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I tapped the blue tweet button, cringing slightly at the thought of how my mentions were about to explode.

 

Sam and I had been back on set going on 2 weeks now and the fans were getting relentless in their “selfie” requests, hounding all of the cast and crew for a glimpse at Jamie and Claire, on all social media platforms.

 

“Just go through your camera roll and post something, Cait,” he had said to me, tired of the hounding himself. I asked him to airdrop me a picture of us together. He was much more sentimental than I, and always had his phone out, no doubt capturing blackmail for later use. I rolled my eyes at the thought. Surely the rare selfie of the two of us would be enough to implode the Twitter fandom and hold them over for a few months at the least.

 

I, myself, had been holding back on engagement for the past month or so. Posting about being back on set felt premature, considering the current covid climate. Any indication of our crew being reunited felt like a jinx, and I had always been superstitious. Never speaking on something too soon. And this- after enduring nearly a year of this pandemic and a lonelier version of isolation than I was willing to admit- this really felt like it was too good to be true. That we were finally all back together. My family. Sam.

 

I’d be lying if I said being apart from Sam for the past year hadn’t affected me. Sure, we had gotten together for a socially distanced glass of wine in my backyard with Sophie, and then again publicly (and caught, publicly, might I add) for a drink to talk S6 scripts. A drink that of course included Graham… my unfortunate idea of a buffer, that didn’t seem to matter to my husband in the end anyway. That was tiff that seemed never ending at the moment.

 

Regardless, none of that compared to the day to day set life we spent as Jamie and Claire. Cumbernauld was a place where we felt safe. Our guards often let down when we allowed ourselves to indulge in each other’s presence. Sneaking glances, or kisses...or more under the disguise of two method actors. 

 

“When is this from? I don’t remember taking it,” I had asked, going soft at the look on our faces.

 

“Ah... I’m not sure,” he replied, glancing over and pausing suspiciously.

 

I waited, smirking at him as he knowingly tried to downplay storing such a picture in his phone. He knew I was waiting and glanced over at me again.

 

“Weel… I think it was sometime during one of our closing takes for the last series. We were sitting around waiting and such, and Reeves had left his phone in the room,” he paused again, gauging my reaction. “Sooo…. I thought to leave him a wee present… ye know. His two favorite cast-mates.”

 

“This picture was on Kyle’s phone?” I asked, eyeing him.

 

“T’was… but after I snapped it I thought.. Ahhh,” he stopped, going pink at the ears.

 

“What?” I laughed. “There can’t possibly be anything you’re embarrassed to say in front of me right now, Heughan.”

 

I stopped and thought for a moment. There actually was a great deal of things he still seemed to get embarrassed about around me.

 

I chuckled, thinking about his “love without making love” comment that had slipped out during a Comic-Con panel for season 5 promotion. The man was a complete sap at times. I always found it endearing.

 

“Sam…” I said. I rolled my eyes and nodded for him to continue.

 

He turned to me then. Sitting his phone down for a moment and holding my gaze. 

 

That’s Jamie’s look, I thought to myself.

 

“Ye just looked… Bonny. On my shoulder. Your wee smile and eyes glowing. It made me smile. ‘Tis all,” he finished, clearing his throat and straightening his back. He turned his attention back to his phone.

 

The way his accent became stronger was not lost on me. 

 

I smiled at the recollection and picked my phone back up, tapping the small bell on the Twitter app to see what kind of fuckery was no doubt ensuing in my mentions. I scrolled down for a few seconds laughing.

 

@jamiesssasssenach SDFJDLSFJ TWEETING FROM THE GRAVE. BYE

 

@caitfraserrrrr OH MY GOD MY PARENTS

 

@frsrs_rdge_ CALLING THE POLICE

 

@teenytiny THERE YOU HAVE IT FOLKS. THE FIRST SAMCAIT SELFIE OF 2021!

 

Most of the tweets I receive make me laugh, the fandom being endlessly creative (and dramatic) in how they got Sam and I’s attention. However, there always seemed to be a very small, yet very vocal group that took things too far. I had voiced as much over the years. Most of the time I could shake their comments off, but every now and then I would see something that would set me off. An attack on someone close to me, or even a feeling that would surface within me, that I wasn’t prepared to acknowledge. Those tweets usually ended with a block.

 

I tapped out of my mentions, moving over to my profile page to view my tweet.

 

Under the caption “Maybe a wanker...but still my toy boy… !” was a picture of Sam and I. We stood in Claire’s candlelit surgery as he stretched his arm out, fitting his tunic covered abdomen into the frame, and a facial expression equivalent to torture. I stood clad in my soft white bathrobe on my very tippy toes behind him, resting my chin on his shoulder, and giving the camera a goofy smile, while my arms were wrapped around his waist. 

 

Neither one of us had posted anything like this in a very long time. But I was in a cheery mood, if not feeling a bit nostalgic. The truth was that we hated to feed the “shippers” as they called themselves. Sam and I were so naive in the beginning, and so eager to share this project with a fan base that loved the books so dearly. It was fun to share the excitement with them. Over the years however, it seemed to take its toll on not only Sam and I’s personal lives, but our relationship. It felt like we were living under a microscope at times. Everything we did or posted became scrutinized. We became better at hiding our secrets.

 

I pinched the picture on the screen for the 10th time, doing a quick sweep around the image to make sure there wasn’t anything incriminating that the shippers would no doubt latch onto. Our bodies were hardly touching, other than my chin on his shoulder... and my arms around his waist… it seemed innocent enough. And god it had been so long since we had posted anything like this. I was married for fuck’s sake. What could they possibly find within this picture?

 

I smiled, feeling satisfied with my caption and warmed at the thought of exciting so many of our fans. I looked over at Sam, who was sitting at the opposite end of my trailer, engulfed in his phone per usual. I assumed he hadn’t seen my tweet yet. Besides, it was probably drowned in his mentions from Kat McNamara or whoever the blonde of the week was. I laughed, which came out as more of an annoyed huff. He looked up at me and I turned back to my phone.

 

I tapped the picture again, going back into the replies to choose some random things to reply to.

 

@adsooftheridge MY PARENTS! 

 

Ha. Easy enough.

 

@caitrionambalfe @adsooftheridge Indeed wee Adso..! 

 

I watched as hundreds of likes on my reply came through in a matter of seconds and giggled to myself. It did not take much to make these people happy, I thought. I don’t know why marketing always seemed to be complaining about it. I swiped my finger up the screen again.

 

@JayLovesSophie CUT THE CLOWNERY. WE SEE YOU SAM

 

@xOxKarla WHERE’S ALBA

 

I froze for a moment. Shit. Did this picture imply too much? And who was Alba? I scrolled for a few seconds longer.

 

@Lchubbycheeeks CAITRIONA SAID DIVORCE 2021

 

Okay, what the fuck. I click on the reply from @Lchubbycheeks and saw another mention,

 

@steeess I don’t see it? Did you mean this picture?

 

@Lchubbycheeeks DMing you

 

I clicked through a few more replies, trying to find what the shippers were on about this time, already regretting posting anything at all. 

 

@samcaitlover392 I knew the captain would come back out!!!!

 

@starsalign2014 SSDKHFJEKSDFHJSDFKHSDKHFJSDHFJFDHFUHFHJ THE PHONE!!!!!!

 

The phone…? I thought to myself. I pinched the photo again, zooming in on every corner of the photo. What the hell were they talking about?

 

And then I saw it. 

 

Sam’s phone was laying on Claire’s surgery counter-top, just barely visible at the very right edge of the photo.

 

Fuck.