@just-a-crazy-lass asked: Hi! So I might have a little headcanon and I wanna see how you’ll expand it. :) So can I send my prompt now? Haha! Here it is:
Imagine in 1x09, Claire didn’t accept Jamie’s fealty (probably because her mind’s taking too long to process it all) and he left, spending the next few days avoiding Claire because he thinks she don’t want him anymore. Then one day he got very sick, Murtagh insists they must see Claire but in his delirious state of mind, Jamie stubbornly fought against it, muttering Claire wouldn’t like that–didn’t want to see me, stuff like that. Claire of course, overheard it.
Yep, I like a little angst and fluff. You keep up the good job, btw. Thank you!
You are SO very welcome! This wonderful lady asked if I had a master list, which I did not at the time. So she went and made me one! Since I don’t really have any other way to thank her for her wonderful services, I offered her a writing prompt of her choosing that I would fill just for her. This was what she came up with. I hope everyone enjoys it!
Authors Note: The line breaks that have *** denote a change in point of view. Line breaks with — denote movement of time without a perspective change.
He stared up at her, desperate. He’d torn his heart open and handed it to her, still bleeding.
“Is it no’ enough, Claire?”
“Do you not want me anymore?”
“Do ye wish to live seperately?”
It would kill him, but if that’s what she wanted he’d give it. Plenty of the men in Leoch lived apart from their wives. Dougal was one. Though Jamie had taken pains to NOT act like his uncle.
At the same time, he wouldn’t force Claire to live a life she no longer wanted. He’d thought, maybe, she had wanted a life with him, that she could grow to care for him. But that had been nothing more than the intoxication of living outside the castle. She didn’t want him.
“I feel that’s what I should want.”
There it was. The dirk in his chest, the blade cutting his insides out. Life as he’d hoped was over. The dream was ending, shattering and turning to dust in his hands. She looked as though she was about to speak but… She did not. Gritting his teeth, he shoved his dirk back into its sheath and stood.
“I’ll have my things out by lunch.”
I was dazed. Confused. Fuzzy. Incoherent. I didn’t understand what was going on around me or where I was for that matter.
In a room. Alone. In my shift with a light shawl about my shoulders.
The room smelled of a freshly lit fire and…
I leapt to my feet, searching the room for him frantically. But he was gone. When did he go? Why hadn’t I heard the door close or his large feet on the floors?
Belatedly, I remembered the last thing I’d said to him.
I feel that’s what I should want.
“Oh God… What have I done?”
When I’d washed and dressed, I went down to the kitchen in hopes of finding something to eat for lunch. Mrs. Fitz, in her infinite wisdom and kindness, had set aside a rather large platter of food for me.
No. Not me.
She’d gathered enough food to feed both Jamie and myself. Of course she didn’t know that he’d left, that I had no idea where he was. How could she? Feeling fear and sorrow growing in my chest, I thanked her for the food and took the whole plate up to our — my room.
I’d slept alone our first night back at Leoch, more to make a point than anything. Deep down I knew that if he wanted, he could insist on sharing my bed. He was my husband and I was his wife. No one would think it wrong.
Jamie would. He’d had every right on our wedding night to force me into bed, yet he hadn’t. He’d waited for me to be ready, to accept him. Like he had since I’d known him. And now he was giving me the space he thought I wanted. I couldn’t let that stand. I couldn’t let my last words to him be what they were.
So I threw the lunch into a basket and went out hunting.
The damned bloody Scot didn’t want me to find him. Everywhere I thought he’d be, he wasn’t. The places I was sure he’d never go, he wasn’t at either. I spent the entire day looking for him to no avail. He didn’t want to be found.
In the great hall at dinner, I saw Murtagh sneaking around in the shadows. I launched for him, knowing that if any in Scotland could find Jamie, it would be him.
He stopped and turned, waiting for me with his arms folded over his chest. I got the distinct impression he was displeased with me, though his face looked the same as always.
“Aye? What is it, mistress?”
“Do you know where Jamie is?”
“Havena got the slightest idea.”
Liar, I thought.
“Well… If you happen to see him, could you tell him I would like to speak with him?”
“By the sound o’ things, ye’ve said all ye wished to.”
Then he turned and left me with my mouth hanging open.
“Oh God,” I said, fighting down a sudden wave of emotion. “What have I done?”
He sat in the dark, staring at nothing. What was there, anymore? Claire didn’t want him, didn’t love him. Would never love him.
“Will ye no’ go inside, Jamie?” Old Alec asked.
“Nay. I’ll stay out here wi’ the horses.”
Where I’m wanted.
Donas snorted in the end stall and Jamie watched him. Murtagh had recommended leaving Leoch, living rough for a while. The thought hadn’t appealed to him before, not with Claire in tow, but now… He could leave her here where she’d be safe and provided for. But he could leave and not be forced to wish for something he’d never have again. She’d introduced him to pleasures before unknown, but he didn’t feel that desire springing up anywhere unless he was looking at Claire.
Murtagh was always in the shadows, keeping an eye out for her. She’d been seeking him for nearly two days, but he couldn’t be around her. He didn’t want to take pearls back or the ring or his heart were that even possible. Murtagh never told him what she said and he didn’t ask. It didn’t matter. It was over.
“I kent I’d find ye here,” came a sweet voice.
Not Claire, though.
Turning from his contemplation of the river, he watched the young lass Laogahire approaching him.
“It’s been yer secret place since ye were a lad.”
“No’ so secret if ye found me so easily,” he said with a kind smile.
She returned the smile. It sent a knife through his heart as he recalled when Claire had smiled like that, at the glade, when they’d snuck away and —
“What was that?” he asked, shaking himself into the present.
“I asked if ye were alright?”
“Och, aye. I’ve got a lot on my mind, ye ken.”
“Is there anything I can do for ye?”
“Ah… No. I thank ye, lass, but no. This is a mess of my own making.”
She walked closer to him, slowly. Her hands came out from beneath her cloak and undid the fastening. She was in her shift and corset, making a very bonny figure.
“Let me help ye ease yer mind, then. She was marriet before, but I’ve lain wi’ no one. I want ye to be the first, and only, man t’ have me.”
His mind went wild with possibility. Claire had denied him for three nights, and his body wanted release. Laogahire was bonny enough and none would have to know about it. He could…
But he couldn’t. No matter that Claire didn’t want him and that he’d likely never make love with her again. He’d made a vow, given his word.
“I’m sorry, Laogahire. I made a vow and I’ll no’ break it.”
“She’s denied ye her bed,” Laogahire said softly, taking his hand and placing it on her breast. “Kicked ye from her room. A good wife shouldna do such things, Jamie Fraser, and ye ken it well. Let me give ye comfort.”
She had lovely breasts, smooth and very round in his hand. On instinct, he began to cup her and tease her nipple.
“I’m sorry,” he breathed, voice cracking.
With a great effort, he pulled his hand away from her and took a step back.
“Why? Why would ye act this way toward her? She’s disrespected ye and treated ye wrongly!”
“It isna that simple. But I made my vow before God and I will keep my word to Him.”
Her sweet, soft eyes turned hard and filled with hate. Without another word, she picked her cloak back up and put it back on.
“She’s a witch, Jamie Fraser, and she’s put ye under her curse.”
Then, with a grunt of exertion, she pushed him into the river.
In the two days since I’d last seen Jamie, I’d taken to wandering the corridors at night. Dangerous, I knew, but I couldn’t go to sleep unless I was properly exhausted. Part of me hoped that if I wandered aimlessly, I’d run into him. If I had no purposeful destination, he couldn’t make pains to avoid me.
It hadn’t worked yet. But I was hopeful.
I stopped short. Usually only servants were around at this hour, and even at that it was rare I’d run into one.
“Ye must, lad! Ye’ll catch yer death otherwise!”
“Then let me die!”
I frowned and looked around, trying to see where I’d gone tonight.
I was near my surgery, nearly all the torches put out for the night. Since I’d taken over, no one had raided my surgery in hopes of finding alcohol. But someone was at the door now, trying to push it open. Just as I was about to offer my assistance, the men began talking again.
“I promised yer mother I’d look out for ye.”
“Aye. And ye tried.”
“That isna good enough, lad. Just let me fetch—”
“I said no, Murtagh, and that’s final. She doesna wish to see me. She asked that we live separately and that’s what I’m giving her.”
“Oh? Is that why she’s been hunting high and low for ye these last two days? Or why she corners me every time I’m near?”
The man Murtagh was holding, Jamie presumably, let out a cry of pain and stumbled. In the dim torchlight, I realized he was soaked to the bone and not putting any weight on his right foot.
“I said no. Dinna bring Claire into this.”
“I’ll no’ stand here and watch ye die either, Jamie.”
“Then find Mrs. Fitz. She kens enough about medicine.”
Murtagh rolled his eyes and left Jamie leaning against the wall while he opened the door.
“Fine,” the little clansman said upon his return. “I’ll go an’ fetch Mrs. Fitz. But ye stay here where I can find ye. Dinna go wandering about, aye?”
Then Murtagh helped him into my surgery before slipping back out and leaving to find Mrs. Fitz.
I had to do something. He wasn’t well, that much was obvious. But more than that, he wanted to die.
With a deep breath for courage, I went into the surgery and bolted the door.
“Christ it hurts, Murtagh. Did ye bring the whiskey?”
“No, I’m afraid I don’t have any whiskey at the moment.”
“Oh, it’s you Sassenach.”
I frowned at him. Then I studied him.
He was shaking, trembling in his wet clothes. This was not the time of year to be wearing soaked wool out around the grounds.
This was the most he’d spoken to me in two days. It was good to hear his voice again, delirious as it was.
“Why don’t ye want me, Claire?” he asked so softly I thought I’d imagined it at first.
He laid himself flat on the table, eyes closed.
“I ken that I dinna ken how to be a husband, but I thought ye were… Weel… Maybe no’ happy, but ye were alright.”
“I am, Jamie. I am happy.”
I put my hand on his arm and he was suddenly gone as though shot from a cannon.
“Yes? No one else in here.”
His eyes rolled around the room and he began slurring in Gaelic. That wasn’t good. I needed to get him warmed up.
“Come on,” I said, tugging at the freezing clothes.
I heard Murtagh and Mrs. Fitz’s voices outside, but the door was bolted and I was busy.
“Jamie? Are ye alright lad?”
“I’ve got him, Murtagh,” I said, wrenching at his belt.
I threw a dry quilt over him and set about getting the fire started.
“Mistress? Is Jamie in there wi’ ye?”
“Will ye open the door, lass?”
Grumbling in frustration, I unbolted the door and left it open. I needed to get the fire going or Jamie would get worse.
“Here,” Murtagh said, squatting in front of the hearth. “Go and work on the lad.”
Jamie was shaking now, his body rigid with the cold. I began rubbing him down, trying to get his circulation moving. In a few moments, I felt the warmth of the fire at my back. Murtagh came over to stand beside me, staring worriedly down at Jamie.
“Will he be alright?”
“I think so, but I can’t properly examine him until he stops shaking.”
“Aye. Do ye need anything else?”
“Help me get him to the fire?”
Between the two of us, we got Jamie on the floor before the fire.
“And ye’re sure ye dinna need anything?”
“No, thank you. If you don’t mind, I’ve got a handle on this.”
Murtagh nodded once and left the surgery. I bolted the door again. I finally had Jamie all to myself and he had no way to run away from me.
I thought over what had happened the last few days.
Returning to Leoch had made things come to a head quickly and I hadn’t been prepared for the consequences. The first night of our return, I’d still been sore and very angry at Jamie. Sleeping alone that night hadn’t been enjoyable, but I’d held my ground. I’d grown accustomed to his warmth and solid weight beside me, even though we hadn’t been married long. And then he’d come back and pledged his fealty to me, a gift he hadn’t even given to his uncle the clan chief.
But I hadn’t responded in time.
My mind had been whirling with everything he’d said, how he’d promised me that he’d never raise his hand to me again. That was something he hadn’t had to promise. I knew his word was good, that wasn’t what had shocked me. Truth be told, I wondered how many eighteenth century men would have been willing to compromise for their sharp-tongued wife?
Jamie deserved the answer I’d wanted to give him, but hadn’t been in time for. Christ why hadn’t I said it sooner?
“Jamie,” I said, combing his thick auburn hair from his eyes. “Jamie I don’t want to live separately.”
He wasn’t warming fast enough. Checking that the door was in fact locked, I began untying the laces of my gown and stays. He needed my body heat.
Sliding beneath the quilt, I continued rubbing him down as I curled around him.
“I’m sorry,” I said. “I should have spoken sooner. But you were gone before I could say anything and… Please wake up, Jamie.”
His voice was raspy and deep, cracking in the middle of the word.
Eyes still closed, I watched his forehead knit together in a frown.
“Sassenach, why are ye naked?”
I rolled my eyes.
“Because you’re freezing. Why the hell did you go swimming in all of your clothes in this weather?”
“I didna. It’s a long story.”
“You’re not going anywhere tonight. Tell me.”
“No’ just now. Ye should go up to bed, lass.”
I pulled myself closer, feeling him start to warm.
“I can’t. I’m your physician and you’re not well yet.”
“I’ll be fine if I stay by the fire. Go on.”
He turned his head away from me, clenching his jaw.
“Ye said what ye wanted to say already, lass. I dinna need to here it again.”
“No, that isn’t it. You left before I finished. I don’t… Jamie, please look at me.”
Slowly, he turned his head back to face me. He wore that impenetrable mask again, shielding his thoughts and feelings from me.
“I was still thinking things over when you left. I didn’t… Jamie I don’t want to live separately. I don’t want that kind of life.”
I’d lived it before, living apart from the man I’d married, always wondering what he was doing. The years during the war that had separated Frank and I still sometimes hurt.
“Truly?” he asked, his eyes beginning to spark with life.
“Yes. Truly. I accept your pledge of fealty. Will you share my bed again?”
“Aye. I will, Sassenach. Though, maybe no’ just yet.”
Nodding, I moved beneath his arm and wrapped myself around him.
“Now will you tell me why you were soaking wet?”
Looking up at him, I watched as he chose his words.
“I was, ah… I was out, trying to keep away from you, ye ken. Laogahire kent where I was.”
I didn’t like where this was going.
“What did she want?”
“To, ah… Weel… I suppose I’ll just come out wi’ it.” He heaved a great sigh and shuddered. “She offered herself to me. Said ye were disrespecting me, no’ sharing yer bed and all. She… Tried. But I wouldna do it.”
I turned his head to look into his eyes.
“Even though you thought I didn’t want you anymore? When you thought I wanted you to stay away from me? Still, you didn’t go with her?”
“No, Sassenach. I didna. Even if ye didna want me, I couldna break my word.”
“What exactly did she do?”
“Stomped on my foot and pushed me into the water.”
Immediately I scrambled out from under the quilt, only having just remembered seeing him unable to put weight on his foot. I’d removed his boots and stockings, but I hadn’t really looked him over.
He grunted as I pulled the quilt off his foot. I breathed in sharply, gently poking the slightly swollen toes.
“She must have heavy feet,” I muttered.
“Nay. She used the heel of her wee boot. Hurt like hell.”
“I’ll say. No wonder it was so easy to push you into the freezing water.”
“Murtagh saw her storm back into the kitchens,” he said, arm coming around me a little tighter. “He kent where I was. Good thing, too, or I’d be frozen to death.”
“I’m glad he found you. And that he brought you here.”
He nodded at me and one corner of his mouth pulled up.
“Why did you no’ say anything sooner, Sassenach?” he said after some time.
“No’ wanting to live apart.”
I rolled my eyes.
“Because you were avoiding me, you bloody Scot.”
“Aye, I ken that the last two days. But before. Why did ye no speak?”
“I… I tried. But I couldn’t get the words out. And then when I did, you’d already gone. You wouldn’t listen to me after that.”
“I can be a stubborn fool, ye ken.”
“Yes. I noticed. I’ll just have to keep this in mind for next time.”
“Keep what in mind?”
“That the way to make you listen to me is to injure you and lock you in a room.”
He smiled down at me and leaned in for a soft kiss. I felt whole once again, lying on the floor of my surgery wrapped in his arms.