Frank walked into the room and glanced over at her as she stood staring out the window of the small room Reggi had generously offered her while she convalesced. He slowly walked closer to her, worried he may frighten her if he approached too quickly. However, she had heard him enter and turned as he approached, effectively stopping him in his tracks, "What is it, Frank?"
He took a deep breath and retreated across the room, he needed to be nearer to the door in case she rejected his proposal. "I want to make a deal."
Claire crossed her arms over her chest a defensive maneuver to be sure, "I'm listening."
He nodded and steeled himself, preparing for whatever her reply might be, "I want to raise this child, together, as yours and mine. But to do that you must forget about your past, no searching for him, not talking about him. This child will be mine and yours and will never know any different, do you agree?"
Claire furrowed her brow in thought. For the most part, Franks offer was exactly what Jamie had asked of her, but to never tell their child of the father who gave his life to protect them. The father who had known about him even before she herself had entertained the idea. To never tell their child who was made from the purest love one could hope for, of the father that loved him to the very marrow of his bones, she didn't know if she could accept that deal. Although what Frank didn't know, wouldn't hurt him, she could tell the child of his father, perhaps when he was grown.
She nodded to herself and came to a decision as she brought her gaze up to Frank's hopeful expression. "Fine, no looking back, no ghosts. We will leave the past in the past."
Frank sighed in relief and picked up her stack of 18th century clothing, "I will deal with these, you don't need to have these reminders of your past now that we have agreed to leave it there."
Claire nodded and looked down at the iron ring on her right hand, tears welling in her eyes at thought of saying goodbye to the ring that Jamie had gifted her. The ring that was made from the key to Lallybroch, Jamie's home, a place so dear to his heart that he went to war trying to save it. But as she looked down at the ring, she couldn't force her fingers to pull it off and suddenly Frank's hand covered her own as he lowered his voice to a soft murmur, "In time, when you're ready."
Claire nodded and sighed in relief. She didn't think she would ever be ready to remove Jamie's ring. But for the promise she made to him, she would accept Frank's offer and raise Jamie's child with him.
Frank accepted the offer to teach at Harvard and Claire didn't fight him on it. He said that if they remained in Scotland or even England, the stigma of her disappearance would follow them and they would never have a normal life. Once they were in Boston, no one would even suspect that Frank wasn't the biological father of the child she carried in her womb. So to protect her child from the scandalous talk that was sure to follow her for the rest of her life, she prepared herself to never return to Scotland again.
Even though she had made a promise to Jamie to return to her life with Frank, Claire found it impossible to return to the way their relationship was before. When Frank would try and touch her she would flinch. It was a combination of the face he shared with his monstrous ancestor and the betrayal she felt for Jamie by allowing Frank to touch her in such a way. So throughout her pregnancy, her mind turned inward, remembering the moments that she and Jamie shared together. When Frank was away at work, Claire would whisper to her unborn child, she would tell him all about his amazing, proud, brave father the highlander Laird who sacrificed himself for the ones he loved.
As time went on the stories turned into a bit of a fairytale and Claire realized that she had found a way to tell her child all about his father. She could tell him a bedtime story about the brave man that had made him and Frank would be none the wiser. As long as she didn't tell the story in Frank's presence, she could keep her promise to him and not be forced to lie to her child.
On November 23rd at 8:03 P.M. Brian Malcolm Fraser Randall came into the world with a wail that lifted his mother's heart. Luckily the doctor had encouraged her to nurse him before Frank was notified of his birth and she took that opportunity to tell him his very own fairytale for the first time in his life. "Oh, sweet Brian, I wish your father was here to see you, but since he couldn't make it, I will tell you all about him."
"Once upon a time there was a brave highland warrior who was out for a ride through the forest on his trusty steed Donas. The highlander decided to take a different route home and came upon a hill with a circle of stones standing atop it. Of course, the highlander was quite curious about the stones, for they were like nothing he had ever seen before. So he pushed Donas to move closer to the stones, but Donas was frightened at the sounds coming from the stones, so he reared up and threw the highlander from his saddle. The highlander landed hard on his shoulder and groaned in pain as he laid at the bottom of the hill.
But soon he heard the most beautiful sound of a woman's voice coming from the top of the hill. He looked up and saw the most beautiful woman appear right out of thin air. The highlander knew the stories about hills with stones and knew that the woman must be a fairy. The stories were warnings about the fairies and how they should not be trusted, but the highlander could see that the fairy only wanted to help him. So he laid perfectly still and waited for the fairy to come down the hill and find him.
When she saw him she gasped at how handsome the highlander was, but she noticed that he was in pain and she ran to his side. She saw that he had hurt his shoulder and luckily the fairy knew just what to do to help him. Soon she had fixed his shoulder and the highlander was so grateful that he offered her his plaid to keep her warm. The fairy could see that he was not like the other men she had seen near the hill so she accepted his plaid.
The highlander helped her onto his horse Donas and together they rode for many nights until they reached a big castle. The people of the castle didn't trust the fairy, but the highlander vowed to protect her. It wasn't long before the highlander and the fairy fell in love and got married. They left the big castle and went in search of the highlander's home. When they arrived the highlander's sister was there, but she wasn't happy that the highlander had married a fairy so she argued with him.
But after a while, the highlander's sister could see that the fairy and the highlander loved each other very much. She asked them to stay and live there forever but there were bad men looking for the highlander, so he had to take his fairy wife away to Paris to escape the bad men. But they met more trouble when they arrived in Paris and met a Prince who had plans for the highlander. The Prince wanted to start a war and become king of the land where the highlander lived.
So the highlander built an army for the prince to try and help him win against the king. The highlander was worried about his fairy wife and the unborn child she carried so he took her back to the fairy hill. He told her he loved her and their child but he was no longer able to protect her, so he kissed her goodbye as they both cried and the fairy disappeared through the stones, never to see her highlander again."
Claire wiped the tears from her face and looked down at the sleeping form of her son. She stroked his cheek and was rewarded with a beautiful little smile, just like his father would do in his sleep. She hadn't taken her eyes off him for what seemed like hours when her thoughts were interrupted by a familiar voice, "Claire, are you alright darling?"
Claire quickly schooled her features and looked up at Frank, "Yes, we are both doing quite well, thank you."
Frank took a tentative step closer and peered at the baby in her arms, "Frank, this is our son, Brian."
Frank gripped the hat he held in his hand a bit tighter and walked over to stand beside her as he looked down into the face of the tiny baby in her arms. Just then the nurse came in with a tray of food for Claire and peered over at Brian, "What a handsome little boy, but where did he get the red hair?"