Vietnam AU, come baaaaaaaaaack :)
Claire nuzzled against Jamie’s palm and slid her face closer to his on the pillow.
He responded by weaving his legs in between hers underneath his great-grandmother Fraser’s quilt. The soft blue light of dawn filtered through the muslin curtains of the laird’s bedroom – just enough for her to see him smile and close his eyes. Contented as a ginger cat.
Under no circumstances were they to be parted from each other after their mutually earth-shattering revelations in the parlor downstairs. And it was late, and the couch was a bit cramped, and they were already dressed for bed – so Jamie had wordlessly stood, offered Claire his hand, banked the fire, and quietly led her up the stairs and to the bedroom at the end of the hallway.
He had been conceived and born in that room – as had his father before him, and his grandfather before that, and countless other generations of Frasers. He had officially moved into the room after his father had died – and softly told Claire that she was the first woman he’d share the bed with.
Jamie’s thumb now stroked her cheek – gently, reverently. And Claire couldn’t help but imagine what it would be like to sleep beside him on this mattress every night – to watch him smile in his sleep, to be held so closely by him that his heartbeat echoed against hers, to quietly lay by his side as they listened to the first larks chirp a cheery good morning outside. To conceive her own children – Jamie’s children – protected by the souls of all the Frasers that had gone before her, and then grip Jamie’s hand nine months later as she graced the sacred walls with yet another Fraser to carry on the tradition. Fulfilling the promise of his ancestors.
All in a rush she wanted these things. And she wanted them with Jamie. She couldn’t wait to have them with Jamie.
But how would they make it work? She had to finish school, she had to go back to Boston –
No. Not today. Let today be for quiet celebrations – for the love she had been brave enough to find again with this man.
“Speak to me,” she breathed.
And somehow he knew she meant not in English – but in Gaelic. The tongue of his ancestors. The language he had used to fall in love with her.
Eyes still closed, he moved closer to bump the tip of his nose against hers. She closed her own eyes, feeling the rush of warm air against her lips, the deep rumble of his voice within his chest. Imagining they were on a farm in the Scottish Highlands in the eighteenth century, waking to a hazy dawn, sharing secrets beneath a quilt, nestled safely away from the world.
His voice was the second most beautiful sound she had ever heard.
For the most beautiful sound was the half-laugh, half-moan that formed deep in his throat when she interrupted his speech with a long, slow kiss.
Today they had all the time in the world.
The larks had been joined by a cooing dove, now that the sun had crested over the horizon. Jamie’s arms had locked around Claire, burying his nose in the curls at the crown of her head as she lost herself in the magic space in the crook of his neck. Breathing each other in. Still not believing this to be real.
She whimpered when he pulled away – but he kissed her forehead in reassurance and slipped out of bed. She watched him pad over to a chest of drawers on the other side of the room, rummage around in the drawer the top, and secret something small in the palm of his hand before quickly crossing back to her and sitting on the edge of the mattress.
“Can you sit up for me, Claire?”
Puzzled, she did.
He held out his hand, and she extended her own palm.
To feel the rough oblong shapes of a freshwater pearl necklace.
“They’re North Carolina pearls,” he said softly, voice far away. “They belonged to my mother. Now they belong to you.”
Carefully she unwound the strand, cradling it between her palms.
“They’re one of the few things I have left of her. Very precious to me.”
Then he lay a gentle hand on her knee, and she raised her eyes to lock with his.
“As are you, Claire.”
His face was eager – serious – yearning.
Love surged in her heart, and tears welled in her eyes. Quietly she wound the pearls around her neck, did the clasp, and settled the strand against her bare collarbone.
Jamie said nothing – eyes full of fire.
She pushed back the quilt, shifted onto his lap, and kissed his shoulder. Then the side of his neck. Then the square angle of his jaw.
“As are you, Jamie,” she whispered against his mouth.