Claire had been organizing the glass jars of carrots she had preserved in anticipation of the upcoming winter, upon the shelves that Jamie had quickly built for her. She smiled looking around the small one room cottage. She had never had a home full of so much love and happiness, even as a child. As she hummed to herself, her elbow hit a jar, knocking it onto the ground with the sound of shattering glass, violently bringing back the vivid memories of that night when Francois had attacked her.
Claire broke out into a cold sweat as a paralyzing fear took over her body.
Her nails bent back as she tightly gripped the counter.
The air, painfully trapped in her lungs, struggling to escape, as she recollected the violent events that took place that night.
Francois screaming vile obscenities spun in her head, along with the constant fear of someone out there, looking for her, inquiring about Francois.
The pain of his fist coming down on her face.
The cold, dark look in his eyes as he ripped her shift.
The feel of his icy hands forcibly spreading her legs.
Her body automatically backed itself into a corner as she remembered Francois charging her, as if she were trying to escape. She slid down the wall onto the floor, drawing her knees up to her chest and rocked in an attempt to soothe herself, too terrified to move.
This was not the first incident like this to occur, but it was definitely the worst.
Jamie held Claire as she silently wept at the sight of the house she and Francois had shared for so many years quickly burning to the ground.
“Are ye okay, Sassenach?” Jamie asked softly while gently running his hands up and down her arms.
“It’s finally over isn't it? Every physical trace of that bastard is gone.”
“Aye, it is. Ye have no need to worry now, no one will come looking for ye.”
“Thank you, Jamie. Thank you for doing this,” Claire whispered as she leaned back against him. She pulled his arms tighter around her, seeking safety as she trembled.
It had been Jamie’s idea to burn the house, so it would appear that Francois and Claire had perished in a fire. Though he had serious doubts that anyone would be looking for Francois, it was a way for Claire to finally be free of these crippling demons, and hopefully, allow her to start to heal. A way to burn the vile memories and release them into the air as the smoke rose from a house that held far too many haunting moments that remain buried deep in Claire’s soul.
They stood there together, Jamie gently swaying Claire in his arms, as the house was reduced to nothing but hot embers flickering on the damp earth where it once stood. “I swear to ye, Claire. I will spend an eternity healing every broken piece of your soul and put it back together piece by shattered piece, until ye are whole.”
“I trust you and only you with my life, heart, and my soul.”
As the weeks passed, the attacks came less frequently and were less intense. Jamie saw her through each attack, soothing her with soft words, patience, and love.
They fell into a routine of everyday domestic bliss. Jamie enthusiastically made several adjustments to the cottage to better suit Claire’s needs. Hours were spent nestled next to each other by the fire. Jamie kept his promise, not only teaching Claire to read, but writing and arithmetic as well. Claire showed him all of her precious plants she would find and her desire to learn everything she could about them.
Jamie quietly entered the cabin from an errand, careful not to startle Claire, as she still startled quite easily. His heart burst with pride at the sight. She lay sleeping in their bed with a piece of paper lying face down where she had been practicing her writing. Christ, she was such a determined wee thing. Setting the package down on the table, he picked up the paper to see what she had been practicing. In a neat, tidy column, she had perfectly written:
Mrs. James Fraser
Mr. and Mrs. James Fraser
I love you James Fraser.
Kneeling down beside the bed, Jamie tenderly brushed a stray curl off her cheek. “I love ye too, Claire Fraser.” He smiled as she opened her eyes and smiled at him. “Sleep well?”
“I must have dozed off practicing my penmanship,” she mumbled as she puckered her lips for a kiss.
“Well, since ye’re up, I have a wee surprise for ye.” He leaned in, happy to oblige her request for a kiss.
Claire sat up in bed. “Oh, you do, do you?” Jamie watched her shocked face as he handed her a package wrapped in light blue fabric and ivory lace, with a blue silk ribbon around it. “What-What’s this?” She sat there staring open mouthed at the gift in her hands.
“Och, just a wee gift for you. Are you going to open it, or are ye going to sit there staring at it?”
“Jamie, I’ve never— No one has ever— The last gift I was given was the vase from my mother.”
“Ye mean to tell me—?” He just looked at her with wide eyes. That bastard has never given her a gift. He shouldn't be surprised, but he was. “Go on then, open it.” Jamie watched nervously as she carefully unwrapped the package and breathed a sigh of relief when he saw the delight in her eyes as she tenderly ran her fingers over the cover of the book, before she opened it and began thumbing through the pages.
“Is this?” she asked in disbelief.
“Aye, it tis. Tis a book all about yer wee herbs and their healing uses and such. I asked an acquaintance of mine to see if such a book existed and if he could track it down for me. There’s more, too.” He casually gestured towards the package. He watched her eyes well up with tears as she looked down at the brown leather-bound book, with Claire Fraser embroidered in gold thread on the front of the book. “For recording the findings of yer wee herbs. The book maker ensured me that this was the best paper to preserve yer wee saplings. He said ye just need to press the flower between the pages, and press it down with a rock, or something heavy. Do ye like—” Before he could finish Claire flung herself into his arms, her tears falling onto his neck. Jamie was certain she would love it, but now that she clung to him sobbing, he wasn't so sure. “Do ye no love it, Claire? I’m sorry I thought ye would—”
“I love it, Jamie!” she said as she peppered wet, salty kisses all over his face.
“Thank Christ, I thought for a second, that you didna care for it.” Jamie wrapped his arms around her.
“Oh, you beautiful, thoughtful man!”
“I’m sae glad ye love it. I meant what I said. I will make you whole again, even if it takes all of eternity.”
Claire absently wiped her tear-soaked face on the shoulder of Jamie’s shirt before looking up at him. “Claire Fraser, hm?”
“Aye, if ye will still have me.”
“I’ll have you, James Fraser, and all that comes with it. Don’t make me wait to be yours any longer. Make me yours right now.”
Jamie sat there processing the words coming out of her mouth. He could not believe what he was hearing. He was being careful not to rush her, with all the trauma she had been dealing with, wanting to give her time she needed. “Are ye sure Claire? I’ve been wanting to give ye time to heal before we—”
“I have never wanted anything more in my life. I know we have to wait until a full moon for the—the blood ceremony, but can we be hand-fasted?”
“Aye. Aye, mo chridhe, we can. Just give me a few moments.”
“Can I do something to help?”
“No. Ye just sit there and look bonnie, Sassenach. This will only take but a minute.”
Jamie hurried to gather the required items, his dirk, a strip of the Fraser tartan, and another surprise for Claire.
Claire pinched her cheeks, attempting to put some color in her paler-than-usual skin, and smoothed her unruly curls with anticipation. She wanted this man. She needed to belong to him more than she needed the breath in her lungs. It was nothing like this with Francois. She cried and pleaded with her parents not to make her marry him. He frightened her.
No. Not this night.
She refused to allow that bastard to push his way into her thoughts and steal her joy. Not on the happiest night of her life. Not now. Not ever .
Jamie kneeled down on the blanket he had sprawled out on the floor, holding out his hand to her. “Come, mo nighean donn .” Claire’s heart raced with anticipation as she joined him, kneeling on the floor. “Do ye remember, what I told ye? I have to make a wee cut on yer wrist for the ceremony. Are ye alright with that?”
“Yes. I know you won’t hurt me.”
Jamie took her hand, turned it palm side up, and kissed her wrist. “Never. Ye have my word.”
Claire flinched at the feel of the cold steel blade quickly dragging across her skin, and watched Jamie as he did the same. Jamie rested the cut on his wrist over hers, closing his large hand around her forearm. She watched curiously as he weaved an intricate knot with a long piece of plaid fabric around their hands.
“The Fraser tartan,” he whispered. “Repeat after me. Is tu fuel ‘o chuislean .”
“ Is tu —” she repeated, stumbling on the words.
“ Is tu fuel ‘o chuislean ,” Jamie repeated softly.
Overcome with emotion, Claire repeated the words Jamie spoke verbatim in a teary whisper. When finished, Jamie leaned in lightly brushing his lips over hers.
“What do the words mean?” she whispered against his mouth.
“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 till our life shall be done.”
“Am I—” She paused, taking a deep breath. “Am I yours now?”
“Ye always have been mine, Claire. Since the moment I saw ye, spinning in the rain in nothing but yer shift—but tae answer yer question, yes.Ye are mine now. And I am yours, and to make it even more official.” He quickly untied the fabric that bound them together and reached into his sporran. “Give me yer hand, Sassenach.”
Claire did as he asked with no hesitation and gasped as he slid a pewter ring with a long knotch across the top onto her ring finger. “How did you? When did you?”
“The key to Lallybroch,” he said, softly kissing the ring that now circled her finger. “It used to pain me knowing that I could never go home again, that there was nothing to return to. But, you. You are my home now. Even though I will never be able to take you home to Lallybroch, I wanted you to know that it’s as much yer home as it is mine.”
Unable to find the words as emotion overtook her, Claire wrapped her arms around his neck, weaving her fingers into his curls and kissed him until they were both breathless and aching with need. “Make love to me, James Fraser.”
“With pleasure, Claire Fraser.”
Claire sat quietly in front of the fire on the couch wrapped in the Fraser tartan. Fidgeting with the newly placed ring on her finger, she thought about how drastically her life had changed just a few short months ago. It was like a dream. Falling in love with a stranger at a single glance. The way he instantly calmed her, just by being near, not needing to say anything at all. The way he not only allowed her to be herself, but encouraged her to continue to blossom.
Lost in thought, Claire did not hear Jamie come up behind her until a string of pearls dangled in front of her, being placed around her neck. She gingerly held the strand of pearls in her hand as Jamie sat down next to her.
“Scotch pearls. They belonged to my mother,” Jamie said quietly as he carefully lifted her hair from under the necklace. “They’re all I have left of her. And now—” he said, leaning over, lightly placing a kiss on her temple, “—they belong to my wife. They’re very precious to me, Claire. As are you.”
Overcome with love for this man, Claire leaned over and kissed his shoulder, letting her lips linger and enjoying the feeling of his skin on her lips. She stood wordlessly and stepped close to him, the tartan still draped over her shoulders. She let out a small gasp as Jamie leaned forward and placed a kiss on her breast, that was nestled between the strand of pearls, while guiding her hips onto his lap. Claire could feel him already hard against her core while she rocked slowly against him, as Jamie’s hands slowly caressed her lower back. With their eyes locked, Jamie lifted and guided her down onto him as they both let out a soft moan.
Claire brought her arms around his neck, wrapping them both in the warmth of the tartan. She was no longer afraid, there were the two of them now.
Jamie was adding more wood to the fire when he heard the rain pounding on the roof. “Lass went and got herself caught in the rain again,” he thought out loud. “Best put some water in the kettle for some tea.”
Jamie stood there cluelessly looking at the meticulously labeled jars Claire had managed to fill in the last few weeks, before he reached for a jar labeled peppermint and smelled it. “Ah! Peppermint tea it is.”
Just as he finished putting some peppermint in the water to steep, he heard Claire’s joyful shriek and opened the door to let her in. The sight before him was one he had grown accustomed to and would never tire of. Claire stood there soaked to the bone, with a smile on her face that would light up the darkest of nights.
“Jamie, come dance with me!” she yelled to him, holding her hands out.
“It’s cold out here! Come in the house where it’s warm, and we’ll dance by the fire.”
Claire stood there sticking out her bottom lip, attempting to lure him out to play in the rain with her. “Please,” she pleaded.
“Claire Fraser, get yer perfectly round arse in this house!” Jamie chuckled, leaning against the door frame. He loved this game.
“Or…. what?” She playfully swished her wet skirt back and forth.
“Or, I’ll haul ye over my shoulder and put ye over my knee,” he teased.
“You have to catch me first. And since you’re in there and I’m out here, and you won’t come out to play— Doesn't seem to be in your favor,” she teased in return.
Jamie dashed out into the rain, catching Claire around the waist and spinning her around. Claire shrieked with laughter as he hauled her up over his shoulder. “What was it you were saying, hm? Who has the advantage now?”
He carried Claire into the house, closing the door with his foot before setting her down. “Want to play, do you?” he asked as he lifted his shirt over his head, giving her a smirk when her breath hitched. He stood in front of her giving her a proper view of how exactly he intended to play, as he stalked towards her. “Now, mo nighean donn , the question is, what exactly should play, hm? Because, I have plenty of ideas.” he growled, trapping her between him and the door, pressing his hips into her.
After, they lay sprawled out on a much larger bed in a mass of tangled limbs, both of them too sated to move. “Did I hurt ye, Claire? I’m sorry, I didna mean to be so rough with ye,” he said, propping himself up on his elbow.
“You didn't hurt me. In fact, I quite enjoyed it.”
“Did you now?” He trailed his finger over her hip.
Claire scoffed at him. “Jamie, you can’t possibly—” She quickly sat up in bed, smelling the air. “Why do I smell burnt peppermint?”
“ Ifrinn ! The tea!” Jamie jumped out of bed, promptly and carefully removing the kettle of burnt peppermint from over the fire. “I had put on some peppermint tea for ye, since ye got caught in the rain again. But then ye seduced me with yer wicked ways, and I got distracted,” he said teasingly as he crawled up over her.
“Oh, it’s my fault you burnt the tea, is it?” Claire crooned as he kissed his way down her neck.
“Aye, it is.” He smiled against her sternum, continuing his way down.
“Mm. I’m famished,” Claire sighed.
“So am I.”
Claire chuckled softly. “I meant food.”
“This is good eating too, is it no?” he asked as settled himself between her thighs, licking up her center.
Claire sat curled up on the couch next to the fire studying the paper that Jamie had given her. The days and nights were becoming noticeably cooler as Samhain was quickly approaching, as was the blood ceremony. She asked Jamie to write down the blood vow, so she could have it memorized in time. She did not want to stumble her way through this like she did when they were hand-fasted.
Not looking up from the paper, Claire automatically stretched her legs over Jamie’s lap when he joined her on the couch.
“Studying yer vows, Sassenach?”
“I want to be sure to say it perfectly.”
“‘It’s no’ that important, ye know. Ye can just follow—”
“It is to me. This is a big deal, Jamie. What— What if I don’t say it correctly and something goes wrong?”
“Do ye trust me, Claire?” Jamie asked, lifting her onto his lap.
“With my life.”
“I will no’ let anything happen to ye. I promise. Even if ye do mess up yer words. All ye have to do is accept what I am offering to ye, with a pure heart.”
Letting out a sigh of relief, Claire rested her head in the crook of Jamie’s neck. “Are ye-are ye having second thoughts?”
“No. I know what I’m doing, and this is what I want. You are what I want.” She felt Jamie let out the breath he had been holding, pulling her closer.
“Will ye come to bed wi’ me? I just need to hold ye awhile if that’s okay.”
At exactly midnight, under the Sahmain moon, Claire Elizabeth Fraser’s mortal life would no longer exist, and her immortal life would begin. Claire paced the cabin, wearing the same shift she had worn the night she had met Jamie. It was the only thing Jamie had asked of her, and she was more than happy to oblige.
“Are you ready, Sassenach? It’s time.” Claire nodded, buttoned her cloak, and followed Jamie out into the dark of night.
The ceremony was traditionally private, given its intimate nature. The bride was given a floral crown to wear during the ceremony— gift from the groom that represented her growth and transition into the immortal world.
Jamie helped Claire off of Donas at the edge of the lavender fields and handed her a box. “Yer crown, milady.” He gave her an exaggerated bow. In the box sat a simple ring of lavender and rosemary adorned with a long lavender satin ribbon.
“I chose the lavender because tis where we met, and the rosemary representst yer love of yer wee herbs. I ken it’s not a traditional crown, but I think this suits ye more. Do ye like it, Claire?” Jamie asked nervously, while he straightened his kilt.
“It’s perfect. Will you put it on me?”
“Aye.” Jamie gently placed the floral crown upon Claire’s head, adjusting the ribbon so it flowed freely down her back, mixing in with her curls.
“Stay right here, I’ll be back to fetch ye.” He kissed her forehead and walked into the field.
Claire watched from afar as Jamie placed a circle of pillar candles around the blanket he had spread out on the ground, watching as a circle of light was formed. She could not believe this was finally happening. She would belong to Jamie forever. She removed her cloak, and started walking towards Jamie with no reservations whatsoever, going into this with a pure heart.
“I told ye I would come for ye, Sassenach.”
“I know. I couldn't wait any longer. Are you ready?”
“I’ve waited three hundred years for you, mo cridhe . I’ve never been more ready,” e whispered as he extended his hand out to her. Claire took it without hesitation and stepped into the circle.
“You can change yer mind—”
“I want this, Jamie. I want this gift of being able to spend all eternity with you. To be by your side, always.”
“You have rescued my empty, shattered soul, and filled it with happiness and light. And I thank God for ye, each and every day. I promise I will spend all of eternity cherishing you and being the kind man that you truly deserve.”
With tears in her eyes, Claire kneeled on the blanket, guiding Jamie to follow. “It’s time, Jamie.”
“Ye know what to say, aye?”
Jamie gave her a slight nod, waiting for approval from Claire to start. The smile in her eyes let him know it was time to begin.
“I, James Alexander Malcolm Fraser, bestow to you, Claire Elizabeth Fraser, the gift of eternal life openly and freely. I give you my life and my blood of my own free will, with honor and pride. I give you my blood as an eternal bond that only we shall share. I promise to nourish, protect, and love you—and only you—until my life on this earth is done. “
Claire squeezed his hands, speaking with conviction and strength.
“I, Claire Elizabeth Fraser, accept the gift of eternal life openly and freely. I accept your life and your blood of my own free will with honor and pride. I accept your blood as an eternal bond that only we shall share. I promise to nourish, protect, and love you—and only you—until my life on this earth is done.”
Claire smiled as she wiped the tears from Jamie’s eyes. Jamie took her hand and kissed the inside of her wrist. “Are ye ready for the next part?”
Claire responded by sitting with her knees astride Jamie, letting her shift fall to her waist. Jamie picked up his dagger and slid it across his skin, never breaking eye contact with Claire. “I give ye the gift of my blood, openly and freely.”
Taking his wrist in both of her hands, his blood dripping onto her fingers, she held it up to her mouth. “I accept the gift of your blood, openly and freely.” She closed her mouth over his wrist.
Claire let the taste of the warm, metallic liquid coat her tongue before she pulled more from his wrist with her mouth, letting it slide down her throat. She felt Jamie harden between her legs and moaned against his wrist, taking another pull. The overwhelming sensation hit her all at once. An arousing burn from the inside out. A craving for more unlike anything she had ever known, as his life giving blood pulsed through her body. Jamie’s arm snaked around her back, pulling her hard against him. “Give me yer mouth, Sassenach,” Jamie growled.
Claire released his wrist, moaning at the site of Jamie’s fully blown pupils and crushed her mouth to his. Adjusting her hips, Claire took Jamie inside of her in one swift move, rocking hard and fast against him. Yelling out as Jamie dug his fingers into her hips.
“Jamie,” she panted. Unable to stop her body from taking what she wanted, she bit down hard on his neck in an attempt to draw blood. Jamie let out a primal growl sliding his hands under her thighs and backside, and began bouncing her over him hard and deep over him.
“Bite harder,” Jamie commanded.
Claire sunk her teeth into his neck as hard as she could, desperately pulling at his skin with her teeth. “Blood. I want—need.”
Jamie placed the dagger in her hand. “Take it. Now!”
Claire moaned as the line of blood started to spill from Jamie’s neck when she dragged the dagger across it. Grabbing his hair, she yanked his head to the side, attacking his neck. With every pull she took from his neck, the harder Jamie bounced her over him.
“Yes,” Claire hissed when Jamie grabbed her hair, yanking to the side.
“You want a taste, hm?” she panted, bucking against him. “Take it.” She grabbed hold of his hair, pushing his head into her neck.
“Jamie!” She sobbed at the feeling of delicious pain as his fangs sank into her neck.
Claire wanted to scream out for him, but the pleasure washed over her in one intense wave, rendering her voiceless in her pleasure.
“Ye are mine, mo nighean donn,” he growled, as he forcefully grabbed her breast. “Ye are mine, now and forever.”
Jamie flipped Claire onto her back before sliding back into her hard and deep, pressing his hips against her holding her in place, enjoying the feeling of Claire writhing beneath him. Blood dripping onto her chest from the cut on his neck.
“Please,” Claire panted, “please don’t stop.”
“Don’t stop what, hm? Don’t stop this,” he grunted as he slammed into her. “Or this?” Jamie sat up on his knees, pulling her legs up flush against his chest, so her ass rested against his thighs. “Scream for me, Claire. Scream for me and only me.”
Jamie could feel Claire tightening around him, squeezing him. With a grunt, Jamie leaned over her, bending her legs back against her shoulders. Burying himself deep inside her. He was close. He was so close, but he needed her to scream for him one more time. With a slight hip adjustment he could feel Claire’s body start to tremble. “That’s it. Scream for me, Claire.” Jamie continued to slam into her, until he felt Claire come undone, screaming his name in 2 long, drawn-out syllables.
With a primal roar, he fell over the edge with her with such force, it knocked the air out of his lungs.
They lay there together unable to feel the cold. Their bodies twitched as smaller waves of pleasure still washed over them. Jamie trailed a finger over her jaw, down her neck, and over her chest as Claire let out a shuddering breath. He watched in fascination as his finger trailed through the blood that had dripped onto her chest, sliding his hand back up to her neck, smearing his blood under his hand across her chest.
“How do ye feel, mo chridhe ?” Jamie asked her softly.
“I feel incredible.” She hummed, curling into him for warmth. “Is it done? Am I—?
“Aye. Ye are eternally mine, and I am eternally yours.”
“You were right,” she sighed, wrapping his arms around him. “It didn't hurt at all. It felt like all my senses came alive at once. It was like a burning fire that only you could quench.”
Claire shivered against him. “Och, let's get you home, and cleaned up, Sassenach. Yer freezing,” Jamie said, extending his hand to help her up.
“I won’t argue with you there.”
“Go on and fetch yer cloak, Sassenach. I will clean up here.” Hegently placed her crown back on her head. Jamie stood watching her for a moment as she walked in the moonlight wearing nothing but her crown. His eternal goddess, a gift from the heavens, made just for him.
With Donas loaded, and Claire nestled into Jamie, they headed towards home.
“Come on, Sassenach. Let’s see where our new adventure takes us next.”