Flood my Mornings: The Battle of the Gamete
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.
- See all past installments via Bonnie’s Master List
- Previous installment: All Fat (Jamie and Claire finally tell Bree about the baby)
“Alright, now, Dr. Fraser…” Jamie prompted, poking her with his big toe as he read from the next card. “Tell me, what is the….‘Law of Segregation?’”
“Posits that allele pairs segregate randomly from each other during the production of gametes—allele pairs separate during gamete production and thus the sperm or egg carries just the one allele for each inherited trait— and when sperm and egg come together at fertilization—each contributes an allele, restoring the paired condition in any offspring.”
Finishing her slew of learn’ed gibberish in a triumphant rush, Claire bobbed her head once—quite like a musician that’s just hit the final note to their satisfaction— and looked over at him expectantly from her end of the sofa.
He studied the card and nodded sagely. “Aye, that’s verra good— Looks as though you’ve got that one down as well.”
She raised her eyebrows.
“Aye, WELL,” he grinned, “that is to say, ye spoke a good number of words and verra confidently, forbye.”
“Lazy oaf,” she mock-scolded, snatching back the card to look over it herself. “A word or two off, but pretty damn close.”
“See? Confident.” And that’s verra impressive, lass.” He took the card back and re-read the definition silently to himself, shaking his head. “When ye explain the concepts to me, they make some sort of sense, but trying to read your books myself, the words seem as inscrutable as ancient Egyptian scripts.”
“They did finally translate those, you know,” she said absently as she flipped through her notes. “The Egyptian hieroglyphs.”
“Truly? How?” He grinned. “Did someone travel through your wee stones to get it sorted out?” He abruptly stopped grinning as he reflected that this was not, after all, so very outlandish a proposition.
“A stone of a different sort helped crack the code,“ she explained, though her mouth was quirked up at the irony. "Uncle Lamb took me to see the Rosetta Stone at the British Museum, once, when I was young. Not much to look at for a seven-year-old, to be honest, but it opened up entire fields of study of ancient civilizations and their languages. Worth seeing in one’s lifetime, certainly.”
“That’s a wonder, and no mistake,” Jamie said, feeling truly awed that mankind since his own time had not only expanded the limits of new innovation, but had plumbed the mysteries of the ancient past as well; not to mention the deepest working of the invisible realms of blood and bone, exploring places smaller than any eye could see or imagine.
And in the many times these last weeks when he’d helped her with her studying, he’d often thought that perhaps the folk of Cranesmuir, the folk of Paris, even, hadn’t been so very wrong in naming his wife a witch, for she prophesied, and no mistake. For if the Laws that she’d recited and so patiently tried to explain to him were to be taken as fact, she knew for fact that the child within her could never have brown, grey, or green eyes.
He pictured it like a great, pounding battlefield, the body of the wee babe—the Traits the warriors, armed and ready to make their stand for eternal glory. The Browns—they were the most vicious of the clans, the most ruthless and unyielding. Their steel was sure, and nearly always their opponents were vanquished by their mighty blows, or so cowed before the Donn brutes that they fled in terror before swords were raised….
And yet a courageous Gold and an unlikely Blue had defied the odds in the two battles before, each leading their clans through the fray in an almighty charge against the foe, and managed to raise their colors, to rout the Dominant forces. Thus triumphant, those legendary victors would not let their territory be ceded. Only one of *their* colors would fly over that hallowed field, and over their alliance. Only *future* marriages with Browns or half-Browns might see a change of banner in their descendants.
….but the Gold and the Blue were assured of their place in the songs. They would be remembered.
He hoped it wasn’t painful for the babe, to have such turmoil taking place in the deciding all the details of its formation. He scooted closer to Claire, close enough to cup the child in it’s sleeping-place. Dinna fash, wee one, he thought, all things will be well, soon.
One of Claire’s new terms flashed through his mind, and he decided to try it out, glad of the chance to test his bare scraps of understanding. “So, the ‘gamete’ is…like what you’d call our wee bairn, at present, aye?”
“Close—gamete is before the sperm—seed, I mean—and egg come together. Once they do, it’s called a zygote,” she said, rattling off the progression on her fingers, “but just at present, he or she is technically called a foetus; or ‘fetus,’ as I’m apparently going to have to start spelling it.”
Jamie banished the absurd — not to mention disturbing—image of a wee goat with human feet prancing about in there, and only laughed ruefully. “It’s a good thing it’s you becoming the physician, Sassenach. If it depended upon me to learn all this, we’d be ruined.”
“You don’t give yourself enough credit, Jamie.” Her face was soft with a concern that warmed his heart. “Don’t think just because these terms are new to you, you couldn’t— ”
“Dinna fash, Sassenach,” he assured her. “I ken I’m no’ a complete fool, and that I’m fully capable of learning whatsoever I wish….Same as I’m capable of climbing up the Mountain Kill-A-Man-Giarro ye told me of. It’s only a matter of how much I want to kill THIS man,” he pointed theatrically to the top of his head, “in the trying.”
“Forget medicine, you could have a career in comedy, if you wanted!” she hooted. He laughed along with her and pulled her feet up into his lap, gratified to hear her groan in relief as he removed her socks and began to rub. “Oh, darling, that’s wonderful — THANK you.” She let her head loll to the side against the back of the sofa. “You’ll put me right to sleep with that.”
“Well, and sleep, ye should,” he said, glancing up at the clock. “Ten o’clock and you’ve the examination in the morning.”
“Bright and early,” she confirmed through a yawn, wrapping her arm around the bairn. “But I’ve got to keep studying for at least a bit longer. I did well on the first exam, and I don’t want to get cocky and blow it.”
He raised one foot and placed a kiss on it, making her giggle. “You’re doing a magnificent job, mo chridhe—at all of it.”
He didn’t feel as though as if he were doing much of anything, compared with what she had to manage. She’d cut back to just two days per week at the hospital to allow for more time for her studies, but even so, a job, keeping up with Harvard’s demands, advancing pregnancy, and a two-year old together added up to an astounding level of demand and responsibility. He rubbed her leg tenderly, his gaze serious. “You’ll tell me if there’s anything more I can be doing to help?”
“I promise,” she said with a sweet smile, leaning forward to kiss him.
He obliged, taking her face in his hands. He had just brought her mouth to his, when she jumped and cried out as though stabbed. “Christ, Claire, are ye —?” He reached for her face, panicked— but the expression on it, the direction of her gaze told him everything.
He dropped the hand at once to her belly to settle between both of hers. “Is it — he’s — she’s — ?”
She nodded and pursed her lips, glowing with quiet light as she held the child, as tightly as she could. “Hello there, little love.”
“Oh, lass…” Jamie moved quickly to kneel on the floor beside her, kissing her cheek and wrapping his arms around her. “What does it feel like?” he asked, as he leaned his head against her shoulder. The wonder in his heart, the hope— “Is it kicking?”
“No, still early for that. It’s just the first quickening,” she said, blinking hard and smiling. “It’s a bit like — like popcorn in my belly.”
“Like—what kind of corn?”
“I’ll have to make you some,” she laughed. “I just mean it’s like—little bubbles popping.” She shook her head, awed, in another place, by the look in her eyes. “So she’s—he’s— really in there, then…”
“Did ye doubt it?”
“No,” she murmured softly, “just…it’s good to feel him…her…to feel that there’s a tiny person in there, not just some rogue germ that’s silently infected my body.”
“Well, and it is rather like a wee germ, is it not?” he said gently, tracing wee circles on her belly. “Tiny living creature that feeds off ye, unseen?”
She leaned her head against his, giving a soft laugh of agreement. “Well, let’s hope it grows up far more cute and capable than a germ.” They were just a warm bundle of happiness, together, voices barely more than a whisper, as though heeding Brianna’s threats against waking the babe.
“Wi’ the way its mother is,” he said, reaching up to touch her face, “I canna honestly see how it could fail on either point.”
“No’ flattery: science….The Genetics dinna lie, aye?”
They shook together with silent laughter, but at length, simply let the quiet of the night fall over them. He’d carry her to bed, when she’d fallen asleep, and ensure she was up in plenty of time for the two of them to drive into town for her examination. His back did ache and his knees would punish him for it in the morning, to be sure; and certainly she’d wanted to study, longer.
Just at present, though, there was nothing more important than this.