The Rescue - Doctor: My dear, why don’t you come with us, hmm? Vicki: In that old box? Doctor: We can travel anywhere and everywhere in that old box as you call it. Regardless of space and time. Vicki: Then it is a time machine? Doctor: And if you like adventure, my dear, I can promise you an abundance of it.
A request in which you’re grocery shopping with Ian and he’s acting all clingy and touching you all the time (basically like a child).
“Ian.” Poke. “Ian.” Another poke. “Ian, wake up.” The poking
didn’t stop and Ian reluctantly opened his eyes. “Are you awake?!” you sang a bit too loudly for his liking.
“I am now…” he answered, but he said it so lowly he doubted you heard him. He yawned, trying to focus his
gaze by blinking a couple of times. When it cleared up, he saw you grinning above him. ‘Shit,
did I fell asleep?’ He stood up a bit in the armchair, yawning again then
frowning. ‘Obviously, you retard.’ He hated waking up, despite being woken by your lovely presence. He was
half-asleep, so to say—he was just pretending to be cause maybe then you’ll
leave him alone. But judging by your lively expression, seems like that was likely not going to happen. “What do you want?” he groans, being the grumpy-self
he was after a nap. He pushes your face away when you lean in to try to kiss
him, but then smiles lightly when he sees you weren’t going to give up. He lets you
kiss him on the cheek, then groans again, oh so annoyed.
“Babeeeeee…” you used your whiny tone, batting your
eyelashes in his direction—a clear sign that you wanted something from him.
God, it was fucking quiet up there. Well, not silent, because there were still a few idiots stumbling around. But the walls didn’t shake and the floor didn’t creak and the wind didn’t fucking howl as it hit warped siding.
The glass windows of the condo were impenetrable. They kept the whole world out, and in this strange, still-so-foreign bubble, Mickey had been someone else that night.
Not anyone great, really. More like a quiet witness to a side of life he’d never seen up close. The people were friendly enough. Less gay than he might’ve expected. He hadn’t called anyone a fag and he hadn’t thrown any punches, verbal or otherwise. And he’d…attempted…conversation with a handful of them, if they’d been brave enough to start it up. One dude was ready to interview him for a fucking research paper—thank God Ian had rescued him from that—but the rest were mostly content to talk about themselves. Some were in relationships. Some had just broken up. Some were looking for love. Some just wanted to have a good time.
Mickey just wanted to take Ian somewhere private. Not back home tonight, because the bubble, for all its strangeness, was intoxicating. A whole new existence he could never have, but Ian clearly liked it and Mickey could fucking pretend, if only for a moment.
Ian had been different there, too. Smiling and laughing and celebrating and drinking maybe a little too much. Draping his arm over Mickey’s shoulders, leaning more and more weight on him as the night wore on. Mickey’d flinched at the contact, for just a second, before he remembered they’d full-on made out in front of some of these people at the club. That ship had fucking sailed.
“Mm.” Ian squirmed forward, and the bars beneath the thin mattress of the pullout couch groaned with him. “Tired.”
He stretched out his hand and caught the corner of Mickey’s shirt, where he ran his fingers over the plaid pattern for a few seconds before attempting to pop open a button. He failed miserably.
“You’re drunk, Gallagher.“
“And you’re not drunk enough,” Ian slurred back, splaying his hand out flat on Mickey’s stomach. “It was free alcohol, Mickey, you know that right? And the good shit.”
“Yeah, well someone has to keep an eye on your drunk ass.”
Someone really did, because there was plenty of coke and ecstasy around and Mickey was not going to have a fucking repeat of an unconscious Ian, lying prone on the icy ground.
Mickey shivered. It wasn’t cold in there—just the perfect temperature, actually.
“Cold?” Ian rubbed his arm briskly. “Want me to see if I can find a blanket?"
“I’m fine. ’Sides, I’m not sure you could even stand without my help. I was half-carrying you that last hour there.”
Ian grinned, his eyes still bright even though they were half-lidded and unfocused in the dim lighting. “You like it, though, don’t you.”
“Like what?” Mickey pulled back and regretted it the minute Ian’s fingers slid away from his body.
“Me. On you.”
Shit, the kid had his number. No fucking doubt about that.
A smart-ass remark was on the tip of his tongue. Really, that was always the case. But Mickey could tell from the droop of Ian’s chin that he was about to pass out, and there were only a few precious minutes of this night left.
He scooted closer until their noses touched. Until Ian’s warm breath became his inhales, and his became Ian’s. And they watched each other, barely blinking.
Mickey could count the number of times they’d kissed on one hand. And each and every time was a first—some brand new experience he’d never expected. The peck in that old van was barely more than a few seconds, not really all that hot, not really all that emotional (not that Mickey did emotions). It’d simply been used to say don’t fuck other people, I can give you what you want. The second, during the sleepover that had nearly ruined their lives, had been pure excitement and sexual energy; I can do this and the world won’t come to an end. But then of course the world had ended, so the third kiss was desperate and painful and Mickey still couldn’t even place words to what he’d been trying to convey in that back room the afternoon of his wedding.
The fourth, from earlier that day, was freedom. A different plane of existence. This is what I want, and if he was being completely honest with himself, one of the last barriers to This is who I am. Mickey-who-wanted-Ian, Mickey-who-got-turned-on-by-firm-muscles-and-dick, Mickey-who-was…
The word popped into Mickey’s head and he blinked rapidly, like he was trying to clear it from his sight. But it was written inside of him, and all he could do was bury it, momentarily, under the flimsiest cover of I’ll deal with that later.
Because now he wanted to be in the moment, with Ian, for number five. Ian licked his lips and closed the distance between them in a gentle kiss. They broke apart, breathed deeply, and kissed again. Slow. Sleepy. And fucking smiling like two idiot teenagers who were just discovering they really liked each other.
And why not? They were idiot teenagers. They deserved this moment, even if they’d done everything fucking backwards. This tiny taste of a childhood they’d barely lived—finding their first love.
So kiss number five made Mickey feel like a fucking school girl, ready to clasp Ian’s hands and stare into his eyes and make-out in slow motion. Part of that he could live with, part of that he wasn’t crazy about…but the damage was done.
Number five meant I’m in love.
Ian’s lips were barely moving now, although he fought valiantly to keep his eyes open when they broke apart again.
“Go to sleep, Gallagher. You can kiss me in the morning.”
Ian yawned. “Promise?” He didn’t wait for a response, and instead rolled onto his back, stretching out his long legs and settling into the pillow. His lips parted slightly as he slept.
Mickey curled onto his side and placed his hand on Ian’s arm to stroke him softly, ready to watch him for as long as possible.
Yes, he promised.
Notes: Sorry, this one meandered a bit. Started with the idea of them making out that night at the condo and got kinda introspective, lol.
Also, the ‘2nd kiss’ is just my head-canon, assuming they probably made out at some point during the sleepover, possibly during sex, since Mickey broke the no-kiss rule in 3x05.
Related (sorta) to that other Ask, what do you think of Susan's post-TARDIS life with David? (did they adopt children, etc)
We like to think they do have Alex (like in the audios) and maybe another child as well. We mostly like to imagine Susan getting her hands dirty and learning how to work on the land and with animals (as Ian and Barbara described in the Rescue about her learning to milk a cow). We love the idea that she’s vital in the re-building of Earth and that she’s so good with the community and helps bring people together with her adorable personality. There are tough times ahead for her so we like to hope she had some good times in there and that her and David were very happy as a couple. :)
A really lovely scene from ‘The Rescue’. We love the Doctor’s caring of Ian but also his 'no moping about feeling sorry for yourself’ attitude. Ian and the Doctor’s relationship is always wonderful to watch. They bicker and disagree constantly but they are always there for each other. At the beginning of the serial, Ian was holding the Doctor’s coat for him and helping him up, and here the Doctor is making sure Ian isn’t hurt. It’s a brilliant relationship to watch develop over the course of their stories together.
imagine if Claire was stationed in Scotland during the war and there was a battle near craigh na dun she gets injured (from a blast or something so people saw and is presumed dead) and ends up going through the stones, shes covered in blood and dirt and is disorientated and tries walking back to her encampment but is fumbling about from concussion, she only survives because I certain red head and his godfather find her on their journey home
Disclaimer: Since WWII affected mostly cities in Britain, Coventry/Birmingham and London (those sorts of places), Scotland remained mostly untouched through the war. So it was unlikely that Claire would have been posted there, unless they had hospitals set up for the injured returning home. As it was, Claire would have probably been stationed in a city had she stayed in Britain. So, that being said, and after conversations with the other Mods, we decided to keep it as was, Claire in France. It sort of matches, time wise, with Jamie in France too with the mercenaries (as in ‘Virgins’). I hope it still matches your vision, anon. <3 Mod MBD.
– – —- – – —- – –
– – —- – – —- – –
The lights flickered in the nurses’ dormitory as the sirens whined on. The ground beneath me was rolling as the tanks rattled by, the thin tin walls making one hell of a noise. Crawling through the darkness, I finally reached the door and dragged myself out into the open. The sky was alight with flashes. Bombs, falling at a regular rate all around me. How I’d missed the first blast of the warning alarm, I’d never know, but I knew I had to get to the shelter, and fast.
The dirt stifled me, clogging my pores as I shuffled alongside the mesh that contained our little section of the camp, the only signifier I had that I was on the path towards safety.
All of a sudden, the sky lit up, a massive orange flame on the horizon that battered one of our allied complexes; *the mess*, I thought, dimly. Pieces of shattered metal glinted as they flew through the air ahead of me. Anxious to be away from the melee, I pressed all my weight against the fence. The thin metal bit into my uniform, but it was a preferable alternative to being pelted with debris. To my right, unbeknownst to me, was a small hole in the fence, probably formed in an earlier onslaught. As I crawled, gaining ground on the air raid shelter, I fell, tumbling into the ravine that surrounded the base.
Buzzing filled my ears and I curled into a ball, hiding my head as the hullabaloo rang out around me. My body seemed to shatter, falling into a million pieces as darkness clouded my vision. Numb, I simply lay, unable to right myself. My fingers began to throb, the blood unable to flow as they clenched tight to shield me from the horrible screech.
– – —- – –
Daylight penetrated my little bubble, the fresh scent of grass filling my nose as I finally pulled myself from the stupor that seemed to have taken me. A boot, then another, came into view as I shifted and tried to stand.
My brain wasn’t functioning to full capacity and the French that the travellers bandied about me didn’t fully make sense. I rubbed my eyes as the group came into view, trying my best to follow their fast-paced conversation.
“…petite femme…je me demande…”
“…vous lui réveillez…non!”
“Ce n'est pas nécessaire.” I choked out, eventually recalling my conversational French.
“Qui êtes-vous, madame?”
Pushing myself up, I dusted off my uniform. Looking at the chap in front of me, I got the feeling that they weren’t army men, but it wouldn’t do me any good to come into contact with someone of worth looking a state. Thank God they weren’t Germans, I thought belatedly, pushing my stray curls behind my ears.
“Mon nom est Claire. Je suis une infirmière anglaise, et toi?”
“Ah, the lady est Anglaise!” The leader parroted back, tipping his hat at me as he bowed in a strange manner. “I am Captain Richard E’glise. Are you in need of assistance?”
I fiddled with the bottom of my shirt, tucking it back into my trousers as I debated that question. Was I? These, gentlemen, whoever they were (deserters maybe), didn’t look entirely trustworthy.
The Captain took a step towards me, obviously preempting my need to flee, and I took one step back at the same time.
“Thank you, Captain, I just need to be pointed back in the direction of the barracks. I’ll be fine from there.”
“Barr-acks?” he returned, his brows drawing together in confusion at the word. Where was I, if the man hadn’t any idea of where the barracks were?
“Ach, Captain, dinna prod the lassie, aye? Leave her be.”
My head jerked to the side at the sound of his Scottish burr. A tall man, blonde with his long hair tied back, stood forward. His smile was kind, infectious almost, and I couldn’t help but return it as he went on. “I’m Ian Murray, mistress, and we,” he shifted to the side, indicating to the men collected behind him, “are en-route to Bordeaux. If it would suit ye, you could accompany us and seek assistance from there?”
E’glise looked perturbed by this suggestion, but said nothing. I looked around me, seeing nothing familiar. How far could I have wandered off-piste, I wondered. But, having no other alternatives to hand, I nodded. One thing on which we had been relentlessly drilled before being unleashed onto the front lines was the importance of silence. Until you’ve guaged your surroundings, say nothing, or very little.
“Alright, yes. That would be…most helpful of you, gentlemen. Merci.”
– – —- – –
The band, mainly Frenchmen, was carting some kind of cargo. Pulled by horses, the wooden trap was covered over, hidden from view. Something wasn’t right. Where were the main roads, the cars, the barbed wire fencing that marked all major highways along the routes of France?
I’d travelled these roads so many times in my short stay here, I’d seen the stationary tanks that stood guard. But here, there was nothing but dirt track.
I shook it off, these were questions I could have answered later. Something told me that my *associates* wouldn’t be incredibly forthcoming if I posed these thoughts to them.
The kind Scot, Ian, caught up with me, sensing my distress.
“Dinna fash, mistress. We’ll be to Bordeaux soon, I willna steer ye false.”
“Thank you, Mr Murray. I really appreciate that.” He seemed entirely genuine, and that relaxed me. At least I’d made one friend, if I could call him that.
“Can I ask ye, Mistress…”
“Please, call me Claire, Ian. You’ve been so kind to me.”
He blushed, running his hand through the loose tendrils of his dirty blonde locks as he nodded and grinned back. “Alright, Claire. Thank ye. I couldna quite work out afore, what ye said ye were, can I ask ye?”
“Oh, of course. I’m a nurse, I was sleeping with the others when the…” I held my tongue. I wasn’t altogether sure why, but I did.
“Nurse? healer then? Is that what ye mean?”
That piqued my interest. “Yes, exactly that.”
He seemed deep in thought, watching his feet as we walked beside the horse. I sensed he wanted to ask me something.
“Is there…something I can do for you? Do you need some medical attention?”
“Aye, ye could say that. Well, no for me, but….I wouldna ask but…”
“Come on, Ian, out with it.” I teased, injecting some humour into the, obviously sensitive, matter.
“My bràthair, he’s tryin’ to keep his heid down, but he’s injured.” He gestured a short distance from us.
I’d noticed his friend earlier in the day. I’d heard them talking along the way, but not in English. Nor was it French, but I had yet to decipher the dialect. Ian’s friend was a broad gentleman from what I could tell, who had kept himself mostly out of my sight as we’d walked. Even so, I’d caught one glimpse of him, limping away from us, the back of his shirt stained with random splatters of dried blood.
“Would ye be so kind as to look at him…. away from the rest? Perhaps tonight, after dark?”
“Aye, if ye wouldna mind, Claire.”
I patted his shoulder. He definitely cared a great deal for his companion, and I was keen to help if I could. “Of course, Ian. I’d love to help.”
“I’m verra grateful.”
I don’t have much in the way of supplies though. How bad is it?”
“Dinna fash, Claire. I’ll sort anything that ye need. It’s probably best ye take a look afore ye tell me though. He hasna let me see it, so I dinna ken how bad it is, either.”
Nodding, we continued onwards, our conversation turning to more pleasurable topics. At the back of my mind, however, I couldn’t stop thinking about Ian’s ‘brother’, I thought (guessing the meaning of the word from the sound of it), and what could possibly ail him. The marks I’d seen, staining the back of his shirt, indicated a very specific kind of trauma. Blunt force, most likely. Something (or someone) had belted him –at close range.
I’d still yet to even see him, and it hadn’t even crossed my mind that he might be hiding from *me*.
– – —- – –
As dusk settled over the land, the party pulled off the track and began to set up camp. A small group of the men, all coming together to hide their precious cargo, had begun to sing bawdy French songs, mostly featuring prostitutes and some odd tongue-based skills. I tuned them out as I followed my nose to the water to wash.
Other than the Captain, Mr E’glise, there was a priest accompanying the party. Père Renault was a portly man, mostly jovial and absolutely and equivically relieved by my presence. He’d been acting as surgeon, healer, and priest on this particular trip and it was already fraying his nerves.
This had been my saving grace, and as such I’d been allowed to come and go as I pleased. Had I been less useful, I’d have, maybe, been considered a little differently.
“Claire…is it?” The voice came from behind me, as I splashed my face with water, and I started. “Ian said I’d find ye here. He said yer a healer, that ye might be able to…assist me?” He sounded like a man being led to the slaughter by his ears, rather than one seeking medical help.
“Yes, that’s me. Ian said you were hurt, may I ask where?” Maybe he’d had a bad experience in the past, and so was reticent to be in my company.
“It’s my back. I havena…that is to say, since I was trussed up, I havena looked at it.”
My stomach dropped, stepping towards him I took him in. He was tall, a mass of ruddy curls danced around his head as the wind swept through the trees. His face was so pale, and I wondered how he’d managed to hide his poor health; though, under the circumstances maybe that was for the best. Captain E’glise looked the sort to shoot anyone he deemed a risk.
“That’s alright, I’ll look at it for you now.” The thought occurred to me, just as he was about to remove his soiled shirt, that I had no information about him at all. “What’s your name?”
He paused, his hands crossed and tugging at the base of his shirt as his eyes glanced over and met mine. He was thinking about lying, I could tell. His face was a mask, but there was a slight glint behind his eyes that betrayed him.
He smirked, seeing that I’d got the measure of him.
“It’s Jamie.” He tilted his head to the side, but his mouth closed. That was all I was getting.
“Alright, Jamie. Show me.”
We took a few steps towards each other as he tugged his shirt off and turned around.
I tried to be quiet, I really did, but even with the filthy bandages wrapped around his destroyed skin, I could see the mass of devastation. Bile rose in my throat at the sight and I had to blink away the tears. How the bloody hell was he walking around like this? I’d seen lesser wounds kill men outright, and somehow he’d managed to not only survive a horrific flogging, but to walk around for weeks afterwards.
“Jesus. H. Roosevelt. Christ.” I muttered, under my breath, my hands shaking as I reached forward to pull the rank fabric from him. Stuttering for a moment, I decided I should be honest with him first. he’d suffered so much already and I was desperate not to cause him any more pain. “This will hurt, Jamie. I don’t want to cause you any torment, but if I don’t remove these, they’ll become infected.”
“In-fect?” he replied, his tone laced with confusion.
“Y-yes. They’ll become…” I searched for the right word, something simple since he didn’t appear to understand that, “…enflamed.”
“A fever, ye mean, mistress?”
Nodding, although he couldn’t see my face, I began to slowly pull the old bandages away from his raw skin.
I still had no clue as to the year. Some of the men, I recalled, had referred to Jamie and Ian as ‘les jacobites’, the Jacobites. I was confident, now, that I’d found myself in the 18th Century. However, I’d need more conclusive proof. I was sure that Jamie was trustworthy enough, but I’d have to approach with caution.
“How is it, Claire?” Ian’s voice woke me from my swirling thoughts. I took a deep breath, now was not the time I realised, and looked up to catch his eye. His face was filled with trepidation, plainly worried for Jamie.
“It’s…not that great, he’s on the verge of –fever, his skin is seriously mangled. If we don’t clean him up soon it’ll fester.”
“Ye dinna need to talk about me as if I’m no’ here, ken?” Jamie’s voice broke through, a slight positive lilt covering his fear.
Ian looked abashed, as he fixed his neckerchief, his fingers twining nervously in the clean fabric.
“If you wouldn’t mind, Ian. I’ll need some fresh bandages, clean if you can. And some…alcohol, anything will do, that’ll help to clean you up a bit, Jamie.”
Ian nodded and rushed away.
Left to ourselves once more, a necessary silence surrounded us. I sensed that Jamie needed some time to process what I’d said. Hopefully he’d understood me, he seemed to have done.
Ian returned faster than I would have thought, everything I needed clenched tightly in his arms.
“Thank you, Ian. That’s incredible! How did you manage it?”
“Me and Jamie are the strongest of the party here, E’glise doesna wish to lose either of us.” He returned with a cunning look in his eyes. “I’ll leave ye to it, then. Keep the others away for a time.”
It didn’t take me long to settle myself to the task. Trying to remove myself from the situation as much as I could, I spread the musky whisky on a small wedge of fabric and began to stroke, gently, over Jamie’s heated skin.
To his credit, he didn’t flinch once. Sitting absolutely still, he seemed to almost fall asleep as I worked. If he’d asked, and he didn’t, I wouldn’t have been able to lie to him. He’d have deep scars, if he didn’t get blood poisoning along the way, for the rest of his life. His back had been thoroughly torn apart, not one inch of skin left unmarked. I was still in awe.
“What happened, Jamie?” It was only after I’d said the words out loud, that I realised I’d been mumbling it over and over, progressively getting louder.
His shoulders tensed, pulling the new bandages tight. I shouldn’t have asked.
“I-I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have asked. You don’t have to tell me, if you don’t want to.”
“Nay, I’m sorry, mistress…”
“Claire, please, Jamie.
“Aye, o’ course, Claire.”
The way he said my name sent pleasant shivers down my spine, the rolling of his ‘r’s’ causing my mouth to water.
“I got myself into a wee bit o’ mischief.” He was making light of the issue. Trying hard to downplay its severity. “And the *English* took me to task o’er it.”
I, what? I didn’t even know how to respond. 18th century justice had left a sour taste in my mouth.
“Ye dinna have to say anything, Claire. I ken weel enough what yer thinking, but I’m no’ a criminal. I was trying to protect my home, my sister. An English Dragoon took a *dislike* to my attempts. He saw fit to take me from my home, put me to task o’er it.”
“I’d seen army justice, officers and soldiers who’d disobeyed orders and had been ‘taken to task o’er it’, and even that had boiled my blood. This was considerably worse. How had this been allowed to happen? I kept my mouth shut, my anger wouldn’t help Jamie now.
“I’m so sorry, Jamie.” I replied, instead, trying hard to hide the sorrow from my voice.
His hand came up to rest against mine, resting as it was on his shoulder now I’d finished my errand. Passing him the bottle, I urged him to drink. He probably shouldn’t get stoking drunk, but a little would help ease the pain somewhat.
“I’ll need to re-asses this in a couple of days, but for the moment, that should help…a bit.”
He turned, holding onto my hand as he did so. His eyes made contact with mine, large and blue, deep as oceans. He seemed, at least, more at ease now.
“Thank ye, Claire. I really appreciate this.” his brows drew together as he glanced back towards the camp in the dwindling light. “But I’d appreciate…”
“Yes, Jamie. I know. I won’t tell anyone, I promise.”
Shameless cast S5: AWWW MICKEY IS OUR BEST CHARACTER AND WE LOVE HIM AND NOEL SO MUCH.
Shameless cast S6: Mickey was a piece of scum and abusive. GALLAVICH WAS TOXIC! 1!1 OHH LOOK CALEB IS HERE TO RESCUE IAN!!! Who’s Noel?
Shameless cast S7: LOOK WE HAVE A NEW LOVE INTEREST FOR IAN!1!1!1 wAiT?!?! You guys want Mickey back? LOOK MICKEY IS BACK FOR 1-2 EPISODES! WE LOVE HIM AND NOEL SO MUCH HES OUR BABY AND ONE TRUE LOVE!1!1 GALLAVICH!! NOEL!! MICKEY!! GaLlAvIcH!! LOOK HES EVEN HANGING WITH IAN’S NEW LOVE INTEREST!! NOW YOU HAVE TO LOVE TREVOR RIGHT? ALSO THIS IS MOST LIKELY NOEL/MICKEY’S FINAL ENDING? NOEL FISHER!!! DID WE MENTION WE LOVE GALLAVICH?1?1
anonymous asked: imagine if Claire was stationed in Scotland during the war and there was a battle near craigh na dun she gets injured (from a blast or something so people saw and is presumed dead) and ends up going through the stones, shes covered in blood and dirt and is disorientated and tries walking back to her encampment but is fumbling about from concussion, she only survives because I certain red head and his godfather find her on their journey home.
We continued on, Bordeaux coming closer and closer. I was still at a loss as to how I’d ended up –travelling through time, and left alone with my thoughts, I couldn’t help but panic. How the bloody hell was I supposed to get home? To my own time? An impossible task, for sure.
The twinkle of gold caught my eye, and I looked down to my wedding ring. Frank! Lost in the fray, I’d neglected to think about him. I stopped, causing Ian to bash into me, my lungs constricting painfully in my chest.
“Claire, ye look fair fashed. What’s amiss?”
Jamie’s question was interrupted by a sudden rush of activity. A group of armed bandits rushed from the trees, and in the flux I had no time to get out of the way. The French members of our party jumped into action, swords clashing, the sound reverberating around me as I stood, in a state of shock.
A pair of solid arms grabbed me, covering my mouth as the hulking beast yanked me backwards. I tried to scream, but was unable. Instead I tasted the acrid beer that coated his palms, the scent of it filling my nose. I struggled, putting all of my strength into it as I writhed and twisted in his arms. But he held me tight. Pain shot through me as my ribs took most of the pressure.
He forced my head up as he dragged me further into the tree line, behind him I could hear a few other men, all talking in French. Throwing me to the ground in front of them, he stood, looking proud. The others looked perplexed, all looking down at me with a sort of suspended wonder. I steeled my shoulders, readied for battle. If they thought I’d go easily, they were seriously mistaken.
“Une femme? En culottes? Je ne comprends pas!” Was all they had time to chorus, together, before a monstrous sound echoed through the trees.
“Caisteal DHOOOOON…” The battle cry ricocheted around us, the birds fled the woods, in fear no doubt.
Jamie and Ian came barrelling through the underbrush, swords raised, mouths wide with their cries. The men around me all scattered, each running in a different direction as Jamie hoisted me into his arms and carried me out into the open once more.
The rest of the company were all gathered around a bound man, a prisoner from the bandits, it seemed, but Jamie drew me away from that and around the disturbed cart before he placed me down. There only seemed to be one casualty and Père Renault assured me he could cope, allowing me some time to gather my thoughts and calm. I was incredibly grateful, my heart still pounding hard in my chest. Part of me thought it would be easier to busy myself with healing, but Jamie was adamant that I sit aside, and I was in no position to argue.
“T-thank you, Jamie. Truly.”
He paced in front of me, straightening his kilt out, and then messing it up once more as the fear and anger left him. He kept his eyes on me as much as possible, searching our surroundings at the same time, making sure we were safe no doubt. “Ye dinna need to thank me, Claire. It’s me who should thank *you*. After all, I think ye’ve kept me alive with yer magic touch.” Talking seemed to settle him, the red flush that’d spread up his neck and along his jaw was receding with every passing moment.
I could feel myself blushing, the deep warm filling my cheeks. “I’m sure anyone else would have done the same, Jamie.” My hands, still shaking, were fiddling with the tiny twigs that’d wedged themselves into the fabric of my trousers.
“Nah, I dinna think so, Sassenach.”
“Sass–?” I looked over to him from where he’d sat me, hoping he’d elabourate on the term of endearment.
“Ach! Weel, it’s the Gàidhlig, aye? The language of the Scots. It isna always used for the positive, but it means ‘Englishman’, or ‘stranger’, but I dinna mean it as a slight.” I believed him. His tone, as always, was honest and direct.
I smiled, reaching my hand up to him for him to help me up. “So that’s what you and Ian were speaking in before?”
“Aye, the French,” he whispered conspiratorially, “they dinna ken it, so we can talk privately.” He winked as he kept hold of me, his shoulders shaking in silent laughter. The mere sound of his voice had calmed me, and I smiled to myself. Clever lad, I thought, my gaze fixed on my jointed hands.
Looking up at him once more, I saw him tense, his back paining him as he chuckled.
“Are you hurt?”
“Och, nah. I dinna think so.”
“Let me look, please, Jamie. It’s the least I can do, especially after you saved my life.”
He bumped my arm with his, dipping his head close to mine. So close that I could feel the soft pressure of his breath against my face. “Then I think we’re even, aye?”
“Even, then.” I replied, tugging him away to check him over once more.
– – —- – –
We sat ourselves just by a tiny stream, down an embankment, just off the road. After our encounter, I wasn’t exactly eager to walk into the woods, at least not for the moment. Someone had been here before us, as there was a small fire lit a little way up the bank.
Jamie complied easily, removing his shirt once more as I checked him over.
“Not too much damage, you’ve been lucky. You’ve bled a little, but that’s normal for these type of flesh wounds.”
“Aye, well, it could have been worse!”
His words were light, but I got the feeling he meant something entirely different. Underneath his light hearted banter lay something altogether more dark.
“What do you mean?” I returned, not sure I wanted to hear it.
“He offered me an alternative, to the whip. He offered me a chance to escape it, but it wasna…” It seem to pour out of him, and then he just stopped, as if he suddenly remembered where he was –who he was talking to.
I could feel the vomit crawling up the back of my throat, something in those few words gave me the sense that the ending wasn’t *cheerful*. His eyes were downcast as the fire-light sparked red and orange across his sunburnt cheeks.
“I could have accepted, part of me considered it. After the first batch…I didna wish t’ feel the lash again, but no, I couldna –in the end.”
My belly revolted, and I rushed off deep into the tree line, sprewing what little I’d eaten into the dank brush. My hands shook as sweat sprung along my brow, my palms slippery as they clung to the heated bark. I was glad he hadn’t said anymore.
“Sassenach, are ye alright?”
I jumped a little at the sound of his voice, not expecting him to have followed me. Wiping my mouth, I turned to face him, trying to hide the look of horror that I’d worn as I’d fled.
“Yes, I’m sorry, Jamie. I’m fine.”
I couldn’t quite believe what he’d been through. So young and yet so much responsibility thrust upon him. Would I have been so brave, had I been foisted with these decisions? No, I thought, certainly not. I wasn’t a waif, that much was true. But to survive that much agony, Jamie’s character was certainly shining through. I’d only just met the man;I didn’t even know his second name, yet a large part of me just wanted to take him in my arms and hold him close to my bosom.
He was looking at me with a curious look in his eyes, almost as if he was plucking the thoughts from my mind.
“You deserve so much better, Jamie. Honestly, I’m so sorry you’ve been through this.” I wiped my eyes as I re-tied my hair. “I hope you know, not all us English are that…sadistic.”
He quirked his head, a small grin appearing on his lips.
“I dinna ken what’s *sadistic*, Sassenach, but I do ken that yer a kind lassie. Wi’ a good heart. Even if ye are wearin’ those strange –breeks.” He took my hand, rubbing my fingers one by one. “I’m sae grateful, Claire. Truly,’ using his very best English inflection, he licked his lips before continuing, “and I promise you, Ian and I will see ye safe.”
I laughed, my heart resuming its regular beat as he brought my hand down and led me back to the others, jovial spirit reigniting between us.
– – —- – –
I awoke deep into the night, my feet freezing as I pulled them back under my thin blanket. For all the day was blisteringly hot, the evenings, after the sun set behind the trees, were incredibly cold. I’d left my army-supplied jacket on a tree to air out, feeling utterly rotten from walking all those miles, and I turned myself over, meaning to fetch it, when I heard twin voices in the dark.
Jamie and Ian were bent, heads together as they conversed in Gaelic. I stilled, not wanting to disturb them. The fire crackled to my left, the dense smoke filling the air as it died out, and I focused on that, trying desperately to pull its dwindling warmth towards me.
I could see my coat, the flicker of the deep yellow light throwing a greying shadow over it. Ian stood suddenly, catching the bottom of the thick wool, causing it to fall with a dull thud.
“Ah! Dhia.” he mumbled, reaching to pull the rough dark green jacket out of the dried mud.
I saw the paper fall before they did, sliding from an open side pocket. A small off-cream sheet that fell gracefully to the forest floor. Jamie spotted it just as it landed at his feet and I held my breath. I couldn’t recall what was written on it, but there was almost certainly a date on it, one that wouldn’t match the current year.
He faltered, holding the sheet between his big fingers. It didn’t much matter, I realised, if he read it, I would have to try and explain, as much as I could. I was still at a loss as to how I’d arrived here, but at least someone would know. I could see from my position only a few metres away, that he was fighting with himself.
In the end, though, curiosity won out. I was already an enigma to them all. A woman who knew general doctoring, much more than the ‘healers’ of their own time who appeared as if from nowhere wearing *breeks*. Finding out any information about me would certainly be a draw for them.
It was better than being taken by the Germans, I reasoned. Even if France and England were at war here, they seemed fairly relaxed about my intrusion.
I wrapped my fingers around the blanket as he flipped the notice over and read, as well as he could in the dark I supposed, a look of interest on his face. All of a sudden his shoulders hunched, I wondered if he back was causing him some grief. But then I caught the abject look of horror plastered across his face and realised he’d read something he didn’t like. His whole body was tensed in a second, readied for battle.
My heart spluttered in my chest, *what on earth had him so ill at ease?*
“Randall…” I barely saw Jamie’s lips move, but I did hear the whisper of his voice, carried as it was on the slight breeze. The hatred that seeped into his tone frightened me and I squeezed my eyes closed, wishing I knew what was going through his mind.
My surname. Something had triggered a memory, perhaps? But who would know me here, or Frank for that matter?