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Musings in the Morning

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Claire,

I ken... I repeat myself way too much, but only because of the love that I have for you.

It is true, Sassenach; when I said that I wanted ye from the verra first moment that we met. I meant it. I wanted you, more than I've ever wanted anything in my life. I'd told ye about it once, when we were still in Lallybroch, how I said to myself that it simply had to be you, for all I canna see what ye looked like in the dark, and for all you weigh as much as a mount. I had loved you from the very beginning, becuase I knew in my heart that it was you.

I woke up today, finding ye sound asleep in my arms, and our bodies wrapped in the warmth of our touch, and in the memory of our joining last night. And you...just looked so bonny, wi' your brown and silver-grey hair curling round your face. How do ye look so fragile and peaceful in my arms, mo graidh, even if we've bled ourselves just hours before we took our rest? When ye asked me to cut you again and deepen the scar that was still at the palm of your hand?

Aye, the one ye carved in mine is just as painful, but now I bear in my hand the name of my heart.

CLAIRE. 

I could feel every letter of your name scorching the flesh of my left hand, blazing and throbbing from the base of my thumb up to its tip. The Mount of Venus, you explained to me last night. The indicator of passion and love. When you finished tracing your name, we said our vows again. In Gaelic, and then once more in English, whispering the words as we lay silently in our bed, fingers gripping together beneath the cloth that kept our hands pressed.

...so long as we both shall live, we said, before we drifted to sleep.

As I lay drinking in the sight of you, I began to take stock of our life, and wonder how God must've favored me so, that He thought of sending me an angel to be wi' me for all my days. What have I done to deserve ye, mo Sorcha? 

 

 

When we first met, I kent ye were no' what they thought of you to be...and you must've felt that within me, Sassenach, that I trusted you. But it was more than trust that was there. I wanted you; I already did. But I was cautious no' to push myself into yer life when you clearly were grieving for someone, and equally wary of everyone. God kens how much I had yearned to be in your life, if not as your husband, then perhaps as a dear friend.

 

 

When the opportunity came, I was...happy, Sassenach.

I kent I wasna the best person to be betrothed to, and certainly no' the safest choice too. No family would ever want their daughters to be wed with an outlaw who had a price on his head, and practically with naught but meager resources to provide for a wife. I had an idea that it wasna what ye wanted either--maybe, at first--but then I thought to myself, if this could keep the love of my life safe from danger, why else would I hesitate?

When we knew where this predicament was leading us to, I thought ye were most concerned of what you could get from me then, and I was worrit I couldna offer you anything but my name as your shelter and my body as your shield--but I was surprised to know that you...weel, you were mostly concerned of me no' wanting ye because you were no' a virgin.

God's tooth, Sassenach! Have ye no idea how much I've burned for you? Ye ken I never would've mind much of it, no? 

But aye, I had given ye my vow, and I swore it before God, thinking it was me who'd be doing the greater part of helping you, protecting you from harm...not knowing that it was me who'd be at the receiving end. It was you who'd changed me, Sassenach. To wake up seeing your bonny face each day, to sleep knowing that ye shall be buried here in my arms, and to live each day knowing that your life is intertwined wi' mine, it was enough to keep me alive.

 

When you finally decided to tell me who you truly are, all those years ago, I must admit that I couldna have a full grasp of what you said, but it was truth to me. I believed in every word, yet it shattered my heart to know that all ye've wanted to do, since ye came here, was to go home. And so I sent ye to the stones and set you free; I couldna bear keeping ye captive when ye never even wanted to be here from the verra beginning. Although I've already given ye my heart, that day, I was ready to live without it once ye've stepped into those stones, never to return again.

But you chose me. 

More than the comfort that was waiting for you on the other side, you...chose to stay, and build a home...with me. Even if I had no' the name or the power, the wealth, or even the means to guarantee your safety, you chose me. 

What have I done to deserve you so, mo graidh? That even at the time when I clearly was of no good use, when I...

when...I was tortured...

...when I had nothing else to bargain for your life but my own...when I knew I must give myself, no matter the cost, if only to see you safe, why would you still choose me?

I thought maybe, if I made it out alive, which I did quite barely, you wouldna want to have anything tae do wi' me, for my mind was in a verra dark place. But to my surprise, you followed me into the darkest parts of my soul, where I thought no one could find me. 

How would you even dare seek me, when I no longer wanted to be sought? Claire, for piecing me back together, hand and soul, and all of me, I thank you.

For giving me a child, and wi' that, yet another reason to live. Even if I kent there was nothing left of me that was of worth, still, when you told me that I was to be a father, that our babe was growing inside ye, I knew I must live. I knew I could find my way back to you. Thank you, for being a mother to our children.

For being my guide and my assurance, when we tried to change history and turn the victory into our favor. But when it seemed like the war was already inevitable, I thank you still, for standing by my side, and for being wi' me even if defeat was definite. You were there when I had to lead my men--our men--into battle. Ye've made the women of Lallybroch step in and take their place, and a very important one at that, during the war. I simply couldna do all this without your loving encouragements, and your spitfire courage.

(And o' course, for letting me take my pleasure in you after every battle, God--I thank you for that.) 

For going back to the stones just to keep Brianna safe...it was a brave, selfless thing to do, Sassenach. Thank you.

And even as you were gone and out of reach, I thank you, for keeping me alive during the years I thought I would die. You've been in every wakeful thought, and in every dream. The thought of you safe and alive, holding our child, somehow helped me get through.

And for coming back to me, and for accepting me for who I am now...thank you.

For raising our daughter well, even if I wasna there with you, I thank you.

For loving me still, even if I couldna adorn you with the finest jewelry, or promise you wealth, I thank you.

And for saving my life for more than fate would allow, I thank you.

Well, lass, perhaps this is just me thanking you as you sleep. Thanking ye for everything that ye have brought into my life.

And for ultimately--

 

"Jamie?" 

He blinked, and slightly stirred when her hand moved beneath the bloodied cloth. His wounds were still fresh, and he could feel the stickiness against her own palm. "Good morning, mo nighean donn. Slept well?"

"Pleasant as always," his wife replied as she leaned forward to plant a kiss on his chest. "You seem like you've been awake for a while, love."

"Aye, I was."

"And?"

"And...what?" 

Claire's voice was warm and husky in the morning--a sound that was enough to bring his lips to a crooked upturn. "And...you're just lying here?"

"Weel, for one," Jamie gently moved his fingers beneath the cloth, "Our hands are still tied up, and my wounds hurt a bit. The letter 'E' you made hit a bone, I think."

"Did I? Jamie, let me have a look--"

"It's alright, Sassenach," he brought his body close to her, gently pinning her to her side of the bed before she could even squirm away. "There'll be no need for any of your healing for the next hour. It can wait. For now, since it's your birthday today," he pressed his lips against her forehead, breathing in the scent of salt, parfum d' amour, and her, "I'd like you to rest for a bit."

She giggled then, kissing his chest once more before relaxing her head, the weight of it leaning against his arm. "Then I shall sleep in for a little while, James Fraser."

"I'll be here when you wake up."

That made her chortle. "Of course you would," Claire wiggled their intertwined palms, wincing a bit. The cuts he made on her hand must've hurt too. "Watch over me, soldier."

When it was silent again, and her golden eyes no longer in view, Jamie wallowed back in his musings as he hummed a Gaelic song of protection in her ear. 

 

--and ultimately, for being the bearer of my own heart.

Thank you, Sassenach.