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The Daughter of History and Time

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Claire Beauchamp Randall Fraser was a woman of several faces, no matter which century she found herself to exist within. Healer, Witch, Sassenach, Wife, Good-Sister, Friend, Physician, Ally: but there was one face in which she wore with the most pride, Mother. 

She closed her eyes then, as the carriage began to settle, thinking about the children she left, both in the future and the past. ‘Where are you now? Are you safe? Cared for?’  She thought, sending a rare and silent prayer to Brianna, then to Roger: whose months of endless research and tracking led her back. Back to Scotland, to the 18th Century, to Jamie, but most importantly: to the daughter she had lost, to history and time.

‘May she be safe.’ Claire prayed silently once more, with hope that Roger had been correct. About A. Malcolm and his print shop, about ‘Freedom and Whisky’ , and about the apprentice mentioned within its record. The only way she could know for certain was to search herself, so search she did. 

“Carfax Close, ma’am. Off to the right there, ye see? Malcolm’s should be down tha’ a ways to the left.” The coachman directed, pointing off in the direction of a stone-cobbled alleyway. Claire released the breath she didn’t realize she held, and nodded. As she paid the fare and stepped onto the stone and brick street of Edinburgh, she felt a hum sensation overtake her, practically vibrating from her fingertips. Each step closer to the print shop was closer to part of her heart, soul, and destiny. 

The shop was large, with a staircase accompanying the door on the exterior. An iron sign that read "A. Malcolm: Printer and Bookseller” hung from hooks, pegged into the wooden beams. She softly grazed the lettering with her fingertips, the residues of soot, ink, and oil leaving a temporary stain. 

“Now or never, Beauchamp.” Claire reassured herself, lifting her skirts as she ascended the worn steps. Opening the door, she stepped into the shop front, where a worn desk piled high with ledgers and books stood before her. Her breath steadied with every moment, as she glanced around the large establishment. Then, she heard a voice from the shop floor, Claire’s heart nearly leaping out of her chest. 

“That you Geordie? Where’d you go to get ash, all the way to Glasgow?”

It was him. Claire knew that voice better than she knew her own mind, which instinctually drew her to the open window, viewing a printing press down below. A tall figure stood beside a table, covered with printed pages and various tools of publishing. His hair tied, with a mug in hand, his back to her. “It’s not Geordie.” Claire replied, before realizing that she had spoken.

His head perked up at her voice, turned slightly. “It’s me, Claire.” She said, in a near whisper. He slowly turned toward her then, his auburn hair catching light from the skylight above. As he met her eyes, Claire felt her soul become one again. Jamie.

Then, as sure as the man stood, Jamie collapsed to the print shop floor, the mug and a mess of paper following suit behind him. Claire hurried to the steps leading to the shop below, racing to the bottom, as she heard another voice echo through the room. 

“Da!” 

Claire’s heart nearly stopped as she heard the voice of her daughter, the girl lost to time.

“You’re alright, mo nighean donn. Just hold on, aye?” Jamie said, attempting to soothe the figure whose head was in his lap. Claire opened her eyes then, looking up into the face of her husband. So much pain, and the bleeding: she didn’t think to rest.

“It hurts, Jamie...please.” She said, with a weakened grasp to his hands. “Make sure the baby is safe, don’t worry about me...” Claire practically gasped, her vision becoming white and blue spots. Then, a hushed silence overcame her. “ Claire, stay wi’ me, look at me, Sorcha.” Jamie pleaded, his hands framed either side of her face as he moved to kneel beside the bed. Mother Hildegarde stood across from him, looking to Sister Angelique and Monsieur Foret, then to Claire. Jamie leaned over then, whispering quiet Gàidhlig into Claire’s curled mane of hair, loose from its pins. Servants rushed in and out of the bedchamber, in a mass of towels, tools, and stained linen. 

“Monsieur Fraser, we’re doing all we can.” Foret answered, his arms up to his elbows stained with blood. Claire’s. Sister Angelique moved then, brushing a curl back as she felt for a pulse against the neck, then the wrist. “She’s still here, have Faith, Monsieur.” Jamie only squeezed his wife’s free hand, wishing that he could force life back within her. Silence then fell over the room, before a soft cry erupted from Foret’s hands. “You have a girl, she is whole, and alive.” He spoke, a soft smile appearing on his lips. Sister Angelique suddenly sprung into action, as Suzette practically materialized beside her. Jamie looked to Claire then, brushing a hair out of her face, and feeling for breath. She was breathing, they had made it.

Then, Mother Hildegarde brushed Jamie’s shoulder with her fingertips. He broke his gaze then, looking to the matron for a moment. “We will do what we must, Monsieur. Be with your daughter now. She needs you.” He shook his head, his feet felt bolted to the floor. “I canna, I willna leave!” He suddenly exclaimed, the hoarse tone in his voice nearly unrecognizable. It was then that he heard the wail again, his focus shifted from the blood covered linen, to the small bundle in Suzette’s arms. The bairn. Claire’s daughter. 

He stood slowly then, his hand acting as a vice to his wife’s. Jamie looked to her then, and kissed the iron ring on her fourth finger. He nodded, as Suzette carefully placed the girl’s frail body into his arms, and walked him out of the chamber. 

“Shhh, m’annsachd. It’s alright.” He whispered, gently brushing a finger across the tiny child’s forehead. “Your mam is the strongest woman I ken, she’ll be fine.” Jamie continued, unsure if he was speaking to the child, or himself. He was unaware of how long had passed, since he had left her. Minutes? Hours?  But one thing kept him anchored into the moment, the girl settled in his grasp. Jamie had refused to send for a crib, and instead, had Suzette send for goat milk and a cloth. She needed to be fed, and that was the only option.

Until, Foret quietly opened the chamber door, motioning him to follow. Jamie rose from his chair, the girl asleep in his arms, after the child had been fed. He entered, and was able to breathe again, as Claire was sat up against the headboard, waking and alive. 

That girl, so fragile and small as an infant, was in front of her now, grown and together with her father. Claire paused, before also joining her at Jamie’s side. Faith didn’t look her in the face then, her eyes focused on her father. ‘Does she remember me?’ Claire thought, hoping to any Gods that would listen that she did. She then gently traced her fingers over Jamie’s jaw, holding his face in her hands as he slowly centered back into the space. Faith stood then, backing up several steps, her eyes focused toward the floor. Jamie’s gaze focused, until he slowly returned Claire’s eye contact. 

“You’re...real.” He said, unsure of himself in that moment, his hand tracing over Claire’s against his face. “So are you, I-I thought you were dead..” Claire answered. He shifted slightly, lowering his hand for a moment. “Claire.” Jamie breathed, almost like an answer. A sudden dampness became present, as Jamie quickly began to rise to his feet. Faith passed him a rag, still remaining silent, but her eyes studied the pair before her. “What is it?” Claire asked suddenly, her hands moving faster than her words. “Thought I pished myself, just the ale pot though.” He answered, almost with a lighthearted chuckle. She stepped closer then, and he followed suit, gently raising his hand up to take hers, his fingers grazed over the iron ring. His ring. The key to Lallybroch.  

Faith felt her chest tighten suddenly at the sight of the ring, her heart rose to her throat. Memories of years past sprung to her mind: Lallybroch, chasing Fergus around the field, Helwater and the hay of the stable, Da telling stories of her Mam by the fire: the woman who lived among faeries, and the sibling she could not meet. She then realized that the woman was in front of her, her Mother had returned. Faith slowly moved to the back of the shop, to the small alcove of a cot and mantel. Sitting, and taking her head between her hands, she breathed. How was she here? Why?’ She thought, trying to piece together the stramash her brain had conjured.

Faith had been having dreams as of late, ones that she did not speak of to Jamie. They were of her, at Lallybroch, in Paris when she was a bairn, and in a place she did not recognize. Strange machines and unknown noises surrounding her as she healed a patient, her face masked behind fabric. Faith had known her Mother was unlike anyone else on Earth, but who was she really? 

The sound of a door opening brought the girl back to her senses, the hinge beginning to squeak as the oil wore off. Her Da entered, without breeks, followed by the woman. He quietly redressed, before looking to Faith. She looked to her father then, as he nudged his head in the direction of the woman as to say ‘it’s alright, say something.’ Claire stepped closer, and spoke first. 

“You probably would not remember me, at least not compl-“

“Mama?” Faith cut off, her head raised as she looked into whiskey eyes, just like her own. Jamie looked between the two of them, then knelt beside Faith. Claire smiled, the beginnings of tears visible on her face as she gently took the girl’s hands, and nodded.

“Yes, it’s me Faith, your Mama.” 

“We never thought of a name for a girl.” Claire had whispered quietly, holding the infant to her breast as she fed, moonlight streaming in from the windows of the bedchamber. Jamie shifted to sit up beside her, carefully allowing the child to grip his finger with her petite hand. He smiled then, a soft ‘Scottish noise’ came from him before he spoke. “Faith.” Jamie whispered in reply, just as the child let out a yawn. “Sister Angelique kept telling me that. To give me somethin’ to hold onto.” He continued, the first moments he held the child playing in his mind. “We dinna have tae, of course. But I thought-“

“It’s a beautiful name, but she’ll need more than one.” Claire finished, looking at her partner beside her. She took his hand with her free one, the mangled fingers of his right hand still healing from the Abbey surgery. “What about Janet? Since Jenny’s done so much, it’s the least we could do.” Claire inquired, looking for a reply in Jamie’s features.

“Aye, tis a fine name for a wee lass.” He answered at first, before continuing. “What about Elizabeth? We’ll be adding Beauchamp as well, for you.” Jamie inquired further. 

“Faith Janet Elizabeth Beauchamp Fraser.” Claire spoke, allowing the words to will into existence. They had found a name, and it was hers. 

Faith looked to the woman before her then, allowing the words of her response to sink in. Then, she did something that her dreams yearned for, since the moment they began. She wrapped her arms around the figure before her, her Mother, and embraced with a tight grip. She moved from the cot then, to kneel on the shop floor, as Claire slowly returned the gesture, one arm squeezed just as tight around the girl. Jamie looked between them, and nearly fought tears, as he gently took hold of Claire’s free hand once again, Their family was as whole as it could be, in the moment. 

Claire gently released her hold, before taking her daughter’s face in her hands. Meeting Faith’s eyes, she felt her cheeks become damp with tears as the girl’s shoulders relaxed. Taking a breath, the woman spoke. “I will never leave you again, I promise.” Claire said in a near whisper, before then softly placing a kiss on Faith’s brow. Then, Jamie made an effort to rise, gently helping Faith and Claire to their feet, before the trio sat on the cot before them. It was then the woman realized, she had questions, both to ask and answer.

“Does she kn-” 

“Indeed, Sassenach.” Jamie smiled, nudging Faith. The girl nodded replying with her own corner mouthed smirk. “Da told me what he kent, though I still have questions, if you dinnae mind.” She finished. Claire nodded, glancing at Jamie for a moment before she spoke again. “Anything dear, what is it?” The woman asked, gently resting a hand on Faith’s knee. 

“Is my sibling alive?” She began, then looked to the odd bundle that her Mother removed from a pocket within her skirts. Jamie also, gazed momentarily, taken aback.

“What tae Devil?” He inquired, while Faith’s nose scrunched in confusion. Claire then unwrapped the small bundle, where a series of photographs were collected together. The images depicted Claire, seated with a small swaddle in her arms. “They’re called photographs, made with something called a camera. It’s like painting...but with light.” She began cycling through the images, Jamie and Faith taking hold of one, after another.

“You have another daughter, and a sister.” Claire stated, looking at the photographs with a fond smile. “Her name is Brianna Ellen.” The woman looked to Jamie, who had momentarily removed his reading spectacles. “I named her after your father Brian, like I promised. Ellen for your mother, so they would be together.” He smiled then, before reaching for Faith’s hand, squeezing her fingers. Faith was suddenly hit with a wave of feeling: Sadness of the sister she couldn’t meet? Jealousy?  She didn’t know, in the moment. Claire paused, turning to Faith then, passing the photographs to Jamie as he set them beside the cot, his attention turned to the lasses before him. 

“Does she know about me? How could ye leave her tae come back ‘ere?” Faith questioned, suddenly standing as she looked to the floor, then to her Mother. 

“Faith... a leannan.” Jamie started, then trailed off. 

“Stop, I want tae answer from Mam, if ye’d please.” The girl finished, her voice became thick with disdain. Claire exhaled, looked to the floor for a moment, flexed her fingers, and replied. “Yes, Brianna knows. About me, about Jamie, and about you, Faith.” She reached back within her pockets, removing a pair of letters, holding one out to each of them. 

“Brianna asked me to come back, and to find you two. After Frank died, she knew my heart was here, and I did the best I could for her.” She added, her fingers gripped the parchment in her hands. “She didn’t want to risk going to Craig Na Dun, in case she couldn’t go through the stones. It was the same at Culloden, when you were small.” Jamie looked at Faith then, attempting to read her features. Unlike her Mother, Faith didn’t possess a glass face.

“But, there wasna way ye could’ve kent, I could ha’ gone!” The girl exclaimed then, not knowing if what she felt was anger. “What about Frank? Did he ken about her havin’ a sister? A family left behind?” Faith felt her insides practically boiling, at a man who would not live for another two centuries. Claire looked to her then, meeting her glare with her own whiskey eyes. 

“Yes, Frank knew. He knew that you and Jamie had lived after Culloden, and the clearances, and Helwater. He kept that from me for twenty years, and probably would have longer, had he not died.” Claire stood then, Faith stepped back. She was fighting tears, her head began to throb from the tension in her brows. ‘How could someone with knowledge like that keep a family apart?’ The girl shook her head, her hands splayed across her face, as she exclaimed, stepping out from the back of shop, not caring to see what direction she left in. “Damn all Randalls then! To hell wi’ them!”

“Faith Janet Elizabeth!” Jamie stood, trying to follow as Claire held him by the arm. He looked to his wife then, unsure who to guide. Faith became a mass among the crowd of the Royal Mile, blending in with the traffic of the Edinburgh day life. She didn’t know where her brain was willing her to, but in that moment, she didn’t pay it mind. Her head raced with questions, most without answers. 

Chapter Text

Faith Janet Elizabeth Fraser is a woman of many names and faces, some of which she’s become one with more frequently than her own name of blood. Daughter, Niece, Apprentice, Friend. But there is one that she holds closest to her heart and soul: Sister.

First to Fergus, her brother of heart and soul, but not of blood. Then to Ian, her cousin: but their bond closer than that of her older cousins. In Marsali, the girl she hoped would become her sister by vow one day. Now, to Brianna: a girl she felt kin to, but strange to all the same. Her head filled with questions that may always remain unanswered.

Faith’s brain replayed her Mother’s words in her subconscious: ‘ You have another daughter, and a sister...she knew my heart was here, and I did the best I could for her.’ The girl kept her head down as she entered the tavern ‘The World’s End’, the pocket of her skirts felt heavily weighed, the content of which included parchment addressed to her. She had to find her brother, who sometimes knew her mind better than she herself, or her Da even. The girl waved down a barmaid, who directed her to the back of the pub. 

“He’s down ‘ere, what’s tae rush, Jane?” The matron asked, using her alias. 

“Nae rush, just need a second, aye?” 

She returned, glancing to the bar table where Fergus sat, his hands obscured by a pint mug in his grasp. He raised it in her direction, with a corner mouth grin that rivaled their father’s own. Faith returned the gesture with a two fingered salute off the temple, somewhat of a signal between the duo, as well as Ian and Marsali later on. 

“Well you seem to be on a mission, chère sœur. What’s the matter?” He asked her, slight concern crossed his features, a mild crease appearing among his brows. Faith surveyed their surroundings for a brief moment then before leaning in, her voice low to avoid prying ears. 

“Maman, tu te souviens d'elle?” She asked, switching to French to enclose the conversation further. Fergus sat back in his chair then in response, like the air was stolen from his lungs. He nodded, before standing from his position, as Faith met his gaze. 

“Oui, toujours. Mais pourquoi?” He retorted. Faith then motioned her head to the tavern door, where a market was strewn outside. She had seen her Da’s towering figure from the tavern window, and knew that her parents had followed. 

“Va voir.” She replied, watching him exit the crowded space, his tricorn placed softly on his head. Faith exhaled, then felt for the letter in her pocket as she retrieved. The possibilities of the letter being endless. ‘ Would she be angry? Sad? Upset?’ The girl thought, unsure of how she felt, let alone the thought of her sister’s own feelings. Unfolding the envelope and the pages within, she began to read the pages addressed. 

To Faith,

I know that by the time you may be reading this, Mama has told you everything, or at least most of it. Craig Na Dun, going back to Frank, finding you and Jamie alive, and lastly: me. I don’t know what our Father has told you of “our time” or of what he knows of time travel. But, I want you to know a few things, if you’d allow me a moment:

First, Mama never stopped loving you, or Jamie. She would sometimes tell me stories when I was little: of a fairie hill, a warrior, and love lost to time. I wished that I could live among the stories forever. But, she and I knew that wasn’t possible. Second, Frank is not as bad of a man as you may think. Yes, there were things that he kept from Mama, and from me. (Things that I won’t forgive or forget) But, he still loved Mama, when she came back to him. He cared for me, when Jamie could not. Third, I know you may be upset or angry that she had left, and that she did not return until now. But if she could have stayed in “your time” with Jamie, and had me with him as she desperately wanted: Mama would have. In truth, there was so much they didn’t know, and to an extent: still don’t.  Fourth, I am not envious of you, or angry and upset that Mama is returning to you, and to Jamie. She has existed as half of herself for so long now, and had to give up you and Jamie to save me. It’s my turn now to return her to him, and to you. If time is kind, I hope that she will be happy, and whole again. 

Lastly, I want you to know that even if we are never able to meet: I love you, as a sister and even friend, so much. Mama would tell me things of ‘guardian angels’ and spirits of ancestors watching over us as we lived. I always imagined you, the sister I couldn’t see, but I could feel. You were always there, with me.

Tell Jamie thank you, for me and for Mama. Let him know that I will never forget the love he has for her, for me, and for you. He’s a good man, I know that. If you can, tell him that I love him too, and that it’s going to be okay. 

Your sister,

Brianna 

 

Faith studied the pages over in her mind, rereading sections as she tried to conjure her thought. She wished that a writing desk could be available, to allow her wandering mind to migrate to paper. Then, she saw boots approach her vision, as she quietly tucked the letter back into her pocket. Da sat beside her, placing his tricorn on the table. 

“Where’s Mama?” Faith questioned, quiet for a moment while addressing Claire, unsure how to move forward with the newfound information and clarification she possessed. He took her hand, and squeezed her fingers for a moment. Jamie knew how to read her mind, or at least it felt that sort. 

“She’s attendin’ tae Willoughby, Fergus told her of his dealings.” He said, with a pat of his daughter’s arm. “I need tae speak wi’ a patron and find Ian, but can we talk later?” Her father asked, meeting her gaze. Faith hesitated for a moment, before nodding. 

“Tha, athair. Ach feumaidh mi mionaid.” She spoke softly, feeling that Gàidhlig came to her mind easiest, in that moment. It was a language not spoken in Edinburgh, or most of Scotland, since she was a child. He placed a soft kiss to her forehead, before placing a few coins in her hands.
Lorg mionaid, agus an uairsin thig thugam, a nighean ghràdhaich.” He replied, standing and glancing at the door. 

“Your Mam and I will be at Madame’s tonight, I have tae discuss the next move for the casks. Be careful, make sure no one follows you, Fergus, or Ian back to the shop. Ye ken?” He asked, Faith grinned, and saluted him in the same way she had to Fergus. 

“Understood, Da.”  

“Good, Leslie and Hayes picked up tae pamphlets for Three Thistles this morning, so you shouldna’ need to handle them. If Geordie gives ye any sort of trouble, send ‘im on his way, aye?” Jamie added, giving Faith a wink, almost owl-like in gesture. With that, her father quietly made his way into the back cellar, where his casks were being hidden, on route to Aberdeen within the week. 

It was then that Faith rose from her stool, quietly paying for Fergus’s ale tab before making her way back to the shop. She thought over the written words she carried, of her sister she hadn’t had the chance to meet. Even with those ‘photographs’ her Mother described, and the letter in her pocket: she couldn’t help but feel lonely. ‘What is she really like? Does she heal like Mama? Or study like that other Randall?’ She thought, a shiver sent down her spine at the thought of him. Faith knew that her Mother’s other husband wasn’t as cruel as the man who had scarred her Father, and left him wishing for death to take hold, but how could she know for certain? 

---

She ducked into the back alcove of the shop after dark, where the cot and mantle were, shrugging off Fergus’s old coat and her shoes before sitting once again. Her skirt fanned out across her lap. ‘Really wish I could wear breeks, they seem so much better.’ She thought, as she also loosened the laces of her stays. Then, a small bundle fell from where she was seated, a soft ‘thud’ where the material met the wood floor of the shop.

“Mama’s photographs..” Faith said to herself, under her breath to avoid Geordie’s hawk-like hearing. She didn’t know if the rather pretentious individual was still present. The girl retrieved the photographs, before taking stock of her surroundings once more. 

When Da, Fergus, and herself first came to Edinburgh, she knew that they could never be too careful. Then came the aliases and fabricated stories to protect them, at Lord John’s suggestion after Helwater. So with that, she became Jane Elizabeth Malcolm. Daughter of Alexander Malcolm, a printer from the West Highlands, with her brother Fergus Malcolm, and cousin Ian. She learned to print and publish, as well as distill and distribute alcohols under the cover of darkness. It wasn’t secure like her Da had hoped for, but their family was together. 

Her mind remembered the bundle in her hands, delicately unwrapping the photographs as she sorted through them once more, and examined the writing that Mama had detailed on the back of select ones. Brianna as an infant, a child beside their Mother after her “graduation” as a doctor, at a beach in rather interesting swimming clothes, and lastly: one of her seated with a large dog. Faith smiled, studying the portraits as if she were committing them to memory. It was in that moment, where she finally cemented what she had begun feeling. ‘I wish she were here, with her blood, Her family.’ 

Faith carefully repackaged the photographs, concealing the letter with them before tucking the contents into a locked drawer, for safekeeping, the key within a pocket of skirts. She heard the bell of the front door to the shop, as she began to sort through various orders and printings: and to conceal any dealings of her brother and Da. Most of the documentation is often burned, but some remained, mostly with Madame Jean and her brothel, under the guise of ‘import’ for the ladies. 

“Shop is closed, may I help ye?” Faith inquired, looking up from her position at the desk, to see a pistol pointed at her forehead. She held her breath, carefully reaching for a knife that was kept under the countertop. The man grinned, his teeth gapped and crooked, as he chuckled.

“Well if it ain’t Jane herself, my apologies milady.” He spoke, the pistol unwavering as he dipped his head, in a faux gesture. “Where’s Alexander? I must speak tae ‘im, a rather important matter no’ to concern a lady such as ye’self with.” 

“Out, had to find parts tae fix a press. May I be of assistance, or will ye be on your way, sir?” Faith asked, her hands trying their hardest to remain steady. Her father and brother had taught her to fight, and to defend herself. Skills rarely used, until today. Her left hand secured tight around the hilt, as she calculated her plan.

“Well if ye’d like tae show me under ye skirts, I wouldna be upset.” The man included, bringing the pistol closer to her head as he leaned in. “Now where were we, aye? I know auld Alex keeps pamphlets some’re, some say that tae content could rouse suspicion, and we dinna want that. No’ tae mention whisky, could be a hangin’ offense fer all ye Malcolms. Shame, yer neck is sae bonny..” He concluded, getting ever closer. 

Then, Faith quickly grabbed a brass candlestick to her right, swiping her arm across as she struck the assailant in the back of the head. The pistol fired, a whizz noise cursed her ears as the bullet missed target, striking and shattering glass behind her. 

“You little bitch!” The intruder howled, chasing after Faith as she descended the stairs into the shop itself, stopping near one of the fireplaces to grasp at an iron, still warm from use. She readied herself, and hollered.

“I dinnae ken what you’re hoping tae find, but my Father is an honest man. I’ll have to ask ye tae leave, now. ” He stood before her then, and lunged. Faith reflexed, striking the man hard across the temple, as he fell, for a final time. The girl stood, shocked at what had just transpired, her hands began to quake again. Faith had never harmed another human intentionally, much less actually killed a man. 

She dropped the stake back to where it had rested against the mantle, continuing to form a plan, as the back door to the shop opened, followed by her cousin, Ian.

“Well hello, cousin. Did ye happen tae see…” He trailed off, seeing the man lying still at Faith’s feet, and her shaking hands. 

“Ian...I…” Faith started, fighting tears as she continued to panic. She couldn’t bring more problems into their current situation, not now. The remainder of the pamphlets hadn’t been discovered, at least as far as she knew. There had been no one else in the shop besides her, and him . who lie dead at her feet.

“He was lookin’ fer Da, and tried tae attack me, it happened so fast.” She stated. Ian nodded, slowly guiding her to sit at the cot, as he conducted a plan of his own. 

“I’ll go find Fergus, he’s at the port wi’ Leslie an’ Hayes. He’ll ken what tae do.” 

“What about Da?” Faith asked, looking to him as her elbows dug into her knees. 

“He’s with a woman, I dinnae ken her. She spoke strangely too, English mebbe?”

“Mama.” Faith breathed, then relaxed for a moment.

Ian looked at her odd then, before checking around as he left the shop.  What he didn’t see was a group of hooded figures make their way across the shop floor.

---

“Uncle!” Ian called, approaching the doorway with Fergus behind, knocking with haste. He had sent for Leslie and Hayes to attend to Faith, and to the shop, in order to dispose of the body left there. The man in question opened the door ajar, his coat hastily thrown around him.

“Ian, what are ye doin’? It’s past midnight!”

“I ken Uncle, but it’s rather urgent.” 

Fergus went to interject, before Madame Jean raced up the stairway, in a panicked whirl of skirts. Her face filled with worry.

“Monsieur Malcolm, there is a fire at Carfax Close!” She stated. 

Jamie turned to look at Claire for a moment, the same thought crossing each of their minds. Treasonous pamphlets first, but most importantly: Faith. 

----

Slowly stirring to her senses, Faith took stock of her surroundings, coughing heavily. ‘ Why is it so warm? Where’s Ian?’ A loud crash pulled her to reality, as she sat up. Flames engulfed the entirety of the print shop, surrounding her in all directions. The girl scrambled, checking hastily for injuries, as she approached the locked desk. ‘Brianna...my sister’ She thought, forcing the drawer open to retrieve the photographs and letter. 

“Faith!” She heard a voice call to her, from a distance. Her head turned, squinting as she struggled to see what was before her. 

“Da?” She replied, stumbling in the direction of the noise. ‘A Dhia, I’m tired’ Her brain wanted nothing else but sleep, to be warm and safe. But Faith had to move, and fast. 

“I’m here! Da!” She called, as the figure collided with her, and held her frame upright. She collapsed into him, as exhaustion overcame her. ‘How long was I out?’ She thought. Faith coughed again, her lungs felt as though they were aflame themselves.

“You’re a’right, m’annsachd. ” Jamie responded, lifting his daughter in his grasp, as he ascended stairs toward the door. Shelves and bookcases collapsed around them, the entire shop held together by a thread. He descended the crumbling stairs as the fire brigade approached, attempting to douse the flames of the doomed storefront. 

“Jamie!” Claire shouted, pushing past the crowd of people gathered to get to him, and to Faith. She quickly began observing for injuries, directing the crowd to part.

“You need to set her low to the ground.” She instructed, as Jamie carefully laid Faith to the cobbled street. Fergus draped his coat on Faith’s lap, using his tricorn to gently fan in her direction.
“Da...a man f-found your...pamphlets.” Faith struggled, her voice hoarse as she fought for breath. Claire slowly coaxed the girl to drink water, from a flask given to them in haste. “Sir Perseval sent a man tae your shop, I fought ‘im off but, t-there were more of ‘em...I tried, Da.” She continued. Jamie gently wrapped his arms around the girl, using his woolen scarf to cover her by the shoulders. 

“Dinna fash, mo nighean ruadh.” He spoke, planting a soft kiss to the crown of her head. “Besides, they willna find us where they dinnae ken where to look.” 

“Where are you suggesting then, won’t you be found, Milord?” Fergus inquired. Claire looked between the group of them: herself, Fergus, Jamie, Ian, and Faith. Her attention turned to her daughter, as she gently brushed a strand of curled red hair from her brow. Jamie hesitated for a moment, looking to Ian before he spoke. 

“Home, to Lallybroch.” 

 

Chapter Text

Mid-morning passed over the forested landscape and tilled fields as horses and a wagon approached the brick archway of Lallybroch. The Fraser homestead, and a sight that Faith had missed since she last stepped foot here years previous. She had not frequented journeys to and from with Fergus or Young Ian, opting instead to stay with her Da in Edinburgh, to further advance her apprenticing. The girl dismounted her horse, taking a moment to stretch her arms upward, as her shoulders relaxed. She was home. 

Auntie Jenny and Uncle Ian approached the stone front steps of the home, looking as though they were visited by ghosts, at the sight of Mama and Da before them. Faith sighed, collecting herself as she helped Fergus to the stables. ‘Well there’s certainly going to be a talk later.’ The girl thought. As kind as her family could be, sometimes their silence was deadly. Fergus pulled her aside, looking around before speaking in a hushed tone. 

“Do you think Maman will tell them about the stones? The travel?” He asked.

“I dinnae ken, but I sure hope so.” Faith responded, looking to the doorway as her parents moved inside. She breathed a moment, preparing for the possible tensions that would arise. Auntie Jenny wasn’t a person one should cross, and Mama knew that for certain. But in time, all may be set right, it was just a matter of when that concerned her. She followed Fergus, entering the sitting room as Uncle Ian spoke, his tone taking on a rigid stance, Auntie Jenny looking as agitated, her arms crossed in front of her chest. 

“And wha’ of Faith? She could’ve been kill’t in that fire!” 

“She was fine and alive , if no’ just a bit shaken.” Her father interjected, not seeing that she and Fergus had entered. “Tae fire was just an accident, no’ much to concern yerself with o’er my daughter, thank ye.” 

“An accident ? The shop is GONE Jamie!” Auntie Jenny replied, glancing between Faith and surprisingly, her mother Claire. The girl cleared her throat, and stood.

“If I may, what happened was tha’ a man tried tae rifle through Da’s things, in hope of findin’ treasonous material hiding anywhere, of which there were none. Tae fire happened because of my defense, and a stramash tha’ happened. It was no’ the fault of Da, or anyone else but myself, ye ken?” Faith remarked, frustration growing in her tone. 

Silence overcame the room, as four pairs of eyes studied her: Auntie Jenny, Uncle Ian, Da, and lastly: Mama. She straightened, before continuing with a calm tone. 

“And about Ian, I had asked him to visit us in Edinburgh, but didna’ ken that he did so wi’out your knowledge. I apologize fer my error in judgement. Ye may do wha’ever ye fine necessary if repercussion is in order fer myself.” Faith finished. She looked down to the floor of the room, waiting for a response from anyone in the room. The girl felt immense guilt for what happened to her Da’s shop, not spoken until that moment. Then, a pair of hands settled on her shoulders, as she looked up at her uncle.

“We were just worrit’ lass, fer ye, Jamie, Ian, and Fergus.” He clarified.

“But tae fire wouldna’ happened if Jamie didn’t deal wi’ illegal trade.” Auntie Jenny finished, as Da looked at his sister, fists clenched in frustration. A loud crash broke the tension, followed by the laughter of children as the group dissipated, Claire placed a hand on her daughter’s shoulder, squeezed gently in reassurance. 

-------

Faith stirred awake, as the midnight noises from the farm and surrounding forest overtook her hearing. In Edinburgh, the city was often loud at night, but the rigid walls of the shop would provide solace, and temporary quiet from the bustling nature of the working day. Her focus centered on the ceiling of the room, as she heard footsteps overhead, followed by her Da’s voice, muffled through the walls of the large house. 

‘He must be talking to Mama, or to Uncle Ian, even.’ She thought, before reaching for a spare blanket to cover her shoulders and shift. Rising from the bed, the girl quietly made her way upstairs, outside her Da and Mama’s current room. She sat against the doorway, and listened, the door was cracked open, allowing her a small glimpse.

“Ye kent tha’ when I went tae England, on parole at Helwater, Faith went wi’ me?” Jamie spoke, sitting beside Claire as he talked. He hesitated, before she followed. 

“But you were at Ardsmuir, how could they allow a child to accompany you?”

“Faith was with me when I was found, and taken as a result.” He responded, breaking eye contact as he did so. “The guards tried to separate us later, and take her to an orphanage. But I convinced them otherwise, at the prison.”

Faith closed her eyes, leaning her head against the doorframe as she did so. 

All she could see was red before her, the coats of the soldiers a bright contrast against her Da’s worn jacket of wool. She was being held back by the collar of her short jacket, as she struggled against going to her father. “Dinnae take him, please!” Faith pleaded.

“James Alexander Malcolm MacKenzie Fraser, otherwise known as ‘Red Jamie’ you are hereby under arrest for high treason against His Majesty King George.” A redcoat stated, as two others forcibly moved him toward a caged wagon. 

“Put him in irons!” 

“Da, no!” Faith struggled free of the soldier’s grasp, running over to her father as she grabbed him by the hem of his coat. A soldier aimed a musket in her direction, as Jamie looked to him with death in his eyes. He took her hand in his, and squeezed her fingers, holding her there. 

“Faith, please. Go find your Auntie.” He warned.

“No, we’re a family. I’m stayin’ wi’ ye Da.” Her heels ground into the dirt. 

“Take them both then, I’m sure we’ll find use for the girl somewhere, or an orphanage on the way.” A redcoat answered, as Jamie was hoisted into the back of the wagon, Faith lifted afterward. She shifted her movement to sit beside her father, as the caged door was locked in place. 

“You will do no such thing Sir!” Jamie barked back, then turned to his daughter. His anger quickly dissipated, as he looked to see that the girl was crying, her face damp and hot with the heat of her tears.  Jamie softly brushed her cheek with his hand, careful not to potentially harm Faith with the iron shackles he was adorned with.
“It’s alright, mo chridhe. I’ll see to it that you’re safe. Always.” 

Faith’s attention was broken as the door opened further, with Mama standing at the threshold, a hand outstretched. The girl’s lip upturned into a smile, standing as she took the woman’s hand in hers. Tightening the blanket around her shoulders, she sat on the foot of the bed, beside Mama as Da stood. He smiled, gently clasping his daughter’s shoulder. “Always my wee shadow.” He kissed her on the forehead, as she exhaled. 

“Aye, since Fergus had told me when you had come home, after the battle.” Faith had answered, looking to her mother then. She didn’t have many memories of her early childhood, but she did hold onto those she had of Claire, when their family was whole the last time. “He brought me into your room after Auntie Jenny told ‘im tae fever had passed.” Jamie nodded, placing another log into the fireplace as he recalled a moment. 

The first thing Jamie felt was pain. ‘Is this death?’ He questioned, his vision struggling to focus as the pain centralized. His leg stung with the feeling of fire, right down to the heel. He could feel the bedclothes of his room at Lallybroch, but he saw the moor, as clear as a loch in the early hours of morning. 

Blood and carnage filled the senses, the brush of the moor set aflame by coats of red, chasing the Highlanders like cats with mice for prey. Jamie brought his sword down upon an assailant as he heard a horse being grabbed by a group of fellow Jacobites, forcing its rider from the saddle. Not just any rider, but Him. Meeting the eyes of pain, suffering, and death firsthand, like welcoming a rival, Jamie lifted his sword and charged. 

A gentle knock at the door forced Jamie’s brain back to the room before him. The Laird’s room, where himself and Claire shared many nights together. ‘May she be safe, her and our child.’ Jamie thought, sending a silent prayer to her. He sat up as far as he could muster, his shoulders resting against the headboard. A secondary knock followed. 

“Milord?” Fergus inquired softly, inching the door open with one hand, the other behind him as Faith followed, gripping her brother’s wooden refashioned fingers in her own. Jamie turned his head to look at them, the son of his heart and daughter of his blood before him. The corner of his mouth upturned, but remained otherwise unmoving. It was then that Faith released her brother’s hand, and carefully approached her father. 

“Da, ye sad?” She asked, as she attempted to climb into the bed. Fergus hesitated, taking her hand again as Jamie stopped, nodding his head slightly. He didn’t have the heart to tell her of his pain, or to deny her. 

“Careful of his leg, sœur.” Fergus warned in a gentle tone, assisting the pair as Faith settled in her father’s lap, careful to lean her head against his chest, her forehead resting atop the collarbone through his shirt. She had grown considerably since Jamie and Claire had left Broch Turach in search of Lovat. Her hair was longer, and began to grow dark at the roots, adopting an auburn hue. ‘She looks so much like you, Sassenach.’ Jamie thought, not realizing that his face had become damp with tears. He then carefully enveloped the girl in his arms, tracing circles on her back with his fingers. 

Fergus turned then, nearly exiting the chamber before Jamie spoke, saying the words that he never wished to speak allowed, the statement leaving him in a hoarse whisper. Jamie gently removed a hand from Faith’s back, placing it on his son’s shoulder, as their eyes met. 

“She’s gone, lad.” 

 The boy looked down at the floor then, his hand clenched as he processed. Jamie let out a soft sigh, then opened his arm to him. Fergus met Jamie’s gaze, then carefully tucked himself into the blankets, silent tears threatening to spill from his eyes. He didn’t know his birth mother well, or anything of who his father could have been. Fergus had found a family with Jamie and Claire, his Milord and Milady, and that was enough.

Jamie’s grasp tightened around the children, Faith asleep on his chest with Fergus carefully lying beside. He would keep them safe, as he once promised Claire. He closed his eyes and gently placed a kiss atop each head of curls, so much like hers, and allowed himself to drift to sleep. 

“Ye and Fergus were inseparable then, and even now as grown. It’s like ye were blood.” Jamie recalled, before sitting beside Faith. Claire reached across her daughter’s lap then, taking a hand of her husband and daughter in each of hers. She had many regrets during the decades they were separated, as a couple and as a family. But the one that pulled at her the most, was that her children didn’t grow up together. Faith looked at her then, puzzled.

“You know, Brianna always asked me about you, and of Fergus. I wasn’t able to tell her much, as I had promised Frank. But, I wanted her to know that she was loved, and that she wasn’t alone in the world. I guess, in a way, she knew.” Claire spoke, as Faith squeezed the woman’s hand in reassurance, as had been done with her earlier. 

“I ken, Mama. You did all you could have, she understands that.” Faith answered, studying the ring that adorned her mother’s hand. “When I was reading her letter, it felt like she was there wi’ me. It was like I could almost hear her, talking to me. I hope she knows that we’re there too. No’ just as spirits, or somethin’ else, but as her family too.” 

She finished, as she felt her Da gently release Mama’s hand, to envelope his arms around them both, readjusting on the bed as he did. He held them both there, not speaking for several moments, allowing for comfortable silence to overcome them, before speaking again. 

“When I was without you, I held onto thoughts of your face, your words, your heart. I clung to those memories, and told them to Faith and Fergus. When I didna want to stand, I was thankful for them, when I could.” He said, looking at Claire. 

“Our daughter..” he paused, kissing his wife’s hand. 

“And your sister will do the same.” Jamie finished, as kissed Faith on the temple. 

-----

Brianna sat at the desk of Roger’s study, filing through copies of documents the pair had found while researching for Claire. Newspaper clippings, pamphlets, deed documentation, and lastly: a series of letters kept in a sealed wooden box, supposedly left for her by Mrs. Graham. She paused, turning over the pages as she recognized the initials and seal adorning them. The Fraser crest carefully pressed into the fading red hue of the wax.

These were letters from Faith, addressed to her. 

Chapter Text

Brianna looked out the fogged window of the cab, the rain of the mid-spring in Boston stuck to the pane in never-ending webs. She had just returned from Scotland, from Roger, and from one thing that she thought would never surface after Mama left: her family. The worn and fragile box of letters sat in her lap, as she thought over what Fiona had said to her. 

“Brianna, I understand ye may want to know what became of them, but what if there’s something terrible?” Fiona had asked, setting down her mug of tea on the large desk, as the other girl ran her hands over her face, the heel of her palms applying pressure to her forehead. 

“Fi, I have to know. These are my parents and my sister! Not just a random cousin or great-great-great grandparent twice removed.” Brianna remarked, her focus returning to the box in front of her, as she felt the engraved initials on the top. She took a deep breath, and opened the lid.

-------

Faith sat at the large desk of the study, which had once belonged to her grandfather, Brian. A writing set was laid out before her, as she debated what to draft. Mama had told her of how letters and documentation was often found in her time, and preserved for others to examine. The mere idea of it almost frightened her. ‘Why would someone want to know what we wrote? Even just letters?’ She thought, skeptical of the whole concept. Faith lifted the prepared quill, and began, allowing the words to speak for themselves, and hoped that Brianna may see them one day. 

To Brianna, 

There are so many things that I wish to tell you, of our family, Da, and some of myself, if you would allow. Perhaps these letters will reach you one day, as Mama said they would. Trust in that, and in time itself. We both know that time is a precious and complex being, and often has more questions about its workings, than answers. 

Da has told me, as well as Fergus, our brother in name, and in the heart, if not by blood, of Mama being from a time long far from now. He told us on Mama’s birthday, when I was eight, and Fergus was nineteen. It had been when he hid from the redcoats, who still searched for him, even after Culloden. He told us everything he knew, and to trust in him. So we did, without question. Of metal birds held aloft in the skies, hot baths whenever one may please, light that did not need candles or fire to maintain a glow, and of medicines that could save from all ills. It was all we had left of her, and the knowledge that she and our sibling were safe, and well cared for, was enough.  I am not angry, or upset with you, Mama, or Frank for the separation, even if it was twenty years. If there is someone or something to blame for the time we lost as family, then it is up to God to decide, or for the fae folk to make amends. There is nothing we as people can do to change or encourage time, I know you are aware of such things. 

In truth, as a child I too thought of you often. Were you alone? Did you have anyone besides Mama and Frank? I had Fergus, Da, and learned amongst many wherever we found ourselves. Lallybroch, Edinburgh, even at Helwater, I tried to learn as much as I could, because I thought to teach you one day, if time was kind. Da and I would pray for you and for Mama often, asking St. Anthony to see you safe, because he protected those who were lost. I hope you are not lost Brianna, and that if there is truly a God, that they may guide you in light, love, and in hope of safety. 

I was told this once, by a kind friend. So, I will pass it onto you. Do not despair or question for the unknown. I hope if at all possible, you may be able to follow in Mama’s footsteps. Life is long, perhaps someday. 

Please, if you would do so for your sister: thank Roger for me, and for Da. Without his and your findings, only God may know what could have come. Take pride in your knowledge, your compassion, and your courage. From what Mama has been able to tell me of you, I know we would have been ‘thick as thieves’ as Auntie Jenny likes to say of her grandchildren. I hope that time will allow us a moment, even if it's brief.

Mama sends her love, Da as well. Fergus has more questions than words for you as of late, but he shall come around in time. I love you, dear sister. Take care, trust in history, and be safe. I know you will be unable to reply, but it does my heart kind to know you may read these pages. 

Your sister, 

Faith

The girl set the quill beside her, the dark ink smudged across the flesh of her left hand, as it dried against her skin and the parchment. She closed her eyes for a moment, sending a silent prayer and thought to her sister, as she thought through her paragraphs, not to be read for another two centuries. Faith began to absent-mindedly caress her middle digit with her thumb, where Da’s signet ring sat on her hand. He had given it to her when she turned sixteen, and she had often worn it on a chain around her neck, to conceal it when they had once been under aliases, and many have to be once more. She removed it, twisting her finger with her opposite hand, and sealed the letter with wax, the edges of the ring formed an indent onto the folded pages. Taking a spare box from her chest of things, she placed the letter within, hoping that it would reach where and when it was meant. 

She heard the door open, the old hinges squeaking with age, as Fergus stepped into the study, leaning against the doorframe. His mouth curved into a smile, as their Da’s often did. It was true what she had written to Brianna, Fergus was their own, even if not by blood. He learned much from what their Da taught him, even before she had been born. It meant everything for her to have him, to confide in, to trust, and to guide her, when her parents could not. She grinned in reply, not speaking as he moved to sit against the edge of the desk. 

“So, what was writing to the future like?” He asked, resting his hand atop the box she had been intently focused on, his fingers tracing the engraved design of the lid. 

“Well, it didna include any of those metal birds that Da would tell us about. So, peaceful.” Faith said, leaning back into the armchair she was sat in. In truth, it had been perplexing, and difficult, while still calming. She stood, looking down to the box, before carefully moving it to rest on a bookcase.
“Did Marsali speak with you, as you wanted?” The girl asked, looking to Fergus as he followed her out of the room, he hesitated before replying with a hushed whisper. 

“Elle a dit oui, et que vous êtes la première à savoir.” 

Faith looked to him in the eye then, practically speechless as she slapped him on the arm, a wide smile overtaking her features. Herself and Marsali had grown particularly close, after she and her sister moved to the property of Lallybroch with their mother, Laoghaire McKimmie. After their land had been previously ceased by the governing sector overlooking the area, Auntie Jenny offered them a croft that had once belonged to Mrs. Crook, until her death when Young Ian was an infant. Marsali and Fergus had also grown fond of one another, and often snuck away to have moments alone, courting in secret. 

It was not until Faith and her Da had heard in a letter at Helwater, that Fergus had told him of their acquaintance. Initially startled, their father took some time to process and have thought over what he had been informed of. When the pair returned to Lallybroch in time for Hogmanay, their Da welcomed Marsali happily, and even began to grow fond of her sister Joanie, who became a quick study of language as he once had. Laoghaire however, was more complicated. With her daughters’ relationships growing with the Fraser and Murray families, she had once felt entitled to more beyond what she had been given by Jenny. Da had been quick to answer, stating that while he had grown fond of her daughters as companions and ones to guide, himself and Laoghaire were not beyond an occupational acquaintance. Her response was to be expected of a young girl, and not one of a woman with children of her own: stubborn and impolite. Since, she had not been informed of Marsali and Fergus’s kinship, at their insistence. 

Faith stopped for a moment, before responding in kind. 

“Et sa mère? Et alors?” She asked, worried as to the possible reaction that it could trigger. It was originally planned that Da would have invited Marsali to Edinburgh to study, and to learn trades from Faith, and himself, while also formally courting Fergus. But with the fire at the print shop, that plan went up in smoke, much like the storefront. 

“Avec le temps, sœur. I wish to speak with Milord and Milady on it first. Then to Joanie.” 

“Well, may the Lord help you. You’ll certainly need it to face her. ” Faith finished. 

------

“You did what ?” Da replied, his hands firm against the dining room table as he looked to Fergus, Mama sat beside him as she had an equally questioning expression cross her face. Faith was unsure how the pair would take her brother’s news initially, especially considering the certain past that Laoghaire had with their parents. The girl held her arms across her chest, as she stood to the left of her brother, Marsali to his right, holding his flesh hand in her own. 

“I have asked Marsali to court me officially, in hope of being married. I know we have not been quite truthful with her mother…”

“Which was a mistake, ye ken lad.” Jamie replied. He looked to Claire briefly, before responding. The two of them could speak without uttering a sound, even after two decades. 

“But, we will not punish you for it, either of you.” Claire finished, as she stood, clasping Marsali’s shoulder kindly, then looked to her son. 

“We just ask that ye make it known tae Mistress McKimmie, and tell her tha’ it relies on her blessing, since ye have ours. Understood?” 

Fergus looked to Marsali then, a smile across both of their faces, their eyes bright with happiness. Faith couldn’t hide her happiness either, as she smiled just as wide. The family dispersed to different places within the house, the day filling itself with chores, as is common with farm handling. Jamie stood upright, then looked at his daughter.

“Someday, it will be even harder to let ye go, a leannan. ” He said, softly kissing Faith on the forehead as she stood, a rather obvious blush crept across her cheeks. 

“I ken, Da. But I will always be your wee shadow, whether ye like it or no’.”

-------

As the days passed in the mid-spring sun, Lallybroch continued with its bustle and motions of chores, planting, cooking, turning out the animals, and as always: laundry. Faith had been relieved to see that Auntie Jenny and Mama had come to mutual peace, even if it was temporary, as they worked to clean linens in the wash tubs and barrels of the yard. Though, she hoped that all could be set right, once more as it had before. 

“Faith, can ye lend me a hand wi’ the fence? The goat managed tae knock a post loose.” Uncle Ian asked, pointing to the fence just outside the gate, a hammer in hand with a bag of tools strung over one shoulder. She nodded, leaving the two other women to the remainder of the bedclothes pile as she approached the structure in question. With hands on her hips momentarily, she reached for the tool bag, preparing a stake as she heard loud commotion from behind her. 

“Ye will no’ be marrying a frog like him! No’ while I’m still alive!” Laoghaire shouted, as she moved up into the gateway, brushing past Faith with Marsali’s arm gripped in one hand, and a loaded pistol in the other. The disturbance caught the attention of Claire, and of Jamie, as he made his way from the doorway, over to where Laoghaire and Marsali currently stood.

“He’s a good fer nothin’ scoundrel, and he’ll leave ye penniless! We’ve already lost too much, Marsali. Do ye hear me?” Laoghaire continued, Faith opened her mouth to speak, as Jamie answered.

“You will not speak of my son in that manner, Mistress McKimmie. But if ye would like the truth of it, I will no’ deny a conversation wi’ civil tongue.” He stated, looking past her to Faith, and with a curt nod, she understood his intent. ‘Get Fergus please.’ 

Laoghaire averted her gaze from him then, looking to Claire as a deep scowl set her mouth. The woman’s anger only increased as Faith’s parents stood beside one another in the courtyard. She raised the pistol, pointing it to Claire, as Jamie’s stance shifted, holding out a hand. 

“It’s tae witch herself! Ye were thought tae be dead, after the Rising, but you’ve come to bewitch my daughter in tae a marriage that will only bring more tae lose! I will no’ have it!”

“Ma if you please, Mistress Fraser is no’ a witch! She’s a doctor wi’ medicines, and the best we have here!” Marsali spoke, attempting to position the pistol away from its target, and out of Laoghaire’s hands. Then, the gun went off, in an explosion of gunpowder and sound as Jamie slowly fell to the cobbled ground. Claire crouched beside him, carefully lifting an arm to drape across her shoulders. Laoghaire stood in shock, attempting to scramble for help as Ian looked to her. 

“Laoghaire, go back tae your croft. We’ll speak in tae morning.” 

Laoghaire attempted to pull Marsali with her, grabbing the girl by the arm once again as she fought. Marsali freed her grip, looking to Faith, then back at her mother. 

“No Ma, you’ve done enough. Go home.”

Laoghaire hesitated, and with a turn, was back down the pathway to the gate as quick as she came. Faith hastily untied her white cap, and carefully wrapped the pistol, still smoking from the charge, before handing it to her Uncle Ian. 

“I’ll send for Ned Gowan right away, go tend tae your Da, lass.” 

Faith nodded, directing Marsali to the barn where Fergus currently was, and hurried inside. The entryway and dining room to the house was near chaos, as Auntie Jenny, Young Ian, and Mama were rushing to tend to Da, currently laid across the dining room table. “What do ye need, Mama?” Faith asked, as she tied her red mess of curls back with a spare scrap of cloth that Auntie Jenny had handed her. She tried to keep herself calm, for her Da’s sake more than her own, since he was the one in the current predicament. 

“Get my medical box from upstairs, it has my instruments and penicillin in it, quickly please.” She instructed, moving Da’s discarded shirt and other items of the table away. 

“Pen-i-what?” Auntie Jenny looked skeptically to Claire, her hands positioned to her hips as she questioned. Faith rolled her eyes, before rushing to retrieve the items, as well as a spare set of clothes for her Da, and an apron for herself. “Here!” Faith called, setting the box down onto the table, as she retrieved a scalpel from the top, and handed it to her mother.

“Jus’ another scar, I’ll be fine.” Da said, as he groaned in pain. The girl shook her head, gently holding down his shoulders as he attempted to sit up. Young Ian passed a bottle of whisky to him, in an attempt to get his Uncle to drink.

“You’ve forgotten what Mama told you about germs.” Faith remarked, as she saw Da gently nod, then fall limp to the table. She looked to Claire, who was currently removing pellets from Jamie’s wounded arm and shoulder, dropping them into a bowl beside her. 

“Can you clean these Faith? Ian, if you could get some more hot water and a bowl.” Mama instructed, as Faith carefully began to clean the tools before her. 

“Where did ye get all these particular tools and things, Claire?” Auntie Jenny remarked while holding a pair of forceps, as the room fell silent, focused on the work ahead. The woman briefly met her sister-in-law’s gaze, before answering. “I knew a very fine cutler in the Colonies.” She answered, before carefully finding the remainder of the pellets, cleaning with the spare alcohol as she went. 

“Faith, I’ll need you to be careful as I stitch his arm. Can you hold here?” She directed to his left arm, as Faith took hold of his shoulder blade and tricep. With utmost precision, or the most she could muster, Claire carefully stitched the wounds, followed by a bandage in each place. As she finished, she turned to Jenny and to the pouch of penicillin.

“Jenny, I need you to trust me.” She said, carefully preparing the glass syringe inside the case, and moving to inject the large patient in the closest area, in this case: the thigh of his leg. 

“Ye canna jus’ stab him wi’ things we dinnae ken about, Claire!”

“Auntie, please. Give it a moment, this is going tae help stop it from being inflamed. We dinnae need Da tae have a fever and pellet wounds.” Faith looked to her aunt with a glance, her eyes pleading for a stalemate. Jenny looked, between the pair of women, then to Jamie, and left the room, throwing her hands into the air as she walked.

-------

Faith placed another log onto the hearth, prodding with the iron stake as she did so. Mama had taken to supervision of Da, checking his bandages and determining treatment. He had begun to grow feverish, a result of the injuries and recovery. The girl sighed, leaning back in her chair beside the fire as she looked to her mother. 

“So it will work then? The penicillin I mean.” Faith asked, her gaze settled on Da as he stirred in his sleep on the chaise. Mama nodded, looking to her briefly. 

“It should, I gave him more about a half an hour ago.” 

“I told ye no’ tae use things ye didnae ken about, Claire.” Jenny retorted, as she entered the room, arms crossed once again as she looked to her sister-in-law, then to her niece. Claire sat straight, then met Jenny’s glare.

“The medicine reacts to every person differently, we just need to give it time.”

“Well, what if he doesna’ have time? Then what? Everything was fine and then ye jus’ fell out of tae clear blue sky after twenty years of nae word! We thought ye were dead!” 

“I thought you had all died, or so I had been told. I had no choice, Jenny.”

“There is always a choice, whe’er ye ken it or no’. Family writes, always.” 

Then, Jamie began to wake as he struggled against his bandaged arm and chest, in order to sit properly. Faith quickly helped him adjust, moving carefully as she did so. Jenny looked at him then. 

“Listen, James Fraser, I want tae ken everything, from ye and ye only. Understood?”

He nodded, in understanding, and adjusted to look at his sister’s face, his hands flexing as he did so. It was then that Claire remembered the other times he had to speak to his kin of a situation that seemed other-worldly. In a way, it was. ‘Murtagh in Paris, then Fergus and Faith in the cave.’ 

Jamie sat straighter at that request, his eyes meeting Claire’s before he spoke. 

“Well first, ye may want tae call in Ian and tae lad too, they should ken.” 

Jenny’s expression changed, ever so briefly, from one of anger, to curiosity, then returned to the anger filled glare. She left to collect her husband and one son, also returning with a bottle of whiskey in hand, setting it on a side table. Ian rested a hand on the back of Faith’s chair, as Jenny and Young Ian sat to Claire’s left. Jamie assessed the room before him, looking to the floor momentarily. 

“Claire was born on October the twentieth, in the year nineteen-eighteen…” 

As he spoke, retelling the family of Claire’s past, the future really, he felt himself almost ease into muscle memory. It had been difficult to express the terms of time when he himself barely understood. But with her return, he felt the words come to him as easy as it was to breathe. Jenny did not move from her position as she listened, but began to almost fidget with the hem of her apron, Young Ian transfixed in thought as he listened. Ian had been moving about the room at first, listening as he went, before sitting at the chaise’s end near Jamie’s feet. Claire remained silent, her eyes first looking to Faith, then to Marsali and Fergus as they had joined the room later. Her husband finished speaking, then carefully reached for her hand. She entwined their fingers, squeezing his in reassurance. The room fell silent, where the animals of the forest and farm could be heard if one listened close enough. 

“The potatoes, the priest hole, and that strange medicine.” Jenny spoke, looking to Claire as she did, then to Jamie. “When Jamie said ye may tell me things that no’ make any sense, I didna’ question it. He chose ye, and that was enough.” She finished, then looked to Claire. The woman sat back, the words still settling in her mind. 

“How did ye ken he was alive, even after ye went back?” Ian asked then, still trying to make sense of what he had witnessed. “It was no’ like ye could look, could ye?” 

Claire stood then, approaching her medicine box which remained on the dining room table as she found a folded collection of papers, handing them to Ian. The publication from Alexander Malcolm that detailed the words of freedom and whiskey, which toward the end also included the initials ‘JEM’ at the bottom, for Faith. Roger had told Claire of his findings at Christmas, when he came to visit in Boston, where and when the world turned upside down. 

“For as has been known for Ages Past, Freedom and Whisky gang Thegither.” Faith recited, her focus centered on the floor, then to her Da. She remembered the day that the two had printed the article, it was one of the first publications that she had worked on since the shop opened. “It was a poem that Da told me at Helwater once, when I was sixteen I believe.” 

“The poem won’t be written for another twenty years, in seventeen-eighty six.” Jamie finished, as Ian read through the document once again. He handed it to Jenny, who hesitated before examining the document herself, a questioning expression rested on her features. 

“This still doesnae explain why ye left. Why would ye just vanish, and leave your daughter and family here? Ye would ha’ been cared for.” 

“Because I forced her to go, Janet. At Culloden, we had no other choice. It was either that she returned to the safety of her time, or die on the moor with the cause.” 

“I was also pregnant, which we hadn’t known until it was too late.” Claire spoke then, taking Faith’s hand. It was still a difficulty for her, leaving Brianna was one of the hardest things she ever did, besides leaving Jamie and her life at the stones. The quiet of the room returned, before to her surprise, Young Ian spoke. 

“So where is the child? Did they live?” He asked, hopeful. 

“Alive, living in the year nineteen-sixty-eight. Her name is Brianna Ellen, because Mama wanted her to have something of Da’s beyond blood.” Faith answered, knowing that it was easier for the answer to come from her, than from her parents. 

“She was born on November twenty-third, nineteen-forty eight, two hundred and two years, and eight months after Culloden. She turned twenty this year.” Claire finished, also retrieving the collection of photographs, to hand to the others to see. 

“These are called photographs, almost like painting: but with light.” She sat again, studying the room as Ian, Jenny, and Young Ian examined the images. Fergus and Marsali also sorted through various photographs, before settling upon the image of Brianna and their dog, Smokey. The pair smiled, admiring the large yet adorable animal.  Jenny remained speechless as she looked through the portraits, before to their surprise: addressing Jamie, her eyes hinting at tears.

“She looks so much like Mam, her an’ Faith could be twins for God’s sake.” 

He nodded, holding the image of Brianna in a rather questionable garment for swimming, before passing it to Faith with a ‘ don’t let Auntie Jenny get a hold of this’ sort of look. The girl smirked, and set it back within the medicine box with a wink. Claire felt herself begin to relax, because for the moment: she was home.

Chapter Text

“That’s insane  Jamie, she canna ask for tha’ much!” Jenny exclaimed, pacing the room as she spoke with Ian behind her, Jamie had taken upon leaning toward the door frame. Faith and Claire had just finished rewrapping his arm into a sling, after removing the stitches that he received two weeks ago. Since then, Laoghaire had since disappeared briefly, before an anonymous note accompanied Joanie to the sitting room that morning. 

“It’s what she’s insisting for Marsali’s marriage, a dowry of sorts. It was her condition tae Ned Gowan when the pistol was turned over.” 

“Of sorts? Twenty pounds sterling, plus ten every year after fer Joanie! That’s more than two years wages, ye ken tha’ well.” She answered, before her eyes settled on Claire’s medical box, sitting on a side table. Ian had settled into a chair, then looked to his brother-in-law. 

“That’s an outrageous sum.” He added, his hands folded, with elbows resting atop his knees. Jamie’s posture straightened as he saw Faith enter from the doorway, a shared expression amongst the pair. The girl had been thinking of the note for some time, including talk amongst Fergus and Marsali as to how to handle it themselves. She was certainly not letting her Da handle it alone. 

“Da, what of the box?” Faith whispered, hesitating as Jamie shook his head. 

“Nae, I wilna allow it. Tis’ dangerous fer ye tae swim that.” 

“What box, Jamie?” Auntie Jenny asked, looking between Faith and her brother then. He sighed, taking a moment to gather a thought, as Faith took a seat beside her Uncle. She allowed him to answer, since her Da had been the one to find it.

“There’s a place I know, and a box. A box full of ancient coins...on Selkie Island. I swam there once.”

“Jamie..” Auntie Jenny began.

“Mebbe, I can go back and get it.” 

“You can’t swim anywhere, not until that arm’s healed.” Claire responded, the rest of the room unaware that she had overheard the discussion. She rested her hand on the top of Faith’s chair. Then, Young Ian stopped in the entryway hall, a basket of linens balanced against his hip as he spoke.

“How far is it?” He asked, earning a questioning glance from his parents and Uncle. Claire and Faith remained silent, but looked to each other.

“Mebbe a quarter mile.” 

“Aye, I can swim that. I’m a better swimmer than either of my brothers.”

“Away ye go. Ye can bring that in later.” Jenny dismissed, waving a hand at her youngest son. He nodded, exiting from the room to continue with various chores. 

“What good are ancient coins in the Highlands? Laoghaire canne use them fer food an’ rent.”

“I’ll take them to France, cousin Jared will know how to trade them fer sterling. He’s family, he’ll be discreet. Then I’ll bring the proceeds back, for Laoghaire.” Jamie explained, as he began to pace the room, looking back to the entryway before speaking again. 

“I’d also like tae take Young Ian to France as well. If that’s alright wi’ you.” 

Jenny gave a questioning look to her brother, as he continued. 

“He’s old enough tae see a bit of tae world outside of Scotland. Ye and I had our time in France, Ian. Better that than war.” He finished, as Jenny and Ian looked at eachother. 

“I suppose it’s best we let him have his freedom while he still thinks it’s ours tae give.” Jenny replied.

“You’ll take better care of him this time, aye?” Ian asked, looking between Faith and her parents. The girl nodded, a small grin on her face. Jamie took one of Claire’s hands in his own, squeezing her fingers gently. 

“We will, ye can trust us.”

-----

Faith closed her eyes as the sea water kissed her skin, the moisture felt cool against her brow as she stood along the cliff side, Mama and Da discussing with themselves to her distant right. Her hair had been hastily plaited back, as she followed her parents and Young Ian out to Selkie Island earlier in the morning. The girl thought back to the previous evening when Fergus and Marsali had handfast, with most of the household present. It had been at the suggestion of Joanie, to their surprise: since the couple could not properly marry until the dowry was arranged. 

Fergus and Marsali carefully knelt before the fireplace, aglow with embers as the fire inside burned. They faced each other with their hands held out, as Da carefully bound their hands tight with a spare cloth. Marsali had been nervous around the concept of a blood oath, like her future father-in-law and mother-in-law had done years before. So, a handfast by bound rope was decided instead. 

Faith then carefully passed the family bible to Da, the inside cover filled with the names of multiple generations of Frasers, Murrays, and all in between. Most recently, Brianna’s name and birthdate had been added, along with the dates of a few weddings and the births of grandchildren. It was something she enjoyed looking through, when she spent her time in the study. She then stood beside Mama, who wrapped an arm around her shoulders, planting a kiss to her temple. 

Da smiled, looking to Fergus and Marsali as they placed their bound hands atop the worn cover of the script. 

“Repeat after me, when ye are ready.”

It was decided that morning, much to Auntie Jenny’s skepticism that Young Ian would make the swim to the island. With Da’s injuries and Faith being unfamiliar with the terrain, it was best for her cousin to make the swim to the rocky isle. She tightened her cloak across her shoulders, the unplaited sections of her hair splayed with the wind. She remembered the last time she had seen the island where the selkies once lived, when Da had disappeared from Ardsmuir. Faith had just seen her tenth birthday, spent learning chess from Lord John, and to set snares from the former Jacobites who occupied the prison. Da had been speaking with Murtagh that night before the search, and she still remembered the words, listening under the guise of sleep.

“I must go, ye must understand that.” Da spoke softly to Murtagh, who let out a weakened cough. The older man shook his head, before his gaze focused upon Faith, whose head laid in the lap of her father, asleep and breathing softly. The pair had been given a small room near the infirmary, to separate the young girl from the prisoners. Murtagh spent many nights in late talks with her father, before returning to the cells. 

“And what of her Jamie? If Kerr did speak true, ye canna leave Faith here.”

“I wilna leave her here, but ye must promise tae look after the lass til’ I return. I must know what Kerr spoke of, an’ this is the only way we may ken.”

Faith stirred in her sleep, as Da carefully readjusted how she laid, her head finding comfort against his shoulder. He carefully embraced her sleeping form, running a hand down her back, and rocking gently. Murtagh stood then, clasping his godson by the shoulder, and left a kiss atop the girl’s head, before returning to the cells. 

Jamie sat in silence for several minutes after, continuing to slowly sway the child in his arms, deep in thought. Faith’s eyes remained closed, though she had heard every word of what was said, which scared her. ‘What if Mama was there?’ She thought. Then, her Da spoke, in a hushed whisper.

“I will see ye safe m’annsachd, always.” 

The young woman’s thought was cut off when she heard her mother’s voice, filled with panic as she shouted, following Da down the cliffside. Faith stood frozen to the spot, unable to breathe. Then, Da shouted on the shoreline.

“Faith! Quickly, ye must get help. Go!” He pointed toward the road, where their horses and cart lay vacant. She nodded, picking up the hem of her skirt as she ran to her horse, hastily settling into the saddle before riding off toward Lallybroch. 

-----

“This should be enough tae secure passage, I’ll send a letter ahead tae cousin Jared.” Jenny explained, as she placed a purse of coins into Claire’s hands. She looked to her sister-in-law, and paused before she spoke. The chaotic bustle of rushed packing surrounded them.

“Ye may no’ ken this, depends on wha’ Jamie told ye. But I had dreams after Culloden, when he was fevered near death. It was ye Claire, surrounded by strange contraptions an’ light that I couldna’ explain. But ye were healin’, just as I remembered.” 

She tightened her grip on the other woman’s hands for a moment, before releasing them. Claire moved to speak then, unsure of herself, before Jenny continued.

“I’m no’ a Seer, as ye ken. My Da was not a selkie, either. But ye’ve a gift, Claire. One which ye used tae save many, and I’m grateful tae ye. Bring him home, aye?” She finished, gently grasping Claire’s arms by her elbows. The woman nodded, before embracing the shorter before her. Faith smiled, witnessing their interaction from the hallway, as she was seen by her aunt. The woman knew mischief and sneaking when she saw it.

“An’ ye, Miss Faith. Keep yer Da an’ Mam out of trouble.” Auntie Jenny spoke, reaching up to hug her niece tight as Uncle Ian approached them.

“Aye, Fergus an’ Marsali too while ye’re at it.” He added, with a gentle hand rested on her shoulder. Auntie Jenny placed a separate pouch into her hands, the contents smooth, but with a ridgid edge. ‘Grandmother’s bracelets’ She thought. 

“Since Brianna has tae pearls from my Ma, ye have her bracelets. I gave them tae Claire once, before she went after yer Da at Wentworth. I jes’ found them.”

“Auntie…” Faith trailed off, removing the twin bangles from their pouch. She knew how much Ellen had meant to all of them, even if the girl never set eyes on the woman herself. She remembered these bracelets from her childhood, finding them amongst her Mama’s things as she played. Da used to tell her stories, as he showed her things that had once belonged to Claire, it was the only time he spoke of her to anyone. 

“Go on, and be sure tae write soon?” Auntie Jenny asked the girl, taking her arm softly. Faith met her aunt’s gaze, her throat tightened as she fought tears and nodded. 

“As soon as I can, aye.” The girl said, hoarsely. 

Meeting her parents, brother, and sister-in-law in the courtyard, their journey began. As Lallybroch shrank from view before them, Faith’s mind raced in thought. But the thing that concerned her most: was time. ‘Would it be enough?’

-----

“Mr. Pound! We’re almost fit to board, on wi’ it!”

A crewman called, currently loading a collection of barrels onto the deck of a fleet ship, The Porpoise as it came to be named. Its crew of Navy enlistees and supercargo were bound for Jamaica, around a month's journey from Leith. Having been enlisted on various crews and ships since childhood, being on the sea came as easy to Elias as breathing. He closed his eyes, taking a breath before stepping aboard the vessel. His service as a crewman in the Navy, and his charter: ended at the other side of the voyage.

What he did not see, was a trio of men under the guise of indentured crew board the ship behind where he stepped, hoping to track a pair of seditionists who had fled Edinburgh earlier in the month. One held a broadside that read:

‘WANTED: For the Crimes of Murder and Sedition’

Dead or Alive

Alexander and Jane Malcolm of Edinburgh

Known as booksellers and printers by trade, this familial pair were reported after the Fire of Carfax Close a month past. The two have been further suspected for crime of the murderous sort under peculiar circumstances, in addition to the creation, peddling, and sale of Illegal Alcohol Product. 

Description: Both tall, fair skinned, and red-haired. The female often dresses with the cloak of men, seen in the company of a Frenchman with a wooden limb. The male is of sturdy build, with a scar across the collar, in the company of former Jacobites. 

If information can be provided as to the whereabouts of these criminals, a reward will be given. 

The near-blinded accomplice of the trio grinned suspiciously, as he studied the drawn images that accompanied the written paragraphs. ' Shame, she’s bonny.’ He thought, rubbing a hand across his marred face. The fire described from Carfax Close had left him mutilated, but still determined for a reward. 

-----

Roger sorted through the new files he received from the archives, hoping to find any sort of information to send off to Bree. Since her return to Boston a month previous, he had been continuing to inquire and inspect any findings he could for the whereabouts of the other Frasers. It was then that he came across a broadsheet, where his search stopped. The tremble in his hands was slight, charged with nerve as he read. 

“I need to tell her.” He breathed aloud, met with silence. The professor sat back into his worn chair, looking out the window to the university courtyard as he thought.



Chapter Text

“What was the reported number today, Captain?” The second Lieutenant asked, a small gathering of officers collected around the headquarters of The Porpoise. Elias had been taking stock of the ship’s dwindling supplies, the numbers draining with haste as the weeks passed, since leaving port. After leaving Edinburgh, a sickness began to transmit through the crew, leaving the healthy to undertake a change in hands aboard. 

“Twenty as of this morning, with ten new cases.” The acting Captain Leonard replied his hands gripped the edge of the desk as he spoke. The young man exhaled, straightening his posture before turning to the other men of the room. Elias stood at attention, allowing curiosity to get the better of him. 

“Excuse me Sir, if I may inquire.” Pound asked, hesitating as he asked. The Captain nodded, with silent permission to continue. The ship was running out of capable aide, so any and all plans were accepted. 

“What if The Porpoise were to contact another vessel to search for aid? I understand it may be informal or improper, but if this situation turns out to be as dire as you are making it out to be, we may not have another shot.” Elias finished, curtly bowing his head in respect before straightening. He felt his muscles begin to tighten as he bawled his fists in nerves. The tightly packed quarters fell silent, though the grievances of the ill crew could still be heard from the opposite side of the doorway. 

“It would certainly be appropriate, though it would just mean the possibility of another mouth to feed, more than one even.” Leonard responded, a worried crease appearing across his features. For a young man, this voyage seemed to age him. 

“Better to redistribute a portion of rations than to bury more hands at sea, is it not?” Elias retorted, with a raised eyebrow. He glanced down to the ledgers spread across the large wooden desk, taking mental note as to the numbers of deceased and ill, then looked back to Leonard, who shook his head with a defeated sigh to accompany. 

“We have no choice in the matter then. Best be looking for vessel patterns and schedules, Mr. Pound. I shall be expecting a plan put together as best you can.” 

“Understood, sir.” Elias replied, giving a salute before turning on his heel to exit.

-------

“What do ye mean he’s a “Jonah”? That’s a daft notion if e’er I saw one.” Faith asked, her hands finding hold at her hips, as they usually did when she was inquiring to her brother. Marsali, who was seated beside her on a barrel, shrugged.

“It’s a superstition aboard most ships, like the others Milord spoke of. The crew is uneasy, so it’s apparently better to pin the lack of wind on someone, like Hayes.” 

“Ah, like tae men no’ making a word of conversation wi’ me or Mama an’ Marsali because we’re women? The excuse of bad luck doesna’ make sense.” She huffed, sitting beside her sister-in-law, who jokingly prodded her rib with an elbow. 

“You and Milord are also red-haired, don’t forget. That also makes you bad luck.” Fergus finished, with a grin as he looked to the two seated in front of him. Faith rolled her eyes, earning a laugh from the other two. 

“What is tha’ phrase Mother Claire uses? I canna remember..” Marsali teased, as Faith smirked, straightening in a way to echo her mother as they heard the woman yell from the top deck. 

“Jesus H. Roosevelt Christ!” 

The trio stood, hastily making their way to the deck as the shouting continued. As Faith came to stand beside her mother, she observed the current predicament, turning to the woman beside her. 

“Where’s Hayes?” 

Claire pointed up to the largest sail of The Artemis’ masts, crossing her arms. Hayes, a former Ardsmuir captive and associate of Jamie’s was currently sat aloft, his hands gripping the mast forcefully, to maintain balance. Faith’s gaze fell from Hayes, to her father: currently arguing with a crewmember. She sighed, removing her shoes and spare tricorn, handing them to her mother. 

“Faith you can’t!” Claire called, as her daughter carefully scaled the mast, using the attached nets and rope holds to hoist herself upward. The statement from Claire caught the attention of the crowding deck, as their gaze followed upward. 

“Throw ‘er too! Red-headed women bring no’ing but more trouble.” A crew hand shouted, moving toward the mast as Jamie retorted, grabbing the man by his arm. His grip tightened, as anger seethed from his brow. Fergus also stepped forward, looking up the sail as Faith reached Hayes, reaching a hand out to the distressed man. 

“Hayes, it’s alright. No one is going tae hurt ye.” 

“I have tae, Miss. They’re right about me...I didna touch tae horseshoe an’ now we’ll run out of water before landfall ‘cause of it.” Hayes said with a hesitance to his voice. Faith shook her head, lowering herself to sit on the mast, extending her arms outward. The young woman shrugged before her response followed.

“Well Hayes, if ye’re set on goin’ overboard, I’ll have tae jump in after ye. Then Mac Dubh, Fergus, an’ Leslie too.” She spoke, then looked down the mast to her father on deck, attempting to resolve a separate conflict growing amongst the crew. Fergus met her gaze, giving a curt nod as he made an attempt to follow his sister aloft, in order to guide Hayes to safety. 

“Let them jump! Killin’ two birds wi’ one stone. Tae lass has caused enough trouble ‘ere.” A crewman spoke as he met Fergus at the mast, pulling a knife from his belt in an attempt to cut the ropes that the pair were climbing.

“No one under my care is goin’ overboard, d’ye understand?” Jamie once again, grabbing the knife from the man’s grip as he slid it across the deck to Marsali. The girl took hold of the blade, holding the hilt tight to her. 

As disarray continued on the deck, Willoughby then stood beside the small bell beside the horseshoe, rang out the instrument to hold attention, and began to speak. The tale of his life and journeys across land and sea alike provided ample enough time for the duo to descend to the deck below. As Faith made contact with the wooden floor below, Jamie hastily drew her into his arms, holding her tight to his chest. Claire soon followed, drawing her arms around the pair in front of her. 

“Ye scar’t us half tae death, mo nighean ruadh .” Her Da spoke into the girl’s hair, placing a kiss to the crown of her head. He released the grip he held then, in favor of checking in on Hayes momentarily. Claire smiled, gently placing her daughter’s discarded tricorn hat back upon the girl’s head, draping an arm across Faith’s shoulder. 

“Did I do tae right thing, Mama? Or did I jes’ make things worse fer Hayes?” 

She asked, meeting her mother’s eyes. The crew was by far more skeptical of them than Faith had originally considered, superstitions or not. Even after being at sea alongside the other occupants of The Artemis for over a month, tension still ran at an all time high. Claire sighed, shaking her head. 

“Hayes will be fine. You know your father wouldn’t let anything happen to him, or to any of us.” The woman replied, tightening her grasp. Faith nodded, taking a moment to place her shoes back onto her feet, and carefully retrieving the discarded blade from Marsali to attach to her belt. 

Then, Faith felt a cold drop fall onto her skin, holding out a hand to the sky in response, with her palm facing upward. Sharing a look with Marsali, then to Fergus, she looked to the sky as clouds began to gather overhead. 

“Rain is certainly a good sign, is it no’?” She asked, turning her attention to Willoughby, as he positioned a bucket to rest atop a bound crate. He smiled at her, with a nod of his head, holding a collection of paper with care in his grasp.

“We shall see, Miss Faith. Shall see indeed.” 

--------

Elias made his way up to the bow end of the deck, a spyglass in hand as he approached Leonard, the acting Captain. The man straightened at Elias’s approach, motioning for him to speak. Pound removed his tricorn, settling it in the crook of his elbow before speaking.

“I’ve had two particular findings Sir.” Elias responds, handing Leonard the spyglass that he held, then motioned to the collection of clouds spanning the sky on the stern end of The Porpoise. 

“If we have buckets and barrels to spare, we should be able to collect rainwater. Mistress Johansen can be reassigned temporarily to that if need be.” He finished, as a light trickle of rain began to dampen the top deck. He replaced the hat atop his head, a few stray curls falling free from the leather tie at the nape of his neck, darkening as it encountered moisture. 

“Second, you may want to have a look at this as well.” Elias fished for a document from the inside of his coat, retrieving it before passing it in the direction of Leonard. He had spent the greater part of the past hours scouring logs and ledgers, to find any trace of other vessels and voyage paths. The Captain examined the document briefly, skimming over the pages as he read.

“You found a vessel named The Artemis ? How are you sure that she would be heading toward Jamaica?” Leonard asked, doubtful.

“Because they ‘ave means tae trade, Sir. Including a particular supercargo.” A man spoke, his face heavily scarred as Elias noted, looking at him. A broadsheet came into Leonard’s possession then, the details of two fugitives sprawled across the parchment. 

“Then we have two matters on our hands entirely. Mr. Pound, please see Mistress Johansen for her tasks at hand. I shall be speaking to Mr. Tompkins about his claim.” 

Elias nodded, dismissing himself with a salute before descending the deck into the hull. The images of the broadsheet filled his mind, with questions to follow. ‘What could those two have done? Why a lady of all people?’ The young man shook the latter inquiry from his mind, dialing in to the undertaking at hand. The day would be long, and the night more so.

--------

Faith stirred in her rest, the silence of the bunk room undisturbed besides the creaking of wood. She dreamed often, most nights. Sometimes of her parents, or of places she had been. Other times, the visions were unexplained.

The seaside was silent, as Faith walked along the sand. She lifted her skirt hem as she roamed the shoreline. A song from her childhood started on her lips, as the girl began to sing. The tune was one she had been taught at Lallybroch, in the summertime. A waulking song, she had been told. As a means of making quick work of pulling wool around a long table. 

“Mo nigh’n donn shònruich mi fhéin thu…ann an broad nam ban òg..‘S bidh mo làmh na do làimh...” 

She began to dance along the waves, as she heard another voice from behind her. Faith stood still in her tracks, turning to face where the voice had come from.

“That song, it’s Gaelic. Isn’t it?” It was a young man, tall from first observation. His voice was calming, but the accent was something Faith could not place. It was like Mama’s. English in origin, but still far off. 

“Yes, my family taught it tae me as a girl, do ye speak it then?” Faith inquired. The young man stood beside her, and shook his head. 

“No, my Father was not a Scotsman, you see. He did not know the language.”

Faith was puzzled, her brow creased. But, she was intrigued.

“Then who are ye? If I may ask.” 

His posture straightened for a moment as he removed his tricorn, tucking it by his elbow as he bowed his head in greeting. 

“Elias, madam.” He looked her in the eye, and it felt as though she knew his face, but could not place where their paths would have crossed. Faith felt her heart hammer within her chest, vibrating her ribcage as she breathed. He stepped closer, gently holding out a hand to her, in kindness. 

She took his hand, and a drumming song filled her ears, like something she had never heard before. Her heart spoke before her brain could catch her.

“Will I see ye?”

“You will, Miss. In time.” Elias replied, a grin accompanying a blush across his cheeks. Then, like mist itself: he vanished. The drums grew louder.

The drumming was replaced with cannon fire, as Faith rose abruptly. 

------

That night, as he finally found rest amongst a quiet corner of the ship, a young woman with coppery hair and eyes of sunlight filled his dreams. 

She was standing at the seaside, a tide rolling in to meet the sand brushed softly against her skin and the hem of her skirts, singing a song with a graceful tune. The words were foreign to him, but still captivating. Elias smiled, the sun felt warm on his face as he crossed the sand, meeting her at the water’s edge. 

“Peaceful, isn’t it?” She asked him, looking out toward the horizon, wisps of curls framed her face as a gentle wind took them from the plait loose down her back, resting between her shoulder blades.

“Indeed, Miss. The sea can be quite tranquil. Almost like quiet, but still alive all the same.” He looked at her, studying the particular features of her face. She was pretty, holding her head with poise like that of a Queen. Taller than most ladies he’d met, but carried herself well. The young woman nodded, her eyes squinting to accommodate the growing light. She also began to sway, in tandem with the waves themselves, continuing to hum the song she had been before. Elias continued to watch, entranced by her presence. 

“What is your name?” He inquired softly, in a sense to not disturb her focus toward the welcoming waves before them. It was then that she looked him in the eye, with a grin accompanying her gaze. One word followed. 

“Faith.” 

Elias was jolted awake by a cannon blast, nearly knocking him from the hammock he rested in. Scrambling for his boots, the young man hastily made his way up to the bow of the upper deck. Another vessel was within reach: smaller in comparison to The Porpoise, but promising. 

“Is this your vessel, Mr. Pound?” Leonard inquired of him, a spyglass passed into his hands. Elias looked out to the ship, through the glass, and nodded.

“Yes, Sir. I just hope we can find help.”

“Then pray that Artemis may have answers.”

Elias’s hand found its way into a pocket of his coat, where he gripped a rabbit foot tight within his fingers. He thought of her then, the girl with eyes like the sun. ‘Faith.’

-------

Faith stood beside her Da on the deck, a hand shielded her eyes from the sun as she looked out to the opposing vessel. The cannon fire was a signaling gesture, as explained to her moments previous. The deck bustled around them.

“D’ye think they want tae press men?” She asked, looking at her father as he thought. There was an uneasiness about him that made itself known, something Faith had only seen on rare occasions. Her brow creased in thought.

“I dinnae ken, Faith.” He turned to her, taking her hand in his as he brushed a thumb over the signet ring on her middle digit. He squeezed her fingers in reassurance.

“Ye have tae promise me tha’ if they do take me, ye must continue on tae Jamaica wi’ your Mother.” He spoke, almost like his brain was working faster than his words could carry. Faith nodded, her eyes studying the way her Da’s hands flexed as he stood, drumming along his leg. 

“Aye Da, I promise. Wha’ of Fergus then?”

“They willna take a lad wi’ one hand, especially one they think is a Frenchman.”

A small wooden boat slowly made its way to the starboard side of The Artemis, drawing the attention of the crewmen as Faith moved to stand beside Marsali and Mama. A rather short man, young and stoic, stood before them. His head was fashioned with a wig, similar to that of higher class. Faith curtsied in greeting, along with the men as they bowed their heads. Faith saw her Da tense at the sight of him, and the English man-of-war in the distance. She met his gaze, and held his attention for a moment, before breaking contact. 

“I am Captain Thomas Leonard, of His Majesty’s ship The Porpoise... for the love of God, do you have a surgeon onboard?” He stated, looking across the deck as he spoke. Faith tensed, then looked to Claire. She saw that Da did the same, his eyes not leaving his wife. Faith clasped her hands together, running a thumb across her ring once more. She thought of him then, the young man with a voice like drums. 

-------

“You should not have come here.” Mama stated, placing her hand on the Captain’s desk as she spoke. Da stood beside her as Faith observed from the doorway. 

“I had no choice, Madam.” Leonard retorted, he looked from her to the other Captain, continuing his statement. 

“The Captain and the two senior Lieutenants died. As well as the surgeon and the surgeon’s mate. Of our four-hundred man crew, one-hundred have fallen ill and eighty have departed this Earth.” He went on to explain. 

Faith held fast to the doorframe of the quarters, her knuckles turned white from the grip she held. But she did not know why the situation struck her so harshly. ‘Is he there?’ She thought, remembering the young man’s name from her dream filled night. ‘Elias.’ The girl did not hear her Da’s inquiry of servicing men, or of Mama’s insistence to provide aid. Her head began to throb softly, with the ringing of drums in her ears, all other sound escaped her. Until Mama’s hand at her elbow broke the trance. 

“You will accompany me to attend to these men, Faith. I’ve already brought it up to your Father. It may be the only chance they have to get through this if there are two of us to combat it.” Claire spoke, looking down at Faith’s hands, which had begun to slightly shake.

“It will be alright, love. I promise. Since I have been inoculated, you would be as well.”

Faith smiled at that, almost a half smirk that could rival her Da. “The wee beasties tha’ Da mentioned?” She inquired, remembering what she used to be told as a child by her father when she was sick. Claire grinned, with a little nod in a playful gesture. 

---------

Whistles blew as Elias stood in a line with the dwindling remnants of the healthy crew, awaiting the return of Captain Leonard, with help if he was successful. His fingers drummed against his leg, to a song he did not know the words to. The smaller craft sent out this morning had returned, with two women in tow. 

‘Are you there, Faith?’ Elias asked himself silently, he hoped she would be. But for her own sake, prayed that she would not be ill. Before he could see for himself, a crew hand ushered him below deck to prioritize space. He felt his hands almost shake with nerve, before forcing himself to breathe, humming the song he had heard from his dream. 

--------

Faith followed Mama and Captain Leonard to the lower decks, the sounds of the ill men piercing the air as she took the kerchief from her neck to hold against her nose. Rows of hammocks lined the bunk room, filled with the weak and dying crew as she carefully began to examine them, as Mama instructed. She turned to follow into the Captain’s quarters, hearing Mama begin to provide instruction, as well as possibilities of treatment. All Faith could do now was wait. 

“If you want, myself and my daughter would be willing to stay for a short while, to help you organize yourselves...I’ll need a dozen of your healthiest crewmen.” Mama finished, briefly glancing at Faith before returning her focus to Leonard. The Captain nodded, relaxing his grip on the back of a wooden chair before standing upright. 

“Mr. Pound.” He called, as a tall young man with dark brown hair entered the quarters, his hair tied back at the nape of his neck. Faith straightened her posture, looking at him as her heart almost stopped beating. It was Elias .

“You can start with Mr. Pound.” Leonard stated, as Mama turned to Elias, and introduced herself. Faith felt a pair of eyes on her, were they his ?

“Hello, I’m Claire Fraser, this is my daughter Faith, here to assist me.”

-------

Elias stood solid in his tracks as the woman before her spoke, frozen at the mention of a name. ‘Hers.’ Elias thought, forgetting to breathe as he looked at the younger woman to his right. Their eyes met briefly, as he held his breath. Then, Leonard’s voice pulled him from his thoughts.

“Mistress Fraser is a surgeon, and Mistress Faith is here as her second. They are acting under my personal authority. See that they get whatever they need.” He instructed.

Elias nodded, glancing back at Faith, before saluting his Captain.

“Yes, Sir.” He replied, feeling Faith’s gaze on his back.

“The main deck will need to be cleared, so we can bring the sick men above. Can you and my daughter see to it please?” Mistress Fraser instructed, motioning to Faith. He nodded.

“Of course, Madam.” He finished, saluting to Leonard as he turned to see Faith curtsy, before leading the younger woman from the room. He gently brushed her elbow with his hand, in reassurance once they were out of sight. She looked at him then, and smiled. 

Chapter Text

“Once this deck is clean, the sick can convelese here..” Mistress Fraser explained, with Elias and another crewman in tow. Himself and Faith had decided in the moment to speak on their particular situation once time was appropriate. However, much like the sea: time stops for no man. He listened intently as the woman explained and instructed the deck hands on protocols, in an attempt to compile as much to memory as possible. 

“Lady doctors givin’ me orders…” Mr. Jones muttered under his breath, as he turned to leave. Elias’s attention turned at that moment, as he straightened to look at the other man. Faith had also paused, listening with a keen ear as she spoon-fed a patient. 

“What was that?” Pound retorted, his brow creased slightly in frustration. Jones shrugged slightly, followed by a roll of his eyes. Faith’s attention didn’t leave.

“Nothing, sir..” Jones hesitated.

“It’s Captain’s orders Jones. Do as the Doctor and her second say, and pay them every respect.” The younger man ordered, his voice unwavering as he stood ground. 

“Yes, sir.” Jones finished. Walking away as he and Mistress Fraser made their way to the upper deck, Faith finished with the task at hand, carefully cleaning as best she could before following Elias and her Mother. She tapped the young man’s shoulder, then pulled him away for a brief moment, a hand at his elbow.

“We will speak later, tonight perhaps?” She suggested, forward with her inquiry. The girl felt a buzz in her hands, almost like lightning. He grinned, with a nod.

“We shall, Miss Faith.” Elias answered, before securing a spare tricorn for her and her Mother. He then thought of a possible solution, bringing it to the attention of the women. ‘The broadsheet..’ His mind conjured the images. Too many questions for the moment. He would ask of them later, to Faith primarily, if a chance would arise.

“Would it be helpful, Madam, if we had someone who knew how to distill pure alcohol from rum?” Elias questioned, not seeing Faith’s sudden reaction, and panicked expression toward himself and her Mother.

Claire took a deep breath, training her features as she spoke. “You catch on very quickly, Mr. Pound.” Faith felt her hands relax.

“We have two men pressed into service out of the Old Tolbooth in Edinburgh. Jailed for distilling illicit whiskey. Shall I put them to work in building a still?” He continued, as Faith turned from the pair, under the guise of assistance in the cleaning effort. Claire took note, maintaining the conversation. 

“Well, I think you shall. Though it won’t be a popular decision. I’ll speak with the purser about putting the men on half rations of grog.” She finished, looking at Faith as her daughter gave a curt nod in response. 

-------

Once the alcohol had begun to distill, Faith felt herself begin to drown in the hum of activity once again. The two men that Elias had mentioned previously were individuals she did not know of, and who hopefully did not also know her, or Da. She washed, following Mama to the lower decks as herself and Elias were feeding men. “How old are you, Mr. Pound?” Mama asked, as she moved another bowl of meal. Faith was also curious, thinking that he must not be younger than she was, or at least hoped not. Claire had not seen her daughter follow to their aid.

“Twenty-three, Madam.” He answered, curious as to why Mistress Fraser was inquiring. ‘Does she know? Of the dreams?’ He thought, and continued in his task.

“You’re the same age as my daughter.” She stated, now taking note of Faith’s presence on the deck. Claire did not notice the reddening of her daughter’s ears then. Elias grinned softly, to himself. ‘That answers one question, at least.’

“What’s your first name, if I may ask?” Mistress Fraser continued. He looked at her questioningly, before responding. Faith felt herself nearly answering for him.

“Elias.” He spoke, feeling himself ease slightly, and a pair of eyes at his back once again, as Faith grinned. It was welcoming to hear his first name again, after going by a surname primarily for a time. 

“May we call you that?” The doctor added, looking in the direction of her daughter for a brief second. Elias turned his head to the young woman, then to Mistress Fraser. In truth, not many people knew him by his first name, at least in the service. However, he sincerely hoped that these two would see the sincerity in him for kindness.

“The Captain mightn’t like it. ‘Tisn’t said in the Navy, you know?” He answered, hearing a slight chuckle from Faith. ‘To hear you really laugh, that would mean joy.’ The gentleman thought. 

“Well, we shall be very Navy in public. But if we’re going to work together, then it’s easier for us to call you by your name.” She finished, as Faith moved her way over to the pair, walking behind Elias now as she worked. The crew men and their condition had begun to improve somewhat, even with just the half-day in which Faith and her Mother had been at work. Mama continued with her questions to Elias, the physician growing more curious as the conversation continued. “How long have you been at sea, Elias?” 

“Since I was seven, Madam. My uncle’s a commander on Triton , which allowed me a berth in her. I joined the Porpoise just for this journey alone.” He added, with a silent thought of gratitude. Perhaps it was fate that they ended up here. Mistress Fraser smiled, as he felt Faith near.

“You are a very impressive young man.” The woman finished, with praise in her tone. Elias blushed, looking then from the floor back to the task at hand. 

It was then that he stopped, looking at a particular man with a distant gaze. Faith set down the bowl and utensil in hand, looking over his shoulder at the figure. Faith and Mama both had seen a fair share of death and illness in their lives. But somehow, this was different from the rest. 

“That’s Jim Quigley, Madam.” Elias spoke then, feeling his heart leap to his throat suddenly. Faith cleaned her hands, then gently brushed a hand to Elias’s back, out of sight from Claire. He set down the tankard in his hands, feeling a slight tremor begin. “He’s a friend. We’re from the same town.” 

Claire hesitated, unsure as to a response. Then, a small group of crewmen descended onto the lower deck, most ill themselves. Her attention moved to them.

“Three more have come down with it, Madam.” Jones spoke to Mistress Fraser, as she directed them to a corner of the deck. Faith remained at their companion’s side, as he gently moved to close Quigley’s eyes. She crossed herself, sending a quiet prayer to the heavens and ancestors as she did. It was something she had seen Da act in, on various occasions. Though not devout or traditional herself, the moment was necessary in comfort. She moved slightly closer to Elias then, as he looked back at her. Words were not what was needed, but action was. 

---------

Elias knelt down beside Quigley’s figure on the ship deck, his companion laid in canvas as other men were beside him. The remaining stitches of the closure were waiting to be sewn, as he hesitated. He looked up to see Faith and Mistress Fraser before him, sorrowful gazes across their features. He hoped it would not be a permanent state of being. Faith especially felt heartsick for him in that moment, it was difficult to lose anyone, but especially a friend under those conditions. 

“The last stitch must go through his nose..to be sure he’s dead.” He explained, studying the face of his companion as another shipmate covered his face with the canvas.

“‘Tis always done by a friend.” He finished, as the needle was passed to him. As gently as the young man could muster, he closed the fabric binding with a pierce to the nose. Standing once again, Faith crossed herself for a second time. ‘May he no’ have tae bury another.’ She thought.

------

The deck remained silent as the proceedings began for the funeral. Faith stood in a stoic manner beside Mama, her eyes focused on the figures draped in flags before them. She had counted eleven, but knew that these men were not the first, or last to perish. Captain Leonard led the ship in prayer, as she focused on Elias. He was to Leonard’s right, tricorn tucked away at his hip. It was then she noticed that he was crying, his face damp with the tears of grief. Her hands clenched into fists for a moment, then reflexed. 

Elias looked up from the wooden stiffness of the deck, to the kindness of Faith’s eyes. He felt the weight of his shoulders practically dissolve from him, though his head remained clouded. His brain ran with thought, conflict and hope being the majority of it. A hand went to the pocket of his coat once again, as it had three mornings ago: to the rabbit foot within. Images appeared before him then, in his mind’s eye: his Mother, the first sea voyage he took as a child, and lastly: Faith herself. Elias gave her a curt nod of his head, replacing his hat as the proceedings dispersed.

-------

Moonlight brushed the stern side of the deck, as Elias stood against the railing, his mind racing with thoughts. ‘Those dreams, the broadsheet, so much death..why?’ He had seen death before, but not like how it raged through the ship presently. He gripped the rabbit foot in one hand, while checking his pocket for the broadsheet. Elias had snuck a copy from the Captain’s quarters that afternoon, in hopes of asking Faith. 

She silently approached him, the cool air of the seawater below relaxing her. Handing him a tankard of grog, she sat beside him on a discarded barrel, taking a sip from the glass before speaking. His fingers gripped the handle to distract from his anxiety. 

“You had them too? Tae dreams, I mean.” The girl asked, hesitant at first in her inquiry. Elias looked at her, with a nod before also taking a sip. 

“Yes, I did. I thought at first that they were just me going mad, but then I saw you. Standing in the quarters with Leonard and Doctor Fraser.” 

She nodded, looking out at the sea for a moment, to collect her thoughts. The dreams perplexed her, much like the ones she had about Mama and their family. 

“Do you think that it’s a mere coincidence? Or something unexplainable? Please, tell me I’m not just imagining things, and that you’ll be gone in a blink…” Elias added, setting the tankard down to give Faith his full attention. He wanted to be certain that what he felt was real and not just a fevered-dream. He began to fidget with his hands slightly, rubbing them together and squeezing his fingers in concentration. What she did next, completely surprised the young man.

Faith reached for his hands, holding them in hers as she studied them. Elias felt the hammering in his ears begin to quiet, at her touch. She shook her head, then rested her gaze on his, noticing for the first time that Elias’s eyes were blue, like Da’s. “I didnae think it’s coincidence Elias. But perhaps, fate. I ken it mebbe hard tae understand. But there’s somethin’ I canna explain. At least no’ here, or now.” The girl concluded, her eyes not leaving Elias’s as he pondered her words. 

“You were along the beach, dancing in the waves.” He explained then, picturing the scene as he retold it to her. Faith remained silent, waiting for him to continue. She had also imagined a beach, but where? Her brow creased in thought, not realizing that she was still holding his hands. He ran his thumb against the ring on her middle finger. 

“There was a song that you were singing, but I didn’t know what the words meant.” Elias questioned, which particularly caught Faith’s attention. 

“Do ye remember any words of it? Tae song, ye ken?” She asked. 

Elias paused for a moment, releasing one of her hands as he leaned against the barrel beside them. He had very little experience with Gaelic in his life, besides hearing it spoken on occasion. “ Mo nighean donn.” He answered, hoping that he had not butchered the particular words, as Faith’s head suddenly shot up, looking at him with confirmation. It was one of Da’s many names for Mama, but this one was Faith’s favorite. It reminded her of home, and of her childhood. She nodded in understanding. 

“Aye, it’s a song tha’ weaving women would sing when they waulk the wool. It’s also something tha’ my Da calls Mama.” The girl answered. 

“Doctor Fraser, you mean? What does it translate to then, if I may ask?” 

“My brown-haired lass.” Faith answered, the corner of her mouth upturned into a smile. He nodded in understanding, remembering the way she sang along the sand. Elias turned then to ask her in turn.

“Was your dream any different from mine? What was it like?” He inquired, hoping to find answers as he listened. Faith paused, closing her eyes as she pictured the waves, and footprints in the sand. She felt at peace by the sight.

“It was almost like ye described, but when ye reached out tae take my hand..” She stopped, feeling the worn deck below them under her feet. “I could hear drums. It wasna like anything I’ve heard before.” She concluded, opening her eyes once again to look at Elias. The young woman studied his face, like she would forget the moment they looked away. “I didnae ken wha’ these dreams mean, but I do ken one thing, Elias.”

His brow creased in thought, puzzled by her statement. “What then?”

“You. I ken there’s somethin’ about ye, Mr. Pound .” She teased, jokingly poking him with an elbow. He smiled, a faint blush creeped along his nose and cheeks. 

“Well, Miss Fraser . I certainly will not doubt what that is, because I feel the same about you.” The young man forgot all about the certain broadsheet, as it fell from the pocket of his coat. Faith gently bent to retrieve it, unfolding the page as she looked upon the drawings of Da and herself. Her heart leaped to her throat, as her mouth went dry.

“Wha’ is this about?” She questioned, stepping away from the gentleman for the moment. He froze, his focus falling from Faith’s face, to the parchment in her hands.

“One of the men from Edinburgh found it. I was going to bring it to Doctor Fraser’s attention, and to yours.” He retorted, remembering the supposed charges of the sheet. “That isn’t you is it? Jane Malcolm isn’t your name.” 

Faith stood in a dazed state, then slowly nodded. “My full name is Faith Janet Elizabeth Beauchamp Fraser. But, my Da an’ I had tae use other names in Edinburgh, ye ken?” The young woman began to explain, standing upright to her full height, as she looked at Elias once again.  “My Da chose his middle names as his, Alexander Malcolm. So I became Jane Malcolm, short fer Janet.” She folded the broadsheet again. He stood silent, before speaking.

“Did you two kill anyone? Or peddle whiskey like the men of the Old Tolbooth?” 

She shrugged, to Elias’s surprise. His mind raced with thought, and solutions. “We didnae kill anyone Elias. My Da’s print shop went up aflame after they broke in. They were searchin’ fer whiskey tha’ we didnae have.” She explained, her throat beginning to tighten. She was afraid, especially of losing her family. Elias stepped closer to her then, taking the document gently from her hands, and back into the pocket of his coat. Faith did not move, but turned her head to look at him instead. She could feel tears well behind her eyes. 

“My Da is a good man, Elias. I promise ye.” She forced out, knowing that if she said more, the trained expression on her face would crack. He nodded, carefully taking one of her hands in his, her skin ice cold to the touch.

“We will bring this to your mother, together. Alright?” Elias spoke, a hushed whisper, in an attempt to calm the figure beside him. She stood still for a moment, her shoulders moved slowly as she breathed. Squeezing his hand in hers, Faith nodded.

-------

Elias and Faith made their way to the stern of the upper deck, where Claire was currently stood, in tense discussion with the ship’s cook, Mr. Cosworth. The pair shared a glance, before Elias stepped forward. The broadsheet could wait for another moment. “As you were, Mr. Cosworth.” He dismissed the older man, standing straight. Faith stood behind him, to his right as she held the document in question between her fingers. The cook rolled his eyes, before exiting in haste. The two looked to Claire then, before Elias spoke again, a slight smile crossed his lips. 

“Is there a secret to it?” He asked, looking from Mistress Fraser, to Faith standing behind him. She moved to his left, standing at Mama’s right side. Claire’s expression turned to confusion for a moment.

“Secret?”

“Remaining so calm in the face of so much death.” He answered. It was something he hadn’t seen in many before, especially in situations such as these. Claire sighed, then closer approached the pair. She ran her hands down her arms. 

“There is, actually. In fact, there’s a word for it. ‘Compartmentalizing’.” She explained, her mind rapid with thought, then continued. “It means...separating certain areas of your life so...so you can do your work. If you let yourself be affected by every death, you’d never save a life.” Her expression softened slightly, reminding Faith of when Mama had shown her the photographs in the alcove of the shop. Claire rested a hand on Elias’s shoulder for a moment. “Then again, Jim Quigley was not my friend.” She added, as he nodded, glancing briefly from the deck floor, to Faith, then back to Mistress Fraser.

“I think I see.” He finished, his stance relaxing slightly as Claire turned from him, looking back toward the sea before them.

“This won’t be the last burial at sea for the Porpoise, Elias. But with any luck, we’ll get through it.” She finished. 

“Begging your pardon, Madam. But after three days of watching you and your daughter at your work, I do not think much of it will come down to luck.” Elias spoke then, glancing between Faith and Mistress Fraser before reaching into the pocket of his coat. The rabbit’s foot in hand, he offered it to the doctor. “But if it is to be luck, then you should have this. My own mother gave it to me as a boy before I left on Triton . ‘Luck and health’ she said. Well, that is what we need.” 

Claire took the small object in her hands, stroking the soft fur with her thumb. She smiled. Faith grinned, moving closer to stand beside them. “When was the last time you saw your mother?” Claire asked, curiosity getting the better of her. Elias hesitated slightly, before responding.

“She’s dead, Madam. May God rest her spirit.” 

Faith’s expression faltered for a moment, crossing herself once again as she thought of his mother, imagining a warm soul with eyes like his. ‘He’s a kind soul, Mistress. I hope tae be as good fer him, someday.’ She gently placed a hand atop his shoulder, with a light squeeze. Then, Jones abruptly approached the trio on deck.

“Begging your pardon, Madam and Mistress. Another man’s been taken ill.” 

The three exchanged a brief look between them, before setting off to work.

Chapter Text

“You found them? Where?” Brianna asked frantically as she gripped the phone receiver, her mind running with what seemed like never ending questions. The letters from Faith had a long delay in between dates, and it left her sister and Roger feeling uneasy. Not just for Faith, but for what became of Mama and Jamie as well.

Roger hesitated before answering, holding a copy of the elicit broadsheet in hand. He had also managed to track down a ledger of cargo voyages, in hope of finding Jamie and Faith that way, with no luck. “They were wanted in Edinburgh for murder, supposedly involving a fire...but the trail went cold after that. When was your last letter?” 

“November 1766, I haven’t gone past that.” She replied, running a hand over the top of the letterbox. Faith had dated the letters written so far, but Brianna was afraid of what she would find with the others, still sealed within the package. The girl went silent for a moment as she picked up another note, written on different parchment as the rest, examining the outer edge, it appeared to be discarded from a log book. 
“There’s one from February, that next year.” She spoke, wedging the phone into the crook of her neck, as she opened it. Her hands shook slightly, but Brianna could not recognize if it was from nerves or excitement. “Mama and Faith were separated from Jamie, on a ship somewhere?” The girl questioned, as she began to read. 

Dear Sister,

There is much I wish to tell you, but moments to write have been few and far between. I apologize for the delay in my correspondence. 

We’ve been at sea, voyaging to Jamaica since November, after our cousin Ian had been taken by a trading vessel. Mama and Da recognized it to be Portuguese, though I am unfamiliar. Could you perhaps find it in your histories? It is named the Bruja, and is known as a frigate, from what I’ve been hearing.

Mama and I are currently aboard a vessel named The Porpoise, in aid to their crew to cease a fever that has spread amongst the crew. She says it’s Typhoid fever, something that the crewmen haven’t encountered. We have been  unfortunate to bury eleven men at sea, though a recovery has been slow moving. Some other news I will detail in time: Mama and I have met a gentleman assisting in our efforts, who has quickly become dear to us both. His name is Elias Pound, a member of the Royal Navy, whose service ends in Kingston. There’s something about him, Brianna. I find myself becoming more intrigued and nearly infatuated by the day, I hope the voyage is kind to him, and to what we may find in Jamaica. 

I will write to you as soon as we are ashore, hopefully with news of Cousin Ian. Pray for us if you find comfort in such, sister. My thoughts are with you and your Roger often, dreaming of what time may have promised. Mama sends her love, and I hope these letters are a solace for you, as they are for myself. 

Your loving Sister and Friend,

FJEBF

———

Faith set down the quill beside the ink tray of Leonard’s desk, hastily drying the written script of the letter before sealing it with care. The girl heard a sharp knock to the door, as Elias entered, his face flush and strained with restlessness. The girl carefully tucked the letter into a pocket within her skirts, before turning to him, her brow creased in worry. “Elias? Have ye slept?” Faith inquired, gently feeling his forehead with the back of her hand, his eyes not leaving her face, he shook his head.

“Not as much as your Mother would recommend, but I’m well otherwise.” He replied, much to Faith’s dislike. The trio had been sleeping in fits and shifts since their work began, but with the fever beginning to dissipate, the crew began to be more lenient and lively once again. They had been fortunate to not catch the illness themselves, luck considering the conditions of the Porpoise. 

“Sleep as soon as ye can, I’m taking tae next watch. Captain Leonard said we’re almost tae Kingston, which means tha’ we can find Da an’ the Artemis again..” Faith said, as she began to fidget with her silver ring once again. Elias nodded, then remembered the broadsheet in his coat. 

“What of the broadsheet? We should at least tell Doctor Fraser, if the crew were to find out, Lord knows what could happen.” Elias inquired, running a hand over his hair. Faith nodded, tapping her fingers against her thigh, as Da often did. She turned back to the desk, seeing an open ledger as she studied the handwriting, recognizing Leonard’s script.

“Lock tae door, Elias.” Faith said, tracing her finger along the text. Her companion hesitated, looking from her back to the doorframe. She raised a brow in question. “Leonard already kens tha’ I’m here tae update tae surgeon’s log. We’re fine.” Her mouth upturned to a half smirk, when she heard the door bolt. Elias moved to stand beside her, his eyes trained on the page as he found a particular passage, reading aloud. 

“Harry Tompkins, able seaman, tells me Alexander Malcolm, wanted seditioner, was seen aboard the Artemis...I’ve deduced that he means the man I met, Jamie Fraser, obviously going by an alias...Doctor Fraser and her second, Faith also under suspicion.” He finished, looking up from the page to see the young woman’s hands shaking, as she listened. She straightened her posture, before speaking. 

“I have tae tell Mama, and soon.” She stated, moving to exit the quarters as Elias grasped her hand, to stop the girl in her efforts. “We will go together, what if someone overhears?” He inquired, Faith shook her head in disagreement, various curls beginning to protrude from the cloth she wore tied in her hair. “Ye need rest, Elias. Please. I promise tha’ I’ll be careful, an’ will come tae ye if need be.” Faith retorted, being met with silence as Elias closed the ledger, and followed her from the room. 

——

Claire stood at the scarred wooden tabletop of the surgery, sharpening the abandoned surgeon’s tools as she heard a figure enter the room, and take a seat behind her. She had inquired to the crew for information regarding a particular individual, recognizing him from Faith’s description a month past. ‘Scarred, with a blind left eye, gnarled teeth and burn wounds.’ The doctor recalled silently, before turning to the man, a small scalpel in hand as she gripped the steel between her fingers. 

“Right Mr. Tompkins..” She began, only to be cut short. 

“I know who you are, Mistress…I saw Mr. Malcolm on the boat when I rowed the Captain over…you’re his wife, and she is his daughter.” He added, as Claire felt her grip grow tighter, the knuckles on her hand a stark white. 

“Yes, and now you’re going to tell me exactly what you know about my husband and daughter.” She finished, as the room grew silent for the moment. What she did not hear were Faith and Elias listening from the opposite side of the doorway, under the guise of waiting for instruction. Pound had refused to leave her unguarded, in case anyone else was skeptical of the young woman. 

“Or what? You’ll cut off my arm? Go ahead, kill me.” Tompkins scoffed, before he went on. “Three months ago, I’ve both feet on land, working for His Majesty’s Excise for Sir Percival Turner. I followed a lad to Mr. Malcolm’s printshop, and I uncover a murder an’ a treasonous plot, don’t I? Only the shop went up aflame after hot lead was thrown, and I’m nearly burned alive. I make it out of there…scarred for life.” He paused. Faith’s attention peaked, as she leaned an ear closer to the doorframe. Elias did not keen in, instead choosing to observe Faith as she listened, while standing watch. 

“They have your husband now, Madam, daughter too. On warrants for murder and high treason…the authorities will be waiting for your husband and the lass when he comes to fetch you both in Kingston…and then they’ll be hanged.”

Faith felt herself begin to feel lightheaded, either from shock or from fear, though she did not know. Her vision began to cloud as she gripped the wooden doorframe, her legs grown numb. Elias looked to her in concern, before she lost consciousness entirely. He caught her arms before she struck the deck, holding her upright. Brushing hair from her face, he carefully set her down onto the floor, in a secluded corner of the deck. Then, heard the door of the surgery open, as Tompkins was led by the arm from the room. He looked to Elias, with a salute off the forehead in jest, as he was taken to the cell hold of the deck. 

Claire soon followed from the room, seeing Elias as her gaze traveled the space, looking for signs of her daughter. She was surprised to see him without her in company, unless she was seeing a patient. He spoke up suddenly. “Madam, Miss Fraser’s resting currently. We overheard the report from Tompkins, and she became overcome by it.” Elias spoke formally, in order to avoid possible suspicion from the other crew. The woman’s brow creased in a similar fashion to her daughter’s, and nodded. 

“We need a plan, and soon. Get some rest first, then we’ll talk further.” Mistress Fraser directed, as she tightened the knot of her apron.

——

Faith awoke with the sensation of cold hands resting on her face, startled as she rose with haste. Nearly colliding heads with Elias in the process, she observed her surroundings as she sat up. Mama and Elias were before her, as Mistress Johansen stood behind them, a bowl in hand. “Wha’ the hell happened? M’heid feels like it’s fit tae burst.” She asked, resting the heel of a hand against her forehead, eyes screwed shut. Elias looked nearly stunned, but answered regardless.

“Well, with what Tompkins was saying to Doctor Fraser, you became overwhelmed and fainted, I’m afraid.” He spoke, his immediate reaction being one of slight worry. Faith shook her head, looking at her mother. Claire took a deep breath, before speaking.

“Mr. Pound, Mistress Johansen, Corporal Johansen and I were just discussing a plan when you woke up. Though, I don’t think you’ll like it.” The woman flexed her fingers, then met her daughter’s gaze, confusion struck the girl’s features. “We should be making landfall on the unpopulated side of the island soon. When that happens, you, Mistress Johansen, and I are going to escort the goats to properly feed. During which time, you can find your way to the populated area for help, and to warn your Father.” She explained, as Faith’s nose scrunched in thought.

“Wha’ of Mr. Pound then? Or ye when I’m gone?” She questioned, immediately disliking the thought of the three separating. The girl tried to sit up further, but was met with hands on her shoulders, followed by a tankard of water being placed in her hands by Elias. 

“We will be acting as a distraction of sorts onboard, to get Leonard off your trail. Once the Porpoise is docked in Kingston, I’ll make my way to find you.” Elias began, as Claire soon added.

“In the meantime, I will board the Artemis to find your Father, or to the markets to begin on a search for Ian.” The woman calculated, attempting to plot the attempt and its moving pieces into action, hopefully without a hitch.

“My service ends at Kingston’s shore, so I can’t be held. Mistress Fraser cannot either, since there is no warrant for her. She is seen as supercargo, same as you were on the Artemis.” Elias concluded, feeling Faith’s shoulders relax the slightest at his explanation. Her mind raced, with fear at its forefront. ‘Would that work?’ She thought, then came to a conclusion.

“Aye, I’ll do it then.” 

------

The Porpoise made landfall in the mid-afternoon, deciding to send smaller vessels to the beach, as they were easier to handle with the weakened crew. With the upper deck carefully loaded row boats, Faith hastily turned to Elias, as they stood alongside other crewmen. Freeing the signet ring from her hand, she placed it in his palm, closing around the band with his fingers. Her companion glanced to their hands, then back at her, questioningly. Faith smiled then, with an upturned smirk. She stood on her toes, pretending to adjust his hat as she spoke in a hushed tone to his ear. 

“I’ll be expectin’ ye tae keep these safe fer me, Mr. Pound.” She finished, as she tucked Brianna’s letter into the pocket of his coat. He couldn’t help the blush that crept up along his sun kissed cheeks, and across the bridge of his nose. Elias nodded, politely tipping his hat in jest toward the lady.

He carefully placed the signet upon the small finger of his hand, holding his palm upward toward the sun. With a gentle bow of her head, Faith turned from Elias then, in search of Mama and Mistress Johansen in one of the vessels. Elias dropped his glance to the floor of the deck, closed his eyes, and prayed that the scheme would be successful.

------

Feeling sand beneath her feet, Faith began to slowly relax as she felt the relief of land once again. Being at sea appealed to her curiosity for travel, though it was quite satisfying to be in a wide space, after the confines of two vessels. Fortunately for her sake, she had not inherited her Da’s seasickness. She held her arms upward toward the sky, stretching her back and shoulders as she moved. She followed closely near Mistress Johansen and Mama, observing the area around her for possible escape points. Then, the girl felt a hand brush her arm. It was Mr. Jones, to Faith’s utter surprise. She had not seen him accompany the landing party.

“Go, now.” He spoke hastily, glancing over to the men who were collected at the water’s edge, then back to her. The young woman froze in place, her stomach dropped. He spoke again. “I know you an’ the Doctor are innocent in all this, you saved us after all. I spoke to Pound already, he asked me to send you.” He added, followed with a wink. Faith considered his words, before retorting with an inquiry.

“An’ how do I ken tha’ you wilna give us over tae Leonard?” She asked, meeting his gaze. Jones shook his head. 

“I don’t agree with his methods, Leonard or Percival. Go on, miss.” He finished, turning her in the direction of a path as he pointed. “That path leads to a slave village, then Kingston not far beyond, go toward the markets. I’ll tell your Ma that you went.”

Faith looked back at the man, dazed by his suggestion. She looked between the shoreline and the marked path. “How do I thank ye then?” She inquired.

“It’s me thankin’ you and your Ma for saving us, Mistress. Now run!” He pushed her shoulders in the direction of the path, as she ran. 

Faith heard nothing save for the pounding of blood in her ears, and the sound of her feet hitting the ground. Her thoughts raced, to Da and their family on the Artemis, Mama and Mistress Johansen on the beach, and lastly to Elias. ‘Thank you for him, for our lives, and for land.’ Faith thought, sending her thoughts to anything that would hear her. When breath became difficult to find, the girl slowed, until she could hear the ocean no longer. Surveying her surroundings briefly, the girl lifted her skirts above her ankles, retightened the worn leather of her belt, and continued.

------

Mistress Fraser returned to the deck of the Porpoise sooner than Elias had imagined, as he was nearly startled by her entrance into the ship’s surgery. He stood from the chair he was seated in, bowing his head in politeness. Claire rolled her eyes in a playful manner, waiting for the other crew men around to disperse before speaking of their other accomplice. 

“Did she..?” Elias began, only to dart his eyes to the door behind the woman. She placed a hand at his shoulder, and nodded. He exhaled in gratitude.

“Jones sent her off to a path he knew of. Kingston is a frequent spot for him on journeys. He said that she should reach them by nightfall.” Claire added, then looked briefly at his hands as she recognized the crest ring adorning one of his fingers, holding up his hand, then placed it back down to his side.

“Remind me to introduce you to her father when we reach Kingston, yes?” Claire inquired, a brow raised to the young man, as Elias swallowed, his throat tight as he gave a nervous nod in agreement. 

“Yes, Madam.”

-----

The light that immersed from the bustling market of the city surprised Faith, as she carefully approached the active space. She refastened the cloth that wrapped her head, in order to obscure her hair from sight. Reaching within the pockets of her skirts, a small object caught her off-guard, soft to the touch. The girl smiled, holding the rabbit foot tight in her hand as she walked. Faith could not recall when Elias could have snuck the object into her pocket, much less while she was awake. Then, remembering that she had fallen faint, the girl rolled her eyes. As she walked along the market stalls, she kept an eye for any signs of what could have become of Young Ian, or even Da and the Artemis. 

Soon, she became aware of a presence walking behind her, their footsteps heavy as she advanced through the market. Faith briefly glanced over a shoulder, to obtain a better view of her accomplice. His coat was dark, English in fashion from first look. ‘No surprise, this place is crawlin’ wi’ lobsterbacks.’ She thought, chuckling at her use of the slang she heard from a Colonist she encountered once in Da’s shop.

The man was taller than Faith was, though not by much. ‘I could take him, just get an arm around tae neck.’ She felt adrenaline build in her, channeling from her fingers down to her feet, battered from the trek. Then, she sprinted through the market crowd, weaving between patrons of various wealth, slave holders, and merchants. In her haste, she tripped, nearly falling to the cobbled street as an arm caught her, pulling her upright. Faith struggled in the individual’s grip, before a voice caught her attention, gently moving her to a side alcove of a stall. 

“You could have written a letter telling of your travels, my dear.” He spoke, releasing his grip on the young woman. Faith turned then, caught off-guard suddenly by the face of someone she hadn’t seen since she was a teenager, before Edinburgh.

“Uncle John?” She questioned, completely struck by who she was beside. He nodded, quickly scanning his eyes over her for injury or other harm, a parental habit he had adopted over the years, between Faith as a child at Ardsmuir and Helwater, as well as Willie, watching him grow up within the safety of the estate. She kept her eyes steady, focused and determined as he followed her inquiry.

“Yes but, what are you doing alone in a place such as this? Where is your brother? Or father for that matter?” He retorted, beginning to walk as he went toward the docks at the edge of town, far from curious eyes. Faith shook her head, pulling him to a bench. 

“Tha’ will be explained in time, I promise ye. But we need help.”

————

“Is this the ship you spoke of?” John asked, curious as to Faith’s intentions as she searched for signs of her family. She nodded, spotting Fergus upon the top deck, distracted by a crewman telling a story on the port side. The girl looked to her Uncle, with an expression of gratitude as she embraced the man briefly. 

“There’s a ball at the Governor’s mansion tomorrow evening for plantation owners and the like, perhaps you can find it of use to find your cousin there. I have an invitation, if you need a guise.” John detailed with haste as he handed her an envelope, looking to be sure Faith hadn’t been seen. She nodded, her focus determined to the deck as John replaced his tricorn, walking along the path of other patrons in the night. 

Carefully climbing with assistance of fishing net thrown from the side of the vessel, Faith made her way atop the deck, whistling a tune that Da and Murtagh had taught them as children, supposedly from a song that Mama would often sing at Leoch.

Fergus’s attention shifted then, to the starboard side of the deck, as he returned the whistle, before seeing Faith’s mane of curled hair. “Faith?” Her brother asked, in surprise as he assisted her to the deck. She nodded, leaning against a barrel on the floor for a moment before answering.

“Where’s Da? I have tae speak wi’ him.”

“Speaking to Leslie and Willoughby below deck, I can take you.”

Faith grinned, as she tied her hair and followed her brother down to the Captain’s quarters, where Da was given room. Leslie and Willoughby had gone in search of a late dinner, as Faith entered, closing the door to the quarters. He turned in her direction, then almost within a blink, gripped her tight within his arms. Resting his chin atop her head, Jamie took in the welcoming sight of a twin head of red curls. 

“How?” He questioned suddenly, as the two sat in twin armchairs. Faith looked to her hands, running a finger across her middle digit as she detailed the past weeks and their dealings to her father. Jamie watched his daughter intently, focused on particular words from her retelling: Typhoid, ledgers, rum still, Percival, warrants and one such young man named Mr. Pound. He raised an eyebrow questioningly as he noticed Faith’s deep blush as she mentioned the latter detail.

“Sae will this plan lead us tae Young Ian? Yer certain?” Jamie continued with his inquiry, running through an ever-growing list of plans and back up settings. Running his hands over his face, he leaned forward in the chair as he noticed Faith begin to tense. Taking a hand in his, the father brushed a thumb over the knuckles of his daughter’s hand, before bringing them to his lips in comfort. She smiled, rising from the seat, placed a kiss to her Da’s brow, before searching for a hammock for a late night rest.

Settling within an isolated alcove of the deck, Faith rocked soundly in a hammock, the canvas solid underneath her. She searched within her pocket with care, retrieving the rabbit foot as she held it tight to her chest. ‘Be safe, please.’ The young woman thought, her mind shifting through the events of the past days and weeks, and to the pair she left on the beach.

The girl closed her eyes, allowing the sounds of the water against the ship calm her to sleep. Faith dreamed of the sea, a song of drums, and Elias, looking to her with joy and kindness in his eye. She felt safe, at peace, and loved. 

------

The Porpoise docked alongside the port of Kingston at nightfall, as a plan fell into place among Elias and Mistress Fraser. His service ended that following morning, when he would go ashore to find Faith, as promised. He had to see her and her family safe, he must. The threat of the warrants, arrest, and possible hanging that he overheard the previous day had scared him, terrified even. ‘What if we run out of time?’ Elias thought, absent-mindedly fidgeting with the signet that Faith had given him, to keep safe as he had kept her and her mother. 

His thoughts were interrupted by Mistress Fraser’s placement of a blanket around his shoulders as she sat across from him, the surgery of the ship being the one place where the two could rest, even momentarily. Elias looked at the woman briefly then, mostly in a questioning manner, waiting for their next steps.

“Madam?”

She sighed, almost entranced. Though Elias was unable to determine if it was from stress, exhaustion, fear, or a combination thereof. He did not speak then, waiting for her to speak, if she had the words to. “Elias, I would like to thank you for what you’ve done. For myself and my daughter both. I understand also that the two of you have grown quite fond of one another..” Claire mentioned, with a soft smile as Elias blushed, the tips of his ears reddening at the thought. 

“What I mean is, I’m happy to see that she can be herself with you. It’s been so long since she could truly just be.” The woman finished, as she pictured Faith in her mind: as though she sat in company with them. ‘She’s just like Bree. My girls..” She thought, silent. There wasn’t a day where she had not thought of Bree, or of even a possibility of their seeing each other again. The mere idea of Bree being able to see her sister and father in the flesh made Claire's stomach flutter. 

Elias remained quiet for that moment following, taking in what was said to him. In truth, it felt as though he had always known Faith, in presence and in mind. She was unlike any other person: man, woman, or child that he had ever encountered in his life, and he felt nothing besides joy and gratitude toward it. He only desired to know Faith’s own feelings on the matter, but knew it would be foolish to deliberate, rather than ask her outright. ‘Find her tomorrow, and find out for yourself, Pound.’ The gentleman reflected, nodding to himself. 

“Thank you, Mistress. Truly.” Elias spoke then, as she stood to leave then, resting a hand on his shoulder momentarily. Claire smiled, with a nod as she left her companion to check with patients before retiring. Pound settled into a chair of the surgery, with the blanket draped tight, his eyes heavy with exhaustion. Drifting to sleep, accompanied by the dreams of Faith: dancing along the waves as he watched her, his thoughts filled with happiness, adoration, and the beginnings of love.

Chapter Text

Elias found the market stalls of Kingston to be a welcoming sight, even with the looming anxieties of what lay ahead before him. He gripped the worn canvas of his makeshift rucksack tighter, as he weaved through the growing crowd of the mid-morning. In all of this travels aboard various ships and vessels, both civilian and Navy: Elias had not quite experienced a place such as Jamaica. It was not a common destination for vessels like the Porpoise, unless they were in need of service for military purposes. 

    He paused for the moment in the shade of a stall, selling fruit and other commodities, thinking back to the instructions that Mistress Fraser had given him earlier that day, prior to his departure from the vessel, and Leonard’s service. 

    “If Faith was able to get to Kingston, the first place she’ll go to is the Artemis, I’m sure of it. It’s where her Father would be. But they would most likely be looking for Young Ian in the markets, where he could have been sold..” Claire began to explain, as the two packed the ship’s surgery, in preparation. Her focus briefly shifted to the ring upon Elias’s hand, then to his face. The young man nodded, waiting for further instruction.

    “If you happen to be the one to find Jamie first, show him this..” She said, lifting his hand to eye level again, the silver of the signet ring reflecting a slim beam of sunlight.

    “He’ll know that you mean no harm. To him or Faith.”

    The gentleman smiled, a slight blush appearing once again across his face as he pictured her, and the words of her slight teasing. He set off in his search once again, for any signs of the red-headed girl, or her father of twin hue. ‘They would most likely cover their hair, to avoid being out in the open to Leonard.’ Elias thought then, remembering Faith’s urgency to disguise her head with fabric, wearing a wrap similar to those of the slave women in the market, he quickly noticed. The concept of ownership of another human, especially for laborious purposes, disgusted him. 

    As he passed what seemed to be a never-ending row of slaveholders, the young man recognized a voice in the crowd, as a stramash broke out at a selling block. 

    “Get your hands off him!” Mistress Fraser shouted, quick to the aid of a slave who stood panicked at the podium. Chaos broke out as Elias made his way in the direction of his companion, gently grasping her by the arm, leading away from the angered merchants. He did not see any sign of her husband, based on the description she or her daughter gave. Claire met his gaze, just as Jamie grabbed at the back of Elias’s coat, forcing him backward. He stumbled in shock, as she interjected.

    “Jamie! He’s a friend.” Claire spoke sternly, looking around to see that the sale had concluded in the chaos, and that her husband held a certificate in hand. He looked at Elias suspiciously, before releasing his hold on the young man’s coat. Claire placed a hand on his shoulder, with a slight smile appearing across her features. 

    “Did you have any luck, Elias?” She asked, forgetting for a moment that she had not properly introduced her companion. He sighed, shaking his head. 

    “Unfortunately not, Madam. But I was able to convince Leonard to guide the ship to another port on the other side of Kingston due to the quarantine, which should give cover for some time. I can keep an eye out for the Bruja, as you described.” Pound finished, before silence briefly fell between the three. He could feel a set of eyes focused on him, which were most likely Faith’s father. Claire broke the tension then, beginning to direct them back toward the markets.

    “We’ve secured rooms at an inn, center of town. Meet us there, after we’ve spoken to our…” Claire hesitated, looking at Jamie first before finishing her statement. “Man servant. The employer of the Artemis has extended an invitation to the Governor’s mansion this evening. Perhaps we can find the whereabouts of Ian there.” 

    “You told me that your nephew could have been sold into slavery himself, so the man could ask after him on your behalf? It may be safer than trying to look yourself, especially if Leonard may be on your tail.” Elias suggested, his body filled with nerve that caught him off-guard. He had come to trust Mistress Fraser, and regard her as a friend. But the stern and commanding presence of her husband was overwhelming, to say the least. He felt uncertain, and uncomfortable without Faith beside him. The young man did not expect Fraser to nod in agreement, after taking a moment of thought.

“Aye, it would be a safer idea fer sure. But are ye certain tha’ Leonard wilna be on our backs, Mr. Pound?” Fraser asked him, a brow raised in question, almost suspicious. 

Elias straightened his posture, surprised to hear his surname, then looked the older man in the eye, not to show disrespect, but rather understanding: and to gain trust. 

“I can’t guarantee that Leonard hasn’t stopped looking. However, I am certain of your word, Mr. Fraser. You and your family are honest people, simple as that.” He finished, replacing the tricorn on his head that had been knocked loose in the chaotic outburst at the market. He had purposefully avoided the mention of Faith, to not stir further tension. There were more important matters at stake in that moment, all else could wait. 

The three split direction then, with Claire and Mr. Fraser heading to the slave holders as Elias continued on a search for any sign of Fraser's nephew, or of Faith. His thumb brushed across the band on his finger, as he directed a thought to the fire-haired girl. 

‘Be careful, I’ll see you soon.’ 

——

“Are ye certain tha’ this will work, Uncle?” Faith asked, looking at him as she stood in a pair of sailor’s trousers, and a spare shirt, her hair obscured by a tricorn. He nodded, standing from his seated position on the bench to tie her hair back into a pair of plaits. Da had instructed her that morning to find Uncle John, in order to ask for his assistance in finding Young Ian. After inquiring with a handful of shopkeepers and merchants, the young Fraser found herself led to the servant’s entrance of the governor’s plantation. Something her Uncle had failed to mention that previous night.

“You look like your Father did, Miss MacKenzie.” John said with a slight tease to his voice, earning an elbow in the ribs from his niece, as he finished her hair. Faith had not gone by that name since she and Da left Helwater, on the morning of her eighteenth birthday. She could still remember Willie running after their horses, dirt collecting along the cuffs of his breeches, common among six year olds. 

“Mac! Jane! Please don’t go!” Willie shouted, breaking away from Isobel and John as he ran, the pair of horses not breaking their stride from the path. Faith studied her Da’s face, as the horse to her left continued. His face was cold, trained, and stoic. Almost as though he was avoiding tears. Faith allowed her gaze to fall momentarily to her lap, before glancing back to Willie: the brother she had to leave behind.

‘Some day, Willie. I promise.’ Faith thought, as she held the reins tighter. 

A rapid knock at the chamber door pulled the young woman from her thoughts, as John moved to answer it. Surprise rose across his features, before opening the door wider. 

“Fergus?” John questioned, as her brother and Marsali entered, looking at Faith. “Milord told me that you would be here. Have you found anything about Ian?”

Faith shook her head, as she adjusted the waist of the breeches once more. “No, but we have a lead, I’m goin’ tae the port in order tae see if I can find the Bruja.” 

“Not alone, you’re not. It’s far too dangerous.” John spoke up then, handing Faith the knife from her pockets, hilt first. She secured the weapon to her belt, at her left hip. 

“I wilna be alone, Uncle. I have a friend at port, he’s waitin’ tae search as we speak.” Faith answered, her mind immediately conjuring an image of Elias. She hoped he would be there, as it was the first place she thought he’d go  to search.

“Wha’ of tha’ invitation?” Marsali inquired. 

“I’ll meet ye at tae inn, then we’ll go.” Faith retorted, placing a spare tricorn atop her head as she looked between her brother, sister-in-law, and uncle. She turned to John then, grasping his elbow before placing a kiss on his cheek in gratitude, he smiled. 

“Go on, I’ll be sure to find you or your parents tonight. Good luck in your search, my dear.” John finished. He had not expected the Frasers of all people to find their way to Jamaica, but wasn’t put off by their being there. It brought him comfort, to be near those he loved. After leaving William and Hector in England, he was grateful to be with family.

The trio left in haste, with a careful exit through the servant quarters. Marsali and Fergus hurried to the inn to find Willoughby, Hayes, and Leslie. Faith reached for the rabbit’s foot within her worn trouser pocket, clutching it tightly in her fingers, as she walked to the port. Her thoughts went to Elias, with his kind eyes and smile bright enough to guide ships to shore. She smiled, closing her eyes for a moment. 

‘Stay safe, I’ll see ye soon.’

———

Elias scanned the crowd as the port bustled with activity of the late afternoon, trading vessels and passenger ships alike brought ashore by the appeal of Kingston and the island. His thoughts ran rampant as he took notice of a Portuguese flagship, his chest tightening with nerves. ‘Is that the ship?’ He began to make his way over to the vessel, before a whistle caught his attention, the tune following that of a song he had heard weeks prior, from Faith. 

A grip caught his arm, as the gentleman was led to an alcove of a shop. He moved to speak, before a hand covered his mouth. Elias struggled slightly, as a rabbit foot was placed into his palm. The grip relaxed, as eyes of amber and sunshine met his gaze. She removed the tricorn that dressed her head, two plaits escaping from their confinement, falling to rest against the woman’s back, a smile broke out on her features. 

“I kent tha’ I’d find ye here. Had enough of yer land legs?” Faith asked, a chuckle rising from her, cut off by Elias embracing the girl tight to his chest. He had been afraid since she had left him and her mother on the Porpoise, in search of their family. Thoughts of possible arrest, injury or other danger coming to her plagued his mind. 

He was surprised to feel Faith return the gesture, her arms encircling his waist, as she rested her head against his shoulder. Elias glanced around them for a moment after, before breaking the hold he possessed. The young man smiled, as the warm blush returned to his cheeks, his heart felt as though it would escape his ribcage at the sight of her safe in his arms.

“Hello, Miss Fraser.”

“Hello indeed, Mr. Pound.” 

Faith replaced the tricorn to her head, pulling the brim low to disguise her face, lest she be seen by anyone from the Porpoise, or other authorities for that matter. Even with help from Uncle John, the young woman could never be too careful. She took Elias’s hand in hers, guiding him down an alleyway from the port. 

“I didnae have any luck findin’ Ian, or word on him. I think tae best bet we have is tha’ reception tonight wi’ the Governor.” She stated, remembering what her Uncle had said that morning. Elias paused, turning to look at his companion, with a question present across his brow. Faith chuckled, before answering the unspoken inquiry.

“Well I canna allow ye tae miss the fun, aye?” She replied, with a wink, playful in jest. Elias shrugged, almost unsure of himself at that moment.

“I don’t have anything presentable to wear, most of my clothes had to be discarded on the Porpoise.” He explained, remembering how Mistress Fraser explained the passage of illness among the crew to him aboard the vessel, hands and clothes being the most common. Faith shook her head, as the pair made their way toward the inn that Fergus had told her of.

“Ye are about the size of my brother, he’ll  have  somethin’ ye can make use of.”

Remembering how his introduction to Faith’s father had gone, the young man tensed, catching the notice of the girl beside him. She stopped in her tracks, facing Elias as she studied the worry across his features, especially the way his forehead would crease in thought, much like Da or Mama tend to. The girl brought his hand to her lips, leaving a kiss along the heel of his palm and wrist, a small but sincere gesture. Faith was equally as anxious about their predicament ahead, but neither were alone in the challenge.

“It’s going tae be alright, ye hear me? Mama already respects ye more than ye ken. Da will come around in time, he always does. As fer Marsali an’ Fergus, the two jest wed a few months past, so they canna be sour toward ye.” The girl finished, confident in her family’s possible feelings toward her companion. 

Elias could feel his face redden, and attempted to suppress the pounding in his chest as best he could, closing his eyes. He could hear his heartbeat loud in his ears, like the cannon fire from the man-of-war ship he had been released from that morning. The intense beat silenced then, muted as he felt her hands on either side of his jaw. The young man smiled, with a grateful nod as he opened his eyes to look at Faith: the girl who owned his heart. He did not have the courage to speak those words to her, but he knew she must have felt the same.

———

“Marsali, isna this a bit much?” Faith asked her sister, as she viewed the gown she wore in the mirror. Crimson fabric covered the bodice, cascading from the over skirt to the floor. Marsali shook her head, as she adjusted the final lacing of the gown. The dress had been from the trunk at Lallybroch, supposedly fashions from Paris, though Marsali did alter some pieces, this gown was practically untouched. Faith tucked her hands into the pair of pockets, she managed to sneak in as the girls dressed. 

“I dinna think so, Sister. Though, tha’ Elias lad wilna ken wha’ hit him.” The girl teased, passing a fan into Faith’s hands. Fergus had politely taken Elias to find something that would fit, while not so discreetly giving the young man a scare, most likely at the request of their father, much to Mama’s protesting.

Faith blushed, her hands overcome with a feeling of numbness at the thought of approval toward her companion. She hadn’t thought to tell Elias of her feelings and intent in the brief moments they were alone in conversation, the determination to find Ian overruled any other directive in her mind. The girl silently prayed she’d have a moment to share her sentiments with him, perhaps tonight?

A knock on the door interrupted the pair and Faith’s rampant mind, as Da entered, with a comical roll of his eyes. Apparently the gown was infamous in the family, or at least with the older gentleman. His daughter smirked, with a playful swat directed to her father. 

“Wha’ is it? Ye told me once tha’ Mama wore this tae Versailles, did she no’?” Faith inquired, an eyebrow raised in cheerful curiosity. She did not hear Mama enter the room, until the woman stood at Da’s shoulder. She smiled, snaking an arm around her husband’s waist. 

“Yes, a lifetime ago. Believe it or not, I helped design it myself.” Claire remembered fondly, her grin cheerful. Faith hadn’t remembered Paris, from when she had been an infant, or even from visits to Lallybroch from Cousin Jared, brief and infrequent. She hoped to see the city for herself one day, though it pained her parents to recall their struggles there. Marsali placed a final pin among Faith’s nest of curls, identical to that of Mama’s, and placed her hands to her hips in triumph. 

“Well, shall we then?” The girl asked, her eyes searching the room and hallway beyond, in hope of finding her brother and companion. She wrung her hands in an almost nervous manner. Mama nodded, taking her arm into the crook of her elbow as Da took Marsali by the hand. The trio entered the courtyard to Fergus and Elias in pleasant conversation stood beside a coach, to Faith’s relief. She met her companion’s gaze, as he went silent. A shy grin appeared to his mouth, followed by a teasing elbow to the side by Fergus. 

The young woman smiled, as Mama politely passed her daughter to their friend, with a quiet whisper in his ear, unheard by Faith. She felt his fingers squeeze her hand, as the girl returned the gesture. ‘You’ll be fine.’ Her eyes attempted to assure him, as he nodded. Elias felt the loud drumming fill his ears once again, as the coach proceeded to maneuver to its destination. He held the girl’s hand tighter, thankful for the gown fabric that obscured him from the eyes of their other counterparts. Marsali and Fergus were in full conversation, mostly out of curiosity for what lay ahead at the palace. 

“I just hope tha’ Leonard doesna’ decide tae come on a search.” Faith spoke then, not realizing that she had said the statement loud enough for her siblings to hear. Fergus looked between the other three within the carriage, shaking his head. He placed a hand against Marsali’s knee.

“Either way, I’m sure Milord will have a plan, or Lord John for that matter.” Her brother retorted, in assurance. In truth, the group was quite on edge about any possible outcome. Faith nodded, glancing briefly to Elias before focusing her attention out the side of the carriage, to the tropical landscape of the island.

-------

The overall magnitude of the Governor’s palace surprised Faith, even after her brief stint in the private apartments and servant quarters that morning. She felt the carriage door open beside her, as Fergus held out a hand to Marsali on her left. The girl then felt a soft tap to her shoulder, as Elias stood to her right, offering a hand with a bow of his head. 

“Madam, I understand you may be expected here?” He teased, followed with a wink. The girl smiled toward her companion, as she interlaced their fingers. It was foreign for Faith to be in attendance of events such as these, due to being used to the informalities of growing up under an alias. It was a relief to know that she was not in fact alone in this, but rather surrounded by her kin, and friends in high places. 

After a brief exchange with Temeraire, their hopefully temporary manservant to be granted freedom, Jamie caught his daughter’s gaze, giving her a reassuring grin. The gown she was dressed in was not a particular favorite in regard to preference, but still made him beam with pride at the sight of her and Claire together once again. The family took a moment to collect amongst themselves, before entering the grand establishment before them. Faith felt herself begin to grow tense in the shoulders, trailing down to her fingertips. She leaned to Elias for a moment, inquiring to him in a hushed manner.

“Your type of gathering, Elias?” The young woman teased, hearing a quiet chuckle from her companion as he suppressed a larger grin. 

“Not quite, no one is drunk, playing dice or cards, and I don’t see a fiddle either.” He responded, with her arm crooked in his elbow. Elias hoped that he would not be perceived as too forward with Faith, especially to her father. Fergus had been suspicious of him at first glance, but slowly began to ease in his company. Marsali was equally as welcoming, joking and kind as she assisted her husband, newlyweds as it came to be understood. Elias felt comfortable, which was something he had longed for since he left for the Triton as a child. His thoughts were interrupted by Faith’s voice, where the two were stood before the Governor himself, though the young man could not remember entering the room.

“Lord John, this is Elias Pound. He’s the individual I told ye of who assisted Mama an’ myself on the Porpoise.” She spoke, rather proud in her statement. Coming back to his senses, Elias bowed politely. John smiled, reaching his hand out to politely shake the young man’s.

“Miss Fraser has told me much about your endeavors. I must express my personal gratitude for your service, as well as your keenness for their safety.” Grey spoke, glancing in an almost teasing manner to Faith, who attempted to hide her blush with an accessorized fan. Elias nodded, relaxing his shoulders softly as he replied. 

“Well, it was quite a miracle that Doctor Fraser and Miss Fraser provided their assistance and skills to the crew, of which they and I were most grateful.”

Lord John nodded, before being interrupted by a passing guest of the gathering. Faith reached for Elias’s arm, politely escorting him to a corner of the room from other conversations. Da and Mama had long since split from the group, in favor of finding more information concerning Ian, with Fergus and Marsali following suit. The girl nervously clutched at the delicate fan within her grasp, as her companion took it from her, in favor of holding her hands. Elias began to study Faith’s face once more, waiting for her eyes to meet his before he inquired. 

“What is it, Faith? Is there something wrong?” 

She shook her head, to Elias’s surprise, before ushering him into the courtyard garden with haste, seated onto a bench made of stone, beside her. 

“Elias…I, would like tae ask ye somethin’ if tha’ would be alright.” She avoided his eyes, before he stopped her, resting a hand to her shoulder. 

“Of course, always.” 

“I dinna ken wha’ will happen after here, whether we can go home or no’, or if we end up someplace else. But, I ken tha’ I’m certain of one thing.” Faith began, struggling to continue as she felt her heart tighten within her ribcage. Her focus darted around their surroundings before settling on Elias’s eyes, calm and almost tranquil. 

“Yes?”

“I would like tae court properly. If ye will have me.” Faith forced out the statement, for once allowing her heart to lead her. Her mouth went dry as she paused, silent in thought. Elias began to answer, before his own heart caught within his throat. The silence between the two was deafening, but said more than words could. He reached into his coat pocket once again, returning the rabbit’s foot to Faith’s hands as he answered. The young woman could feel tears begin at the corners of her eyes.

“Yes, Miss Fraser. But, it is not a matter of if I would have you only. It is also the question of if you would also accept me in return. Would that be adequate?” He looked up, meeting her eyes as she searched his features, a quiet nod solidifying the feelings she thought to suppress upon first encounter. She could feel that something was different between them, like she had never felt before. The girl nodded, bringing Elias’s hands to her lips momentarily once again, before speaking. 

“Yes, Elias. It would be.” 

The young man grinned, his face brightened with the immense joy he felt in that moment, Faith smiled in return, grateful for the soul in front of her. They sat for several moments, taking in the atmosphere of the gardens and the natural beauty of the island. Then, a pair of voices caught the attention of Faith, who rose quickly from the bench, She stood, obscured from view by a large hedge, Elias listened from behind, as he kept watch of them.

“So then...a new king will rise in Scotland upon the death of a child that is two-hundred years old on the day of its birth…” A man spoke to a woman Faith did not recognise. She gripped the sleeve of Elias’s coat in realization then. ‘Brianna..’

“Elias, we have tae find my parents.” The girl spoke urgently, as she grasped his hand, in favor of leading them back into the reception. He raised a brow in question, concerned at her urgency. 

“A two-hundred year old child is just a riddle, why should we be concerned?”

“D’ye remember tha’ letter I gave ye on the Porpoise?” Faith retorted, then recalled that the letter was safely stashed at the inn, along with their other belongings. Elias hesitated, before nodding his head.

“Yes, but why Faith?”

“It is addressed tae my sister, named Brianna. She’s living in Boston, two-hundred years from now. I’ll explain as soon as we find Ian, alright?” The young woman finished, as she suddenly heard Fergus’s voice.

Sœur, Mr. Pound. Captain Leonard is on the premises.” Her brother spoke urgently, as Marsali spotted Mama and Da. The group gathered, quietly filing from the crowded atmosphere of the reception. Elias’s hand tightened around Faith’s in unease. His eyes found hers for a brief moment, silent in a reply. 'Later, this can wait.’ She nodded, curt and critical as she formulated a plan. The pair scrambled into a carriage, behind Claire and Jamie as the latter began to protest.

“Faith, it isna safe fer either of ye tae be here. Go wi’ Fergus an’ Marsali tae the inn.” He removed the powdered wig from atop his scalp, discarding it aside. Claire exchanged a glance with Elias momentarily, taking note of his hand intertwined with her daughter’s. Faith shook her head.

“Captain Leonard would be lookin’ fer us both, sae why would I put Fergus an’ Marsali in danger then? Elias an’ I can search wi’ ye at Rose Hall while Mama speaks wi’ Mistress Abernathy.” The young lady spoke, holding her attention toward her father as the carriage spurred in movement. Jamie gave a brief scowl in disapproval, before nodding his head. It would be more beneficial to have more hands to search for his nephew, but still loomed in danger. 

The carriage made a sudden halt in motion, along a beaten path within the wooded land, the environment dense with palm trees and overgrowth of a wide variety. Faith’s movement stilled, as she watched Mama and Da exit momentarily, to guide Temeraire to shelter. Her focus was centered on her parents, but she could not ignore the nervous movement of the individual beside her, Elias’s leg shook with nerves. The girl silently brought their interwoven fingers to her chest, as she felt her heart pound, and her stomach tighten in knots that would rival those of a ship’s mast.

“All will be well, Elias. I promise ye.” She stated, meeting his gaze in a calm manner. Her companion eased then, gently relaxing his hold on her fingers as the carriage door opened once again. Faith felt a pair of hands force themselves onto her shoulders, as the girl was taken from the covered vehicle. Familiar blood-red coats caught the attention of the group, as Elias paralyzed in shock. His head began to throb, as he heard the drumming once again, loud and intoxicating in their rhythm. ‘Was it Faith?’ 

Captain Leonard soon approached on horseback, issuing a sentence as Elias observed Mistress Fraser then, her tone filled with a quiet rage. The reverberation in his ears grew louder, as he heard a statement that caught his breath.

“James and Faith Fraser, also known as Alexander and Jane Malcolm, you are charged with the willful murder of John Barton, Exciseman, and high treason for the printing of seditious libel. I apprehend you both in the name of His Majesty King George.” He finished, as Faith felt a pair of eyes focused on her, struggling against the hold in which the soldier had on her arms. ‘Elias.’

The young woman met the eyes of her companion, filled with anxiety, as well as anger. The corner of her mouth raised in a half-smirk, as she gave a curt nod to him. ‘It’s alright, we can do this.’ It spoke, as Elias tipped his hat in quick reply. The two Frasers were then led off, as Mistress Fraser entered the carriage. It moved once again, urging to Rose Hall as Elias spoke to his friend. Claire’s expression of rage was not eased.

“So, what now then?” 

“We will go to Rose Hall, I can distract Geillis while you search the grounds.” Claire instructed, one of her hands traveling to the ceiling of the carriage. She was unsure of the intent of Leonard’s arrest at that moment, unless he had been following Elias. Her brow tightened, then gaze darted to the young man before her. He shook his head, the feeling in his hands beginning to lessen.

“I did not inform Leonard of their whereabouts, I assure you.” He began, before Mistress Fraser cut off his statement.

“I know, Elias. But someone must have been told of you, or of Faith.” She retorted, her grip on the carriage seat only tightened. He nodded, before speaking once again.

“They’ll find a way, I’m sure of it, Mistress. It’s like I said to you, I don’t think much of it will come down to luck.” The gentleman’s expression softened, as he felt Mistress Fraser begin to relax slightly. She nodded her head, in reassurance. Rose Hall awaited them, as did a power unlike anything on Earth, besides a far-off circle of stone, and a family lost to time.

Chapter Text

The growing darkness of the island stirred curiosity within Faith, though not enough to act upon within her current state. With a soldier still holding her bicep with a locked grip, the girl observed her surroundings, as she followed Da and Leonard forward. Her father was also currently held, with two Marines at his shoulders, he glanced back at her, giving an owl-like wink, as Mama often described it. ‘Dinna fash, m’annsachd’ It said, as if Faith had heard the words from Da himself.

    “Shame you couldn’t have lost your way and found Havana instead.” Da remarked, a sarcastic tone in his voice and mannerism as he spoke, a soldier placing irons upon his wrists as Leonard stood beside, briefly looking at Faith. She scowled toward the young man, lifting her chin in a slight display of defiance. 

    “You are quite droll for a man in irons, Mr. Fraser. We did have difficulties making our way here, being quite short handed. But we’re here now. However, that will not be for long. Once we have provisioned and found proper crew, we will transport you both home to face trial.” The Captain finished, Faith giving a roll of her eyes in response, unseen by the other men.

Then, a second patrol of guards approached the dock, taking the girl’s attention. She began to slowly work at the rope that tied her wrists, due to an apparent lack of irons.

    “Halt there, Lieutenant. We’ll be taking Mr. Fraser and Miss Fraser into our charge.” A soldier spoke, assumed to be an officer of some kind. Faith and Jamie exchanged a suspicious gaze, then recentered their attention.

    “By what authority?” Leonard spoke, caught off-guard by the change in directive.

-------

    Elias resecured his coat tight around him, as the young man followed Mistress Fraser toward the slave quarters of Rose Hall. His vision traced several huts and halfway houses, in search of the boy the Frasers described to him. Nightfall on the island cast shadows across much of the land, including the quarters that the pair found themselves near. Claire stood still for a moment, turning to her accomplice as she spoke.

“While I speak with Geillis in the Hall, you can keep an eye out for Ian. If he isn’t here in the slave quarters, he may be in the house itself.”

The young man nodded, his hands beginning to feel heavy, as if they were made from lead. He felt Claire rest a hand to his shoulder, a touch of reassurance.“They will be alright, I promise. You and I both know that those two won’t go without a fight.” 

“It’s not what they may do that I’m concerned with Madam, it’s what Leonard may do with them.” Elias answered, remembering what Faith had told him previously about the broadsheet, as well as what Leonard had formally charged them with. He snapped from his thoughts as the pair heard a set of footsteps approaching. 

Claire turned to Elias then, motioning for him to move into one of the huts, vacant in that moment. They shared a glance. ‘I’ll be right behind you.’ Her eyes told him, which he accepted with a curt nod. He entered, then crouched down to the floor, worn out from use. The young man found himself beginning to fidget with his hands, in order to calm the storm of thought that filled his mind. 

The footsteps ceased, as he carefully stepped outside, finding that Claire and the other individual had gone. ‘Rose Hall, you keep looking for Ian.’ His mind focused.

Elias began to search near the other slaves’ quarters, his frustrations multiplied when he came up short. ‘Pound, you do not have the time to stand here. Move. ’ He stepped carefully, in order to make his presence as undetectable as possible. Then, he heard a loud rattling of irons, from a stone built enclosure within a hidden corner of the grounds.

“Ian?” Elias questioned, voicing his inquiry aloud as it was met by a muffled shout. The boy approached the gated structure, as he saw Young Ian within, his hands bound by irons, and looking skeptical toward Pound. He raised his hands toward the captive, with a gesture to show that he was unarmed. He remembered then what Claire had instructed him with the ring upon his finger. ‘Show him this, he’ll know that you mean no harm.’

“I’m a friend of your cousin, Faith. Your Aunt is in the Hall, we’ve come to get you out.” Elias responded, as he opened the metal gate, which had not been secured. Taking a knife from his pocket, the young man began to cut at Ian’s restraints, as he heard a voice, the woman he recognized from the gardens with Faith. 

“Well, who do we have here then?” 

--------

Faith sat upon the straight-backed chair of the study, her hands finding a place within her lap and overskirts. Da leaned forward for a moment in the chair beside hers, his elbows resting atop his knees, then returned to sitting straight. The young woman glared for a moment in the direction of Leonard, as he began to speak.

“Your Excellency, I must respectfully request that you return this man and woman to my custody. They stand accused of murder and high treason. A warrant has been issued for them both in Scotland, and I am duty bound to ensure their return there to face trial.” The young Captain spoke, with a nervous tone creeping into his voice.

Faith could see his hands tense, specifically where his tricorn rested at his elbow. Her eyes moved from him to her Uncle John, who was seated behind a large wooden desk. The girl reached for her father’s hand, attempting to remain calm. 

“Of course.” John began, glancing to his left to look at Jamie, and to Faith at the man’s left. The three shared a brief gaze of uncertainty, before Grey continued. “May I see the warrant?”

“I don’t have it in my possession, Your Excellency.” Leonard stated. Faith bit her lip to stop herself from laughing outright. She could feel a smile appear on her Da’s face. John sat for a moment in disbelief.

“You don’t have the warrant? Then what do you have, Lieutenant Leonard?” Grey questioned, before a slight chuckle came from him “Forgive me... Captain Leonard. You must excuse my unfamiliarity with the somewhat liberal practices of the naval service, insofar as conferring rank is concerned, I’m afraid the army takes a somewhat more traditional stance in these matters, preferring to grant a title of command only when it has been earned.” He paused, as the tension of the room remained.

Leonard rolled his eyes to Faith’s surprise, as she continued to observe the scene between the two officers.

“Now, as to your request...if you are unable to produce the warrant, then what have you to support your claim against this man and young lady?” Grey asked, again looking to the pair at his left as they studied Leonard for a moment. “Well, surely you must have some evidence to put forward before you dispossess them of their freedom.”

“A member of my crew encountered these two in Edinburgh while in the service of the Crown and can attest to the incriminating activities he saw there.” Leonard replied, as Faith remembered the scarred man who sat in the surgery of the Porpoise, as well as the group who bombarded the print shop. John continued, with another inquiry.

“I see. Then I presume your witness has made an affidavit and sworn its veracity before a magistrate. May I see the affidavit?”

Leonard hesitated, before his answer came, in disappointment. “Having only just arrived, I’ve not yet had the opportunity--”

“Lieutenant.... Captain! Do you mean to say you have neither warrant nor affidavit to support your claim? Surely you do not mean to arrest two British subjects on nothing more than the scurrilous gossip of the lower deck?” John cut off, before Leonard attempted to reclaim the statement. His posture straightened, as he looked Grey in the eye.

“Your Excellency, I am satisfied as to both the validity of the charge and the identities of this man and lady. And as a senior naval officer on the Porpoise, I am justified under the Articles of War in my desire to take them into custody.”

“Indeed Captain...were they captured at sea. However, your authority ends at the water’s edge, which is precisely where my authority begins. And until such time as I am satisfied as to the validity of this alleged warrant, these two will retain their liberty.” Grey stood from his position, leaning his hands against the desk as he spoke. Jamie tightened his hold on Faith’s hand for a moment, looking at her briefly.

“Your Excellency--” Leonard spoke in an attempt at a rebuttal.

“Thank you, Lieutenant Leonard.” Grey finished, as the other officer stood silent. Leonard straightened, gave a courteous bow of his head, and retired from the study.

Faith exhaled, not realizing that she had been holding her breath, as Da released her hand. John also felt himself relax his posture, looking at the pair of Frasers with a kind smile. 

“Seems I’m indebted to you yet again, for saving our lives.” Jamie spoke, rising from the chair he had been seated in as Faith followed suit, hoping to be given a chance to change into something more comfortable than a structured gown. She smiled toward them, as John spoke up once again.

“Seems we’ve been indebted to each other so many times I lost count.”

“Until the next time, then. Goodbye John.” Jamie added, in an humourous fashion, earning a gentle elbow to the side from his daughter. Faith moved to embrace her Uncle, receiving a tight hold in return, she smiled, attempting to hide her dislike for them having to part. Under better circumstances, she hoped.

“Goodbye, Jamie. Faith, good luck to the both of you.” Grey spoke, as the pair left the mansion in haste.

------

    After her unsuccessful attempt at speaking with Geillis, Claire began to search Rose Hall herself, for any signs of Young Ian, or if Elias had found any lead to his whereabouts. The woman was filing through a spare desk in the sitting room when she heard shouting from the outside of the plantation house. She caught sight of two large figures, carrying bodies over their shoulders struggling in their binds, followed by an individual with a torch to create a pathway. ‘Ian! Was the other Elias?’ 

She hadn’t known of his whereabouts since they were separated at the slave quarters; hoping that Pound was not in the same predicament as her nephew. Claire felt a numbing sensation move down her back, as she began to formulate a plan of escape, and rescue.

A loud rustling of a door frame snapped the woman’s attention as she moved, her back flush to a side wall, as she claimed the nearest decor in her grasp as a weapon. 

Faith soon unjammed the worn lock of the plantation door, swinging it open as she and Da ducked, dodging a potential weapon. It was then, she realized that Mama was there, and alone.

“Oh Christ! How did you?” Claire questioned, embracing the two other Frasers tight within her arms momentarily. Faith could feel herself begin to almost fade, comfortable in the arms of her parents, as Da clarified to her mother. Her senses heightened at the feeling of a drumming in her chest, loud and demanding as it reached her ears. Then, she heard a sentence that drew her attention once again, meeting the eyes of her parents.

“Geillis has Young Ian and Elias. Come on!” The woman shouted, running from the house as Faith and Jamie followed. The girl could feel something pulling at her, like a string that led from her chest. Mama pointed to a distant firelight, where music could be heard.

Faith began to run beside her parents, grateful for her brief decision to find her trousers and spare shirt once again. She sent a thought to who and what could hear her as the drumming within her chest and head continued, louder with every step. ‘Don’t take them, please.’ 

-------

    Elias awoke to the sound of drums, his head felt as though it could shatter into pieces as he attempted to move, being stopped by a sharp kick to his stomach. The young man cried out in pain, before being thrown to a stone floor. His eyes searched for Ian, who had been placed beside him. The two were bound by rope, their hands tied behind their backs, with their feet secured. His eyes settled on the younger figure, in a calm gesture. He could feel a force anchoring him to what appeared to be a deep pool of water, within the confines of the cave. 

The drumming in his skull rose in intensity, as Pound could hear the woman from Rose Hall begin to speak, Geillis, from what Mistress Fraser had told him. She paused, looking at Elias with curiosity. The woman lifted his chin with her fingertips, forcing him to hold her gaze. He glared, the restraints of the rope keeping him from defense.

“Ye can hear it? The buzzing?” Geillis spoke, taking note of how the young man’s attention darted from the pool, back to her: as fear filled his eyes. She smiled, as Elias felt his vision begin to fade slowly. His mind drifted to an image of Faith, to his relief: as the pulse of the drums grew. 

------

    As the three drew closer to the music and movement of the circle, Faith’s vision began to cloud for a moment unnoticed by her parents, the intensity of the drumming vibrating through her body as the beat continued. A hand gripped her arm, as the young woman was brought out into the opening, drowned in firelight. Jamie reached for the dirk on his belt, urged to advance forward as Claire stopped him. Faith stood forward, closing her eyes for a moment, as she felt a hand clasp hers, followed by a voice.

    “You’re being haunted, by visions and dreams of a greater power. Strange machines, your childhood, and him.” A woman spoke, who Faith quickly recognized as Margaret Campbell, who she had encountered in Edinburgh. Willoughby soon followed, bringing her parents forward, before ensuring the gathering of their intent. Jamie grasped Faith’s other hand in his, as the girl’s vision refocused. Margaret looked toward the three curiously, before she spoke once more. The message was clear, and from someone they had not expected to hear: Brianna.

“I knew it was you. My father...and sister! I’ve been dreaming about you, and I love you.” Margaret spoke then, though her vision was distant. Faith couldn’t help the small smile that appeared on her cheeks. The seer turned to Claire then, with a kiss on the woman’s cheek. “You too, Mama!”  She exclaimed, before the vision grew dark.

“Oh, no…” Margaret’s focus shifted, as Faith and Jamie’s attention settled on her. Willoughby remained silent, though kept a keen eye on the three as they listened.

“The monster. Don’t let it take me. Help me! Help me!” She exclaimed, as Claire moved to grasp the woman by the arms. Faith tightened her grip to her father’s opposite hand, attempting to fight the trance that the drumming had forced her mind into. She was urged to move forward, pulling her toward the source of the power, as her parents soon caught up. The girl’s vision cleared, as the three stood before a cave, when Claire spoke.

“I can hear the hum, the portal must be nearby. If it takes me, I may not be able to come back through again.” She spoke, looking at Jamie as she explained. Faith began to walk into the cave, being pulled by a charge of energy she could not explain. 

“Ye ken that, if anything were to happen to me, to us, ye must go.” Jamie stated, as he took notice of Faith’s entranced movement. He reached for her, holding tight to his daughter’s arm. “We’ve already lost each other once, we will not lose Brianna.” 

Faith then took the knife from her belt, readying herself for what may be ahead, following her parents into the cave. Then, the girl’s head began to throb with pain, the pulsing of the drumming noise centered on a bright colored pool.

She forced the pain from her mind, focusing her attention to Ian, and to Elias: both restrained within what looked to be a drawn circle of some kind, surrounded by gems and a photograph

‘Brianna..’ The girl thought, remembering what Margaret had channeled in her vision. She heard the familiar sound of a gun pointed to her temple, and lifted her hands. 

“So you came, did you?” Geillis spoke, as Jamie followed suit, standing beside his daughter. The pair dropped their knives, as Geillis suddenly motioned to pour a particular fluid over Ian and Elias, as they struggled within their binds. 

“Geillis, don’t!” Claire shouted, as Jamie moved to disarm the large individual, one of Geillis’s manservants. Faith retrieved her knife, making haste in the stramash to edge closer to where Ian and Elias were held. Claire followed, attempting to ease Geillis. 

“A life for a life, sweet Claire…ye owe me a life. It’s your daughter’s life you owe me.” The woman spoke, as the other surged forward, knife in hand to strike. Duncan fell dead, her head nearly severed from her shoulders. Silence overcame the cave, though the drumming did not cease, blood pounding through Faith’s ears as energy radiated from the pool.

The girl stumbled over to where Ian and Elias were tied followed by Da, cutting through their binds as Faith grasped the young man by his shoulders. Her expression softened slightly, as she moved to check her companion for injuries. He glanced at the pool, to Faith’s surprise. He whispered something that the girl almost couldn’t hear, interweaving their fingers as he spoke. 

“The drumming, do you hear it?” Elias asked, glancing at his companion as she nodded. ‘Was this the drums we heard? Why?’ He thought. She moved to reach toward the pool, her senses overtaken by the power of the field, being stopped as Elias pulled her to his chest, taking them from the abstraction of the portal. 

“Let’s get out of this place.” She heard Da speak, taking Mama by the hand as he led them from the cave. Elias’s grasp tightening around Faith’s shoulders, not wanting to let go in fear that she may be lost to the cave. She caught his eyes for a moment.

‘We’ll talk soon.’ He nodded, before releasing her as the group stood among the landscape of the island, in a clearing of trees, taking a moment to breathe. He saw Mr. Fraser embrace Claire and Ian then, holding them tight to his chest, before Claire reached out a hand surprisingly: for Elias. 

“Madam?” He inquired, seeing Faith appear beside him, an arm around Ian’s shoulders, as the girl pulled him closer, by the collar of his shirt. He felt a blush creep into his face, as awkward as it felt with Mr. Fraser and Ian present. Faith leaned her head upon her companion’s shoulder, near the hollow of his collarbone as he returned the grasp. Then, Mr. Fraser spoke, though Elias could sense an almost comical tone within the statement.

“Once we are abroad the Artemis, ye and I shall have a talk, Mr. Pound.” 

Elias exhaled a laugh into Faith’s hair, as the girl smiled.

———

The surgery of the Artemis was quiet, as no one was in desperate need of the space, allowing Elias to gather his thoughts of what transpired on the island. The echoes of the cave still remained in his mind, as he gripped the wooden work table, anchoring himself into the space.

’You’re fine, Pound.’ He thought, feeling the worn surface beneath his hands. A sharp knock at the door returned the young man to his senses, as his posture straightened. He began to polish spare instruments of Doctor Fraser’s to distract him from the drumming in his chest, vibrating his ribcage.

“Come in, please.” The young man answered, his attention directed to the door, as Mr. Fraser entered. The gentleman stood beside a spare chair within the room, holding the back before he spoke.

“I understand tha’ ye are particularly interested in my daughter?” He inquired, before Elias turned to face the other with his full attention. 

“I would not use the term interested that way, as she is not an object in need of appraisal, Sir.”

The response earned a raised eyebrow from Jamie, who crossed his arms over his chest, making somewhat of a sigh noise before he retorted.

“Tha’ wasna the intent. Meaning, wha’ is it ye want from her?” 

“Nothing she would not be willing to give, and that I would not be willing to respect and reciprocate in kind.” Elias responded, feeling his hands tense briefly, before relaxing at his sides. Mr. Fraser sat down in the chair before him, as Elias’s posture straightened once again. 

“I don’t have much to give, if I’m to be honest, Mr. Fraser. No family, or land, certainly not a dowry or coin. All I have is my name, and my word of respect and admiration for her. If you were to ask Faith herself, I’m certain she can vouch for my sentiments.” 

“I’m no’ askin’ Faith, I already ken her thoughts on the matter.” The response from Mr. Fraser was rather forward, but not in a tone of disdain, to Elias’s surprise.

The room fell silent, as the surgery door opened for a second time, with Claire entering the room. She stood beside the chair her husband currently occupied, as he had, then looked to Pound. A small smile appeared to her features, as she looked from the young man to the unreadable features of her husband. 

“Don’t scare him for Christ’s sake, Jamie.” She brushed her hands down her husband’s shoulders, as he stood then, glancing between his wife and the young man. 

“Mr. Pound, if ye are as truthful as my wife an’ daughter say ye are, then I canna question your wishes. All I ask is tha’ ye keep her safe, well cared for, an’ loved.” Fraser spoke, clasping Elias’s shoulder in a kind gesture, as the young man hesitated. Then, he looked the pair in the eye, with joy in his heart. 

“I would not wish for anything else. I promise you.” 

The young man then felt a pair of arms embrace him then, as Claire enveloped him into a tight hug. The already present smile grew wider with pride. 

——

As much as being on land was a relief, Faith enjoyed the feeling of being at sea once more. The mist of the saltwater was calming, as she absorbed herself into the sounds surrounding the Artemis. She felt a presence at her right, as she turned to look at who had joined her on the quiet deck.

Elias grinned, with a playful tip of his hat before leaning against the worn edge of the portside railing. The two fell into a comfortable silence, watching a pair of gulls diving amongst the waves before the girl spoke. 

“So, wha’ did Da an’ Mama say tae ye, Mr. Pound?” Faith asked, turning to face him, as she grasped his jacket, carefully bringing him closer. She felt comfortable when close to those she trusted, and loved. It was almost intimate, but hovered above anything that could be seen as indecent. With her growing up in tight confines for most of her life, Faith did not think much of it otherwise. 

Elias took note of her need for proximity, gently clasping the girl’s shoulders before he spoke. He could feel his heart hammering in his chest, as he met her eyes.

“Well Miss Fraser, I can’t say that your mother was surprised. She’s expected it since we were on the Porpoise.” He smiled, as Faith nodded her head in humor.

She remembered the reaction the pair had in the dining room of Lallybroch when Fergus and Marsali broke similar news to them, and how Da had told her of what could happen in the future. Elias studied her features for a moment, brushing a loose strand of coppery hair behind the girl’s ear as he continued. 

“Your father took more time, as I figured he might. But after Mistress Fraser had told him of what happened with the crew, he was more amenable to it, to us.” He finished, as he waited for Faith’s reaction. She paused for a moment, taking in what he had relayed to her, before she inquired. 

“So, wha’ ye mean is, they said yes?” Her face brightened at the question, as Elias took her hands in his, nodding his head.

Then, taking the signet from where it rested upon the smaller finger of his hand, he returned it to the middle of Faith’s right, set below the knuckle. Bringing her hand to his lips, Elias left a kiss to where the ring belonged, in silent reply. 

Chapter Text

The sea is often said to be a great many things: peaceful tranquility, a raging torment, or sometimes shroud in grand mystery. It was somewhere that Elias had taken for granted, being that he lived amongst the waters of vast oceans for more years than he could count. Trading vessels, small crafts, or ships built to fight wars, they had all been places of belonging for him: a wayfarer on an seemingly endless journey. 

The water always called to the young fellow, in which he answered with pride, because he knew nothing else but the force of such summoning. Until he met a girl with eyes like the sun, laughter like a song, and a heart that could rival those of the most star-crossed love.

“Are you alive?” Faith’s voice called to him, distant and quiet as she appeared in the endless depths. She seemed muted by the rush of water that engulfed the wayfarer’s body. The words stopped in his throat as he reached out a hand toward her, before the sea pulled him downward. 

Elias forced his eyes open, suddenly gasping for air as he fought water from his lungs. He felt a sharp stabbing pain within his ribs, like a bolt of lightning struck right through his chest. Rolling onto his knees, then grasping the sand covered ground to steady himself, Pound heard the running of feet along the beach, followed by an unfamiliar voice.

“Are you well, young man?” A man asked, stopping a few short feet from where Elias had propped himself to a seated position, checking himself for injury. Shaking his head, the younger gentleman surveyed his nearest surroundings, scattered with debris and broken pieces from the Artemis. 

“I’m breathing.” Elias responded, avoiding other possible responses to the inquiry in his direction. It was an immediate realization that he was alone. His mind became flooded with thought: the Artemis, a hurricane, Faith.

“You’re from the wreck then?” The figure asked, offering a hand to Elias as he struggled at first to stand, grounding himself into the seaside. He spotted a broken chest, the top nearly torn from the hinges as he willed himself toward it. Nodding, he rifled through the container, until a sealed box caught his attention. ‘The letterbox.’ 

“This letter is from your sister in Boston? In another time?” Elias inquired, looking to Faith as she sat across from him in the quarters, taking the parchment from his hands as she nodded.

“Mama brought it wi’ her when she came thro’ at Craigh Na Dun, then Edinburgh. She said Brianna had written it in her time, in nineteen-sixty-eight. See tae date there?” Faith answered, pointing to where a date had addressed the corner of the page. She folded the document carefully, placing it within a box amongst other accompanying letters and items, before sealing it with a spare candle of beeswax. Elias studied his beloved then, making quick work of the sealing with a knife from her belt. 

“Ach! Mac na..galla.” Faith muttered in what he assumed was Gaelic, as the blade slipped from her fingers, clattering to the desk as she held pressure to her palm. Blood steadily began to trickle from her wound, staining flecks of the candlewax that hadn’t hardened. Elias stood, taking a kerchief from the desk drawer, before standing before the girl. 

“Here, let me see it.” He spoke, motioning for her to sit as Faith made a seat of the desk’s edge, scuffed and worn from use, and a prolonged sealife. A brief but comfortable silence overcame the pair, as Elias cleaned and bound Faith’s hand, his eyes meeting hers as she spoke once more, though he could not understand what she said, he knew it to be sincere. It came almost as a whisper, like a secret to be kept between them. 

“Is tu fuil ‘o mo chuislean..” She took her partner’s hand in hers, leaving a kiss of gratitude on his palm, where the bandage was upon hers. He could feel a warm blush creep across his face, with a half-turned grin to accompany. 

“Were there any others that you found?” Elias asked, then pulled from his thoughts, turning to the bystander as he carefully tucked the box into the relative safety of his torn coat. It would be enough, until he could place the parcel in Faith’s hands once again.

“Yes, they were found off the mudflats of Hendrawna, near Les Perles this morning.” The stranger answered, as Pound’s attention snapped, meeting the man’s eyes.

“Can you take me there? Or show me the way?”

“You should get rest, boy. Especially if you have injuries.” 

Elias shook his head, as he began walking toward the inland coast.

“I need to find someone, please. It’s rather important, Sir.” The young man retorted. He silently hoped that Faith and her family would have survived the incident, and had since found their way to safety.

———

The growing seaside village of Les Perles bustled with activity, as the afternoon sun of the springtime settled within the cloud filled sky. Recovery effort from the wreck of the Artemis had been with relative success and rather quick, though the band of Frasers were left distraught over the next steps to take. The Colonies of America were a place of unfamiliarity for them, at least in this century.  

Claire had been informative of the impending revolution to Jamie and Faith both, though the news of it was a complicated situation to come to terms with. The last time a war had reached their family, it had been cause for separation, as well as the destruction of Highland life.

‘What will you have in store, America?’ Faith thought, as she precariously filed through Mama’s surviving medicines from the ship’s surgery. Claire had been treating ailments of various townsfolk through the day as a means to earn wage to manage the journey, if Scotland was to be sought after. She also took to teaching Faith and Marsali, beyond what skills the young women already possessed for healing. A voice to her left distracted from her task. 

“Any sign of Mr. Pound, a nighean?” Da asked, sitting beside the girl as she shook her head. The last she had seen of him was the storm that overtook the vessel, racing to the upper decks to aid the hands of the crew, following Mama as she went on a search for Da. 

The howling winds of the hurricane taunted the Artemis, whipping through the vessel as it fought for stability among the rapid growing crests of waves. It was like nothing Faith had experienced before, and chilled her to the bone. She held tight to the side of a cargo crate with one hand, the other gripped Elias by the arm as they attempted to avoid being thrown by the force of the storm. 

“I need to help them.” The young man spoke, as he hastily made an attempt to move forward, the grip on his arm tightened. 

“Like hell ye are! Da an’ Mama said tae stay here, ye canna go.” Faith argued, as the pair were tousled about the cabin along with their companions. The young man moved for her to release the grip on his arm, in exchange for a hold on his hand instead. Elias met Faith’s eyes, holding her attention as chaos rang out around them. 

“I have to do my duty, Faith.” 

He stated, squeezing her fingers in reassurance before releasing her hand. Turning to the steps, he made haste to the upper deck as rainwater pelted the wayfarer. He said something aloud then, in an attempt at optimism, toward himself and his company.

“All will be well, trust in that.” 

“He wasna there when those townsmen found us. They said tha’ wreckage was scattered across a few beaches. Mebbe he’s no’ there.” 

“Weel, tae be fair, your Mam an’ I were separated from ye too.” Jamie responded, with a slight nudge to Faith’s side. He grinned, and placed a kiss on his daughter’s forehead. 

“Dinna fash, Faith. He’ll turn up, ye ken he will.” 

———

“Georgia?” Elias inquired, a puzzled expression crossed his features as he looked to the barman of the tavern he found himself in that night, a light rainfall had begun outside a quarter hour before, showing no signs of slowing. The server nodded, setting a glass of ale down beside him, to someone sitting at Pound’s right.

“Indeed, in the Colonies of America. Tho’ I doubt you’ve found yerself here before.” The patron spoke, turning to face Elias. Rings adorned both of his hands, varying in size and shape. His accent was Irish, but Elias couldn’t place him from anywhere he’d been. 

“Stephen Bonnet, Captain. It’s a pleasure to be in your company, I can assume you’re one of the seas also.” Bonnet spoke, extending a hand in Pound’s direction. Elias hesitated for a moment, before returning the shake. 

“Elias Pound, and I am. Served in the Naval Service since I was a boy.” He spoke, still skeptical of the figure. There was something off putting about the Irishman, but unsure of what that could be. 

“Well Mr. Pound, are ye English then?” Bonnet inquired, resting his elbows forward on the bartop. He took a sip, still eyeing the other man as he did. 

“My mother was from Bristol. Though my father was Welsh. Cornwall, you know it?” 

“Ah, never cared for either. Though you seem like a fine fellow, coming from there.”

A brief silence followed the pair, and the tavern as a whole before Elias spoke again. 

“Would you possibly know where I can find someone, Mr. Bonnet?” 

“Depending on who you’re looking for, I do.” He finished the glass of ale, sliding the tankard to the barman. Elias tightened his grasp on the corner of the tricorn that the older man had given him that morning currently sat on the bartop. 

“A girl. Tall, red-haired, she’s a Scot.” 

Stephen grinned in an almost playful manner, before returning to his glass. “It’s a lass ye’re after then?” He inquired.

Elias felt himself nearly blush into his drink, with his face growing hot. He had never really been around many women or young ladies, much less actually courted one. Pound nodded, before standing from the seat. He placed the tricorn atop his head.

“I haven’t seen that lass anywhere, sorry to say Mr. Pound. But I did hear somethin’ of a lady Doctor near here, English.” 

Elias’s attention sharpened, before he curtly jerked his head. His hands began to feel numb, like they were submerged in the coldest waters of the ocean. 

“Where might I inquire with this Doctor?”

Stephen quietly noted Pound's response, leaning back in a relaxed fashion for a moment, he spun a coin in his fingers. “Les Perles’ center, boarding house near Queen Street. I heard she took a man’s arm from him, and he lived. Quite the intelligent one, she is.” 

Elias tipped his hat in a quiet thanks, before he made a haste exit through the tavern door, and down the darkened, rain slick street.

———

The boarding house was surrounded in a pleasant silence, as the dark of night settled in the town, rain drops clung to the glass panes of the windows. After Mama had treated the last of their patients for the evening, the family had situated a collection of bed pallets throughout the house, finding rest whenever they could. Faith had sequestered herself to bedding near the hearth of the sitting room, facing the doorway. With spare parchment and other writing supplies given to her from the boarding host, she began to write, feeling tension release from her shoulders as ink filled the pages.

Brianna,

Much has transpired since the last time I could write, thankfully: most is positive. Foremost, our Cousin Ian has been found and safely retrieved from Jamaica. He is whole, though somewhat shaken from his ordeal. 

Second, is the word of myself and Da in reference to the broadsheets and price on us in Scotland. (Mama has informed me that you may have been aware, due to your Roger’s histories and research) Fortunately, the warrants have been lifted from our supposed charge sheets, as the result of a legal inquiry given by Lord John Grey, a dear friend to us. As a result, we were bound for home, aboard the Artemis once again.

Thirdly, and with a newfound joy: I have begun to court the wayfarer in which I detailed to you in the letter previous, Mr. Elias Pound. After our meeting on the Porpoise, and his subsequent aid with Mama and myself in care of the ailed crew, we grew rather close. Elias and myself were quite nervous to see what Da and Mama, as well as Fergus and Marsali had to say about the matter: but found relief in their permission and happiness. (Yes, he knows of travel, after an ordeal which I shall explain when I can write for longer, my apologies to you, Sister.)

Fourth, and rather unfortunate I’m afraid: the Artemis ran ashore in the Colonies, wrecked along the shore of Georgia. (The South, as Mama clarified. Though I don’t know much of the land.) Most of the crew, supplies, and our belongings had been lost: save for some chests we could salvage. I  pray that your other letters survived the carnage, as I was unable to recover them myself.

We are hoping to begin traveling again soon, in the direction of North Carolina. Da has informed us of his Aunt Jocasta who is a landowner there, one of our MacKenzie relatives. I am unsure as to what will transpire in the next days and months, but I hope all will be well. 

Mama, Da, and our family send their love, and Elias would like me to give his regards to you. He is eager to learn, of you and of what the future holds for history. I pray that you are safe, happy, loved, and well cared for, dear sister. You are in my thoughts often.

Yours ever,

Faith

A sharp knock at the door front distracted the young woman from her work, as she set the letter onto a side table. Individuals within the house began to stir at the interruption, as the girl neared the entryway, another beat followed. 

“May I help —“ Faith began, as she pried the door open, cut off in near disbelief at the sight before her. Elias stood out on the porch of the house, the shoulders of his dampened coat were threadbare, but still held together, something was tucked to his chest, securely bound to him. He wore a tricorn that was unrecognizable to her, assuming that it was borrowed, damp from the torrent of rain outside. His eyes met hers, instantaneous relief overcame him, as he staggered.

The young lady swiftly took the other individual into her grasp, not paying mind to the soaked and tattered nature of his appearance. Elias carefully returned the embrace, bringing both arms around his beloved’s shoulders, to rest at the middle of her back. Faith ran her fingers through the hair at the nape of his neck, untying the worn out leather cord that bound his hair in place. 

“I was worrit’ sick over ye, Elias...” She spoke softly, running her hands down his arms. The young man shook his head, turning his face into the hollow of her shoulder.

“It’s alright, I’m whole.” 

He moved to the parcel within his coat, setting it atop a spare table as the pair retreated to the room from the soaked porch. Faith’s attention shifted to the surface, focused upon the box. Elias removed the damp outer coat from his shoulders, draping the clothing article over a chair, then turned to his companion as she searched the letterbox and contents. 

“It’s remarkable, all of them are ‘ere then?” Faith asked, turning to her partner as he nodded, picking up the discarded document on the table. Elias creased the pages with care, retrieving items to seal it. He reached for the girl’s hand, delicate as he pressed the signet upon her finger into the warmed swell of the wax. 

“Yes, your sealing job was most skilled.” He answered with a gentle nudge of teasing. Faith leaned her back against the table, biting down upon her knuckle in an attempt to stifle a laugh. 

“I hope it was, nearly cost me a hand, though ye kent tha’ already.” She answered, studying Elias’s expression as he held her hands, palms facing upward. He traced over the mild scarring  upon her palm with his thumb, from the bandaging he had done weeks previous. The boarding house quieted once again, leaving the pair to settle as the rain raged out across the seaside town. Faith took to silently examining Elias for potential injury, taking note of how the young man winced from his chest, his breathing uneven and almost painful.

“Stand up fer a moment, will ye?” The girl asked, moving from where she rested beside the desk, taking up a standing position beside the fire of the hearth. She offered a hand out to her companion, to assist him in standing from the chair he occupied. Elias raised a brow in suspicion, shifting how he sat as he winced once again. 

“Why?” He inquired, voice strained from the sudden jolt of pain.

“Because I ken broken ribs when I see ‘em. Now will ye jes’ do as I ask?” Faith instructed, grasping the young man by the elbows, paced slowly as Pound moved to stand before her. He winced once again, as the young woman directed his arm to be parallel with the hardwood floor. She lifted the soaked and soiled linen of his shirt, examining a collection of welts with her fingertips, accompanied with bruising that extended across his hip bone. 

“Well, ye definitely need Mama tae set these, I dinna ken if I can do it properly.”

“Don’t wake her, I can manage until morning.” He spoke again, reaching for one of her hands, as he placed it over his chest. Faith sighed in slight disapproval, before readjusting his shirt. 

“Get some sleep, there’s a bed tha’ way. I have somethin’ I need tae do first.” She instructed, pointing to where her bed pallet was before the fire. The young man hesitated, before sitting at the foot of the makeshift cot.

“It can wait until morning, can’t it? You need your rest as well, I’ll be fine on the floor.”

“No’ if ye have broken ribs, trust me.” Faith retorted, retrieving a spare blanket from the floor, folding it into her grasp to hold to her chest.

“C’mere then, I won’t allow you to be cold, it wouldn’t be fair.” Elias spoke, asking in a polite manner. He did not think of what could be considered proper, in the moment, opting instead for comfort. This earned a perplexed reaction from Faith, who glanced between the side room occupied by Marsali, Fergus, and Ian, then back to her companion sat near the hearth. She drew the blanket in her hands across her shoulders, her brow creased in thought.

Elias held out a hand in her direction, a small smirk of playfulness hinted across his lip. Faith rolled her eyes in reply, closing distance between herself and the warmth drawn from the fire. This wasn’t the first time she had shared a cot with someone else, but it had been with Fergus or Da when she was a child, or in the alcove of the print shop, not with the young man who she was courting. Almost as if she had spoken aloud, Elias spoke softly.

“If you do not wish to, I can take the chair.” He said, fixing the wrap across the girl’s shoulders, as she laid down onto the cushioned pallet. She placed an arm carefully to rest at his side, as he eased himself to lie facing her. Faith shook her head, then met his gaze for a brief moment.

“No, you’ll stay here wi’ me. I have tae make sure tha’ ye dinnae hurt yerself further.”

“I won’t, especially with such a diligent nurse to look after me, Miss Fraser.” Elias answered, holding back a chuckle as he brushed hair back from Faith’s forehead with his fingers. She took his hands in hers then, holding tight as she allowed herself to ease into sleep. Overcome by exhaustion from the past days’ uncertainty, and his fluctuating pain: Pound gently tucked the spare blanket from Faith’s shoulders to envelope the woman, then soon found rest beside her.

------

    “America? But Faith wrote about Jamaica in her letters.” Roger questioned, standing at the right of Brianna’s chair, eyes focused upon the collection of letters, academic texts, copies of broadsheets and maps that were scattered throughout the desk of his study and office as a whole. The girl rested her elbows upon the workspace, firmly pressing the heel of her palm to her forehead in thought. 

    “Yes, but the Artemis was wrecked near Georgia, so unless they found a ship to Scotland right after, they could have stayed.” She retorted, holding the most recent letter in question up to Roger’s line of sight, pointing to a particular paragraph. For the most part, their trail ran cold besides what had been evident in the letters, which concerned the pair in their research. 

    “D’ye think there’s any marriage records we can find?”

    “With Faith and Elias? Or with Fergus and…” Brianna trailed her inquiry, searching the previous entries once again. “Marsali?” 

    “Your sister, most likely. If they had stayed in America, the records would be from a magistrate in the Colonies, or the church.” Roger clarified, until he came upon a discarded document, appearing to be a copy of a newspaper. His eyes trailed a particular highlighted section, then stopped. His hand gripped the back of Brianna’s armchair. ‘Deaths by fire...destroyed their house in the settlement of Fraser’s Ridge...no surviving children.’ He read, then realized that his companion’s attention had followed suit. The two remained silent, before Bree stood up from the chair, her hands placed flat on the desk to center herself.

    “We have to find them, Roger.”

    “Bree, we can’t. ” 

    “Why not? If Mama was able to go back to find Jamie, then can’t we do that? I won’t allow them to die, Roger. Not when we could do something to change it.” Brianna retorted, feeling herself become angered by the second. 

    “It would be playing God, what if it sets off a chain reaction? Changing history itself?” Roger inquired, hesitant as to the young woman’s intentions. Her eyes fell back to the pages, studying the particular wording of the paragraph in question, before she answered.

    “To hell with history then, simple as that.”

-------

    The wooded forest of Georgia was a kind change in perspective for Faith, after being at sea for months on end, and with the unfortunate grounding of their vessel afterward. It was the closest she could come to being home, among the mountains and thicket of the Highlands. Mama had expressed an ideal in passing she had come to admire when living in Boston, especially when she had first settled. 

    “The American Dream?” Elias questioned, providing slack in the reins he held as his horse followed the cart that Mr. Fraser managed to secure in town before departing, along with two driving steeds. Faith’s grasp tightened around her partner’s waist, securing her to the saddle as she nodded in confirmation. His brow creased with a question on his tongue.

    “But how is that different from the dreams of others? Apart from the land, of course.” Pound inquired, turning slightly to meet her gaze for a brief moment. The girl shrugged in her shoulders, unable to answer. Then, she recalled a particular man she had met once, in the print shop as he spoke with Da over a book printing. He had been a Colonist from New York, visiting Edinburgh on trading business.

    “It’s no’ much different, I like tae think. But, it’s wha’ people do tae achieve their own part of it tha’ makes it interesting.” Faith replied, resting her chin on Elias’s shoulder for a moment. The pair relaxed in silence for a short while, listening to the surrounding noise of the landscape, as well as their fellow travelers. Laughter rose from the front of the horse-drawn cart as Ian retold a story to Marsali and Fergus, Leslie dealt cards to Hayes while the pair played a hand in the back of the wagon, Da attempted to whistle a tune, falling short for amusement purpose as Mama smiled. It made Faith immensely happy to know that her family was piecing themselves together once again, with ambition to be whole. 

    “Do you think we can have that someday? A dream like those, I mean.” Elias questioned, carefully moving a hand to grasp Faith’s, their interwoven fingers resting on his sternum. He spoke softly, as to not be overheard by the other passengers. These words were just meant for Faith to hear, at least in the moment. In truth, he questioned what laid ahead for all of them, especially with the promising word of the future put before the couple. The young woman nodded, leaning her head slightly to press a soft kiss to her partner’s temple. She could feel the blush grow across his cheeks, his skin radiating warmth.

    “We already do, but it’s a matter of wha’ we make of it.” 

Chapter Text

The port of Charleston was a familiar and welcome sight, as merchants, crew hands of vessels, and townsfolk engaged within the commerce of the day. The band of travelers had reached the port around sundown the day previous, after a few days' course up coast from Georgia.

As much as Elias was enjoying the opportunity to travel on land once again, it felt pleasant to have recognizable surroundings of a harbor before him. He felt a hand find its grip on his bicep, though not tight enough to bruise, as his mouth upturned into a lopsided smile.

“How did you know I’d be here?”

“Well, ye are practically a selkie from how much time ye spend near water, Mr. Pound.” Faith teased, hooking her arm through his as the two walked along the cobbled pathway of the seaside. The hum of activity among the peddlers and patrons silenced their brief conversation, before the young woman continued.

“I heard Da speak tae Fergus an’ Ian about selling gems this morning, I figured he may ask ye too. Did he say anything?” She inquired, as the pair paused in front of a tavern, shouting and other loud banter could be heard from within the brick-walled establishment. Pound nodded, adjusting his grasp to hold the hand of his companion, before briefly meeting her gaze.

“Trust me on this, alright?” He asked, waiting for Faith’s answer, which came in a swift nod. More questions of his intent rose in her mind, hoping to be addressed. Her eyes shifted to the purse secured to his belt, then back to his face.

The girl’s brow narrowed, in a skeptical fashion. As the pair stepped into the tavern, she narrowed herself and Elias to a booth, cramped in a corner of the bar, the air thick with the scent of alcohol. 

Elias, ye canna bet gems in somethin’ like cards. It could make us look like targets.” Faith spoke, a harsh whisper of warning passed her lips. The young man reached for her hands across the booth, giving a gentle squeeze to her fingers.

“I won’t use them, just a bit of coin. My intent for those was to find a different buyer, as instructed by your Father. Besides, most of them are sailors, they wouldn’t try to bet much at once.” He explained, taking the pouch from where it sat upon his hip, and placing it within Faith’s hands, opened as he retrieved silver pieces from the collective.

He discarded his tricorn and coat, leaving them to the seat adjacent to his partner, joining the table of card players at the center of the alehouse. Fraser observed in silence, her hands finding purchase around a tankard of mead, after making haste to stash the purse with her skirts. Her attention centered on Elias’s voice, as he addressed the men sitting at the game.

“So, do you have a round to spare, gentlemen?” 

A hand adorned with rings caught Elias' attention, as a small collection of gems were placed within the center of the wooden surface, then reached out in greeting to him with fingers outstretched. The young man’s gaze rose from the table, to the keen eyes of Stephen Bonnet, the Irishman’s face unkempt and dirtied. He smiled, almost in a sly manner.

“Of course, Mr. Pound. Anythin’ for a fellow sailor like yourself.” He replied, settling back into the chair as his eyes scoured the room, before catching sight of Faith in the corner stall.

Her focus centered upon the figure for a moment, with suspicion looming within the back of her mind. Faith had encountered several smugglers and pirates during her time in Edinburgh, of which the individual fit the characteristics. She relaxed the hold possessed on the ale glass, in favor of adopting a neutral posture. Bonnet’s eyes met Elias once more, as the hand of cards were dealt before the table. 

“So, you were successful in finding your girl then?” The pirate inquired, silently taking note of how her gaze shifted to Elias, then to her lap, before returning to the table. Pound hesitated slightly, altering the cards in his grasp before he answered.

“Yes, I was rather fortunate, Mr. Bonnet. We’re quite appreciative of the situation.”

Stephen rose from his chair, the worn wood of the furniture creaking as his weight distributed from the surface. The game hastily silenced, as the men of the table watched Bonnet with full attention. The Irishman approached the booth at which the young Fraser sat, holding a hand out to her, with a mischievous smile to accompany. 

“Well, would you like to join us, Madam?” Bonnet inquired, a sting to his tone as he spoke. Elias turned on the stool he occupied, eyes settled to Faith’s as he seemed to speak without uttering a sound.

‘It’s alright, I’ve got you.’ His eyes pleaded, afraid as to what may happen if the dyad refused.

He could feel the hairs upon his neck almost stand, but could not differentiate fear from nerve. Faith silently nodded, standing with her companion’s hat in hand as she made haste to the table. The wool of his coat provided warmth to her shoulders, as she draped it across her back. 

A sudden jolt of movement surprised the young woman, as she found herself pushed into Elias’ lap, his hands carefully holding her waist to steady her movement. The gang of smugglers chuckled in amusement, as Stephen lifted his tankard in Faith’s direction. 

"Slàinte, a leannan.” He spoke, as the game resumed in full merriment. The girl shifted in an awkward manner on her companion’s lap, attempting to remain somewhat calm. There was something that made her feel uneasy about the man before them, which caused her sense to heighten with nerves. 

Elias’ grasp on her waist pulled Faith from her thoughts, as she studied the table in the moments following, then the assortment of cards within the possession of her partner. She whispered out of earshot of the other men. 

“If ye play a face or high card, then it’s a simple win, same suit doesna hurt either.” 

Elias raised an eyebrow in question at her insight, which earned a playful jab to the side in response. He smirked, with newfound confidence in his victory. “Well, I believe this calls for a wrap, don’t you think?”

Pound laid his card hand on the game table in view of the other players, displaying a set of spades, high in number and value. Faith hid her smile behind her hands, in a guise of adjusting the coat that dressed her shoulders. The men around the table grumbled in dissatisfaction, before becoming silent. A voice cut in, detailing his grievances.

“Tha’ trollop cheated! We can’t have a woman tellin’ tricks.” A man scoffed to the other beside him, earning a silent glare from Faith as she stood from her position on the stool with Elias. The latter glanced in the direction of the man, his hand rested on the table as he drummed his fingers.

“Pardon me Sir, but that is no way to address a lady.” 

Faith gripped her partner by the shoulder, in a silent warning. They were in an unfamiliar setting, which could be disastrous if caught off guard by the band of smugglers. Her opposing hand took hold of a knife hilt, secured at her left hip by the belt she wore.

She took observation of the tavern, which now began to darken as the sunset began across the horizon of the seaside. The exit was unobstructed by patrons, and could allow a haste retreat. Movement within her peripheral caught the girl’s attention, as a brash pair of hands seized her by the arms.

“I wouldn’t try to challenge my associate here, lass. He could break you wi’ a snap of his fingers.” Bonnet spoke then, standing from his chair at the card table. His palms flat against the surface, as he motioned for another two to hold Elias. Pound stiffened his posture, glancing briefly to Faith, who presented in a stoic manner, almost calm.

He watched her as Bonnet approached them, standing within an arm’s length of the woman. The Irishman moved to grasp Faith’s chin, tilting her face in the direction of the tavern’s firelight. The surrounding patrons grew silent in observation, while others exited the establishment in a timely fashion. 

“A fiery one aren’t you? I guess tha’ can be said of most Scots.” Bonnet spoke, before releasing her face. She scowled, her glare sending a chill down Elias’ spine. The gang of marauders broke into laughter, though brief.

Faith’s eye met her partner’s for a moment, giving him a curt jerk of her head in warning, before she struck the assailant holding her with a hard backward jab of her head into the man’s face. He collapsed to the floor, as she moved to hold her knife to the other men.

“Keep the winnings then, we dinnae care. Let him go, an’ we’ll be on our way. Understand?” The young woman spoke, turning her head to face Bonnet, who remained still. A shrewd smile crossed his features, as he bound to grasp Faith by the collar of her jacket, bringing her face within inches of his own. Her hold on the knife tightened. 

“Shame, you would make good entertainment for my men.” 

Bonnet released his grip, with an abrupt shove to the young woman toward the direction of the door, Elias was released in turn, as his weight moved from momentum of the immediate shift in stance. He stood straight, reaching for Faith as he brought an arm around her shoulders. Bonnet tossed a pence piece in their direction, which landed at Faith’s feet, head facing skyward.

“I bid you adieu then, Mister and Mistress Pound.” 

Elias moved to grasp his beloved’s hand, as the two made haste to the market, which lay outside the alehouse steps. Various peddlers and stands were closed, as the sun met the water.

———

Faith’s fingers began to grow numb, as her mind lost itself in thought. She had never encountered an individual such as Bonnet before, though she never wanted to repeat such an occurrence.

Elias’ voice brought her forward, as she realized they now stood at the inn that her family had secured rooms with. His hands rested at her cheekbones, gentle and warm.

“Are you alright?” Pound spoke softly, tilting his forehead to meet her brow. She brought her hands to hold his wrists, as oxygen cycled through her lungs. The girl could feel her heart almost break free from her ribcage, the adrenaline that coursed through her veins began to recede. 

“I’m whole.”

The pair stood for a moment, surrounded by the silence that engulfed the street. The sky broke into a twilight hue, darkening by the minute. Faith released her hold on Elias’ arms, choosing instead to take his hand. She brought his knuckles to her lips in a silent gesture of gratitude, then stepped into the shelter of the inn. 

-----

The calming sway of the vessel within the waves held fast within the dark of night. Elias had found himself aboard once again, in the welcoming purpose and power of a ship and its crew. However, there was a feeling of unease that he felt through the air, electrified like lightning as it struck landfall.

A scream pierced the air, pulling the wayfarer from his thoughts. Pound made haste to the source of the outburst, to find the sight of a mother holding her child, surrounded by crewmen. She was distressed, tears ran down her cheeks as she pleaded with the Captain, whose face was obscured to him.

Before he could move further, the sailor forced the pair from an open bay window of the cabin, to the dark depth. Another voice caught his attention.

“She was a child for God’s sake!” A crewman exclaimed, to Elias’ surprise. For reasons he was unable to conjure, he could not speak aloud, but instead was forced into silent observation. The Captain turned toward the candlelight of the desk, as Stephen Bonnet showed his face. He shrugged, completely unnerved from what had transpired. 

“You will forgive me for putting my ignorant opinion above your own, Mr. MacKenzie. But, well...I’m the captain here.” Bonnet spoke, as the figure left the quarters. He passed Elias, nearly brushing shoulders as he walked. Pound’s brow creased in thought, as he turned to face the corridor. It felt as though he knew the man, but he could not place where the familiarity stuck. Then, Elias felt a grasp to his shoulder, pulling him backward. 

“Elias, wake up. Ye’re dreaming.” Faith spoke softly, standing beside the bed that Pound occupied, with a hand at the center of his back. He shook the sleep filled fog from his mind, reaching for the spare shirt he had discarded in the night.

Sitting up, the young man pulled the fabric over his head, then focused on his partner’s attention. She looked at him with a curious glance.

“Is there somethin’ wrong? Ye look like a ghost was here.” Faith asked, sitting at the foot of the bed. She tightened the wrap that engulfed her shoulders, forcing out the possibility of a chill. The question held heavy in the air of the room, before Elias found an answer.

“I was on a ship, but I couldn’t recognize it from any sort of vessel I’ve had a berth in before. It was...strange.” He began to describe the scene, and the unfortunate consequences of the moment.

The young man felt his chest begin to tighten, whether from grief or regret, he did not know. Faith listened intently to his retelling, her eyes studying the features of his face as Elias spoke. 

He was there, Faith. Bonnet was the Captain of the crew, or so it seemed anyway.” 

“Tha’ bastard from the tavern? Why?” She questioned, unwilling to address the spoken figure in a polite manner, given their encounter. Elias shrugged, then brought the heel of his hand to his eyes, swiping the feeling of drowsiness from his eyelids.

He knew that sleep may be impossible to find for the remainder of the night. The young man moved to sit beside Faith on the bed’s edge, his feet planted firmly to the board plank of the inn’s floor. 

“Would you tell me about your childhood?” Elias inquired in desperate need of distraction from thought. The young Fraser met his gaze, puzzled as to the intent of his question. She smiled, with a nod as she began her recollection. 

“Well, ye ken already of how I lived wi’ Da an’ Fergus in Edinburgh, but I spent most of my childhood at Lallybroch, at least when I was a wean.” 

“A what?” He asked, perplexed by her word choice. Elias was familiar with the dialect that most Scots spoke, but still found himself hung up on phrases from time to time.

“When I was a child, I mean. We lived on the lands of Da’s family, which are the Frasers, as ye kent already. Lallybroch was built by my grandsire long before any of us were born, after he marrit’ Ellen MacKenzie of Leoch.” Faith clarified, continuing with the explanation.

As she spoke, Elias moved to hold her hand, feeling more comforted by her proximity as the minutes passed. He could feel the tense knot within his chest alleviate as she spoke, picturing her descriptions of the large stone-walled home, and how she might have run around the grounds as a child, following her brother or brood of cousins. 

“What of your sister then? You said she had lived in Boston with your Mother.” Elias questioned, intrigued as to what else he could learn of Faith’s younger counterpart. She stood for a moment, brief to exit the room.

Fraser soon returned, with the bundle of photographs from inside the letterbox, fortunate to have survived the wreckage of the ship run aground nearly two weeks previous. The young woman placed the delicately bound parcel into Elias’ hands.

“Faith, are these…” He inquired, his gaze shifted to meet hers in confirmation. The collection was the size of a small painted portrait, but somehow even more lightweight.

“Those are the portraits of Brianna Ellen Fraser, as she lives in the future, Mr. Pound.” She clarified, moving to examine the pictures before the light of a hearth. Some of the photographs had been left with her parents’ things, including the infamous swimming attire, much to the amusement of Mama and Faith herself. 

Elias cycled through the photographs with care, turning the images over in order to read what Claire had written to detail their origins. The idea of portraits created with light fascinated the young man, as he reflected possibilities with each image.

‘I wonder how they might capture you. Or even if such a machine could be capable.’ He thought, smiling at the mere idea of it as he looked between Faith and the portraits of her sibling.

“She looks like you, even your hair is the same!”

“Och aye, where d’ye think we got it from? Always a mess an’ never sits right.” Faith replied teasingly, raking a hand through her curls, the color reflecting between auburn and copper in the firelight, to an almost blonde at the ends. Elias placed the photographs onto the side table of the room, as a comfortable silence took hold.

He gently ran his fingers through her hair with one hand, tracing her hairline and scalp as he went. Faith focused her sight onto her lap where her hands sat, unsure as to her spoken insecurities. It wasn’t something she hated, but rather wished it had a more tame quality.

“I like your hair, how it’s darker in some spots rather than others, or when it falls over your face, no matter how you tie it up, one stray bit always makes its way out.  Whether you share it or not, it’s yours all the same.” Elias spoke quietly, finishing his thought as his thumb brushed her cheek. She met his eye then, a dark amber in the sight of the blue of a loch, deep and cool in its expanse. 

Before he could speak further upon the subject, a warm flush of lips met his mouth, as Faith’s hands came to rest in his hair, holding him steadily. Elias felt himself ease with her touch, as he graciously returned the endearment, the oxygen nearly stolen from his lungs as they burned with effort.

The hold broke, as his beloved moved closer to him on the mattress edge, her knee grazed his leg as she moved. Her breathing became sporadic for a brief moment, as he eased backward, in order to provide them with further space to shift if need be. 

“D’ye ken if they can hear us?” Faith inquired, her eyes searching Elias’ for any sort of retaliation. He shook his head, with a hesitant glance toward the ceiling followed soon after. 

“Your Father may have my head if they can, Faith. Not to mention how your brother may feel.”

Elias responded in a playful tone, though diminished by the whisper it was delivered by. He sat against the headboard, minimally decorated in order to suit any growing fashion. Earning a considerable eye roll from his partner, his grin widened, as his cheeks turned blush with a sudden flood of warmth.

Faith moved to sit beside him, surprised to find the gentleman settle her onto his lap, as they were hours previous. She possessed his face in her hands again, bringing her lips to his, as calloused fingertips found her back, running careful lines from the top of her shoulder blades, downward to follow her spine. 

Faith hesitated momentarily, glancing back at the doorway of the room, before returning her attention to her partner. An unspoken question stood between them, as Elias spoke. 

“We don’t have to, if you don’t wish.” 

The statement was met with a curious brow from the young lady, as she momentarily rose from the bed once again, to inspect the outer hall of the inn’s confines. She cautiously opened the door, wincing at the squeak of a hinge, before she found the hall empty, and the house silent.

A hand brushed her back, as Faith felt Elias’s welcomed presence at her shoulder. His fingers interlaced with those on her right, as he brought them to his mouth, kissing the knuckles of her hand. 

She turned to face him then, the door closed softly behind as she turned the bolt. 

“We’ll take it slow, aye?” Faith confirmed, reaching to grasp his face once again, the evidence of scruff began on his chin. He nodded with a grin to follow, carefully lifting her into his arms as she held tight, hands clasped around his neck. 

“I’ve got you.” Elias replied, brushing a section of hair back from Faith’s forehead, a small grin reappeared at the corners of his mouth, as the dwindling firelight cast a glow over the cramped board room. 

The beginnings of sunrise peaked through the drawn shades of the window, and with it: the promise of adventure and challenge ahead.

Chapter Text

    “Where were they?” Brianna inquired, setting her current collection of documents onto the table before her, looking at Roger with a skeptical eye. After the recent discovery of the obituary, the pair had taken it upon themselves to fill the spaces within their timeline that the letters from Faith did not answer. From long distance inquiries to universities, archives, and museums, to what the duo could gather from the Reverend's home in Inverness: it drew Brianna and Roger to search within America at last. Roger passed a copied document across the table to his companion, circling two particular names with a pen. 

“In a magistrate record, somewhere in North Carolina, it seems. But why? ” He replied, running a hand over his face in thought, briefly filing through the letters once again. “Faith’s letters didn’t mention anything, the last one was in Charleston a week before, and the next is dated nearly two weeks after that.”

She lifted the document Roger had marked into the light of the room at eye level, reading aloud from the typed page, then glanced at a list of copied signatures. Among them, the familiar names of their counterparts caught Brianna’s particular attention.
    “Mr. James Fraser and Mr. Elias Pound, present at the defense of Gavin Hayes, within the Magistrate Court of Wilmington, Colony of North Carolina. On this day the sixteenth of June, in the year of our Lord, seventeen-sixty-seven.”  

-------

    The crowded space of the courtroom intrigued Faith, as she sat within the receding bench rows of the viewer stand, observing her surroundings as the mass of colonists settled. Elias sat beside her, his tricorn hat discarded into his lap as he squeezed her knee in reassurance, then looked toward the direction of Mr. Fraser. Her father sat at the defense table of the court, beside a public attorney as they awaited the hearing. Hayes was currently held within one of multiple jails that Wilmington possessed, to their knowledge. 

    The conversational buzz that engulfed the chamber was a pleasant distraction from the nerves that Faith felt creeping toward the front of her mind, also subdued by the presence of her partner situated at her right. She felt his fingers interlock with her own, possessing them tight for a brief moment, then relaxed, while still maintaining a hold.

    “I’m sure your Father will do what he can to ensure Hayes’s release, he won’t hang.”

    “I ken, but it’s no’ that I’m concerned with.” Faith replied, as Da briefly turned back in his chair to look at her, giving a signature owl-like wink in jest. His gaze drifted to Elias, with a polite nod of acknowledgement, before resuming his position sat toward the judge. 

    “Then what is it?”

    “For all we may understand, the magistrate may be different here in the Colonies than they’d be in Scotland, or even England.” Faith retorted, craning her head upward for a moment over the individuals seated in front of her, in hope of achieving a better view of the judge.

“It isn’t different, whether in America or across the ocean.” 

“How exactly d’ye ken, Mr. Pound?” Faith inquiried, with a slight rise in her brow. She could see the beginning of a smile appear across his mouth, nudging his non-injured side with her elbow. 

“Let’s just say that I’ve seen my fair share of court benches, Miss Fraser . But they were in defense of a friend, much like now.”

“Was Leonard one of those friends, perhaps?” The young woman questioned, in silent amusement as she recalled his embarrassment in Jamaica in conversation with her Uncle. Elias shook his head, running a thumb over Faith’s knuckles, her signet ring reflecting a beam of light within the room. 

“No, but Jim Quigley was. He was falsely accused of theft, and was acquitted on reassignment to a different vessel and crew.” 

“So he moved to the Porpoise, and you wi’ him?” She followed, her eyes trained to his.

“You would be correct.” He finished abruptly, interrupted as the proceedings began. 

The pair stood along with the other observers, as the judge and other figures were ushered into the front stands, adorned in fanciful robes and wigs, powdered fresh that morning, from Elias’s estimation. He felt Faith’s hold to his hand tighten once again, her eyes focused toward her Father, then diverting to the right as she recognized Hayes being escorted into the stand. 

“Ye aren’t going to speak?” She whispered the inquiry, her gaze not leaving Da’s companion as he was held by the arm, isolated from the defense, and Judge at the head of the room. Elias found himself following her gaze, before his reply was determined.

“No, unless your Father or Hayes request it. I know that it may be a skewed situation already, which could be unfortunate.” 

“How?” 

“If someone paid off the Judge for a non-guilty verdict for one of the cases, he may not be so lenient on the others as a result.” He answered with immediate disgust, as he found Hayes returning his gaze, a look of regret crossing the stockier man’s features. The defense attorney stood from his seated position, as he began with the rebuttal of the case.

———

The judge turned to his associate seated at his left shoulder, quiet whispers being exchanged before speaking. The occupying body of the court stood, waiting for the final word of the rather short hearing. Elias gripped the bench before him with one hand, knuckles turned white from his hold upon it, while centering his eyes to the stand at front. The Judge’s shoulders squared, standing in a manner almost poise as he delivered the sentence, tone completely void of anything resembling remorse or empathy.

“Gavin Hayes, you have been found guilty in the killing of Samuel Meeker, and will therefore be executed by hanging. It shall be carried out by noon a day from now, no further defense shall be heard.” 

 A spark of activity ignited within the chamber, as most present began to vacate the courtroom, Mr. Fraser found himself heading toward the judicial stand, with the attorney in tow, as his daughter and acquaintance observed. Faith’s grip moved to the bicep of her companion as the two remained, fingers finding hold on the sleeve of Pound’s coat. She adopted a scowl of distaste, as she began to mutter softly.

A leithid de sannt, chan eil e ceart…Go mbrise an diabhal do chnámha.” 

Elias’s brow raised in inquiry, finding himself amused by Faith’s actions as he looked at her, the girl’s eyes trained on her Father at the front of the stand. She wasn’t one to use her native tongue in public, unless held in conversation with Ian or Mr. Fraser. Despite the current mood caused by the sentence, he couldn’t help the brief smirk that appeared to him. 

“What?” Faith asked in a short fashion, refusing to meet his eyes. Pound replied with a slight shrug to his shoulders, before his retort followed.

“Remind me to ask what that means, when convenient.”

In return, she prodded the young man’s ribs with a nudge of her elbow, releasing his arm as she moved to approach her father. Elias held his breath in discomfort at the ache that was present, an after effect of healing from injury. He held his side for a brief moment, before regaining an upright standing position once more. 

‘You deserved that.’ Pound thought, with a sarcastic eye roll before replacing the tricorn atop his head, and following his companions from the chamber.

——

“So, ye want tae speak wi’ the warden for Hayes’s release on condition of insanity?” Mr. Fraser questioned, crossing his arms in front of his chest as a skeptical tone crept into his voice. The trio had reconvened at the inn, after seeing their ally escorted to the jail. Elias nodded, glancing between Fraser and Claire standing in front him, before speaking once more.

“I cannot guarantee his release on that alone, since he was also intoxicated at the time. But, it’s worth a shot. Sometimes when a Judge isn’t present, the jails can be more lenient.” 

“But he isn’t insane, or even close to it. We would have no proof, Elias.” Claire retorted, shaking her head as she considered his statement. Even with that additional testimony, it most likely would not be enough to save their ally from his unfortunate fate.

“How d’ye ken if it would even be considered? This isna like England where we can petition for a retrial or pardon in his sentence.”

“Because most jails and prisons are overcrowded and ill tended as a result, where they are doesn’t matter. So, the less prisoners on their hands, the better. I’m sure you’re aware of that.”

“Probably why he was sentenced tae hang rather than imprisonment.” Faith stated, adopting a stance similar to that of her Father, but slightly more relaxed, at Pound’s left. A brief silence overcame the room, before Fergus entered, leaning against the wooden frame of the door. 

“What if someone who was not present in the court went with you, Mr. Pound?” He suggested, glancing to the young man, then to his sister. Faith narrowed her eyes in assessment of the question. She was aware that the magistrate courthouses kept meticulous records, often including lists of all who were in attendance, whether as spectators or participants themselves. Elias met his gaze, with a curt nod of approval. 

“I think it would give us a decent chance. We owe Hayes that much, after everything he’s done to help you.” He confirmed, his focus centered on Mr. Fraser once more as an inquiry appeared to him, looking to his daughter, wife, and finally to Elias before he spoke.

“Ye’ll need an alias if you want to get by easily. Any suggestions?”

------

    The commotion of street traffic faded to a dull distraction as Elias and Fergus approached the jail, after being offered direction from the attorney who had been present for Hayes that morning. He had also secured a brief visitation, after Mr. Fraser had expressed what their plan involved. Elias clenched his hands with nerve at his sides, then relaxed. If the two were to pull off the plan successfully, he had to remain collected. Fergus nudged his arm, then glanced at the guards standing post before the iron doorway of the holding center.

    “I have a plan for once we are inside, you should lead the way.” He spoke, extending an arm in gesture. Elias nodded, standing straight in posture before moving forward. The guardsman to the left of the gate eyed Pound suspiciously, but did not speak.

    “Good day gentlemen, Matthew Thomas and Fergus Claudel present to have an audience with a prisoner if you’d allow.” Elias addressed the pair, glancing back to Fergus before returning his attention to the sentry. The man posted at Pound’s right spoke up with inquiry. 

    “Who was it that made such an arrangement?”

     “It was arranged with Justice Henshawe this morning, after the trials with the magistrate.” Elias retorted, taking silent note of how both sentries tensed, as well as Fergus at the right of him. He had witnessed Justice Henshawe and Mr. Fraser approach the jail that morning, but not beyond that.

    “His motion was denied by the warden, no further visitation shall be permitted.” The sentry adjusted the musket to his side in silent warning, as Elias nodded in confirmation. Then, the second pointed his weapon forward, in an effort to dismiss the young men. 

Pound tipped the front of his hat in polite response, before turning to leave. The guilt of the trial’s result hung heavy onto his conscience, more so than expected. Hayes was a loyal and trusting individual, especially when it came to protection and service as a friend of the Frasers. It was a trait that Elias had become thankful for, for all of their sakes. 

“Do you have another idea?” Elias asked his compatriot, who currently had his head directed toward the ground in thought, as they reconvened at the inn. Fergus nodded, seeing Faith hand off the medication box to Milady, before the woman departed in a carriage. Marsali joined her sister-in-law at the porch of the inn, interlocking arms with the girl before two retired inside, appearing to be laughing in amusement at a joke.

“Yes, though Faith may not find it wise.”

——-

“It’s no’ going tae work, Fergus. We can’t jes’ go into a jail claiming to see our supposed Father.” Faith retorted, as she looked at her brother, who was currently giving Ian different pieces of clothing to change into. Murray looked skeptically, before exiting the room, Marsali smoothed the creased lines of her skirt, before standing.

“Well, dear sister: it would be more convincing than Fergus an’ Elias trying tae get in. Because guards aren’t ones that question family.” She replied, much to Faith’s argument. The young Fraser rolled her eyes, before sitting at the foot of the bed behind her. 

“Does Da ken wha’ your plan is?” 

“Milord doesn’t have to know, ma sœur.” Fergus mentioned, in full agreement with his wife. The girl threw her hands up in the air in silent protest.

“Goin’ off to release Hayes by claiming to be family may put all of us in irons instead. D’ye think of that?” 

Elias moved to stand beside his companion, placing a hand upon her shoulder for a moment in reassurance. He felt equally unsure of the situation, but was determined to exhaust other options before giving up entirely. 

“If it’s the only chance we have at this point, why not try?”

Faith exhaled, relaxing her shoulders as she determined her plan of action. She met his gaze, giving a curt nod before following her partner and siblings from the room. 

——

The tight confines of the carriage came to an abrupt halt before the brick-laden walls of the jail, which Faith studied intently from the vessel’s window. She felt a hand reach across to take hers for a moment, looking up at her sister-in-law, whose  mind was set to action.

“The sentry guard changed hands since Fergus and I were there, you shouldn’t have an issue.” Elias spoke, pulling at the collar of his coat for a moment, before settling. He glanced at Fergus and Ian, exchanging a wordless confirmation before he exited the carriage, in the guise of a footman. He extended a hand to Marsali, assisting her from the carriage as Ian followed, taking notice of their immediate surroundings before stepping aside from the wheeled vessel. 

“I understand that you have business here as well, Madam ?” Pound inquired in a teasing manner, as Faith accepted his offer of assistance, stepping down from the interior of the vehicle. The young woman made a humorous gesture of adjusting the gown she wore, one of the more detailed garments saved from the Artemis, before she spoke. 

“Quite right, Mr. Pound. Though it is not business I wish to discuss at present.” She said in a cool tone, before removing the gloves she had included, placing them within Elias’s open palm. A smile appeared to her for a moment, before he replied.

“Tonight then?” He placed the silken garment pair within his coat pocket. 

“Perhaps, I bid you good day, gentlemen.” Faith replied, with a polite curtsy before she moved to take Marsali’s arm, Ian standing behind the pair. She squeezed the other woman’s hand in a silent gesture of permission, walking forward towards the iron door of the jail. 

Elias settled back into the carriage, studying the trio as they neared the gate before looking to Fergus.

“Do you think it will work?” He asked, a sudden wave of nervousness overcoming the young man. Fergus nodded, knocking upon the roof of the carriage as it jolted forward from the streetside. 

“This isn’t the first time Faith’s done something like this, I doubt it’ll be her last.” 

“I’m not surprised, to tell you the truth.” Elias replied, finding himself nearly laughing at the thought. Faith and her family were certainly full of tricks up their sleeves, but that is often the best or only way to survive. Fergus slapped Pound’s arm playfully, with a kind smile to accompany. 

“Let us get a drink, they’ll know to meet us soon enough.” 

——

“Ye cannae let him hang! He’s all tha’ we have left.”  Marsali cried, in false hysterics to the guard within the jail, as she wiped her nose with a handkerchief offered to her. Faith ran a hand over her shoulders in comfort, silently making motion for Ian to search for Hayes within the cells. The jail was almost empty, to the girl’s surprise as she observed the space before them. She glanced at her sister-in-law, then to the guard.

“What my sister means, is tha’ our father would be far more suited for recovery rather than a sentence of the capital variety. Ye see, he’s been unwell since our Mother passed many a year ago, from the putrid throat.” Faith explained, adopting a polite yet stoic expression. The guard nodded, shifting his feet in an almost awkward manner. 

“Unfortunately, I understand the hardship, Madam. My sister passed from it as well.” 

Faith nodded, briefly bringing her attention to the hallway of cells, where Ian was currently conversing with Hayes, quiet and eager in tone. The sentry continued in his dialogue. 

“If I could release him ma’am, I would do so. However, the magistrate has already sentenced him to hang. There is nothing I can contribute for that to change.” He placed his hands behind his back as he spoke, in a rather relaxed fashion. It was as though the death sentences carried out were as simple as changing guard duty, rather than the end of a life. A brief line of a scowl crossed Faith’s lips, as she assisted Marsali in standing upright, Ian making haste to join them from the hall of holding cells. 

“The consideration is most appreciated, thank you for your time and understanding on this matter.” The young Fraser spoke, with a polite bow of her head as she still held fast to Marsali’s arm. The other girl made a joke of wiping her nose, in order to keep the dramatics intact. Faith glanced at her cousin who stood beside her, with a sorrowful expression across her face. 

Ian quietly escorted them out from the threshold of the jail, hidden out of sight from the standing guard before the three broke their charade. Faith removed the hat she had adorned her head with, the straw providing a decent amount of relief as she fanned herself from the growing heat of the afternoon. 

Marsali leaned against the wooden siding of the shop they were beside, her head bent downward. Her face was contorted in sudden discomfort, as she moved to take her sister’s hand. 

“Ian, can ye give us a moment? Fergus an’ Elias are at the tavern down the street.” Faith asked suddenly, glancing to Ian as she began to fan Marsali with her hat. He nodded, looking between the two of them before he spoke. 

“Should I find Auntie? She may ken somethin’ to help.” 

“No’ at the moment, Ian. Claire was called away tae a patient this morning.” Marsali replied, still attempting to hold back from the sudden nausea she felt. He left the pair in haste, making his way to where his cousin had instructed. Faith turned her attention back to the young woman, gently helping her to the ground in case of the other becoming faint. 

“Does Fergus ken?” She asked, brushing a loose section of hair back from Marsali’s forehead. The other took a moment to breathe, gathering her thoughts before she spoke.

“No’ yet anyway, I was going tae tell him tonight.” She replied, searching her companion’s face for any sort of reaction to her confession. Faith smiled, gently squeezing the girl’s shoulders in reassurance. 

“A child is wonderful news, Marsali. Something to be celebrated!” 

Her sister nodded, a grin accompanying her joy as she stood straight once more, linking her arm with Faith’s. They stood solitary for a moment, listening to the passing by of townsfolk and traffic from horse travel, before Marsali spoke again.

“It’s a surprise for sure. But one I welcome.”

She added, resting a hand momentarily to her abdomen, as the two began to stroll down to the agreed meeting place. Faith felt her stress of the current matter begin to lessen for a moment, in return for a feeling of gratitude and joy. She had always loved when their family would grow through the years, though often rare. Her thoughts were interrupted by a familiar voice, as Leslie came to join the two young women.

“Did ye get word of Hayes, Nighean Ruadh?” He asked of Faith, halting in his movement as Marsali entered the tavern, leaving them to converse. She took silent note of the name he used for her, recognizing it as what she had often been called at Ardsmuir by the other prisoners, and hadn’t heard since the night of the print shop fire in Edinburgh.

Fraser shook her head, removing the hat she had once again been dressed in, tucking it between her arm at the elbow. 

“We’ll talk when Mac Dubh joins us, he’ll want tae hear as well. Did Henshawe say anything about wha’ Elias mentioned?” She retorted, as Leslie shrugged regretfully, quick to check his surroundings before he leaned in to adopt a hushed tone.

“He said tha’ we may have a chance tae influence a sentry tomorrow, but wi’ using coin rather than words. I dinnae ken if your Da would agree with those terms.” 

Faith nodded, adopting a determined expression as her brow hardened in thought. She understood that some individuals may be partial to a bribe, regardless of what land their feet rested upon.

Money could often achieve feats that words and actions were incapable of. She grasped Leslie’s arm, leading him into the tavern to join their collective, as she found herself losing sight of how their friend could escape his unfortunate fate. 

 

Chapter Text

The morning which followed was a whirlwind affair, though not in high spirits. Faith found herself pacing with anticipation, of the rather unfortunate fate which awaited their ally. Da and Leslie had gone to visit Justice Henshawe and the magistrate once more early in the day, in the final hope of an appeal for Hayes.

The band of travelers had expended most other options, at least those considered legal. With Mama taking another patient call to earn coin with Marsali in tow, and Ian off to secure means of travel to River Run, it left her and Elias to tie up loose ends. 

“Faith, will you sit for a moment?” Elias asked, looking up at her from the small table he sat at, accompanied by four chairs. The letterbox was set before him, with fresh parchment and ink provided at the favor of the boarding host.

He stood, approaching Faith as she halted in her pacing, sight focused on the floor of the house, before Elias spoke once more. 

“We’ve done all we could, you have done everything you could to save him.” His tone was calm, but sincere, as he brought her gaze to meet his, a gentle hand against her face.

Faith remained silent for several heartbeats, her breath staggered slightly, as evidence from crying. She leaned her head forward, burying her face into the shoulder of her partner’s shirt, before she replied.

“T’isnt right, t’isnt fair...he doesna deserve tae die.” The sentence was muffled by fabric, as Elias nodded, gently taking her into his arms, holding a hand on the back of her head in a calming gesture.

The young Fraser brought her arms to rest on Elias’s back, palms flat against his shoulder blades, as he whispered the words to a verse he had learned as a child, from his Mother. She had sung them to him after his father had passed, just before joining Triton. It was a song of grief, of pain, and a journey set before them.

I'm just a poor wayfaring stranger, traveling through this world below, there is no sickness, no toil, nor danger, in that bright land to which I go...I'm going there to see my Father, And all my loved ones who've gone on...I’m only going over Jordan, I’m only going over home...I know dark clouds will gather 'round me, I know my way is hard and steep, but beauteous fields arise before me...Where God's redeemed, their vigils keep...”

The song continued, as Elias began to sway in a gentle manner, from right to left in the silent hall of the house. Faith felt herself ease, releasing the tension that had been building within her since the magistrate's sentence nearly twenty-four hours before. Her muscles relaxed, as she allowed the staggering steps to calm her mind. 

-------

The town center flourished with activity, as civilians and British policing troops weaved in and out of shops and other places of business. Elias and Faith had gathered with their companions in the hour before noon, when the pair were informed of what the result of the latest plea of freedom came to.

Though she already knew what the fate of their ally would be, it stung like a fresh wound when she overheard her Da speak, standing beside Fergus and Leslie. 

“When they release Hayes, do nothing.” Jamie spoke, glancing through the crowd as Fergus looked at him questioningly. Leslie was speechless, but keen in his listening.

“You have another plan, Milord?”

“No. This is the way Hayes wants it.” Fraser answered, placing a reassuring hand to Leslie’s shoulder. He moved to stand beside Mama and Marsali, with Fergus behind the two as the familiar beat of snare drums drowned out other sounds of the crowd.

Elias grasped Faith’s hand, interlocking their fingers as they held tight to one another, briefly holding a shared gaze before they spotted the assemblage of prisoners, magistrate members, and Army soldiers approaching the gallows.

Hayes was at the front of the prisoner line, held together by chains and cuffs. His walking pace was steady, but still filled with nerves, as he searched the crowd. A second pair of eyes caught Faith’s attention, as she felt her legs begin to grow numb where they stood. Bonnet.

“That’s him. ” Faith whispered discreetly to her partner, unheard by their other companions, the drum beat overbearing in volume. Pound followed her glance toward the marauder, then back to her, before his attention darted once again to the gallows, as Hayes was escorted upward. 

“The said, Gavin Hayes, feloniously and willfully did kill and murder against His Majesty’s peace, his crown, and dignity…” The hangman spoke aloud, reading from a printed parchment as Jamie and Leslie separated from their band, pushing forward to stand toward the front of the crowd. They looked up to Hayes, sharing a glance of comfort and consolation. 

The sound of the snare rang out once more, as Faith forced herself to turn from the direction of the gallows platform, deciding instead to grasp Elias tightly, her forehead resting against his collarbone, as the air was taken from her lungs.

All she felt was grief, anger, and hopelessness, in that moment. Pound brought his hand to the nape of her neck, gently running his hand through her hair in reassurance, as the rope fell.

“No, no! Stupid guards!” Leslie shouted, anguished as he pushed his way further through the collective of townsfolk. He forced his pace, before being held backward by guards.

“You let him die! Hayes! It’s not-- It’s not right! They canna take you from me!” He cried, as militia men forced him backward, away from the stockade stands. Claire, Marsali, and Fergus sought around the crowd for where their companion had been taken, as the other prisoners suddenly dashed in an effort to escape their fate.

Bonnet had quietly slipped away from the proceedings in midst of the chaos, making haste toward the town’s outer edge.

Elias glanced at Faith who had directed her attention toward the outbreak of disorder in the street, as she took his hand once more, choosing to move beside Mama and her siblings. Pound found himself focused upon Jamie, at that moment.

The Scotsman held his head forward, in a stoic manner, as his gaze was cast away from his deceased ally, who was being lowered from the entrapment of the noose. The square grew quiet, as the crowd diminished, an eerie calm overcoming the street as the Frasers stood solemnly.

——

The band of company sat around a shared table in a nearby tavern, in time following the execution. Faith sipped from a shared tankard of ale between herself and Elias, still relatively silent since the rope dropped. She absentmindedly ran a finger over her ring as she was lost in thought, her hand settled within her lap. Da looked over at her for a brief moment, then between Claire and Leslie before he addressed the table as a whole.

“I spoke with the harbormaster. The Campagnia sets sail for home in three weeks, allowing us to visit my Aunt Jocasta at River Run.” 

Fergus soon joined the gathering, sat beside his wife as Marsali took his hand in hers. Mama looked at them, an inquiry across her features.

“Did you speak with a minister?” 

“He will not have a convicted felon in his graveyard. Not without a good deal of recompense for his sins.” 

Jamie moved to pour a tankard, from a shared pitcher at the center of the table.

“An immoral wretch as well, he’s willing to take a bribe.” He added, glancing at Leslie and Ian for a brief moment. “Did ye bring Hayes?” 

“Aye, he’s in our wagon.” The other replied, with a nod of confirmation. Ian shifted in his chair, leaning forward toward his Uncle before he spoke.

“We could bury him in the wood.” 

“No, Gavin wouldna’ care for being alone in the woods.”

“He was mortally scairt of spirits.” Leslie replied, his gaze settled on Faith for a moment, before returning to her father. “D’ye recall, at Ardsmuir, how he told us of the tannasg he encountered?”

“Aye, it was the first October we were there, after Hayes taught me tae set traps on the moor.” Faith spoke up then, with a pleasant smile accompanying the memory.

Elias looked at her then, finding himself intrigued by the story, but all the more curious of her time there. A brief silence filled the air, before Jamie spoke once more. 

“We’ll not lay him in unconsecrated ground. We’ll lay him to rest tonight, in the company of other souls.” He finished, making a gesture of cheers to Leslie, before sipping from his ale glass. The table held a comfortable silence, before a voice continued.

“A man such as Hayes should ne’er have met wi’ such an end. Without so much as a proper lament sung for him. Well, he shall have a caithris. ” Leslie spoke then, leaning back in his chair before he began to vocalize a song of remembrance and mourning, in the tongue of his homeland.

Soon after he began, the individuals of the table joined in the refrain, followed by other voices within the tavern, allowing the memory of souls to live past the Earth.

-------

“Can I ask you something?” Elias inquired, his voice hushed to accommodate for the late hour, as he looked at Faith, laying beside him within the bed space as he ran his fingers down her bicep, in a lazied cycle of repetition.

The pair had decided to stay behind from the burial, in order to check in on Marsali if she were in need. She met his gaze, holding the attention of her partner for a breath of time. 

“Yes?”

“Can you tell me about Ardsmuir? Or of what you remember there?”

“Wha’ of it?” 

“Whatever you would like, if you wish.”

Faith adjusted her hands clasped around Elias’s waist, resting her cheek to the hollow of his collar before she spoke, the reflection of those years of her childhood appearing to the forefront of her mind. She imagined the cliffs of the moor, the tales of Selkie Island recollected to her by candlelight from Da, and how a wandering traveler once spoke of a White Witch, and Jacobite gold lost to the deep caverns of memory.

“Hayes was one of the first of Da’s men tha’ I remember meetin’, followed by Leslie a’course. They taught me how to set traps to catch small game and fish, in order to feed the prison.”

“What did the Army soldiers think of it?”

“Well, they didnae want to deal wi’ burying most of the men if they starved. So, they allowed them to hunt.”

“No, I mean, of a child of a prisoner being kept there?”

“I dinnae ken, Da’s never told me about wha’ they spoke of. Though, they threatened wi’ sendin’ me off tae an orphanage when we were captured.” Faith replied, grasping Elias’s hand in hers as she studied the lines of his palm, her statement floating midair. 

“I’m glad they didn’t, it made sense that you should have stayed with him. If you hadn’t, who knows where you could have gone.” Pound replied, with a brush of lips to his love’s brow.

“Perhaps I would’ve ended up in France, or in England earlier than ten.” 

“Where my father was from, children that age worked in mines and some smelteries, or at the harbors. He had until he enlisted for the Navy at seventeen.” 

“Where?” 

“Cornwall, but my Mother was from Bristol. They met in London, then moved from there.” Elias closed his eyes then, in an attempt to conjure the memory of his parents’ faces, but finding himself unable. He had been without them for most of his life, something he held onto with acceptance over time, still finding himself in moments of grief.

“Wha’ are their names? Your parents?” 

“Andrew Joseph Pound and Edith Grace Coppin, before they married.” Elias answered, then retreated into silence. Sometimes, he could still feel his father’s hand resting at his shoulder, or hear his mother’s voice as she sang at night.

Faith moved to look at her partner for a moment, whose eyes had focused onto a spot in the ceiling, lost in reflection. She gently held one of her hands to his cheek, resting her brow against his temple. 

“I wish they could have met you.” He whispered, glancing to look at her, but remaining still. Pound turned to lay on his side in a moment following, as Fraser enveloped his hands within her own. She smiled, a soft upturned grin appearing, as she reached a hand to comb through Elias’s hair, brushed back from his brow. 

“I ken they’re proud of ye, Elias.” Faith answered, repeating her caressing motion as his eyes grew heavy with sleep. She leaned forward to leave a gentle peck to the corner of his mouth, then atop his brow, before the girl found rest.

-------

“Dinner with the Governor in attendance? Are you going to sell to him, or find someone else as a buyer?” Elias asked, standing beside Mistress Fraser as they made their way out from an apothecary shop, Claire held a small list in her hand, running through what supplies she needed to replenish and acquire. She also saw this as an opportunity to further Pound’s education in healing. 

“Honestly, whoever would be inclined to buy. Though I believe Jamie may have someone in mind already. It seems like a promising opportunity.” She replied, turning to face him for a moment, before she spoke, as an idea came to her. Elias’s brow raised in question.

“Madam?”

“What if you and Faith joined us at dinner? We could potentially find two buyers that way.” Claire inquired, attempting to recall the contents of which gems the group were able to salvage from the Artemis months previous.

Elias pondered the proposal and plan in front of them for a moment, running a hand over his face in thought. 

“I personally do not find an issue with it, though Faith may need convincing. She’s not much of a fan of redcoats, remember?” Pound answered, a smirk of humor appearing upon his features. Claire grinned with a nod of acknowledgement, before the two set off to complete their remaining tasks of the morning. 

“Jamie offered to speak to her about it, though I think Faith will come around, knowing she has a certain someone in attendance with her.” She teased, finding Elias almost caught off guard, in a humorous fashion. 

-------

“Dinner wi’ the Governor of the colony? How the hell d’ye get involved wi’ that?” Faith questioned with suspicion, her hands resting upon her hips, in a way that nearly mimicked her Fraser aunt.

Her eyes narrowed as she focused on her Da, who was currently rifling through a chest of their clothing. Sitting at the foot of one bed, Fraser sighed as he answered.

“It’s one dinner, an’ could be a chance tae sell a gem or two. Nothin’ more.”

“I dinnae trust this, it could end in ye gettin’ caught up in trouble.” 

“It won’t, Faith.” Da replied, tying his boots before moving from where he occupied, over to where his daughter stood in the doorway. The girl’s shoulders relaxed, with a nod before her father spoke once more.

“Besides, you and your companion will be joinin’ as well.”

Faith’s brow arched with an unspoken question, her eye trained on the other Fraser opposite her. “Does Elias ken?”

“Aye, your Ma spoke wi’ him this morning, but she asked me tae convince ye.”

“Convince? More like tellin’ us tae play along. Wha’ if someone finds it suspicious?”

“They’re landowners and aristocrats, no’ anyone who may question us. If anything, it would be the best bet.” He finished, with a quick squeeze to his daughter’s hand in departing as he left her to prepare.

-------

The large dining hall of the Lillington estate was lavishly decorated, with paintings and other ornamentation dispersed throughout the room. In addition to the aristocracy and gentry who found themselves at the table, it made Faith’s skin crawl in uneasiness.

The weight of the pendant she wore sat heavily on her sternum, threatening it seemed to burn a hole through her chest. It was one of the emeralds from amongst the findings they possessed, fashioned into a simple adornment. A foot carefully tapped her calf from beneath the table, as she met Elias’s gaze briefly before her. ‘You can do this, we’re right here.’ His eyes read.

“Miss Fraser, am I correct in understanding that you and Mistress Fraser acted as healers on the Naval vessel in which Lieutenant Pound served?” One gentleman spoke, addressing her in a direct manner as he sipped from a crystal goblet of wine.

She gave a polite nod, glancing over to Mama, who sat closer to the end on the left, then back to the gentleman. He was dressed as though he could be a friend of King Louis, highly decorated and flourished within decident fabric and an exaggerated powdered wig. The assumption of Elias’s rank caught the pair off guard, as he did not hold that status. Fraser turned to address the nobleman directly.

“Yes, Mr. Willey. My mother and I provided aid when the crew came down with an outbreak of enteric fever, it was rather unfortunate. Though, many of the shiphands made it through with their health intact, as the Lieutenant can attest to.” Faith responded, finding herself adopting a speech pattern similar to Mama’s in that moment, unsure of herself.

She disliked being amongst people such as these, even when the situation deemed it necessary. Elias’s voice brought her from her thoughts, and focused into the space once again.

“We were most grateful for their assistance, Lord knows where we could have gone without them. Doctor Fraser has also been apprenticing myself on field medicines and surgery, in the cases of emergency.” He replied, making a gesture of toast in thanks before he sipped from a glass.

Pound’s change in designation toward Claire was deliberate, in order to address her in a manner appropriate to her station. Many aristocratic peoples were too quick to dismiss other individuals deemed ‘savage’ or ‘unimportant’, which only made the current situation more unbearable.

The woman sat to Mr. Willey’s left addressed Claire and Faith, motioning to how their hair was dressed, she spoke an inquiry, her tone one of a satirical nature. “Is that the style in which women of Edinburgh wear their hair? How charming.

The woman leaned forward, her elbow pressed to the fine tablecloth as she spoke. Faith and Claire shared a glance of awkwardness, before an individual to Claire’s right addressed the pair, glancing between the two Frasers.

‘Lord Penzler’ She thought, remembering his name heard in a previous conversation.

“Those gems you two are wearing, they are most beautiful. You will permit me to look more closely?” Penzler questioned, his eyes nearly traveled to Claire’s chest before Faith cut in.

“Of course, Milord. They are quite fine specimens indeed.” She answered, untying the ribbon that adorned her neck, careful to pass the gem across the table as Claire followed suit. Penzler grinned in appreciation, taking the jewels in hand, before retrieving a magnifying device from a pocket of his coat to examine the pieces. 

Elias glanced at his partner, giving her a mischievous wink as he sipped from his glass once more, in which she followed suit. The plan of sale was moving smoothly, in hope of acquisition. A statement from a far end of the table caught Faith’s attention, as she listened carefully. It was brought up by Governor Tryon, who was acting as host. 

The uniformed gentleman leaned forward in his assigned chair for a moment, napkin rested within his lap as he addressed Jamie, sat to his right. “Would you join me after dinner, for a pipe and some brandy? I have a case imported from France. There’s a matter I wish to put before you.” 

---------

Brianna’s pencil markings etched deep into the paper, as she sketched near the window of the living room, the outline of a face becoming apparent in the light.

She placed the in progress portrait on the table before her, as the letterbox caught her attention once more. It was open, and well organized to assure the proper order of entries. However, something within the lid of the case sparked her interest. 

“Roger, can you find me a screwdriver?” The young Fraser called to her companion, taking the parcel into her hands as she studied it. He entered from the kitchen, after a few moments of searching, with a curious glance as the girl began to pry at the container.

“Bree! What are ye doing?!” MacKenzie exclaimed, a look of shock crossing his features as he watched her. The young woman shook her head in a dismissive gesture, as the top opened. Inside were three documents, varied in size. One was stamped with an address, the ink faded with age.

“A map?” Roger inquired, unfolding the graph carefully before laying it atop an empty coffee table.

Meanwhile, she opened the smallest of the three pages, finding a short letter addressed to her in unfamiliar handwriting. Brianna sat on the floor, reading silently as Roger joined her moments following, studying her expression as the words reached their place.

Miss Brianna Fraser,

It is with much happiness and contentment that I have the opportunity to write. Your Mother and Sister have been most kind in their retellings of you to me, as well as matters concerning the future, and the method in which Mistress Fraser traveled from ‘your time.’

In truth, I find it utterly fascinating, but cannot help but feel a slight terror of the unknown. How someone can carry with them the knowledge of History and Time itself and not be afeard, is a quality to trust and cherish. The ‘photographs’ that have been shared are quite dear to your family, as I’m sure you can imagine, and are especially a comfort for Faith. Having a machine which can capture someone’s features instantaneously must be a gift, rare and precious. 

As I do not have such a contraption in my possession, I have been offered charcoal and paper: in which I have created a likeness of your sister, my beloved companion. It has been enclosed with care, in the aspiration that it will be received. 

My most sincere best wishes, gratitude, and respect:

Elias Pound

Brianna concluded her reading, passing the note to Roger as he read over the passage, as the young woman carefully unfolded the final document, to find a portrait of a girl with features like her own. Faith Fraser.

She was sitting on a stool beside a vanity, dressed in what appeared to be common clothes of the day, her face turned toward the artist as she was caught mid-laughter.

Her expression was warm, kind, and welcoming. It made Brianna’s stomach grow warm, fluttering as though it was a collection of butterflies. 

”Hi Faith..” She spoke softly, in a barely audible whisper as she continued to examine the drawn image.

The other Fraser girl’s hair was loosely braided at the side of her head, looking as though she was preparing to retire, or for the day ahead. 

‘I wonder what color it is.’ Bree thought, as she silently took note of how the other possessed a slant in her brow, and jawline that mirrored her own. She felt her face begin to flush with warmth, overcome with emotion in that particular instance.

Careful to overturn the page, she noticed more writing within the right hand corner, toward the bottom of the sketch in the same script as the note, Elias Pound’s handwriting.

River Run Estate, Cape Fear.

Colony of North Carolina, July of 1767

‘A Portrait of FJEBF, by EMTP’

“River Run Estate, that’s what the map is!” Roger spoke, bringing the aged outline to Brianna’s attention, pointing to the corner of the document where the name was stated. The two searched the diagram, before coming up with a conclusion nearly without speaking.

“We need to go there, Roger.” She answered with certainty, as Roger nodded, a humorous grin following.

“Then this calls for a road trip.”

Chapter Text

“You’re kidding, right?” Elias inquired in a skeptical matter, looking at Fergus as the young man detailed a current situation involving his Murray cousin. The teenaged Scot left the boarding house that morning, sometime after Mistress Fraser had, under the guise of running an errand for his Uncle.

Instead, the individual had decided to attempt a chance to gamble amongst sailors, finding himself in a predicament. Fergus shook his head, as Pound followed him from the door in haste, a coat half slung across his shoulders in the bustle of activity, before being stopped by a voice. 

“Where are ye off to then, mo bhràthair?” Faith questioned, sat upon the porch of the house beside Marsali, as the pair were organizing the group’s luggage and provisions for a journey ahead.

Fergus shrugged, with a humorous grin before he left a kiss to Marsali’s cheek, dashing down the cobbled street. Elias glanced down the road, before looking back at Faith, his feet unmoving. 

“Your cousin found himself in some trouble it seems, along with Leslie.” 

“So you an’ my brother have tae get them out?”

“Precisely, Miss Fraser.

“Jesus H. Roosevelt…” Faith muttered, her eyes focused on her current task, cut off as Elias moved to kiss her, brief but affectionate.

The young woman blushed as she returned the gesture, her face burning with warmth across her cheeks. Her companion tipped his hat in parting after the two broke apart, following the Fraser brother down the lane. 

Marsali nudged her sister-in-law’s shoulder, with a grin of acceptance. “Ye two are quite a match, if I may say so, mo phiuthar mhath.”

“We get on, even if he manages tae find trouble wherever he goes.” Faith retaliated with a roll of her eyes. 

“Well, a husband an’ wife should, especially if ye find yourself somewhere new.” 

“We arena marrit’, Marsali.”

“No’ yet. I’ll reckon a year or two.” Marsali replied, with a mischievous chuckle as Jamie emerged from the house, with hat in hand. He looked over to his daughters, with a perplexed glance. Leaning against the doorframe, he met Faith’s eye before he spoke. 

“Have ye seen Leslie?” He asked, receiving a shrug in reply from her.

“I think he went out wi’ Ian this mornin’, but Fergus an’ Elias went off tae find them.” Marsali answered, as she began to mend a shirt which had a hole torn in the sleeve. Jamie nodded, followed by a sigh of annoyance as he set his hat atop his scalp, leaving to attend to matters of the afternoon.

------

Elias craned his head to look through the growing crowd of the harbor, in hope of spotting the blond Fraser in question, and acquaintance amongst the cluster of townsfolk, business partners, crew hands, and visitors alike.

He turned his attention behind him to Fergus, who was speaking to a merchant to ask directions. Then a loud outburst of shouting caught the wayfarer’s listening ear. 

“I won tha’ fair! Ye cannae take the bet back.” Young Ian argued, a tied rope in hand with a large wolf-like dog on the end of it. Leslie staggered beside Murray, holding a bloodied rag to his nose. 

“You filthy Scots do nothin’ but cheat, get out! Take that beast and go!” A patron spoke, shoving the teenager as he fell to the ground. Elias pushed forward through the crowd, with Fergus on his heels as the young man spoke. 

“Brother! We’ve been looking everywhere for you..” He cut in grasping Murray by the arm to lift him from the cobblestone of the road. Fergus’s brow raised in question, as he looked between his cousin and acquaintance, assisting Leslie. Elias nodded, in a silent plea of cooperation. 

“I apologize for the behavior of my associate and brother, gentlemen. They are unfamiliar with games of this kind.” Pound spoke, glancing at Ian, as he still grasped his bicep.

The patron crossed his arms, his expression holding one of suspicion. The unnamed canine at Ian’s feet growled, low and demeaning. 

“Next time they try to gamble here, I’m callin’ the jailors. Understand?”

“Quite understood, thank you Sir.” Pound tipped his hat in silent gratitude, before turning to direct the group from the crowd. He brought the brim of his hat to rest lower atop his forehead, before speaking. 

“Why of all people, would you gamble with sailors?”

“But ye said in Charleston tha’ it wasna hard, so Leslie an’ I wanted tae try.” 

“It wasn’t hard because they were half-gone with drink, and I was a sailor before Jamaica. So I understand when they’ll try to shorthand you.” 

“Will ye show me how tae win then?”

“Ian, no. Also, how did you manage to get a wolf?” Elias retorted, turning to look at him as the four men approached the boarding house once again. Marsali met Fergus and Leslie at the entryway, as the young woman quickly examined Leslie’s injury of mysterious origin.

“He isna wolf, he’s a dog. An’ I won him in a game of dice, so his name is Rollo.” Murray replied, as the canine in question barked, his nose pointed toward Faith as she met the trio out at the street. Her brow was creased in frustration as she looked between her partner and cousin.

“Ian! Where have ye been?” She exclaimed, grasping Ian by the shoulders as she gently shook him. Murray rolled his eyes, causing Elias to smirk, the dare of laughter rising in his chest.

“Leslie an’ I went to the harbor, we wanted tae try our hand an’ a bit of coin wi’ a few sailors.” 

“Gambling wi’ sailors?” The Fraser girl questioned, shooting a brief glare to her partner, in an unspoken statement. Elias’s grin fell from his face, replaced with a nod of acknowledgment. Faith released her hold on the shoulders of her cousin, retrieving her coat from the porch railing. She reached down to pet their newfound canine companion, rubbing a soft spot behind one of the dog’s ears. 

“Mama an’ Da are meetin’ us at the tavern for food, I dinnae think we should keep them waiting.” The girl added, glancing at Elias and Ian, as the two followed her across the road to their agreed meeting point. 

-----

“Staying in America?” Fergus inquired, setting down the tankard he had in hand, choosing instead to glance between Marsali and Da. Faith looked intently between the members of the table, listening for more intricacies of the conversation. 

“Aye, Claire and I have decided to try and make a life here.” Da retorted, interlacing his fingers alongside Mama, both possessing smiles wide with the optimism of what the future held.

Faith and Elias had been discussing plans of their future in the abstract sense, but have not found a moment to discuss at length, with the uneasiness of the past days and weeks.

“That’s a fine idea. We could sta--” Ian cut in excitedly, as Jamie became quick to correct.

“Not we, lad. Ye’ll still be on a ship bound for Scotland.”

“Oh please, Uncle. I’ll no’ be a worry to ye. Truly, I swear it. I’ll work tae earn my bread. I’ve a talent for selling, Fergus an’ Faith will tell ye.” Ian continued, motioning with one hand in the direction of his cousins. Faith rolled her eyes, causing Marsali to grin in amusement. 

“Ye ken I would like nothing more than to have ye with me, but what in God’s name would your mother say?” 

“I dinna ken, but she’ll be saying it in Scotland, won’t she? She kens I’m safe wi’ you. Ye wrote to her back in Georgia.” Murray added, attempting to bargain as Leslie spoke between bites of bread. 

“I canna say that particular bit of knowledge will be over-comforting to her, Ian.”

“Your parents dinna want a vagrant’s life for you, lad. They want you to grow to be a man of learning and influence. A man of worth.” Jamie spoke once more, his elbow present on the table as he leaned closer to his nephew in conversation.

“Ye’ll amount tae something for your mother’s sake. If it kills us both. Yer life’s no’ meant to be wasted.” He finished, with a hand to his nephew’s arm. The table grew quiet for a moment as the group ate.

Faith’s glance briefly shifted to Elias, who sat beside her as he squared his shoulders in thought, before Fergus spoke again.

“Where will you settle?”

“We don’t know yet, we thought we would work that out when we’re visiting River Run.” Claire answered, looking between Jamie and her son. Fraser reached down toward his belt, before he spoke.

“Fergus, I want ye to have a portion of the profit from the gems. It will pay for ye and Marsali to return to Scotland, if that’s what you choose. And there’s a bit for Marsali to take home to her mother, for the alimony I promised.” 

Elias’s brow creased in thought, brought on by some unspoken confusion. He looked at his companion, as Jamie continued to speak, as she replied with a nudge. ‘I’ll explain later.’

“Faith, Mr. Pound, you two will have profit from the gems also, tae use for wherever ye decide to settle. I ken tha’ Faith was intrigued in visitin’ River Run, but no’ beyond that.” Fraser’s voice caught Pound’s attention, as a small purse of coin was passed to Faith, who accepted it with a smile and nod in gratitude. 

“We would like to stay in North Carolina as well, Milord. Marsali would not be well-suited to a long journey…” He trailed off, as Marsali grinned, darting her attention between her husband and her sister.

Faith could feel a heartfelt warmth bubble in her chest, as her face grew red. Elias attempted to hide his grin behind the tankard he held, taking a small sip. The pair had been aware of Marsali’s condition since the night of the burial, Faith aiding her while she grew ill later in the night. 

“She is with child.” Fergus beamed, as he looked around the table toward his parents, Marsali squeezed his hand in elation. Jamie held Fergus’s gaze in a stunned manner, barely managing to form a sentence.

What?” He questioned, earning a round of laughter from the table before Claire spoke. “Well, it certainly is a happy surprise.” She smiled, directing her gaze to Marsali.

“Aye, was a surprise to us as well. Of course, we are delighted.” 

“May God bless you both!” Jamie exclaimed, his hand making contact with the table in a joyous reaction. 

“For now, Marsali and I will stay in Wilmington..” Fergus began, as Marsali followed.

“It’s a wee bit bigger than Broch Mordha, I hope to find work as a seamstress while Fergus seeks employment himself.” She finished. Jamie raised his tankard in their direction.

“Aye, you’ll do fine, Marsali. And you, you’ll make a fine father.” He spoke again, Fergus gave a polite but curt nod of his head.

“Thank you, Milord.” 

Claire reached across the table from where she sat beside Jamie and Elias, moving to embrace Fergus as Faith stood from her chair, approaching to stand behind Marsali as she brought an arm around her sister. Pound retracted his chair in a polite manner, choosing to silently observe the family in midst of their joy. 

--------

The small barge made a slow cruise down the descent of the river, as Elias settled down into the inner housing of the vessel. Faith was relaxed, lying parallel to a bench seat as her head rested within the lap of her companion.

Her eyes were closed, but still active as Pound ran a series of fingers through her ringlets of bronze and deep auburn. Fraser spoke then, her shoulders loosening as she breathed.

“Tell me about home.” 

“Home?” Elias questioned, looking down at the figure in his grasp, studying the way her features moved in tandem as she continued to ease into comfort. His fingers rested at her brow, as he swiped a thumb toward her hairline. 

“Aye. When ye picture tha’ word in your mind, what d’ye see?” Faith reached her hands upward, to touch either side of his face, holding for a moment as the wayfarer thought. He kissed her fingers in silent admiration, before settling them to rest at her navel, as he answered.

“A house within the thicket of a forest, but just breaking the treeline. With windows facing where the light is best, to read and study by.” Elias began, continued once again in his stroked movement. He found his eyes unable to leave his love’s face, as he imagined her picturing the space of his wish within her mind. 

“Would it be big, d’ye think?” She followed.

“Of course, the house has room to grow, and a proper porch to sit and watch the sunrise in the mornings, or listen to a thunderstorm across the skies.” The young man continued, growing quiet as his moment of thought trailed.

“But also when I think of home, you are the first thought. Your compassion and bravery, but most importantly: the kindness and absolute determination you possess for who and what you love. It’s remarkable.”

He finished, as Faith’s eyes opened to look up at him, before she adjusted to sit upright. She nodded, a warm grin appearing upon her features as she took possession of his hands.

“Do ye remember those dreams?” 

Elias nodded, an expression of recall settling on his face. The visions he had were conflicting and unsettling at times, but he was steadfast in his feelings toward the earliest of the conjured moments. Of Faith moving in stride through the waves, with a song on her mind. 

“I didna ken wha’ tae think of them, at least no’ at first. But now, I think I see wha’ the meaning was.” 

“What?”

“Love, and a trust between us, Elias. I tried tae ignore it at first, when we were stuck wi’ Leonard and the warrants. But I’m findin’ that I feel it stronger every moment, in an unexplainable sort of way. Something there that drew us together.” 

Faith retorted, her gaze trailed into her lap, as Elias brought his brow to meet her own. The pair held silent for a moment, before the wayfarer spoke with confidence in his heart, and an intoxicating feeling of lightness in his chest. 

“I love you too.”

------

The North Carolina Highland Games, at Grandfather Mountain.” Brianna read aloud from a printed brochure, seated in the passenger’s seat of the rented car as Roger drove ahead, through the winding highway pass of the mountain. 

“Aye, I was invited to play there just after the house was sold, and figured it could be an interesting stop on our way to River Run.” 

“Do you expect me to blend in or something?” 

“You will be far from the only red-headed Scot there, Bree.”

“Scottish, and half English. Or ‘Sassenach’ as I’ve heard it said.” Brianna answered, with imaginary quotation marks made within the air. Roger chuckled, glancing to the back seat, where the letterbox was placed with care on a seat. 

“Scots who marry English folk must run in your family, then.” 

“What do you mean?” Brianna questioned, with an inquisitive brow.

“Well, Claire married Jamie, and I’ll reckon that Faith an’ Elias aren’t far behind. He’s English, right?” He questioned, in an attempt to imagine what the figure in question looked like. Brianna shoved her companion by the arm in a dismissive but humorous manner, returning to reading the brochures she had in hand.

------

A sound slumber had fallen across the riverbank landscape, as the band of travelers found rest within makeshift pallets and bedrolls.

Faith had found rest as she sat up against one of the spare barrels, with their canine companion Rollo’s head jutted against her knee. Ian and Leslie had taken to a pair of makeshift hammocks, at the offer of Captain Freeman. Elias rested atop a spare bench seat, flat to the board as Jamie and Claire took a corner of the floor.

The young woman stirred, at the sounds of low growling, as Rollo was quick to stand on end, rousing the remainder of the boat as he suddenly began to snarl and snap, darting through the slatted wooden doorframe.

She gripped the knife that rested upon her belt, sitting fully upright as Elias woke near her, the two shared a glance of confusion. Pound put a finger to his lip in a commutative gesture, pressing for silence.

A loud splash could be heard from the deck of the barge, as the remainder of the travelers awoke, dazed and confused. Then, a drunken figure stumbled through the door, stepping toward Claire and Jamie before he spoke. 

“Mr. and Mrs. Fraser, pleasure to see you again.” Bonnet addressed, before looking off at Faith for a brief moment. He made a jest salute towards the second duo of the room.

“Mr. Pound! I see ye kept the hoor wi’ ye, ‘ello Missus.” 

Jamie stood abruptly, holding a hand down in the direction of his wife. 

“Stay here, Claire.” Fraser directed, before a swing was directed toward him by Bonnet, before the pirate dashed from the cabin, with Leslie and Jamie hot on his heels.

Elias moved to grasp the sheath from his belt, then gathered with Ian, Faith and Claire who remained, being halted by a pair of pistols positioned to his and Faith’s temples.

“Aren’t ye a lovely gal, huh?” The armed marauder spoke, attempting to reach down to the young woman’s skirts as Ian swiped for the individual’s arms, knocking him downward in the process, as the man was unarmed.

Faith ducked, allowing for Elias to reach for a barrel nearby, throwing it to attract attention to the opposite end of the cabin. He chuckled in false amusement, to find the gunman stunned.

“Well gentlemen, shall we?” Pound squared his shoulders, swinging a fist to one of the men as he made impact with a roughened jawbone.

Meanwhile, his partner reached for the discarded pistol, turning it to her grasp. She glanced up to Elias, who continued to hold off the advance of the other assailant, as she yelled.

“Eyes up!” 

The pistol moved with speed through the air, as Pound caught the weapon, quick to discharge as the thief fell backward, into the riverbank below. Bonnet reentered the cabin, holding a knife to Leslie’s throat, in a tight grasp before cutting through the windpipe.

Their ally fell dead to Faith’s feet, as her Mother screamed. Ian scrambled to the deck of the barge, thrashing through as Jamie was deprived of the gems and currency he possessed. 

Bonnet made haste toward Faith for a brief moment, forcing her arms backward as he reached to rifle through her skirts. She brought a knee jabbed upward into his groin, as the man stumbled. He tilted his head in surprise, before Faith felt a hard blow come downward across her back, followed by a strike to her chest.

Much like aboard the ship decks of Artemis and Porpoise, and the tropical isle of Jamaica, Faith’s head began to throb painfully, the sounds of drums drowning out the blood coursing through her ears, as her vision blackened. She felt faint to the hardwood of the barge’s floor, as the band of travelers was bested by the gang of bandits.

--------

Somber and bleak tension cascaded across the water of the river, as Elias emptied a flask of water into a spare bowl, using it to cleanse as Claire had taught him, wrapping a gash across Ian’s arm.

The barge moved once again, on its journey toward the estate in Cape Fear, with one less member within their company. Pound and Murray accompanied Fraser to bury Leslie that dawn, in a shallow and isolated grave, unmarked as Hayes had been a week previous.

As he finished the bandage and excused Ian from the cabin, Elias ran a hand through his unkempt hair, exhaling a breath of guilt and sadness at their unfortunate encounter. The noise of rustling suddenly drew him from his thoughts, as Faith began to rouse from her vertigoed state.

She moved to sit in haste, wincing with irritation as a pain ran through her shoulders. Elias hastily came to sit at the bench edge, resting a hand to the back of his companion’s head, the other coming to her shoulder blade. 

“Easy now, Faith..” Pound spoke soft, easing Fraser into a propped position, as her eyes gradually opened, her vision grogged and clouded, as she attempted to speak.

“Wha’ happened?”

“You were knocked unconscious, and collapsed as a result, but are otherwise unharmed besides some bruising and a gash to your leg.”

“Da? An’ Mama?”

“Bruised and battered, but whole. Claire just went to speak with him.”

“Ian?” 

“Bandaged, seeing what damages there are. Bonnet got away with some of the coin and gems, but not everything.” Elias spoke, placing the purse of valuables from his pocket into her open palm, closing around it with her fingers. 

Faith kept her eyes trained to their joined hands for a moment, before following with a final inquiry. She met his eyes, with an expression of soft concern.

“You?”

“I think my ribs might be cracked, again. But I’m breathing.” Elias found himself nearly smirk in jest, as he held the side of Faith’s face in one hand. He swiped a thumb over her cheekbone, as he noticed a slight bruise beginning to appear on her pearl-like skin.

Elias moved gently to hold Faith to his chest, his arms wrapped around her shoulders to maintain his grasp. She relaxed at his closeness, leaning forward to hear the steady heartbeat of her partner, assuring herself of their being alive, as the riverbank moved in a sluggish manner.

The family was shaken, and battered in the wake of their night, but held steadfast as their journey advanced through the unfamiliar world of the wilderness. 

Chapter Text

    The vast estate of River Run sprawled out before the band of travelers, as Freeman’s barge made effort to anchor alongside the dock at the river’s edge. The disastrous events from the weeks previous hung heavy in the morale of the group, especially with the unfortunate loss of their acquaintances to the corruption of the New World before them.

    Elias straightened the collar of his coat, attempting to present himself as proper as he could in the moment. From what he overheard during the dinner at the Lillington estate, Jocasta Cameron was a woman of high-esteem, and not one who an individual should cross, especially on first meeting. His hands flexed at his sides, a nervous hum presenting itself in his features.

    “Wha’ are you fashing over, Mr. Pound?” Faith inquired, approaching him to straighten the cravat that had been hastily tied at his throat. The wayfarer studied his companion as she made her adjustments, the corner of her mouth raised into a grin as she finished, resting the palm of her hand to his chest. He shrugged, meeting her gaze for a moment before his answer came.

    “I thought meeting your father and asking his permission to court was difficult, who knows what Mistress Cameron could be like. Do you know, by chance?”

    Faith shook her head, much to the surprise of her companion. 

    “She left Scotland during the Rising before Culloden, when I was a bairn. But Da hasna’ seen her since my grandmother Ellen passed, before I was born. She lost her sight years ago, according to wha’ her letters read.” 

  Pound nodded, gently running his hands down Faith’s arms, stopping to hold steady at her elbows. He leaned his head forward, meeting her brow for a second of time. The pair stood alone for a moment within the barge’s inner housing, before the young woman spoke up.

    “Are ye ready?”

    “Lead the way, Miss Fraser.” 

    Faith straightened her posture, reaching to retrieve Pound’s hat from the bench beside them, choosing to rest the cap on his scalp. She took his hand within her own, then led them out to the outer deck.

Her parents, Young Ian, and Rollo were observing the shore before the river’s edge, which included a considerably-sized plantation house, with agricultural fields spanning from aback the structure. The young Fraser girl felt uneasy by the presence of the residence, but comforted by the acknowledgement that she was not alone in her feelings.

——-

    Da had briefly explained to Mama, Elias, Ian, and herself that River Run made practically all of their revenues as a result of slave-labor, something that the travelers resented with immense distaste. It made Faith’s blood boil at the thought, even with the reassurance of Mama’s retellings of what the future held.

‘Ninety-eight more years...’ She thought in remorseful silence, as the halt in motion from the small vessel brought Faith back to the present moment. The young woman felt Elias’s hand reach downward to grasp hers, as she squeezed his fingers in a silent message.

The pair soon followed Jamie and Claire, leading off of the barge to the dock before them, leaving Ian and Rollo for a moment on the craft. 

An extravagantly dressed woman, short in stature from first glance, was standing at the dock’s edge, just before the ramp leading toward the water.

She was accompanied by a taller gentleman, holding her arm in the way an escort would accompany his charge. He was dressed in similar fashions to the woman, but lacked the ornate details of laces, jewelry, or decorative fabrics of her gown. Faith studied the woman in curiosity, as her father approached the lady.

“Jamie, welcome to River Run.” Mistress Cameron addressed, holding out her hands with patience. Fraser stood straight, removing the tricorn from his head as he bowed his head in respect to her, then approached to meet her embrace. Claire stood at his shoulder to the left, as Faith and Elias still remained behind toward the dock. 

“Blessed bride, you’ve grown to be a giant. That’ll be the MacKenzie blood flowing through ye.” Cameron spoke fondly, releasing her embrace on her nephew.

“I was no more than a bairn when you last saw me. Had nowhere to go but up.” Fraser answered, emotion present in his tone as he spoke. The two made small conversation for a moment, before Jamie turned to his partner, at the left of him. 

“Auntie, may I present my wife, Claire.” He addressed her as Mama stepped forward, giving a curtsy of politeness before she spoke. 

“It’s a pleasure to meet you, Mistress Cameron.”

“Oh, I hope you’ll call me Auntie, dear. We are kin, after all.”

Claire smiled, folding her hands to rest on her abdomen in a relaxed manner. “Of course, Auntie it is, then.” 

The pair shifted to the side, Jamie turning in the direction of his daughter as Faith and Elias moved forward, stepping before Jocasta as the young Fraser followed her mother’s polite gesture of a curtsy. Pound removed his hat, with a copied bow of his head.

“Auntie, may I also present our daughter, Faith Fraser and Mr. Elias Pound, her partner and companion in our travels.” Jamie spoke, as the two stepped forward.

Cameron offered a hand out to Faith, who accepted after a brief glance in hesitation toward her parents. Elias came to stand beside Claire, who grazed a hand over his shoulders in a reassuring manner.

“I’ve heard so much of ye in Jamie and Jenny’s letters, but it is a blessing to meet you, dear. I must say, it is quite a welcome surprise to know that you’re of courting age as well, and found such a match. I could have a wedding arranged for ye, to be one of the finest in the Colony.”

Cameron added, much to Faith’s surprise, as her features reddened with a sudden warmth. An equally surprised expression appeared to Jamie, as he looked between his daughter, her suitor, and his MacKenzie aunt. 

“Thank ye, Aunt Jocasta. We’re quite appreciative of your kindness.” Faith retorted.

Elias glanced downward to the ground, in a moment of awkwardness as a canine bark broke the rising tension. Jocasta refocused her attention to Jamie, as he spoke of Ian and other matters, which allowed Faith to reside at her companion’s side once more. 

“That certainly went better than I expected.” Pound whispered, offering his arm to Faith as she accepted, with a curt nod.

She had never really known much of her MacKenzie family, especially since most perished with or before the Rising. Apart from letters, she had no real connection to them. It felt as though she was almost pretending to be a persona of herself. 

“Aye, indeed.” She retorted, as Jocasta offered a hand to Jamie and Claire each, turning towards the direction of the grand estate house. The other pair stood behind the trio by a few paces, in order to allow a polite amount of space between.

“Do come in, my dears, and we will show you some River Run hospitality. Ulysses, will you lead the way to the parlor?” Jocasta addressed, as her attendant, tall in stature, answered.

Faith’s fingertips grasped Elias’s arm, as a tight knot settled into her stomach. Though she was grateful for the offer of a roof over their heads, even temporary, Fraser found herself completely out of tune with the environment before her.

——

Brianna glanced upward at the grandeur of the house before her, studying the large porch as visitors filed in and out from the interior. The estate of River Run that had been detailed in the letters and their months of research lead to a former plantation, converted into a historic site and museum, at the base of the Blue Ridge mountains.

The young woman unfolded the page within her hands once again, examining the dates scribed in Elias’s handwriting, as Roger appeared at her side, with information in hand from the exhibit spaces. 

“The curator said that we could look at the archive wi’ her, after closing. But, the site itself may be worth searching first.” He expressed, stepping behind to double-check his companion’s backpack, where the letterbox had been carefully placed inside.

She nodded, as the two made their way into the opening gallery. An introduction to the house was against a wall to the left, printed in careful lettering.

“The River Run Estate of Cape Fear was a former plantation of the mid to late Eighteenth Century, which was renowned for exports of lumber, indigo, turpentine, and other agricultural goods to the Colonies and beyond.

It existed as the home of Hector Cameron and Jocasta Cameron-Innes, who came to the American Colonies from Scotland, to settle in North Carolina.

The Main House, Timber Camp, Slave  Quarters, and Stables have been restored to dates estimated between 1767 through 1776, when the Cameron-Innes family fled to Nova Scotia.”

------

    Elias stood in the window frame of the bedchamber, his arm resting against the molded wood of the wall, with his fist centered to his forehead. He glanced to the field that was in view of the room, currently being worked by fieldhands under the growing heat of the afternoon sun, and watchful eye of their supervisors.

Two were currently on horseback, armed to the teeth with whips and pistols. It made him nearly sick to his stomach at the sight, a heavy sensation deep in his gut.

    A pair of arms embraced him from behind, as Faith rested her head against his shoulder. She pressed a kiss to his temple, as the young man relaxed. 

    “When does it end?” He asked, forcing himself to look downward from the window. 

Faith shrugged, before her answer followed.

    “Mama said tha’ in Brianna’s books from schooling, it takes until eighteen-sixty-five in America. Though I dinnae ken about England.”

    “That long?” Pound retorted, turning to face her.

    “Unfortunately, though I ken tha’ we understand the right side of this. It doesna make it any less painful tae jes’ watch.” Fraser sighed, her uneasiness growing even stronger by every moment. Elias took her face gently between his hands, brushing a thumb across her cheeks, nodding in agreement.

“We’ll do what we can, and let history decide the rest. Trust in that.” He added, meeting the gaze of his partner for a moment. They heard a knock at the bedchamber door, before a voice called. One of the housemaids opened the door ajar. 

“Mr. Pound, I’ve been asked by Mistress Claire to find you. She’d like your assistance in the gardens, Sir.” 

“Of course, I’ll be there shortly. Thank you Phaedre.” Elias replied, glancing over to give a nod of acknowledgement and thanks to her. She curtsied, before the door closed once again. Pound grew silent for a moment, his mind lost to a sudden recalling of the dreams he had weeks prior.

“What is it?” Faith asked, taking notice of how her partner had grown suddenly tense.

“I’ve been thinking of telling your Mother about the dreams.”

“Which? Of Bonnet or us?”

“Bonnet, especially since it seems that she and Mr. Fraser had to deal with the wretch.”

“It would be wise, but no’ while ye have ears around tae pry.” 

“The garden may be the only opportunity then, do I have your consent?”

“Consent as her daughter or your partner?” The young Fraser asked, as Pound neared the door, maintaining a hold on her hand still. He stopped, turning his head. A smirk of humor crossed him. He pressed his lips to Faith’s in a chaste kiss, as she smiled. 

“Why not both?”

------

    The beds of dirt within the garden were a welcomed sight, as Claire reached to retrieve a handful of herbs, at the permission of Jocasta. She had been running a list of supplies she’d need replenished, including medication and remedies that could not be found in an apothecary shop.

This was also an opportunity to continue a lesson with her newfound pupil, who had taken keen interest in medicines and surgery since his bout in the field upon the Porpoise’s deck. 

    “Doctor Fraser, you wished to speak with me?” Elias inquired, finishing a tuck upon one of his sleeves as he knelt beside her, passing a trowel into her possession that he had received from Phaedre. He began to make work of clipping a collection of sage, before Claire answered.

    “Yes, of a few things.” She retorted, wiping her dirt-covered hands onto the front of her apron as she stopped, resting her elbows atop her knees. 

    “Bonnet addressed you by name, on the barge. Where did you encounter him?” She asked, her mind puzzled at his possible knowledge of the marauder. It was fairly common for men of the Naval Service to encounter folk such as Bonnet, but coincidences could often haunt those who were involved. Elias paused in his task, turning his head to look toward his teacher.

    “I had sat with him in a game of cards at a tavern in Charleston, unaware of his reputation. His men accused Faith of cheating in the game on my behalf, so he threatened us.”

    “Did he take anything from you? Or harm you at all?” Claire replied, a look of concern crossing her features as she glanced in haste over him. Pound shook his head.

    “Besides my winnings in the game, no. But Faith did break the nose of one of his men.”

    “So the purse you gave to her on the barge?”

    “Neither of us were searched, the profit was split between us in Wilmington. Honestly, we have little use for it anyway.” Elias finished, to Claire’s surprise.

She had expected Faith to want to return to Scotland, rather than staying in America. Though with the addition of her evolving courtship, impending future as an aunt, and newfound freedom as a result of the warrant lifting, starting fresh could be the direction that her daughter longed for.

    “Faith and I had previously discussed it somewhat, but we were hoping to stay in the Colonies here. Perhaps even build a house within a settlement, or find land.”

    “I know that Jocasta was adamant on a marriage, but you two don’t have to have her word on it.”

    “Would we have yours? If we have land to settle, or a means of trade and living?” Elias questioned, continuing in his botanical excursion once again. A short pause of silence between the healer and wayfarer grew, as Claire considered the question.

The young man beside her nearly held his breath, digging further into the garden to distract himself from the drums that sounded off in his ears. A hand rested atop his shoulder, followed by a sudden embrace from the physician. Elias dropped the trowel tool he held, with a look of confusion present on his brow.

    “Of course you would, Elias. It would make us immensely happy to have you. Faith already has so much trust and admiration for you, and I know that you feel the same.”

    Claire answered, releasing the hold she possessed on her apprentice’s shoulders. He could feel a warm blush begin to show itself across his cheeks, rival to the heat of the Carolina afternoon. The young man nodded in wordless appreciation, as the pair continued in their work.

-----

    “She was serious about a gathering fer us? But why other than tae parade us about a room to her friends an’ gentry?” Faith questioned, glancing at her father through the floor length mirror she stood before.

The young woman wore an older gown of Jocasta’s which had been altered to fit her figure, in the company of Phaedre and Mary that morning, after the insistence that Faith’s own gowns would not be suitable. 

    “To supposedly introduce us to the high society of Cape Fear. Though, I have a feeling that she has somethin’ else in mind.” Jamie responded, rising from his seat to assist Faith in tying a portion of the gown. The girl rolled her eyes, muttering under her breath.

    “Like announcin’ a wedding?”

    “A Dhia, mi-fhìn. Tha mi an dòchas nach bi cho luath.” Da answered with a roll of his eyes, resorting to his native tongue, somewhat of a habit between the pair when they were alone. Since arriving in America, Faith and Jamie had found themselves speaking the language of their home with far more frequency than in Edinburgh. 

    “Chan ann a-nis, Athair. Ach aon uair 's gun socraich sinn sìos.” 

    Faith turned away from the mirror to face her father, reaching up to leave a kiss to his cheek, before the two Frasers left the room to join their family.

------

    The main drawing rooms of the estate were packed to the brim with gentry of high esteem, as food, drink, and conversation flourished amongst the distinguished guests. Faith had been immediately brought into conversing with a collection of various persons, much to her distaste.

Apparently, a rumor of her supposed engagement and following wedding had caught the attention of several politicians' wives, spreading like fire in a dry hayloft. One such woman addressed her, most likely confusing her signet band for one of a wedding kind.

    “Mistress Pound, may I ask how you came to meet your husband?”

    Faith stifled a sip from the glass she possessed, attempting to avoid spitting wine upon the woman’s shoes in surprise. She straightened her posture, swallowing slowly before a response came, followed by a small grin.

    “We met aboard one of His Majesty’s vessels, when myself and Mother attended to the sick who were serving there. A rather unfortunate plight of fever, you see.” The young woman answered, the hold upon her glass of wine tightened. She felt a hand graze her back gently, as Elias came to stand at her side. 

    “If you’ll excuse my wife, madam. Mistress Cameron has called for us to join her in the parlor.” He spoke, as the pair excused themselves in a polite manner, moving through the onslaught of aristocracy to stand beside the other Frasers in attendance.

Jocasta tapped the rim of her glass with a knife, emitting a ringing tone which focused the room’s attention.

    “Dear friends, please, gather round. It has been my honor to introduce my nephew, Jamie Fraser, his lovely wife, Mistress Claire Fraser, my great-niece and her betrothed Mistress Faith and Elias Pound, and my great-nephew, Ian Murray.”

    The assumption of the young woman’s name change and status caught Jamie off guard, as he briefly found Faith and Elias’s gaze, equally as confused. They smiled in a complying manner, as Cameron continued.

    “But there is another reason I’ve brought you together on this fine day.”

    “Mistress Cameron, you’ve brought out the good vintage. What excellent news it must be.” Mr. Campbell retorted, meeting Faith’s eye before shifting his focus to Jocasta.

    “Indeed, Mr. Campbell. All gathered here have kent for quite some time that I have been agonizing over the matter of to whom I shall leave my beloved River Run. Well, ye need wonder no more.” She addressed, as the room buzzed with intrigue.

    “I’m pleased to announce that I’ve decided to name my nephew, Jamie, as my heir. It is my intention that Jamie should act as master of the estate immediately. I leave River Run in his hands.” The noblewoman concluded, raising her glass in a toast-like gesture.

Fraser glanced between the members of his family in alleviated confusion, then returned the attention to his aunt. The hum of the room grew in intensity, as a round of polite applause began.

------

    “Did you notice that Jocasta put us both in one room?” Elias spoke, raising an eyebrow in humor, with a mischievous smirk to accompany. He sat upon the bed, with parchment and charcoal in hand, sketching the likeness of his partner as he studied the young woman, braiding her hair before the vanity table at the corner of the room.

The pair had retired alongside their companions once guests began to exit from the gathering, preferring to maintain private company. The departing of carriages could still be heard, muffled and distant.

    Faith rolled her eyes, attempting to suppress a laugh. 

    “I’m surprised tha’ she didna ask when we wanted the wedding, since she insisted on hosting. Then later proceeds to say tha’ we were marrit’ already.”

    “When our house is built, and I have a means to provide for my darling wife, then, we’ll marry, Mistress Pound.” He replied in a joking manner toward the end of the phrase.

    “D’ye expect me tae sit idly by, sipping tea an’ gossipping with the more refined ladies then?” Fraser questioned in jest, turning to face Pound on the vanity stool, resting her hands on either side of the plush cushion of the chair. Her eyes were bright with mischief. 

    “Absolutely not, I’d expect you to be beating the men at cards, while they’re gone with drink. We can join a band of traveling players and jesters.” The gentleman answered, focusing on the image in hand as he finished it, folding it with care to file away into the place it was meant for, to be opened in two centuries.

He placed the letterbox to the side table which accompanied the bed, then felt a tug forward by the collar of his shirt, as Faith’s lips blushed the skin of his face, leaving goosebumps in their wake.

A question followed, in a hushed tone of voice, as the young woman leaned over her partner, with her knees resting at the bed’s end.

    “So your taste is more akin tae Jane Malcolm of Edinburgh then, Mr. Pound?” 

    Elias made haste of settling her into his lap, bringing his hands to rest at Faith’s hips as she kissed him, deepening as the conversation continued. The young woman ran her hands through the unruly curls that adorned his head, which possessed a pattern and texture nearly mirroring that of her mother’s as it grew.

He broke their kiss, quick to answer as she removed his linen sark, discarding it to the floor of the room, Pound then chose to bring his attention to his companion’s neck and collarbone, leaving kisses along her skin, chilled from the air of the room. 

“Jane Malcolm is certainly a charm, but nothing like you, Miss Fraser. ” 

He spoke softly, as footsteps made quick succession within the estate house, being silenced by the slam of a door.

Faith snickered in amusement, glancing to the direction of the hall. She returned her attention to her partner a moment after, tilting his chin with the pads of her fingertips. His eyes studied her, keen and determined but strong in affection. 

“I will admit, Mistress Pound does have a braw ring to it.” Faith teased.

Elias grinned, adjusting with care to lay her back against the pillowed bed. He carefully removed the layered quilt beneath her, tossing it alongside the clothing accumulated onto the floor of the room. She huffed in discontent, before her mouth was met with his once again, as he replied against her skin. 

“So, we’ll elope with the band of players, dancing and drinking until the sun rises.”

“D’ye ken a priest?” Faith continued in banter, as her fingertips trailed along his spine. Elias chuckled in humorous fashion, the reverberation of his amusement rose in his chest.

The pair soon found refuge and peace in their company, allowing for other matters of their world to briefly diminish with the fleeting sunlight of the evening.

 

Chapter Text

Faith glanced down to the map spread out upon the desk before her, tracing fingertips over the connected paths of the plantation grounds. Plotted fields, the timber camp, and other slave quarters were all documented in due course.

She sighed, running a hand over her face, then sat at the desk’s accompanying chair. Their newfound guide, John Quincy Meyers and Young Ian left that morning to survey a handful of fields at Jocasta’s request, while Da planned to speak with Campbell and whoever else necessary concerning the plantation grounds.

“One hundred and fifty two slaves, and your Father wishes to free them?” Elias inquired, careful to set his saucer of tea onto the desk’s edge, standing across from his partner. He studied the map as Faith answered.

“Aye, he an’ Mama agreed tae find an arrangement. But, this is only if he actually decides tae take on the estate as he’s been elected to.”

The sound of approaching footsteps halted their conversation, as the pair filed from the drawing room in haste, choosing to sit upon a bench occupying the porch, unseen by the three who now held the space. Mr. Campbell sat down, lighting a pipe of tobacco as Jocasta was eased into a chair by Jamie, accompanied by her knitting materials. Fraser vacated to the desk in the corner. His head tilted in slight curiosity, at the warm teacup resting upon the edge.

Elias turned his head to peek into the window of the drawing room, left cracked open to allow for a slight breeze. His eyes traveled to the desk, as he then retracted his head to rest against the house’s outer wall. The wayfarer exhaled, followed by a swear that would make Claire proud.

Shit.

“What?” Faith questioned in a harsh whisper, looking at her partner skeptically.

“I left my tea on the desk.”

Pound answered, as Faith rolled her eyes with a chuckle. The sound of Jamie’s voice drew them back to the discussion at hand, as the pair listened intently from the window.

“I wish ye’d given me a word in advance, Auntie…”

------

The gallery space of the drawing room possessed a strange sort of silence, as Bree observed the room. The furniture had been restored, and arranged in a manner identical to what it supposedly would have been two-hundred years previous, including a desk of documents.

She approached the display, where her eyes studied the planogram before her. Roger had gone ahead to a separate section of the house, leaving Fraser to her thoughts. A mass of ledgers, maps, and other lists were present upon the table.

“Bree, I found something you may want to see.” Roger called to her, sticking his head into the room to grasp her attention. She looked away from the desk, with a nod as the pair made their way to a particular case off of the foyer and dining room. 

Inside, were a collection of medical instruments, a small makeshift field kit contained within a wooden case, and a journal of medical notes, written in haste. The particular handwriting caught Bree’s attention, as she returned to the letter she previously held.

“Is that…”

“Elias’s handwriting? I wouldn’t doubt it, the lettering is too sharp to be Claire. Faith tends to fluctuate, but this doesn’t.” Roger spoke, leaning closer to the note in question, to read what had been detailed. 

“Doctor Fraser has been informative in the explanation of her medical cabinet, especially with certain remedial ingredients, their uses, and their precise labeling thereof. Her instruments are of equal intriguing quality…”

-----

Elias stood beside the table of the vacant kitchen, observing Claire in her work of labeling the glass bottles and vials, as she explained each use and treatment. The study of her physician work fascinated the young man, especially when used in practical situations.

Pound had been working at the sterilization of instruments, as Mr. Fraser entered the room, turning to Claire with an inquiry in mind.

“Sassenach, may I speak wi’ ye a second?”

The pair made a brief exit to the hall, leaving Elias to continue in his task as Jamie spoke, at first in a hushed tone. Claire looked at her husband in a skeptical manner.

“Are ye sure about teaching him of your healing?”

“Well, he has shown interest in it, especially since the situation aboard the Porpoise. It would do some good to teach him more than just the basics.”

“No’ that, I mean him.

“You’re questioning about Elias specifically, or of his studying with me?”

The Scotsman sighed in a huff of annoyance, before walking into the drawing room, standing near the mantle of the fireplace before he continued.

“It’s just...how do we ken tha’ we can trust the lad? He’s one of the King’s men who had warrants against us, against our daughter.

Fraser placed emphasis upon the final word of the statement, crossing his arms over his chest. Claire raised her eyebrows in surprise, caught off guard by the direction of the conversation. 

“We can trust him because he isn’t one of those men. He and I found the warrants when Faith had gone ashore.”

“But how d’ye ken that he isn’t trying tae take advantage of her? Especially wi’ the rumor of a wedding that didna actually take place!”

“Jesus Christ, Jamie! You can’t possibly be serious.” Claire retorted, moving to close the twin doors to the room, in order to shut out any possibility of Faith overhearing the discussion. She sat upon one of the armchairs, leaning forward to rest her elbows atop her knees.

“We can trust Elias, because Faith trusts him.”

“Claire--”

“He loves her, don’t you see that? How is this any different from Marsali and Fergus courting? As for the rumor, it was started by a politician's wife. They are just as off-put about it as you are.”

“The lad is English! Ye ken as well as I do that they can be trouble.” Fraser exclaimed, in growing uneasiness, turning his focus from the mantle to his wife.

Claire stood from the chair then, standing parallel to her husband, as she looked at him.

“You seem to forget that I was, and what of Lord John? He is too.”

Sassenach.”

“The point is, Faith is plenty capable in her decisions. She was able to hold her own when we were aboard the Porpoise, and against Bonnet. Take her word for it.” Claire finished, growing silent for a breath’s length of time. 

The pair were interrupted in their discussion by a brash knock to the door, before Faith entered the room, with Aunt Jocasta, and Ulysses on her heels. A look of concern and worry crossed her features, as Cameron spoke.

“There’s been an unfortunate event. A matter of bloodshed.”

As the explanation continued from the drawing room, Pound moved in haste to collect a makeshift kit, in order to stabilize if surgery was unavoidable.

Cloth bandages, scalpels, a bottle of distilled alcohol, laudanum, and scissors were packed into a case, as he met the group towards the porch. He passed the parcel in question to Claire, as Jamie took possession of a pair of pistols from Phaedre.

“Doctor Fraser, should I attend with you?” Pound inquired, glancing between the Doctor and the other individuals.

“No’ now, lad. We dinnae ken the severity.” Fraser answered in short, climbing into the available cart’s seat. Campbell soon followed to saddle a horse, as Ulysses retired with Jocasta into the manor. Elias returned his attention back to the Doctor.

“We’ll get the side room prepped for you, Madam.” 

“That would be ideal, have Phaedre help you two.” She instructed, giving a reassuring squeeze at the apprentice’s shoulder in kindness. Pound nodded, giving a small salute to her from his forehead.

He glanced at Faith who stood at the porch, making haste to the kitchens once again as Claire, Jamie and Campbell departed. Elias turned to Phaedre as she followed in from the back garden.

“Phaedre, if you could please find any linens you can spare for bandages that would be ideal.” Pound asked, turning to Faith as he rolled the sleeves of his shirt, glancing at the recently sterilized instruments, folding them into a towel to move into the dining room.

“Faith, where did your mother leave the larger medicine box?” 

“On the porch, d’ye ken where Ian ran off to?” His partner asked, following beside as she tied a spare apron around her waist, in order to remain clean for the possible patient. 

“He went with Mr. Myers to survey a few fields for Mistress Cameron.”

Faith nodded, moving to the porch to retrieve the chest of medical supplies, making haste to set it up atop the dining room table, which had been cleared previously. The chairs were being temporarily discarded into the hall, at Jocasta’s distaste.

“Is this really necessary, Mr. Pound? Surely the incident won’t be as dire.” 

Elias turned to face the woman, who stood beside Ulysses in the dining room’s entryway, who possessed a disapproving expression. The attendant had described the room to her as it was amidst preparation, though the wayfayrer did not hear what was said.

“If you’ll permit me to be more forward, Mistress Cameron, it may be.”

-------

The horse-led cart pulled onto the designated pathway of the estate, before the large porch of the manor, as Claire held tightly to the lodged hook’s handle and base.

A pair of horses followed behind, as Young Ian joined beside his Aunt and Uncle. Himself and Myers had encountered the cart and resulting emergency on their return from the field observations, taking in account for what assistance was needed.

“Ian, I’m going to need you to help your Uncle carry Rufus into the side room. This hook needs to be removed as soon as possible.” Claire instructed, as her husband carefully lifted one side of the stable board that the laborer had been secured to. 

The three moved in steady succession to the house, as Elias met them outside. His eyes focused upon the hook, then to his mentor. He turned to assist guiding Rufus to the table, as Faith made haste to clean instruments with a whisky-filled basin. She spoke hushed instructions to Ian, who followed suit.

“Dinna fash, lad. All will be well.” Jamie spoke up then, focused first on Rufus, then to his wife’s assistant. All other matters and unsettled opinion could wait, the moment was imperative of life and death.

“Elias, hold the hook steady. I’m going to need the scissors ready to cut the fabric around this.” Claire instructed, as Pound carefully took hold of the object, holding a hand to Rufus’s sternum, as the young man breathed in a rapid, tense fashion. She moved to Ian, holding her hands upward to avoid contamination, after wiping upon her apron.

“Ian, find the laudanum. I need to sedate him.”

One of the newly labelled bottles was passed into her possession, as the surgeon calmly administered the opiate. The patient relaxed slightly, drifting into a hazed sleep as Claire moved to snip at the blood-soiled fabric. She met Elias’s eye for a moment, before following with instructions.

“We have to remove it slowly, to control the blood flow. Ian, have those swabs ready.” She spoke calm, as a scalpel was passed into her grasp. The three soon began their efforts to remove the instrument, as a voice pulled Jamie and Faith from the task at hand.

“Why would they bring the Negro who attacked Byrnes here?” Jocasta questioned her attendant Ulysses as he answered, in a hesitant manner.

The man’s attention focused on the pair conducting the procedure, as Faith cleaned her hands to join her father. Jamie moved from the table, brow firm in frustration as he drew his Aunt’s attention to himself.

“It seems Mistress Fraser and Mr. Pound are trying to heal Rufus.” 

Heal him? Why on Earth would they do such a thing?”

“Byrnes and his men wrongfully impaled the lad, and his wounds don’t compare to what was done to Rufus.” Fraser answered, as his eyes trailed back to the table. The hook had been successfully removed, as Claire and Elias moved to swab and stitch the wound.

Faith stood silent beside her father, maintaining a tight grasp to her apron’s edge, in anger toward Byrnes and his associates.

“It is regrettable that he was treated with such violence. Byrnes and his men will have a price to pay for their savage deeds, but Jamie, he must be hangit.” Cameron replied, as both Frasers nearly spoke in rebuttal. Phaedre entered from the hall to defer the conversation.

“Mistress, Lieutenant Wolff and Mr. Campbell have arrived and wish to speak with you, and Mr. Fraser.” 

------

As the crowd of the museum guests dwindled through the rooms, Roger and Brianna continued on their trail of following the medicine notes from Elias. Halting to study certain displays before a particular statement caught their ear, by a passing observer.

“The hook went through the guy? How awful, God knows how that was removed.” He spoke to his companion, as the pair moved from the case, allowing it to be within view of MacKenzie. A delicately decorated porcelain bowl was positioned in the center, with bloodied rags and discard instruments within.

Accompanying the dish, was a heavy hook of iron resting with the basin. Brianna pointed to a particular passage on the artifact label, a quotation from a following note, transcribed for ease of reading. The page itself was stained in the corner, and torn along its edge.

“Rufus, a man from the Timber Camp had been forcefully struck through the abdomen, supposedly as a form of punishment from an overseer of the enslaved. An absolute barbaric lack of humanity…Doctor Fraser managed to remove the vile tool with success, stitching the affected area with precision and calm. I’m not often one to pray, but a situation such as this may require such actions.”

——

A disquieting sense of calm swept through the manor at nightfall, as Claire wiped her hands onto the spare apron at her waste, the red-tinge of blood still present on her skin.

Elias had taken to recollection and sanitization of their instruments and other tools, organizing the box, while Ian and Faith dealt with the bloodied and stained cloth and linens. 

Rufus, their patient, had begun to stir, waking from the procedure as the four paused in their work, glancing upon the man who lay on the table. Claire reached for a small glass of water that stood beside the linens, gently easing Rufus to lie back in his attempt to move.

“Take it slowly...you’ll still be dizzy. Here, drink some water.” She spoke, gentle in her tone as she coaxed the young man to drink from the cup in her hand. Rufus began to sip from the glass, breathing in a rapid pace as he did so, slowly regaining familiarity of the room before he spoke.

Faith finished her task of the linens, crossing the room to stand beside Elias for a moment, observing the exchange, they remained silent.

“Where am I?”

“You’re in the main house.” Ian answered, leaning slightly over the table as he spoke, studying the figure before him. Rufus’s eyes darted around the room, as he replied.

“I shouldn’t be here..”

“It’s alright Rufus. My husband is heir to this estate, and he and I brought you from the timber camp. My apprentice and I removed the hook, and attended to your injuries.” Claire added, brushing a damp cloth across the patient’s temple as she spoke. Fraser glanced over at Elias and her daughter briefly, with a small smile before returning her attention.

“Why did you heal me, mistress?”

“Well, why wouldn’t we?”

“You was there. You know why I was put on that hook.” 

Elias looked to his companion beside him then, with his brow creased in confusion. Faith shook her head, unsure herself of the exact origin of the injury. Claire spoke up once more.

“That doesn’t mean what they did to you was right.”

“Shed a white man’s blood--broke the law.”

“--And we’ll sort that out later. From what I can tell, that Byrnes is a son of a bitch.”

Faith held a hand up to her mouth for a moment, attempting to stifle a laugh at Mama’s response. Her companion did the same, but chose instead to focus his attention on Ian, thinking he would also laugh if he looked upon his companion. 

“I’m sure you had good reason to do what you did.” Claire continued, dampening the cloth as she continued. Rufus met her eye with an expression of confusion on his features.

“What?”

“I never heard a lady speak like you before.”

“You’ll no’ encounter many ladies like my Auntie Claire. I’ve heard her speak words fit to make a sailor blush.” Murray followed, looking first to his Aunt, then to his associate and cousin. Pound rolled his eyes in humor, before himself and Faith moved from the dining room to dispose of the soiled linens and towels.

The pair maintained a comfortable silence in their work, before Ian soon joined them, with a question on his mind.

“Elias, would ye mind helping me move Rufus tae Auntie Claire’s room? She said he’d find it more comfortable there.” 

“Of course, I’ll be there in a moment.” Pound answered, with a curt nod as he looked to Faith for a second, who had mostly been silent since the incident began. He grasped her hand, intertwining their fingers for a breath of time, as the two were alone within the kitchen space.

“All will be well, trust in that.”

Fraser nodded, her eyes focused upon the moving shadows of moonlight upon the floor. Her partner pressed a kiss to her temple, gentle to release her hand as he went upon the task at hand.

------

“Careful, he’ll still be disoriented from the laudanum.” Pound spoke, gentle to ease their patient to rest upon the soft bedclothes of the mattress, as Murray stood beside him. He readjusted a pillow at Rufus’s head, taking a brief second to glance at the ornate clock which stood within the room.

'Two hours until midnight.’ He thought, unsure of why the time seemed important to him. 

“Take time to rest, Rufus. Mistress Fraser should be here in a moment.” He continued, hoping that his assistance was not causing further anxiety for the young man. Himself and Ian exited from the bedchamber into the hall, as Murray excused himself to his rest. Pound took a moment standing alone, leaning his head backward to rest against the decorated wall.

“Ye did well, lad. Truly.” Mr. Fraser spoke then, making himself known as he emerged from the winding staircase. He stood beside the wayfarer, meeting the young gentleman’s eye. His demeanor was calm, but possessed a quality of fear. 

“Are you afraid, Mr. Fraser?” Pound questioned, finding himself growing anxious by every moment which passed. He felt as though he could sink through the floor itself, like it were a current of the ocean pulling him beneath the waves. The young man was surprised to see Fraser nod in reply.

“Aye, I am. But no’ of those men who claim tae be lawmen upon the porch.”

“Of what, if I may ask?”

“For the lad, Mr. Pound. He doesna’ deserve wha’ those laws think he does.”

The two remained quiet for several moments, before Elias spoke once more. The conversation with Faith upon their arrival stuck out within his mind. Of her sister, and the knowledge their family possessed of the coming years ahead of them, as well as America itself.

“Ninety-eight years.”

“What d’ye mean?”

“Faith told me that this would be over then, that these people would be free. Is that true?” Elias questioned, meeting his eye. Jamie nodded, glancing up at the ceiling for a moment, then back to his newfound acquaintance. 

“I’ll leave that tae God, an’ History itself.” 

------

The vacant halls of the archive space maintained a remedial silence, as Brianna sat down to a spare desk, placing the letterbox beside her as she sorted through the contents once again.

She felt an ever-growing sense of urgency, as the correspondence from Faith grew further apart in dates, filled in somewhat by Elias’s drawing and subsequent notes found at River Run. She ran her hands through her hair, as her mind grew heavy in thought. ‘Where are you, Faith?’ 

A shifting chair and addition of more documents caught her attention, as Fraser’s eye moved to study the copied ledger that had been brought by Roger. He carefully opened the collection book to a particular section in the middle, before Brianna realized what her companion had found. 

“Wait, Roger..are those?”

“Marriage records of Rowan County, from 1768. But that’s not the best part.” MacKenzie answered, pointing to a particular line with a pencil he had in hand. 

“The marriage of Faith Beauchamp Fraser to Elias Pound, on September the 10th 1768, witnessed by James Fraser, Claire Beauchamp Fraser, and Brianna Fraser…” 

Brianna remained silent for a moment, allowing for her companion’s findings to settle upon her mind. Her hands grew tense, as she traced the transcribed document with a fingertip.

“Where’s the original? We have to see the signatures to know, this can’t be possible.” 

“Wilmington, most likely.” 

“Then what the hell are we doing here? Let’s go!” Brianna retorted, in haste as she rose from her chair with the box in hand, her coat haphazardly thrown around her shoulders. She felt an almost lightened sensation within her, as their research began to finally piece together. 

——

As daylight faded across the estate, Faith stood present within the parlor, a hand resting atop the back of the chair where Elias sat, eyes trained to the open doorway. Fraser’s expression set into a scowl, as she glanced at Campbell and Wolff occupying the porch.

Her parents had retired to the upstairs in order to tend to Rufus, at Claire’s insistence that her apprentice had done all he could. There was nothing that he could do to challenge the law at hand, at least not in this time.

“Such cowards, jes’ standing out there smokin’ pipes. Lookin’ all high an’ mighty. I could ring their necks.” Faith muttered, moving to release her hold of the armchair, as her partner halted her, taking possession of her hand. 

“And if you do, your whole family will be at risk.”

“But the timber camp was an accident , was it no’?” 

“The laws say otherwise, as much as I regret to say.” Pound stood, moving to stand at the window of the room, with his companion close behind. The pair observed a growing crowd surrounding the front entry and pathway of the estate, armed with farm tools, muskets, and other weapons, holding flaming torches to light their trail. 

“Mistress Cameron! Mr. Fraser! Turn over the lawless Negro!” Byrnes shouted, pounding harshly upon the front doorway of the manor. Mary and Phaedre observed hesitantly from the foyer and hall, as the shouts and clamoring of the riot continued.

The sudden shattering of glass pulled the room from their stupor, as Elias moved to the direction of the staircase, with Faith close behind as she assisted the two housemaids. In the following moments, Jocasta and Ulysses descended from the upper floor, addressing the mob of angered landowners.

“D’ye ken what their plan is? What would come of Rufus?” Faith inquired.

“The mob means to hang him, though I don’t know what your Mother intends.”

She nodded, directing her attention back to the doorway as Elias moved to take her hand. She felt a looming heaviness within her stomach, at the intent of the angered crowd through the door.

----

As the chime of midnight sounded, Jamie carried Rufus within his grasp to the outstretched porch, stoic in his action as the young man was laid carefully to the floor. The occupants of the house stood solemn, as the mob cheered and became lively at their barbaric act. Faith maintained a hold to her partner’s arm, as the pair observed in silent grief. 

‘One day, it will all be different.’

Chapter Text

“Did Faith leave another letter? Or did Elias add anything else?” Roger inquired to his research partner, as their destination neared. Brianna looked  down to the box in her lap, as she opened it once more.

The pair took careful action to maintain the parcel’s contents, including the order of the letters by date. She spotted a note, sealed haphazardly, with spots of wax trailing from the central stamp in the center. The opening appeared in Elias’s writing, though the continued paragraphs were in Faith’s long handed script. Brianna smiled, as she began to read.

September 10th, 1767

Dear Miss Brianna, 

As I have come to understand from what our Faith has told you, it has been a while since she has last written. So, I have taken up the task in her absence.

Unfortunately, the previously mentioned reprieve at River Run ended quite sour, I shall spare you and your Roger from most of the details. In short, it had been somehow mistaken that Faith and I had married, when no such thing occurred. Mistress Cameron was initially overjoyed by the prospect, before becoming somewhat off-putting. I hope it is not a trait that will maintain a presence. I pray for your good health and safety amongst your findings.

Your humble servant,

EMT. Pound

Sister—

Elias detailed our visit to Aunt Jocasta in a more polite manner than I would have worded, as you are used to different terms. As you must be aware, our Family is repulsed by the concept of slave-ownership, or indenture of any sort, though our Aunt Jocasta does not share that sentiment, in addition to her comments of our courtship.

From what Mama had recalled, she expressed a particular movement taking place within your America at the Time of her departure, calling it the “fight for Civil Rights.” I hope that the people of your time retain their liberties, as they are well-deserving of such action. 

With more positive tidings since our departure a week past; Da, Mama, and Cousin Ian have written to us from Wilmington, detailing the recent land grant that has been signed in our family name. Ten-thousand acres of land within the backcountry is to be used for settlement purposes, which Elias and myself hope to join in due course.

We are in Woolum’s Creek, a settlement of Scots about three days North from River Run. Da intends to find men from Ardsmuir to reside along with us, asking for my hand in the task. 

Mama and Da send their love, as do I. You are in my thoughts often.

Yours ever,

Faith 

------

The morning which rose upon the plantation was heavy and somber, as the band of traveling Frasers prepared for their continued trek, with the brisk air of early autumn, horses and an accompanying cart had been loaded, including a particularly vocal mule.

Elias stood beside one horse, tightening a saddlebag strap as Claire approached him, with a smaller medical case in hand. She placed it within one of the bags, then turned to her apprentice.

“You two will be sure to write from Woolum’s Creek once you arrive?” 

“Yes, and we’ll be sure to send it forward to Marsali and Fergus to ensure that it’s received. Ulysses was kind enough to find a map for us.”

Pound nodded, taking a cursory glance over their belongings and preparations. He was eager about the following travel, including the departure from the plantation. As thankful as he was for Mistress Cameron’s hospitality, Pound could not help but feel unwelcome by the matriarch toward the later days of their visit. 

“I’m sure Mr. Fraser isn’t too keen on Faith going without knowledge of the land.” 

He spoke, taking Claire’s arm as the two joined the remainder of their companions in the house, in order to bid Jocasta a polite farewell. The healer shrugged slightly, then gave a grin of approval toward her apprentice.

“No, but he feels better about it knowing that she isn’t alone. I’m certainly sure of it.” 

“That’s a welcome relief, I must admit. I don’t wish to upset him further, now knowing how that rumor settled.” Elias added, with a roll of his eyes at the forward nature of the aristocracy who began the circulation of gossip. 

“You two handled it the best you could, leave the rest for those gentry to faze out.”

“Hopefully by then, it wilna just be a rumor.” Jocasta spoke then, standing within the parlor doorway, with a cane in hand. The foyer and surrounding rooms bustled with activity, between the normal motions of the estate’s morning and the family’s departure.

Claire nodded, polite to excuse herself in order to see to the remaining tasks. Elias extended his arm to Jocasta, assisting her into the parlor. 

“Mr. Pound, I understand that you have intent toward my niece? Wi’ your courtship being as long as it has been, certainly ye must think of how ye may be perceived by those around you both if ye will not marry soon.” The woman began, as she sat on a chair.

Elias remained standing, as he held his hands behind his back, attempting to dismiss the nerves that began to present themselves.

“Indeed, Mistress Cameron. Faith and I have given it thought, and our intent is to marry once we have settled properly, as it would be irresponsible to do so without a home to return to.” 

“And where d’ye plan on settling? Surely a boat wilna do well, as ye are a supposed sailor an’ apprentice. Your wife deserves a life of comfort, no’ one where she’s penniless and destitute.” Cameron finished, her chin raised in slight distaste, as the young gentleman in her company stood speechless.

For being supposedly welcoming of her kin, the assumption of Faith’s lack of judgement surprised him. Pound turned his attention toward the woman in the moments following, as an answer accompanied.

“Madam, I do not understand where you possibly conceived the notion that we would be living in squalor, just based on profession.” 

“I gave her Father an opportunity to gain what he lost in Scotland, which he refused due to the blind passion he has for his wife. I was just ensuring that my niece does not make the same foolish mistake.”

“We will certainly be happier, as we do not believe that money is the root of life. Or in the ownership of your fellow human being as property.” Elias retorted, with a slight edge in his tone as he answered.

He bowed his head in closing of the conversation, as Faith entered in the doorway, readjusting the belt that had been tightened at her waist. She raised a brow in question toward her partner, as he spoke in brief departure toward the matriarch, then came to join their travel companions upon the porch.

“When we do marry, Jocasta is not invited.” 

“That we are agreed upon, Elias.” Faith spoke, with a curt nod of her head. After giving farewells and being guided along the proper direction, the pair of travelers headed northward, into the mountain range and settlement that awaited them. 

-------

The clerk at the circulation desk looked at the young woman skeptically, a brow raised in question at the visitor. Brianna and Roger had decided to split their research between various libraries and public archives around Wilmington, before Fraser caught a paper trail, leading her to the University of North Carolina’s library.

“Your request is quite specific, are you a History major or something?”

“Yes, I’m doing a research thesis involving family history. My professor directed me here.” She answered with a nod of delusory nature, followed by a nervousness moving through her fingers as they drummed against the desk counter. The clerk wrote a small note onto a piece of paper, before handing it to the patron.

“Third floor houses records from that period, there should also be a card catalog to search for family relations.”

Brianna accepted the information with gratitude, before heading forward to her destination. Her thoughts wandered to the case in her bag, as well as the contents inside. She was quick to find the floor, before delving into further research. 

-----

“So the town is made up entirely of Scottish families then?” Pound inquired, glancing for a moment to his partner, as she rode horseback in tandem beside him.

Their trek to the settlement had so far gone without mishap, to their luck. With the time that was offered by the day’s journey and stream crossing, it allowed for Elias to learn further of his partner’s family, as well as her inquiries into his own. 

“From what Jocasta an’ Da said, most of the folk there are. Though, I wouldn’t be surprised if it wasna’ entirely the case.”

“Like the Irish? Or Cornish perhaps?” Elias followed, curious as to if he may find anyone who lived within the vicinity of his family, or those who remained in it. With the separate deaths of his parents as a child, he did not possess much connection with the remainder of his family, apart from his Uncle who had recruited him for the Naval service.

Faith shrugged, with a brief shake of her head. “Mebbe while I’m looking for Ardsmuir men, ye can inquire about your family.” 

“If my Uncle can still be called upon. The last I heard from him was about two years ago, while he was in the East Indies. Mother’s family was estranged from her when I was born.”

“Your father’s brother? Or your mother’s?” 

“Father. His name is Jacob Pound, used to own shares in a smelting company for a number of years, before turning to the Navy.”

“Did smelting no’ go well for him then?” Faith questioned, in an intrigued fashion.

“He was more interested in the coin to be made, rather than the process itself.”

“Sounds like my great-grandsire. He was known for his trickery an’ dealings.”

“The MacKenzie side of your family?” Her partner inquired, curious to hear what details Faith would follow with. His uneasy meeting with her aunt left the wayfarer curious as to what the remainder of her kin was like.

The pair slowed their horses, dismounting beside a stream to allow for the animals to rest, and a chance to feed and water properly.

“Fraser, Lord Simon Fraser of Lovat, tae be specific. He decided tha’ money and power were more important than his own kin. In the end, it’s what killed the auld fox.” Faith answered, finding a smooth river-tumbled stone upon the ground.

She picked up the object, rolling it between her fingers before placing it within a pocket of her skirts. Elias came to stand beside her, glancing out to the tree line across from the stream. 

“He was the reason why Mama an’ Da left Lallybroch during the Rising. Prince Charles wanted them tae ask auld Simon for men who would aid him, for a cause tha’ was doomed from the beginning.” Fraser continued, finding herself growing angered as she spoke, a tight knot sitting heavy against her sternum, burning at her throat. She was too small to remember the Rising as it happened, instead having to grow up within its decrepit shadow. 

“Mama was taken from us for twenty years, because of selfish greed. Brianna was separated from her blood, an’ made tae believe somethin’ else.” She added, her cheeks grew damp as she spoke, with a deep ache within her at the thought of her family’s separation.

Her family rarely spoke of the Rising, mostly due to the pain that their homeland still experienced, as well as what became of the young Fraser and her father as a result.

“Da had to live with it, because of me. Because I was wha’ he had left of her.”

Elias stood still, studying his partner’s posture for a moment as she quieted, deciding to begin skipping stones into the stream. He knew vaguely of the separation, but not of what was left when the dust of Culloden’s aftermath settled. 

“You gave him reason to continue, not an excuse.” Pound spoke up then, still looking at her as his love turned to face him, meeting his eye with her own. Her shoulders fell slightly, as tensions began to lessen. She stepped closer in proximity to her companion, wiping her eyes with a hand as he grasped her shoulders, gentle in his motion. 

Faith nodded, her breath staggered in a slight discomfort as she centered herself. Elias moved his hands upward, to hold her face, before touching his forehead to her own. They stood solitary, allowing for the sounds of nature which surrounded them to silence the dark recall of the past, before they saddled to continue in their path.

-------

Woolum’s Creek was a flourishing township, moving in a pleasant manner with the passing hours of the morning. With their arrival near supper the day previous, and soon retiring to rest from the trek, it had not allowed Fraser and Pound moments to observe for any place that could potentially lead to settlers.

They had a message sent to Wilmington for the remainder of their fellow travelers, before deciding to divide for ease of tasks. 

Faith hastily checked the cursory list of Ardsmuir men that Da had provided to her, between what himself, Leslie, and Hayes could gather upon their immediate arrival to the Colonies in the months prior. She returned it to the inner pocket of her coat, eager to make progress as she entered a print-shop to inquire.

The air of the shop smelled of fresh parchment, the remains of ink and a smoldering fire within a hearth, bringing a grin of recall to Faith’s features. Of the places she and Da had gone since after Culloden, the print-shop in Carfax’s Close had been the first time she felt truly settled. The second time was when she and Elias had found one another again in Kingston, just before the reception in her Uncle John’s residence, and before the two had begun their evolving courtship.

‘Third time’s a charm, as they say.’ Fraser thought.

“May I help ye, ma’am?” The printer inquired, sitting behind a working counter as he made quick work of a bookbinding, with fresh leather and printed pages of script.

“Yes, I’d like tae have some pamphlets made, or broadsheets if ye can.”

------

“I’m sorry, son. There hasna’ been anyone wi’ that name that I ken in the county. Usually the Cornish folk are around Cross Creek or Campbellton, English less so.”

Elias nodded, with a slight feeling of discouragement in his chest. He returned his hat to rest on his head, from where it sat upon the countertop of the tavern. He and Faith had secured a room there the night before, so it seemed like a logical place to check. 

“Do you know where I could find a smith by chance? Someone who works with gold or silver?” Pound added, moving to retrieve coin from his coat to pay for the ale he had been given. The barkeep nodded, pointing out at the doorway behind them.

“Aye, he’s down the center street at the end, third shop on the left. Hell of a blacksmith, but can work wi’ more precious materials as well.”

Elias nodded, before giving a quick acknowledgment of gratitude and making his way to the intended place. After his tense discussion with Jocasta the two days prior, it held a weighted concern within the back of his mind.

It was his intent and strongest desire to be the best he could for Faith, as a companion and partner in life, but doubt had ugly methods of rearing its head. He knew that she was not one for receiving fanciful gestures, but felt that his thought may be appropriate.

‘Lord, let me be enough.’ The wayfarer prayed silently, rifling through a pocket to take hold of the rabbit foot he possessed, carried almost always by him, or sometimes by his partner with eyes like sunshine, and a heart of gold.

------

Faith read over the newly printed broadsheets that she held in hand, the brief paragraphs detailing her family’s hope of finding the men in which Da and herself had been held alongside.

She had included both English and her native tongue of Gaelic, in order to widen the chances of finding who she sought after. From what she could recall, most of the prisoners had been subjected to terms of indenture in the Colonies, whereas the two Frasers had been sent to Helwater that spring. 

“It’s no better than slavery.”

“A term of indenture is not slavery, the other prisoners will regain their freedom after a term of fourteen years.”

“Why weren’t we sent to the other territories, or the Colonies wi’ them?” Jamie questioned, stopping in his tracks as the horse that led him halted. Lord Grey was careful to dismount, before lifting Faith from the saddle in front of him, setting her to stand upon the ground. She moved to accompany her father, remaining silent out of curiosity of destination.

“You are not merely a prisoner, but a convicted traitor, imprisoned at the pleasure of His Majesty. Your sentence cannot be commuted without royal approval.”

“An’ what of Faith, then?” Fraser questioned, looking briefly to Grey, then down to his daughter who accompanied them. She had grown considerably during their time at Ardsmuir, even with the lack of proper food.

The girl stood as tall as the top of his shoulder, with her hair plaited back to remain out of her view. A spare blanket was wrapped tight around her shoulders.

“I couldn’t give you freedom, Fraser. This is the next best I could manage, and you know better than anyone that your daughter would never think of leaving you behind.”

The young woman returned her attention to the document she possessed, glancing down to the collection before she made an effort to distribute them amongst townspeople.

-----

Roger glanced down the long corridors of the library’s space, in search of his companion, finding her accompanied at a table filled with books, copied documents, and a banker box of tissue paper, possibly housing artifacts.

The young woman was particularly caught off guard, as she held a certificate between her careful gloved fingers. The two were alone within the room, which MacKenzie observed in haste, before occupying the opposing seat of the table.

“It’s real, Roger.” Bree spoke, meeting his eye as she laid the parchment to the surface with care, gentle as she pointed to her own signature. He remained silent for a breath, before speaking.

“Are ye going to go? There’s still the obituary, wi’ no mention of Faith or Elias either.”

“I have to. The earlier they know, the better.”

“Alone?” He questioned, skeptical of her new forming plan. MacKenzie was aware of what Brianna may find if she had the capability to go through the stones, unsure of her eagerness.

“I might not be able to come back, Roger. Would you want to risk that?” She followed with her inquiry, replacing the document with care. He pondered the question before him, hesitant in his answer, before the shoe dropped.

“I don’t know.”

-----

“Fitzgibbons! D’ye happen tae see these?” Bryan Cranna questioned, as he entered the smith shop of the man in question. The taller white-haired man ceased his current work of an ornamental order that had been placed that morning, in favor of looking toward his friend.

A fresh broadsheet was brought to Fraser's attention, as he studied the document. The long-missed use of Gaelic in particular piqued his interest, before the advertisement concluded.

“Gathering of Scotsmen wanted for the settlement of Fraser’s Ridge. Meeting place at Dobbin House at seven in the Evening. Potential tenants, tradesmen, and former soldiers welcome.”

“Where did ye find this, Bryan?” Murtagh questioned, looking at his fellow Scot.

“A lass was handin’ them tae folk around town, asking about men of Ardsmuir too.”

The older man studied the broadsheet once more, shaking his head in disbelief as a smile appeared to his face. His chest bubbled with a light-hearted chuckle as he continued in his work.

-----

“D’ye think anyone will show?” Faith questioned, turning to her partner as she finished placing a pin back into her hair, sitting at the desk that was within the corner of their temporary room. She usually wore it to fanned across her back when appropriate, but decided to plait it before fashioning it into a bun-like style at the back of her head.

Elias nodded, buttoning the cuff of his shirt before coming to stand behind her chair. He kissed the crown of her head in reassurance, before she turned to face him on the stool.

“Those men from Ardsmuir know you, do they not? And trust that you and your family mean well by this gathering?” He asked, leaning forward slightly to cup her face, his fingers brushing wisps of hair behind her ears as he spoke.

“Aye, but…” Faith hesitated. Her father had a particular gift for leadership, one that she admired. Even in a temporary position such as this, the young Fraser felt more vulnerable than ever.

“It will go fine, love. You won’t be alone. I know that these men may not appreciate a supposed Englishman in attendance, but I will do my best for you.”

“A sassenach fellow will certainly turn heads.” Fraser answered, with a playful raise of her brow, followed with laughter. Elias looked at her in a puzzled manner, a slight tilt to his head in questioning.

“Doesn’t your father call Doctor Fraser that? I heard him at River Run.”

“Aye, but he means it in affection. Like a second name practically.”

“What is it supposed to be?”

“Originally? Jes’ means someone who is no’ from Scotland. Though, mostly English.”

“Like an outlander?” Elias added, as he watched Faith stand from the desk chair, reaching to retrieve her coat. She stepped within a hair’s length from him, her mouth broke into a smile before meeting his lips, in a gesture of love and gratitude.

“Precisely, except this time you’re mine.”

-----

The wayfarer sat amongst the small gathering men of the tavern, scattered through various chairs, in front of a spare table which housed the remaining broadsheets, a tankard of ale, and a copied map of the Ridge land grant, sent in a return message from Wilmington that afternoon. 

Pound’s eyes studied the room, subconsciously counting those who occupied. He glanced at Faith, giving her a small nod of encouragement, as she began to speak.

She began in Gaelic, in order to catch the attention of the gathered folk, before resorting to English as she moved through the explanation. Detailing land insights, promised protection, and the troublesome topic of tax. 

At the latter mention, and the closing of her statement, several men departed, after a polite gesture of goodwill. Fraser stood puzzled, unsure of why the men would refuse the opportunity.

Elias stood from his chair, moving to accompany his companion as a voice spoke, standing within the doorway of the tavern’s side room that they occupied.

“It really is ye then, lass.” Murtagh stepped into the room, nearing the table as Faith and Elias both met the Scotman’s gaze. The wayfarer felt a tight squeeze to his hand, correctly assuming that it was from his partner.

The young Fraser stood silent, almost in complete disbelief. It had been nearly thirteen years since she laid eyes upon her godfather, as he was shipped to the Colonies with Leslie and Hayes, while she and Da found themselves at Helwater.

“Tha, mo charaid. Is e mise a th ’ann.” Faith answered, releasing her partner’s hand to move around the table, quick to embrace her kin in a tight hold.

She felt Murtagh return the embrace with an equally tight grip, his grasp lifting her from the tavern floor for a moment, before placing her to the ground. Elias smiled widely, joyful in Faith’s happiness.

The familiar bond of kinship was strong amongst the Frasers, but grew mightier still as more of their blood found their way to each other. War, Separation of Time, Indenture, and even History itself could not sever the hold of family.