It had been almost four months since Claire and Jamie had returned to the Highlands. Four months since the tragedies of Paris had threatened to cripple them completely. But Scotland - and Lallybroch - had been restorative. The pace of life in the Highlands had given them a chance to slowly heal the gaping wounds left by the loss of Faith. Everything from the air, to Jenny and Ian’s understanding, to Murtagh’s gruff affection, to wee Fergus adjusting to a quiet, more homely atmosphere among family, helping tend even his more darker memories.
Intimacy had slowly made its way back into their bed as well. They didn’t rush or force it, only let it develop naturally between them once more. Long Lallybroch nights that turned words into quiet exchanges of touches and caresses. One night, two months after returning, those small touches and caresses became more. They’d turned wordlessly to one another in the hushed stillness of a warm summer night, finding again what they once feared had been lost to them forever. A connection that only forged itself from their intense coupling, a soul-deep connection stronger than even the darkest dungeons of Wentworth or the devastation of the loss of their blood. A connection that was their sanctuary. Through tenderness and later, raw, blinding passion, Claire and Jamie found themselves once again in one another.
Most evenings were spent with Jenny reading to them all by firelight. Claire and Jamie cuddled on the settee, drowsily passing the time relearning the shape of each other’s fingers and hands, exploring the tiny changes that came with working long hours with their hands in the fields or tending patients. One night - while looking for something she hadn’t read before - Jenny had found in amongst the old musty books in the library, one of Jamie’s books from the Université. A collection of poems both in Latin and English, that she said had been frightfully dull for her, and given it back to Jamie - who looked as though he could barely control his excitement. That night, as they readied themselves for bed, Claire took the book from him as she lay back against the pillows and opened it at random. Jamie took his time undressing.
“You’ve read this in both languages, I take it,” Claire said, scanning the pages.
“Aye,” Jamie replied as he slipped his shirt off over his head, watching her. “I quite enjoyed it actually, committed most of them to memory.”
“To regale all the dainty young French lasses, nay doubt,” Claire teased. “Nothing more erotic than a dashing young man who can pull Catullus out of thin air.” She glanced at him as he unbuckled his belt. He snorted.
“Och aye! Nothing like regaling lasses that hardly spoke neither Latin nor English enough to understand yon dashing lad! Falling a little on deaf ears, no?” He looked up at her then, a cheeky smirk lining every inch of his face. She laughed and went back to skimming the pages, then paused, intent, as a passage caught her eye.
“This is quite lovely,” she said quietly. He smiled, seeing her eyes light up as her smile touched them. He thought he knew which passage she read, but asked anyway. She settled more comfortably, angling herself so the candle by the bed illuminated the page better and began reciting; he could hear the grin plastered on her face clearly in her voice.
“Come and let us live my Dear, Let us love and never fear, What the sowrest Fathers say, brightest Sol that dyes today. Lives again as blithe tomorrow, But if we dark sons of sorrow, Set then how long a Night, shuts the eyes of our short light!”
Just as she was about to go on, she felt Jamie slide into bed behind her, naked, his arms coming around her body, thighs fitting neatly behind her own and his hoarse voice muffled in the clouds of her hair, as he continued - from memory - where she’d left off.
“Then let amorous kisses dwell, on our lips, begin and tell, a Thousand and a Hundred score, a Hundred and a Thousand more…”
He moved her hair off her shoulder, placing a tender, lingering kiss in its place. For some inexplicable reason, Claire found her eyes brimming with tears, emotion catching in her throat. It took a couple tries to swallow them away, even then, when again she spoke, her voice croaked and cracked. ““Da mi basia mille…”” she turned her head, pressing her cheek to his forehead.
Jamie’s arms tightened about her, pressing her back to him, his lips still on her shoulder. Then his hand slid down her body, pulling her leg back onto his. ““…Deinde centum…”” he replied, so faint she’d felt the vibration in his chest rather than heard the words themselves. He shifted then, gliding gently home.