wide silver band

3

CHIFFON and METALLIC LACE EVENING DRESS, c. 1918.

White silk having sheer sleeveless V-neck bodice with silver lace trim and beaded back tassel over short sleeve bodice with wide silver lace band, vertical lace bands edge front and back looped panels over full skirt, pale pink silk lining, cloth flowers at waist

Beautiful in it’s simplicity! 

“And what did you want to buy so much?” I asked suspiciously.

He sighed and hesitated for a moment, then tossed the small package lightly into my lap. 

“A wedding ring, Sassenach,” he said. “I got it from Ewen the armorer; he makes such things in his own time.” 

“Oh,” I said in a small voice. 

“Go ahead,” he said, a moment later. “Open it. It’s yours.” 

The outlines of the little package blurred under my fingers. I blinked and sniffed, but made no move to open it. “I’m sorry,” I said. 

“Well, so ye should be, Sassenach,” he said, but his voice was no longer angry. Reaching, he took the package from my lap and tore away the wrapping, revealing a wide silver band, decorated in the Highland interlace style, a small and delicate Jacobean thistle bloom carved in the center of each link. 

So much I saw, and then my eyes blurred again. 

I found a handkerchief thrust into my hand, and did my best to stanch the flow with it. “It’s … beautiful,” I said, clearing my throat and dabbling at my eyes. 

“Will ye wear it, Claire?” His voice was gentle now, and his use of my name, mostly reserved for occasions of formality or tenderness, nearly made me break down again. 

“You needna do so,” he said, looking at me seriously over his cupped palm. “The marriage contract between us is satisfied— it’s legal. You’re protected, safe from anything much save a warrant, and even from that, so long as you’re at Leoch. If ye wish, we may live apart— if that’s what ye were trying to say wi’ all yon rubbish about Laoghaire. You need have little more to do wi’ me, if that’s your honest choice.” He sat motionless, waiting, holding the tiny circlet near his heart. 

So he was giving me the choice I had started out to give him. Forced on me by circumstance, he would force himself on me no longer, if I chose to reject him. And there was the alternative, of course: to accept the ring, and all that went with it. 

The sun was setting. The last rays of light shone through a blue glass flagon that stood on the table, streaking the wall with a shaft of brilliant lapis. I felt as fragile and as brilliant as the glass, as though I would shatter with a touch, and fall in glittering fragments to the floor. If I had meant to spare either Jamie’s emotions or my own, it seemed I was very much too late. 

I couldn’t speak, but held out my right hand to him, fingers trembling. The ring slipped cool and bright over my knuckle and rested snug at the base of my finger— a good fit. Jamie held my hand a moment, looking at it, then suddenly pressed my knuckles hard against his mouth. He raised his head, and I saw his face for an instant, fierce and urgent, before he pulled me roughly onto his lap. 

He held me hard against him then, without speaking, and I could feel the pulsebeat in his throat, hammering like my own. His hands went to my bare shoulders, and he held me slightly away, so that I was looking upward into his face. His hands were large and very warm, and I felt slightly dizzy. 

“I want ye, Claire,” he said, sounding choked. He paused a moment, as though unsure what to say next. “I want ye so much— I can scarcely breathe. Will—” He swallowed, then cleared his throat. “Will ye have me?” 

By now I had found my voice. It squeaked and wobbled, but it worked. 

“Yes,” I said. “Yes, I’ll have you.” 

“I think …” he began, then stopped. He fumbled loose the buckle of his kilt, but then looked up at me, bunching his hands at his sides. He spoke with difficulty, controlling something so powerful that his hands shook with the effort. “I’ll not … I can’t … Claire, I canna be gentle about it.” 

I had time only to nod once, in acknowledgment or permission, before he bore me back before him, his weight pinning me to the bed. 

He did not pause to undress further. I could smell the road dust in his shirt, and taste the sun and sweat of travel on his skin. He held me, arms outstretched, wrists pinioned. One hand brushed the wall, and I felt the tiny scrape of one wedding ring chiming against the stone. One ring for each hand, one silver, one gold. And the thin metal suddenly heavy as the bonds of matrimony, as though the rings were tiny shackles, fastening me spread-eagled to the bed, stretched forever between two poles, held in bondage like Prometheus on his lonely rock, divided love the vulture that tore at my heart. 

He spread my thighs with his knee and sheathed himself to the root in a single thrust that made me gasp. He made a sound that was almost a groan, and gripped me tighter. 

“You’re mine, mo duinne,” he said softly, pressing himself into my depths. “Mine alone, now and forever. Mine, whether ye will it or no.” I pulled against his grip, and sucked in my breath with a faint “ah” as he pressed even deeper. 

“Aye, I mean to use ye hard, my Sassenach,” he whispered. “I want to own you, to possess you, body and soul.” I struggled slightly and he pressed me down, hammering me, a solid, inexorable pounding that reached my womb with each stroke. “I mean to make ye call me ‘Master,’ Sassenach.” His soft voice was a threat of revenge for the agonies of the last minutes. “I mean to make you mine.”

-Outlander

“And what did you want to buy so much?” I asked suspiciously.

He sighed and hesitated for a moment, then tossed the small package lightly into my lap.

 “A wedding ring, Sassenach,” he said. Reaching, he took the package from my lap and tore away the wrapping, revealing a wide silver band, decorated in the Highland interlace style, a small and delicate Jacobean thistle bloom carved in the center of each link. 

“Will ye wear it, Claire?” He sat motionless, waiting, holding the tiny circlet near his heart. 

I couldn’t speak, but held out my right hand to him, fingers trembling. The ring slipped cool and bright over my knuckle and rested snug at the base of my finger—a good fit. Jamie held my hand a moment, looking at it, then suddenly pressed my knuckles hard against his mouth. -Outlander


I stretched out a hand toward him, as much to stop as to welcome him. I wanted more than anything to touch him again, but was unaccountably shy. After so long, how were we to start again? He felt the constraint of mingled shyness and intimacy as well. Stopping a few inches from me, he took my hand. He hesitated for a moment, then bent his head over it, his lips barely brushing my knuckles. His fingers touched the silver ring and stopped there, holding the metal lightly between thumb and forefinger. 

 “I never took it off,” I blurted. It seemed important he should know that. He squeezed my hand lightly, but didn’t let go. 

 “I want—” He stopped and swallowed, still holding my hand. His fingers found and touched the silver ring once more. “I want verra much to kiss you,” he said softly. “May I do that?” -Voyager


He took my right hand in his, his thumb gently stroking my silver wedding ring. 

“Perhaps one day I shall deck ye in laces and jewels,” he said softly. “I havena been able to give ye much, ever, save a wee silver ring, and my mother’s pearls.” 

“You’ve given me a lot more than that,” I said. I wrapped my fingers around his thumb and squeezed. “Brianna, for one.” 

He smiled faintly, looking down at the deck. “Aye, that’s true.”

I pulled him toward me, and he rested his head against my knee. We sat silently for a bit, close together, watching the dull shine of the water and the slow progress of the sunken lantern. 

“I left the pearls for her,” I said at last. “That seemed right; they were an heirloom, after all.” I drew my ringed hand, curved, across his lips.And the ring is all I need.” 

He took both my hands in his, then, and kissed them—the left, which still bore the gold ring of my marriage to Frank, and then the right, with his own silver ring. “Da mi basia mille,” he whispered, smiling. Give me a thousand kisses. It was the inscription inside my ring, a brief quotation from a love song by Catullus. I bent and gave him one back.

 “Dein mille altera,” I said. Then a thousand more. -Drums of Autumn

Originally posted by heughanfraser

Escape: the wedding plans

“Claire.  We’ll just go in and have a wee look, aye?”

Claire stared through the glass.  She bit her lip.  She’d told him no, that it wasn’t practical, not what she wanted. Damn, stubborn Scot.  She was very conscious of him behind her.  Waiting.  Tense.  Him calling her Claire was a sure sign that this was a formal occasion to him, and the topic would not go away. 

Turning, she slipped her arms around his waist, under his jacket.  She rested her head on his chest, feeling the cool of his sweater and the scratch of his scarf under her cheek.  Jamie hugged her, his hands following her spine to the small of her back.  Cold air swirled around them, the breeze picking up the tendrils of her hair.  He watched the strands dance around her head and thought for the millionth time how beautiful she was to him. 

“Jamie.  I love you, but it’s just not feasible for a future surgeon.  I’ll lose it, or misplace it.  I can never wear it to work!  Why should we bother?”

Jamie huffed.  “Because I want to.  I want ye to have an engagement ring. I want….” he hesitated.  How to explain?  He wanted to claim her, which was archaic, he knew, but he also wanted to honour her, which wasn’t modern either.  He was a traditionalist. It felt wrong not to give Claire a ring after asking her to marry him.  He shook his head, hoping the right words would fall out.

“Jamie…”  Claire looked up at him.  She tugged at him, as if to shake some sense in him.  

The stubborn set of his jaw, and his narrowed eyes warned her that she wasn’t going to win this round.  Looking isn’t buying, Beauchamp.

“Alright.  We’ll just look.  Okay?  No buying anything.”

At her capitulation Jamie jumped into motion.  “Aye. Okay. Sure.” He stepped back and grabbed her hand.  “Come, Sassenach.”  


They were all beautiful.  Every one was more extravagant than the last.  Yet none of the rings suited Claire.  Her hands were delicate, her fingers long, and the larger the stone, the more gaudy it looked on her.  Finally Claire had to ask the jeweler to give them a few minutes privacy so they could talk.

She tried again.  “Jamie….”

“Dinna say it.  I get it.”  He leaned forward, and rested his elbows on his knees, hands clasped tightly between his legs. 

Claire tried to get him to meet her eyes.  “Are you angry?”

Jamie blew out a long breath.  “Aye. If I’m honest.  I’m angry that we canna find something to suit ye.  I’m angry that I canna give my future wife a diamond.  I’m angry that I canna get past the idea that ye must have a ring.”

“Jamie, love, I’ll have a ring.”  She rested her hands on his thighs and rubbed gently.  “A band.  A perfect wedding band that I will wear proudly.  But a diamond isn’t practical.”  Claire could see his disappointment. 

“Besides,” she drew the chain out from under her shirt, “I have my key.  This means more to me than you can imagine.  This makes me yours.”  

Jamie reached out a hand and held the key that Claire wore without fail, every day, against her heart.  His lopsided smile eased the tension in her heart just a bit.  She stood to leave, and Jamie stood with her.

As they passed the glass cases on their way to the door, something caught Claire’s eye.  She stopped so abruptly that Jamie had to grab her hips to steady her as he bumped her from behind.

“Excuse me!”  Claire looked up for the salesman, her finger resting on the glass pointing to a ring. 

Jamie looked over her shoulder as the jeweler handed it to her.  That?

“Where did you get it?” Claire asked, examining the ring and turning it around in her fingers.  

“It was from an estate sale,” the man looked at Jamie.  “If I remember correctly, the estate was named Mackenzie.  The ring is verra unique, 16th Century, I believe.”

Claire scoffed, “18th Century at best. Jacobean.”  The salesman blinked in surprise. Jamie smiled.  

He looked at the ring in her hand.  The wide silver band, decorated in the Highland interlace style, had a small thistle bloom in the centre of each link.

Claire turned to face him, and his heart stopped at the smile on her face.  He could see it in her whisky coloured eyes. This was the one; this was the ring.  It wasn’t what he imagined, nor was it what he would have chosen, but if it spoke to Claire then she would have it. They had it sized, then Jamie left explicit instructions, and handed over his credit card.

“Unusual choice, Mr. Fraser.”

Jamie nodded, and glanced at Claire wandering around the shop.  Ye have no idea.  

“Ah, weel, she’s an unusual lady.”

With This Ring

This little fic takes place in the world of Outlander the book. No spoilers outside of book 1. All the thanks, as always, to @drunklander.

FanFic Masterlist


Jamie was so tired. Every muscle screamed in protest. He was filthy, covered in muck and dirt, but he had promised himself he would do this the moment they returned to the castle, and he would not abandon his plan. Once Claire was deposited safely in their room, he cleaned himself up a bit and set out to see a man about a ring.

Jamie had done everything in his power, and managed to finagle a few things that required the power of others, to provide Claire the wedding she deserved. He had no idea what kind of affair her first wedding had been, but clearly, as an English lady of birth and breeding, she would expect a certain level of ceremony. At least he had assumed so. He had wished so urgently to do her honor, to show by his actions how much he respected her, since he could not tell her that he loved her. And he did love her so very much. She had consumed his every waking thought since the day they met. He found her challenging, obstinate, intelligent and utterly bewitching. How the fates conspired to allow him to marry this goddess would forever remain a mystery to him.

His only regret of the day had been his inability to procure her a ring. He had had no money and there had been no time, but it caused him a pang of regret every time her gold circlet flashed on her left hand. He knew she did not continue to wear it as a reproach to him, but he felt keenly the lack of his own ring adorning her slender, graceful hands.

He made his way down the castle steps, excitement blooming in his stomach, when he caught a glimpse of the girl, Laoghaire, just around the corner. He sighed deeply, squared his shoulders and strode forward to meet his duty, unpleasant though it may be. Ever since the day took her beating, Laoghaire seemed always to be lurking in the background wherever he found himself in castle or grounds.

She was a lovely young lass. The day she cornered him in an upper corridor, intent on ‘thanking’ him for his kindness was a revelation to him, having never seen her as anything but a child before. But she was plump and soft and willing, and he kissed her – more than he should have. He left that encounter feeling slightly guilty because while Leery’s lips were sweet and pliable, he was thinking of no one but Claire, and how much he longed to have her in his lap, arms about her waist, his lips dancing with hers.

He’d gone about his business following that encounter, giving the girl no more thought than he spared for any of the wee lassies about the place. He’d seen her face, however, when he had carried Claire into the castle tonight, and for the first time realized that he had been a might cavalier in his actions towards her and perhaps misunderstood her intentions towards him. And now she was here, lurking about the stairs, trying to catch him alone, no doubt, to confront him about the kissing and the beating and now, about his wife. Well, damn her! He didn’t owe her anything, had never made a promise to her or even taken advantage of what was freely offered. All he wanted to do was buy a ring for his wife.

The confrontation was short and uncomfortable, partially because he was unused to discussing his feelings with acquaintances but mostly because he was unwilling to discuss something with this lass that he didn’t feel he could tell his own wife. If he couldn’t speak of love to Claire, he certainly wouldn’t do it with Laoghaire. She left unhappy and Jamie quickly put her out of his mind. If he didn’t get to the armorer’s soon he was going to collapse with fatigue.

Ewen had a selection of rings from which Jamie could choose. He made these in his spare time, and while his weapons were things of excellent craftsmanship and beauty, his rings were true works of art. Jamie had spent a small bit of time with him when he was at the castle as a lad and Dougal had commissioned his sword. Ewen had required Jamie’s presence several times as he balanced and honed the blade, ensuring it was perfect for a left-handed warrior. During these visits, Jamie had learned Ewen had the soul of an artist, and expressed his passion in the wee baubies he made for sale to the lucky few who had enough money to buy one of his pieces.

Jamie had first imagined buying Claire one of Ewen’s rings the night they met, on the road back to Leoch and her gold band had flashed in the moonlight. Later, by the fire as she wept and allowed him to comfort and console her, he had imagined taking her hand in his and caressing her fingers while he slipped a circlet of silver over her knuckle, pressing her fingers to his lips. He imagined further, kissing her at an altar, declaring before God and witnesses that he would be husband to her, guard her, provide for her and love her with all his soul and body. His father had been adamant about what it meant to be a husband. It was a man’s holy duty to cherish and revere his wife, an example not provided by Brian’s own father, but one Brian had modeled in his deep and abiding love for Jamie’s mother. Jamie would honor his parents in honoring his wife.

Jamie left Ewen’s with a small wrapped package carefully hidden in his breast pocket. The ring, a wide silver band of interlacing links and highland thistles, represented so much to him. Jamie wasn’t as a general rule much attached to things. Items of luxury were rare in the Highlands, and times being what they were, things came and went with great regularity. His parents had taught him that it was better to save his tears for people. So he surprised himself when he bought Ewen’s grandest ring. It took all his coin, plus a few hours of odd jobs at the armory besides, but this ring meant more to him than he could express. A circle of eternity, a never-ending round that embodied his steadfast love for Claire. He’d waited for another hour while Ewen made the requested addition to the ring, making sure that it would be a perfect representation of his feelings. He wanted Claire to wear it so badly he ached with the thought. He longed to see his ring adorning her finger, telling the world that she had accepted him, that she viewed him as he had viewed himself since the beginning; as her protector, lover and home.

So many men, nearly all that he knew, viewed wives as possessions, much like their land and cattle. To be negotiated over, traded for and used to gain power, influence and heirs. Jamie’s father had never treated his mother this way, and it was a concept that was at once foreign and commonplace to him. When he had tanned Claire’s arse for her disobedience, he had thought he was doing as a man aught. Claire had felt differently, and their subsequent arguments had brought greater comprehension to each. Jamie now understood what Brian had meant about marriage being a partnership. Jamie would never dominate Claire. He couldn’t subdue her without breaking her, and in breaking her he would break himself. His only recourse was to move forward with Claire as her equal. The thought was exhilarating to him.

Nearly back to their room, Jamie patted the parcel in his pocket and smiled to himself. This was going to be beautiful.

=====

Jamie awoke in the dark, muzzy with sleep and sore from his exertions. His thighs ached pleasantly, but his back was a different matter. The wee fiend had marked him from shoulder to hip. Well, his resolve not to break her to his will hadn’t lasted long, damn the headstrong, prideful woman, and he had done it, by God, but so had she. And he had submitted to her with an eagerness he hoped to repeat many, many times over. Lord, what a night.

Claire sighed in her sleep and snuggled in just a little bit closer to him. Her movement caused the ring to flash briefly in the silvered light of the window, and he caught her hand in his own, feeling the solid hardness of it circling her finger. He kissed her knuckles and moved to take her again. Just seeing her there in his bed, his ring on her, marking her, made his heart swell with pride and left him rigid with want. She sighed again, caressing his cheek vaguely as she slept. Nay, he would not disturb her slumber. There was time enough for that come morning. For now, he would drink in the sweet nectar of her. He would worship her with his eyes and use this time to thank God for the gift of this woman.

“Da mi basia mille.” He whispered into the dark. She hadn’t noticed the engraving earlier and he had nearly pointed it out to her, but refrained. She would find it on her own, when the time was right, and she would know. Surely, by then she would know.

It Has Always Been Forever - Part 21

Previous Chapters :)


Part 21.


Claire woke the next morning to the sound of Jenny barking instructions downstairs, with Gail and Mrs. Bug bustling round her bedroom. She languidly stretched out, watching Gail throw back the windows and Mrs. Bug setting a breakfast tray down beside her. The day was uncharacteristically sunny after the night’s snowfall. The air pleasantly chilly still.

“Up wi’ ye lass! Ye dinna want to be looking like a melted candle on yer wedding day!” Mrs. Bug fussed, forcibly sitting Claire up and placing the tray on her lap. “Gail’s preparing ye a bath. Eat up, a leannan, ye’ll be needing yer strength for what’s sure to be a long day!”

Claire groaned at this unceremonious wakening, stomach violently wobbling at the smell of the fried eggs. Hearing her groans, Gail peeked her head out of the bathroom, “You alright?” she asked, concerned.

“Mm-hm,” Claire replied, not trusting herself to speak just yet. “Maybe just the tea for now, Mrs. Bug,” she added hastily, moving the tray away.

***

“Are ye nervous, lad?” Murtagh cocked an eyebrow at his godson, as he watched him fumble with the buttons of his shirt.

“Nah! Just cold,” Jamie smirked back. “Speaking of cold, a goistidh. Dinna be forgetting to light the fires well before hand. I dinna want Claire catching a chill, aye.”

“Dinna fash, the lads and I have that well sorted. She willna want for anything today,” Murtagh assured him calmly, rummaging through his bag for something.

“Also, the footpath boards leading to the kirk. It’s a wee bit sunny, I’m afraid the path’s going to turn to mush by the time we make our way there. She’s wearing white, aye?” Jamie continued to fret. All morning, in fact, about the kirk, the food, the mud, much to Murtagh’s exasperation.

“Everything is under control, ye wee gomerel! Ye need to take a breath, and enjoy yer bloody wedding day!” Murtagh lightly chastised.

“Aye, I ken. Its only-”

“I ken what it’s only, lad,” Murtagh moved and put his hand on Jamie’s shoulder. “Here,” he said, handing him a small, round metal object. “Yer Da gave this to me for ye. For when ye’d be needing it. ‘Tis yer family’s coat of arms.”

Jamie looked down at his father’s Fraser brooch, unable to speak for the lump it brought to his throat seeing it. It had been proudly passed down for generations. Now it was his. He ran his thumbs gently over the two stags and his family’s motto, written neatly beneath. “Je Suis Prest,” he whispered. I am ready.

“Are ye, then?” Murtagh asked seriously.

“Aye. I am.” Jamie said.

***

Claire fidgeted with her gown as Jenny did the final touch ups with her hair, tsking as the stubborn curls refused to be tamed. Claire closed her eyes and mouthed the odd words over and over trying to get them just right.

“Hair down, then,” Jenny decided to herself, letting the unruly curls cascade down Claire’s shoulders, then smartly tucking the thin vine headband into her hair.

“Say it again, Jenny,” Claire said nervously.

“Ye ken the words, Claire. Ye’ve kent them for weeks. Dinna fash,” Jenny reassured her. “And dinna do that! Ye’ll crease the dress.”

Claire was sure she’d memorized them, but her nerves seemed to be getting the best of her. Did she have the pronunciation right? Would she flub them at the wrong time? Would Jamie laugh at her funny accent?

“Do you think he won’t want to do it, Jenny?” Claire asked, unsure, peering over her shoulder.

Jenny took a moment before answering. “Ye ken it’s the way of things here. Aye, some do choose not to go too traditional when marrying nowadays, but I’m positive Jamie didna bring it up himsel’ was because he thought you wouldna want to do it.” She came round and knelt beside Claire, laying her hand over hers. “Are ye sure?”

At Claire’s immediate nod, Jenny straightened up. “Then Jamie will be willing. I ken that for certain.”

***

Jamie stood, checking for the umpteenth time if he’d put everything on - to which there was countless small details only Murtagh and Arch had kept track of for him - if he had everything he’d need sorted - Ring? Check. Priest? Check. Vows memorized? Check. Fire and candles well lit? Check and check. Guests? Assembled and ready. Best man? A numpty, but check. Bride?

The appearance of Jenny and the other ladies - flushed and elated - signaled the beginning. Claire was on her way; his stomach flipped a thousand times, his legs felt oddly wobbly. Murtagh had assured him the path was ready, she wouldna be getting her dress all muddy or wet. From the immaculate state of Jenny and the rest, he knew Murtagh had been right.

A low hum fell over everyone in the kirk as they peered toward the door, waiting. Jamie could feel his heart thumping painfully in his chest, only Ian’s hand on his shoulder keeping him from bounding toward the door, to Claire.

He could hear their footsteps reverberate softly on the wood path before he saw them. Then there she stood, Joe by her side. She wore a woolen cloak Jamie recognized as his mother’s. Even though the wee bit of early morning sun had turned the ground to mush, he knew the air was biting.

They paused at the threshold, Joe gently taking the cloak from her shoulders; Jamie swallowed audibly.

She looked absolutely ethereal. Her gown was lighter than he’d have expected, flowing around her like wisps of clouds, delicately taking the shape of her and the bairn as she moved, yet not hugging her tightly. Her hair flowed about her, held carefully by a wee delicate headband. She was the most beautiful thing he’d ever seen. He’d stared for several moments, and just as he realized he’d forgotten to breath, he saw Claire too had been rooted to the spot as she caught sight of him at the alter.

Claire had never seen anything more breathtaking. A Highlander if ever she saw one, in full regalia. And he wore it as if he’d done so all his life, like he truly was born to it. He stood, straight backed and beautifully imposing, his plaid gracefully draping over one shoulder, held with a elegant stag brooch, with sporran and dirk, completing the vision. His flaming hair catching the candle light, setting a halo round him. It was true then, she thought, one could indeed be frozen, breathless, in time. Her vision suddenly blurred.

Feeling Joe’s hand on her elbow, Claire blinked back the tears and moved as if hypnotized, unable to take her eyes off Jamie, as he stood before her just as transfixed. If it wasn’t for Joe’s patient grip, she’d have cleared the length of the aisle in three strides.

Jamie’s face was calm. The only sign of just how strongly he kept his emotions in check was the way he held his hands together; clasped in front him, white knuckled in an effort not to show them trembling. The smile he’d had from the moment she’d walked in, broadened as he reached out for her hand. His palms just as sweaty as hers.

Claire and Jamie took their place in front of the priest as a hush fell over everyone. They barely heard anything being said - simply having eyes only for each other, unwilling to let go of the other’s hand for even a moment. Finally sensing movement around them, they realized it was time to stand once more for the exchanging of the vows. They took deep, steadying breaths, their grip on each other tightening. The priest’s voice sounded faint and distant, as if it fell away just before it quite reached them, with everything else around them.

“I, James Alexander Malcolm Mackenzie Fraser, take thee Claire Elizabeth Beauchamp to be my wedded wife…”

“I, Claire Elizabeth Beauchamp, take thee James Alexander Malcolm Mackenzie Fraser to be my wedded husband…”

“To have and to hold…”

“From this day forth. For better or worse…”

“In sickness and in health…”

“Till death us do part.”

“Do you have the rings?” the priest asked Ian and Joe, who promptly produced from their sporrans a pair beautiful silver rings - Joe rather a little more enthusiastically than Ian, being the first time he’d ever worn a kilt and sporran.

Claire had insisted she didn’t need an engagement ring, much to Jamie’s contention. But she’d had a compromise he finally agreed to. She’d pick his wedding and his hers. Silver. And neither would show the other till it was time to put them on.

Claire’s breath caught in her throat when she saw the little circlet in Jamie’s hand. It was beautiful. An elegant intertwining Highland design, connected together by a delicate thistle in the centre. Something had been inscribed on the inside, but her vision had blurred once again before she could make out the words and Jamie had somewhat shakily slipped the ring onto her finger.

Claire’s own hands shook enough she was sure she’d drop the ring she held. A wide, solid silver band, with a simple inscription of it’s own; something Jamie had whispered in her ear the first time they’d made love. Something she wasn’t likely to ever forget; There’s the 2 of us now.

The moment she’d slid the ring on his finger, he fiercely pressed her hand to his lips and stepped forward. She looked up at his beaming face, eyes glistening. He didn’t - couldn’t - wait for the priest, saying quietly enough for only Claire to hear, “too late to back out now, Sassenach. Yer stuck wi’ me,” he smiled, a twinkle in his eye, and bent his head gently placing his lips on hers. Every single thing around them dimmed - the sensation of the kiss amplifying the feel in every nerve ending they had. The warmth and softness spoke only of eternal promise. The pressure and tremble erasing all other thought and doubt.

Jamie felt a light hand on his shoulder after some time, a sense of where he stood slowly came back to him. He pulled away to see Claire’s eyes still closed and knew she’d just been as lost in him as he was in her. He turned to find Murtagh standing beside him. “Have ye your sgian dhu on ye, Jamie?” At Jamie’s nod, he held his hand out expectantly. Baffled, Jamie handed him the wickedly sharp knife, only to have his confusion replaced immediately by shock as Murtagh took a firm hold of his right hand and cut him neatly across the base of his wrist. Before he had time to react, he watched as Claire willing gave her hand over to Murtagh, not once taking her eyes off Jamie himself. “It’s alright,” she mouthed to him, as Murtagh cut. He knew what was happening, but hadn’t at all expected Claire to want it or even approve; the word ‘unsanitary’ kept fleeting through his mind.

“D’ye mind the words?” asked Murtagh; not - to Jamie’s surprise - Claire, but to him. Had she planned this all along, then?

“Aye,’ Jamie replied, blankly.

Murtagh wrapped their hands together - wrist to bloody wrist - with a soft swatch of cloth, before giving them a gruff “Mmmph!” and Claire a wink. Worried Claire may find the words hard to pronounce, Jamie quietly asked if she wanted them said in English.

“Gaelic,” she replied firmly.

And with one, final reassuring squeeze of her hand, they began nervously, the words sealing them forever.

“You are Blood of my Blood, and Bone of my Bone,”

“I give you my Body, that we Two might be One,”

“I give you my Spirit, till our Life shall be Done.”

***

“How on earth are you lads not freezing your bollocks off?” Claire asked, fiddling with the binding on her wrist as she watched Joe tend to Jamie’s.

“Och! It’s none so bad,” Jamie said, giving her a cheeky grin.

“I’ll say it is a bit brisk, but I wasn’t about to break with tradition!” Joe added, cheerfully waggling, making them both laugh.

“Well, you both look like you could use a dram or two,” Claire said pulling her white shawl tighter about her. The room was warm and cozy; the fire and bodies giving off a comfortable heat, but she’d feel sudden chills hit her unexpectedly from the open windows - left open to help the room breath.

“Aye, ghraidh, I think yer right,” Jamie said, clapping Joe on the shoulder in thanks for binding his wrist and lead him to where the rest of the lads stood by the drinks table. Claire watched as the raucous crowd gathered Jamie in.

“The look on yer face, laddie!” Murtagh teased between fits of laughter. “Thought ye were goin’ to swoon, so soon as I cut ye!”

Claire unconsciously rolled her ring around her finger, still getting used to the comforting weight of it, her fingers lightly tracing, committing to memory its design. A nervous flutter went through her belly, yet she felt all at once, at peace. She turned then, away from any prying eyes, her curiosity had been nagging at her since Jamie’d put the ring on her finger. Discreetly slipping the ring off (for what would be the only time she ever did), she tilted it to and fro trying to catch the inscription.

She squinted at it, confused. Is that Latin? she thought. She’d been concentrating so hard, she hadn’t heard Jamie come up behind her till he wrapped his arms about her.

Da mi basia mille,” he whispered in her ear, smiling, gently pushing the ring snugly back to the base her finger.

“What does it mean?” she whispered. But before he could elaborate any further, Jenny’s voice boomed behind them.

“If ye could all please follow me, supper willna keep wi’ waiting!”

Planting a kiss on his wife’s neck, Jamie took hold of her waist and steered her toward their table, without a word.

“A wedding ring, Sassenach,” he said. “I got it from Ewen the armorer; he makes such things in his own time.”
“Oh,” I said in a small voice.
“Go ahead,” he said, a moment later. “Open it. It’s yours.”
The outlines of the little package blurred under my fingers. I blinked and sniffed, but made no move to open it. “I’m sorry,” I said.
“Well, so ye should be, Sassenach,” he said, but his voice was no longer angry. Reaching, he took the package from my lap and tore away the wrapping, revealing a wide silver band, decorated in the Highland interlace style, a small and delicate Jacobean thistle bloom carved in the center of each link.
So much I saw, and then my eyes blurred again.
I found a handkerchief thrust into my hand, and did my best to stanch the flow with it. “It’s…beautiful,” I said, clearing my throat and dabbling at my eyes.
“Will ye wear it, Claire?” His voice was gentle now, and his use of my name, mostly reserved for occasions of formality or tenderness, nearly made me break down again.

“You needna do so,” he said, looking at me seriously over his cupped palm. “The marriage contract between us is satisfied—it’s legal. You’re protected, safe from anything much save a warrant, and even from that, so long as you’re at Leoch. If ye wish, we may live apart—if that’s what ye were trying to say wi’ all yon rubbish about Laoghaire. You need have little more to do wi’ me, if that’s your honest choice.” He sat motionless, waiting, holding the tiny circlet near his heart.
So he was giving me the choice I had started out to give him. Forced on me by circumstance, he would force himself on me no longer, if I chose to reject him. And there was the alternative, of course: to accept the ring, and all that went with it.

I felt as fragile and as brilliant as the glass, as though I would shatter with a touch, and fall in glittering fragments to the floor. If I had meant to spare either Jamie’s emotions or my own, it seemed I was very much too late.

- Outlander 


(Claire love the ring, is one of her treasures, the symbol of her love for Jamie, the key to Lallybroch and the promise of family. Frank’s ring is a promise yes, but is the gemstone that take Claire to the past) 

anonymous asked:

Love this blog so much. You all are amazing. Would it be possible to have Frank randomly run into Jamie and either a pregnant Claire or Claire with baby Faith somehow in Modern Glasgow AU?

Modern Glasgow AU

“-And it seems that the fairy tale series has been selling well, so we expect the author to order another print run – ”

“Jamie?”

Jamie twisted over his shoulder to find Rupert sticking his head through the crack between the wall and the glass door.

“Apologies – but Alec’s meeting is running over and he’d like you to keep one of the authors company while he waits?”

Jamie turned back to the small group gathered around the conference room table – Willie, Angus, a few interns they’d picked up for the fall term. He slid the weekly agenda over to Willie and pushed back his chair. “If you’ll excuse me?”

“Sure, Jamie. I’ll run through the numbers.”

Jamie clapped Willie on the back as he stepped out of the room, following Rupert as the older man barreled down the narrow hallway.

“I’ll have him come to yer office, then? He’s a prospect – got a book about the ’45 and the Bonnie Prince that he’s been shopping around to all the publishing houses. Alec’s slated to give him the sell, but it can’t hurt for him to hear from you as well.”

“Aye – I’ll do my best.”

Rupert stopped in front of Jamie’s office and clapped him on the back. “Good lad. I’ll send him in.”

Jamie nodded and padded across the tiny office, settling his long legs in the chair behind his desk, shifting around invoices and galleys to open up some space.

Footsteps in the doorway. “Jamie?”

He looked up – to see Rupert accompanied by a dark-haired man dressed in a suit and dark green sweater vest, the perfect curl of a red tie edging over the knit v.

Jamie rose and extended his hand in welcome. “Jamie Fraser. And you are – ”

“This is Professor Frank Randall, of the University of Glasgow.”

Jamie gripped the man’s hand, heart leaping to his mouth. A Dhia.

“So lovely to meet you,” the older man said in his proper English voice.

Jamie blinked – then remembered his manners, gesturing to the chair at the other end of his desk. “Please.”

Rupert grinned and waddled out of the office, closing the door with a definitive shut.

Jamie wanted to be anywhere but with this man – who he knew all too well, but who likely knew not a thing about him.

Well then.

“I understand ye’re looking to publish a book about the Jacobites?”

Frank’s face lit up. Jamie observed that despite his youth, harsh lines cut beside his mouth.  “Yes – I’ve been researching it for the past few years – even did a sabbatical in New York for six months. I’m especially interested in exploring the various parties that financed the Jacobites – English lords, the French and Spanish kings, and so on. It’s not something that’s been explored at length – usually people are fixated on the Bonnie Prince and Culloden and all that.”

Jamie pursed his lips, the man who had voted Yes! screaming within at the man who needed to put up a neutral face for the sake of his company. “I see. And who is the target audience?”

Frank settled back in the chair. Jamie noticed the glint of a gold wedding band on the man’s left hand. Interesting. “Well, academics and historians, of course. But I’m hoping it will attract a more mass audience as well – popular history. Perhaps the BBC or Channel Four can make a documentary out of it – that’s why I want to publish in Scotland, rather than down in London.”

Jamie clenched his fist at the thought that this man – or any Englishman – would host a television special on events that had directly led to suffering for his ancestors. “That sounds ambitious. Have ye any experience in that sort of thing? Television, I mean?”

Frank smiled – but Jamie noticed that it didn’t reach his eyes. “My wife tells me that my head is in the clouds far too often. The perils of being an academic, I suppose. But to answer your question – I don’t, but with the recent Culloden anniversary, and the vote a few years past, it’s definitely a topic on people’s minds.”

Jamie nodded, focused on the framed photograph facing him – Claire nuzzling Faith’s wee cheeks – drawing strength just from the image of them. His girls. His life.

“Yer wife sounds like a wise woman. Have ye been married long?”

Frank tilted his head at Jamie – curious. “She is wise beyond her years. We married last spring – she helped me with the research for the book. We met while I was in New York.” Absently he twisted his wedding ring around his finger, his eyes settling on Jamie’s hands, lying flat on the table, and his own wide silver wedding band. “I assume you’re married as well?”

Jamie smiled slowly. “I am. Oddly enough, we met on a flight from New York to Glasgow.”

“Did you? That’s fascinating. Is she American?”

Jamie sat up a bit straighter. “No – she’s English. From Oxfordshire, actually. But she’d been living here in Glasgow – she was working as a nurse at the time.”

Frank’s dark brows furrowed – torn between confusion and disbelief.

“And she was in New York because she had been visiting you.”

Frank blinked. His face went blank in shock.

“My God – it’s you.” His voice was cold. So cold.

Jamie held Frank’s gaze and tilted his chin in challenge. “Aye. We wed four weeks later. Our first daughter was born last year.”

No emotion flitted across Frank’s face – not anger, not rage, not surprise. He was perfectly still. And it chilled Jamie to the core.

“First daughter?” Frank’s voice was emotionless – but Jamie could tell when rage was being held in check.

Jamie swung around the picture so that Frank saw it. “Aye. Our second daughter is in Claire’s belly.”

A long, silent beat. Tension crackled. Whatever Frank had been expecting – it certainly wasn’t this.

And then the door creaked open to reveal Rupert, boisterous and oblivious. “Professor Randall? Alec will see ye now.”

Frank nodded, rose, shot an icy glare at Jamie, and stormed through the doorway. Rupert glanced a question at Jamie. “What did ye – ”

“Dinna fash – I didna do anything. He’s an ambitious man, but I don’t think it’ll amount to anything.”

Rupert scratched his whiskers, thinking. “I’ll pass that on to Alec, then.  Will ye be going back to the meeting?”

Jamie shook his head. “Willie is more than capable of finishing it up. I think I’ll call my wife and then head home.”

Rupert shrugged. “Whatever suits ye. I’ll see you tomorrow then?”

Jamie unlocked the screen of his phone – smiling at the picture of an ecstatic, toothless Faith clad in the tartan onesie Murtagh had given her for Christmas. “Aye. I’ll see ye.”

As the door clicked shut, Jamie dialed Claire’s number, sighing in relief when she picked up.

“Jamie? What is it?”

Mo nighean donn,” he breathed.

The Wee Murray

I don’t know why, but I’ve become a little obsessed with young Ian and Rachel. This story is a follow up to THIS.


“Are ye sure, lass?” he asked, his eyes growing wide and frantic.

“Yes, Ian. I am very sure. I have not had my cycle in two months and I took a home test. I am carrying thy child.”

“Two months?! And ye didna say anything?”

“I wanted to wait until I was sure, before I worried thee.”

“Have ye seen a doctor yet?”

She shook her head, staring down at his hand over her womb.

“Not yet. I… I was afraid and wanted thee to be with me.”

“Of course I’ll be wi’ ye, Rachel. You’re my wife.”

“But I know it frightens thee as well.”

His hand slowly retreated from her and she pulled up the sheets to cover herself.

“Aye. It does. I’ll no’ lie to ye, I’m scared half out of my mind.”

“Is thee angry with me?”

“Angry? Wi’ you? Why the hell would I be angry wi’ you?”

Rachel began picking at a loose thread on the hem of the quilt.

“Because of thy first daughter, Iseabaìl.”

He’d spoken the name to her only once, when he’d confessed his entire relationship with Emily to her. She’d never brought it up or asked him about the child. It was a sore spot in his heart that she knew would never fully heal. But he’d let her see it and she knew it was a special thing.

“I dinna want to talk about her.”

“I think that we must, Ian. Thee is afraid of losing our child also.”

“Of course I’m afraid of it!”

Throwing off the bed sheets, he got out of bed and began pacing. His wolf Rollo got up and followed him. 

“I wasna ready to be a father when Emily got pregnant. I’m no’ sure I am now either! But we talked about it and… Weel… We were gonna keep it. I dinna ken if we would marry or no. Mam wasna happy about it, ye ken.”

“Yes, I do.”

He ran his hands through his hair, pulling at it roughly.

“And then she… She had pains, like she was going into labor, but it was too soon. It damn near killed Emily too.”

“That was what thee told me when thee asked to court me.”

“But you’re no’ Emily. Nothing like her. Ye might be safe. But Rachel…” He stopped and looked her straight in the eye. “I canna lose you.”

“Thee will not.”

“Ye dinna ken that! Ye canna! I want our bairn, but no’ if it costs me you.”

“Then what would thee have me do?”

“I dinna ken. Did ye do this on purpose?”

Her mouth fell open.

“What? Does thee think I planned this?! We agreed to wait a time and I have been waiting.”

“Aye! And I see the way ye look at our nieces and nephews.”

Folding her arms over her chest, she looked away from him.

“Thee knows that I desire our child! We have talked about it for over a year! But I understand why thee is afraid. I would not do this to thee.”

Rollo whined quietly and shoved his nose into Ian’s clenched fist. Ian forced himself to relax.

“I’m sorry, lass. Of course ye wouldna do this on purpose. I shouldna have accused.”

“Thee is angry with me.”

“No, no I’m not, I promise. I just… This scares the hell out o’ me.” He moved slowly and sat down on the bed beside her. “I canna lose you. Or our bairn.”

His hand moved to her womb again, warmer than before.

“Thee will not lose us,” she said, putting her hand atop his. “I promise.”

“We’ll call a doctor in the morning, get ye an appointment. I give ye my word, Rachel Hunter Murray, that ye willna do any o’ this alone. I’ll be wi’ ye every step of the way. Every appointment. Everything.”

“I think thee, husband. Perhaps in the morning, we should tell thy aunt and uncle?”

Ian nodded, pulling her to lay down beside him once more.

“Aye. That would be good.”

Ian hardly slept that night. Every movement in their bed, every fart from Rollo, every creak of their small house had him panicking. She couldn’t be that far gone yet, but the memory of Emily was strong.

“God,” he breathed. “That she may be safe. She and the child.”

She woke slowly in his arms as the dawn broke. He smiled at her and gave her cheek a soft kiss before getting up to shower. Before facing the day, he needed a moment to gather himself, to put his mind in order. Once that was accomplished, he wanted to speak to his uncle.

Jamie was in the Lallybroch stables by the time Ian and Rachel made it out to the house. They’d gone to the hospital and made an appointment for their first ultrasound, which would be later that week. But he was petrified.

“I shall go into the house and search for thy mother. Would… Would thee mind if I told her our news?”

“Nae, lass. Tell her. Ye need her, ken?”

“I do. I thank thee.”

Rachel gave his hand a squeeze and headed into the big house.

“Uncle Jamie?”

“Aye, lad,” came his voice from the rear of the stable. “What is it?”

“Ah… Do ye have a few minutes to talk?”

A colorful Gaelic curse erupted from the stall and Jamie emerged a few minutes later, covered in muck.

“Aye. A few minutes away from that wee devil will do me good. What is it I can help ye with?”

“Rachel…”

“She’s a good lass, Ian. And she loves ye.”

“Aye, aye. I ken that. It’s just that… She’s pregnant.”

Jamie sighed and sat down on a bale of straw.

“Ah. I see.”

“I’m so scared, Uncle. I dinna how to do this. Last time… I canna lose another of my children.”

His uncle took a very deep breath and looked down at his muddy boots.

“Have I ever told ye that yer auntie and I almost lost Faith?”

“No, ye havena.”

“Aye. We did. Took us a long time to have a bairn and we were both so excited. Yer auntie wanted to be a mam so badly. When we found out, we both wept. She was nearly six months gone when… Weel, she started to bleed. That isna unusual at the start, she told me. But so far along…”

Ian watched as his uncle’s large hands shook.

“Yer auntie was in hospital for nearly a week. I verra nearly lost them both.”

“Chist, Uncle. I didna ken that.”

“It’s no’ something we talk about often, ken.”

“I dinna talk about… Iseabaìl either.”

Jamie nodded slowly.

“Have ye talked about when ye lost her?”

“No’ really. I told Rachel a bit but I… I havena talked about it wi’ anyone.”

“Ye could tell me, if it would help ye.”

Ian looked down and twisted the ring on his left hand. It was a simple thing to make Rachel feel more comfortable with it. But it had a nice celtic weave engraved into the wide silver band.

“Emily was a little over four months gone, we think, when it happened. We didna ken if it was a boy or a girl yet, the doctor couldna get a clear picture at the ultrasounds. I kent she was a girl, though. I canna make sense of how, but I kent it.”

“I kent about Willie too.”

“She just started screaming, grabbing at her stomach. God, I thought she was going to tear herself open… We got her to the hospital but it was too late. The bairn died. My wee Iseabaìl. She was a tiny thing, no’ quite all done being put together. We got to see her. Emily couldna look at me after and I dinna blame her. I wasna ready to be a father wi’ Emily. But I didna want…”

“No one ever wants that, Ian. I wouldna wish that on my enemies, to lose a child. Claire and I got lucky and we didna lose Faith. I canna imagine the pain ye carry wi’ ye everyday.”

Hands shaking, Ian looked up.

“Aye, Uncle. I do. I… The thought of Rachel having a bairn… My bairn… What if it was me? What if I was the reason Iseabaìl died?”

“Oh Ian,” Jamie said, his voice very gentle. “It wasna your fault. Ye had verra little to do wi’ it after she was made. But Rachel isna Emily.”

“I ken she isna. But I canna lose her, Uncle. I canna lose her or the bairn.”

Jamie got to his feet and pulled Ian up into a strong hug. 

“I wish there was more I could do to help ye, Ian. Or that I could help your wee Rachel. All we can do now is take her to the doctor and make sure she’s healthy and pray for her and the bairn.”

“Thank ye, Uncle.”

“Of course. I’m here anytime ye need me, ken?”

“Aye. I ken. I should go and find poor Rachel. Mam’s probably got her in the attic looking through my old baby photos…”

“Och aye. And yer mam has photos ye dinna ken about.”

“Oh God…”

Jamie smiled down at him and squeezed his shoulder. With a sigh, Ian set off in search of is wife.

Claire’s Love For Jamie...

Claire’s love for Jamie is expressed in so many ways throughout the series. Not just any kind of love, but how much stronger her love is for Jamie than anyone else. In Drums of Autumn Jamie and Claire are attacked on the ship headed up river to Jocasta’s by Steven Bonnet. Bonnet gets a hold of Claire’s ring from Frank. We’re led to believe that she hasn’t ever really taken off this ring or Jamie’s ring, but that doesn’t explain something that happens later on in the same book, Bree. Bree sees Bonnet with a ring and knows just at the slightest hint of gold that that ring is Claire’s ring from Frank. She knows without looking what is written on the inside of the band, and confirms it for herself.

Then one of the men moved, and beyond his shoulder she caught the gleam of gold. 

She glanced down, looked away, then looked back startled. It was a ring, a plain gold band, but wider than most. It wasn’t the gold alone that had caught her eye though. The ring was no more than a foot away and while the light in the taproom was more than dim, a candelstick sat on the cardplayers’ table, shedding its light in the inner curve of the golden band. 

She couldn’t quite read the letters engraved there, but she knew the pattern so well that the legend sprang into her mind, unbidden.

“…have ye come to change my luck then?” He was a big man, with a heavy-boned, handsome face…she forced a smile. “I hope so,” she said. “Shall I give your ring a rub for luck?” Without waiting for permission, she snatched the ring from the table and gave it a brisk rub on her sleeve…she could see plainly the words written inside. From F. to C. with love. Always.

Her hand was trembling as she gave it back.

(Drums of Autumn)

With this, we now can infer that Claire had taken off Frank’s ring multiple times in order for Bree to have that ring so thoroughly memorized. So Bree is very intimately connected to the golden ring. She can spot it in a crowded, dimly lit room on a card table of all places, but Jamie’s ring? Nope. Bree might be able to spot the pattern on the outside by heart, but she’d never be able to pick it out of a crowd like she did with Frank’s ring. Claire refuses to take Jamie’s ring off. She even admits to it when they’re searching for Jamie in Dragonfly in Amber. She takes off the ring for (presumably) the first time and sees the inscription Jamie left for her.

“Your ring,” he said, coming to stand close by her again. “The silver one. Is there a maker’s mark in it? Some of the eighteenth-century Scottish silversmiths used them. It might not be proof positive, but it’s something.”

Claire looked startled. Her left hand covered the right protectively, fingers rubbing the wide silver band with its pattern of Highland interlace and thistle bloom. “I don’t know,” she said. A faint blush rose in her cheeks“I haven’t seen inside it. I’ve never taken it off.” She twisted the ring slowly over the joint of the knuckle…She squinted at the inside of the ring the rose and brought it to the table, where she stood next to Roger…

“There are words in it,” she said wonderingly. “I never realized that he’d…Oh, dear God.” Her voice broke, and the ring slipped from her fingers rattling on the table with a tiny metal chime…not knowing what else to do, he lifted the tiny metal circle to the light and read the words inside.

“Da mi basia mille…” But it was Claire’s voice that spoke the words, not his.

(Dragonfly in Amber)

Claire was so possessive of that ring and clinging on to any part of Jamie that she could that she would never let the ring leave her touch or sight; always keeping Jamie right there with her, as if he was always touching her, but with Frank’s ring she took off at will.

Claire loves Jamie so much that the ring he gave her is more a part of her than anything else she owns. Her love for him is so strong that even at the slightest mention of taking off the ring to validate that the ring is 18th century silver/find the maker Claire clutches her hand to protect the ring…unwilling even after 20 years to part with it. It’s one of her only lifelines to Jamie and she will not give that up easily or willingly. 

suhailauniverse  asked:

Heya! So what if - in the Modern Glasgow AU - Jamie's picking Claire up from work one day, and Claire sees Laoghaire make a pass at him.

Modern Glasgow AU

Jamie slid the gray toque off his head as the automatic doors at the emergency room entrance quietly glided closed behind him. Carefully he dodged out of the way of two hospital attendants pushing elderly women in creaky wheelchairs, a young couple carefully juggling a brand-new baby (and he ignored the small twinge in his heart at the sight) and an armful of flowers and balloons, and a gaggle of doctors headed out for an early dinner. One more turn around the corner and – ah.

“Jamie!” Glenna FitzGibbon’s voice boomed from behind the counter, where she supervised the nurses and orderlies rushing to and fro across the ward.

He smiled and leaned over the counter to give the kind woman – Claire’s mentor and confidant – a lingering hug. “So lovely to see you, Mrs. Fitz. I should have known it was you on duty – I didn’t see anyone idling in the corridors.”

She shook her head as she neatly signed a clipboard full of requisition forms and handed it to a waiting nurse. “Flatterer. Now I know why that wife of yours is so sweet on you.”

“Is she here? I had to see a customer nearby and thought I’d surprise her.”

“Weel she gets off at five - it’s about twenty minutes until she’s done wi’ her shift – I dinna suppose ye mind waiting?”

“Not at all – where I can I stay out of the way?”

She waved toward a set of hard plastic chairs wedged tightly against one wall, beside something that used to be a plant and a pile of battered magazines. “That’s as good of a place as any. Shall I tell her ye’re here?”

He helped himself to a tissue and blew his suddenly-runny nose. “No need – I dinna want to intrude. I can amuse myself.”

She quirked one eyebrow and shook her head. “I daresay. Off wi’ ye, then, afore this entire hospital grinds to a halt.”

Jamie smiled and quickly crossed the room, folding himself into what was possibly the most uncomfortable seat he’d ever had the displeasure of sitting in. He unzipped his coat, rolled his shoulders, and slipped off his right glove, fishing around in his jacket pocket for his phone. For a few minutes he scrolled through his messages – another order for that book on the history of shinty, a proposal for a coffee table book on different Scottish whiskys, an invoice for the reams of paper they’d had to special order from a shop in Edinburgh. But work could always wait – and he certainly wouldn’t bring it home with him tonight.

He thumbed through his applications until he found the folder labeled, simply, MND. It had over 50 pictures now – just four months after meeting Claire, and three months after marrying her. Pictures of Claire laughing over a fried Mars bar they’d shared at a pub; Claire admiring the vast sweep of hill and heather from his very favorite spot at Lallybroch; Claire wearing one of his shirts, mincing onions as she prepared his favorite omelet; Claire peacefully dreaming, propped against the window on a train ride to London.

And Claire’s beautiful, flushed face – eyes closed, lips parted in an ecstatic grin, hair wild on the pillow – the moment right after he’d given her paradise. That one always made his mouth dry -

“Can I help you?”

Jamie blinked harshly – jolting back into awareness – and looked up to see a young, blonde, perky woman clad in pink scrubs. “Sorry?”

She smiled sweetly - too sweetly. “Do you need help wi’ anything? Are ye looking for someone, perhaps? I dinna suppose ye’re in need of doctoring, though I could certainly tend to ye if need be.”

He locked his phone screen and slid it back into his pocket. “No, I’m in no need of doctoring. I’m waiting for someone, is all.”

She shifted the clipboard to her side - proudly showing him how she’d chosen to wear v-neck scrubs that day – and flipped her long hair over one shoulder. “Well then. Ye’re no’ waiting for a doctor, surely? I can page one for ye.”

Jamie noticed she was stepping ever so closer to him – trying to lock gazes. Christ, she was blinking very fast – was something stuck in her eye?

“No,” he replied politely. “No, I’m no’ waiting for a doctor. And Mrs. Fitz knows me – she asked me to wait right here. So I am.”

She tilted her head, appraising him. She was pretty, he had to admit – but in a girlish kind of way. This was no woman – a stronger, more confident woman would subtly emphasize her natural beauty with a hint of makeup, not use dark, garish eyeliner.

“Do ye mind if I sit here wi’ ye, then? Just to make sure the person ye’re waiting for actually arrives?”

He scratched the back of his head. “I suppose not. But – ”

Quickly she plopped beside him and swung one leg over the other, so that her tiny foot almost touched his knee. “Oh good. I’m so glad we can get to know each other a bit better while ye wait.” She paused, then extended one hand – nails covered in chipped red polish. “I’m Nurse Laoghaire MacKenzie.”

Jamie twisted his lips and quickly grasped her hand in his. “Jamie,” he said simply.

“Are ye from Glasgow, Jamie?” Was that – was that her thigh pushing up against his? A Dhia, would Claire not just hurry up already?


Claire wearily slung her purse over her shoulder and mindlessly pushed open the door of the locker room. She rounded the corner to the waiting room and briefly rested her elbows on the countertop of the nurse’s station while Mrs. Fitz hung up the phone.

“I’m off, Mrs. Fitz. Do let me know how everything turns out for that burn patient?”

Mrs. Fitz smirked. “Aye, I will. Though I doubt ye truly wish to hear from me again tonight – turn round.”

Puzzled, Claire turned to see Jamie folded uncomfortably into one of the hard plastic chairs, trying valiantly to fend off the attentions of young Nurse MacKenzie. He had edged as far away as possible from her crossed legs. Absently he twined and tugged at his fingers.

She sighed. No, no, that wouldn’t do. It didn’t matter that they’d pledged themselves to each other, time and time again – he was hers. As she was his. And someone clearly had not picked up on that truth.

As if sensing her, Jamie turned and locked gazes with Claire. His face split into a smile and he removed his left glove, the wide silver band on his ring finger glinting in the harsh fluorescent light.

Claire mirrored his smile and quickly stepped forward, taking his hand with hers. He bent to touch his lips to her forehead, but she pulled him down for a  deep, proper kiss. It went on a for a long while, and he settled his wide hands on her hips, tugging her closer as she kissed his smile.

Finally he pulled away. “Ready to go home, Claire?”

She nodded against him and turned to the younger woman. Really, a gaping mouth did not become her.

“Good night, Nurse MacKenzie.”

“Good night, Nurse Fraser,” the girl croaked.

Jamie settled his hand on the small of Claire’s back and pushed her toward the exit. “Thank ye for rescuing me from that – ”

He huffed in surprise as she pushed him into a small, dark examination room off the main hallway. She bolted the door and turned to face him, eyes shining, chest still heaving. His teeth flashed in the dim light, and she heard the rustling of paper as he settled onto the examination table.

“Come here to me, mo nighean donn,” he said softly.


At seven o’clock, Murtagh flipped to a Channel Four documentary on Bonnie Prince Charlie and cracked open another can of beer. Be home at six, the lad had said. We want to look at some flats tonight, the lass had said, so would you mind if we all ate beforehand? He didna mind cooking – though he also knew that they were newlyweds. So he’d had the foresight to order take-away curry – to be delivered at half past seven. Murtagh sighed, shook his head, and settled back into his easy chair.

“Your ring,” he said, coming to stand close by her again.

“The silver one. Is there a maker’s mark in it? Some of the eighteenth-century Scottish silversmiths used them. It might not be proof positive, but it’s something.” 

Claire looked startled. Her left hand covered the right protectively, fingers rubbing the wide silver band with its pattern of Highland interlace and thistle blooms. 

“I don’t know,” she said. A faint blush rose in her cheeks. “I haven’t seen inside it. I’ve never taken it off.” She twisted the ring slowly over the joint of the knuckle; her fingers were slender, but from long wearing, the ring had left a groove in her flesh. 

She squinted at the inside of the ring, then rose and brought it to the table, where she stood next to Roger, tilting the silver circle to catch the light from the table lamp. 

“There are words in it,” she said wonderingly. “I never realized that he’d … Oh, dear God.” Her voice broke, and the ring slipped from her fingers, rattling on the table with a tiny metal chime. Roger hurriedly scooped it up, but she had turned away, fists held tight against her middle. He knew she didn’t want him to see her face; the control she had kept through the long hours of the day and the scene with Brianna had deserted her now. 

He stood for a minute, feeling unbearably awkward and out of place. With a terrible feeling that he was violating a privacy that ran deeper than anything he had ever known, but not knowing what else to do, he lifted the tiny metal circle to the light and read the words inside. 

Da mi basia mille …” But it was Claire’s voice that spoke the words, not his. Her voice was shaky, and he could tell that she was crying, but it was coming back under her control. She couldn’t let go for long; the power of what she held leashed could so easily destroy her. 

“It’s Catullus. A bit of a love poem. Hugh.… Hugh Munro—he gave me the poem for a wedding present, wrapped around a bit of amber with a dragonfly inside it.” Her hands, still curled into fists, had now dropped to her sides. “I couldn’t say it all, still, but the one bit—I know that much.” Her voice was growing steadier as she spoke, but she kept her back turned to Roger. The small silver circle glowed in his palm, still warm with the heat of the finger it had left. 

“… da mi basia mille …” 

Still turned away, she went on, translating, 

“Then let amorous kisses dwell 

On our lips, begin and tell 

A Thousand and a Hundred score 

A Hundred, and a Thousand more.” 

When she had finished, she stood still a moment, then slowly turned to face him again. Her cheeks were flushed and wet, and her lashes clumped together, but she was superficially calm.

“My share of the MacKenzie rents comes to about twenty pounds a quarter, Sassenach,”

he said, digging through the oddments inside the badgerskin. “And that’s Scots, not sterling. About the price of half a cow.” 

“That’s … that’s all?” I said stupidly. “But—” 

“That’s all,” he confirmed. “And all I ever will have from the MacKenzies. Ye’ll have noticed Dougal’s a thrifty man, and Colum’s twice as tight-fisted wi’ his coin. But even the princely sum of twenty pound a quarter is hardly worth marrying to get, I should think,” he added sarcastically, eyeing me. 

“I wouldna have asked for it straight away, at that,” he added, bringing out a small paper-wrapped parcel, “but there was something I wanted to buy with it. That’s where my errand took me; meeting Laoghaire was an accident.” 

“And what did you want to buy so much?” I asked suspiciously. 

He sighed and hesitated for a moment, then tossed the small package lightly into my lap. 

“A wedding ring, Sassenach,” he said. “I got it from Ewen the armorer; he makes such things in his own time.” 

“Oh,” I said in a small voice. 

“Go ahead,” he said, a moment later. “Open it. It’s yours.” 

The outlines of the little package blurred under my fingers. I blinked and sniffed, but made no move to open it. “I’m sorry,” I said. 

“Well, so ye should be, Sassenach,” he said, but his voice was no longer angry. Reaching, he took the package from my lap and tore away the wrapping, revealing a wide silver band, decorated in the Highland interlace style, a small and delicate Jacobean thistle bloom carved in the center of each link. 

So much I saw, and then my eyes blurred again. 

I found a handkerchief thrust into my hand, and did my best to stanch the flow with it. “It’s … beautiful,” I said, clearing my throat and dabbling at my eyes. 

“Will ye wear it, Claire?” His voice was gentle now, and his use of my name, mostly reserved for occasions of formality or tenderness, nearly made me break down again.

-Outlander