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It's All My Fault That I'm Still the One You Want

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“Oh my god, you’re Claire,” an unknown voice said behind her as she wandered aimlessly across Harvard’s campus. The plan to just show up had seemed ridiculously romantic on the plane. In practice, she had no idea where she was going. It was late enough that she didn’t expect Jamie to be on campus, and it seemed unlikely she was just going to simply run into him in a city as large as Boston. And it was impossible she’d find anyone else who could help her. Except for this random English man, apparently.

“You are Claire, aren’t you?” he asked when she seemed understandably startled.

“I am,” she hedged, “How do you…”

“I’m a friend of Jamie’s,” he said, “And I did a little Facebook stalking when he told me about you. Not in a creepy way, or anything. But you have very distinctive hair.”

“Okay, right,” Claire said. She was equal parts concerned and relieved that her half-baked plan might have just gotten a lot simpler, “I’m Claire. And you are?”

“Probably going to take you to Jamie’s house,” he said with a wide grin that told her he probably didn’t know the whole story if he was willing to help her so easily. Claire smiled back anyways, “But my name is John. What are you doing here?”

“A grand romantic gesture that is entirely unlike me and will probably blow up in my face,” she admitted, “You’ll really take me to Jamie’s house?”

“I don’t think Jamie would forgive me if I left you to wander campus all night,” John shrugged.

It startled a laugh out of her, “I’m pretty sure he would. He might even thank you for it,” she said before she could stop herself. John shot her a strange look but didn’t press her. He definitely didn’t know the whole story, then.

As John led her across campus, Claire was overcome with a certainty that Jamie was going to send her back. What was she even doing? Claire’d had her chance to hang onto him and she’d broken his heart instead. Then she’d had a chance again when he’d called her on new year’s, and once again she’d wasted it. What right did she have to come here and interrupt his life?

But at the same time, it didn’t seem like there was any other choice she could make. If nothing else, Claire was worried about him. Jenny clearly knew something, but she was staying tight lipped about whatever she and Jamie had talked about. Claire had been secretive in turn. She hadn’t told anyone about Boston except for Joe. She didn’t want to deal with a million people having opinions. Maybe she’d needed someone to tell her she was making a bad choice. But the choice had been made, and here she was.

Claire hadn’t formally accepted an interview. It would be stupid of her to make any commitments before she talked to Jamie, and it would be unprofessional of her to interview for a job she wasn’t sure about. But Boston General was prestigious, and Claire made a habit of making sure those kinds of places knew about her. She had applied (and been rejected) right out of med school, but Claire was in professional contact with their department heads on a semi-regular basis and she had a decent enough reputation as a consultant. It had been a simple matter to secure a meeting over coffee with the man who would be her boss. He’d given Claire a good indication that should she interview, she would probably get the job. There were a lot of things tying her to Scotland right now, but there would be a job waiting for her if Jamie took her back.

That was bloody big if, though.

“Jamie was right about your glass face,” John said sometime later, startling Claire out of her thoughts, “I can see almost everything going through your head.”

“I doubt that,” Claire said dryly.

“He’s going to be thrilled to see you,” John insisted again. They had been walking for quite some time, and after a night and day of travel, Claire’s legs were ready to give out on her. She didn’t grace John with a response, which he took to be encouragement to keep talking, “He doesn’t talk about home very much, but he talks about you.”

“Does he?” that got Claire's attention. Until he had called her, Claire had been certain that he’d forgotten her the moment he’d left Scotland. But occupying his thoughts and having an actual place in his life were two entirely different things.

“He has since I finally pried the story out of him on New Year’s Eve,” he said.

“So I have you to blame for that then?” Claire asked, only half joking.

“Or me to thank,” John replied, not joking at all. They had stopped in front of a modest apartment building. This seemed to be as far as John could or would take her. He offered to stay with her, but Claire assured him she would be fine. Jamie should be back soon, he said, but if he wasn’t back within the hour they could try again tomorrow. Claire didn’t tell him that if she didn’t see Jamie tonight, she’d probably lose her nerve and be on the first plane back to Scotland.

“I’m sure I’ll be seeing you again,” John said when she finally got him to agree to leave, “And you can thank me properly then.” Claire managed a nervous smile and then John was gone and she was alone. And she felt just as unmoored as she had before she stumbled across John.

No matter how many times she’d pictured this conversation, Claire drew a blank about what she’d do the moment Jamie was actually in front of her. Claire’s plan relied almost entirely on the objective: she loved him, she was sorry, and she wanted to move to Boston to be with him. She was certain Jamie would demand more than that, but she hadn’t been able to divine why she’d done what she’d done or said what she’d said. Instead, she was relying on inspiration striking her in the moment. It seemed like that she would have to wait until Jamie was there demanding answers. If he was willing to hear her out all.

Another thing she hadn’t considered: Boston was bloody cold. Claire knew cold, but the cold of London and Scotland was wet. She was unprepared for the sharp, dry cold of Boston. She’d been waiting longer than the allotted hour when she was nearly at her physical breaking point. She was exhausted and freezing and would probably kill for a cup of coffee.

Then Claire saw him.

Jamie. Standing a dozen yards away from her. The clarity Claire thought she’d have once she saw him deserted her. If anything, she was even more lost on what she could say. But she couldn’t help the uncertain smile that broke across her face, or the way her heart skipped a beat when he returned it. She was so fucked.

He was looking at her like she might disappear into smoke at any moment. Claire didn’t blame him, all things considered. There was still the possibility in the back of her head that this whole plan was a mistake, but there no going back now. She was here. Jamie had seen her. What she was going to say, she didn’t know. But Claire had to say something.

“Hello, Jamie,” she settled on. She cringed at herself, but couldn’t summon any other words. Not until he said something in response. Jamie was silent for a long moment, just sizing her up. Would he turn her away? Claire wouldn’t blame him if he did.

“Sassenach?” he said at last. Something snapped back into place at the sound of it, and Claire felt tears gathering in her eyes. Jamie mistook it for anguish and finally took a step towards her with concern in his eyes, “Claire?”

“Can we go inside?” Claire said finally, “I’m bloody freezing.”

“Right,” Jamie said slowly, “Of course.” Jamie gave her a wide berth as he walked past her to unlock his building. He led her to his door without a word and Claire tried to get her thoughts in order. He hadn’t thrown her out, that was a better start than she’d hoped for. But what now? Jamie didn’t give her much of a chance to think.

“What are ye doing here?” Jamie asked the moment the door closed behind her. She was glad she hadn’t started taking her coat off, since there was clearly a chance she was going to be sent straight back outside.

“I missed you,” Claire said, “And I was worried about you.” Not a lie, but so far from the truth.

“Ye could have worried about me from Scotland. What are ye doing here?” Jamie said. He took a step towards her and Claire resisted the urge to take a step back. She’d wanted nothing more for months than to have him in front of her, but the reality of it was almost too intense for her. But she couldn’t back down.

“Do you want me to go?” Claire challenged.

No,” Jamie said quickly and Claire let out a small breath of relief, “But forgive me if I’m a little confused.”

“I made a mistake. On New Year’s,” Claire said, “Well, I made a lot of mistakes, but that one most recently.”

“Aye?” Jamie asked. Jamie wasn’t giving her anything to work with. He seemed more than content to let her ramble through whatever had led her here.

There was no point in delaying it any more. She squared her shoulder and looked Jamie in the eye, “I shouldn’t have pushed you away.”

“I seem to recall ye saying ye ‘let me go.’”

“I shouldn’t have done either. Or both,” Claire continued.

“We broke up eight months ago, Claire. Why now?” Jamie replied. He was throwing her words back at her, and Claire didn’t let him see how hard they hit her.

“Because it takes time to line up a job,” Claire shot back. She enjoyed the look of shock on his face, “I have an interview at Boston General, if I want it.”

“Do ye want it?” Jamie asked. There was an odd look in his eyes that Claire couldn’t comprehend, but she didn’t let it deter her. This wasn’t about a job, this was about him. And now that she had come this far, there was nothing Jamie could do that would stop her from saying her piece.

“Of course I want it. It’s Boston General,” Claire said almost flippantly. Now it was her turn to take a step forward and Claire could see the same instinct to flee in Jamie’s eyes. Good.

“The question is,” Claire continued. She took another step until she was nearly flush against him, “do you want me?” Jamie released a shaky breath that Claire felt against her cheek. There was truly no going back now. And Claire found that she didn’t mind. She was still hanging in limbo, but at least Jamie knew how she felt. And it felt so, so good to not have any secrets with him.

“Ye’d move to Boston for me?”

“Yes,” Claire said without hesitation and Jamie closed his eyes. And kept them closed. And stayed silent. Claire resisted the urge to step away.

“And ye thought ye’d come back without giving me a chance to think about it? Or prepare?”

“Are you trying to tell me something?” Claire asked, “Because I knew you’d have a life now. Other ties-”

“There are no other ties,” Jamie said, his eyes snapping open, “I have burned for ye. And only ye since the last time I saw ye. But…”

“But,” Claire agreed, finally taking that step away from him. It was only a foot, but it might as well have been an ocean.

“Claire,” Jamie said, a hint of desperation creeping into his voice. Claire could feel herself withdrawing, Jamie must have been able to see it too, “Yer career is everything to ye. Ye can’t possibly want to leave yer job just to be with me.”

“I would do a lot of things to be with you,” Claire snapped, “That isn’t the issue. Do you want me?”

“I dinna want ye to make a choice ye’ll regret,” Jamie evaded, but Claire could see his restraints slipping. Claire took a step forward. Then another. And another, until she was pressed fully against him. She lifted her hands until she was cupping his face and forcing him to look at her.

“Do. You. Want. Me?” Claire asked slowly and emphatically.

Instead of words, Jamie answered by crashing his lips against her. He pounced quickly enough that Claire stumbled back, but Jamie steadied her with one arm locking around her waist and the other tangling in her hair. Claire was used to Jamie being gentle, but there was no hint of that restraint now. He pushed her back until she was pressed against the door with his knee between her legs. Jamie bit her lip and he used Claire’s gasp to slip his tongue into her mouth. Jamie groaned at the taste of her. But as quickly as it had started, Jamie tore his lips away. He kept her pressed against the door, but he took in a few ragged breaths and pressed his forehead against hers.

“Is that a yes?” Claire asked breathlessly.

“I dinna think ye’ve thought this through,” Jamie admitted, but he softened the blow with a kiss to her forehead, “But christ, Claire. I canna think of anything other than having ye.”

Claire lifted her head to pepper kisses along his throat and jaw punctuated by bites that made him hiss, “Then take me.”

It was all the permission Jamie needed. Soon, Claire was being led through the apartment by her hips to Jamie’s bedroom. She didn’t have a chance to take in any of the décor because her lips were firmly plastered to Jamie’s neck as he unbuttoned her shirt and slipped it over her shoulders. Claire made a move to get his clothes off, but Jamie growled the moment her lips left his skin. Instead, Claire returned to her explanation of his throat while he got to work on her jeans. Soon, Claire was naked and Jamie was still fully clothed. It should have made Claire uncomfortable, but she was too intrigued by what he might do to remedy the situation.

At first, all he did was look at her. Claire would have felt self-conscious if the proof of his appreciation wasn’t pressing against the front of his jeans. Instead, she stood still and let Jamie drink in the sight of her as much as he wanted. Eventually, he prowled to her and purposefully pressed her down on the bed with the gentleness that Claire was accustomed to from him. He quickly moved from her mouth down her throat until he was circling a nipple with his tongue. Claire’s back arched off the bed as he continued his assault on her chest while snaking a hand between her legs. He spent a few moments caressing her inner thighs while Claire whined for him to get on with it. It had been so long since she’d been touched and Claire was aching for him.

“Please,” she gasped as he made the barest contact with her sensitive folds, “Please, Jamie.”

He obliged and Claire tried and failed to stifle a moan as he dipped two fingers inside of her. Jamie’s mouth left her breast and instead connected with her own and he moved his fingers from inside of her to her clit. Claire tangled a hand in his hair and tried to maintain their kiss as she writhed against him. After a few minutes of slow circles, Jamie upped the pace and Claire didn’t have it in her to be embarrassed at the noises she was making.

“I ken yer close,” Jamie growled, “Come on, Sassenach.”

Claire obeyed with a guttural cry. She felt Jamie smile into the kiss he gave her. Before he could pull away, Claire flipped them so she was straddling his hips.

“How are you still wearing clothes?” she complained as she pulled his shirt over his head.

“I got sidetracked,” Jamie said with a laugh. He unbuttoned his jeans and slid them down his hips until the only thing separating them was his boxers. Claire didn’t give him a moment to breath before she was grinding down on him and shoving her tongue back into his mouth. It wasn’t an elegant kiss, but it was efficient. It was only a matter of moments before Jamie was thrusting against her with some urgency. Somehow, Jamie removed his hands from Claire’s hips long enough to slip his boxers off and find a condom in his bedside table. Claire rolled it on and then she was sliding down on him. Claire stilled as she got used to the feeling of finally having him inside of her once more.

God, Claire,” Jamie moaned as she moved slowly at first and then faster. She set a punishing place, but Jamie met her thrust for thrust. Claire raked her nails down Jamie’s chest and got no small amount of satisfaction from the red marks she left. Hers. This man was hers, and now he’d have the marks to prove it. It was that thought that sent Claire tumbling over the edge again and Jamie right along with her. Claire collapsed on his chest and Jamie rolled her until she was tucked securely into his chest.

“I love you, by the way,” Claire said after they caught their breath, “I forgot that part.”

“Oh,” Jamie replied, “Well. I love ye too.”

Claire lifted her head and tried to decipher to look in his eyes, “What?”

“I’m just a little surprised it all,” Jamie admitted.

“You thought I’d quit my job and move to Boston for a man I don’t love?” Claire asked with small chuckle, but Jamie wasn’t laughing.

“I ken ye love me,” Jamie said, “I just wasna sure ye’d ever admit it.” Claire settled back against Jamie with a kiss to his chest and an arm wrapped around his middle. He was hers, but she was also his. Claire couldn’t believe he still doubted it. Claire wracked her brain for something to say, but by the time she mustered anything, Jamie was already asleep.

“So how did ye ken where I lived?” Jamie asked the next morning over coffee. They hadn’t broached any of the more difficult subjects yet, but the day was still young.

“Your friend, John,” Claire said, “Who knew me on sight, thanks for that.”

“He’s a nosy bastard,” Jamie allowed, “But he’s also my best friend here.”

“You should still talk to him about leading strangers to your house,” Claire said with a smile.

“I’m sure the lesson wouldna take,” Jamie replied with a smile of his own. They enjoyed the rest of breakfast in comfortable silence. Claire hadn’t eaten since leaving Scotland, and she shoveled food into her mouth with an urgency that made Jamie laugh. Claire indulged the teasing, it was so good to make him happy for once. Claire knew there was something (probably a few things) that Jamie was holding back from her, but she could be patient. She still had a few days in Boston, and there would be time to talk about the hard things.

“I have class,” Jamie said apologetically as he cleared their dishes, “And work after that. So I willna be able to see ye until late. I can take ye back to yer hotel first.”

“I… well…” Claire began uneasily. Of course Claire knew he’d have responsibilities, but she hadn’t thought this far ahead, “I don’t have a hotel.”

“Oh,” Jamie said with pleasure and amusement, “That was presumptuous of ye.”

“Well,” Claire said with equal amusement, “I thought I’d either be here with you, or on the next plane back to Edinburgh.”

Jamie’s brow furrowed in confusion, “What about Boston General?”

“I told you,” Claire said with a fond roll of her eyes, “I’m sure I’d be happy there. But the only thing that Boston has that Scotland doesn’t is you. And if you didn’t want me back…”

“Claire,” Jamie said suddenly and fear sparked in Claire’s heart. Suddenly, the easy intimacy of the morning vanished. Claire stood up so she would at least be eye level with him.

“I’ve gotten ahead of myself,” Claire said as she steeled herself against the rejection that must be coming, “Of course we’re not back together.”

“Ye think I’d sleep with ye if I didna want ye back?” It was Jamie’s turn to roll his eyes.

“I don’t know,” Claire said, “Missing someone and wanting to be with them aren’t always the same thing.”

“Sassenach,” Jamie said more gently this time. He took a step towards her and grasped both of her hands in his, “I love ye. And I want to be with ye.”

“But…” Claire prompted.

“But,” Jamie said, “Do ye truly want to be in Boston?”

“Why are you trying to talk me out of this,” Claire said with a nervous laugh.

“Because,” Jamie said, “I’m not staying in Boston.”

Claire snatched her hands away just to have something to do with her shock, “You what?”

“I hate Harvard,” Jamie said with a laugh, as if it was the most ridiculous thing in the world. It probably was. Claire didn’t know the intricacies of his degree, but it seemed like Harvard was the dream. At least it had been when they’d broken up over it.

“You hate Harvard?” Claire repeated.

Despise it,” Jamie confirmed as he grasped Claire’s hands again. She let him, “I have since the moment I got here, if I’m being honest.”

“When were you going to tell me this?” Claire demanded.

“When I was sure ye wanted me and not the Boston General job,” Jamie shrugged.

“I told you-”

“I love ye, Claire,” Jamie interrupted, “But ye can understand if I maybe had some doubts about that?”

Claire shut her eyes and squeezed Jamie’s hands. Of course she understood. Maybe Jamie loved her, and maybe he wanted her. But he was still a long way from trusting her. And Claire didn’t blame him one bit. But let Jamie have his doubts. For once, Claire didn’t have any, and she could be faithful enough for the both of them while they rebuilt what she had broken.

“I want you,” Claire said as she opened her eyes, “And I would rather have you in Edinburgh.”

“Ye’ll have to settle for having me in Glasgow,” Jamie said with a smile that Claire returned, “That’s the closest place I got accepted to.”

“I would have you any way I could get you,” Claire said, “But Glasgow sounds excellent.” Claire pulled Jamie’s head down to hers and connected their lips. This kiss was slow and gentle and promised many more. Jamie wound his arms around her waist and deepened their kiss until Claire was gasping.

“You’re going to miss class,” Claire said sometime later when Jamie let her up for air.

“Fuck class,” Jamie said succinctly as he kissed her again. Claire allowed herself to get lost for a few moments before she pulled away again.

“Go on,” Claire said when Jamie let her go with a groan.

“Ye’ll be here when I get back?” Jamie asked as he got himself dressed.

“Wild horses couldn’t drag me away,” She smiled, “Besides, I have nowhere else to go.”

“Good,” Jamie said with another kiss, “I dinna think I’m letting you out of this apartment until I take ye back to the airport.”

“Careful,” Claire said after his goodbye kiss once again got too heated, “Or I’ll be the one holding you captive.”

“Tease,” Jamie said as he finally pulled away from her and opened the door, “I’ll see ye tonight.” Jamie gave her one final peck and then he was gone and Claire was alone. She collapsed back against the door and smiled all alone like an idiot. They were staying in Scotland. Jamie loved her. He wanted her. And he was going to be back in a matter of hours.

Claire picked up her phone and dialed Joe’s number. She had a lot of news to share.

Two months later, Jamie’s school year was over and Claire was back in Boston to help move him out. It had been hard for her to get the time off so soon after her first excursion to Boston, but one reference to her past surgery gave her the two days she needed. After spending years terrified that even a moment’s rest would jeopardize her career, it was nice to be able to relax for once.

Not that seeing Jamie again was the least bit relaxing. First of all, they were mostly concerned with moving. How Jamie had gotten so many things in less than a year, Claire didn’t know. But they all had to either be packed and shipped back to Edinburgh or sold or donated here. It was a lot for only two people in the same amount of days.

And there was the matter that it had been months since she’d seen him. Somehow the two months she’d been back in Edinburgh felt longer than the year they’d been separated before that. They talked on the phone every day, sometimes more than once, but that only made Claire miss him more.

So if the first thing she did when she and Jamie got to his apartment was fall to her knees and show him how much she missed, who could blame her?

Certainly not Jamie, who was lying blissed out on his bed while Claire tried to untangle the hair he had grabbed.

“I missed ye,” Jamie said as she gave up on her hair and settled against his chest, “And I mean to show ye how much the moment my soul comes back to my body.”

“That won’t be necessary,” Claire laughed as she kissed his cheek chastely, “You’ll have plenty of opportunity to return the favor.”

“Is that a promise?” Jamie asked. Before Claire had a chance to answer, his lips were back on hers and Claire was being rolled onto her back. She let Jamie kiss a path from her lips down her chest before she put an end to it. As much as she wanted him, they didn’t have time for this many detours. He needed to be out of the apartment tomorrow, and his suitcases weren’t going to pack themselves.

“Mmm, I’m ravenous,” Claire said as she brushed the hair away from Jamie’s eyes.

“So am I,” Jamie said as he attempted to get back to business, but Claire had too good a grip on his head, “Oh, ye meant food.”

“Yes,” Claire said as she rolled Jamie off of her, “You go get us something, and I’ll start on sorting this mess out, since you clearly can’t be trusted not to get distracted.”

“Says the woman who dragged me to the bedroom the moment she saw me,” Jamie said with a laugh, but he obeyed and soon Claire was alone to create a plan of attack.

Somehow, they managed to get everything packed and then there was nothing to do but enjoy Boston for the few hours before their flight back to Scotland. Their flight home. Claire wasn’t sure when she started thinking of Scotland as home. But she felt something for Edinburgh she’d never had with London, and that was in no small part because of the people that were waiting for her there. Or the person she was bringing back with her.

“Yer awfully quiet, Sassenach,” Jamie said as they strolled through Harvard’s campus. She couldn’t deny it was a beautiful campus, but she was glad they weren’t staying.

“Just thinking,” Claire said vaguely. She could feel Jamie’s frown and tried to elaborate, “I’m just thinking how lucky I am to have found you. And how lucky I am to have you even after trying my best to scare you away.”

We are lucky, mo nighean donn,” Jamie said, “But ye could never scare me away.”

“Don’t be so sure,” Claire warned with a joking lilt, “I could be a terrible person one day.”

“I dinna think I care,” Jamie said decisively. Jamie stopped her and pulled her until Claire was facing him. His eyes were serious. He wasn’t joking at all, “I kent it when I met ye four years ago, Claire. And I ken it now. I love ye, and I want ye for the rest of my life.”

Claire shut her eyes as tears threatened to fall. Would Claire ever get used to how bloody sincere this man was all the time? She hoped she didn’t. Claire hoped she didn’t forget for one moment how rare a man James Fraser was, and how lucky she was to have him. Claire couldn’t think of a single thing to say that would express her feelings, so she pressed her lips to his instead. It was an innocent kiss, they were in public after all, but she tried to pour every thought going through her head into it.

“We should go,” Claire said when they pulled apart, “Jenny will kill me if we miss our flight.”

“Perhaps we should just stay in Boston until the baby is born,” Jamie joked, but there was no heat in it. Claire knew Jamie wouldn’t do anything to miss a single moment of this pregnancy or his nephew’s life.

Somehow, Jamie and Claire made it to their flight on time and with minimal panic. Now, they were in the air and Claire was getting more excited as they inched closer to Scotland. Jamie, for his part, was fast asleep on her shoulder and didn’t show any signs of waking any time soon. Claire knew she should sleep, she’d only have a few hours between when they landed and when she was due back at the hospital. But she couldn’t help it. She was practically humming with excitement with each passing hour.

Claire looked at the man sleeping against her and couldn’t believe she’d ended up here. It wasn’t so long ago she was engaged to an entirely different man; a man who had come into her life when she was the most vulnerable and sunk his claws into her. It was only now that she had fully opened up to Jamie that Claire realized how little of Frank she even knew. Their relationship was closed off and cold more often than it wasn’t.

But Jamie… what scared Claire about Jamie was how openly and fully he loved her. Claire didn’t think she’d ever be capable of giving that same love back. But here she was.

Several hours later, Jamie woke just as the plane touched down. He gave her a sleepy smile and a kiss on the hand, and Claire didn’t even try to contain her grin.

“Are ye ready, Sassenach?” Jamie asked.

“Yes,” Claire said with more certainty than she’d ever felt about anything, “Let’s go home.”