Someone to Stay - AU
The rolling green dominated the landscape. The Range Rover came to a halt in front of a sprawling stone house, somehow managing to look older than the hills it stood upon.
“Lallybroch.” Jamie swept his hand, encompassing the house and the land and seemingly everything around them.
Claire gazed out of the windshield, entranced by the ancient feel of the very stones. “This is not a manor house, Jamie. This is a castle.”
“Ach, no,” he said, ducking his head modestly. “Truly, ‘tis only a farm. There’s a broch, but it’s old and crumbling now. We can visit it later, if ye like.”
“What’s a broch?” Claire unbuckled her seat belt and stepped out of the car.
“A tower, of sorts. The auld lairds of Lallybroch would be called Lords Broch Tuarach, after the north-facing tower.” Jamie reached for their bags in the backseat and joined Claire, taking her hand as they approached the massive front door.
“A tower doesn’t really have a face, you know,” Claire teased.
“Weel, the door faces north. That’ll do.” Jamie smiled, and made to open the door.
“Shouldn’t we knock?” Claire felt nerves and trepidation, about to meet the famous Jenny and the rest of the Jamie’s family. She knew how much they all meant to him, and how big a step this was for them.
“’Tis my home. No need.” He stole a quick, soft kiss to quell her obvious nerves and then called out, “Hello the house!” He dumped the bags by the staircase. Claire stood next to him, taking in her surroundings.
Everything looked antique, but not in a museum-like way. Everything, from the furniture to the paneled walls, looked loved, cared for. Carved tables and tapestries mingled with a modern cordless phone and lamps. Uncle Lamb would have a field day, she thought.
Thundering footsteps broke into her reverie, and a tall gangly teenager came tumbling down the stairs. “Uncle Jamie!” In a blur, Jamie was rocked back in a fierce hug.
“Ian, lad!” Jamie squeezed and lifted the boy straight off the ground. They slapped each other on the back in a great show of affection before Jamie let him go, and slid an arm around Claire’s waist.
“Ian, this is Claire. Sassenach, this is Young Ian, my nephew and godson.”
“Nice to meet you,” Claire said sincerely. “I’ve heard a lot about you.”
“Is that so?” Young Ian grinned easily. “Welcome!” He picked up their bags and shot up the stairs two at a time. “I’ll just put these in yer room! Mam’s in the kitchen!”
Jamie and Claire held hands as they walked down the hallway towards the kitchen. They were assailed by the aromas of fresh baked bread and something delicious and steamy bubbling away on a stove. Claire half expected it to be an ancient cast-iron affair, but it was quite modern, by the rest of Lallybroch’s standards.
Jenny’s back was to them as she washed dishes at the sink. Jamie put his finger to his lips and blinked at Claire. He tiptoed (as much as a man his size might) and prepared to scare Jenny by tickling her ribs. His hands reached out but were stopped by a sudden, “Don’t even think about it, James Alexander Malcolm Mackenzie Fraser.”
Jenny craned her neck over her shoulder and gave them a wicked smile. “Hey there, little brother.” Her hands never stopped working, even as Jamie smiled abashedly and gave her a peck on the cheek. She turned off the water and wiped her hands on the apron she wore, engulfing Jamie in a warm embrace. “It’s been too long,” Jenny said, pushing back and smiling. She looked over his shoulder at Claire, who witnessed the encounter wistfully longing for family.
“And this is Claire, I presume.” Jenny stepped around Jamie, giving her a quick appraising glance—cordial, but guarded. Claire extended her hand, which was enveloped in Jenny’s cool grasp.
“It’s great to meet you. Jamie’s missed Lallybroch terribly, and all your children.”
Jenny’s eyebrows rose like dark wings. Her eyes had that slanted look identical to Jamie’s, resting on high cheekbones reminiscent of Viking royalty. “I’m sure he did. Weel, dinner is stew. ‘Tis something I can leave on the stove and no’ worry, since I’ve been tending the goats and sheep, and cooking for Hogmanay with Mrs. Crook.”
“She’s the housekeeper slash cook, but she’ll be off wi’ her own family for Christmas,” Jamie interjected.
“We can sit down to eat, now ye’re here.” Jenny squeezed Jamie’s hand and turned to the stove. “Young Ian, Jamie, Maggie, Kitty! Dinner! Come wash up!” She glanced at Jamie. “Could ye get Ian from the barn? He’s been tending to the hay now Rabbie’s gone home fer the holidays.”
There was a meowing at the kitchen door as Jamie approached it. He opened it to let a grey cat in, who pranced inside as though he owned Lallybroch. From the way Jenny bent down to coddle it, Claire suspected it might be the case.
“I see Adso of Melch is still alive, Jenny,” Jamie said, an eyebrow raised in amusement.
“He is.” Jenny stood and toed the cat away from the stove. “Ye wee fiend, get on wi’ ye.”
Adso stopped in the middle of the kitchen, as soon as it spotted Claire. Jenny looked appraisingly at the cat, as though almost willing the cat to respond in some way. Claire decided to follow Jenny’s example and squatted, staring into its green eyes.
The cat slowly walked over to her, sniffing about her knees. It purred softly; Adso located her hand and pressed against it, enticing Claire to rub its ears. She obliged, marveling at the soft fur and turned to Jamie, who smiled down at her. “He likes ye, Sassenach.”
Jenny let out a contained breath, and the first truly welcoming smile bloomed on her face. “Never mind my bonny cheetie. Go fetch Ian, if ye please. And shut the door, before we freeze. Claire, we’re so glad to have ye.”
“Let me get this straight. If Adso didn’t like me, Jenny wouldn’t either?”
“Adso is held in very high regard around here, Sassenach. He’s an excellent judge of character. He led Jenny onto a nanny who would steal from her purse and a drunken horse handler.”
They trudged up the stairs after bidding the family good night. Dinner had been superb, Jenny and Ian and their children all gathered at the table. The babble and laughter of a large family tugged at Claire’s heartstrings, making her long for one of her own. The children’s ages ranged from Jamie’s namesake at 18 who attended uni at Glasgow, and Young Ian at 14; the girls Maggie and Kitty who were 12 and 9 respectively. Ian (the elder) had presided over dinner in his role of father—a far cry from the rock star life he led on tour with The Clan.
“And what is that Melch in his name?” Claire took Jamie’s hand as he led her around the dark upstairs hallway.
“Our mam always had a cheetie. They were all named the same, after a German saint. Adso of Melch, Adso of Milk, ye ken,” Jamie said with a smile.
They walked up to a solid wooden door. Jamie pushed it open, to reveal a bright fire set in the grate, and both their bags in the room. Claire swallowed nervously and glanced at Jamie.
They hadn’t slept together thus far, though they had participated in some hot and heavy (emphasis on the hot) make out sessions at Claire’s and at Jamie’s flat. Hands roving, breath panting, Jamie had given her space and time to express what she wanted and when she wanted it. Young Ian had plainly made some assumptions of his own.
And why not? They were both consenting adults in a relationship and what they did (or didn’t do) in bed was entirely their own business. Space and time—the continuum of which was grinding to a halt, as there was nothing Claire wanted more right then and there than to feel Jamie’s arms around her and—
“Claire. I can sleep elsewhere.” Jamie squeezed her hand in reassurance. “Or on the floor if I can have the quilt. Ye don’t have to—”
Claire stopped his words with a kiss her hands tangled in the ruddy mess of his hair. His hands gripped her waist as he walked her back towards the bed, kicking the door shut behind them. They tumbled together onto the carved wooden bedstead, the frame creaking slightly.
“Won’t they hear?” Claire asked breathlessly.
“The walls are made of solid stone,” Jamie mumbled, his lips on her neck. “We can be as loud as we like.”
His hand crept under her sweater; higher and higher, until she could feel it caressing the underside of her breast. It was only then that she opened her eyes and met his own, whiskey and azure, everything bathed in the light of the slowly burning fire laid in the hearth.
Jamie’s hand stilled, and he brought his forehead to hers. “Claire, I want you so much I can scarcely breathe. Will ye have me?”
She almost didn’t recognize voice as her own, so high and gasping, “Yes. Yes, I’ll have you.” Permission granted, his hands were all over her body all at once. Skimming down her back, leaving tingling desire in their wake, gliding over her navel. Their clothes came off in a flurry of wool and jeans.
Slowly and reverently Jamie helped her shed her bra and underwear, his boxer briefs following suit. Completely exposed to each other, Jamie laid his hand on her bare hip, staring at her flush curves gilded by firelight.
“Ye are so beautiful, mo nighean donn.”
Claire felt suddenly shy and made to cover herself, but Jamie stopped her. “No, Sassenach. I want to look at you.” Claire blushed but let him gaze, slowly growing bold enough to return it.
His body came closer to hers, with his own muted fiery glow. He kissed down her neck, licking here and there. His large hands, calloused from playing guitar, teased and nipped at her breasts. Claire’s hands drifted down his back, pressing and urging him ever closer.
As his touch strayed lower, his intentions became clear. Claire raised herself on her elbows, effectively dislodging Jamie’s head from her stomach. His eyes held a question even as they seared with want.
“Jamie… no one’s ever—I mean—” Her cheeks burned red as she gestured with meaning.
He smiled and stretched up to kiss her gently. “Do ye want me to?”
“I don’t know. Won’t it… will it—”
“Let me taste ye.” Jamie trailed fingers up her leg. “Tell me if I’m too rough, or tell me to stop altogether if ye wish.” He brushed his lips over her belly, eyes blazing up at her.
Claire surrendered, falling back on the pillows and putting her arm over her eyes. Her knees trembled as he settled between them, parting them open and his arms locked around her thighs. She felt a brief kiss (right there! she thought incoherently) before she was flooded with pleasure, his tongue working magic on her most secret of places. She gasped as Jamie anchored her body to the bed with his arms, desire shooting through her veins. There were sounds coming from her lips she had never made before. Fleetingly she thought of covering her mouth before the feeling climbed higher and higher until it broke over her, making her shudder in release.
“Oh Jamie…” Her hand traced his jawline, as he smiled at her and kissed the inside of her thigh. Jamie moved and rose over her, kissing her deeply. She could taste herself and found it arousing.
He ground his pelvis gently into hers, swallowing her moans as her legs wrapped around him. Claire could feel the length of him sliding against her, and she urged him to her, hands on the small of his back.
Jamie braced himself on his forearms, and aligned himself at her slippery cleft. With a final nod from Claire, he eased himself inside her, slowly but inexorably moving forward as she dug her fingers into his back. The sensation was intense as he withdrew and pushed inside, again and again. Jamie held Claire close, the hair on his chest tickling her as they panted and he groaned and she whimpered with pleasure.
Their bodies rocked together as though they had known each other for years, simply waiting for the chance to join. Claire lost herself in pure sensation; the weight of his body perfect on hers, the spicy scent of him mingling with the smokiness of the fire, the mixture of Gaelic and English words he poured into her ear as he thrust faster and faster.
Feeling surged as they both chased the illusive spark of completion. Jamie’s hand splayed on her hip, and hitched her leg higher along his body. Her back arched instinctively. As he shifted, he hit a spot deep within her from a new angle, and in a few quick motions Claire shattered, crying out against his shoulder.
Jamie followed soon after, the tension breaking free as every muscle quivered, his mouth a wide O of relief and wonder. Their eyes met, half-lidded with satisfaction. Claire smiled languidly, running her hands through Jamie’s red curls. He withdrew gently, kissing Claire over and over, his lips at the hollow of her neck where perspiration shone and her pulse raced.
The heady feeling gradually dissipated, and the winter chill stole back into the room, making Jamie and Claire shiver with something more than spent desire. Still smiling, they crawled beneath the covers; Jamie pulled Claire close to him, her back to his front as he settled behind her, his arm holding her tightly.
“Oh, Claire… tha gaol agam ort,” he breathed against her skin.
“What does that mean?” she asked drowsily.
“I’ll tell ye tomorrow,” he said, nuzzling the nape of her neck. “We have time. I want to show you the loch, and the village, and take ye on a tour of the farm. I think ye’ll like the wee beasties and…”
She drifted off to sleep, his voice murmuring in the dark, safe in the knowledge of love and safety in Jamie’s arms and in her heart.