imagine writing scenes as heart wrenching as Eva and Jonas breaking up in the skate park, as beautiful as all the girls supporting Noora while she goes to the doctor, as emotional as Isak finding Even in that schoolyard in the middle of the night and as groundbreaking as Yousef and Sana discussing religion after playing basket ball together and still picking William stepping out of a car as your favorite scene. imagine that!
Wendy Williams (then): Blac Chyna is obviously taking advantage of Rob. She doesn’t love him. He’s weak. He’s insecure. She just wants his money and the Kardashian name and he’s too stupid and a pushover to realize it. Blac Chyna (then): Attacks Wendy Williams on instagram for her comments Blac Chyna (now): Was obviously taking advantage of Rob. Calls him insecure, fat and lazy. Made it clear she just wants money and the Kardashian name Wendy Williams (now):
Dear William, I’m sorry for the pain it may cause, but you cannot meet Randall. This is for the best for him because he has an extraordinary father who gives him everything he needs. I hope you take comfort in knowing just how loved Randall is.
Imagine a universe where Jamie got to keep William as his own, pretty please!
Special thanks to Mod Gotham for coming up with the title for this new AU of mine. I have it all planned out but I’m not sure yet how many parts it will be. I hope you all enjoy it. - Mod Lenny
Mac Ruaidh - Part One
The cold of the raging storm outside had nothing on the cold that invaded his veins at the news from the Ellesmeres’ cook, though he was less certain whether it was caused by the news that Geneva was dead or that her husband was thoroughly convinced her child had been fathered by another man.
Though it was wrong to curse the dead, the impulse was strong. He had known when he accepted her twisted bargain that it wouldn’t be so simple. He should have tried harder to find a way out of it without giving in to her demands. As his anger and frustration rose the chill faded and heat rose through him.
Perhaps his wits had gotten slow from lack of use. In the cave he’d had little to do but think and second guess his every move; at Ardsmuir there had been the men to think on, their welfare to negotiate and in the governor he’d found a man willing to challenge and bargain shrewdly, not to mention the opportunities to play at chess or read a bit from one of the books on the shelf. But at Helwater he had slipped into a routine that didn’t require the same mental exertions; physical exhaustion carried him to his bed at night and the relative freedom of movement––being outdoors and working but not under the eyes and guns of guards––he had given over to enjoying the simpler aspects of his life, pushing aside the harsh terms of his servitude. In playing the part of a mere groom perhaps some of the simplicity he played at had seeped into his mind and impeded his faculties.
How else could he explain the apparent ease with which Geneva––hardly more than a lass––had gotten the upper hand on him enough to force his compliance?
Jamie closed his eyes, took a deep breath and let it out slowly, urging his mind towards quiet. Half a dozen ideas for what he could have done or said differently in the field that day were fighting with each other as though settling on which would have been most effective might change his current situation.
But what exactly was his situation? The lad was his by blood but Ellesmere’s by law and as far as appearances were concerned.
The rising heat of Jamie’s anger cooled suddenly as something within him sank. He had a son, another child he wouldn’t have a chance to see or raise or know. Well, perhaps Ellesmere would let the lad visit Helwater from time to time; the Dunsanys were still the babe’s family. Jamie might be able to see him from a distance, which was more than he’d had of either of his other two children. Lord that she might be safe, she and the child , he prayed silently, habitually, and then with a sigh added, And may Lady Geneva rest peacefully.
A maid came scurrying into the kitchen with wide eyes. “Your master wants you right away,” she urged Jamie and Jeffries. “And he wants you to come armed.”
Jeffries ran to fetch the pistols from the carriage but Jamie urged the maid to show him to Lord Dunsany immediately; if arms were indeed needed he shouldn’t have trouble improvising with something at hand or at least stalling until Jeffries could join them.
Ellesmere and Dunsany were both red-faced from screaming as he entered and looked about to come to blows.
“Your daughter was a whore and I’ll not have her bastard bearing my name,” Ellesmere hollered. “I’m getting rid of him one way or another.”
“My daughter was no WHORE!” Dunsany screamed, taking a swing at Ellesmere who easily dodged it. “And you’ll not shame my grandson with your lies!”
“He’s no son of mine, of that I’m sure,” Ellesmere taunted Dunsany, “so that ought to tell you all you need to know of your daughter and her character.”
Jamie felt the blood drain from his face but it had no effect on his legs. He inserted himself between the two men saying nothing.
“We had an arrangement when I agreed to marry that slut and I don’t care––”
Jamie gave Ellesmere a shove so that he fell back into a cushioned chair. Both he and Dunsany were startled into silence by the action.
“Have ye no heard that it’s rude to speak ill of the dead?” Jamie said with a quiet calm that made Ellesmere go pale. “There’s a child lost its mother and parents lost their child. Whatever betrayal ye may be feeling, have a care for their grief at least or ye dinna deserve to call yerself a gentleman.”
The color returned to Ellesmere’s face in a rush of red but he simply clenched his fists in his chair as Jamie continued to stare down at him from his physically imposing height.
“Tha–thank you, MacKenzie,” Dunsany muttered weakly behind him. “I’ve sent my wife to fetch the child. We’ll be leaving with him this afternoon and––”
“No,” Ellesmere said with cold fury. “You’ll not be leaving this house with that child and playing the gracious grieving parents offering to raise him for me because I’m too distraught or whatever bullshit reason you give the gossip-mongers. I never touched your daughter and I’ll not have her bastard son as my heir.”
“I’ll take him.” The words were out of Jamie’s mouth before he’d even thought them and once again both Ellesmere and Dunsany were shocked into silence.
Swallowing and turning to begin pacing, Jamie was aware of the men’s attention on him while he scrambled to piece his impulse together into a plan.
“I’ll take the bairn and raise him as mine––a lad got on a kitchen maid that left and sent him to me rather than raise him herself,” Jamie said quickly. “As far as Lady Geneva goes, her bairn died and can be buried with her.” He turned to Ellesmere. “It frees ye of having a living heir ye dinna want and garners ye a bit more sympathy than a scandal would––or would ye rather word of yer… inabilities spread along with yer insinuations about yer late wife?”
Ellesmere glared at Jamie who stood holding the older man’s eye without flinching. He was vaguely aware of the throbbing pulse in the man’s throat, a subtle fluttering movement that was slightly out of sync with a twitch in the corner of the man’s right eye. Ellesmere blinked and Jamie let the breath he’d been holding go then turned to Dunsany.
“I ken it’s no how ye want the lad to come to yer house,” Jamie said with gentle understanding, a tone of voice he’d used frequently on skittish horses. “But he’ll be near ye and ye’ll have a chance to see him even if he canna know the truth of who ye are.”
“You propose to raise an infant on your own while working as a stablehand…” Dunsany summarized with obvious skepticism.
“I’m sure my employer will prove sympathetic to my plight having so recently lost a beloved child of his own. None would question such an impulse under the circumstances,” Jamie reasoned. “But… he would be mine. I’d have the final say over him.”
Dunsany’s mouth was drawn tight and grim but there was exhaustion and resignation in it too.
“Why? Why would you do such a thing?” Dunsany asked.
Jamie inhaled deeply and let it out slowly. “My wife,” he said quietly, his voice barely managing not to break at the mention of Claire, at the thought of discussing her with these people, of bringing her memory into the light of day to be gawked at when he preferred keeping her to himself, cherished and protected. “My wife and I wanted… We lost our first at birth. It took time for her to get with child again… and then I lost them both together… I love my wife still and dinna mean ever to wed again… but it pains me to think I’ll no have a chance to be a father. A child without a father ought to have one and if I’m no to be father to my wife’s children, I should like to act as father to such a child.”
“If you want the bloody bastard you can have him,” Ellesmere said, unmoved by Jamie’s display of emotion. “I just want all of you out of my house and out of my life as soon as possible.”
But Jamie’s focus remained on Dunsany and the watery redness of his eyes. When Dunsany blinked his head moved in a subtle nod.
“William?” Lady Dunsany asked as she appeared at the door to the library with the blanket wrapped infant in her arms and Jeffries at her side, the pistols from the carriage clearly visible.
“Jeffries, those won’t be necessary,” Dunsany said, his voice thick but firm.
Dunsany crossed to his wife and whispered about the proposed arrangement. Lady Dunsany was shaking her head vehemently and clutching the tiny bundle to her tightly before Dunsany was even half-way through. Her eyes darted to Jamie, pleading, but then caught Ellesmere’s hard and unsympathetic expression. Dunsany moved to take the child from her arms but she shook him off and took the first few steps towards Jamie, her hold on the child never loosening.
“He’s called William,” she said firmly.
“Louisa,” Dunsany began to say but she interrupted him.
“It’s William; she gave him that name and I think it’s the least MacKenzie can do to call him by the name his mother gave him before she died.” The grief in her voice was strong but lent that strength to her resolve.
“Aye,” Jamie whispered looking to reassure the grieving grandmother. “William is a good strong name for the lad. My older brother was called William. May I hold him?”
With tears streaking down her cheeks, Lady Dunsany brushed the blanket aside so that she could look at the face of her sleeping grandson and trail a finger down his cheek before yielding him to Jamie’s large hands and strong, solid arms.
The child didn’t seem to weigh a thing and yet for the first time in more than a decade, Jamie felt as though his feet had a solid hold on the ground. The baby’s ears stuck out a little and his shut eyes appeared to slant a bit––nothing that blatantly suggested the child in his arms was his by blood to anyone in the room aside from him––but he couldn’t help swallowing against a lump the observation created in his throat. Claire had told him that Faith had those features when she’d held her; had they looked like this? The lad’s hair was darker than his own, promised to be a rich brown like his mother’s… like Claire’s.
The other people in the room faded from Jamie’s awareness as he gently rocked the sleeping bairn and made his way closer to the warmth of the fire; it was just him and his son. Had the child Claire carried with her through the stones been born with her hair, or his? Had that child looked like this child? Closing his eyes and focusing on the warmth of the small, fragile body in his arms, Jamie could almost convince himself that he was standing before the hearth in the laird’s room at Lallybroch with Claire resting in the bed behind him, that this son in his arms was somehow one of the many yearned for but unborn children he was supposed to have had with Claire in that life they were supposed to have lived together.
“Fàilte mo mhac,” he said quietly then looked up and around until he spotted what he was looking for on Jeffries. He crossed and had the knife out of the paralyzed coachman’s belt.
“What are you doing?” Lady Dunsany screeched, similarly frozen as her eyes went wide seeing a blade so close to the baby.
But Jamie ignored her. William was sleeping securely and oblivious in the crook of Jamie’s right arm while he held the knife tight in that same hand and used his teeth to pull up the sleeve of his left arm so that nothing was in the way of that hand. The middle finger bent towards his palm and lightly pressed at the faint ‘C’ at the base of his thumb before he flexed the hand flat and guided the point of the knife a little further below the old scar. Blood of my blood and bone of my bone. His blood had mingled with Claire’s and was part of him, even now so many years later, she was and always would be a part of him. It was a shallower cut, only enough to raise a small line of blood, then he let the knife fall to the floor at his feet.
“Is tusa Uilleam donn mac Sheumais ruaidh,” Jamie murmured as he smeared the blood across the boy’s forehead. The sensation caused the child to squirm and his eyes to peek open. “Aye… Mac Ruaidh mar tha mi Mac Dubh.”
Turning towards the shocked and wary faces of the Dunsanys and Ellesmere Jamie explained, “Now, he is of my blood.” My blood and Claire’s. With pride he claimed, “He is my son.”