boston flooded

Flood my Mornings, Part 7

From the prompt @ask-charming-david​ asked: Imagine if Jamie somehow made his way through the stones after Culloden, found out where Claire was, made his way there, and surprised her in Boston.

Catch up: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6

-Mod Bonnie


Part 7 

Bleeding out from the heart. Aye. That was it. 

He could barely breathe. To hear such a tone in Claire’s voice…such…revulsion….

Go

away

Jamie.

She was still facing away from him, leaning against the counter.  

Jamie opened his mouth to speak. God, just turn around… Just look and you’ll see its me… Turn around, mo chridhe… Christ, turn around and see me before ye. “Cl…Claire?” His voice sounded strangled. Higher than usual. His mouth was dry, and each word grated against his throat.  “Claire, it’s…it’s me….Jamie.”

“I know it’s you,” she said at once, startling him, “but you’re. not. here.” She clipped each word, then laughed through her nose and took another long draught of whiskey.

A Dhia, that that were true. Surely this was a dream, a nightmare. He was feverish from hunger and fatigue. This wasn’t real. This wasn’t how he met Claire. Was not.

No, he was awake; he could feel his fingernails pressing into his palms, could hear the air that whistled through his nostrils as he struggled to remain calm.

…but that didn’t make the nightmare any less real.

Slowly, footstep by footstep, he moved toward her. “Sassenach…I—am—here. See?”  

She made a small noise and stiffened, but made no move to turn. “You always say that….” She was slurring her words. How much had she drunk, then? A considerable amount.  “…and you’re always there, alright. Just not…there, there. Like the bloody bus stop.” He saw her raise the glass to her forehead. “Was doing—so well—was going to stop—really…really was—and then you have to go and…” She made a vague gesture with her glass, laughed again, whispered a low, “damn you,” then drained it.

Christ, she had seen him, then;  had heard him as he chased the OmniBus. His excitement at this realization was brimming from him as he reached her.  “Claire… I ken it sounds… mad, impossible…” He was beside her against the counter, facing her–-God, she was even more beautiful than she remembered. “…but I’m here... I’m real!

 Her eyes were shut and she was shaking her head slowly from side to side. She didn’t turn. 

Jamie reached out a trembling hand and touched her cheek. He gasped aloud at the feel of her under his palm. How long had he dreamed–? How long had imagined–? She had gasped involuntarily at his touch, too, and Jamie’s heart had leapt…but she immediately gritted her teeth, squeezing her eyes even tighter and repeating under her breath, “No. No. No.”

He turned her gently by the shoulder with his free hand, bringing her to face him. Her face was still pointedly facing the counter, eyes closed. “Claire,” he begged softly, “look at me, love.”

She resisted for another long moment, her facial muscles working in a thrum of effort to resist the rest of her body. Then she did look, opening her eyes and looking straight into his, golden and perfect.

“Oh, mo chridhe,” he gasped, taking her face in both his hands as he beamed downward, not daring to take his eyes from her. “Claire...it’s me.”

She stared blankly for a moment. She blinked. Swallowed. Then, slowly, she reached up a hand and laid it atop his, silver ring glinting in the dim light. Jamie leaned his forehead against hers, tears beginning to fall in the agony of waiting for her to speak, to cry, anything

Tentatively, she lifted her other hand to trace the lines of his face. He gave a soft moan and followed her touch, moving with her to try to capture it.  The fingers were cool and capable. They moved up to smooth away a wavy lock above his temple, and Jamie had to close his eyes for a moment, bowled over by the intimacy and familiarity contained in such a simple gesture. They might have been by a roadside in the highlands, or walking through the hay fields at Lallybroch. Husband and wife.  

When he opened his eyes, her mouth was quivering, as though smile were trying to fight through. “You cut your hair,” she said, very quietly.

“Aye,” he said, with a gasping laugh. He slowly, carefully wrapped his arms around her waist. “It’s still me, though. I promise.” 

“Beautiful…” She was smiling, but faintly, and the hand on his face was trembling as it followed the hollow of his cheek down to his lips. “My beautiful….beautiful love…perfect…”

Then, something snapped. Her hands jerked away as though from hot iron, and she stumbled backward. “Stop this, fucking, fucking stop this,” she muttered through clenched teeth with a strangled sob, turning back to the counter and pouring more whiskey. “Stop, stop it, stop.”

Jamie’s heart, which had rising, soaring with her touch, plunged back into icy dark panic. He growled and pushed the glass from her hand before she could lift it. “Damn you, Sassenach, this isna a dream!

“…can’t do this anymore, Beauchamp…

He took her by the shoulders again, bodily this time. “It’s Jamie. Your husb—” His voice cracked, and the tears surged, hot tears of pain and grief and anger, “—husband. I’m alive….I’m here….”

“…let him rest….”

He gritted his teeth, anger bubbling to the surface. “Look at me, mo chridhe—I need ye to—”

“…need…” 

Her face had changed, somehow. She was staring at some point in her vision, but not at him, her eyes out of focus from drink. “…need…”

He shouted a curse in Gaelic and shook her, very, very hard. “Can ye no’ feel my hands touching you, woman? Or yours touching me, or—”

Her mouth was on his and the heat of it was so intense that he moaned and opened to her before he even stopped to think. She tasted of whisky and heat, both shooting into his core in a blinding second. He gripped her and twined his fingers hard into her hair.  He lost all comprehension of the passage of time, aware only of her mouth…until he realized she was fumbling with the buttons of his trousers.

“What in God’s—?” He jerked back.“Ye canna be thinking—”

“Yes, I bloody can.” Her jaw was set as she got the Zipper down and she was crying.  “Don’t—care— if it’s a dream—”

He pushed her away from him again, taking a step back and looking down at her in horror. “No, Claire, we—”

She staggered and looked up into his face, eyes wet and defiant. “You don’t want me?”

He made a wild gesture as he shouted, “Christ, of course I want ye.” He had gone hard as soon as her greedy lips touched his. “Claire, I have burned—” his hands shook with intensity before him, as though he held his heart in them, “—burned for ye for two long years, but—”

And I’ve burned for you,” she choked, stepping forward, a fresh tear slipping off her jaw as she reached hungrily for him.

He held her by both shoulders again, pleading. “But I need ye to see me, damn you.” He shook her again, her hair swinging around her face. “I need ye to ken that I’m truly here wi’ ye, and—”

“I do see you…” she cried, cutting him off and struggling against his restraining grip. “…and I need you. I need you, Jamie….” He was shaking so badly that she managed to break his hold and nearly got her arms around him. “It’s been so… long…”

He caught her by both wrists, and pinned her against the counter to keep her still, gritting his teeth and watching as his vision blurred with tears. “You. are. drunk, and we canna—”

She thrashed madly against him, glaring, eyes still not quite focused. “Yes, I’m drunk but I know exactly what I’m doing,” she growled, her cheeks shining. “I know you’re not—know that you’ll disa—disappear as soon as we—” She broke off with a sound of distress and slipped his hold again—Christ, had she always been so strong?—and pressed against his chest. She sunk her lips into his neck, kissing up to the hollow under his jaw, her voice harsh through strangled tears, “—never going—to stop—trying—”

Claire,” he pleaded, feeling his resolve cracking, emotion and need rooting him to the spot. He was aching so strongly with it that he could barely see straight, and though his arms were raised in a gesture of protest, he couldn’t make his limbs obey to repel her advances. She was breathing deep and raggedly, grabbing wildly to cling to him. Her hands were cold as she ran her hands under his shirt and into his loosened waistband, cupping his bare buttocks. His hips had grown so thin that the trousers fell to his ankles easily at her touch, exposing him. She pressed herself against him, and, with a groan, slipped a hand down between them and grabbed his cock, hard. Jamie cried out, a deep, tearing sound, and so did she, their cries echoing off the walls.

Claire had closed her eyes and was leaned heavily against his shoulder as though unable to stand on her own any longer while she grasped and pulled his length. “Jamie…please…come to me….” she whispered.

“Christ… Sassenach….no,” he pleaded weakly, his vision going black under her touch. “I dinna want… it shouldna be like this…like…”

Then, a sound of pure hunger escaped her throat, so deep and animal that—

He flung his arms around her waist and jerked her off her feet, stepping out of the discarded trousers and crushing her to his chest. He rucked up her foolishly short skirt so that she could get her legs around him. She was bare underneath. He spread his fingers out across her buttocks—a Dhia, so full and heavy and round—squeezing and kneading as he pulled her hips tight against him. 

She wanted him, alright, badly. He could feel the heat radiating from between her legs, the scrape of her hair against his belly as she ground hard against him with her arms tight around his neck, seeking purchase.

And yes, he wanted her; wanted her so badly he thought his cock couldn’t take another moment of this torture, rubbing agonizingly against her arse as she moved. But he had no joy in this; only his need and an ache of despair and fear he’d never have thought possible in Claire’s arms. 

How much of this was drink…and how much was something deeper… more sinister? He remembered it all too vividly: the wishing and the pretending. He had felt the madness come upon him many times—in the Oxford prison; before the stones; every night in the cave; the need to see her, to talk to her, or to just hold her in his arms. To not be alone with his grief. Might hers have taken hold in a way that could never be healed? Was this what Frank had referred to? The ‘deadness in her eyes’? The nurses had said she didn’t socialize. The neighbors at Fury Road had said much the same. She had changed her name and fled without telling a soul. Had the Claire he had known, the home of his heart, died in 1746?

God… even with her in his arms at this moment…even as he laid her down on the cold, white floor … even as he knelt and she spread herself before him, already quivering and keening from her need… Jamie’s heart was being torn apart.

C l a i r e,” he sobbed, hands shaking on her thighs, feeling as thought he’d die if he didn’t have her…feeling as though he were dead already. 

“Jamie, please….” She was crying, too, but she clawed at him, his hips, his neck, pulling him down to her, begging, “…come to me… stay with me…please…”

He felt his eyelids fall closed, time seeming to slow as he allowed himself to be dragged downward, his body remembering the way of hers without thought. His throat burned with grief. His chest heaved with loss. He felt his breath hot on his lips as he whispered,“‘Til our life shall be done, Claire.”

And with a sob of despair, he thrust home.

The next second was an explosion in Jamie’s senses.

The feeling of her on his cock… He’d had no other woman, and he cried out with a cracked sound of ecstatic need, as if he would lose himself there and then. But it wasn’t desire to delay his impending release that made him go still as stone and the blood freeze in his veins.  

It was Claire’s scream.

She had gone white as her gown. Slack-jawed. Unmoving. Seeming not even to breathe.

Panicked, Jamie pushed himself back, “Christ, have I hurt ye, Claire?! Have I—” But even as he said it, he knew he hadn’t. He didn’t even need to look at their still-joined flesh for signs of damage, as had been his first impulse. That scream…that hadn’t been the sharp “oh!” that sometimes accompanies sudden joining. The sound Claire had made was something more visceral: utter shock…and utter terror.

She was staring at him, directly now, as if seeing him for the first time, all befuddlement of drink apparently vanished. Her hands were gripped so tightly on his arms that he was sure the fingernails would draw blood. Her pale lips suddenly parted, and though he barely heard the syllables, he saw the look in her eyes. Recognition.

“Ja…Ja…mie?”

Jamie let loose a desperate, tearing sob. He fell forward onto one forearm, scooping his hand beneath her head. “YES, yes, its me—I’m here, mo chridheI’m here.”  

His face was mere inches from hers now, but she was still staring at him, her brows raised and joined in the middle in the shock, horror, and dawning comprehension that flew across her face in quick succession. “I….Jamie…? Wh…Jamie…?”

He was weeping and laughing in equal measure, and kissed her forehead before resting his own against it. “Aye, it’s ME, sweetheart—it’s me—it’s truly me—it’s your Jamie, I swear—” He brought his other hand—shaking uncontrollably, like the rest of him—to cup her cheek, his whole body fixated on the need to hold her, surround her. He felt her contract around him and he gasped out in dawning joy, “Can ye feel me, now? Can ye feel me inside ye, Claire?”

“Yes…yes….” she breathed, and he could see in her look that it was so, the thoughts exploding across her glass face. She fumbled one hand under his shirt. She cried out as the fingers met the ridges of his scars. “You’re here,” she gasped, grabbing for his face. “JAMIE—How—h—ow?” Before he could answer, she stiffened, looking up with eyes wide and streaming; and so very sad. “Does this…am…am I dead, too?”

“No,” he said, smiling wide and tasting the salt that trickled into his mouth, palming her face over and over  “No, no, no, my Sassenach, you’re no’ dead. We are alive, the both of us. I wouldna ever lie to ye…least of all in heaven.”

But you died—” she said in a grating whisper, her hand a vice on the back of his neck, now. “You — died— at Cul—.”

“Survived—survived, Claire—”Jamie choked out, palming her face over and over. “And I dinna ken how but I touched the stones and fell—”

“Jesus H—”

“—and I found myself here, Claire, 1950—”

“You’re—”

“—through to your time, and—”

“You’re here?” she sobbed, shaking him.

Aye, I’m truly here—”

A storm of tears overtook them both as she reached up fiercely for his mouth. Jamie bent to her, despair vanished, intent on nothing but tasting her, feeling her in his arms; feeling her touching him and knowing him to be there. The hand cupping the back of her head held her tight against him and his cock involuntarily pushed deeper inside her.

A deep, guttural sound escaped her against his mouth. “Oh…oh my God,” Her eyes rolled back and the lids flicked shut as she moved against him in return, bringing him in still further. “Oh—God—”

Jesus…Christ...” Jamie echoed, feeling his blood run hot as lead. He forced himself to move slowly—so slowly—slipping all the way out….and then in, slowly, inch by inch until her breathing hitched and she made a mewling sound against his cheek. “Mo ghraidh…” he moaned, closing his eyes, feeling tears running down his jaw.

She was grabbing fistfuls of his shirt and pulling herself full against him, forcing him in deeper, “—don’t—bloodystop—”

He didn’t. He doubled his speed and sank into her, over and over, calling her name.

She was struggling furiously with the buttons down the front of her frock, panting, “I need—I need—”

Without a word, he rolled his weight back onto his knees and ripped the dress open down the front, buttons flying everywhere. He put an arm beneath her back so that she could remove the sleeves. On impulse, he brought his other arm beneath her and lifted her bodily off the floor, never breaking their fragile link. She lowered herself down onto him, bringing him impossibly deep as he settled back onto his haunches. The shirt came over his head in a flash of blue, the flimsy garment that bound her breasts fell to the ground, and there was nothing, nothing, between them. Jamie lowered his mouth to capture a nipple, so hard and soft at once, hearing her cry out. He trailed upward to her neck. He could feel the shapes of her beneath his hands as he gripped her to him, against his chest, under his lips: so small, and yet so strong. 

“Jamie, you’re—I’ve—” she sobbed as she rode him, arms around his neck, cupping the back of his head as he cupped hers. “—I've—missed you—so much—”

Jamie was weeping, too, so hard that he could barely do more than croak as he pulled and pushed her against him by the base of her spine and buried his face in her shoulder. “—been—searching so long—couldna find ye—I thought you’d—”

“—I couldn’t bear to let you go—”

“—Mo nighean donn—”

They both lost words, then. It didn’t take long, pounding as they were with such frenzy and desperate need. She was underneath him again on the white tiles. He slid his hands under her, lowering himself and holding her tight against him. She clung to him just as tight, and when Jamie felt her begin to come apart around him, he followed her; followed his wife into that place where they were one flesh. Where time was of no concern any longer. 


No!” she cried, heaving, when he made to pull out of her at last. “Don’t you dare.

“What—?”

Her teeth were gritted and her tears still flowing freely as she gripped him, eyes boring into his, wild with fear. “Don’t you fuckingdareleave me…”

No, no,  mo ghraidh,” he murmured, breath ragged and heart pounding. He caved his shoulders and pressed the length of his body against hers, sheltering her. “I shall never be parted from ye, again, Claire… ever. I swear it.” 

After a time, he made to shift position again and she moaned once more in panicked protest, her fingernails digging into his arms. 

Making small, soothing sounds, he tucked her securely against his chest and rolled, setting them both onto their sides. He took care not to unsheathe from her even for a moment, letting their limbs intertwine. She was still frantic, and was saying his name over and over, grasping him to her as if to keep him from vanishing. He pressed every inch of his arms against her body, holding her to him. “Never…not ever,” he whispered to calm her, though he was breaking apart, too. “Not…not…oh, Christ, Claire…”

They wept. Wept until there were no more tears between them. Clinging together, murmuring, affirming over and over to one another those most simple and yet unfathomable truths.

Here

Alive

Together

Keep reading

On May 31, 1889, the South Fork Dam on Pennsylvania’s Little Conemaugh River broke. 16 million tons of water spilled over the dam and swept towards Johnstown, Pennsylvania, 14 miles downstream. 

 On its way downstream, the deluge picked up trees, houses, railroad cars, and other debris. The flood poured through two iron works, where it swept up even more deadly debris. By the time the flood reached Johnstown, an hour after the dam’s collapse, the water was traveling at 40 mph and in some places was 60 feet high. Over 2,200 people died in the flood and when the water receded, it left behind a 30 acre debris field.

News of the flood and its damage spread throughout the country, and individuals and organizations from across the country sent aid. In Boston, a group of Italian-Americans living on Hanover and North Streets planned a meeting at Faneuil Hall to “consider and devise measures of relief for the sufferers of Johnstown and vicinity.”  Though we’re not sure what transpired at this meeting, we do know that individuals and organizations from across the globe donated over three million dollars to relief efforts in Johnstown.

Petition to use Faneuil Hall for a meeting to plan relief for Johnstown sufferers, June 6, 1889, Docket 1889-0261-C, Proceedings of the City Council, Collection 0100.001, Boston City Archives

The “Things Said Around My Gaming Table” Starter Meme

(Here’s a list of quotes from games I’ve run or played in for you to use as RP Starters. Enjoy!)

“Did you just interrupt Hades to arrest me?”
“Hi, Nice to meet you. Let’s go steal a moon.”
“Look, a Gyro Stand!”
“Scariest thing is you called it. Three hits and he’s down.”
“I’ve never seen somebody fail so hard that it looped back around to epic success.”
“What do you mean ‘Anubis declared me his BFF?’”
“Did the Pope’s brain just bless our endeavor?”
“Like him or hate him, that was still one hell of a shot.”
“He couldn’t even die without doing it dramatically.”
“It seemed dramatically appropriate.”
“I just saw an angel bodyslam a viking with a pirate ship while an ancient dragon watched.”
“And thus, the cover of a heavy metal album was born.”
“That guy was supposed to be your nemesis.”
“Holy reanimated velociraptors, Batman!”
“It seems that even a submarine sandwich is a lethal weapon in your hands.”
“The great Circe demands a boon. She wants the whole collection of Scrubs on Blu-ray.”
“Oooiiil Caaan…”
“Hand me your dice, you’re clearly cheating.”
“How are you still rolling so high?”
“Did you marry the dice gods?”
“You just stabbed him so hard his whole army exploded.”
“It’s not every day a Sasquatch asks me to save a child from being petrified.”
“Great. Stuck in Boston during the molasses flood.”
“Why is this the second time a bar has exploded as soon as we walk in?”
“Just sign the contract of friendship and this will all be over.”
“Physics are for people who can’t be magical girls.”
“You’re surrounded by magical girls and giant robots. This won’t end well.”
“Ow. Just cut out my heart, why don’t you?”
“What kind of guy modifies a lute to turn it into a crossbow?”
“I’m going to crash my airship into that dinosaur’s chest!”
“I cast Create Food on the floor! Three yards of Cotton Candy!”
“It has been nothing short of a pleasure, stabbing you in the back!”
“Bottles marked 'Drink Me’  rarely have good things come from them.”
“Why is there a rhinoceros in the space base?”
“How do you manage to set off every trap, and still survive?”
“Why is there a lighthouse in the middle of the desert?”
“On the bright side, now the enemy won’t get our ship.”
“He waited until the refugees were in another galaxy before sending a hit squad? What an ass.”
“Ok, you’ve hit your pun limit for the day.”
“That’s the second most beautiful boom I’ve ever seen.”
“Can the third rail on subway ground out magic?”
“I’m an undead samurai with an alchemical medal fused to his spine. I’ll stop drinking when I say I’m ready.”
“Yeah, the next time someone says they want a Yondu-style weapon, I’m going to say no.”
“What kind of guy looks at a swarm of spiders and says 'I should weaponize this?’”
“I just told a volcano to sit down and shut up, and it did.”
“I’m trying to write a song about our crew, but there’s not a lot that rhymes with 'wanton vandalism.’”
“I just beat up the Egyptian gods with a pair of crowbars.”
“We started with a good idea, took a quick detour into a bad idea, then got lost somewhere around dumb idea. Now I don’t know where we are.”
“'Nuclear grenades’ is never the solution to 'unstable wormholes.’”
“Oh whoops, left my magic staff’s safety on.”
“Wheel of insanity, turn turn turn…”
“This is one of the few times when a towering inferno is a good thing.”
“You know, usually reaching orbit from Baikonur involves a rocket…”
“We’ve gone ten minutes into this royal ball, and none of us have secretly tried to usurp the throne.”
“I have a heart of gold and a liver of steel!”
“That is not a heroic use of superspeed.”
“Please, baby, put the toaster down.”
“So, apparently, our new team motto is 'We’re gonna need a bigger…’”
“I’m gonna go Jumanji on him!”
“If you were so drunk that you can’t remember making the plan, maybe we shouldn’t do it.”
“Did he just break into a noir narration in the middle of a monologue?”
“This is just a symphony of shenanigans.”
“I think you just punched his hatred out of him.”
“So, i got married to a pyromaniac priestess…”
“You hacked an ATM to spit out only singles?”
“This place isn’t supposed to be on fire for another two hundred years.”
“For the record, sticking the landing hurts.”
“What do you mean 'he already used his world ending move on me?’”
“Pudding is not supposed to bounce like that.”
“I’m going to suplex the wolf onto the other wolf!”
“And this is why we’re not allowed to perform first contact.”
“We’re going to throw a party in the Silent Citadel!”
“Sorry, being shirtless is my natural state.”
“We don’t use our friends as projectiles!”
“I’m not drunk enough for this!”
“I am drunk enough, but I still don’t wanna be here.”

Flood my Mornings, Part 8

From the prompt @ask-charming-david​ asked: Imagine if Jamie somehow made his way through the stones after Culloden, found out where Claire was, made his way there, and surprised her in Boston.

Catch up: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 

-Mod Bonnie


Part 8 

I awoke in my bed…

No.

…and experienced sheer… gut-tearing… despair.

Holy Mary, please, no.

Not again. 

Then strong arms tightened gently around me and I felt warm breath move across my forehead. I cried out and the arms gripped me hard in response. I grappled furiously to find his mouth in the dark. He was grappling for mine, too, and when we found one another, we disappeared into the warm dark; soft, urgent sounds floating up and surrounding us like a cloud of sweet smoke, hiding us, enclosing us. 

He shifted and I was crying hard into the warm skin of his neck, my world shrunken to the hands holding me, the familiar scent of him, and the cracking question that forced its way out of my throat.

“It really happened?”

He wasn’t crying, but his voice shook. “Aye, mo chridhe, it wasna a dream. I’m really here.”

Really. Here. 

Not a dream. 

After a time, I nodded hard and released him, trying to catch my breath, croaking, “Light?”

He sounded embarrassed. “I—how?”

“The—the lamp on the table by your elbow. Twist the little switch just under the shade.”

He rolled over and, after some fumbling and vain tries, turned the switch and flooded the room with light. I heard him mutter something wonderingly in Gaelic as he lay on his side craning his neck to peek under the shade, and I wondered for a moment how much (if anything) he had learned of electricity. I didn’t expend a lot of energy on this line of thought. I could see him now in full light for the first time. The scars on his back were clear as day, the graceful curve of his buttocks just peeking out from beneath the coverlet. I reached out a hand to touch him; then, needing more, I shifted myself and lay full against him, spoon-fashion. He made a small, tender sound deep in his throat and turned his head back over his shoulder as far as he could, holding the arm I’d brought around his chest. I pressed my cheek against his back, my tears slipping down and finding the criss-crossed tracks of his scars.

“When did we move to the bed?” I whispered, trying to find some banal topic that might allow me to regain my composure. Fat chance.

“Few hours ago. Ye didna try to fight me on it, thank God.” He rolled over to face me. Jesus bloody Christ, he was beautiful. Sunburned and lined, yes, but still my Jamie in every way. A fresh wave of emotion smote me and I covered my face, shaking violently.

Jamie, by contrast, sounded practically cheery. “Mind, I did try to stay in ye as long as possible, Sassenach. The spirit was willing, but the flesh….well, the flesh was verra cold and contrived a retreat to a warmer spot. Figured you and I might as well follow suit, aye?”

A sob burst into a laugh and I choked, hacking and sputtering. I placed a steadying hand on his chest and blinked up at him through running eyes. “Are you really—really—making penile jo—jokes—at a time like this?”

He smiled widely. “Aye, I am. I shall jest about floppy cocks or whatever else makes ye laugh.” The impish grin softened into a beautiful thing of immense tenderness. “We are together now, mo nighean donn, forever…and I dinna mean to spend the rest of our lives crying.”

“I’m not sure I’ll—ever be able—to stop.”

He leaned forward and held my face in both hands, wiping the moisture away with his thumbs and murmuring gentle hey noises.

“Will it really be the rest of our lives?” I blurted.

He pulled back and looked as though I’d punched him in the stomach. “And why should it not be?”

“I don’t know,” I said, sniffing, “It’s all just…we were together and happy before, weren’t we? And then the war came and..and..damn you, Jamie, you died.” It was stupidly said, but I was shaking from the true horror implicit in it; the memory.

“I know, mo chridhe…and even death couldna stop us, could it?” He took my hand and kissed it. “I like our chances just fine.”

I breathed deeply, finally feeling my heart begin to resume its normal pace; the whirling melee of my emotions stilling enough for the demands of logic to reassert themselves once more. “How?”

“How what?”

“How in the world did you do it? Survive Culloden? Come through the stones?”

He was silent for a moment. “Would ye understand if I asked not to talk of those things?” I hesitated, the lump in my throat at the pain in his eyes too heavy, and he hastily added, “Not now, I mean! I’ll tell ye all, I swear. I’ve naught to hide from ye, it’s only—”

“Of course, Jamie,” I said softly, touching his face. “Not tonight.”

Plenty of time for that. 

He exhaled heavily and laid his hand over mine.

My curiosity was too strong to simply be ignored altogether, though. “Can I just ask…” He raised his eyebrows in silent permission. “Once you were through, how on earth did you find me?”

He gave a kind of weak smile. “Went to every hospital in Boston asking after Nurse Randall. Walked until my shoes fairly wore out. T’was naught but by chance that I saw ye at the OmniBus. Aye, that was me,” he said, seeing my shock. "Even though ye slipped away, I nearly died on the spot from happiness at seeing ye there in front of me, Claire.” He pulled me tighter against him, his voice hoarse. “To ken that ye hadna moved to another part o’ the country, or some such. I’d been so afraid that I’d never find ye, mo ghraidh. So verra afraid.”

I kissed his shoulder, lips trembling. “And I was trying—so hard—to forget,” I said haltingly. “To keep you from my mind. When I heard your voice—so clearly—God, it just brought it all falling down. Could barely make it through the day on my feet. Just needed to get home. To the whiskey,” I whispered, ashamed. Another thought struck and I pulled back to look at him. “How—how did you know I was in Boston, though, Jamie?

It was no more than a whisper, but he said the word with the unmistakable air of one utterly thunderstruck. “Frank.”

I couldn’t have spoken if I’d tried. As it was, there were simply no words.

“Sought him out at Oxford, ken. He wasna o’er pleased to see me…but in the end…he took pity on me. Gave me all he was able to in order to get me to ye…and to Brianna.”

Reeling from rampant speculation about what exactly had occurred during the meeting of Frank W. Randall and James Alexander Malcolm Mackenzie Fraser (Jesus H. Roosevelt CHRIST!!!), it took me a moment to register what he’d said.

Breeinnah.

I looked up into his face and was bowled over by the sweet, hungry light in his eyes; by hearing the name of our child (however novel in pronunciation) leave his lips.

Our baby. 

That baby. 

The baby that he had tried to give his life for. That he had never seen or held. 

“Wait here,” I whispered, beginning to rise, smiling, but with a lump in my throat.

He blanched and caught my arm. “No! Ye dinna—ye shouldna wake her!” Joy and eagerness in his expression were now joined by a distinct strain of anxiety. 

My God…he was afraid to meet her.

I put a hand on his arm. “Jamie…”

He stilled. Took a breath. Nodded.

Rising, I slipped on my dressing gown and walked down the hall to Bree’s room, my heart pounding. It had been an unusually warm day, even for July, and I saw that Mrs. Byrd had opted not to put Brianna to bed in her customary suit, but instead only a light cotton diaper cover. Even so, her skin was blazing to the touch as I scooped her up and brought her to my shoulder. She automatically tucked her face against my neck, snuggling close. Sweet thing.  Or…sweet to me..

Suddenly, I was terrified as Jamie and prayed a silent prayer against disaster. Bree was old enough to put up a fuss about anyone she didn’t take a shine to—and did. Good gracious, she even wailed when I turned her over to Mrs Byrd—to whom Bree was devoted—almost daily. 

What if Brianna wouldn’t let Jamie hold her? 

What if she was afraid of him? 

My stomach clenched in dread….but there was nothing for it. 

Coming down the hall, I could see that he was sitting on the edge of the bed, expectant, braced. He’d found a light blanket and improvised a kilt, but his chest was bare. I could see it heaving, even as he tried hard to maintain his composure. 

My arms tightened around her as I stepped through the doorway. My voice cracked as I spoke, breaking along with my heart as I whispered the words that had twice been ripped away from me by shattering tragedy.

“You’re a father, Jamie.”


He made a small, heart-rending sound, then another as I walked toward him and the lamplight caught his daughter’s hair. His hair.

“Bree?” I said softly, tickling the pudgy cheek that rested under my chin. Bree gave a sleepy ma ma ma against my shoulder and, as I had hoped, turned her head to face the other direction. Toward Jamie.

“Oh, Christ,” he breathed, in a voice tight and strangled with tears. “Oh….Claire…” He was standing now, just a foot or two from us, looking down transfixed at the small face, his eyes red and flowing. “Claire…she’s…” 

He reached out a shaking hand toward her; then faltered and lowered it again.

It had to be done. 

“Bree,” I murmured, joy and anxiety battling within me. 

She gave a tiny grunt. 

“This is Daddy. The one we pray for, remember? Daddy.“

The little eyes snapped open and fixed on Jamie. 

He froze, his face a perfect blank of terror as though he were looking at a hand about to slap him.

I held my breath.

Please, baby.

Please…please, Bree, don’t shy away from him.

Then, in a glorious outburst of that wholehearted vigor of toddlerhood, she lurched her top half toward him—very nearly making me drop her—and declared, “DA.

He caught her with a sob. “Aye, that’s right, mo chridhe…” She looked so small in his arms as he gathered her against his chest, his arm covering her back and head as he wept brokenly. “Aye, it’s your Da, sweetheart…” 

The shock of that sent a sob through me, cleaving me in two. What had been to Bree and me simply her best attempt to parrot my own word had been to Jamie a perfect and complete name. 

Da. 

Not Dad. Not Daddy. 

Da. What Jamie would have called his own father.

Why, you bloody little charmer, I thought, but I was too moved to be wry. Too thankful. Too overjoyed. She was snuggled against him just as she had been cuddled against me, her tiny curls tickling his neck. I stood silent, covering my mouth and feeling the tears slipping down over my fingers.

He had been speaking to her soft in Gaelic, kissing her, crying freely and cupping her head tight against him. With a force that surprised him, though, she suddenly pushed back hard to look at his face, screwing up her features as if puzzling him out. 

He stared back, eyes wide. 

Then, apparently deciding that he had passed her second test as well, she sang out a happy, “Da da da-da daaaaaa,” and grabbed at his lower lip with both hands. 

Jamie laughed and kissed them, which made her giggle, bounce up and down in his arms, and smush her palms even harder against his mouth.

Jamie played right along, but held out a hand for me.  I came at once, wrapping my arms around them both.  I leaned my head against his chest, so perfectly happy I didn’t think I could bear it.

Brianna snuggled down again against his other shoulder, cooing a contented, “Daaaaaaa.”


“Was it a hard birth, mo chridhe? Another hard one?”

“Yes. Very hard.”

The faintest hints of morning light were beginning to touch the room, but I could feel the pull of sleep on its way, about to bring us back under. We were leaned back against the pillows, Bree sound asleep on Jamie’s chest. The pair of them were skin to skin, peaceful and intimate as a dream.  

I swallowed, shifting against Jamie’s shoulder and rubbing Bree’s back softly. “They thought at one point that she…she wasn’t going to make it, and she had to be delivered by emergency cesarean section.” Very quietly, I added, “We’d both have died for certain, if I had stayed.”

Jamie murmured a prayer. “Was there anyone to be there wi’ ye?” he asked quietly. “To look after ye? Be of a comfort?”

Did he mean Frank?

I tried to keep the hardness out of my voice, but failed. “No one I wanted there.”

Jamie heard it, and keeping one steadying hand on Bree, turned to look me in the eye. “I ken Frank wasna there, Claire. He told me.”

Oh. Well. 

I still felt annoyed, somehow; on guard. “I thought…maybe you were making an oblique statement about how he should have been there…would have been, if I’d done as you asked.”

He shook his head. “No, that wasna in my mind.” He shuddered. “God kens I wouldna be here if ye had stayed marrit to Frank.” 

“You wouldn’t?” 

“No.” He swallowed and sounded choked. “If I’d discovered ye had a happy life wi’ him…if you and he and the bairn had real love between ye…I’d no’ have interfered.

I opened my mouth to castigate him for this outrageous hypothetical choice, but he smiled and put a hand on my hip. “It’s of no concern, now, mo chridhe. Ye did leave him, and we’re all together, now. When I asked ye to go back to him, it was in hopes that you and Brianna would have as safe and happy a life as possible. And I thought that ye would have had a better chance of it wi’ … wi’ someone who loved ye already.”

“I might have been happy…if I’d wanted to be,” I admitted, irrational guilt buzzing through my insides and making me feel as if I wanted to flee or cry. Face it head-on, Beauchamp. “But are you cross with me, Jamie? For choosing to raise Bree alone?”

He thought about that for a long minute.

The anxiety writhed in my gut like a ball of worms. I knew I’d made the right choice…but then again, I’d made it never thinking I’d have to answer to Jamie Fraser for it. 

“It’s a verra different thing, 1950,” he said quietly at last. “I’ve seen enough to ken that, and enough to ken how much the place terrifies me.” 

I waited. 

“And all I can say is…Christ, Claire….ye’ve done well.”  

I raised my head. He took my hand and I could see the fervor in his eyes. “Ye’ve made a home. Earned your way. Ye’ve raised our child and put up wi’ everyone who’s judged ye even though they’ve not a damn clue who ye are or what you’ve been through. Jesus, just—everything.” 

I felt tears prickle in my eyes again, Jesus Christ would the crying never stop? 

“I ken it hasna been easy, Sassenach…and I canna say that it’s the path I’d have chosen for ye….but I couldna be more proud.”

No one, not a single person since I’d returned–not even Mrs Byrd, kind as she was–had ever truly acknowledged me with approval. I’d been ignored, whispered about, tolerated, well-meaningly pitied, avoided, and even openly scorned; all of which I could handle, but yes, it all hurt, and made me feel more alone than I could have dreamed. 

I felt a wave of shame for how much simple praise meant to me, but then quelled it. I didn’t need it…but God, to have it….and from Jamie

No, it seemed clear that my happiness’s state of matter would be liquid for quite a long time to come.


Continue reading 

Flood my Mornings: “As Thieves”

From the prompt @ask-charming-david​ asked: Imagine if Jamie somehow made his way through the stones after Culloden, found out where Claire was, made his way there, and surprised her in Boston.

Catch up: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8 

-Mod Bonnie


As Thieves 

“JESUS H—Jamie, what the bloody hell—?”

I had been rudely awakened by a extremely large and heavy Scot rolling across my legs. It was full morning now, and through bleary eyes, I could see him crouched low to the ground, stark naked, his fists raised and his attention fixed on the doorway, through which was drifting—

Jamie,” I groaned hoarsely, still coming out of sleep. “Its just the phone.” He was breathing heavily and didn’t immediately respond. “It’s a machine that—”

“I ken what a TelePhone is,” Jamie said over his shoulder in a testy fashion that suggested that while that might be true, he hadn’t known that one been the source of the sound. This hypothesis was confirmed when he mumbled, “Didna ken they were kept in houses.” 

He straightened, but lost none that look of scenting imminent danger, not taking his eyes from the door for a moment. “Christ, must they be so damnably loud?” he demanded irritably back at me.

“Well, yes! One has to be able to hear them, after all!”

Actually, I probably needed to turn the ringer up even louder, as it hadn’t been loud enough to wake me. James Alexander “warrior-instincts-never-die” Fraser had seen to that. 

Hear them?” He was breathing very heavily, his voice high and full of flustered annoyance. “Ye could hear that thing all the way from Scotl—”

“BUM!”

We swiveled our heads in unison toward the diminutive speaker.

Brianna was sitting up on the bed, just at my elbow, and was baring her jack-o-lantern teeth in a hysterical grin as she said again, “Bum.”

I looked from Bree to Jamie’s bare haunches and had to bite my lips, very hard. Jamie, still looking at me over his shoulder, seemed to be having equal difficulty. I could see his shoulder quaking silently, though part of his effort was certainly from keeping still to prevent giving his daughter any more inadvertent anatomy quizzes. 

Facing Bree, I tried to keep my voice conversational. “You, erm….do you see a bum, sweetheart?”

She gave me a look that clearly demonstrated pity for my dimness and pointed at the item in question. “Bum Da.”

We exploded. I doubled over and Bree began to cackle, thrilled with herself. Jamie sunk to the ground, his back against the bed, so that his uproarious laughter floated up from the floor. 

God, I honestly couldn’t remember the last time I had heard him laugh, really laugh. It had to have been long before Culloden, surely, as bleak as those last months of the campaign had been. The sheer joy of hearing it poured fuel on my hilarity, and I was genuinely struggling to catch my breath between bouts of coughing and giggles.

Jamie, too. He hooted and breathed deeply as he got to his knees and turned to rest his arms on the mattress facing us. He gave a huge, final exhale and laid his cheek on the coverlet, putting a hand on my thigh and gripping me. “God, it’s good to laugh wi’ ye, again, Sassenach.”

He looked so young, smiling broadly up at me that way. My lad. I ran my fingers lightly through his hair. I still wasn’t used to having it so short. Or here.

“And as for you, a nighean,” he said, turning to rest his head on his chin, facing our offspring, “looks as though Da’s going to have to be far more careful about where he shows his bum, now, aye?”

“Bumm-umm-aye,” she agreed happily.

I tossed him a blanket, and, once decent, he sat on the edge of the bed, making silly faces across the way at Bree. She couldn’t stop staring at him. Her grin was face-splitting, in fact, and she didn’t look away even as she pushed her little bottom up into the air, took three wobbly steps across the mattress, stumbled, and fell headlong into his waiting arms.

“Good gracious,” I said wonderingly.

“What’s that?”

I pursed my lips. “Brianna Ellen, lately Beauchamp, is extremely selective about making new acquaintances, and yet she’s taken to you like a duck to water!”

“Duck?” Bree said, ears pricking up.

“I think I ought to feel a bit jealous!” I added, in mock pique.

“Do ye?” Jamie asked, looking distinctly nervous overtop the curly red head. “Feel jealous?”

Duck!”

No,” I said, laughing, bending forward to kiss his bare shoulder. “Not one bit. It’s…it’s absolutely perfect, Jamie.” He beamed. I did, too, seeing them together, drawn together like magnets. 

It was only natural, I supposed, for Jamie to crave contact with her, to look intently at her, to try and absorb all he could of her; but for Bree, who was too young to understand the significance of Jamie’s appearance, what was it that drew her to him? Was it genetics, some common frequency of their blood that attuned her to him? Or, might it simply be novelty? Come to think of it, I didn’t think Brianna had ever really seen a grown man before up close. She’d never met Frank, of course. All of the adults with whom she interacted regularly were women: Mrs Byrd, me, and one or two of my nurse friends from Mercy. Her whole male experience would be a brief glance at Father Gentry at mass or a passerby in the supermarket.

Yes…perhaps the unfamiliarity of the male face was some of it…but there was no way in hell I would suggest such a thing. Let’s just call it ‘love.’ It will be soon, in any case, I thought, with a contented pang.

“DUCK!” Bree said again, sounding decidedly annoyed that her contribution to the conversation was being ignored.

“Where’s a duck, mo chridhe?” Jamie asked her seriously.

“Pock!”

I laughed. “That’s right, lovie, the ducks are at the park.”

He got to his feet with Bree in his arms, swaying her gently from side to side. “Is it normal for a wee lass of her age to ken so many words?”

I couldn’t help but grin at the bursting pride in his voice. “Oh, I think so. They usually have quite a number of words by eighteen months, and she’s going on twenty. She’s just starting to put them together, now, though.”

Jamie gave his daughter a winning grin. “Well, ye got ‘bum Da’ right enough, ye clever wee thing.” We all giggled again and Bree started up a game of peek-a-boo by “hiding” under her father’s chin and then popping up again seconds later. Jamie played right along, acting absolutely flabbergasted with shock everything time she reappeared, making her go red as their hair with uncontrollable giggles.

Yes, thick. as. thieves, those two, I thought, alight with so much joy it bubbled out into a need to tell him everything. “Her first word was dog. We were walking on the Common, and a golden retriever came up and licked her hand. She cried and fairly screamed it: DOG!! Just like that! Then, the next one was NO when we were trying sliced bananas with breakfast and she was not having it, so she—”

I glanced up to see that Jamie’s face had gone markedly stiff and pale. He was clenching his jaw and looking toward the chest of drawers…trying not to look at me.

“Jamie? What ever is the matter?” Alarmed, I stood and went to his side. So tense was his manner that I half-expected him to turn away, but he pulled me hard against him with his free arm instead. He didn’t speak, but I could feel him swallowing thickly, and see tears forming behind his lashes.

Oh…Jamie…

I put my arms around them both, rubbing his back as I looked up at him. “You’ll be here for all the rest, Jamie. All of it.

Aye,” he croaked after a few moments, and I could hear the smile in his voice. “Aye, and God be praised for it.”

I kissed him on the cheek and heard his stomach rumble. “Hungry?”

Starved.”

He did look thin, now that I surveyed him in the light of day. While still broad in shoulder and sturdy-looking as ever, his cheeks were decidedly gaunt, and I could see the shadow of every single one of his ribs, faintly, but there. 

I cleared my throat and blinked back moisture from my eyes at the sight. “Well, I’m still not much of a cook, but I bet I can manage a proper fry-up. Normally its just fruit and toast for us of a morning, but you need to get some meat back on your bones, so it’s bacon and butter until it comes out your ears.” 

He bent down and kissed me in thanks, very gently.

As I made my way down the hall toward the kitchen, I heard the sound of a second kiss.

“I’ll always be here, m'annsachd. Its a promise.”

It was absolutely uncanny, the way the soft coo of her response matched Jamie’s tender tone.

Duuuuck bum.”

ask-charming-david  asked:

Imagine if Jamie somehow made his way through the stones after Culloden, found out where Claire was, made his way there and surprised her in Boston.

MOD NOTE: This has been a favorite headcanon of mine for a long time, so I was *delighted* to see this prompt come in! 

-Mod Bonnie


Flood my Mornings (Boston AU) 

Part 1 

April, 1748

Jamie kicked Juniper hard in the flanks, though it produced only a fraction of the desired effect. She was a tired old thing, thin and hungry as the rest of the residents of Lallybroch these days, and was accustomed to plodding through potato fields, not galloping across hills and glens. She was, therefore, making her displeasure with the current state of things abundantly clear.

“Courage, Nip,” he said, at her latest snort, as he reached down to pat her neck soothingly. “It isna far now.”  Not far at all, he thought, catching sight of his destination in the distance. Still, he didn’t make any move to slow their pace. It would be morning in just a few hours, and he didn’t know how far behind the soldiers would be, now. It had been afternoon when he’d last spotted them far behind on the road through the winding glens. 

It wasn’t as though he were trying to outrun them indefinitely. He’d laid the plans for this himself, in fact. Jenny and Ian had fought him vehemently for weeks on the matter, but after the close brush with the patrol three weeks back—that had earned Ian a deep gash over the eye from the butt of an interrogator’s musket—they had finally relented. Between them, they had arranged for one of the tenants to report the whereabouts of Red Jamie to the Redcoats; that is, to report that the known traitor had been seen galloping east.

No, he wouldn’t run for much longer. He wasn’t even running from them at all. He knew his fate lay in an English prison or with a hangman’s noose, and he’d come to peace with it. At least Lallybroch wouldn’t starve for a long time yet, by consequence.

There was just one thing he needed to do. Only one place he wanted to spend his last night of freedom…or last night on earth, as the case might be.


The cottage door opened at his touch, creaking and groaning on its hinges. It was all the same.

The holes in the roof…He remembered each one, shining like stars above Claire’s head, her curls falling down around him.

The fallen-down rear wall, open to the elements…The last place he’d laid eyes on her; last place he’d joined with her.

The bare, filthy boards of the floor…The spot where he’d last held her, felt her breathing against his chest as she slept.

He laid there now, spread himself right on the floor and curled himself against her again. She was warm in his arms, her body wedged tight against him. He could feel the tiny swell of her belly round and firm in his hand.

He’d be over a year old, by now, the bairn. Starting to take his first steps, perhaps. Beginning to speak. Jamie smiled and let tears fall freely at the image of a tiny red-headed lad toddling happily into Claire’s waiting arms, her sweet face beaming with joy and love as she swept him up and held him against her shoulder. They’ll have one another, at least, he thought, seeing Claire kiss the boy’s cheek. God, how frightening it was to feel both so full and so empty at such a sight.

“Take care of your mam, for me,” he whispered, “….wee Brian.”  

The shaft of morning light brought him back to his senses. He lay still for a moment longer. Ought he just to lay here? Savor these moments, these memories up until the very end? Part of him wanted very much to do so; but another part, a previously unknown part of him, compelled him to his feet and began walking as if he’d always planned it. 

He hadn’t had the heart at the time, to venture up the hill after Claire had disappeared. He’d known she was gone. The knowing of it was enough…more than enough, both to comfort him and to slay him with grief. The seeing with his own eyes hadn’t seemed important, or even something he could have borne, at the time. But he trudged up the hill now, something in him needing to lay eyes on it. 

God, how he hated the sight of them: these damned stones. The last time he’d seen them, been on this hill, he’d been trying to send her back. He’d prayed to God for the courage not to beg her to stay. What wouldn’t he give, now, for the chance to tear her through the veils of time back through to him? To grasp her tight against him, scream that she was his, damn it, and that he wouldn’t be parted from her, no matter the consequences!

But no, he chastened himself, as he walked trance-like toward the cleft stone. He would make the same choice again, were it given to him. To see her and the child safe was worth every second, every hour, every year of grief and agony. Even now, it was all that mattered. 

And she was his, forever. She knew it, too, wherever she might be. 

He reached out for the stone, the thing that held the memory of Claire’s last touch in this lifetime, and felt his breath hot on his lips as he whispered. “‘Til our life shall be done, Claire.”

He remembered that the stone felt surprisingly warm under his palm. 

And that the blackness screamed.


He awoke, groaning, blinking up at a roof of white canvas. He felt as though he’d been struck in the head and drunk a gallon of whiskey after. The former came as no surprise; but why should the soldiers have given him drink after bludgeoning him? Come to that, why should they have laid him on a cot under a tent, rather than just shackling him to a tree?

He made to sit up, but a gentle hand laid itself on his chest, pushing him gently back down. To his utter shock, an equally gentle—and female—voice accompanied it. “Now, sir, dinna sit up just yet, if ye please. Doctor Chisholm will be over to speak wi’ ye very shortly. He tended to ye while ye were sleeping. Nothing wrong that we could find, but he’ll want to take another look just to be certain.”

Stunned, Jamie obeyed the lady’s request—clearly she meant him no harm—but darted his eyes around madly. It was a large tent, with a certain amount of hubbub going on outside of it, but whether from the relative dimness or the unfocused state of his vision, he could make out very little other than a few cots, some tables, and figures moving about dressed in white. Through the open flap of the tent, though, he caught the unmistakable flash of red coats and muskets. He stiffened, and turned his eyes to the woman, clad in white. “Is this an army camp then?” he asked, keeping his voice low.

She laughed and smiled sweetly. “Tis only the medical tent. Some of the revelers were up at Craigh na Dun this morning and found ye passed out cold by the big stones. They couldna revive ye, so they brought ye here. Quicker than driving ye all the way back to Inverness. They supposed ye must have come from here anyway, with your clothes and all. What were ye doing up there so far from the reenactments, if I might ask?”

Before Jamie could begin to make sense of this, a short, bespectacled man in a thin white coat appeared against the canvas overhead. “Feeling better now, are we?” The man didn’t wait for an answer, and looked down at a small board in his hands, tapping it. “Well, other than dehydration and what appears to be a shocking degree of malnutrition, I couldna find anything the matter with ye. It’s a hot day for April, so it isna terribly worrying that ye should have been overheated by the climb up to the fairy hill, even someone as big as yourself, sir.”

“Aye, erm, aye, must have just forgotten to—to mind my canteen,” Jamie muttered. He swung his legs over the side of the cot and sat up.

Before we discharge ye,” said the white-coated man, putting out a staying arm, “I just wish to check a few more things. Rule out the possibility of brain damage, ken. Won’t take but a moment or two.”

Discharge him? Was that a euphemism for the noose? Why bother declaring him sound, then? Nonetheless Jamie sat like stone as the man examined his eyes and hands. For what, precisely, he couldn’t have said.

“Aye, good, all seems to be normal there,” the man said, approvingly. “For good measure, though, just a few questions for determining disorientation. What is your name?”

Jamie hesitated, before saying warily, “Alexander Malcolm.“   

Excellent. Aaaand,” the man said, holding up a hand, “how many fingers am I holding up?”

Was this a game? Did he think him a simpleton? “Three,” Jamie grunted.  

“Splendid, quite right. And, what is the year?”

“1748,” he said, impatiently. Lord almighty, be done with this, and tell me what is to be my fate. 

To his surprise, both man and woman laughed. The woman beamed fondly at him. “It’s most admirable of ye to stay in character, sir, but ye’ve got to get yer facts right! Its ‘46, not ‘48! Ye’ve the accent of a highlander, to be sure—I canna believe ye wouldna know the proper date for Culloden!”

The doctor chuckled. “What I meant was, Mr. Malcolm, what year is it now? Today?”

Jamie’s mouth tried to form words (Seventeen…) but there was no air to bring them forth. He could only make small choked noises and look wide-eyed from one to the other, his brain a frenzied stew of panic as the screaming of the stones filled his ears and memory.

“It’s…1950, lad…” The doctor was tilting his head and surveying Jamie as though he were a deranged animal about to spring. “Do ye…really no’ ken that?”

Before even stopping to think, Jamie lurched off the table, ignoring their protests, and stumbled out of the tent. He ran, unseeing, blinking hard in the blinding sunlight. There were people about, a lot of them. He dodged figure after figure, jumping at flashes of red and the sounds of distant pipes. Pipes…in a British camp?

A voice—loud and shrill as demon’s—suddenly roared overhead. He clutched his ears and fell to his knees, cursing and praying in true and desperate terror. The words seemed to come from everywhere and nowhere and once, a hellish barrage that shuddered through his very bones.  

“Musicians and actors, please report to your stations! The memorial ceremony for the two hundred and fourth anniversary of the Battle of Culloden will begin momentarily.”  

Keep reading

Flood my Mornings (Boston AU): Part 2

From the prompt 

@ask-charming-david​ asked: Imagine if Jamie somehow made his way through the stones after Culloden, found out where Claire was, made his way there, and surprised her in Boston.

Catch up: Part 1

-Mod Bonnie


Flood my Mornings (Boston AU)

Part 2

Jamie staggered like a ghost over the battlefield of Culloden—and what was he, if not a ghost?—as the hellish voice continued to boom out overhead: “We honor our noble dead, those who laid down their lives for the cause, for Scotland and for our Bonnie Prince!

//canonfire//

//corbie calls//

1950. People. So many people. Their clothing, strange; their voices harsh and grating to his ear. Crushes of them, everywhere he turned still more, and more, and more, yammering and laughing shrilly and—

//the scent of blood and powder//

1950. Drummers. Marching. Garish tartans all about; so bright, so wrong. The squeal of pipes.

//never-ending screams of pain as men are cut down and blown apart//

1950. The clan gravestones spread out across the moor. Mackenzie. Grant. Fras—

//as -friends- are cut down… as -kinsmen- are blown apart//

He sighted a gap between the perimeter of tents, and stumbled through it, gasping desperately for air.

//his godfather’s bloodied, broken face//

He fell to the ground beneath a tree and vomited. It was nothing but bile, but it burned terribly, adding to the maelstrom of assaulting sensations—both present and remembered— that had overtaken his body. He dropped to his side like a felled beast, covering his head. Everything was spinning so fast. The screams of Culloden melded with the screams of the stones, all seeming to tear apart his every thought and bone and breath, Charybdis sucking him downward into the sweet darkness of despair.

…but something else was cutting slowly through the panic, something pale and gleaming, like the surface of an egg, fresh from the hen. This was no land-dwelling thing, though; it was rising slowly, just becoming visible beneath the dark, roiling sea…

1946, she’d said…putting her back in 1948. So, for her, it would now be…

Holy Christ Almighty.

Jamie felt the white, buoyant thing break the surface of the water and rise up into the air, carrying him with it. Up and up he soared, leaving the ocean and the shore far below, laughing and weeping and rejoicing; for, somewhere far below, somewhere on this land or this sea, she was there, alive…. and reachable.

CLAIRE

“You alright, man?!?”

Jamie jerked back reflexively, banging hard against the tree trunk. Three men were staring down at him. Their clothes were strange, even compared with what he’d seen of how folk dressed in this time: baggier and noticeably dirtier. Their hair was long, though, like his, and they were looking down with kind concern in their eyes.

“The last we saw you, you were passed out up at the big rocks,” said the one wearing colored spectacles. “You don’t look much better, though….Did the doctors not treat you, man?”

Jamie blinked. Their accents were like nothing he’d ever heard, and it took him a second too long to conjure up a proper response.

“Are you ok?” the one with blond hair said slowly, enunciating carefully and giving him a wary, pitying look. “Do-You-Speak-English?” He turned aside to his companions, whispering, “Should we take him to the medical tent again?

“No, I-I’m fine,” Jamie stammered out, rising to his feet with great effort. He managed a bit of leg and a conciliatory, “F-forgive my rudeness, g-gentlemen, it’s just I'm…”

While quaking all over and weak from shock, hunger, and fatigue, Jamie was pleased to find that calm and focus had fallen over him like a mantle, warming and directing him, guiding his body and his mind. The passing through the stones, the terror of Culloden, the strange frantic pace and sights and sounds of this new time…all of it had fallen away like a snakeskin, discarded, of no further consequence.

He wiped away the tears from his cheek and laughed freely, the first time he could remember doing so since long before Culloden. “It’s just that I’m…verra happy to be going home.”


“Broch Morda, huh?” the mustachioed one asked as they jolted violently over a poor spot of road and–for the dozenth time–Jamie barely suppressed the violent urge to vomit. The speaker seemed barely to notice, continuing on conversationally. “We met a guy the other day who was from that area, actually. Do you know a George Lindsay?”

“I…ken several of that name, to be sure, but they…havena been in the area for some time. I doubt greatly that we should be acquainted.”

“You sure?” the bespectacled one prodded. “Blonde hair? Green eyes?”

Quite certain, I fear.”

All parties seeming to accept this, an amiable silence fell once more, and Jamie exhaled in relief. So strange was 1950—mind-boggling at every turn—that he feared each word uttered would demonstrate his ignorance and betray him as the unnatural visitor he was. He had tried, in consequence, to say as little as possible without being pointedly rude. This had proved difficult, however, for his new companions—Americans, they said, on a tour of the British Isles—were pleasant folk, and generous to boot.

“The clothes look good on you,” the blonde one at the wheel of the contraption said appreciatively,  looking back over the seat at Jamie. “Sorry they’re not all that clean. They’ve been rolling around in the backseat for the last few weeks. Probably smell a bit like weed, too,” he added apologetically.

Going along with their assumption that his “real clothes” had been stolen, Jamie had accepted a pair of long breeks made of some thick, blue material, and a thin, short shirt with sleeves that stopped after the shoulders. His own boots would have to do, though he felt rather ridiculous with the fabric flopping about overtop them, rather than respectably tucked in. Jamie trusted that he would be less conspicuous in this new attire, though to his own eye, he looked a right fool.

“Dinna fash on my account. I’m entirely grateful, and beggars canna expect much in the way of choice,” Jamie said, unscrewing his eyes long enough to meet his companion’s in sincere but admittedly weak thanks. In truth, he was more concerned about the state he would be in himself after rolling about in said back seat long enough to reach Inverness. His waim was churning madly, even empty, from the constant rattling, jolting, and swerving of the metal wagon, which hurtled at impossible speeds through the hills and glens. Van, he corrected himself queasily, gripping the door so tightly his knuckles went bloodless. This horseless wagon of certain death is called a Van. That’s what Ronnie and the others had called it anyway. It was better than traveling by boat, he thought with a grimace, but not by much.

The griping in his belly was not only due to the terrorizing conveyance, but also to his anxiousness to reach Inverness. In the town, surely he would be able to find food, and perhaps a way to earn some money before heading south. He had no idea how much a horse would cost in 1950, let alone a Van, even if he were able to learn to ride one of the blasted things. He would go on foot if nothing else, just as soon as he got his bearings.  

He was aware of the strange surroundings, to be sure, as the party rattled into Inverness. How could one ignore them? The buildings were tall—huge—and the streets visible through the windows were packed with more Vans, big and small, all moving about en masse like a swarm of insects. He’d jumped in terror at sound of a great roar from the heavens, to be told that it was only an airplane. Oh aye, he’d considered replying,staring up at the tiny thing and waiting for his heartbeat to slow again. *Only* a vessel that carries folk up into the clouds ready to plummet them to their deaths.

But the wonders and frights of 1950 seemed, ultimately, of little consequence. Like rain or cold or hunger, they were inconvenient, and took some getting used to, but were nothing to take account of in relation to a task that needed doing. He would accustom himself to this world as best he might, as much as was necessary, in order to reach her.

God, the thought made his heart squeeze with joy. Claire and wee Brian. No longer to be confined to his dreams and prayers, accompanied by despair and longing, but held tight in his very arms, pressed against his heart. Soon, he would feel and smell and hear them against his body; his blood and bone, his soul restored to him once more.

“Alex? Alex!”

Jamie blinked, coming out of his reverie. “Aye? S-sorry, what?”

“We’re here, man.”

Sure enough, thank the Lord, the infernal rattling had ceased. Jamie stumbled out onto the smooth stone road in front of a row of shops. He stretched and inhaled deeply, enjoying the feel of the sun on his face and smiling widely.

Catching the child up and spinning him round. Hearing him giggle. Hearing wee Brian call him “Da.”

“Will you come in for a bite before you head off, Alex?” Ronnie asked, clapping him jovially on the back. “Our treat!”

Jamie opened his mouth to say that he certainly would and thank you very kindly. He was starving, after all.  But before he could speak, something coming up the road toward them caught his eye…and froze him to the bone.

A man and a woman, pushing a small wheeled carriage. A tiny bairn lay in it, Jamie could see. The wee thing began to wail, and the mother stopped, but the father uttered a gentle word to stop her, and reached in to pick up the wee one himself. The man was wearing a dark hat and coat with matching trousers. A strange costume to Jamie’s eyes but striking, nonetheless. The father raised the child to his shoulder and kissed it tenderly on its capped head, rocking it slowly as the mother looked on in tenderness. He leaned his head against the bairn’s and returned it, taking her hand in his.

Jamie barely even heard the shouts of his companions as he ran. Ran until his feet ached. Ran down streets. 1950 was now a terrifying and never-ending labyrinth, violent and pernicious, and he jumped in panic at every new danger. The Vans shrieked and squealed as he ran across more streets than he could count.  The whole place seemed to pulse and roar as he tried to outrun the voice in his ear.

You canna, it said, over and over.

I can, damn it, and I will, he snarled back each time.

You can, it always conceded...but you mustn’t.

The face of Black Jack Randall loomed under a dark hat. He was there, in a dark coat and trousers, his arms around a tiny red-haired lad, smiling down with genuine tenderness, kissing him, spinning him around….Then the scene shifted, and wee Brian was crying, wailing in the fiend’s arms, struggling to get free of the vice-like grip, looking up in terror as his captor leered down and—

Jamie awoke with a cry of anguished fury, reaching for a dirk that wasn’t there. He was on the ground in a small passage between two looming buildings. Rubbish of all kinds was piled everywhere. It was freezing, just after dawn, but he was heaving with boiling sweat. 

“I must,” he gasped, shaking with rage. “God as my witness, I must!

No, said the voice. You mustn’t.

His cry was silenced by a sudden tolling cutting through the hazy early-morning light. Church bells. He uttered earnest thanks to heaven. A sound that was known to him. A promise of a place of peace and sanctuary. Scarcely taking note of his surroundings, he followed to the sound, drawn to it, clinging to it as he ran.

He reached the small stone church just as the sun was nosing up in the east, illuminating the broad wooden doors. Without even stopping to knock, he pushed one open and entered. It was a small place: two columns of pews pointing toward a simple altar; but quiet and still. He threw himself into one of the pews. There were no kneeling benches, but he went to his knees nonetheless. He pulled the rosary from his pocket (saved from that of his breeks before they were discarded) and prayed with all his soul.

“Tell me what I must do….Show me.”

You mustn’t.

Jamie flung the rosary behind him, pulled a book from the slot and hurled it, too. He let forth a strangled sob and slammed both hands down on the pew back, cursing aloud, “HOW can that be the answer?”

“Are ye in need of help, sir?”

Jamie started and whirled around to locate the speaker, nearly falling backwards in the space between the pews in the process. A small man was standing at the rear of the church, pulling the door shut with a gentle click. Jamie saw with a pang of guilt that he wore a clerical collar.

He lowered his head, utterly ashamed. “F-forgive me, Father…” He gestured toward the direction of the flung book—Christ, has it been a Holy Bible?—“That was inexcusable, and I shouldna have shouted as I did. Nor was it right of me to—to barge in wi’out leave and— ”

“I’m not a Father, just a simple Presbyterian reverend,” the man interrupted kindly. “And it was right for you to come here. It’s the home of every soul in need, after all; even if what the soul in question needs is a bit of a shout and a rage.”

Jamie couldn’t help but smile at the affable minister. “That’s…verra gracious of ye to say, fa—reverend.

The man returned the smile. “May I know your name, sir?”

“I'm…” Jamie hesitated for a moment before saying, “I’m kent here as Alexander Malcolm.”

The reverend gestured to the parcel in his hands. “I like to take my breakfast here in the sanctuary of a Sunday. Will you join me in a meal, Mr. Malcolm? Mrs. Graham has prepared quite the spread, and you look as if you could use a bite.”

Jamie—starving—was touched by this kindness, and humbled by being offered food by someone to whom he had just been so rude, however inadvertently. He dipped his head. “Aye. Aye, and I thank ye for it…most sincerely.”

They sat together in the velvet-cushioned pew, the food spread out between them on a towel. Jamie noticed that the reverend portioned out less than a quarter of the food for himself. He opened his mouth to protest, but was silenced with a kind, but firm look. Jamie hoped his own look conveyed his deep thanks just as clearly. It was good, the food. Boiled eggs, sliced sausages, toasted bread, and a kind of sweet cake dotted with currants and swirled with cinnamon. Jamie tried to eat slowly, but with little success. How long had it been since he’d tasted food, let alone food as rich, sweet, and delightful as this? After two years of little more than bannocks, game, and whatever he could forage off the mountain, the tastes made him nearly come to tears.

Jamie washed it down with long swallows from the metal flask, enjoying the intense sweetness of the liquid. The juice of oranges, and cold as a mountain burn? Lord, what a time, he thought, wonderingly, when even a priest can afford such luxurious fare to his breakfast.

“The sexton thinks it a terrible sacrilege,” the reverend was saying, looking around the sanctuary as he finished his own portion, “but I always eat here, instead of in the wee kitchen. It’s peaceful. And I dinna think the Lord would oppose the companionable breaking of bread in his home.”

Jamie passed back the flask, utterly sated. “Aye, it is peaceful. I hoped…” he hesitated. “I hoped it would be…when I heard the bells.”

The reverend looked over sharply for a moment, then back down as he packed the breakfast impedimenta back into the bundle. When he had done, he sat back in the pew, crossing his hands over his chest and looking forward toward the darkened altar.

“I gather that ye find yourself in trouble of some kind, Mr. Malcolm?”

Jamie tensed, feeling the anxious dread settle once more to curdle in his waim, “No. No’ in trouble…I find myself in a strange place and without means, to be sure…but that’s nothing I canna handle.”

Troubled, then?” the man said, softly, after a moment.

You mustn’t.

Jamie winced, then nodded slowly, his voice sounding strained as he answered. “Aye…I am that, and no mistake.”

“‘…Casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you,’” the reverend quoted. “I’m surely not the Lord, nor the disciple Peter, but if you desire a friend to listen…to share in your burdens for a time….”

The peaceable offer hung over them. A gift, not a demand. Jamie stared up at the altar. A tapestry of purple and white hung above it. A cross of purple, headed with a burst of sun at the top.

“It’s…my wife,” he began, at last, feeling choked. “She…she believes me dead, and will have for a number of years now.”

“Ah,” said his companion, nodding. “The war?”

Jamie nodded, for that was no lie. “War and…other complications, preventing any communication to her that I had survived. I am only now finding myself at liberty, myself.” Jamie lowered his eyes. “She—that is…She was wi’ child—my child—the last we saw one another, and she has….remarried.”

The reverend made an mmmm of deep understanding, but didn’t speak or look at Jamie, just waited, allowing him the privacy of not looking him directly in the face.  

“I…want to go to her at once,” he said, the longing evident in his voice. “God knows, I want nothing more than to run to her and the child, take them to my heart and never let go.” Jamie swallowed, feeling the pain of every word as a knife in his throat. “For, the honest truth is, reverend, that I’ve no place left in any world, now, save wi’ my wife and child.”

He sighed, the air rushing out in a frantic rush of despair. “But would it no’ be wrong of me to simply show up on her doorstep? I would no’ have wanted her to live as a ghost after I was gone. If she’s found happiness with F-…with this man as I’d have wanted her to, what right have I to snatch it out from under her again? If she’s already mourned and buried me in her mind…if our child kens him for father….if she’s happy….”

He trailed off, and the reverend sighed, saying, “You’re right. It would perhaps be wrong, then. Particularly for sake of the child.”

Hearing this answer, when he had been secretly longing for reassurance of his own right and prerogative as father and husband, Jamie wanted to fall to the ground in despair.

“But if she isn’t happy…” the reverend continued, “…If she hasn’t moved on, and you choose to stay away from fear…that would be wrong, too, would it not?”

Another long silence. This time it was Jamie that broke it.

“I thought I should die yesterday eve from the battle of it all in my heart….It—frightens me.”

“Frightens you how, Mr. Malcolm?”

The words came tumbling out of him. “Just that…almost always, there’s right and wrong in my head that guides my choices. While one may be easier or more costly, rare is the time that it isna clear what ought to be my path, whether from honor, duty, righteousness, or for the good of one that I love. It’s no’ easy, but it’s simple. This time, though…these paths…“ He put his face in his hands, “I truly dinna ken what I’m to do.”

The sun must have been truly up by this time. A beam of light suddenly illuminated the altar. The bronze candlesticks gleamed like gold.

“I believe your decision revolves around a pivotal question.” The reverend leaned forward to rest his forearms on the pew. “Is her happiness truly of more importance than your own?”

“It is,” Jamie said at once. “Hers and the child’s.”

“Even if…it is without you?”

Aye,” he gasped out, tears gathering in his eyes, but with no hesitation. He had meant it when he sent her through the stones, and he meant it now. Though it should tear him apart with despair, that was his bond and the truth of his soul.

“Well, then, while you have not asked my advice outright, I will give it to you nonetheless.” The reverend turned in the pew to face Jamie directly, now. “I think you must contrive a way to determine her happiness from a distance. Learn how she fares without approaching her. If carefully done, you will learn what you need to without her even knowing. And based on what you learn…then decide what is to be your path.”

Jamie swallowed. “Ye speak wisely. It’s a good plan. Something between all…and nothing.” He rocked forward in his seat, trying vainly to resist the shameful words  trying to fight free of his mouth. “But I’m afraid, reverend; afraid of what I shall do if I see them. Afraid that I’ll forget all honor and promises and…”

Jamie broke off with a sob, laying his head on his folded arms like a child. The thought of seeing Claire and not going to her. Not touching her. Not holding her close and weeping into her hair, swearing never to leave her side. Of seeing wee Brian from afar and allowing him to pass by. Of never holding his son. Of seeing the man who the boy calls ‘father.’

The reverend laid a gentle hand on Jamie’s hunched shoulder. “The Lord prayed in Gethsemane for the cup to be taken from him…but he knew what had to be done for the sake of those he called beloved, even unto death on a cross.”

That’s the verra thing, reverend,” Jamie said, so low the man had to lean in closer to hear. “I would die for them, today. I already tried to; and I’d die a thousand times more, to see them safe and well. But to live,” his voice shook violently on the word, “live wi’out them…to go on forever alone, knowing they are within my reach…”

The reverend reached into his pocket and pulled out Jamie’s discarded rosary, laying it in his hand.

Pray. Always. If this is to be your cross…He will help you bear it. No matter the outcome.”


Jamie sat tensed in the seat of the Train, trying not to compare the movement to that of a ship, rocking slowly back and forth. It would be a damnably long ride, the passenger next to him had said. Had he been in less of a state of agitation, Jamie would have laughed aloud. Less than a day to travel nigh on the full length of Scotland and England? That was a damnably great miracle, to his mind.

The kind reverend had rained gifts on Jamie that morning. A hot bath at a nearby hotel (Claire was right, it washeavenly); a featherlight razor with which to shave; a fresh set of clean clothes; a letter of reference and introduction should he seek employment in future; a basket of food; and money enough for rail passage anywhere in England or Scotland, and some besides. At this last, Jamie had tried to refuse, offering to stay on for as long as need be to earn the lavish sum.

However, the reverend had closed Jamie’s fingers firmly around the envelope. “We all are granted grace at pivotal times in our lives, Mr. Malcolm,” he had said. “Let this be a day of grace for you; for sake of your family.”

Jamie sat now, still as a stone, listening as each station was called. Jamie knew next to nothing of how to navigate the cadences and flows of 1950: how business was done; how honor was determined; how information was passed and learned; Christ, he scarcely could manage crossing the streets, crowded as they always were with the screeching machines. But navigate them he would, whatever the cost, to learn of Claire and the child. There was only one place in the world Jamie knew to begin.

The department of history at Oxford University.

Keep reading

Flood my Mornings: Mama

Notes from Mod Bonnie:

  • This story takes place in an AU in which Jamie travels through the stones two years after Culloden and finds Claire and his child in 1950 Boston.
  • Previous installment: Flu (Jamie comes down ill with his first 20th-century bug)

Mama

With the increasing return of Jamie’s good health also came his damnable Fraser stubbornness—with a vengeance.

“Ye need rest in your own bed, Sassenach,” Jamie had insisted, squeezing my hand and leveling his eyes at me as I sat on the edge of the hospital bed. “Three nights cramped in the wee chair there canna be sufficient to keep ye strong and ready to work a shift tomorrow.” 

“I’m FINE, Jamie,” I had insisted. “I don’t want to leave you alone here, not until you’re fully—”

“—Ye said yourself that I’m on the mend, Claire, and I am more than capable of seeing myself through a night of sleep. Besides, Miss Della, here, has promised to see to my every need that may arise.”

If I hadn’t known Miss Della as a personal friend, I’d certainly have stayed after seeing the way her entire body quivered at that statement; but I knew for a fact she was all talk and no action—a flirt, and no cure for it, but by no means a seductress. Thank goodness, too, for I couldn’t deny that the prospect of a good night’s sleep (fully horizontal, to boot!) was more than alluring. 

And so, I’d submitted, kissed Jamie, given Della a half-joking lecture about the sanctity of marriage, and caught the bus home.

“Hello?” I called as I stepped through the door.

“MAMAAAAAA!!!”

HELLO there, lovey!” I cried, dropping my purse just in time to intercept the pajamaed orange missile barreling toward me.  I swept her up off the floor and squeezed her tight to my chest.  “Ohhhh, there’s my Bree,” I murmured with a wide smile. She smelled of floral soap and buttered toast and I stood swaying with her, content just to feel her warm, little body in my arms. 

Bree was too excited to cuddle for long, though. She lurched back and grinned at me, launching into a dizzying oration about books and cake and (I thought) a rabbit she had seen at the park. 

“Sounds like you had a lovely time with Grannie Byrd while Mama was away!” I said, meeting eyes with Penelope herself and hoping my look conveyed the depths of my gratitude and affection. 

“Aye!” Bree agreed, squirming until I put her down so she could scurry away on some important mission.   

After convincing Penelope to go home for some well-deserved rest (proving to be as difficult as I had been to Jamie, in that regard), I brushed Bree’s teeth and mine, changed into my nightgown, and carried Bree to the nursery. 

“Hmmm…Still a bit early for bed, yet. Shall we play for a bit, darling?” 

As I knelt to set her down on the floor, I found my arms reticent to loosen their hold on her. Brianna squirmed and threw her weight against my arm, grunting and reaching in the direction of the colorful, wooden blocks nearby. 

I kissed her temple and released her with a low, “Mama’s missed you, baby,” that made my heart ache even with the uttering. 

It was much more than just having been gone these last few days. This was the first time in what seemed like an age since I’d been completely alone in the house with Brianna.

As if thinking along the same lines, Bree looked suddenly up from her pile of blocks. “Airss-Da?”

I smiled, always surprised by the rapid advance of her language skills. “Da’s still at the hospital, lovey,” I said. This satisfied her at once. To Bree, “at the hospital” meant simply at work, and thus caused no great alarm.

I laid down on the nursery rug, curling on my side around her so that she was leaning on my hip. I propped up on one elbow, stroked her hair with the other hand, hating the feel of the lump that had taken residence in my throat. 

I wasn’t jealous. Lord knew it wasn’t that. Seeing her with Jamie—watching their bond deepening with every passing day—was the greatest miracle I ever hoped to be granted in my life.

…but Bree had been mine, only mine, since the day she was born. No…longer than that: since the day I had decided to leave Frank. The moment that fateful decision had been made, my world had shifted: this new person had belonged to me, and me alone. It would be up to me, I had told myself, to teach her; to see that she was safe and fed; that she was educated; that she was able to achieve anything she wished in life, with nothing to hold her back. As terrifying and lonely as that reality was, I had burned it into my own being, an indelible mantle of responsibility, and it had linked me to Bree in a way that went deeper than mere biological relation. Brianna’s life and existence was completely dependent on me….and how could such a connection not be deeply linked to the feelings of love and the sense of closeness between two people? And now that Jamie was here, forever, that responsibility, that bond, that closeness, that love, were necessarily shared.

Damn it, I didn’t begrudge Jamie a moment, not a single one, but….

“You’re still my girl, too, aren’t you?” I said aloud. The longing in my voice rang to the very corners of the room.

Brianna wasn’t yet old enough to process so abstract a question, of course, and thus went happily on about her task of stacking blocks and knocking them over, singing a nonsensical rendition of Clementine.  

I smiled and shook my head to clear it as I sat up and scooped her into my lap. She was the perfect size to fit against me, and I wrapped my arms around her little plump middle. I could see the diamond-shaped birthmark behind her ear that she’d had since birth. Had Jamie noticed it? I wondered. 

Jesus, it doesn’t matter, Beachamp. Stop this nonsense.

I rested my cheek on the top of her warm, little head. “I love you— so —so very much, Bree-baby.”

She didn’t even miss a beat, just piped, “Luhvoo-Mama,” and turned her face up for a kiss.

Yes, I thought, as I kissed her lips, her cheeks, her nose, and squeezed her even tighter:  there will still be firsts for just the two of us, as well.


Continue reading with the next chapter

Flood my Mornings: Thereafter

Notes from Mod Bonnie:

  • This story takes place in an AU in which Jamie travels through the stones two years after Culloden and finds Claire and his child in 1950 Boston.
  • Previous installment: One Besides [Another scene from that first morning. Jamie opens up to Claire about some of the demons of their separation and present-day fears]

Thereafter

Two Days Later

“James Fraser, open this BLOODY door right this GODDAMN minute!”

Our dear Mrs. Byrd reminds me,” the barricade on the other side said with an infuriating placidness that made me want to kick it in the balls, “that it is the worst of all bad luck for the groom to see the bride on her wedding day before the altar.”

I groaned in exasperation. “Jamie, we’re already married, for pete’s sake!”  

“And yet when I said as much yesterday, it didna matter for tuppence, and off we went to the City Hall.”

“It’s a government thing, Jamie! You know we’re married and I know we’re married,” I kicked the door in petulant emphasis, “but we have to do it officially so you can get your green card and keep from being bloody deported!” I twisted and yanked the knob again, but he had an iron-firm grip on the thing. I growled. “And if we’d done as I said and just signed the blasted marriage license yesterday when we were at City Hall, we’d be properly wed and off to the Cape by now!”

“And I shall say again what I said to ye yesterday: we shall be marrit in kirk…or no’ at all.”

My choice words were drowned out by an enraptured, “Oh, he’s a romantic on top of being scrumptious enough to eat, Ms. Beauchamp! Quite a catch!”

“Would you like to reel him in yourself, Penelope? We’re not officially married at the moment and he’s rather an insufferable MULE when he wants his way.”

“Oh, honey, don’t you tempt me!” 

Despite my annoyance, I couldn’t help but laugh at that. Mrs Byrd was in her fifties, unmarried, and rather a saucy sort of broad with an unabashed appreciation for the male form. I could just imagine the half-teasing (half not) look she was giving Jamie. 

We had decided that our story—when it was necessary to give one—would be that Jamie had served in the British Empire service abroad, the precise regiments and locations (conveniently) classified; that he had been captured soon after deployment while on a dangerous assignment; and the British government had incorrectly recorded him as killed in action, leaving me a pregnant widow; that only now was he able to escape and make his way home to me; and, finally, that the records of our first marriage had been lost due to a fire at the military base in England, where we had lived before his apparent death. Simple enough, and not unheard of. Anyone with eyes would be able to see that Brianna was indeed Jamie’s biological child, and if they assumed her to have been conceived illegitimately, then to hell with them.

Mrs Byrd, however, had accepted this explanation yesterday with no question, only pressing me hard to her ample bosom and weeping for joy, “Oh, my dear! My sweet dears!” she had said over and over. 

Brianna wasn’t the only person who had been thoroughly and instantly charmed by James Fraser. Penelope, too, had taken to Jamie with immense enthusiasm, plying him with all the good food and motherly attentions he could ever have dreamed of. While lovely in and of itself, I felt distinctly outnumbered and outmanned at the moment. 

Now,” Jamie’s voice came brightly through the door. “Mrs. Byrd, wee Brianna, and I are off to the shops to get me properly attired—”

“The clothes you already have will be fine, Jamie! There are those grey slacks and—”

“—properly attired,” he continued firmly, “and we’ll meet ye in kirk at 11:00, aye?” Silence. “AYE?”

“One manipulative Scottish brute STILL on the marriage market, Mrs. Byrd…”

I could hear the grin in his voice. “I love you too, Sassenach.”


He was right, though, damn his hide.


It wasn’t meant to be a wedding gown, just a tea-length dress with capped sleeves fashioned in a soft, cream-colored satin. I’d been rushing to the department store check-out counter with my primary purchase, and had only seen it by chance out of the corner of my eye. It was, without doubt, the most ridiculous garment I had worn since Versailles, a veritable cupcake of voluminous tulle with a matching lacy hat. I’d planned to simply wear my peach-colored suit and pumps…

…but seeing his face as I came down the quiet aisle of St. Michael’s, with his mother’s pearls around my neck and the small posy of yellow roses that I’d chosen thinking of her and of Lallybroch … yes, I was glad of the dress, glad to do honor to Jamie in this way. For, to wear just any clothes would have done him a disservice, telling him that this day was like any other to me. It was not. God, it was not; not in any conceivable way. Jamie had known that at City Hall, and peeved as I had been at the time…I wouldn’t have traded this moment for anything.

He was, quite simply, stunning, standing up at the altar holding Bree in his arms, waiting for the priest to arrive. It was remarkable what two days of good sleep and good feeding had done for him. While still thin, there were no shadows under his eyes, and his cheeks were positively glowing. His morning suit fit like a dream, and he was wearing a blue necktie that made his eyes blaze with such vibrance as to actually make me blink. 

No plaid; no brooch; no boots or dirk; hair short and lightly styled with pomade. He truly couldn’t have looked more different from the man I had married five years ago—good grief, I seemed to have exchanged Rob Roy for Cary Grant!—but he was still utterly my Jamie….and still breath-taking.

As I reached them, he leaned his head down to Bree’s, looking out from under his eyelashes at me and sounding rather thunderstruck. “Mama looks verra lovely, aye?”

“Aye!” Brianna squeaked automatically, having incorporated this word promptly into her vocabulary.

“So does Da,” I said fervently, taking his free hand and squeezing.

“Oh?” he said, and I smiled to see his look of shy gratification. “It’s…alright, then, the Suit?”  

Odd, that my throat felt so dry and yet my eyes seemed about to overflow. “You’re beautiful, Jamie.

He smiled broadly and leaned down to kiss me. Before our lips could touch, however, a loud POOF and a blinding flash made us start and jump back, and Brianna to shriek.

Jamie Fraser,” I said, incredulous, surveying the tiny bespectacled man to my right now being tutted at by Mrs. Byrd. “Of all things…you brought a photographer?”

He shrugged sheepishly, adjusting his grip on Brianna. “Mrs. Byrd said it was the proper thing for weddings. God kens I hate the lightning flashes…but I should like to have a portrait of what ye look like on this day.” He placed his free hand gently, so very gently, on my neck, thumb tracing my jawline, eyes soft. “You’re even more beautiful today than the first time I marrit ye, mo nighean donn…and even then ye nearly stopped my heart. It’s a wonder I’m still standing.”

Yes…yes, it was a wonder. That he stood here before me, touching my face. That he held his daughter in his arms. That he still drew breath. Thank you, I prayed silently, as I held him and Bree close. THANK YOU, and never let me never stop giving thanks.

“Ah, Ms. Beauchamp, you’ve arrived! Welcome, my dear, welcome!”

Father Gentry, middle-aged and genial, was the reason Brianna and I had begun attending St. Michael’s in the first place, he being deeply connected with his faith without placing undue import on dogmatic or procedural concerns. Thank goodness, for I didn’t think many priests would have allowed a last-minute wedding on a Saturday without a proper mass between a couple who already had a child together! But he and I had spoken many times since I’d joined his congregation, such that he had known of the loss of Brianna’s father, though not the true circumstances, of course. He’d baptized Brianna himself, in fact, and his chapel had been one of the few true emotional refuges I had had these last two years. The dear man had nearly broken down himself and wept when I had turned up at the rectory yesterday, Jamie in tow, to explain and beg his assistance with an unconventional wedding.

He beamed at us. “A beautiful family you make, and a blessed day. Shall we begin?”

“If ye please, Father,” Jamie said, passing Bree off to Mrs. Byrd and taking my hand. “I should like verra much to be marrit to this woman again.”


By choice, there was no music, limited liturgy, and no witnesses save Brianna, Mrs. Byrd, and the photographer; and yet, it was one of the most peaceful and moving ceremonies I’d ever witnessed, let alone participated in.

We broke at different times, Jamie and me. 

For my part, it was in saying the words of the marriage vows.

“I take thee, James, to be my husband…”

I hadn’t meant them the last time I’d spoken these words to Jamie; hadn’t meant them in the slightest; nor had I believed him to.

“…to love, honor, and protect…”

He had meant them, though; had meant them and not strayed from them.

“….for better and for worse…”

For me, though, these words were brand-new, the most important ones I had ever uttered in my life. It was as if I poured my very soul into every syllable, such that I could barely croak through tears that hovered on the verge of sobs.

“….to have and to hold from this day forth, ‘til death us do part.”

For Jamie, it began when Father Gentry looked expectantly at him and asked, “Have you the rings?”

“Rings?” Jamie looked panicked. “We need more than one? I didna—”

I touched his arm reassuringly, then reached in my handbag and placed both rings in the Father’s hand: my silver interlace and the sturdy, gold band I had bought that morning.

James,” I said, repeating after the Father as I took Jamie’s left hand and slid the ring onto his finger, “take this ring as a sign of my love and fidelity, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”

Jamie stared at the ring on his finger in a tender kind of awe, as if it were the most precious thing in the world…then transferred the gaze—unchanging—to my face. There were tears in his eyes under furrowed brows and his adam’s apple was bobbing madly. He opened his mouth as if to say something…but couldn’t manage it. He swallowed, raised my hand to his lips, and kissed it, long enough that two warm droplets fell lightly onto my skin.

We were both practically falling apart by the end.

All the usual words had been spoken, and Father Gentry smiled at the pair of us, gesturing that we might proceed with the addition we had discussed.

Jamie took my right hand in his left, pressing his scarred palm to mine. Both crying freely, we choked out the words together, the ones that we hadn’t been able to finish the last time we’d spoken them: when we’d bled together at the time of our parting.  

You are Blood of my Blood, and Bone of my Bone.
I give you my Body, that we Two might be One.
I give you my Spirit, ‘til our Life shall be Done

“…and forever thereafter,” Jamie whispered, streaming eyes burning into mine.

At the moment the joyful permission was given, my lawfully wedded husband took my face directly in both his shaking hands and kissed me, intense with love. I let my bridal accoutrements fall so I might hold him likewise, pulling away from the kiss only long enough to vow hoarsely back: “Forever thereafter, Jamie.


Continue with the next installment

Flood my Mornings: Breakfast

Notes from Mod Bonnie: 

  • This story takes place in an AU in which Jamie travels through the stones two years after Culloden and finds Claire and his child in 1950 Boston. 
  • Previous installment: As Thieves [A sweet scene with the Frasers on the first morning after they’ve all been reunited]

Breakfast 

“Jamie?”

Mmm?”

“I can feel your eyes boring straight into the back of my head,” she said with a laugh. 

Jamie laughed too but looked quickly away, saying, “Your arse, more like.” He reached over by way of distraction to extricate the curl that Brianna had taken to chewing while waiting for her breakfast.

Actually, while his wife’s arse did look quite fine outlined by the lavender-colored dressing gown, it was the apparent ease with which she manipulated the kitchen machines that had kept him spellbound for the last quarter hour. The way she produced beans (sauce and all) from a large, metal cartridge; brought forth eggs, butter, milk, and sliced bacon from the yellow cooling cupboard that kept all fresh (indefinitely?) until needed. No fires to tend; no animals to slaughter or gather from; hot and cold water upon command; not to mention the sheer abundance of additional food visible both within the Frigidaire and the many cupboards. Even the furnishings: the fact that someone had taken pains to contrive a wee chair with a tray attached specifically for bairns at mealtimes somehow made his head spin. 

As much as Jamie had already seen in 1950, and as achingly hungry as he was, he was absolutely staggered by it all. It was almost too much. The strangeness and newness of everything had been known to him ever since coming through the stones, of course; it wasn’t at all as if he hadn’t taken mind of them. But somehow, his mission —that absolute imperative to find Claire and the child—had put such things behind a gauzy curtain: visible, real, but not important enough to examine closely. Now, though… 

Marvelous, it was, all of it, but…. 

Christ, as if he didn’t already feel enough of a simpleton in her world. 

Claire smiled back over her shoulder, giving the pan on the Stove a stir before turning to set toast, berries, and sort of white custard (he thought Claire had called it Iogerd) in front of Brianna. “Well, it must be quite a sight to keep your attention so long. Enjoying the view?”

“Ye ken that I am.” He was, after all, and he took an appraising look in earnest this time as she turned back to the counter. “It’s rounded out quite a bit—that and your breasts—though the rest of ye hasna seemed to, I must say.”

She looked pleased by this. “A few of the lingering perks of pregnancy. Though, if you were to look more closely, you’d see other less desirable changes in the mix, as well.”

“Well, be that as it may, your ‘mix’ will never not be desirable to me, mo ghraidh.

“I’ll hold you to that,” she said, beaming. She walked over to the table and began sliding the contents of the pan onto his plate. “There’s plenty more of everything, so don’t be shy.”

He wasn’t, and had wolfed down a fair quantity of it by the time she turned again to ask what he might like to drink. He laboriously swallowed the mouthful of beans and fried bread. “Is there ale?”

She laughed. “Sorry, I’m afraid not. It isn’t customary to drink alcoholic beverages before 5:00 in the evening, anymore, except on special occasions. There’s coffee, though, or orange juice—”

Both, if it isna too much trouble.”

Christ, he was hungry. He hadn’t filled his belly to his satisfaction since leaving Oxford, and he was presently finding the prospect of bursting preferable to that of stopping. As she set down his third helpings, though, he regained his senses enough to look up sharply and say, “You’ll sit down and have some yourself, now, Sassenach.”

She was clattering about with the pots and pans. “In just a moment, I promise.”

Jamie drank deeply of his second mug of strong, dark coffee, and caught his daughter looking intently at him from her wee chair. She had been happily shoveling breakfast into her mouth by hand and—haphazardly, evidenced by her wee, white beard—by spoon, with an enthusiasm that rivaled his own. She was still now, though, holding a single, battered square of toast about the size of his thumb. She considered it for a moment, then held it out toward him, tilting her head to one side. Oddly touched, Jamie leaned forward and took the gift with a smile and a slight bow. Brianna looked very pleased indeed when he popped it into his mouth. He placed a kiss in her sticky hair.

“Oh, GOOD LORD!” Claire suddenly shrieked.

He stood at once in alarm. “Are ye hurt?”

She whirled around and leaned back on the counter, face a mask of horror. “Are you in the country illegally?”

Interpreting his stunned moment of relief as incomprehension, she crossed to him, grabbing his arms and looking up, wide-eyed. “Jamie, if you don’t have proper papers, they could deport you at any time! But Britain won’t have record of you either and—Oh, Jesus H. Christ, this is not—ohMPHH!—”

He had stopped her mouth with a kiss, a good one. She fluttered against him for a moment as if to pull away, then stilled, and relaxed into the sweetness of the moment with him. Her lips were soft and full, and he loved feeling her tongue move gently against his. 

Releasing her at last, he held her face and smiled. “Peu m’importent les problèmes, mon amour” [All the problems matter little, my love…].

She raised her eyebrows but returned the smile, finishing the lyric. “…puisque tu m’aimes” […since you love me]. “And since when do you know Edith Piaf?” 

She shook her head and furrowed her brows sharply once again.  “But, Jamie, we do have some fairly serious problems to contend with, from a legal standpoint.”

He kissed her again. “Wait just a moment, aye?”

His small bag of belongings was sitting by the back door, just where he’d left it. He spread the contents on the table and resumed his seat, gesturing to her. “James Fraser is a documented British citizen, thanks to Frank Randall.”

“Jesus, Frank…” she whispered, staring down at the passport and birth certificate.

Jamie adjusted his blanket kilt and reached up to wrap his arm around her waist. 

She was shaking her head, disbelieving. “He would’ve had to pull a lot of strings to make this happen. He’s well-connected, but this is ten kinds of illegal, so it wouldn’t have…have….Oh, God.” 

She sat down hard in the chair beside him, clutching the document detailing the Irrevocable Trust in Brianna’s name.

Jamie searched her face. “Ye didna ken, then? That he’d set aside a provision for her?”

She shook her head, looking blank. “He…might have told me about it, I suppose. He sent me letters….stopped opening them after a time.” She made a strangled sound and began to weep angrily. “Why the bloody hell did you have to go and do such a ridiculous thing, Frank?”

Jamie took up his coffee once more, allowing her a minute or two of privacy with her tears before saying softly, “He loves ye verra much, Claire.”

She wiped her eyes furiously and looked up. “Loves. Not loved?”

Loves,” he said definitely. ‘He didna use that word precisely, but…aye. If he wished ye ill, he’d have let me rot in prison, I think.”

“PRISON???”

As succinctly as might be, Jamie recounted his interaction with Frank Randall, the ensuing altercation, and his stay and subsequent release from the Oxford prison.

She had a slight but wry smile on her face by the end of it. “I think you both needed that. To hit one another, I mean.”

“Think ye may be right,” he agreed with a laugh. “Wish I hadna hit him quite so hard, though.”

She gave a weak chuckle, then stiffened and looked off to the side. “Was he…what you imagined?” 

Jamie considered that for a time. “As much as I was able to imagine, I suppose. He certainly had the look of the Randalls about him,” he shuddered. “If ye mean, did he live up to my expectations in himself, though….aye, he did. While we didna precisely get on…he’s a good, honorable man. I see why ye marrit him,” he said with a quiet smile. “And…” Christ, it hurt to admit it, but…“I think… he would have been a good father to the lass, had it come to it.”

“Yes…he would’ve.” She stiffened, the document crinkling under her hand on the tabletop. “Surely, we can’t accept this, Jamie. How could we possibly? After everything? After all I put him through?” She pushed the paper from her and scrubbed her face hard in her hands.

Jamie sat for a while, looking at Brianna. “I’ll stand by whatsoever ye decide on the matter….but I think ye must accept it.”

She looked up, not having expected this.

He looked back to the tabletop and smoothed the wrinkled paper. “It’ll be Brianna’s to do with as she pleases when she comes of age, aye? If, at that time, she wishes to use it or give it away, so be it, but it’ll be her choice, regardless. But Frank set aside the funds well after ye’d left him, Claire, after the lass had been born, even. If it had been done while he still thought he’d be the child’s father, that would be another matter entirely; but he kent full well what he was doing.” He laid his hand over hers, squeezing lightly. “I say let the man have this, at least: his honor for having done something for the wee lass. For you.”

She took a ragged breath and after a time, nodded. “I’ll write to him. To thank him. For all of it.”

She leaned into his shoulder, the pair of them just holding one another, breathing together.  Something white caught Jamie’s eye on the floor over her shoulder, and he laughed. “I’m sorry I ruined your wee dress last night.”

“My…? Oh!” She sprang at once to her feet, throwing him back in his chair. “Must phone the hospital and tell them I’ll be out until further notice. Mrs. Byrd, too, must warn her about—oh, good gracious, if she had just walked in…!”

The hospital. Christ, of course…It couldn’t just be the three of them happy at home forever. She would have her work. The thought made him feel the same wave of panic that had its claws in him earlier: the overwhelming, irrefutable fact that he knew absolutely nothing…and that no fit husband or father would allow himself to be in such a despicable state. 

He tried to speak confidently. “Ye dinna have to miss your work on my account, Sassenach.” He grabbed a napkin and quickly cleaned Bree’s face and hands before lifting her out of the chair into his arms. “The lass and I can keep each other company, if ye must report for—” 

No,” she said at once, looking up to meet his eye, the green TelePhone forgotten in her hand. “We need time together, Jamie. Nothing is as important as that.”

“We’ve got time in plenty,” he said diffidently, though his heart was rising with relief.

“I know, but—but it needs to be now. Eventually, this—this, having you here!—will become normal and we’ll just live quiet lives, but…I need as much time with you as I can, right now, and with our daughter.” 

“I need that too, mo ghraidh,” he said, hoarse with emotion. He bent down with Brianna in his arms to kiss his wife’s cheek. A quiver of anxiousness made him add, “For me, it willna ever be normal, I think, but it’ll be us.”  

She looked up sharply, and studied him intently, as if hearing his fear. “You’re going to be splendid, here,” she said, rubbing his arm, “and I haven’t the slightest doubt.” 

“Down!” Brianna said loudly in his ear.

“S’kind of ye to say, Sassenach,” he said absently as he set Bree onto her feet. He watched as she began methodically to gather the array of white buttons that scattered the floor. 

“Jamie, I mean it.” Claire set the TelePhone back on its hook and put her arms around his waist, hugging him tight and murmuring into his chest, “You’re going to be brilliant.” 

He held her close and laid his head atop hers, praying she was right; thankful beyond measure that she was his…even if she were wrong. 

Keep reading

Today in labor history, January 15, 1919: A 58-foot-high metal tank, 90 feet in diameter, filled with 2.5 million gallons of crude molasses bursts in Boston, and the explosion sends a 40-foot tall tidal wave of molasses and debris crashing down Commercial Street. What became known as the Boston Molasses Flood killed 21 workers and residents and injured another 150. After many years of litigation, the United States Industrial Alcohol Company was eventually found culpable and forced to pay a million-dollar settlement.