whisht

books-and-barns  asked:

A Flood My Mornings prompt. Night check at the stables is often a separate shift from day shifts that start as early as 6am. It's usually around 9pm, often a separate employee does it from day shift workers during the week, and sometimes on weekends or holidays an owner or manager would do it. A 'night check moment' with Jamie and Claire might be fun, or even a Fraser family outing with Brianna in her little jammies :)

Flood my Mornings: Night Check 

Notes from Mod Bonnie:

  • This story takes place in an AU in which Jamie travels through the stones two years after Culloden and finds Claire and his child in 1950 Boston.
  • Previous installment: Plymouth Trace (Jamie and Claire take the new car for a whirl. Yes, THAT kind.) 

October, 1950 

“Thanks for doing this, bud,” Tom said, pulling his coat off the hook by the lounge door and shrugging into it. “Really. I owe you big time. Honestly, I’d cover it myself, but I’ve had this  special night out planned with Marian, and—”

“Dinna mention it, Tom,” Jamie said, gesturing reassurance. “Truly, I’m happy to be of help.”

Tom rummaged in his pockets for his keys, still looking regretful. “Was Claire spitting mad at me for stealing you away for the night?”

“No, no, not at all. On the phone just now, she bade me wish Nelson the best o’ luck wi’ his recovery. The gri–” Careful, man, “—that is, the Flu is a nasty business, and I’ve reason to know it.”

“Well, you’re a saint for stepping in last minute to cover his night watch shift, J—really really appreciate it,” Tom said once more as they walked out into the car yard. 

It was approaching sunset, and the last of the horses were being led to the stables for the night. It would be a peaceful night, if a long one, Jamie hoped. 

Tom opened the door of his 1946 Chevrolet Pickup (black, with silver trimmings and the special wide-base wheels) and sat behind the wheel, looking up at Jamie as he cranked the engine. “Jerry will be in at five in the morning as usual—Don’t you even think of staying to work tomorrow though, hear?”

“I hear. Have a good night, Tom. And give Marian my best, aye?” He slammed the door and waved Tom off on his way. 

It was a peaceful evening, on the whole. He saw the last of the day staff off to their homes and made the rounds as night fell, changing water, food, and blankets and taking special care to inspect several of the beasts that hadn’t been given proper attention of late. 

He loved being among the horses—always had, ever since he was a wee lad. The quiet strength of them, he supposed it was—the knowledge that they were large and strong enough to kill a man, but kind and soulful nonetheless. He loved speaking to them in Gaelic. He got a few odd looks for it during the day, to be sure, but other than Brianna, who understood and could speak a few words, the horses were the only folk in this new life to whom he could speak in his heart’s tongue, and feel as if he were fully understood. Claire, of course, knew his heart, regardless of the language; but speaking soft words to the horses, they seemed to have a knowing in their large, round eyes that transcended time and its changings. Aye, they seemed to say, you’re of long-ago stuff, man; and so am I. 

Or maybe you’re just a horse, aye, Val?” he said, rubbing the beast affectionately on the nose before closing the stall and heading back to the lounge. 

He was dismayed to find it was only half-past ten, for the length of the day had caught up with him. He rubbed his eyes but couldn’t seem to shake their bleary view. If only he had a book with him—Just yesterday, he had gotten from the Library a tome on American government, and he’d been itching to read it and figure out this country once and for all. 

He tried to make do with jotting notes in his wee book on the happenings reported by the man on the Wireless about the war in distant Korea. Though it pleased him that he was able to understand most of it, the news of the fighting chilled him, and he couldn’t make himself mind it for long. 

Before heading back out into the chill to make another circuit of the stalls, he set about making coffee in the wee machine, now feeling weary in more ways than one. As willing as he’d been to come to poor Nelson’s aid, he would’ve given most anything to fall into a soft bed with Claire at that very moment.

As he was adding a dollop of whiskey from the cupboard above the Frigidaire, there came a small knock and a soft, musical, “Hel-looo-ooo?” from behind him.

To his immense surprise, Claire was standing there, wearing blue jeans, boots, and wool coat against the crisp chill of early October; In her arms, Bree, pajama-clad, covered over with a warm sweater and a knitted cap. 

“Well, if this isna a pleasant surprise!” He said, hastily setting down the bottle and going to them. “I was just thinking of how I wanted to see my loves.”

“Horzzis, Mama?” piped Bree against his ear as he pulled them both close. 

“Christ, but it’s late, mo nighean donn. Is everything alright? And how did ye get—?

“Everything’s fine, we just couldn’t sleep; took a taxi,“ Claire explained her voice sounding small and tired. She laid her head on his shoulder as they swayed. “Hope it doesn’t disturb you, we just— needed to see you.”

He squeezed them both tighter, kissed Claire’s cool cheek, and stepped back, feeling warmed to his core as he took Bree happily into his arms. “I’ll never say no to my lassies, no matter the hour.”

“Da-me-in-go–” Bree gasped out, brimming with excitement. “Da-n-go mitta-seeinn-th-horzzis, m’okay, Da-ddy? M’okay?”

He laughed and sputtered a bit as he took in the rapid fire. Brianna, little more than a month away from two years of age, had been making leaps and bounds in terms of her vocabulary of late, beginning to get the way of longer, more complicated sentences. Increasingly consistent in this endeavor she undoubtedly was, but it always took that extra second for Jamie to mentally translate the stream of almost-correct syllables, a delay that invariably peeved the speaker, who never could understand why folk were being so slow.

“Horzzis, m’okay?” she repeated.

“Seeing Da and seeing the horses were on an equal footing, as far as Bree was concerned,” Claire said, smiling, but still sounding tired. “She’s never seen a horse in person, before.”

“Horzza-horzzis!” Bree insisted again, craning around for sight of one, then squaring back up to look him sternly, her hands on his cheeks. “Seein-th-horzzis–m’okay, Daddy?”

“Okay, a leannan,” he grinned, squeezing her tight and kissing her wee nose. Christ, but he loved this feisty wee baggage. “Let’s go see the horses.”

“What have you been doing to pass the time?” Claire asked as they entered Stable B.

“Oh, coffee, the Radio, thinking, talking wi’ the horses.”

“Do they make good conversation?”

“Oh, well enough,” he said, clucking his tongue to beckon Cornflower to the stall door.

Bree gasped at sight of the huge, grey flanks rotating in the stall. “Issa horz–AGHHH!!”

She squawked as Cornflower’s head came around and jumped so violently Jamie nearly lost his grip. “Och, come now, lass, it’s only one o’ the horses ye wanted to see, aye?” He took a step closer and turned so she could see Cornflower over his shoulder.

“Noooo!” Bree squealed, terrified, cowering under Jamie’s chin. “‘Inna like-’im!”

“Nothing to be scairt of, mo chridhe.” He reached out a hand and firmly stroked Corny’s soft nose. “See? She’s gentle—just like a big dog.”

“Notta dog!” Bree wailed sharply as she tried to get as far as possible from the beast, almost sobbing.“‘Ssa horssiz!”

No matter how much they coaxed and wheedled, Brianna could not be persuaded to touch Cornflower or any of the other horses. She would show interest in them from a distance, but when confronted by their huge toothy faces, she would wail and burrow– terrified–into Jamie’s chest.

They walked amongst the stalls, talking contentedly of Jamie’s day at Fernacre, Claire’s day at the hospital, and so on. Claire still seemed quieter than usual. Just as Jamie was about to put Bree down so that he might hold Claire close and ask what was amiss, Bree suddenly lurched her body toward the opening of the next stall and whispered. “Daddy! Is–horzzis is–’im sleepin’?”

“Oh, aye,” he said, encouraged by her interest, “that’s wee Valkyrie. And aye, she’s taking a nap. Here,” he said, opening the door and stepping gingerly inside, “shall we bid her hello?”

“No-oooo!” Bree began to squeal as they approached the horse, twisting in his arms to get away.

Whisht, whisht, be still, a chuisle, there’s naught to be afraid of.” Holding Bree tight—the lass would have to get accustomed to horses, and that’s all there was about it—he knelt down next to the jet-black mare, reaching out a hand to gently rub her neck.

Val, who was evidently only dozing, whuffed in acknowledgement, and Bree actually giggled at the resultant spray of wind and spittle. She then froze and looked up at Jamie, thoroughly stricken, evidently taken aback by her own delight and in complete indecision over how to act with this monster. Bless her heart, there were tears already building in her eyes.

“See, lovey, it’s a nice horse,” Claire said quickly, seeing the impending meltdown and settling next to them, holding their Thermos of coffee. “What does the horsey say, pumpkin?”

Bree, eager for diversion, produced a startlingly accurate whinny, and accepted applause with good grace.

With a sudden flash of inspiration, Jamie reached out and laid a hand on the beast’s swollen abdomen. “D’ye ken something else, Bree? This one is a mama horse.”

“Mama-horzz?” she repeated, looking sharply at Claire.

“Aye, sweetheart. That means there’s a baby horse inside.”

Beebee horzz…” she whispered, suddenly enraptured. Bravely, she slipped down from Jamie’s arms onto the ground and, stepping closer to the huge, recumbent body, laid both hands on the jet-black hide next to his. A moment later, she looked up in her usual business-like manner. “Munna lookint th-beebee-horzz, m’okay, Da?”

No, lass,” he laughed, “we canna look at the babe, yet. She has to stay inside her mama to grow big and strong, first. Then when the right time to be born comes, the wean will––”

With a jolt of realization, Jamie snapped his head around to Claire.

Her courses would have started today—unless she were—

Claire met his eye directly….and shook her head.

“Oh, lass,” he moaned softly, his heart breaking to see the sadness and disappointment in her face, to feel the sorrow in his own heart. He reached for her, pulling her close.

“I know it’s foolish…,” she said, her voice quivering as she wrapped her arms around his waist and burrowed against his shoulder. “There’s no reason it should have happened on the first month…I just can’t help but feel the… loss.”

“It’s no’ foolish, Claire,” he said, being obliged to release one arm from around her to intercept Brianna, who—startled by a sudden shifting from Val—had scurried back, anxiously scrabbling against him. He held them both, but squeezed Claire tightest. “But dinna fash, mo ghraidh: ‘tis only a matter of time.”

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anonymous asked:

Hey, I don't know if you are accepting prompts here anymore but I've had this in my head for awhile and I keep missing the window at Imagine and well the "Tell her I love her" drabble you wrote sealed the deal that I had to send it in because dear God, you know how to make us really feel the loss of Faith. Anyway, the idea is a take on how Jamie is effected by Jenny's daughter Caitlin being stillborn. I'm nearly out of space so I'll continue in another ask!

(CONTINUED) Caitlin-Faith prompt person again! I keep seeing him holding Caitlin and only then fully realising what he lost with his daughter’s death. He was so removed from the pregnancy and the birth, in a lot of ways it never seemed real to him, it didn’t have the sharp edges it did for Claire. Faith was more a concept than a reality. I think it would crack his heart open at a time when he was maybe numb. So basically, if you are so inclined, I’d love if you would tear my heart out with this!


Nothing but angsty-angst fic here, folks. If that isn’t your cup of tea, pass on by, but this kind of thing is my catnip, so all my thanks to the later-outed @thefibber for her amazing prompt! 

My Master Fic List 

-Bonnie 


C a i t l i n

photo credit 


The kitchen door wasn’t usually locked. 

Jamie stood on the stoop, waiting impatiently for the answer to his knock. He was shivering so hard his whole body seemed to convulse, the bitter cold of the December night (and it was well after midnight, forbye) made all the more acute by the promise of warmth within. His clothes were thin and ragged, hanging off his frame as they did the other inhabitants of Lallybroch. Claire had said the hunger would ravage the Highlands, and never had they been more hungry than now. For all the agony of not having her, of always wondering, of missing her so acutely that he sometimes thought he would die from it, at least she wasn’t here suffering in this hell, too. 

Lord, that she might be safe. She and the child.  

He tried the door again just to be certain—yes, locked—and knocked again, hammering more forcefully.  He heard small, light footsteps coming his way. Mrs. Crook? Her rooms weren’t far. The tentative voice that spoke, though, was male. 

“Who’s—who is there? State your business,” it said, the last more harshly, rising sharply. 

“Christ, Fergus, it’s only me!” Jamie hissed through the door. “Now will ye let me in before my cock freezes right to my balls?” 

“Oh, Milord!” the boy said with a depth of relief in the voice that struck Jamie like a dart. There came the sound of grating bolts and then the door swung open wide enough for Jamie to enter into the warmth–or what should have been warmth. The fire was so weak that the kitchen felt barely warmer than the cave from whence he’d come. Were there really not enough peats to warm the house? To Jamie’s further astonishment, there were a half-dozen or so little blanketed humps crowded around the hearth. One of these suddenly moved and sat up: Kitty, looking up at Jamie’s bearded apparition with wide eyes. All the Murray children were there, Jamie could see as he stepped closer, even the two-year-old twins, one tucked under each of Maggie’s arms.

“Fergus, man,” he whispered, turning to face his fourteen-year-old foster son, “why on earth are all the weans—?” He froze. Fergus’ eyes were red and the skin around them swollen with weeping. He seemed to be struggling to keep himself from crying further. “Jesus Christ, lad,” Jamie said, alarmed,  “What’s happened?”

“The—the Redcoats came–”

God in Heaven, no,” Jamie breathed, his whole body clenching in fear and dread.

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Flood my Mornings: Album
  • This story takes place in an AU in which Jamie travels through the stones two years after Culloden and finds Claire and his child in 1950 Boston.
  • Previous installment: Protocol (Jamie and Claire enjoy a last night out on their honeymoon )

Album

I jolted awake and looked wildly for the alarm clock, heart racing. 12:43 AM. I’d agreed to do morning shifts for my first week back at the hospital, but even so, I didn’t need to be up for hours, yet. So, why…?

Jamie. The absence of him next to me on the pillow. 

Several nights on the Cape, I had awoken to find him in the throes of some terror, or gone from the bed and clinging to the window frame, letting the cold air brace him. He’d barely spoken, in those times, either stayed away from me entirely, or letting me soothe him back into sleep. It was like Paris all over again, and thought of that made my heart seize. We hadn’t yet spoken of Culloden…but I knew that there were terrors from that day, and horrors that followed, from which Jamie was far from free.

A quick search of the house, though, revealed him sitting comfortably on the living room sofa. I instantly breathed a sigh of relief: he looked a bit pale and was staring off into space, but looked serene and peaceful…unmistakably happy…and in a very familiar way.

He raised a can of beer to me in salute. “Care to join me?”

I crossed to him eagerly. “In sitting, yes. I’ll pass on the drink, since I’ve got to be up for work in a few hours.”

“Suit yourself.” He shifted his legs to make room for me. Perhaps hoping to prevent future “bum Da” incidents, he was wearing the nightshirt I’d bought for him. In terms of construction and coverage, it wasn’t much different from the long shirts in which he’d habitually slept in the eighteenth century,  but I had to suppress a giggle at sight of it. Just give him a sleeping cap and a scowl and he’d make the world’s most seductive Ebenezer Scrooge.

Suppressing the urge to reflect further on the absurd scenarios such a thought conjured, I kissed his cheek and said, “Trouble sleeping, love?”

“Indeed, though I dinna ken how, for I’m bone-weary. Achy and pealy-wally from the drive home, I suppose. Hoped a draught might help settle me.”

Home,” I murmured as I snuggled against him, feeling a thrill run through me at the word. “I like the sound of that.”

“As do I, my Sassenach.” 

His voice was warm, still sweet with his smile, though I didn’t think the prospect of living under the same roof was what he’d been thinking of when I’d walked in. “Were you thinking about Bree, just then, by any chance?”

He gave a small ha! of impressed surprise. “Either you’ve picked up a knack for divining thoughts, ma dame blanche, or I’ve lost mine for inscrutability!”

“The latter, I think,” I said feeling the happy glow of him spreading to my own body. “At least where Bree is concerned, anyway. You get this look about you when you think about her…or hold her…or look at her.”

That very look spread once again across his features: the sweetest smile of contented joy.

“Couldna help it even if I tried,” he said, squeezing my hand. “Though I never would. Just the fact that she exists–yours, and mine, a new person God created from our love…” He shook his head in wonderment. “It’s the simplest fact there is, that bairns typically result from coupling, but the miracle and gift of it hits me deep…and I still sometimes canna believe I have you both to care for…to love.” He set down his drink and pulled me closer with both arms, kissing my forehead. “I’m a verra blessed man, indeed.”

We’re blessed. All of us.” I kissed him softly on the neck. “That’s what you were thinking about, then?”

“Aye. That and…well, specifically, I was thinking of what Brianna must have been like when she was first born. I’ll wager she was a bonnie one, aye?”  

“She was, indeed,” I said. “Bonnie and loud and perfect.”

“Tell me about her?” he asked quietly.

“Of course,” I said, rubbing his arm. “Would you like to see, as well?”

See?”  His eyebrows drew together for a moment, then raised in excitement, comprehension dawning. “You have PhotoGraphs?”

In answer, I leaned forward and plucked up the photo album from its niche under the coffee table. Jamie sat on the edge of the sofa, his greed apparent. I perched beside him and opened the book to lay across both our laps.

The first page held four pictures, all taken unbeknownst to me by a kindly, perceptive nurse. The winter sun was streaming through a window onto my face. I was in a white hospital gown, my hair unbelievably messy in a cloud around my head, but I was oblivious, beaming down at a swaddled bundle in my arms: my daughter, who I was holding for the first time.

I’d gotten to see her immediately after the cesarean, I explained to Jamie, but only for the barest moment, with scarcely enough time to kiss her forehead before she was whisked off to the intensive care unit. Her lungs were not functioning as they should. Her skin held a blue tinge, made even more alarming in appearance by the pasty vernix that still coated her face. With tufts of copper hair and her ears…those precious, wing-like ears, she was so like Faith, so small…and so still…I began screaming as soon as they took her away. They had to put me under full anesthesia to close the incision.

I awoke from medicated nightmares, alone in a bleak hospital room…with no child to be seen. I’d not screamed further, too weak for the task, but I had shaken and sobbed until my bones were sapped of all energy, my soul of any desire to move or speak. The doctors were kind and soothing, telling me that everything would be fine, but giving me no concrete, medical news of Brianna to reassure me. I hadn’t had anyone there with me at the hospital. Father Gentry had come by a day or two later, and would have come sooner if asked, but on the first night of Brianna’s life, I had been completely and truly alone in the world. In that darkness, I’d mourned for Brianna. For Faith. For Jamie. And I’d made contingency plans for how to end my life.

But then, I’d woken to a gentle shaking and a warm, red, squirming bundle being placed in my arms.

I couldn’t have said how long I held her. Laughing. Weeping. Kissing her. Nourishing her with my body. Making promises to her. Talking to her about Jamie. Talking to Jamie about her.

The real, breathing Jamie pulled me closer to him. “You were all alone, mo ghraidh.” He leaned his head against mine, voice thick with weeping. “It… truly breaks my heart….that I wasna there for ye either time. I’m so verra sorry for–” His voice broke.

“You couldn’t help it either time,” I said, though my voice was tight with pain. I reached a hand up to draw him in for a kiss. 

The notion that had been growing in my heart this last week stirred once more. Was this the wrong time to voice it? Or…

“If someday there should…be a third time…?”

The transformations that came over his face were breathtaking, a coup of utter joy, immediately followed by terror. “But you said yourself that both of ye could have died. Surely you canna put yourself at risk again.” When I didn’t immediately respond, he shook his head, hard. “No. I willna lose you, Claire.”

It would be dangerous to conceive again, the doctors had said. At the time, I’d assured them the point was entirely moot. Now… “You won’t lose me, Jamie,” I said, with far more certainty than I felt. “I want another child with you. Not at once, perhaps, but…” 

I trailed off, unable to express how strongly I felt this need– to bear a child of ours in happiness and peace. I could live without it, in the same way that I could live without….without ever going to medical school…but in just the same way, I wanted it. And it mattered.

Jamie could see something of this in my face. He was quiet for a moment, then took my hand and squeezed. “When the next bairn comes, then,” he said, and though there was still a quiver of fear in the sound, he was smiling, “whenever it comes, I’ll no’ leave your side. Not for a moment.”

I knew any hospital would do their best to dissuade him, to keep the father away from the operating room or delivery suite. I’d bloody like to see them try.

He bent his head and kissed me, very gently, cradling my head in his hands. He broke the kiss with a small laugh, beaming. “Another bairn…when my heart is already full to bursting… Jesus, will this embarrassment of riches never stop?”  

“No,” I said, beaming back. “At least, I certainly hope not.”

Jamie turned the page of the album. “Oh, just look at her, then,” he said, lightly touching the paper that showed Bree, two or three weeks old, yawning hugely on my lap. “So tiny… and such a bonny, sweet face.”  

Every photo, captioned only with a date, captured a moment in Brianna’s life.

(December, 1948). At six weeks, on her christening day, gawping skeptically up at Father Gentry.

(February, 1949). At three months, sleeping peacefully in her crib, curled up against her stuffed rabbit.

(September, 1949). At ten months, taking wobbly steps toward the camera.

(November 23, 1949). Covered with the icing of her first birthday cake.

(March, 1950). On my lap, the both of us careening down a hill on a sled toward Mrs. Byrd.

(June, 1950). Snuggled against my shoulder, half-asleep, one fist grasping my hair as I stroked hers.

Without warning, Jamie stood up and walked out of the room. I didn’t have to ask what he was doing.

Less than a minute later, he returned, holding a pajamaed Bree against his shoulder. She was still waking up, and was grumbling vague, fretful interrogatories, her curls a frenzied pouf around her face.

Whisht,” Jamie shushed softly against her hair. “Go back to sleep, lass. Whisht, now.”

Hab-beffist?” she asked croakily, rubbing her eyes.

“Nay, it’s no’ yet time to have breakfast, a chuisle,” Jamie said, his own voice rather hoarse as he sat, Bree on his belly, facing him. He tightened his arms under her, smiling, but blinking hard. “Da just…needed to hold his wee bairn, s’all.”

Beebair?” she said, straightening and looking intently back at him.

“Aye, that’s right,” he said, as he kissed her tenderly and lightly cupped her face, “you, sweet one, are my own wee bairn.”

A look of glee suddenly stole over her sleepy features. She screwed up her brows fiercely, waved both hands, and growled out a tiny, “rrrrroahhhh!”

“Oh–OH MY–” I laughed, “there’s a scary, ‘wee BEAR’ in here, Jamie!”

Jamie shook with laughter too, but played along, rearing back in mock fear, “Stay ye BACK, foul beastie!”

Bree, triumphant, gave another roar which turned seamlessly into a mighty yawn, her would-be paws coming up to rub her eyes again.

Jamie stilled and brought his arms around her, voice low and soft with love. “Come lay your head, now, sleepy cub.” He turned to lay on his back. She resisted for a moment, trying to push up with her hands, but Jamie’s soft Gaelic and gentle touch brought her at last to settle against his chest. Jamie held out a hand to me, and while the sofa was scarcely wide enough, I curled against him, holding them both.

When I woke a few hours later, the dawn light as good as any alarm clock, I had a screaming spasm in my neck and my back was sore. But Jamie and Bree were still sleeping peacefully, she tucked protectively between him and the back cushions, her round cheek smushed against his shoulder. Jamie felt unusually warm to the touch, but I still pulled the afghan from the back of the sofa and tucked it around them. Turning to head for the shower, I paused at sight of the album on the coffee table.

I went to the hallway where my beach bag still sat, and rifled in it until I drew out the camera. The shutter made a satisfying flackk as I captured the scene.

(July, 1950).


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