Claire sat near the fire, deep in thought as the smell of pigeon, thyme, and butter lightly scented the air, her mind wandering off to Jamie. He wasn't like any other man she had known. He was caring, gentle, and kind. He listened without laughing when she spoke of her silly thoughts and dreams about using herbs and plants to help people.
“ Ye can do all of those things and more.”
“How could I, Jamie? I can’t even read.”
“I can teach ye, if ye would like?”
“You would do that for me? You would teach me how to read?”
“I would do anything for ye, Sassenach.”
“ The pigeon!” Claire jumped up, quickly removing the pot from the fire, letting out a sigh of relief. It was a bit burnt, but not too bad. She fixed a plate of pigeon, potatoes, and carrots for herself and Francois.
“What is this?” Francois asked with disgust.
“It’s pigeon, cooked in butter and thyme.” Claire said cheerfully.
“It’s burnt, you can’t possibly expect me to eat this garbage?”
“It’s just a little burnt. It’s not too bad, just remove the skin if—” Francois jumped to his feet in a rage.
“Not too bad!?” he shouted. “Not too bad!? I don’t know what’s been going on with you lately, Claire, but it stops now! Trolloping through the woods in nothing but your shift and burning my dinner! Neglecting your wifely duties!”
Claire could feel the fear building in her chest. “I’m sorry. I—”
“No more walks. Not until you remember how to be a proper wife!”
“Francois. Please don’t—”
Francois picked up the plate, heaving it across the room and hitting the wall behind her. Claire stood there frozen with fear, as the tears welled up in her eyes.
“I mean it, Claire! No more walks! Do you understand me?!’
“Yes,” she whispered. Kneeling down, she began to pick up the shattered plate.
“Good. Now clean up this mess, and make me another plate, you useless bitch.”
Claire could feel him every night as she stood looking out of her bedroom window. She could feel Jamie hiding in the shadows. Watching her, waiting for her to come to him, but she never did. She couldn’t.
How many nights had she stood at her window, knowing he was out there? How many nights did her body ache for his touch? To be in the safety of his arms? Too many.
Unable to take it anymore, she finally gathered the courage to quietly slip out the door and go to him. As soon as she stepped out of the door, she hiked up her shift and ran. Ran faster than she had ever run in her life. The faster she ran, the faster she could get to Jamie. Claire looked up and saw a familiar figure running towards her. “Jamie!”
She stood there, with tears falling freely with relief at the sight of him. “Jamie!” She leapt into his arms, wrapping her legs around his waist, clinging to him as she cried into his neck.
“I’m sorry, Jamie.” She sobbed. “I could not leave. Francois. He— he’s become so suspicious and angry. I couldn't come to you. Jamie, I—”
Jamie softly lowered them to the forest floor, and cradled her gently. “I know, mo cridhe, I know,” he whispered soothingly. “I saw ye there, looking for me. Ye looked sae sad and alone up there in yer window. I want nothing more than to take ye away from here.”
“I was afraid you would think that I no longer wanted you.”
“No. No, never, mo nighean donn.”
Jamie gently took her chin with his fingers. “Look at me, Claire. What we have is no’ usual. We have a bond. One that canna be broken, ya ken?” Claire silently nodded, as she wiped her face with her hands in relief. Jamie kissed her forehead, “I have missed ye with every breath in my body, Claire, but I understand why ye couldn't come to me.”
What have I done in my life to deserve Jamie Fraser? A man who allows me to be just me. I love this man. This man who soothes my very being without saying a single word. But, how could we truly ever be?
Claire snapped out of her thoughts as Jamie gently brought her to her feet and held his hand out to her.
“Come wi’ me. I've been waiting to show ye something.”
Claire wrapped both her arms around his and leaned her head against his shoulder, savoring the nearness of him as they walked. “What do you want to show me?”
“Och, tis a surprise, Sassenach, ye have to wait a wee bit longer, but I promise, ye will like it.”
Over the weeks, Jamie watched in awe as Claire’s spirit slowly awakened and blossomed a little more each night. There was a light in her eyes that seemed to shine from her soul that was missing before. Please let me be the one responsible for that light. Let me be enough.
As they walked, Jamie noticed Claire was unusually quiet and meek. Normally she would be going on about her wee herbs, or a new plant she had discovered, as she spun about and giggled with excitement. Not tonight. Tonight, there was a sadness in her eyes, unlike anything he had ever seen, and it ripped his heart apart to see it.
“Just through here,” he said quietly as he led her through the dense grass.
“Jamie,” Claire whispered in awe. “What is this place?”
“Just a wee spot I found. Do ye like it, Sassenach?”
Jamie watched as happiness filled her eyes, replacing the sadness, as she silently took in the serene pond. Hidden under the cover of lush trees, with moonlight peeking through, like a secret oasis created just for them.
“It’s beautiful, Jamie.”
“Not as beautiful as you, mo cridhe.” He slowly moved behind her, wrapping his arms around her waist. He closed his eyes and kissed the side of her neck, as she leaned back, relaxing into him as he softly swayed her in his arms.
“Do ye want to go swimming wi’ me in the wee pond?” he whispered against her neck. Smiling, she looked up at him, pulling his arms tighter around her.
“With you, Fraser?” she responded with a devious smile.
“Aye, with me. I dinna see anyone else around these parts, do ye?” He loudly planted a wet kiss on her neck.
“Well, I suppose not. I guess you’ll have to do.”
There she was. Here was his Sassenach.
“ Let's go then.” He gave her fat wee bum a playful smack, before running off to the water.
Jamie quickly shed his clothes and plunged under the water, shaking his wet copper curls when he emerged.
“Come on, Cl—” The sight of her left him breathless, as she slowly untied her shift, letting it pool around her feet. The moonlight illuminating her, she stood there like an ethereal goddess, deserving of his eternal worship. Christ, he loved her.
He watched as she gracefully walked into the pond, disappeared under the water, and reemerged with her dark hair slicked back, gracefully flowing behind her in the water.
“Jamie, this is absolute heaven.” She sighed as she let herself weightlessly float on her back.
He needed to touch her, to feel her cool wet body against him. Reaching out, he gently grabbed her ankles, opening her legs so he could press himself against her. He snaked his hands around and up her back, lifting her so she was fully pressed against him. “You. You are my heaven, Claire. My Sorcha. My only light, in a world of darkness.”
Claire cupped his face with her hands looking up at him with teary eyes. “I do love you Jamie.”
Her words filled his soul with a joy he had never known. She loved him. She loved him as he was. She did not see him as a monster, but for the man that he was. “And I you, Claire.”
Later, Jamie watched as she slept peacefully in his arms. Lightly stroking his fingers over her back, he did something that he had not done for over a hundred years. He prayed.
“God, shield my beloved. My white dove, and the child that she may one day bear. Preserve her from violence, and from harm. In this place, and in every place. On this night, and every night.”
Jamie leaned down, planting soft kisses on her shoulder and froze. What in the hell is this? How had he not noticed. Jamie tenderly ran his fingertips over the finger-shaped bruises on her arm and raged boiled inside him.
Claire smiled sleepily to herself. She loved being roused by Jamie’s kisses. She turned to face him, expecting to see him smiling, but instead she saw something dark. Something that shook her to the core. “Jamie? What is it? What’s wrong?” She sat up reaching for her shift.
“What are those, Claire?”
“What are you talking about Jamie?” She winced when Jamie ran a finger over her bruised arm.
“These, Claire. Where did you get them?” She could see him struggling with self restraint. He knew exactly how she got them, and who put them there.
“Oh, those,” she replied with a nervous laugh. “It was stupid of me really. I should have known better and kept my mouth shut. If I had not provoked him—”
“It was Francois, wasn’t it?”
Claire sat there, silent and ashamed, and let out a hitched breath. “Yes.” It was barely a whisper, but she knew he heard her, because his body tensed. She could not look at him. She was too embarrassed. “It really was my fault, Jamie. I should have never—”
“No! This is Francois’ fault, do ye hear me!?” Claire sat there staring at him, too stunned to speak. She could feel the anger vibrating off of him as he struggled to compose himself. And yet, in the midst of all of it, she knew he would never hurt her. “I’ll kill the smug bastard, I swear it!”
She watched in silence as he prowled back and forth through the forest, arguing to himself, for what seemed like forever. He slowly made his way back, quietly sitting down beside her. “I’m sorry, Sassenach, I shouldna have lost my temper like that. It tears my guts apart, to think of ye hurt.”
Jamie gently took her hands in his. “Will ye come away wi’ me, Claire? I will protect ye. Always.”
Claire wanted to run away with him right now and never look back. But she had questions. A lot of questions.
“I can hear ye thinking from here, Sassenach.”
“How does this work, Jamie? What will happen as I age, and you stay the same? Will you tire of me? I won’t stay youthful forever, you know. And what about you? You said so yourself how a part of you died each time you watched your family die, Jamie. What will you do then? I can’t do that to you.”
“There is a way, Claire.” Claire sat waiting for him to say something, or to make a ridiculous joke, but he sat there watching her, not saying a word.
‘’You—you mean...you mean, you want to turn me? Into a vampire?” Her stomach began to retch at the very thought of it.
“No. I would never turn ye, Claire, even if ye asked me to.”
“Your blood?!” she shrieked. “But you just said...”
“If ye would stop blathering for a wee minute and let me explain, I can tell ye.”
Claire buried her face in her hands, letting out an exasperated sigh. “Go on then, I’m listening.’
“Weel, it’s an ancient ceremony. A wedding, of sorts.” Claire’s head snapped up at the mention of a wedding. “Jamie, we can’t get married, I’m—”
Jamie ran his hands up and down his face in frustration. “Claire. Just, listen.”
“Sorry. Alright, I’m listening.” Claire sat, quietly processing everything as he explained it all to her.
“Can I think about it?”
“Of course. Tis a lot to ask of someone. I just want ye to know that I’ve never wanted this with anyone other than you. It’s forever for me, Sassenach. Take all the time ye need, I’m no’ going anywhere. But there is something I am wanting to ask of ye. Something that needs to be answered rather quickly. It’s a way of ensuring your safety, given the recent developments of your current situation.”
“What is it?”
Jamie let out a nervous breath. “If ye let me taste a wee bit of your blood, we’ll be connected. I will be able to find you if need be, and most importantly, I will be able to sense when you are in danger.”
“Would you have to— bite me?” She whispered.
“Yes, I would. I promise, I will be as gentle as I can.“
She trusted and loved this man with her entire heart, and she knew he wouldn't ask if it was not important to him.
“You can do it. You can bite me. I trust you. “What-what do I do?” she asked nervously.
“Weel, I would verra much like to hold ye while I do it. If it pleases ye?.”
“I think I would prefer it that way.” Claire climbed into his lap so she was facing him. “Is this alright?”
“Aye. Perfect,” he whispered before he softly kissed her lips, over her jaw, and down her neck. Claire could feel his arousal as he paused at the vein on her neck.
“Are ye ready, Claire?” he asked. His voice deep in husky, sending shivers down her spine.
“Do it, Jamie,” she panted with a mixture of nervousness and arousal. Claire gasped when she felt the sharp sting as his fangs sunk into her. She was expecting pain, not this. Pleasure surged through her body as Jamie’s moans vibrated against his neck as he drank from her, digging his fingers into her hips.
Jamie released his teeth from her neck, and she whimpered in displeasure. “Don’t stop, Jamie. Please.”
The animalistic need in Jamie took over, as the sweet taste of her blood pulsed through his veins. He wanted to be gentle with Claire. He wanted to support her, but at that moment, all he wanted to do was claim her. Take her hard, deep, and fast. With his hand still fisted in her hair, he pushed up deep inside her.
His eyes skimmed over her and landed on the bite on her neck where a small stream of blood slowly dripped down her body. Claire moaned as he pressed his thumb hard against the bite, trailing his thumb down the stream of blood as it dripped over her breast. He watched, mesmerized as he pressed his thumb against her blood covered nipple.
“Harder, Jamie,” she moaned, arching into him.
“Like this?” He pushed harder against her nipple as she cried out, and closed his hand around her breast. “Or is this what you want? Hm? Tell me.” He sucked her nipple into his mouth, releasing it with a popping sound, licking up the red-stained trail on her skin. “Yer mine, Claire. Do you hear me?”
Before she could answer, Jamie flipped her onto her stomach, grabbed her by the hips and slammed into her. “Christ you feel so good, all slick and tight around my cock.” He moaned, as he felt her tighten around him. “You like when I talk to ye like that, ye wee naughty thing.” His hands slid off of her hips grabbing her ass as she backed up against him. His head falling forward, watching her slide back and forth as her ass slapped against his thighs.
Jamie brought his hand down hard against her ass. “Mine!” he growled as he brought his hand down again. Claire looked back over her shoulder, gave him a devious smile, and bit her lip. “Feeling bold are you, Claire?” He reached up, dug his hand into her hair, and pulled her up so her back was against him.
The louder she yelled, the harder he pushed.
“Do it again, Jamie. Bite me,” she panted.
“Claire, I—” She reached up, grabbed his hair, and pulled him down to her neck. “Now!”
Jamie sank his teeth into her neck and erupted inside of her with such a fury, it took his breath from him.
Jamie sat back on his heels, settling Claire against him, and wrapping his arms around her. “Claire— I’m sorry, Claire. I didna mean to—”
“Shh, you brute of a Scot,” she said as she lay boneless against him, letting out a shuddering breath.
Claire did not argue when he laid her down on the grass. “I meant to be gentle with ye Claire, I truly did.” Claire sighed, lifting her arms up over head, sighing contentedly, and watched as his eyes skimmed over her. “Och, I made a mess of ye, let me clean ye up.”
Claire giggled, running her fingers through his curls as he carefully cleaned the remaining streaks of blood off of her with his mouth. “How do you feel?’
“Like God himself,” he said, pulling her into his arms.
“Jamie? Will you come for me tomorrow night?”
“Of course, mo cridhe. I will come for you every night.”
“No. I meant will you come for me, and take me away with you? There are just a few small memories I would like to bring with me. If that’s alright with you.”
Jamie rolled over onto his side, looking down at her with tears in his eyes. “Aye, mo cridhe. I will come for you. I will be waiting for you in the shadows just beyond the trees. I promise ye, Claire, we will never part again.”
Claire climbed into bed, careful not to disturb Francois for the last time, and drifted off to sleep.
Francois sneered at his wife with disdain. She went to him again. He could smell him on her. She will suffer the consequences, come morning. Whore.