port royal sound

anonymous asked:

From the book, the wedding, when Claire passes out, then wakes up laying in Jamie's lap. Imagine that whole scene from Jamie's perspective.

Anonymous said: Ok so Claire passes out leaving the church what is this scene like in Jamie’s POV? I feel like this could be a very sweet scene.

Jamie sat alone in the Big House kitchen, enjoying a peaceful breakfast in the quiet of dawn. It was early yet – the bairns asleep, the white sow beneath the house not yet riled into destructive action. From his perch by the window, Jamie could look upon his son-in-law’s small cottage, lying darkened and still in the clearing. Roger would be awake, Jamie knew – how could he not? Farm life conditioned a man to live according to the rotation of sun and moon, a thoughtless adoption of nature’s rhythm. Jamie himself could scarce imagine a time he hadn’t seen the sunrise or heard the first lark’s call.

From the bedroom upstairs came a sudden cacophony of sound – shattered porcelain, scraping furniture, the thunk of human bone meeting wood.  A succession of further clangs were punctuated by the unmistakable fury of his wife:

“Jesus H. Roosevelt Christ. You bloody bastard!”

The curse was said with such venom that Jamie leapt from his seat, nearly overturning a bowl of parritch onto his lap. Even thirty years of marriage had not dulled the shock of hearing 20th century expletives this early in the day.

“You’ve a vocabulary as impressive as any sailor’s, Sassenach,” he’d told her once, looking out onto Port Royal Sound. “Though dinna speak as such at the docks – the captains will likely want ye as their chief mate.”

The memory of this conversation brought forth another, and Jamie paused, remembering.

Over half a century ago and in a tavern in Lille, he had sat surrounded by a group of Scots. And while each of them had been decorated in the French flag, the colors of their uniform had done nothing to hide where their true allegiance lie: Scotland. Their garbled dialect had been a welcome familiarity in the chaos of war, and Jamie had stayed until morning, feeling content among his fellow countrymen. He had listened as talk turned from causalities to pleasure houses, from the uses of rope to the land across the sea. At last, drunk and missing home, they had arrived on the subject of lifelong monogamy…

To Jamie’s surprise, most of the men had been wildly in favor of the notion, saying that a wife became more docile with age. And much more compliant, too.

“Easier to handle that way, aye?” a colonel had said, taking a greedy swig of drink. “Always makin’ ye sweeties, fussin’ as if ye’d never eaten a day in yer life! Ha!”

Given the man’s sizable gut, Jamie had not thought to question the colonel’s claim. But another member of the party – this one a thin, wiry man – had voiced another opinion.

“Aye. Bridget may give ye sweeties, Jerry, but none o’ the sort a man should want.” And here he had turned to 18-year old Jamie, eyebrows raised in suggestion. “If ye ken my meanin’, lad.” Still a virgin, Jamie had had the grace to blush, sticking his long, straight nose deep into his cup.        

“I didna ken ye’d become such an expert wi’ the lassies, Robert,” the colonel spat back. “Have ye grown tired of little boys?”    

Robert had only rolled his eyes, unperturbed. “Dinna listen to that fool, Jamie. He’s only bitter as he’s no been touched by his woman in years!”

Another man had piped in then, poking the colonel’s protruding belly. “Aye! His wife canna find his cock beneath all this!”

The rest of the table had hooped and hollered, descending into a riotous laughter. Sex and insults, Jamie had learned, were the foundation of most war-time camaraderie.

“No,” Robert had continued. “If yer married, it’s best to keep a wee lassie on the side. For yer wife willna touch ye when she’s auld and gray. Dries up like a wee prune, she do!” The other men had heartily concurred, each lamenting time’s unfortunate gravitational pull on their women’s breasts and waning libido. The discussion had gone on in this bawdy manner well into the night, arguments bolstered by a steady flow of cheap French wine.

Jamie needed neither experience nor age to see how wrong those men had been. Old, Claire might be (and he not much younger), but gentle and shriveled she was not. Even now, frail and in the wake of illness, his wife was very much the sharp-tongued lass he had married thirty-odd years before. And just as forthcoming.

Returning his attention to the racket above, Jamie dashed up the stairs.

“Sassenach!” he called jovially, bursting with the youth of that long-ago conversation. “What have ye done now, a ghràidh?” For weeks she had lain in bed, recovering from the fever that had nearly killed her. And for weeks he’d fought tooth and nail to keep her there. “Stubborn wee thing,” he muttered to himself.

But Jamie’s joy was brief. Hearing a faint cry, he advanced quickly down the hall, wame curling as he opened the door.

“Sassenach?” he repeated, now a question asked in fear. He walked into the bedroom.

Things were much as he’d left them, though a path of destruction lay just to the side of the bed. A candle – still lit and melting – books, and other miscellany were scattered across the floor. A knitting needle, broken at the tip. Shards of glass glistening in the growing light, a menacing trail leading to –.

Claire.

Near the bed knelt his wife, rail-thin and still colored in the pallor of lingering sickness. Her chest heaved with labored breaths, and her head – shorn in a moment of despair and without thought for beauty – was cradled in her hands. She reached for the bed post, seeking leverage, but found none. Her body slackened beneath its feeble weight, exhausted and defeated and unbearably shameful.

Jamie knew she had sensed his appearance in the doorway. But he knew, too, that she would turn to look at him only on her own terms. Pride, he mused, had always been their Achilles Heel.

Ah Dhia,” Jamie said, approaching as if she were a spooked horse. “What happened?”

“No,” she replied, voice shaky but defiant. “No. Go away. I don’t need your help.”

“Sassenach, ye willna ever be able to stand on yer own, if ye break yer back swingin’ about like that.”

“Yes, I bloody well know that, but – I – just. Please, Jamie. Leave.”

He stood back, knowing better than to defy her in moments such as these. But even in this awareness, he still ached to reach for her, to set her softly upon the bed and kiss away the fresh bruises on her knees.

He watched as his wife managed a two-handed grasp on the bedpost. With a small grunt of exertion, she pulled herself upright, feet finding their balance at last. Two tentative steps forward, and she caught a shard of glass, its jagged edges slicing heel to toe. She fell to the floor, and sat there silent and motionless save for the erratic heaving of her chest.

“Don’t look at me like this,” she said, barely audible. “Please.” If she begged a third time, Jamie thought, his heart would surely break.

He knelt down beside her. “Claire, mo chridhe,” he whispered, a hand resting on the injured foot. He tore away a strip of his shirt and used it to staunch the blood.

She did not look at him, and he did not look at her. Not because he minded her vulnerability – he didn’t. She had laid herself open to him too many times count, a nakedness beyond just that of the flesh. Nor was it because he disliked the caring of her.

But it did unnerve him, this playing of the healer. Usually it was Claire who did the doctoring, the one who bound his wounds and force-fed him flavorless broth. Usually he was the uncooperative patient, begging for privacy.

Jamie felt afraid, if not a little unqualified, in this new role.

Claire let out a lone and strangled sob, finally yielding to the tears she had kept at bay. Jamie rushed to close the distance between them, pulling her onto in his lap.

“Shh, shh,” he whispered, soothing her. “A ghràidh, I’m here. Ye’ve nothing to be ashamed of.”

She muffled a disagreement into his shirt, words thick and indiscernible. She sniffled.

“You can blow yer nose into my shirt, Sassenach. I dinna mind a bit.”

Reluctant to acknowledge the joke, Claire merely grumbled, but still Jamie detected a chink in her armor and held her tighter. She melted into him, around him, the most precious clay in his hands.

“Jem vomited on it just yesterday, mind. And I’ve a wee bit of last week’s supper on the shirtsleeve, too.” He picked absently at the crusted stain. “I dinna think your bogies will make much a difference, Sassenach. A fine addition, really. ”

She pulled away, poking him playfully in the chest. “A fine addition to the blood stain that will be there if you don’t hush, James Fraser.” She giggled, finally smiling. “Come here.”

She kissed him deeply on the mouth, lingering there until her self-consciousness drew them apart.

Claire looked at the surrounding wreckage and sighed. “I was in bed reaching for my journal when I – I – ” She began to cry, eyes welling with tears that spoke more shame than sadness. “I hate being weak, Jamie.” She wiped a hand across her face and slammed a fist into the floor. “Dammit! This isn’t me. I’m not like normally this. I – ”

“I’ve been married to ye long enough, lass. I ken how ye are just fine. Yer not weak – ye never have been and ye never will be.” He gently butted his forehead against hers. “Hard-headed as a bull from the moment I met ye.”

Sherry-colored eyes melded into one golden orb, holding him, transfixed – as they always had.

“Have ye no’ heard that there is often great bravery in surrender, Sassenach?” He placed his hands on either side of her head, resisting her attempts to look away. “It takes a strong man to win his battles w’out the need of his men. But it takes a stronger one to know when he canna do it alone – and must call upon his friends.”

“That’s very…wise of you,” Claire replied, voice trembling.

“And do ye ken where I learned that, Sassenach?”

She shook her head.

“From you.”

Not expecting this answer, she looked up, baffled. “Me? But when –”

“Do ye recall all the times ye’ve held me? As I hold ye now?”

His wife nodded, memories of MacRannoch’s, the Cristabel, and the printer’s shop coming to mind. So many times he had teetered on the precipice of life and death, crippled by sickness, trauma, and pain. And so many times she had kept him there – ferociously, desperately; cradling him as she had cradled their own child – until he’d found full healing at last.

He saw these images flit across her face: the puckering of his branded skin, the unreality of their reunion, a ship cabin grown stale with the stench of vomit. He shivered.

“And all those times – when I was sick or broken, dying or afraid – do ye ken how badly I wished to be strong? To push ye away and be brave enough to fight my demons w’out ye?”

“I didna want ye to see me then, no more than ye wish me to see ye now. But Sassenach…”

Jamie began kissing her lightly, lips brushing every inch of flesh they could find – her wrists, her shoulder, her eyes and cheeks. Finally, her mouth. “There’s a saying, aye? ‘If we canna see each other at our worst, then we dinna deserve each other at our best.’”

“But Jamie,” Claire began, “how can you love me like this?” She pulled futilely at her short hair, small tufts of brown the only remnants of her former curls.

“I feel so foolish – caring as much as I do. I know it doesn’t, shouldn’t matter but, but…” She groaned, frustrated with her inability to verbalize her feelings. The hollowness. The sense of displacement. She wasn’t herself, didn’t feel like herself anymore.

“Hush, lash,” Jamie soothed. “I ken yer meanin’ well. To see yourself so empty, a shell of what ye once were…”

Claire nodded, relieved, and watched as her husband grew suddenly reflective with recollection.

“You know, Sassenach. The only time I’ve ever held ye like this was on our wedding day?”

Claire wracked her brain – surely it had happened more than once? But her husband was right: she had lain in his lap only then, so many lifetimes ago.

Claire smirked, the passage of time having had no effect on her memory of the experience. “I fainted. After the ceremony.” She laughed, previous embarrassment long since vanished.

“I woke up with my head in your lap and a pounding headache. You looked as though you’d seen a ghost, but still I felt…safe. For the first time since I’d come through the stones.”

Jamie squeezed her hand, rubbing his thumb over her knuckles.

“Well, that and I also felt enormously hungover.”

“Aye, I remember that as well,” Jamie said, eyes gleaming. “Do ye want to know what I felt, Sassenach? Why I was looking at ye so strangely?”

“I snored?”

“Nay. Ye farted, lass.” Claire wriggled in his arms, making to swat him on the back.

“Must we go over this again? I do not fart in my sleep, Jamie Fraser!”

“Aye, ye do and ye did! To tell ye the truth of it, I’d half a mind to pass out myself, from the stench of it.

“Ha ha,” Claire said sarcastically. “Imagine: the pair of us married but five minutes and already sick to death of each other.”

He shook his head and tickled her stomach, finally admitting the lie.

“Although I willna deny…when ye fainted, I didna feel so well myself. I thought maybe I had killed ye.”

“Killed me? Jamie! Why?” She placed a hand over her mouth, stifling laughter.

“Weel…I thought ye might’ve been a witch after all. We had said the oath and shared our blood not long before ye fainted. So.”

“So you thought your deep-seated Catholicism had knocked me dead?” She dissolved into a fit of hysterics, unable to suppress it any longer. “You may be a man of faith, James Fraser, but I don’t think you’ve ever been destined for sainthood.” She ran a hand across his crotch. “Much too exciting for all that.”

Even Jamie was laughing now, though his cheeks burned red. “What? Ye dinna see me as a shining beacon of holiness?”

“No,” she said. “But I worship you all the same.”

“Aye, Sassenach. And I like ye as ye are, too – short hair or no. Though yer more likely to be mistaken for a monk than a bride, I’m afraid.”

She squirmed to get away, but he had fixed her arms to her side, enveloping her completely. His voice reverted back to the melodic cantor of a storyteller, and his thoughts returned to their wedding.

“When I laid ye in my lap and watched ye sleep, I ken then that I was wrong…You were no more a witch than I was King Arthur.”

“Do you remember what you said to me?”

“When ye woke? Aye. ‘That bad, was it?’ And you promised it was no but the whisky.”

“Not an entirely accurate statement, I must admit. I was nervous, too, you know. Bloody, bloody nervous.”

Jamie quirked an eyebrow. “Ye seem to forget that ye’ve a glass face, Sassenach. I ken well that ye were nervous – ye were cold and shaking like ye’d never be warm in yer life.”

“Mmm. And you, ever the gentleman, offered me food as comfort.”

“My Mam did always say as the way to a woman’s heart was a clean home and a fine meal.”

“I can’t say I disagree with her.” Claire’s face was alight with joy now, the despair of the past hour more a piece of the past than that summer’s day in 1743.

“But I made another promise to ye that day, when I held ye in the churchyard. For to see ye there, looking so peaceful…I ken then that I would spend my life trying to give that to ye always. I said, ‘Dhia, for all I’m worth, I would die to see her wake each morning so untroubled.’”

“Oh, Jamie…” Claire kissed him with such a passion that it left him dizzy. She tongued his neck, and bit his ear, the wanting of each other’s bodies raging like fire in their veins. But Jamie broke away, needing to say more.

“A colonel once told me…” His breath was still coming fast and hard, words strangled by the desire blooming deep in his chest, “that a woman grows easier with age. Another said that they dinna touch their men after a time.”

Ever-unimpressed by the wisdom of other men, Claire rolled her eyes in derision. Jamie chuckled and took her chin in his hands, his gaze locked on hers once more.

“Sassenach, yer no easier today than ye were back then. Sometimes I wish to knock ye upside the heid when you willna listen. But if I woke one day and saw ye gone, if I couldna touch ye or fight with ye or hear ye cursing the white sow into an early grave…I wouldna recognize myself anymore.”  

Tears slid down Claire’s cheeks. She pressed herself into him, burying her face in his shirt. So compact, so small and delicate – but fierce too. Fierce, most of all.

“Dinna cry, mo nighean donn. For I love ye as ye are, and I will love ye as ye will be. Even when ye canna see or walk or hear me speak – so long as ye are by my side, I will think myself a blessed man.” He ran his fingers over her scalp, whispering in the Gàidhlig until his wife fell still and silent.

“Rest easy now, Claire,” he said, “I’ll carry ye to bed.”

“And clean the house and make me breakfast?” she asked, half-conscious.

“Aye. That too.”