A Bedtime Story
hello, loves! i’ve had this idea in my head for a little while now, and i’ve finally been able to put the words to the page! i’m really happy with how this turned out, so i hope you enjoy! please let me know what you think!
huge thank you to the lovely @takemeawaytocamelot for being the best motivator and cheerleader ever, as well as my other tss ladies who are always the most supportive bunch. 🤗
IMPORTANT: THIS IS STRICTLY A ONE-SHOT. NO MORE PARTS WILL BE WRITTEN.
-the eldest bairn, kait xxx
“Did you really think that I would swallow this… fairytale? Do you think I’m still five years old?”
“It’s not a fairytale, Bree.”
The door shut behind her with a sharp bang! that echoed throughout the house, reverberating off of the walls and causing the vanity to shake. Unperturbed with the state of the mirror or the trinkets that surrounded it, she stomped over to the bed and unceremoniously plopped down on it, grasping the hairbrush and angrily running it through her hair.
All of her life, she thought that she was someone else–countless times she had helped her father, spending hours upon hours looking through their genealogy chart in an attempt to trace their ancestry throughout Europe. He had played along, telling her about his grandparents and great-grandparents, all the way to the eldest ancestor that they knew of: a Captain of Dragoons, stationed in Scotland with a pristine record and high regards from the Crown for his service. Frank had always talked so highly of him, but whenever his name was mentioned, her mother would leave the room.
She realized that her mother never truly told her much about her own heritage, just about Uncle Lamb and her parents, but besides that…
I suppose she wanted to keep that under wraps, too, she thought, brushing the other side of her head.
A moment passed before she fully paused, looking down at the curling waves of her auburn hair. Her father didn’t have red hair–granted, neither did her mother. She remembered asking him once where her red hair came from, and he had just replied, “One of your relatives.”
One of my relatives. My father…?
She set the brush down on the bed, running her fingers through the soft strands. As much as she didn’t know right now, one thing was certain: Frank Randall was not her biological father, this Jamie Fraser–whoever he might be–is. However, that was the only straw she could grasp from the bunch that her mother gave her; she had lost Brianna as soon as she said Culloden.
How could one believe such a tale? Her father apparently did–the other one.
So many emotions were coursing through her veins, but the one of highest supply was frustration and anger. She felt betrayed by her mother, of whom she felt had lied to her all of her life, making her believe that Frank Randall was her biological father. And after a moment, anger seemed to triumph over all other emotions, and she flung herself off of the bed, pulling a bag off of the floor and stuffing as much into it as humanly possible. She needed to get out of there. Now.
After realizing that not everything was going to fit if she kept shoving everything into the small opening of the rucksack, she instead started emptying the contents onto the floor. She shook the bag harshly, taking her anger out on the innocent fabric pack, before she heard something plop unceremoniously onto the floor. At first, she didn’t recognize it, but after a moment’s pause, her racing pulse leveled.
It was a small, leather-bound notebook, no more than 5 inches in width, 6 in height. The book was about 100 pages thick, covered in both her mother’s and her own scrawled hand across the pages, alternating between different colors of ink.
A fairy-tale told to her by her mother in her youth.
A five-year-old Brianna Randall sits upright in bed, excitedly gripping the edges of her quilt as she waits for her mother to return home. At this point, they had their schedule down to a science: Claire would walk in the door, go straight to the eagerly-awaiting Brianna, and she would recount to her daughter the adventures told the night before.
Tonight, however, was different. Daddy had come home from the University with a beautiful leather-bound, handheld notebook. “Fill it with whatever your heart desires, little beauty,” he had said, and she took it to heart. She would fill it up, cover to cover, with her favorite story of all time.
Her heart began to race in excitement as she heard her mother’s voice coming from downstairs, the beats getting more frantic as she heard the footsteps getting closer and closer. When the door finally opened and the bright blue scrubs came into view, she jumped up and down in her bed.
“Mama, guess what I got from Daddy today!” She squealed, thrusting the notebook at her mother in excitement.
“Oh, Bree, how lovely!” She examined the book delicately before handing it back to her daughter. “What will you write in it?”
Bree giggled, “Silly Mama, our story!”
Instead of replying right away, she swallowed hard, turning herself away from her daughter and towards the window. Confused, Brianna ignored this strange behavior and went to her desk, pulling out a pen and holding it out to her mother. “Write, Mama?”
She cleared her throat once before turning back around, a smile forming on her lips. “Of course, love. Now, where did we leave off?”
“No, we have to start over!”
Smiling, Claire took the pen from her daughter’s tiny hand and balanced the book on her knee, starting to write. While she wrote, she had Bree read the words out loud to her.
Once upon a time, in a far away land, there lived a King and his fair Queen. The pair loved each other very much, and to prove that their love was eternal, the King took his wife away from the business of castle life to a remote village in the mountains.
While there, they visited their subjects and attended to their duties, as Kings and Queens do, but one day, the Queen was separated from her King and fell through a portal to another world. Frightened and alone, the Queen ran for miles and miles to find her King, but couldn’t find her way back. Getting lost in the ever-thickening wood as she ran, she encountered the most fearsome dragon in all of the Worlds. Fortunately, however, she was rescued by a knight in shining silver armor and taken away to safety.
On the way to the castle, the Queen’s escort introduced himself as Sir James the Red, Knight of Lallybroch. The Queen introduced herself only as Christine, in fear that someone would recognize her.
For many months the Queen took refuge in the new castle, Leoch, becoming a guest of it’s King and making many friends among the subjects. One day, after a great Gathering was held, the Grand Duke requested she be present on a hunt, to which she agreed. While on the hunt, she became very close to Sir James, who promised to protect her from anything and everything she could encounter on the journey.
And as Sir James predicted, Christine came face-to-face with the monstrous dragon once more. With his fiery breath, he burned her repeatedly. But ever so true to his word, her Knight came to save her and, in order to protect her, offered his hand to her, which she accepted. The two of them became extremely close while continuing the hunt. She missed her King dearly, but was starting to accept her life with her red Knight in shining armor.
Eventually, the Knight found out about her travels through time, and offered to take her back home. They traveled on horseback for days while the Queen figured out what her heart truly wanted. Her duty was to her King, but how could she leave her Knight, a man that she had grown to love more than life itself?
It all came down to a single choice. Sir James took her to the portal, where she had to make her final decision. Who did she want to be: Christine the Queen, or Christine, the Knight’s wife?
In the end, she chose Sir James. The pair went back to his home, to begin their happily ever after. That is, until the creature returned, this time to take him for retribution, and it was up to Lady Christine to be her Knight’s savior.
With the help of Sir James’ fellow knights, and a few cows, Lady Christine was able to save her knight in shining–
“Mama,” Bree, now an inquisitive eight-year-old, interrupted, looking at her mother in confusion. “What did the cows do?”
Claire laughed, caught off-guard by her question. “Well, Sir Marcus decided that it would be the easiest way to get Sir James out of the dragon’s keep, without drawing too much attention.”
Bree’s eyebrows creased together and her lips pursed outward. “But… wouldn’t a large group of cows draw attention to them, anyway?”
“Do you want me to continue or not?”
She nodded eagerly, leaning away from the headboard.
Lady Christine was able to save her knight in shining armor, and together they traveled away to a distant land full of delectable foods, beautiful dresses, large parties, and lots of intrigue. But Sir James’ experiences with the monster left him scarred, emotionally and physically. She tried her best to help him, but nothing she did soothed his suffering. Eventually, their marriage began to crumble, and she feared she would lose her husband.
One night, she talked to him about it. He told her all of his heart, as one should in a marriage, and the patches seemed to be healed. However, when the evil creature returned for his just desserts, Sir James vowed that he would be the one to slay it. Afraid for her husband’s life, as well as the dragon’s, she begged him to leave it be. His grudge, however, would haunt him forever as he attempted to slay the beast, eventually doing so with all three of them seriously injured. Lady Claire saved Sir James once more, and, after losing their faith, the pair moved back to their country to be with their family. Fate, however, would not be on their side.
A war was rapidly approaching, and as much as they tried to stop it from coming, Sir James and Lady Christine were faced with no other choice. Pregnant with his child, he sent them back to her own time, where they could be safe in the protection of the King.
“She never goes back to him?” Thirteen-year-old Bree inquires of her mother with her elbows on her knees and her hands resting beneath her chin.
Claire pauses, swallowing an invisible lump in her throat. “No, she doesn’t.”
“Why not? If she truly loves him, wouldn’t she want to be with him forever?”
“Of course she would.” She smiled softly, wrapping her arms around Bree’s shoulders. Leaning her head on top of her daughter’s, she asked, “Do you remember the battle, the one that they were all preparing for at the end of the story?”
Bree nodded, urging her to continue.
“Well, before they parted, Sir James promised m–Christine–” She cleared her throat. “He told Lady Christine that he would die on the battlefield, defending his country. And she took his word for it.”
“So, she didn’t even try to find him? Not even for the chance that they could be together again?”
Tears formed in Claire’s eyes, but Bree couldn’t see them. Instead of replying, she finished the story.
Lady Christine returned to her time and resumed her position as Queen. She was reunited with her King, and he promised that they would raise Sir James’ child together, as their own.
A few months later, a princess was born, and they named her Ellen, after Sir James’ mother. And together, the three of them lived a happy life, the child unaware of her true parentage.
Every once in awhile, however, the Queen would see her daughter’s red hair catch the light, and she would see her husband. Her red Knight.
Her one and only love.