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McTavish & Beauchamp

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We arrived at what Jamie told me was Castle Leoch, only I knew that. I had been here only a couple of days ago with Frank exploring. Oh God, Frank. I stood still, unsure where to go or what I should do.

“And what do we have here?” A woman said, casting curious eyes on me. “Claire Beauchamp…Mistress Fitzgibbons. Murtagh found her, Dougal said we must bring her along with us, so…” Jamie said quietly to her.

“So…” She looked me up and down “Well, Claire. Come wi’ me” She said, “We shall find ye somethin’ to eat and somethin’ to wear that’s a bit more well… a bit more.”

“What about him?” I asked, looking back at Jamie unloading his belongings off his horse. “I can fend for myself” He grunted, clearly still in bad shape.

“No you’re hurt.” I turned to Mistress Fitzgibbons, “He was shot yesterday.” I begged Mistress Fitgibbons to do something. “I’ll be fine” Jamie tried to reassure us.

“No you won’t!” I replied, “I bandaged his shoulder but I wasn’t able to clean it or dress it properly. I must tend to it before it gets infected…” She looked at me like she didn’t know what I was saying, oh right, “I mean inflamed. You know, with fever and swelling.”

“Oh Aye. I ken fine what ye mean. But ye mean to say ye know what to do for that?” She asked. I nodded. “Are ye a charmer then? A Beaton?” She quizzed me. “Something like that.” I replied. What the hell was “A Beaton”?

“Jamie! Ye heard the lady, ye need tendin’. This way.” She took me by the arm and led me into the castle. “Let’s get ye out of the rain!” We walked through the damp and poorly lit halls. We came to a room with a fire already burning and Mistress Fitzgibbons went to fetch the things I would need to attend to Jamie’s arm. She came back swiftly, which I was glad for. Still unsure about being alone with Jamie.

“As ye asked, garlic and witch hazel to boil the rags. I also brought cherry bark for the pain.” She sighed and gave Jamie a gentle pat on the back. “Perfect.” I said and dipped the cloth into the water.

“Call out if ye need anythin’ else.” She said, walking over to the door. “I will. Thank you Miss Fitgibbons.” I said. “Everybody calls me Mrs. Fitz. You… may also.” She smiled sweetly and then turned and shut the door, leaving Jamie and I alone.

I stood and walked behind Jamie, assessing his wound once more and I gently pulled at the tartan around his shoulders, revealing deep and nasty red scars all over his back.

“Redcoats. Flogged me twice, in the space of a week.” I let my hand brush down his back, touching the wounded flesh. “They woulda done it twice in the same day I expect, were they no’ afraid of killin’ me. There’s no joy in floggin’ a dead man.” He sighed.

“I shouldn’t think anyone would do such a thing for joy.” I grimaced.

“Well if Randall wasna possessed wi’ joy, at least very pleased wi’ himself.” He said making me drop the bandages at the mention of Randall’s name.

“Clumsy. They’ll have to be boiled again.” I picked them up and went to the fire, dropping the cloth into the boiling water once again. “Why were you flogged?” I said bravely.

“Hmm, the first time was escapin’ Fort William and the second was theft. At least that’s what the charge sheet read.”

“Why were you escaping in the first place?” I asked, standing up and walking behind him, pressing the hot rag against his wound to clean it.

“They were holdin’ me prisoner,” he whispered.

“I gathered that. Why? On what charge?” I asked again.

“Well I think it was obstruction.” He sighed.

“Obstruction, what’s that? That doesn’t sound like a serious crime.” I said, placing the rags across his shoulder.

“Ah well, I suppose it’s whatever the English say it is.” He looked up at me then, over his shoulder. “It twas near to four years ago now.” He said and began to tell me the story of his capture by Randall, when he had held his sister Jenny and threatened to rape her. He surrendered and offered his body to be flogged.

“So, she went with him. She thought he’d kill me and perhaps she was right. After that I dinna ken what happened. When I woke up I was tressed up wi’ the chickens, jolting down the road to Fort William.”

“I’m so sorry” I said quietly, placing my hands on his back, my fingers tracing small circles on his neck. “It must’ve been terrible for you.”

“Oh aye, chickens are verra poor company.” He chuckled. I tied off his bandage and came to sit in front of him by the fire. He moved his shoulder, flexing the bandage.

“Don’t do that. Strap that on to your side.” I grabbed another long cloth and began to tie it around his side. “Hold still.”

“Ye’re a kind woman. Wi’ a good touch.” He grunted as I tied it tightly against him. “Ye’re husband is a lucky man.” I turned back to the fire and thought of what Frank must be going through, worried that I was dead or worse, left him for another man. I couldn’t help the tears as they began to sting my eyes, my breath becoming laboured.

“Mistress,” Jamie took notice of my tears, “Mistress Beauchamp what’s wrong?”

“I’m fine. I was just thinking about my husband.” I choked out.

“Lass… is he not alive?” He said and my chin quivered, sniffing I turned to look at him, “No actually… he’s not alive.” And more tears spilled over my cheeks. “Shh,” Jamie came down to me on the floor and wrapped his strong uninjured arm around me, I leant into his body, pressing my full weight against him. He let me cry into his arms, I pulled back slightly and we were face to face. The look of longing was evident on his face and it must have been on mine too.

Get a grip Beauchamp, you were just crying over your “dead” husband.

I didn’t pull away as Jamie leaned in, his lips brushing against mine, waiting for me to respond. Caught up in my heightened emotions of the last twenty-four hours I lost all caution and met his kiss.

He was gentle, more gentle than I imagined someone as big as him could be. His uninjured arm was still wrapped securely around me, he sat with his knees on either side of my body, I could just feel his length pressing against my side. He brought one hand up to my chin and held me, trembling, he broke the kiss to gaze at me, a silent question, was this okay?

I nodded slowly and brought my own hand up to his neck, running my fingers through his curls at the nape of his neck. He was sweating from the fire and now so was I.

Jamie slid his tongue along my bottom lip and then I responded by opening my mouth, letting him in. He was so warm and inviting. I forgot about Frank and kissed him deeper. He readjusted his body and pulled me onto his lap, my legs straddling his waist and I felt his cock straining under the fabric of his kilt.

I moaned and pressed my hips down against his making him grunt, “Sassenach” He called me again. He met my thrust with one of his own and our kiss quickened, what was a slow burn now was becoming a blazing explosion.

I let my hands wander along his bare back, my fingers lightly pressing against his scars making him moan against my mouth. He kissed my jawline, licking slowly down to my neck and sucking. Jesus H. Roosevelt Christ.

Just as I moved my hand under the hem of his kilt a knock came at the door making us both jump and I stood up quickly from his lap.

Mrs. Fitz opened the door, raising her eyebrows when she saw us both standing now across the room, breathing heavily and unable to meet one another’s gaze.

“Just checkin’ on ye two. Do ye need anythin’?” She asked, looking over at Jamie who had his back turned to her, I assumed to hide his growing excitement from what we had just been about to do.

“We’re alright” I managed to squeak out, “I was just finishing his bandage.” I said and she smiled, turning and closing the door for the second time. Once she had left and I was sure she couldn’t hear us I said “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to.” He turned to face me, smiling he replied, “Ye need not be scairt of me or anyone else here, as long as I am wi’ ye.” He said.

“When you’re not with me?” I asked, and walked over to him and gripped his arm. “Just never forget that ye’re English in a place where that’s no’ a pretty thing to be.” He looked deeply into my eyes.

“Thank you.” I said.

“Ye sleep a bit. Ye’re worn out. Someone will want to speak to ye before too long.” He sighed and moved a stray curl behind my ear. Jamie then crossed the room and picked up his shirt, shrugging it on over his bandaged arm and walked to the door.

“Goodnight Mistress Beauchamp, I shall see ye around the castle.” He grinned and with that he was gone, leaving me standing there thinking about what could have been between us.

__________________________________________________________________________________

I saw Jamie a few more times, in fact, I had brought him lunch to the stables so I could check on his bandage. That’s what I told myself at least. If I was being honest with myself I had very much wanted to be close to him but it was almost impossible to find him alone and in a suitable place where we might be able to pick up where we left off on our first night at Leoch.

One night I found myself sitting by Laoghaire, a young girl who I suspected had eyes for Jamie. I exchanged pleasantries with her and then spotted Jamie across the room. He smiled at us and walked over, sitting in between us. I tried to get him to talk with Laoghaire but he wasn’t paying her any attention. Poor girl.

We listened to the entertainment, the man sang in Gaelic so I understood nothing. What I did understand was that Colum’s Rhenish was very good. I took another long drink, meeting Jamie’s gaze.

“Colum’s rhenish isn’t it?” He grinned. “It’s very good” I whispered, “I’ve had two-“ I rolled my eyes and recounted, “three glasses. You can have the rest if you like.” I offered it to Jamie.

“Most folks that drink wi’ Colum are under the table after the second glass.” He said taking a sip of the rhenish. “Are you implying that I’m intoxicated?” I asked, beginning to feel a bit light headed. “I’d be impressed if ye’re weren’t” He replied, grinning at me.

The song finished and we applauded. Jamie turned to me and said, “This dressings been chafin’ me for days. Would ye mind helpin’ me wi it?” I laughed, “What…now?”

“Well?” He said. “Yes of course” I blushed, thoughts of our previous encounter when we had been alone came rushing back to the surface. He finished the rest of the drink and handed the empty glass to Laoghaire, “Take that back wi’ ye lass.” We stood and he walked me through the castle to the surgery where I had been spending most of my time.

“Alright, let’s have a look at that shoulder” I said cheerfully.

“Ah, I dinna need ye’re help.” Jamie admitted sheepishly. “Just thought I should see ye back to the surgery while ye could still walk upright.” I walked over to the table and leaned against it, coughing I replied, “Oh, thank you. I suppose I did over indulge slightly. I should’ve known though, if it was really uncomfortable, I imagine you would have just ripped off the bandages yourself.” I grinned and suddenly I had a clear image of Jamie ripping off my dress, bending me over the very table I leaned against.

“I was afraid to, thought I’d get my arse scalped if I touched it.” He chuckled. “Too right” I replied, “I am the healer after all. I’m in charge.” Oh what I wouldn’t do to have Jamie be in charge of my body right now.

“Never doubted it.” He said. I giggled and sighed, “Really though, if it was bothering you, you should have told me. I would’ve taken it off of you the other day at the stables.”

“Aye, I couldna do that before Alec” He said walking towards me and leaning against the table beside me. “Scars” I smiled sweetly at him, “You don’t want Alec to know you’ve been flogged.”

“Well Alec knows I’ve been flogged but he’s not seen it. To know somethin’ like that is- well it’s no’ the same as seein’ it with ye’re own eyes. It’s a bit… personal, maybe is what I mean.” He set his hand down beside mine, his fingertips just brushing against mine. “I think if Alec were to see the scars, he couldn’t see me anymore withou’ thinkin’ of my back.” He said bluntly.

“You dont’ mind me seeing your back?” I asked, quite pleased with myself that he had let me see him before.

He thought and said “I don’t. Ye seem to have a knack for lettin’ me know ye feel sorry for it withou’ makin’ me feel pitiful about it.” We both smiled and held one another’s gaze. I needed to find another excuse to touch him, my hands were itching to.

“Anyway.” He said, “I should go” He stood from the table and walked to leave. When he almost reached the door I said, “Wait, let me have a look at that.” I pointed my hand towards his shoulder and walked to stand in front of him. Jamie turned back to face me and I untied his kerchief, unwinding the fabric from his neck. He stared down at me, that burning look returning to his eyes once again. This was the moment if there ever was one.

I checked his wound quickly but left my hands lingering on his solid chest, the hair there tickling against my skin. He brought his hands to my waist, pulling me in closer to him.

“Mistress Beauchamp.” He sighed, holding my gaze as he leaned in and kissed my cheek. He pulled back and turned to leave but I grabbed his arm, “No!” I said too loudly and he slowly faced me again. “It’s alright.” I blushed and looked at my hand on his arm, I could see his pulse beating fast in his veins.

“Are ye sure Mistress?” He asked me as he brought one hand to cup my cheek, his other arm settling against my waist once again. “We canna go back after we do this.” He smiled down at me. “I want to.” I said quietly and stood on the tips of my toes to reach him, he met me halfway and our lips crushed against each other’s. It was like before, that first time, slow at first and then we sped up, our tongues meeting, his exploring the inside of my mouth. “Ye taste so sweet Sassenach, must be the rhenish” He chuckled and wound one of his hands in my hair, pressing me harder against his body.

The heat radiating off him was beginning to affect me, drenching me in sweat. “Please Jamie” I moaned as he sucked slowly on my neck. We had gotten this far before, I wouldn’t let anything stop me now.

He breathed heavily and pushed me to walk backwards until we bumped into the table, he pushed off bowls and instruments to the side, making room for us. I pressed against his body, he stood between my legs and as thick as the layers of fabric were between us, I still managed to feel his cock between my thighs. “No one will come lookin’ for ye here Sassenach.” Jamie kissed up my neck, pausing before my lips. “They’re all too drunk.” He laughed then, his hands finding the laces of my bodice and tugging on them.

I helped him pull them loose, his hand hesitantly reaching for my breast, my nipple already hard. “Ye’re skin…” he sighed, his palm cupping the full weight of my breast, “is verra smooth.” He marvelled and ran his thumb against my nipple, eliciting moans from me. “I’ve never…” He began, looking up at me then, “I mean, I’m a virgin.” He took his hand away from my chest.

“You know I’m not. But it doesn’t matter to me Mr. McTavish, I need you.” I almost whimpered and leaned up into him, guiding his hands to touch me once again.

Jamie moaned and kissed me hard, forcing my body to lay back against the table with my legs dangling off the end. He kissed a trail down my body, pushing fabric aside to touch as much as my skin as he could. At this moment I didn’t care that I was still married to another man, I wanted Jamie and I wanted him now.

My fingers grabbed ahold of his curls and I pulled his face up to mine, bringing him down to me, kissing him and licking the inside of his mouth. “Oh God.” He grunted as my hands moved under his kilt, taking him in my hands. “Ye sure about this Sassenach? Uhhhh” He moaned, my hand stroking up and down his cock, my thumb pressing against the head and wiping pre-cum. “I’ve never been more sure about anything Jamie.” With his help we managed to pull my heavy skirts to puddle around my waist, leaving my stocking clad legs exposed and out in the open underneath his body.

“I dinna think I can be gentle or stop when I’m inside ye Claire.” His face twisted with desire, only moments from taking me. I cupped his face with both hands, “Then don’t be gentle Jamie” and once his name left my swollen lips, he slid into me, filling me so completely beyond anything I had ever felt.

“Uhhhh” I moaned, one arm drifting down his back to clench his buttocks and push him deeper inside. I bit my bottom lip as he began to thrust, at first he was hesitant to move much, simply taking in the feeling of me around him.

“Sassenach…” his full body weight was crushing me but I didn’t care. Jamie pressed his face into my neck, moaning and grunting as he pushed in and out of me, my walls clenching around him, begging him for more. I cried out, “Oh Jamie! Uhhh oh Christ,” making him look at me, scared that he hurt me. “It’s alright, it’s good.” I laughed and he smiled, kissing me gently all while continuing to move our bodies together. Jamie called out and his body shuddered above me, he settled against me, my legs dangling on either side of him.

We lay there for awhile, my hands hovering over his back, careful to not touch his injured shoulder, although I’m sure after this it would need another bandage. Jamie finally sat up off me, still inside me and pulled me to him, holding me against his chest. I wrapped my legs around him as he stood. We hadn’t bothered to undress in the heat of our passionate embrace. But it wasn’t that I needed to see his body, although I would very much like to, but it was the connection that was growing between us that sent chills down my body then.

“Sassenach, are ye alright? I dinna hurt ye?” He asked me, holding my chin in his large rough hand. “No. You didn’t hurt me.” I smiled, “I liked it very much Jamie.”

“Aye, so did I. I only wish it wasna like this” he motioned to the table I was sitting on and the dark room around us. “So secret ye ken? I wish I coulda had ye in my bed, seen ye’re smooth velvet skin against the white sheets.” As he said this his hands drifted over my shoulders, my breasts and on my waist.

“Well…” I sighed, closing my eyes, “I don’t leave for a few days…” I looked up at him, the rhenish still coursing through my system. “We still have time to do it properly, if you like?” My breath came short, I was nervous for God’s sake. How could I be feeling this way when I knew I had to get back to Frank?

He kissed me softly, “Aye,” He said against my mouth, his breath warm on my face, “I would like that verra much Sassenach.” He gently pulled out of me, tucking himself back into his kilt and he helped pull my dress back down from around my waist. We both laughed, now nervous and feeling a little awkward.

“I can never look at this table the same way I’m afraid.” I said, my arms wrapped tightly around him, not able to let him leave me just yet.

Jamie huffed, “Aye, I dinna think I can look at ye the same Claire… this wasna just me takin’ pleasure from ye’re body ye ken?” He asked me and I did “ken” what he meant. My heart was reaching towards him but I knew that I would never be able to tell him that, especially if I would be leaving him in a few days to return back to my own time.

I nodded and before he could see the tear that was threatening to spill down my blushing cheek, I leaned my face into his chest and he set his chin against the top of my head. “Ah Dhia… Mo Ghràidh” Jamie whispered so softly I barely heard him. “What did you say?” I asked. I felt my eyes grow heavy and knew I was drifting off to sleep. “Ah nothin’ Sassenach, dinna fash.” He said and the last thing I remember was Jamie carrying me in his arms and laying me gently in the bed whispering “Mo Ghràidh” once again.

Chapter Text

I woke with an uneasy feeling in the pit of my stomach. My head was throbbing which I assumed was the after effects of Colum’s rhenish. I placed my fingers on the side of my temple applying pressure, and then I remembered…

Jamie’s hands… touching me. His mouth kissing me and his… inside of me. I felt heat rise to my cheeks and I stood from the bed, swaying, my head spinning and I promptly sat back down.

It took me a little longer to get ready that morning but eventually I was up and dressed and thought I looked presentable enough for someone who has a raging hangover. I very much wanted to see Jamie again but I wasn’t sure when that would be. He had told me earlier that something called “The Gathering” was happening tonight which meant everyone would be busy around the castle preparing. I was also told by Dougal that I should prepare my surgery for The Gathering, as people tended to get injured.

The uneasy feeling I had when I woke kept returning to me throughout the day. Perhaps it was because I had this nagging ache, reminding me that what I did with Jamie last night was wrong and that I should be focusing on how to escape the castle and return to Frank.

Jesus H. Roosevelt Christ. How could I have let it get that far last night? I was attracted to Mr. McTavish; there was no question about how it happened exactly but did I not care about Frank enough to not sleep with another man? Apparently not.

I decided to take a stroll out on the grounds, accompanied by my two shadows Rupert and Angus, assigned by Colum so that I wouldn’t run away. I found a group of children running around and playing a game of chase.

What better way to explore the woods without my two shadows than to play an innocent game?

Perhaps I could leave traces of easy routes in case I needed to escape after all. That is… if I still wanted to leave…

I asked the children if I could join and they agreed wholeheartedly and suddenly I was running, the wind blowing across my face. I had managed to get out of eye sight of the guards this deep in the woods. I quickly untied a string of fabric around my neck and tied it to a tree branch to mark my way.

I turned back, running to catch up to the children, breathing heavily with Rupert and Angus’ curious eyes on me.

“Mistress Beauchamp!” Rupert shouted, impatient as I started up another game of chase with the children.

“I’m missin’ the festivities, it’s not since I was a bairn we had a gatherin’ at Leoch.” He groaned.

I didn’t want to cause suspicion so I agreed, “Alright, shall we let these men get along to their festivities.” I herded the children along and began the muddy walk back up the castle. “Alright, shall we go?” I said to Angus and Rupert.

I needed to find a way to lose my shadows… not only because I needed to find a way to escape but because I wanted to find Jamie and I wanted him alone.

I managed to lose one shadow, Angus, as I convinced him that a pretty woman over by the edge of the clearing had eyes for him. That took his interest away from me and I was left with only Rupert. I told him I needed to go to the Stables and he moaned but followed and waited outside for me to return.

“Mistress” Alec said greeting me as he wiped down a horse, “There’s no one in need of a healer here.”

“I was told I would be needed for the hunt tomorrow.”

“So you’ll be wantin’ a horse then.” He said.

“I suppose yes if I mean to keep up.” I nodded.

“Most of the horses have been spoken for.” Alec continued to brush down his horse. Where was Jamie?

“I don’t want to be of any trouble. Perhaps Mr. McTavish can help me.” I said and looked around the stables where I thought he would be.

“Lads no’ here. Best to leave Jamie to his own self today lass.” He turned to me.

“I didn’t know I was a bother to him.” I grimaced, feelings of hurt ran through me. Did Jamie regret what we did last night?

“I dinna ken if ye’re a bother or no’, that’s for the lad to judge. I’m just sayin’ its best for all concerned if young Jamie’s left to himself when the Gatherin’s on.” Alec walked away and left me standing there, hurt and now confused.

“Brimstone, I’m sure she’ll be alright for ye’re needs.” He rubbed down the horse as I walked over to take a look.

“Brimstone, sounds ominous.” I said, approaching the horse.

“Nah, she’s no’ fast but she’s sweet and can go for days. Only thing is if ye’re not mindin’ her every moment, she’ll turn for home first chance she gets. I’ll leave you two to get acquainted.” With that Alec left me alone with Brimstone.

Where are you Mr. McTavish?

The rest of the day was filled with trying to get Angus and Rupert as drunk as possible so that they would leave me alone. I needed to find Jamie, only to make sure he wasn’t bothered with me. That’s what I told myself anyways.

I walked through every hall of the castle and still no sign of Jamie. What have I done?

Mrs. Fitz found me and told me I best get dressed for the Gathering as the oaths were starting. I took my new shadow in the form of Mrs. Fitz gratefully and managed to lose Angus and Rupert in the chaos of the Gathering.

I watched a few oaths, with the help of Geillis as she translated what they men were saying. It was interesting to watch but every oath after another was exactly the same. “Well once you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all.” I smiled and headed off to find Jamie. Perhaps he was back in the stables? I didn’t see him in the crowd just now.

With everyone paying attention to the oath taking I managed to slip away unseen to the stables. I didn’t see anyone at first, I walked along to Brimstone to give her a pat, honestly I could leave if I wanted to, no one was paying me any attention. But the possibility of seeing Jamie, of having him touch me once again… it was enough to keep me here. Sorry Frank.

I walked further into the stables and tripped on a large heavy shape on the floor and the shape pulled his knife on me. “Jesus H. Roosevelt Christ” I exclaimed, looking up into the face of Mr. McTavish.

“Nah, Sassenach. Just me.” He joked, putting his knife away.

He helped me up, his hand lingering on my arm. “Were ye lookin’ for me lass?”

I blushed and looked down at his hand, his fingers gripping me. “Um yes actually.” I straightened up, brushing off bits of hay from my bodice. “I just wanted to check how you were doing… with your shoulder and all.” I stammered.

Christ Beauchamp, don’t be so obvious.

Jamie smirked and his hand moved from my arm to my waist. “Are ye sure ye dinna want to see me because of what happened last night?” His gaze was so direct I had to look away.

“Well…” I bit my bottom lip, “I didn’t want to be a bother to you Mr. McTavish. And what we did…” I was unable to say it out loud for fear of making it truly real. I had cheated on my husband, I had cheated on Frank.

Although I had my suspicions that Frank had not been altogether faithful during the War. Frank wasn’t here and Jamie was, so I pushed him out of my mind and focused on the man standing in front of me.

“Aye, ye’re no’ a bother Mistress, none at all. In fact the only bother ye have been is cause I havena seen ye since.” He leaned down, pausing before he kissed my cheek. “I’ve been thinkin’ about ye all day Sassenach.” I felt heat rise to the very cheeks he was kissing. As much as I wanted to be alone with him I didn’t want to draw to much suspicion to my absence.

Just before he could kiss me I placed a hand on his chest, “Will you walk be back to the castle Mr. McTavish? I don’t want to arouse suspicion with my long absence.” I smiled weakly. I wanted Jamie very badly but I didn’t want him in the stables. I wanted to see him, look at him and be able to appreciate the form of the solid body holding me.

“Aye, I’ll take ye back up to the castle” He sniffed and turned to walk out of the stables, still holding his arm around my waist.

We crept behind the castle through the bushes, “This isn’t the way back in, where are we going?” I whispered.

“There’s an opening to a hidden tunnel, I found it playin’ as a bairn. Here be careful.” He guided me over a large slope.

“It’s leads us out, under the cellar.” He moved leaves aside to an opening. “Thank you, for seeing me back safely.” I said, smiling down at him.

“Ah lass, it’s me who should be thankin’ ye. For all ye’re healing of my scratches.” He chuckled, turning back to lead into the tunnel.

Just then I felt a hand wrap around my mouth and waist, inhibiting me from screaming. Arms wrapped around Jamie and he struggled to free himself. A man came up walking holding a torch, “Ah is that the young lad? Colum’s nephew? Come late to the oath takin’ have ye not? You don’t want to miss ye’re turn in front of Himself.”

“Ah, let me go and change first, I’m not decent goin’ to the oath takin’ like this.” Mr. McTavish replied, still being held against his will.

“Don’t worry yerself about that laddy, we will outfit ye proper inside.” He pointed towards the castle.

The man holding me, his nasty hand still against my mouth spoke then, “Can I keep the lassy for myself then?” I struggled against him, waving my arms.

“Let the lady go!” Jamie shouted and kicked back against his captors, reaching towards me. “Are ye alright?” He asked me, his hands gripping my side, “Watch out!” I shouted but it was too late. A man had hit him over the head.

The men carried Jamie inside where he roused rather quickly. They brought him clean clothes to change into and someone handed him a pin with the Mackenzie motto on it, “I shine, not burn” I said aloud. The men around me cheered but Jamie grimaced.

“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean for you to have to stand up for me.” I said quietly to Jamie as he shrugged on the clean shirt over his head.

“Dinna fash yerself on my account.” Jamie replied, fastening the buttons on his sleeve.

“How’s your head?” I asked, my hands itching to touch that head with its soft curls.

“Fine.” He looked over at the other men. “My sister Jenny says it’s harder than an Iron pot.” He laughed and then picked up the pin of the Mackenzie, holding it he said, “I canna wear this. I’m not a Mackenzie.” He turned to me, “Do ye know my motto lass, my Clan’s I mean?” I shook my head, “No I don’t even know what Clan you’re from.”

He looked forward, the light reflecting in his eyes and said, “Je Suis Prest.” And tossed the pin to the side.

“Find a place in the hall, I’ll come find ye after.” He smiled, his lips twitching. I met his smile and walked out of the room and into the hall.

“Je Suis Prest”, I am ready. I was certainly ready to be alone with him, properly this time.

I watched, standing in the middle of the crowd of onlookers as Jamie walked up to Colum, knelt and then stood back up. Everyone around me gasped and began muttering to their neighbor. What was going on?

Murtagh explained to me that if Jamie pledged his allegiance to Colum that he would be the next Laird in line but if he did not then he would be going against Clan Mackenzie and disrespecting him. It all seemed very complicated.

I held my breath as Jamie spoke to Colum.

“For my oath, is pledged to the name that I bear.” As he said this, I could hear the sound of swords being drawn, ready to strike the man who would not pledge his allegiance.

“I give you my obedience, as kinsmen. And as Laird, and I hold myself bound to ye’re word, so long as my feet rest on the lands of the Clan Mackenzie”. You could hear a pen drop as everyone waited for Colum’s response.

Colum waited, thinking it over and then bent to grab a glass, he held it out to Jamie, smiling.

Jamie took it with thanks and drank the rest of the contents. Cheers went round the hall and I found myself smiling and clapping along with them. The music started back up again and Jamie made his way through the crowd and over to me and Murtagh.

“I’m gettin’ to old for this.” Murtagh sighed and Jamie patted him on the arm, sending Murtagh on his way down the corridor. Jamie turned to me then, and leant in whispering, “Mistress Beauchamp will ye accompany me through the castle?” I blushed and nodded, taking his arm as he lead me away from the crowd.

“That was a very brave thing to do Mr. McTavish.” I said once we were out of eyesight of the rest of the gathering. We stood now face to face leaning against the brick in a dark hallway, only lit by one torch.

“Aye, I suppose it was. Maybe it wasna brave so much as a stupid foolish thing to do.” He laughed, his hand resting on my waist, pulling me into his embrace. “Now that we’re alone…” He leant down to kiss me, his lips tasted so sweet and warm. How could I want to leave this man when he made me feel this way? Tingles went through my entire body as he wrapped both arms around me, pressing my body to his and lifting me to my toes.

“Jamie” I breathed heavily, he held me against him, my feet almost dangling as he kissed me again.

“I dinna want to ever let ye go Mistress. When I touch ye,” he said, now cupping my cheek, “somethin’ burns within me and I canna stop.” He smiled and bent his head to kiss just under my ear making my knees go weak.

Jamie held me steady and picked me up, holding me in his arms he started walking through the corridor and he led us back outside. The moon was shining brightly but we were still in the cover of the night, unable to be seen.

“I willna take ye here.” He nodded his head to the space outside, “I said I would like to have ye in a bed like ye deserve so for now…” Jamie kissed me again, he sat down under a large tree on the edge of the clearing. I sat on his lap and I could lift his kilt and my dress and have him inside me in seconds but this was enough. Just to sit here with him like this and hold him.

I must be going mad to be thinking like this.

“Sassenach” He sighed, his mouth pressing against my collarbone as his arms encompassed my body, his warmth radiating to my own chilled body.

Jamie’s hands pulled my bodice aside, exposing my pale breasts to the cold open air making my nipples harden instantly. “Christ” He moaned and his hands cupped both my breasts sending those same warm tingles throughout me.

I watched his face as he looked down at my chest, he was like a child, exploring something new for the first time. And I suppose this was all new for him, since he told me only last night he was a virgin. Jesus H. Roosevelt Christ… he was a virgin.

Jamie fondled my breasts, his fingers tracing small patterns around my areola and then over my nipples. “Jamie…” I smiled up at him, “Last night, you said you were a virgin. And I guess I only just now thought about it.” He looked up from my chest then, red creeping to his cheeks.

“Aye, my Father always told me I should be married before I took a lass to bed but ever since the first time I laid eyes on ye Sassenach,” he stroked my cheek, “I have wanted ye like this and more. I dinna think I can bear to be apart from ye.” I smiled, this new information struck me hard. It sounded an awful lot like Jamie was in love with me.

I certainly wasn’t in love with him…was I?

I leaned my forehead against his and kissed his nose. His hands continued to gently stroke my breasts, creating a kind of sexual frustration deep within me. Jamie kissed me slowly, taking his time to explore my mouth with his tongue. For a virgin he sure knew how to kiss. I smiled against his mouth, my hands winding their way through his curls, pulling him towards me. “Jamie, I can’t wait much longer” I sighed.

Jamie pulled back, “I canna wait either Sassenach but we must. Trust me… I feel as if I’ll burst.” He laughed and a thought came to my mind.

“There are other ways of giving you pleasure you know…” I smirked and he squinted his eyes at me and then opened them wide as my hand slipped under his kilt. “Sassenach, ye’re wee hand.” He moaned, my hand found his cock, hard in my “wee” hand.

“Uhhh Christ” He breathed as I moved my hand up and down his length slowly. I watched his face twist and knew this wouldn’t take long. His hands grabbed my arse and squeezed it firmly, pressing me tightly against him with my hand wedged between us.

“Mmmm do you like it Mr. McTavish?” I grinned and moved my hand faster under the kilt. He moaned and shut his eyes, leaning his head back against the tree. “Ah Dhia…” I moved my hand to his balls and gave them a firm squeeze and he called out, his hands pressing me into him and he leaned his face into the crook of my neck, placing kisses there as he came.

I decided then and there while sitting on Jamie’s lap, my hand on his cock, that if the opportunity should arise and I found myself at Craig Na Dun then I would return to Frank. But if I didn’t and I was stuck here, then it would be alright. As long as I had Jamie by my side, I truly believed everything would work out.

Chapter Text

The next few days I was busy attending to people with injuries or illnesses that didn’t live near a healer. I also accompanied the men while they hunted and chased a wild boar in the woods. One man was not so lucky and the boar ended up killing him, the only thing I was able to do for the poor man was offer him comfort in his last few moments.

I was in the surgery now and that’s what Dougal was thanking me for.

“I wanted to thank you, personally for uh what you did for poor Geordie up there on the hunt.” Dougal said, holding a small glass bottle in his hands across the room.

“In truth I did nothing,” I said honestly, “I wish I could have helped him.”

“Ye did. You took him to a peaceful place. And that’s all any of us can ask when we pass. So… thank you.” He said quite genuinely and I was surprised by the tenderness that Dougal was exhibiting towards me.

“You’re welcome.” I replied and waited for him to say something else, when he didn’t I said, “Well if there’s nothing else, you’ll have to excuse me I have a lot to do here in my dungeon.” I said rather sarcastically.

“Well, that’s why I’m here lass.” Dougal said, turning now to face me. “To set ye free from this dank room.

I shook my head, confused. “What do you mean?”

“You’re comin’ on the road.” He said.

“On the road?” What the hell?

I’m leavin’ tomorrow and I’m takin’ you wi’ me.” Dougal said.

“Taking me where?” I crossed my arms in front of me.

He looked down at his feet, “Travelin’ through Mackenzie lands, collecting rents. Colum doesn’t travel so… visiting the tenants and tax men that can’t come to the gathering, that falls to me. And… attending to a wee bit of business here and there.” He looked from side to side, something in the way he said “business” struck me as odd.

“But why me?”

“I think it would be wise,” Dougal stood and walked over to where I was standing, “to have a healer along. Specially one that does well under strain. And there’s a lot of that on the road.” Dougal crossed the room and made to leave, “So, that’s the business settled. Mrs. Fitz will have suppa ready and you don’t want to incur her wrath by comin’ late…. We leave at first light.” He left me there, wondering what I was to do next.

I didn’t know where this journey out of the castle and on the road would take me. What opportunities would arise. Would I be able to return to Craig Na Dun and go back to Frank?

Did I want to anymore?

I only hoped that wherever we were going… that Jamie was going to.

The next morning I was delighted to see Jamie in the group of men. He came over to me to help saddle my horse and strap my bag down.

“Mistress Beauchamp.” He smiled and gave the horse a pat, his hand brushing against mine. Why was I suddenly so nervous?

“Good morning Mr. McTavish, I hope you slept well.” I said loud enough for the rest of the group to hear and then leaned in and whispered, “I’m glad to see you Jamie. I don’t know what I’d do if you weren’t here.”

He grinned and looked around at the other men, too busy saddling their own horses and then slipped his hand around my waist, “Perhaps we can find time to…” he raised his eyebrows and then I assumed he tried to wink but it was more of a blink really.

“Oh yes. Perhaps we can.” I smirked; would this give us an opportunity to do what we both had been longing for since we came together those many nights ago? Jamie looked down at me, his eyes lingering on my lips and I brought my hand up to my mouth. I heard him grunt deep in his throat and then someone was calling his name.

“Aye, I’m comin’.” He sighed and squeezed my waist, helping me onto my horse.

Everyone climbed on their horse and we were off. I looked behind me at Leoch, I didn’t know if I would ever return to see it and if I did would it be back in my own time?

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Jamie rode ahead of me for most of the journey that day so I spent most of my time talking with Ned Gowan, a man who studied law at the University of Edinburgh and was coming along to help with the rent collecting. He had two bags to hold the money in, one I assumed for the actual rent we would be collecting from Colum’s tenants and the other one he didn’t explain what it was for but I had my suspicions.

It was actually quite nice to be out, riding a horse in the Highlands. A welcome change from the stuffy dank walls of Castle Leoch.

With every kilometre we traveled I felt my chance of finding my way back to Craig Na Dun slipping away. I had no idea where I was and I knew I would never find it on my own.

After a few hours of traveling we made camp for the night. The men set up tents, bridled the horses and began to cook what looked like a skinned rabbit.

I sat off to the side on my own as they told lewd jokes around the fire which didn’t offend me at all but what did hurt was when they began to speak in Gaelic, making me feel rather ostracised. I was a “Sassenach” after all, I couldn’t expect them to include me in their conversations but it didn’t help me feel like I belonged.

Jamie must have noticed how uncomfortable I felt and he came over and handed me a bannock, “Dinna worry what they’re saying lass.”

I took it and picked off a small piece, “They hate me.”

“Och, they don’t trust ye,” He crouched down to his knee beside me, “Well, maybe Angus hates ye, but he hates everyone.” He smiled and did his best to cheer me up which managed to lift my spirits a little.

“And what about you? Do you think I’m a spy for the British?” I asked him. We had been intimate physically within a matter of weeks but we were still strangers, unknown to one another in so many ways.

“Nah, but I do think there are things ye’re not tellin’ us and I know you thought about leavin’, during the gathering.” I opened my mouth to protest but he raised his hand stopping me, “Lass I know ye didna go to the stables just to find me, as much as I want to believe that.” He smiled and I blushed.

“Well I suppose you could be right.” I met his gaze, those blue eyes burning daggers into my heart. “But I was never actually going to leave.” Why didn’t I want to tell him the truth? That I had actually thought of leaving on that horse, leaving him, Jamie, behind. 

“Although it still weighs on me… out here in the open. I could leave anytime I wanted to and none of you would ever know until morning.” I crossed my arms over my legs.

“Aye, weel, I wouldna wish to see ye go, ye know that Mistress.” Jamie placed his hand over mine, “I know ye are keepin’ things from me but what ye’ve given me…” He leaned in and whispered into my ear, “Ye’re body. I know I can trust ye, I canna believe ye would go around doing that wi’ just anyone ye ken?” A mischievous glint caught in his eye and I turned my face to hide my smile.

“Thank you for trusting me Jamie.” I smiled, “It’s been a rather long day.” I said and set the food I could not eat on the ground and stood, wrapping the blanket around my shoulders tightly. “Goodnight Mr. McTavish.” I squeezed his hand, still holding onto mine.

“Goodnight Mistress Beauchamp.” Jamie let go of my hand, and I left him to find my tent.

We rose early the next morning and continued to the next town to collect the rents. We accepted bags of grain, animals ranging from pigs to goats and whatever anyone else could manage to pay. Some people were giving all they had, surely we could give them some grace?

It weighed heavy on me to see these hard working people give up their livestock which they needed to survive on, to feed their own children.

To be honest I was a little bit fed up with the eighteenth century life and the way people were treated here. Perhaps that’s what drove me to walk over to our cart and untie the goat someone had paid their rent in.

Rupert immediately chased after me, “Hey, hey, where do ye think ye’re takin’ that.”

“Back to her owners, the family needs her.” I tugged at the rope now caught between me and Rupert.

“The goats ours, we’re takin’ her wi’ us.” Rupert shouted, causing a crowd of people to stop and look at us. “The hell you are.” I shouted right back.

“Ye’ll be givin’ me the goat.” He demanded. “Let go! There’s a baby that needs milk.” I huffed and pulled on the goat’s leash.

Dougal walked over then, “Stop ye’re bletherin’ woman, the beast is payment for rent. Fair and square.”

I had also had enough of Dougal just now, “So you’d let a child go hungry?”

“The goat goes wi’ us.” Dougal turned the crowd of observers, “A Sassenach” and motioned drinking with his hand, making everyone laugh.

Just then a man walked over to us, he seemed to be a Smith in the village, “Madame is everything alright?” He was also British, just like me.

“I’m sorry?” I asked, almost taken aback to hear such a familiar accent after all these weeks.

“May I be of service?” He asked again.

“Aye,” Angus said, “Ye’ll keep ye’re nose out of our business.”

“I was speaking to the lady.” The man replied.

Dougal stepped in, “The lady is a guest of Clan Mackenzie.”

“Do you treat all your guests this way?” The man looked from Dougal to me, unsure whether to take me away from them by force.

“Eh, bugga off.” Angus chimed in, always the charmer, “Go home laddie, and suckle on ye’re ma’s tit.”

The man looked at me once again, still deciding whether to continue in this little altercation but turned and went back where he came from.

“That’s it. We’re leaving.” Dougal said.

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That night we ate in a tavern in the village. Dougal spoke the people there in Gaelic, he was speaking with such passion, a speech and cause he obviously cared very much about. But I didn’t know what he was saying.

From what it looked like though, Dougal was taking money from these people and keeping it for himself. Money I’m sure Colum would never see a penny of. This only deepened my dislike for Dougal. What made me grow to hate him further was when he walked over to Jamie and suddenly ripped his shirt, exposing the scars on his back for everyone to see.

It took everything in me to not get up out of my chair and spit in Dougal’s face. How dare he do that to Jamie? Expose what is a private and painful memory to complete strangers.

I barely talked to the rest of the men as we continued on our journey. Jamie kept to himself after Dougal had exposed him like that. A few small smiles throughout the day but I could tell something was eating him up.

Jamie was right however… we didn’t know much about one another, whatever we had shared between our bodies was still there but with every passing day that I could not touch or kiss him I wondered if it was just lust, a passing emotion or something more.

Dougal’s shady business was enough to make me want to leave and tough it out finding my way back. I couldn’t admit I had feelings for Jamie but he was the only reason I stayed now.

One night however, as I sat in yet another tavern and watched Dougal give the same passionate speech, I heard a word I recognized.

Dougal had said “Jacobite”. Frank was a historian which meant by association I had heard a lot about certain time periods that Frank would obsess about. The Jacobite Rebellions being one of them, his direct ancestor, the nasty Black Jack Randall having fought in the battle of Culloden in 1746.

Suddenly my perspective changed, I was beginning to realise that the activities Dougal and his men were involved in, weren’t criminal. They were political, he was using the shocking display of Jamie’s scars, not to frighten his audience but to stir outrage against the British. Dougal was raising money for a Jacobite army.

I contemplated this newfound information as I sat by the fire one night. Everyone had fallen asleep but I heard voices rise out in the darkness. I looked over but couldn’t see anyone and so I walked over to where the voices were coming from.

“Kinsmen or no’, I dinna owe ye this.” I heard Jamie say to Dougal.

“I seem to recall a certain oath of obedience as long as my feet rest on the lands of Clan Mackenzie.” Dougal replied across the way from Jamie.

“I gave my word to Colum, not to you.” Jamie huffed back at him. I crept closer, peering through brush.

“It’s one and the same lad, and you ken it well. Outside of Leoch, I am Colum’s hands, head as well as his legs.”

“A case of the right hand not knowin’ what the left was up to.” Jamie almost spit out. I had to agree there with Jamie. I was almost positive Colum knew nothing about Dougal’s political affiliations.

“The Mackenzies, the Mcbjorns… no one can force them to give against their will. But we have somethin’ in common. We want our King back where he belongs. Don’t you?” Dougal asked Jamie.

“You have more to gain from a Stuart throne than I do. If you don’t want to save your own silly neck-“ Dougal said, his voice rising.

“My neck is my own concern!… and so is my back.” Jamie said angrily, rushing towards Dougal. I could tell from his posture it took everything in him not to strike Dougal.

“Not while ye travel with me sweet lad.” Dougal said and no other heated words were exchanged. He turned and left Jamie there, steaming with rage.

Jamie turned to the nearest thing and punched a tree several times. He only stopped when he heard the sound of my footsteps come closer.

“He’ll do that again. Use you like that” I said to him.

“Aye, it gets him what he wants ye see.” Jamie faced me and covered his hand with his other, his fingers brushing his now bruised knuckles.

“And you let him.” I walked closer and sat down on a log near the fire, pushing my skirts behind my legs to conceal more warmth.

“He’s my uncle. A man has to choose… what’s worth fightin’ for. As ye ken well.” Jamie said, closing the distance between us and sitting beside me.

I smiled and reached for his hand, I raised it to my lips and kissed each injured knuckle gently. He winced slightly but didn’t pull away.

“I understand now… I think.” I ran my fingers over his hand and held it in my lap. “What Dougal is trying to do… for the Jacobites.”

“Aye, I didna think ye understood before but I didna want to drag ye in this mess, that’s why I didna tell ye…” He stared at his hand in mine.

“I’m sorry I didn’t speak to you. After that first night Dougal ripped your shirt. I should have gone to you, but-“ I looked up as Jamie brought his other hand under my chin.

“Nah, lass, it’s fine ye ken. I was too angry with Dougal myself. I’m afraid I woulda been more of a burden to ye had ye come to me then.” His thumb traced along my jaw.

“When do you think we can be alone?” I asked, the feel of his touch sparked that pull I had felt towards him.

He smirked, his thumb now tracing along my bottom lip. “We’re alone now Sassenach.”

I flicked my tongue out and licked the pad of his thumb and bit it gently. He laughed and pulled it quickly away, shaking it like I had hurt him badly.

“I want you Jamie…” I grinned, “But I can’t do that with you out here in the woods… with ten other men only feet away.” I stared at him, almost afraid he would say damn the men and push me to the ground and take me right then. That thought did arouse me more than I wanted to allow myself to believe.

“Och, ye’re right. I think in a few days we’ll stop at a tavern in one of the towns and stay there. Instead of sleepin’ outside like we have been.” Jamie now pulled my hand to his mouth and kissed it. “Then, Sassenach.”

“Best get some sleep.” Jamie placed my hand in my lap and stood, helping me to my feet.

“Well try not to hit any more trees.” I laughed and rubbed his arm.

“Dinna worry… trees are safe, Sassenach.” Jamie smiled and leaned in to kiss my cheek and left to his own tent.

How could we be this formal when he had already been inside of me?

I told myself that while he had not be able to control himself that night at Leoch, and neither had I, he had managed to regain some of his restrain. It was sweet really, how kind he was, not at all how I pictured men of the eighteenth century to act towards women.

I had experienced the attentions of eighteenth century highlanders and Jamie’s attentions were far more flattering.

While I wished we had waited, that our first time had been more stretched out, there was something to be said in our heated joining. All the tension from our time spent together, wedged tightly on the horse, our kiss by the fire that first night at Leoch, it had led to a combustion we could not contain any longer. Soon we would be able to appreciate our coming together.

Jesus H. Roosevelt Christ. Here I was thinking about appreciating Jamie’s body, it had been almost two months since I had arrived and the amount of time I spent thinking about Frank and returning to him was dwindling with every stolen glance at Jamie. Every brush of his fingers against mine, and with every thought of his body joined together again with mine. I slept fitfully that night. Eager for what was to come.

__________________________________________________________________________________

I saw the men in a different light the next day, not criminals but rebels. I wished I could tell them that they were on the losing side of history. That it was all a pipe dream. The Stuarts would never unseat the Protestant King George the Second but how could I tell them that? These proud passionate men, who lived and breathed for a flag of blue and white.

It was another day of travelling to the next village. But this journey was different, we came across two men who had been hung up with a “T” carved into their chests for “traitor”. Even I knew this was the work of the redcoats.

Dougal told us to take them down and wrap the bodies. We couldn’t leave them like this. We buried them as they should’ve been and a few men spoke a final parting word. That night Dougal was filled with a new sense of passion when he spoke and to be honest I felt my self wanting to see a change.

After supper I said goodnight to the men, I felt Jamie’s eyes on me the entire time as I walked up the stairs to my room. How long would it be before he came to my room? My heart was pounding as I laid in bed, waiting. Perhaps Jamie was waiting for all the other men with us to go to sleep.

I heard thuds against my door and decided to get out of bed and investigate.

I nearly tripped on a large body sitting right outside my door as I kicked it, “What on earth!” I shouted and loud Gaelic curses came from the large mass.

“What are you doing outside my door?” I said, trying to hold back giggles.

“I was waiting ye see, I wanted to make sure know one came to ye’re room…” I raise my eyebrows at him. “Besides me” He said quietly.

“Why not just come in? Why lay in front of my door?” I asked him. If he wanted to sleep with me again he had a funny way of showing it. After all that talk of being alone again.

“The taproom’s full with townsmen half gone wi’ drink. I was worried some of them might venture up here in search of…well, I didn’t think ye’d care all that much for such attentions from them.”

“After the events of today, I doubt any of them are feeling any kindness towards and Englishwoman.” Jamie really was the kindest man I had ever met. Trying to protect me from the very thing I hoped to be doing with him in my room and hopefully soon. “I’m sorry I stepped on you.” I stifled a laugh, “Well come in Mr. McTavish, you can at least sleep in my room and if anyone tries to come in, you’ll already be there to protect me.” I stepped aside to let him in.

“Sleep in ye’re room? Wi’ you? But Sassenach, you’re reputation…” He smirked, walking through the door and shut it gently behind him.

Chapter Text

I stood in the middle of the room, the fire was still on creating a soft glow. Jamie shut the door behind him and turned to me. Suddenly I was nervous, for him to see me, to see me completely.

Jamie came and stood in front of me, taking my hand in his, “Are ye as nervous as I am?” He intertwined his fingers with mine. “I know we’ve done this before… but-“

I smiled, daring a look at his face, “But yes. I’m nervous Jamie. Before you I had only ever slept with Frank but let’s not talk about him now shall we.” He smirked and brought his hand to my face, his thumb tracing the curve of my cheek.

“Perhaps, the more we touch… the easier it will be.” He said, continuing his touch on my skin down to my neck, feeling my pulse beating.

I lifted my hand to his chest, my fingers brushing against the fabric tied around his neck. He stared down at me, he closed the space between us, wrapping his other arm around my waist. “Mistress Beauchamp.” He sighed, his hand running along my collarbones.

“Mr. McTavish” I breathed and stood on the tips of my toes, hungry for his mouth.

He pressed his lips to mine as his hand slid from my waist to cradle my head, the kiss was deep and slow and I wanted more.

Jamie almost growled against my mouth, our bodies pressed together leaving no hint or surprises to what exactly was under his kilt.

My hands found their way to his arse and I gave it a firm squeeze making him thrust his hips against me. “Mmmm Sassenach” he said, his tongue swiping out against my lip.

“Jamie…” I pulled back from another kiss, “Before this continues any further and we end up where we did last time-“

“Well that’s where I hope this would end up” He grinned.

“You know what I mean.” I laughed and then took a step back, my eyes trailing from the top of his head down to his very large feet.

“I want to look at you.” I said firmly, now was not the time to hold anything back. And damn did I want to see him.

“Aye, Mistress Beauchamp” I saw red creep up his chest and reach his cheeks. He took a few more steps back and then bent to remove his boots.

I watched as he slowly, too slowly, removed his vest and kerchief around his neck. Next was his kilt. Before he could loosen the belt and pull it off I reached out and caught his hand.

“I’ll help you there Mr. McTavish.” I grinned and looked into his eyes as my hands worked below, unbuckling his belt and letting it fall to the floor. I could tell it took everything in him in that moment to hold himself back. And I was so close to shoving him down onto the floor just then.

If this were to be our last intimate moment, then I wanted it to be something I could remember and think back on. But if I stayed… there would hopefully be many more moments like this.

He had his hands out to the side, letting me tug at his kilt, with another yank it came puddling around his feet. Jamie now stood only in his shirt which wasn’t doing much in the way of covering his excitement.

I stood back once more, “You may continue.” He smiled and held eye contact and then he reached behind him, grabbing his shirt at the neck and then pulling it off, scrunching it together and tossing it aside.

I couldn’t help myself, I immediately looked between his legs to see his cock. Erect and my God… my legs were shaking slightly, to see what I had felt inside me.

“Ye like what ye see Sassenach?” He said proudly, not hiding his body now on full display for me.

I walked closer, and let my hand touch his thigh. I didn’t say anything as I trailed my hand along his arm and then over his buttocks, smooth and very firm indeed.

As I came back in front of him I moved my hand up his arm and placed it on his chest. He stared down at me and said, “Well, fair’s fair… take off ye’re’s as well.”

I was already in my shift, having undressed earlier, in hopes that when he came to my room I would be ready.

I took two steps backwards, careful not to trip on his clothes scattered around. My fingers pulled the small strings at my chest and the material was easy to pull off, it caught against my hardened nipples but then fell. I now stood naked in front of Jamie.

“Christ” He moaned as I walked closer to him.

“And do you like what you see Mr. McTavish?” I asked, bringing his hand up to cup my breast.

“Aye, Sassenach.” He brought his other hand to my breast and his fingers teased my nipples, puckering at his touch.

“Ye’re the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen.” Jamie said almost breathless and suddenly his hands slid down my body and to my arse. I wrapped my arms around his neck, bringing him down to kiss me.

I felt his cock press against my stomach as he lifted my legs and brought them around his waist. Jamie carried me over to the bed, sitting down with me on his lap. I reached between us and held him in my hand making him squirm.

“Oh that firm grip again.” He laughed but before I could move my hand anymore on his cock he had me flipped over, lying against the sheets, just as he promised he would.

His gaze made heat spread over my body and a wetness between my thighs. “Jamie” I sighed as he leaned down, latching onto my swollen nipple.

My hand tangled with his curls as his tongue assaulted my breasts, giving them the attention they deserved. His cock was sliding against my stomach, inches away from entering inside of me and I couldn’t stand it any longer.

“Please” I begged, pulling his head from my chest. “Please Jamie” He kissed me, all while holding himself between us. I spread my legs for him, my God Beauchamp. I never wanted to go back, screw Frank. Well…. Screw Jamie.

“Uhhhh Jesus!” I moaned as he opened me up, sliding into me with a forceful thrust. He grunted, placing his hands on either side of my head, trying his best to lift his upper body off of me so not to crush me.

Both my hands found his arse, pushing him deeper into me, my legs flailing on either side as we began a steady rhythm back and forth. Giving and taking.

Jamie slid out of me so that just the tip was at my entrance, he cupped his hand on my cheek, his thumb pressing against my lips. “Sassenach, Mo Ghràidh”, he pushed himself hard into me, rocking my body against the bed and making me call out, “Jamie!”

“Shh” He smiled, leaning down to cover my mouth and take my screams of pleasure into his own mouth.

“Mmmm” I bit his bottom lip and he winced, pulling back. I laughed and squeezed my thighs around his hips, urging him to press deeper.

“I dinna want to hurt ye Claire.” He groaned, sweat began to form on his forehead, dripping onto my chest.

“You could never hurt me Jamie.” I stroked his arm and held on tight as he rammed home and home again bringing about my finish.

“Christ!” Jamie called out as my body shook underneath him. He breathed heavily as he spilled his seed into me. I held him close as he settled against my body, absolutely spent from our exertions.

“I didna know women could… does it happen every time then?” He sighed, turning on his side and slipping out of me. I took my moment and rolled on top of him. “Only if the man is a very good lover” I said and bent my head to his chest, biting the skin just under his nipple.

“Och Sassenach.” Jamie’s hand went to grip the back of my neck, “Did I hurt you Mr. McTavish?” I moved further down and bit the place just above his pubic hair.

“Nah.” Jamie’s eyes were now a dark blue as he watched me leave kisses between his thighs, he clenched them whenever I paused, my mouth just centimetres away from the tip of his swollen cock.

I heard him groan and took it as a sign to continue, my hand sliding under him, gripping his balls and rolling them in my hand. He sighed and a startled laugh escaped his throat.

I took his cock in my mouth, swirling my tongue around, tasting the saltiness that was Jamie. I knew he had never had his cock sucked like this before so I took my time, eager to please him.

His hand was on my back, pressing me between his legs. His back arched upwards and he moaned loudly whenever I squeezed his balls and licked from the base up to the head. My hand pumped his length as I spent time tracing slow lazy circles around his head.

“Sassenach” Jamie whispered and then I tasted him. He came in my mouth and I sucked deeply, not wanting to leave anything behind.

I let go of his cock and kissed up his stomach making him shiver. His hands slid down over my arse as I laid against his chest.

“Was it like you pictured?” I asked as my fingers gently tugged on his auburn coloured chest hairs.

“I must admit, I pictured ye naked often after our first encounter. But to be able to see ye like that…” He tilted his chin to look down at me, “I felt my heart was gonna burst out of my chest.”

I smiled and leaned up to kiss him. His tongue slid into my mouth and I felt him smile, his scruff brushing against my face.

“Is that what I taste like then?” He asked, licking his lips. “Salty. Hmmm”

I laughed and gave his hard stomach a pat, “Yes but you taste wonderful Mr. McTavish.”

Jamie licked his lips again, “Ah and what do you taste like Mistress Beauchamp?” He smacked my arse and suddenly sat up, sliding his body down in between my legs.

“Jamie, I-“ I started but he shushed me, he shushed me!

He grabbed my thighs and slid his hands slowly down to my ankles and then pulled them apart, his eyes never leaving my pussy.

It felt odd to have him stare so longingly at that part of my body, but I was not opposed. He looked hungry, he bent his head and sniffed which made me squirm. “Jamie, don’t do that!” I laughed and tried to hit his head.

“But ye smell so… so musky Claire.” He said and sniffed deeper. “That will be some of you alright then.” I sighed as he dipped his head, placing a kiss on my outer lips.

I struggled to keep my legs open but his hands held my ankles far apart.

I almost came when his tongue licked up my centre. Long strokes up and down, he was taking his time damn it.

I watched as he brought one hand to spread my pussy’s lips and he slipped his tongue inside of my walls. My hands settled in his curls, God those curls.

“Jamie” I moaned and he began to lick quicker, his finger joining his tongue. This man was a fast learner.

“Uhhh” I couldn’t take it, Jamie pressed his nose against my clit and he moved his head his slow circles.

He licked faster, not letting up. “Jamie, oh Jamie!” I called out his name again and again, I pressed my hand back against the headboard and came against his mouth.

“Ohhh oh!” He didn’t stop his movements until I had released his head from the firm grip of my thighs.

I was too weak to move my limbs but Jamie crawled up beside me, his chin resting just above my right breast, “Mmm a nice wee pillow” He smiled, turning his face to press his cheek against my nipple.

“Stop that” I teased and Jamie brought his lips to mine. “Ah, so that’s what I taste like?” I laughed, licked my juices from his lips and he chuckled, wrapping his arms under me and rolling our bodies to the other side of the bed. We lay, legs and arms intertwined for quite some time.

“Jamie…” I said looking up at him, my head tucked just under his. “Earlier you said, ' Mo Ghràidh’…and you said it after the first time we slept together.” I felt him stiffen beside me. “What does it mean?” He didn’t meet my gaze and his eyes flicked back and forth staring at the wall behind me.

“Och, it’s just somethin’ nice I like to call ye, dinna fash Sassenach.” He kissed my forehead.  I wasn’t quite satisfied with that answer, “But what does it-“

“If I tell ye now Sassenach… it may ruin things.” Jamie said, his tone serious. “I promise, to tell ye when the time is right. But for now, just know that it is a good thing I call ye.” Jamie settled that conversation with a kiss and squeezed me to him.

Oh Beauchamp, it looks as if going back to Craig Na Dun is out of the question.

As Jamie held me in his arms as we both drifted off to sleep, I thought of what life could be like here, with him. I knew though that to fully make up my mind I needed to know more about him than the way he moaned when he was inside me. For starters, I’m pretty sure McTavish wasn’t his real name.

For now though, Jamie McTavish was fast asleep, a sweet smile spread against his face.

Chapter Text

Before the sun rose, I felt Jamie stir beside me. I watched as he dressed and then he came to me and bent his head down to kiss me. “I dinna wish to leave ye or ye’re bed Sassenach but I dinna think we want anyone to see me comin’ out of ye’re room sae early.”

He was right of course, if any of the men saw Jamie leave my room in the morning they would suspect that we had been doing… well what we had actually been doing.

“Oh alright then Mr. McTavish, if you must leave me then kiss me some more.” I moaned and grabbed his shirt collar, pulling him to my mouth. Jamie kissed me slowly, savouring the feel and touch of his lips on mine.

Our mouths parted and he stood, crossing the room to open the door. “Sleep Sassenach, we willna leave for a few hours still.” He smiled and left the room, it didn’t take long for me to fall back into a blissful sleep.

__________________________________________________________________________________

A few hours later it was my turn to rise and I gathered what few belongings I had and met the rest of the men outside, already saddling and preparing for the day’s journey.

I spotted Jamie a few feet away and he met my gaze, giving me his version of a wink and turned back to brush his horse.

I couldn’t look at Jamie without remembering how he felt inside of me, how he touched me and kissed me and God did I want him.

Good Lord Beauchamp. Behave yourself.

Moments later we set off to another village to collect the rents. My thighs had grown sore from spending so much time on the horse.

That’s not the only reason Beauchamp.

I readjusted myself on the horse and tried not to think about what Jamie and I had done the night before, mostly so I wouldn’t be distracted and fall off.

But it was quite difficult as Jamie rode ahead of me and I could see the strong lines in his body and the way he moved up and down as we set off at a gallop pace.

I didn’t realise someone had said my name until I looked around and all the other men had stopped. I pulled on the reigns to stop my own horse and Dougal gave me an odd look, “Lass, did ye not hear me? We’re stoppin’ to refresh the horses.”

“Oh… alright then.” I said and then Jamie was there to help me off the horse. He grabbed my waist, held me tight and pulled me down to him. We stood there for the length of a heartbeat with not even space for air between us and then we composed ourselves and Jamie grunted and went back to his horse.

“Lass, come wi’ me.” Dougal demanded and began walking down the road.

“Where are we going?” I asked but followed, not wanting to get reprimanded. Dougal didn’t answer but kept walking, leading us down to the river.

He went out into the water, scooping some into his hands to take a drink. He motioned for me to do the same and I did. The water actually felt soothing as it ran down my parched throat.

“Who are ye?” Dougal said, shaking me out of my haze. “An English lady of Oxfordshire. That’s what ye’d have us believe. But ye would seem to be a lady of strong political opinions eh?” He asked, now standing directly in front of me.

“There’s no harm in an opinion” I replied.

“Ye’ve seen things. On the road. Ye tell the Redcoats and we’ll be put to crosses just like the men we cut down.” He stared down at me, still accusing me of being a spy.

“I’m not a spy.” I said just that.

“Maybe not but ye’re sowing the seeds of doubt in our midst, working to undermine the cause.” He almost spat out at me.

“I’m trying to warn you.” I pleaded. There was no easy way to say… I’m from the future and I know the outcome of what you’re trying to accomplish with the Jacobites and it isn’t a good one.

“Eh? Warn me about what?” He questioned me again.

“I’m trying to save your life.” Before I could say anymore or he could respond someone spoke from above where we stood.

“Madame,” a Redcoat, “A pleasure to see you again.” The same Redcoat that had asked if I was in danger back in the village when I tried to return the goat to the hungry family. I saw Dougal reach for his broadsword but unclench his hand, we were outnumbered.

The man climbed off his horse and came to walk closer to us, “Once more I ask you, is everything alright?”

I had to think quick, “Hello again Officer.”

“Lieutenant Jeremy Foster, of His Majesty’s Army.” He looked to Dougal, “This time I do mean to ascertain the lady’s well being.

Dougal walked forward standing in front of the officer, “The lady is none of ye’re concern.”

“And you are?” The officer asked.

“Dougal Mackenzie. War Chief and brother to Colum, Laird of the Mackenzie Clan and the lands upon which you stand.”

“Mackenzie or not, if you are holding this English lady against her wishes… you will be dealt with.” The officer spoke to me agian, “Tell me Madame, are you here by your own choice?”

If I wanted to leave, if I wanted aid from the British officers, now was my chance. But I didn’t.

“I appreciate your concern Lieutenant but I can assure you. I’m a guest of the Clan Mackenzie.” I felt Dougal ease beside me.

The officer looked tense, “Nevertheless, I’m sure my Commander will wish to speak with you. He’s presently in residence at the end of Brockton, will you accompany me?”

“Well… if the lady goes. I go.” Dougal stated and I was glad. English men they were but strangers they were also.

“Very well then.” I said and then Dougal and I were suddenly on our way to meet this Lieutenant’s Commander, whoever he may be.

I knew only too well what Dougal was feeling. A Scottish village it may be, and on Mackenzie land at that but for Dougal it was now enemy territory and he was the Outlander.

We had reached the village within an hour and quickly the Lieutenant was leading us to his Commander.

I found the Commander to be surprisingly kind, he soon offered me to sit down with him and the rest of his fellow officers and eat with them.

I prayed that Dougal would keep his mouth shut and not cause trouble but the Commander and him did not see eye to eye. Dougal was asked to wait in the hall as we finished our meal.

“I’ll be downstairs.” Dougal said to me and then left for the taproom.

I ate with the men and actually found I enjoyed talking with them. It was nice to talk with people that came from the same place that I did whether or not it wasn’t the same time.

Just as the Commander was raising his glass to make a toast a man came barging in.

“My Lord, are you aware that at this very moment-“ he said but was interrupted by the Commander.

“Randall, are we under attack sir? You’re putting the Claret at risk, I suggest you step outside and rid yourself of half a leagues worth of dust.”

“By all means… we must protect the Claret.” The man turned to the door but he caught my gaze. It was “Black Jack” Randall, the same man that I had first met after I had arrived through the stones, the man that had tried to rape me and the same man that had flogged Jamie.

We held each others stares and the Commander noticed, “Am I mistaken or do you two know each other.”

“For a moment there, the lady did look familiar but I can see now I was wrong.”

“I had the same exact experience, how unusual.”

“Well then Captain Randall, allow me to introduce Mistress Claire Beauchamp of Oxfordshire. Captain Jonathan Randall.”

I raised my glass, “Captain.” Randall opened the door and stood in the hall, kicking his shoes against the doorframe and patting off dust.

Randall told the Commander how Dougal was downstairs, obviously concerned with how a Scottish Laird seemed to be occupying the same space as the rest of them.

“All this time living with savages…” Randall looked to me, “I have to wonder if Dougal Mackenzie shared more than just bread and water with the lady, perhaps he’s also shared his bed.”

“How dare you!” I spat out. It wasn’t Dougal’s bed I was sharing, my cheeks blushed and I hoped he would think it was from the wine.

“You cross a line sir.”

“If I am wrong I apologize. What other reason would the lady have to choose these barbarians over her own people. These aggressors who wantonly shed English blood.”

“Scots just want the same freedoms we enjoy. Freedoms we take for granted. They are not the aggressors, we are. It is there land and we are occupying it.” This was the wrong thing to say, everyone’s eyes were on me. I suddenly felt like I was now on the outside.

“I must say Madame, I find your sympathies extraordinarily puzzling.”

“I can assure you Lord Thomas, my loyalties lie with the King.”

“No doubt your time here has mudded your proper English thinking.” He turned to the Commander, “My Lord, I think the lady has lived among the savages too long.”

Just then a man came through the door shouting, “Sir! Three enlisted men have been fired upon by person’s unknown just outside of town.”

The Commander forgot the previous conversation, now concerned with his men, “Any casualties?”

“One dead and two wounded sir. We brought the man badly wounded here, he’s downstairs and we sent for the surgeon but no one is sure of his whereabouts.”

I had to help in any way I could, my instincts kicking in, “I’ll go.” I stood from the table, all eyes on me. “I told you, I have medical experience.”

I walked downstairs and immediately assessed the situation. The man’s arm was badly wounded and I saw no way around amputating it. With help of the men standing around I tied a tourniquet around his arm while the local surgeon appeared, wielding the saw and managed to cut off the man’s arm, no anaesthetic available.

After I cleaned up and saw that the man would survive, I returned to the room upstairs.

Apparently I had been gone for quite some time because what I now saw was Randall having his face shaved by another officer.

“Where is everyone else Captain?” I said, still wiping my hands on a wash cloth to clean them from the man’s blood.

“They left. Had… more important things to attend to than the pleasantries or entertaining the likes of you.” He replied.

“Fuck. Damn you.” The officer shaving his face had nicked the skin, I watched as a small bead of blood trickled down his square jaw.

“Sorry Captain, on my life it was an accident.” The officer stuttered and wiped the blood away.

“Take my things away to my lodgings. Then come back and see to it that we are not disturbed.” Randall said and the officer grabbed Randall’s things and left swiftly.

“Now, Nurse Beauchamp.” He turned to me “What you said earlier, well it puts where your loyalties lie in a very questionable light. I can only hope that honest will be met with honesty.”

“My honesty will match yours Captain, I assure you.” I said holding my ground.

“Let us begin with who you are and why you are here in Scotland” He replied smugly.

I told him the story I had crafted, how I hailed from Oxfordshire, not that he believed me, and how I had been separated from my servant after an attack on the road and fled to find help. That is why I was so distressed in our first meeting by the water. My first few moments after I had arrived through the stones.

“You know Mistress Beauchamp, that I don’t believe a word you say. I will look past this as there is a cause more important that your origins that I must ask.” He came to stand in front of me.

“I know that Dougal Mackenzie is raising funds for the Jacobite cause. I merely lack the necessary proof to take him into custody. You will furnish me with that proof.”

“Jacobite cause- I have no idea what your-“ I began.

“You must stand there and pretend that you have lived among the Mackenzie’s these past months and not heard them voice support for that failure James and his whitless offspring Charles Stuart?”

“Mr. Mackenzie would have to be whitless indeed to discuss treason in front of an English woman.” I scoffed.

“Unless, that English woman was sympathetic to his cause.”

“I am not that woman.” I replied.

“Then prove it, have you seen any of your Scottish companions attempting to raise funds for the rebellion?” He raised his voice a level.

“No I have not.”

“Have you not heard a single Mackenzie speak Jacobite treason” Randall was growing angry, more agitated with every passing moment.

“How many times must I say it?” I was growing angry as well.

“I would not believe you if you told me that night is dark and day is bright.” Randall said.

“Captain, am I under arrest? Because if not then I refuse to submit further to this interrogation.” I made way to move.

“You will not leave this room until I am sure you are as innocent as you claim to be. Perhaps I should try other methods beyond just talking.” Randall grabbed my arm and pulled it behind my back, inhibiting my movements.

“Corporal Hawkins” Randall called for the officer to come into the room.

Once inside the officer stared back and forth between Randall and I.

“Hit her.” Randall commanded the young officer. He looked at him, eyes wide and searching for an escape from this room.

“Sir? You want me to hit this lady? But-“

“Do it.” Randall said, holding my arms behind my back, keeping me hostage against his body. Where the hell was Dougal?

“Do it!” He shouted at my ear. Surely someone would hear if I screamed and come running.

Before I had a chance thought the officer approached me, striking my face. The palm of his hand slapped against my cheek, stinging the skin and bringing tears to my eyes.

“Don’t slap her you idiot. Hit her!” Randall demanded, pushing my body out towards the boy as an offering.

“Please, please don’t do it!” I begged him, unable to stop the tears that ran down my face.

I gasped when his fist collided with my stomach. Breathless, Randall released me and I fell to the floor, clutching my stomach with both hands.

A moment too late, Dougal ran into the room. He saw me on the floor and came to me. “Ye alright lass?” I was unable to speak.

Dougal turned to look at Randall and was thwarted the chance to hit him as more officers came rushing in the room.

“If ye don’t mind sir… I’ll be takin’ the lady somewhere she will be kept safe and out of ye’re reach.” Dougal slid his hands under my knees and back, carrying me to the door. As we passed Randall who was now standing in the middle of the room, face still half shaven, I spat at him, “Damn you Randall.”

“She is a British subject is she not?” He inquired once again. “Bring her to me tomorrow, at Fort William. If you do not then I shall be forced to arrest Mistress Beauchamp for treason.”

Dougal said nothing but grunted and walked out of the room. I heard Randall shout at us, “You cannot get away that easily!”

When we got outside the building, Dougal set me on my feet, “Do ye think ye can ride lass? Are ye hurt badly?” His concern was very much appreciated after what happened in that room.

While it was true, I was a British subject and I called England my home, the treatment from Randall only persuaded my desire to stay with the Highlanders, savages or not.

“Yes… I think so.” I grabbed my waist, still catching my breath from the last blow.

“C’mon, let’s get our horses and leave this God forsaken place.” I couldn’t agree more.

The ride back was painful, with every trot or gallop of the horse, my stomach clenched and pain shot up my spine. Jesus H. Roosevelt Christ. If I truly did see Randall again, there would be nothing stopping him from hurting me further or worse, killing me.

Before we returned to the other Highlanders, Dougal slowed down and eventually came to a halt. “Come” He said and I followed. What now? Another interrogation? We reached a spring and he stooped down to take a drink and told me to do the same.

“Are ye a spy for the English?” He asked yet again.

“No! For the last time I’m not and English spy! Can we be done with this already?” I said, I was growing rather impatient with being questioned.

He nodded, “I ken ye’re telling the truth lass. This spring, some call it the liars spring, smells like the fumes of hell itself and if ye drink from that and ye prove untrue, it’ll burn ye’re gizzard out.”

“A magic spring?” What the hell, I knew they believed in folk lore but if this was all it took for him to believe me…

“Well ye’re a healer, surely you believe in the powers of magic?” He said matter of factly.

I was a healer and in this time that often equated with being a witch. “I doubt Captain Randall will be so easily convinced.”

“Aye, well. Ye don’t need to see him again. Not if ye do what I tell ye.” He crossed his arms in front of him, a wicked smile spreading across his face.

“Don’t you have to bring me to Fort William tomorrow? Or else Randall will come looking for me and arrest me and you as well?” How would he get me out of this?

“An English officer canna compel a Scottish person unless there is proof there has been a crime committed and even so canna force a Scottish subject from Clan lands without permission from the Laird.” Dougal said.

“You’ve been talking to Ned Gowan?” Ned knew the law and Dougal had obviously been afraid that something like this would happen.

“Aye, I have. I can only legally refuse to hand ye back to Randall, if I change ye from an English woman to a Scot.” He said.

“Into a Scot?” Was he saying what I think he was?

“The only way I can do that… is for ye to marry one.”

“I cannot do that!” I shouted, throwing my hands up in the air.

“Would ye rather go to an English prison?” He retorted.

“What!? You’d have me marry you, is that it then? You better think again-“ I shouted back.

“Not me lass. As much as I’d like to grind ye’re corn… I’m a wedded man” He said.

“Good” I replied, “Because I don’t want to marry you. I want to marry-“ Shit. Shit, shit shit shit. Damn Beauchamp, you couldn’t think before you opened your bloody mouth?

“What was that lass?” Dougal smiled, his eyes now full of keen interest, he was listening to me now. “Ye don’t wanna marry me but ye have someone else in mind is that it?”

There was no back tracking now. I had said it and I might as well come out with it before he forced me to.

“You’re correct. I do have someone in mind.” I crossed my arms in front of my chest.

“Mr. McTavish.” I said quietly, unable to meet Dougal’s stare. I only looked up when he started laughing.

“What’s so funny about that? Why are you laughing?” I demanded. “Don’t think he’ll agree to it?” My heart was pounding. Here I was, arranging a marriage between myself and Jamie. I knew Jamie must harbour some feelings for me, after all we had shared our bodies with one another multiple times now. But did he love me? Did he want to marry me?

“Och, tis’ only I’ve seen the way he looks at ye lass. The lad has eyes for ye, ye ken?” He stopped laughing long enough to come near me and place his hand on my elbow. “Jesus. Young Jamie, marrying a Sassenach.”

I yanked my elbow out of his grasp, “Well. Shouldn’t we get back.”

“Aye, I need to speak to Ned Gowan and you… you best speak to Jamie.” He laughed again and climbed back on his horse. I followed and couldn’t put together a coherent thought the entire way.

The men were eagerly awaiting our return, not knowing where we had gone, only noticing our absence. Jamie immediately came to me, seeing the pain evident on my face.

“Leave her be Jamie. She’s been through enough with that damned Randall.” Dougal said.

“Randall? It was Randall who…” Jamie placed his hand on my cheek, “did this to ye?” There was anger in his eyes, a hatred for the man who had hurt him and now me.

“Aye, I’ll tell ye what happened… and what needs to be done. Ned, I need a word or two.” Dougal motioned for Ned to follow him and they began speaking of what I assumed were the marriage plans for Jamie and I.

Jamie’s hand was still on my cheek, I reached up to grab his hand and leaned my face against his open palm.

I was so nervous, my words came out shaky, “Jamie, I need to speak with you… about something rather important.” He looked so concerned.

“Aye, let’s talk over here then, Sassenach.” He put his hand on my waist and I noticed odd looks from the other men. It was about to get a lot more strange around here once they learned the news.

Jamie led me off to the side and we sat down by a large boulder. “What is it lass? Are ye hurt? I canna bear to see ye hurt. Where did ye go?” He returned his hand to my cheek, his thumb softly caressing.

I smiled, “One question at a time please sir.” He looked almost bashful.

“Before I answer any of those questions first… I need to tell you something. You see…” And I explained what happened with Randall, how he accused me of having allegiances with the Highlanders and his plan to question me. He stayed silent as I told him this, nodding every now and then.

“So Dougal said I should marry… a Scot. So that I will be protected from Randall.” Jamie flinched and grabbed my hands that were resting in my lap.

“Who does he say ye should marry?” Jamie asked, a slight tremble in his voice. I looked down at his hand in mine and then I looked at my own hand and saw the ring on my left hand. Frank’s ring. My stomach flipped as I looked up into Jamie’s eyes.

“You.” I smiled and felt a weight lift off my shoulders.

“Me? Was it Dougal who said it should be me?” He asked.

I blushed and turned my head to the side, “Well… it was actually me who suggested it. I wasn’t too sure you would agree though.” Jamie placed his hand under my chin and turned my face back to look at him.

“Sassenach…Claire. I would want nothing more than to marry ye.” He smiled and then laughed, like his body could not contain the joy he was feeling.

I pulled him to me and held him tight, his arms wrapped around me and we sat there embracing each other until Jamie was the first to pull away. “When is the Wedding then?”

“Dougal said it would need to be tomorrow. As Randall said that if I was not returned to him by tomorrow evening then he would come looking for me and arrest me.” I noticed Ned coming our way, holding a piece of paper in his hands.

“Aye, tomorrow then. We shall be… Husband and Wife” Jamie said proudly.

Ned approached us and handed me the paper, it was a Marriage Contract. “Sign this my dears and then we need to make a few more arrangements before you shall wed tomorrow.”

I took the pen Ned held out and signed the contract, giving it to Jamie to sign next. Ned smiled, taking it from his hands and left to tuck it safely away in his saddle bag.

“Jamie, you’re real name isn’t McTavish is it?” I never felt an urgency to learn his real name but now that I would soon be taking his name, I figured I should know.

“Nah, Sassenach it’s not. And I shall tell ye my name… your name” He blushed and stood, pulling me to my feet, “Tomorrow.” He kissed my cheek and began walking back to join the other men.

“Jamie!” I laughed. Tomorrow I would not be Claire Beauchamp. I would not be Claire Randall. I would become someone else entirely, someone who was falling for this man. There would be no returning to Craig Na Dun, not anymore.

Chapter Text

My first marriage had been quite spontaneous. Frank and I had been on the way to meet his parents for lunch when he stopped me in the street, turned me to the courthouse and pointed.

“What? But your parents are waiting?” I replied, not entirely put off by the idea of a court house wedding but it was all rather quick.

“So let them wait.” Frank had said, taking my hands in his. “When they meet you, I shall introduce you to them as Mrs. Frank Randall.” He smiled and I blushed.

We were married that day and I thought that was it. I thought I would be married to Frank for the rest of my life.

I suppose if you think about it I still am married to Frank or will be married…

I lay in bed thinking about my nuptials to my first husband and how in a matter of hours I would have a second husband. James McTavish. Well I still didn’t know his real name, he told me he would tell me today.

Looking over at the man laying beside me, I blushed. A Bride and Groom weren’t supposed to share their bed before the wedding, that bit was supposed to come after the vows were said. Jamie lay on his back with his arms folded across his stomach, I watched him take deep breaths in and out and couldn’t help myself as I leaned over and placed a soft kiss against his lips.

He woke slowly, his eyelashes fluttering against my cheeks as I pressed into him.

“Sassenach, I dinna think we should… ye know… before the weddin’” Jamie tried to push my body back off his but failed and I straddled his hips as he sat up, arms encircling me.

Jamie kissed me for a long while, we were in no hurry, the sun wasn’t up and I didn’t need to be dressed for hours.

I resigned to not have sex with him, a good Scottish Catholic man he still was and Jamie felt he didn’t want to disrespect God by sleeping with me before the wedding. However we had already slept together multiple times and I felt not a smidge of disrespect.

“I suppose you’re right.” I kissed his jawline. “They say it’s bad luck to see the bride before the wedding.” I kissed the spot just under his ear and he squirmed underneath me.

“Do they?” His voice sounded distant, like his mind wasn’t really focused on a coherent conversation.

I reluctantly crawled off his lap and stood from the bed, arranging my shift so it covered me properly. Jamie almost whined from his spot on the bed.

I raised my eyebrows at him from across the room, “It’s you who said we ‘shouldna sleep together before the weddin’”. I laughed and picked up his kilt that had been left in a pile at the foot of the bed.

Jamie sighed and ran his fingers through his hair. “Ah Dhia, how am I supposed to wait to bed ye lass, when ye stand there and I can see right through ye’re shift.” He bit his bottom lip and squirmed uncomfortably in the bed, I just knew he had a cockstand.

“And people will know we’ve already consummated the marriage to be if you don’t get out of my room Mr. McTavish.” I smiled and handed him his kilt and shirt which he took and stood from the bed.

My eyes lingered between his legs, his cock twitched and I looked away, scared I might cause him to suddenly pounce on me. Not that I would have minded…

Once Jamie was dressed, he crossed the room to where I had been leaning against the wall watching him dress. “Sassenach,” he said, wrapping his arms around my waist, “I’m no’ marryin’ ye just to keep ye safe from Randall… but that is a big factor.”

I let my hands settle on his firm arse, giving it a gentle squeeze. “And why are you marrying me then?”

He kissed me then, his mouth warm and soft, “I have a few reasons” He grinned, “Which I shall tell ye once we’re married.” Jamie pressed his lips against mine again, I never wanted him to stop touching me. But I knew he had to leave, the next time I would see him, we would be getting married.

“Goodbye Mistress Beauchamp, I’ll see ye at the altar,” Jamie smiled and gave a small bow, turning to leave and shut the door behind him.

I sank down into the bed and put my head in my hands. Jesus H. Roosevelt Christ…. What was I going to wear?

I shoved that thought aside and lay back against the pillows. There was no point in worrying about something I couldn’t control. Dougal had told me all the arrangements, including my dress, would be dealt with before the ceremony.

The door creaked open sometime later and a large, short woman came in.

“Time to get ready lass.” She smiled, her eyes kind and comforting. In her arms she was carrying a large heap of material, what I assumed to be my wedding dress.

I stood shakily from the bed, my palms sweating as she helped dress me. First the corset, the bodice tied together with a long line of laces in the front. Then the bumroll I had grown familiar with wearing tied around my waist and next the first layer of the skirts.

There’s no telling where they found a dress like this on such short notice, the fabric was thick, a darker grey on the outside of the dress with a strip of lighter grey running down the middle. It was adorned with stitched silver leaves and vines all over the skirts and bodice and had thin white sleeves that cut off midway on my forearm.

Since my first marriage was so spontaneous, I obviously had not bothered with a wedding dress, marrying Frank in the outfit I had been wearing that day.

Once the kind woman whose name she told me was Fiona, had me all tied in to the dress, I dared a glance into the mirror and found a woman staring back I didn’t at first recognise. The woman in the reflection was beautiful, her curly hair piled atop her head with loose strands curving around her face. The dress she wore fitted her nicely, showing off just enough cleavage.

The woman also looked very much in love.

I was in love with Jamie. Who knows when I would admit that to him or be able to say it out loud but in my head and in my heart I knew that I felt love for Jamie. This strange Highlander man who had been kind to me, this man whose virginity I had taken, this man that I would spend the rest of my life with.

A knock tapped on the door and before I could respond to say “Come in”, in rushed Dougal, Murtagh and Ned Gowan. They muttered their approval of my appearance and I thanked Fiona for helping me.

My heart began to race as Dougal led us downstairs, the small tavern we were staying in was quite some distance away from the church I was to be marrying Jamie in. Ned took one look at my pale face and held his hand on my elbow, holding me steady.

“Nothing to worry about my dear, this shall be over before you know it.” He smiled reassuringly and we walked to join Jamie who was already waiting at the church.

Everyone must be thinking that I didn’t want to marry Jamie… well, everyone except Dougal, whom I had actually admitted to wanting to marry Jamie.

With each step closer to the church, to Jamie, I felt as if my fate was being sealed. Now was the time I could stop this, turn back and flee to the stones. Forget this all every happened and try to move on with Frank, live a quiet normal life.

But I didn’t want a quiet and normal life. I wanted whatever life I was guaranteed to have with Jamie. With all of the chaos of the last few months I had grown quite fond of him, it wasn’t just the sex, even though that was enough to make me want to stay here in this time, it was the connection I felt to him. I felt as if I was always supposed to know Jamie, to have his heart beat with mine.

I looked up, blinking my eyes against the shining rays of the sun and found him standing there at the entrance of the church. A Highlander in full regalia is an impressive sight - no matter who the Highlander is. Jamie was breathtaking. His thick red-gold hair had been swept off his forehead and he wore a fine lawn shirt, tucked in to a brilliant crimson and black tartan that blazed against the more subdued MacKenzie green and white tartan.

The flaming wool, fastened by a silver brooch, fell from his right shoulder in a graceful drape, caught by a silver studded sword belt before continuing its sweep past neat claves clothed in woolen hose and stopping just short of the silver-buckled black leather boots. Sword, dirk and badgerskin sporran completed the rest of his regalia.

Jamie knew he looked fine, his face shining proud, he swept a deep bow, one hand over his heart, “Ye’re servant, ma’am” his eyes glinted with mischief.

“Are ye mad, man?!” Dougal spoke to Jamie, his hand pointing to his crimson kilt. “What if someone sees ye?”

Jamie grinned and cocked his brow at Dougal, “You wouldna have me insult my wife, now, would ye? Besides, I hardly think it would be legal, did I not marry in my own name. And ye want it legal, now, don’t ye Dougal?” He flashed a smile to me and I pressed my lips tightly together, forcing laughter to stay in.

I thought it sweet that Jamie had somehow managed to find a tartan of colours that represented his own clan, wanting to be properly wed.

“If ye’re quite finished,” Dougal sighed and made a movement towards the church.

Jamie wasn’t finished, he reached into his sporran and pulled out a string of white beads. He stepped forward and fastened the necklace around my neck. “They’re only Scotch pearls,” he said almost sounding apologetic, “but they look sae bonny on ye’re wee neck.” His fingers lingered on my neck and Dougal cleared his throat, making me jump slightly.

Jamie slid his hand down to my waist and guided me to the entrance of the church.

“Wait!” I stopped walking and turned to face him. “I can’t marry you.” I said and Jamie’s face was something to behold.

He gaped at me and was at a complete loss of words. Before Dougal could chime in, I finished my thought, “I don’t even know you’re real name!”

Sighs of relief came from all around me and Jamie stepped in close to me, “Oh. It’s Fraser. James Alexander Malcom MacKenzie Fraser.” He pronounced it formally, each name slow and distinct.

I blushed and idiotically stuck out my hand for him to take, “Claire Elizabeth Beauchamp”. Jamie took my hand and brought it to his lips, placing a gentle kiss against my knuckles. He tucked my hand into the crook of his elbow and turned us back to the church.

We stood face to face, my palms were slick with perspiration. When the priest said it was time for the vows, Jamie took my sweaty hands in his firm grasp, I noticed the chill of his fingers and knew that he was nervous too. I smiled weakly, overcome with emotions of disbelief that I was actually doing this and quite honestly, love. The pressure of his fingers on mine increased. I had the impression that we were holding each other up; if either of us let go, we would both fall down. Whatever we were in for, at least there were two of us.

“I take thee, Claire, to be my wife…” Jamie’s voice didn’t shake, he held my gaze, “… to love, honour and protect… for better and for worse…” the words filled my head and my heart. I felt Jamie squeeze my fingers and knew it was my turn now.

“I take thee, James… to have and to hold, from this day forth…” My voice was strong, not a trace of doubt in the mix. “’Til death do us part.” I finished and the words rang out in the quiet church with a startling finality.

The priest asked for the ring and I noticed Murtagh reach into his sporran, pulling out a silver delicate looking ring and handed it to Jamie.

I still wore Frank’s ring on my left hand, something I was not quite ready to part with but I knew the day would come that I would take it off.

Jamie held my right hand out straight, his fingers squeezing mine as he slid the ring on my finger, it fit snuggly at the base. The priest said something else but I didn’t hear, I was fully lost in Jamie’s eyes staring back at me.

I saw a mischievous glint in his eye as Jamie bent to kiss me. I knew he intended it to be brief and ceremonial, for the sake of the small crowd watching at least but his mouth was warm and familiar tasting. I had only last kissed him hours ago but every kiss felt like the first.

I was vaguely aware of Scottish whoops of enthusiasm as Jamie’s hands clasped around my waist but really noticed nothing beyond the enfolding warm solidness, my sanctuary.

We smiled nervously at each other, both thinking of all the time we had spent in bed. I saw Dougal draw his dirk and wondered why. Jamie held my gaze and turned out his right hand, palm up. I gasped as the point of the dirk cut across his wrist, leaving a dark line of blood. There wasn’t time to jerk my hand away as Dougal grabbed my own wrist and cut me in the same motion. Dougal pressed my wrist to Jamie’s and bound the two together with a strip of white linen.

Jamie gripped my waist with his free left hand, I must have looked a bit nauseous.

“Not long now lass, say the words after me.” It was a short bit of Gaelic, two or three sentences. I stuttered on a few of the more hard to pronounce words but managed to make it through to the other side. The linen was unbound and then that was it. We were married. Secretly my heart was filled with peace and joy. I had not known I wanted to be with Jamie in this way, a way so beyond the physical until this moment.

There was a buzz of exhilaration as the small crowd exited the church and stood now on the grass.

Jamie held me to him, his arm secured around my waist and I felt my knees wobble.

“Dinna faint Claire,” Jamie’s other arm came to my back and he held me up with all his strength. I stared down at my wrist and saw a fresh smear of blood soak through.

“Ach, it might’ve been that that made ye weak,” Jamie said, gently touching the white linen covering my wrist. “I should ha’ thought to warn ye about it. I didna realise ye weren’t expecting it until I saw ye’re face.”

“What was it exactly?” I asked him as he wrapped the linen more tightly.

“It’s a bit pagan, but it’s customary hereabouts to have a blood vow, along with the regular marriage vows. Some priests won’t have it, but I don’t suppose this one was likely to object to anything.”

“A blood vow? What did the words mean?” I peered up into his blue eyes staring down at me.

“It rhymes, more or less, when ye say it in English. It says:

‘Ye are Blood of my Blood, and Bone of my Bone.

I give ye my Body, that we Two might be One.

I give ye my Spirit, ’til our Life shall be Done.”

“That’s beautiful Jamie” I smiled and stood on my toes to kiss him. The other men had left us behind and had already begun the long walk back to the tavern for a wedding celebration.

“We best get back to the others, soon they’ll be pushing us into the bed, makin’ sure everything’s official.” He attempted a wink and his hands cupped my cheeks.

“Little do they know we’ve already consummated the marriage several times.” I laughed, following in step as Jamie led us back.

We managed to scavenge a few bites of food and drink before most of it was eaten by the ravaging Highlanders. I realised I hadn’t eaten anything all day and found that was probably a contributing factor into the nausea and weakness I had felt earlier.

Shouts of encouragement from all the men followed us as Jamie led us up the stairs and quickly pushed me into the room that was now the ‘honeymoon suite’.

“Sorry Sassenach, I’m afraid they willna leave until they know it’s official.” Jamie said, closing the door and coming to stand in front of me.

“Well you can just go out there and tell them we’ve already done it then.” Grinning, I slid my hands up his chest and rested them against his shoulders.

He leaned down to kiss me, alone at last. Now we could have sex without the guilt or fear of being caught. Although, there wasn’t much guilt involved whenever he took me, only pleasure.

Before our clothes landed in a pile on the floor, Jamie pulled back from the kiss.

“Claire… I want ye so much I can scarcely breathe. And to have ye now as my wife,” a low growl escaped his chest and I felt my insides quiver.

“But?” I squeaked out.

Jamie sighed, pressing his forehead to mine, “I canna help but feel that now we’re married… we should perhaps get to know one another… besides how well I know ye’re body.” He patted my bum and I jerked my hips reflexively into his crotch.

“You said it yourself, they won’t leave until they know we’ve consummated the marriage.” I nodded my head to the door, “I don’t particularly want them waiting outside our door all night Mr. Fraser.” I grinned as I said his name, my name.

He quirked a ruddy brow at me and flashed me a wicked grin. “I suppose ye’re right.” His hands now on the ties of my skirt. “We will have plenty of time to get to know each other…” his mouth pressed against my neck, “after we consummate the marriage.” Jamie’s fingers worked quickly, now well skilled in the art of undressing me, he had the first layer of my dress off.

I turned so he could remove the second layer and bumroll. My legs shook as he turned me around to face him. Why was I so nervous all of a sudden? This man had seen me naked several times and been inside of my most intimate places.

Perhaps it was the finality of the day, we were husband and wife, we had made a vow and in Jamie’s eyes and I suppose mine as well, that binded us for life, there was no escaping.

“Let me get the laces” he said quietly, his large hands touching the tops of my swelling breasts. We both giggled as he undid the laces of my corset, the pressure off my chest was almost enough to make me climax right then.

My breath hitched in my throat when the corset fell and the weight was replaced by the warmth of his hand on my breast. Jamie cupped my breast, his touch was tender. I stood in my shift, the remnants of my wedding dress now puddled around my feet.

“My turn.” I said just before he kissed me again. My hands found his belt and pulled it from around his waist, it fell with a clang to the ground.

Jamie’s hands continued to roam over my body, exploring what was now his. I told him to lift his arms and he moaned but I pulled the shirt up and over his head, exposing his bare chest. I couldn’t help but slide my fingers across the expanse of his skin, the coppery curls tickling my own.

“Jamie” I whispered, my nerves clenching my throat. His hands left my body to tug at the kilt still hanging on his hips. His cock sprang free of the heavy tartan, I could see the veins pulsing and wanted to reach for it but Jamie squatted and found the hem of my shift.

Jamie inched up the shift and placed kisses along my pale skin. My calves, my knees, then my thighs. As more of my skin was exposed I felt more of my heart being given to Jamie. He moved to his knees while his hands bunched the shift around my waist, my pussy now level with his mouth.

“Jamie,” I whispered again and he looked up at me then through hooded eyes.

“Sassenach,” he smiled and then pressed his face forward against me. My knees gave slightly as his wet lips met the wetness between my thighs. It took all of what was left of my concentration to hold my body upright. Jamie must have felt this as his hands came behind me and attached themselves to the backs of my thighs.

His curls were soft in my hands as I gripped onto him. My mouth parted but no sound came out as his tongue slid into me. Jamie moved his tongue in quick strokes, flicking it with precision.

“Oh my God, Jamie!” I cried out suddenly, looking down to where he was fast at work. I watched his head move in between my thighs, my orgasm rippling throughout my body, spasms shook me and Jamie gave one last lick before he pulled me down to my knees to join him.

His arms quickly pulled my shift off over my head and he held me close, burying his face into the side of my neck. “Mo nighean donn,” he wound his fingers through my hair, planting kisses along my neck and down to my collarbones. His cock rolled between our stomachs, he was breathless and moaning. He was mine.

“I need ye Sassenach.” Jamie gathered me into his arms and stood, carrying me to the bed, he laid me out, spread eagled.

He looked at my body, his eyes trailing across my flesh, bringing heat to my cheeks and belly.

“Come to me.” I reached out both hands to him and he crawled on the bed above me. “My husband.” I smiled against his mouth as he kissed me, my lips parting in a gasp as he slid home inside of me.

Jamie did not move at first, simply enjoying the feeling of me but when I ran my hands down his back and dug my fingernails into his arse he started to rock into me. A steady back and forth movement, his cock entering me deeper than he ever had before. “Jamie.” I panted his name, desperate to know every part of him.

“Claire.” He moaned my name, one hand reaching up to cup my breast as he rammed harder, faster and deeper.

“Uhhhh Christ!” I let go, my legs shaking, my heart pounding, my head spinning. Jamie now owned every part of me, body and soul. I heard Jamie moan Gaelic curses in my ear, his body collapsing on top of me, his chest slick with exertion.

We lay together, still joined, for some time. My hands began a pattern of slow circles against the small of his back where his spine dipped. Jamie’s breath was warm against my face, his body heat making me clammy but I didn’t want to move.

I heard my stomach growl and so did Jamie. He roused with a laugh, placing a kiss on my nose and rose lazily from me. “I’ll get ye somethin’ to eat Sassenach, dinna leave this room.” He grinned as he stood and picked up his shirt, throwing it on and crossing the room. I brought a blanket up to cover my body before he opened the door, just in case there were any peeping Tom’s wanting to get a look at the new bride and groom.

A loud thunderous applause echoed through the tavern as Jamie stepped out of our room. I blushed and grinned stupidly, burying my face into the pillow beside me. Everyone certainly knew now that the marriage was legal. God.

I was drifting to sleep, a dream of horse riding on the edge of my subconscious, when Jamie came to sit beside me on the bed, a bowl of fruit and a plate of cheese and bread in his lap.

“Mmmm I’m ravished.” I smiled, sitting up and letting the blanket fall. Jamie’s gaze left the food and went to my breasts. He was quite fond of them, to make him forget about food, he must really love them.

That thought made me laugh and I grabbed a piece of bread and cheese and nibbled on it.

“What’s sae funny Sassenach?” Jamie asked me, reaching beside the bed to grab a glass of wine, taking a sip then offering the glass to me.

“Oh nothing,” I took the offered glass, “Just thinking about how much you must like my breasts is all.”

His cheeks turned bright red and his eyes flicked down to my chest. “Och, they’re bonny. I canna get over how they feel so soft in my hands and when I kiss ye’re wee nipples, how they turn so hard.” As he talked about that part of my anatomy, my ‘wee’ nipples grew hard and I brought the blanket up to cover them, suddenly self-conscious.

“No.” Jamie put his hand over mine and pushed down the blanket, “I dinna mean to make ye nervous, I do like them Claire but only because they are a part of ye.” He smiled so sweetly, I leaned over and kissed him.

“Sassenach… if I tell ye somethin’, ye promise no’ to laugh?” He smoothed my hair back behind my ear.

“Promise.” What was he going to tell me, I wondered.

He got a sheepish look on his face, “I didna realise that ye did it face to face. I thought ye must do it the back way, like; horses, ye ken.” It was a struggle to keep my promise but I managed only a small giggle.

“And you only just now brought this up?” I pressed my thumb against his cheek and felt the two day old stubble.

“Well the first time, I didna have time to even think about what we were even doin’ and the other times, ye were so… in charge, I just followed ye. I ken now, especially after those times we lay together that’s no’ how it’s done.” He laughed, moving the food to the table beside the bed and then gathering me in his arms.

“It can be done that way Jamie.” I turned my face to look up at him, seeing the curious look in his eyes. “It can be rather enjoyable in that position.” I felt his cock twitch underneath me and counted the seconds it would take him to have me flipped over on the edge of the bed but he didn’t move. He squeezed me tighter and kissed my forehead. “Later, mo nighean donn, I dinna have the strength just now.”

“What does that mean?” I asked him.

“What does what mean? What I called ye?” I nodded and he moved his hand to grab a piece of my hair in between his fingers. “Mo nighean donn, my brown haired lass.”

“I always thought brown a dull colour.” I almost went crossed eyed trying to look at the curl he held out in front of my face.

“Nah, not dull at all. It’s like the water in a bern,” he twisted the curl, “the way it ruffles down the rocks. Dark in the wavy spots, with wee bits of auburn where the sun touches it.” It touched my heart to know that Jamie had noticed the colour of my hair in the sun, the little details he had picked up on.

“Will you tell me about your family Jamie?” He let the curl drop against my shoulder, his blue eyes staring back into mine.

“Aye, Sassenach. As long as ye tell me about yer’s. There’s one thing I ask of ye Claire… now that we’re married.”

I nodded, “What’s that?”

Jamie held my hand in his and he readjusted my body on his lap, “Honesty. I ken there are things ye maybe canna tell me, I’ll not press ye about it either, ever, but when ye do tell me somethin’ Claire, let it be the truth. I promise ye the same. We have nothin’ between us - save respect and I think that respect has maybe room for secrets but no’ for lies. Do ye agree?”

“I agree Jamie. No lies.” There were things I knew I could not tell him, maybe with time I could but I would not lie to him, about anything.

“Good. Now Sassenach, what would ye like to know about my family?” Jamie settled his chin on top of my mass of curls and laid back against the pillows, my back cradled in his strong arms.

“Everything I guess. Tell me about your Mother and Father.” I laid my head against his chest as he spoke of his family, how his parents met, how he grew up in a place called Lallybroch. He told me stories of his sister Jenny, of his older brother Willie and how he had died. Jamie spoke with such adoration about his family, a family I was now a part of. He was a born storyteller, regailing tales from his childhood and about his time spent in France.

I returned the favour and told him about growing up with my Uncle Lambert. I had to edit a few details out of course, the time difference being a major secret that I was keeping from him but managed to get the major points across. My parents had died when I was very young, leaving my Uncle to raise me. He was an archaeologist and I spent my childhood and early teens traveling with him.

At one point while I listened to a story of Jamie’s I must have dozed off because the next thing I remember was him tucking a blanket around me and pulling my body back against his.

We came to each other hours later, hands seeking and finding. This time we joined in a slow passionate embrace, we lay on our sides as he slid his cock into me, our legs intertwined. Our bodies rocked back and forth, hips moving.

There was a current of electricity that ran between us. An energy that pulled me to him and him to me. As I held my new husband in my arms, his body connected to mine, I knew that this was it for me. If I died tomorrow, I would die happy. For I have loved a man such as Jamie Fraser and he has loved me in return.

Chapter Text

There was a heaviness on me. Literally. During the night, Jamie had somehow moved his entire body over mine. I turned my face and found his curls, his mouth breathing hot air against my breasts. His weight was a crushing reminder of the last twenty-four hours, we were married.

I ran my hand through his hair, the soft curls a contrast to the frizziness of my own. I knew he was awake and very aroused. I knew this because of his “accidental” position on top of me, his legs were wedged between my thighs, his cock, now waking up along with its owner, was pressed just so against my most sensitive area.

“Jamie,” I whispered and saw a small smile on the corner of his lips.

“Hmmm,” Came his response, a deep hum vibrated from his chest and onto my stomach.

“Are you awake?” I asked, knowing the answer already.

He didn’t respond with words but with his body. Jamie moved slightly to the left and he was home, inside of my tight walls. “Uhhh,” I moaned and shut my eyes as Jamie lifted himself on his elbows, his hands coming to either side of my face.

“How — do,” I panted, “you — have,” he rolled his hips into mine, “so much — energy?” My fingers found that spot on his back, the deep curve where his spine met his hip.

He answered with a kiss, tongue parting my lips, his legs spreading me open wider.

“Sassenach,” He finally spoke, his mouth pressing against the hollow between my neck and collarbones. I needed him, more than I cared to admit to myself. I needed him in me, I needed him around me, I needed him in every part of me that he could find.

“Mmmm, oh God,” I cried, his hips creating a torturing rhythm as he grabbed my arse and began to roll our bodies together against the bed.

“Jamie,” His tongue licked around my areolas, my nipples hardening against the stubble on his cheek.

He grunted above me and then stilled, his weight once more covering my body as he pressed down. I cradled him against me as I rode out my own climax, this man would be my undoing.

Tha mi ‘n dùil sgàin mo chridhe,” Jamie said quietly into my hair, then bringing his mouth down to place a kiss at my temple.

“What did you say?” I smiled and pulled his face above mine.

“I thought my heart was goin’ tae burst,” He laughed and his cheeks turned bright red.

“Oh. Well, mine too,” I kissed the tip of his nose and he rolled to the side, laying next to me.

“I’m afraid I’ve no more energy after that, Sassenach.” He turned his face to look at me, his hands coming to settle across my soft stomach. “I need some food.” With a kiss, Jamie sat up and I lay there, watching the lean muscles of his body as he dressed. I was in no hurry.

“I’ll meet ye downstairs, if I don’t get somethin’ to eat soon… I might just take a bite out of you.” He kissed me briefly, buttoning the last button of his shirt.

“I believe you’ve already done that.”

“And I look forward to doin’ it again soon. Won’t be long, there’ll be nothin’ left but crumbs.”

Jamie left the room to find whatever food he could and I sighed, turning my head back into the pillow. Claire Fraser.

My stomach made a loud growl, letting it be known that I had been very neglectful of my bodily needs. Well… not all my bodily needs.

I picked up the shell of my wedding dress and shook it out. I heard a tiny metallic ding as something fell out of the dress. Christ.

My first wedding ring, a gold band that Frank had given me. It rolled across the floor and stopped when it got stuck between the floorboards.

I padded across the room and bent to pick it up between my shaky fingers.

The ring was a reminder of my life before I met Jamie. A life I had spent in another time, with another man. I now wore a silver wedding ring on my right hand, belonging to Jamie, my husband.

I should’ve put the ring back on my left hand. I should’ve… but I didn’t.

Instead, I folded my hand around the ring and walked over to the dresser where the rest of my small earthly possessions were and put the ring down next to the pearls that Jamie had given me.

If there came a time when I felt I needed to wear the ring then I would have it but for whatever reason I felt compelled not to put it back on.

__________________________________________________________________________________

We still had a little time to ourselves before we needed to make our final stop collecting rents and then make the long journey back to Leoch.

Jamie led me to the side of a small cliff, overlooking the mountains, the beautiful Scotland.

I hadn’t stopped touching Jamie since our first encounter, his hand in mine was like fire, igniting something deep inside me I didn’t even realise was there.

“Can I ask ye a question?” He smiled, his eyes burning into mine.

“Of course.”

“Well my question — I dinna wish to, that is, I dinna wish to imply that ye have some vast knowledge of men but you know more than I do on such matters.” He looked so nervous, so childlike.

“Out with it.” I smiled, rubbing my fingers along the inside of his palm.

“Is it usual? What it is between us when I — touch you, when you lie wi’ me? Is it always so between a man and a woman?”

It wasn’t always like this. While I had not seen my own parents marriage, I had seen my friends parents and they were often distant and showed very little affection. My marriage to Frank had been what I expected it to be, we had sex quite regularly but now knowing what it was to be with Jamie and not just physically but to have someone know your soul the way it was truly meant to be known… it was unlike anything I had ever seen.

“It’s often… something like this. But no, this is unusual. It’s different.” My voice trembled slightly as our hands continued to caress the other’s, seeking a constant touch.

Our conversation was interrupted however by a ‘whoosh’ sound and Jamie instinctively pressed his body over mine, his head tilted up to see what it was.

“Don’t move,” Jamie whispered into my ear and pulled his dirk out climbing forward to retrieve an arrow that was lodged in the ground near us.

Jamie took one look at the arrow and let out a deep laugh. What the bloody hell?!

I heard another laugh join in and saw a man come walking over the other side of the edge of the cliff. “Friend of yours?” I sighed and sat back up, my heart still racing.

“Aye! Hugh,” He smiled back at me, “Hugh Munro!” I stood to my feet as Jamie embraced Hugh.

“How’d ye know I was here?” Jamie asked, pulling me to his side.

Hugh made what could only be described as grunting noises and then made motions with his hands, all of which Jamie seemed to flawlessly understand.

“Aye, saw Dougal and the others waterin’ the horses, figured I must be up here.”

Hugh pointed to me then. Jamie smiled, “Claire. My wife! No’ married but these two days,” Jamie said proudly, his arm on the small of my back.

Hugh smiled and then grunted some more and held up a bottle.

“Says he’s got news but insist we drink to you first,” He leant in to Hugh, “Canna say I disagree”

We sat back down on the blanket we had been on previously, now joined by Hugh, Jamie lifted the flask to his mouth, “Slainte.”

I then took a sip and Hugh made a few more noises and Jamie Kindly continued to interpret, “Ach, a wedding gift.”

He pulled out something from his bag and handed it to me, “How kind,” I smiled, our first wedding present. “It’s beautiful, it’s a dragonfly.” It was a dragonfly suspended in a small block of golden amber. “Thank you.”

“Gone official have ye, or are these just when the game is scarce.” Jamie said to Hugh, reaching out to touch something on his coat.

“What are they?” I asked.

“Gaberlunzy tokens. They’re licenses to beg, Sassenach. They’re good within the borders of a single Parish.”

“Single Parish,” I nodded my head to Hugh’s jacket, “You’ve about a dozen by my count.”

Jamie and Hugh laughed, “Aye, well Munro’s a special case ye see. He was captured by the Turks at sea, spent a good many years as a slave in Algeer, that’s where he lost his tongue.”

Hugh nodded. “They cut it out?” I said, “I’m so sorry.”

“They poured boiling oil on his legs, it’s how they force captive Christians to convert.” Hugh made the sign of the Cross.

“Said ye came with news.” Jamie said, reminding Munro of his business with us.

I listened and watched as Hugh described something to Jamie. I patiently waited as Jamie responded with more questions back to Munro, “Can he be trusted?”, “When does he want to meet?”

Hugh finished his conversation with Jamie and then it was time for him to leave, we all stood to say goodbye to one another. Jamie then pulled me into his arms, “There’s a chance I can get the price lifted from my head, there’s a witness who can prove my innocence. Claim’s he was there, during my escape at Fort William and saw who actually killed the Sergeant. But… I’m no’ sure I can trust him.”

“His name is Horrocks?” I asked, picking up a little now of what Jamie and Hugh were talking about.

“Aye,” Jamie nodded, “A Red Coat deserter. But if there’s a chance I can finally go home with my bride! Claire Fraser.” When he said my name, my heart soared, I knew that Jamie would do whatever he could to have the chance to return home.

“Lady Lallybroch,” Jamie touched my cheek gently and kissed me.

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We spent another night under the stars in the cold of the evening. I sat by Jamie as he slid his fingers back and forth over mine.

Suddenly, Jamie turned to look at the other men, something was up.

“What’s wrong?” I asked, taking note of the uneasy sounds coming from our horses.

“There’s someone nearby, Sassenach, the horses… they sense it.”

I watched out of the corner of my eye as all the men slowly slid their dirks and swords from their belts, ready to fight when the time came.

“When I say ‘go’, ye go and find somewhere to hide, Sassenach.” Jamie whispered close to my ear.

“But—“ I barely said as Jamie then shouted “Go!” And I obeyed, standing up and running over to hide behind a bush close by. Six or maybe seven men then rushed out of the dark of the woods and came upon us. I watched, helplessly as Jamie fought with a man who was trying to steal from our cart, the things we had collected from the rents.

Sounds of swords colliding and grunts of Highlanders. It was over as quickly as it hard started and I dared to walk out to see if everyone was alright.

I looked around and found Jamie, he smiled and kissed me, bringing my body close to his. “Are you alright?” I asked, while checking his face for any scratches or fresh bruises.

“Aye, Sassenach, dinna fash, just a wee raid.” He laughed and the other men joined in. Obviously this was a common occurrence as they didn’t seem phased by their sudden attack.

“They dinna take much, only a few bags of grain.” Dougal said, “Dinna get the money, that’s all that counts.” Dougal smiled over to where Ned was still sitting, clutching his dirk stiffly in his hand.

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I rose when the sun came up and so did all the other men. I would be glad to be going back to Leoch, if only for the comfort of a real bed. Not to mention that being on the road, surrounded by Highlanders only a short distance away made it very difficult for Jamie and I to be alone, truly alone. My need for him only deepened as the time grew further and further since the last time Jamie’s cock had been between my legs.

“So you need to meet with Horrocks tomorrow?” I asked Jamie who was sitting on a rock nearby.

“Aye, tomorrow, in a village just a wee bit away. Ye’ll stay back with Willie while the rest of us go and see him.”

“I will not! Jamie, I won’t leave you. I’m coming with you when you see him, this is as important to you as it is to me.” I stood and walked over to him, sitting down in front of him on my knees.

“Sassenach,” he replied, his hand coming to brush curls off my cheeks, “I dinna want ye to get hurt should somethin’ go wrong.”

“What if something goes wrong when I’m with Willie and you’re not there? Jamie,” I sighed and placed my hands on his knees in front of me, “I want to come with you. I can’t stand to be apart from you. Wouldn’t you feel better… knowing I was there where you could keep an eye on me yourself?”

He grinned, “Aye, it would.” He pulled me forward and kissed me, “I dinna need much persuasion from ye Sassenach though, ye say anythin’ and I’ll likely do it.” This made me laugh and I pressed my lips to his again.

“Anything?” I quirked an eyebrow up at him.

“Aye,” his hand came round to swat my bottom, “Anything. If ye’re comin’ with me then I need ye to know how to protect yerself… since I will be talkin’ to Horrocks and canna have my eye on ye all the time. Especially after last night’s raid… ye need to ken how to handle a weapon.”

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It was Angus who graciously accepted to teach me how to properly defend myself. We went over how to stab someone from behind, just under the ribs and where to stab if they ran towards me. I knew this was helping Jamie ease some of his fears about me coming with him to meet Horrocks but I found it all rather fun. Having used scalpels to heal and mend during my time in the war, I didn’t exactly want to harm someone with my dirk but I knew if the need rose I would be prepared.

After weeks spent on the road with these men, I finally felt that they were beginning to accept me. I knew most of that was because I was now Jamie’s wife but there was a light banter between us and they included me in their conversations more frequently.

Once Angus was done teaching me how to properly handle a weapon Jamie came over to give me a big kiss in front of all the men. “That’s my Sassenach, fierce with a wee needle.” He kissed me slowly, not ashamed of his actions.

I blushed as his hands dared their way down to my backside, “Jamie!” And swatted his hand away, “Not in front of all the men,” I said through gritted teeth. It still made me uneasy knowing that while Jamie and I dared to make love under the stars that there could be any number of prying eyes on us.

“Follow me then, Sassenach.” Jamie smiled and kissed me cheek, taking my hand in his. “Claire needs to go and find some more of her wee herbs, we’ll be back before ye’re set to head on.” Jamie informed Dougal and I could have sworn I saw a smirk on Dougal’s face. Oh Christ.

Jamie walked quickly and I was almost running alongside him as he led us away from all the other men. Before I knew it he had me pinned down under him on the ground, hid from plain sight behind a drop off in the ground.

“Mmmm,” I moaned as he kissed along my neck, “Won’t they come looking for us?”

“Never a chance Sassenach,” Jamie kissed me, his tongue parting my lips as his hands franticly pulled aside my bodice exposing my already hard and sensitive nipples.

My hands fell back above my head, my body open and vulnerable to him. Jamie kissed down my jaw to my neck and chest and then settled his tongue on my nipples, sucking and licking.

“Does it evr’ stop?” He moaned against my mouth again, his hands pulling up the thick layers between us, “They wantin’ you?” Jamie lifted his upper body off mine to manoeuvre the material out of the way, my hands coming to press against the side of his face, drawing his mouth to mine. We behaved like wild animals, clawing and scratching the other.

“Oh God,” I moaned as he slid his cock in between my parted legs. “Jesus,” Jamie whispered and brought his mouth to mine.

He began a gentle rhythm inside me as our tongues collided, “Now I know why the Church calls it a sacrament.” Jamie said, making me laugh against him.

“Why?” I grinned, licking his upper lip.

“Because I feel like God himself when I’m inside ye.” Jamie smiled and rolled his hips into mine. I couldn’t help the laughter that bubbled out of my chest.

“What?” He stilled his movements, “Is that a foolish thing to say? Are ye laughin’ at me?”

“Yes,” I said between laughs, “I most certainly am.”

“Then you’ll get what you deserve,” He grunted and pressed his mouth against the curve of my neck, I brought my arms around his back to press him closer to me. Jamie pushed deeper into my body, the wild animal in both of us coming once more to the surface.

“Christ, Sassenach.” He moaned and continued to ram into me, moving his mouth down to my breasts and taking one into his mouth, his teeth biting and pulling.

“Jamie,” I moaned, my legs coming to wrap around his waist, “Please,” I begged him, my eyes shut tight in pleasure.

Within three more quick hard thrusts he convulsed on top of me and as he cursed in Gaelic, I let go and unwound underneath him.

__________________________________________________________________________________

Hours later we rode onwards to meet Horrocks in a nearby village. A lot was resting on the information that Horrocks would tell us. As we rode, I occasionally stole glances of Jamie riding beside me and could see his jaw clenched, his hands in tight fists at his sides. It was taking a lot for him to allow me to come with him. Before we had left, Dougal had mentioned that this Horrocks might be setting a trap, perhaps he knew about the price on Jamie’s head and was simply luring him in.

This thought unsettled me and my stomach flipped and turned the whole journey to the village.

Once we approached the edge of the small village, Jamie pulled his horse up next to mine and we stopped, the other men riding ahead of us.

“Sassenach, I’ve agreed to let ye come wi’ me but I willna agree to let ye be close to Horrocks, in case he does somethin’, I dinna want ye to get hurt.” He reached out to take my hand that was lying on my thigh.

“Alright,” I agreed, not wanting to push the boundaries. “But I’m staying where I can still see you. I won’t be far, Jamie.” I smiled and squeezed his hand in mine. Whatever Jamie was about to learn from Horrocks…. This could change his life. Our lives.

We rode forwards to join the other men and they talked in hushed tones, going over the plan in case this was indeed a trap. I was to stay back with Willie, still in the line of sight of Jamie but well enough away that if we needed to escape it would be quick.

My body ached to be near Jamie, to be there when he found out whatever life changing news he was now hearing. I watched as a man, roughly middle-aged walked into the tavern that Jamie and the other men had gone into. Willie and I still sat on our horses, idly passing the time.

I wasn’t sure how long this would take and I knew I should really stay on my horse per Jamie’s instructions but I was about to burst. “Willie, I need to relieve myself,” I said as I hopped of the horse and went walking towards town, in search of a decent loo.

“Mistress, I dinna think ye should be goin’ anywhere,” Willie shouted at me and when I didn’t stop, I heard a thud as Willie slid off his horse and came running up behind me.

“Och, Jamie willna like this,” He said and I could hear the slight fear in his voice.

“Jamie isn’t going to stop me from having to go to the restroom, besides, you’ll wait outside the door and it will be just fine.” I smiled at him and entered a friendly enough looking building. I asked for a restroom and the lady behind the counter of what I assumed was an apothecary, something I would take a look at on the way out, nodded and pointed down the hall. Thank Jesus.

“I won’t be long, Willie,” I said and closed the door behind me and sighed. Alone at last. I hadn’t really been alone, truly in what felt like forever. It’s standards weren’t quite up to the twentieth century, it was quite smelly for one. I looked into a very dirty and foggy mirror hanging off centre on the wall and attempted to make my hair appear normal.

Just as I was straightening my dress out and about to open the door I heard shouting coming from the other side. I reached for the door and a loud bang crashed against it, making the wall shake. “Jesus H. Roosevelt Christ!” I shouted, my hand flying to my chest where my heart was beating fast.

“Willie!” I shouted and reached for the door again, this time hesitating before opening it a bit. I peeked through the small slit I created and saw Willie lying helpless and unconscious on the ground outside the loo.

“Christ, Willie!” I opened the door completely and bent to him, checking his pulse. Still alive. Thank God.

He didn’t look too hurt, I could see the forming of a bruise on his cheek and went to press my thumb against the flesh just around it when something yanked my arm and pulled me to my feet.

When I looked up I saw a bright flash of red. “Let go of me!” I struggled and flayed my arms.

The Red Coat gripped my arm tighter making me groan in pain and pulled me through the apothecary. The woman behind the counter was nowhere to be seen. “I said let go!” I shouted once more but to no end.

The officer put his hand over my mouth, “Oh do be quiet woman,” and I bit down on the flesh of his palm making him yelp and pull his hand back. I made a “Hmmph” noise and he pulled his arm back as if to strike me.

“Don’t,” said another officer, coming in to the shop. “We need her unharmed lieutenant.”

“What? What for?!” I asked, the situation still unclear. Why were these men here? What did they do to Willie? For God’s sake, where was Jamie?

“Oh, for ransom Madame. We got word that a Mr. James Fraser was somewhere in this village and that you were in his traveling party.” The officer not gripping my arm said.

“What do you think I’ll be able to do? I’m no one to them,” I spat out, “just someone they picked up along the way, a Sassenach if you will.” My mind was racing, there had to be a way out of this. Jamie was just in the tavern down the road, oh God. He was going to kill me if I got myself taken hostage.

“Ah, Madame, you are a woman, traveling with a bunch of savage Highlanders. Surely they would want their — uh, how do I say this politely — whore, safely returned to them.”

I spat at his feet, “I’m no one’s whore, you fucking piece of shit!”

“What language! It only furthers my point that you’re a whore, no reputable woman would use such foul language.” He turned then and left the shop, motioning for the other officer to follow.

I squirmed and stood my ground to no avail, the man holding me was stronger. I looked back at Willie, still unconscious and lying on the ground.

“Jami-“, I started to shout once we walked outside but the man’s hand clamped over my mouth, this time with a filthy rag instead of his hand.

The officers walked quickly towards a small group of other lieutenants, dragging me with them. The man holding me, grabbed me around the waist and threw me face down sideways on the back of a horse. I tried to wiggle off but a hand came and slapped my bottom. I yelped into the rag and kicked my legs out. I was rewarded with a grunt from whoever I managed to hit.

“We’re taking you to a rendezvous point Madame, then we will arrange a meeting with the men of your group. We will get Mr. Fraser.” The commanding officer said and then he grabbed the reigns of my horse and turned us the opposite direction of Jamie. If only these fools knew that the man they were looking for was just down the road.

My hair covered my face so I couldn’t see anything as we began to trot out of the village but what I heard next would stay with me for the rest of my life.

“CLAIRE!!” Jamie screamed and I gasped, turning my head to and fro to see him. I bounced my body on the horse and fell with a hard thud on the ground, my head hitting against a large rock in the road.

The world was spinning, I felt suddenly weightless as arms reached towards me. All I knew was that I was being dragged away from whatever was happening. I was acutely aware of the sound of swords clashing and men grunting in a fight. My head lolled to the side and the last coherent thing I remember thinking was that I hoped I didn’t have a concussion.

__________________________________________________________________________________

“Claire,” someone whispered.

I felt a gentle nudge into my side, just under my breasts.

“Sassenach,” another nudge and then someone kissed me at my temple.

My eyes opened, a mass of red hair in my face. What was his name?

Jamie.

I tried to say his name but it only came out as a moan.

“Shhh, dinna speak, Sassenach. I’m glad to see ye awake.” Jamie stroked my cheek, his hand warm against my cool cheek. I reached my hand up and held his, he was trembling.

“Oh God, Claire. I thought I lost ye.” He bent his head to kiss my forehead. “What were ye thinkin’… gettin’ yerself captured.” He laughed from deep in his chest.

I raised my eyebrows and tried to turn my head to look around. “Och,” Jamie replied to my facial expressions, “We’re just stoppin’ to let the horses drink a bit. Once we fought with the Red Coats we picked ye up and rode as fast as lightin’ away.” Jamie’s hand smoothed against my forehead in small strokes.

“We barely got away but we were faster.” He made a small scoff sound in his throat.

I raised my eyebrows again, “Aye, Willie is safe. Just a wee bruised in places but he’ll be fine.” I gave his other hand a gentle squeeze and laid my head back in his lap.

“We’ll head back to Leoch now. It isna safe to keep goin’, only had one more stop anyways.” He cradled my head in both his large hands, “Sassenach — I don’t know what I’d do if ye were taken from me today. I dinna think I could bear it.” I saw tears well up in his eyes and that brought tears to my own. I reached my hand up just in time to place my thumb against his cheek and catch the first tear that slid down his cheek.

“I love ye, Sassenach. I dinna ken if it’s too soon to say or if ye even love me as I surely love you,” I felt a tear drop against my chest, “But I love ye, Claire. Body and soul.”

Jamie pressed his face into the crook of my neck and I slowly brought one hand up to hold his head as he cried. He loved me.

I still hadn’t been able to find my voice, perhaps still in shock of what had happened or just the after effects of hitting my head on the rock. But if I could’ve spoken, I would’ve said that I loved him too.

Chapter Text

The next few days were spent relatively in silence as we made our way back to Castle Leoch. I knew it was partially my fault that they had to fight with the Red Coats and now their search for Jamie would only persist.

But I just had to use the restroom, was I really to blame for having to relieve myself, obeying my husband or not?

I couldn’t help but notice as we rode, how the other men now treated me. When I thought they were accepting me, including me in their conversations; now it was back to how it was before Jamie and I were married.

Still two days away from Leoch, we found a tavern in a small village and settled for the night. I would be looking forward to getting back into a normal routine. A woman I had previously met, Geillis Duncan, had been very welcoming and I looked forward to getting to know her better as she was also interested in herbs and medicines.

“I’m going to bed, Jamie,” I stood from the table after finishing my meal.

“Alright, I’ll be there soon,” He replied but didn’t meet my eye.

Brushing off his mood as fatigue, I went upstairs to our room and undressed into my shift, the bed felt like heaven after riding all day.

A few minutes later, Jamie came in the room with an odd expression on his face.

“Come to bed, Jamie.” I pulled back the quilt for him.

“I’m afraid we have a matter still to settle between us, before we sleep tonight,” Jamie walked over to me, standing by the bed.

“What is it?” I said.

“Ye dinna listen Sassenach. I told ye to stay with Willie but ye disobeyed me and got yerself caught and yer wee head hurt.”

“I’m sorry, I didn’t know that there would be Red Coats, Jamie.”

“I ken ye’re no’ familiar with how dangerous this place can really be, that’s some excuse. But still, if ye’d stayed back and no’ gone in plain sight maybe none of this would have happened. Now the British will be lookin’ for us, knowing that ye’re my wife.”

“I am so sorry Jamie.”

“Och, if it were just me, I wouldna say more about it. But your actions put all the men in jeopardy. Bringing us to attention of the Red Coats.”

“Right. Let’s get on with it.” Jamie said, his hands on his hips, “Ye’ve disobeyed my orders, Claire.” I couldn’t believe what I was hearing, “And I’m gonna punish ye for it.”

“What do you mean?” I crawled to my knees on the bed, my arse as far away from Jamie as I could make it be.

“Oh you know fine well what I mean.” He circled the bed closer to me, his arms out and ready to pounce.

“Now… get down by the bed and lift yer shift lass.”

“I will do no such thing!” I shouted and squirmed off to the other side of the bed.

“Now, Claire.” He lunged for me.

“I have said I’m sorry and I am. I didn’t mean to put everyone into trouble. Surely you can’t — they can’t blame me for what is an accident? I’ll never do such a thing again, I promise!” I pleaded with him but he had a fierce look of determination in his eyes.

“That’s just the thing, ye might. Ye come from a place where things are easier, where it’s no’ a matter of life and death if ye disobey orders or take matters into yer own hands. Any action like that can have consequences.”

“Alright, I will obey your orders, even if I don’t agree with them.” I sat back on my legs and hoped he would change his mind.

“Good. Now… get off the bed and we’ll get this over with.” He stalked closer to me.

“What!? I said I would follow your orders.” My legs were trembling, my stomach twisting.

“There’s a difference between understanding somethin’ with yer mind and really knowin’ it deep down. I can tell ye from my own experience, a good hidin’ makes ye understand things in a more serious light. But as I said, if it was just me ye put in danger by goin’ off but it wasn’t.”

“Ye’ve done wrong to the men and ye must suffer for it. I’m yer Husband, it’s my duty to attend to it.

“I will not let you beat me!” I jumped off the bed just as Jamie reached for me and ran to the middle of the room.

“Yer my Wife, like it or not!” He shouted back.

“I’ll scream!” I threw a clay bowl, aiming for but missing his head.

He ducked, “Well likely, if not before, then certainly during.” Jamie ran at me and caught my arms behind my back, “This’ll go faster if ye just yield woman!” We struggled to the floor and I rolled over, thrashing my legs and managing to kick him in the chest.

I did scream when Jamie somehow turned me over and hit my backside with his belt.

“I’m gonna make you suffer! You’re taking pleasure in this! You fucking bastard! You sadist!” I yelled and tried to kick my legs out.

Jamie was breathing heavily, “I dinna ken what a sadist is but as for pleasure, I said I was gonna punish you, I didna say I wasna gonna enjoy it!”

Jamie hit me repeatedly on my backside and I flailed my limbs and screamed out. “Stop it!” I shouted once more as his belt came cracking down on my skin. I felt so ashamed. Partly because he was beating me but another larger part of me was actually beginning to enjoy this.

To feel Jamie come undone as he hit my bottom repeatedly. His hand digging into my back, pressing me down on the floor. I moaned as he struck my arse again, he spaced out the next hit and I jerked my bottom up in the air. “Jamie,” I panted, exhausted from trying to escape him.

“That’s it, Sassenach, yield to me.” He said, his voice deep and thick. He struck my bottom again, the slap echoing in the room. “Uhh!” I cried out. The pain was fairly tolerable, a stinging sensation that spread throughout my entire body.

I turned my face to the side to lay my cheek against the floor and saw out of the corner of my eye that Jamie was biting down on his bottom lip, his expression full of desire and lust.

With another hit I arched my back and pressed against the belt this time. “More.” I choked out.

“Did ye say somethin’, Sassenach?” Jamie groaned, the belt held just above me.

“Harder!” I now shouted back at him, screw trying to pretend this didn’t feel good. I wanted him to use all his strength to take me, to touch me.

“Aye, so ye like it now, do ye?” He grunted and brought the belt down hard against my sore skin.

He hit me again in quick succession, “I said, ye like it now? Answer me woman!”

“Yes! Yes, Jamie — I like it,” I breathed out, my bottom jiggling with each slap of the belt.

Jamie brought the belt down on my bottom several more times, not pausing between each stroke. I felt a wetness between my thighs, betrayed by my own body.

I heard the sound of his belt clanging to the floor and I tried to turn my body over to see what he was doing but a hand came to my back and pushed me down to the floor.

“No. Stay where ye are.” Jamie huffed. Just then I felt something brush against my arse, his curls tickled my skin there.

“Oh God!” I cried out as Jamie kissed my butt cheeks, the stark contrast of what his hands had just been doing to me created a knot in my belly. Jamie kissed my crease and then spread my legs apart, his hands smoothing gently against my skin.

“Jamie, please!” I begged him now, trying to squirm my backside into his face.

“Hush, mo nighean donn,” Jamie sighed and then pressed his face between my legs. His tongue licked from my hole down to my clit. My bottom was firmly in the air now as Jamie brought me to sit up slightly onto my knees. His hands spread my legs further as I felt the whole of Jamie’s body slide underneath me. I looked down between my legs and saw he was on his back, his curls now brushing against my stomach.

Jamie wrapped his arms around my thighs and began his assault on my pussy. He licked and nibbled, his tongue sliding in and out. I gasped when one finger entered me, slow at first, testing me. Then another finger joined in and I melted.

I bucked my hips down to him and leaned against my elbows. My body was shaking, from the beatings moments ago and now pleasure Jamie was sending through me. “Jamie.” I managed to say as he slid a third finger inside me, his tongue flicked out on my clit and my body collapsed.

Jamie lifted my body off of him as he gave a gentle kiss to my pussy and then slid out from underneath me.

I lay on the floor, my shift rucked up around my waist, my bottom exposed to him.

“God, yer sweet round arse is so lovely.” Jamie crouched on his knees and placed a delicate kiss against the bruised and red skin.

“Don’t think you can get away that easy,” I growled at him and regained my composure. Jamie couldn’t hit me, make me come and then think I’d forgive him that easy.

“Lay on the bed.” I commanded and began to turn over on the floor, moving to a standing position, my bottom too sore to sit.

Jamie raised his eyebrows and obeyed me this time. He sat back on the bed and then laid down, his legs hanging over the side.

I removed my shift completely as I walked towards him, “No, Jamie. Lay on your stomach.” I said and he opened his mouth to say something but I placed a hand on his knee, “Now.”

Jamie’s eyes grew wide as I bent down to pick up the belt he had tossed aside. “Claire, I dinna think —“ He started.

“It’s only fair, Jamie.” I cooed and walked to stand behind him on the bed. He looked over his shoulder at me and his eyes only grew as I slid my hand up his thigh, pushing aside his kilt.

His firm arse was now fully on display, the head of his cock just peeking out between his thighs. I moved my hand further and gripped his balls, making him cry out.

“Christ, Sassenach, be gentle.”

“You weren’t gentle on me. What makes you think I’ll be so kind to you?” I brought the belt down to the back of his thigh and he let out a startled yell.

With one hand on his balls, I brought the belt higher and with all the strength I could muster, I brought it down forcefully on his butt. His cheeks clenched and he groaned, his face pressed down into the bed.

“You like it, Jamie?” I asked, my hands tightening on his balls, now turning a lovely shade of deep purple.

He didn’t answer so I brought the belt down on him again with a loud ‘thwack!’.

He turned his face back to look at me, his eyes boiling with lust. “Yes! I bloody well like it, Sassenach. Your bonny hands touchin’ me like that. God,” He moaned and I brought the belt down to hit him again, watching as his face twisted in pleasure and pain.

“Don’t you ever hit me again, do you hear me James Fraser. If you so touch me like that, I shall cut your heart out and have it for breakfast!” I shouted and brought the belt down in three quick hits. His back arched off the bed and he flexed his muscles.

“Aye! I willna ever hit ye again, Claire, ye have my word!” Jamie moaned into the bed and spread his legs wider. I moved my hand to the head of his cock and pinched it with my thumb and forefinger.

“Ah Dhia! Jesus help me!” Jamie cried and I licked my lips, hitting him again on his backside. I loved seeing Jamie like this, always so strong and big, now laid out before me, open and vulnerable, mine to do with how I pleased.

“Turn over.” I commanded him and dropped the belt to the floor. Jamie winced as he turned to sit on his backside, no doubt feeling the same pain I was now.

No more pain, only pleasure now. As soon as he was facing me, I crawled on to the bed and straddled him, his thick throbbing cock in between us.

“Oh, God, Claire. I want ye so much I can scarcely breathe!” Jamie wound his hands through my hair and then pulled down, bringing his mouth to my neck and then pulled away, holding my gaze. “Will ye have me?” He asked.

I brought his mouth to mine, our tongues meeting in a frenzy. “Yes,” I moaned, “Yes, I’ll have you.”

With my consent given, Jamie moaned and I quickly started to undress him, pulling at his kilt while he undid the few buttons of his shirt. As I was already naked, I wasted no time in grabbing hold of his cock and bringing it to my center, sliding it slowly against my clit before spreading my pussy open and bringing him home inside me.

“Uhhh!” I cried out, the pain from my beating still tingling across my body. Jamie brought his hand to the small of my back and pressed me against him, pushing deeper into me.

“Ye’re mine, mo nighean donn, mine, now and forever!” He kissed me, his hand coming to grip my breast with such force I yelled out.

I pushed him down on the bed and put my hands to his chest, my hips rolling agains his is a hurried rhythm. I found purchase on his skin and began bouncing on his cock, my insides slick and wet for him. He gripped my waist and helped slide me up and down on him. With every thrust from him, I moved my hips in a circle, creating a wicked feeling inside.

As I was approaching my climax, Jamie leaned up and grabbed my back, flipping us over and was pressing so deep into me. “Jamie!” I called out his name, he lifted on his arms and grunted, “I mean to make ye call me Master!” He moaned and I wrapped my legs around his waist.

I bit my bottom lip and pressed my hips into his, his cock filling me. His mouth crashed onto me and I clawed at his back. We were going at each other like animals would, no sense of anything beyond the pain and pleasure we were causing one another.

I cried out, not from pain this time, as Jamie climaxed inside of me. My body was spent, exhausted from the struggle to get away and then the desire to pull him close to me. We lay, still joined, my legs wrapped loosely around his hips.

“I am your master… and you’re mine.” He said softly and I nodded, unable to utter words.

“Seems I canna possess your soul w’out losing my own.” Jamie kissed me, gentle this time.

What felt like hours later, after we were silent and just enjoying the touch of the other, Jamie said, “Sassenach?”

I sighed, “Mmm, yes master?”

“Hmm,” He laughed, “what does ‘fucking’ mean?”

I laughed now, “What?”

“Fucking. Well earlier you called me a fucking bastard.” I turned my face up to look at him.

“Well it means what we just did.” I kissed him slowly, my hands drifting over his chest.

“What about Sadist? Ye called me that as well.”

“Well, that means someone who takes sexual pleasure in hurting someone.”

“Oh well, ye dinna flatter me o’vr much but I canna fault yer observations.” Jamie laughed and then slid his hands in between our bodies and down to my thighs, slowly sliding them up to my arms and back down to my hands.

He took hold on my right hand and brought it between us,“The key to Lallybroch,” he said, his fingers twisting the ring he had given me.

“What?” I said and looked at the ring again.

“Your ring,” He kissed my knuckle, just where the ring was. “ I had the blacksmith fashion your ring from my key.”

Jamie had made my ring out of a piece of his home, “Why didn’t you tell me that before? When you gave it to me…”

“I wanted to wait until I took ye back to Lallybroch, so you’d know the place was as much yours as mine. Now I dinna ken when, if ever, we’ll get back there.”

“Jamie, I—“ I squeezed his hand.

“I thought… it might not pain me as much as it once might have but you are my home now, Sassenach.” He ended the conversation by kissing my forehead and drawing me closer to him. I was his home and he was now mine.

__________________________________________________________________________________

As we rode back to Leoch, I couldn’t find a comfortable sitting position on the horse. And neither could Jamie, apparently…

I saw him fidgeting and moving his kilt to act as more of a cushion underneath him and I couldn’t help the laugh that escaped my mouth.

Jamie turned back to look at me, his eyes on fire but his mouth quivering into a smile, “Sassenach,” he said softly, “This is ye’re doin’, my bum aches like I’ve been paddled for weeks!”

I peered down to admire his bum and sighed, “Ah, but you have been paddled.” I laughed again, “Mine is sore too! You’re stronger than me, Jamie.” I huffed and reached down to pat my own bottom.

Chuckling, he led his horse closer to mine on the path and then placed his hand on my thigh, just above my knee, “I’m sorry for it, Sassenach. I promised I willna lay hands on ye like that again…” He quirked up his ruddy brow, “Unless…”

“Unless…” I said.

“Unless, ye beg for it.” He winked and squeezed my thigh and I couldn’t help but smile. Never in my life had I thought I would be one to enjoy being beaten like that in the bedroom, however I hadn’t had a husband like Jamie before.

I had forgiven him of course, after getting my revenge on his backside. It was sometimes hard to remember that people viewed submitting differently in this time than what I was accustomed to in the twentieth century. That didn’t excuse Jamie’s behaviour however but I thought he had learned that lesson very well now.

Finally, hours later, I saw the welcoming castle walls of Leoch. Before we had left, I saw this place as a prison almost, keeping me inside and trapped. I had wanted to go back, back to Frank, I really did. But it was Jamie that was keeping me here and this place didn’t seem so bad now. This time didn’t seem so bad, it was starting to feel a lot like home.

As we walked through the doors to the banquet hall, I was startled to see everyone and I mean everyone there to welcome us home.

“Hooray!” Mrs. Fitz shouted and everyone cheered along, “Welcome home, my dears.”

Everyone was very welcoming, congratulating us on Jamie and I’s recent marriage. I was glad to be back and glad that things were settled between Jamie and I.

The music died down as Colum and his wife, Leticia walked in, “Congratulations to ye both,” she said as Jamie pulled me to his side. “I look forward to hearin’ all about your nuptials. It’s been some time since we’ve had a weddin’ here.” She said, looking over at Colum, his face unreadable.

I waited, holding my breath and I could feel Jamie tense beside me.

“My profound good wishes for a long and happy marriage…. Lady Broch Turach.” I dipped into a small curtsy and bowed my head.

“And if ye havena noticed, we are accompanied by our distinguished guest,” Colum motioned behind him and a rather plump man with a big white wig came to stand beside him.

“The Duke of Sandgringham,” Colum said and everyone around me either bowed or curtsied. I looked at Jamie and his jaw was clenched. Who was this man? The name sounded familiar but I couldn’t place him.

With the Duke now introduced, everyone continued eating and chatting, the music started up again and the room returned with the very lively atmosphere.

“Jamie,” I whispered close to him, we stood in the corner of the room, observing the festivities, “Who is the Duke of Sandringham exactly? The name sounds familiar…”

He nodded, “Aye, he’s verra powerful indeed, Sassenach. I’ve met him before, when I was a lad and lived here for a couple o’ years.”

Murtagh came to stand with us, “Ye ken Jamie that the Duke might have enough power to see that ye’re pardoned of ye’re crimes…” He nudged Jamie on the side, “Especially now that we’ve got confirmation from Horrocks that he saw Black Jack Randall kill that man, no’ you.”

“Black Jack Randall? It was him that killed that officer? But… how is he still in command? Shouldn’t someone be aware of this?” I asked, appalled that Jonathan Randall could somehow snake his way back into our lives.

Jamie grabbed me around the waist, “Aye, someone should be aware, but for whatever reason they arena.” He placed a quick kiss against my temple, “I’ll speak with the Duke tomorrow, perhaps ye’re right Murtagh. Maybe he can lift the price on my head.”

__________________________________________________________________________________

The next morning I sat with Jamie in the hall over breakfast, porridge, always porridge.

“I spoke with Colum this morning, Sassenach —“ he saw my raised eyebrows, “before ye woke of course.” He smiled, I hadn’t realised he hadn’t woken the same time I did, although he was fully dressed when I opened my eyes so that really should’ve clued me in.

“He tells me that I’m to go with a group of men and the Duke out huntin’, treat our guest he says.” I felt a gentle nudge against my foot and figured it was Jamie.

“How long will you be gone?” I asked, attempting to eat a bite of the porridge.

Jamie however, scarfed his porridge down, “Two days, I’ll go today and be back late tomorrow.” He grabbed my hand not holding the spoon and rubbed my palm, “I dinna wish to part wi’ ye, Claire, but I must obey Colum.”

I sighed and dipped my head, “I know. It’s only two days, what could go wrong?”

Oh Claire… what couldn’t go wrong?

__________________________________________________________________________________

With Jamie gone, I needed to occupy my mind with something or else I would go mad with worry. Winding through the corridors to the kitchen I almost bumped into someone as I turned, “Oh, I’m so sor—“

“Ye witch!” Laoghaire shouted at me. I hadn’t spoken to her since before the Gathering and I knew she had a crush on Jamie but I didn’t know just how much.

“Excuse me?” I blinked my eyes rapidly and stared back at her.

Laoghaire’s cheeks were red, as if she’d been crying, “Ye stole Jamie away from me, how could ye? He’s mine and ye’re a temptress of the devil, takin’ him away from me!”

I wouldn’t be having any of this, “Look, I know you have deep feelings for Jamie and when tender regard is denied, it can be very painful — especially for one so young as yourself. I even understand why your jealously would be directed at me, even though I never conspired to take Jamie from you, you must believe me.” She was silent, “The truth is, he was never yours to begin with.”

“That’s a lie. Jamie Fraser was and is mine and you stole him away!”

“You’re very mistaken, child.” I couldn’t believe my ears, this child was trying to tell me how Jamie felt.

Tears filled her eyes, “My poor Jamie, trapped in a loveless marriage, forced to share his bed with a cold English bitch. He must have to get himself swine drunk before he can stand to plow ye’re field.”

I had no notion that I would do what I did but I slapped her hard against the face as soon as those foul words left her mouth.

She gasped and shamefully my heart leapt with joy. “I shouldn’t have done that — I am sorry….But I’ll have you know that Jamie, my husband doesn’t need to get drunk when he fucks me and oh how he fucks me good and thorough.”

I sneered at her, I knew I was being rather petty and cruel but I’ve had enough with people trying to have their say in my life. Laoghaire held her cheek in both hands, nursing her wounds.

With nothing more to say, I left her in the corridor and continued walking, abandoning my original intent of finding something to eat and headed for the garden outside.

Stepping into the fresh air was a relief, the sun was warm on my face and I welcomed it. I put my hand over my eyes to see more clearly and spotted a flash of red in the distance.

“Geillis, how nice to see you again,” I said smiling as I approached the red headed woman, bent and picking herbs.

She stood and embraced me, “Claire, so I hear ye’re married? To young Jamie no less?” I blushed and looked down at the ground.

“Yes. It — was a quick affair but I’m very happy. We’re both very happy.”

“That’s good dear, I saw the way he looked at ye before ye left and I dinna think it would be too long before he would make a move…” She squeezed my arm, “And a move he did make!” We both laughed and walked to the edge of the garden.

“I’m goin’ back to my house just now, if ye care to join me and tell me the tale of how ye two came to be married?” Geillis asked me and I agreed. Jamie was gone and what harm could come out of a house visit with an acquaintance. As we saddled our horses and headed off into the direction of Geillis’ home in Crainsmuer, I looked behind me and noticed Laoghaire standing off to the side, her eyes sending death threats straight into my soul.

__________________________________________________________________________________

Geillis poured me a glass of wine, handing it to me she then turned to pour herself one. Her home was warm and inviting but there was an odd sense of something mysterious here. I knew what they said about her, that she was a witch. I’d even heard people say that I was a witch too. But that’s preposterous.

“Is your husband home, Geillis? Arthur, wasn’t it?” I asked and walked over to a shelf full of jars with mysterious substances.

Geillis sighed, “Arthur’s dead.” I turned my head quickly to look at her, “He died of convulsions one night during dinner.” Her eyes told another story, not one of sadness but of mischief. “Sad, really. That poor man.” And the way she was talking about him wasn’t how I expected a widow to talk of her deceased husband.

“Well, I’m very sorry for your loss.” I smiled and raised my glass to her and she did the same.

I watched Geillis out of the corner of my eye as she walked around the room, picking up herbs and viles, placing bits and pieces into a cauldron. I held myself back from gawking at the sight of the cauldron, how very witch-y indeed.

The next hour was spent over conversation of how Jamie and I had come to be married and I then went on to explain my almost capture by the Red Coats and how we had come back early from our mission to collect the rent.

Sitting by the window, looking down at the village of Crainesmuir below, I sighed, taking a sip of my third glass of wine. “Sometimes I feel very much still a stranger in a strange land.”

“It can’t be easy, being a Sassenach in the Highlands — assuming that’s what you mean.” Geillis replied.

“It is. Although, with Jamie now, I feel as if I belong here. Like I was always meant to come to this place.”

She stood and walked near me, “What do ye mean by ‘come’ exactly?”

“Oh, nothing really,” I became flustered, I had let my tongue grow loose with the drink and wasn’t guarding my thoughts as I should have. “Just that I feel as if I’m supposed to be here is all.”

“Ye do puzzle me Claire, ye’re not an ordinary woman.” She smiled with that same mischievous glint I had seen before.

I shook my head, “No, I suppose I’m not.”

A knock on the door ended me from saying more and revealing my secrets I had kept so close all this time.

“Mistress, there’s people at the door. I think it’s the wardens, mistress.” Jeanie, her housemaid said.

“What? What do they want with you?” I asked Geillis, confused as to why the wardens would be knocking on her door at this hour.

“What should I do Mistress? Let them in?”

“I suppose ye’ll have to or they’ll break the door down.” Geillis finally replied and began to walk around the room, hiding jars and books that could draw attention.

The wardens burst through the door with no announcement of their presence, “Geillis Duncan, ye’re under arrest for witchcraft.”

“Under who’s orders?” I shouted and ran over to Geillis.

“Well looky here, it’s the other sorceress. It’s the thieves hole for the both of ye.” One of the men grabbed my arms and pulled them behind my back.

“What on earth have I done?” Oh Christ, Claire.

The wardens pushed us out of Geillis’ house and took us outside, “Ye’ll hear all about it at the trial. Let’s go.”

________________

Then they threw us down in the hole.

“Where the hell are we?” I said, barely able to see around us.

“The thieves hole.” Geillis snapped, “Tell me, Claire… was it you? That told the wardens to come to my house?”

“How could I have done it? Why would I? I’m in this mess too! And don’t play so innocent Geillis, I may not know you very well but I know what they say about you…”

“And what is that Claire?” She said in my face.

“They say you’re a witch… are you?” I asked.

“It doesn’t matter what they say I am. But I guess if ye wanted to put a label on it — then yes.” She said plainly.

Just then something fell from the open grate above us, “Food for the witches!”

“Wait! There’s been a mistake!” I shouted and ran up the grate, hoping they would help me, “I’m Claire Fraser, married to James Fraser, nephew of the laird of Castle Leoch.”

But they turned away and left me there. Hopeless, I returned to sit on the floor of the hole.

“We won’t be here long. Dougal will come for us.” Geillis said, wrapping her arms around herself.

“No he won’t.”

“Yes he will.” She said firmly.

“Dougal is with Jamie and the Duke, they’re away hunting! No one knows were here, Geillis, no one is coming!”

She was quite then, more quiet than I’d ever seen her.

“Lie near me, it’ll be warmer.” She said and I succumbed to my bodily needs and crawled over to her.

We shared the warmth from our bodies that night and tried to provide a small amount of comfort to one another.

_________________________

It was a witch trial. Plain and simple. Geillis was accused of all kinds of witchcraft… providing poisons and performing spells on ill-fated husbands. There was no end to the witnesses that claimed she was in fact a witch. I still didn’t understand why I was there.

That was… until Laoghaire Mackenzie showed up.

“Claire Beauchamp is a witch! She stole James Fraser away from me with her temptress ways. She lured him into her bed with her potions and tricks. She should be burned as the witch I know she is!” Shouts from the crowd and pounds from their fist filled the room as Laoghaire demanded I die.

There was no hope. After the long and exhausting day of being told what our crimes were, they returned us to the hole to suffer until the next day.

“They mean to kill us. Tomorrow our ashes will be scattered to the four winds.” Geillis sighed.

I was still curious why she though Dougal would have come for us, “Why Dougal? Is it the money and power?”

“No, Claire. I have enough money put aside. Dougal… he’s the only man that could be my proper match.”

“You are aware that he’s not exactly the most… faithful man.” I said and remembered how I noticed that Colum’s son looked a lot more like Dougal than Colum.

“You think I mind? He’s got an eye for the lasses, Colum fights for the Mackenzies. Dougal fights for all of the clans, all of Scotland. The man’s a lion!” She roared.

I scoffed, “God… you actually love the bastard?”

“How about you?” She asked me then, “Do you love him? Your ginger haired laddie, Jamie? It’s his name you cry out in your sleep.”

“I didn’t know I did that…”

“Well do you… love him?” She asked me again.

If I said I loved Jamie out loud, this would be the first time admitting it to anyone other than myself.

“Yes.” I looked over at her, barely visible in the soft moon glow, “I do love him.”

“Aye, I knew that.” She smiled and leaned her head back against the solid rock of the prison we were in.

I knew that in the morning we would surely die. I felt the hours pass slowly, the last moments of my life spent on this earth and I would spend them freezing and in a cold cave.

What I wanted was Jamie. I wanted him to come and save me, to hold me and take me away from this place. I needed him.

That’s why whenever I heard someone whispering, “Sassenach,” I thought I was dreaming. I thought that I was beginning to hallucinate my desire to see him one last time.

The voice whispered again, his voice, “Sassenach, look up.”

I must really be going mad because when I did what the voice told me to do, I saw him. Jamie was staring down at me through the locked grate that sealed us in. “Jamie? Are you really there?” I asked, my voice barely audible to even myself.

“Yes, it’s me, Sassenach. I’m here to get ye out.” Dream-Jamie said and I smiled. If I couldn’t escape in real life then maybe I could in my dreams.

“Stay there, I’ll be back wi’ the keys.” He said and disappeared.

Like I was bloody going anywhere.

Geillis stirred from her sleep and came to stand beside me, looking up at where dream-Jamie had just been.

“Was that your man I heard?” She asked and I stared at her, could she hear my dream too?

“You heard Jamie? How is that possible? This is a dream surely, he can’t really be here…” I said and reached my hands absurdly to my face to see if I was real anymore.

Geillis then pinched the fatty part of my arm, “Ouch! What was that for?” I cried out and rubbed the sore spot on my arm.

“To prove to ye that this isna a dream. Jamie has come for ye, he’s come to get us out, don’t ye see!” Geillis smiled and ran up to get a closer look at the grate above us.

The world was spinning, this wasn’t a dream. Jamie really had come for me, he came to save me from my imminent death.

“What do you see? Is he out there?” I asked and joined her to peer out and try to see what we could of the world outside.

“Aye, I see his shadow, over there.” She pointed over to a black figure that was near the guards. It would be too easy for him, to steal the keys as the guards were now both asleep.

“He’s coming back,” I whispered and prayed that it was in fact Jamie.

“Sassenach, are ye okay?” Jamie said and I heard the sound of keys jangling.

“Yes, well not really but hurry, Jamie.” I pleaded and stood back from the opening. I waited impatiently as Jamie found his way in the dark, until I heard the lock click and open.

“Quick now.” He said and I ran to the opening and reached for his hands, he managed to lift me easily up and out of the thieves hole.

“Now get Geillis,” I said and waited until Geillis was safely out of the hole. I grabbed her hands and squeezed them, “Now run, Geillis, don’t come back here. Run and live a good life with your baby.” As I said this she stared blankly at me, her hand moving to her stomach.

“How did ye know about the baby?” She asked.

“You talked about it when you were sleeping,” I smiled, “It’s not just me who talks in their sleep it seems.” She hugged me fiercely and then Jamie, in thanks for rescuing us and left without a word. I watched as she ran away and prayed that she would be safe, her and the child.

Jamie grabbed me by the shoulders and pulled me to him in a tight embrace. “Come on, we need to go.” He shook me slightly and then led us away from this disaster.

I was going to live.

A few hours later, we stopped in the middle of a forest. Jamie had helped me on to his horse and we had ridden in silence. Only his hands pressing into my body reminded me that this wasn’t a dream.

“Claire,” He spoke finally, “How do ye keep gettin’ in these situations?” He half laughed.

I shook my head dumbly and sat down on a fallen tree log, “I don’t know, Jamie. I was so — scared. I thought I was going to die I —“ He sat down beside me and pulled me to him, burying my face into the crook of his neck.

“Shhh, mo nighean donn, I dinna think it’s ye’re fault, I’m here now. I’ll keep ye safe.” Jamie stroked my hair and the tears I hadn’t been able to cry over the last two days fell quickly.

He pulled back, “Claire, I know there are things ye dinna wish to tell me. But I have one thing to ask ye. Honesty, when you do tell me something —“.

“Let it be the truth,” I finished his sentence, remembering the promise we had made to each other those many weeks ago.

“There’s one thing I must ask ye,” He looked around the forest, “For ye’re own safety as well as mine. Are you — a witch?”

“Are you serious?” I gasped and more tears came to my eyes.

“I’ve often wondered, Claire. There’s things I know you’ve no’ told me.”

“I’m not a witch,” I shook my head, “But after you hear the truth then maybe you’ll hear otherwise.” I took a shaky deep breath and steadied myself for what was about to come.

“I’ve never had smallpox before. I can walk through a room of dying men and never catch it. I can nurse the sick but the sickness cannot touch me. This mark on my arm,” I brought his hand to touch the small round scar that was on my arm from a smallpox vaccination, “Is called a vaccine and you’ve never heard of it! No one here has.”

“But it prevents me attracting the disease.” Jamie was silent and I feared he thought I was mad, I feared he would leave me there alone in the woods but I continued, the gate was open and I needed to tell him everything.

“I know about Jack Randall because I was told about him, I know the day he was born and I know the day he will die and my husband told me about him because he is a direct ancestor of Frank.”

“I know about the bonny prince, the Jacobites, the doomed cause. I know what’s going to happen to the Scots.” I took a deep breath, “I know all of this because… I’m from the future.” Jamie looked away from me then but did not move.

“I was born on October the twentieth in the year 1918, thats 200 years from now… do you hear me? Do you hear me!?” I squeezed his hand hard.

“I hear ye.” Was all he said. I’ve lost him.

“You think I’m raving mad, don’t you?”

“Nah. No, I believe you, Sassenach.” He stood, “I dinna understand it a bit, not yet but I trust you. I trust your word. Your heart, I trust there is a truth between us.”

“So, whatever ye tell me. I will believe you.” Jamie sat beside me again, his hand reaching for mine and I held on to it tightly. He embraced me and simply held me, letting me cry into his arms.

“Can you tell me more?” He whispered against me.

“I was a combat nurse, in the British army…” I began. I told Jamie everything, the whole story of my life. The bits that I had left out on our wedding night. I told him how Frank and I had come to Scotland to reconnect.

And when I told him about the Standing Stones on Craig Na Dun, he still didn’t leave. He only continued to pace back and forth in front of me as I sat and told him everything I hadn’t told another living soul, it just came pouring out of me.

He listened to me, not understanding everything but he listened.

“Have ye tried to go back, to the stones?” He asked.

“Yes. Once, before the Gathering but that was before, Jamie.” I said, my hands twisting in my lap.

He sat beside me then, “Before what, Sassenach?”

Out with it Beauchamp, “Before I fell in love with you!”

He smiled and kissed me then, our first kiss since he rescued me and now I knew it wouldn’t be the last.

After a while, I peered up to look at him, “Do you really believe me?”

“Aye, I believe you, Sassenach. It would have been a good deal easier if ye’d only been a witch.”

________________________

Over the next several days, we rode hard, hopeful to leave the trial behind. Jamie spoke of Lallybroch, his home and now what was my home.

“Claire, I must ask ye one more question before we keep riding.” He looked at me over the fire as we made camp for the night.

“Yes, what else do you want to know?” I smiled.

He scratched his chin, the stubble on his face turning into a beard, “Do ye want to go home, Sassenach?”

“Yes, I do.” I said without hesitation.

He dropped his head low and stuck more kindling into the fire, “Aye, then tomorrow I’ll take ye back to the stones… and ye can go home. To your own time — to Frank.”

No. I didn’t want that home but how was he to know that. I crawled over to him on my hands and knees and wrapped my arms around him, “Jamie, look at me,” I turned his face to mine, “You’re my home now. I don’t want to go back! I want to be with you, go with you to Lallybroch.” I tried to make him know just how badly I needed him.

His arms came to hold mine, “Ye truly dinna want to go back, through the stones? Ye wish to stay here? With me? Even when I canna offer ye anything, Claire. I canna offer ye what ye  have in ye’re own time.” He pulled me onto his lap, “I canna offer the life that ye deserve.”

“I don’t want that life. You’re my life, Jamie. You’re all I want and need and I couldn’t stand to be apart from you for one more day.” I kissed him then, our tears mingling as they slid off both our faces.

“Now, take me home. Take me home to Lallybroch James Fraser.” He pulled me to him tightly, both arms wrapping around me like I was his whole world.

“Aye, home, mo nighean donn. Our home.”

Chapter Text

Riding the rest of the way to Lallybroch with his arms wrapped securely around me, Jamie asked me questions about the future. I told him of aeroplanes that flew thousands of feet in the sky, his voice full of awe and wonder. I suddenly wished he could see it, the cars, the trains, the splendour of it all but I knew it was very unlikely if at all possible.

“There it is, Lallybroch,” Jamie pointed just ahead and I saw it. Our home.

“It’s like you always said it was,” I turned my head to kiss him and he smiled and lead us the rest of the way down.

“Are you nervous at all?” I asked.

“Aye,” He nodded and I felt the movement against my own head, “There were rumours ye ken, that Randall had got Jenny with a bastard child.”

I squeezed his hand over mine, “It’s rumours, Jamie,” and he sighed.

As we rode onto the path that directly led to Lallybroch, Jamie hopped off the horse and helped me down, walking the rest of the way. I passed easily under the archway but Jamie hesitated, his hand resting on the rough stone. His mind was not in the present but in the past. He told me how he was first flogged here by Randall, strung up in this very archway.

I smiled at him, urging him to leave the past behind and he shook his head, coming out of his daze. Jamie went to tie the horse up and then I saw him; a little boy, sitting near the front steps of the house.

“Hello there,” I said as I knelt down, “I’m Claire,” I said and the little boy smiled shyly. A young woman walked out of the house then, her eyes on who I assumed was her son and then she saw Jamie.

This must be Jenny.

“Jamie!” She shouted and ran towards him, I noticed her hand cradling a rather round and pregnant belly as she ran to him.

“Four years and no word, brother.” She held him fiercely and Jamie did just the same. I stood to walk closer to them and the little boy ran over to Jenny, his hands clutching at her skirts.

“This is my wee Jamie, this is yer uncle,” she said to little Jamie, “the one yer named after.” Jenny smiled and stroked his head. I could see Jamie’s temper boiling.

“Why would you name him after me?” He glanced down at the boy, “Do ye think so little of me to name Randalls bastard after me?”

Jenny’s eyes raised and she took a step back, “Go find Mrs. Crook,” she whispered down to little Jamie and then turned back to big Jamie, “Randall’s bastard? Jack Randall ye mean, the red coat captain?”

Jamie huffed and nodded, I stood back and watched as he started to pace, trying to keep his temper down. His worst nightmare come true.

“Correct me brother if I’m wrong but ye’re suggestin’ I played the whore to Captain Randall?” She said.

“I’d rather I was dead, in my grave, than see my sister brought to such — and whose is this one?” He pointed to her swollen belly, “Another one? With no Father to call it his?” Jamie walked over to me, “We shouldn’t have come.”

“Perhaps we should go inside,” I insisted.

Jenny’s hand pointed at me, “Tell that trollop to keep her neb out of my business.”

Jamie lost it, he turned to Jenny, his faces inches from hers, “She’s my wife and you’ll speak of her with respect!”

“Do I have to do what I did when we were bairns… grab ye by the bollocks to make ye stand still and listen to me?” Jenny spat right back. Frasers.

“You’re trying to shame me in front of my own wife!” Jamie flushed red.

“Well if she’s your wife I imagine she’s more familiar with yer balls than I am, don’t test me brother.” Jenny crossed her arms in front of her, “Last I saw you, bloodied and broken, strung up by your wrists in the archway and then leaving me to think yer dead or certain never to return again and this is how you come home.”

“Whose child is the boy?” Jamie demanded.

Out of the corner of my eye I saw a man walking up to the scene in front of me, “Mine and that one too,” he said and pointed to Jenny’s belly.

“Ian?” Jamie’s eyes lit up.

“Yer brother in law,” Jenny groaned and rolled her eyes.

“Its good to see ye Jamie. Ye always knew how to make an entrance. We thought ye were dead until we received yer chest from castle Leoch.” Ian hobbled over to Jamie and hugged him, for he only had one leg, the other was wooden.

He turned to me, “And this would be?”

“The trollop. Otherwise known as Claire Fraser” I said and went to shake his hand.

“Jenny I’m —“ Jamie started, helpless.

“A damned fool and no’ a day wiser in four years,” Jenny turned and left to go inside the house, leaving no option other than to follow her.

Once inside, we sat awkwardly in the living room, not knowing when to speak, what to say, until Jamie finally broke the silence.

“What happened with Randall? I need to know.”

Jenny sat back in her chair, her hand rubbing the swell of her belly, “Then I’ll tell ye. Once. And never again.”

“After he failed you, I went with him into the house. Took me up the stairs. I was just trying to keep my wits. He lead me into the bedroom and he made me — do things to him. But at first chance I grabbed something heavy and hit him over the head. But he was stronger. He threw me on the bed and stood there, he was trying to make himself ready. I don’t know what came over me but I started laughing and I noticed he didn’t like it and so I laughed some more. When I woke up, he was gone. And that’s the last I saw of Captain Randall.”

“Ye satisfied,” Jenny finished, “Ye see ye were wrong and I’m expecting an apology.”

Jamie sat up straight, “Have I not say as much?”

“No Jamie you haven’t, you owe her an apology.” I touched his knee.

Jenny stared at me, “This is between my brother and I.”

“I’m sorry I was just suggesting —“

“Can I see you in private for a moment.” Jamie pulled me to my feet and led me into a side room.

He took me by the shoulders, “I’m yer husband. Ye mustn’t embarrass me in front of my family and the servants.”

“You were doing a find enough job of that yourself,” I said quietly.

“You have a sharp tongue Claire but theres a time and a place for it.”

“And I suppose you’ll be the judge of that?” What was it that was making me act this way? Perhaps it was seeing Jamie in his home. My home now.

“I need you to trust me here. This is my family, my land, my time. I’m Laird and you are my lady. We should both conduct ourselves as such.”

“I’m not the meek and obedient type.” I said, now crossing my arms in front of me.

Jamie brought his hand to cup my cheek, “I don’t think anyone would make that mistake Sassenach but then I don’t think anyone would think the same of Colum’s wife either.”

“Leticia?” I said.

“Aye, strong women, respected, feared even but she never crossed her husbands word in public but behind closed doors… lets just say my uncle dodged his share of crockery in his time” He laughed and leaned in to kiss me.

I looked up at him through hooded eyes, “Be careful my Laird, I have a much better throwing arm than the fair Leticia.”

We joined Jenny and Ian back in the living room and Jamie apologised. I knew it took a lot for him to do that and I was grateful. These stubborn Fraser’s, now I was dealing with another one.

“So where are ye from Claire?” Ian asked me.

I took a sip of whisky, “Oxfordshire originally but I suppose this is now my home.”

“Ye’re planning on staying then?” Jenny’s interest peaked.

“Aye we are.” Jamie said, giving me a smile.

“What about the price on yer head?” She asked.

“I’m expecting a pardon with the aid of the duke of Sandringham. I was just with him before —“ he looked at me and I shook my head. I didn’t want my new family to know just yet that I had been accused of being a witch, “well, I was just with him and he agreed to help me. Murtagh should be along any day with the official word.”

I stood from the couch, “Perhaps I could trouble you for some warm water to wash. It’s been a difficult few days.” Jenny nodded, “And you mentioned a chest from Leoch?”

“Oh aye, its up in the spare bedroom.” Ian said.

“Since the laird’s staying he should have the main bed chamber.” Jenny said and told one of the servants to move our things to the main bed chamber.

My face blushed red, “We wouldn’t dream of putting you out of your room.”

Jamie wrapped his arm around my waist, he looked so proud, so happy, “Seeing as its the Laird’s room after all. I’ll get the case.”

As awful as I felt for having just kicked Jenny and Ian out of their room, I had to admit it was nice. Quite big with blue wallpaper. A huge bed in the centre of the room.

“It’s almost exactly as I remembered it. My father always had a book over there. Open to the page he was reading.” Jamie pointed to a small round table in the corner of the room.

He moved to stand in front of the fireplace, “And he used to put his boots here. And he used to keep his — keep his blade.” Jamie walked to the bed and bent down, reaching for something underneath, pulling out a decent sized blade that had been hidden there for many years.

He handed it to me, “Its beautiful. It’s viking I think.”

“I would tiptoe in here as a boy, so sacred was the laird’s room. I would slip in when he was out in the fields just to hold it for a few moments and dream of the day it would be mine.” He sat down beside me on the edge of the bed.

“It is yours now Jamie,” I leaned my head on his shoulder.

“Ours.” He said.

“Ours.” I repeated back, softly.

“My father. He built this place ye ken,” he looked around the room, his eyes lingering on the stones, "His blood and sweat are in this stone. This land. Now his bones are as well. They buried him out in the graveyard, next to my mother and brother willie.” Jamie pointed out the window.

“He thought I was dead. Dougal said he let out a small sound and dropped like a rock and didn’t get up again. I didn’t see it. Didnt’ see him die. Didn’t see him taken away. Didn’t see him buried. Never even seen his grave.” Jamie sighed and I placed my hand on his thigh.

“You’ll see it now, Jamie. We don’t have to leave,” he pulled my face to his and kissed me.

________________________________

Dinner that night was a tad awkward. I felt that Jenny thought I was trying to replace her but that would be impossible. Every since Jamie’s mother, Ellen had died, Jenny had been the backbone of Lallybroch. I only hoped that with time she would come to see that I didn’t want to replace her, even if I was now ‘Lady Broch Turach’.

The next day, I was told, was Quarter Day. Much like when we had gone out to collect the rents from the tenants, the tenants of Broch Mordha came to Lallybroch to pay rent.

It filled my heart with such joy to see Jamie fulfil the role as Laird. I stood by his side as he welcomed the tenants to our home.

This was a different side, a new side, of Jamie that I was seeing. I always knew he was a natural born leader but had never had much chance before to see him in action. While he and Ian dealt with the tenants and the actually exchanging of money and goods, I helped Jenny as best I could. Lallybroch was a job in itself, the cooking, the cleaning. Yesterday as we arrived, I had spotted a garden near the front entrance and hoped that in time I could plant my own things there. Now that we had time to see things grow.

That night, Jamie came in stumbling around the room. Dropping layer after layer of clothing, his boots hitting the floor with a thud, he fell on to the bed, his head hitting my backside. Jamie Fraser was drunk.

I tried to push him off of me but he rolled his head over the curve of my hips, “I’ve seen Elephants with more grace than you,” I said and squirmed in bed.

“Ye’ve actually seen an elephant?” He said, his breath reeking of whisky. His hands pushed against my backside, not altogether unpleasant.

“Yes,” I turned over best I could and his head now rested on my stomach, his legs hanging off the side of the bed as he lay perpendicular to me.

“Rode one too,” I laughed, my hands caressing the curve of his forehead.

“Mmmm that’s nice,” he moaned and I was going to kiss him but I noticed he was now breathing heavily, fallen asleep.

Smiling, I laid back against the bed and watched as with every breath I took, his head rose up and down.

_______________________________________

We slowly but surely found our routine at Lallybroch. Jamie’s days were filled with attending to the needs of his tenants. My days were helping wherever help was needed. Even though Jenny was heavily pregnant, she insisted that she could still do just as much as everyone else.

“I’m goin’ down to the stone mill, Sassenach, Mrs. Crook said it’s no workin’, care to join me?” Jamie asked me over breakfast, more porridge.

“Sure,” I smiled.

He led me out to the stone mill and I waited outside as he went to see what the problem was, “How’s it looking?” I asked Jamie as he came back from inspecting it.

“It’d be a damn sight better if the wheel were turning. There must be somethin’ stuck. I’m gonna have to go back and see if I can pry it loose.”

“What? Jamie you’ll freeze to death!”

Jamie as already stripping his boots and socks and then he loosened his belt and his kilt dropped. At least he wouldn’t be taking his shirt off as well. “Most likely, at leat you’ll be able to serve decent bannocks at my wake.” The breeze caught under his shirt, however and I was greeted with a nice view of his firm arse.

Jamie crawled down into the water and gasped.

Just then, Jenny came marching up to where I stood, “Mrs. Crook told me the wee idiot came up here.”

“Jenny you shouldn’t be up here chasing him around in your condition.”

“Dinna tell me what I can or canna do,” Jenny snorted and we both watched as Jamie dove under the water. He was down there an awfully long time and I was starting to wonder if I should start stripping layers and dive in after him.

I held my breath for another long twenty seconds and then came a loud sound as the wheel began to turn. And in the wheel was Jamie’s shirt. Jesus H. Roosevelt Christ.

“Blessed Michael defend us!” Jamie gasped and rose out of the water a bit down where he had entered.

“What the hell were ye thinking?” Jenny shouted at him and he covered his balls with both hands.

“Jenny will ye please turn around while I try to get out? Before my cock snaps off!” He said and Jenny only laughed, cursing in Gaelic as she headed back home.

“Claire, will ye get my kilt and bring it over?” He asked, his teeth beginning to chatter together.

“Of course, Laird.” I laughed at the sight of him, clutching his cock.

I returned with his kilt and boots, there was no rescuing the shirt, now going round and round in the stone mill. Jamie had gotten out of the water and was now sitting on the bank of the water’s edge, his hands ringing out his damp hair.

“Here you are,” I handed him the kilt and sat down next to him.

He whole body shivered and I reached out to touch him, ice cold. “Jamie, you’re freezing!” I slid my hand back and forth over his arm to bring about circulation.

“My arm is no’ in need of yer warm touch, Sassenach,” he said and bent his head down to look between his legs.

I crooked an eyebrow at him but moved my hand between his thighs. His cock was ice cold as I held it in my hand. Jamie’s body continued to shake in periodic shivers, I stroked his length, blood slowly returning to his frozen member.

“Ah Dhia,” he moaned and shut his eyes tight. “Sassenach, I think that’s enough. Someone will see.” He tried to push my hand away.

“I finish what I start my Laird,” I placed a kiss on his bare shoulder and continued my movements on his growing cock. He placed the kilt over his bent legs then, to hide what my hand was doing to him. I felt no shame whatsoever. I was simply bringing back warmth to my cold Husband.

_______________________________

That night I stood by the window overlooking the land, “You said Broch Turach means north facing tower…” I eyed the tower in question.

“Aye,” Jamie smiled as he unbuttoned his vest.

“Well its round, it doesn’t have a face.”

He grinned, “The door faces north.”

Of bloody course, “Frasers,” I laughed and leaned my head back against the window sill, my arms wrapped around my body.

The past few days at Lallybroch had been some of the happiest I had had in a long time. I never would have thought that I would find a home here, in this time. There were certainly things I missed about my own time but I wouldn’t trade it for anything. This moment, being here with Jamie.

“I’m beginning to feel like I actually belong here,” I said quietly, still looking out the window at the pale moon.

“I knew you belonged here with me,” Jamie came to stand beside me and pulled me against him, his chest vibrating against my back, “almost since the first time I laid eyes on you. That’s one of the reason I agreed to marry you. Though not the main one.”

I grinned, turning my face to look at him, “What was the main one?”

“Because I wanted you more than I ever wanted anything more in my life. Right from the moment I fell off the horse and woke up in the dark looking up at your face. Then there was that long ride together with that lovely round arse wedged tight between my thighs,” his hands pressed against my arse, “and that rock solid head thumping me in the chest.”

I leaned into him, feeling his cock pressing into me, “Thats why you agreed to marry me? Because of my round arse and rock solid head?”

“Mmm, I wanted you from the first moment I saw you but I loved you,” Jamie said, turning my body to face him, “when you wept in my arms that first night at Leoch and we shared our first kiss but now I wake up and I find I love you more than I did the day before.”

I knew he loved me and when I told him the truth of where I came from I had told him then but I knew once would never be enough.

“I love you Jamie.” I said and kissed him, his hands sliding down my back to rest on my arse he loved so much.

Mo nighean donn,” he sighed against my mouth.

Kissing down my neck, I brought my hands to the back of his head, “Jamie,” I whispered, my voice shaking with what I was about to ask him.

“Mmmm,” he moaned against my neck.

“On our wedding night — you told me how you thought people had sex like horses,” he pulled back, his expression full of mischief, “Aye,” he grinned.

“Well, it can be enjoyable that way,” I wriggled out of his arms and started walking backwards to the bed, “Very enjoyable.” I winked and pulled the strings of my shift, letting it fall at my feet around me.

“Is that so?” He stalked forward, with every step, shedding a layer of clothing.

I sat down on the bed and then flipped over onto my knees, ass high in the air.

“Oh Christ,” he moaned and his hands quickly pressed against my flesh. “Your arse is —“

“Yes, I know. You tell me how lovely and round it is quite often,” I laughed and turned my head back to look at him admiring the view.

“I willna ever stop tellin’ ye either,” he pressed forward, his cock wedged now between my cheeks.

“I dinna want to hurt ye, Sassenach,” He hesitated but I pressed back against him.

“You won’t hurt me, Jamie.” I placed my elbows down on the bed and positioned myself in front of him. Jamie was a tall man and so he had no trouble sliding his cock inside of me from this new position.

“Do you like it?” Moaning, I asked him as he slowly pushed deeper.

He grunted, “So deep, Sassenach,” Jamie’s hands pressed against the sides of my hips and I rocked back against him. My nipples slid against the sheets, the friction making them stand at attention.

As I pushed back he pushed forward, creating a new sensation I hadn’t felt. With Frank, I was never this adventurous but Jamie made me want to try new things. Things I had only heard or dreamt of.

His large hand reached between us and slid across my clit, making my back arch and my head fell forward against the mattress.

“Jamie, harder!” I begged and prayed that no one could hear us. He pushed against me, his cock filling my walls that clenched around him. His fingers moved diligently on my clit, spreading my lips open for more of him.

With a Gaelic curse, Jamie spilled himself into me, his body falling onto mine, pressing me down into the mattress as I orgasmed.

His cock still inside of me, I pressed back against his heavy form and he lifted up and turned me over, his cock never leaving my body.

Wasting no time, he bent forward and kissed me, finding his rhythm again. My arms touched his skin, his hair, his cock.

I lost count of how many times Jamie made me orgasm that night. Something came over him, an insatiable beast. His brought me to climax with his cock twice more and once with his fingers inside of me. Then I took pleasure from him as he took it from mine. I felt his seed down my throat and in my body. Jamie was possessing me, we were unable to leave one another alone for very long.

It’s as if once we uttered the words “I love you” out loud, we were suddenly eager to prove with our bodies just how much.

_________________________________

A week went by and everyday I grew more anxious for Jenny. I knew when the time came I would help her. Her midwife that had delivered little Jamie had been visiting family and it wasn’t looking like she would be back in time for this birth.

One afternoon, as we were washing the laundry out in the front, her water broke. I helped Jenny up the stairs and we waited for the baby to come.

Ian and Jamie were no help, worrying and fussing. I sent them to fetch water and clean linen for when the baby came. Giving them tasks to do would be the only way I could manage this.

Jenny placed her hands against the bed, “He’s dropped now I can feel it.”

I stood close to her, “Alright we just have to keep waiting.”

She took several deep breaths and began to pace the room, I sat down in a chair in the corner of the room.

“Tell me what its like, being pregnant.” I said, curious to know if what I had been feeling lately was what I thought it was.

“Its no roll in the heather can you see my face.” She huffed and reached out for the dresser beside her.

“I know, tell me, please.”

“In the early days, its a bit like wind in your belly,” she stroked her stomach, “Later you start to feel the child move, like a fish on a line, a tug and then gone like it wasna really there, they sleep for hours at a time. Sometimes when there’s been no movement ye fear they’ve died. And then you try to wake them and when they kick again ye get down to your knees and promise god anything if he’ll just keep them safe.” Jenny gasped and squeezed her eyes shut while another contraction went through her body.

Walking over to her, I placed my hand on the small of her back, “Just breathe.”

“Then towards the end,” she spoke softly, “when the child moves a lot its a feeling like when your mans inside ye. When he comes to ye deep and pours himself inside ye and that throbbing begins. It feels like that only much bigger, like its him ye’ve taken in to ye instead. That’s what they want sometimes, they want to come back.”

“Were ye just curious, Claire or were ye askin’ because of why I think?” Jenny then pointed to my own belly and my hands instinctively slid over what I know knew was the beginnings of a small bump.

I looked down and couldn’t help the tears that formed in my eyes, “I’m pregnant.” I said and then the tears fell. For so long I had tried with Frank and always thought I would never get that chance to be a Mother. And I knew Jamie wanted children, so to now know that I was carrying his child, it was almost too much happiness.

Jenny smiled and came to me, she knelt down best she could and placed her hand on my cheek, “That’s wonderful, Claire,” wiping the tears away, she slid her hand to grasp my own. “I know I didna welcome ye in when ye and Jamie first arrive but I see ye as my sister, Claire. This bairn will be a great addition to the Fraser’s.”

“How far along are ye?” She asked, and stood back up to go over to the bed.

I hadn’t known for very long, “I think maybe just over six weeks.”

“Have ye told Jamie yet? I’m sure he can tell a difference in yer body if ye’ve let him see ye naked since.” I blushed thinking of every night since we had arrived to Lallybroch, we had made love almost every time.

“I haven’t but you’re probably right, he must have some idea.” Just as I said this I heard Jamie and Ian enter the house.

“Go to yer man, Claire. The bairn willna be here anytime soon,” Jenny smiled as Ian came in the room, his hand finding her back and rubbing small circles. Watching them made me emotional again, to think that Jamie would be with me in just a few short months, helping me give birth to our first child.

I left the room and headed down the hall to where Jamie was.

“How’s Jenny and the bairn?” He asked as soon as I entered our room, he reached out and pulled me to him, his arms slipping around my waist.

“Both good, shouldn’t be much longer I hope.” I smiled, my heart rate quickening.

Placing my hand on his chest, I looked up to meet his eyes, “Jamie, you want children, right?” I began.

“Aye, Sassenach, I want to fill this house with our children. Hand down the good Fraser name.” His smile warmed my heart. As I stood there, I could picture him holding our newborn, whispering in Gaelic things it couldn’t understand, raising our child to be strong like him.

I brought his hand down to the small curve of my belly and I heard a sharp intake of breath, looking up Jamie already had tears in his eyes, “We will fill this house with our children, Jamie.”

“I knew it, Sassenach!” Jamie kissed me and then lifted me in the air, my feet dangling as he spun me around in circles. “Och, sorry, I dinna want to hurt the baby.” Concern crossed his face and he made me sit down on the bed.

“It’s alright, Jamie. The baby is very small right now, you won’t hurt her.” I said.

“A lass?” He slid his hand back over my belly, his hand covering the entire space.

“There’s no way to know until the baby comes out — but, I feel like it’s a girl.” I held his hand over my belly.

“Our wee lass,” he smiled and bent his head to kiss my stomach. “I dinna know how to thank ye, Claire, for this gift.”

I smoothed back his curls from his forehead, “Oh Jamie, I think she’s more of a gift from you.”

“I tried — before, with Frank and we never could have children. I always thought there was something wrong with me.” Jamie placed his hand on the small of my back, “I never told you any of this because well, I never thought I would love you like I do.”

I wanted Jamie’s children more than anything. I wanted to hear little feet pitter patter around the room before the sun came up. I wanted to watch Jamie teach our children the ways of life. And now, it was all coming true.

“I love ye, mo nighean donn and I love our wee lass that’s growing inside ye,” he placed his hand over his heart then and the other on my belly, “I vow to protect ye and the bairn, no matter the cost, ye both will be safe.”

Stroking his cheek, I brought his face to mine for a kiss, “I love you fiercely, Jamie Fraser.” We could have sat there for hours, dreaming of the future but I heard Jenny moaning down the hall and knew it must be time.

“Before this baby is born, I’m afraid there is another that is coming a little bit sooner.” I stood from the bed and Jamie’s hands came to guide me up. He was going to be one of those Father’s that hovers.

“Want to come and watch?” I turned and asked but he shook his head, “No, I will just go um — get some water I think. Maybe see if the cows need anythin’.” I laughed and watched him put as much space in between him and the imminent birth as possible.

“You’re next, little one.” I said to my stomach and went to help deliver Jenny’s baby.

Chapter Text

It had been three weeks since I helped deliver Jenny and Ian’s daughter. A beautiful baby girl, who we adoringly called Margaret, Maggie for short. Helping Jenny with her birth had been absolutely extraordinary. And now to begin to feel the stirrings of Jamie and I’s own baby within me — that was altogether mesmerising.

The three weeks had been sleepless for the entire household. New babies were adorable but had the cry of a lion, waking everyone at all hours of the night.

Once I had woken in bed to find Jamie gone. I creeped through the hallways to see him sitting by the fire with little Maggie nestled in his arms. He spoke Gaelic to her, words she nor I could understand. But the expression on his face, it was overwhelming to say the least. If Jamie was this way with his niece, what would he be like with our own child?

For so long I’d thought it wasn’t an option. That I had not been granted the right to bear my own children with the man I loved. It was an odd emotion I felt, a gladness that I hadn’t been able to conceive with Frank, my first husband. Because surely if I’d had a child with him, I would’ve done everything in my power to return to them.

It was Jamie who called me here. Jamie who kept me here. Now it was our child that would never let me leave and return to my own time. Not that I wanted to anymore. Lallybroch had become my home in the short time we had arrived.

My life was filled with constant movement. I never knew exactly where or when I was, a different city, a different country. While all of that led to a rather experienced upbringing, it was stability I craved.

The days were hard, work to be done. I couldn’t lounge around and expect everything to get done on it’s own. Jenny, alone would have seen to that. Even the day after giving birth to Maggie, she was up on her feet, telling us what to do, what to clean and who should do what chore. A nursing mother is a fearsome one.

Any day now, Murtagh should arrive. I knew Jamie was growing more and more anxious, the news of the Duke’s pardon. There was no way of knowing the outcome. We had signed a document attesting to the vile and cruel actions of one Jonathan Wolverton Randall. We only hoped that it would be enough.

I was contemplating all the future possibilities of Murtagh’s news as the man himself came riding up to the front entrance.

“Hello, Murtagh! It’s nice to see you.” I smiled, set down the laundry and walked over to meet him as he jumped down from the horse.

“Aye and ye, Claire.” I noticed he was smiling as well, surely a sign of good news.

“Do you have it? The pardon?” My voice was shaky, all my worries coming to the surface. What if he hadn’t signed it. What if Jamie was still an outlaw, forced to hide for all his life?

He gave me a smirk and reached into his bag tied to the horse. “Aye. I do.”

__________________

“What does it say, Jamie?” Jenny asked, trying to peer over his shoulder at the pardon. Everyone had come to the study to hear the news. We all waited, me impatiently, as Jamie read it over.

“It’s good, I’ll tell ye that.” He smiled and it warmed my heart.

“I’ll read a bit, aye?” He asked and everyone, Murtagh, Jenny, Ian, Mrs. Crook and the servants all shouted back “Yes!”

Jamie picked up the paper, his finger scanning along a couple lines:

“I write to inform you that you are hereby freed from all previous convictions pertaining to the death of a Captain Reynolds at Fort William. Upon further inquiries, it was found that Captain Jonathan Wolverton Randall was the sole killer of Captain Reynolds. I do not wish to discuss the details of his reasonings in this letter. I only write to say that Captain Randall has been sentenced and is set to hang for treason within the month.”

“Taing Dhia!” Jenny shouted, her hands coming down hard to grasp Jamie’s shoulder. I wanted to be there for him, to hold his hand, to touch him in someway. But I waited and stood across from the desk. Jamie had been an outlaw for years, taken from his family and now finally he was free.

Jamie stood to accept the thanks and cries of Jenny and then Ian. The room was filled with an exuberant amount of love for Jamie. It was then that I felt our life had truly begun.

Once everyone had left the study, gone on to finish the chores of the day, I closed and locked the door behind me. I turned back to face Jamie who now set back in his chair, one hand in his hair, his eyes ablaze with joy.

“I never thought, Sassenach, that they day would come. To see justice.”

“It’s wonderful, Jamie. It feels almost too good to be true.” I smiled and walked forward to sit on the edge of the desk.

“Signed by the Duke of Sandringham himself, with his seal as well.” Jamie looked back down at the letter, I knew it would be one of his most prized possessions for the rest of his life.

“What does the Laird want to do to celebrate, hmmm?” I shifted over so that I was sitting in front of him.

I saw the moment he caught on to what I wanted to do. “Aye, I like where this is headed, Sassenach. Dinna stop.”

“Does the Laird of Lallybroch want my hand?” I held it up and he took hold of my wrist.

“Aye, he does.” His voice was deep, dropping an octave as he was overcome with lust.

“Where does he want it?” Licking my lips, I leaned forward, inches away from his face.

Jamie was bold about exactly where he wanted my hand as he guided me to cover him over his kilt. It must have been the excitement from the pardon, his freedom. I palmed my hand over him and he was rock hard. He let out a sigh as I put a foot on either side of him, my toes just touching the chair.

“The Laird likes this?” I begged him to respond with my hand, pressing against the firm shape of him.

For a moment he only looked up at me through hooded eyes, unable to speak. “Aye,” was all he said and then he lifted me by the waist and set me on his lap, my legs straddling him.

“We willna hurt the bairn?” He paused, his hand holding my skirts, ready to lift and take me.

“No, Jamie. We won’t.” I cupped his cheek and kissed him. The urgency returning and his hands continued to push up my skirts until they sat piled between us.

“Does the Laird —“

“Yes.” He cut me off, “The Laird wants ye, Sassenach. Now stop teasin’ me and come here.” With one easy pull at his laces, his cock came free and slid between my legs.

I gripped his shoulders with my hands as I gripped his waist with my thighs and began to move slowly up and down.

“Jamie, you’re free.” I said to him and he moaned into my mouth. “And Black Jack is going to pay for what he did.”

As soon as I said that, Jamie convulsed underneath me. The mixed emotions of the last few weeks came tumbling out of him. Tears of joy streamed down his face and I kissed each tear away as I continued to ride him to my own completion.

_____________________

Time continued to pass at Lallybroch. Albeit slowly but smoothly. Jonathan Randall’s hanging was scheduled in three days time and Jamie was contemplating going. On one hand, to witness his death would bring a certain satisfaction and relief to Jamie. But on the other, it might be painful to watch. Jamie might be freed but it didn’t mean he wanted to stroll up to Fort William and be in the company of more red coats.

Instead, Jamie decided to have a celebration at Lallybroch on the day of Black Jack’s hanging. We invited tenants that were close enough to get here by then. We didn’t tell them the exact purpose of the party — that might be a little morbid but we told them it was to celebrate Jamie’s freedom.

“Ye have all the whisky ready Jenny?” Jamie asked, looking around the main room.

“Aye, brother, enough whisky to kill an elephant.”

“Och, dinna want to be killin’ anyone but Randall,” he grinned, putting both his hands on his hips.

“Jamie,” I walked over to him, my hand sliding around his back, “is there anything I can do? Anything left to be done?”

He kissed me, “Dinna fash, Sassenach. Ye just stay by my side the entire evenin’ and all will be well.”

That’s what I did throughout the night. I fetched glasses of fresh whisky for people but was always to be found at Jamie’s side. The house was buzzing, full of congratulations and cheers. The Laird of Lallybroch, returned and safe at last.

____________________

It was hard to believe that three months since Jonathan Randall’s death had passed. When I looked down at my now swelling belly, it wasn’t hard to believe, however.

I laid on my side, the only comfortable position that was possible these days. In just three short months we would welcome our child into the world. This world was very different to the world I once thought I would raise a child in. I didn’t doubt Jamie’s parenting capabilities of course, seeing him with our nieces and nephews but I was constantly reminded that we came from two very different times.

Jamie’s hand slid over my belly, his warmth transferring to my skin. Kissing the back of my neck, Jamie pressed himself fully against me, curving his body around mine.

“Do ye have a name in mind, Sassenach? For the bairn?” He said in hushed tones, always so scared to wake the baby when we lay in bed with loud noises.

“I thought of a few,” I shifted positions, feeling Jamie’s cock press against my backside, he always slept naked, claimed it made it easier to come to me when he woke in the night with need.

“Julia, after my mother.” He made a deep hum in his throat.

“Perhaps Ellen, for your mother.”

“Aye, I like that.” I could hear him smile as he placed another kiss on my bare shoulder. Lately I had been sleeping naked as well, the material growing too uncomfortable on my sensitive nipples.

“But I had another thought,” I sighed, Jamie’s hand rubbing small circles on my belly, “What if we called her ‘Faith’?”

“Faith,” he tested the name on his lips, “That’s a bonny name, Sassenach but did ye have a reason?”

“For so long, Jamie, I thought I would never bear children.” I turned then as best I could to face him in the bed, his hand came to cup my cheek, “I lost hope and began to think it would never happen. I lost faith in my own body.”

“Ah, I ken. Now Faith is wi’ ye.” He touched my belly and I felt her kick against his hand. “She’s a feisty one isn’t she.” Jamie smiled and slid down the bed, he placed a gentle kiss on my belly.

“Faith.” My hand rested on his head, fingers tangled with his curls, he looked up at me, “Aye, I like the name, Sassenach. Faith Elizabeth Fraser.”

Jamie returned to lay next to me, his hand lifted my left thigh and opened my legs.

“Elizabeth?” I asked, my hands grabbing Jamie’s shoulders and moving so that he could manoeuvre around the baby.

“Aye, a piece of ye. ’Tis yer own name as well, Claire. Ye are her mother and I think it sounds beautiful, ye ken.” Jamie was careful of my belly, his body curling around it as he opened my legs wider and slid his cock inside me.

Gasping from his touch, I let my eyes shut briefly. I picture her, Faith Elizabeth Fraser, running around the grounds of Lallybroch.

“The name is perfect, Jamie.” I kissed him and then was silent save moans and squeaks as Jamie rolled into me. A tender coming together, gentle with the baby between us. We made a protection around her, this life we created.

Chapter Text

When we first arrived to Lallybroch, Jamie had pointed out the small family graveyard just a little ways past the house. I knew he had gone often since to speak to his family, telling them things he couldn’t tell the living.

I knew Jamie wouldn’t be going to visit them today because he had gone over to the McNab’s to discuss their son Rabbie coming over to Lallybroch and helping around the farm. With my hand curved on my growing stomach, I began the short walk up to the graveyard.

Easily, I found who I was looking for: Ellen MacKenzie Fraser.

I approached her grave and sat down on the plush green grass that would soon fade in the coming winter months. Finding a comfortable position for myself and the baby, I sighed, my hand running over the engraved stone.

“Hello, Ellen. I’m Claire, Jamie’s wife.” It felt a bit strange to be talking to a headstone but I needed to say something to Jamie’s mother and this was the closest that I would get.

“I came here to tell you, if Jamie hasn’t already, that we’re pregnant,” my hand curved around my belly, “and I wish you and Brian could be here. With us, with Jamie. He misses you terribly sometimes and I know being back here, at Lallybroch only makes him realise how important you both were to him.”

“He’ll make a good father, I know he will,” I smiled recalling every night since I had told Jamie I was pregnant. The extra care he had taken and everything he had done to make sure I was comfortable. “I suppose I just wanted to thank you, Ellen… for raising such a wonderful, kind and strong son. For bringing him up in this world so I could love him.”

I brought my fingers to my mouth and kissed them, then slid them over the cold hard stone of Ellen’s grave. “I want to ask for your blessing for this baby,” I looked down at my stomach and felt a gentle kick from inside, “that even though you’re not here as my own parents aren’t,” a tear slid down my face, “that you will love this child and watch over them.”

I sat there for awhile, partly because I was having some trouble standing up on my own these days. When I eventually did try and stand up, two large hands were at my back, helping me stand.

“Sassenach,” Jamie smiled, wrapping his arms around my belly, “What are ye doin’ here?”

I leaned my head back against his chest, feeling the strong thrum of his heart, “Just visiting with your mother, completely normal,” I laughed and reached up behind me to stroke his cheek.

“That’s verra kind of ye, Claire.” He kissed the spot where my neck meets my shoulder. “I came home about an hour ago… Jenny said ye had gone to the graveyard but she hadna seen ye since. So I came lookin’ for ye.” I turned to face him, my hands on his firm chest.

“And you found me,” I stood on my tip toes and kissed his lips softly.

“Aye, Sassenach, I found ye.” He turned and led us back to the house, leaving his parents and younger brother’s behind.

_______________________

Later that night after dinner, I sat by the fire in our room, my hands mindlessly drawing circles over my belly, thinking about the future. Jamie walked in and took a seat next to me and smiled. He was holding a wooden box in his hands.

“I’ve been waitin’ for a good time to surprise ye wi’ this.”

“What is it?” I asked and sat up in the chair. He handed me the box and I looked first at him smiling and then down to the box and opened it.

“Apostles spoons,” he said as I looked at the silver spoons with a small figure on the stem, “One… for each of the twelve apostles. A christening gift, for the bairn.” Jamie smiled, picking up one of the spoons and admiring it.

“Jamie…” I sighed, my fingers grazing over each one, “where did you get them?”

“They’ve been passed down in our family for years.” I set the spoon back in its original place, my fears returning to the surface of my mind.

“I know it sounds ridiculous but I can’t help but wondering if I’ll be any good at it. Being a mother…” I met his gaze and he took hold of my hand over my belly.

“Of course ye will.”

“What if I’m terrible at it though?

“Ye will no’ be terrible. That I know.” He bent down and placed a gentle kiss on my forehead.

“How do you know?” I asked.

“The same way I knew Jenny would be a good mother.” He replied easily.

“She’s a natural, your sister.” I sighed.

“Aye, she is.”

Jamie smoothed his hand over my belly, grasping my fingers, “Seeing her with wee Jamie and Maggie.”

“There’s nothin’ like seein’ her before,” he laughed, “what a racket she was, not an ounce of maternal feeling or instinct anywhere to be seen.”

“Not that her brother could see,” I smiled and leaned my head back against the chair.

“Not that she could see herself. She worried about the same things you do, worried that she’d no’ be able to mother or care and so on but I never doubted it. I knew it was in her nature to be a kind and loving mother just as I see it in ye, mo nighean donn.” Jamie looked at me, his hand under my chin. I felt my face crumble and a silent tear fell down my face.

“I’m a nurse, I know how to deliver a baby, how to feed one, how to take care of one when it’s ill but that’s not being a mother. I only have a vague memory of my own Mother, nothing really to guide me.”

Jamie pressed his lips to mine once again, “What ye don’t ken, ye’ll learn. We’ll learn… together.”

“Remember…” he said, looking down at the spoons still on my lap, ”this is but the first of many.”

I laughed, my fingers tangled in the locks of his hair at his nape, “Is that so?”

“One for each spoon.”

“You want twelve children?” I said, my eyes widening and my stomach hurting at the mere thought of delivering twelve children.

“Why not?” He said, completely serious.

I stroked his cheek, scratchy with days old scruff, “Good God, I do love you”

“I love you too, mo nighean donn.” Jamie kissed me and slid the box with the apostles spoons onto the small table beside us and picked me up and carried me over to the bed. He was gentle, as he always was with the baby. His hands caressing my belly as he slid home and home again.

__________________________

A month later I woke in the middle of the night, my hands drifting over the swell of my belly. I winced as I felt a sharp pain, a small kick from the inside. Jamie immediately stirred beside me, his own hands coming to cover my own.

“What’s wrong, Sassenach? Is it the bairn? Is it time, mo nighean donn?”

I pulled back the sheets and in the pale moon light, I saw and felt the dampness as well as a small amount of blood. My hands shook as I put my hands back on my stomach and looked at Jamie, it was time.

“Yes. Please…” I bit my bottom lip, “Get Jenny.” My eyes shut as another sharp pain wracked through my body. I felt Jamie shift in bed and heard the door open as he walked down the hall to Jenny and Ian’s room.

In a matter of moments he was back and Jenny was at my side, her hand slipping into mine, squeezing back just as hard as I was.

“Ye’ll be alright, Claire. Dinna fash.” She smiled and I attempted one of my own but there was a sweat breaking out over my body as the contractions took over.

“Jamie, go and fetch a bowl of cold water and get all the cloths and wee things Claire prepared.” Jenny ordered Jamie and he took off without a word. I knew he must be worried.

This was too soon. I wasn’t supposed to deliver for another five weeks, in my own time, I wouldn’t be so worried but in this century, I was very afraid.

It was another three hours of my body contracting, my insides feeling like they were splitting open. Jamie was fetching water periodically, unable to sit still for too long before he was up.

At one point I remember clutching on to his night shirt, twisting the fabric in my hand and pulling his face down to mine, “You did this to me, James Fraser, you fucking bastard!”

He laughed — laughed, pried my hand from his shirt, wiping my forehead with a cloth, collecting the sweat. “Sassenach, yer doin’ great, keep callin’ me a bastard and ye will be fine.”

Jenny stood at the end of the bed, her hands spreading my legs open to see if the baby was close. “I canna tell, Claire. I’ve never seen it from this angle, only felt it from where yer sittin’,” she twisted her lips. Of course… just like with her pregnancy the midwife was gone, away visiting family. She bloody needed a new job if she was never around for the actual pregnancies.

“I’ve sent word to the midwife so I’m hopin’ she’ll be here by tomorrow or the next day,” Jenny reassured me and pulled my shift back down. “It could be awhile before yer ready to push but I promise ye, Claire, I’ll help ye through this.” Jenny collected the sodden cloths and took them to rinse downstairs.

Jamie climbed on the bed and sat behind me, his thighs gripping and holding me up against him. “Sorcha…” he whispered, his hands rubbing lightly up and down my arms, “yer the bravest woman I know, so strong.”

“I don’t bloody feel strong right now,” another contraction, this time sooner than the one before and I grimaced, my eyes shutting, “Goddamn this hurts!” I screamed and Jamie’s hand pressed against my belly.

He pressed his chin down on the top of my head and started to speak softly in Gaelic:

“Gum bi thu, a naoinein bhig, fallain, ionraic, sona air feadh do bheatha gu léir.”

What does that mean, Jamie?” I asked, my hand reaching up to grip his neck.

“Och, ’tis a blessin’ for the wee bairn, a prayer that she be healthy, happy and honest all throughout her life.” He kissed my curls and pulled me closer between his body, as if he was protecting me and the baby from harm.

We sat there for another two hours, my contractions growing closer with every passing minute. I hoped it would be soon, I felt drained already.

Ian brought up food for me to try and eat but nothing looked appetising, Jamie on the other hand ate for the both of us… well, the three of us.

“Jesus H. Roosevelt Christ!” I screamed and pushed back against Jamie, my legs kicking out in front of me on the bed.

“Jenny!” Jamie called for his sister and she came running in, her hands full of clean linen.

“I think she’s gettin’ closer,” he sounded worried now, as he had been when the pain first started hours ago.

Jenny placed the linen on the bed and pulled up my shift, “Christ! I can almost see the bairn’s head, Claire…” she held my gaze and put her hands on top of my knees, “’tis time lass, ye need to push when I say so.”

Jamie reached for my hands and I squeezed them as hard as I could, fresh sweat breaking out on my forehead as I held my legs open.

“Alright, now push, Claire!” Jenny’s hands were cold between my thighs and I pushed with all my strength, a slew of curse words escaping my mouth.

“That was good, Claire, yer doin’ just fine. The bairn is almost out. I need ye to push one more time.” Jenny encouraged and Jamie only tightened his grip.

“Ye can do this, Sassenach.”

I shut my eyes to the rest of the world and closed off the pain, focusing on the life that was coming out of me. Pushing, I felt her come out before I heard her cries as she took her first breath.

Exhausted, I fell back against Jamie and he wiped my forehead, pushing back locks of curls and I opened my eyes to see Jenny holding our baby, cleaning the placenta and blood off. Somehow I managed to reach my arms forward and Jenny delivered her safely into them.

“Faith,” I smiled, my finger touching gently against her rosy pink cheeks.

I felt a wetness on the back of my neck that didn’t feel like my own sweat and I craned my neck to see Jamie crying above me, his face beaming with love.

“She has yer brown hair, mo nighean donn, she’s so bonny,” Jamie smiled and wrapped his arms around us, his hand coming to cup the smallness of her head. “I’m so proud of ye,” he kissed my temple and tears of my own slid down my cheeks, from exhaustion and pure joy.

“Faith Elizabeth Fraser, welcome to the world,” he cooed, his large finger joining mine against her pale skin. Her eyes opened and stared up at us, a shining ocean blue, just like her father’s.

“She’s ours, Jamie.” I settled back into him, content to not move for quite some time, “Our creation.”

“She’s the best thing ye could ever give me, Claire. She’s so precious to me, as are ye.”

We lay together on the bed for hours, our eyes never leaving Faith’s face as she began to smile, her eyes crinkling. I counted ten small toes and ten small fingers which clasped onto Jamie’s the minute he reached for her hand. Seeing the look in Jamie’s eyes and the way my heart felt, I would gladly give Jamie as many children as he wanted, even if he wanted eleven more.

Chapter Text

The first week after Faith’s birth, Jamie and I rarely left the comfort of our bed. She took turns being held by both of us, sleeping in our arms, I never wanted to let her go. For so many years I thought I would never have children, that I would never be a mother.

Now I held my child in my arms, her pink cheeks glowing like the sunrise, and smoothed my finger over her tiny nose. Jamie had fallen asleep next to me, his snoring a steady rhythm that was making my own eyes close.

It also warmed my heart that I now had a family to help raise her. I was an orphan, then raised by my Uncle Lamb but when he passed it was just me on my own again. Jamie’s family became mine when I married him, his sister Jenny had warmed up to me now, especially during the pregnancy, helping me when I wasn’t quite sure of a symptom.

Jamie stirred in bed, his legs stretching, and his foot pressed against my chilled calf, he was always so warm, he exuded body heat at all times, my little furnace.

He groaned, as he sometimes did after a hard sleep, “Hello, Sassenach,” he smiled, and leaned over to place a kiss on Faith’s head, “Hello my wee angel.”

I shifted her into Jamie’s arms, “I’m just going to go to the privy, I’ve been waiting for you to wake up,” I kissed him and rose from the bed.

“Ye coulda woke me, Sassenach.” Jamie whispered, he always talked to softly around Faith, as if he didn’t want to disturb her delicate ears.

“No one could wake you when you snore, Jamie,” I laughed and slid a wool robe around my shoulders and walked down the hall. Seeing the pictures of Jamie when he was little hanging on the walls always made me tear up. We were here, in his childhood home, with our own baby and hopefully there would be many more little Fraser’s running around.

“Out of bed? Privy or lookin’ for food?” Jenny asked me as I descended the stairs.

“Both actually, and perhaps a little walk around the garden will do my legs some good.”

“Ye both have barely left the bed, a little sunshine could do ye both some good,” she snickered, and resumed her knit work by the hearth.

“I dinna blame ye though, yer first child is always special. A miracle ye hold in yer arms.” Jenny smiled up at me.

“Faith is indeed our little miracle,” I paused at the end of the stairs, “Jenny… I just wanted to say thank you — for welcoming us here. I know you had made a life here and then we showed up unannounced really.”

“Dinna fash, Claire. I knew Jamie would return someday, and this is as much his home as it is mine. It’s nice havin’ ye here, the both of ye or should I say the three of ye.” She winked, and I almost laughed. Apparently it was just Jamie who hadn’t gotten that particular talent passed down.

“Go do yer business and I’ll fetch ye somethin’ to eat,” she stood to go into the kitchen and I almost half ran to the privy outside, it’s true what they say. After you give birth, everything down there is just a bit more loose.

++++++

Not only did we have the help of Jenny and Ian but we also had Murtagh, Jamie’s godfather. He looked almost menacing, his wild eyes and his bushy beard, he was always there to offer a joke at the most inappropriate time.

I sat on the front steps that led into the house and watched as Murtagh walked around the yard, holding Faith so gently in his big arms.

“He’s good wi’ her, isn’t he, Sassenach?” Jamie said from above me and I turned my face to look at him.

“Yes, he’s very gentle actually, something I didn’t quite take him as being.” I had always thought Murtagh a fighter but he was actually a gentle giant.

Jamie took the place beside me, grabbing my hand and intertwining it with his fingers. “I’ve been thinking about who should be Faith’s godfather, and I ken Murtagh is already mine but what do you think about him bein’ one to Faith as well?”

I looked back over at Murtagh, slowly bouncing Faith and whispering things in gaelic, “I think it would be perfect, Jamie. I know he would protect her as if she were his own.”

Murtagh cared for Jamie like a son, and I knew Jamie saw him as a father figure.

++++++

Jenny had just taken Faith to lie down for a nap and I sat in the chair near the fire of our room. I closed my eyes briefly and must have fallen asleep, for I felt a gentle nudge against my arm.

“Sassenach,” Jamie whispered, “Are ye awake?”

I opened one eye and then the other, “I am now.”

“Ah good,” he leaned down and kissed me, then took the chair beside me.

“I just saw wee Faith, she looks so small asleep in Jenny and Ian’s bed.”

“She is small,” I smiled and reached for his hand, his fingers stroking the inside of my palm.

Jamie sat there beside me, a curious expression on his face. I could tell he wanted to ask me something but wasn’t quite sure what. Maybe it was something to do with Faith or for all I knew it could be something with what we were having for dinner tonight.

He glanced up at me, his eye lashes long and thick. “What is it, Jamie?”

His mouth quirked up on one side and he tapped his fingers nervously on his thigh, always a sign of trouble.

“It’s just ah, I’ve been wonderin’ about something — since we had Faith.” His eyes shifted from my face to my breasts. My God, he was like a little boy.

What does it feel like,” he pointed with his other hand to my breasts, “when the bairn is suckling from your breasts, Sassenach? Does it hurt ye?”

His concern for my well being was sweet but I was sure there must be more to this interrogation of breastfeeding.

“It doesn’t hurt no, just feels a bit odd. A pulling sensation.”

“Och, good then. The bairns dinna have any teeth so that’s good too.” He smiled sheepishly, ducking his head to stare at his hand on his lap.

“Is there something else, Jamie?”

“I just — weel, I wonder often — what must it taste like?” He looked up at me and that look sent a shiver down my spine.

I turned my head to see that the door was properly shut. It was. “You could have a taste if you’re really that curious?” Standing up, I crossed the small space over to him to sit sideways on his lap.

“But the bairn, she needs it.” Jamie’s eyes were wide, his hands settling around my waist.

“I just fed her an hour ago and she’s sleeping. The milk won’t run out if you taste it Jamie.” I laughed and placed my hand on his cheek.

“I dinna want to hurt yer wee breasts,” he licked his lips, staring at my chest. My breasts weren’t so ‘wee’ anymore, ever since the pregnancy. They had grown tremendously and to also accomodate for the milk. I knew the sight of them made Jamie weak.

“Then just be gentle,” I brought one of his hands to the front of my bodice and looked down as his fingers pulled at the laces.

“I will try, Sassenach.” I heard him swallow, he pulled out my stomacher and spread open my bodice. He very carefully untied my shift and slid it down over my shoulders and it puddled around my waist. I sat on his lap, one arm around his neck with my breasts exposed to him.

He licked his lips and I nodded for him to continue. What would it feel like?

Jamie cupped my breast in his hand, and brushed his thumb against my nipple and I watched as it hardened instantly.

“Mmmm,” I moaned as I felt the milk in my breasts, they became heavy.

Pressing his mouth to my breasts, he latched onto my nipple, careful not to be rough. Nothing happened at first but when he began to suck, I felt a rush of milk pour out.

He swallowed and then pulled back, “Ah Dhia, it’s warm!” I laughed and ran my hand through his curls, bringing him back to my breast.

Jamie sucked my breasts and I had to admit it was quite odd but not altogether unpleasant. After a short time, he left my breasts and found my mouth. His tongue tasted warm and his arms cradled me against him as he carried me over to the bed. We hadn’t made love since Faith was born for obvious reasons.

“Yer so beautiful, mo nighean donn,” he climbed on top of me, his legs straddling my hips, “Ye make a wonderful mother and I ken ye’ll only get better.”

He leaned down to kiss away the tear that escaped and rolled down my cheek, all while sliding home, making me call out his name.

++++++

One morning, as we sat around the breakfast table before we got started on the day’s work, there was a knock on the door. Mrs. Crook went to see who it was and came back holding a few letters.

“What’s that?” Ian asked and Mrs. Crook set the small stack in front of Jenny.

Jenny sifted through the letters one by one, “There’s a letter for ye, Jamie.” Jenny held it up, “It looks like it came from our cousin Jared in France.”

“I wonder what it could be about,” I waited as Jamie took the letter and opened it, skimming its contents. His smile when he finished relieved me.

“He wants me to come to Paris to visit, he’s heard about my pardon. He also wishes to discuss some business but he didna say exactly what.”

“Paris?” I said, looking down at Faith my in arms, “We can’t go to Paris right now, Jamie. I don’t exactly want to take an infant on a ship just yet.”

“Och, that’s true,” he ran his hand through his hair, “And ye’ll most likely be takin’ care of two infants on the boat, I’m afraid I get a wee bit seasick.” His face turned pale at the mere mention of a ship and I tucked away that information for later.

“Well, we could go. But maybe in a few months when Faith is a bit bigger?” I knew he wanted to go by the excited glow he got when he read the letter. He was itching to go, explore the streets of Paris once again.

“Aye, Sassenach. If ye truly want to.” He placed a kiss at my temple and pressed his thumb to Faith’s cheek.

“I’ll follow you anywhere, Jamie. And of course Murtagh must come with us!”

“Me?” He grumbled, Murtagh was not a morning person. “Why do ye want me to come wi’ ye.”

I looked at Jamie and he nodded, we hadn’t asked Murtagh to be Faith’s godfather but now seemed as good a time as any.

“We want ye to be Faith’s godfather Murtagh. Ye’ve done a fair job bein’ mine so we hope ye would do the same for Faith.” Jamie asked.

Murtagh was quiet, and then he spoke with a trembling voice, “I’d be honoured to watch after her, thank ye… both of ye.”

“It’s our pleasure,” I smiled and reached for his hand across the table, squeezing it in reassurance.

“How long before ye think ye’ll go?” Jenny asked, beginning to clear away the morning’s breakfast.

“Och, I dinna ken. When do you think is a good time, Sassenach. Yer the doctor,” Jamie grinned.

“Um, well… I think if we wait until Faith is at least six to eight months. By then we should have a proper routine with her.” She squirmed in my arms, her mouth smacking together, I knew she would need to feed soon.

“I dinna ken how long we’ll be in Paris, Jenny… Ian,” he looked at them both, “but we will come back, once matters there are finished.”

“Of course ye will,” Ian laid his hand on Jamie’s shoulder, giving it a firm squeeze and there was a silent conversation between those two. They were practically brothers, always had the other’s back.

“I’ll write to Jared after I finish in the stables, then we’ll make preparations for what we need and such,” Jamie stood from the table with a kiss to my head and left to tend to the animals.

Sighing, I began to rock Faith gently in my arms, “Well, he seems rather excited.”

“Oh aye, Jamie loves Paris. That’s where he got his first kiss,” Ian said while laughing and Jenny gave him a harsh look.

“Ian, dinna start with that Annalise business.” She hit him playfully on the back of the head.

“Annalise? Was that his first kiss?” I asked. Even though I held proof of Jamie’s love to me in my arms, I couldn’t help the feelings of jealousy and they rose up within me.

“Aye, he was so taken wi’ her, he wouldna focus on his studies, only on Annalise,” Ian smiled, “but dinna fash, Claire. It’s ye he loves, and the wee bairn. I’m sure it’s only the idea of showing ye Paris that excites him so.”

“I’m sure that’s it.” My head began to race with thoughts of who this Annalise woman was. Jamie had feelings for her years before, what would he do when he saw her again? We hadn’t yet been married six months and I was already doubting.

He loves you Claire Beauchamp, now stop thinking about Annalise and feed your baby.

Chapter Text

Paris, France - 10 months later

We’d been in Paris for nearly two months and since our arrival, things had moved along rather swiftly. Jamie’s cousin, Jared Fraser, welcomed us into his home with open arms, with one condition. That being, Jamie helping him with his wine business. Apparently Jared was aware of Jamie’s skills in the area of charming his way through conversations, something I myself was very aware of.

Faith had finally adjusted to her new surroundings. She was crawling everywhere and the spiral staircase that led to the second story of the house gave me nightmares. In just six short weeks, she would be celebrating her first birthday.

She was with Murtagh now, I’m sure getting up to nothing good in the small stable. He spoiled her, as any godfather would. That left me on my own, since Jamie was with Jared down at the docks, accepting a new shipment of casks.

I sat down at the desk in the corner of our room, preparing to write a letter to Jenny and Ian, informing them of the comings and goings of our life here.

At first when we arrived, I hated it. I felt I had no purpose, other than raising Faith and keeping a close eye on her. But one day while I was out with Faith and Murtagh, we walked past L'Hôpital des Anges, and the cries of pain drew me inside.

“Hold still, ma petite, this will hurt only for a little while.” A woman with a very strong French accent said to a patient on a bed, as I stepped into the hospital.

The familiar scent of blood, was eerily welcoming as I took in my surroundings.

I watched from afar as the woman, with the assistance of another physician lanced a wound on the patient. My hands were itching to yield a knife again, touch herbs and medicines.

“How may we help you?” The French woman turned to me after she was finished bandaging the patient.

“I was drawn in from the street and I have some medical skills I thought might be useful here.”

“I am Mother Hildegarde,” she smiled, “Sister Angelique will find you something to do.”

It was as simple as that. I knew in this century how opposed some people were to the idea of women in such positions as I found myself now in. But I was born to be a healer, and since our return to Lallybroch and my pregnancy with Faith, I had pushed aside that desire.

We didn’t know how long we would be staying in Paris, if it was a short visit or if we would be here for years to come. I knew Jamie enjoyed the change of scenery, but he couldn’t stay away from Lallybroch forever.

As I signed and dated the letter to Jenny, I heard a childlike squeal from the foyer; that could only mean that Jamie had returned home.

Moments later, he walked through the door, holding Faith on his hip. She was babbling away, gibberish of course, but he was giving her his full attention until he saw me.

“Sassenach!” He crossed the room, placing a kiss on my forehead. “How was l’hôpital?”

“I set three bones today, so I would call that a rather successful day,” I placed the pen down on the letter, reaching for Faith and taking her onto my lap. “How was your day?”

“Fair enough, ran into a skirmish with a man called Comte St. Germain,” he rolled his eyes, “He sells wine as well, Sassenach, and I’m afraid he’ll prove to be stiff competition.”

Faith bounced happily on my lap, and I looked up at Jamie as he took a seat at the end of the bed sighing. “We can’t keep avoiding it, Jamie.”

He ran his hand through his hair, “Aye, I ken that. Ye told me Prince Charles would be here now, in Paris.”

“I just don’t want you to get caught up in it, I know the outcome of the Jacobite rebellion, as hard as it may be to stand by and let things happen…” Faith made a gurgling noise, and reached for my breasts. I would be glad when she was weaned, eighteenth century clothing was not the most practical for breastfeeding.

“Ye ken I canna just stand by and watch my clan, my people, Sassenach, be slaughtered by the swords of the British.” He rose from the bed, his body trembling with anxiety. We’d gone over and over this subject. I had explained to him as much as I knew about the Jacobite Rebellion and its fateful outcome.

We had come to the conclusion that we were to avoid Prince Charles at all costs, and that Jamie was not to get involved in the rebellion, but I could tell from his posture and attitude how much that decision was weighing on him.

“Ye ken I dinna care about who sits on the throne,” he muttered, facing away from us at the fireplace.

“Yes of course I know that, Jamie.” Faith latched her mouth onto my nipple, and I settled her into my lap. “But you can’t exactly be idle and watch your people die either.”

Jamie slowly turned to me, one arm perched on the mantle, “Aye. It pains me to think of goin’ in to battle. Culloden…” He shivered, at what could only be words I had spoken to him about the battle of Culloden that would happen in less than two years time.

“If it comes down to me fightin’, Sassenach… will ye hate me so if I chose to go?” He closed the space between us, bending to his knees in front of me, his hands resting on me and Faith.

Tears threatened to spill from my eyes as I looked down at him, holding our child to my breast, “I would hate you.” I said softly, “but I will always love you, Jamie. If you feel you must fight, on that damn battlefield… so help me God.” Jamie brushed his thumb across my cheeks, collecting my tears as they fell, and his own eyes watered.

“I love ye, mo cridhe, I only want to protect ye and the bairn… and the many more bairns to come.” He kissed Faith softly on the crown of her forehead, and held us in his arms. I could not stop him from fighting for what he believed in, but I would be damned if I let him get caught up in the politics of it all.

++++++

We had surprisingly made connections during our short time in Paris and had been invited to the King’s Palace for a ball that evening.

I descended the stairs, maneuvering my red dress as I stood on the last step.

“I see were all ready to go.”

Jamie took a step forward, his face full of awe and some other expression I couldn’t quite place.

“Are ye… mad woman? I can see every inch of ye, right down to yer third rib.” His eyes went straight to my chest. It was rather low cut in the front, showing off my cleavage.

“No, you can’t.” I laughed.

He came closer, his eyes never leaving my chest, “Christ. I can see right down to yer navel. Surely ye don’t mean to go out in public like this?”

“I most certainly do.” I held my arms out to the side, “I’ll have you know, I helped design this dress.”

“Christ, Sassenach. First yer honeypot, now this.” He quirked his eyebrow up at me, making me blush. I had made friends with a woman name Louise de La Tour, a most eccentric woman who had suggested I wax my ‘honeypot’ as Jamie called it. When I had come home that evening, Jamie found it odd but not altogether unpleasant and spent the evening feeling and tasting from my honeypot.

“I suppose it’ll have to do.” He joined Murtagh near the front of the house and I took the last few steps. “Ye could cover up a bit.”

“Well I already thought of that,” I pulled out a matching red fan, opening it to cover my breasts.

“Yer goin’ to need a larger fan,” he smirked.

++++++

The ball was just as I had expected, plenty of people trying to impress one another. It came as a surprise to both Jamie and I to see that the Duke of Sandringham was in attendance.

“What are you both doing here in France?” The Duke kissed the back of my hand in welcome.

“Jamie has been employed by his cousin, Jared” I said.

“The wine merchant, what a serendipitous surprise. Tomorrow I go back to England, but when I return I would be very interested to sample some of that rare Belle Rouge port. I must have a case!”

Jamie raised his brow, “How much?”

“I’d be willing to pay twenty percent over the asking price.”

“Sold.” Jamie said.

“Jamie why don’t you take Murtagh to have a drink with our new friend, the minister of finance?”

The Duke of Sandringham always rubbed me the wrong way. As appreciative as I was for him granting Jamie his freedom back, I always sensed that he was playing both sides. I knew from Frank’s research about the Jacobite Rebellion, that the Duke was a known Jacobite supporter, but form my interactions with him, he claimed to know nothing of the sort.

That alone, made me wary of his true intentions when it came to Jamie and just why he granted his freedom.

Before I could speak with him on the matter further, a young man approached him, and immediately burst into a fit of coughing.

“Are you alright, sir?”

“Oh pardon me Madame, it’s chronic I’m afraid.” He sputtered.

“Oh where are my manners,” The Duke said and turned to the man who joined him at his side, “Claire Fraser, may I introduce my new secretary, Alexander Randall.”

“Pleased to make your acquaintance Madame,” the young man bowed.

“I think you might know of his brother,” The Duke raised his eyebrows and then my world came to a screeching halt. Randall. 

“Jesus H. Roosevelt Christ.” I muttered under my breath.

“Do you know Jonathan, Madame Fraser?” Alexander asked me.

My heart was racing, and my thoughts were swirling around all at once. It wasn’t possible was it? He was sentenced to hang over a year ago. Surely we would have heard news of this.

“Your brother is Jonathan Wolverton Randall?” I asked for clarification. Please say no.

“Yes! He’s my older brother,” he stammered.

“I thought he was dead. Hanged for treason, if I’m not wrong.” I stared at him and now I saw the family resemblance.

The Duke piped up, “Oh yes indeed, he was sentenced to be hanged, Mrs. Fraser,” he half frowned, “but he apparently had some friends at the prison who helped him get out of it.”

“I haven’t spoken with him in quite some time, not since his escape.” Jonathan burst into another fit of coughs.

“Didn’t you tell me that he was last seen fleeing to Paris?” The Duke’s voice echoed around the room as my head began to spin.

I bowed my head, “If you two will just excuse me for a moment, I need to find my husband.”

Leaving without a proper farewell, I practically ran into the other room in search for Jamie. Christ almighty… Black Jack was still alive?!

Where the hell was Jamie?

“Ye see minister, I ken yer biased towards the French port, but I think ye’ll be verra surprised wi’ the whisky from Scotland.” Jamie was speaking to a group of men, but I interrupted, grabbing his arm and pulling him off to the side, and out of sight of the crowd. 

“Sassenach, I was just about to —“ he stopped, noticing my fear stricken state, “What? What’s the matter, Claire?” His eyes scanned the room around us.

“He’s alive,” I choked out, clutching on to his arms for dear life, “Jamie… Black Jack Randall is still alive!”

His mouth hung open, in shock of the news. “That canna be possible. He was hanged, I ken it. More than a year ago.” Jamie gripped my arms just as tightly for support.

“His brother, Alex, is here with the Duke of Sandringham, he said he escaped with help of soldiers at the prison.” Jamie’s knees wobbled and he brought us both down to the ground, on our knees.

“No.” Was all Jamie repeated for some time before taking my hands in his and meeting my eyes. “He’ll ken we’re here. I’m sure he’ll come for ye… if he still believes ye to be a spy, that is. Christ —“

“He’ll come for you too, Jamie!” I cried, “It’s our statement that sent him to the rope in the first place. Oh my God,” tears spilled over my cheeks at the thought of Jonathan Randall being alive. I had thought we had been rid of that horrible man. He had caused pain to our family and instilled fear into our hearts. With his death, we had been able to find freedom and a peace that we had only just grown accustomed to.

“Wee Faith,” Jamie whispered and my heart almost ceased beating. “We need to get home, Sassenach. Now.” He rose to his feet, helping lift me and my voluminous skirts.

“You don’t think he would harm a child do you?” I asked as we hurried back through the crowd to find Murtagh.

“I ken he is capable of anythin’, Sassenach.” He gritted his teeth and spoke to Murtagh who immediately raced outside to call for our carriage.

“I dinna ken where he is, but if he’s in Paris as the Duke has said… we must prepare for the worst, Claire.” Jamie cupped my cheeks with both his hands.

“Are you going to kill him, Jamie?” I said under my breath.

“Aye, if it comes down to it. I will end that bastard’s life with my bare hands.” Jamie slid his arm around my waist, leading me to the carriage. “He willna take my family away from me, that I ken.”

When we arrived back to Jared’s home, Jamie burst into action, warning the servants of the potential threat. I found it hard to believe that Black Jack would find us at our house, since he hadn’t so far in the short two months we had been here. But Jamie was right, the man was capable of anything. Running up the stairs to our room, I let out a sob I didn’t know I’d been holding when I saw Faith asleep in her cot.

Our precious baby, our miracle. Jamie said he would kill Black Jack with his bare hands if it came down to it. If that man touched a hair on my child’s head… it would be my hands at his throat.

 

Chapter Text

“Claire!” Jamie shouted from downstairs and with one quick glance at Faith lying safely in her cot, I left the room to meet him at the bottom of the stairs.

“Is Faith safe?” He grabbed my shoulders, his eyes frantic and the panic was finally settling in.

I nodded and pulled him closer to me, “Yes, she’s safe.”

“Murtagh kens about Randall, he’s gone to inform the rest of the household that we may be expectin’ an intruder.” Jamie pressed a kiss to my forehead and then left me standing in the foyer.

I thought we were safe. With Jamie’s pardon and Black Jack’s hanging… we should have been safe. Life was uncertain, that much I knew. The house had gone into full chaos the moment we arrived home. My nerves were shot. There was no way of knowing when or even if Randall would come to our house. The only thing we could do was prepare for the worst.

_______

An hour later, I was tucked up in bed, cradling Faith to my chest. I didn’t plan on letting her out of my sight until we heard more news of Randall’s whereabouts. She was snoring softly, her little body rising and falling with every breath. I smoothed back a tuft of strawberry blonde hair, my heart clenching at the mere thought of losing her.

I remembered a song from my childhood but I had no real memory of who sang it to me. Only that the voice was gentle and loving. Laying my head back against the pillow, I drew slow circles on Faith’s back and sang softly,

“Oh, I do like to be beside the seaside. 

I do like to be beside the sea.

I do like to stroll along the Prom, Prom, Prom.” 

“’Tis a verra bonny song, Sassenach.” Jamie stood in the doorway, his expression tender. “I havena heard ye sing before.”

“I used to sing all the time,” I sighed and watched him as he methodically undressed. I could tell he was still tense from the nights unexpected news. “Before the war, I would sing around the house, humming tunes.”

“It was the war? That stopped ye?” He said, tossing his boots to the floor.

Jamie knew about my time in the war and while I knew he might not understand the sheer magnitude that it was, he knew the effects of battle… of loss.

“Yes, I think during that time it just never felt right. To sing a happy tune. Even after…” He slid into the bed next to me, his hand automatically reaching out for Faith and I gently shifted her small body onto his chest.

“Technically, Sassenach yer war hasna happened yet. So it’s before,” he smiled softly and I turned onto my side and laid a hand on top of his where it rested on Faith’s back.

“Any requests?” I laughed.

“Och, I only know a few hymns and Scottish war songs,” he raised his eyebrows, “ye better choose one from yer own time. It’ll sound much better coming out of that sweet mouth of yers.”

I racked my brain for songs from my time, love songs. It had been so long since I had listened to music for the pure enjoyment of it. Even longer since I had heard the music of the 1940’s.

“I’ve got one!” I smiled and turned my head up to look at him. My voice was nothing special but it wasn’t terrible.

“Have I told you lately that I love you

Could I tell you once again somehow

Have I told with all my heart and soul how I adore you

Well darlin' I'm telling you now.”

Jamie’s eyes were shiny with tears as he listened to me sing and it took all my strength for my voice not to waver.

"Have I told you lately how I miss you

When the stars are shining in the sky

Have I told you why the nights are long 

When you're not with me

Well darlin' I'm telling you now.”

He looked at me for a long moment before bringing my hand up to his mouth and placing a kiss against my open palm.

“That was beautiful, Sassenach.” I moved closer to him and Faith, and slid one leg on top of his, anything to be close to the two most important people in my life. “And yer voice is verra nice… soothing.” He grinned.

“I don’t know if I would say ‘soothing’, maybe boring.” I laughed, tucking my head on his chest. Faith was breathing gently next to my face and I watched as she smiled in her sleep, just like her father.

________

The next few days were filled with an underlying sense of worry. Jack Randall hadn’t shown up nor had we heard any news of his whereabouts but that wasn’t stoping Jamie or I from taking every precaution with Faith.

Murtagh had been so helpful, watching her when I needed to sleep or Jamie was out with Jared, receiving a new shipment of casks. What I wanted most was to go back home, to Lallybroch and put Jack Randall behind us. But I knew that Jamie would never really rest… never feel safe until he knew that Randall was dead and this time for good.

I glanced back at Faith sleeping sound in her cot and thought it safe to leave her on her own for a few minutes. Walking down the stairs and into the foyer, I greeted our guest, Annalise de Marillac. When Jamie had introduced us at Versailles, I would be lying if I said I wasn’t jealous — she was gorgeous and the thought of Jamie having any feelings for her made my heart twist. But she was lovely and had become a good friend during our time in Paris and it was easy enough to put aside my jealous feelings when Jamie was coming to my bed every night and not hers.

“Annalise!” I kissed her on both cheeks, “What brings you here?”

She held my hand in her smaller one, “Oh, I was just passing by and I realized that I have not seen petite Faith in so long! May I see her?” She smiled.

Faith had been sleeping but it shouldn’t be a problem for Annalise to see her, besides, Faith adored Annalise. “Of course,” smiling I wrapped her arm in mine and started back up the stairs. “She might be asleep but no bother.”

As we climbed the stairs however, I had a gut wrenching feeling that I hoped was wrong. I pushed the door to our room open and found my worst nightmare. Faith wasn’t in her cot.

______

“Claire!” Jamie shouted and I heard his footsteps running up the stairs.

“Oh, I am so glad you are here, Jamie,” Annalise met him in the hallway and brought him to me. I was still lying on the floor of our bedroom, tears streaming down my face — paralyzed.

“Where’s my baby,” I whispered. “Where’s my baby, Jamie?”

“Shh, mo nighean donn, we’ll find her, she canna have gone far.” He bent down and pulled me into his chest, stroking my hair softly to sooth me.

“I came as soon as I could, Sassenach. Murtagh came to the port, screaming about Faith missing and I ran as fast as I could…” he kissed the top of my head. “I dinna want to leave ye, Claire.” I pulled back to look at him, “But I must go and find that bastard Randall.”

“Are you going to kill him, Jamie?” My voice came out strangled, weak.

“Aye, I ken it’s illegal to duel in France but I dinna care, I’ll kill him with my bare hands if I have to.” Jamie stood to his feet and pulled me up with him.

“I’m going with you, if he’s out there with Faith, I —“ fresh tears spilled down my cheeks and I fell against Jamie. “I have to go with you, I need my baby!”

“Sassenach, Christ,” Jamie’s voice trembled and he wrapped his arms tight around my waist, “Aye, you’ll come wi’ me then.”

Jamie picked me up and carried me down the stairs and outside where Murtagh was waiting with a carriage, ready to take us wherever the hell we were going.

“I dinna ken where the bastard could be but I have a good idea.” Jamie told the driver where to go and he helped me into the carriage.

“We will find her, Jamie… won’t we?” I stared into his blue eyes, begging God to bring our baby back to us.

“Of course we will, Sassenach. She’s ours… she belongs to us.” Jamie hit the roof of the carriage with his fist and we started rolling down the hill.

“Where are we going? Where would he take Faith?” I asked, my mind still reeling with panic.

“Maison Elise…” pressing his lips together, Jamie reached for my hand. “’Tis a brothel -“

“A brothel?! Why the bloody hell would he take her to a brothel?” I stared blankly back at him, surely he’d lost his mind.

“I didna tell ye before… but I heard word that Jack Randall was a customer at Maison Elise, ’tis the only place I ken he would go. Perhaps he doesna ken that I know.” Jamie squeezed my hand tightly as we raced down the streets of Paris.

“A brothel…” I repeated softly, “Christ.”

“I ken he may no’ be there but I — I don’t know what else to do, Sassenach. Where to look…” I met Jamie’s eyes and saw fear mixed with tears and I leaned forward and pressed my hand against his cheek.

“Don’t you dare think this is your fault, Jamie. You didn’t lose her, I didn’t. Black Jack stole her from us and I’ll kill him myself when we find him.” I placed a fierce kiss to his lips and held my breath for the rest of the ride to Maison Elise where I prayed we would find them both.

_______

Before the carriage had even come to a complete stop, Jamie was opening the door and had one foot out. He helped me out and then we were off, both racing to the entrance of the brothel. Of all the places that I thought Black Jack would take our daughter… a brothel was certainly last on the list.

A woman greeted us at the door, giving me a curious look — I’m sure husbands didn’t frequent this establishment with their wives.

“Have you seen a man here today, he would have had a child?” Jamie asked the woman but she only frowned and started speaking French. He spoke to the woman in French but she only shrugged and replied that she had be busy all morning. Jesus H. Roosevelt Christ.

“He’s not here, Jamie. Why would he bring a baby here?” I pulled on Jamie’s arm to get him to turn and leave and I heard a small very French voice from the corner of the room.

“A bebe?” A small boy said and appeared almost out of nowhere. “I have seen a baby here, just this morning,” he spoke to us and I stared at Jamie. It had to be Faith.

“Where? Can you take us to the baby?” Jamie asked the small boy and he nodded and made a ‘follow me’ motion. He led us through the brothel and I had to keep my eyes focused on what was in front of me and not on the… activities around me.

Jamie found my hand and squeezed it as we ran quickly up the stairs behind the young boy.

“I saw a man with a baby and he went into this room, I don’t know if he is still there, however.” The boy said and pointed to the room.

“Thank you -“ I said.

“Fergus,” he bowed and smiled, “It is my pleasure to assist you Madame.”

“Yes, thank you Fergus.” I placed my hand on his cheek and then turned to Jamie and gave a slight nod of my head and he turned the handle of the door and walked in.

What I saw before me, nearly brought me to my knees. Jack Randall stood in the middle of the room, cradling Faith in his his arms, my stomach nearly heaved at the sight of my baby touching him.

“You fucking bastard!” I shouted and raced forward, arms outstretched to take back my baby.

Chapter Text

Jack Randall stood in the middle of the room, cradling Faith in his his arms, my stomach nearly heaved at the sight of my baby touching him.

“You fucking bastard!” I shouted and raced forward, arms outstretched to take back my baby. He was faster however and dodged my attempt to grab Faith. Randall edged around the bed and held a squirming Faith to his chest.

“Madame, that is no way to speak in the presence of children, you have a foul mouth on you.” He sneered and looked over at Jamie who was trembling with anger in the doorway, “You best learn to control your wife, James.”

“Dinna say my name!” Jamie snapped back and moved forward into the room, followed by the young boy, Fergus. “Give me Faith and we’ll let ye leave, no harm will be done to ye.”

I took a step towards him and he jumped back, hitting his shoulder against the wall which jostled Faith. She started crying and the sound of her distress only made me that much angrier. He had my baby and I would be damned if I wouldn’t get her back.

“Give me my baby,” I said and reached out my hands. “Please,” I begged.

“I shall not do that, Mrs… Fraser.” Randall looked me up and down, “You see, your child is the only leverage I have to get what I really want. Why would I give her up?”

“What do ye want, Randall? Money?” Jamie asked. Faith squirmed in Randall’s arms and I saw her looking back at Jamie and me, confused as to what was going on.

“I don’t want your money, Fraser. I thought you would’ve known what I really wanted,” he laughed and held Jamie’s stare. I think I understood what he meant a second or two before Jamie… Randall wanted him — he wanted Jamie.

“Ye sick bastard! Ye would trade my child for my body? Is that it?” Jamie huffed and moved to stand closer to me.

“Why… yes, of course.” Randall sneered, “Of course I would also like to see you killed for what you did to me, dreadful business hanging is.”

“But you weren’t hanged, you escaped.” Out of the corner of my eye I saw the young boy move silently behind Jamie. I wasn’t positive, but I thought I saw Jamie slip Fergus his dirk.

“Indeed. I was not hanged. But I’ve been on the run ever since… and that’s not the kind of life I want.” Randall knew he was backed into a corner with nowhere to run.

Jamie looked over at me and I knew what he was going to say… and it nearly broke my heart in pieces. “If ye want me…” he stumbled over the words, “for the safety of my daughter. Then ye shall have me.” Grimacing, Jamie met Randall’s eye and I saw an odd look glaring back.

“My God!” He suddenly smiled, “I didn’t know it would be that easy, I thought you would at least put up a bit of a fight. I have to say, James, I am a bit disappointed.”

“Will you give me back my baby!” I shouted, I was over discussing trading my husband’s body for our baby. Something had to be done, and I was hoping Jamie had a plan. I knew, as well as Randall did, that Jamie wouldn’t offer himself up that easily.

“Yes, Madame. But how will I know once I give you your child, that you both won’t flee before I get what I want?”

“Ye have my word, Randall… I shall do what ye ask. No questions.” Jamie looked over at me and I nodded. I didn’t know if I had just given him my approval or conveyed that I trusted him no matter what his plan was. It didn’t matter.

“I know you take your word very seriously,” Randall took a step forward and held Faith away from his chest. It was but half a second later that I grabbed Fatih into my arms and held her to my chest. She was still crying but eased the moment I had her back. I ran my hand gently down her back and over the curve of her small head.

“Shhh, baby. Mama’s got you.” Kissing the top of her forehead, I felt tears spring from my eyes at the sheer relief of holding my child in my arms once again.

“Well… shall we get started, James.” Randall smiled and I wanted to vomit right then and there. I prayed Jamie had some sort of plan.

“Aye, first I’ll see my wife and child safely out of the room if ye dinna mind.” Jamie wrapped his arm around my waist and led us to the doorway. Fergus followed behind and when I turned back to look into the room, I saw the Randall had moved out of his corner and was now in the middle of the room.

“Jamie…” I whispered but he only shook his head and the moment I crossed the threshold, he turned back quickly to face Randall.

“Now, Fergus!” Jamie shouted and I watched the scene unfold before me almost in slow motion. As if what I was seeing before me was a scene from a film and not my real life.

Fergus did in fact have Jamie’s dirk hidden behind his back and at Jamie’s command he rushed forward towards Randall and shoved the dirk into the man’s side. Randall gasped and his hands immediately went to the wound. Jamie grabbed Fergus by the shoulders and pulled him away from Randall. He looked down at the dirk still sticking out of Randall’s body and then back up to his face. I saw a thought flicker in his eyes before he grabbed the dirk and twisted it further into Randall’s body.

“Jamie,” I held Faith close and turned her head so she wouldn’t see what was happening. I knew this was something he needed to do — kill his demons but at the price of what… his soul?

Randall wasn’t the first man Jamie had killed and her certainly wouldn’t be the last but we were also in Paris… and if someone were to see what was happening in this room then Jamie would be sent to prison or worse… hanged.

“Jamie!” I shouted and he snapped back to attention and looked over at me and released Randall from his grasp.

“Ye sick bastard,” Jamie spat in his face and then grabbed Fergus by the arm and walked him out of the room to join me in the hallway. I heard the strangled groans of Randall and took one last look at him laying on the bed with blood pouring out of him.

“Are you sure he’ll die this time?” I asked Jamie.

“Aye, he’s lost a lot of blood and he’ll keep doin’ so. No one will come to help him… not here.” He looked around and I then realized that in fact there was no one in the hallway or main room as it was still too early in the morning for this kind of establishment to be entertaining… guests.

“We need to get out of here,” I cradled Faith closer to me and she tangled one of her hands in to my hair.

“Aye and we’ll take the lad wi’ us.” Jamie grabbed the back of Fergus’ shirt as he had started to walk away from us. “It isna safe for ye here. Ye’ll come back wi’ us and we can decide what’s next from there.”

“Oui, I’ll follow you.” The young boy bowed and I couldn’t help but smile at his need to please.

“Let’s go… now, please!” I whisper-shouted and made for the exit.

Once we were back in the carriage and headed home, Jamie sighed and then looked at Fergus. “What were ye thinkin’ plunging that dirk into Randall?”

Fergus appeared shocked at this question and well, so was I.

“Monsieur, I thought you wanted me to. That is why you gave me your sword is it not?”

“I gave ye my dirk so Randall would be more willin’ to cooperate, seein’ as how I was unarmed.” He smirked.

“But then you shouted ‘Now, Fergus.’,” I said and Jamie met my eye.

“Aye, but I meant for Fergus to toss me my dirk so I could stick Randall wi’ it.” He laughed, “But I suppose there wasna an easy way to communicate that. Ye did braw lad.” Jamie put his hand on the boys knee and gave it a rough pat.

We rolled home minutes later and Magnus and the rest of the household was there to greet us. It felt almost as if everything was normal. But everything was far from normal. We had left earlier this morning in search of our child and had returned having killed a man, saving our baby and bringing back a young boy who we barely knew. No one asked any questions however, although I’m sure they would be gossiping the minute we were tucked safely away in our bedroom.

“Fergus, go wi’ Suzette and she’ll get ye somethin’ to eat.” Jamie motioned over towards Suzette and then took my free hand, leading us up the stairs to our bedroom. Once the door was shut, I let out a deep breath and my composure fell apart. Jamie was quick to take Faith out of my trembling arms and hugged me closely to his chest.

“My God… was all of that real?” I said.

“Aye, it was, Sassenach. I can scarcely believe it myself.” He kissed the top of my head and I pulled back slightly so we wouldn’t crush Faith who was surprisingly yawning. Jamie laughed quietly and walked across the room, laying her in the middle of our bed. We would be sleeping with her for awhile I presumed, unable to take her out of our sight… like I should have done all along.

“I can’t help but think… if I had just been watching her. If I hadn’t gone downstairs-“

“Hush, mo nighean donn,” Jamie wrapped his arms around me. “None of it is yer fault, if anyone’s to blame, it’s that damn Randall.”

“Jamie, you really shouldn’t speak like that… about you know… a dead person.” I looked up at him and he blushed.

“Sorry, Sassenach. I ken yer partial to savin’ lives and all but can ye forgive me this one?”

It was at that moment that I remembered that Jack Randall was a direct ancestor of Frank. “Jesus H. Roosevelt Christ…” I whispered and nearly stumbled but Jamie caught me and lead me over to the settee.

“What’s the matter, Claire?” Jamie searched my face.

“Frank.” I managed to squeak out.

“What about him?”

“If Black Jack is dead… and he didn’t have any children, then Frank won’t exist.” I stammered and looked up at Jamie who gripped my hand in his.

“Sassenach, do ye still have his ring?” Jamie asked. I had taken it off just before we had been married and hadn’t put it back on my hand. I did however, always take it with me whenever we traveled. I rose from the settee and went to the dresser near the bed and grabbed a small bag of bits and pieces. It jingled as I began to search for the gold ring and finally my fingers settled on it and I pulled it out.

“Here it is,” I sighed and walked back over to Jamie.

“The ring is still there… I dinna admit to understandin’ everythin’ about how the stones work but I dinna think that ring that Frank gave ye in the future would still be here if he was to never be born.” Jamie said.

I glanced down at the gold ring in my hand and touched the cool object. It had once meant so much to me and now it was no more than just another piece of jewelry. I did still cherish the memories I shared with Frank and at times I did think of him and miss him. But it was the man who sat before me now that had my whole heart, the man whose ring I wore today.

“Then that means that Black Jack wasn’t Frank’s ancestor… which leaves his brother, Alexander.” I tried to remember an image of Frank’s family tree but drew a blank.

“Aye, it must be the other Randall that is related to yer Frank.” Jamie placed his hand under my chin and turned my head up to look at him. “Should we discuss the lad?”

“Fergus?” I smiled, “What a very Scottish name for a French boy,” I laughed.

“I wonder how he came to be called it,” Jamie smirked. “I’ll ask him tomorrow. He canna verra well go back to Maison Elise. ’Tis no’ safe for him there anymore.”

“He’s a very brave young man. Perhaps we can keep him here until things settle down… if they ever do.” Jamie rose to his feet and pulled me up to stand. We walked over to the bed and lay down on either side of Faith, both not caring that we were still fully dressed or what time of day it was.

“We’ll wait for news of Randall’s death, there isna much they can connect his death to us wi’,” Jamie said and reached for my hand and I laid it, joined with his, over Faith’s small back.

“We’ll wait then.” I repeated and looked into Jamie’s blue eyes.

“For now, let us lie and be safe.” He smiled and we both looked down at our beautiful daughter, smiling gently as she slept. Family was the most important thing, and I knew from that day forward that I would do whatever it cost to protect them.

Chapter Text

The next few days were spent in fearful anticipation. No news of Jack Randall’s death had reached our doorstep, and I wasn’t entirely sure if that was a good or bad thing. On one hand, if Jamie was suspected in murdering Randall, I’m sure the gendarme would have already taken him away to the bastille.

But Jamie was lying in bed next to me, bouncing Faith on his chest, and I laughed when she giggled and placed both small chubby hands on Jamie’s cheeks.

“That’s Daddy, darling.” I poked her nose, “Can you say Dada?”

“She’ll call me Da, none of this dada business,” Jamie smiled and lifted Faith into the air and then brought her stomach to his mouth and blew raspberries against it. She burst into a fit of giggles and kicked out her legs.

“What do ye say my wee lass, can ye say Da?” Jamie asked Faith and we both stared at her intently. She had been babbling nonsense the past few months and I knew it should be anytime that she should start talking as she was almost one.

“Da?” Jamie repeated again, but Faith only gave him a blank look in return.

“Och, ye’ll say it in yer own time, lass.” Kissing her on the chubbiest of cheeks, Jamie sat up a little straighter in the bed and let Faith crawl over the covers.

“Do you think it’s good that we haven’t heard any news about Black Jack?” I asked, reaching for his left hand and massaging the spot between thumb and forefinger.

“I dinna ken, perhaps today I’ll ask wee Fergus to see what he can find out. I don’t think it’s safe for me to show my face at Maison Elise.”

“Nor do I want you going back to that… establishment.” I sighed and he smirked at my comment.

“Aye, I willna go back, Sassenach. Not when I have you lying in my bed, with that round arse of yours.” Jamie’s hand slipped from mine and moved across to my bum, giving it a firm squeeze. I felt a bid strange with Faith at the end of the bed, but kissed Jamie anyways.

“Good, because I want my husband here with me.” I kissed him, letting my tongue explore the warmth of his mouth.

“Maybe Murtagh can take Faith for a wee bit…” Jamie glanced at Faith near our feet who was happily clapping her hands together and looking at the ceiling.

“Mmmm, that sounds like a fantastic idea.” I replied and Jamie was out of the bed quicker than I could blink, picking up Faith and taking her towards the door. When Jamie wanted something he really put his mind to it. I heard him call for Murtagh in the hall and only a minute later, Jamie returned alone.

“Murtagh is goin’ to take her to play with the horses, she’s quite fond of them.” He smiled and crawled back into bed next to me.

“She gets that from her father,” sighing, I wrapped one arm around his neck and pulled him nearly on top of me. It had been awhile since we’d made love and now that we were finally alone, I was aching for it.

“You know…” I licked his bottom lip slowly, “if we were to make another baby, I would be quite happy with that.”

Jamie’s lips stiffened against mine and he leaned up on his hands. “Ye want another bairn?”

“Yes, I do. Everything with Faith that’s happened, I realized I want to keep growing our family, and frankly as soon as possible.” I smiled up nervously at him. “It’s not like I have an easy way to stop myself from getting pregnant in any case, but I thought I would let you know that I would be okay with it.”

A slow grin appeared on his face, and he bent his head down to me, kissing me deeply, letting one hand slide down the length of my stomach before resting over my belly. “God, give us a child,” he said quietly, as if we were the only two people in the world. “Let this child be loved and made whole in yer image.” I felt tears sting in my eyes as Jamie then moved down my body, lifted my shift and placed a tender kiss to my belly.

“Oh, Jamie.” I placed my hand on his cheek, watching him smile and then something switched in him. He lifted my shift over my head and stretched himself out on top of me, bringing his mouth to my breast. First he licked a slow trail around my nipple before taking it into his mouth, hollowing his cheeks as he sucked. Jamie was always aroused at the idea of making a baby together.

I cradled his head to my chest and watched his tongue flick against my right nipple before licking over to my left and taking the peak into his mouth. He wanted it slow, I could tell by the way he took his time.

I flexed my hips up, but he placed a firm hand against me and held me steady to the bed. If he wouldn’t have me yet, the least he could do was take off his shirt. Reaching forward, he made a Scottish noise of complaint as his mouth detached from my breasts but complied when I tugged at his nightshirt. Looking between his legs, I saw he was more than ready, so I reached out to touch his cock, but again he stopped me.

“Jamie, please,” I begged and he laughed as he grabbed both of my hands and held them above my head on the pillow.

“Not yet, Sassenach. I want to love on ye first,” Jamie kissed my mouth before moving back to his original comfortable position on my breasts. With every flick of his tongue, I grew more and more impatient and also more aroused. My legs were squirming underneath him, trying to get any kind of friction that I could.

He chuckled against me, sending a delicious vibration throughout my body. With a ‘pop’, Jamie released my breast from his mouth, and finally kissed me, invading my mouth with his tongue. I arched my back off the bed, and he slid a hand underneath me. Jamie’s arms were so long that he could wrap it around my body and nearly touch my breast on the other side. His grip was firm, as he held me to him. His right hand slid down my stomach and finally rested in between us. I wiggled my hips again and this time I was satisfied when I felt him press against me, only the tip of his cock sliding over my slit.

“Jamie, Christ…” I nearly growled, and he laughed that damn laugh before finally spreading my legs and sliding home.

I cried out as he filled me, almost coming from the feel of his cock inside of me. At the idea of making another baby, I felt my cheeks blush hot and tears fill my eyes. Jamie stilled above me, leaning down to kiss a stray tear.

“What’s wrong, mo nighean?”

I shook my head slowly, “The last time we conceived, it was by accident. We weren’t yet married, but this time…” I wrapped one leg tightly around his waist. “I love you, Jamie. So much that it hurts me to be separated from you.”

“Shhh, mo cridhe. We willna ever be apart.” He kissed me slowly, and then reared back before sliding fully into me. With every thrust, a promise was made. A hope of our future was sealed as we came together again and again.

Jamie loved me with his mouth, with his hands, with his cock. I held onto him fiercely, willing my body to take him and create life. This man was my heart, my whole world. In the end, we grew hungry and our limbs intertwined in a sweaty mess as he moved himself against my body.

Moments after spilling his seed into me, I held him cradled to my chest, softly stroking the wet hairs at the nape of his neck.

“What should we do now?” I asked and he took a deep breath.

“Well, if ye give me a minute, Sassenach, I should be able to serve ye again.” Jamie leaned his head up and planted a kiss against the top of my breast.

Laughing, I squeezed his neck gently, “No… I meant what do we do now, in Paris. Do we stay?”

He pursed his lips, “Och, I dinna ken. Once we find out news of Randall then we can decide. There isna much for us here, besides me helping Jared with his business.”

“I do love my work at l’hopital, but I do miss Lallybroch, and Jenny and Ian. And Faith’s birthday is in five weeks, it would be nice to spend it with family.”

“It sounds like ’tis decided then, Sassenach.” Jamie smiled and traced his finger along my belly button. “We’ll sail home as soon as I find a way for us.”

“I very much like the sound of that, my love.” Just as I kissed him, I heard a wail from outside our door, and Jamie sighed. He threw on his shirt, and walked to the door, retrieving a crying Faith from an anxious Murtagh.

“Aw, munchkin, what’s the matter,” I cooed and held out my arms as Jamie sat back down in the bed. “Did the horsey scare you?”

Jamie smoothed her little bit of hair back against her forehead and Faith made a noise that sounded an awful lot like ‘Da’.

“What did ye say, lass?” Jamie looked at Faith, holding one of her tiny hands in his.

Faith looked back and forth between us, before opening her mouth wide, looking Jamie straight in the face and shouting “Da!”

Jamie’s face lit up and he hugged Faith tightly to him as she began a chorus of ‘Da’s’, which sent Jamie into a sniveling mess of tears and snot. It was quite a sight to see a big scot reduced to tears at his child saying ‘Da’ for the first time. This interaction also brought me to tears, which I quickly dried on the bedsheets because I didn’t want Faith to think anything was wrong.

“That’s very good, darling.” I smiled and rubbed my hand over her back.

“Now ye just need to say ‘Mam’, and it’ll even better,” Jamie encouraged her.

A second later, Faith looked at me, and said “Ma!”, which brought me to tears yet again.

“Our lass is a genius!” Jamie smiled and lifted her into the air, tossing her gently from side to side.

“Two words in one day, I think she can’t be stopped now,” Smiling, I watched my family laugh and instinctively my hand went to my belly. Jamie and I could have just made another child, a sibling for Faith.

++++++

Two days we learned the fate of Black Jack Randall. We already knew he was dead… of course, but Fergus learned after sneaking around the streets of Paris that everyone knew of Randall’s death, and that it was self defense from one of the whores at Maison Elise. It’s apparently well known that if a solider or man threatens a woman at Maison Elise, his lifespan is shortened considerably.

I felt guilty that people assumed it was one of the women at the brothel, but at the same time, that meant no one would coming looking for us.

Jamie was relieved, the evidence was obvious in his attitude and general air of being. He promised to arrange passage back to Scotland as quickly as he could. We had spent a short time in Paris, and it was a welcome break from the craziness of our life before. A chance to be separated from everyone and everything and just be together. But I was looking forward to going back home, especially at the thought of being pregnant again. I wanted my family around me once again, all of them.

 

 

Chapter Text

One month later - November 1744

Our arrival back at Lallybroch was a momentous one, with introductions to our newly acquired French boy, Fergus and preparations for Faith’s first birthday.

“Where’d ye get a Scottish name like Fergus, lad?” Jenny asked, already taking him under her wing.

“There was a Scottish man that came to Maison Elise, and he called me by that name. The women there thought it was funny,” he shrugged. “So it stuck.”

Jenny laughed, pulling him in close for a hug. I saw Fergus flinch at first but smile as he was embraced. Chances are, he had never properly been hugged before in his life. There was really never a question of whether or not Fergus would come with us back to Scotland, Jamie said he would be a big help to Lallybroch.

Jamie and Murtagh took care of our bags, while I went inside the house with Faith.

“I’ll just go see to the horses then we can tell them,” Jamie kissed me.

“Sounds good,” I smiled against his lips.

Faith squirmed in my arms the moment I walked inside, so I let her down. She was walking, on wobbly legs but walking nonetheless. In the 18th century, there wasn’t a lot to be done in the way of safety precautions for children, so it would be up to my watchful eye to make sure she didn’t get into trouble.

“So Claire, ye said somethin’ happened while ye were in Paris, but ye didna say what…” Ian said, taking a seat in one of the chairs of the living room.

“I should really wait for Jamie to explain, it was rather… traumatic to say the least.” I sighed.

“You have not told them about the Englishman?” Fergus said and Jenny and Ian’s heads whipped around so fast I thought their necks would snap.

“What Englishman?” Jenny and Ian said at the same time.

Just then, Jamie walked in and I looked at him with wide eyes. “They want to know about our time in Paris.”

“Aye,” Jamie took a deep breath and bent down to grab Faith as she stumbled over to the fireplace. “Black Jack Randall was alive…”

“Was alive?” Ian asked, “I dinna understand man, he was hanged was he no?”

“That’s what we thought,” Jamie said. I settled back into the chair, watching as Fergus looked around the room, taking in everything. It occurred to me then that he probably never had a real home either.

“Randall was alive, escaped from Fort William. He fled to Paris where he hid for months.”

“It was the Duke of Sandringham who told me of his presence in Paris,” I said. “I met his brother, Alex. And from then…”

“All hell broke loose,” Jamie said, running one hand back through his hair. “Randall got into the house one day and stole Faith.”

“Christ!” Jenny said. “That bastard.”

“We followed him to a brothel-“ Jamie said.

“That’s where they found me!” Fergus smiled.

“Maison Elise… is a brothel?” Jenny asked and cuffed Fergus lovingly behind the ear.

Jamie continued, smirking. “And the lad told us where the Englishman was. That’s where we found him, holding Faith.”

“Did ye kill him, Jamie?” Ian asked.

Jamie nodded, “Aye, I did.” I saw him glance over at Fergus quickly.

“Is that why ye came back? Because yer on the run again?” Jenny asked.

“No. His death was ruled an accident… self defense by one of the whores are the establishment.” Jamie sighed.

“Quite an exciting time ye had.” Ian smiled. “’Tis no what ye expected I’m sure but I’m glad to have ye back.”

“We can rest easy,” Jamie held out his hand to me and I rose and stood beside him and Faith, “knowin’ that Randall is really dead and that our family is safe.”

“Speaking of family…” I said, and Jamie nodded. “We have some news.”

“Yer pregnant,” Jenny blurted out.

“How’d you know?” My hands dropped over my small belly. “I’m barely a few weeks along. It’s so soon.”

“I can tell a pregnant woman when I see her, Claire.” Jenny smirked and then crossed the room, enveloping me in a hug. “It’ll be nice to have another bairn around here.”

“Cause we dinna have enough of our own!” Ian laughed.

“I suppose ye’ll want to rest a bit, aye?” Jenny released me. “I’ll show the wee laddie to his room.”

“I get my own room?” Fergus asked and his eyes lit up.

“Yes, you live here wi’ us now.” Jenny wrapped her arm around his shoulder and led him upstairs.

“Goodnight milord! Goodnight milady!” Fergus shouted back to us.

“Time to sleep, Sassenach.” Jamie kissed my knuckles. He stood to his feet, shifting Faith on his hip.

“Sweep,” Faith echoed, patting Jamie’s cheek softly.

“Aye, sweep.” Kissing her on the forehead, Jamie slid his fingers through mine and led us up to our room.

++++++

“Jamie, what are we going to do now?” I said one early morning, still laying in bed next to him.

“Och, I’ve been thinkin’ that myself. And I havena forgot what ye said about Culloden and the fate of the highlanders…” Jamie sighed, tapping his fingers on his chest.

“You promised not to get involved,” I said.

“Aye, and I won’t, Sassenach. But we need to prepare for what’s to come. Ye said redcoats would crawl across the land, in search of supporters. If it happens as ye say it will… we may still no be safe.” Jamie said, grabbing my hand.

“I know that.” I said softly, “Even though we won’t be supporting Prince Charlie’s cause… the redcoats will be ruthless. Taking food from families, locking people up for no other reason than simply being a scot.”

“I dinna like the idea of bein’ on a boat again,” Jamie ran his fingers across my belly, “but I want to protect our family. There’s the colonies, Claire…” He met my eyes and I shivered. The thought of making the trip to America had crossed my mind a few times.

I wasn’t too familiar with the history of America, but I knew that the American Revolution was on the horizon. We would be leaving one battle and going into another.

“But Lallybroch -“

“Will always be our home, and I dinna think we would be leavin’ any time soon. Ye said 1746 is when it will happen, aye?” He said with anxious eyes.

“Yes, but that’s just the last battle on Culloden. There will be months of fighting before then.”

“Will ye at least think about it, Claire? I dinna want to leave Jenny and Ian and their bairns, no when I’m finally free in Scotland.” Jamie kissed me gently.

“I’ll keep an open mind about it, I promise.” I smiled, kissing him back.

Jamie then rolled out of bed, “Now… enough of talk about that. I’ve somethin’ to show ye, mo nighean donn, and it requires ye gettin’ out of bed and gettin’ dressed.”

“Are you taking me somewhere?” I asked.

“Aye, a wee cave up the hill that I used to play in as a lad,” he winked one of those owlish winks and I rose from the bed laughing.

++++++

“How much further?” I huffed, hiking up my skirts as I followed Jamie to the cave.

He was of course not out of breath, being the mountain man that he was. “Och, tis only a little bit away.”

“You said that ten minutes ago,” I took a deep breath. “Are you lost?”

“I could never be lost in these woods, I know them like the back of my hand,” He smiled back to me and stopped, waiting for me to catch up. “Besides… we’re here.”

Jamie turned to look at more trees, apparently seeing something that I wasn’t. “There’s nothing there but more green, Jamie.”

“Ye have to get really close, Sassenach.” Jamie grinned and walked forward, until all of a sudden, he disappeared before my very eyes.

“Jamie? Where did you go?” I said, taking a step closer. His hand sprang through a waterfall of leaves and I nearly fell over from jumping backwards. “Jesus H. Roosevelt Christ.” Taking his proffered hand, I let him lead me into a small dark cave.

“I can’t see a bloody thing, Jamie. Some cave,” I huffed.

“Aye, I should have brought a wee candle, but dinna fash. I didna really bring ye here to show ye the cave.” He said, wrapping his arms around my waist.

“Well then, I guess we’ll be relying on touch.” I somehow found his mouth and kissed him slowly and deeply.

“Jenny is watchin’ Faith,” I felt him smile against my mouth, “I needed alone time wi’ my pregnant wife.”

“Mmmm a very good idea,” I kissed him and then let my head fall back as he kissed down my neck. Our senses took over, as our hands explored each other in the dark, pulling at unwanted clothes, desperate.

His skin was hot against mine, and Jamie brought me to my knees. “I’ll try and lay my plaid down for ye, Sassenach. I didna really think this through,” he laughed.

“You weren’t thinking at all, you just wanted me naked and underneath you,” I laughed, and he grabbed my waist, gently laying me down on the ground of the cave.

“I often think of ye that way, mo ghraidh,” Jamie kissed me, his hands moved in between my legs and I arched my back off the cold damp ground. He was slow at first, as he guided his cock in between my wet slit. When I wasn’t touching him, I ached for it and even when I was, I only wanted him more.

For some reason as Jamie began to thrust against me, I thought of Frank — how he had never truly loved me in the way that I craved. But all thoughts of my first husband were pushed out of my mind as I felt Jamie’s lips on my nipples, nibbling and sucking.

“Jamie,” I sighed, pulling at his hair and meeting his hips with my own. It was rather thrilling, to be making love in complete darkness.

After another hour of laying in the dark, and just holding onto each other, Jamie’s stomach made a sound of protest and we crawled out of the cave and back into the light.

“Och, ye have a wee bit of dirt on yer neck, Sassenach.” Jamie smiled and brushed it off with the pad of his thumb.

“That’s your doing,” I kissed him.

“Aye, and I willna be sorry for it.” Jamie slid his arm around my waist and we started walking down the hill.

“This is a very good home, isn’t it?” I observed.

Jamie grinned, “Aye, tis a bonny place. But ye ken that home for me is wherever ye and the bairns are. Wi’out all of ye by my side, I am lost.”

“You’re our home too, Jamie.” I leaned my head on his shoulder, and looked out at the vast green land.

Chapter Text

Scotland - 2 years later - December 1746

We would be having a harsh winter by the looks of it, the snow was already sticking to the ground and it was mid-November. I had been wary of Jamie taking the kids out to play in the snow, only because I didn’t want them to catch a cold, but as I stood on the front steps of Lallybroch, I couldn’t help but smile.

Faith’s red hair was flying all around her as she chased after Jamie, trying to hit him with a decent sized snowball for a three year old. Jamie was trying his best to run slow so that she could catch him, and I laughed as he “fell over”, landing on the fresh snow. I crossed my arms, shivering slightly as the wind blew.

William was struggling to even stand up amidst all the slippery wet snow, only just having learned to walk properly on solid ground a couple months ago. Wrapping my shawl around me, I braved the cold and went to help my son stand up.

“Hi Mam, are you goin’ to play wi’ us now?” Faith said, pausing in mid throw.

“First I’m going to help your wee brother stand up, so then we can all play.” I smiled, picking up William’s still chubby little arms and bringing him to his feet. I had attempted to wrap them both in as many possible layers to keep the cold out, but there just wasn’t anything like the marshmallow snow suits here in this century.

“Sassenach, yer nose is quite r-red.” Jamie laughed from his position on the ground.

“Aye, my lad. A regular Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer!” I poked my nose, making both Faith and William giggle.

“Rudolph? That’s the deer that could fly, aye?”

“That’s right. He flew Santa’s sleigh on Christmas Eve, helping deliver all those presents to the good boys and girls,” I said and I had captured Faith’s attention.

Over a long talk with Jamie two years ago, I had told him all about Santa and the traditions of a modern Christmas.

“A big fat man comes down a chimney and puts presents under a tree? Now… why would he do such a foolish thing, Sassenach? All the trees are outside,” Jamie squinted his eyes, trying to imagine what I was explaining.

“Well, that’s the other thing. There’s a tree that comes inside for Christmas, and you decorate it with lights and baubles, and even popcorn and cranberries!”

“This is somethin’ ye did as a wee lass?” He smiled, stroking my small bump.

“Well, not exactly,” I sighed, “When my parents died and I traveled with Uncle Lamb, we celebrated Christmas of course, but not with a tree or really any presents.”

“’Twas hard while ye were travelin’?” He asked.

“Yes, it was. Most of the time, I never really knew what day it was. And I preferred it that way actually,” I smiled, remembering the time I had spent with Lamb. “It was always an adventure of sorts.”

“I like hearin’ about yer time before, Sassenach. I learn somethin’ new about ye.” Jamie kissed me softly. “Ye ken though that Christmas isna a big day for Scots… it’s Hogmanay, the first of the new year.”

“Oh yes,” I rolled my eyes. “I am well aware of how Scots like to celebrate on Hogmanay.”

“Ye’ve only had one Hogmanay, mo nighean donn, and that was a wee bit rowdy… even I can admit that!” Jamie laughed.

“I still don’t think I’ve seen Jenny as drunk as she was since that night,” I joined in his laughter, “She’s always so… controlled.”

“Aye, she is, but Hogmanay is Jenny’s favorite time of the year. We always had such big parties here and invited all the tenants of course.” Jamie said, rolling in to his storyteller bravado.

“There was always singin’ and dancin’,” he turned to face me, “as ye recall, Sassenach. And lots of good food and drink to be sure. It’s one of the few nights when everythin’ feels as it should be. And I suppose Jenny was happy last Hogmanay because it was the first year in awhile that I was home.” He smiled wistfully, “And I had my bride and my bairn too.”

“Oh Jamie,” I kissed him. “I don’t want to leave for the colonies.”

“That’s quite a change in subject, Sassenach,” Jamie smirked.

“I meant that I don’t want to go… not just yet. You’re finally free and yes there’s the threat of the battle of Culloden coming close to us and we will feel the effects of that, trust me.” I rolled onto my side, and he slid his arm around my waist. “But we’re here with your family, my family, and I want to raise the children with their aunt and uncle and cousins!”

“Aye,” he kissed me, “So do I, mo cridhe. If the time shall come that we do need to go to the colonies, if it becomes unsafe, we will go though, aye?”

“Yes. To protect our family.” I moved my hand slowly over my growing belly. “Whither thou goest,” I said. “I will go: and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God: Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried.”

++++++

An hour later, and Faith and William were both dry and tucked under Jamie’s arms for warmth. They simply wouldn’t sleep before Jamie told them a bedtime story, and it was always interesting to listen to what Jamie came up with each night. Tonight was no different as he lay on Faith’s small bed, his feet hanging off the end. William had his cot on the other side of the room that I would put him in later.

I sat in a chair in the corner of the room, near a small hearth, attempting and failing to knit a scarf. Jenny had showed me how to do it several times, but each time I wound up getting tangled in all the yarn.

“There was a fairy, with curly brown hair,” Jamie began his story, capturing our children’s full attention. Jamie loved to tell the story of our life to the children, of course with a few twists.

“She was the most beautiful woman in all the land,” Jamie smiled over at me, winking slightly. “The fairy roamed the land, searching for her warrior. She spent years in search, and one day, when she thought all hope was lost… he found her.”

“He found her?” Faith squeaked, “But she was lookin’ for him.”

“Aye, she was lookin’, but no in the right place. Ye see, mo chuisle, the fairy wasna expectin’ to find the warrior that found her. She was lookin’ for someone else… someone less dashin’.” Jamie laughed and I couldn’t help but roll my eyes — he thought highly of himself.

“So the warrior found her, and protected her from the evil fairies that were out to get her,” Jamie said in a soft voice. “They stuck together and fought off the bad fairies, and conquered the land.”

“Did they live happily ev’r after, da?”

Jamie placed a kiss on the top of Faith’s head, his hand softly stroking William’s arm. “Aye, they did. They lived a good, and lovely life, wi’ bairns just like ye.”

“Fairy bairns,” Faith yawned.

“Aye, fairy bairns.” Jamie moved his arm carefully and Faith laid her head back on the pillows. I stood and picked up an already sleeping William, carrying him over to lie in his cot.

Jamie placed a kiss on both of their heads before joining me out in the hallway, closing the door softly behind him.

“We’ve got two pretty good bairns, don’t we?” I smiled, and leaned into his open arms.

“Aye, Sassenach. Thank ye.”

“For what?” I turned my head to look up at him.

“For bearin’ my children, I dinna want ye to ever think that I’m no grateful for all the pain ye’ve gone through. And with William… it was so close, Sassenach.” Jamie kissed me deeply. William’s birth had been hard on me and him. If we were in my own time, there would have been no problem, but there were complications with the umbilical cord being wrapped around him. Thankfully, and by the grace of God, his brain wasn’t damaged beyond repair. It took me a lot longer to recover, however than it did with Faith.

“That’s partly why I’m scared to have another baby, Jamie.” I said into his chest.

“I ken that, mo nighean,” Jamie moved his hand slowly down my back. “I dinna ken what I would do…” his words got stuck in his throat and I looked up to see him crying.

“Oh, Jamie. I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to bring it up.”

“Och, no tis fine. I just canna bear the thought of losin’ ye is all.” Jamie kissed me, and then we headed in the direction of our room for an early night. There wasn’t much one could do in the winter months, except stay inside.

“And I canna keep my hands off of ye,” Jamie moved his hand over my arse as I opened the door to our room. “If only bairns were made a different way,” he laughed, deep in his chest.

“But it’s quite enjoyable, no?” I turned around once the door was closed, my eyes lingering on the bulge under his breeks. After Culloden, tartan had been forbidden, and it saddened me to see this part of Jamie taken away, as well as it saddened me the loss of the easy access to my husband’s anatomy.

“Aye, tis.” Jamie started to untie his neck kerchief, unwinding and pulling at the soft fabric.

“It’s been more than a year since William was born…” I said, my hands untying the strings of my bodice as Jamie worked on pulling off his breeks. “We aren’t exactly… abstinent.”

“Och, no and thank Christ for it,” Jamie chuckled, and nearly fell over trying to pull his large feet out of the leg of his breeks.

“I’m honestly surprised I was able to conceive rather quickly after Faith,” I untied my skirt, letting it fall to the ground. “What I mean… is that I want another child with you, Jamie. I want as many children as I can give you.”

Jamie pulled off his shirt and stood before me, naked and bare. “Aye, I want that too… verra badly.” He crossed the room and helped to pull my shift off. “There’s always a risk, Sassenach.”

I leaned up on my tip toes, brushing my nose against his. “There is, Jamie. Is it a risk you’re willing to take?”

“I need to be inside ye like I need to breathe, mo nighean donn, and I dinna think it would be verra healthy to avoid beddin’ ye,” he smirked.

“In life, we aren’t guaranteed anything.” I said, my lips just touching his, “But I took a risk on you, Jamie. And I’m willing to risk it all again…” I kissed him softly, “and again.”

Jamie slid his arms around my waist and I shivered at the heat coming from his body. “I love ye, so much, Sassenach. When ye do bear another child, I promise to protect ye from what I can control.”

“I love you, Jamie Fraser.” I kissed him deeply, opening his mouth with my tongue. After several years of marriage, I still wanted him just as badly as I did the first night we came together that night at Leoch.

Jamie lifted me up and carried me to the bed where he laid me out on my back, but I quickly rolled over on my stomach and moved down to the edge of the bed. I turned my head to look back at Jamie who was grinning from ear to ear. “We havena done it like this in a long time, Sassenach.”

“I want to feel you like this,” I wiggled my arse and pressed back into him, feeling his length throb against me. “It’s so deep, please…”

“Anything,” Jamie ran his hand lightly from the base of my spine to my neck. “Anything, Christ.”

I spread my legs on the bed, and pressed my chest down on the bed so that my arse was high in the air for him, in the right position for his cock to easily slide in. Jamie placed both his hands on my hips, holding me tightly and pushed himself against my center, but not inside of me. He started to grind his hips against me, his cock sliding against my slit, and I moaned, craving for that initial feeling when he would thrust it all the way.

I heard him sigh behind me, and I turned my face to lay it on the bed and saw him with his eyes shut, and a grin on his face. “Jamie…” I sighed.

“Mo ghraidh,” he groaned and then I felt his fingers touch my arse and finally he took hold of his cock and eased it inside of me. Once his cock opened me up, I cried out, relishing in the feeling of being consumed by him.

Jamie slid one hand to cover my flat belly and held the other on my hip. At first he didn’t move, just let me move back against him, drawing him in and out of me at a maddening pace. Then all at once, he slid almost out of me and slammed back into me, pushing me forward.

My breasts brushed against the rough sheets and I bit my lip, sweat starting to collect at the base of my spine. “Jesus, Claire.” He groaned, folding his body over mine, wrapping both his arms around my stomach to hold me closer. With his feet planted firmly on the ground, Jamie began to relentlessly thrust into me, making my body wrack with pleasure and something akin to pain.

It was almost too much, to have him so in me, enveloping everything I felt. I fisted my hands into the sheets and turned my face once again to the side and watched as Jamie fell apart on top of me. He hit just the right spot inside of my walls and I clenched around his cock, squeezing my thighs and feeling that burn in the pit of my stomach.

Jamie pressed his stubbly cheek on my bare back, his breath hot on my skin. Slowly, agonizingly, he straightened and pulled out of me, then joined me on the bed, pulling me against his body. I tucked my head into the crook of his neck and breathed in the scent of him. My husband.

“I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of that,” I sighed, content.

“Och, me either, Sassenach,” Jamie let his hand rest on my arse, not in a suggestive way, but simply to better hold me to him.

“It’s… intoxicating. When you’re inside of me, Jamie. I feel almost drunk with it.” I laughed, feeling foolish.

Jamie chuckled and I turned to look up at him, “Tis the best feeling in the world for a man to lay wi’ his wife. And I ken no’ everyone has a wife as bonny as ye… wi’ yer sweet round arse and supple breasts.”

I blushed, always amazed at his ability to make my cheeks turn red, even after years of hearing these bold statements.

“Jamie…” I said softly a moment later.

“Aye, Sassenach?” He breathed deeply and I knew he was on the edge of sleep.

“Can you touch me?” It wasn’t long after he was inside of me, that I always craved to feel him again. Sometimes I didn’t even need his cock, which was nice, but sometimes just to have his hands or mouth on me… to know that he was giving me pleasure.

Jamie kissed the top of my head before rolling me to lay flat on my back. He raised up on his side, his head resting in his hand that was propped up. “Soft?” He asked, laying his fingers on my collarbones, “Or firm, Sassenach?”

“Soft,” I sighed. “At first.”

“Aye,” Jamie said. His fingers traced a delicate pattern along my chest, ghosting over the skin and I felt it prickle at his touch. He cupped one breast, feeling its full weight in his hand before circling my nipple with his forefinger. I watched him in fascination as he did the same to the other one, and then pressed his thumb on my hard bud.

“Ye always taste so good, Sassenach.” Jamie smiled almost lazily, drunk and bent his head to take my nipple in his mouth. I let out a sigh that sounded similar to when he entered me, and ran my fingers through his curly locks. He flattened his tongue, pressing firmly and leaving a trail of saliva to the other breast.

Jamie hollowed his cheeks, sucking and nibbling while his hand traveled south, pressing down on my flat stomach. The tips of his fingers graze my pubic hair and I couldn’t help but flex my hips towards him, but he pushed me to lay flat. I felt him chuckle, and pulled on his hair.

“Dinna fash, mo nighean,” Jamie placed a kiss to each nipple before moving down on the bed and maneuvering himself between my open legs. His face was so close to my pussy that I felt his hot breath and squirmed, desperate.

I was becoming self-conscious the longer he stared between my legs, and I felt the heat rise over my chest and to my face. Jamie moved one finger slowly up my slit, and rested the pads of his fingers over my pelvic bone.

“The smell of ye,” he sniffed and I clenched my thighs around his head, “enough to make a man drunk.”

“Jamie,” I laughed, and then groaned as he swiped his tongue along my center folds. He had years of experience now to learn my body and he knew just what to do. With his hand splayed across my belly, he pushed down all while sliding his tongue in my pussy and swirling it around, tasting me.

I pushed back against the pillows, biting my lip hard as he continued to flick his tongue. I think I might have kicked my leg out and hit him in the shoulder whenever he pushed a finger inside of me, but I wasn’t sure. Soon he pushed another finger in, going slowly, stretching me. His tongue flattened against my clit, and my hips bucked. Jamie was a good lover, a generous lover… mine.

“I can’t… Jamie…” I moaned, trying to keep my eyes open to watch him. There was something about seeing him between my thighs that drove me over the edge every. single. time.

“Come, Sassenach,” his mouth vibrated against me, “Let go, I’ve got ye.” He began flicking his tongue quickly on my clit and I felt my walls clench around his fingers, trapping them. My breath was ragged and heavy, my mind hazy and my body languid.

“Jesus H. Roosevelt Christ,” I sighed, pushing my now damp curls off my forehead.

Jamie kissed his way up my body, hovering just over my lips, “I ken I’ve pleased ye well when ye sat that, Sorcha.”

“You bloody scot,” I laughed and pulled his face down to mine. “I never want to be parted from you.”

He pressed fully against me, almost crushing me, but it was a comfort to feel his presence. “I will never leave ye, Sassenach. As long as you and I shall live, nothing can separate us from one another.” He kissed me deeply, “Trust in that.”

Chapter Text

Present Day - Scotland, January 1747

It had been nearly one year since the battle of Culloden. One year since thousands of highlanders and British soldiers died on that bloody moor. I was only thankful that Jamie wasn’t among them, and that we hadn’t got caught up in a battle that was destined to be lost.

Lallybroch had gone mostly untouched, save for the random passing by of redcoats. I still saw Jamie tense up every time they came to ask for food or shelter. It wasn’t an easy time to be a scot in Scotland.

Because of the effects of the Jacobites losing the battle, the highlander way of life was all but fading away. I saw how some of the families of Broch Mordha appeared defeated, their culture being stripped away from them. It wasn’t until I thought back on my brief time here, that I found I considered myself a Scot and a Brit no longer.

Crossing my arms, I looked out the front window, watching as the most recent redcoats left, their bags full of potatoes and what little food we had to spare. I was thankful, for our own sake, that I had told Jenny to plant potatoes on the farm in preparation for the famine that was spreading through the land.

I sighed softly when I felt Jamie’s presence behind me, and leaned back against him. “We have many more years of this, I’m afraid.”

“Aye, as ye said, the British will cover this land in search of remaining supporters of the Jacobites?” He wrapped both his arms around me, slightly swaying as we faced the window to the world beyond.

“Yes, but soon, if my memory is correct, all supporters will either be imprisoned or sent to the colonies.” I turned in his arms, looking up into my husband’s face. “It won’t be too long before life will start to feel normal again.”

“I can’t help but feel a sadness when I think about the battle,” Jamie said, his eyes cast down staring but not really looking. “Dougal will have died I expect. The man wouldna have gone down wi’out a fight though,” he chuckled softly at the thought of his stubborn, bull headed uncle.

“No,” I smiled. “He wouldn’t have, but Jamie,” I lifted his chin, staring into his eyes and his tense posture softened instantly in my arms. “Who knows what would have happened had you gone to fight. We could be separated right now or worse, you could be dead!”

Jamie cupped my face with both his hands, and kissed me firmly. “I’m no dead and we are together, Sassenach. Ye ken that I willna be parted from ye, not for a day, not for twenty years. You… and the bairns are my home.”

“Even a home that is overrun by British soldiers,” I smiled weakly.

“Sassenachs… all of them,” Jamie smirked, and I laughed, leaning into his embrace.

I heard the sound of horses outside and feared that the redcoats had come back, but when I turned to look, it was only Ian, bringing out Donas to wash. Watching that wild horse brought back many memories, one in particular made me blush and bury my face into Jamie’s chest.

“Why are ye hidin’ away?” Jamie said, fingers lightly stroking my hair.

“I was just remembering something, from before we were married,” I blushed even deeper, looking up at him.

“Are ye goin’ to tell me or do I have to guess?”

“Well,” I smiled, clasping my hands at the base of his spine. “It involves Donas, a dark night and your wandering hands.”

Laughing, Jamie tilted his head back, the tips of his ears turning pink. “If ye are thinkin’ of the night when ye couldna behave yerself, then aye… I see why yer cheeks are rosy.”

I swatted at his chest, “Excuse me, James Fraser. It wasn’t I who was misbehaving, if I recall properly, it was you Mr. McTavish who couldn’t wait a second longer until we found somewhere private.”

Jamie’s hands slid down over my backside and he pushed me against him, “We spent many nights ridin’ on a horse, Sassenach. Dark nights…” he kissed me slowly, “Yer body wedged between my thighs.”

“If you start talking like that, you might just find your wife pregnant again,” I smirked, rubbing the tip of my nose against his.

“Oh aye… I ken exactly what my wife likes to hear,” Jamie inhaled a deep breath before tightening his grip on me, unexpectedly picking me up in his arms, as he started walking upstairs. “Now, mo nighean donn, remind me of that night in the dark woods.”

 

3 years ago

I rode next to Jamie on my horse Brimstone, stealing glances at him riding every chance I could. The journey to collect rents had been long and I was looking forward to the end of it. We were both eager to find time alone, preferably with a bed so that we could finally sleep together. It’d been weeks since our first time together at Leoch and I promised him that once we found a quiet place… we could do it again.

There’s something about being on a horse that makes you aroused. I don’t know if its the constant bouncing or the thought of riding something else, but I couldn’t stop imagining what Jamie would feel like inside of me when we could have sex properly.

Just as I was about to lean over to him and ask him a question, something dashed out in front of us, scaring Brimstone. She rose up on her back legs and I slid off to the ground with a thud, landing in the dirt. “Jesus H. Roosevelt Christ,” I muttered and sat on my knees, looking around — Brimstone was nowhere to be seen… run off into the woods.

“What the hell?” Dougal stopped our party and slid off, followed quickly by Jamie who was at my side, helping me stand.

“I think it was an animal that spooked her, I can’t be sure.” I huffed and wiped a bit of dirt from my sleeves.

“I’m sure the filly willna have gone too far,” Jamie said, his hand on my lower back.

Dougal appeared angry, as if it was my doing that spooked the horse. “Weel, we dinna have time to go and look for the beast. Claire,” he turned to me. “Ye’ll ride wi’ young Jamie until we find yer horse again.”

I nodded and that was that. The rest of the men waited until Dougal was back on his horse near the front of our party before trotting in line behind him. Jamie turned to me, and pulled me in close for a hug. Even though we needed to be careful of anyone seeing us act so intimately, his embrace was very welcome.

“Are ye alright, Sassenach?” He brushed his fingers over my cheek.

“Yes, I’m fine,” I smiled. “I hope Brimstone is okay, poor thing.”

Jamie chuckled, and then helped me to climb onto his own horse, Donas. “We’ll find her or she’ll find us more likely.” I held out my arm and he climbed up, sitting behind me with both his thighs surrounding me.

“Mmm, I could get used to riding like this,” I sighed. “It reminds me of when we first met, and we rode all that night together.”

“Aye,” Jamie placed a quick kiss on the back of my head before pulling on the reigns and following the rest of our group. “To be honest wi’ ye, Mistress Beauchamp… I had a terrible cockstand that night and I fear ye’ll give me another here soon.”

I laughed, leaning back against his chest, feeling comfortable in his arms. “It’s not my fault!”

Jamie slid one of his hands around my hip, squeezing my arse through the thick wool fabric, “Oh aye, tis. That sweet round arse wedged between my thighs. How could I no?”

“You better behave yourself, Mr. McTavish or someone will see us,” I turned my head to look at him, smirking.

“We’ll be riding well into the night, Sassenach…” he looked down at me, his eyes dark blue, the same look I had seen our first night together. “No one will be able to see if my hand slides under all yer wee layers.”

“Jesus H. Roosevelt Christ,” I moaned and prayed that night would come quickly.

++++++

I was granted my prayer three hours later, and we were consumed with the dark of the night. We hadn’t seen any sign of Brimstone on the road and while I loved my horse, I was perfectly fine to ride like this with Jamie everyday until we returned to Leoch.

With Jamie’s strong body behind me, holding me on the horse, I had found myself drifting off to sleep several times while we rode. Now, I was waking slowly to the sound of Jamie whispering something in my ear.

“Hmmm?”

“I said, are ye awake, Mistress Beauchamp?” He chuckled softly.

I nodded and then remembered it was almost pitch black, save the dim glow of the moon, “Yes. I’m awake now, no thanks to you!”

Jamie laughed again, and I wondered how far ahead the other men were, but that thought and all others quickly left my mind when I felt one of Jamie’s large hands slid across my stomach and rest just under my breasts.

“I didn’t think you were serious, Jamie!” I said in a hushed tone.

“Aye, I take my word verra seriously, Sassenach. And I mean to please ye best I can.” Jamie kissed my temple and his hand squeezed against my chest. I was glad he was holding me so tightly because if not then I would have surely fallen off.

“I can’t wait until we find an inn or tavern with a bed, Christ,” I bit my lip as Jamie’s hand moved to grasp my left breast, my nipples hardened instantly. “Jamie,” I sighed.

“Ye best keep quiet, Sassenach,” Jamie whispered into my ear. “I slowed down a bit so the men are a ways in front of us, but I dinna think ye want yer wee noises reachin’ their ears?”

“Mum’s the word,” I giggled and settled myself back against Jamie, ready for whatever he promised to do to me. With one hand on the reigns, he was having some difficulty pulling at my bodice and stays to properly fondle my breasts. “Here,” I reached for the reigns, “I’ll take them for a bit.”

He gladly handed them over and then both his hands were on my chest, tugging the material and pulling it down. I shivered as I felt the cold night air across my breasts, my nipples hardening even more, if that were possible. His hands covered my breasts, simply cupping them and then he pressed his face against my neck. “Sassenach… every time I touch ye, I dinna think I can stop.”

“Don’t stop, Jamie.” I said softly, tightening my grip on the reigns. I needed to be careful or else we would both fall off Donas or worse… go trotting past the rest of the men ahead of us with Jamie’s hands up my dress.

One hand cupped my breasts, his calloused palm felt rough on the soft skin. I had to bite my lip to keep from making sound as he started to flick my nipple with his thumb. I nearly bit my tongue when I felt his other hand touch my ankle and begin its ascent to my thigh.

“Ye sure ye’ve got the reigns, Mistress Beauchamp?”

“Yes,” I sighed. “I’ve got them, please, Jamie.”

“I’ve got ye, Sassenach.” Jamie whispered and then his hand was on my thigh, slowly moving inwards and I flinched when I felt his fingers trace up and down. He didn’t have a lot of room to move through all of the thick layers of my dress and the close proximity to the saddle — but he made a way.

“Uhhhm,” I moaned, shutting my eyes as he touched the lips of my slit. My limbs were already beginning to melt, and I felt Jamie pull me to him, shifting my hips so that he had more access to me. With a grunt and a few Gaelic expletives, he finally pushed his middle finger inside of me. “Oh God.”

“Shhh,” he chuckled. Jamie kept his finger in me, barely moving it, and then he started to move his thumb on my clit and I nearly lost my grip on the reigns. Squeezing them tight, I tucked my head under Jamie’s chin, breathing heavily. “Yer so wet, Sassenach.”

“Fuck,” I moaned as he moved his finger slowly, my thighs twitched and I very badly wanted to jump off the horse and ride Jamie instead.

He continued to flick and pull at my nipple as his other fingers worked their way inside of me, stretching me best they could. It wasn’t anything compared to having his cock in me though.

It wasn’t just about the sex, or the way he made me feel physically. Jamie made me feel things I had never felt in my life. He made me feel loved, desired and whole. I had only known him a short time, but I knew that if I ever made it to the stones… I wouldn’t be able to leave him behind.

Chapter Text

February 1747

On a cold early morning, a letter arrived addressed to Jamie from his uncle Colum. After Jamie read it first, he handed it to me to glance over. He had invited us to Leoch — his health was failing and he wished to speak to the both of us.

“Will we go?” I asked. We were sitting in his study, and had left both Faith and William in the living room, hopefully to mind on their own for a bit. Mrs. Crook was sure to be around, however… they wouldn’t be completely on their own.

“Aye,” he folded the letter and stashed it away in a box on the desk. “But we canna travel just yet wi’ the weather bein’ sae cold. We’ll wait another month and go… hopefully Colum isna too poor in health.”

I leaned against the desk, and grabbed his hand, bringing it to rest over my stomach. My courses hadn’t come since last month and I hoped there was a little one growing inside. “We can’t be away too long, if I am pregnant then my morning sickness will be horrible in a few weeks.”

“Aye, and I dinna want to be away from the bairns for too long, Sassenach. I dinna think it’s wise to travel wi’ them to Leoch.” He brought my hand to his lips, kissing my open palm, “Ye’ve no’ been more than a day late in yer courses all the time I’ve lain wi’ ye. There’s a wee bairn in there and I ken it.”

I should have known he would have kept track. Bloody scot.

“It’s okay to hope, Claire.” Jamie smiled and opened his arms for me to sit on his lap. I leaned my head against him, and wrapped my arms around his neck.

“You’re probably right,” I slid my hand over my stomach again and could in fact tell a difference in the shape already. My last pregnancy with William had been scary — with both of our lives in danger. I wanted another child with Jamie and I was willing to risk my life if that’s what it took. But the fear never went away.

“I love when yer wi’ child,” Jamie smiled and kissed me. “There’s somethin’ so beautiful about a woman bearin’ a child — the way her belly grows wi’ life and she glows from it.” His fingers pushed back my curls, and came to settle on my cheek.

“It may be beautiful, but it’s bloody painful!” I laughed.

“I wish I could bear the pain for ye,” he sighed and pressed his forehead against mine. “Yer stronger than me, Sassenach. Ye possess so much power,” he moved his hand from my cheek to my shoulder and ran it lightly down my arm.

“These muscles would disagree with your point I’m afraid,” I laughed and gave his bicep a squeeze. Jamie was built like a warrior, his shoulders broad and body agile.

“Och, I dinna mean physical strength, Sassenach,” his hand slid to my hip, pulling me closer to him. “Although I’ve seen ye lift a heavy basket of yer wee herbs time and time again… but nah it’s yer inner strength that I see and I ken I’m the luckiest man in the world. To see how ye’ve raised two bairns in a century ye dinna come from…”

“Raising a child is just the same in any time, Jamie.” I smiled and thought about the differences between our times. Sure, the baby products of my century such as disposable diapers would be greatly appreciated and preferred over cloths of this time, but parenting was much the same I assumed.

“I wish I could see it, all that ye told me about the future.”

“I wish that too, I know you would be fascinated with automobiles, planes… anything with wheels,” I laughed and ran my hand over the back of his neck.

“Maybe ye can draw me a wee painting one day?”

I shook my head, “I’m afraid I have no talent in that area, Jamie. It would just end up looking like some kind of large rectangle with circles attached.”

“Och, ye could try could ye no? Perhaps ye’ve somehow attained the ability to draw now?”

Jamie kissed me, his lips forming a smile.

“I’ll try… but don’t laugh when it looks dreadful,” I pressed my finger on the tip of his nose.

“I dinna ken what it’s supposed to look like so I canna have any expectations. I’m sure it’ll be a masterpiece, Sassenach.”

“You flatter me so, James Fraser.” I kissed him slowly, and was just leaning my head back to give him access to my neck when I heard the high pitched squeal of William, followed by Faith’s attempt at being comforting, “Dinna cry, Willie — ye’ll wake Mam and Da from their nap.”

Jamie chuckled underneath me and placed his lips gently against my pulse point. “Another time, my Sassenach… I’m no finished wi’ ye yet.”

++++++

Over the next several weeks, I began to let the idea that I was in fact pregnant again sink in. Every night before we slept, Jamie would slide his hand over my stomach and say a soft prayer for me and the child growing inside of my belly. I found it a comfort, his soft spoken words, even if he said them in Gaelic and I only picked up every couple of words.

On the eve of our departure for Leoch to see Colum, I was resting in the living room watching Faith play with her cousin Maggie who was only a few months older than her. Those two were thick as thieves and the best of friends. I grew up as an only child, but always dreamed of having a sibling to play with.

This life — a big family, growing and living under one roof, was something I never imagined for myself. But that didn’t mean that I didn’t welcome every moment of it. At times, Lallybroch was loud, with children shouting and making a bunch of ruckus as children do. Other times, however, it was a sanctuary, with walls full of comfort — a home that reflected the beauty and love within.

Jamie came through the front door, carrying Willie on his shoulders, and I smiled watching my son’s short curly hair bounce and flop about. He had taken him out to feed the horses an evening snack of carrots — the horses were Willie’s favorite.

I made a funny face at Willie, sticking my tongue out and crossing my eyes as Jamie came towards me. My heart almost leapt out of my chest as both of my boys laughed — Jamie’s a deep chuckle and Willie’s a high pitched giggle.

“Evenin’, Sassenach,” Jamie leaned carefully over and kissed the top of my head and I felt two small hands clutch at my hair.

“Oh! Jamie, be careful… he’s got my hair!” I laughed and reached up to steady Willie and unclench his hands from my hair. Jamie’s forehead was resting on mine and his body was shaking with laughter.

“Cut it out!” I stifled my own giggle, “This isn’t funny in the slightest.”

“Perhaps he thinks it’s the horses mane, mo nighean,” Jamie placed a kiss to my nose and then reached up and slid Willie from his shoulders, setting him in my lap.

“A leannan, ye need to let go of yer mam’s hair,” Jamie smoothed his hand over Willie’s head, turning his attention back to him. I nestled him close to me, cherishing the moments that I could still hold him like this. William was a fast growing baby and in just a few short months he would be two years old.

William glanced from Jamie to me, smiling as he pulled on a long ringlet and then finally released his grip.

“Ah, much better darling,” I booped his nose with my finger, making him laugh once again. He had to be one of the happiest children.

Jamie grinned and took a seat next to me on the couch, sliding his arm around me.

“Are ye prepared for the journey tomorrow, mo cridhe?”

I nodded, smoothing my fingers over Willie’s cheeks. It was close to his bed time and his eyes were closing slowly, heavy from a long day.

“As ready as I’ll ever be. I never thought I would see that place again.”

The last time we had been there was just after we had been married. We had returned from our wedding and brief honeymoon and Jamie had gone off to hunt with the Duke of Sandringham and ask for a pardon of his mistaken crimes. Several events followed — a witch trial involving myself and Geillis Duncan, who had escaped when Jamie rescued us from the thieves hole. Jamie led me away from my death sentence and that was when I told him the truth, my truth — I was from the future.

Since our last visit to Leoch, much had changed. We had returned to Jamie’s home, had our first child, traveled and lived in Paris for a time, dealt with Black Jack’s return, fled Paris only to return to Lallybroch and have another child, this time a son. Our lives had been anything but ordinary, but there was nothing I would change if it meant my life would turn out differently.

Recently I had been having thoughts of Frank, my first husband. There were times I felt immense guilt at never returning to him — after all, I had made a vow to him as well. But there was a difference between my two marriages, one that helped the guilt ease away.

Frank was a good man, he was kind, smart and he did love me. But in our marriage, I often felt abandoned. It didn’t help that for the majority of our marriage, we spent it apart, fighting in the war. When we came to Scotland on our second honeymoon, all I had wanted to do was spend quality time with him, be with my husband after all this time. Frank wanted to research his genealogy.

While I knew this was the man I married and I admired his love for history and research, I couldn’t shake the feeling that at times he loved it more than me.

There wasn’t a day in my marriage to Jamie that I felt he didn’t love me. If I was honest with myself, I knew he loved me from the first time we had lain together — only because I had the very same feelings for him.

As Jamie had lain me on the small surgery table in the dark rooms of Leoch, he had claimed my heart just as he claimed my body. I was his from that day on whether I knew it then or not.

++++++

We said a tearful goodbye in the morning to Faith and Willie. The tears were from me and not my children this time. I blamed my hormones and the fact that I had never been separated from either of my children for more than a few hours.

“They’ll be alright, mo ghraidh… they’re in safe hands.” Jamie kissed the back of my hand and then helped me onto my own horse before climbing astride his.

“I know,” I sniffed and wiped away a few tears. “It’s me I’m worried about!”

“Are ye sure ye want to come, Sassenach? I’m sure Colum will understand,” Jamie said.

“I’m sure, Jamie.” I took hold of the reigns and we started at a slow trot out of the estate. “Besides, I think a little distance is healthy for everyone now and then.”

“Och,” Jamie snorted beside me. “No’ for me, Sassenach. I canna bear it when we’re apart for more than a day… I canna imagine bein’ separated any longer than we must.”

“Hopefully we won’t be spending time apart then,” I smiled.

“I’ll see to it that we don’t!” Jamie laughed. “This will be good for us, ye’ll see, Sassenach. Away from the bairns… as wee and precious as they are, I’m lookin’ forward to bein’ alone wi’ my wife.”

I felt a blush creep up my chest. That was a major plus of taking this trip to Leoch — privacy. Jamie and I had only been married nearly four years, which was nothing compared to a lifetime and we already had two children and another on the way.

Peace and quiet would be good for the both of us.

“If ye werena already wi’ child, Sassenach,” Jamie grinned and I looked over to see the faint flush in his cheeks. “Ye would be by the time we came back from Leoch.”

I laughed then, a deep laugh and nearly slipped off the horse. “James Fraser, you ridiculous man.”

“Och, ye ken it to be true, do ye no? If I have my way wi’ ye, we willna be spendin’ too much time out of the castle walls.”

“But what about some fresh air?”

“We’ll open a window,” he grinned.

“Ta! I’m being kept prisoner by my own husband,” I laughed and then squeezed my thighs against my horse to make sure I kept in line with Jamie on the path.

“I dinna hear complaints when I’m between yer thi-“

“Alright!” I cut him off before he could say anymore indecent things. “I do quite enjoy it if you must know.”

“Oh I ken well enough, mo cridhe.”

We rode companionably for the next few hours, talking about the children, about the new bairn and future names. And then we rode in silence, comfortable to just be. It had been some time since I had ridden a horse and been exposed to so much open space and air. Refreshing as it was, when we came to a stop for the night, pressed close together under the cover of a thin blanket, I longed for my bed.

“What do you think Colum wants to speak to us about?” I asked as I moved my fingers slowly over his hand clutching my breast.

“I dinna ken,” he pressed a kiss to my head. “If he’s in poor health, it must be somethin’ regardin’ property… although since the rebellion, there isna much property that belongs to the highlanders.”

“Or perhaps he wanted one last chance to see his sister’s son,” I mused and turned my head to look at him.

“Aye, maybe.” Jamie smiled sweetly and pressed his lips to mine. “Sleep, mo nighean donn, I’ll keep ye safe tonight.”

“You always keep me safe, Jamie.” I turned in his arms to face him, and he pulled me close in his arms. He smelled of natural things, of grass, sweat and of the essence of a man created from the very dirt we laid upon.

“Tis my duty, Sassenach.” Jamie placed a kiss to my forehead and I curled my head against his chest, my eyelids heavy and fell into a deep sleep in the arms of my protector.

Chapter Text

March 1747 

Our journey to Leoch lasted several more days and when we arrived to the great stone castle, I wanted to weep from happiness. My thighs had been cramping and my bum was sore from the saddle.

“Let’s get ye down, Sassenach,” Jamie was off his horse first and came around to help me. He held out his arms to help me off, gentle placing me on my feet. “Someone will come and take care of the horses, I expect Colum will want to speak wi’ us before we get settled.”

With his arm around my waist, Jamie and I gathered our small bundle of belongings and walked inside the castle for the first time in nearly three years. It was odd — the feel of the place was similar, but something had changed.

It was almost as if the soul of the place had been wiped away, just as so many Highlanders lives had been taken at Culloden. I held Jamie close as we walked through the dimly lit stone hallways.

A feeling of nostalgia washed over me, however, when I remembered that this was where it all started for Jamie and me. We had ridden up to the castle, much like we had today and from that day… nothing had been the same.

“What are ye thinkin’ about sae hard, mo nighean donn?”

“Memories of this place,” I smiled and looked up at him. “Of us, of what we did here.” My cheeks blushed at the thought of what went on in that little dungeon of a surgery.

His arm tightened around my waist as we turned the corner, “Mmmm, tis verra fond memories we have here, Sassenach. And I intend to make a few more,” he kissed me briefly and then his hand was at my back, letting me walk up the stairs that led to Colum’s chambers.

When Jamie reached the top step, I paused, taking a deep breath, “Are you ready?”

“Aye, as ready as ever,” he nodded, his mouth set firm in a straight line and knocked gently on the door.

“Enter,” came a gentle voice from behind the wooden door. Jamie pressed forward, and I nearly jumped at the loud creak as the door opened. The room was dark, the curtains shut over the two windows in the room. I had only been here a few times on my last visit and already I sensed it was not the same.

I followed Jamie’s lead and stood beside him as we approached Colum. He was laying in bed, a few candles next to him on a side table — his face was white and sunken. I wasn’t sure how much time he had left, but he looked as if he was fading away rapidly.

“Colum,” Jamie greeted him, kneeling at the bed and kissing the top of his hand. He rose and joined me at the end of the bed. “Claire is here as well, uncle.”

“Tis a pleasure to see ye both,” Colum said softly, almost too quiet to even hear. That fire that I had seen in him before was nearly doused. “I must thank ye for makin’ the long journey, I ken ye have a family of yer own.”

Jamie’s chest rose beside me and he moved his hand over my stomach, “Aye, the two bairns at Lallybroch and then another on the way.”

“Great news indeed,” Colum smiled and then laid his head back against the pillow. “Jamie, lad. I do have a matter to discuss wi’ ye, but now isna the time. Settle in and we’ll speak tomorrow.”

“Aye, uncle. I’ll come back tomorrow after I have my parritch,” Jamie bowed his head and we made our way back to the door. I heard a quiet cough from the bed and turned back to face him.

“Colum?”

“Aye, lass?” He said weakly.

“If you need anything, I may be able to ease any pain you have,” I offered.

“That’s verra kind of ye,” I saw his lips curve into a genuine smile. “I’m fairing well just now, but I’ll be sure to let Jamie know if I’m in need of ye.”

Bowing my head just as Jamie had done, we said goodbye and walked back into the hallway.

“He doesn’t look good, Jamie,” I twisted my hands together, my fingers aching with the need to do something, to heal him or at least ease his discomfort.

“Nah, I’ve no seen him so mild mannered in all the time I’ve kent him, Sassenach.” Jamie led the way back towards our room, holding my hand through the halls. I was absolutely starving, but Jamie was dragging us along rather quickly — I supposed he had other ideas.

“Twas a verra kind thing of ye to offer him aid,” Jamie said as he shut the door to our room. I had heard Mrs. Fitz voice as we rounded the corner and wanted to say hello, but Jamie had pulled me in quick before I had a chance.

“I brought a few of my medicines, I’m sure something will help if he is in need,” I said and walked over to a small table near the window, placing my small bag down.

“I ken ye want to eat, mo nighean,” Jamie’s voice said from behind me and I turned to look at him. His hands were on his hips, his legs placed far apart. If I hadn’t seen that fiery look of desire in his eyes, I might have told him the story of Peter Pan — the boy that never grew up. (does that make sense? With his stance and all or do I need to explain more?)

“Yes, of course I want to eat,” I grinned and walked closer to the bed.

“I only thought we could,” he dipped his head, staring at the ground. Even though we made love regularly, at times my husband was still shy — something I found endearing.

“Do what, Jamie?” Smirking, I took a few steps towards him, my fingers at the laces of my bodice.

His eyes followed my fingers as they pulled the laces out of their loops, one slow movement at a time. “Ye ken what I have in mind, Sassenach.”

“I’m not sure what you mean…” I pulled at my bodice, tugging the sleeves off my arms and letting it drop to the ground. As indecent as it might have been, I hadn’t bothered with a corset for our journey.

Jamie’s breath hitched in his throat and he took a step forward, his arm rising. Slowly and tenderly he pressed the palm of his hand over my breast, cupping it over my shift. The scratchy material and the pressure from his touch made my nipples harden instantly.

“Sassenach,” Jamie whispered, sliding one hand to my waist where he attempted to undo my skirts. I laughed and reached behind me to assist him. It was times like this when I missed modern clothes — less strings and layers that got in the way.

“I always thought a man would prefer food over sex,” I chuckled, laying both my hands on his chest.

“When a man has a wife like ye, Claire…” Jamie lowered his gaze, “Food is of little consequence.” He bent his head and placed his lips on my neck, lightly biting my skin. “Besides, I might just take a bite out of ye.”

As his words landed in the pit of my stomach, my mouth parted and I reached for the fly on his breeks, undoing the laces in record time. Backing me up until my legs hit the bed, Jamie pulled his mouth from my neck and reached down, pulling my shift up and over my head. I did the same to him, pulling off his long shirt, letting it pile up with our other clothes.

“Would you like to try somethin’?” He grinned, a mischievous glint in his eyes.

“Hmmm, depends what it is,” I smirked, taking my bottom lip between my teeth.

“I dinna imagine a proper English lass like yerself is familiar wi’ the term ‘soixante neuf’?” Jamie placed his hands on my shoulders, exerting gentle pressure and I sat down, coming face to face with his length.

“I know what sixty-nine means, Jamie,” I said, now breathless at his suggestion.

A sound like a laugh and a moan erupted from his mouth above me and I glanced up, “Then ye’ll ken ye need to make room for me on the bed if it’s to work properly.”

I put my hands beside me on the bed and scooted backwards until I was in the middle of the bed. While I knew what position Jamie had just described… I hadn’t exactly done it before.

“Jamie,” I said softly as he moved to lay on the bed, shifting so that his head was near my knees.

“Aye, Sassenach?” he kissed my thigh and a small shiver went down my body.

“Have you um… ever done this before?” I said nervously, not really wanting to know the answer.

He laughed then and kissed my thigh again. “Mo nighean, ye were the first lass I ever bedded — well, we lay together on a table that first time so I dinna think ye can call it beddin’—“

“Jamie!” I kicked my foot against his chest, “Answer the question please.”

“No, Sassenach. I heard about it during my time in Paris, but I never dreamed I would ever do it, let alone with someone as beautiful as ye.” His hand slid between my legs then and pulled me so I was on my side facing him.

“I ken we’ll be good at it though, mo ghraidh… ye wi’ yer sharp tongue,” he chuckled and his curls tickled my skin. I didn’t know how I was supposed to concentrate on anything but the feel of his hot breath between my thighs.

Jamie was hard and his cock was throbbing, that one vein begging to be licked. Gently I placed my hand around his length and he emitted a moan that vibrated through my whole body.  I pumped him twice before flicking my tongue on the tip. My own moan left my lips when I felt his tongue lick my crease.

His hand held my legs open and he moved his head closer between my legs. His breath was hot and as I took more of him in my mouth — swirling my tongue around, he started licking quicker. I slid my hand between his thighs, bobbing my head and tasting every inch of him. It was all I could do to keep sucking while his tongue lapped at my clit.

High pitched moans from me and deep moans from him echoed around the room. The sound of tongues on skin, that wet smacking sound nearly made me come right then. Jamie pushed his hand on my arse, pulling me closer and his cock came out of my mouth. Quickly adjusting, I took firm hold of him again and licked from his testicles to his head.

“Ah, Christ. Do that again,” he muttered and I repeated the same action. His belly rolled and I felt the muscles in his thighs tighten.

I gasped when I felt a finger enter me, aiming up while his tongue pressed flat on my slit. My hips began to gyrate against him, desperate. I slid my head off of him to catch my breath and looked down my body to see his head between my thighs, curls bouncing with every stroke.

“Jesus H. Roosevelt Christ,” I sighed and then returned my attention back to his cock before me. I flicked my tongue back and forth on his head, tasting the salty stickiness on my tongue. Hollowing my cheeks, I began to suck and just as I started a steady rhythm, I felt Jamie’s hand on my arse squeeze and then he was spilling himself down my throat. Drinking him down, I swallowed every last drop, and pulled off his cock with an audible ‘pop!’.

“Ifrinn,” he said between breaths and then Jamie pushed me to lie flat on my back. He moved his body so he lay down between my legs. I raised my head up to look at him and he flashed me a grin before diving down, swiping his tongue back and forth.

“Oh God,” I moaned as I watched the way his tongue flicked and nibbled. My hips bucked against him and he placed both hands on my waist to hold me still. It was too much — too overwhelming. Knowing the pleasure I had just given him and made him feel made my heart race and my pussy throb.

“Jamie!” My back arched off the bed, my legs squeezed around his head and I came with a low moan, letting my orgasm extend to every inch of my body.

My chest heaved and finally I unclenched my thighs, releasing Jamie from my hold. He rolled over on his side, spent and looked over at me.

“I quite liked that,” I smiled and he made his way up to kiss me. His lips lingered on mine and I cherished the quiet bliss, the peaceful moment of just us. No crying children or chores to do, just a moment between us — as if nothing else existed.

++++++

The rest of the day carried on normally, we ate and I said hello to old acquaintances, people that I had healed during my time here. Both tired after our long journey, Jamie and I retired early to our room and slept peacefully in each others arms.

The next morning I rose late, letting my body wake slowly to the day. Jamie wasn’t in bed next to me to my disappointment and I figured he would be talking with Colum about the reason he had invited us here. I pinned my hair up and dressed for the day, going in search of Mrs. Fitz.

“Hello, my dear!” She smiled when I walked into the kitchen. She greeted me with a kiss to both cheeks and a tight embrace. “I’ve missed ye sae much, and yer lad of course. How was yer journey?”

I took her offered bowl of porridge and leaned against the counter as she continued to knead the dough before her.

“It wasn’t all too bad, we made quite good time,” I smiled and took a bite, letting the warmth seep through me.

“Tis a good thing to hear, lass. I was so happy when we learned that The MacKenzie had invited ye back,” she grinned, her cheeks rosy. “It was my granddaughter — oh, ye’ll remember Laoghaire?”

I nearly choked on my spoonful, my eyes wide at the mention of the young girl who had informed me I’d taken Jamie away from her and tried to have me tried and killed as a witch! I had thought of Laoghaire on our journey here, but wasn’t sure if she would still be here three years later.

“Yes,” I wiped my mouth on the back of my hand, tasting bile in my throat. “I do remember her.”

“She came runnin’ to me wi’ the news that wee Jamie would be returnin’ to us on orders of The Mackenzie,” her hands paused in the dough, “But she didna mention that he would be bringin’ ye wi’ him. I’m sae glad for it though,” she beamed. Mrs. Fitz was a kind woman who had shown me nothing but hospitality, but her granddaughter did not have a kind bone in her body.

“Is she around? Laoghaire?” I mused, trying to appear innocent in tone. I vowed that if I ever saw her again after what she tried to do to me, I would give her a piece of my mind.

“Aye, she is. She’ll be wi’ the other lassies sewin’ and mendin’ near the main room.”

I finished my bowl of porridge quickly and thanked Mrs. Fitz before rushing off to find Laoghaire. I wasn’t going to be too harsh on the young girl, but she couldn’t have me burned at the stake and get away with it!

Burning thoughts of just what I’d like to do to her face with my fist were rushing through my mind as I walked through the castle that I nearly bumped into Jamie. He was coming down from seeing Colum with a glazed expression on his face.

“Jamie,” I smiled and kissed him briefly. His face was frozen in shock, his eyes were a ghost of themselves and he was trembling slightly. “Jamie, what’s wrong?” What has Colum told you?”

He mumbled something incoherent and I reached for his hands to steady them in my own.

“Please, Jamie, you’re scaring me,” I cupped his cheek with my palm, turning his face to look down at me. “Whatever it is, we’ll work it out.”

“He told me that—“ he muttered under his breath and I feared that something terrible had happened. Jamie suddenly squeezed my hands tight and inhaled sharply, his eyes meeting mine for the first time.

“Claire,” he said with a shaky breath. “Colum told me that my father… is alive.”

Chapter Text

March 1747

Jamie knocked on the door lightly, hoping he wouldn’t be waking up Colum. He’d left Claire asleep in bed and it pained him to see her so peaceful and not curl up next to her. Whatever Colum had called them both to Leoch for, Jamie was growing more anxious by the minute.

“Enter,” came a scratchy voice followed by a deep cough.

“Colum,” Jamie bowed his head and took the seat nearest the bed. “I hope yer well this morning.”

“I’ve seen better days,” Colum’s lips quivered into a slight smile, but it didn’t reach his eyes. “I’m sure yer wonderin’ what all this is about.”

Jamie smirked and leaned forward, his arm resting on one knee, “Aye, we havena spoken since I left. I’m truly sorry for not saying a proper goodbye.”

Colum held up his hand, “Och, lad. Dinna apologize to me, cause what I’m about to tell ye… just save yer apologies.”

“Go on, Uncle,” Jamie urged him and leaned further in still to better hear Colum’s soft voice.

“It was all Dougal’s doin’ ye ken,” Colum started. “I didna find out about any of this until it was too late and the matter was past the point of no return.”

“What are ye talkin’ about? Culloden?” Jamie asked, confused.

“No,” Colum then took a deep breath and looked him straight in the eye for the first time that morning. “Yer Da… Brian is alive.”

His ears must not have been working properly to have heard what he just did. His father was dead and buried in the ground. Jenny had told him as much and why would she lie to him.

“My Da is dead, Colum and ye ken it well. Why would ye say such a thing to me?!” Jamie rose from his chair and it fell to the ground with a crash.

“Listen to me boy!” Colum’s voice rose to such a level, Jamie turned back quick to look at him. “Yer Da isna dead. The last I heard he was alive… at Fort William.”

“Fort William?”

“Aye, ye’ll ken the place?” Colum’s brow quirked and he gestured to the chair for Jamie to come and sit down again.

“Aye,” Jamie laughed bitterly. He knew of Fort William and he had the scars on his back to prove it. “What the devil is he doin’ there — if he’s alive?”

“As I said,” Colum coughed into a cloth before continuing and Jamie winced at the sound. “It was all Dougal’s doin’. Ye ken he wasna too fond of yer Da after he took Ellen away from us.”

“My Mam went on her own,” Jamie said sternly.

“I see that now,” Colum sighed. “But Dougal hated yer Da and he wanted to make him pay for runnin’ away wi’ Ellen and ultimately her death.”

“She died in childbirth… there wasna anythin’ my Da coulda done,” Jamie hung his head between his hands trying to catch his breath. He hadn’t thought of his Mother in a long time — the memories were all but fading away.

“I ken that lad, will ye listen now?” Colum chuckled and Jamie met his eye, nodding for the man to continue.

“Ye were at Fort William and ye’ll ken now that Dougal was there as well and yer Da of course. This is when Dougal took it upon himself to report Brian to the redcoats for bein’ a Jacobite supporter — for tryin’ to stir up a rebellion.”

“That lyin’ son of a bitch!” Jamie shouted, rising to his feet once again in anger. It was Dougal that had been the supporter of the Jacobites. He had even tried to convince Jamie to join the rising, but it was Claire who told him it was doomed all along.

“Yer Da’s heart ne’vr gave out, Jamie. He never died at Fort William, but he was imprisoned because Dougal had suspicious papers to prove him guilty.”

“Those papers were Dougal’s,” Jamie seethed. “He was the one who should have been imprisoned, but that bastard would lock away his own kin! Take away his niece and nephew’s Father all because he didn’t approve of him.”

“I wasn’t aware of what Dougal had done until months later,” Colum said.

“But ye did know,” Jamie stalked forward, leaning over the man’s bed. “Ye knew and yet ye did nothing! You let my Father rot away in prison for all these years!”

“Christ,” Jamie stumbled back into the chair, “My Da… he’s been in prison for eight years. But Jenny? She buried him…”

“Dougal sent back a box wi’ another man’s body. My guess is that Jenny couldna bear to see the face of her dead Da,” Colum said and then waved his hand for Jamie to look at him.

“I asked ye here, Jamie so that I could ask for yer forgiveness.”

“Forgiveness?” Jamie echoed.

“I’m a dyin’ man if ye havena been able to tell,” Colum coughed then, deep and painful as if demonstrating just how ill he was.

Jamie moved to kneel at Colum’s bed and took the old man’s hand in his, kissing it gently. “Yer my kin and if that is yer last wish of me, then aye… I forgive ye.” He rose to sit back in the chair and grinned at Colum, “I might forgive ye for lyin’ to me all these years, but I’ll hate ye til the day I die.”

“Thank you lad,” Colum gave him a ghost of a smile. “I needed to absolve my sins before I died. I expect ye’ll go to him now… yer Da?”

Jamie nodded, “Aye, of course.” His brows rose up as he remembered Claire back asleep in their bed. “Claire is pregnant and I dinna want her goin’ anywhere near Fort William.”

“She can stay here until ye return wi’ yer Da,” Colum offered.

“Thank ye,” Jamie rose from the chair and kissed his Uncle’s hand one last time.

“Would ye ask Claire if she could come and see me today? Once ye’ve talked of course…”

“I’ll tell her,” Jamie nodded, leaving the room a changed man. He closed the door behind him, leaning against the stone wall and his knees gave out. Jamie felt his chest constrict and his eyes blurred with tears as he grappled with the truth.

++++++

Jamie squeezed my hands tightly in his and I saw an odd mix of fear, anger and hope in his eyes.

“Claire,” he said with a shaky breath. “Colum told me that my father… is alive.”

“Alive? How can he be alive?” I said.

Jamie looked up and down the hallway and deciding it wasn’t a safe place to talk, he took my hand and led me through the castle. I wanted to stop him, to make him speak to me at once, but it was clear that he was also in need of fresh air. We stepped outside in the bright sunlight and Jamie took a deep breath.

“He’s in Fort William, has been for eight years,” Jamie said angrily and proceeded to tell me everything Colum had said. “I canna believe this, but I have to go, I have to find him.”

“Of course, Jamie,” I placed my hands on his shoulders, looking up into his eyes. I had never seen Jamie so distraught, so panicked in all the time I had known him. “We’ll go at once and get him out.”

“No!” Jamie shook his head, his arms wrapping around my body. “You must stay here at the castle. It isna safe for ye and the bairn to go on such a journey and to such a place.”

“But I want to come with you,” cupping his cheeks in my hands I brought his lips to mine. “I want to be there for you…. In case—“

“In case he’s dead after all?”

Nodding my head, I leaned my head against his chest, my hands moving in slow circles along his back. For all the reasons for our invitation to Leoch, finding out that Jamie’s father was alive was never a thought that had crossed my mind. Jamie had been grief stricken after he returned from Fort William and learned that his father had died and to think it had all been a lie.

“I wonder what Jenny will think…” He muttered against my hair. “She’ll be angry wi’ herself that she didna just look inside the box and find it wasna our father.”

“Perhaps the body that Dougal arranged to send back was disfigured in some way beyond recognition or it’s possible she didn’t want to even look,” I mused.

“What will you do if you find him in the prison, Jamie? How will you get him out?”

“Colum has sent a letter to Fort William explaining to the best of his ability the misunderstanding,” Jamie furrowed his brow. “Upon my arrival, I hope they will release him to me.”

“I hope so too,” I smiled and smoothed my thumb over the crease in his forehead.

“He wants to see ye today,” Jamie said a moment later. “Colum. He asked for ye.”

“Oh is he going to tell me that my parents are alive too?” I smirked which made Jamie laugh lightly.

“Nah, I suppose it has more to do wi’ yer fine healin’ powers,” Jamie pulled me close to him and kissed me. “Before ye go and see him, however, I’d like to get away for a few hours. Take ye ridin’.”

“That sounds lovely,” I smiled. “One horse?”

His brow quirked up and his hands slid from my waist to my arse, “Oh aye. One horse, mo nighean donn.”

++++++

Jamie held me close as we rode out past the castle to wide open land. The snow was melting and was all but gone now. Beautiful lilac heather covered the rolling hills and with the sun shining down on us, it was idyllic. We stopped near a babbling stream to let Donas drink and seeing that there was no one around, Jamie pulled his plaid off his hips and laid it down on the ground.

“You’ve the whitest legs,” I said as I admired the way the sun hit the hair on his thighs, golden brown.

“That’s somethin’ I’ve never heard before,” he laughed as he slid his arm around me, pulling me close to his body. His long shirt barely covered past his crotch and I saw just the pink tip of his length poking out.

“You call my skin white as pearl all the time! Am I not able to remark on your skin tone as well?” I grinned and placed my hand against his chest.

“Ye may remark on anythin’ ye like, Sassenach,” Jamie’s hand slid over my small belly and over the swell of my hip. I moaned softly against his lips as his hand pulled up the hem of my dress to my knees. “Yer skin is soft as pearl too,” he cooed and stroked his fingers along my calf.

“I know something else that is just as soft,” I said biting my bottom lip and reached under his shirt, taking hold of his semi-erect cock in the palm of my hand.

“Oooo,” he curled his lips and his head fell back against the grass. “This is what I get for takin’ off my plaid for ye to lie upon.” His hand continued its path up my calf to my thigh.

“If you don’t want me making indecent advances on you sir, then you better keep that kilt on,” I laughed. “But the sight of you in your kilt makes me want to ravish you anyways.”

“The only one who’ll be doin’ any ravishing is me, Sassenach,” Jamie grinned against my lips, kissing me hard and then rolled on top of me. His hands pushed up the rest of my dress around my waist and he looked down between my legs. “Christ, lass,” His finger traced my opening, “Yer quim is wet as waterweed.”

“What a lovely thing to say,” I flexed my hips, parting my legs for him as he settled in between them. Jamie took hold of his length and a moment later, eased himself in me. He was holding nothing back as he thrust into me over and over again. My body strung tight as an archer’s bow, I came with a powerful low moan and held him against me as he let go. It was the release we both needed, to come to each other quick and to take what we needed.

The news of Jamie’s father had troubled us both and we found solace in the comfort and exploration of each other’s bodies. He slipped out of me and then pulled me onto my side again, holding me in both his arms.

“I’m sorry it wasna longer,” he said quietly into my hair. “I needed ye.”

Stroking his chest with the tips of my fingers, I placed a gentle kiss against the base of his neck. “It’s alright, Jamie. You may have me any way you like.”

“I’ll never take ye wi’ force, ye ken that, Sassenach?” Jamie suddenly shifted and leaned on his elbow, staring down at me.

“I know that,” I smiled and cupped his cheek. “I wouldn’t mind if you needed to be rough though,” I said with a blush.

His fingers traced my lips and his eyes lowered along my body. “Mo ghraidh… I would have ye on yer knees in this heather screamin’ out my name in pain because of how I take ye. Sometimes I’m afraid of how badly I want to be inside ye,” he pressed his fingers against my lips. “How badly I need to feel yer quim on my cock and hear yer cry out.”

“I’m afraid sometimes too, Jamie. Of how my body aches to have you inside of me always,” I kissed his fingers and parted my lips, flicking my tongue against them. “It’s so powerful it hurts.”

“Aye,” he smiled. “The most powerful thing I’ve ever felt in the world.”

++++++

We laid in each other’s arms for hours, sometimes kissing, sometimes talking but most of the time saying nothing at all. This quiet peace that existed between us was what I cherished most. The ability to have your unspoken thoughts answered by another in a simple touch or look.

As a slight chill blew across the land, Jamie shivered and we both stood up as he wrapped his kilt around his waist again.

“Are you ready to find him?” I said, bending over to pick a few flowers.

“No,” Jamie said truthfully. “Only because I am afraid the man I find will no longer be my father, but a shadow of the man I once knew.”

“There is no doubt that he will have experienced a hard life these past eight years,” I said, wrapping one arm around his waist.

“I pray he will be able to forgive me for no’ findin’ him sooner,” Jamie frowned.

“Jamie,” I took hold of his face, making him look at me. “None of this is your fault. You are not to blame for what your Uncle has done. If Dougal wasn’t dead already, I would kill him myself for making you think this way.”

Jamie’s lips curved into a smile and he gathered me close. “Ah, Sassenach. Dinna become a murderer on my account.”

“I would kill anyone who hurt you, Jamie,” I said with the utmost conviction.

“And I would do the same for ye, Claire,” he kissed me and then led me back over to our horse, Donas. “Let’s hope we never have to kill anyone though, aye?” I laughed as he smacked my bum and lifted me onto the horse. We rode back at a fast pace and prepared ourselves for what was to come.

Chapter Text

April 1747

Two weeks later, Jamie left to find his father.

He kissed me goodbye on a cloudy early morning and my hand clutched his shirt, desperate to keep him with me, to keep him safe.

“Please be careful,” I sighed and pressed my forehead against his. “For me, for our little one.”

“I will, Sassenach. I dinna expect trouble.”

“There always seems to be trouble lurking around you though eh?” I smiled but it didn’t last — I was too concerned about him.

Jamie pulled me close, resting his chin on top of my head, “I’ll be fine, mo nighean donn. The ride is three days there and three days back. Colum has sent a letter ahead and I should be able to get him out.”

“But you don’t know what kind of condition he may be in,” I moved my head to look up at him. “What if he’s ill or hurt. After all, he’s been in the prison for nearly eight years.”

“I dinna ken, Sassenach,” Jamie smoothed my curls back from my face. “But I’ll try and be quick about it so I can bring him back to ye for ye to heal.”

“Let’s pray he won’t need healing.”

“Aye,” Jamie kissed me, his hands cupping my cheeks. “Ye be safe as well, Claire. Ye and the bairn — I dinna want ye exerting yerself too much while I’m away.”

“I’m barely three months pregnant Jamie,” I chuckled and slid my hand over my tiny bump. “I’ll be just fine here. Although with Laoghaire running around the castle, I’m not too sure…” I mused.

“Ye be nice,” Jamie squinted his eyes.

“I’ll play nice if she does,” I crossed my arms over my chest.

Jamie laughed and kissed my forehead. “Ah, Christ, Claire. I dinna want to leave ye here alone. I wish I could bring ye wi’ me, but I canna risk it.”

Pulling his hands around my waist, I pressed my head under his chin, “Just hurry back, solider.”

“I’ll be back. Wi’ my father.”

With a final kiss, he left me and climbed astride his horse and grabbed the reigns of the other horse, Jacque that would be his father’s.

Ever since he left, I hadn’t been able to focus. There wasn’t much for me to do at Castle Leoch except to heal a few bumps and scraps that happened throughout the day. Thirty-seven hours. That’s how long Jamie had been away from me. And I was counting every one until he returned.

++++++

“Mistress Claire?”

My hands were occupied with a needle and yarn while my mind was occupied with thoughts of Jamie and I didn’t notice that someone was calling my name.

“Mistress Claire, are ye alright?”

“What?” I turned my head towards the kitchen entrance to see Laoghaire MacKenzie, her hands folded neatly in front of her. She didn’t appear to have aged at all and when I met her eye, she took a tentative step back.

“Laoghaire,” I sighed and put down my needles. “What do you want?”

“I came to say hello.”

“Hello,” I replied shortly.

She just stood there, eyes stuck firmly on the ground.

“What else Laoghaire? You might as well spit it out.”

“I came to apologize,” she said softly and then met my eye once again.

“Apologize?”

“Aye, Mistress,” she said now louder and took a few more steps to come closer to me. Laoghaire had been the one who accused me of witchcraft and had tried to have me burnt at the stake. Thankfully I had escaped with the help of Jamie and had forgiven Laoghaire in my heart. Or so I thought.

“Go on,” I replied and crossed my arms protectively over my belly. I saw her eyes drift down and thought I saw a spark of jealously, but perhaps it was my imagination.

“I’m sorry for what I did to ye. Tryin’ to have ye kilt, I shouldna have done so,” she bowed her head and she truly did appear to be sorry for her actions.

“I forgive you,” I said and her head shot back up to my face. “But you must understand that Jamie is my husband. We have two children together and I am carrying another.” Rising to my feet, I walked forward to stand in front of her. “I love him and he loves me, do you know this now?”

She nodded solemnly, “Aye, I ken.”

“I don’t want to hate you Laoghaire but you make it awfully hard not to,” I laughed and her eyes widened and then softened at once.

“I ken that too,” she laughed. “I didna make it easy on the both of ye. If ye would pass my apology on to Jamie as well…?”

“You can tell him yourself when he returns, but he’ll be arriving with his father so it might have to wait a few days.”

“His Da?” Laoghaire asked, obviously shocked. “I kent he was dead years ago.”

“He’s alive,” I offered her this information purely because I needed to discuss it with someone and she was my best option as she was standing right in front of me. “Colum told him where to find him and that’s where Jamie’s gone.”

“I’ll no believe it til I see it wi’ my own eyes,” Laoghaire said and I agreed with her on that. I had been quite nervous that this whole thing was some scheming plot of Colum’s and feared for Jamie’s life. But there was no one at Wentworth that could do harm to Jamie and Jamie was no longer a wanted man — there was no reason for worry, but it didn’t stop me.

“Ye said ye have two children?” Laoghaire asked a moment later when I didn’t answer her. Lately I had bouts where I would stare off into the distance, only to be brought out of it by another person talking directly to me.

“Yes,” I smiled at the thought of them. “Faith is three years old and William will be two in July.”

“I bet they’re bonny,” Laoghaire smiled. “And stubborn. My grannie tells me about how Jamie was as stubborn as a mule when he first came to Leoch. I only kent him from far away, but he did get into trouble.”

I smiled and thought that perhaps Laoghaire wasn’t so terrible after all. Although I would never fully trust her because she did try to have me killed, but there was nothing wrong with trying to be civil.

“They do get their stubbornness from both me and Jamie,” I laughed. “And I expect this one will follow suit,” my hand slid over my stomach and Laoghaire’s gaze drifted to it once again.

“I hope to be a mam one day.”

Something overcame me, perhaps pity and so I took her hand and squeezed it, “You will. Once you find the right man who loves you as much as you love them. You’re still young and have time to find a husband.”

Her cheeks blushed and her ears turned pink. There was definitely something she was keeping from me.

“Have you already found someone?” I inquired and by the increasing color of her cheeks, the answer had to be yes.

“His name is Simon MacKimmie,” she admitted. “He lives in Balriggin and comes to Leoch often. I think I’ve caught his eye, but I’m no sure.”

“Have you spoken with this Simon?”

“No,” she shook her head. “I dinna ken what to say.”

Hoping I wasn’t talking nonsense, I offered her some advice. “Just talk to him how you would to talk to Jamie.”

“But Jamie never talked wi’ me much,” she fidgeted with her hands. “He was always too busy to speak wi’ me, I barely got a word in.”

“Well then talk with Simon how you would want to talk with Jamie. If this young lad is taken with you then he’ll keep up the conversation.”

“Aye,” she smiled and squeezed my hand. “The next time I see him, I’ll approach him. Thank ye, Claire. For being kind when ye have every reason no to.”

“You’re welcome,” I nodded. “Maybe next time, you’ll not accuse me of being a witch?”

With red cheeks, she nodded and I gave her hand a pat and release it. “Well thank you for coming to say something Laoghaire, it was kind of you.”

“Thank ye again, Mistress.” She stood there awkwardly and then her arms wrapped briefly around me and then she was left, heading in the direction of the main room. That was not exactly how I imagined my conversation with Laoghaire would go, but I was pleased it was pleasant.

++++++

Another two days passed and as I climbed up the stairs to Colum’s bedchamber, I thought of Jamie and whether or not he had successfully gotten his father out of Fort William. With luck, they would be ready to head back soon.

With a gentle knock on his door, I briefly waited before going in. Colum was lying there as he had before when we first arrived. His skin pale and he seemed to have aged overnight — his condition was worsening.

In my own time, there would have been medicines that would have helped immensely with the pain and surgeries that could have alleviated the friction his bones were feeling. But there was nothing I could do here save give him doses of laudanum.

“Mistress Fraser,” he said softly as I took the chair next to his bed.

“Master MacKenzie,” I bowed my head and then reached for his hand, pressing my fingers against his wrist to check his pulse — it was weak. “How are you feeling?”

“Everythin’ hurts, lass,” he gave me a weak smile.

“I can give you some opium, that will be a bit stronger,” I said and started to get up to go towards my small medical box I had brought but his grip on my arm tightened.

“No. I dinna want opium.”

“But it will help with the pain —“

“I need somethin’ stronger,” he urged.

“The only thing stronger than opium would be cyanide and that would surely kill you, Colum.” Once the words left my mouth, I understood what he wanted. He wanted to die. Instead of slowly rotting away in excruciating pain, he wanted to be the one to determine his own fate.

“Isn’t it a mortal sin to take one’s own life?” I leaned in close to him and saw the desperation in his eyes as well as the pain.

“I dinna care,” he smirked. “I’ll confess my sins to a priest before I take the cyanide, but I canna go on like this.”

“If I give you the vial, you must make sure it is what you want. There is no turning back once it’s in your bloodstream,” I said plainly.

Colum released his tight grip on my arm and nodded. “Tis what I want lass, I’ve lived wi’ this pain nearly my entire life. I want to be the one to choose how I go.”

“How very… noble of you.”

I rose to go to my medicine box and found it. A small vial of cyanide. Taken in this large a does would kill someone within hours. As I returned to the bedside, I briefly hesitated, wondering what this would do to my own soul, but in the end I handed him the vial.

“You must not tell anyone, Claire.”

“Even Jamie?” I said but knew that I would ultimately tell him because he was my husband and this was his kinsmen.

“I ken ye two dinna keep secrets,” he said what I was thinking.

“I’ll be sorry to see you go,” I smiled and then took his hand. I wondered where his wife and son were — I hadn’t seen them since we had arrived and hoped he would say his final goodbyes to them.

“I shoulda treated ye wi’ the same kindness ye treated me.”

“There’s no going back now is there?” I laughed and patted his hand, smoothing my fingers over his rough ones.

“I willna take it until I see Jamie again,” he said softly. “And his father. I need to make my peace wi’ him as well.”

Nodding, I squeezed his hand. “Hopefully they’ll return near the end of the week and you can do just that.”

Colum drifted off to sleep a moment later and I carefully released his hand and slipped out of the room.

When I returned to my own room later that evening, I found a rolled up piece of parchment addressed to me sitting on my bed. It was in Jamie’s handwriting.

I tore it open as quickly as I could and read his words. My heart leapt at seeing his messy scrawl and was comforted knowing that this piece of parchment made me feel close to him in someway.

Sassenach,

I found my Da. He is weak but no wounded. I’m writing because he needs to regain his strength before we return to Leoch and I didna want ye to worry. I hope this reaches ye before I return. Tha gaol agam ort.

Jamie Fraser

He found his father. I breathe a sigh of relief and sank down onto the bed, exhausted from the constant state of worrying. With Jamie’s letter in my hand, I drifted off to sleep, praying for his safe return.

Chapter Text

Jamie didn’t want to leave Claire behind, but it was the safest option for both her and the bairn. As he rode away, he had looked back at her, smiling at the sight of her watching him go with one hand cradled over her belly. Seeing her filled with his child was one of his favorite sights.

He loved his children and he missed them dearly. The thought of finding his father and bringing him back to Lallybroch and introducing him to his own bairns brought tears to his eyes.

Eight years. Brian Fraser had been in Fort William for eight long years and Jamie prayed every step of the way that his Da was indeed still alive. With the help of Colum’s letter, Jamie expected no trouble in freeing his father. But he couldn’t help the chill that went down his spine at the thought of returning to the place he had been flogged.

He had lain in agony in that place — his body split open and bleeding. The wounds from his first flogging had barely time to heal in the span of a week before Jonathan Randall inflicted one hundred more lashes. The scars would be with him for the remainder of his life. The only thing giving him peace was that Randall was now dead and by his own hand.

There time in Paris had been fraught with peril and they had nearly lost Faith. They returned to Scotland together though and Jamie felt that his and Claire’s relationship was stronger than ever. He trusted her with his life and with his children. There was a mutual respect and understanding between the two of them.

As Jamie rode on throughout the next few days, his mind had nothing much to focus on and he found himself drifting back to the early days of his and Claire’s time at Leoch. That night in the surgery when they had given over to their desires. He had been so unexperienced when he had lain with her, everything was so new to him. Jamie’s cheeks turned pink as he thought about his father and what he would have said to him about bedding a lass before wedding her.

There were times when Jamie regretted giving over to his most primal desires, but he wouldn’t trade those moments for anything. Seeing her sweet expression as her body tightened around his and the breathy moans that he would never tire of hearing. He had belonged to her from the moment he laid eyes on her.

After the first time they had made love, they had only lain with each other one other time while they were on the road collecting rents. And not long after that they were wed. On Jamie’s second day riding as he passed through great stretches of open land of the Highlands, his thoughts once again settled on Claire. There was a moment at Castle Leoch just after they had been together that Jamie thought he might get another chance, but it had been interrupted by Mrs. Fitz asking for Claire’s help in the kitchen.

Jamie had been looking for her all day, Mistress Beauchamp. Since they had lain together only three nights ago, he hadn’t been able to stop himself from thinking of her. He also couldn’t help the terrible cockstand he got when he thought of her bonny fat arse under his hands. The night of the gathering when Jamie had made his own oath to Colum, he had held Claire in his arms while they sat against a tree. She had touched him and just with her wee hand had made him spill himself.

He would have — should have felt ashamed, but the way he felt when he was with her clouded his judgement. Jamie had asked around for her and finally someone had mentioned they’d seen her in the kitchens with Mrs. Fitz helping to prepare the feast for the last day of the gathering.

Walking in the kitchen, he saw her. Curly hair wild around her face, her hands covered in flour and the sweetest smile on her lips. She was kneading dough and Jamie’s eyes trailed down across her chest, his tongue snaking out between his lips as he noticed her breasts moving with every pound to the dough.

“Ifrinn,” Jamie cursed himself and his pervasive thoughts and just as he started to turn away she called to him. “Mr. McTavish!”

“How long have you been standing there?” She asked him as she abandoned the dough and came over to him in the doorway. Claire wiped her hands on her apron, but they were still covered in flour.

“Just a wee while,” he grinned and then took her hand, daring at glance in the kitchen before pulling Claire with him and walking to a more secluded alcove.

“And just what do you think you’re doing Jamie?” Claire laughed, placing her hands on his chest. “Oh no!” Her hands had gotten flour all over his vest in the shape of handprints. “What will people think happened to you now?” She laughed as she tried to wipe away the flour but only ended up making it worse.

“Most likely that I’ve been beaten by Mrs. Fitz for tryin’ to steal away some bannocks before the feast,” Jamie grinned and then captured both her hands in his, smoothing his thumb over her knuckles. “I’ve been lookin’ for ye.”

Her cheeks blushed red and she met his eye. “Have you decided I’m some kind of whore after having my way with you?”

Jamie’s mouth parted, he would never get used to a lass using such language so freely. “No! Not at all,” he squeezed her hands. “If anyone is to blame, tis me for bein’ a brute. But nah — I dinna regret a single moment.” He placed his fingers under her chin and kissed her then, sliding his tongue slowly between her lips. “I wouldna have taken ye to a dark alcove and pressed myself up against ye just so if I thought you a whoor.”

“Wouldn’t most men do exactly that?” She laughed. “Take a woman they so desired to a dark place and have his way with her?”

“All I ken is that I dinna want a whore…” he said sheepishly, feeling the heat creep up his chest as he looked down at her. “I want ye, Mistress. I think highly of ye is all and well I mean to say that I havena stopped thinkin’ of ye since—“

“Since I took your virginity and gave you a hand job?” She smirked.

“Weel, when ye say it like that, Sassenach, I sound as if all I want is yer body,” he grinned and moved his hands to her waist, pressing his thumbs against her soft flesh at the sides.

Claire looked down between them, a heavy sigh leaving her lips. “What is it lass?”

She didn’t meet his eye, but kept her focus on a loose string on his vest, her fingers idly playing with it. “I feel guilty,” she said softly.

“Guilty?”

“Yes, for what we did. For what I did to you…”

“Oh lass,” Jamie pressed his forehead against hers. “Ye did nothin’ I didna ask for or nearly beg from ye.”

“I just can’t get over how I’ve behaved… my husband—“

“Ye said he was dead, Sassenach, there’s no reason to blame yerself,” he smiled softly at her. “Tis no’ like he is alive.”

Claire was silent after he said this and he wondered if he was wrong in bringing up her husband’s death. She clearly still grieved for him and he saw that she was upset now as a single tear rolled down her cheek. “Oh lass, Claire.” He wrapped his arms around her body and held her.

She didn’t weep as she had before, but her grip tightened around him and he placed his hand on the back of her head. He felt her heartbeat against his chest and they stood there simply holding each other for what felt like forever. Finally she pulled back and wiped under her eyes.

“I might feel a bit guilty, Jamie, but I don’t regret what we did,” she smiled, her hand coming to cup his cheek. “I really did enjoy it.”

“Aye,” he grinned, the pad of his thumb pressing lightly against her bottom lip. “So did I.”

“You did promise me a bed?” Claire looked up at him, her eyelashes fluttering and he felt his wame quiver at the look in her whisky eyes.

“Och, I did. And I promise one day we shall be able to,” Jamie leaned down and kissed her. Her hands were tangled in his hair, tugging at the nape of his neck. She grew fierce, hungry almost and he hissed when he felt her hand pressed against him. “Sassenach…”

“Wot?” She mumbled against his lips as she moved her hand over his cock. There was only the thick material of her dress and his kilt separating them and it would only take a moment. His hands drifted along her hips and as he started to pull at her skirts he stopped himself.

“We canna,” he moaned, closing his eyes as her hand pressed more firmly. “Christ.”

“I know you said you wouldn’t lie with me again until we found a proper bed, but,” she twisted her hand and he bit his bottom lip. “Are you sure?”

“Jesus, Sassenach,” he muttered and leaned his head back against the stone wall. What he wanted was to see her body, smooth and white laid out on the sheets before him, but his cock had other ideas. “I need ye,” he leaned down and kissed her.

It really should have crossed both of their minds that they were still in an alcove in a corridor of the castle. Anyone could have walked by and seen them. As Jamie finally slid a hand under her dress and touched just between her legs, eliciting a moan from Claire, he heard footsteps coming towards them.

“Ifrinn!”

“What? What’s wrong?” Claire panted as she opened her eyes to look at him.

“Someone’s coming,” Jamie reluctantly pulled his hand away and out from the folds of her skirt.

“Mistress Beauchamp?” Came the voice of Mrs. Fitz from around the corner.

“Jesus H. Roosevelt Christ,” Claire muttered and rearranged her skirts before stepping out from the alcove. Jamie grabbed her hand and pulled her back to him, kissing her hastily before she slipped out of his grip.

She turned back to him, winking as she returned to the kitchen. That night he had touched himself as he thought of her and her wee hands. Jamie felt ashamed by his actions and prayed to God to forgive him, but he wanted her so and he wouldn’t rest until the day he could have Mistress Beauchamp.

++++++

Jamie rose just as the sun began to rise and he packed his few belongings and saddled his horse. Today he would reach Fort William — he would see his father again.

He still hadn’t full let himself believe that the news was true. His father, alive all this time and living so close to him. Jamie mostly felt ashamed that he was unaware this entire time, unaware that his father had been imprisoned unrightfully.

That same chill went down his spine as he spotted it. The stone walls of the fort. Jamie wanted to get in and get out as quickly as possible.

Leaving his horse tied up nearby, Jamie walked to the entrance of the fort, giving his name to one of the guards. He still felt uncomfortable in the presence of so many redcoats and suddenly he wondered why he had come alone. Certainly his godfather Murtagh would have joined him, but ultimately Jamie knew he needed to see his father on his own.

“Follow me, Mister Fraser,” the redcoat commanded. He led him through the doors and down the hallway, into a room that must have belonged to the commanding officer.

“Lieutenant Grey will speak with you presently,” the redcoat nodded his head and then left Jamie on his own. He had made it this far.

Jamie must have waited only five minutes before the man he assumed to be Grey walked in. He was a young man, with his tricorn placed perfectly on his head and his uniform clean. Jamie wondered what a young officer had done to be placed here at the fort instead of serving elsewhere — away from lowly prisoners.

“Mister Fraser I presume?” The man smiled warmly and walked over to take a seat behind his desk. “I am Lord John Grey, it’s a pleasure to have you here.”

“Thank ye, sir,” Jamie bowed his head and took the seat opposite the man.

“I’ve received a letter from a Colum MacKenzie informing me of your arrival. Arrived just the other day,” the man motioned to the letter on his desk. “I must say this is an unfortunate incident and I’m terribly sorry about it all.”

“Och, I blame my bastard of an uncle,” Jamie smirked and saw the other man’s eyes widen at his language. Jamie had forgotten how the British had been.

Lord John moved forward, crossing his hands in front of him. “Well I won’t hold you any longer than is necessary. Your father is here and in my possession.”

Jamie’s chest nearly caved in at the words. “He really is alive?”

“Why yes, Mister Fraser,” Lord John scoffed. “Did you really not know of his state?”

He shook his head, “No, I didna. I kent him to be dead these past eight years.”

“My God,” the man before him sat back in his chair. “So it’s true.”

“What’s true?” Jamie leaned forward, his heart racing now.

“I’ve had the privilege of speaking with your father, he is a kind man — although a bit of a temper on him and he spoke of his son and how if his son knew that he was still alive, he wouldn’t be rotting away in these cells.”

“Will ye release him to me?”

“I will,” Lord John nodded. “I’ve read this MacKenzie’s letter several times and I can see there was a clear understanding, however I must have your word that this is the truth.”

“My word? Ye’ll take my word and then release my father to me?” Jamie noticed that the man before him was looking at him with a curious look. He would be lying to himself if Jamie didn’t realize that this man was attracted to him. Claire had told him that he had caught the eye of many woman and men around. Jamie of course had only the need to be with Claire, but wondered why it was always so that people found him so agreeable. “Aye, Lord John Grey, I give ye my word that tis the truth written in my uncle Colum’s letter.”

“Very well,” the man smiled and rose from behind the desk. “Your father has become a bit of a leader with the prisoners, I’m sure they’ll be sad to see him go.”

He led them through the halls and Jamie had to close his eyes as they passed the cell that had once been his while he waited for his floggings. This place was the last time he had seen his father. The last time he had felt his father’s kiss on his cheek.

He still felt that kiss and heard his father’s last words as they reached the largest cell.

“Brian Fraser, please step forward,” Grey spoke. There was a shift and then a man was moving towards them. It was still too dark for Jamie to see if it really was his father.

“Your son, Jamie has come to release you.”

“Jamie?”

“Da, is that you?” He took a step forward just as the man took a step in the light. There he stood — his da. Jet black hair and still the same tall stature. He was thinner, of course, but Jamie would have recognized him anywhere.

“My son,” Brian moved his hand up to cup Jamie’s cheek. “I knew ye’d find me one day. I never lost hope of it.”

“I’m sorry it took me so long,” Jamie grinned and then fell into his father’s arms and wept.

Chapter Text

It was easier than he thought. The entire time they were at Fort William, Jamie had feared that at any moment he would be captured and flogged again. It haunted him in his nightmares. The cracking sound of the whip on his flesh, tearing it open as the blood poured out. As he walked out of the Fort with his father leaning on him, Jamie vowed to never return to this place again.

Brian was weak of course, having spent eight years locked up would make anyone so. As they left, Lord John Grey gave them Brian’s personal items. Jamie was shocked that after all these years, these items had remained and not been sold. The only thing they had received was a small dirk and a jacket that Jamie had deemed the Laird’s coat when he was a boy.

Jamie had led his father to their horses and helped him up and they had rode for several hours until they found a village with a tavern for the night. He was anxious to return to Claire and tell her the news that it was all the truth, but he knew his father needed rest and a good meal.

As his father ate his stew in small bites, Jamie kept looking over his own bowl at him. He had made peace with the fact that his father was dead and that he would never see him again. He’d never seen him buried either which had always weighed heavily on him, but here he sat — Brian Fraser, alive in the flesh.

“How do ye feel, Da?”

“I’m better now, lad. Tis good to see yer face,” he grinned and then took another bite.

When Jamie had heard the news of his father’s death, he had been only nineteen and still recovering from his wounds. Now, Jamie was a man with bairns of his own and a wife.

“Did ye think to get a letter to us? Tell us ye werena dead?” Jamie couldn’t help but ask the question that’d been eating him up every since he heard about his father being alive.

“It didna occur to me that ye thought I was dead,” Brian shrugged. “Of course, after a few years I figured that that’s what ye would ken happened to me. I had no idea what was going on.”

“It was Dougal, ye ken?”

“Aye,” Brian nodded. “I figured as much when the officers charged me wi’ supportin’ the Jacobite cause. I tried to tell ‘em that I had nothin’ to do wi’ it, but they wouldna listen. That bastard will get what’s comin’ to him.”

“Dougal is dead, Da. Died at the battle of Culloden,” Jamie said and then waved for two cups of whisky. “Ye’ll have heard of news of that no doubt?”

“Aye, we were well informed that the Jacobite Rebellion was a failure,” Brian smirked. “Not that I cared in the slightest, but I worried for ye son. I kent ye might have fallen into all of that mess since ye had spent so much time wi’ Dougal. I knew that bastard wasna right.”

“I almost was a part of it,” Jamie said, thanking the barmaid for bringing over the whisky. “Slainté,” he drank it in one gulp. “My wife stopped me from going.”

Brian’s looked up at his son, his eyes wide. “Ye have a wife?”

“Aye,” Jamie smiled. “Her name is Claire. Claire Fraser… she’s a Sassenach,” he smirked and Brian laughed.

“A Sassenach bride,” he shook his head, smiling and reached out to pat his son on the shoulder. “Do ye love her, lad?”

“I do. She is the most important thing to me… and the bairns. We’ve two and one on the way,” Jamie smiled.

“A wife and bairns,” Brian smiled. “I’m so happy for ye son. I just wish I coulda been there for it all.”

“Yer here now, Da. That’s all that matters.”

“And Jenny?” Brian smiled, his hand coming down hard on the table, “How’s my lass?”

“She’s married Ian Murray and has several bairns of her own as well.”

“Christ, I’m a grandda I suppose,” Brian ran his hand back through his dark hair. Jamie was still in disbelief that he was talking to his father and wondered why God had blessed him so.

“Ye are and I havena told Jenny about ye bein’ alive. I was waitin’ to find ye myself and I thought it best to just bring ye back to Lallybroch,” Jamie smiled and took a few bites of his stew. “We have to first return to Leoch to get Claire — she’s there waiting.”

“I havena stepped foot in Leoch since before yer Ma and I were wed,” Brian’s face was soft, a small smile on the corner of his lips as he remembered his wife Ellen. “Colum is still alive?”

“Aye, but he is in poor health. Claire is a skilled healer though, I’m sure she has taken good care of him,” Jamie said proudly.

“I canna wait to meet yer bride, laddie. I still canna believe I’m talkin’ wi’ ye now. I thought I would surely die in the prisons or be sent to the colonies.”

“I canna believe it myself, Da,” Jamie said tearfully. “Let’s get up to the room and rest. We’ll ride hard tomorrow and should hopefully arrive at Leoch in two days.”

They both rose from the table and Jamie helped his father who still felt a bit weak, up the stairs and to their room. His father fell fast asleep not long after climbing into bed, but Jamie was restless and sat by the window, breathing in the fresh air. All he could think about was the look on Jenny’s face when she saw that their Da was alive and had come home to them.

++++++

If everything went as he planned, Jamie and Brian were set to return to Leoch tomorrow. I’d been pacing all afternoon, worrying myself near to death thinking of all the possibilities. Perhaps this was all a trap and Jamie was now imprisoned and I wouldn’t know until it was too late. Or perhaps his father had died in prison and Jamie was now coming back to me, grief stricken.

My mind was racing with outcomes to this current situation and so I didn’t hear her when she said my name the first time.

“Lass? Are ye alright dear?” Mrs. Fitz had come to find me in the surgery of the castle. It was one of the few places I was familiar with and knew I could be alone.

“I’m fine. Just worried about Jamie is all,” I smiled. “He should arrive tomorrow.”

“Och, yer lad will be just fine. All the worrying isna good for the bairn,” she smiled, her hand reaching out to lightly rest over my stomach. “Come wi’ me and I’ll make ye a cup of tea.”

“That sounds lovely, thank you Mrs. Fitz,” I smiled and followed her back to the kitchens. Sitting down in the corner, I closed my eyes as she prepared the tea and tried to quiet my mind.

Later that night as I was preparing for bed, hoping it would be the last night I slept on my own without Jamie, a knock came from my door.

“Come in.”

The door creaked open and a teary eyed Mrs. Fitz appeared in the doorway. I rushed to her, taking her hands in mine. “What’s happened? Are you alright?”

“Tis… tis The MacKenzie,” she sniffed as more tears flowed down her rosy cheeks. “I went to check on him as I do just before retirin’ myself and he didna answer me.”

I turned to grab my robe as I was already in my shift and took Mrs. Fitz by the arm as we walked towards Colum’s bedchamber. I had wondered when he would take the cyanide I had given him — I just thought he would have waited until Jamie’s return.

“Did you check his pulse?” I asked and she looked at me with wide eyes. “His heart? Did you check to see if his heart was still beating underneath his skin?”

“Och, no lass. I only saw he wasna breathin’ and such,” she sniffed again. “His face was pale as a ghost.”

Pale skin and no breath were definitely signs of death. I only hoped Colum had enough sense to hide the bottle after he drank it — I had been accused of being a witch once, I wasn’t too keen on going through that again.

I raced up the stairs with Mrs. Fitz a bit slower behind me. The door was open and when I walked in, Colum’s wife and who I presumed his son (now a couple of feet taller) were by his bed.

“Lady MacKenzie,” I bowed my head out of respect and waited for her to acknowledge me, this was her home after all — and her husband.

“Mistress Fraser,” she smiled sadly and beckoned me forward. “I’m glad to have ye here, a fine healer. Mrs. Fitz will have told ye then…”

“Yes, she did. May I take a closer look?”

With her permission, I stepped forward to Colum and put two fingers on the inside of his wrist. Earlier in my visit, I had felt a weak pulse, but now there wasn’t even that. His skin was chilled and there was no rise and fall of his chest. I scanned the bed around him for signs of the vial I had given him but found nothing. I quickly glanced over beside the bed and that’s when I saw it.

The small vial of cyanide — completely full.

Colum MacKenzie had died of natural causes. I’d had a feeling he would have wanted to wait to see Jamie and Brian and I wished for his sake — as well as Jamie’s — that he would have held on a few more hours.

“I’m very sorry, Leticia,” I turned back to her. “He is in no more pain at least.”

“Aye,” she smiled. I remembered her from my time just a few years ago as a strong and brave woman. She still had that air about her and I wondered what her life would look like now without Colum. “He lived a life in pain, no doubt.”

“I’ll miss my father,” Hamish said quietly next to him.

“Of course you will,” I smiled. “He loved you very much. I saw that by even just spending a few weeks here.”

He buried his head against his mother and I heard the soft sound of weeping begin. Hamish wasn’t Colum’s son by blood — he was Dougal’s. The boy had now lost both his father’s and still at such a young age.

Quietly, I stepped out of the room and joined Mrs. Fitz back in the hallway.

“What will happen now? I know technically he wasn’t Laird anymore ever since Culloden, but will he have a Highland burial?”

“Aye, there will be a wake for a few days lass, followed by his burial in the kirk,” she nodded. “A feast to be sure, there will be lots of cooking to do.” I could see the wheels of her mind already spinning with meal preparations.

“If there is anything I can do to help, please do not hesitate to ask,” I smiled. We walked back down the stairs and down the long dimly lit corridor.

“I will lass, ye’ve been such a help. I’m sure Lady Leticia will be verra thankful for all that ye’ve done.”

“I haven’t done much,” I sighed.

She saw me back to my room and then left to inform who I assumed to be there rest of the castle of Colum’s death. What should have been a joyous return of Jamie and his father tomorrow, would now be bittersweet.

++++++

It was midday when both horses came trotting onto the grounds. My hands were covered in dirt from working in the garden all morning, partly an excuse to be outside to keep a watchful eye for Jamie. I could see his smile from far away — just as I could see that his father was riding beside him. With jet black hair, it was clear where Jenny got her looks from.

“Sassenach!” Jamie shouted, jumping down off his horse and before he had a chance to tie Donas up, he was in my arms. “I missed ye so.”

“I missed you too,” I exhaled. “There’s something you should know…”

He pulled back, his hands on my waist and I saw his smile fade. I hated to be the bearer of ill news, but it couldn’t wait.

“Colum died in his sleep last night.”

“He died?”

“Yes, it happened late and the whole morning has been a flurry of people preparing for his wake,” I frowned. “I thought I should tell you before you went in.”

“Thank ye, Sassenach. I wish he coulda seen my Da and I,” his brows furrowed and he leaned down to kiss me. “Tis good ye did or I woulda gone into the castle shoutin’ wi’ joy about my Da.”

“Speaking of your father,” I grinned, determined to not let the moment go completely to waste. “Can I meet him?”

“Aye, mo nighean…” Jamie smiled and took my hand. “I’d love nothing more.”

Chapter Text

When I met Jamie, he told me all about his family. He could’ve gone back generations, but I settled with just knowing about his parents. Ellen Fraser had died when he was young, along with his youngest brother Robert who died in childbirth. His older brother, William - Willie to the family, had died from smallpox when Jamie was six. His sister Jenny was still alive and one of my closest companions.

Jamie’s father, Brian Fraser had died when Jamie was nineteen. Or so he thought.

Brian stood in front of me, alive and well enough for a man who had been wrongfully imprisoned for eight years. It was Dougal who had accused him of conspiring with the Jacobites and now both MacKenzie brother’s were dead, while Brian lived. Call it justice, but I thought it only right that Brian now had a second chance at his life.

With Jamie’s hand on my back, he introduced me to his father with a proud smile on his face.

“This is my wife,” he said affectionately, “Claire Fraser.”

Sticking my hand out towards Brian, I saw tears in his eyes and looked over at Jamie who had the same confused look on his face as well. Before I could look back at Brian, however, I was in his arms, a tight grip around me.

“Oh Claire, ’tis so good to meet ye.”

Slowly, I wrapped my arms around him, closing my eyes and squeezing him as tight as I could. He had most likely gone without a kind human touch for many years and was looking to make up for it.

“It’s good to meet you too, Brian.”

He pulled back, his large hands resting on my shoulders and looked down at me with the kindest eyes. “I spent so many years wonderin’ what kind of woman would marry my Jamie, and from the things he’s told me… I’m glad tis ye.”

Tears of my own sprang to my eyes, and I wiped one away before it could spill down my cheek. “Your grandchildren will be very happy to meet you!”

“Och, grandchildren! The wee bairns, how could I forget,” Brian smiled and then slid his arm around my waist and we turned towards Jamie who stared at us with the most incredulous look.

“Shall we go inside? I’m sure you’re both hungry. I have to warn you both though, it’s a bit morose inside,” I sighed.

Brian made a Scottish sound beside me, looking at Jamie.

“It’s Colum,” Jamie nodded. “Claire’s just told me he’s died in his sleep last night.”

“That bastard,” Brian said and I shot my head up at him and he laughed. “Och, I dinna blame the man for dyin’, only wish that he would have held on another day. I would’ve liked a word wi’ him.” He shook his head as if remembering something long ago, “’Tis for the best I suppose.”

“Let’s go then,” Jamie smiled and turned back to the horses, gathering their few belongings and together we headed inside.

It was a somber mood inside the castle. Ever since people learned of Colum’s death, they had been pouring in from all over to give their condolences. There was no way that we could leave now, his burial was taking place in two days and it was only right for us to stay.

I’m sure Jamie was feeling a mix of emotions with the loss of his uncle and the reunion with his father. He couldn’t, however, hide the slight skip in his step as we walked down the halls, like a little boy who had just gotten his first kiss — he was happy.

First we went to the kitchen where Mrs. Fitz was preparing food for a feast that we would eat tomorrow. When she looked up and saw Jamie, she grinned, dropping her spoon and coming over to kiss his cheeks.

“Ah lad, ’tis good to see ye home! Mistress Claire was missin’ ye somethin’ fierce,” she smiled and I blushed. Jamie squeezed my hand and then stepped out of the way of his father.

“Glenna, is that ye?” Brian smiled and I saw immediately where Jamie got his charm from.

“Brian Dubh!” The round woman grinned, opening her arms to embrace him. “I havena seen ye since ye left wi’ Ellen, that was many moons ago, wasn’t it?”

“Too long, Glenna. Ye don’t look a day over thirty,” Brian winked. So Brian could wink, but not Jamie.

“I wish ye came at a better time,” She frowned, “I’m sure everyone will be so pleased that yer here. Mostly because we thought ye all to be dead!”

“I dinna ken if anyone will remember me, as ye said tis been so long and I wasna exactly a favorite guest of the MacKenzies,” Brian smirked. “I wish Ellen were here.”

Jamie’s head dropped at that and I moved closer to him, sliding my hand through his arm.

“I think tis best that we lay low until after the feast and burial,” Brian said. “And I dinna feel up to my full strength just yet. Being in chains will take a wee bit out of ye.”

“Once you’ve settled in, Brian, I’d like to check you for any illnesses or injuries you may have gotten over the years if that’s alright?” I said.

Brian’s eyes met mine, “Aye, lass. Jamie told me that ye were a fine healer. I did take a few beatings in Fort William.”

“Come on, Da. Let’s find yer room,” Jamie said and with a kiss to Mrs. Fitz’s cheek, Brian followed us as we made our way through the castle. It must have been more than thirty years since Brian had been back here at Leoch. He must have thought he never would have returned, and I’m sure he was just as eager to get back to Lallybroch as we were. It’d already been too long since we left the children and I missed them dearly.

His room was down the hall from ours and we left him to wash and clean and returned to our room. Once the door was shut, Jamie pressed his back to it, his eyes closed and sighed.

“Rough journey?”

“Nah,” his mouth quirked up on one side. “Just verra long. My head is full of a lot of things, Sassenach. I still canna believe my Da is alive.”

“And now with Colum dying,” I nodded and came to him, sliding my hands around his waist. “It’s a lot to process.”

“Tis,” he kissed me deeply. “I’m glad to be back wi’ ye. I missed ye.”

“I missed you too,” I smiled softly.

Jamie rested his chin on the top of my head, arms holding me close to him. “What did ye do while I was away?”

“All sorts of things. I helped Mrs. Fitz in the kitchen, a bit of gardening which helped to take my mind off of you,” I pinched his side.

He squirmed a bit, laughing deeply. “So ye werena bored then?”

“Oh I was,” My brows lifted, hands tapping his chest. “I was so bored that at one point, I had a conversation with Laoghaire. It was her that found me though.”

“Laoghaire MacKenzie?” He looked down at me.

“Do you know of any other Laoghaire’s?” I laughed.

“A few,” he smirked.

“Bloody Scots,” I rolled my eyes and then walked over to the bed, sitting down with a sigh. “It was pleasant actually, she apologized for trying to have me killed. Even asked about our children.”

“I dinna trust her,” Jamie sat down beside me, taking my hand into his lap.

“Oh I don’t either, but she seemed to have changed, at least she wanted me to think she’d changed.”

Feeling a wave of exhaustion overtake me from the pregnancy and the past few days events, I laid back on the bed and Jamie followed suit. My hands found their way into his curls, stroking them.

“Maybe if you see her, you can say something nice.”

He grunted, squinting his eyes at me. “I’ll exchange a hello and that’s that. She tried to have ye killed, Sassenach.” His hands slid around my waist, pulling me into him. “I vowed to protect ye and to protect our bairns,” he pressed his hand flat over my stomach.

“I know,” I smiled and kissed him. “And I love you for that, but she seemed to regret what she did and perhaps if you say something nice to her, she’ll truly leave us alone?”

“Perhaps,” he pressed his lips tight. “Enough of that,” he smiled wide then. “I’ve come back to my wife and I mean to make love wi’ her.”

“Oh you do?” I grinned as Jamie’s hands made their way up my skirt. I shivered as he touched my bare hip, kneading my flesh.

“Aye, I do.”

My hands found the ties of his breeks and I unlaced them quickly, now feeling an urgency to have him. It had been nearly two weeks and I was aching for my husband to hold me as he was now. With my skirts around my waist, Jamie’s large hands slid between my thighs, feeling how wet I already was.

“Christ, Sassenach, I missed ye.”

Moaning, I pressed my lips against his and then took his cock into my hand, pumping it as he made grunts of his own. His forehead pressed against mine and with his help, I lifted my leg over his, positioning myself around him.

“Jamie,” I stroked his face with my fingers and then he pushed up and was home. We both stilled at the contact, savoring it. We lay on our sides, nearly fully clothed. Jamie started to move his hips and I echoed his motions. Coming together with Jamie was always a risk, he held my heart in the palm of his hands as I held his.

Leaning forward, I pressed my lips against his, my tongue finding his. His arms held me close, fingers squeezing my back, pressing me to him even deeper. His cock was hard and throbbing inside of me and it didn’t take but a few more thrusts for me to come, fast and shaking around him.

Jamie whispered something in Gaelic and buried his face into my neck, spilling himself inside of me. We lay there for some time, hands never ceasing to touch each other. I would never tire of making love with him. It was something that was such a strong part of who we were, something that I needed to feel close to him.

“I dinna want to move,” he said softly against my hair.

“We don’t have to go anywhere,” I kissed his chin.

Hours later we woke up after falling asleep in each other’s arms and managed to get up to eat a meal with Jamie’s father.

++++++

The next two days passed in a blur. There was a lot to be done to prepare for Colum’s burial which was happening in just a few hours. Soon we would all travel to the Kirk nearby and Colum MacKenzie would be laid to rest.

Then hopefully we would be able to leave in just a few days.

I was headed to the kitchen to help Mrs. Fitz when I saw them.

Laoghaire and Jamie.

They were standing in the hallway and I couldn’t help but stop and watch. He had taken my advice after all and I heard her say something like, “Thank ye, Jamie.”

And then she kissed him.

Not on the cheek, not near his mouth, but on his mouth. What infuriated me wasn’t the fact that she had been bold enough to kiss him, but that Jamie was just standing there and wasn’t trying to push her away.

I wasn’t about to stand there and keep watching so I left, running down the hallway towards Mrs. Fitz and away from whatever I had just seen. I knew Jamie would never cheat on me, I knew he felt nothing for Laoghaire, but he hadn’t pushed her away. Thoughts of doubt found their way into my head and tears spilled over my cheeks. Turning to hide my face, I brushed them away before entering the kitchen.

Mrs. Fitz set me to work and I was thankful for the distraction. Only a little while later, was that distraction ruined when Jamie walked in. He met my eye and smiled, coming over to stand by me and tried to place a kiss on my cheek. I dodged it and walked away to the other side of the counter.

“Sassenach, what’s wrong?”

“I don’t want to talk to you right now,” I muttered.

“Why no? What’s happened? Ye were fine when I kissed ye this morning…”

I set down the dough I was kneading and looked at Mrs. Fitz, “Do you mind if I leave? I need to get changed for the burial.”

“Of course, lass. We have all the help we need, go on wi’ yer man,” she smiled and I tried my best at a smile, but my heart wasn’t in it.

I walked past Jamie who tried to grab my arm, but I yanked it out of his grasp.

“Sassenach!”

Nearly running down the hall, I heard him follow close behind me. I only stopped when I reached our room and stood facing the window. He didn’t touch me, but I knew he was there.

“Claire…”

“I saw you and Laoghaire kissing.” I said through tears. “Jamie, I know you love me, I’m not a fool. We have children for God’s sake, but you didn’t even pull away.”

“Then ye at least saw that twas her that kissed me!”

“Yes, I saw that much.”

“Sassenach,” he touched my shoulder now and I held still. “Ye didna see me pull away because I was shocked at first. The wee lassie caught me off guard. I did push her off… and I told her to never speak to you or I again.”

“I do believe you,” I said through gritted teeth. “But I can’t look at you right now.”

“Claire, please,” he tried to turn me around but I wouldn’t move. “This is a misunderstandin’, ye canna think I would ever do anythin’ like that to hurt ye.”

“Just go be with your father, Jamie. I need to be alone.”

“I love ye, mo ghraidh. No kiss from a lassie will change that. Everythin’ we’ve been through…”

He said nothing else, but I heard him leave the room and then I sighed, letting out the breath I’d been holding.

It was foolish of me to be mad at him. He was my husband. The father of my three children, one of whom was growing inside of me right now. But it hurt to see him kissing Laoghaire. What I needed was time to erase that image from my mind, I only hoped it wouldn’t take too long.

Chapter Text

“May the road rise to meet you,
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face.
May the rain fall softly upon your fields until we meet again,
And may God hold you in the hollow of his hand.”

Colum mac Campbell MacKenzie was laid to rest on the 29th of April in the year of our Lord 1747. His funeral procession had been large, Highlanders from all over the land had come to pay their respects to the former Chief MacKenzie.

It was bittersweet. But Colum had a painful life, it had never been easy for him and my heart was at peace knowing that he no longer felt pain. The cyanide I had given him and he hadn’t used was tucked safely back in my medical chest, out of prying eyes.

Jamie had said a few words at the funeral, all in Gaelic and I understood a few of them. I was still rather cross with him and we had barely spoken since I had seen him kiss Laoghaire. That was two days ago.

It was rather silly of me to be holding this against him, but my insecurities were helping me hold that grudge. I knew he regretted it — regretted not pulling away sooner or even allowing himself to be that close to her in the first place.

And I was foolish to think that Laoghaire could ever change. She was still the same young girl from a few years ago, desperate to have Jamie all to her own, no matter the consequences or means.

As the large crowd walked back from the Kirk to the castle, Jamie found me — walking beside me, but still just out of reach. I knew he wanted to talk to me, to hold me, to kiss me — because I wanted all of those things too.

All I knew was that we — Brian, Jamie and I, needed to leave Castle Leoch and return home to Lallybroch as soon as possible. This journey had turned into something way beyond what I thought it would be.

Between finding out that Jamie’s father was alive, Colum dying and Laoghaire kissing Jamie, I desperately wanted to just be with my children. To hold them in my arms, kissing their small faces.

I was now nearly four months pregnant, and finally just getting over my morning sickness. I wouldn’t stay mad at Jamie for too much longer, I needed him just as badly as I knew he needed me.

When we arrived back at the castle, instead of following me to our room, I saw Jamie disappear down the corridor and presumably towards the kitchens. Mumbling to myself about what I would do to him, I didn’t hear a knock on the door.

A louder knock followed and I turned to see Brian standing in the doorway, one hand still on the door and the other behind his back. He wore a curious expression, one I had seen many times on Jamie.

“Hello Brian,” I smiled. “Do you need anything? Are you feeling alright?”

“Och, aye, Claire.” Stepping into the room, he looked around, his eyes darting from each corner. “I came to ask how long ye’ll be angry wi’ Jamie…”

I opened my mouth to object, but he put a hand up first, “I ken what happened lass. He’s eatin’ himself up wi’ it. But…” he grinned mischeviously, “I think ’tis been good for the lad to be on yer bad side the last couple o’ days. Keeps him honest.”

“I will forgive him. I already have,” I said and took a seat on the edge of the bed. “I just don’t like seeing him with anyone else.”

“Of course not!” Brian smiled and wrapped his arm around my shoulder as he sat next to me. “When I caught a lad starin’ at my Ellen, I wanted to gouge his eyes out for even darin’ to look at her. I was so jealous lass,” he laughed. “I ken the feeling — that anger ye must have felt.” I shrugged a bit, resting my hand over my stomach. “I may no have been around for nearly a decade, but if Jamie is the same lad I kent as he is today, then he would never do anythin’ to hurt ye, Claire.”

“I know,” I said softly. “It’s Laoghaire that would and has hurt me. We need to leave as soon as possible. What about tomorrow?”

“Tomorrow seems like a good a day as any,” Brian smiled and then kissed my cheek before rising. “Do ye want me to fetch Jamie?”

“Yes please,” I nodded and Brian bowed his head before leaving the room.

That feeling of jealousy hadn’t gone away. It had been eating me alive ever since I saw Jamie kissing Laoghaire. I wanted to slap her silly and make sure she never got close to us again, but she wasn’t worth the sting I would feel on my palm.

I walked over to the window, opening it slightly to let in the fresh air. If we were leaving tomorrow then we would need to pack tonight and make sure our horses were ready. I would leave all of that to Jamie.

My arms were crossed over my chest, holding tightly. I closed my eyes and took a deep breath. Then I heard his footsteps and stood still, my back facing away from him.

“Sassenach? My Da said ye wanted to see me.”

I could hear the apprehension in his voice. I knew he had been feeling guilty, but that’s exactly what he should be feeling — for kissing her, for letting her get close enough to do it.

“I did.”

He didn’t say anything after that, but I knew he was closer to me now — I could feel the heat of him on my back. If I leaned back, I would hit his solid chest with my head. When his hand touched my left shoulder, I sighed — a breath of relief at his touch.

“I’m still upset.”

“Aye.”

“You shouldn’t have let her get that close.”

“Aye, I shouldna have.”

“Don’t you ever let it happen again, Jamie.”

“I won’t, Sassenach. I promise. I’m so sorry,” his hand moved over my shoulder and down to rest over my heart. “I never want to hurt ye or cause ye heartache. I regret ever sayin’ anything to her.”

“And I regret trusting her,” I sighed, my eyes still closed. “I told you to talk to her.”

“But this isna yer fault, Sassenach. Ye didna ken she hadna changed from her wicked ways. Please…” he slid his hand lower, his fingertips just lightly grazing my breast.

I wanted him — I needed him.

“The next time I tell you to talk to someone, just ignore me,” I laughed and then turned my face to meet his eyes for the first time.

“Aye, I’ll never listen to ye again, mo nighean donn,” Jamie smiled and then finally pressed his lips to mine. He closed the space between us and pressed himself against me, both his arms coming to wrap around my stomach, his chin resting on top of my head. We both were silent, looking out the window, feeling the breeze on our skin.

“I told your father we would leave tomorrow.”

“It’s time to go home,” Jamie agreed.

“Jamie?” I said softly, my hand over his squeezing lightly.

“Aye, Sassenach?”

“Will you make love to me?”

“Always,” Jamie kissed the back of my neck as his hands found the laces of my bodice and started to pull them. He held one full breast in his hand as if weighing it, calculating in his mind. “They’ve grown.”

“Yes, they have,” I smiled and shrugged my shoulders to let the material fall to the ground. He started to turn me around in his arms, but I resisted and instead placed my hands in front of me on the window sill.

“Like that is it?” I could hear the change in his voice, now full of desire, slightly husky. His hands moved to my hips and I felt him untying his breeks. He was hard and his length pressed against my back as he lifted up my shift to my waist.

“Please,” I begged and braced myself. Jamie rested his hand on my hip, the material bunched up and then with his other hand I could hear him — stroking himself behind me. Moving my hips back a bit, he groaned and then finally slid home.

It was always different this way — from behind. But so full.

“Oh God, how I missed ye, Sassenach.”

“I missed you too,” I moaned, my head falling forward. I felt a chill on my breasts as they hardened and then realized that at some point, Jamie had lifted up my shift and it was now on the floor. The linen of his shirt was scratchy but not unwelcome on my skin. His thrust had a certain controlled power in them and I widened my stance.

“I love when yer belly is full of my seed,” he slid one hand around, cupping my stomach. “To ken that it was me who made ye so.”

“Jesus Christ,” I sighed and looked back at him to see him biting his lip.

I pressed down and then cried out when his other hand pinched my sensitive nipples, twisting and pulling until they were swollen. “Harder!”

He didn’t need to be told twice. Jamie kneaded my breasts all while continuing to press deeper and deeper inside of me. All of my senses were overtaken by Jamie. His mouth pressed sloppily at the hairline on my neck. I turned my face to kiss him, tasting a salty perspiration.

“Uh!” The sound of his cock pumping into me was enough to drive me over the edge. The feel of him, the urgency. Jamie took my earlobe into his mouth and I came with a keening cry. With a few final thrusts, he spilled himself and rested his cheek against my back.

Once he had pulled out of me, I turned in his arms, finding his lips and eyes. Cupping his cheek, I kissed him. “I love you.”

“And I love you,” he smiled. “I canna stand it when we dinna talk or share a bed, Sassenach.”

“Me either,” my lips frowned at the corners.

“Let’s try and never fight again shall we?”

“No promises there, my lad,” I laughed. “But I do promise to try.”

His legs bent slightly and then he picked me up, carrying me over to the bed and laid me down. He rid himself of the rest of his clothes and then came to lay down beside me, his hand covering my stomach.

“It will be good to see the bairns,” he smiled. “And to see Jenny’s face when she finds out our Da is alive!”

“I must say, I am slightly more excited about her reaction than seeing the children.”

“She willna believe her eyes,” Jamie said softly letting his fingers move in small circles over my stomach.

“It will be nice to be home,” I stroked his curls, a bit damp from our previous activities.

“Home,” Jamie repeated. “Aye, all the bairns and my Da. Feels like a dream, Sassenach.”

“A good one?”

“Aye,” Jamie slid down on the bed, placing a kiss to my stomach. “The best kind.”

++++++

The next morning we were all packed up and with a few goodbyes to the people at Castle Leoch, Jamie, Brian and I left without looking back.

Chapter Text

May 6th, 1747 

Home. It had been weeks since we’d been there. Our visit to Leoch had been extended once we found out about Jamie’s father. While we were there, Colum had died, leaving everything to his son Hamish. I knew Jamie was sad about his uncle’s passing, but having his father by his side, lifted his spirits tremendously.

Jamie and I had a few rough days after his kiss with Laoghaire, but our marriage was strong and had survived much worse.

The journey back to Lallybroch was quick, as we were all anxious to return. Brian most of all.

“Do ye think Jenny will recognize me?” Brian said as we walked up the path leading to Lallybroch. We hadn’t bothered writing a letter to Jenny to try and explain how their father was possibly still alive. This was something one needed to see to believe.

“Aye, of course, Da. Tis been 8 years and ye dinna look all that different. Perhaps lost a couple stone,” Jamie said laughing as he hit his father on the stomach.

“And her bairns, how many does she have?” Brian smiled.

“Two,” I said. “But she’s pregnant with another, almost ready to give birth again. There’s Young Jamie and then wee Maggie who is just a few months older than our Faith.”

“Faith and then the lad William…” Brian said. We had spent the journey back telling him about our children and Jenny and Ian’s children. He had laughed when he found out that Ian had married Jenny.

“I always liked the lad, the two of ye got into so much trouble as lads,” Brian laughed over our meal of rabbit one night on the road. “I canna even count the times I used my belt on the pair of ye.”

“I can,” Jamie winced, shifting slightly as if just the mention of a beating hurt his backside.

“So Claire, my son told me a bit about the two of ye on the way back to Leoch,” Brian turned to me, his dark eyes shining across the glow of the fire. “What’s a lovely Sassenach like yerself marryin’ a farmer lad from the Highlands?”

“Well I suppose I didn’t have much choice,” I smiled over my plate. “It was either marry someone for protection or be furthered questioned for being an English spy.”

“Aye, but what she’s no tellin’ ye is that she did have a wee bit of choice in it,” Jamie smirked, glancing over at me. “Dougal told her she needed to marry someone and my Sassenach offered up my name first.”

“Ahhh,” Brian smiled, nodding his head and I felt a heat rising in my cheeks.

“If you put it that way, then yes,” I grinned. “I did have a choice, but then I didn’t really — not when it came to loving you,” I said softly, looking over at Jamie.

Leaning over, Jamie kissed me before turning back to his food, his cheeks a bit more red than they were before.

“All that to say, Mr. Fraser—“

“Tis Brian or Da if ye like…” Brian said, his hand reaching out to hold mine.

“Da,” I said softly only because any louder and my voice would have betrayed the emotion I felt at having him ask to call him Da. “I love you son dearly, and I may be a Sassenach, but I feel that I belong in the Highlands among the heather and moor.”

“Aye, ye do lass,” Brian squeezed my hand. “Ye belong wi’ us.”

It was two days after feeling so accepted by Jamie’s father that we arrived to Lallybroch. I could sense the nervousness from Brian — the same tense set of his shoulders and fierce looking eyes that Jamie had.

Brian Fraser… resurrected.

Before we went inside or called anyone out to us, Jamie and Brian tied up the horses, removing the saddles and our belongings.

“It’ll be alright,” I heard Jamie say to his father. It was so interesting to watch Jamie and his father interact. From all the stories Jamie had told me of him, he was not at all what I expected, but he had been imprisoned for eight years — that would change anyone.

The sound of our horses and general arrival must have been heard from inside and I turned to see Jenny in the doorway.

“Jenny….” Jamie looked at his sister as she crossed the threshold, a wide smile on her lips. We watched as her face shifted from a look of happiness to one of confusion and finally shock.

“Who is that?” She said softly as she took the final step off the stairs.

“There is a lot that I need to explain to ye, Janet,” Jamie reached for her hand, she was trembling as she looked behind him at her father. “It’s Da, he’s alive.”

Jenny looked at Jamie, her eyes pleading with him for the truth, for this to not be a dream. I knew the last thing she expected was to see her father, alive after all this time.

“That’s no possible. I saw him buried in the ground nearly eight years ago wi’ my own eyes,” Jenny’s lip quivered and I wanted so badly to hug her. She was always so strong, always holding it together so that others could lean upon her.

“Dougal did this, Jenny.” Jamie cupped her cheek and turned her face to look at him.

“I—“ she started and then pushed past him, her eyes focused on Brian. “Is it true?”

Brian looked at his daughter, tears in his eyes, “Aye, my lass. It is.”

“Then ye better be able to explain to me why I thought ye to be dead!” She took the final few steps and launched herself into her father’s arm, nearly knocking him over. Brian wrapped his arms around her, holding her shaking form to him. Tears of my own fell down my cheeks as I watched father and daughter reunite.

“Come, Sassenach.” Jamie took my hand, “Best to leave them on their own for a bit.”

I followed him into the house, and was immediately greeted by two small children, shouting and jumping at the both of us. Falling to my knees, I embraced my children, hugging them so tight, Faith complained that she couldn’t breathe.

“Oh I’m sorry, darling, I just missed you so much!” I kissed her cheek and then pulled Willie onto my lap. His small hands reached up to my face, “Mama!”

“Hello, my love,” I smiled and held him close. “Mama and Da missed you so so much, we didn’t mean to be gone for so long.”

“Aye, mo chuisle,” Jamie said and kissed Faith on the cheek. “But we’ve brought someone back wi’ us. He’s yer grandda, my own father.”

“Where did you get him?” Faith asked curiously as she squished Jamie’s cheeks together.

“We brought him from a far away place, a leannan. I havena seen him in a verra long time and yer Da is verra happy to have him here,” Jamie kissed her cheek again and then stood, picking her up in his arms. Reaching out a hand for me, he pulled me to my feet and I grabbed Willie’s hand, helping him to walk towards the couch.

“Jamie!” Ian came hobbling from the study, reaching out one arm to him. “Tis good to see ye both. Yer bairns wouldna stop askin’ when you would be comin’ home.”

“At least they asked for us,” I smiled as I sat down on the couch, sighing as the pressure was relieved from my back. William crawled up next to me, laying his head in my lap. Faith sat at my feet, tugging on the hem of my dress.

“Yes, what is is darling?”

“Promise not to go away again?”

My heart nearly broke at her small sweet voice, “Oh I promise! I can’t stand being away from you for even a minute!”

Giggling, Faith smiled and crawled up to sit on the other side of me. I shut my eyes as I held both of my children against me, feeling comfort in their little bodies.

“Ian, there’s somethi’ ye should know,” Jamie said softly. “My Da… is alive. I ken it sounds impossible and like I’m makin’ it up, but Jenny is outside wi’ him now.”

“Alive?” Ian said. “What? Where has he been then?”

“In prison,” Jamie said and then filled in Ian on the story of Brian’s mistaken imprisonment by Dougal MacKenzie.

I must have dozed off briefly, because when I opened my eyes, Jamie was sitting beside me with Faith on his lap and Ian, Jenny and Brian were all with us in the living room. Slowly, I sat up, adjusting a sleeping Willie on my lap.

“Good afternoon, mo nighean,” Jamie whispered to me, kissing my forehead.

“Those bastards,” Jenny barked. “If Colum and Dougal MacKenzie werena already dead and buried, I’d find them myself and put them right back where they belong!”

I caught on rather quickly to the conversation at hand. Now everyone was filled in and it was Jenny’s turn to be enraged over her own kinsmen’s actions. Jamie had once told me that Jenny had never actually met their uncles and I thought that was probably for the best.

“I just canna believe that I buried a stranger’s body all those years ago,” Jenny said as she sat back. “I was stricken wi’ grief at knowin’ Jamie was beaten within an inch of his life and then father, ye—“ she choked and Ian slid his arm around her trembling shoulders. “In my wildest dreams, I didna ever think I’d see ye again.”

“I’m here, a leannan,” Brian smiled at his daughter. “I’m not goin’ anywhere ever again.”

It was a touching scene, to see family reunited after so long and under such tragic circumstances. I thought of my own parents and of my Uncle Lamb who had raised me. My parents died when I was so young — I wouldn’t be able to recognize them on the street if I saw them. And my Uncle had died many years ago, but the thought of seeing any of them, even just for a moment brought tears to my eyes.

Jamie sensed something in me and placed a kiss against my temple, bringing his thumb to brush away the fallen tear from my eye.

“Weel,” he said to everyone. “We’ve been on the road for awhile and I’m afraid my pregnant wife willna last much longer in everyone’s company.”

“I’m so sorry everyone,” I said and then yawned as if on cue. “I’m so glad to be back, to be home.”

“We’re glad to have ye both back. To have ye all,” Jenny smiled, looking over at her father. “I thought ye might be bringin’ books back wi’ ye from Leoch — I didna expect what ye did bring.”

“Neither did we,” Jamie smiled and rose from the couch, holding a sleeping Faith against his chest.

Too tired to do much of anything else for the evening, Jamie and I tucked the children into their beds, then made our way to our own, nearly stumbling on the way.

“Ahh,” I let out a sigh as I laid back in bed in just my shift. Jamie was already under the covers but I insisted on washing the dirt and grime from my body before climbing in with him. His eyes were closed, but I knew he wasn’t quite asleep yet.

“Are you very glad to be home, Jamie?” I asked, pulling the quilt over my legs and pressing my cold toes against his legs. He let out a small yelp at the touch and looked over at me.

“Aye, of course. ’Tis a bit strange after all these years to have my father back here, it will be interesting to see how we get along,” Jamie said and moved his arm around me to pull me to him.

“What do you mean by that?”

“Och, only that we are cut from the same cloth, my Da and I. When I last saw him, I was still a lad, barely had any sense and now I’m a man of my own, wi’ a wife,” he kissed me. “And three bairns.”

“So you think he’ll treat you as the boy he once knew?”

Jamie’s eyes squinted, “Maybe. It’s hard to tell, Sassenach. He’s my father of course, but being in a cell for that long will change a man, ye ken. It’ll take time before he no longer feels like he’s in chains.”

“I expect it will,” I said softly and laid my head against his chest. “Now… let’s sleep. We have our children and our home. I have you and need nothing more.”

Sighing, Jamie’s grip tightened on my arm, “I have all I need, mo nighean. Everything here in this house.”

Chapter Text

4 months later…

September 19th, 1747

“Just breathe, Sassenach,” Jamie said softly from beside me. I’d been in labor since yesterday afternoon and I remember hearing that with the third child, it was supposed to be easier… not this one.

“He’s stubborn thing,” I groaned. “Just like his father.”

“Or a stubborn lass…” Jamie smirked. “Like her mam.”

Narrowing my eyes at him, I let out a deep breath as another contraction came, this time much closer than the one before. Jenny and the midwife were helping me — wetting my forehead with a damp cloth, making sure I stayed hydrated. Jamie hadn’t left my side all night, he’d barely slept either.

I considered myself to be a patient person, but when matters of my body were concerned and an immense amount of pain… I wasn’t.

“Do ye wanna go for another walk, mo nighean? See if it helps,” Jamie asked.

“No,” I said through gritted teeth. “I do not want to go for another bloody walk, I want this baby out of me!”

Gripping Jamie’s hand tight, another contraction passed. The last time I had given birth to our son, William, it had been dangerous for the both of us. I was scared and I knew Jamie was too. In my own time, I would be in a hospital with clean linen’s and medicines to help with the pain — giving childbirth in the 18th century was exactly what I’d thought it would be.

“Is there anythin’ we can do, Jenny?” Jamie asked his sister who had just returned with freshly boiled cloths.

“If she doesna want to go for a walk, aye, there are a few things…” she smirked.

“Well what is it?” I tried to sit up. I knew of a few things all right… and I knew why she was smirking.

“Intercourse helps progress the labor quite well,” she said and I felt Jamie shift in the bed. He was so nervous to touch me near the end, afraid that the baby would some how feel an intruder. “Nipple stimulation, and of course wee walks.”

I looked over at Jamie who’s face was red, “Well?”

“I dinna want to hurt ye, Sassenach… or the bairn.”

“You won’t hurt us, Jamie. How many times do I have to tell you this,” I smiled, cupping his face. “If you’re too bloody afraid to have sex with your wife, then the least you can do is touch me.” I reached for his hand and laid it on my breast.

“I’ll come back later,” Jenny smirked and left the room, closing the door behind her.

“Ye think this will work, mo ghraidh?” Jamie moved closer, pulling my shift down from my shoulders until both breasts were exposed.

“Oh yes,” I nodded. “I’ve heard of many women’s labors being sped up this way and of course by having sex, but…” I gave him a look. “My husband won’t do that.”

“Och, ye ken I want to, Sassenach… I just—“ He said a bit shyly as he glanced down at my massive belly. “I dinna want to hurt ye and I dinna want to poke the poor fella.”

Jamie moved his fingers around my areola, pressing gently and then firmer as I touched his wrist. My nipples hardened at his touch. Sex was the last thing on my mind, having been sweating and feeling like I was about to explode for the last eighteen hours.

“Jamie, will you try?” I said.

He bent down to kiss me, his hands moving to my shoulders. “I’ll try for ye, Sassenach.”

It took a bit of effort, but I managed to move onto my hands and knees — there was no possible way Jamie could manage to curve himself around my stomach and I was too heavy to straddle him.

“If ye feel any pain at all, Claire…” he placed his hands on my hips. “Ye tell me to stop and I swear I will.”

“I won’t,” I urged, backing my hips against him, feeling how hard he was. It’d been months since we’d been together like this, I knew no matter how much he protested, he wanted me.

Slowly and carefully, Jamie pressed into me and a deep sigh left both of our lips. It did feel different, somehow fuller. My stomach was against the bed, and I raised myself best I could on my hands as he began to thrust into me. He was being so gentle, so tender.

“It feels good, Jamie,” I encouraged him and turned my head to see him looking down at the place of our joining. I could hear it then, the wetness as he pushed forward. “Oh!”

“I’m almost,” he grunted. “I canna last much longer, Sassenach.”

Both his hands pressed into my hips, holding me to him and I hung my head forward as he finished with three more thrusts. Every nerve in my body seemed to come alive and it took all the energy in me to roll onto my side, collapsed and spent.

Jamie laid behind me, his hands softly stroking my belly and then I arched against him as another contraction came.

“That was quick,” Jamie chuckled.

Within the next hour, I was pushing, leaning against him for support and squeezing the bloody hell out of his hand. Once I felt the need to push, it all happened rather quickly from that point and now I lay back in bed, holding our precious baby boy.

“I told ye it would help quicken things,” Jenny snorted from the end of the bed as she gathered the used cloths and bedsheets.

“Aye, ye did,” Jamie narrowed his eyes. “Now, will ye go and get the other wee bairns of ours?”

A moment later, Faith and William came running in, excited smiled on their faces. With Jamie’s help, they crawled up onto the bed, sitting around us.

“This is your new baby brother,” I smiled and turned him towards them. “His name is Brian… like your grandda.”

The eldest Brian Fraser stood in the doorway, his arms crossed and I thought I saw a few unshed tears in his eyes. I smiled at him and he at me, then turned back to my children. I never thought I would have a family of my own — a distant thought perhaps in the back of my mind, but never did I think I would be surrounded by my husband and three beautiful children, all with a mop of red hair.

Ever since Brian’s return, we had all gotten into a routine of sorts. Life was beginning to take shape again and after so many years of traveling and never feeling settled, Jamie and I found peace here at Lallybroch.

Brian had grown healthier day by day, returning once again to the man he once was. He didn’t want to be Laird of Lallybroch anymore, it was Jamie’s duty he said. I saw how Jamie took on that responsibility so seriously, always caring for his tenants and family. Caring for us.

I helped around the estate with Jenny, whether in the garden that I had helped cultivate or with daily tasks inside. And once a week, I went into the village and houses nearby and healed people with cuts and diseases, using my knowledge in any way that I could.

We were slowly outgrowing Lallybroch, with three children of our own as well as Jenny and Ian’s never ending offspring. Which is why Jamie had begun building a smaller house just on the edge of the property for us. He said that while he was Laird of Lallybroch, it didn’t mean we had to live in the house. I think he mostly wanted his privacy from all the coming and going of the bigger house.

I had to admit, it would be nice to get away from all the noise that a big house and all its servants and inhabitants brought along with it. Of course we still had three children of our own that made plenty of noises.

I was up at the smaller house now, it’d been a month since Brian was born and I wanted some fresh air. Jamie came out, his shirt covered in dirt and his face with it.

“My Sassenach,” he kissed me and then Brian. “My wee lad.”

“To what do I owe the honor?”

“Just wanted to get some fresh air and see how the house was coming along,” I smiled.

“I expect in the next couple weeks, it’ll be done and we can be in before the cold comes,” he said proudly and slid his arm around my waist.

“It’ll be beautiful, Jamie. I love it already,” I said and then passed Brian into his arms to give mine a break. “Did you ever think that when we first met, we would have all of this?”

“Och, nah.” Jamie smiled as he stroked Brian’s small cheek. “I was an outlaw when we first met, on the run. I never thought I would live to see the day I would return to Lallybroch, especially no as Laird.”

“And I never thought that I would marry that dirty highlander with a dislocated shoulder,” I smirked, crossing my arms.

“I’m glad ye did, Sassenach,” Jamie kissed me. “I remember that night like it twas yesterday, ye comin’ in wi’ Murtagh, dressed in yer shift wi’ yer wet curls drippin’ down.”

“You bloody scot!” I hit him on the arm, “You just wanted to see through my dress, even back then.”

“Aye, I did,” he laughed. “Ye were so bonny and the I’d never seen anyone as beautiful as ye, Sassenach. Can ye forgive me for wantin’ ye? Even then?”

I pressed my lips to his, then laid my head against his shoulder. “I forgive you. Only because I wanted you too, from the start.”

++++++

4 years ago….

The strange man I was with that had saved me from the English soldier — the same one that bared a striking resemblance to Frank — pushed open a door to a small cottage. Inside was a group of men, huddled around a fire.

They spoke a language I didn’t understand and I began to feel like I wasn’t entirely safe.

A man rose from the corner, pulling my arm aside to bring me closer to the fire, “Let’s have a look at ye, lass.”

“I trust you’re able to see me now,” I said, trying my best to hold myself together.

“What’s yer name?” he said with a thick Scottish accent.

I decided to keep using my maiden name. If they intended to ransom me, I didn’t want to lead them back to Frank. “Claire,” I said. “Claire Beauchamp.”

“Claire Beauchamp,” he said.

“That’s right! What the hell do y—“

“You said you found her?” He interrupted me, talking to the man who had brought me here.

“Aye,” the other man said. “She was havin’ words wi’ a certain Captain of Dragoons, wi’ whom we are acquainted.” He looked over at me, “There seemed to be some question as to whether the lady was or was not a whoor.”

“And what was the lady’s position in the discussion?”

“I am not!”

“We could put it to the test,” another man said from the corner.

“I don’t hold wi’ rape,” the man beside me said, but I found little comfort in his words. “We don’t have the time for it anyway.”

“Dougal,” the first man said, “I have no idea what she might be, but I’ll stake my best shot, she’s not a whoor.”

“We’ll puzzle that out later,” the man Dougal said and then went back to the fire behind me. “We’ve a good distance to go tonight, we must do somethin’ about Jamie first.”

Escape was my chief concern, but I had no idea where I was and trying to find the road back to Inverness in the gathering darkness felt like a fool’s errand.

All the men had crowded around a man with red hair.

“It’s the joint, poor bugger. Ye canna ride wi’ it like that can ye?”

“It hurts enough sittin’ still, I couldna manage a horse,” the injured man said.

“I don’t mean to be leavin’ him behind.”

“There’s no help for it then,” another man said, “I’ll have to force the joint back.”

The wisest course of action would have been to keep my head down, my mouth shut and wait for the search parties Frank must have sent out by now. But I couldn’t stand there and do nothing as I watched these grubby highland men surround the injured one, starting to pull on his arm while he choked down ale.

“Don’t you dare!” I rushed forward and the pulled their knives on me. “Stand aside at once, you’ll break his arm if you do it like that!”

They all just looked at me as if they’d never heard a woman speak before, “You have to get the bone of the upper arm in the correct position before it slips back into joint.” The man Dougal moved aside to let me attend to the injured man.

He was covered in blood and sweat and I laid my hands gently on his arm, he winced slightly.

“Hold him steady,” I said to the men behind him and then looked at the red haired man, nodding once to let him know I was about to do it. I moved his forearm, twisting it and he let out a groan, “This is the worst part.”

He nodded, breathing heavily as I then took his arm and pushed it back into place.

“Taing Dhia!” He said, looking up at me. “It doesna hurt anymore.”

“It will,” I said checking his arm. “It’ll be tender for about a week, you’ll need a sling.”

“You,” I nodded to a man nearby, “Fetch me a long piece of cloth or a belt!”

“Fetch me she says,” he mocked me. “Did ye hear that lads?”

“Give her yer belt…” Dougal said.

“Takin’ a guess ye’ve done this before?” the red haired man I heard referred to as Jamie, said.

I nodded, my arm still holding onto his, “I’m a nurse.” Sets of eyes drifted down to my breasts, “Not a wet nurse!”

I took the belt from the man, wrapping it around Jamie’s arm. “You mustn’t move the joint for two or three days. When you begin to use it again, go very slowly at first. Stop at once if it hurts. And use warm compresses on it daily.”

“Alright,” I hooked the belt, “How does that feel?”

“Better,” Jamie smiled. “Thank ye.”

“Can ye ride?” Dougal said, tossing him his jacket.

“Aye,” Jamie said, still looking up at me.

“Good, we’re leavin’.”

We all made out way outside, now dark and raining. Jamie followed behind me and I looked out at the dark night, “Where is it? Where is the city? It should be visible from here…”

“Inverness?” Jamie said, nodding forward. “Yer lookin’ straight at it.”

There were no electric lights as far as the eye could see, so as much as my rational mind rebelled against the idea — I knew in my heart, I was no longer in the 20th century.

“Get yerself up,” Dougal came behind me, grabbing my arm and pulling me towards Jamie’s horse that he was already seated upon. “You be sure to stay close to the rest of us and should ye try anythin’ else, I shall slit yer throat for ye. Do ye understand me?”

I nodded, scared out of my mind. “Give me yer foot,” he said and hoisted me up onto Jamie’s horse. I sat in front of him, feeling his warm solid chest behind me. He moved around me, pressing against me, “Careful. What are you trying to do?”

“Get my plaid to cover ye,” he said. “Yer shiverin’,” Jamie said softly as he pulled the plaid around both of us.

“Thank you, but I’m fine really.”

“Yer shakin’ so hard, it’s makin’ my teeth rattle,” he laughed. “The plaid will keep us both warm, but I canna do it one handed. Can ye reach?”

I reached behind me, helping Jamie to cover us. I was thankful for the plaid he had and for the heat his body was emanating — he was like a furnace and for the first time that day, I began to feel safe, sitting here in his arms.

“No need to freeze before sun up,” he said.

“Sun up? You mean we’ll be riding all night?”

“All night,” he confirmed. “And the next one too, I reckon.”

We set off, moving further and further away from Inverness — from Frank and from my once chance of returning to where I had come from. All through the night, I felt Jamie’s arms wrapped around me and had to admit to myself that it felt quite nice. He was big, much bigger than Frank and I felt protected.

I found myself in a strange time, still trying to figure out just when that was.

“Are ye alright, lass?” Jamie said some hours later.

“Yes, I’m fine, thank you,” I said. “Just where are we going anyways?”

“Och, we’re goin’ to Castle Leoch, still a days ride away.”

“Castle Leoch?”

“Aye, ye know it?”

“Sort of,” I replied. I had been there with Frank only yesterday and it seemed odd to be going there again, only this time alone and perhaps in a different century.

As the night went on and the sun began to come up, I found that my companion was still holding me tight to him — not that there was anywhere else to go. Thoughts of Frank were slipping from my mind as the cold seeped into my bones. At one point, I thought I felt something hard against my lower back, but shook my head, it couldn’t be.

But if I was honest with myself, the man, Jamie was quite handsome and more than once I had drifted off to sleep in his arms, finding myself dreaming of him in ways I shouldn’t have.

No matter where I was, or what century I found myself in — all I knew was that I wanted Jamie, this strange highlander by my side at all times. For when I was with him, I felt safe and protected — as if he would let no harm come to me and my well being. I barely knew him and yet I trusted him completely.