William is present when the Mackenzies return. He witnessed Jamie and Brianna's loving and reunion and it makes him wonder more about Jamie. Jamie also reintroduces them as brother and sister.
So a large part of this new fic is what I have in mind as something that could happen in Book 9 (but I also know probably/definitely won’t). I was outlining it to Gotham one night a WHILE back and promised her I’d write it for her and since so much of it fits with various prompts we already have in the drafts, it just made sense to use it here on Imagine. To make it’s start fit with this specific prompt, there’s a little bit of canon tweaking necessary, namely that the new big house is already finished and Ian and Rachel have just moved into their own very recently completed cabin.
Also a small disclaimer: I do not read the Daily Lines and in fact, try to avoid them (I prefer passages with full context and like my first read through the book to happen without me getting constantly distracted by my brain jumping up and going, ‘oh, I remember when DG posted this bit,’ or ‘I guess X scene was edited out/down’).
There was a great deal of confusion as they all talked over one another, hugging and squeezing and kissing and laughing and crying. Jamie nearly collapsed under Jem’s weight as he tried to hoist the lad onto his back to carry him up to the big house but Claire and Brianna rushed to steady them and with another laugh they were off to get the MacKenzies settled in.
“Ian’s married and they have a baby,” Claire explained to Brianna, the two of them lagging a few steps behind. “Your uncle Ian passed, I’m afraid, a few years ago now but your father was able to be with him and he brought your aunt Jenny with him. She’s staying with Ian and Rachel now the baby’s come.”
“Jenny’s here?” Brianna said with surprise. “And where did you tell her Roger and I were?”
Claire paused and turned to her daughter, her voice dropping low. “She knows now. Everything. When we went to Scotland and Ian was… we told them both the whole truth.”
Brianna just nodded.
“She’ll be thrilled to see you, though,” Claire assured her. “And to meet Jem and Mandy.”
“We’ll have to go tomorrow to see them,” Brianna promised.
“Actually… Since they’ve just finished with their new house, they’re having a gathering of sorts there tonight to celebrate… Sort of a barn raising,” Claire said. “I’m sure they’ll be thrilled to have you there and celebrate your return as well. I know Ian’s missed you as much as your father and I have and you’ll love Rachel.”
“Sounds like it’ll be a long night,” Brianna laughed. “It’s just such a relief to be back after everything that’s happened.”
Jamie, Roger, and Jem had reached the big house and Jamie was showing it off––it had just been finished it a few weeks before.
Claire looked around.
“Where’s Mandy? It must all be a bit overwhelming for her here,” Claire remarked then added sadly, “She can’t possibly remember us.”
Brianna looked around for her daughter too, then sighed with relief when she spotted her further down the path staring back at the road they’d walked a short time earlier.
“Mandy is… I’m not entirely sure how to describe it,” Brianna confessed, telling Claire quickly about the experiments Joe had helped her conduct with the children back in Boston. “Whatever it is she’s got it stronger than Jem but even he would say things about Da that… Especially at the old family cemetery…” She shivered. “I’m not sure what to make of it but if Mandy says or does something that seems… familiar… It’ll take some getting used to but if it helps, I don’t think she’ll be shy with you and Da.”
“What’re you looking at Mandy, dear?” Claire asked quietly.
Her dark curls were wild in the light mountain breeze and when she turned her head it blew them across the face of her red-haired doll, which she clutched tightly to her chest.
“Someone’s coming,” she informed them, then turned back to stare at the road that wound along the edge of the clearing and could be seen a short ways into the woods while the trees remained thin, but soon it wound around a bend and dropped out of sight to head further down the mountain.
Claire squinted then turned to Brianna who had been squinting as well.
“Mandy, honey, I don’t see anyone coming,” Brianna responded. When Claire caught her eye, Brianna tilted her head as if to say, See what I mean?
“But he’s there,” Mandy insisted.
Claire raised a hand to shield her eyes and then reached for Brianna who had crouched to be at Mandy’s level.
“She’s right,” Claire exclaimed. “There’s a wagon coming.”
“Who could it be?” Brianna asked mimicking Claire’s posture. “You’re not expecting anyone are you?”
Claire snorted. “No, but you lot still showed up, didn’t you?”
“Mandy honey, go tell Da and Grandda that someone’s coming,” Brianna instructed.
Mandy ran back to the house as Claire’s feet began to pull her towards the path leading down to the road. The wagon made its way into the clearing by the Higgins’ cabin and Amy emerged. Claire could only tell that there appeared to be a man and a woman in the wagon with possibly a child in the woman’s arms. Their hats obscured their faces but Amy’s gestures clearly indicated that she was explaining the way up to the big house.
“Ye should see the surgery yer da built for yer mam,” Roger called as he made his way from the house back down to where Claire and Brianna still watched and waited. “It’s bigger’n the last one.”
“They’re climbin’ yer da like a jungle gym. Sounds like they’ll each find playmates over at Ian’s tonight. Germain and a lass called Fanny were sent o’er early to help get things ready.”
“Mama was just telling me.”
“Looks like they’re makin’ their way up,” Roger remarked as the wagon turned toward the steeper path up to the big house’s overlook. The man climbed down then helped the woman––who definitely held a baby in her arms––then he took hold of the horses’ reins to guide the creatures and the lightened wagon up the path.
Jamie came along with Jem hanging from his back and Mandy wrapped around his leg.
“Miss Mandy says we’ve more visitors on the way. I told her she and Jem might have to sleep in the barn wi’ the horses to be sure there’s room, unless someone doesna mind sleepin’ on the bed in yer surgery.”
Jem let go of Jamie and dropped to the ground. “I’ll go see if they need help,” he exclaimed and broke off into a run before any of the adults could stop him.
“Wait for me!” Mandy cried and hurried after him.
“Watch your feet!” Brianna called after them before closing her eyes, unable to watch as her reckless children tore downhill to besiege the poor wanderers.
Jamie chuckled and wrapped an arm around his daughter, pulling her into his chest and pressing a kiss to her brow. “They seem happy in spite of everything.”
“It’s good to be home and all together again,” Brianna nodded, resting her head against Jamie’s shoulder and putting her arms around him. “We’ve missed you.”
“Mrs… Friend Claire!” Dottie Hunter called awkwardly then shifted the baby in her arms to wave.
“Oh,” Claire gasped before turning briefly to Jamie who had gone pale and still enough for Brianna’s brow to furrow.
It was now clear the man leading the horses on foot was not Dottie’s husband. At his cousin’s exclamation, William Ransom had looked up in time to see two children barreling toward them and a ways further up Mother Claire and Jamie Fraser with two others, a younger man and woman whose hair had unmistakably come from her father.
Jem reached them first and smiled with triumph.
“D’ye need help wi’ yer horses?”
“I… I think I can manage,” William said hesitantly, staring at Jem with intent curiosity. The boy looked familiar beyond his obvious resemblance to his grandfather.
“Who might you––thee––be?” Dottie asked.
“Jem MacKenzie.” Mandy finally reached them, panting after her run. “My sister’s Mandy. Do ye ken Grandda and Grannie?”
“Yes, actually,” William said turning to get the horses moving again. Jem and Mandy walked a short ways ahead of the visitors. “I’m William Ransom and this is my cousin, Mrs. Hunter.”
“Thee can call me Dottie,” she insisted with a smile for Mandy.
“Wha’s yer bairn called?” Mandy asked pointing to the fidgeting bundle in Dottie’s arms.
“Her name is Minnie, for her grandmother.”
“William… Dottie!” Claire called as she met them on their way up. Jamie, Brianna, and Roger remained waiting in the clearing by the ledge. “What brings the two of you here? Is Denny all right?”
“Yes,” Dottie said with a smile that was clearly forced. “But he’s with the army still and with the baby… He wanted us somewhere safe and with family if possible so Cousin William agreed to bring me here to see if Friend––Sister––Rachel and Brother Ian… I should have written first to give Thee warning but it was faster to simply come in person…”
Claire smiled and stepped forward to peer at the blinking baby in Dottie’s arms. “May I?”
Dottie nodded and looked relieved to have Claire take hold of the baby.
“I’m sure Rachel and Ian will be happy to have you to stay with them and this little one,” Claire cooed at Minnie who gurgled and stuck her hand in her mouth, “has a cousin to meet.”
“Really?” Dottie reached to take Minnie back from Claire as the child began to fuss with hunger, her fist proving unsatisfying.
“William, you can stay here at the house with us,” Claire insisted. “For as long as you want.”
“Thank you, Mother––Mrs. Fraser. But I don’t expect I’ll need to stay more than the night,” he protested, not looking at her but rather staring at the ground. His jaw clenched tight and Claire remembered something vague Ian had mentioned in passing about William and Rachel.
“Ye’ll come to the party tonight though,” Mandy objected. “Grannie and Mam said they was havin’ a party tonight. We’re gonna suprise ‘em.”
“They’ll be surprised all right,” Roger said hoisting Mandy up and settling her on his shoulders. As he got hold of her foot in one hand and felt her fingers get a tight grip in his hair, he held his other hand out to William. “Roger MacKenzie. I believe we met once before a few years ago now.”
Recognition dawned on William’s face and there was a brief but vibrant flush that immediately followed and quickly suppressed.
“I believe you’re correct, Mr. MacKenzie.” William returned the handshake politely.
“Are ye comin’ to the party tonight?” Mandy reiterated, not having forgotten that William had yet to promise he’d join them.
“You lot can go on ahead to Ian and Rachel’s with Grandda,” Claire said as they came up to Jamie and Brianna. “He’ll show you and Dottie here the way. I’ll stay back a while and help William with the horses and to unload the wagon. We’ll also need to get the rooms made up for so many guests. I’m sure William wouldn’t mind helping with that.” She looked to Jamie whose eyes had gone wet in that painful way of someone who hasn’t been able to blink. “Jenny and Rachel will be grateful for the help and Ian will be after your company setting up outside.”
“Are ye sayin’ we should be goin’ now?” Jem asked, confused.
Brianna looked up at Jamie, then over at her mother, before landing on William who was looking between the ground and Jamie.
“William,” Jamie finally spoke. “Welcome.”
“Mr. Fraser,” William muttered quietly.
“Thank thee Friend Fras––James,” Dottie said stepping forward and giving a small bob of her head. “It is kind of thee to welcome us to your––thine––home.”
“Why’s she talkin’ funny, Da?” Mandy whispered loudly into Roger’s ear.
He gave her leg a little pinch. “Dinna be rude, Amanda,” he hissed back.
“Please, let me introduce our daughter, Brianna, and her family,” Jamie said broadly with a smile for Dottie. He still had an arm around Brianna but he let his hold on her slacken. “Her husband, Roger Mac, and their bairns, Jeremiah and Amanda. We’ve another grandson, Germain, stays wi’ us here and the lass William kens, Fanny, as well. They’re already with Ian and Rachel to get ready for the gathering. Fanny’s quite taken wi’ the wee bairn and if ye bring another for her to play wi’ ye’ll have to keep an eye on her to be sure ye get yer wean back.”
Dottie laughed but there were tears in her eyes. “It sounds like precisely what Denny wanted for us,” she said. “Somewhere cheery and safe away from the war.”
“It is that,” Jamie nodded. “Now Bree, Mrs. Hunter here is Lord John Gray’s niece––ye’ll remember John, of course. She’s wed to one of yer mam’s surgeon friends from the war, Denny Hunter.”
“Denny is Ian’s Rachel’s brother,” Claire added.
Bree laughed, a little higher and more self-conscious than usual. “You need to cool it with the names unless you’re going to write it out on a piece of paper and quiz me on it later. It’ll be easier to remember once I have the faces to go with the names.” She reached over and shook the other woman’s hand.
“Thee can begin with Dottie,” she said, bowing her head to Brianna after releasing her hand.
“And William…” Jamie said, using his hand on Brianna’s shoulder to turn her slightly towards him as well. “Yer brother.” He said it quietly, now as an attempt to whisper but because of the tightness that rose in his throat at being able to say it at all.
Brianna looked to Claire who gave her a small nod.
“Yes,” William said with his head held high as though prepared for battle. “I know. Dottie does as well. And I’m assuming you’ve known all along. I… I remember now… meeting you and your family in the street that day.”
“I’m confused,” Jem declared. “Are we no goin’ to Uncle Ian’s?”
“Of course we are,” Roger said putting a hand to Jem’s head and twisting his wrist to turn the lad around. “And yer grandda’s goin’ to lead the way.”
Jamie sighed and blinked a few times as though shaking off a stupor. “Aye. We can leave now, if Mrs. Hunter is agreeable. She has been travelling for some time today already and if she needs a rest––”
“Actually, I need the walk,” she asserted, her eyes watching William who held tight to the horses’ reins and made no move to lead them further while so many people remained in the clearing. “I’ve been sitting in the wagon for hours and my legs need the movement.”
“How’re your arms?” Brianna asked stepping over and offering to take the baby. “If you’ve been sitting, you’ve probably been carrying her longer.”
Again, Dottie was relieved to pass the light weight of the baby off to another, carefully tucking in the ends of little Minnie’s blanket. “Thee is too kind.”
There was some maneuvering as a small bag of Dottie’s things was put together from the wagon. The rest would be brought over to Ian and Rachel’s cabin when the housing arrangements were settled more definitively. William remained silent and rather stoic as Claire guided most of the efforts to get Jamie and the MacKenzies on their way.
“Ye’re all right wi’ him, Sassenach?” Jamie asked quietly as she stepped up to bid him a brief farewell.
“I’ll make sure he agrees to stay for a while,” she promised him before rising on her toes to give him a light kiss. “He’s clearly overwhelmed just now and a little time to process it all is what he needs.”
Jamie pressed his forehead to hers and sighed with relief. “Aye. I’ll speak wi’ Brianna on the matter, then.”
“She’s bound to have questions of her own,” Claire agreed. “Of the two of them, I’m not sure which of us has the more enviable task.”
Jamie chuckled and kissed Claire’s forehead one last time before moving off towards the path recently cut through the trees leading a little further around the mountain and then down to the small clearing where Ian and Rachel’s cabin was nestled.
There is a dog that lives near me. He is spotted all over and I used to think he was a girl so I called him Dottie. After a while I realized he was actually a boy I started calling him "Mr. Dottie" and then somehow it turned into calling him "doots" and then one day I typed doots in to tumblr and found your blog. The end.
It’s laughter amid a part of Written In My Own Heart’s Blood that is full of such pain - Jamie’s terror when Claire is shot, Claire’s woozy mind as she fights to live, and then both of them fearing that Denny Hunter’s surgery may not fully remove the bullet fragments that could kill her.
Amid all of this, Jamie tends to Claire - as she has so many times for him. This passage shows just how deeply they understand each other - how profoundly they love each other - how they will literally do *anything* for each other.
“I’ll do, Sassenach,” he said softly, and I heard the rustle of his movement as he got his feet under him. “I’m glad ye feel well enough to ask. D’ye need water?”
“Er … rather the opposite, really,” I said.
“Oh? Oh.” He stooped, a pale blur in his shirt, to reach under the bed. “D’ye need help?”
“If I didn’t, I wouldn’t have waked you up,” I said, a little testily. “I didn’t think I could wait for Mrs. Macken or Dottie, though.” He snorted a little and got me under the arms, lifting me into a sitting position.
“Now, then,” he murmured. “It’s no like ye’ve not done this—and a good many worse things—for me.”
While this was true, it didn’t make matters easier.
“You can let go now,” I said.
“Perhaps leave the room?” “Perhaps not,” he said, still mildly, but with a tone indicating that his mind was made up on the subject. “If I let go, ye’ll fall on your face, and ye ken that perfectly well, so stop talkin’ and be about your business now, aye?”
It took some time—anything that put pressure on my abdomen, including the act of urinating, hurt remarkably—but the business was accomplished and I was eased back down onto the pillow, gasping. Jamie bent and picked up the chamber pot, clearly intending to hurl the contents out the window in customary Edinburgh fashion.
“No, wait!” I said. “Keep that ’til morning.”
“What for?” he asked cautiously. Clearly he suspected I might still be unhinged from fever and be contemplating some grossly irrational use of the pot’s contents, but he didn’t like to say so, in case I had something logical, if bizarre, in mind. I would have laughed, but it hurt too much.
“I need to check, once there’s light, to be sure there’s no blood,” I said. “My right kidney’s very sore; I want to be sure there’s no damage.”
“Ah.” He set the utensil down carefully and, to my surprise, opened the door and glided out, moving soft-footed as a hunting fox. I heard one squeak as he stepped on a stair tread, but nothing more until a glow betokened his return with a candlestick.
“Have a look, then,” he said, picking up the pot again and bringing it to me. “I kent ye’d just fret about it did ye have to wait for daybreak.”
He sounded resigned, but this small thoughtfulness brought me close to tears. He heard the catch in my breathing and leaned close, alarmed, bringing the light up to my face.
“Are ye all right, Sassenach? Is it bad, then?”
“No,” I said, and wiped my eyes hastily on a corner of the sheet. “No—it—it’s fine. I just —oh, Jamie, I love you!”