Jamie stood in his simple one room cottage, looking around in disbelief. Claire loved him. She chose him. She chose to run away with him, and be his forever, knowing exactly what that meant. His cottage was not suitable for a woman like Claire, but he would fix it to suit her needs more, or perhaps he would build her a new home altogether. The first thing he decided he was going to do was put in a kitchen with a few cupboards for her jars of wee herbs, and a place for her to hang them as they dried, of course. Speaking of herbs, she would also need a fenced garden to grow things in.
Best to not get carried away Fraser, wait and see what Claire says about all this, it’s her home now after all.
Jamie got to work giving the cottage a thorough scrubbing, making sure everything shined from top to bottom for Claire. He stopped and looked disappointedly at the small bed. It was suitable enough for him, but not for two people.
“We’re definitely going tae need a larger bed. I canna please her properly in that.” He sighed to himself, stripped off his clothes, and climbed into bed, in a useless attempt to get some rest.
Jamie lay in bed imagining how different things would be, come tomorrow night. What it would be like to be able to hold Claire in his arms, in their bed, not having to say goodbye at the edge of the woods every night. The sounds of her pleasure echoing throughout the cabin. He wondered what keepsakes she would be bringing. They must have special meaning to her, seeing as she went back to face that bastard Francois to retrieve them. Would she need a space for them? No matter though, he would give her whatever her heart desired, all she needed to do was ask.
As the sun began to rise, Jamie was unable to shake the feeling that something was off. Starting with a light hum pulsing through his body, then quickly building to an unsettling feeling of urgency, he couldn't quite put his finger on it.
“Claire!” He jumped out of bed feeling paralyzing fear. Her fear. “I’m coming, Claire!”
Jamie threw his clothes on, ran out to the barn, jumped onto Donas, and dashed off in her direction. His adrenaline was pumping so hard, he failed to notice the smell or the pain of his own blistering, burning flesh. All he was able to think about was Claire. She was in danger, and he had promised to always protect her, the sun be damned.
Please, don’t let me be too late. I promised to always protect her.
The closer Jamie got to Claire, the stronger the feeling of her fear became. “I’ll kill the bastard, I swear it!”
Claire awoke with an excited nervousness, quietly making her way downstairs.
One more day, Claire. One more day until you are free, she thought to herself.
Her eyes cast up to the ceiling at the sound of Francois moving around upstairs, as she silently prepared them a breakfast of eggs, sausage, and leftover crusty bread from the day before. She had mentally made note of what few belongings she was going to take with her. A dress, of course, she could not very well live in nothing but a shift. Her mama’s heart pendant, the blue glass vase her mama had given her, and the small painting of her with her parents as a child. Everything else she was leaving behind.
Francois, already looking cross, sat down at the table and glared at her.
“Good morning, sleep well?” Claire said, plastering a fake smile on her face.
“Is my breakfast done yet?” Francois asked coldly.
Claire piled the food onto the plates, and set Francois’ down in front of him. “Here you are.” Claire ate in silence, watching as Francois sneered disapprovingly at the meal before him. “Is something the matter with the food?”
“I don’t have much of an appetite today. Seems my wife has been whoring around behind my back.”
Claire sat frozen with fear. “Francois, I don’t know—“ Francois abruptly stood up and with one angry swipe, sent the contents of the table flying.
“Did you think I didn't know, Claire?! Did you think I didn’t notice the smell of another man on you when you would sneak back into bed, before sun up, while you’ve been neglecting your wifely duties to me?” Claire opened her mouth to speak, but no words came out.
“Answer me, you whore!”
Claire had never seen that look in Francois’ eyes before. Cold. Dark. Empty. She could hear her heart beating in her ears as her adrenaline took over. She needed to get out. To run. She ran past him, yelling out in pain as he grabbed her by the hair. “I’m not finished with you, whore!”
Lowering his voice to an eerie whisper, he grabbed her hair harder. His nose close to hers, saliva building up in the corners of his mouth, as he glared at her.
“Did the two of you laugh at me, Claire? Did you laugh at me while you spread your legs for him, hm? Answer me, you bitch! I hope you enjoyed playing his whore, because it will be the last time you fuck him, or anyone else.”
Claire wasn’t sure what came over her, but anger boiled inside of her. Anger for the years of his hateful, vile words. Anger for the years of making her feel like she was nothing. Anger for the years he had made her feel like there was something wrong with her, for not feeling pleasure when he touched her. “What Jamie and I have is a hell of a lot more than fucking! He’s the love of my life! He treats me with kindness, and respect, and he pleasures me in ways that you never have!”
Before Claire had time to react to the words that she had just spoken, she felt the sharp sting of the back of his hand across her cheek. “Who do you think you are speaking to me like that!?” Francois bellowed, pushing Claire hard enough that she fell to the ground. She knew she had pushed him too far. That she should have kept her mouth shut and waited for Jamie to come for her. Jamie. He said he would be able to sense if she was in danger. Could he feel her now? Jamie, where are you?
Francois climbed over her, grabbed her shift and ripped it open exposing her breast. “Francois, don’t!” she cried.
“You will not neglect me again, Claire! I am your husband, and I will do with you as I damn well please!”
Panic set in as Claire realized what was happening. She began to fight. Kicking and thrashing in a desperate attempt to get away from him. She grabbed hold of his face, and raked her fingernails down his cheeks, but was stopped as she felt another blow to her face. “You want to act like a whore, I’ll treat you like a whore!”
She began to choke on the blood pooling in the back of her throat. “Jamie! Help me!” she screamed out in a garbled plea.
“Shut up! Do you hear me! Shut your filthy mouth! You will not speak his name!” he screamed, raising his fist into the air.
“I love you, Jamie,” she whispered as tears rolled down her face, preparing for the impact of Francois’ raised fist.
Jamie could hear her screaming for him as he rode up to her house, jumping off Donas before he stopped and barreled through the door. “Claire!?” His blood boiled with rage at the site of Francois over Claire. Her shift ripped, her face bloody, swollen, and bruised.
He grabbed Francois by the throat and threw him across the room, the sound of bones shattering as he hit the stone wall, before sliding to the floor, landing in a bloody heap. With four large strides, he stood over him bringing his fist down on Francois’ face in a heated fury. “I’ll thank ye tae take yer hands off of my wife!”
Francois stared up at him in terror, with the look of a man knowing he was facing his imminent death, and helpless to stop it. Jamie repeatedly punched him, unable to stop. He wanted him to suffer. Wanted him to pay for the years of insufferable pain he had caused Claire. But, something stopped him. A small, gargled whimper from across the room.
He looked over his shoulder to see Claire lying on the floor sobbing, and slowly staggered over to her. “Aye, mo cridhe , it’s me. I am here, ye are safe now.” As he started to gently lift her off the floor, a feeling of nausea overtook him, as he collapsed on the floor, his lungs burning with fire with every breath.
“Jamie? Wha—? Oh, Jamie what have you done?”
“Had. Had to— save you,” he gasped between shallow breaths and searing pain. He was melting from the inside out. He was dying, he could feel it. At least he got to see her, his sorcha one last time. “Promised. Protect. I—I love ye, Claire.” That was the last word he uttered, before everything went dark.
Claire looked down at Jamie unable to move, taking in the ghastly sight before her. His skin was blistered and oozing so badly, to the point it was melting off of his body. The pungent smell of burning flesh overtook her as she tried not to vomit.
“J-Jamie? Jamie? Jamie! I don’t know what to do! What do I do? Tell me what to do!” Sobs rocked through her body, as her heart shattered to pieces in her chest, leaving her struggling to breathe. “Don’t leave me, you promised! You promised to always protect me!”
Claire wrapped her arms around her stomach, hunching over, screaming in despair, at the thought of losing him. Sobbing over him, she wracked her brain trying to figure out what to do, how to save Jamie. She wouldn’t lose him, couldn’t lose him. Not now. She would save him or die trying. There was no other option.
Blood! He needed blood.
Claire ran into the kitchen, grabbed a piece of shattered plate off the floor and ran back to Jamie. Kneeling behind him, she struggled to maneuver his limp, blistered body so he was lying with his back against her. Shakily, she ran a jagged piece of plate across her wrist and brought it to Jamie’s lips.
“Drink, Jamie, please drink,” she pleaded. Nothing. She ran her fingers over her wrist, and carefully slid her blood covered fingers into his mouth. Still nothing.
Claire gently laid Jamie down and straddled him. A film of sweat covered her body as she pulled him up against her, putting his mouth to her neck. “Drink, my love. Please. I need you to drink,” she begged. Her shift was covered in blood, fluids, and his melting skin, but she barely noticed. The only thing she cared about was saving Jamie.
She could feel his mouth moving, but he did not have the strength to bite. He’s alive. Barely, but he was alive. Taking a deep breath she dragged the edge of the plate down the side of her neck, allowing her blood to drip over his lips. “Please, Jamie.”
Tears of relief fell as she felt him begin to lightly lick the blood trickling down her neck. “That’s it, Jamie, drink. I have you. I’ll protect you,” she whispered as she began rocking him in her arms as an attempt to comfort, not just him, but herself as well.
“Thigh,” he muttered so softly she wasn't sure if he had said anything at all.
“What did you say?”
Without thinking, Claire gingerly laid Jamie on the floor once more, positioned her thighs carefully on either side of his head, and lifted her shift to allow him unobstructed access.
“Further,” he paused. “Up.”
Taking her cue from Jamie, Claire moved the top of her inner thighs closer to Jamie’s mouth. “Like this?” she asked hesitantly.
She took the plate and dragged it across her skin once more, praying it worked. She looked down and noticed the blood flowed down more freely onto Jamie’s lips. “That’s it, Jamie, drink.”
She began stroking his damp hair as she felt him beginning to greedily lap at the blood with his tongue. His hands, which were normally so warm, were eerily cold and wet. They slowly slid up and gripped her outer thighs. She let out a yelp, as she felt his fangs sink into her thigh without warning. “Yes. Yes, my love, take what you need.”
A shuddered breath of relief left Claire when Jamie groaned against her thigh, as he greedily devoured the blood she offered him. She looked down transfixed at his hand, watching the skin start to heal. The blistering had stopped, and his skin seemed to be sliding back into place, like nothing had happened at all. “Keep drinking, Jamie, it’s working.” It took seconds for her blood to heal Jamie completely.
Another groan vibrated against her thigh, but this one was different. She knew that groan. Her breath hitched when she saw his eyes staring up at her with lust in them, as his hands slid up over her ass.
“Jamie,” she sighed, as he seductively licked her thigh. “We can’t. You’re injured, and Fr—” Her words were cut off as he gripped her ass harder, pulling her center to him.
“I’m no‘ injured, not anymore. I need ye, Claire. Now.”
She should be embarrassed. She should be ashamed. Francois lay a few feet from them, seriously injured and needed tending to. Bu, she did not care. All she wanted right there, in that moment was to feel alive, with Jamie. She looked down at him, and began moving against him, as he guided her hips in a steady rhythm. Claire lifted the shredded, soiled shift up over her head, letting it fall beside her.
Lost in the sensation of Jamie’s mouth on her, Claire brought her hands up to her neck, letting her head fall back.
“Jamie,” she moaned as her hips moved faster against his mouth. Her hands fell to her breast, her back arching as she began to knead them. Jamie moaned against her, licking her faster and harder. Claire reached down, grabbed his hair and began to rock against his face with wild abandon.
“Let him hear you, Claire,” Jamie growled. “Let him hear how you scream for me. How you belong to me.”
“Ja—” She could feel her pleasure building hard and fast as she bucked against him. Jamie reached around, hooked his arms around her thighs, and pulled her down hard against him. “Jamie!” she screamed his name, as she came apart over him. Breathless and shaking, she leaned forward, bracing herself against the chair in front of her, while Jamie ghosted kisses over her center and thighs, until her breathing slowed.
Jamie slid out from between her thighs, pulling her tightly to him. They sat there, wrapped in eachothers arms thankful to be alive. “Ye saved me, Sassenach,” he whispered into her hair, as he clung to her.
“And you saved me.”
“If anything would have happened to ye, Claire, I would have gladly died alongside ye, for there is no life for me wi’out ye.” Jamie ran his hand down her hair.
“You are my salvation.” He softly whispered. “And I am yours.”
“I love you, Jamie.” Claire nuzzled into the side of his neck, breathing him in in the silence.
“Jamie?” She broke the silence. “What are we going to do about—”
“Dinna fash, I’ll see to it later.” He kissed her temple and lifted her up in his arms.
“Could you. Could you fix him?” As she glanced at Francois' unrecognizable face—still alive, but barely.
“Aye, I could” he said, stepping over Francois’ battered body, carrying her up the stairs to the bedroom. “But, right now, I want nothing more than to take you in his bed.”
Claire woke wrapped in Jamie’s arms as he softly snored beside her. She smiled to hersel,f remembering how Jamie had tended to her. After insisting on giving her a few drops of his blood in order to heal her face, he drew her a nice, hot, soapy bath. Silently bathing her, washing away the leftover fragments of what had taken place a few hours before. He brushed her hair, and seductively applied her lavender cream over every inch of her body, before they made unhurried love to one another. She had never felt more cherished, and so loved, like the way she did when she was with Jamie.
Claire shot up out of bed remembering the mess that was downstairs.
“Come back to bed, Sassenach, I already cleaned everything up.”
“You did? When?”
Jamie gave a soft chuckle. “When ye were sleeping. Ye looked so bonnie with that wee puddle of drool ye left on my shoulder, too.”
“I do not drool!”
“Oh aye, ye do.”
Claire stomped over to the wardrobe, snatching a fresh shift and pulling it over her head. “I do not!”
“Weel, I best be—disposing of Francois, then.”
“I thought you— Oh, right. Daylight.”
“Aye, take your time packing up your things. Bring whatever you would like, your wee herbs and such.”
“Oh, I had just planned on bringing a few things. But I guess now that things have drastically changed, there are a few other things I would like to bring, if that’s alright?”
Jamie gave her a quick kiss. “It’s more than alright. Start packing, and I’ll take care of everything else.”
A short time later, Claire sat in the kitchen with a pile of neatly organized things. “I can’t bring all of this with me,” she murmured to herself. Her head shot up at the sound of the door opening.
“All packed, Sassenach?”
Claire cringed as she looked at the pile she had set aside. “Just give me a few minutes to dwindle this pile down, it’s way too much.”
“Tis a good thing we have two horses, to lug all of yer things along.”
“Seems Donas made his way to the barn and introduced himself to yer Firefly. They seem rather besotted with each other, and I dinna think we could separate them now if we tried. Not that I could blame him, she’s a bonnie horse.”
With everything loaded carefully onto Donas, Claire stood there shaking her head in amusement watching Firefly swoon, as Jamie whispered sweet nothings into her ear. Not that she could blame her. If she were a horse, she’d let him ride her anywhere too.
“That’s a good lass,” Jamie crooned, as he settled himself up on Firefly, holding his hand out to Claire, to help her up.
“Ah, there ye are,” he whispered as he pulled her back against her, wrapping his arms around her. “How are ye feeling, Sassenach, about everything? I would like to say I’m sorry about Francois, but then I’d be lyin‘ to ye. That bastard got everything he deserved.”
Claire nestled back into Jamie contentedly. “To be honest, I’m not the least bit upset about Francois. He was an awful man. And, as to how I feel? Well,I feel. I feel free, and for the first time in a long time, I feel loved.”
Jamie kissed the crown of her head. “I swear it to ye, Claire. I will spend the rest of my life undoing all the pain he has caused ye.”
“You already have, Jamie. Now, let’s go home.”