Could you please post the passage where Jamie and Claire talk for the first time about him being Willie's father and which book it appears? Thank you!
Of course! This is one of my favorite scenes in Voyager.
He was silent for several minutes, and I was as well, not knowing how to take the conversation back to what I had seen and heard at Government House.
I felt rather than saw him swallow, and he turned from the window to face me. There were lines of tiredness in his face, but his expression was filled with a sort of determination— the sort of look he wore facing battle.
“Claire,” he said, and at once I stiffened. He called me by my name only when he was most serious. “Claire, I must tell ye something.”
“What?” I had been trying to think how to ask, but suddenly I didn’t want to hear. I took half a step back, away from him, but he grabbed my arm.
He had something hidden in his fist. He took my unresisting hand and put the object into it. Without looking, I knew what it was; I could feel the carving of the delicate oval frame and the slight roughness of the painted surface.
“Claire.” I could see the slight tremor at the side of his throat as he swallowed. “Claire— I must tell ye. I have a son.”
I didn’t say anything, but opened my hand. There it was; the same face I had seen in Grey’s office, a childish, cocky version of the man before me.
“I should ha’ told ye before.” He was searching my face for some clue to my feelings, but for once, my giveaway countenance must have been perfectly blank. “I would have— only—” He took a deep breath for strength to go on.
“I havena ever told anyone about him,” he said. “Not even Jenny.”
That startled me enough to speak.
“Jenny doesn’t know?”
He shook his head, and turned away to watch the manatees. Alarmed by our voices, they had retreated a short distance, but then had settled down again, feeding on the water weed at the edge of the lagoon.
“It was in England. It’s— he’s— I couldna say he was mine. He’s a bastard, aye?” It might have been the rising sun that flushed his cheeks. He bit his lip and went on.
“I havena seen him since he was a wee lad. I never will see him again— except it might be in a wee painting like this.” He took the small picture from me, cradling it in the palm of his hand like a baby’s head. He blinked, head bent over it.
“I was afraid to tell ye,” he said, low-voiced. “For fear ye would think that perhaps I’d gone about spawning a dozen bastards … for fear ye’d think that I wouldna care for Brianna so much, if ye kent I had another child. But I do care, Claire— a great deal more than I can tell ye.” He lifted his head and looked directly at me.
“Will ye forgive me?”
“Did you—” The words almost choked me, but I had to say them. “Did you love her?”
An extraordinary expression of sadness crossed his face, but he didn’t look away.
“No,” he said softly. “She … wanted me. I should have found a way— should have stopped her, but I could not. She wished me to lie wi’ her. And I did, and … she died of it.” He did look down then, long lashes hiding his eyes. “I am guilty of her death, before God; perhaps the more guilty— because I did not love her.”
I didn’t say anything, but put up a hand to touch his cheek. He pressed his own hand over it, hard, and closed his eyes. There was a gecko on the wall beside us, nearly the same color as the yellow plaster behind it, beginning to glow in the gathering daylight.
“What is he like?” I asked softly. “Your son?”
He smiled slightly, without opening his eyes.
“He’s spoilt and stubborn,” he said softly. “Ill-mannered. Loud. Wi’ a wicked temper.” He swallowed. “And braw and bonny and canty and strong,” he said, so softly I could barely hear him.
“And yours,” I said. His hand tightened on mine, holding it against the soft stubble of his cheek.
“And mine,” he said. He took a deep breath, and I could see the glitter of tears under his closed lids.
“You should have trusted me,” I said at last. He nodded, slowly, then opened his eyes, still holding my hand.
“Perhaps I should,” he said quietly. “And yet I kept thinking— how should I tell ye everything, about Geneva, and Willie, and John— will ye know about John?” He frowned slightly, then relaxed as I nodded.
“He told me. About everything.” His brows rose, but he went on.
“Especially after ye found out about Laoghaire. How could I tell ye, and expect ye to know the difference?”
“Geneva— Willie’s mother— she wanted my body,” he said softly, watching the gecko’s pulsing sides. “Laoghaire needed my name, and the work of my hands to keep her and her bairns.” He turned his head then, dark blue eyes fixed on mine. “John— well.” He lifted his shoulders and let them drop. “I couldna give him what he wanted— and he is friend enough not to ask it.
“But how shall I tell ye all these things,” he said, the line of his mouth twisting. “And then say to you— it is only you I have ever loved? How should you believe me?”
The question hung in the air between us, shimmering like the reflection from the water below.
“If you say it,” I said, “I’ll believe you.”
“You will?” He sounded faintly astonished. “Why?”
“Because you’re an honest man, Jamie Fraser,” I said, smiling so that I wouldn’t cry. “And may the Lord have mercy on you for it.”
“Only you,” he said, so softly I could barely hear him. “To worship ye with my body, give ye all the service of my hands. To give ye my name, and all my heart and soul with it. Only you. Because ye will not let me lie— and yet ye love me.”
I did touch him then.
“Jamie,” I said softly, and laid my hand on his arm. “You aren’t alone anymore.”
He turned then and took me by the arms, searching my face.
“I swore to you,” I said. “When we married. I didn’t mean it then, but I swore— and now I mean it.” I turned his hand over in both mine, feeling the thin, smooth skin at the base of his wrist, where the pulse beat under my fingers, where the blade of his dirk had cut his flesh once, and spilled his blood to mingle with mine forever.
I pressed my own wrist against his, pulse to pulse, heartbeat to heartbeat.
“Blood of my blood …” I whispered.
“Bone of my bone.” His whisper was deep and husky. He knelt quite suddenly before me, and put his folded hands in mine; the gesture a Highlander makes when swearing loyalty to his chieftain.
“I give ye my spirit,” he said, head bent over our hands.
“ ’Til our life shall be done,” I said softly. “But it isn’t done yet, Jamie, is it?”
Then he rose and took the shift from me, and I lay back on the narrow bed naked, pulled him down to me through the soft yellow light, and took him home, and home, and home again, and we were neither one of us alone.