Previous installment:Samhain(Jamie stumbles upon a new community)
“Jamie?” I called urgently across the evening-shadowed house, rustling the pages on the rolltop. “Jamie? Did you move my essay?”
Ah yes, My Essay:
Why should you be admitted to Harvard University’s Program for Correspondent Students?
Well, you see, honorable gentlemen of the admissions committee, my applications for medical school a few years hence—even if not at Ivy League institutions— will need to look as goddamned impressive as can possibly be mustered, since they will almost certainly be reviewed by a panel of elderly male fuddy-duddies like yourselves.
Thus, having Harvard University on my CV (even if it’s only for these pre-requisite courses), will only serve to impress said fuddy-duddies, and as a female with a spotty-at-best record in formal education, I need all the bloody help I can get.
The almost-final draft of my personal statement had been more subtle, but it was God’s honest truth.
I’d been working incessantly on the damned thing for weeks, sleeping little and poorly from the stress. I’d downed more coffee than I’d previously have deemed safe for human beings, and was looking and feeling decidedly the worse for wear for it all.
Meanwhile, my sainted husband had tirelessly picked up my slack with the house and with Bree night after night as I hunched over the desk, scribbling and scratching out. This last week, in particular, he’d given me more than enough space, bless him, speaking softly, keeping Bree out of my hair, giving kisses, but not initiating sex, nor even the casual touches that were so much a part of our daily rhythm with one another. I knew he meant well by it—to allow me to focus my non-hospital- and non-sleep-hours upon the task at hand… but LORD, another part of me wished that he would just hoist me out of my chair, throw me onto the ground, and give me an hour’s rough relief from my own mind and Harvard blasted University! I didn’t hold it against him, of course, and it would be over soon, in any case, but his walking on eggshells around me was its own breed of stress.
‘Stress’—such a tiny word for so much inner turmoil. It wasn’t just the essay in front of me or the way my gut had felt all tied in knots for the past week; it was the entire trajectory of which this was only the first step: the prerequisite courses, the MCATs, applications, interviews, medical school, internship, residency, fellowship—the next decade or more of my life! So much would hinge on every single decision I made from here on out. I couldn’t afford any mistakes, starting with this bloody essay.
I had put the entire packet together last night in the Manila envelope: application, references, ESSAY. Stamps, on. Addresses, penned. Seal…well…left UN-sealed, because I wasn’t bloody ready. And good thing, too, for I’d spent my entire shift that day replaying the words in my mind, every phrase sounding wretched, every choice of words trite or cliché or childish, and screaming for another revision. I’d rushed home, called a ‘hello, darling,’ to Jamie, who was tucking Bree in for the night, and then gone directly to the rolltop, still in my coat and hat, to read it through again and exorcise this demon. Except my packet wasn’t there.
“Jamie??” I called again, louder, my anxiety mounting. I hissed at two suddenpapercuts as I rummaged frantically again through the stack. “Darling? Did Penelope say anything about moving my—”
“Sassenach, keep your voice down, for God’s sake—” Jamie whispered loudly as he came around the living room door, looking harried. “Brianna’s only just gotten to sleep, lass!”
I lowered my voice but not my urgency, and I barely even looked up. “The envelope with my application and personal statement? Have you seen it? I swear, it was right on top of the stack with the blue folder here on the desk.”
“Oh, aye, I sent it in.”
“What?” I laughed weakly, still rummaging. “Ha-ha, very funny.”
“I did,” he said simply, “I mailed it in.”
I froze. And STARED at him. “What?”
“It was complete. The deadline was coming up in a few days; so,” he shrugged, ACTUALLY shrugged, “I mailed it in for ye.”
“It was NOT complete.”
The words came out low and lethal, and I could see Jamie’s shirt-too-tight-shrug that indicated he heard the danger in them. “Ye packed it all in the mailing envelope, no? It was ready to be submitted.”
“Yes, but I wasn’t ready to send it yet!”
He made a small sound of carefully-controlled exasperation. “Claire, mo chridhe, how should I have known th–”
“You should have asked! You should have called me at work to ASK!” I threw up my hands. “Not just assumed that I was ready to have it sent off without my permission!”
He squirmed perceptibly but wasn’t giving in. “Lass, you’ve been slaving over that essay for weeks. You’ve barely slept—You put it in the envelope, wi’ the address and stamps and everything. I read it again last night after ye went to bed and it was perfect.”
The truth was that despite my obsessing over it, it HAD probably been as bloody close to perfect as I could get it. I’d double-checked and triple-checked and quadruple-checked; revised and wordsmithed it to within an inch of its life. But I’d wanted to wait ‘til the very last moment to send it in, to feel absolutely certain it was as good as I could make it; and having that control so unexpectedly pulled out from beneath me—
“—Even if it had been, Jamie, you still had no—NO—bloody right—”
He ran his hands back through his hair. “Sassenach, come now, it’s no’ as though—”
“Jamie, this isn’t a recipe I’m sending to a Ladies’ Magazine!” I didn’t know what to do with my hands but they gestured wildly in my livid rage and tears. “This is—was—Harvard!”
“I ken it IS Harvard,” he said pointedly, putting his hands firmly on my shoulders “—and I ken you’re going to be ACCEPTED there when they read your—”
“And what the hell would YOU know about it?” I snapped, perceiving only the hurt flashing across his face before I was down the hallway and into the bathroom, locking the door. I yanked the shower handle and sunk down against the tub, letting the water mask the sounds of my weeping.
A few minutes later, Jamie was knocking softly on the door.
His voice was quiet, and, I thought, abashed. “Claire…? May I come in?”
I covered my mouth so he couldn’t hear me. I felt tears trickling over my hand but I wouldn’t open my eyes. It’s not the end of the world, Beauchamp.
A long silence.
He was leaning against the door, I thought.
“It was…an impulsive thing I did— I—” he sighed miserably. “—I thought better of it throughout the day, but…Christ, i’m sorry…It was foolish. I was wrong to do it…”
A long silence.
A long…long silence.
“I’m truly…truly sorry, Claire.”
I took a deep breath.
It would be alright. I hadn’t been ready, but the essay was fine. Jamie regretted what he’d done. It would be alright.
But I was too spent and too upset to consider opening the door.
He HAD been wrong to do it—knew not ten minutes after the post had gone that he’d made a grave error in judgement. But the essay had been perfect, BRILLIANT, and Claire had been so plagued by self-doubt over it. It was as if she had placed her entire sense of her own worth upon success in this single endeavor, this single writing. He’d simply wished her to feel as if she had finally accomplished the thing, after such a harrowing period these last few weeks.
But she was completely right: what he wished her to feel was irrelevant, and he had betrayed her trust. She was well within her rights not to be ready to forgive him.
He waited more than an hour, until long after he’d heard her enter the bedroom; giving her the space she apparently wanted. At last, though, he entered the darkened room.
She was already in bed with her back turned to him. Asleep? He couldn’t tell—but even if she were awake, he didn’t expect her to speak until morning. He deserved her fury for at least that long.
He undressed and slipped quietly under the covers, taking care not to jostle her. Without really thinking about it, he mirrored her posture, coming to rest on his side, facing away from her.
He listened to the clock tick and tried to let it lull him to sleep.
“Can’t you at least bring yourself to have sex with me?” Sharp. Wide awake. Dangerous.
Startled, he blurted, bewildered. “Bring myself—?”
He felt her bolt upright beside him, her hands slamming onto the bedspread. Her voice was still laced with anger, but desperate, forbye, and hurting. “Jamie, you haven’t touched me in a week! I need to—to feel close to—”
“You’ve never wished me to have ye during your courses before, Sassenach,” he said, scrubbing his hand over his face as he rolled onto his back. “Do ye really want to that badly tonight?” His ‘especially when you’re not too keen on me at the moment, in any case,’ was implied. He would serve her, of course, if she wished it, but–
“I’m not on my goddamned ‘courses,’ you absolute bastard!”
Jamie opened his mouth to fire back.
—but then, she gasped—
—a tiny sound, barely more than a sharp breath, really, but so deeply unlike Claire that—
He was on his knees beside her in an instant. She was kneeling on the mattress, too, clad in only her underclothes, both hands clapped over her mouth. “Oh, God,” she croaked between her fingers, her eyes wide and wide and wider.
“Mo ghraidh—?” He grappled for her face, pushing back the wildness of her hair to hold her between his hands. “Mo chridhe
“Oh—God!” she said again, eyes brimming and hyper-focused upon nothing, her mouth gaping open and shut, “—I didn’t—I was so busy, I hadn’t been—No—” she moaned softly as he lifted her and gathered her, cradled her to him. Her body was rigid, pushing back, and her head shaking violently back and forth. “No,” she wept, “no, no, it’s—Jamie, it’s too soon.“ He could see her eyes sparkling with life through her tears, even as she tried to resist the truth. “We can’t—can’t know for certain—not yet.”
“Six days, Claire—” he gasped, his free hand roaming up her back to cup her cheek, hard. “One day—two days, maybe, but—SIX?”
She lowered her fingers tentatively to graze the natural curve of her belly. Jamie watched in a trance as her palm slowly came to lay flat against her skin. “Oh, God,” she whispered, swaying on her knees and leaning her forehead against his shoulder as her arms came around him. “Jamie…Jamie…”
He held her and rocked her (THEM!) and kissed her, crying, laughing—but then remembered—
“I'm—truly sorry about the application, mo nighean donn,” he choked out, feeling the guilt seize this moment of joy. “It was your task—your choice—It wasna my place at all to—”
“Forgiven,” she whispered, putting her fingers to his lips and shaking her head. “Forgiven…. And I’m sorry, too….for what I said—I didn’t mean—”
He kissed her, and she kissed him, and there was nothing except her arms; her fingers cupping the back of his head; the taste of her tears and his; her lips; her sweet voice, breaking. “Jamie...Jamie, I’m so—happy—”
He couldn’t say a word. He could only nod his head slowly over and over again, completely overcome, his shoulders shaking. His heart felt ready to burst as he watched his wife, her face shining, go softly to her back and reach up for him. “Come to me?”
And he came to her, made love to her—the only woman he’d ever had; the only one he would ever have in his lifetime.
And as he lay awake long after, holding her, cupping the bairn that slept within her, he prayed; but unlike the night more than two years ago when he’d held Brianna in this same fashion, heart breaking from despair and fear and the looming specter of death, his prayer this night was hopeful and strong.
So I uh, got a tattoo today. I’ll post another picture when it’s healed and will obviously look better. The guy (who was very sweet) didn’t do it exactly to my drawing, but I still love it because it’s more about the meaning and not being perfect.
It’s a bunch of YouTubers who I either grew up watching, who I share beliefs with, or who shaped me and my humour. Let’s see who we’ve got:
The “ ‘ELLO” is from Pinkstylist
The cat whiskers are from Dan @danisnotonfire and Phil @amazingphil
The lime is UPPERCASEchase @chaseross
The brofist is obviously PewDiePie
The checkered tie is TomSka @thetomska
The crank (Gizmo) is Crankgameplays @crankgameplays
The moustache/ mask is JammiDodger @jammi-dodger
The dragon crest is ThreadBanger @threadbanger
The eye (Septic Eye Sam) is Jacksepticeye @therealjacksepticeye
The box (Tiny Box Tim) is Markiplier @markiplier
The red swirly thing (it’s hair) is Boyinaband @davebiab
The banana is Jack & Dean
The MMBB is Jacksfilms (me me BIG boy)
The Kill Me mug is Steven Suptic 8
The Cry Guy is Cryaotic
The CS is CaptainSparklez
And that’s it. For now at least. I hope they see it!!
Junkrat and roadhog( not poly) how would they act if their wife (even after being married for like 5+ years) was still a blushy mess after kisses and hugs?
You bounced giddily at the edge of the vertiport, a wide grin settling on your lips as you watched the drop ship begin to descend. Jamison ‘Junkrat’ Fawkes had been away on a mission for the better part of a month, clearing out an Omnic factory in the Ukraine. You had been left on your own, receiving the intermittent call from your husband over the weeks he was away, making your heart ache. But now he was back and you didn’t have to worry or feel alone anymore–at least til his next mission. Junkrat shot off of the ship first, his orange eyes glowing as he caught sight of you.
He rushed forward, hobbling as fast as he could towards you, wrapping his arms around your waist and spinning you around. You giggled happily, your face beginning to burn as Jamison set you on the ground, covering your face in loving kisses. There were words mixed between his kisses, telling you how much he missed you and how much he loved you and how he could barely sleep without you there. The two of you had gotten married five years ago and yet every time he kissed you or hugged you, you felt like a giddy teenage girl with her first boyfriend. It just made you feel absolutely loved and adored and you couldn’t hold back the hot blush that seared across your cheeks whenever he showed you any affection.
“Jamie”, you whined with a smile, no real strength behind your voice as he kept littering kisses wherever he could reach before placing a searing kiss against your lips. He pulled back with his trademark wild grin, his manic titter filling the air as he took in your blush.
“You’re so damn cute”, he growled, hugging you tight and dipping you, kissing you again and making your face burn even darker.
Your hands jumped up to your face, muffling an amorous giggle as your eyes darted away from your husband of five years. You had snuck out of bed this morning to surprise him with breakfast and he was trying to show his appreciation for you little treat for him. His large hands settled on your hips, stopping your body from turning away from his, one of his hands coming up as he tilted your face up towards his. He had a ghost of a smirk on his lips as he bent over, moving closer to your face and gently pulling your hands away.
His deep, rumbling voice was gentle and playful, making a field of butterflies burst in your stomach. You bit down hard on your bottom lip, a deep red blush burning across your cheeks as he pressed a kiss to the top of your head. You hummed bashfully as he then moved from the top of your head to your forehead and both of your cheeks, toes curling as he finally made it to your lips. He swept you up into his arms, lifting you up effortlessly and standing up straight, leaning forward and pressing his forehead against yours. He squeezed you tight, his hand pushing your hair from out of your face as you tried to giggle and dip your head down and away from him.
He practically hummed that time, your blush climbing downwards and burning across your chest as you gulped and giggled once more. He held you tight to his chest before beginning to plant soft, sweet kisses all over your face once more, punctuating them with a soft rumble of happiness in his chest.
“Cutie”, he said simply, placing one last hard kiss against your lips, placing you back on the ground. “Thank you, tahu.”
Could I have s/o patching up a werewolf Junkrat the morning after a full moon please?
[Name] woke up to a little whines and grunts as they felt someone poking their side. At first they tried to ignore it, hoping they’d get the chance to go back to sleep. But it persisted, so they rolled over with a groan and flew the covers off them. Jamison sat at the edge of the bed, a guilty look on his face and his hair more disheveled than usual. He had cuts and bruises running all down his arms and chest, most of which he tried to shamefully hide.
“Jamison?” his s/o gasped, sitting up in bed, “What happened?”
“Well uh…” he mumbled awkwardly, “Last night was a full moon an’ all…”
“I know, but I locked you in the basement like I always do,” they pointed out.
They leaned in to examine the wounds that he was trying to hide, removing his hands to get a better look.
He rubbed the back of his neck, “Yeah well, I…got a bit hungry…”
“You didn’t eat the chicken thighs I left you?” they gave him a scrutinizing look.
“Heheheh…” he gave a nervous laugh, “I was cravin’ rabbit is all! Y-ya know, a wolf’s gotta eat what a wolf wants to eat!”
His s/o just gave him a deadpan look before letting out a long-winded sigh. They carefully ran a hand over one of his many bruises, making Junkrat wince.
“Did you break the basement door?” they mumbled.
“…Maybe…” he pouted in reply.
[Name] swung their legs over the side of the bed and dragged themself off the mattress, stretching their tired limbs. Taking Jamison by the hand, they slowly led him into the kitchen.
“Sorry, darl,” Jamie shrugged as he followed, “When the wolf takes over, there’s just no stoppin’. Ya know how it is–’specially on a full moon.”
“I know, I know,” they groaned, sitting him on the kitchen counter.
Digging out a first aid kit from one of the many cabinets, they began to ready bandages and gauze wire. Junkrat watched as they carefully organized different disinfectants and tapes from the case. With how reckless he always was on jobs, he felt like most of their relationship was them patching him up. His half-wolf nature didn’t help either…
“I just…” [Name] sighed wistfully, “I wish we could find a way to control this better.”
“You and me both.” Junkrat mumbled as his s/o began to dress his wounds, “I just feel like a big, furry burden to ya. Like a real pet dog ya gotta look after constantly or it’ll tear up the house.”
His partner stopped midway between bandages and slowly looked up at him. Placing a hand on his chin, they turned his head to look at them.
Giving a sympathetic look, they shook their head, “You’re not a burden, Jamie. I promise.”
Junkrat just pulled away and stared in the opposite direction, “If ya was with someone normal, ya wouldn’t be havin’ to do this: patchin’ me up at 6 in the godddamn mornin’.”
“I do this because I want to.” they said suddenly in a firm voice.
They took him by the hand (a little too hard considering how beat up he was) and forced themself in his line of sight.
“If I’d have wanted to leave you, Jamie, I would have already,” they barked, “If I’d have gotten tired of your werewolf nature, I would have given up a long time ago.”
Grabbing the roll of bandages they set back to work with more determination than before.
“But I don’t,” they huffed, “Because I love you. I’d do this every morning for the rest of my life if it meant I got to be with you.”
Junkrat found himself speechless for a few moments, watching in awe as they furiously wrapped up his arm and moved onto his ribs. Nobody had ever cared enough to look after him, much less do so without grumbling. Even Roadie complained every now and then. But to have someone who loved him completely for every bit of him even when bits were flawed…it wasn’t something he was used to. After staring at them for a few moments, he flung his arms around them and held them close to his battered body. They dropped the gauze wire they had been holding, gasping as he pulled them in.
“Thanks,” Jamison sniffed.
“Are you gonna cry?” they chuckled.
“N-No!” Junkrat said in a cracked voice, “M-My arm just hurts is all!”
Maybe some scenarios in poly!roadrat with a smol, shy and all around adorable s/o that loves pink and cute things, but when they get to know the s/o more, they turn out to be someone who can cuss up a storm? Thank you!
“How do I look?”
You walked out of the dressing room and did a small twirl for your two boyfriends, stopping with a soft, shy smile on your lips. Today was a ‘date day’, one where both of the boys would do whatever you wished; shopping, dinner, movies, etc. You had tried to tell you that they needn’t do such a thing but they said it was to show you that they appreciated your flexibility to their ‘lifestyle’. As much as you’d like to argue, you gave in knowing they’d be happier if you did. You had been walking comfortably through the streets of downtown when your eyes had lit up at one of the store. Their focus was on ‘cute’ and ‘soft’ and ‘fun’, aka your tastes perfectly. It took no effort to get them inside and soon enough you had several outfits picked out.
What you wore now was a rosy-pink knee length circle skirt with a cream sleeveless turtleneck, the skirt swishing with the slightest twist of your hips. Your shoes and black tights had been left in the dressing room leaving you to their gaze. Jamie’s jaw had dropped as soon as you stepped out, a dark blush climbing to your cheeks as you averted your gaze down before looking up at them again through your thick lashes. Mako gave a thumbs up, the smile on his lips very telling.
“You’re a knockout”, Jamie stated, practically in a daze. “That’s a keeper!”
You giggled, giddiness in your step as you turned around and practically bounced back to the dressing room. You were all smiles and roses until the side of your foot clipped the dressing room door, making you yelp out in pain.
“Son of a bitch”, you hissed at the door, glaring at it. “Oww….stupid fucking door.”
You froze for a moment before looking over your shoulder and seeing the surprise on both of the Junker’s face, you laughing bashfully before closing the door behind you.
“Mother fucker”, you cursed, one eye closed tightly, a black stained tear running down your right cheek. “Fucking stupid mascara keeps stabbing me in the fucking eye. Geez it feel like fucking satan decided to just jizz on my pupil for fun…ugh, dammit…now I’m going to have to do this all over again.”
“You alright in there?”
You froze at Mako’s voice, silently cursing yourself out as you realized you had more than likely heard all of that. You really were trying to keep a lid on your cursing habit but it was hard. You didn’t want that sweet, ladylike image to be spoiled by your dirty sailor mouth. They had expressed surprise the first time you had cursed but said it was fine. You didn’t want them to see the tip of the iceberg.
“I’m fine sweetie”, you hummed softly, trying to ignore the searing pain that remained in your eye. “I’ll be out in a minute!”
“Oh you fucking ass!”
Jamie had pulled ahead of you in the racing game you were playing by wiping your car out, your vehicle spinning in place and slipping into fourth. You jumped up from your seated position on the couch and began to move your body as if you were driving for real.
“Move you wanking piece of junk! My sodding grandma drove faster and she’s fucking dead! Oh you bitch! Move move move!”
You were practically jumping up and down as you navigated your car through the others, funneling all of your energy into winning this race, the world around you drowned out.
“That’s right you cunt! You show those bitches who’s boss!”
You finally slipped back into first right before the stop line, pumping your fist and controller into the air and jumping up and down in a circle.
“I did it”, you exclaimed before bouncing over to Mako. The taller man was reading, or he had been before your yelling had started. “Mako did you see did you?”
“Yep”, he said, laughing before looking at the shellshocked Jamie. “Also heard it.”
“Yer mouths as bad as mine darl”, Jamie said, your eyes round as all of your words came rushing back to you. Your face started to burn red, your hands flying up to cover your mouth as you dropped your controller. Before you could get your ‘I’m sorry’ out, Jamie had rushed forward and spun you around. “Yer even more fucking perfect than I could’ve bloody thought!”
@lynnialljohnson asked: Can we please have J/C on the ridge being constantly interrupted durring steamy make out sessions until they finally just lock everyone out of the house for a bit? Maybe Ian explains to an embarrassed Bree why they’re locked out? At Christmas?
I don’t have the words for how much I love this!!! Also when I finished writing it, I realized I forgot about the Christmas aspect of the act. So, I’ll do another one, because I have a really really fun modern plan for it. Hope you like that one too!
I whirled around, alarmed by the tone of Jamie’s voice.
“What is it? Who’s bleeding?”
I frowned up at him.
“Then why are you yelling for me?”
His eyes glittered.
“The house is empty.”
“So our house has been overrun wi’ people for two bloody weeks and I havena had ye properly in all that time.”
“So your daughter and her children are ‘overrunning’ our house?”
“Aye. When she and her husband and bairns sleep so close to our room, I canna take ye the way I want.”
“And how do you want to take me?”
Those full lips pulled into a mischievous smile.
Gathering me into his arms, he sat me on the table in my surgery and kissed me hard. I heard a rustling of fabric as he fumbled with my skirts.
“The first time in two weeks and you want to make me scream, so you decide make love to me on the table in my surgery?”
He shrugged and nipped at my ear.
“Weel, if ye’d been in the kitchen, I’d take ye in the kitchen. Ye just happened to be here.”
I moaned softly as his teeth moved to the side of my neck. His hand snaked between my legs, making me gasp.
Jamie puled back and glared down at me, silently commanding me to keep my mouth shut.
“I have to,” I whispered.
“It canna be life or death,” he muttered, gently probing my hot flesh.
“I’m the doctor here, Jamie. There isn’t another healer about for miles.”
“Aye, I ken that.”
We heard the boards creak as Ian came closer to the surgery. Jamie muttered a few choice curses in Gaelic and stepped away from me. I’d just gotten off the table and righted my skirts when Ian came in.
“There ye are, Auntie.”
“What can I do for you, Ian?”
“I was wondering if ye had some o’ that tea to help wi’ a woman’s monthly? Poor Rachel canna hardly stand.”
Jamie was glaring darkly at his nephew as I pulled bottles and jars from various cupboards.
“Brew as much of it as you can, you can always warm it later.”
“Thanks, Auntie. Sorry for, ah… Interrupting.”
Jamie’s ears burned pink.
Ian’s request for tea reminded me that I had something of my own brewing in the kitchen.
“Where are ye going!?” Jamie demanded as I followed Ian out.
“I have to check on my pot in the kitchen.”
“Damn it Claire!”
I had to admit I was having a little fun teasing him like this. His angry footsteps stomped along behind me, though he didn’t try to stop whatever I was doing. He knew better.
After checking that my latest experiment was progressing well, I turned to him.
“You said you’d take me in the kitchen?”
He didn’t answer, just pushed me onto the heavy wooden table he’d built me. His mouth found mine, eager and demanding and tasting faintly of whiskey.
“Christ ye taste good, Sassenach.”
“I was just thinking the same of you.”
While he kissed me again, I felt him tugging at the ties of my bodice.
Jamie let out an audible growl.
“What do ye want, Jeremiah?”
Jem stopped short and stared at the two of us, eyes wide.
“Mam sent me to ask if ye-”
“I dinna care what yer mam asked. I’m having a conversation wi’ your granny just now. Come back in an hour.”
“But mam said she needed Granny to look at Mandy’s rash. Da thinks it’s no’ a bad one, but-”
Jamie’s mood was getting worse.
“Jemmy, darling,” I said before Jamie did something Bree would scold him for later. “If Mandy hasn’t got a fever, she’ll be alright. I’ll be down in an hour when I’ve finished with your grandda, alright?”
“Mam’s no’ gonna be happy about that.”
“I dinna care a bloody bit if she’s no’ happy,” Jamie grumbled in my ear.
“Tell her you tried, but your grandfather is a very stubborn Scot. I’ll be by as soon as I can.”
Jemmy scampered away and Jamie got up, slamming the door closed behind him.
“Come wi’ me. Now.”
“I thought you were fine taking me anywhere?”
“Aye, I am. But I dinna want to wake up in an hour on the ground. My back canna handle that, aye?”
“So are we going to our room, then?”
“Aye. And bolting the bloody door. I’ll no’ be interrupted again.”
I followed him up the stairs to our room but paused at the door. I kicked my shoes off and pulled one stocking down.
“What the devil are ye doing, woman?”
“Making sure Bree doesn’t come barging in on us in the middle of our love-making.”
Jamie barked a laugh, puling at the ties of his shirt.
“Oh if she’s angry enough, she might…”
“So why do ye put the stocking on the door?”
“It’s something Bree learned when she went to university. It’s just a signal. Never you mind.”
I closed the door and bolted it shut. That made Jamie smile even more.
“Come here,” he said, hooking his finger at me.
Walking slowly, I pulled loose the laces of my bodice, sighing in relief when it came free.
I froze, hands on the back of my skirts ready to let them go. He was glaring at me.
“That’s my job, Sassenach!”
“Aye! Like unwrappin’ a present.”
Hands on my hips, I grinned at him.
“I didn’t know you were quite so fond of that. But you know that means you can’t take off your kilt. That is strictly my job.”
“Aye, and so it is, my own.”
His arms slid around my waist while he lowered his mouth to mine. Hands moved down and gripped my buttocks hard. I waited for the exclamation that would come as it always did.
“Christ, ye’ve the fattest arse.”
“Like clockwork,” I muttered, tangling my fingers in his hair.
He had me out of my gown and standing in only my shift in rather short order. While he might enjoy unwrapping the gift that was me, but he was clearly not ready to wait longer than he had to. I felt him begin to pull the hem of my shift up, but I stepped back.
“My turn,” I panted.
He muttered darkly and stood waiting, hands balled into fists.
I walked around him, much like I had on our wedding night all those years ago. When I was back in front of him, I pulled at the belt holding his kilt on.
“I know how much you love my fat ass,” I said slowly. “But I adore your kilt.”
“Oh aye. Easy access. Dinna have to fiddle wi’ laces and whatnot.”
“That’s part of it. But I get to see your legs more. And sometimes I can catch a peek beneath it.”
“Ye naughty thing!” he said sharply. “Trying to see beneath a man’s kilt. And a marriet man, no less.”
“A married man with a very nice bottom.”
He pulled off his shirt and grinned at me.
“A nice bottom and a verra stiff cock,” he said.
“How would you like me, darling?”
His eyes moved up and down my body, assessing.
“The bed. Wi’ yer arse in the air.”
Grinning, I crawled onto our bed and tucked my knees beneath myself, sitting up like a stinkbug.
I felt two large hands squeeze my taught backside before the bed creaked as he knelt behind me.
“I dinna like servicing ye so quiet. I like to hear ye scream.”
“So you’ve said. Think you’re up for the task?”
He grabbed my hand and pulled it behind me. I snorted when he pressed it against himself.
“What say ye?”
“Definitely up for the task.”
“Oh aye. But are you?”
“Why don’t you find out?”
He teased me for a moment, making me grip the quilts with white knuckles. Then he pushed slowly home, my body trembling as he did.
“I mean to hear ye screaming for me, Claire.”
“Then what are you waiting for?”
Apparently he was waiting for my permission. As soon as I gave it, he let loose. My whole body jerked when he slammed against me. I was screaming like mad, giving myself fully over to the sensation he awoke within me. I felt bruises forming beneath his fingers where he gripped my hips.
We fell over the precipice together, crying out for each other. Jamie caught himself just before he collapsed on top of me. He lay down on his back, broad chest heaving. I scooted over to him and rested my head where I always fit.
“Ye ken I’ve only ever loved you, right?”
“Yes, I know. And you know that you’re the true love of my life?”
“Aye, Sassenach. I ken it verra well.”
Ian saw a flash of red hair and kent it wasna his uncle.
“Bree! Ye canna go in the house!”
“And why not?! I sent Jem to get Mama and she said she’d come when she could?!”
“Ah… The shutters are closed in the surgery.”
Bree fixed him with a glare that rivaled both her mam and her da.
“And I reckon the door to the kitchen’s bolted too.”
“So I think they forgot to bolt the main door. Ye dinna want to go in there just now.”
Her eyes flashed dangerously. It was a look he’d seen often enough on his own mam that he took a step back.
“I don’t care what she’s doing. I need her!”
She started for the house and he grabbed her arm.
“No, cousin! Ye canna! If the doors are bolted it’s because Auntie’s, er… Busy.”
Bree stopped suddenly before her eyes widened. He watched the red creep up her neck just like it did wi’ Uncle Jamie.
“Oh God! They’re…”
“How do you know they’re…”
Ian’s brows went up and he tried hard not to laugh at her.
“Uncle Jamie loves Auntie Claire a great deal, aye? He canna help himself. And I’ve lived around them a while. I ken how they get.”
“Well, in that case… I suppose I’ll just go wait for Mama to… ah… finish.”
Bree cringed at her choice of words and left quickly. At least he’d stopped her from seeing, or hearing, too much.
Previous installment:Aisles (Jamie visits a modern supermarket)
Some Sunday morning is goin’ to be
Some Sunday morning for someone and me!
Bells will be chiming an old melody,
‘Specially for someone and me!
“I truly dinna understand it Claire,” Jamie said, shaking his head at me.
“I canna remember ye ever being musically inclined, back in the days before, but seems every moment I turn around, now, you’re fair bursting out into song!”
“What can I say, darling?” I sighed dramatically, batting my lashes. “You put a song in my heart!”
Our eyes met and we both burst into gales of laughter at the sickly-sweet endearment.
Sickly-sweet….but accurate, I thought, my heart feeling light.
We turned the corner onto Burnham Avenue, pushing Bree before us in her pram. It was a little chilly for a September morning, and there was a whiff of winter in the air; not enough to keep us from our usual Sunday walk before mass, but enough that Jamie kept his arm around me as we walked, and I snuggled happily into his shoulder.
“Summ-summy-morneeen,” sang Bree.
“Oh, so she’s a wee songster, as well!” Jamie said, amused, peering down at her. “I’m to be overrun by you tuneful lot, then!”
“I think I picked it up from Uncle Lamb,” I mused. “He used to sing under his breath as he dug or wrote. Used to drive me bananas, in fact,” I said, laughing. “I’ll do my best to cut it out, I promise!”
“No, no,” Jamie replied hastily, grinning. “It’s charming, Sassenach, truly. I only wish I could join along wi’ y–”
Jamie stopped dead, staring ahead as I was… at the swarm of police cars at the end of the street.
“God, it’s…just terrible,” I said for perhaps the dozenth time. I could see the reflection of my hands shaking as I finished pinning up my hair in the mirror.
Approaching the melée of flashing lights and sirens, hearts pounding, we had joined the small huddle of concerned neighbors, hearing the story that trickled back in low whispers.
The Nortons. That was their name. We had never known that, just recognized them from occasionally crossing paths at the park or market: a husband, wife, and three small children, all with white-blonde hair, such that Jamie had always referred to them fondly in passing as ‘the ducklings.’ The father was a banker, someone said. The mother was often to be seen in her yard tending flowers. Nice people. Normal people.
An armed man had broken into the family’s house in the night, threatened them, then beat and bound the parents before locking all five of them in a windowless closet. The vandal then stripped the house of its valuables and made off into the night. It was nearly eight hours later that a paperboy happened to hear the children’s cries and the family was rescued. No lasting injuries sustained, thank God, but all five severely and understandably terrified by the ordeal of the night.
“Terrible,” I said again, shuddering at the memory of the five blanked-wrapped figures clinging close together in their front yard.
As I finished affixing my hat, Jamie walked down the hall to join me in the foyer. He had said nothing the entire walk back to the house. He’d remained silent as we’d washed and dressed and gotten Bree ready, preparing for the service.
“We’d best get on our way, I suppose,” I said, less than enthusiastically checking my wristwatch and scooping Bree off the living room rug. “Only fifteen minutes to mass.”
“I’m no’ going to mass this morning,” he said with almost no inflection.
“Oh, good,” I said, relieved, though a bit miffed that he hadn’t said so before I’d made a to-do of getting myself and Bree dressed and coiffed. “I’m not much in the mood eith–wh–?….Jamie, where are you going?” For he had taken up his hat and overcoat and was putting them on, clearly meaning to go out.
He didn’t look up. “To buy a weapon.”
Taken aback by this blunt answer as I was, I supposed it was only natural given what we’d just seen. He’d slept with a dirk under his pillow for the first three years of our marriage, had he not? I shifted Bree in my arms, letting her play with my hair. “I’m not sure there will be many stores open on a Sunday morning where you can buy a decent knife. You may want to wait until—”
“No’ a knife, Sassenach. I’m going to buy a pistol.”
“Like hell you are.”
He stared at me, for a moment perfectly blank with surprise. I stared right back, one eyebrow raised in defiance. He was actually speechless. He opened his mouth to speak, then shut it again. I heaved a sigh, half-laughing. “God, men and their love of toys.”
“Toys?” Jamie whispered, sounding as though he didn’t believe his own ears.
“Toy-toysies-toys!” came a far more cheerful voice at my ear. I knelt to set Bree down on the living room floor, opening the basket that held a small selection of toys and books. She set to her work, happily finding George the Rabbit and her favorite wooden blocks.
Jamie was still standing in the foyer, I could see from the corner of my eye, giving me a patient look as he explained, “It’s to keep in the house, Sassenach, the pistol. I dinna mean to carry it about wi’ me.”
“Even so,” I said, rising and facing him with my arms crossed. “Absolutely not.”
Jamie’s face hardened and reddened now. “After learning what we did this morning…? How could you possibly not wish to see us better protected, Claire?”
“The burglar didn’t discharge his weapon, Jamie. He didn’t shoot at the family. He just had a gun.”
“Ye think every scoundrel will be satisfied wi’ that? The Nortons were lucky, that’s all. We willna be caught empty-handed like they were.”
“Jamie, darling,” I said through slightly gritted teeth, “this is a different time.”
Jamie made an angry sound in his throat, gesturing sharply. “But there’s still evil in the world, no? I read the newspapers, Claire–I ken fine that there are as many sick bastards now as in 1743, if none so recognizable at first sight. So dinna give me that tripe that there’s no danger to be had in 1950.”
“Yes, but this isn’t the bloody Highlands, either,” I snapped, picking up my coat and purse and brushing past him, feeling the alarming heat of true discord boiling between us for the first time in recent memory, and wanting to blink my eyes and have all melt away.
“And what’s that meant to signify?” came the sharp question from behind me.
“This is an advanced civil society the like of which no one of your century could have even dreamed,” I said crisply, opening the door to the closet at the end of the hall. “There’s rule of law that keeps your ‘sick bastards’ from extorting and murdering people with impunity.”
“Oh, aye? So it’s all well and good if Claire Fraser is shot and killed, because the perpetrator will go to prison for it in the end, is that it?”
“AND–” I ignored this jab out of hand. I was angry and getting angrier, but I was slow and fussy with hanging my things l, not ready to turn and face him as I barrelled forward. “–the other side of that ordered society is that even if Jamie Fraser thinks it’s merited, he can’t just shoot someone at the slightest provocation!”
“I dinna intend to shoot at any provocation….” He was straining to keep calm, but I could clearly hear the danger rising between his clenched teeth. “…except that someone enters this house to do violence against my family.”
I turned on my heel and gave him a look of steel. “Jamie, I won’t have a gun in this house. They’re dangerous and unnecessary.”
“’Unnecessary’?” He was almost six feet away, but even at that safe distance, his own look could have sliced me in two. I jumped back in reflex as he snarled, “You would rather be shot–rather *our daughter* or the next bairn be killed before our eyes– than have me keep a weapon under our roof? Is that what you’re telling me?”
I threw up my hands in abject frustration and panic. “Jamie, that isn’t bloody fair!”
“How? HOW is what I’m saying unreasonable, Claire?” He was shaking with rage. “DAMN YOU, Claire, TELL ME!”
“What if Bree got hold of your bloody pistol without you knowing and thought it a toy and pulled the trigger?? She could—”
He was seething, deep scarlet, moments from complete eruption. “Ye think—I’d be—so careless—as to—”
“Accidents, Jamie!” I said, throwing up my hands and bustling into the bedroom to escape that look. “Accidents happen! Don’t you ever see that in your newspapers? And it’s not just Bree I’m worried about—YOU could shoot someone out of your bloodyminded warriorinstinct and be put away for life to rot in some prison cell, and THEN where would we fucking be??”
His voice was low and lethal from the doorway, barely a whisper. “In all the years you’ve known me… in ALL the dangers we’ve faced…have you ever known me to act rashly in danger? EVER?” he hissed. “Have I ever struck or killed by accident?
“Jamie that’s beside the—” I turned, pleading, and suddenly he was only inches from me, his breath hot on my face. “Dar–Darling, listen, you have to trust m—”
“NO!” he bellowed, leaning down so close to me that I tried to step back but was trapped by the wall, trapped by those blue eyes blazing. “No, Claire, I DO NOT have to trust you on this. What ye choose to wear, what profession you pursue: concerning those I have chosen trust you, no matter how much they might gall me–.but I will not TRUST you and Bree to the CHANCE that invaders will be merciful or stupid! Do ye hear me?”
“I will NOT live knowing myself to be at a disadvantage to those that would attempt to harm my family. And the fact that you would leave ME to be shot first wi’ only a knife in my hand–That your–your–PRINCIPLES are more important than–”
We both snapped our heads to the bedroom door, where Bree stood clutching George, eyes overflowing with tears, her sweet face a mask of horror.
Jamie made a sound….a pitiful sound…shame and despair….and turned away from us both, retreating to the space between the bed and wall.
I went at once to Bree and swept her up into my arms, patting and soothing. “It’s alright, baby, hush, now, everything’s fine.”
It wasn’t fine…but God, he was right.
It wasn’t my ‘principles,’ though. As much as I did think it dangerous to allow the easy purchase of guns generally, that wasn’t the reason I didn’t want one in our house.
It was that I was afraid of being afraid again. I didn’t want to live once more in a world where people sought to attack, maim, rape, and destroy me and those I held dear. Knowing evil exists in the world is one thing; acknowledging that such dangers might find me, my loved ones–that was what had pierced me with terror; as if arming against danger would call it forth.
…which was utterly foolish, I realized as soon as the thought crossed my mind. The English deserters in that long-ago glade after our first wedding had not attacked me because I carried a sgian dubh–the having of it had simply allowed me to do what needed to be done to defend myself…and Jamie.
His face was averted, hung between his shoulders as he leaned with both hands against the wall; but I could see his shoulders shaking, and hear the desperate effort to which he went to suppress (almost suppress) bitter sobs.
I came close behind him, slowly, Bree sniffling and gasping on my shoulder as her own tears failed to subside. I laid a hand softly on his arm and said firmly, but I hoped not coldly, “If we must have it….we’ll keep it locked in the bedside drawer.”
“Thank you,” he said softly. Then after a long silence he turned fast and crushed us to him. “I’m sorry….sorry, Claire….I didna mean… I ken ye dinna want this…but…”
I crushed him right back, or as best I could with only one free arm.
No, I didn’t want this, but he was right: never once had I seen him err in battle or hand-to-hand combat. In decisions? In words? God, yes; too many times to count. But In blows? When lives were on the line? Never. There was no one on earth I trusted more than him, not just in some romantic, theoretical way; but also in the capability of his mind and body to act with decision and incision.
I hated this…but I was choosing to trust him.
“I’m sorry, Sassenach. And you, a leannan,” he said to Bree, “Da is verra sorry he frightened ye.”
He spoke gently in Gaelic to her–I love you, sweetheart–and kissed her cheek, wrapping his arms around us both again and exhaling heavily.
“Claire, I–” he said, haltingly, and I could hear the pain in it; the regret. “I ken there’s no valor in this. It’s fear that screams at me to insist upon this thing, rather than submit and trust that all will be well. It’s just that…” His mouth went dry and he had to swallow. “I’ve nothing in the world save you two.”
“You think I have?” I choked out, his fear seemed to creep across the space between our feet and snake up my leg into my heart.
He pressed his cheek hard into the top of my head. “I pray wi’ all my soul, Claire… that we never once have to unlock the drawer.”