he and lassie are too

mydeerfriend  asked:

I'll take a number 9 please ;) Because I'm here for Teenager!Claire&Jamie on their first date :D Making out. In the cinema. Awkwardly.

This is a part of a series of ficlets I’m writing in answer to THIS post. Enjoy!

Shout out to my home girl @outlandishchridhe for helping me make this awkward kiss as awkward as possible.


I’m nervous. So nervous. Way more nervous than when I’d tried out for the drama club. I’d only done that to try and win a date with Kevin O’Hara, but he’d asked Kitty MacNeal to the dance instead.

I’m in front of the cinema where Uncle Lamb had dropped me off. He’d given me a stern reminder that ‘no means no’ and ‘you tell him to keep his large Scottish hands off you’

That’s right. I forgot to mention. After Kevin had asked out Kitty and I dropped out of drama club, I’d been approached by the most beautiful and intimidating boys in my year. 

James. Fraser.

I don’t think I’ve stopped squeaking. But, here I am at the cinema waiting for him for our… date. I’m a little early, sort of on purpose. Uncle Lamb is notoriously late everywhere, so I gave him the wrong time so I’d get there at the right time.

“Hello, Sassenach.”

My whole body tingles at two words. Something about his deep, Scottish burr just… gets me. I turn around, already feeling my cheeks burn with a blush. That’s the downside of , what my Uncle calls, my glass face. I blush furiously at the drop of a hat and can’t lie for my life.

“H-hi, James.”

“God, please. Only my mam calls me James, and only when she’s verra cross wi’ me. Call me Jamie.”

“Alright, J-Jamie.”

Then he gives me that smirk that sends every girl in school into a swoon. I refuse to let him have that effect on me, but I still feel my legs wobble.

“If I’d kent ye’d got here early, I would have come sooner. My apologies.”

“Oh it’s no problem. You don’t know my uncle. It’s a small miracle I’m here.”

“Are ye ready then?”

Nodding, I follow him into the cinema. He insists that he pay for my ticket, so I spring for popcorn. We take our seats and I can feel the warmth of him. The film begins to roll and I stare studiously ahead. All I want to do is stare at him, at the red curling hair, the fathomless blue eyes. I wasn’t kidding when I said he was beautiful. 

I lean over to take a sip of my drink when suddenly Jamie is falling into me. I yelp, only to be hushed by other movie-goers. I’m staring at Jamie, mouth open in complete shock. Had he just fallen over in his seat? I couldn’t be sure, but I thought he might be blushing worse than I was.

The film continues on for a little while until I notice Jamie staring at me. I turn to ask him if there’s something on my face or in my hair, but I can’t. His mouth is on mine, warm and soft and sweet. 

Oh… My… God…

I’M BEING KISSED BY JAMES FRASER!

I do what any girl in my position would do. I turn more towards him and pull myself closer. An orphaned English girl like me doesn’t get the opportunity to kiss the most handsome boy in Scotland very often.

I’ve never actually kissed a boy before, but I’ve read books. That’s all Uncle Lamb has, really. Books. I remember one book where the woman, who’s secret lover had come to her under the cover of darkness, nibbled on the man’s lip. Not biting, as I understood it, but nibbling. That can’t be too difficult.

I open my mouth a little, trying to think just how I was supposed to get a hold of his lip. Right as I get his full bottom lip between my teeth, something else happens. His tongue is suddenly inside my mouth, unexpected and incredibly awkward. In my surprise, I bit down harder than I’d meant. 

Jamie yelps this time and pulls back, hand on his mouth. My hand is on my mouth too, staring up at him in shock and horror.

“Jamie, I’m so sorry! I’m so so sorry!”

He doesn’t say anything and we finish the film in the most awkward of silences. When we leave, I pull my cell out to call Uncle Lamb to get picked up. Jamie’s hand catches mine and I stare up at him, desperately trying to resist the urge to cry.

“I’ve kissed a few lassies before,” he said slowly.

I hope his tongue doesn’t hurt too much…

“And this was the worst. Please, I don’t need you to say it.”

“I wouldna say that, Sassenach. It was certainly the most memorable. But… If ye wouldna mind it, perhaps we could practice.”

I frown at him, waiting for the punchline or hidden camera to be revealed. Surely James Fraser isn’t be interested in a girl like Claire Beauchamp. 

“Practice?”

“The kissing, aye? I think ye’ve got the potential to be quite good.”

“You… want to kiss me? Again?!”

“Aye, I would. Come out wi’ me next Friday? We’ll see if we canna make a good kisser out of you.”

I’m blinking, his words finally starting to sink in. 

“I-”

“CLAIRE!”

Uncle Lamb arrives just at the wrong time.

“Well?” Jamie asks, anxiously I thought.

“Sure?”

Then he unlocks his full smile, the one that sends girls to see the nurse at school. He knows it’s a nuclear weapon and doesn’t let it out much. But he does right now, when I agree to see him again. And then he’s grabbing me, pulling me up to him. Our teeth clack together, sending shots of pain into my mouth. But his lips are soft and warm.

“Then I’ll see ye tomorrow, Sassenach.”

Before Uncle Lamb can get out of the car and beat him, Jamie turns and runs away. 

“But…” I begin. “Tomorrow’s Saturday…”

Forbidden Fruit - Part Seven

A/N: Last part you guys. Thank you to everyone who has read, liked, reblogged and commented, you all rock. This has been my first attempt at SoA fanfiction, I loved writing this, so there will definitely be more. Special thanks to my beta @thorne93. She is amazing and i suggest you go check out her blog.

Characters: Reader x Jax, Opie, Chibs.

Warnings: Some language and some fluff.

Wordcount: 1337

CATCH UP HERE

Originally posted by badvelvet-lies

Keep reading

I woke just past dawn to the scratching of the rose brier against the window, and the muffled thump and clang of breakfast fixing in the kitchen below.

Peering over Jamie’s sleeping form, I saw that the fire was dead out. I slid out of bed, quietly so as not to wake him. The floorboards were icy under my feet and I reached, shivering, for the first available garment. 

Swathed in the folds of Jamie’s shirt, I knelt on the hearth and went about the laborious business of rekindling the fire, thinking rather wistfully that I might have included a box of safety matches in the short list of items I had thought worthwhile to bring. Striking sparks from a flint to catch kindling does work, but not usually on the first try. Or the second. Or … 

Somewhere around the dozenth attempt, I was rewarded by a tiny black spot on the twist of tow I was using for kindling. It grew at once and blossomed into a tiny flame. I thrust it hastily but carefully beneath the little tent of twigs I had prepared, to shelter the blooming flame from the cold breeze. 

I had left the window ajar the night before, to insure not being suffocated by the smoke—peat fires burned hot, but dully, with a lot of smoke, as the blackened beams overhead attested. Just now, though, I thought we could dispense with fresh air—at least until I got the fire thoroughly under way. 

The pane was rimed at the bottom with a light frost; winter was not far off. The air was so crisp and fresh that I paused before shutting the window, breathing in great gulps of dead leaf, dried apples, cold earth, and damp, sweet grass. The scene outside was perfect in its still clarity, stone walls and dark pines drawn sharp as black quillstrokes against the gray overcast of the morning. 

A movement drew my eye to the top of the hill, where the rough track led to the village of Broch Mordha, ten miles distant. One by one, three small Highland ponies came up over the rise, and started down the hill toward the farmhouse. 

They were too far away for me to make out the faces, but I could see by the billowing skirts that all three riders were women. Perhaps it was the girls—Maggie, Kitty, and Janet—coming back from Young Jamie’s house. My own Jamie would be glad to see them. 

I pulled the shirt, redolent of Jamie, around me against the chill, deciding to take advantage of what privacy might remain to us this morning by thawing out in bed. I shut the window, and paused to lift several of the light peat bricks from the basket by the hearth and feed them carefully to my fledgling fire, before shedding the shirt and crawling under the covers, numb toes tingling with delight at the luxurious warmth. 

Jamie felt the chill of my return, and rolled instinctively toward me, gathering me neatly in and curling round me spoon-fashion. He sleepily rubbed his face against my shoulder. 

“Sleep well, Sassenach?” he muttered. 

“Never better,” I assured him, snuggling my cold bottom into the warm hollow of his thighs. “You?” 

“Mmmmm.” He responded with a blissful groan, wrapping his arms about me. “Dreamed like a fiend.” 

“What about?” 

“Naked women, mostly,” he said, and set his teeth gently in the flesh of my shoulder. “That, and food.” His stomach rumbled softly. The scent of biscuits and fried bacon in the air was faint but unmistakable. 

“So long as you don’t confuse the two,” I said, twitching my shoulder out of his reach. 

“I can tell a hawk from a handsaw, when the wind sets north by nor’west,” he assured me, “and a sweet, plump lassie from a salt-cured ham, too, appearances notwithstanding.” He grabbed my buttocks with both hands and squeezed, making me yelp and kick him in the shins. 

“Beast!” 

“Oh, a beast, is it?” he said, laughing. “Well, then …” Growling deep in his throat, he dived under the quilt and proceeded to nip and nibble his way up the insides of my thighs, blithely ignoring my squeaks and the hail of kicks on his back and shoulders. Dislodged by our struggles, the quilt slid off onto the floor, revealing the tousled mass of his hair, flying wild over my thighs. 

“Perhaps there’s less difference than I thought,” he said, his head popping up between my legs as he paused for breath. He pressed my thighs flat against the mattress and grinned up at me, spikes of red hair standing on end like a porcupine’s quills. “Ye do taste a bit salty, come to try it. What do ye—” 

He was interrupted by a sudden bang as the door flew open and rebounded from the wall. Startled, we turned to look. In the doorway stood a young girl I had never seen before. She was perhaps fifteen or sixteen, with long flaxen hair and big blue eyes. The eyes were somewhat bigger than normal, and filled with an expression of horrified shock as she stared at me. Her gaze moved slowly from my tangled hair to my bare breasts, and down the slopes of my naked body, until it encountered Jamie, lying prone between my thighs, white-faced with a shock equal to hers. 

“Daddy!” she said, in tones of total outrage. “Who is that woman?”

- Voyager

Fell Underwater

Soooo, for Day 9, I wrote something that I’ve wanted to write for a while!  It’s a small one-shot drabble of me doing some world-building on an AU I’ve had on the backburner for a while.  It’s pretty much Oceanfell, I suppose, but mine doesn’t really follow any of my standard Oceantale headcanons, so maybe Fell Underwater?  Or Ty’s Oceanfell?

-shrug-

Either way, it’s got pirate skeletons.  

I did quite a bit of world-building before I got to the smut, so I’m going to post all the SFW bits here, with a link to continue reading on Ao3 at the bottom.  Hope you guys enjoy!  It’s the first thing I’ve written with a legitimate AU and AU Sans that’s mine.  


You’d always had terrible luck.

If something could go wrong, it couldn’t just go wrong for you; no, it’d be a disaster.

That’s why you saw it coming. The Raffle occurred every seven years, after all. When you came of age to be put into it, you tried to run – to move away from the coastal city you despised – but they dragged you back, kicking and screaming. Your name had been entered thrice as punishment, but somehow, you miraculously didn’t get pulled.

You knew your luck wouldn’t last, however. You knew it, and yet, you weren’t able to leave the city, your infraction pushing back your request until after the next Raffle. And when they called your name that time, along with six others, you weren’t surprised in the slightest. When they forced you to stand along the coastline, dressed in your best attire, you didn’t wail or whine like the others. No, you impassively stood there, glaring at the crashing waves and cursing the fact that you’d been born beneath a terrible omen.

When the pirate ship rose from the depths of the murky water, sporting a Jolly Roger sail and a skull with flashing red eyes affixed to the bow like a demon rising from hell, you sucked in a breath and put on a brave face. When literal skeleton pirates disembarked from their vessel and began examining the sacrifices, trying to pick out which one had the strongest SOUL to power their barrier, you concentrated on keeping your breathing even. One by one, they Confronted the others, calling forth their SOULs despite their frightened cries. You kept staring straight ahead, though you saw flickers of greens and purples and light blues from your peripherals.

And then the shorter of the two skeletons stopped directly in front of you. You defiantly stared at a point just past his shoulder, and you could see his smirk widen, the sharp golden tooth glinting. Skeletal phalanges gripped your chin and tilted it back, forcing you to look up and meet his single crimson eyelight. The opposite socket was concealed beneath an eyepatch, a jagged crack vertically running through his orbit and disappearing beneath his feathered hat. Despite the grandeur of his attire, his appearance was slovenly, the dark jacket too big for his frame, a rusted shackle clasped around his neck, and his ivory, button-up shirt mostly undone and halfway untucked.

“well, well…” the monster drawled, tilting his head as he regarded you with amusement. “ye look like a lass that gives no quarter. i wonder if that’s the tale yer soul’ll be singin’.”

A shiver ran up your spine; you could smell smoke and must on his breath from his close proximity, and you had to avert your eyes. He chuckled, and the tips of his fingers dug into your chin. In the next moment, you felt something grip within your chest, squeezing the very breath from your lungs. The feeling forcibly ripped something from within you, and you gasped, the world suddenly draining of color.

All except for the bright orange glow of the little heart floating before you.

Your SOUL.

The stout monster’s bone brow raised, and the light seemed to draw the attention of the taller one. You barely registered the other’s lankier, more jagged appearance; everything seemed muffled, like their voices were coming from underwater.

When they both smirked at you, you finally allowed yourself to feel fear.


A month has passed since that day, and yet… you’re still alive.

Your SOUL hasn’t been harvested for the barrier, and the skeleton brothers (you discovered they were brothers the second day, when you realized just how comical their nagging, back-and-forth banter could be–under other circumstances) have kept you fed and well. Their boat descended beneath the water, to some part of the ocean that felt much colder than you expected, but… you were actually able to breathe and see just fine underwater. They amused themselves in watching you struggle that first day, desperately holding your breath and clawing at the porthole of your cabin.

“FOR SUCH A COURAGEOUS LASS, SHE’S RATHER DAFT,” the taller one (Papyrus, you later discovered his name was) rasped as he passively observed your struggles.

“breathe, bucko,” his brother (Sans, the one with the golden tooth and promiscuous winks) instructed, chortling over your display. When you actually gave in and were forced to take a breath, you were surprised when water didn’t fill your lungs. You turned your wide-eyed stare to your captors, and they both started laughing all over again.

“did'ja really think we’re such monsters that we’d drown ya first thing? underwater’s full o’ magic, lassie. an’ magic can do all sorts o’ things.”

You’d hated them at first. Their mocking smirks, their probing questions… you avoided talking to them, but also flailed your arms out whenever they got too close. If you were going to die by two monsters much stronger than you, then fine. The world was cruel, but you accepted the impossibility of your situation. But that didn’t mean you were going to just roll over and let it happen. No, you were going to fight for your life until the bitter end.

As time stretched, however… you began to wonder what was taking so long.

You had full run of the lower decks of the ship, though most of the wood was rotted and riddled with holes that you could easily slip through if you wanted. The first time you attempted that, however, a monster with jagged teeth and fins almost immediately devoured you. Sans had been there to save you; he’d apparently been lazily tailing you the entire time. He didn’t force you back to the ship, but he warned you of the dangers lurking beneath the ocean. It confirmed every horrifying myth you’d ever heard growing up.

You tried to swim to the surface, but your arms and legs got so tired that you actually passed out. When you woke up, you were back in your cabin, with monster food left on the nightstand. Sometimes, it was disgusting… sometimes, it was actually delicious. It depended on which brother brought you the food.

One night, when Sans was in your room, kicked back in a chair with his feet propped up (one of his legs was a peg leg, you’d discovered) and his hat tilted over his face, you finally spoke.

“W…why?”

Your voice was hoarse, and cracked with disuse, but the sound was enough to rouse Sans immediately. When he tipped his hat back, surprise was clear on his face, though he quickly amended it with his usual smirk. “ahhh, so she finally speaks! i was beginnin’ to wonder if ye were mute, lassie.”

You ignored the comment and pressed on, “Why am I here?”

He shrugged with nonchalance, crossing his boot over his peg leg. “ye got a fool’s luck an’ one o’ the strongest souls i’ve ever laid eyesocket upon.”

“But if you were going to use my SOUL for the barrier… why haven’t you done it yet?”

He’s silent. After a few moments, he starts to snore.

UGH, did he seriously fall asleep in the middle of an important conversation?


More time passes, and you’re still alive.

You begin speaking to Sans whenever he comes by to loiter in your cabin, and you also begin eating meals at the table with both brothers at night. They’re growing on you, despite your best efforts.

There’s even a moment where Sans falls asleep on the couch in your cabin, and you end up moving to lie down on the cushions beside him. You don’t know if it’s Stockholm Syndrome, or the fact that these brothers have been much nicer to you than any human has on the Surface, but… you just wanted to be close to him.

He slings his arm around you, and you fall asleep with your cheek pressed into the ribs exposed from his sloppily-buttoned shirt.

When you awaken, you’re back in your bed and wondering if it was all just a dream.

Whenever you ask Sans why you’re still alive, he either hedges the query or Papyrus decides to choose that very moment to interrupt.

“SANS! YOU BILGE RAT, I SWEAR YOU’RE ALWAYS SLACKING OFF! IF YOU DON’T COME HERE AND FINISH YOUR WORK INSTEAD OF CONSTANTLY GALLAVANTING WITH YOUR WENCH, I SWEAR YOU’RE IN FOR SOME KEELHAULING!”

Sans rolls his eyelight. “aye, cap'n!” he calls, dead-pan and irritated. Then he gets up and moves to leave. “we’ll continue the conversation later, lassie.”

Yet he continues to avoid it until weeks later.


You’ve both had too much grog–which you’ve discovered is apparently a more tolerable version of rum.

Sans has had a rough day, evident by his drinking. You’ve come to be able to pick up on his moods, but he always plays it off when you attempt to pry. Your inhibitions are down enough that innocent joking and flirtatious smiles turn into touches–teasing and light at first, but then bolder, more exploratory.

“careful, lass…” he warns, his voice a low growl. His forehead is against yours, his usual hat now tipped back on your head. You’ve managed to completely unbutton his shirt, and your fingers are gingerly moving along his ribs, feeling over the grooves and ossifications from countless partially-healed fractures.

“What? Am I going to ‘awaken the kraken’?” you tease with a smirk, and you catch him off-guard enough that he makes a strangled choking sound before he starts chuckling.

“ok, that was a good one. yer jus’ full o’ surprises, ain'tcha?” His eyelight is much brighter than usual, his socket half-lidded as he hums when you hook your fingers around his sternum and start rubbing along the underside. “ye'know, ye got too many buttons still in-place. let ol’ sans take care o’ that.”

“What a gentleman,” you continue to tease as he reaches out with both hands and abruptly tugs your shirt apart. The buttons pop off, jettisoning through the water. It’s his shirt you’re wearing (his slacks, too), so you don’t mind the fact that he just ruined it. If anything, you find it to be a turn-on.

“aye, but i prefer the term ‘swashbuckler.’ in this case, i’m ‘bout to swash yer buckle aside.”

*continue reading on Ao3

Give us this scene in 308 too...

We lay in each other’s arms in silence for a long time, letting the small noises of the house wash over us. Different from the comfortable commercial bustle of the brothel, the tiny creaks and sighing spoke of quiet, and home, and safety. For the first time, we were truly alone together, removed from danger and distraction.

There was time, now. Time to hear the rest of the story of the gold, to hear what he had done with it, to find out what had happened to the men of Ardsmuir, to speculate about the burning of the printshop, Young Ian’s one-eyed seaman, the encounter with His Majesty’s Customs on the shore by Arbroath, to decide what to do next. And since there was time, there was no need to speak of any of that, now.

The last peat broke and fell apart on the hearth, its glowing interior hissing red in the cold. I snuggled closer to Jamie, burying my face in the side of his neck. He tasted faintly of grass and sweat, with a whiff of brandy.

He shifted his body in response, bringing us together all down our naked lengths.

“What, again?” I murmured, amused. “Men your age aren’t supposed to do it again so soon.”

His teeth nibbled gently on my earlobe. “Well, you’re doing it too, Sassenach,” he pointed out. “And you’re older than I am.”

“That’s different,” I said, gasping a little as he moved suddenly over me, his shoulders blotting out the starlit window. “I’m a woman.”

“And if ye weren’t a woman, Sassenach,” he assured me, settling to his work, “I wouldna be doing it either. Hush, now.”

I woke just past dawn to the scratching of the rose brier against the window, and the muffled thump and clang of breakfast fixing in the kitchen below. Peering over Jamie’s sleeping form, I saw that the fire was dead out. I slid out of bed, quietly so as not to wake him. The floorboards were icy under my feet and I reached, shivering, for the first available garment.

Swathed in the folds of Jamie’s shirt, I knelt on the hearth and went about the laborious business of rekindling the fire, thinking rather wistfully that I might have included a box of safety matches in the short list of items I had thought worthwhile to bring. Striking sparks from a flint to catch kindling does work, but not usually on the first try. Or the second. Or…

Somewhere around the dozenth attempt, I was rewarded by a tiny black spot on the twist of tow I was using for kindling. It grew at once and blossomed into a tiny flame. I thrust it hastily but carefully beneath the little tent of twigs I had prepared, to shelter the blooming flame from the cold breeze.

I had left the window ajar the night before, to insure not being suffocated by the smoke—peat fires burned hot, but dully, with a lot of smoke, as the blackened beams overhead attested. Just now, though, I thought we could dispense with fresh air—at least until I got the fire thoroughly under way.

The pane was rimed at the bottom with a light frost; winter was not far off. The air was so crisp and fresh that I paused before shutting the window, breathing in great gulps of dead leaf, dried apples, cold earth, and damp, sweet grass. The scene outside was perfect in its still clarity, stone walls and dark pines drawn sharp as black quillstrokes against the gray overcast of the morning.

A movement drew my eye to the top of the hill, where the rough track led to the village of Broch Mordha, ten miles distant. One by one, three small Highland ponies came up over the rise, and started down the hill toward the farmhouse.

They were too far away for me to make out the faces, but I could see by the billowing skirts that all three riders were women. Perhaps it was the girls—Maggie, Kitty, and Janet—coming back from Young Jamie’s house. My own Jamie would be glad to see them.

I pulled the shirt, redolent of Jamie, around me against the chill, deciding to take advantage of what privacy might remain to us this morning by thawing out in bed. I shut the window, and paused to lift several of the light peat bricks from the basket by the hearth and feed them carefully to my fledgling fire, before shedding the shirt and crawling under the covers, numb toes tingling with delight at the luxurious warmth.

Jamie felt the chill of my return, and rolled instinctively toward me, gathering me neatly in and curling round me spoon-fashion. He sleepily rubbed his face against my shoulder.

“Sleep well, Sassenach?” he muttered.

“Never better,” I assured him, snuggling my cold bottom into the warm hollow of his thighs. “You?”

“Mmmmm.” He responded with a blissful groan, wrapping his arms about me. “Dreamed like a fiend.”

“What about?”

“Naked women, mostly,” he said, and set his teeth gently in the flesh of my shoulder. “That, and food.” His stomach rumbled softly. The scent of biscuits and fried bacon in the air was faint but unmistakable.

“So long as you don’t confuse the two,” I said, twitching my shoulder out of his reach.

“I can tell a hawk from a handsaw, when the wind sets north by nor’west,” he assured me, “and a sweet, plump lassie from a salt-cured ham, too, appearances notwithstanding.” He grabbed my buttocks with both hands and squeezed, making me yelp and kick him in the shins.

“Beast!”

“Oh, a beast, is it?” he said, laughing. “Well, then…” Growling deep in his throat, he dived under the quilt and proceeded to nip and nibble his way up the insides of my thighs, blithely ignoring my squeaks and the hail of kicks on his back and shoulders. Dislodged by our struggles, the quilt slid off onto the floor, revealing the tousled mass of his hair, flying wild over my thighs.

“Perhaps there’s less difference than I thought,” he said, his head popping up between my legs as he paused for breath. He pressed my thighs flat against the mattress and grinned up at me, spikes of red hair standing on end like a porcupine’s quills. “Ye do taste a bit salty, come to try it. What do ye—”

He was interrupted by a sudden bang as the door flew open and rebounded from the wall. Startled, we turned to look. In the doorway stood a young girl I had never seen before. She was perhaps fifteen or sixteen, with long flaxen hair and big blue eyes. The eyes were somewhat bigger than normal, and filled with an expression of horrified shock as she stared at me. Her gaze moved slowly from my tangled hair to my bare breasts, and down the slopes of my naked body, until it encountered Jamie, lying prone between my thighs, white-faced with a shock equal to hers.

“Daddy!” she said, in tones of total outrage. “Who is that woman?”

I have a feeling we won’t see this in the next episode

I have a very bad feeling that we aren’t going to get this in the next episode


I pulled the shirt, redolent of Jamie, around me against the chill, deciding to take advantage of what privacy might remain to us this morning by thawing out in bed. I shut the window, and paused to lift several of the light peat bricks from the basket by the hearth and feed them carefully to my fledgling fire, before shedding the shirt and crawling under the covers, numb toes tingling with delight at the luxurious warmth.


Jamie felt the chill of my return, and rolled instinctively toward me, gathering me neatly in and curling round me spoon-fashion. He sleepily rubbed his face against my shoulder.


“Sleep well, Sassenach?” he muttered.


“Never better,” I assured him, snuggling my cold bottom into the warm hollow of his thighs. “You?”


“Mmmmm.” He responded with a blissful groan, wrapping his arms about me. “Dreamed like a fiend.”


“What about?”


“Naked women, mostly,” he said, and set his teeth gently in the flesh of my shoulder. “That, and food.” His stomach rumbled softly. The scent of biscuits and fried bacon in the air was faint but unmistakable.


“So long as you don’t confuse the two,” I said, twitching my shoulder out of his reach.


“I can tell a hawk from a handsaw, when the wind sets north by nor’west,” he assured me, “and a sweet, plump lassie from a salt-cured ham, too, appearances notwithstanding.” He grabbed my bu**ocks with both hands and squeezed, making me yelp and kick him in the shins.


“Beast!”


“Oh, a beast, is it?” he said, laughing. “Well, then…” Growling deep in his throat, he dived under the quilt and proceeded to nip and nibble his way up the insides of my thighs, blithely ignoring my squeaks and the hail of kicks on his back and shoulders. Dislodged by our struggles, the quilt slid off onto the floor, revealing the tousled mass of his hair, flying wild over my thighs.


“Perhaps there’s less difference than I thought,” he said, his head popping up between my legs as he paused for breath. He pressed my thighs flat against the mattress and grinned up at me, spikes of red hair standing on end like a porcupine’s quills. “Ye do taste a bit salty, come to try it. What do ye—”


He was interrupted by a sudden bang as the door flew open and rebounded from the wall. Startled, we turned to look. In the doorway stood a young girl I had never seen before. She was perhaps fifteen or sixteen, with long flaxen hair and big blue eyes. The eyes were somewhat bigger than normal, and filled with an expression of horrified shock as she stared at me. Her gaze moved slowly from my tangled hair to my bare br**sts, and down the slopes of my naked body, until it encountered Jamie, lying prone between my thighs, white-faced with a shock equal to hers.


“Daddy!” she said, in tones of total outrage. “Who is that woman?”


34


DADDY


“Daddy?” I said blankly. “Daddy?”


Jamie had turned to stone when the door opened. Now he shot bolt upright, snatching at the fallen quilt. He shoved the disheveled hair out of his face, and glared at the girl.


“What in the name of bloody hell are you doing here?” he demanded. Red-bearded, naked, and hoarse with fury, he was a formidable sight, and the girl took a step backward, looking uncertain. Then her chin firmed and she glared back at him.


“I came with Mother!”


The effect on Jamie could not have been greater had she shot him through the heart. He jerked violently, and all the color went out of his face.


It came flooding back, as the sound of rapid footsteps sounded on the wooden staircase. He leapt out of bed, tossing the quilt hastily in my direction, and grabbed his breeks.


He had barely pulled them on when another female figure burst into the room, skidded to a halt, and stood staring, bug-eyed, at the bed.


“It’s true!” She whirled toward Jamie, fists clenched against the cloak she still wore. “It’s true! It’s the Sassenach witch! How could ye do such a thing to me, Jamie Fraser?”


“Be still, Laoghaire!” he snapped. “I’ve done nothing to ye!”


I sat up against the wall, clutching the quilt to my bosom and staring. It was only when he spoke her name that I recognized her. Twenty-odd years ago, Laoghaire MacKenzie had been a slender sixteen-year-old, with rose-petal skin, moonbeam hair, and a violent—and unrequited—passion for Jamie Fraser. Evidently, a few things had changed.


She was nearing forty and no longer slender, having thickened considerably. The skin was still fair, but weathered, and stretched plumply over cheeks flushed with anger. Strands of ashy hair straggled out from under her respectable white kertch. The pale blue eyes were the same, though—they turned on me again, with the same expression of hatred I had seen in them long ago.


“He’s mine!” she hissed. She stamped her foot. “Get ye back to the hell that ye came from, and leave him to me! Go, I say!”


As I made no move to obey, she glanced wildly about in search of a weapon. Catching sight of the blue-banded ewer, she seized it and drew back her arm to fling it at me. Jamie plucked it neatly from her hand, set it back on the bureau, and grasped her by the upper arm, hard enough to make her squeal.


He turned her and shoved her roughly toward the door. “Get ye downstairs,” he ordered. “I’ll speak wi’ ye presently, Laoghaire.”


“You’ll speak wi’ me? Speak wi’ me, is it!” she cried. Face contorted, she swung her free hand at him, raking his face from eye to chin with her nails.


He grunted, grabbed her other wrist, and dragging her to the door, pushed her out into the passage and slammed the door to and turned the key.


By the time he turned around again, I was sitting on the edge of the bed, fumbling with shaking hands as I tried to pull my stockings on.


“I can explain it to ye, Claire,” he said.


“I d-don’t think so,” I said. My lips were numb, along with the rest of me, and it was hard to form words. I kept my eyes fixed on my feet as I tried—and failed—to tie my garters.


“Listen to me!” he said violently, bringing his fist down on the table with a crash that made me jump. I jerked my head up, and caught a glimpse of him towering over me. With his red hair tumbled loose about his shoulders, his face unshaven, bare-chested, and the raw marks of Laoghaire’s nails down his cheek, he looked like a Viking raider, bent on mayhem. I turned away to look for my shift.


It was lost in the bedclothes; I scrabbled about among the sheets. A considerable pounding had started up on the other side of the door, accompanied by shouts and shrieks, as the commotion attracted the other inhabitants of the house.


“You’d best go and explain things to your daughter,” I said, pulling the crumpled cotton over my head.


“She’s not my daughter!”


“No?” My head popped out of the neck of the shift, and I lifted my chin to stare up at him. “And I suppose you aren’t married to Laoghaire, either?”


“I’m married to you, damn it!” he bellowed, striking his fist on the table again.


“I don’t think so.” I felt very cold. My stiff fingers couldn’t manage the lacing of the stays; I threw them aside, and stood up to look for my gown, which was somewhere on the other side of the room—behind Jamie.


“I need my dress.”


“You’re no going anywhere, Sassenach. Not until—”


“Don’t call me that!” I shrieked it, surprising both of us. He stared at me for a moment, then nodded.


“All right,” he said quietly. He glanced at the door, now reverberating under the force of the pounding. He drew a deep breath and straightened, squaring his shoulders.


“I’ll go and settle things. Then we’ll talk, the two of us. Stay here, Sass—Claire.” He picked up his shirt and yanked it over his head. Unlocking the door, he stepped out into the suddenly silent corridor and closed it behind him.


I managed to pick up the dress, then collapsed on the bed and sat shaking all over, the green wool crumpled across my knees.


I couldn’t think in a straight line. My mind spun in small circles around the central fact; he was married. Married to Laoghaire! And he had a family. And yet he had wept for Brianna