The heat of him. That’s what I remember most about that moment. The white hot feel of his skin under my fingers as I examined his arm. I was cold to the bone and yet when I touched him his heat was catching. In that moment he warmed me better than any fire could have. Just to be close to him was to feel the thaw in my frozen bones, to feel something melt in my very core. I didn’t know it at the time but I was irrevocably changed in that moment. Almost like the heat of him melted me and I reformed into someone else. Into Claire Fraser.
I fought it, or at least I thought I did. I can see now that I was lost to my old life in that very moment and all that I thought I was or wanted had been dashed away. But I had tried… Guilt, I suppose, and obligation. I had given a vow to Frank and I had loved him, I wanted to honour that, but all that was nothing from the moment I laid my hands on that scorching hot skin, from the moment those blue cat eyes met mine. But to admit that to myself, even for many years after my choice was made… I hadn’t quite been able to make my peace with the extent to which I was lost in those very first moments.
But I should have known. How safe I felt wrapped in his arms on that indeterminable ride to Leoch, how in that moment of conflict in the glade after the red coat ambush when he cornered me trying to run, I had wanted nothing more than to lean forward and kiss him. To taste him. I should have known, I should have admitted it to myself. But how could I? I wasn’t supposed to be there, or so I thought at the time. I l know differently now.
When I look back I laugh at myself. The manufactured meetings in the corridors of the castles or out at the stables. The way that we always seemed to find ourselves sat together at meals. The way we rode that little bit too close to each other whenever he accompanied me anywhere, knees jostling. I’d tried to chalk it up to good old fashioned lust or the fact that I needed a protector and he was as good as any, but it simply wasn’t true. I believed in love, I thought I had experienced it, but I had never thought until that moment in the crofter’s cottage that it was possible for a soul to call to another, to yearn so. But it is possible. And I think, now, that that was what brought me there, to that time and that place out of all others. My soul called to his across time and space and he answered in kind.
My marriage to him had been more than I could have ever hoped or dreamed for. Again, I fought it, tried to deny my feelings, and succeeded. For a while. I convinced myself again that the connection between us was purely physical, that it was gratefulness on my part for saving me from Randall and the Tolbooth. But then when he rescued me from Fort William, I knew. I let myself admit my feelings. I understood what it had cost him to go there. I knew what he had suffered within those walls, what would have awaited him had be not been successful in freeing me. And he had risked all that for me. For the vow he had given me. Even after he beat me and I was so angry I could barely see straight, when for a silver penny I thought I could have cut his throat and made a run for Craigh na Dun without so much as a backward glance, I knew. I saw him flailing between the man he thought he should be and the one he truly was. I saw him struggle to find the justice he wanted to meet and that which duty demanded. And I saw his terror, the fear of the place and the man that held me completely consumed by the fear he felt for me. When we came together then, there was no more fighting. No more denying. Although the declarations did not come until after, we laid ourselves bare to each other then. I was his and he was mine and that is all that there would ever be.
In the years that we were apart, when I thought him dead and he thought me lost to him forever, my soul had never been my own again. It had always been reaching, searching. Brianna had lessened that tug, anchored my soul to the life I was living, but it was never fully mine. The gnawing hollow in my stomach where I always fancied my soul to be never went away. I was never at peace again. Not until I came back. Until I found him again. When our eyes locked in that Print Shop in Edinburgh. When I put my hands on him again and felt the heat of him.
And I watch him now. He is still so tall and strong. His back does not slouch and there is no sign of frailty in him yet. Yet the years have touched him. There is grey among that fiery red, the lines of his face etched deeper. He wears spectacles, as he sits and whittles whatever toy he is currently making for one of the children. But when I touch him he still burns. He is still that boy on the cusp of manhood sitting on a stool, his jaw clenched in pain. I still reach for his body as well as his soul. War is coming and this idyll will not last. We will leave the Ridge once more and he will do his duty. But this time I will not leave him. I cannot live without my soul.
“Oh, there ye are, Geordie! What’s kept ye?” Jamie said. Geordie said nothing, but his eyes traveled dubiously over his employer, standing bare-legged in his shirt in the middle of the shop, his breeches, shoes, and stockings discarded on the floor, and me in his arms, with my gown all crumpled and my hair coming down. Geordie’s narrow face creased into a censorious frown.
“I quit,” he said, in the rich tones of the West Highlands. “The printing’s one thing—I’m wi’ ye there, and ye’ll no think otherwise—but I’m Free Church and my daddy before me and my grandsire before him. Workin’ for a Papist is one thing—the Pope’s coin’s as good as any, aye?—but workin’ for an immoral Papist is another. Do as ye like wi’ your own soul, man, but if it’s come to orgies in the shop, it’s come too far, that’s what I say. I quit!”
He placed the package precisely in the center of the counter, spun on his heel and stalked toward the door. Outside, the Town Clock on the Tolbooth began to strike. Geordie turned in the doorway to glare accusingly at us. “And it not even noon yet!” he said. The shop door slammed behind him.
I really need this scene to be in the show. Like I need to see Jamie and Claire looking like they just had an orgy and then a self-righteous Geordie coming in and being all outraged. Season 3 I need ya now.
I was no longer nervous, but still felt like a grave robber, standing under a pine tree with my torch, watching Young Ian and Jamie take their turns in the deepening pit, their naked backs gleaming with sweat in the torchlight.
“Medical students used to pay men to steal fresh bodies from churchyards,” I said, handing my soiled kerchief to Jamie as he hauled himself out of the hole, grunting with effort. “That was the only way they could practice dissection.”
“Did they?” Jamie said. He wiped the sweat from his face and gave me a quick, wry glance. “Or do they?”
Luckily, it was too dark for Ian to notice my flush, despite the torchlight. It wasn’t the first slip I had made, nor was it likely to be the last, but most such inadvertencies resulted in nothing more than a quizzical glance, were they noticed at all. The truth simply was not a possibility that would occur to anyone.
“I imagine they do it now,” I admitted. I shivered slightly at the thought of confronting a freshly exhumed and unpreserved body, still smeared with the dirt of its desecrated grave. Cadavers embalmed and laid on a stainless steel surface were not particularly pleasant either, but the formality of their presentation served to keep the corruptive realities of death at some small distance.
I exhaled strongly through my nose, trying to rid myself of odors, imagined and remembered. When I breathed in, my nostrils were filled with the smell of damp earth and hot pitch from my pine torch, and the fainter, cooler echo of live scent from the pines overhead.
“They take paupers and criminals from the prisons, too.” Young Ian, who had evidently heard the exchange, if not understood it, took the opportunity to stop for a moment, wiping his brow as he leaned on the shovel.
“Da told me about one time he was arrested, when they took him to Edinburgh, and kept him in the Tolbooth. He was in a cell wi’ three other men, and one of them a fellow with the consumption, who coughed something dreadful, keeping the rest awake all night and all day. Then one night the coughing stopped, and they kent he was dead. But Da said they were so tired, they couldna do more than say a Pater Noster for his soul, and fall asleep.”
The boy paused and rubbed an itching nose.
“Da said he woke quite sudden wi’ someone clutching his legs and another someone takin’ him by the arms, liftin’ him up. He kicked and cried out, and the one who had his arms screeched and dropped him, so that he cracked his head on the stones. He sat up rubbin’ his pate and found himself staring at a doctor from the hospital and two fellows he’d brought along to carry awa’ the corpse to the dissecting room.”
Ian grinned broadly at the recollection, wiping his sweat-soaked hair out of his face.
“Da said he wasna sure who was most horrified, him or the fellows who’d got the wrong body. He did say as the doctor seemed regretful, though— said Da would have made a more interesting specimen, what wi’ his leg stump and all.”
Jamie laughed, stretching his arms to ease his shoulders. With face and torso streaked with red dirt, and his hair bound back with a kerchief round his forehead, he looked disreputable as any grave robber.
“Aye, I mind that story,” he said. “Ian did say after that as all doctors were ghouls, and wouldna have a thing to do with them.” He grinned at me; I had been a doctor— a surgeon— in my own time, but here I passed as nothing more than a wisewoman, skilled in the use of herbs.
“Fortunately, I’m no afraid of wee ghoulies, myself,” he said, and leaned down to kiss me briefly. His lips were warm, tasting of ale. I could see droplets of sweat caught in the curly hairs of his chest, and his nipples, dark buds in the dim light. A tremor that had nothing to do either with cold or with the eeriness of our surroundings ran down my spine. He saw it and his eyes met mine. He took a deep breath, and all at once I was conscious of the close fit of my bodice, and the weight of my breasts in the sweat-soaked fabric.
Jamie shifted himself slightly, plucking to ease the fit of his breeches.
“Damn,” he said softly. He lowered his eyes and turned away, mouth barely touched by a rueful smile.
I hadn’t expected it, but I recognized it, all right. A sudden surge of lust was a common, if peculiar, response to the presence of death. Soldiers feel it in the lull after battle; so do healers who deal in blood and struggle. Perhaps Ian had been more right than I thought about the ghoulishness of doctors.
Jamie’s hand touched my back and I started, showering sparks from the blazing torch. He took it from me and nodded toward a nearby gravestone.
“Sit down, Sassenach,” he said. “Ye shouldna be standing so long.” I had cracked the tibia of my left leg in the shipwreck, and while it had healed quickly, the leg still ached sometimes.
“I’m all right.” Still, I moved toward the stone, brushing against him as I passed. He radiated heat, but his naked flesh was cool to the touch, the sweat evaporating on his skin. I could smell him.
I glanced at him, and saw goose bumps rise on the fair flesh where I’d touched him. I swallowed, fighting back a sudden vision of tumbling in the dark, to a fierce blind coupling amid crushed grass and raw earth.
Courtesy of Scotland History Hub
“Behold, The Old Tolbooth.
Originally a meeting place for the council, it became something much darker. It became a prison of nightmares.
Robert Chambers visited this horrifying building in 1817 and described the odour to be of human misery. Lord Cockburn states the building was filled with little dark cells. It was a plague ridden hell hole.
Blackened by decades of smoke, it was difficult to see through the windows. occasionally a white face could be seen pressed against the glass.
"All hope and abandon, ye who enters here!” (Sir Daniel Wilson)
The original image of The Old Tolbooth can be found in the Lost Edinburgh book by Hamish Coghill P.18
The Moden day photo was taken and edited by Phillip"
Following Randall’s death, we disguised the bodies as Scots, wrapped them in blankets, and tossed them into the bed of the wagon on top of Jamie, who played the part of his own corpse. If anyone checked the bodies, we hoped they wouldn’t look too closely at the one on the bottom. Gavin and Gregor marched me directly out of Randall’s tent, ropes looped around my wrists for show, and threw me behind them. I sat only inches from Jamie’s prone form and took advantage of his closeness to press my leg against him, eager for any kind of contact. The Mitchell brothers sat on either side of me, ostensibly to prevent my escape, while Aiden drove the wagon in the opposite direction from which they had come, taking care to avoid anyone who had seen them arrive.
The wee statue in the pic is called The Mannie in the Gren
Today the statue known as the Mannie sits in the Castlegate but for over a century it was in the Green. The Mannie is the only example of leaden sculpture in the city. In 1706 work began on laying lead water pipes from outside the city to a new fountain in the Castlegate. The statue itself was added to the top of the fountain some time after 1710. A wooden statue had originally been planned but the carver never executed the work and so a lead sculpture was erected.The Mannie was originally located in the Castlegate, where the Mercat Cross sits today, but it was moved to the Green in 1852. It was not until the early 1970s that the Mannie was moved back to the Castlegate, not to its original location but to a new site across the road from the Tolbooth. In fact when it was moved back to the Castlegate it and the Mercat Cross had swapped positions. But for well over a hundred years the Mannie was a key part of life in the Green, and to this day the statue is affectionately known by Aberdonians as ‘the Mannie in the Green’.
Behind the Mannie is
The New Town House which dates from 1874. This granite building has Flemish architecture style and the landmark tower can be seen from all over the city.
Historical AU: A goddamn reincarnation fic where CS or OQ meet in medieval times. Emma/Regina get burned (or whatever) for being a "witch" (having magic). Revenge ensues.
She had always known this was coming.
A frenzy of witch-hunting had gripped the country since the King had sailed to Denmark to marry Princess Anne, and blamed his near-sinking on the maleficent influence of mysterious females, daughters of the Devil, who consorted with sorcery and poison and black magic and all sorts of demonic instruments. Regina Mills had watched and waited, knowing that most of the “witches” rounded up and taken for torture in the Tolbooth were nothing more than harmless wisewomen, village crones with a bit of herbologie or astrology, but she felt no desire to save them. Such shameless impostors stained the name of the true witches, the powerful sorceresses like her, who did hate James the Sixth and would gladly see him dead. James was an intractable foe of magic and anybody who practiced it, obsessed with stamping it out, and Regina only regretted that her weather-working spells hadn’t quite succeeded. She would kill him eventually if it was the last thing she did. She and her apprentice, Emma Swan, might be the only real witches in Scotland in this God’s Year 1590, but even a blind squirrel would find them eventually. At which point, Regina had no intention of going meekly. They would have to burn the entire world if they thought they were catching her.
Emma, for her part, disagreed with her mistress’ preoccupation with vengeance. Thought they should try to save the wrongly convicted women of North Berwick from the chains and whips and flogging of the King’s inquisitors, but Regina reminded her coolly that her opinion held no weight. Emma was an orphan waif, seventeen years old, who would have no friends and no food and no roof over her head if Regina had not recognized her talent and taken her in. She remained, however, confoundedly stubborn, proud, and independent, and the two women butted heads repeatedly in the course of Emma’s training. Indeed, Regina had debated turning in Emma herself, rid herself of a dangerous rival and earn immunity from the Crown, but somehow she’d never gotten around to it. As pathetic and naive and idealistic as Emma was, she was still a witch, a real one. Real witches looked to their own.