life. And I wanted to see if it was possible to – to actually live for a
while in the time I’ve spent the past few years of my life studying, getting to
know so well.”
didn’t respond for a long while, and he thought she’d fallen asleep.
her eyes opened – cold. “You’re a bloody tourist,” she hissed.
tourist? No, I’m a historian. I wanted to see if it was possible. It is
possible, for me. I know it’s not possible for everyone. Frank couldn’t do it.
So I did it – to honor him. And I’ll stay here for a while – I found you, and
delivered the news to you as I’d intended. And then in a bit I’ll go back.”
rose and rested her arms on the desk, leaning across it, towering over him. “Do
you just mean to come here and play around for a while, then? To study us like
we’re some kind of science experiment? Test out your theories?”
leaned back slightly. “No, I don’t mean that. I -”
can’t just drop in and out of a time like this. It’s dangerous, every day. You
have no idea how dangerous it can be here.”
raised one eyebrow, challenging. “You’re safe on this estate, with your husband
and his family to protect you.”
laid a hand on her back, and she straightened. “You fucking naïve idiot,” she
said slowly, deliberately, voice full of ice. “You can’t just play around. I’ve
seen acts of violence and absolute depravity that would make your skin crawl.
Men have tried to rape me. I was put on trial for witchcraft. I have fought a
war. I have seen men die from simple infections and women die in childbirth. Soldiers
have assaulted me and unjustly seized my family’s property. I have killed. I
have done violence. I have aided and abetted criminals. I lost a child.”
breathed short, shallow breaths. “And I’m only a woman. I won’t even begin to
tell you what Jamie has been through, in his life. You have no idea how
dangerous it is to be a man here, Roger.”
you’ve chosen to stay, Claire – you never went back. And I assume the two of
you had – have – children together, yet you’ve chosen to raise them here.” He
rose and rested his own hands on the desk, eyes level with hers. “All those
things you’ve said may be true – and still you’ve chosen to stay. Why?”
swallowed, trying to settle herself. “Because I’m a realist. I know what this
world is capable of, and I try my best to prepare myself for it.” She breathed
in and out, deeply. “And I have Jamie. I met him the day I fell through the
stones. I married him a few weeks later. He is my protector. He has a sense of
honor that men in your time don’t. He’s kept me safe. He’s kept our family
safe.” Her eyes pierced his. “At a personal cost so great that it’s difficult
to comprehend. He has sacrificed many times so that I didn’t have to. So that
our children didn’t have to.”
lay his hand atop Claire’s on the desk. Roger startled to see it had been
mangled – broken badly – clearly many years ago. That proved Claire’s point,
nodded, processing. “Did you never want to go back, then? Never want to go back
sighed. Roger watched Jamie’s fingers curl around hers. “I did at first. But I
wasn’t sure if I could get back – to go back to that time. And then I realized
that I didn’t want to. Even with the pain, the heartbreak, the violence, the
danger.” She sighed. “And now I’ve been here so long that this is my time. Your
time – it must be 1964? – it’s not my own. My life is here.”
slowly sank back into his chair. “And not with Frank?”
shook her head. “Roger, I love Jamie. He is my breath, the blood and bone in my
body. He understands me – truly understands me. Frank, bless him, never did. It’s
as simple as that.”
stretched between them.
finally broke the tension. “Will ye stay wi’ us, then? For tonight at least?”
met Jamie’s wary eyes. “If you’ll have me.” He tried and failed to meet
Claire’s gaze. “Will you introduce me to your family?”
nodded. “Aye, I will. Though God knows how.”
Culloden is an evocative place for many people. Not only is it the site of the last full-scale battle to take place on British soil, and the last stand of an ancient royal dynasty which traced its ancestry back to the Dark Age Gaelic Kingdom of Dal Riata and beyond, but it is also the place where the Highland clan culture of Scotland sang its last song. The Battle of Culloden in 1746 meant, quite simply, the end of an era for Scotland. [src]
The Battle of Culloden was fought on Drumossie Moor, to the north east of Inverness, on April 16, 1746. It was the last of the great Jacobite risings - popular attempts to reinstate a Stuart monarch on the throne of Britain - and was led by Charles Edward Stuart, also known as Bonnie Prince Charlie or the Young Pretender.
The Jacobites were outnumbered around 9000 to 6000, and the ground was too marshy to accommodate the Highlanders’ favourite tactic - the headlong charge into the enemy’s ranks. Culloden did, however, lend itself more to Cumberland’s strength in heavy artillery and cavalry. The artillery decimated the clans as they awaited the command to charge. Many clansmen fell simply because the command to charge came too late, as Charles waited for the government troops to advance first, whereas the government troops just kept firing in the light of their highly successfulbombardment. When the command did come, the charge itself was disorganised. The Hanoverians stood firm and blasted the Jacobite army into retreat.
Many of the Highlanders headed for Inverness and were hunted down and killed without mercy by Cumberland’s dragoons. Others, who headed into the mountains, stood a better chance of survival, but the government troops were thorough in their retribution. Many of the legends surrounding Culloden involve the clans’ attempts to return to home and the severity of government’s reaction. The ’45 was over and Bonnie Prince Charlie headed back to the safety of France and a life of obscurity.
The 21st of September 1745 saw The Battle of Prestonpans.
Prince Charles Edward Stuart’s decisive defeat of the Government Army led by Sir John Cope launching the ’45 Rebellion on a course that would take the Jacobite Army deep into England.
If you recall my post on the 16th when the Jacobite army overran the redcoats at what is known as the Canter of Coltbrig, two royal dragoons regiments fled Edinburgh and met up with General Sir John Cope, the commander of the small royal force in Scotland, he had marched to Inverness with his four regiments of foot to meet the Jacobites but missed them by several days. He then brought his troops south to Dunbar by sea and met up with the dragoons.
Cope decided to make a stand at Prestonpans and wait for Prince Charles Edward Stuart, who he knew would inevitably march to meet him in battle. The Hanoverian defensive position was thought to be ideal, with two stone walls on their right, a bog on their left, the sea behind and a deep moat-like ditch in front. In addition to Cope’s well armed foot soldiers and dragoons were six 1 ½ pounder galloper guns and six small mortars.
Considering the Highlander’s “poor” weapons mismatched guns, broadswords, Lochaber axes, pitchforks… and their lack of artillery, the English Commander was quite confident.
The Jacobite council of war quarrelled over what course to take (this bickering was to beset the entire campaign), and Lord George Murray initiated action without informing the Prince or his other advisers.
A local man led the advancing Jacobites through the marsh via a winding track, and they charged through the morning mist at the British line.
The British dragoons refused to obey orders to charge, and a single volley from the advancing Highlanders put them to flight. The infantry took the brunt of the Jacobite attack, and they crumpled before the fierce charge of Murray’s men. Although the actual loss of life at Prestonpans was comparatively slight - about 300 British troops - over 1000 men and 80 officers were captured. To their credit, the Jacobites ordered that the British wounded receive the best medical care available.
The success at Prestonpans was a terrific morale-booster for the cause, and more recruits flocked to the Jacobite standard. For the moment at least, the situation looked bright for Bonnie Prince Charlie.
Apart from Stirling and Edinburgh Castles, Scotland was in the hands of the Jacobite army.
I’ve never written anything before, so be gentle with me! But I was thinking about Outlander and the little things that make up our lives everyday that Claire (or myself) would miss when she fell through the stones. For me, I think the thing I would miss most is music. :) I think this little moment takes place just before Jamie and Claire leave Lallybroch in Dragonfly in Amber to go visit Lord Lovat. Read, enjoy, give me some feedback!
The bright lights blinded Claire to all but the first rows of onlooking audience members. She stood tall and took a deep, calming breath. The conductor raised his arms, and as one they began. She felt herself dissolve into the choir, as though they shared one mind for the space of the song. She could feel the deep, rumbling tones of the bass line, accompanied by the light, fluttering notes from the soprano section. And in the center of the intonations, she found the place where she belonged, where she fit perfectly.
The harmony line danced around the melody, jumping to meet it and then darting away. She knew this song well, had sung it a hundred times in rehearsal. While she sang, she lost herself in the rolling waves of music. She couldn’t tell where her voice ended and the rest of the choir began. As the song swelled into a crescendo around her, she felt whole. She could feel the song gently caress her, wrap it’s arms around her as though it were a physical being, holding her tight and safe.
She awoke with the strains of the song just outside of her conscious hearing. If she concentrated she could almost feel the perfect locking in of the last chord. A chord that was not only pleasing to the ear, but somehow made the heart feel whole. The dancing lines of melody and harmony, dipping and weaving together in a constant exchange. An expression of emotion so much stronger than mere words or actions. But now she couldn’t recall the flowing melody that flitted around the edges of her brain. She couldn’t share the simple song that was pulsing through her veins. The knowledge of that nearly crushed her. Left her lonelier for her own time than she had been in a long, long time.
Why hadn’t she paid attention more to the small details that comprised her life before? How could she have taken for granted the simplicity of written music? She could never reproduce the notes and chords of the compositions she longed to hear, that had not even been written yet. And even if she could somehow replicate those songs, how would she play them? She had no piano, no instrument other than her own singular voice. There was a good chance she would never again hear the perfection of a chord that holds your soul and then releases it just as quickly.
She closed her eyes and let the waves of bitter longing wash over her. She would allow herself this small moment of remembrance for her time before coming back to reality. Reaching over, she felt Jamie, warm and strong, lying beside her. She could live with the lost memories of music so long she had him beside her.
Claire’s touch on his arm woke Jamie. He looked over at his wife, a sleepy smile on his face. He reached over, caressing her face with his large, callous hands.
“What are ye thinkin’ about, mo nighean donn? Ye have that far off look in yer eyes. Where are ye?” Claire looked down, not wanting to meeting his eyes. She sat up in their bed, stretching the sleepiness from her limbs.
“It was just a dream, from before. It’s nothing important.” Sitting up with her, Jamie stroked her back. She leaned into his touch, wanting the comfort of something familiar and solid.
“Sassenach, every thought ye have is important to me.” He turned to hold her chin in his hands, forcing her eyes to look at him. “Please, tell me what’s causing that troublin’ look in yer eyes. Let me help ye.”
Claire looked deep into her husband’s slanted blue eyes. Telling him would not bring back the music she dreamt of. And even if it did, Jamie could not hear the music she wanted to share with him so much. He could understand the fact that there was music playing, but he couldn’t make sense of the sounds. The only music Jamie could hear at all was the rhythmic beating of a drum. But still, Jamie understood the words and meaning of the music, even if he could not make sense of the scales that were being played.
Jamie’s hand moved from her cheek down to hold her hand between his, comfort flowing from his touch. Her eyes followed the motion, looking at her hand in his.
“It’s silly really. Just a dream.” She paused, wondering if that was enough of an explanation. Jamie held her gaze, waiting for her to continue. Claire took a deep breath, going on.
“I was dreaming about music. I was on stage, singing with the choral group I was a part of, back in my time. We were performing a song we had sung a million times in rehearsal, a song that I loved. The dream was so real, I could feel the music, could feel the resonance in my chest. It was perfect. I woke up, and I couldn’t remember how the song went. I’m thinking about it now, and I still can’t recall it.” She was getting worked up, and a single tear slid down her cheek as she said “And I can’t ask anyone to help me think of it, because the song hasn’t been written yet here in this time. And even if I could figure out the name of the song, how could I replicate it? I’m just me, how could I replicate harmony?”
She kept her gaze down, feeling silly that she was so emotional about something that was so selfish. What could music do to help stop Bonnie Prince Charlie and the disaster that would be Culloden? Jamie brought one hand up to wipe away the tears that now spilled freely from her eyes.
“Sassenach, I’d no idea -” Claire gently pulled her hand away from him, struggling to untangle herself from the sheets as she rose from the bed. She didn’t want to cry in front of him, feeling selfish about wanting something that was so clearly not a necessity. They were here in Lallybroch, getting ready to march with the soldiers, and all she could think about was wanting to hear a song.
“I’m sorry, I’m not sure why I am crying over something so simple.” She walked out of their room quickly, going outside to feel the crisp morning air on her skin and to avoid any more questions.
Jamie watched her go. He ached to fill that void for her. She had given up so much for him, and never once complained. Claire truly was an amazing woman. He wanted to give her a fraction of what she had given him: love, support, and comfort. He would give her anything, as he had vowed those years ago at their wedding ceremony. Yet music…the one thing he could not physically bring to her himself. He cursed the day he had been struck in the head, knocking the ability to hear and understand music out of his head.
Suddenly, an idea struck him. He may not be able to recreate the sounds she remembered, but he could give her something else. He dressed quickly in his plaid, pulled on his boots, and raced to the stables to get a horse. As he rode, he made a list in his head of the houses he needed to visit, hoping everything would fall into place by evening.
Claire stayed outside most of the day, keeping her distance from the other residence of Lallybroch. She didn’t want her melancholy mood to rub off onto anyone else. She worked in the garden, collecting herbs and plants that she would need to treat the ailments of the soldiers as they traveled. As she worked, she hummed a simple children’s song to herself. It bothered her that she couldn’t hum the song from her dream. Why was she still thinking about music and songs in a time like this?
Looking up, Claire saw Jamie striding towards her. The setting sun cast his hair in a shade of deep auburn, with tinges of gold and copper sprinkled throughout. Claire smiled as arrived at her side and held his hand out for her.
“Ye’ve been working mighty hard out here today Sassenach. It’s time for supper, no?”
“I suppose you’re right. I am rather hungry.”
Leading her towards the house on his arm, Jamie seemed to have an excited energy about him. Usually, he was calm and collected, especially here at his home in Lallybroch. Claire wondered what he could have been up to all day. Maybe he had been working on plans to move his men to Lord Lovat’s land with Murtaugh.
As they rounded the final turn from the garden to Lallybroch, Claire came to a complete stop. Standing on the steps of the house were a dozen men in formation, all dressed in full Highland Scots regalia. Each man held a bagpipe in his arms waiting to play. Leading her forward, Jamie gave the men a signal, and they began to play.
Claire felt as though she were floating forward towards to music, the familiar tune of Amazing Grace pulling her closer. As she got close enough to see the faces of the men, she noticed she recognized them. These were the men Jamie would be traveling with to Lord Lovat’s lands. As her gaze drifted to the men on the end, she was surprised to see Murtaugh standing with the men, bagpipe in hand, playing with all the gusto he could muster.
She didn’t realize she was crying until Jamie handed her his handkerchief, wrapping his arms around her from behind and settling his head in the crook of her neck and slowly rocking her back and forth. Claire closed her eyes, letting the song become burned into her memory. When the song finally came to an end, she applauded loudly, and went up to each of the men to thank them.
As the men began to walk back towards their homes, Jamie shook each of their hands in thanks. As Murtaugh passed her, Claire gave him the warmest embrace she had ever given the man. She never imaged that Murtaugh could play the bagpipes, let alone play them so well. When all the men had all left, Claire turned to Jamie, embracing him as tightly as she could.
“Jamie, I can’t believe you put this together for me.” She said into his chest.
“Sassenach,” he said, pulling away to look down into her eyes. “Yer heart is my heart. Whatever it is ye want, if it is in my power to give it to ye, I’ll see it done.” He leaned down, placing a gentle kiss to her lips. “Now, shall we see about that supper?”
She smiled, placed her hand in his arm, and together they walked into the house.
P.S. - I know the song not historically accurate and wouldn’t technically be written until 1779, but it felt right here. :)
Edinburgh sloped up behind me, to the glowering heights of Edinburgh Castle, and down before me, to the gracious majesty of Holyrood Palace at the foot of the city.
The last time I had stood by this fountain, Bonnie Prince Charlie had been addressing the gathered citizenry of Edinburgh, inspiring them with the sight of his royal presence. He had bounded exuberantly from the rim to the carved center finial of the fountain, one foot in the basin, clinging to one of the spouting heads for support, shouting “On to England!” The crowd had roared, pleased at this show of youthful high spirits and athletic prowess. I would myself have been more impressed had I not noticed that the water in the fountain had been turned off in anticipation of the gesture.
I wondered where Charlie was now. He had gone back to Italy after Culloden, I supposed, there to live whatever life was possible for royalty in permanent exile. What he was doing, I neither knew nor cared. He had passed from the pages of history, and from my life as well, leaving wreck and ruin in his wake. It remained to be seen what might be salvaged now.
I was very hungry; I had had nothing to eat since a hasty breakfast of rough parritch and boiled mutton, made soon after dawn at a posthouse in Dundaff. I had one last sandwich remaining in my pocket, but had been reluctant to eat it in the coach, under the curious gaze of my fellow travelers.
I pulled it out and carefully unwrapped it. Peanut butter and jelly on white bread, it was considerably the worse for wear, with the purple stains of the jelly seeping through the limp bread, and the whole thing mashed into a flattened wodge. It was delicious.
I ate it carefully, savoring the rich, oily taste of the peanut butter. How many mornings had I slathered peanut butter on bread, making sandwiches for Brianna’s school lunches? Firmly suppressing the thought, I examined the passersby for distraction. They did look somewhat different from their modern equivalents; both men and women tended to be shorter, and the signs of poor nutrition were evident. Still, there was an overwhelming familiarity to them— these were people I knew, Scots and English for the most part, and hearing the rich burring babble of voices in the street, after so many years of the flat nasal tones of Boston, I had quite an extraordinary feeling of coming home.
I swallowed the last rich, sweet bite of my old life, and crumpled the wrapper in my hand. I glanced around, but no one was looking in my direction. I opened my hand, and let the bit of plastic film fall surreptitiously to the ground. Wadded up, it rolled a few inches on the cobbles, crinkling and unfolding itself as though alive. The light wind caught it, and the small transparent sheet took sudden wing, scudding over the gray stones like a leaf.
The draft of a set of passing wheels sucked it under a drayman’s cart; it winked once with reflected light, and was gone, disappearing without notice from the passersby. I wondered whether my own anachronistic presence would cause as little harm.
“You are dithering, Beauchamp,” I said to myself. “Time to get on.” I took a deep breath and stood up.
“Excuse me,” I said, catching the sleeve of a passing baker’s boy. “I’m looking for a printer— a Mr. Malcolm. Alexander Malcolm.” A feeling of mingled dread and excitement gurgled through my middle. What if there was no printshop run by Alexander Malcolm in Edinburgh?
There was, though; the boy’s face screwed up in thought and then relaxed.
“Oh, aye, mum— just down the way and to your left. Carfax Close.” And hitching his loaves up under his arm with a nod, he plunged back into the crowded street.