fash her

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.
  • Previous installment:  All Fat (Jamie and Claire finally tell Bree about the baby) 

February, 1951

“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.” 

“Flatterer.” 

“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.

Someone to Stay - AU

Previous Chapters

Chapter 11

“Faster.”

“I can’t.”

“Dammit, Joe!” Claire slammed her fists on the dashboard.

“LJ, there’s a speed limit. Your plane isn’t leaving any earlier than scheduled. Calm down!”

Claire sighed and fumed, curling up in the passenger seat. She drummed her fingers against the window until another murderous look from Joe made her stop with a huff.

As soon as she had realized her mistake, she was on Joe’s phone, dialing Jamie from memory. But it had gone straight to voicemail. Joe had plucked his mobile from Claire’s hands before she could hurl it against the wall too.

He had dialed Jenny’s number instead, and put Claire on immediately.

“Jenny? Oh God, I’m an idiot, I’m so sorry—”

“It doesna matter. It will work out,” Jenny said gently. “Right now, though, I need ye to get on a plane to Edinburgh. I’ve left an open ticket for ye at Gatwick, so please come as soon as ye can. Jamie’s back since yesterday, and he’s a mess.”

“So am I,” Claire gulped.

“He needs ye, Claire. As I’m sure ye need him” Jenny’s voice had gone quiet, and Claire had snapped out of her funk, racing to her room to pack.

“I’m on my way.”

*

The stupid train was faster than driving, she reminded herself, as it sped across the Scottish countryside.

From Inverness, she called Jenny from her new burner phone to be picked up. Then to Lallybroch. And Jamie.

As the driver Jenny had sent parked in front of the manor house, Claire jumped out, feet pounding on the gravel. Jenny threw open the kitchen door and embraced her fiercely. With a simple, “Go!” Claire bolted up the stairs. Closer.

Heart pounding, Claire knocked on the door to Jamie’s room. She could hear the strumming of his guitar, which didn’t stop, and then his voice called out.

“Jenny, go away.” Dejected, forlorn.

Claire swallowed hard. “It isn’t Jenny. It’s me, Claire.”

The guitar twanged abruptly. Footsteps and a pause.

“Sassenach—”

“May I come in?”

A beat. Two beats.

Claire fully expected him to tell her to go away too. She turned to oblige before he could do so, heart in her mouth, tears stinging.

Then a flurry of activity, trampling sounds, a couple of shits thrown in for good measure. And finally, a click and twist and the door swung open.

His eyes were bright as he looked at her, fingers gripping the door. Claire looked up at him through her eyelashes, unsure of where to begin. But at the beginning seemed best.

“I’m sorry. I believe you. I saw the picture. Joe and Jenny and…” Claire sighed, frustrated with her incoherence. “I looked closer. I noticed the ring. I’m here.”

Without warning, she found herself crushed against Jamie’s chest, and her hands clutching at him equally as tight.

“Claire, mo nighean donn, I’m sorry too. When Murtagh showed me the paper, I flew back to London. I knew it would be a blow, despite the lie.” Jamie brought her into the room and shut the door behind them.

They still hadn’t released each other. Jamie stepped back briefly, brushing Claire’s wild curls away from her face as she shook her head and laughed in relief—sweet sweet relief that flooded through her and wiped away all doubts.

Tha gaol agam ort?” she whispered, her own hands tangled in his hair.

Jamie smiled. “Always.”

*

“Thank you Edinburgh!” The answering clamor was deafening.

Claire grinned broadly from the wings, clapping her hands along with the crowd. The venue lights dimmed suddenly to blue. The backdrop of Edinburgh Castle was spectacular, the esplanade packed with fans all the way to the top tiers of the grandstands.

“Thank you, everyone.” Jamie took a seat on a stool and palmed a beautiful Gibson acoustic, with a tortoiseshell inlay that Claire had given him for his birthday. He laid it across his lap and touched the strings slowly. He managed to catch her eye and winked in his usual fashion – more like a nodding blink.

Claire laughed and blew him a kiss, as he turned to the audience and said, “This one is new. It goes out to the love of my life.”

He strummed out the intro chords, and sang.

Falling doesn’t come easy
It all takes time
To give someone your heart
I saw the walls, began to climb

You only wanted someone to stay
To be there for you
To hold you close and say
I won’t let go
I promise I’ll be
Someone to stay

Jamie rose suddenly as Willie took over with another guitar, keeping the same riff going over and over. Jamie walked purposefully towards Claire, and before she knew it, he had pulled her onstage in front of thousands of people.

“What are you doing?” she hissed, her face flaming crimson.

“Claire.” Her hands, which had been tugging his so she could get away, stilled at his tone. He was still wired to a mic, and her name reverberated over the grounds. She stared into the deep azure, made bluer by the artificial lights.

And then he went down on one knee.

The crowd went wild, but to Claire it sounded as though the roar came from underwater. Her eyes were on his and couldn’t look away. Not even as turned the palm of her hand so he could place the cabochon ruby ring into it.

“Claire… Sassenach… I want to be someone to stay. Will ye let me? Will ye marry me?”

*

The roiling of her stomach and whirling in her head had her racing for the bathroom in the small hours of the morning. The sounds of her retching and the splash in the toilet bowl had Jamie padding barefoot over to Claire as he held her hair back.

“Sassenach, I’m sorry you’re unwell.” He smoothed a hand across her forehead, which felt clammy and cold.

“Stupid bloody sushi. Let’s never—” Claire’s moans were cut off in a fresh wave of nausea.

“I’m throwing the takeout menu out. Dinna fash.” Jamie helped her up. She rinsed out her mouth and pressed a damp towel to her face.

“I have class today. I can’t make it, though.” Claire stumbled back to the bed, kicking the comforter away in her flushed state. “I’ll text Louise.” She groaned into the pillow, but felt mildly better after expelling the contents of her stomach.

“It isnae catching, love?” Jamie sat beside her and patted her back gently; she curled up on her side and took deep breaths.

“I don’t think so. You go on ahead. I’ll call you later.” The soothing motions of Jamie’s hand on her back had lulled her halfway to sleep again.

“I’ll call you,” he said, leaning in to kiss her forehead. “Rest easy, Sassenach. I love ye.”

“I love you more,” Claire mumbled into the bed.

It was only hours later when she woke up that she realized: she was sick in the mornings. She was sleepy all the time. She did some backwards counting and discovered she was also late.

After almost two years of trying, she needed a pregnancy test.

*

“Dearly beloved, we are gathered together here in the sight of God, and in the face of this congregation, to join together this man and this woman in holy matrimony…”

Claire smiled at Jamie, who beamed back as they held hands. They could hear a murmur of approval behind them as their nearest and dearest were gathered behind them in the church pews to witness their union.

“To help, and comfort, that the one ought to have of the other, both in prosperity and adversity…”

All the band members were there with their families. Rupert and Geillis were there as a couple too, and all of Jenny and Ian’s bairns. The church was redolent with flowers, and flickering candlelight everywhere.

“With this ring I thee wed, with my body I thee worship, and with all my worldly goods I thee endow.”

Ian Murray stood as best man, and held a black velvet box with their rings in it. For Jamie, a simple white-gold band he could easily play guitar with. For Claire, a silver ring with an intricate Highland pattern of Scottish thistles.

They left the church amidst a shower of rice and a chorus of well-wishers, to a beautiful reception at Lallybroch and a Mediterranean honeymoon.

*

Claire waited anxiously in their bedroom as she heard the key turn in the lock. She heard Jamie close the door behind him and open the fridge. A clinking of bottles as he found the champagne.

“Sassenach?”

Claire stifled a giggle, but did not answer. She heard his footsteps head in her direction and then stop abruptly.

First, the Gibson guitar with a handwritten note on it that read “1979”.  She had set it on the floor between the kitchen and the living room.

She fought the urge to peek. Jamie walked on, his tread easily recognizable. Then it stopped again, right outside their bedroom. Lying there was the stethoscope he had given her after she had passed her medical school finals. Alongside it was another note that read “1981”.

“Oh, God.” Jamie’s voice was muffled behind the door, and Claire couldn’t resist.

“Jamie?”

The door opened and finally, he saw her. Standing in the middle of the room, holding the last of the notes. This one had a purple question mark drawn on it, and “2018” printed beneath it.

“’Tis true?” Jamie’s smile was blinding as he knelt in front of Claire, reaching out to her. His arms went around her legs and his face pressed against her still-flat belly. Her own hands brushed back his hair, and she caught the trickle of a tear sliding down his cheek.

“Are you happy, Jamie?” A knot in her throat made the words come out in a whisper. Jamie raised his head to look up at her. His eyes were radiant, and he placed a kiss on her stomach.

“I’m verra happy, Sassenach.” He smoothed her blouse over the invisible bump reverently. “Och, lad—or lass—” he added, with a smile in his voice, “we canna wait to meet ye. I’m yer Da.” Jamie cleared his throat. “Ye ken yer mam already, I’m sure. She’s a lady of grace, a woman of strength, a doctor and an astonishing beauty. She’s yer mam, Claire Fraser.”

*

FIN

A piece set around the time of Ellen’s death and Claire’s illness on the ridge. Thank you for reading and I hope you’re all having a terrific week so far ❤️ xxx

Jamie pressed his nose against the bakery window and breathed deeply. The smell of freshly baked bread filled him with a sense of home and he needed that very badly right now.
Everything felt so wrong since his mam died. His father was beside himself and seemed thinner and angrier every day. His sister was trying her best but her dinners tasted awful and she never seemed to stop crying.

Jamie had wept too, of course. They all had and his chest still felt tight with sorrow whenever he thought of his Mam. Her presence in the house was so strong he kept expecting to see her around each corner and every time he entered a room he felt her there and wanted nothing more than to hold or be held by her again.

He had tried to hug his father that morning, to try and offer some comfort and seek some too, but after nearly crushing him in a sudden embrace Brian had asked him to leave him be.

Jamie had closed the door to his father’s study and heard the familiar wail of his father’s grief, followed by terrible cursing and thumping as he pounded the desk with his clenched fists.
Jamie had been hovering outside the door uncertain of what to do when Mrs Crook hurried out of the kitchen and ushered him away with her.
“Dinna fash wee Jamie. Ye Da is strained wi’ sorrow but he’ll be alright.”

“Shouldn’t we go to him?”

“No laddie, leave him be. Men grieve alone, aye?”

She had wrapped an arm around his shoulders and propelled him ahead of her into the warmth of the kitchen where Jenny was stood on a stall at the sink peeling carrots.

“Da’s greetin’ again Jenny.”

“I ken that. I ha’ ears clotheid!”
Jenny had snapped, turning to glare at him. Mrs Crook had held up her hands and tried to place herself between them but Jamie had ducked around her to return Jenny’s glare.

“Dinna call me a clotheid!”

“Dinna be one then!”

“Targe Cuddie!”
Jamie had yelled and had already been mentally preparing his next insult when Jenny burst into tears. It shocked him so much he had simply gawped at her as Mrs Crook hurried over and folded Jenny into her ample bosom.

“Jenny … Jenny I’m sorry … I didna mean it…”

He had padded forward softly and Mrs Crook had simply pulled him into the clutch as well, waiting for Jenny to quieten to the occasional sniff before releasing her hold on them.
Jenny had wiped her eyes on her sleeve and Jamie had offered her his own, rather grubby handkerchief.

“That needs washing Jamie, gi’ it here and I’ll see to it for ye.”

“I can do it.”
Jamie had offered and Jenny had favoured him with a small smile.

“Ye dinna ken how to do laundry but Mrs Crook showed me. I will show ye how to do it later so ye dinna scald ye fingers or get soap everywhere.”

The argument between them was clearly over and Jamie had nodded gamely but Mrs Crook seemed to have had enough of the Fraser children’s tempers clashing for a little while and had bade him go to the village and bring back two loaves of bread instead.

“I can make bread.”
Jenny had frowned indignantly, but with an excuse about the kitchen not being warm enough for dough to rise in time for dinner, Mrs Crook pressed some coins into Jamie’s palm and nudged him toward the door.

“Besides, it will do ye brother good to be of use and out of mischief.”
She smiled and pecked Jamie lightly on the head to show she didn’t mean it. She had given him his instructions whilst bundling him into a coat and thick knitted scarf to ward off the cold.

“Two loaves, fresh as ye can, if the baker asks for more than two pence each, ye tell him who ye are and who the bread is for.”

“He kens who I am!”

“Aye, but kenning somethin’ an’ hearin’ it plain spoke are two different things sometimes.”

“Alright.”

“And dinna pick the loaves on ye way home or there’ll be no pie for ye after supper.”

She warned finally, tucking a fabric sack into his pocket to carry the bread home in.

Jamie had waved and taken off at a trot, almost giddy with the sense of freedom after days cooped up indoors.

He had run until his lungs felt fit to burst and then slowed to a jog, delighting in the foggy shapes his breath created in front of him. He wrote his name with a finger on frosty fence posts and had found a suitably thick stick to pretend it was a sword and he was battling monsters and evil clansmen alike.

When he reached the village he headed straight to the bakers and it was as he stood looking in that John Murray clapped a hand on his shoulder.

“Hàlo Jamie.”

“Hàlo Mister Murray.”

Jamie hid the stick behind his back, feeling guilty to have been playing when he knew he should be in mourning.

“How are ye laddie?”

“I’m verra well thank ye,”
Jamie answered automatically and John’s lip quirked at the boy’s good manners, knowing what a terror he had the ability to be when the mood took him. He plucked the stick out of the boy’s hand and held it as reverently as any blade.

“Ye ha’ found a fine weapon I see. Verra nice!”

John winked at Jamie who grinned sheepishly at him in response. Handing back the stick John cleared his throat

“How is ye father?”

“Da is …”

Jamie bit his lip and swung the stick absently, trying to find words that might adequately capture the state of his father. John nodded in quiet understanding.

“Do ye think he would appreciate some company?”

“I dinna ken Sir. A man grieves alone, aye?”

John nodded again and sighed heavily.

“Aye but I’ll be along anyway. How is wee Janet?”

“She’s learning to cook.”
Jamie shrugged; he didn’t want to talk about his sister crying, especially as he still felt a little guilty for upsetting her so much that very morning. Misreading Jamie’s guilt for a grimace John laughed

“Hang in there lad, she’ll be a bonnie cook before ye ken it.”

John grinned and then crouched down in front of Jamie.
“Ye Da is like to be fair distracted for a wee while yet, so should ye need anything at all, either ye or Jenny, come to me, aye?”

Before he knew what he was doing, Jamie threw his arms around the older man’s neck and held on for all he was worth. John patted his back and hushed him gently. Once the little lad’s shoulders stopped shaking he carefully detached Jamie’s grip on him and stood him up.

“I ken this is a terrible time for ye and I willna lie to ye and say it will stop hurtin’ any time soon, but it will get easier wi’ time. Ye mother was a wonderful woman and she loved her bairns fiercely and was sae proud o’ ye both. Ye must try and be strong and brave now, like she would want ye to be.”

John held Jamie’s stare and smiled into those remarkable blue cat eyes.

“Stay as honest, loyal and good as ye are and ye Mam will always be able to look down on ye from Heaven wi’ pride and ken that she did a grand job.”

Jamie nodded, slightly awestruck by the normally stern and stoic Mr Murray speaking to him so freely but then, it seemed that the world was on its head in all ways at the moment.

“Alrigh’. Go on and get what ye were told to and hurry home.”

John stood up and ruffled Jamie’s hair.
“Oh Jamie! Tonight, ye must be sure to tell Janet that she has done a fine job of dinner, whatever it’s like, she’ll appreciate ye sayin’ so.”
*

Jamie collected the loaves and headed for home, swinging the sack around like a catapult. As he approached Lallybroch he realised that he was slowing down and felt a twinge of guilt, still he could not deny that the prospect of going into the gloomy house was not exactly appealing.

He hovered by the gate wondering if he could slip the bread into the kitchen and be on his way again without Mrs Crook collaring him and making him sit by the fire to warm up.

“Jamie?”
Brian’s voice made him jump and Jamie half crushed one loaf as he snatched the bag out of the air before it hit the ground.
“Och! I’m sorry! I didna mean to scare ye.”
Brian offered guiltily and stepped forward to rescue the food.

“I wasna scairt.”
Jamie passed it to him and looked up at his father cautiously under his lashes. Brian seemed better than he had for days and Jamie wondered whether, like him, his Da had just needed to be out in cold and wet for a while to feel normal again.

“Ye dinna wish to go inside and get warm?”

“I’m no’ verra cold Da and it’s good to be outside.”
Brian smiled at him, the first part was clearly not the truth, Jamie’s fingers were red with cold and his nose was running, but the second part was so abundantly true Brian couldn’t fault the lad.

“Aye it is. The house doesna feel quite right at the moment does it?”

“Mam is still there but she’s gone too so it feels a bit queer.”

Jamie shrugged and Brian nodded, giving his son a side long look.

“I miss her terribly Jamie, just as ye and Jenny do, and my behaviour has been a bit … erratic.”

Brian could feel the lad watching him intently and bit his lip, just as Jamie so often did and braced himself to say what he wanted to say.

“I dinna ken if I will be a verra good substitute for ye Mam. She had a way about her that is … was … softer than mysel’. Ye and Jenny ha’ both inherited my temper, ye ken?”

Jamie nodded and the action sent a draft under his collar making him shiver. Brian set the sack down and reached out, taking both of Jamie’s hands in one of his own and using his free hand to rub some warmth into them, his calloused palm chafing gently across the back of his son’s small, smooth hands.

“What I mean to say,”
Brian continued
“Is that I canna promise I will be as gentle as ye Mam, nor as patient, but I will try. I love ye both, verra much, I hope ye ne’er doubt that.”

“No Da.”

“Good.”
Brian looked out over Jamie’s head and lifted one hand to wave at Jenny, her small face visible in the kitchen window.

“Go on in wi’ this,”
He said handing Jamie the sack of bread

“But Da…”
“An’ tell ye sister to wrap up warm, I think we shall go for a ride.”
Brian spoke over the top of Jamie’s protest and smiled at him.
“Change ye stockings too. Those are far too thin for this weather.”

It was the sort of thing his mother would have thought of and it sounded strange coming from his father but Jamie didn’t comment on it and hurried to do as he was asked, eager to saddle up and feel the wind whipping through his hair.

“JENNY!!”
He hollered, running toward the kitchen door and was dimly aware of his father calling out to him not to go around screeching like an angry kestrel. That was a far more usual patriarchal instruction!

*
“Da?”

Jamie looked up with a start and blinked at Brianna, standing in the doorway to his study. The smell of freshly baked bread was wafting into the room from the kitchen and she was smiling at him with a slight frown of concern between her brows.

“Are you OK?”

“I am.”
Jamie stood up and rubbed his eyes hastily to clear his head and bring him fully back to the present. He had not been asleep but in a sort of haze between wakefulness and unconsciousness that allowed his mind to wander.

“How’s ye mother?”

“Asleep, but her pulse is strong and she seems to be over the worst of it.”

Brianna’s smile widened and she stepped into the room, opening her arms to him. Jamie embraced her warmly and kissed the copper silk of her hair.

“That’s good news a leannan. I’ll go an’ sit wi’ her for a while.”
Brianna nodded, she had managed to persuade her father to leave her mother’s side to get some rest but it was clear he had not slept at all and she knew better than to try and keep him away any longer.

“Sure, but have some lunch first.”

Jamie’s stomach growled and he grinned shyly at his daughter.

“Aye, that seems wise. I dinna wish my gut to be the first thing ye Mam hears when she wakes.”

Brianna laughed at the thought of her mother’s indignation and led the way through to the kitchen.
“I don’t think she’d mind too much but eat anyway.”

She placed a plate of bread, ham and cheese in front of him as he sat down at the table. Jamie caught her wrist as she moved away and bit his lip.

“I ken ye mother will be alright, I dinna doubt it at all, but …”
He raised his eyes to meet his daughters and held her gaze steadily.

“I wish ye to ken that should anything ever happen to her, I would do my best to love ye well enough for the both o’ us.”

Brianna leant forward and wordlessly kissed her father’s cheek, rough from days without shaving.

“Thank ye Da.”
She murmured and squeezed his hand tightly before straightening and gesturing to his plate.

“Now seriously, eat your lunch! Or I will…”
She nabbed a slice of ham from his plate and winked at him in the same way she might have done with Jem if he was being difficult.

Jamie laughed, obediently picking up a piece of the fresh bread and stuffing it happily in his mouth.
*

anonymous asked:

AU - Brianna is 10. Her parents work way too much & hardly have time for each other. Clever daughter devises a surprise plan to bring parents together for a date night. Lots of fluff if you like. Thanks!

Brianna was sick of her parents passing like speeding trains on a track. Her mother was invariably at the hospital and her father was constantly at the office. The part that really annoyed her? She was stuck at home with her Uncle Murtagh, the crankiest old man alive who would trick her into learning something new every day. She secretly loved him dearly for it, despite her very vocal protestations to the contrary.

One day when her uncle was showing her how to fix a carburetor, she hatched an idea. An idea so complicated, and fantastic, that she would need some help making it happen. Fortunately, she knew the perfect person to help her orchestrate such an undertaking.

Goistidh Moo? I need your help.” she announced. “Mama and Da are never home. Their anniversary is in two weeks and I want them to be together. For the whole day.”

“Oh, aye?” he remarked. “And how do you propose the two of us achieve such a lofty goal?”

With her hands on her hips, Brianna bestowed her uncle with a look of indignation. They both knew she was smart enough to figure out a way to get what she whilewanted. He was goading her just to be annoying and succeeding marvelously.

“You tell them separately that you’re worried about me. While you’re doing that I’ll work on looking sad.” she retorted. “Obviously.”

He nodded in agreement, “Not a bad idea at all, wee'un.”

XXXXXXXX

It was the day of her parents’ anniversary and her plan had been going marvelously. Her uncle had mentioned on multiple occasions  how he was concerned for his young goddaughter while she had taken to sighing loudly and reading Shakespeare’s tragedies in their original Old English.

Both her parents kissed her goodbye and told her to have a good day with her uncle. She nodded sadly as they walked out the door.

That evening the devious pair completed their assigned tasks and walked down to their local.

Brianna watched the door nervously, waiting for her parents to come into view. Her uncle gently squeezed her arm to reassure her.

“Dinna fash! I took care of it. They’ll be here.”

Sure enough, both came crashing through the door a few minutes later and collided in front of their daughter.

“Brianna Ellen Julia Fraser! Why did I get a call telling me you’d gone missing?”

Before she answered she put her hand up, gesturing for them to sit down.  Her uncle did the same with a few movements of his head.

They sat down next to each other to await the reply.

“It’s your anniversary today and I want you to spend the next twenty four hours together. Alone.” she demanded. “And in case you forgot, this is where you had your first date.”

Her Uncle Murtagh took her hand, “We’ll meet to here tomorrow. Have yourself sorted by then.”

Her parents sat there agape as the pair walked out the door.

Needless to say, this was the first story Brianna told her little brother and repeated it every year on his birthday.

anonymous asked:

Lord!!!' I am so in love with The Gateway!!! Thank you for this AU. It is so magnificent. I cannot wait for the next installment. Thank you. This blog is my jam. You all rock!

anonymous asked:

I am eagerly waiting for The Getaway! I love it!

anonymous asked:

Loved the latest Getaway. Those crazy kids.

diversemediums asked:

Could we get another installment of The Getaway please?

anonymous asked:

Any plans to continue The Getaway?


Wrapping her large scarf around her neck, Claire waited in the draughty bus station walking from end to end as she tried to decipher the local routes. Hungry and cold, it’d been just over two days of heavy travelling and the extended journey was beginning to take its toll on poor Claire.

Keep reading

Part One, Chapter Eight, Part Two: Seasons Change

I’m on mobile, so sorry for the messy format. If you’re looking for links to part one or earlier chapters, click here.

April 16th, 1746; Culloden House, two hours before dawn. Jamie scooped Julia up from the middle of the bed. She whimpered, but didn’t wake. Her father’s eyes grew wide as he looked at me from across the room, “She’s wet, Sassenach.” “The clean nappies are in my satchel,” I pointed to the pack on the floor by his feet, unsure as to why this was troubling to him. He had changed hundreds of nappies, many of which were in worse condition than simply “wet.” It had never phased him before. “No, Claire,” Jamie closed the space between us in two giant bounds. “She’s burnin’ up and drenched with sweat.” I took her from him and immediately felt what he had. My child lay limp in my arms, her head rolling back unnaturally. Peeling the damp clothing off her, I turned to Jamie. “I need water.” He hastily brought me the pitcher and basin from the nightstand, sloshing some of the contents onto his shoes in the process. Shoving a clean cloth into my hand, he asked “Do he need anythin’ from your wee box?” Jamie seemed to voice the question for the sake of something to do, for he didn’t wait for my response to fetch it. He strode over to where it sat on the chest near the window and picked it up gingerly. Making the return trip in half the time, he set it on the bed next to me as if it contained the most fragile of items and was liable to explode at any moment. I dipped the cloth into the cool water and squeezed it out, trying to warm the cloth slightly in my hands before placing it on Julia’s brow. I hadn’t been successful in getting her to eat or drink anything since yesterday morning, despite my best efforts. Jamie had had similar luck. Fergus had contrived some sort of game and gotten her to eat a few bites of stale bannock and two sips of cow’s milk while he was eating his own meager lunch, but it would be long gone by now. White willow was the only thing I felt comfortable giving to small children, but would I be able to get her to drink any of the tea? Sending Jamie to put the kettle on, I tried to rouse my sleeping daughter. I laid her next to me, moving the cool cloth to wipe her cheeks and neck. Julia didn’t so much as flinch. No fluttering of eyelids, no cries of discontent. Nothing. “Jamie,” I began to panic, “she isn’t waking up.” He sank down beside me on the bed, helping me undress her, “Dinna fash, mo nighean donn, ye ken how deep she sleeps. But she hates this, aye? She’ll rouse soon.” Julia did, indeed, hate any sort of change in clothing. It didn’t matter if it was putting clothes on or taking them off. Once they were on, they were on; once they were off, they were off. Now completely undressed, I tickled her belly, another thing that she could never sit still for. Still no movement. I soaked the cloth in the water and wiped her down from head to toes in a very impromptu bath, she hated bathing. No response. I found her pulse, needing to assure myself she was truly alive. It was much too fast, as it had been for the last week, and irregular, but it was there. Jamie picked Julia up again, nestling her safely under his chin. I moved closer to him, resting my head on his shoulder with my face inches from my daughter’s. Her shallow breath tickled my nose as I took her tiny hand in mine. Julia was dying. She had fought so hard, clung so fiercely to life. How could I now resign myself to her death? “Is she leaving us?” Jamie asked. His voice so low that if my ear hadn’t been right next to his mouth, I don’t think I could have heard it. I nodded against him, but couldn’t say it. I couldn’t do it. For the life of me, I could not tell my husband that our only child had hours left to live. Not when Scotland had the same prognosis.

It Has Always Been Forever - Part 21

Previous Chapters :)


Part 21.


Claire woke the next morning to the sound of Jenny barking instructions downstairs, with Gail and Mrs. Bug bustling round her bedroom. She languidly stretched out, watching Gail throw back the windows and Mrs. Bug setting a breakfast tray down beside her. The day was uncharacteristically sunny after the night’s snowfall. The air pleasantly chilly still.

“Up wi’ ye lass! Ye dinna want to be looking like a melted candle on yer wedding day!” Mrs. Bug fussed, forcibly sitting Claire up and placing the tray on her lap. “Gail’s preparing ye a bath. Eat up, a leannan, ye’ll be needing yer strength for what’s sure to be a long day!”

Claire groaned at this unceremonious wakening, stomach violently wobbling at the smell of the fried eggs. Hearing her groans, Gail peeked her head out of the bathroom, “You alright?” she asked, concerned.

“Mm-hm,” Claire replied, not trusting herself to speak just yet. “Maybe just the tea for now, Mrs. Bug,” she added hastily, moving the tray away.

***

“Are ye nervous, lad?” Murtagh cocked an eyebrow at his godson, as he watched him fumble with the buttons of his shirt.

“Nah! Just cold,” Jamie smirked back. “Speaking of cold, a goistidh. Dinna be forgetting to light the fires well before hand. I dinna want Claire catching a chill, aye.”

“Dinna fash, the lads and I have that well sorted. She willna want for anything today,” Murtagh assured him calmly, rummaging through his bag for something.

“Also, the footpath boards leading to the kirk. It’s a wee bit sunny, I’m afraid the path’s going to turn to mush by the time we make our way there. She’s wearing white, aye?” Jamie continued to fret. All morning, in fact, about the kirk, the food, the mud, much to Murtagh’s exasperation.

“Everything is under control, ye wee gomerel! Ye need to take a breath, and enjoy yer bloody wedding day!” Murtagh lightly chastised.

“Aye, I ken. Its only-”

“I ken what it’s only, lad,” Murtagh moved and put his hand on Jamie’s shoulder. “Here,” he said, handing him a small, round metal object. “Yer Da gave this to me for ye. For when ye’d be needing it. ‘Tis yer family’s coat of arms.”

Jamie looked down at his father’s Fraser brooch, unable to speak for the lump it brought to his throat seeing it. It had been proudly passed down for generations. Now it was his. He ran his thumbs gently over the two stags and his family’s motto, written neatly beneath. “Je Suis Prest,” he whispered. I am ready.

“Are ye, then?” Murtagh asked seriously.

“Aye. I am.” Jamie said.

***

Claire fidgeted with her gown as Jenny did the final touch ups with her hair, tsking as the stubborn curls refused to be tamed. Claire closed her eyes and mouthed the odd words over and over trying to get them just right.

“Hair down, then,” Jenny decided to herself, letting the unruly curls cascade down Claire’s shoulders, then smartly tucking the thin vine headband into her hair.

“Say it again, Jenny,” Claire said nervously.

“Ye ken the words, Claire. Ye’ve kent them for weeks. Dinna fash,” Jenny reassured her. “And dinna do that! Ye’ll crease the dress.”

Claire was sure she’d memorized them, but her nerves seemed to be getting the best of her. Did she have the pronunciation right? Would she flub them at the wrong time? Would Jamie laugh at her funny accent?

“Do you think he won’t want to do it, Jenny?” Claire asked, unsure, peering over her shoulder.

Jenny took a moment before answering. “Ye ken it’s the way of things here. Aye, some do choose not to go too traditional when marrying nowadays, but I’m positive Jamie didna bring it up himsel’ was because he thought you wouldna want to do it.” She came round and knelt beside Claire, laying her hand over hers. “Are ye sure?”

At Claire’s immediate nod, Jenny straightened up. “Then Jamie will be willing. I ken that for certain.”

***

Jamie stood, checking for the umpteenth time if he’d put everything on - to which there was countless small details only Murtagh and Arch had kept track of for him - if he had everything he’d need sorted - Ring? Check. Priest? Check. Vows memorized? Check. Fire and candles well lit? Check and check. Guests? Assembled and ready. Best man? A numpty, but check. Bride?

The appearance of Jenny and the other ladies - flushed and elated - signaled the beginning. Claire was on her way; his stomach flipped a thousand times, his legs felt oddly wobbly. Murtagh had assured him the path was ready, she wouldna be getting her dress all muddy or wet. From the immaculate state of Jenny and the rest, he knew Murtagh had been right.

A low hum fell over everyone in the kirk as they peered toward the door, waiting. Jamie could feel his heart thumping painfully in his chest, only Ian’s hand on his shoulder keeping him from bounding toward the door, to Claire.

He could hear their footsteps reverberate softly on the wood path before he saw them. Then there she stood, Joe by her side. She wore a woolen cloak Jamie recognized as his mother’s. Even though the wee bit of early morning sun had turned the ground to mush, he knew the air was biting.

They paused at the threshold, Joe gently taking the cloak from her shoulders; Jamie swallowed audibly.

She looked absolutely ethereal. Her gown was lighter than he’d have expected, flowing around her like wisps of clouds, delicately taking the shape of her and the bairn as she moved, yet not hugging her tightly. Her hair flowed about her, held carefully by a wee delicate headband. She was the most beautiful thing he’d ever seen. He’d stared for several moments, and just as he realized he’d forgotten to breath, he saw Claire too had been rooted to the spot as she caught sight of him at the alter.

Claire had never seen anything more breathtaking. A Highlander if ever she saw one, in full regalia. And he wore it as if he’d done so all his life, like he truly was born to it. He stood, straight backed and beautifully imposing, his plaid gracefully draping over one shoulder, held with a elegant stag brooch, with sporran and dirk, completing the vision. His flaming hair catching the candle light, setting a halo round him. It was true then, she thought, one could indeed be frozen, breathless, in time. Her vision suddenly blurred.

Feeling Joe’s hand on her elbow, Claire blinked back the tears and moved as if hypnotized, unable to take her eyes off Jamie, as he stood before her just as transfixed. If it wasn’t for Joe’s patient grip, she’d have cleared the length of the aisle in three strides.

Jamie’s face was calm. The only sign of just how strongly he kept his emotions in check was the way he held his hands together; clasped in front him, white knuckled in an effort not to show them trembling. The smile he’d had from the moment she’d walked in, broadened as he reached out for her hand. His palms just as sweaty as hers.

Claire and Jamie took their place in front of the priest as a hush fell over everyone. They barely heard anything being said - simply having eyes only for each other, unwilling to let go of the other’s hand for even a moment. Finally sensing movement around them, they realized it was time to stand once more for the exchanging of the vows. They took deep, steadying breaths, their grip on each other tightening. The priest’s voice sounded faint and distant, as if it fell away just before it quite reached them, with everything else around them.

“I, James Alexander Malcolm Mackenzie Fraser, take thee Claire Elizabeth Beauchamp to be my wedded wife…”

“I, Claire Elizabeth Beauchamp, take thee James Alexander Malcolm Mackenzie Fraser to be my wedded husband…”

“To have and to hold…”

“From this day forth. For better or worse…”

“In sickness and in health…”

“Till death us do part.”

“Do you have the rings?” the priest asked Ian and Joe, who promptly produced from their sporrans a pair beautiful silver rings - Joe rather a little more enthusiastically than Ian, being the first time he’d ever worn a kilt and sporran.

Claire had insisted she didn’t need an engagement ring, much to Jamie’s contention. But she’d had a compromise he finally agreed to. She’d pick his wedding and his hers. Silver. And neither would show the other till it was time to put them on.

Claire’s breath caught in her throat when she saw the little circlet in Jamie’s hand. It was beautiful. An elegant intertwining Highland design, connected together by a delicate thistle in the centre. Something had been inscribed on the inside, but her vision had blurred once again before she could make out the words and Jamie had somewhat shakily slipped the ring onto her finger.

Claire’s own hands shook enough she was sure she’d drop the ring she held. A wide, solid silver band, with a simple inscription of it’s own; something Jamie had whispered in her ear the first time they’d made love. Something she wasn’t likely to ever forget; There’s the 2 of us now.

The moment she’d slid the ring on his finger, he fiercely pressed her hand to his lips and stepped forward. She looked up at his beaming face, eyes glistening. He didn’t - couldn’t - wait for the priest, saying quietly enough for only Claire to hear, “too late to back out now, Sassenach. Yer stuck wi’ me,” he smiled, a twinkle in his eye, and bent his head gently placing his lips on hers. Every single thing around them dimmed - the sensation of the kiss amplifying the feel in every nerve ending they had. The warmth and softness spoke only of eternal promise. The pressure and tremble erasing all other thought and doubt.

Jamie felt a light hand on his shoulder after some time, a sense of where he stood slowly came back to him. He pulled away to see Claire’s eyes still closed and knew she’d just been as lost in him as he was in her. He turned to find Murtagh standing beside him. “Have ye your sgian dhu on ye, Jamie?” At Jamie’s nod, he held his hand out expectantly. Baffled, Jamie handed him the wickedly sharp knife, only to have his confusion replaced immediately by shock as Murtagh took a firm hold of his right hand and cut him neatly across the base of his wrist. Before he had time to react, he watched as Claire willing gave her hand over to Murtagh, not once taking her eyes off Jamie himself. “It’s alright,” she mouthed to him, as Murtagh cut. He knew what was happening, but hadn’t at all expected Claire to want it or even approve; the word ‘unsanitary’ kept fleeting through his mind.

“D’ye mind the words?” asked Murtagh; not - to Jamie’s surprise - Claire, but to him. Had she planned this all along, then?

“Aye,’ Jamie replied, blankly.

Murtagh wrapped their hands together - wrist to bloody wrist - with a soft swatch of cloth, before giving them a gruff “Mmmph!” and Claire a wink. Worried Claire may find the words hard to pronounce, Jamie quietly asked if she wanted them said in English.

“Gaelic,” she replied firmly.

And with one, final reassuring squeeze of her hand, they began nervously, the words sealing them forever.

“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, till our Life shall be Done.”

***

“How on earth are you lads not freezing your bollocks off?” Claire asked, fiddling with the binding on her wrist as she watched Joe tend to Jamie’s.

“Och! It’s none so bad,” Jamie said, giving her a cheeky grin.

“I’ll say it is a bit brisk, but I wasn’t about to break with tradition!” Joe added, cheerfully waggling, making them both laugh.

“Well, you both look like you could use a dram or two,” Claire said pulling her white shawl tighter about her. The room was warm and cozy; the fire and bodies giving off a comfortable heat, but she’d feel sudden chills hit her unexpectedly from the open windows - left open to help the room breath.

“Aye, ghraidh, I think yer right,” Jamie said, clapping Joe on the shoulder in thanks for binding his wrist and lead him to where the rest of the lads stood by the drinks table. Claire watched as the raucous crowd gathered Jamie in.

“The look on yer face, laddie!” Murtagh teased between fits of laughter. “Thought ye were goin’ to swoon, so soon as I cut ye!”

Claire unconsciously rolled her ring around her finger, still getting used to the comforting weight of it, her fingers lightly tracing, committing to memory its design. A nervous flutter went through her belly, yet she felt all at once, at peace. She turned then, away from any prying eyes, her curiosity had been nagging at her since Jamie’d put the ring on her finger. Discreetly slipping the ring off (for what would be the only time she ever did), she tilted it to and fro trying to catch the inscription.

She squinted at it, confused. Is that Latin? she thought. She’d been concentrating so hard, she hadn’t heard Jamie come up behind her till he wrapped his arms about her.

Da mi basia mille,” he whispered in her ear, smiling, gently pushing the ring snugly back to the base her finger.

“What does it mean?” she whispered. But before he could elaborate any further, Jenny’s voice boomed behind them.

“If ye could all please follow me, supper willna keep wi’ waiting!”

Planting a kiss on his wife’s neck, Jamie took hold of her waist and steered her toward their table, without a word.

anonymous asked:

I really liked this earlier Imagine: 'Imagine in ep 1 they party stops to sleep for a little bit and Claire is freezing, so Jamie offers to warm her discreetly'. Would any mods be willing to continue this story or another alt point-of-view where J & C get closer, more affectionate, more sexual tension in those moments in beginning of book Outlander? Love your fanfic!! You ladies are so creative!

Mod Note: Hey anon, I opted to do simply another version of the “Claire’s cold” idea rather than a continuation of the earlier fic. I was dying to do a bit of pre-marriage Frasers (and I wanted a bit of a break from my beloved angst). This seemed to fit the bill!  Mod Bonnie 

Hail Mary 

Jamie deposited the night’s firewood, freshly cut, and sat down beside Murtagh, gratefully accepting the canteen of whisky and coughing a little in surprise as he took a swig. “This is fine stuff, man! Finer than your purse typically would allow, aye?”

“Nicked it from Dougal’s personal supply,” said his godfather with a grin, eyes glinting in the light of the new-lit fire. “Figured he willna miss it. And if he does, weel, he’ll have two days to forget about it before seein’ me next, won’t he!”

The party had split into two that afternoon when Dougal took half of the party and the wagons with him to replenish supplies at a nearby trading hub. The remainder had continued on their path, led by Ned, to carry on with the collection of rents. They would meet up again two days hence at the crossroads to begin the slow, circuitous route back to Leoch.

Jamie took another long swig before handing back the canteen. “Aye, well, ye’d better mind your back once he does see ye again, else—”

“What in God’s name??”

Jamie jumped to his feet at Murtagh’s exclamation, instinctively drawing his dirk. Ned Gowan had just come into sight in the hazy twilit distance, perhaps a quarter mile off. Gowan was walking slowly with Mistress Beauchamp on his arm. No danger, then, Jamie thought, resheathing the weapon; but no, as he peered into the distance, it became evident that something was terribly wrong. Tiny and frail as the ancient lawyer was, he was supporting almost all of the lady’s weight.

Jamie’s heart lurched, and the world seemed to narrow dizzyingly to a single point.

Claire. 

His Claire

He ran to her at breakneck speed, blood hammering in terror. As he drew close, he could see that she was soaked through. Her lips were nearly blue, and she was shaking like a leaf in a gale as she struggled to remain upright against Ned.

Jamie elbowed aside the other men who had run to help, and scooped Claire up possessively into his arms, eyes and free hand frantically searching her for damage even as he did so. “Claire? Lass, are ye hurt?”

Jesus, she was completely soaked through from head to toe, nearly double her normal weight from it. Jamie could feel the icy water from her clothing and hair soaking into his shirt and plaid.  She was conscious, but couldn’t seem to keep her eyes open. They fluttered uncontrollably as she make tiny, weak whimpering sounds. 

He pulled her tighter against his chest as he turned and made for camp as fast as he could, murmuring softly to her, “Dinna fash, I’ve got ye, now, Sassenach.”

I’ve got ye, now, mo ghraidh.

“How the devil did she manage to do a fool thing like that?” Murtagh was shouting at Ned from behind Jamie as they all hastened to camp.

“My fault, all my fault it was,” Ned was wailing, disconsolate. “We were, ah, walking along the river talking and looking for cress and the like. I lost my footing and, well, careened into her, and she, ah, she fell down the bank and into the water. It was quite a deep section of the river and she went all the way under.”

“The puir lass—and it near cold enough to snow tonight,” came Geordie’s panting from furthest behind. 

It was cold tonight, the sun now fully down. And, God, she was pale as a corpse. “How long have the two of ye been walking to reach camp?” Jamie demanded over his shoulder. “How long has she been like this, man?” 

“Nigh on a quarter of an hour. Terrible, terrible, all my fault,” Ned moaned, wheezing. 

Ifrinn, a quarter of an hour on a frigid night such as this. Jamie shuddered and redoubled his pace.  

He reached the fireside at last, the remainder of the men crowding round. “Claire,” Jamie said urgently as he set her down briefly on her feet. “Claire can ye hear me?” 

She managed to remain upright, with him holding her elbow, but her head was lolling where she stood. He gave her cheek a few soft slaps to liven her. “Claire, listen to me, ye need to get the wet things off at once. Have ye a spare set of clothing?”

She nodded and started fumbling clumsily with the laces of her bodice. Christ, not HERE, he wanted to say, alarmed, but Murtagh was already walking up to the crowd with Claire’s bundle in hand. “No, leave it there, man!” he snapped at his godfather—was he the only one with a shred of decency?—as he stepped forward to pick her up again. “I’ll bring her over to her tent so she might—”

“She canna do it on her own, Jamie lad. Just look at her.”  

Sure enough, as Jamie looked down, he could see that her fingers were so stiffened with cold that she couldn’t even get proper hold of the laces. Murtagh’s assessment was confirmed by the lady herself. She couldn’t manage any words through her chattering teeth but her eyes shone clear with meaning: help.  

Jamie turned away for a moment, running his hands backward through his hair, praising Michael, Bride, the Holy Virgin, and all the rest that Rupert and Angus weren’t here; or Dougal for that matter. Jamie had seen the way his uncle looked at Mistress Beauchamp. Lord, did he look that way at her?

Hail Mary, full of grace. 

Rallying, and trying to infuse a note of chastity into his voice—though not entirely certain what that might sound like—he called out orders. “Ned and Willie, and Geordie, too: bring me the largest blankets ye can, quickly.” 

There would be only three men in camp, in the end, who wouldn’t be involved in either the screening or the undressing (for Murtagh had already stepped forward, bushy face impassive as he deftly took over the work of loosening the bodice laces), but it simply didn’t seem right to shuck the clothes off a lady in a camp full of men without taking some measures for propriety’s sake.

Behind the improvised screen of blankets, Murtagh and Jamie began the laborious task of fighting with the seemingly endless layers of wet fabric. Claire tried to assist as much as possible, but she could hardly do more than stand up straight, and even that was a struggle. Her body seemed determined to fold in on itself, to curl around the vanishing core of heat. They had to physically unbend her arms themselves in order to extricate sleeves and the shoulders of her stays.

As they reached the final layers, Jamie’s heart raced madly. Christ, dinna look…Dinna look…DINNA look. She’s your friend, not to mention a guest, and above all, a lady. It wouldna do to think about how round and soft and—look AWAY, man!

She was down to just her shift, now. Jamie kept his eyes stubbornly on the top of her head, but he could see from the corners of his vision that it, too, was sodden, clinging right around the curves of her—

DA is watching ye. Brian Robert David Fraser is looking down on ye RIGHT NOW from heaven. What would he say about the thoughts you’re having? 

Ye ken just fine what he’d say, and grown man or no, he’d put you over the fence and tan yer hide while sayin’ it!

He suddenly became aware that he had been standing still as a stone, fists and eyes clenched tight. 

Thankfully, Murtagh had already saved him the agony of having to assist with the final steps of their task. In his usual no-nonsense way (though he, too, had been taking a pointed interest in the sky to the greatest extent possible), he had removed the shift and gotten the dry one over her head before Jamie opened his eyes again.

Jamie grabbed one of the blankets from Willie and wrapped it around her, grateful to put an additional barrier between them, for he didn’t think he could have taken any more. His balls were aching and he could feel his heart thudding against his chest. Could she hear it? Surely she could, and he blushed red at the thought of what else she might have picked up on.  

Claire’s body seemed unprepared for the sudden rush of warmth, for she staggered and fell full against him. He felt the scalding heat in his blood curdle into shame.  Here she is suffering and half-dead and you standing there thinking only about her—well, her—you ken what you’re thinking about, and you’ll have done with it at once. 

She truly was in a bad way. As he lowered her to the ground beside the fire, he could hear her murmuring things; in English, but an incoherent jumble of words. The blanket was a warm one, a fine, thick rug of wool, but she was still convulsing madly. She melted slowly down to lay lifeless on her side.

Tucking the blanket more securely around her, and swallowing the pang that arose at thought of leaving her side, Jamie made for his own tent to retrieve his spare shirt. It was the one that Dougal insisted on ripping open at every opportunity, so it was a ragged thing, but dry. 

As he hurried back to the group by the fire standing huddled—anxious— around Mistress Beauchamp, he heard Willie pipe up, a note of worry clear in his voice. “We should have her put the dry gown on, now, aye? Blanket or no, surely she canna be warm enough in only her shift?”

There was a general rumbling of assent at this, and one of the men went to retrieve the additional garments from the ground.

No!” Murtagh grunted sharply, gesturing to where she lay. “Can ye no’ see, she’s nearly got the freezing sickness? Can barely keep her eyes open, poor thing, nor speak in a straight line. She needs body heat.”

Dead silence

Fitting, for Jamie thought he would die right there on the spot.

Ned cleared his throat uncomfortably. “Erm…surely, we couldn’t dream of proposing such an impropriety to a lady. To think of…putting her in such…ah…of having her be with a man in…in the altogether.

“It wouldna be skin on skin, ye dolt,” Murtagh said, rolling his eyes. “We dinna want to be struck down from above. Shirt-to-shift, though, aye, we could dream of it, because otherwise we’ll be bringing Dougal back her frozen corpse come morning.”

Ned was still unconvinced, blustering in righteous indignation to cover his discomfort. “Surely blankets and—and—and hot food will be sufficient to bring her ‘round? I certainly don’t think—”

“Mur…s’right…” They all looked down, for it was Mistress Beauchamp who had spoken. “Got to…”  Her eyes were still heavy-lidded, but her eyes were earnest as she looked up …at Jamie.

Oh, Holy God.

Murtagh led all the men a few paces away, and murmured low. “It should be one of the young lads. This thing must be done, but I willna have her be indecently exposed to someone who’s lain wi’ hoors.” All eyes turned automatically to the two sole virgins in the party.

Our Father, who art in Heaven…

Jamie looked sharply over at Willie, who shook his head, wide-eyed and stepped back a pace. 

“Right then, lad,” Murtagh said, with a look that froze Jamie straight through (Christ, surely it was all written there all over his face). “Get to it, then.”

And forgive us our trespasses…

Slowly, Jamie walked back to the fire, chewing the insides of his cheeks in anxiety. Lead us not into temptation, aye? Ha! He was duty- and honor- bound to leap headfirst into the very pit of the stuff.

Trembling, he knelt beside her, speaking very softly, unable to meet her eye. “Will ye…will ye allow me to wa—” His throat went dry, damn it all, and he had to swallow before he could finish. “—W-warm ye, Mistress?” 

Was that a hint of a gleam that flashed across her eyes as he glanced up? No, just more shaking from the cold…surely. But she nodded her assent.

Murtagh brought a number of grain sacks from the wagon and created a kind of supportive stack for Jamie to lean against as he held her. That was good. Lying down with her would not be good. Lying down with her would be verra good.

Hail Mary…full of grace….

Jamie focused pointedly on prayer as he laid the rugs and furs down. If he was to be sitting up all night, may as well be comfortable. He shucked off his jacket, feeling very chilly in only his kilt and shirt, and sat down, and Murtagh immediately shoved a particularly stiff and scratchy blanket, folded neatly, into his face.

He tried to push it aside. “I dinna think we need another. We’ve got three blankets as it is to go overtop, and—”

“This one isna to keep ye warm, lad,” Murtagh muttered sardonically as he dropped it—still folded—squarely onto Jamie’s lap. A few moments later, he was lowering Claire onto the self-same lap, making the prudence of the extra blanket abundantly clear. 

Her back was laid flush against his chest, and he brought his arms around her middle to keep her from falling off. Even through her shift he could feel just how cold her body was, shaking violently. Murtagh carefully arranged the blankets atop them both, then shooed the others away to their tents. For better or worse, they had privacy, just the two of them.

Jamie breathed deeply and forced all thoughts from his mind except those of Claire, the important ones: what she needed; how he could hold himself to best pass his warmth into her. He could feel the tension in her body as surely as he could feel the shape of it. The rigors of cold, certainly, but perhaps also a tremor or two of fear? Little surprise, if so. He was afraid, too, terrified of this wonder he held in his arms; terrified to imagine what she was thinking right now; terrified of the fragility of it all—that her life was in his hands. 

Lord, he prayed earnestly, that my body may be enough; that I might keep her safe and well, this night.

He adjusted his hold so that his arms lay atop hers, and began chanting low to her in Gaelic; one of the old, long songs, a ballad of protection and certainty. 

A long time passed, a very long time, and more than once he felt his heart squeeze tight in agonizing fear that she was slipping away. 

But as the pocket of warmth around them began to take hold, she slowly began to relax; the shoulders uncurling from their hunch, the arms beginning to un-clutch from her chest. Her breathing began to resume a normal pace, and her neck relaxed, her head coming to rest finally and fully against his shoulder

“Thank you, Jamie,” she breathed. 

He exhaled himself, both from the sheer relief of hearing her normal cadence once more—still weak, but controlled—and at the novel sensation of her words literally resonating against his skin as she leaned against him. It sent a thrill through him that made him dizzy as he replied, “Think nothing of it, lass—that is—Mistress Beauchamp.”

“You can call me lass. You’ve done it before, hundreds of times.” She gave a tired little laugh. “And you did undress me today, after all.”

That is precisely why I shall be observing all the formalities I can call to mind, woman, he though. Unclenching his teeth, he cleared his throat. “Are ye warming up, then?”

“Slowly,” she said, voice still faint. “My hands are the worst part, still. I can b-barely feel them.” She paused for a moment. “Erm…may I?”

He didn’t know what she meant, but it didn’t matter. “As ye please, Mistress.” He was hers to do with as she wished. 

She shifted so that she was sitting sideways on his lap. She slipped her arms around him, one around the front and the other around his back, hugging him like a tree trunk and pressing both hands flat against him. “Ohhhh… much better…you’re so warm.”

“Aye…aye, I’m g-glad of it.” He was. But her new position made it so that he could now feel each round breast pressing against him as well, as heavy and full as–

Hail Murtagh—MARY—Hail Mary—full of grace…

At last, she fell asleep. He must have drifted off himself, for when he awoke some time later, all was still. Only the watchman was alert, and he deep into the whisky, his back just visible across the clearing in the moonlight.

He craned his neck to look down at her. God, she just felt so right, there, in his arms, her own holding him just as tight, her head nestled in the crook of his shoulder. She smelled of grass; sweet grass, like in the meadow at Lallybroch. She was molded to him in sleep, just like when she’d allowed him to comfort her at Leoch. Practically strangers they’d been, and yet, she’d curled against him and bared her grief to him, let him hold her and share her pain. The trust and intimacy there had been between them even then had staggered him…and now

“Ye do break my heart, mo nighean donn,” he whispered hoarsely, reaching out to trace the air above her brow. 

Suddenly, though he was certain he hadn’t touched her, Claire’s body tensed and she gave a—a moan? He sat—stunned—and gasped as she brought her hand up and touched his face, running her fingers back into his hair, cupping the base of his skull. She gave another—yes, Christ, it was a moan, and pulled herself tight against him, making him emit a sound of his own. Murtagh should have brought two extra blankets.

She wasn’t truly awake, for Jamie could see that her eyes weren’t even open; but God, how she moved, even out of consciousness. No longer deadened with cold: she was an ember, radiating energy and heat, ready to burn. She brushed her lips against his neck and exhaled, the hot breath raising gooseflesh down the length of his body. He could feel her close, so close, the thin layers of fabric between them seeming to melt away. He clutched her tight, wanting so badly to move his hands up, or down, both possibilities driving him mad with wanting: to twine his fingers in her hair and take her mouth to his; to have her straddle him so he could feel her, touch her, all of her. But he forced himself to remain still as she shuddered against him, to keep his hands squarely where they were on her back and shoulder. With her wedged so tight against him, undulating with apparent desire (Christ, would she be wet to his touch? he wondered, with a screaming, demanding ache in his balls), that grip was the only thing preventing him from losing all sense entirely.

All at once, she snapped her head up and locked eyes with him, her hands still on his face and neck, as if pulling herself up to him. They stared at one another, unblinking in the moonlight. He thought for a moment he saw something in her eyes…a smile? Then, before he could wonder further (or contemplate the notion of throwing her beneath him right there and then—and inviting the voice of Brian Fraser to go hang), she went limp as a rag doll and fell back against his shoulder, sound asleep once more. 

The whole occurrence couldn’t have lasted more than twenty seconds, but he was heaving as though he’d run twenty miles.

“Jesus Christ, Sassenach,” he wheezed, shifting his seat to ease his discomfort and looking down at her in a kind of feeble wonderment. “You’ll kill me for certain and damn me to hell all in one, before the night is out.”


Part Two 

AU Honeymoon (part 1)

If anyone has suggestions for a book or show character to replace the “Mrs. Stone” character at the end, I’m open for suggestions!


Giggling like children, they burst through the door of their flat and promptly fell backwards. 

“I canna believe it, Sassenach.”

“Believe what?” She said, wiping tears from her eyes.

“That ye wed me.”

“Why wouldn’t I? You wouldn’t let me into your bed until it was official.”

“Oh is that why, then? Ye wanted to bed me, Sassenach?”

He was on his back and she crawled up him, smiling down at him.

“Have you seen yourself lately, Mr. Fraser? You’re a strapping lad.”

His hands latched onto her backside, squeezing hard.

“Aye. I’ve heard that before. God, I’ve wanted to do this for weeks!”

She squeaked as he fondled her buttocks.

“You’ve wanted to play grab ass?”

“No, Sassenach. I just wanted to grab your sweet round bum.”

“You could have, before we married.”

He shrugged beneath her, still not taking his hands from her.

“No. If I ha’ done so, I would have committed unspeakable acts upon ye. And that isna gentlemanly.”

“Unspeakable, you say? Do tell.”

Glancing around her, he pushed the front door closed with the toe of his boot.
It was hard to believe they’d only met six months before. Murtagh had thought it a bad idea for them to wed.

“Better to marry than to burn, aye?” Jamie said. “That’s what Saint Paul said, did he no?”

“Aye, lad he did. But I dinna think he was talking about having only kent the woman a week!”

Jamie smiled at the memory. Whether it was what Saint Paul had meant or not, he didn’t care.

“I’m a virgin, Claire. No’ a monk. And I have wanted to bed you for months.”

“You’re sure it doesn’t bother you?”

His grin widened and he tucked a loose curl behind her ear.

“Aye. I recon one of us should ken what we’re about.”

“It really isn’t that complicated.”

“But it isna so easy for a woman, right? That’s what that wee book said.”

“What ‘wee book’?” she asked, mimicking his accent.

Watching her eyes carefully, he let his hands slip down her backside to the hem of the tight skirt. She usually preferred to wear jeans or her nursing scrubs, but since today had been a special day, she’d gotten a special dress. It was cut just above her knees and fitted her very well. Seeing her in it had nearly pushed him to having her on the alter of the church.

“Oh, wheel… Er… Wheel it’s only… Murtagh said it isna always so easy for a woman and he gave me a book he thought might help.”

“And? Do you think it’ll help you?”

“I dinna ken. How about we go and see?”

“I like the way that sounds. You can help me out of this bloody dress.”

After she got up, she gave him a hand and they stumbled drunkenly toward the bedroom. Why hadn’t he just had her in the living room?

Because, ye wee idiot, his inner voice said. Ye dinna mean t’ use the woman like a whore. She’s yer bloody wife!

His voice was right. It might not be her very first time, but it was their first. And her first as a married woman.

She kicked her shoes off and left them wherever they fell.

“Alright,” she said turning her back to him. “There’s a zipper, but there’s a small hook at the top you have to undo first.”

Despite his large fingers, he had it unhooked and sliding of her body in the blink of an eye. He just stared at her, the smooth, pale skin of her back begging to be touched. She flinched when he did, though out of surprise not discomfort.

“Jamie, have… Have you ever seen a naked woman before?”

“Aye. I have. Angus had a birthday party at a strip club once. I didna fancy it.”

“Oh…”

“But,” his hands slipped around her ribcage and under her bra to cup her breasts. “I’ve no’ seen one so close. Never seen a naked woman that belonged to me and me alone.”

“Ooohh…”

The book had been right about that, then. ‘Teasing’ was the term it had used. To be perfectly honest, he wasn’t thinking about what he was doing. Rather he was letting his hands do whatever they wanted, which was currently a combination of pinching and rolling her nipples.

“Oh God, Jamie.”

“Am I hurting ye?”

“No!”

He smiled and bent to nibble on the rim of her ear.

“You are the most beautiful creature I’ve ever been blessed enough t’ lay my eyes upon, mo nighean donn.”

“For a man who claims to never’ve had sex before,” she said a trifle breathlessly. “You seem to know what you’re doing.”

“I told ye. I’ve been dreaming about bedding you for weeks.”

His hands drifted down from her breasts, feeling the flat, strong muscles of her stomach. She threw her head against his chest when he found the sweet spot.

“Oh Jamie…”

“Aye, that’s right. I like the way ye moan my name, Sassenach. I wonder…”

“Wh-what?”

He stepped back from her for a few moments, only long enough to abandon his own clothes. She began reaching for him, needing to feel him again.

“What are you wondering?” she begged.

“I wonder if I can make ye scream my name, no’ just moan it.”

Pulling her close, he crushed his mouth down on hers, seeking and devouring. With hardly an effort, he picked her up and carried her the short distance to the bed. Part of him wanted to make sure she was alright, that she knew she could tell him to stop. But most of him was demanding to be sated, demanding to experience the pleasures so long denied him.

She was grinning madly at him, her eyes absolutely on fire with joy.

“Have me,” she whispered. “I’m yours. And ripe for the taking, I think.”

Looking down between her legs, he could’t tell if she was ripe or not. This was all foreign territory to him. But he knew it was beautiful. And his.

“Mine,” he growled, slamming into her in one strong thrust.

Her body shook and a scream erupted from her. Not good enough. His name. It needed to be his name.

Over and over he drove himself roughly against her, as if seeking to split her in two. The sounds of their lovemaking only made him need it more. Her whimpering and panting, the sounds of their bodies coming together, the way his heart was thudding in his ears. All of it.

Suddenly she was shaking and clinging to him, her body contracting around him.

“Oh Jamie! YES!”

The power of whatever she was feeling overtook him and he rammed down on her once more before feeling himself let go. His seed was planted in her womb. She was his. No other man would posses her.

“Christ, Sassenach,” he said a little hoarsely. “Is it like that every time?”

“Only… If the man… Is… A very… VERY… good lover,” she said, her chest heaving with the effort to breathe.

Someone knocked on their front door. He glanced down at her.

“Well I can’t get it,” she said. “I can’t breathe, let alone walk.

He kissed her slightly swollen lips and got off the bed.

“Jamie, wait.”

He stopped and caught the robe she’d tossed him.

“Am I to preserve my decency, then?”

“That and… Everyting under that robe is mine now. I’d like to keep it that way.”

He smiled at her and shrugged into the robe.

At the door, he looked out the peep hole to see the elderly woman that lived in the flat next to theirs.

“Mr. Fraser,” she croaked.

“Good evening, Mrs. Stone. Is there something I can do for ye?”

“Ye can keep the noise down, sir,” she said very politely. “I dinna ken what all the racket is. Would ye please turn the sound down while ye watch those dirty films?”

“My deepest apologies, Mrs. Stone,” he said with a formal bow. “It isna a film. I’m newly marriet and couldna afford a proper honeymoon for my new wife.”

“Oh! Is it that sweet lassie wi’ the brown hair?”

“Aye. It is.”

“Well,” she said, her cheeks turning slightly pink. “I ken what that’s about then. I remember my own wedding night. Congratulations to you and your mistress, then. My apologies for disturbing ye both.”

Jamie kissed the knuckles on her hand and smiled at her.

“Dinna fash, Mrs. Stone. We’ll try to keep it down for ye.”

“I thank ye kindly, sir.”

“Good evening to ye.”

She turned and began shuffling down the hall.

Claire was sitting up in their bed, sheets pulled up under her arms.

“Who was that?”

“Och, just Mrs. Stone, our neighbor. She told me to turn down the noise on the naughty films I was watching.”

“Did she? Goodness me. Were we really that loud?”

“You were. My ears are still ringing from yer screaming.”

She bit down on one corner of her lip.

“Well that’s what you wanted, wasn’t it?”

“Oh aye, it was. Come let me rest a bit, Sassenach, and then we’ll see if we can make ye scream some more.”

anonymous asked:

ASK BOX IS OPEN! What a great gift :) Could you please write something where Jamie and Claire get stuck in an elevator together and one has to help the other through a bit of anxiety. Bonus points for resulting hanky panky :P

Love in an Elevator: 

The lift dinged as the doors began to shut, the slide of the metal juddering the small box and jolting Claire as she clung to the cheap, plastic rail that ran just at hand height.

“Do ye hate these things too?” A deep Scottish voice broke through the nervous haze that had her pinned to the floor with fear.

Nodding, Claire leaned her head against the wall, “yeah, I usually use the stairs,” swallowing audibly, she tapped her foot against the cheap linoleum floor panels, “but I don’t think I’m fit enough to master sixteen floors.”

“Dinna write yerself off, lass,” the young man replied, clicking his nails against the rail, “I’m sure ye could if ye tried.”

Glancing at the list of offices named on a panel to the right of the door, Claire’s eyes narrowed at the labelling for the sixteenth floor.

Divorce Lawyers; it read, a stark reminder of her short lived marriage.

“What’s a young lassie like ye doing needing a divorce?” The young man broached, hesitance in his tone as he spoke.

Before she could give him an answer, the lift shook and stalled, the lights flickering on and off intermittently as they came to a shuddering halt.

“Jesus H…Roosevelt Christ…” Claire stammered her heart pounding as thoughts of plummeting to her death flashed before her eyes.

“Dinna fash, lassie,” her companion soothed, reaching across the small space towards her, but hovering just to her side as if worried to touch her.

“We won’t die, will we?”

“Nay, o’ course not.”

Standing aside, Claire moved so that he could press the emergency button to summon the lobby. A brief squark filled the shaft as the ringer cut out half way through, disconnecting before anyone could respond.

“Shit,” Claire cursed, her mouth drying at the thought of being left here to rot, “shit, shit SHIT!”

“Hey,” her mystery friend continued, his eyes filling with worry as her vision began to blur, “listen, it’s just a faulty system, that’s all. It’s all perfectly safe, aye? The shaft is made to support the car should the pulleys and hooks jam.”

“H-how do you know so much about this?” Claire panted, her back throbbing as the handrail dug into her. Pushing all of her weight backwards, she focused on the joining point of the plastic lined metal and her body. Anything to stop contemplating an uncertain future.

“I’m an engineer. Lifts are easy, ken? No’ too much required in keeping them secure. I’m Jamie,” he replied, finally, holding his hand out to meet hers. An attempt to take her mind of their entrapment.

“N-nice to meet you, Jamie. I’m Claire,’ she returned, thinking how, actually, she’d rather be anywhere else than here, no matter how gentlemanly and attractive he might be.

Jamie chuckled, hearing the undertone of falsity to her polite response.

“If we get out of here alive,” she continued, hearing Jamie’s laughter, “maybe you can take me for a drink and I can actually be pleased to meet you.” She appeased, sliding down the interior of the elevator car, curling herself up on the floor in a small ball.

Seeing her open display of distress, Jamie crawled to her side and wrapped his arm around her shoulders, bringing her to his side. No longer was he worried about forcing his possibly unwanted advances upon her. She seemed to need the contact right now, and he didn’t think she was capable of being honest without being snarky on top of it should he ask for permission.

“We *will* get out of here alive, Claire. For one,” he paused, biting his lip to stop from laughing too loudly, “don’t ye need to finish yer business on sixteen? Canna have yer husband set free o’ his obligation that easily, can we?”

Claire snorted, whoever this guy was, he could read her well already.

“He cheated on me,” she began, squeezing her eyes shut tight to waylay the panic attack she was on the verge of.

Jamie smiled to himself, proud of himself. Talking about something else would take her mind of their current predicament.

“Multiple times. I didn’t know it, but he’d been seeing other women for years, even when we’d only been dating a few months.” Swallowing back the feelings of inadequacy, Claire battled to get the whole story out. This would be the first time she’d actively spoken about it, other than to the lawyers. “I don’t even know why he asked me to marry him, but he did, and I said yes. Unknowing, of course, that he’d been unfaithful.”

“He’s a fool, Claire. A silly wee cretin that doesna deserve yer affections. How long into the marriage was it when ye discovered him false?” Jamie questioned, keeping her attention fixed on her failed marriage instead of her incarceration in this broken box.

“A month.”

“Ah Dhia!” He cursed in Gaelic, his go to language of preference for profanity.

“At least it wasn’t years. I –we–” she corrected before continuing, “wanted to start a family. Can you imagine? Bringing kids into that…” turning further against him, Claire buried one of her hands into Jamie’s jacket, grounding herself in him, “I can’t even *think* what I’d have done.”

“Ye’d have done what was best, Claire.” Jamie interrupted, running his hand over her hair as she began to open her eyes once more. “I dinna ken ye, but I have a feeling that ye would always do the best ye could.”

“That’s very kind of you, Jamie,” she sighed, pulling herself away from her earnest saviour, “we’d all like to think that, wouldn’t we?”

“Aye, I’m sure we do. But I think, for you, it’s true.”

Darkness surrounded them as the lights failed, the tiniest of sparks flickering and lighting them up for a second before stilling.

Silence encased them as the pitch black of the car stole their free and easy conversation.

Claire tensed, the deadly quiet piercing her ears as if it were the most punishing of sounds.

“It’s alright, a leannan,” Jamie sighed, holding her in his lap now as he rocked her, the deep shuddering breaths she made juddering his arms as he held her, “it’s just the site staff, ken? They’ll switch the main power supply off, turn it back on again and reboot the systems. It’s just an electrical misfire, they canna get us out wi’out wiping the basic fault from the programme.”

“You’re a good person to be trapped with, aren’t you, Jamie?” Claire replied, her throat aching as she spoke, being as dry as it was.

“Thank ye, Claire. I hope that I’m at least a wee bit useful, aye?”

Minutes ticked by and the darkness wore on. The longer the blackness surrounded them, the easier it got to breathe and Claire slowly relaxed into Jamie arms.

“More than a *wee* bit, I’d say.”

Lifting her head a little, Claire inhaled the scent of him, her nose coming dangerously close to the warm skin of his neck.

‘You’re still married, Beauchamp!’ she castigated, internally as she suddenly realised just how intimately joined they were.

Not wishing to exhibit any of Frank’s less than desirable characteristics, Claire tore herself from the comfort of Jamie’s arms.

He understood of course, guessing as to the reason for her sudden departure.

The inky dark that had filled the car had faded as their eyes had become accustomed to the dark, and they could now make out the outline of the other as Claire re-positioned herself a short distance away from Jamie.

“Can I ask ye something, Claire?” Jamie asked, his voice calmly slicing through the quiet that had encompassed them.

“Of course…” Claire replied, her tone wary but open. Hearing the trepidation in his voice, she readied herself for his query.

“When ye are, ye know, free once more…” plucking at the cheap fibres of the lift floor, Jamie closed his eyes and dipped his head forward, preparing himself for rejection, “would ye consider going for a drink wi’ me?”

Fingers caressed his as Claire reached across to make contact once more.

She didn’t know what to say. Joking about it was one thing, but did she really want to open herself up to something new so close to the end of her failed marriage?

Shutting off her brain, she allowed the combination of their hands to sway her decision. Clearly, her head wasn’t the best at making choices where romance was concerned.

“Do ye feel it, Claire?” Jamie broke in, an attempt to clear the haze that seemingly swirled around them in the murky shadows.

“Yes,” she replied, her voice steady and strong, “yes, Jamie. I would love to meet up…once the divorce is finalised.”

A clunk echoed around them before a whir and a buzz as the lights illuminated the car, the fluorescent bulb blinding them as they blinked, wiped their eyes and stood. Holding onto one another as the lift began to move upwards, the car continued its journey as if nothing had been amiss, leaving Jamie and Claire to dust themselves off.

Dinging, the doors opened, revealing the worried faces of several maintenance staff and the building manager.

In a flurry of activity, the pair were swept up by the team and taken to separate rooms to assist in filling out health and safety forms in the aftermath of their misadventure. Having missed her appointment, Claire helped as best she could, eager to be away from this whole mess.

It wasn’t until she took her first fresh breath on the street below that she remembered Jamie’s kind offer and her shoulders dropped. She hadn’t even stopped to take his phone number.

Sighing, she turned on her heel and headed for her car. There was nothing for it now, the large building housed so many people she would never find him, and waiting was foolish since he could already be long gone.

“Was my company that bad, Claire?”

His voice rang out through the half empty street, and Claire’s heart began to race as she, slowly, swivelled back towards the entrance to see him stood on the step by the revolving door, a large smile plastered across his face.

“Well, I wouldn’t say the circumstances were ideal,” she quipped in return, “but you didn’t smell *too* bad.”

“Smell, eh!” he chuckled, taking the stairs two at a time as he rushed towards her, “I didna make it personal, but since ye seemed so incapacitated by our predicament, I’ll forgive yer manners, Claire.”

Blushing, Claire dipped her head, smiling at their easy conversation.

“So, Jamie…”

“So, Claire…”

They spoke at the same time, reaching out and touching as they unconsciously walked closer to one another.

“Does your offer still stand?” Claire continued, taking the lead.

“Aye, it does.” he replied, taking a business card and holding it aloft, a glint of happiness dancing behind his eyes. “Rid yerself of the ball and chain,” he winked, placing the small card into her palm, “and give me a call. I’ll be waiting, mo nighean donn…”

The words meant nothing to her, but before she had time to process it, he had disappeared. Glancing down at his business card, Claire bit her lip and smiled, looking up at the space where he’d been only moments before.

“I look forward to it, Jamie…Fraser.” she sighed, pulling the tiny piece of paper to her heart and rocking slightly on her heels, feeling hopeful now instead of desolate.

Some things, she thought, internally, were just meant to be.

voyager

I always wondered what would have happened if jamie were able to go after Claire rather than young Ian in the aftermath of the fight at Lallybroch.

“Claire.”

She jumped and nearly fell right into the river she was drinking from. Fucking hell. He’d slipped up behind her so easily, and it irritated her to no end. She straightened and dried her hands off in her skirts, unwilling and unable to look at him. “Go back to Lallybroch, Jamie. I have nothing else to say to you.”

“I ken ye dinna want to talk to me, Sassenach, bu’ I still have some things I’d like to say to you. Now, I think I’ve earned the right to at least have the chance to explain myself. Sit down, please.”

Claire felt her resolve slipping. She was desperate to be gone, her heart aching and anger still burning deep within her chest. She couldn’t do this, couldn’t sit down and listen to him speak, because then she might stay. And if she were to stay, then- then what? Would Laoghaire always be between them? Would Claire ever be able to not picture the two of them together in their marriage bed? He’s mine!  her mind hissed. Not hers. 

She turned as if to head back to her pony, but Jamie stepped in front of her, blocking her way. Her whiskey gaze was burning with challenge as she looked up at him, but his own eyes were sincere, and he held his hands out, empty, silently begging her to stay.

“Ye canna tell me ye came all this way only to hear one half-truth and decide to go back, Sassenach. Ye told me ye’d love me still, no matter what kind of man I’d become. And that man is- was- in part, the husband of Laoghaire MacKenzie, no matter how little any of us likes it. Please just give me the chance to explain myself, and if ye still want to leave, then I will let ye go off and forget  me for good.”

She took a deep breath, glanced around him at the pony , which was happily munching away at a bit of greenery. Releasing the breath on a heavy sigh, Claire turned back toward the river and walked over to seat herself on a large rock at the water’s edge. Jamie watched her warily for a moment, then finally walked a little closer and shoved his thumbs through his belt. He took a deep breath of his own, then launched into the story of how he came to be married to Laoghaire. 

Claire’s heart ached for the sadness and desperation she saw in his features as he spoke of how he’d barely been alive, how he’d only existed without her there. Anger bubbled up in her chest all over again, however, as he went on to speak of Laoghaire, a widow in need of a man to help support her and her daughters. To hear that Jenny had set it all up seemed to be the cherry to top it all off. She spat out her own story of Laoghaire and the witch trial, and watched as horror filled Jamies face.

“I didna ken, Claire. Ye never told me! If I’d kent it’d been her–”

They both fell silent for a while then, Claire staring at her hands in her lap and Jamie gazing at the water rushing past them. Very quietly, he told her about how he’d never really been able to lay with Laoghaire, how she had always seemed to fear him. He spoke of his choice to leave and how he’d been in Edinburgh ever since. 

“She tried to shoot me,” he mused.

“What, when you went to Edinburgh?” Claire asked, looking over at him in alarm.

Jamie snorted and shook his head. “Nay. She left, Laoghaire did, after she saw us. And she came back with a damned pistol.” He touched a hand to his right arm and Claire noticed that his coat was dark with blood.

She slid off the rock immediately and was next to him in the span of a breath, sliding his coat from his shoulder. 

“’Tis but a scratch, Sassenach. Dinna fash,” he told her softly, but his eyes were bright with hope as she prodded at his arm and peeked between the torn, bloodied bits of his shirtsleeve.

“I believe I’ve heard that before,” she grumbled reprovingly. “Right before you fell off a horse, passed out from blood loss.” A bit more prodding and she released him, apparently content that it was indeed just a scratch. She stood there in silence for a moment, staring at the sleeve, then curled her hands into fists and spun away toward the pony. “I’ll kill her with my own bare hands! That little-”

Jamie grabbed hold of her arms and turned her back to face him, unable to bear this business between them going unfinished for any longer. “She can wait. Will ye forgive me, Claire? Will ye stay here wi’ me? Or do ye still intend to go?”

Claire gazed up at her husband, and slowly, the hurt and anger faded from her face, shifting into a sort of resignation. “I hate it, Jamie. I absolutely hate that it was her. But I-” She swallowed hard. “I do understand why. I forgive you, and I… want to stay. But I cannot see Jenny. She was unspeakably cruel to me, Jamie.” 

He frowned at that but gave a small nod. “To Inverness, then. We’ll get a room there and decide where to go next. And Sassenach?”

She’d reached up to stroke a hand over his cheek, thumb brushing lightly along the sharp line of his cheek bone. “Yes?”

“I love ye. More than anything in this world or the next. It always has been and always will be you. My heart is yers, and I pray ye never think otherwise ever again.”

She let out a soft breath and went up on her tiptoes to kiss him. “I love you too, Jamie,” she whispered. “And I won’t think otherwise, never again.”

anonymous asked:

Imagine Jamie & Brianna's Gaelic lessons on Fraser's Ridge. So much of their bond seems to be built during these lessons, yet we don't see the exchanges and the building of their rapport.

The arrival of the first frost meant the coming of shorter days. Twilight lingered longer now, deep blues and purples casting their shadowed glow upon the Ridge. Demons laid to rest walked more freely when the sun bowed to the moon, sinking to its knees and rising only when the crows called it forth. The world spoke in whispers, too, drawing in on itself and shrinking. The little homestead on Frasers Ridge grew slow and sleepy, caught in the wintry purgatory between light and dark, life and death. Its usual hubbub of activity became that of tip-toed steps, hushed lovemaking, quiet prayers before bed…

Brianna sat in the one-room cabin, notes and books sprawled across his desk. She burned bright against the room’s waning light, painted as she was in the colors of autumn: crimson hair, pinked cheeks, a dress of deep copper. Observing her from the doorway, Jamie thought many a wanderer could find his way if she were to merely stand ahead, a fiery beacon in the night.

His daughter’s eyes were strained in the growing darkness, seeking words scribbled in Jamie’s clumsy penmanship. He felt suddenly ashamed of its lack of uniformity, the ink spots left behind from the stiffening of his finger joints. Writing Brianna’s weekly vocabulary lists was more difficult than he cared to admit, but each one was worth the price of a cramped and aching hand…

For it was during these evenings spent studying the Gaidhlig that Jamie Fraser had come to know his daughter. And while they shared the events of their days with the impassioned fervor of natural storytellers, Jamie found he knew her best in moments of companionable silence. He liked watching her unawares, seeing, from a slight distance, the barely-perceptible ways in which she mirrored himself or her mother. They might be strangers to one another, but even their mutual self-consciousness could not hide the similarities between them.

Jamie had kept a steady catalog of her tics during their nightly lessons. She bounced her right knee in frustration. She hummed when she was avoiding something, cried when she was angry. These were the things that Jamie Fraser committed to memory while his daughter, in turn, memorized the Gaelic he assigned her.

“Mo chridhe,” he said, stepping forward into the study. “Surely you canna see in this light?”

Brianna twisted around, startled. Mind befuddled by a rush of English and Gaelic, she managed only a stereotypical Scottish grunt. “Ach”, she said, an echo of her father. He laughed.

“I was preparing for our lesson. Seems I lost track of time,” she explained sheepishly. “I’ll have to look in the pantry for some candles. We’ve used all the ones in your desk.”

Jamie smiled, remembering pools of molten beeswax, remnants of lessons that had lasted long into the night.

“Ach,” Jamie repeated, clearly teasing her. “Dinna fash yourself. You willna need the light tonight. I’ve something else in mind.”

Brianna leaned forward, always ready for a challenge. “What, then?”

“Come, lass,” he beckoned, “I want to show ye something.” He made for the door, knowing she would be fast on his heels with a mind full of questions. Even pregnancy could not keep Brianna off her feet.

She followed, interest piqued, as Jamie led her outside.

They walked single-file into the shadowy wood, following trails visible only to her father’s eyes. Jamie’s hair – so much like her own– shone briefly in the moonlight, a flame passing through the blackness and rousing the slumbering beasts around them. He led the way, full of purpose, though their destination remained as elusive as ever.

They finally stopped beneath a towering oak, folding their long limbs to sit and lean against its trunk. Jamie titled his face upwards, suddenly reverent. This was the place then. In this light, Brianna thought, her father could be a Viking vigilante - all angles and sharp lines, the Fraser nose thrown into stark contrast by the branches’ mangled shadows. He was beautiful in the way only a man could be.

“Listen closely, a nighean.” he said. “What do you hear?”

Brianna tuned an ear to the sounds of life stirring around her: the rustle of leaves, the howling wind, the pitter-patter of scurrying animals. Each sang their song into the wintry darkness, creating a symphony of both forlorn longing and abounding joy.

She felt a creeping sense of fear wash over her, as though her humanness were an unwelcome intrusion in nature’s kingdom. Icy fingers drew invisible patterns up and down her flesh, arm hairs rising as though reaching out for half-forgotten memories. Remember, the wind seemed to shriek, stealing the breath from her lungs.

“What do you hear?” Jamie asked again, prodding gently. “In the Gaidhlig, a leannan.”

“Tannasgan,” she replied. Ghosts. Though she had never placed much stock in the comings and goings of the supernatural, she felt certain of an otherworldly presence breathing down her neck. The child in her womb begin to stir, an apex of warmth in the cold. Did it sense something too?

Jamie said nothing but only nodded, pointing to the canopy above.

“I once prayed under a tree much like this one,” her father began. “And looked up at this same sky.”

The sky in question glowed an eerie grey, neither black nor white.

“Did you hear them then as well?” Brianna asked, suddenly sounding like a little girl.

“The spirits? Aye. Always. They cried of loneliness then, too. I prayed with them, for them. That we might all find peace.”

Brianna closed her eyes, willing the voice of Frank Randall to echo in the rush of the forest. Had he found peace in death? Found relief from the shadow cast by the man beside her?

“I am no’ a holy man,” her father continued, a small tremor of laughter in his voice. “But there are times when ye’ve nothing for company except the words in yer mouth, the ghosts around ye, and the God above.”

Brianna knew he was speaking of his time at Lallybroch, of the seven years spent an exile in his own lands. She nodded, understanding, too, the pull of one’s faith during times of such hopelessness. In the midst of tragedy, she had witnessed even the most pragmatic men and women seek refuge in the pages of Scripture and Tradition. In a world so ravaged by change and turmoil, a comforting sense of permanence could be found in the preservation of ancient beliefs. They have persevered and so, too, shall I.

“I prayed to keep the loneliness at bay. Prayers my Mam taught me, ones I’d heard from priests, or read in books. But the tannasgan’s prayers were always louder than my own. I could hear them even when I was half-asleep, starved wi’ hunger.”

“And you weren’t afraid?”

“At first, maybe,” he admitted. “They spoke in a foreign tongue that sent the fear of God straight through me. But I came to understand them in time, and I was none so afraid of them then. No, they werena there to harm but only to remember what was lost.”

Brianna imagined her father as he would have been, his usual imposing physique reduced to the skin and bone of a cave-dweller. Alone and surrounded by ghosts – the men of Ardsmuir, his family, Jonathan Randall. Her mother.

The thought unnerved her, and she shivered. Mistaking this as a sign of coldness, Jamie wrapped his arm around her, offering warmth.

“I should like to teach ye a blessing, a nighean. One which a tannasg said o’er me as I laid in darkness. Would ye mind it much?”

“No,” she said. “Of course not.”

A moment of silence. He looked to the ground, voice growing quiet.

“I dinna ken if you’ve plans to stay here wi’ us in this…time. But I ken well that life, here or there, isna always easy.”

When Jamie turned his gaze on her, she was startled by the pain she saw there.

“A heart can break in a million ways, a leannan.” At this, he looked to his palm, smiling at the scar just at the base of his thumb. “And it can heal, too – in just as many. But the road is sometimes long and lonely. It knocks ye flat on yer arse more often than not.”

He elbowed her playfully in the side, though his tone was serious.

“And so I want to give you this, Brianna. You and the bairn.” Jamie placed a tentative hand on the swell of her belly, suddenly thoughtful. She recognized the fear in his movements – fear for her and for the child, for another left to live with the ghost of rape.

“This blessing is something to keep with ye always. To whisper to yourself or the bairn when life grows too heavy and home seems a distant place. It may not be much…But Brianna, I do hope it will carry you just as it once carried me.”

Brianna nodded, surprised at the tears stinging her eyes.

“You’ll recognize some of the words, but listen first, a nighean. Then we’ll repeat it together, aye?”

O, chì, chì tu na mòrbheanna,

O, chì, chì tu na còrr-bheanna,

O, chì, chì tu na coireachan,

Chì tu na sgòran fo cheò.

Chì tu gun dàil an t-àite ’s an d'rugadh tu,

Cuirear orm fàilte ’s a’ chànain a thuigeas tu,

Gheibh tu ann aoigh agus gràdh ‘nuair a ruigeam,

Nach reicinn air tunnachan òir.

Chì tu na coilltean, chì tu na doireachan,

Chì tu na maghan bàna, as toraiche,

Chì tu na féidh air làr nan coireachan

Falaicht’ ann an trusgan de cheò.

“Da,” Brianna asked sometime afterwards. “Why that blessing? Out of all others?”

In truth, there seemed nothing particularly special about it, save only that its rhythm allowed for easy recollection. She saw herself as a little girl, lulled to sleep beneath woolen blankets and the sound of her father’s Gaidhlig. Another life, perhaps.

“I dinna ken,” he said softly. “There are some things that canna be explained…”

But he cleared his throat, making to try.

“It was one night…when I lived in the cave. I was up to my ears in snow, half frozen wi’ the cold. I’d fallen asleep against the tree, ye see.

He shook his head, mouth quirked up at the corners.

“No verra sensible, aye? Praying about in the winter wi’ barely enough skin to cover my bones. But even so, I ken well enough that I was good as dead if someone didna find me by morning. Though I didna care overmuch either way, mind.”

“It was easier to sleep. Much easier than staying awake, feelin’ as though I might shatter wi’ the wind. And so I closed my eyes, thinking that death couldna be so bad so long as the cold and loneliness didna follow me there.”

His voice changed, at once pained and infinitely tender.

“And then I saw her. Do mhàthair.” Your mother. “And you, a nighean.”

“Me?” Brianna asked, dumbfounded.

“Aye. I didna ken if I was awake or dreaming, but she was there, carrying ye inside her. I felt as though I knew ye already. As if I’d met ye once before, long ago.”

Jamie smiled, eyes far away.

“She was dressed in no’ but a wee shift, flickering like a faerie and saying words I couldna understand. But when she came to me, I recognized theGaidhlig. ‘O, chì, chì tu na mòrbheanna…’” He snorted, “Then I knew that I was dreaming.”

Brianna giggled, recalling her mother’s stilted Gaelic.

“I hadna heard a tannasg speak in the Gaidhlig before, but she did. ‘O, chì, chì tu na còrr-bheanna’…I thought my heart was going to burst.”

“The blessing,” Brianna breathed. “The tannasg was Mama, then?”

“Aye.”

“But – how?”

Jamie’s smile grew, reaching his eyes. As with his hair, they matched her own, and she wondered if she might one day be saved by the ghosts of her past. Roger, she thought silently. Where was he now?

“Ah. ‘There are some things that canna be explained.’” Brianna repeated.

“Do ye ken the blessing’s meaning, lass?” he asked, expectant.

She did, but only vaguely. She said as much.

“Aye, weel…It’s about home. For a place someone doesna think he’ll ever see again.” Jamie cleared his throat, translating Gaelic to English:

O you will see, see the great mountains,

O you will see, see the lofty mountains,

O you will see, see the corries,

You will see the peaks under mist.

You will see, without delay, the place where you were born,

A welcome will be put on you in the language you understand,

You will receive in it joy and love when you arrive,

That you would not sell for tons of gold.

You will see the woods, you will see the groves,

You will see the fair fields, more fertile,

You will see the deer at the foot of the corries

Enshrouded in a mantle of mist.

Brianna slowly repeated the words to herself but stopped abruptly, looking up.   “But what happened then? After Mama – the tannasg – said the blessing?”

The sharp planes of her father’s face seemed to soften. His shoulders eased, body and mind relaxing into the memory.

“She knelt beside me then, and laid her hand upon my chest. Right – here.” He pointed to the spot just above where his heart lay. “Her hands glowed a wee blue color when she touched me. “‘Mo ghaol ort’, she said.” My love is with you. “And then she held me there – like that – until I woke.”

“When I opened my eyes, I looked down the hillside. She was there – a deer and her fawn, both white as snow and surrounded by a blue mist. They must’ve thought me no threat, for they heard me wake but didna run. Only watched me.”

“She disappeared after a time, taking the fawn and the mist wi’ her. It was only then that I noticed the snow was all but gone. And the sun – God! you should’ve seen the sun, mo maise. As bright as I’d ever seen it. Colors so vivid I thought I’d died and gone to Heaven. But no, I wasna dead and I wasna in Heaven either. My skin was on fire, and I burned like the Devil himself.”

“You had a fever?” Brianna asked, incredulous.

“Aye. Fergus found me by noon, slick with sweat as though it wasna the middle of winter. Jenny said it was a miracle. A fever in the snow? The first thaw and it only bein’ late February? I said I didna ken what it was, only that I needed a full cask of whisky to thaw my bones.”

“And did you get it? The whisky, I mean.”

“Ach, of course. If there’s one thing you’ll learn, lass, it’s that a Fraser canna be denied his whisky.”

“No wonder Mama married you.”

“Aye, maybe. But I never told my sister about the tannasg’s blessing. Or the white deer. I wanted that to be mine and mine alone.”

Brianna looked down, cheeks flushed with gratitude.

“But you’ve given it to me now.”

“Aye, lass. It’s yours now, to do wi’ as ye wish. Hold it tight against ye when it grows dark, knowing that home is never far away.”

They both fell into silence then. Brianna rubbed absently at her stomach; Jamie worried at a loose thread along the hem of his shirt. He looped it around his finger once, then twice, before he pulled it fast and tight. Brianna watched as his fingertip was drained of blood and oxygen, turning blue. At last, he released the tie, letting the normal flow of life resume once more. He sighed, looking to the sky as if in prayer.

“Ah Dhia. Sometimes I think I have died a hundred deaths. And it was she who brought me back every time.” Jamie took Brianna’s hand within his own, and kissed her knuckles. “When I canna see ye safe, mo chridhe, have faith that the tannasgan will watch over you. They will lead ye to where you must go.”

Brianna rested her hand over her father’s chest, keeping it there as the forest began to stir with the dawn of a new day.

“Móran taing, m’athair.” Thank you, father.

“Daonnan, a nighean.” Always, daughter.

anonymous asked:

Imagine collum or/and dougal and the rest at leoch meeting baby/toddler faith (perhaps she brings out the sweet side in them)


For this you’ll have to assume Culloden never came to fruition, and that Collum didn’t die (as he did in The Fox’s Lair). As such life at Leoch may have continued as normal.

– – —- – –

It hadn’t been an ideal situation. Jamie, as laird of Broch Tuarach, had to remain somewhat faithful to clan Mackenzie. As the tension grew between his uncles, he’d been asked to return and form council with the brothers to prevent the clan from destroying itself from within.

Claire had been suspicious and, for a few weeks following, had tried to actively prevent Jamie’s involvement. He’d agreed with her, of course. Knowing how badly this could go if he were to be unsuccessful.

“Must they always include you in their petty squabbles, Jamie?” Claire had (rather accurately) pointed out. “No good can come of this. Either way you’ll embed us more into their politics. If you manage to quash the flames that Dougal has so obviously stoked, then they’ll only call on you when they clash again. And, if you fail, it’ll somehow end up being your fault that they cannot agree!”

“Aye, I ken it well, sassenach. But I dinna see how I can refuse?”

In the end, though, it had been no matter. Ned Gowan had turned up at their door, a bottle of fine whisky as an olive branch, and Jamie had been unable to stall any longer.

“If ye dinna come, Jamie lad, I don’t know what’ll become of them. Dougal is still bitter about the Bonnie Prince and his failure to land safely in Scotland, and Colum grows more impatient with him as his health fails. I fear Dougal might resort to desperate measures if we dinna calm him. It can be only ye, I think.”

Claire had watched the meeting from the kitchen, cuddling wee Faith close to her chest as she listened to the men talk. At nearly four, she was still small enough to be carried, but it wouldn’t last for much longer.

“Your da cannot help but be dragged into these ridiculous farces, my lass. What are we to do? At least that bloody fool Charles is safely ensconced in Italy.” She rocked Faith from side to side, burying her nose in her thick curls, so much like her own.

“Da go?” Faith asked, sleepily, her voice muffled by Claire’s shoulders as she gripped her mother’s sleeves tightly.

“Yes, sweetheart, I think he must. Be don’t worry, he won’t be away for long.” Claire, one hand tucked under her only daughter’s bottom, swung them away from the conversation, knowing any discussion of Jamie leaving would only cause Faith some distress.

Since her rather dramatic entry into the world, and the stressful weeks that followed, Jamie had refused to be parted from Faith. Or Claire for that matter. He’d nearly lost them once, he wasn’t about to risk it again. This being the case, Faith hadn’t experienced *any* time away from her father, and their bond was almost unbreakable. Jamie had nearly had to travel to Leoch once before for similar reasons, but that time Claire had managed to intervene and prevent it. There would be no such luck this time.

“No, mama. No. Da no’ go.” Faith whispered, the faint sound of fear lacing her tone. Claire’s heart dropped.

“We’ll be alright, darling girl. Hush now, and if you’re good I’ll make sure Auntie Jenny brings you some honey for your dinner.”

Claire was not above bribery.

“NO!” Faith squealed.

*Fraser stubbornness, be damned*, Claire thought, placing a now very agitated Faith on the side whilst she grasped for some milk.

“Faith, mo ghalad donn òg, what’s the matter?”

Claire turned and tried to signal to Jamie, worried that his intervention would only exacerbate Faith’s distress. He winked and continued, much to Claire’s annoyance. Fine then, she decided, you can put her down for the evening when she’s too agitated to sleep.

Jamie, kissing Claire on the forehead before taking his wee lass in his arms, cooed and swayed her as he spoke. He kent the silent message, loud and clear. But he had a plan. “Tell me, aye?”

“Da…falbh?” Faith stuck her thumb into her mouth and hid her face against Jamie’s neck, seeking his warmth. She’d finally began to learn some of the Gàidhlig, he had Jenny to thank for that, himself being too busy to teach her much above the basics.

“Aye, I do…” he only paused for a brief moment, but it was enough time to allow Faith to process his words and curl herself tightly around him, crying out loudly in protest, “…hush, a leannan, let me finish afore ye get fashed, aye?”

Faith nodded, her curls bobbing as she did so. Claire moved forward and began to rub her back, soothing her a little as Jamie continued, “what if I told ye that yer coming wi’ me?”

Claire’s eyes snapped up to meet his, an angry haze coating her gaze as she scrutinised him. “Jamie, you know precisely what happened the last time we took her to Leoch. I’m not eager to be parted from you, but I don’t know…”

“Please, Claire,” he interrupted, “I ken that weel. But I will no’ leave ye here. What if I’m away for more than a month? And besides, wi’ you and Faith with me, Dougal will be dissuaded from taking any –unfavourable– actions against me, ken?”

“You’d better hope that’s the case, Jamie Fraser!” Claire quipped, smirking slightly as his nous. Thank –bloody– goodness, she mused, wrapping her arms around her little family.

– –

“Having a wean around can sometimes work to our advantage, aye?” Jamie spoke, saddling Donas as Claire prepared Faith for their ride across country.

“Clip-clop-clip-clop, we ride wi’ da, mama?” Faith chanted, her little hands patting Claire’s steady horse. She had, single handedly, managed to solve a number of issues without even knowing it.

Her presence wasn’t by chance, nor was it actually Jamie’s idea. It had been Ned who’d eventually broached the suggestion. Knowing Colum’s fondness for Jamie, and his guilt over Laoghaire’s actions during their first visit all those years ago, Ned had reasoned that and appearance by Faith and Claire might immediately calm his temper. Dougal would surely (hopefully) follow suit.

– –

The ride from Lallybroch to Leoch was an uneventful one. Faith had been restless, insistent on constantly swapping from riding with her mother to her father, eager to be close to both at once. But as the trees parted and made way for open ground, she’d been enraptured by the idyllic scenery.

“Mama! S’that?” She’d wriggle and point, impatient to know absolutely everything about her homeland.

“Well, that’s a thistle…” Claire would respond, and depending on whether Faith’s interest held, she’d inform her of the latin too, and then maybe a wee story to go with it. “…it’s the flower of Scotland.”

“Why? It’s no’ as pretty as some of the others!”

Claire laughed, “True, darling, but when the English tried to copy some of the Scot’s techniques for surprise, they stepped on them and hurt their feet. So the Scots adopted it as their national flower.”

“But mama, aren’t ye English? Do they no’ like ye then?”

Jamie snorted, desperately trying to sit up straight as he rode ahead of his wife and child.

Her questions calmed as they approached the castle, it’s looming walls filling both Jamie and Claire with some trepidation.

“Do you think you can help, Jamie? Really?” Claire pulled up alongside him as they stopped just short of the long winding path that led up to the keep.

“I dinna ken, sassenach, but I have to try. Ned did so much for me, for us, I canna ignore his plea, aye?”

Blessedly, Ned had finally managed to clear Jamie’s name, with the assistance of King Louis he had approached the courts and after a long winded process had succeeded. Claire nodded, they did owe him an awful lot.

“Then let’s hope they’re amenable.” She muttered, pushing their horses upwards, and into the bowels of Leoch once more.

– –

The moment Mrs Fitz laid eyes on Claire and the wean, she’d swept them up in a flurry of excited titterings and ushered them into the kitchens.

This left Jamie alone to go in search of Colum.

Ned, mercifully, found him before anyone else and whispered the comings and goings of the last few days as they wound their way up to the main chambers. Colum had finally snapped, his temper flaring at Dougal’s disobedience, and his castigations had been heard throughout the castle. Dougal, in his ire, had sloped off and hadn’t been seen for a number of days. Ned suspected he’d gone off to hunt, needing to take his anger out on something small and helpless, no doubt.

“Dinna worry too much about him, though. He’ll be back, always is. If we can get Colum to calm a little, I think we can begin to repair the rift.” Ned spoke so animately, as if Jamie’s presence would immediately solve all of their issues.

He hoped he was right.

– –

“What is it that ye have there, wean?” The booming voice came from behind her as she caught a butterfly between her small palms. As loud as he was, his tone held no malice and Faith turned with a large smile on her face.  

“Tis only a flutterby, she wanted a cuddle, ken?” Faith held her cupped hands up towards the tall man. His beard, thick and grey, covered most of his mouth and she was unable to tell whether he was smiling or not.

“A cuddle? Do ye think wee beasties want affection from humans?” He tapped her fingers once, his hands warmed from being hidden in the dense fabric of his kilt.

“Aye! I do. She came t’ me, ye see…” she opened her hands and released the insect, watching with wide blue eyes as it, seemingly, shook itself off and flew away. “She’s done now, though. Just a wee cuddle, this time.”

Claire watched from the herb garden, hiding herself behind a particularly large bush, as her daughter charmed Dougal. She watched the man approach from the south walls, muttering and stomping at the ground, pulling a rather large dead deer behind him. Still the same as ever, she scoffed as he threw the animal to the ground and walked towards and straight passed her, into the forecourt where Faith was playing with the creatures floating around her.

He obviously hadn’t seen the smallest Fraser until he’d nearly fallen over her, so caught up in his fury. She wasn’t worried about Faith, if anyone could calm him, it would be her.

“Auntie says that, sometimes, they just want t’ feel love. They always come to me, mama says I’m special!” She announced proudly, nodding her head once as if it were a fact.

“Weel, I canna say they’re wrong, can I? Ye seem to have a gift wi’ animals, is that so?”

“Aye!” She replied, happy that he’d noticed, “Da says I’ll be good wi’ the horses when I’m big enough.”

“Dinna be in a rush to grow though, aye wean. Adulthood isna all it’s cracked up to be.”

She saw a dark look cross his face, his eyes clouding over with some unknown displeasure. Tugging on the bottom of his kilt, she distracted him, whispering conspiratorially as he leaned towards her, “Shh…just now, look.” Pointing in front of her the pair watched a colourful, rather large, dragonfly flit passed them, “tis a bigger, thinner flutterer! Isn’t she pretty…?”

Faith, enraptured by the beast, skipped off after it, leaving Dougal laughing and rubbing the base of his neck.

“She didn’t annoy you too much, I hope?” Claire’s voice broke his revelry, and he turned his head to watch as she came to his side.

“Mrs Fraser, I hadna expected to see ye here.”

“No, I bet.” She answered, sarcasm lacing her tone.

“Still the same Claire, I see.” He muttered, turning back to watch Faith as she bounded through the long grass at the base of the small hill, her almost black curls bouncing up and down as she went. “She’s the spit o’ you, isn’t she?”

“She’s a bit of both, I think. She has the Fraser stubborn streak –and Jamie’s nose.”

“We wouldn’t want *that* trait to die now, would we?” He chuckled, finally letting his shoulders relax. “She seems tame enough, certainly less trouble than Jamie at that age.”

“Don’t let her fool you, she’s a charmer, like her father.”

“Aye, I see it.”

They stood in companionable silence for a while, just watching Faith as she investigated her surroundings. It was only the loud braying of a mare that broke the quiet.

“I hear you and Colum are squabbling again, can’t you just let him be once in a while Dougal?” Unable to stop herself, Claire broached the dangerous topic with Dougal, waiting for him to bite back. But, unusually, he didn’t. His eyes still fixed on the bairn.

“He expects me t’ follow him blindly, he canna do anything anymore. He canna walk, canna rule the clan. But I willna simply be his legs anymore! I willna let the *English* ravage our lands and pillage our villages, whilst he sits there and rules from on high. Dinna tell me ye havena seen him? It’s time, Claire, and he kens it well. He’s just hanging on t’ spite me!”

She had seen Colum, seen his wasted body as he lay in his bed. But it was his clan, and it was his choice.

“If you know this, Dougal, why don’t you just do as he bids you until the time does come? Surely that would be easier than tearing the clan apart. Aren’t you the one who’ll have to put it back together again afterwards? Why cause yourself that grief?”

“Because!” He spat, his hands crushing a small flower that grew beside him, its petals falling to the floor at his feet as he threw it, angrily, “how can he expect me t’ agree wi’ things I ken he knows NOUGHT about? He hasna been out for years! He doesna know!”

Faith’s head snapped up at the sound of raised voices, her hands stilling as they reached out for a cricket that was sat motionless in front of her. She scrunched her brow at the sight of her mother stood with the loud Scotsman.

“Hush!” She whispered, her finger coming to her lips as she tilted her head to the side, “ye canna disturb the sleeping hummer. He’s dozin’ and chirping. Bedtime, aye?”

A small smile lifted Dougal’s lips, “keep her that innocent, and ye’ll ne’er have to worry.”

“Indeed, but have you ever seen an innocent teenager?” She joked, trying to clear the air.

For once, she could see Dougal’s point of view. But she doubted there was much she could do. Colum was just as stubborn, and a tad smarter to boot.

“True, but I’m sure ye and Jamie will do a grand job of keeping her sweet. Good luck to ye Claire, truly.” Dougal shook his head and turned on his heel, walking away with his hands clasped behind his back, “and yer right, as always, I just hope he doesna live to see Clan Mackenzie fall because o’ it.”

Claire stood, her mouth gaping as he disappeared inside the castle walls. Had he just admitted defeat? She looked back over at her daughter, who stood with a rather large grin on her face, a small green grasshopper perched warily on her finger.

“See, mama? Wee hopper.”

– –

They didn’t stay the night. Colum had been in pain but, at Jamie’s insistence, had agreed to allow Dougal some dispensation.

-

The men had watched from the window as Faith, Dougal and Claire had chatted, not hearing their words, but observing their body language.

“He’s getting there, Jamie lad. Ye ken it’s you I wanted to rule over the clan after my death, did ye no’?” Colum had said, boldly. “But I see that’s no’ to be. Ye have yer own family, and yer own clan to manage.”

At this Jamie had balked. He hadn’t known, but there was little chance he would have gone against his temperamental uncle. No, he had better sense than that, no matter how insistent Colum could be.  

They’d viewed the whole interaction, until Dougal had walked away. Smiling as Faith skittered about below.

“If only he’d stayed a wee bit long in his own home, my lad, maybe raising a few weans would have softened him.” Colum announced, closing his eyes and laying his head back, “it does ye a world o’ good to simply watch them, aye?”

-

“So…” Claire broke him from his thoughts, “what did Colum say to you?”

“I could be asking ye similar o’ Dougal, aye sassenach?”

Claire laughed, causing a sleeping Faith to stir in her arms. Shifting herself, she brought her daughter closer to her chest as they rode on.

“I don’t think it was my words that cooled him.” She admitted, looking down at the sweep of curls that lay, tickling her chest.

“I’m beginning to think similar o’ Colum, Claire.”

“Really?” She returned, shock lacing her tone, “but he didn’t even meet her!”

“No, but we watched ye, from up high. I could see his eyes soften as he witnessed Dougal interact wi’ her.”

“Ha!” Claire chuckled, her shoulders shaking with the effort of staying still. “I do believe she might actually be magic.”

“Just like her mother, then. Eh, mo nighean?” He quipped, reaching over to join hands with his wife as they rode, now silently, towards home.

anonymous asked:

What if Jamie and Claire DID have time to get down and dirty (and a little dominating) after the commando raid?

Hehehe I just watched this part of the episode the other day because there were so many gifs going around of it. 


He smelled like sweat and ash. And his face was greasy in my hands having been hastily wiped with (what I assumed to be) a dirty rag.

But hearing the way he said ‘commando raid’ was one of the most adorable things I’d heard. He wasn’t completely sure what it meant, but he knew it was something I understood. 

His body was practically humming with excitement. I vaguely remembered something he’d told me once, after we’d first been married.

“Fighting gives ye a nasty cockstand, ye ken?”

No amount of time would change that, I thought.

“You should get dressed,” he said quietly, lips still so close to my own.

“That’s not what I expected you to say.”

He smiled and kissed me again. The excitement and adrenaline still coursing through him was beginning to get to me.

“The British army will be up and see what we’ve done soon. We shouldna be here when they do.”

“It’ll take some time to get the campsite packed up to leave though, won’t it?” I asked, pulling him down into another warm kiss.

“Aye, it will.”

“Then can’t you stay here for just a few minutes?”

I shifted under him deliberately, churning my legs to push the quilt out of the way. His mouth was hungry and greedy against mine.

“I should… Make sure the men… Ken where…. To go,” he said, between kisses of increasing intensity.

“And you will,” I said, pulling at the lacing of my shift. “But surely the captain of his troops needs a short rest before packing up his things and moving out. Perhaps a reward for a successful raid?”

He was slowly laying himself atop me, clearly giving in to his urges.

“Used to be,” he said, pulling the shift from my shoulders. “That the reward for a successful raid was a free cow.”

“I’m sure I could go find you a cow,” I said with a giggle. “If you’d rather have that for a reward.”

“God no. You’re much more fun than a cow.”

He tugged at the hem of my shift, his hands rough against the soft skin of my thighs. His lips closed around my nipple, sucking on it almost as a babe would. Large, blunt fingers moved closer to the source of my arousal.

“Milord?”

Jamie’s hands froze and I bit back a laugh. Fergus had the worst timing.

“Give me a moment, laddie. I’ll be wi’ ye presently.”

He kissed me hard and tossed the quilt over me before rolling off the bed.

“And I’ll be wi’ you shortly, mo nighean donn.”

“Hurry back or I may start without you.”

He huffed and went to the door.

“Aye Fergus. What is it?”

“Murtagh asked that I come and see what our orders are. He wants to know if you wish us to move camp now or if you wish us to wait.”

“Oh. Weel… Ah… Go and tell him to start packing the camp. I’ll… I’ll see to it that my things are moved and that Claire has her things ready as well.”

“Will she not need help carrying the heavy things?”

“Dinna fash lad. I’ll help her wi’ whatever she needs.”

I smiled, watching the eager face of our accidentally adopted son. That’s what he was, I realized with a sudden clarity. Fergus was our child. He’d begun as a hired pickpocket, but he’d left France with us. He’d been there for me after I’d lost Faith. He was our boy, by blood or not.

“Yes, milord.”

Fergus scampered off to deliver his master’s message and Jamie closed the door once again.

“We canna take long,” he said, throwing his coat and waistcoat on the dusty floor.

“Don’t do that!” I yelped.

“What?”

“Who do you think has to wash that when you get it dirty?”

“A verra beautiful fairy,” he said, kissing me again.

He wasn’t taking his time like he had before. We were both roused and ready, but he’d been reminded that we didn’t have much time. 

Nestling between my legs, he took both my wrists in one of his hands and pinned my arms above my head. I’d found out why he was fond of this. He seemed to enjoy the way it made my chest stick out, presenting my breasts to him like gifts.

“Holy God,” he breathed as he filled me. “I willna take long.”

“You usually don’t, after a fight,” I said, my voice pitched a little higher than normal.

“I promise, Sassenach,” he said as he began grinding his hips against mine. “Once we’ve a decent camp, I’ll serve ye properly.”

“With all the men around? I doubt that very much.”

“Then I’ll take ye somewhere. But I will serve ye properly.”

“Well, alright. If you…. Oh God!

His movements became faster and harder, to the point where I could hear the sounds of our skins coming together. He buried his head in my hair as he quietly moaned my name over and over while the climax took him. 

“Now, my Sassenach, ye must dress,” he said, kissing my cheek. “For we truly must leave quickly.”

I sighed, watching him slide off the bed and pick up his coat and waistcoat. 

“Yes, I know.”

He looked back and smiled at me, his teeth even whiter with the dirty grease on his face. My hand immediately went to my own.

“Aye,” he answered my unspoken question. “Ye’ve it all about your face. Breast too.”

I looked down. Sure enough, there were dark greasy smudges on both breasts.

“Give me a rag to clean my face off at least. No one will see those.”

“Good.”

He tossed me the cleanest rag he could find and began putting our few belongings back into our bags and chests. 

At least during this war, I thought to myself, I got to be with my husband and not wondering where he was or if he was alright.

The Rebel and the Rose. Part Three. Chapter Three.

Previous: Part’s One, Two, and Three.

(NB: A single ‘f’ in Welsh is pronounced as a ‘v’ :))


Since their talk she had been sleeping better but she still had uneasy dreams. As he fell into his own slumber he prayed tonight she’d sleep well.

He was woken only a few hours later by the sound of her struggling. He hated to do it but she’d been tugging at the wounds on her wrists as if trying to free them from imaginary bindings, which caused the cuts to reopen and bleed mercilessly, and he’d been forced to take hold of her hands and pry them away as she did this.

She squealed and pulled a little, trying to get away from his hold over her. She’d started to shake, spurred on by the terror of her dreams as her sweat soaked the sheets beneath her. The only thing to bring her round was Jamie. He’d discovered that one particular Gaelic folk story soothed her more than most and he started to whisper in her ear. Strange stories of kelpies and underwater giants with silken skin. Her hands stilled now, wrapped as they were in Jamie’s, as her breathing evened out. His calm voice echoing in her ears, bringing her out of the darkness.

Letting his hands relax against hers he began to kiss the hollow behind her ear, stopping every now and again to continue his story. He felt her tense and then relax as she finally came awake.

“It’s me, Claire. Only me. Dinna fash.” His voice covered her, her chest suddenly feeling warm. She slowly opened her eyes as he loosened his hold on her hands further. He’d been there in her dreams again, his cruel face pressed against her cheek as he’d spat mocking words at her. She’d been chained, bound and unable to move as he’d surrounded her. Her toes curled at the mere thought as she wet her lips.

“Some nights I get so lost in my nightmares that I’m almost certain I’ve dreamt you into life once more, that I’ll wake and I won’t be in your arms but in that cold cell.” Her breathing stumbled as he pulled her close to soothe her.

“Ye dinna need…Claire…”

“No, Jamie. I want to tell you,” she stopped him, before he could tell her she needn’t continue. She needed to get it all out. “There are those moments when the fear sets in and then I feel this…warm throb by my side and I cling to it. I know, deep down, that I’m dreaming. So I push myself towards you, and when I wake in your arms I thank God that you’re here, that you rescued me.”

She buried her head then, inhaling his sleepy scent as her hands fisted in the soft fabric of his shirt, grounding herself in him.

“Oh, Claire. I love ye so.” He had no more words. He could envision the horrors of an English prison and he had no wish for her to linger there any longer, even in her sleep. “I’m here, no’ a dream, and I’ll never leave ye again. Ever.”

They lay together for a time, just allowing the silence to float around them. Claire hadn’t left the room since they’d arrived except to go into the lounge that linked to the bedchamber. He watched her as she turned towards him. Her cheeks were tinted a slightly dark peach but overall she was incredibly pale.

“Claire, how do ye fancy helping wi’ the animals? There’s a couple that need tending. I think it might do ye good no’ to be hidden away in here.” She looked nervous at the prospect, her brows drawn together as she contemplated his suggestion.

“I-I don’t know much about animals, only a little about human healing.”

“Claire, a nighean, ye canna go from one prison to another. We needed to stay inside for a wee while, just in case anyone came this far looking for us. But now, yer healed more and we should be safe. Ye dinna need to lock yerself away.” He locked their fingers together, trying to reassure her with his touch. “Dinna fear, Claire.”

“Alright.” She tried to make it sound more confident than she felt as she pursed her lips and nodded. She knew he was right, she had to leave at some point. “After breakfast I’ll go out, I promise.”

“Ach, a good choice. I’ll take ye, then me and Murtagh have some business to attend to. I’ll feel much happier if yer out keeping yerself occupied.” He smiled, a wolfish grin that showed off his teeth. “Ye’ll have fun, I know ye will.”

He had food brought to them and they ate in peaceful silence by the glowing embers of the un-stoked fire. It was warm enough now that they didn’t need it replenished, but it was nice nonetheless to have the small burst of warmth surround them.  

Once he’d made sure she had a full belly he helped her to dress and walked her to the stables. The tavern had a small farm attached to the back; only a small array of animals but enough to keep Claire occupied for a few hours. They were mostly in good health but he had noticed a few had the odd sore here and there. She’d take good care of them. He’d always been good with horses and he kent how calming they could be. He was sure it was the perfect way to help her overcome some of her newly acquired fears.

Jamie left Claire in the capable hands of one of the young lassies. They fed the wee lambs, cleared the stables and completed general chores. When they were done she took Claire to see the horses. One large dappled mare stood alone in a rather large stable away from the others.

“She’s far gone, you see. About to drop any day now. So she’s alone. I’m sure she’d love a bit o’ company if you have time, mistress.”

Claire nodded as she walked towards the stall. The mare in question, Afal, aptly named ‘Apple’ in Welsh, stood braying at her door.

“I’ll leave you a brush, she likes that. She can get a little…tense. But don’t fear, just rub her belly, it’ll calm her.” With that she handed Claire a little half flat brush and left.

Claire stood for a time, her hands fiddling with the wooden bristles beneath her fingers. Afal watched her, her massive black eyes standing sharp but soft in the dim light of the stable. She watched as she swayed to and fro, her distended tummy leaning to one side and then the other as she got herself comfortable.

“You’re going to be a mother, such a beauty, I’m sure it’ll be the most desirable foal.” Claire took one step closer, talking in a hushed soft voice the entire way. “I didn’t ever know my mother, really, nor am I one.” Her tone held a hint of sadness, her eyes watered and she blushed feeling a little silly for getting upset over a horse.

She held her hand up, palm down as Jamie had taught her and allowed the mare to sniff her. Her big nostrils flared and snorted as she took stock of her new acquaintance. She nodded her head once, flipping her mane as she did so. Claire took that as a sign of acceptance and opened the stall door.

“Look how big you are!” she exclaimed, walking along Afal’s side, her hand running gently over her soft short hair. Afal moved her head, watching Claire with interest as she went. The minute she started massaging her side Afel dipped her head and whinnied. In that moment Claire felt something pass between the two of them, she laid her head against the mare’s’ belly as she rubbed and just let the words flow from her.

“I remember seeing a baby born. It was one of the most magical things I’ve ever witnessed. I think uncle Lamb saw it in my eyes at that moment. It wasn’t long after that he suggested I be married.” Afal swished her tail, the ends fanning Claire as she continued almost unconsciously. “I’d accepted it probably wasn’t to be, I turned thirty, I was still alone.”

She allowed the tears to fall then, dripping down her cheeks as she hiccuped. Her hands never ceased rubbing the unborn foal, keeping her companion happy.

“I don’t know who I am anymore, I feel like half a person. All of this…” She sighed, a heaviness weighing on her heart. “He should have left me there to die. He should have returned to his men. I’m just a burden to him now, a wanted traitor with nothing to offer but half an existence.”

Unable to continue she lost herself in brushing Afal, the sweeping sound of the bristles against her lush coat filling Claire’s ears and taking away the constant clink she now heard. No matter what she did, her time in prison hovered over her like a dark stain.

“Maybe it would be for the best if I just disappeared. He can’t even get a decent night sleep by my side.” she whispered, coming face to face with Afal now. “All this time waiting for me to recover, it’s just holding him back. He could be long gone by now.”

She let her forehead rest against Afal’s as she stroked her neck lovingly, her face red from crying.

Jamie stood with his back against the side of the stable. He’d meant to surprise Claire but what he’d heard sliced his heart in two. She was contemplating running away? He had to find a way to make her see how much he truly needed her. His hand unconsciously ran over his chest as his lungs constricted painfully.

Steeling himself, he pushing himself around the corner and into the small space. She had her back to him, her shoulders were shaking. She was crying.

“Claire…” Her name fell off his tongue like a sad prayer, filled with longing. He swallowed back the emotions gathering in his throat and willed himself to hold it together. He was going to make no mention of what he’d heard.

When she turned to face him, she’d wiped her face trying hard to hide the evidence of her tears from him. Her eyes shone like finely aged whisky, the moisture swimming in their golden depths. Her nose was a little red and her lips were trembling. She felt so raw, having not addressed these feelings before now, not even realising she felt this destroyed.

“J-Jamie.” She nearly didn’t manage to speak at all. Her hands hid behind her back as she tried to stop herself from worrying at her wrists. “Have you done for the day?”

“Aye. Would ye like to come for a ride wi’ me. There’s a place I’d like to show ye? If yer up to it.”

Too Little, Too Late - Chapter 3

Pardon my SHOUTY CAPS: THANK YOU TO EVERY SINGLE ONE OF YOU WHO HAS LIKED OR REBLOGGED OR COMMENTED.

Special thanks and goopy kisses to @lenny9987 and @shortiemcbealle for all your help. I might have left this unposted if it wasn’t for you. MUAH. 

And now… 

Summary: Three related stories about Brianna’s photographs. Three different time periods. Each chapter has echoes of another chapter in it. Spoilers for Voyager and Drums.

Chapter 1 

Chapter 2

AO3 with all the things

Notes: This is set within Drums of Autumn after Jamie, Claire and Ian have settled in to the Ridge, but prior to Brianna’s arrival. Reminder that in the photo where Bree is 10, she’s seen hugging a black Newfoundland dog. You’ll be glad I reminded you. :)

—————————————————————–

September 29th, 1768 - The Ridge

After nearly pulling his arm out of his socket for the second time in his life the day before, Claire insisted that Jamie take a break from hard manual labor and accompany her in foraging for food and herbs nearby.

He resisted until Claire pointed out that being together away from the house also meant being away from Ian for a while. Alone.

“Surely you might be able to find the time and take a ‘wee break’?” she asked, batting her eyelashes and almost successfully rolling the 'R’ in 'break’.

He paused before answering, appraising his wife like a prize mare. “Oh, I think we dinna need the break to be quite so wee, eh Sassenach?”

——

Later that day near sunset, they headed back to the house, baskets moderately full of woodears and late blackberries for food; mosses and other herbs for medicine and bandages; and Jamie with arms full of much needed kindling and a pair of rabbits slung over his shoulder. Both of them had old leaves, burrs and other bits of the forest floor stuck to their hair and backsides.

Claire asked him what the white deerskin pouch was for. She had noticed it a week ago swinging from his belt underneath his coat. He had been chasing after the squirrel they called Lucifer who regularly stole their seeds, but she had forgotten to ask about it until now.

She was surprised to see a flush of red creep up his neck in embarrassment. “Och, it’s nothing.”

“Oh no you don’t. Now I must know,” she said, snatching at it as Jamie tried to dodge.

With hands full of rabbit and kindling, he relented and let her take it from his belt. Eyeing it suspiciously and hefting it to see that while light in weight, it was far from empty, she sat down in the middle of the trail and emptied the contents into a scoop of skirt in her lap. Jamie put down his load and knelt next to Claire, still a bit pink in the face.

He gestured to the contents of the pouch, which Claire saw as nothing more than detritus fit for a wastebasket. Trash.

“It’s… Brianna,” he said quietly but clearly, as if that explained everything.

“What on earth do you mean?”

“Well… after the wreck near Georgia, I found I’d lost all of the pictures of her…”

“I know. Oh, Jamie, I -” she started apologetically. He put his hand up to stop her.

“Dinna fash,” he said with a half smile. “It’s just that… sometimes I like to pretend I can see her. And in my dreams, sometimes I can,” he said, bringing Claire up short with a brief chuckle.

“And sometimes… I find things that remind me of the colors in the pictures. Or of her. Or of her life I saw in those pictures like a beggar looking through a shop window at the feast or jewels he can never have. I dinna wish to conjure her spirit or anything, but these things… I’d like to hold them close… As I wish I could hold her close, Sassenach.” He spread his hand out over the pile, caressing the air over it.

“ A Leannan .”

Claire looked down at the assortment of items laying in her skirt and began to pick up the pieces one at a time.

A dark red leaf which she recognized as Virginia Sweetspire or Virginia Willow, tattered and halfway skeletonized. Jamie pointed at the sections of plant matter that hadn’t broken away yet. “I found that at River Run. You said her hair was the same color as mine, aye? But after a few months, this one started to fray, so I found another…”

He picked out another dark red leaf from a pear tree, smaller, but thicker with a waxy finish.

“This one was almost the same color and seemed like it was made of sturdier stuff… Like she might be… like you are. But I wanted to keep the old one, too. She is still a young girl and canna have NO frailties, can she?” He looked sideways at Claire with a grin at this.

A rolled piece of wax paper twisted on both ends like a piece of candy, but with something dark inside. She opened it to reveal some broken lengths of charcoal for writing or drawing. “You mentioned she liked to draw…”

A small white feather.

“From a dove’s nest near River Run. There’s a Gaelic prayer I use with that one…”

And with each piece she picked out of the pile, and with each shy confession of its significance, she found she was that much closer to tears.

As the sun was setting around them, the forest above came to life in the rustle of squirrels and birds flitting through the treetops. The final rays shone through the canopy making the leaves and the very air glow with a golden radiance. Claire looked up momentarily and saw that God was with them, witnessing this final reconciliation of lost past and mindful present.

She picked up a small scrap of bear hide with its black and matted fur. “Jamie, what on earth-”

“There was a dog in one of the pictures. You said it was from… Finland?”

At this, the dam broke. Uncertain of whether to cry at how much she missed her daughter or laugh at remembering that damnable dog Frank had insisted on, she instead did both. Collapsing forward in alternating sobs and guffaws, her muzzled and buried dual emotions spilled into the cold Carolina air. Jamie collected her in his arms, rocking her and whispering Gaelic reassurances much as he had that first day at Leoch days after meeting.

She loved her daughter as her body loved air. But it was time to let go. She realized she hadn’t only brought the photographs two hundred years through the stones for Jamie. She had brought them for herself as well, as a totem; reminder of what she had created in those lost years and what she had to sacrifice in order to be with the love of her life.

He held her, his own soft voice cracking at this ultimate loss once again of a daughter he would never meet.

But for Claire, it was worth everything.

All the wasted years spent trying to be the good wife to Frank, the perfect mother to Bree.

She could finally be just herself again.

Here.

With Jamie.

Just Claire.

It was everything and it wasn’t too late.