i can see the scottish

Fanfiction - Andromeda (Constellations series)

The world seems to be crumbling down and that’s how we know it’s time for some fanfic. My heart is still soaring with all the love I’ve received about the last chapter. My blesses forever upon you! This one takes place in the Middle Ages. Don’t go looking for much historical and speech accuracy though. Enjoy!

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Andromeda

“I’d rather die than marry the Scottish barbarian!” Claire yelled through the door, pacing around her chamber like a wild animal in confinement. “Do you hear me? I’ll throw myself from the highest tower and then you will be properly ruined!”

“My dear, you haven’t even met him!” Sir Quentin Lambert answered, trying to sound appeasing, facing the closed door hiding his stubborn niece.

“And I won’t!” She growled back, fury making curls escape from the previously perfect braided chignon. “I don’t care how much you owe his family. We will find another way.”

“There isn’t another way, Claire.” His voice turned grave. “If they wished so, they could take away everything right now – Beauchamp Castle and every horse, servant, tapestry and grain of dust in it. The Lord of Lallybroch showed us some leniency, when he agreed to forgive our debts in exchange of a marriage contract.”

Your debts. Not mine.” She said through her teeth. “We were perfectly alright before Milord started to wager on jousting tournaments. So why don’t you marry some Fraser widow and be done with it?”

“I’m afraid they are currently lacking convenient ladies.” He replied with alacrity. “But they are being fairly magnanimous. It’s not some esquire from a smaller house they are offering you, but the heir of Lallybroch himself, Lord James Fraser.”

“Lord Boar, I say.” She opened the door, facing him, her cheeks flaming with the fire within her. “Don’t you see, Uncle? They are taking everything. A man is to come here and make me his obedient wife, to sire him a dozen snotty children and do only as I’m told. I can’t bear it!”

“Claire.” Quentin moved to put his arm around her shoulders, trying to calm her. “That is the destiny and duty of a woman, a noble lady like yourself. But Lord James has a reputation of kindness and fairness. He might be better than the average Englishman.”

“Which is not saying much.” She replied sternly, escaping his embrace. “This place is my home. My heritage from my parents. Why can’t I be Lady and master here? Why do I need a man to claim back what is already mine?”

“Don’t be facetious, dear.” He said firmly. “No woman can be left by herself. I ought to have smacked you when you were a child, to crush those silly notions.”

“You could have tried.” She smiled a little. Her uncle was a gentle man, far more than most, who loved her dearly. After the death of her parents in a fire, he had stepped up to the task of raising her and had been a fatherly figure, always caring and mostly tender.

The sound of horses galloping and yelling of salutes by the sentries at the gate flowed through the window.

“They are here.” He said, nervously twisting his hands. “Will you please behave?”

“I make no such promises.” Claire answered. “I’ll be myself.”

“That was exactly what I was afraid of.” He snorted. “Give his Lordship a chance.” And he quickly caressed her cheek, before he went out to meet the visitors.

Claire hissed and looked at herself. Her hair was untamed and escaping any attempt of looking civilized. She was wearing her most threadbare dress, an indigo blue gone almost grey in the hemline, which made her look careless. It was perfect. She wasn’t interested in trying to impress anyone, quite the opposite actually. Maybe if she seemed like a peasant, the pompous lord would leave her alone and she could have her peaceful life back.

Claire walked outside her room, slow and solemn like a prisoner condemned to hang, making her way to the Great Hall. All around her the servants worked like a competent hive of bees, busy with arrangements for the feast later and the tournament to follow, all to celebrate her impending nuptials.

Coming around the corner to the Hall, she heard their voices. They were talking agreeably, with a hint of laughter in their voices, like long-time friends. It made blood boil in her veins. “Traitor!”, she directed mentally to her uncle.

As she entered the room, she could see Quentin sitting by the fire, a dark-haired man with a flourishing beard perched just across him. His eyebrows were thick and he seemed somewhat sour and serious. Her stomach lurched.

She waited patiently that they acknowledged her presence.

“Oh, here you are dear.” Uncle Lamb finally noticed her. “May I present you my niece, Lady Claire Beauchamp?”

Claire made a small curtsy, much less pronounced than the station “Heir to Lord of Lallybroch” demanded, a clear disrespect that anyone with two functioning eyes could see.

“Delighted, I’m sure.” She said, her nostrils flaring. “I hope the journey has been pleasant Milord, since you had to go to such lengths to find yourself a suitable bride.”

The man seemed puzzled for a moment, his brows furrowing even further. But then he grinned, showing the absence of a molar tooth in his jaw.

“Yer uncle was just telling me how positively radiant ye are about the marriage.” He said in a closed Scottish lilt. “I can see that he might be overselling. Are you unhappy then, lass?”

She cackled, humourless.

“I’ll be candid with you, sir. I find the idea of marrying a man I don’t know, having my hand forced, quite insufferable. I’m sure you are…” She looked at him with dismay, struggling to find something appeasing to say, that clearly wasn’t a lie. “Valiant. But I’m not a docile maiden and won’t pretend I am, for you or anyone else.”

“Yer uncle does ye justice, Lady Claire.” A clear and warm voice said in the corner. She turned and saw a young man, which she had missed when entering the room like a summer storm, leaning against the window. He was wearing simple clothes, but his height and frame were imposing. His face was bold, like marble carved by the most gifted master, his eyes the exact shade of the sky behind him. He was beautiful and took her breath away momentarily. “He promised ye were quite remarkable. And so ye are.”

“Who the hell are you?” She asked, confused. He raised a brow hearing her reckless words.

“James Fraser. Your executioner, I believe.” He smiled, amused. “Ye were addressing my godfather, Murtagh Fraser.”

“Oh.” Claire replied weakly, trying to regain the composure lost after contemplating him.

“Aye.” He studied her with an interested look.

“I believe we are ready for some dinner.” Quentin said happily. “Shall we?”

****

Jamie was tending his horse, as he always did after riding him hard. In spite of his noble birth, his father made sure he knew how to fend for himself, doing the simple tasks every valid man should be able to perform. He smiled, remembering the tournament that morning.

He had entered the joust and won without great effort. He was well prepared and his physical qualities usually gave him the edge when fighting shorter knights, either with sword or lance. When victory was accomplished, he had dismounted and turning to Claire - sitting in the place of honour looking utterly annoyed -, had fallen on his knee in front of her, dedicating his victory to his future wife. She had seemed irritated, but a soft blush on her temples and neck betrayed her.

Later the horse contest had taken place. It was meant to be a mad race through the terrain around Beauchamp Castle, testing the equestrian abilities and dexterity of the participating knights.

He had been ahead almost since the beginning, working as one with his black stallion, Donas. But suddenly a rider appeared out of nowhere next to him, wearing a white armour, riding a brown mare. Jamie had marvelled with the other knight’s audacity and easy grace, how he had pushed the mare to jump across the pond, taking the lead.

They had ridden neck to neck, their knees almost touching, neither willing to give away even an inch. When they were reaching the edge of the field, where the finish line had been placed, the unknown knight had made a bold move in the terrain, jumping in front of him to grasp victory.

Jamie had dismounted, took off his helmet and bent his head in respect to the other knight. He, on the other hand, remained in full armour, his breast plates ornamented with silvery leafs. At last, he bent his head in return and swiftly guided his mare to the stables, ignoring the cheers and compliments of the gathered crowd.

Jamie walked behind him, at a cautious distance, suspicion arising in his heart. When he turned around the corner, the knight had disappeared without a trace, leaving a smile on his lips.

“I wasn’t expecting to see you here, Sir.” He heard her say. Jamie turned and watched as Claire came into his line of vision, wearing a velvety green dress, her hair loose around her face. She looked lovely.

“No more than I expected to encounter ye here, Lady Claire.” He answered, continuing his task. “But perhaps I should. Ye are quite the amazon, I hear.”

“I like horses.” She conceded. “Who told you that?”

“Yer uncle told me all about yer unusual tastes during the banquet yesterday, I believe.” Jamie stopped and looked at her. “But I’ve witnessed it myself, haven’t I?”

“What do you mean?” She questioned carefully.

“Quite the victory, Milady.” He smiled. “I dinna think I ever saw a woman riding like that and so fearless doing it.”

“I don’t think I grasp your meaning.” She turned to leave, but Jamie reached for her and grabbed her hand.

“Oh, I think ye do. Ye are the mysterious rider who took victory from me. Ye wanted to evaluate me up close. To measure me. And above all I think ye wished to show me who ye really are. And see what I’d do about it.”

They stayed in silence, staring at each other, their hands still united. Jamie slowly let go of her, regretting the loss of contact with her smooth skin.

“How did ye know?” She asked, casually.

“A knight that doesna show his face…I’ve been watching ye. I’ve seen how ye move. Graceful and brave. So I had my suspicions. I just went and saw yer mare and confirm what I already knew to be true.”

“It’s not the first time I’ve done it, either.” She confessed, boldly. “No one even looked in my direction twice.”

“Men dinna look at women.” Jamie said, resuming his brushing of Donas. “Not like that. They only look searching for beauty. Pleasure. Tenderness. They don’t search for strength. Or value. They would never believe a woman, a lady, could best them at anything except embroidery.”

“But you do.” She challenged him.  He halted and faced her.

“Aye.” He was serious and intent. “My father always wanted me to have a wife that matched me. I don’t need a piece of furniture for my Castle, as I already have plenty, but someone to talk to, to help me rule my lands. Yer reputation precedes ye, Lady Claire. He thought ye might be suitable and arranged our marriage.”

“Yes.” Claire answered, bitterly. “And I was to become your Lady and have nothing to say about it. Are you about to threaten to expose me as the unsuitable bride I am, so I’d marry you?”

“Do not offend me.” Jamie said, angry, kicking some straw nearby. “Do not take me for yer low expectations on men. I regret not having yer opinion asked beforehand.” He assured her, calming himself. “But ye’re right. I can see now all that ye are and won’t impose such an indignant contract upon ye.”

“What are you saying, Lord Fraser?”

“I will not claim by force what should be given willingly.” He smiled, sadness and tenderness blending in his eyes. “Yer debt has been pardoned. I already sent for the notes of debt and will give them to yer keeping, as soon as they arrive. I free ye of any commitment ye might have with me; or my family.”

Claire looked at him, bewildered.

“Why are you giving up on this?” She asked, at last.

“It’s what ye wanted.” He stood near her, noticing the shades of honey in her eyes. “Is it not?”

“Stop!” She demanded, exasperated, opening her arms. “Stop deciding my own life for me. Perhaps I want this.” Claire whispered. “Perhaps marrying you is not so insufferable.”

“Ye do?” He asked, hope burning in his chest like a beacon.

“I…” She sighed. “I’ll embarrass you. I’ll say the wrong thing at the wrong time. I’ll speak my mind whether you want it or not. I’ll beat you everytime we go horse-riding, I expect. And I’ll probably never apologize for any of it. If you can’t deal with this, please…just…don’t. Don’t do this. Don’t make me love you, so you may break my heart when I’m not enough.”

“Claire.” His voice was husky and his arms were close to her body, his fingers tentatively touching her waist. “Do ye want this? Me? Are ye sure?”

She glanced at him like he was the sun, too bright to look straight on, and smiled.

“How could I want anybody else, now that I know you exist?”

2

“Who invented this room?!” [New Deep Breath Clip]

Love from Paris

Mr. Gold was in the backroom fixing a clock when his cell phone vibrated, making an awful racket against the hard oak of the counter. He frowned. Few people had that number. Fewer still would dare to call it.

Setting aside his tools and brushing his hands against the apron over his suit, he flipped the phone open and pressed the middle round button to download the picture text.

It was a woman.

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