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The Coffee Incident

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       James Fraser was intelligent, rich and very good looking. He was tall with red flaming hair and eyes as blue as the ocean. He was a true gentleman: He had all the traits a woman would want in a man, while he was vain in moments it was part of his overall charms. He was a published writer, with a unique play on words and a fanbase full of ladies. 

One of his favourite activities was to walk down the street and see the women's reactions to his appeal: always a smile, sometimes a wink. It amused him as much as it flattered his ego.

He was quite content leading a bachelor life, with a new girl on his arm every week and had no intention to change it but life doesn't always go as expected.

His morning coffee was always free. The barista, another one under his spell, would drop her panties the second he would ask her to and he knew it very well.

This morning was no different.

After his early workout, he went to his usual spot and spent a good chunk of his time, leaning against the counter discussing with the barista in question. She was in her early twenties, long blonde hair, hanging to every one of his words and giggling for no reason. Today, he learned her name: Laoghaire.

Of course, she had “read all his books” and had been inspired to be a writer, thanks to his works. Physically, she was just his type, however, he was sure she would never publish a book in her life.

Behind him, Claire Beauchamp was annoyed. 

A renowned brain surgeon, she spent the largest part of her night doing an emergency surgery on a patient and as much as she wanted to sleep, she had to get back to the hospital to finish her shift. She needed a coffee to survive this shift as much as she needed the air that filled her lungs.  

Claire observed the scene in front of her: the good-looking guy, aware of his charms, flirting with the dumb roll and making her feel his muscles. She rolled her eyes so hard that she was surprised they didn't get stuck in her skull. The tall stranger in tight gym clothes was the barista's only preoccupation: she had completely forgotten the other customers, growing impatient too. Claire waited for a bit, her British politeness taking over. However, after ten minutes of this and a few attempts of frustrated noises and grunts, it did not help her case. Claire had decided she had had enough.

Patting the stranger's shoulder, she cleared her throat "Excuse me," She said in her thick British accent.

Jamie turned around, his signature charming smile on his face and a coffee in hand: "Aye just a minute and I'm yers, sweetheart."

The nerves, she thought.

"Look, sweetheart," She started, with a sarcastic smile.

"Some of us have actual work to do and it would be much appreciated if you could stop distracting the lady over here. You're going to get her number anyway and you," she said pointing at the barista, "Stop playing hard to get, you're practically drooling all over your apron."

She grabbed the coffee out of his hand and deposited a 5-pound bill in his top front pocket before turning on her feet and disappearing. Claire usually didn't like to make a scene but she was tired and just wanted her caffeine fix so she could finish her shift and go home. To bed.

Jamie blinked, speechless and watched her leave. No other women had ever talked to him like this before. 

Laoghaire snorted, "What a trollop, I'm no’ drooling! Let me make ye another coffee, Jamie." She purred his name, battling her eyelashes but he wasn't listening.  All his thoughts were now on the Sassenach. 

Surely with her white lab coat, she was a doctor. However,  he had no time to read her tag to know her name. Damn it.

His head had not yet recovered that his feet were already well on their way, leaving Laoghaire without an answer and bitter.

Spotting the curly head doctor in the crowd, he quickly caught up to her and stopped in front of her.

Surprised but not really shocked, she sipped his former coffee and raised her eyebrow, "I'm not giving you your coffee back and even less my number. Now please move, I'm already late," Circling him, she started to make her way to the hospital. 

"Wait! What’s yer name?" He asked in a desperate plea behind her as he attempted to grab any information he could about her.

Looking over her shoulder, she answered: "It's none of your business, Casanova!"

With that, she left him, standing in the middle of the sidewalk with his mouth hanging wide open. 

His first ever rejection from a woman. 

He never believed in love, and even less at first sight, but Jamie Fraser felt something in the pit of his stomach and he knew he was hooked.

Chapter Text

"Oh god, Jamie" She moaned, holding onto his chest while riding him. Wild curls framing her face, ivory skin glowing in the moonlight. The way she moaned his name made him go completely crazy. He needed to possess her. He needed her to possess him. It was too much and not enough, all at once. 

Sitting up, Jamie nuzzled between her breast and fondled her arse, so full in his strong hands.

He was close.

So close.

Then all of a sudden he woke up. Sweaty, breathless and his cock aching for more.

Laying down, he starred at the ceiling for long minutes. For someone who never liked to share his bed, it felt suddenly cold and empty. His sister had warned him about playing around with girls and that one day, he would be rejected and pay for the way he treated women but he never thought Jenny would be right.

He sighed

Jamie checked his phone every two minutes as if the curly head doctor would miraculously appear as a new friend request on facebook. The only thing he found was only a couple of texts from random girls he had hooked up with once and never intended to do again. He put his phone back onto the bedside table and rubbed his face with both hands. 

It had been four days since the coffee incident. Four days since his mind had started to be occupied day and night with the Sassenach. He couldn't think, write or simply go on with his life without thinking of their encounter. Of her eyes. Her mouth. Her skin.  

A woman never resisted him before and it annoyed him. But it wasn't just that. There was something special about her. Something he couldn’t explain. He needed to see her again. And soon.

She worked at the hospital, he knew that much. That was a start. A slim one but still a start. 

However, it was the biggest hospital in Glasgow, he couldn't simply go and ask around for an English doctor with dark hair on every floor. Or could he? 

Jamie also went back to the coffee shop every day, at the same hour, but the only thing he found was an annoyed barista and no sassenach in sight. 

He also had to pay his coffee, now.  

Since meeting her, he tried to clear his thoughts and went out with a couple of girls, after all, she wasn’t interested in him. This behaviour only reinforced his feeling of wanting to be with the sassenach and no one else. He was tired of hollow flings and blondes with no conversations. 

When he couldn’t sleep, he tried to guess things about her. Her name. Charlotte? No. Sarah? No. Mary? No. Her age. 25? 30? 27? If she was single. Of course not, she probably is dating another doctor. Or a professor.  Why was she living in Glasgow? Work, most likely? Or a spouse? 

Jamie was going mad. Actually insane. He didn’t know what was happening to him. 

Looking at the clock, it said 5.09 am. He decided to go and take a cold shower before going for an early run in the park, in a bad attempt to once again, clear his mind.

It did not work.

Every woman with dark hair caught his eyes for one reason only: she might have been the sassenach but none of them was. Defeated, he stopped running after a while and sat down on a park bench, just too breathe and clear his mind in the almost empty park. 

The sun had slowly risen. Golden light casting a glow on his surroundings.  A welcoming breeze hit his skin and he closed his eyes for a moment.

Then, he heard it. That English accent. Thick and sophisticated beyond measure.  

He opened his eyes and blinked rapidly. There she was. In her scrubs, a big sweater over them, curls let loose, just like in his dreams. God, she was so beautiful. And she was probably not even aware of that simple fact

She was on the phone, talking to a colleague, probably, "Check his vitals every couple of hours but everything went well so I'm sure there won't be any issue. Call me if there is, I'll keep my phone near the bed, just in case." 

She yawned a long one that indicated to Jamie she had probably worked all night, "AlrightYes. Thank you Geillis. See you on Monday."

Hanging up, she threw her phone into her tote bag and walked by Jamie, not giving him a single look.

Panic crept in on him. He needed to do something. And quickly. Getting up at once, he blurted, "Sassenach!"

She never had a habit to give cat caller attention but the odd term raised her interrogations. Frowning, she stopped and turned around. She gave him a look, somewhere between annoyance and amusement, “I beg your pardon?”  

Jamie blinked, embarrassed and at lost of all his flirting ways "I, uhm, sorry I'm the lad from the coffee shop. We met a couple of days ago and ye stole my coffee so I guess now ye kinda owe me one -- "

She raised her eyebrow, "I owe you a coffee?" 

Finally realizing who he was, she couldn’t help but grin, "Oh yeah, I do remember you now!" 

She crossed her arms and watched him, "Actually, I gave you five pounds and you did not even pay it in the first place," She remarked. 

Shit! 

He needed to find something else. 

"I ken but I got an Americano and it's no' verra tasty, ye deserve better no?" His mouth curled up into a grin. 

"For sure, it was rather disgusting," She acknowledged with a smirk, "But it helped finish my shift so I can’t really complain."

"Can I offer ye another coffee then?"He smiled charmingly, finding back his flirting ways.

"Frankly, right now I just need to go to bed but I'm sure you'll find someone else to buy a coffee for," She started to walk again and he quickly followed.

"Wait!"

She looked at him, amused, "You really don't like rejection, do you?"

Shaking his head, he grinned, "Nay, I dinna like it one bit and I need to ken yer name."

"Oh, you need it, uh?" She shook her head, amused. “That sounds dramatic.” 

Desperate for her bed and the need for this dude to go away, she gave in, “It’s Claire, okay? Good?”

Sorcha.

"I'm Jamie,” He smiled again, the tip of his ears going crimson red. “Jamie Fraser the author."

She chuckled, at his bad James Bond imitation, "Well, Jamie Fraser the author,  can I go to bed now?"

"Aye, aye I leave ye alone now, Sorcha," Taking her hand, he bent down and placed a soft kiss on it. He’ll never forget the electric shock he got from doing such a simple thing he had done many times before to other women. 

"Thank you, but it doesn't work for me, Jamie the author," She smirked, finding his way quite entertaining. He was nervous and she could tell. 

"Aye, It will work someday," He took a bow and gave a failed attempt to a wink, making her laugh.

She started to walk away, shaking her head and chuckled. After a few steps, she looked over her shoulder and grinned, "Keep dreaming!"

Jamie stood in the middle of the park, smiling like an idiot and watching her walk away. 

Keep dreaming. Aye, he would for sure.

Chapter Text

Jamie knew her name, that was a start.

Claire.
Sorcha.

She was not only gorgeous --  he had noticed her bare face, looking radiant even after an exhausting night shift. She was a doctor, which meant, she had a brain, too. Thinking about it, Jamie couldn’t remember the last time he went out with an intelligent woman. Truth be told, he didn't think he had.

He quickly realised he was screwed. Big time. 

James Fraser could not see himself with anyone else but Claire. The only problem was, she didn't seem to be interested. He knew he needed to find something and quickly. Something to impress her. He didn’t know what, though. 

Another week went. Another week of days filled with thoughts of Claire and nights of dreams about her. Her body pressed against him. Her voice moaning his name in his ears. Her laugh echoing in the room. A week where Jamie was consumed by light. 

He came up with a good plan. Or at least, he hoped that much. He would simply go ask for her at the hospital and the receptionist would give him all the information he needed because he was charming.

Sorted.

Even if he had to go to every single one of the floors, he gladly would. 

Claire, on the other end, had spent her days off sleeping and sorting out her apartment. From time to time, her mind drifted to Jamie Fraser the author and she chuckled to herself. He was very good looking, charming and probably really good in bed, she gave him that. But he wasn't the kind of man she was interested in.

After her breakup a couple of months ago, she threw herself into her work in order not to think about it too much. Sometimes, it caught her off guard, the vision of Frank, in bed with another woman and she felt sick. Not at the sight but at the thought of wasting so much time with a man like him, unsupportive and selfish.

An asshole. 

One evening though, out of curiosity more than anything else, she wanted to know more about the scot and googled him. She got information about his life. His works. His dating life. Enough to know his reputation of a Casanova was well rooted. She didn't want a man and surely not one such as him. Her heart was not fully mended and she had no energy to be hurt again. He was a player, taking a woman one day and replacing her with another the next. From what she had seen, his type was blonde models in their early 20s. The complete opposite of herself.  

She had closed her laptop and crawled into bed, not giving Jamie a second thought.

*******

Jamie stood in front of the hospital, coffee in hand. He looked dapper and a few winks in the street informed him the outfit was working. 

He was nervous, like a teenager and as much as he found the feeling completely stupid, he could not help it much. His palms were sweaty. Very romantic, he thought. 

After a few seconds of reflection, he gathered his courage to go in and ask for Claire.

He made his way inside and to the reception.

As expected, the receptionist was eating in the palm of his hand, hanging to every word and ready to drop her panties. She typed on the computer, winking at him and smiled, "Dr Claire Beauchamp, trauma surgeon. Her office is on the 6th floor. Door 53."

Jamie gave her the trademark charming Fraser Smile, "Thank ye verra much, dear. Have a lovely mornin’."

"Come back, anytime!" Watching him leave, she rested her head on her palms and sighed happily.

The ride in the elevator was a long one. He thanked God he was alone so no one would hear him mumble things to himself. Claire was hopefully at work and he would see her soon.

He had a lump in his throat and swallowed audibly. “ Christ, pull yerself together, man!”

After all, she was just a woman. He knew women. He was comfortable flirting with them. Sleeping with them. Talking with them. This wasn’t complicated. It wasn’t simple either. Claire wasn’t just “another woman”, she was the woman. The one he wanted to see every minute of every day. 

It was probably karma. Treating women like he did and now, the only one he wanted had no interest in him. Zero. None. 

The elevator stopped on the fourth floor and the doors opened, revealing Claire.

She was wearing her lab coat, the same one he had seen her in the first time they met, stethoscope around her neck and her hair were pulled back in a tight bun, with a few curls escaping. He fought the urge to stroke one behind her ear and simply stared at her.

Stepping into the elevator, Claire looked at him and shook her head, "You're being a bit stalkerish, right now," She said half sarcastically. “It’s about to drop from cute to weird very quickly.” 

He was at lost for words, he felt like some fourteen years old unable to explain himself. His heart was pounding against his chest. He was cold. Then hot. Then cold again. He had no idea how she managed to make him go like that nor how she managed to look better everytime he had seen her. 

"You're always there with coffee when I need it, though, I'll give you that," Taking the cup out of his hand, she grinned and sipped some.

"Do you want my number? Because really, I won't give it to you," She looked at him with raised eyebrows. 

Finally, he collected himself and spoke, "I...Well, yes. I would like yer number if I may or just take ye out to dinner or anything ye want, really. "

She sighed, "Look, I find it really flattering but you can have whoever you want and I'm not looking for anything. I'm really busy with work at the moment."

The doors opened to the sixth floor and Claire walked out, followed by Jamie, "I understand if ye dinna want to go out with me but can we get a coffee sometimes? I just want to be yer friend, I like yer spirit."

Claire sipped her coffee and stopped in front of the wooden door. She turned her attention to Jamie and smiled, "Fine! I will give you my number and we can grab a coffee someday, as friends. Also, does it really work when you tell a girl you like her spirit?" She chuckled -- a sound he was not likely to forget. 

Beaming, he smiled and nodded, "Aye, deal Sassenach and usually I told them I like other things, ye ken..."

"I ken,” She rolled her eyes, mimicking his accent. 

“Can you stop calling me sassenach? I find it quite insulting by the way," Opening the door, she made her way into the office and made a movement for Jamie to come in as well.

"It's a term of endearment coming from me," He looked around, impressed with such a space. The walls were full of medical books and in the middle of the room, a big wooden desk was occupying the room. Jamie quickly washed away the thought of Claire laying naked on it, with him on top of her. it was full of files and some more books. And a smell of expensive woodfire candle was hanging heavily in the air. 

He also noticed the plastic brain resting on one of the shelves and grinned.  

Leaning against the desk, Claire crossed her arms and cocked her head to the side, "Is there something funny?"

"The wee brain there," He pointed, smirking. 

"That is Mitch,” She grinned, “Do not insult him, he's been with me since medical school.”

"My apologies to Mitch, Sassenach. I dinna mean to insult it," Jamie smiled, watching her. 

"So, Jamie Fraser the author," She handed him her card, "That's my number, call me for coffee sometimes or if you have bad headaches. Don't expect me to drop my panties, though, Aye?"

Laughing, he nodded, "I dinna expect that of ye, Sassenach. I would be honoured only to have your company for coffee."

Grinning, he bowed down and attempted to wink, something he had always been terrible at, "See ye soon."

"You are the worst winker I have ever met," She said, laughing. Her affection for this fool was growing slowly and she knew he would make a great friend.

"It's part of my charms, ye ken," He did it again. Closing both his eyes at the same time. 

"Charms? What charms, exactly?” She grinned, sipping her coffee.

"Ouch, mon nighean donn,” He pouted.

"I'm not your brown-haired lass, lad."

"Ye speak Gaelic?!" He touched his heart dramatically, "Ye are perfect."

"Of course," She winked and smirked, "Now please go, I have a surgery in twenty minutes."

Taking her hand, he brought it up to his lips and place a soft kiss on it "Ye are a white lady, go do yer magic. I'll call you soon"

Nodding, she smiled, "I know you will."

"Damn, you're a hard one," Shaking his head, he walked out of her office, his heart full. He had her name, her number and she was okay for coffee.

Slowly but surely, Fraser. 

Jamie Fraser swore he would do anything he could to deserve her heart and he could not wait to get started. 

Chapter Text

She was late.

Jamie had been sitting at the cafe's table for a while, each passing minute adding a bit more anguish to his growing anxiety. What is she doesn’t show up? Why would she show up? 

Tapping his foot nervously, he checked his phone every five seconds to see if she had sent any texts or called but nothing.  The woman next him gave him an annoyed glance and he smiled apologetically. He now knew the feeling he had cause many women, making them wait on him over and over again to never show up. Karma was leaving a sour taste in his mouth.

“Calm down, she will show up and if not, ye would have deserved it, Jamie Fraser,” He mumbled to himself. 

They had decided to meet at the cafe next to the hospital, where they had met for the first time exactly twelve days ago. Not that Jamie was keeping count. 

It was not very busy and quite charming. With white walls and the smell of freshly grounded coffee beans floating through the air. Jamie’s heart skipped every time he heard the little bell by the door, announcing a new customer but each time he looked up, it wasn’t Claire. 

They had texted a few times and Jamie was verra excited to see her. 

Sassenach:  “Ok, 11 at the cafe. And it's not a date, Fraser! x "

JFTheAuthor:  "It's not a date, Sassenach. I'll wait for ye there :)"

Sassenach:
 “See you then! x” 

JFTheAuthor:
 “ Canna wait!” 


Sassenach:  “You said that four times already. The thirst is real ;) “

JFTheAuthor
“Are ye flirting wi’ me? ;)))) “

Sassenach:  “No, haha.  See you tomorrow x” 

Laoghaire, who had been observing him since he arrived, made her way to his table and crossed her arms, annoyed, "So are ye going to order now or stare at the window forever?"

Looking up, Jamie was about to say something when a thick British accent answered for him instead, "An Americano and a peppermint tea, thank you. Oh, and  you can also bring two chocolate chip muffins with that."

Ignoring Laoghaire, Claire removed her coat and sat down in front of a smiling Jamie. She was wearing a grey sweater over her scrubs and round golden glasses.  it was the first time he had seen her in them, "I am so sorry! I had an emergency at work and my battery died."

Her hair was loose and Jamie watched her running her long fingers through the smooth curls. He wondered how soft they would feel under his finger. He didn't notice Laoghaire, who mumbled something while walking away, "Aye, I thought you had forgotten me Sassenach."

"How could forget Jamie the author?" She smirked. In the short period of time, she had known him, she discovered it was her favourite way to tease him and his ego. He didn't seem to mind and found it rather amusing. 

Laughing, he shook his head. He loved her teasing more than anything, "I'm stuck wi' ye calling me that now, aren’t I? "

"You most certainly are," She smirked, adjusting her glasses, "But really, I'm sorry I was late.” 

"Dinna fash,” He smiled, “I have to admit I was really scared ye wouldn't come, "He admitted shyly.  

Crossing her arms, she leaned back in the chair and smiled, "I'm not that mean."  

Laoghaire reappeared quickly and interrupted their conversation by putting their order on the table. Once again, she glared at Jamie before walking back to the counter. Claire watched the whole scene, grinning, "I don't really know who she hates more. You or me?"

"Oh me, for sure, since the other day. I even have to pay for my coffee now," He pouted.

"Aw, It must be really hard to be you," She gave him a mischievous smile and added a cube of sugar in her tea.

"Aye, truly awful!" He added dramatically, making her laugh again. 

"Also, the receptionist asks me about you every morning now. How do you do it?" Taking a generous bite of her muffin, she had no idea Jamie was silently falling in love with her more with every passing second.

"I dinna ken," He shrugged,  a bit embarrassed, "I dinna want ye to only think I'm this playboy even if I must admit I was not a monk either."

"I don't think that at all or I wouldn't be here right now. And it’s none of my business, anyway," She gave him a sweet smile, "Actually, I'm really curious about you, I'd love to know more."

"Well, as ye ken I'm an author," He said with a smirk. 

"I do know that, yes,” She chuckled, “Proceed."

"A Highlander, born and bred before moving to the city for college. My childhood's home is called Lallyborch and my father built it for us," He started. 

"I have an older sister and brother, Jenny and Willie and a younger one, Robert. Everyone lives and work at Lallybroch which is a distillery and ye can guess, Sunday dinners are verra loud."

Sipping her tea, Claire listened to him fascinated by his tales of a large family and all its endeavours. As an only child, she always fantasized about having siblings and how things would have been different if her parents were still alive. 

"And why did you become a writer?" She inquired. 

"I always loved to read. When I was a wee lad, I would stay up too late with a lamp torch under the cover to read the classics I had stolen from my Da's office,” He recalled fondly. 

“And as a shy and awkward teenager, writing stories made me feel better," He added, realizing no one had never known this fact.

"Shy and awkward? Well, you came a long way," She teased, making him laugh. 

“So if you read all the classics, deep down you must be a romantic?” She raised her eyebrow. 

"Aye, maybe I am," Crossing his arms, he watched her intensely, "Now I wanna ken about you, Sassenach."

"I'm an orphan actually," She started, seeing Jamie's expression shift from mischief to pity in a second, "My parents had a car accident when I was five and I lived with my uncle Lamber after that -- ” 

"I'm sorry about it, I’m sure they would be really proud of ye," Instinctively, Jamie took her hand and she didn't take it away. Instead, she smiled sweetly, she was touched. 

And mellowing a bit, just a bit. 

"My uncle was an archaeologist so you can say I didn't have a traditional upbringing which, in a way, I will always be thankful for. I travelled the world with him but I, too, stayed up to read classics. It was in a tent, in the middle of Egypt and my uncle did not mind but still;" She stated affectionately while Jamie listened to her, enchanted by her tales. 

"Then, I discovered medical books and as I was always the one taking care of my uncle’s scratches or when he had the fu, I immediately knew I wanted to be a doctor. After a while, Lamb got a position at Oxford University and that's where I studied."

Jamie had never met such an interesting woman, she truly was fascinating. 

"And how did ye end up in Glasgow?"

"I got a position at the hospital as an intern and never left."

"Ye have one truly interesting life, Sassenach" He said, causing her to smile

"I guess you could say that" She admitted, grinning. 

"Claire?"

She froze. 

The sound came from behind her and she could recognize that accent anywhere. English. Snobbish. Condescending. 

Frank.

Straitening a little, she tried to calm down internally while Jamie was watching the scene playing out in front of him. Who was that man? He wondered. He surely looked older than her and quite formal with his suit and hat.

Claire finally looked up at him, slowly, "Frank," she spat out more bitterly than intended.

"I saw you from outside and had to come and say hello," He gave her a smile, to which she didn’t respond. 

"Well, hello Frank," She said, "And goodbye."

Not entirely surprised by her reaction, Frank’s ego was still a bit scratched. He cleared his throat, "You could at least introduce me to your friend, Claire,” The Englishman gave Jamie a look before focusing his attention back to Claire and most importantly, to her hand on the table, still joined to Jamie's. 

Jamie placed a soft kiss on her hand and let it go reluctantly before he got up and smiled politely, "James Fraser, her boyfriend." 

Frank was a tall man but next to Jamie, he appeared quite short and the look on his face made Claire bite her lip to avoid a giggle.

"You must be Frank,” Jamie patted his arm, “She told me lots of things about ye and as ye can guess, she doesn't really want to talk to ye right now," Crossing his arms, he gave Frank a look worth a thousand words. 

Frank looked at Claire for reassurance but she simply nodded, "You heard what he said, Franklin," She knew how much he hated to be called that, even more, when that was exactly what his student was moaning out when Claire had appeared in his office. 

As any well-raised Englishman, Frank Randall was not the kind to make a scene, even more now that he was standing next to a very tall Scot who was apparently Claire’s new love. And from the way the ginger was looking at her, he had no doubt about it. 

Swallowing his pride, he simply gave Claire a harsh smile, "Well, maybe next time."

He left as quickly as he appeared, as Jamie was sitting back down, "I'm sorry but I dinna want him to bother ye."

Shaking her head, Claire smiled and touched his hand, "No, thank you. Really."

"I guess he must be an ex-flame?"

Nodding, she finished her tea, "Yes, Frank and I met at Oxford through my uncle. He was his research assistant and we dated until six months ago when I made a surprise trip to Oxford and found him naked in his office with one of his students."

Bastard.

Now he understood why she had zero interests in him, she didn't want to be hurt again.

"I'm sorry, Sassenach, He won’t hurt ye again. I give ye my word," He said softly.

Jamie was not only apologizing for Frank's behaviour but his own, with women and the way he had treated them all along. It occurred to him at that moment that he wanted to give Claire Beauchamp all the love and respect she deserved and he didn't care how hard he would have to work for that, he would love her exactly the way she deserved. 

And Jamie was not the man to break his words. 

Chapter Text

After a couple of meetings around warm cups of coffee and chocolate muffins, Claire was mellowing and opening further to Jamie -- and he noticed it.  Gradually, she realized there was more to this man than his playboy side, and what he wanted to show to the world. She was enjoying his company more and more, she even read some of his books and she had to admit, he was a terrific writer.

Still, she told herself she had to be careful.

"Can ye tell me why Jamie Fraser is sending ye signed books and flowers, Claire?" Geillis knew everything, all the time.

"Do you spy on me?" She grinned, "It's none of  your business, we are just friends and the signed books are a joke between us."

"Just friends and private jokes?" Wiggling her eyebrows, she made Claire laugh.

"Yes, period." Focusing her attention back to her files, she could sense the nurse was not giving up easily.

"Ye are telling me the most coveted bachelor in town is after ye and ye are just friends?"  The redhead raised her eyebrows and leaned against her desk, shaking her red head, “Ye are impossible, Claire Beauchamp.” 

"Exactly! Now let go I'm trying to finish this patient's chart and it's more important than my love life." 

Jamie, on the other hand, was falling for her head first and willingly. He couldn’t explain the effect Claire had on him, nor did he tried to. She made him realize how unimportant the other women had been to him and since they became friends, his creativity was off the roof. Instead of partying and going out with whatever blonde he could find, he would stay home and write, thinking about Claire.

His muse.

This time, Claire had finally agreed to dinner and decided to make an effort. She frankly couldn't remember the last time she had worn a dress or more make up than simple lip balm.  

A warm shower was always welcomed after a shift at the hospital and this one felt particularly good, the worries of a long day would wash off and she always felt renewed. She stood under the warm water far too long, as usual, and had to rush to dry her hair and get ready.

Checking herself in the mirror, Claire shook her head amused at the efforts she had put into this. Her hair was doing its own thing, as usual. Wild around her face and shiny from the wash. She put some mascara and blush on,  the extent of her make up collection, and took out a little black dress with a deep V in the front, perfect for the occasion.

“You care more than you'd like to admit, Beauchamp,” She mumbled, fixing her hair. 

They agreed to meet directly at the restaurant, as Jamie had some meetings to attend in the afternoon. It was the perfect meeting spot between their respective apartments. 

Claire arrived first and followed the waiter to their table, smiling politely. 

She checked her phone to see if Jamie had sent her anything but she only had a voicemail from Geillis and the usual amount of unread emails.  

She sat down, ordering a glass of wine to wait and looked around. The restaurant was trendy, with dim lights and soft lounge music making it very cosy. It was chic but not over the top and she wondered if Jamie had come before, with other women...

No. Stop it, Claire.

She had no idea why she was so worried, they were only friends after all. And she was the one who insisted on this, she was in charge. Truth be told, she was not. Jamie was more important to her than she care to admit and she was scared to be hurt again. She meticulously had built this wall around her heart, keeping everyone outside.

The minutes started to go by, quickly. One. Five. Twenty. 

Checking her phone to see if she didn't miss any message or call, Claire was starting to get nervous.

He will come. Of course, he will. Why wouldn’t he? 

The waitress came three times to see if she was ready to order and three times, she gave Claire a look, worth a thousand words when she told her she was waiting for someone.

Forty-five minutes. 

Her second glass was empty and so was her heart. He was not late, he was just not coming. The sooner she’d accept this fact, the better she would start feeling. 

Finishing her third glass of wine and worried turned into fury, Claire decided to dial his number. He didn’t answer. 

Enough.

Claire realised she had been right all along. He was a player and he knew she was starting to soften. He had been waiting for the perfect moment to set her up and step all over her heart. It had come. 

Bastard.  

Swallowing the bitterness, Claire paid her drinks and got up with the little dignity she had left. She wanted to scream and cry but nothing would come out, apparently, she was now immune to assholes. She had no idea how she managed to be so stupid, again. Thankfully, the damages were not as bad but still, it hurt her self respect a little bit. 

Damn you, James Fraser. 

She threw her beige coat over her shoulders and made her way out quickly. Thankful for the cold air hitting her face as soon as she stepped outside. 

Walking home, she could feel warm tears streaming down her cheeks. She felt so damn stupid for falling for his games. 

Her phone rang but she did not pick up.  It was not Jamie anyway, it was Joe and she had no want to talk to him nor anyone else. 

After the fifth try, she realized it might as well be an emergency at the hospital and finally picked up, “Yes?” 

“Finally LJ!  You need to come to the hospital right this second,” His tone seemed calmed but she could hear the worried undertones, “A certain Jamie Fraser had an accident and Geillis told me to call you right away.” 

Jamie. 

Chapter Text

Everything after Joe’s phone call was a blur. Claire had gotten the first cab she could find and arrive at the hospital as quickly as she could. 

Oh, Jamie.

She felt so bad, so fucking bad. 

First to think that Jamie was not showing up on purpose and second, for his accident. On the cab’s ride to the hospital, Claire’s mind raced a mile a second, Jamie needed to be okay and she would do anything to make sure he was.

Making her way to the emergency, Claire looked frantically around for Joe who had just spotted her, “Lady Jane!”

“Joe, what happened?!” As a doctor, Claire knew how to stay calm and compartmentalize in such situations but when the patient in question was someone she cared about, it was proving to be more difficult than she anticipated.

Her face always gave away her emotions and Joe could read her like an open book, “Mr Fraser got hit by a car. He is stable and sleeping now, bad bruising and a fractured side nothing we can’t fix.”

“Oh thank god,” Sitting down, she sighed in relief.

“LJ, it’s not all of it…"Joe looked at her, she knew that look. She had given it to many family members before announcing bad news. 

Swallowing she leaned back and watched Joe, "Go on, then, shoot.”

“Something has been damaged in his spinal column and his legs won’t be working properly, I just don’t know if it’s a permanent thing or not,” Sitting down next to her, Joe placed his hand on top of hers, “Now, can you tell me who is that guy and why I had to call you?”

Swallowing Joe’s information, Claire looked at him, "We met two weeks ago and we became friends, we were supposed to have dinner together tonight and I thought he stood me up,” She sighed “I feel so fucking stupid right now, Joe.”

“LJ, I don’t think you should blame yourself. You two can talk once he’ll be better but right now, he’s going to need you,” He squeezed her hand reassuringly and patted it.

“Come on, I think he’ll be happy to see you when he’ll wake up,” Joe got up and disappeared in his office, leaving Claire by herself in an empty and cold corridor. 

Deep breaths. 

Finally, she got up and made her way inside the room Jamie was in. She was used to it all. The white walls, the ugly but practical pieces of furniture, the smell of sanitizer hanging in the air and all the equipment. Something so familiar to her, now suddenly felt quite weird and foreign.  

She observed him for a while. He looked peaceful in his sleep, like a little boy and even with a couple of scratches on his face, he was handsome. 

Sitting down on the chair next to the bed, she didn’t take her eyes off him, once. His breath was slow but steady and deep down, she knew he would make it. She would help him as much as she could.

Damn you, James Fraser.

Claire watched him for most of the night, memorizing every feature, every line of his face. Wondering how the dinner would have gone, the jokes and teasing, the discussions they would have had and most likely, the kiss she would have placed on his lips after he would have walked her home.

Touching her lips, she wondered how he tasted like and she fell asleep, dreaming of Jamie and what the future might hold for them. 

The wall around her heart had crumbled into pieces and she had no intention to pick up the bricks and built it all over again. 

********

When Jamie woke up, he felt like a truck had run over him. Everything hurt and he couldn’t do much more than groan. As his eyes adjusted to the light coming through the window, he realized Claire was asleep on the chair next to him and everything was alright again. 

Sorcha.

She was crooked on the chair and there was no way she was comfortable in that position but god was she beautiful. He noticed the dress and the make up she was wearing and that made him smile - she must have looked magnificent lat night. 

Slowly waking up, Claire yawned like a three years old, causing Jamie’s heart to almost explode.

Realizing he was awake, she rubbed her eyes and croaked, “Jamie...”

“Aye Sassenach,” He responded softly, smiling and holding out his hand to her.

Sitting properly, Claire took his hand and slowly stroked it with her thumb, “Do not scare me like that again.”

“I had flowers for ye but I think I left them in the street after the accident, not on purpose mind ye,” He said with a grin, making her laugh softly.

“I don’t care about flowers as long as you are okay,” She smiled, “If you wanted me to doctor you, you could have simply asked,” she added, causing him to chuckle again.

“I ken it for next time now,” He smiled, closing his eyes for a second. 

“I’ll go get you water and some food okay? And also change into something else, I have some spare clothes in my locker, I won’t be long,” Jamie noticed she didn’t meet his eyes but he simply nodded and gave her a soft smile.

“Aye Sassenach, come back soon,” He said, watching her leave.

Her heart was heavy. So heavy. 

After going to the locker rooms and getting changed in some jeans, t-shirt, and sneakers, Claire went to the cafeteria to get some food and water for Jamie. She kept wondering how she would tell him about his legs. Most importantly, she hoped he would trust her enough to realize she would not leave him alone. 

Back on the emergency floor, she walked into Joe’s office, causing him to look up from his files and smiled, “LJ, is he awake?”

“Yes, he is,” Sitting down, she sighed, “Joe, I’m a doctor but I have no idea how to tell him he might never walk again.”

“Let me handle this okay? We need to make more scans to be sure, now that he is awake and if indeed he won’t be able to walk again, no matter for how long, he will need your support and I know you will be the best motivation to get better.”

“Joe, I will be the one to tell him,” She looked at her friend, “I…I’m in love with him.”

Finally, she said it. So softly, in fact, Joe wondered if he heard it correctly. 

"I know,” He smirked, “And that’s exactly why you’ll be the best support system he’ll have. I have cleared your schedules for the next couple of weeks, he’s in very good shape, I’m sure he will walk again in no time and I know you know it too.”

Nodding, she smiled softly, “He’s stubborn for sure.”

“And so are you,” Joe grinned, “You two, together, are going to be invincible.”

“You’re right, as usual,” Getting up, she smiled, feeling a bit more relieved, “See you in a bit, then.”

“See you soon LJ, I’ll come by his room in a minute.”

When Claire walked back into the room, she noticed the nurse must have come and helped Jamie sat up. He was leaning against the pillow, smiling the moment he saw her, “There ye are, Sassenahc. I thought ye would let me die starving”

“I wasn’t that long” She grinned, handing him the bottle of water, “Drink, you need it.”

Sitting down on the bed, she watched him drink slowly and stroked his unoccupied arm, “How are you feeling?”

“A bit rough and I canna feel my legs, Sassenach,” He admitted, looking at her, “It’s that bad, isn’t it?”

She sighed and took his hand, entwining their fingers, “Well, Joe, the doctor who took care of you, he’s one of my friends. He told me that, during the accident, something touched your spinal column and you won’t be able to walk for some time. He will do more tests later on because he doesn’t know how long this will stay this way but Jamie, I’m sure it won’t last permanently.”

“I promise you,” She cupped his cheek, “I will do whatever I can to help and make you better. I’m a doctor and a very stubborn one at that,” She said, making him smile at her determination. 

“Sassenach, I dinna ken what’s going to happen to me but with ye by my side, I’m no’ afraid,” Jamie said sincerely, melting into her touch. 

Their eyes met and for a brief moment, Jamie forgot about his situation, his aching body and what might become of him. Nothing mattered anymore. Except for Claire, willingly giving herself to him. Finally. 

Claire leaned towards him and her lips gently brushed his own before fully sealing against his. Jamie closed his eyes and thought his heart was about to burst. 

Chapter Text

Their first kiss was exactly how Jamie had pictured it over and over again in his dreams. Her lips were soft and warm, tasting of the chapstick with a hint of vanilla she was wearing. As soon as they were away from his, he felt the urge to kiss her again. And never stop. 

Behind them, came a noise of someone clearing their throat. Both turned to see who it was. 

Joe stood at the door, arms crossed and an amused expression on his face. 

Blushing, Claire smiled like a child and got up from the bed, "Joe, good you are here.”

"Yes Lady Jane," He grinned and winked, "So how are you feeling Mr Fraser?"

"I'm a bit sore and please call me Jamie," He smiled politely, taking Claire's hand. Claire and this doctor looked really close and Jamie felt a bit of jealousy. Another first for him. 

"We will need to run some more tests for your legs, as Dr Beauchamp probably told you already?" Claire nodded as he was just finishing his sentence. 

"Aye, she told me so," Looking at her, Jamie smiled and brought her hand to his lips. 

"We will do whatever we can to make those legs work again, I promise you that," He said, smiling at the scene in front of him.

"The nurse will come in a minute to pick you up and I'll see you then," Joe smiled once more and left the room. 

"While you do the tests, I should go and get you some stuff from your house if that's alright for you?" 

Nodding, Jamie smiled, "Aye I guess it's best, the keys are in my jacket,  Sassenach.” 

Claire kissed his head and went over the pile of clothes on the chair, taking his keys out of his blaze.

"Ye're going to see my man's cave," He grinned.

"Are you scared, Fraser?" She asked, smirking.

Jamie pulled her to the bed, causing her to sit on it again and pressed his lips against hers, "Nay, thankfully I cleaned yesterday morning."

Stroking his cheek, she placed a soft kiss on the tip of his nose and smiled, "I won't be long and do not flirt with the nurse."

Jamie laughed and shook his head, "I won't but I canna promise she won't flirt wi' me!" 

Shaking her head, Claire got up and grabbed her jacket, "See you later, Fraser."

"See ye, Sassenach" He leaned back and watched her walking out of the room, wondering how long it will be until he could fondle her glorious arse properly.

"And stop staring at my ass!" He heard her say from the hall, making him burst into a laugh.

*******

Claire made a quick detour to her own place to grab a couple of things she would need for the next couple of days at the hospital. If her diagnostic was correct, Jamie would stay for a few weeks and then go home, to follow a strict routine of rehabilitation for his legs. She packed a small toiletries bag, some clean clothes into a duffle bag and left for Jamie's place.

On her way there, she wondered how his place would look like. He was a bachelor with money and she was almost sure he had a leather sofa and tons of books.

She was right. 

Claire's eyes scanned her surroundings while making her way inside. It was a loft with open spaces, very high ceilings and white walls. Some empty and some with interminable shelves full of books, the windows were huge, letting a lot of light in and the kitchen was facing the living room area. 

It smelled like him. Musky. 

She made her way to one of the doors and opened it, revealing the bathroom. Truth be told, she felt a bit like an intruder,  opening cabinets and looking for his belongings, not knowing where things were. She packed his toiletries and ignored the pack of condoms staring at her in the face.

She walked into the second room. His bedroom.

His bed was not made and she could not really be mad because she truly never understood the point to make her bed, either. That was what spending your teenage years with your uncle in the middle of Egypt did to a person.

There were a few books on his bedside table as well as some notebooks and his MacBook on the other one.  

Opening his closet, she spotted a leather bag and put it on the bed. She scanned his clothes, everything was well put together. Shirts and suits on one side, more relaxed items on the other. She packed some t-shirts, clean underwear, socks and sweatpants and put the toiletries bag careful in it too as well as a pair of sneakers.

******

After some tests, Jamie was back in his room and wondered what Claire thought of his place. Leaning back, his thoughts were cut short as he heard some noises down the hall.

Jamie Fraser could always tell when his family was near and this time was no different.

First, his mother walked inside the room, followed closely by his father and his younger brother, his godfather, Murtagh and his older brother William.

"James Alexander Malcolm Mackenzie Fraser!"

"Aye, hello to ye too Ma," He smiled amused, looking at his mother.  

“Oh ye scared me so!" Taking his bruised hand, she placed a soft kiss on it. 

"I dinna mean to, I'm sorry," He wrapped his arms around her and enveloped his mother in a tight bear hug. 

"Look at yer face," She sighed, stroking his bruised cheek, "A leannan.” 

"Ma, it's just some scratches, I'll be fine," He chuckled, kissing her cheek. 

Shaking his head, Brian watched his son and wife, smiling, "Jamie we talked to yer doctor, it’s yer legs aye?” 

Nodding, Jamie stroked his mother's arm, "Aye but they will work again, I ken it. It's good to see ye all here though," He smiled softly.

After a few minutes of catching up with his family, Claire walked into the room, grinning, "I got your things but I left the condoms in the bathroom, I hope you don't..."

She saw six heads turning to her and froze, not finishing her sentence. 

Jamie was chuckling, the woman was frowning and the four other gentlemen's expressions went from amused to wonder.

"Oh, sorry," Her cheeks went crimson and she wanted the floor to swallow her. 

Jamie grinned, "Claire this is my family. My Ma and Da, Ellen and Brian Fraser. My godfather Murtagh and my two brothers Willie and Robbie. My sister is back home, looking after the bairns."

Claire smiled politely, fighting her urge to run off the room and hide, "Uh Hello, I'm Claire Beauchamp," She didn't know what else to add. Doctor? Friend? Girlfriend? They had no time to talk about this and talking about condoms was not the best introduction to someone's family.

She was having hot flashes and started to panic. 

Jamie watched her eyes and smiled proudly, "Claire is a doctor here. A verra good surgeon and my girlfriend." 

Girlfriend.

Claire had not much time to react. Ellen Fraser, a tall redhead and gorgeous woman with hazel eyes, was hugging her tightly and smiling broadly, "Nice to meet ye, Claire! Ye have no idea how long I waited for Jamie to have a girlfriend."

That statement made Claire laugh and Jamie wanted to hide under his cover "Ma, please!" He mumbled, embarrassed.

"What? It's true! And a doctor, at least she can tend to ye when ye are injured," She winked. 

Claire put the bags away and smiled, "Well yes, I feel like I will have lots of work with this one."

"Oh, ye dinna even ken. As a child, he was always getting hurt and it dinna change much." 

"I promise you we will make him all better soon," Claire said, determined and smiling.

"Once he can go home, maybe he should come to convalesce in Lallybroch?" Jamie's mother offered.

"I think he should stay in the city, as it's nearer the hospital and he will need to come for rehabilitation a couple of times a week but I can drive him for the weekends," Claire promised, smiling

"As long as ye stay too, then," Ellen winked, hugging her again.  

******

Clan Fraser left after an hour of asking questions about Jamie's situation and mostly, Claire.

Closing the door, Claire turned around and looked a grinning Jamie.

"I told ye they were loud," He said, causing her to laugh.

"Indeed, but I love it," She smirked, crossing her arms, "So, I am Jamie Fraser The Author's girlfriend uh?"

"Ye are if ye are okay with it?" He smiled, hopeful and extended a hand to her which she accepted.

He pulled her close, making her sat on the bed and she nodded, "Yes, I am more than okay with it," Watching his blue eyes, she licked her lips and leaned slowly forward. 

Jamie tilted his head and kissed her tenderly, his hand stroking her back. 

“I need to give you your keys back,” She placed a soft kiss on the tip of his nose.

“Keep them, ye’re Jamie Fraser The Author’s girlfriend now,” He smiled and nuzzled her neck. 

"Sassenach?" He whispered softly, not really knowing how to phrase his fears. 

His fears of not walking again, of being alone and losing her but he didn’t need to speak. 

She knew. 

"Don’t be scared, Jamie. There's the two of us now," She whispered, resting her forehead against his, whisky eyes starring into ocean blue and at that moment,  Jamie Fraser knew he would never feel alone again.  

Chapter Text

 Jamie’s days at the hospital were always the same. Long and uneventful, except for another test or some vain attempt at rehabilitation. If it wasn’t for Claire, he knew he would have gone completely crazy. But every day, she was there, sleeping on the terrible camp bed the nurse had given her, and spending her days next to Jamie, as his rock. Helping him through it all. 

His love for her only increased with each passing minute and he wasn’t going to lie, he loved having her as his personal doctor. 

They had developed this routine of Claire reading to him in the afternoon and it was now he new favourite activity.

“How very lovable her face was to him. Yet there was nothing ethereal about it; all was real vitality, real warmth, real incarnation. And it was in her mouth that this culminated. Eyes almost as deep and speaking he had seen before, and cheeks perhaps as fair; brows as arched, a chin and throat almost as shapely; her mouth he had seen nothing to equal on the face of the earth. To a young man with the least fire in him that little upward lift in the middle of her red top lip was distracting, infatuating, maddening. He had never before seen a woman’s lips and teeth which forced upon his mind with such persistent iteration the old Elizabethan simile of roses filled with snow.
Perfect, he, as a lover, might have called them off-hand. But no — they were not perfect. And it was the touch of the imperfect upon the would-be perfect that gave the sweetness, because it was that which gave the humanity,” She read through the pages of Tess of The d’Ubervilles by Thomas Hardy, one of his personal favourite. 

He loved her voice. So soothing with that thick and posh British accent. The way she narrated the beloved lines of classic novels, giving them an erotism he had never experienced during his previous reads. 

******

After a couple of weeks, Jamie was finally discharged from the hospital and they agreed for Claire to move in his loft with him until his legs got better.  Jamie knew even if they would eventually get better, he was not likely to let her move out again. She would remain off work a bit more to make sure he received the best possible care at home under her supervision. 

Dr. Beauchamp. 

Claire had gone back to his home a couple of times to bring back some clean clothes during his stay at the hospital and again two days ago to clean it before his homecoming. With the help of his brothers, they had moved the pieces of furniture around to make it more spacious and accessible for him. The bed had been move into a corner in the main living area, as the bedroom was to narrow for the wheelchair. And Claire made it all as cosy as possible. 

Willie drove them home and brought the bags inside, while Claire followed, pushing Jamie in his wheelchair. She had stocked up on groceries, with additional carrot cake (his favourite) and put up some balloons, knowing the gesture would make him laugh, more than anything else.

And she was right.

As Jamie saw the balloons, he chuckled and shook his head, “Thank ye, Sassenach. I love them!”

Kissing his head, she smirked, “Yeah, I knew you would.”

William, who had never seen his younger brother so smitten with a woman before, watched the scene and smiled warmly, “I will leave ye two now. Call me if ye need anything, aye?”

“Aye, thank ye brother,” Jamie smiled, grateful. 

Willie patted his brother’s arm and smiled at Claire, “See ye two soon.”

Claire walked him to the door and smiled, “Say hi to everyone, and tell your mother we’ll come for the weekend.”

William pulled her into a bear hug and squeezed her tight, “I will and thank ye for looking after this fool.”

Smiling, she nodded, “ Oh, it’s my pleasure.”

******

Claire helped Jamie to get in bed before starting on their dinner. She was not much of a cook and it was quite funny to her to be standing in his kitchen, trying to work out the stove. 

Pasta would do.

She was a surgeon. And a brilliant one. It was really easy for her to open up human flesh and sew it back together neatly. She liked it. Cutting onions and peeling garlic, however, was a real nightmare. Her eyes were burning and itching, her fingers were going to smell for days. She threw everything in a pan with some olive oil and made it cook slowly while she put some water to boil. 

Jamie was observing her, a smile plastered on his face as the smell of the sauce was starting to make its way around the loft. Claire was wearing his “kiss the cook” apron, hair pulled back in a messy bun and hummed a song, giving him a look or a smile from time to time. She looked lovely, even when cursing the onions with red puffy eyes or grating the parmesan cheese. Other random acts rendered erotic by Claire Beauchamp. 

Once everything was plated, she made her way towards the bed. Proudly holding a tray with their dinner, “I hope this is edible, I’m truly sorry if it’s not, that’s why people invented take-away and deliveries apps.”

Jamie grinned, as she placed the tray on his knees, “I’m sure it will be good, mo chride.”

“You’re now obligated to eat it,” She grinned, going back to the kitchen to grab the glasses of red wine she had poured.

“There’s carrot cake for dessert so you won’t die of hunger today,” Sitting down next to him, she placed the glasses on the bedside table and took a plate. 

“Have a nice meal,” She kissed his cheek and started to eat. At the first bite, she was actually impressed she managed to do this correctly, “Well at least I didn’t use sugar instead of salt. It’s actually not that bad.” 

Jamie ate as well and smiled, “It’s delicious!”

“Thank you,” She said, proudly.

“Will ye read to me later? We’re not done on Thomas Hardy, ” He asked, bringing her hand to his lips and placed a kiss on it. 

“Of course, I love that you have so many books around here,” She smiled, taking another bite of her pasta.

“They are my favourite company after ye, of course,” Nuzzling her neck, he placed soft kisses on her skin, making her slightly shiver. He put her plate back on the tray and the tray on the bedside table, continuing the exploration of her skin.

“Jamie…” She mumbled, gripping the sheets. It was the first time she felt his lips somewhere else but her lips. 

“Mmh?” He looked up at her innocently.

“Cake?” She asked, flushed, making him laugh.

“Sure, a nighean,” He kissed the tip of her nose. 

“I’ll just change into my pyjamas first,” She got up and carried their plates back into the kitchen before disappearing into the bathroom.

Jamie in the meantime checked his phone and answered a couple of texts from some friends, asking how he was feeling. He leaned back again and waited for her. 

Claire reappeared a couple of minutes later, hair down and face moisturized. She was wearing shorts and a light pink satin top, with thin straps and nipples staring at him right in the face. Jamie put his phone aside and stared at her, a familiar feeling coming back to him in his boxers.

She made her way to the kitchen and took a big piece of cake with two forks before going back to bed, “There you go, darling.”

She smiled and handed him a fork, “Everything’s okay?”

Nodding, Jamie took the cake and forks from her to put them away, “Aye, but I dinna want cake...”  

“Oh, okay,” She looked towards the kitchen, “I’ve got cookies too if you prefer?”

He shook his head and pulled her closer. Bending down, he kissed her neck again, “I dinna want cookies, either.” 

“I want ye, Sassenach, I want ye so much I can scarcely breathe,” He rasped against her skin. 

Melting under his kisses, Claire let out a low groan, “Jamie, you are recovering...”

“I dinna care, "He whispered, his hand sliding under her top and taking hold of her breast, perfectly sized for his hand. His thumb stroked her nipple, making it erect under his touch and causing Claire to moan, again.

"I like yer wee noises…” He grinned, kissing her neck slowly.

She chuckled, looking at him, “I don’t make wee noises!”

Nibbling her skin, Jamie caused her to groan again and grinned, “Aye, ye do.”

Claire lifted his t-shirt carefully and stared at him, blinking, “Seriously? It looks like you’re photoshopped!”  

He laughed and kissed her tenderly, pulling her to him, “Is that a compliment?” He raised her eyebrow, his hands travelling down her back. 

“It is,” Carefully straddling him, Claire put her legs on either side of his waist, “Is this alright?”

Nuzzling her neck, he nodded and fondle her ass, “Aye, more than okay. Christ...ye have the most glorious arse I’ve ever seen.”

Claire didn’t answer and instead, sealed their lips. 

Their kisses were slow and tentative at first but soon grew more frantic and hungry by the second. Jamie removed her top, tossing it away and kissed down her neck to her breast. 

While his hands were giving attention to her ass, his tongue teased one of her nipples, licking and flicking. Each attention causing Claire to come undone a little bit more. She ran her fingers through his copper hair and moaned. 

With every noise she made, his cock awoke and the need for her grew more and more.

******

Laying naked on their sides, their eyes never broke contact as their hands explored their bodies. It was like a new territory as well as a familiar one. 

Jamie truly felt like a virgin all over again, amazed in front of this woman’s body. Every curve was perfect, her skin was smooth and glowing in the candlelight. He was under her smell and so happy to be there. 

Jamie took hold of her leg and wrapped it around his waist, pulling her closer as he slowly entered her. Finally

Home. 

Whisky eyes starring into ocean blue, Claire started to rock her hips in slow motions, caressing his cheek and smiling sweetly. This was the same man she had meet weeks prior and never in a million years she would have thought they’d be here today, like this. 

They moved together, just savoring one another. Every touch and every kiss, climax creeping in slowly. 

James Fraser had his fair share of women but hearing his name in Claire’s mouth during her release made him forget all the others, they were nothing to him. 

Nothing at all. 

Claire was his heart and without her, he simply couldn’t live. 

“Tha gaol agam ort, mo chride” Jamie whispered softly, holding her in his arms.

Nuzzling his neck, she smiled and placed a kiss on his Adam’s apple, “I love you too, Jamie.” 

Claire slowly drifted to sleep and Jamie stroked her soft hair slowly, admiring her beautiful face. He thought about his adventures and flirts and he remembered how empty he felt after one night stands. 

This was so different, so much more, she had managed to bring the best out of him and he did not need to seek others, because they were not Claire. 

And Claire was all he needed. 

Chapter Text

Jamie Fraser had never been in love.

Well, at least not until now.

As a child, he found girls terribly annoying. Always whining or crying. The only time he attempted to kiss a girl in primary school, she had run away disgusted and screaming. It had been a traumatizing event, to say the least. 

As a teenager, he had various crushes but none of them were even half interested in the literary nerd, with big round glasses and an inability to wink. So when Jamie Fraser’s puberty disappeared and he blossomed into a very good-looking young man, with a love of working out and a name in the publishing world, his world suddenly changed.

He always thought he’d never be in love. Swearing he would live as a bachelor for the rest of his life, only seducing women for his own pleasure. And that’s what he had done to a certain extent. Until that morning of May when his path crossed Claire Beauchamp’s and she knocked him off his feet without a single warning.

Now Jamie Fraser was in love and luckily for him, the fiery doctor, who didn’t want to give him her number at first, loved him back.

******

Claire woke up, feeling two eyes staring at the back of her head as she slowly came to consciousness. Yawning like a three years old, she blinked to adjust to the daylight. She turned her head slightly to see Jamie, a broad grin on his face.

 “Good morning, Sassenach,” He whispered, placing a soft kiss on her forehead and stroking a curl away from her face.

“Hello, love,” She smiled sleepily, melting his heart, “How are you feeling?”

“After last night, I can only be good,” He whispered, kissing her tenderly.

Jamie pulled her closer by the waist and wrapped her leg around him, stroking her hip slowly. He smiled, pleased with himself and placed soft kisses one after the other, from her face to her neck. 

They stayed in that position for a while, simply basking in the sunlight and quietness of the morning, enjoying one another. A kiss, a caress, a whisper and sometimes a laugh, the noises of the city and the birds outside the windows the only disturbance to their peacefulness. 

“Ye have a white hair, mo chride,” He finally remarked, grinning and stroking a soft curl between his thumb and index finger.

“Thank you so much, you truly have the talent to ruin a perfect moment, Jamie,” She rolled her eyes, smiling. 

“Ouch, it’s Jamie now? No more my love?” He pouted, fondling her ass.

Grinning, she nuzzled his neck and placed a kiss on his soft spot. Which she had discovered last night and made him shiver in pleasure, "Would you like some breakfast, my love?"

"Aye, I'd like some. Thank ye, beauty," He kissed the tip of her nose, reluctantly letting go of her.  

Claire grabbed his t-shirt and put it on, smiling at the Scot laying in bed and watching her admirative. She cleaned up the uneaten carrot cake from the previous night and made her way to the kitchen, while Jamie never took his eyes off her. He had no idea how she managed to look so good after just waking up, wearing his old too large Rolling Stones t-shirt and he wondered if he would still be lucky enough to witness such a scene in twenty years time or more.

God, he hoped so.  

Their joining last night left him completely under her spell, something seemed to have switched inside of him, something he never thought was there. Jamie felt like a new man as if he had lost his virginity all over again. The connexion between them was more than sexual, he knew it, and she knew it too.

 Jamie Fraser had found the other part of his soul. 

The other part of his soul was a surgeon. A good one. But for some reason, the expensive coffee machine seemed to be more complicated to her than operating a brain. She truly had no idea why a coffee machine needed so many buttons. She swore a couple of times, much to Jamie’s amusement."

Are ye alright there, mo chride?" He asked with a grin. 

"No wonder I met you in a coffee place, this thing is only for decoration, isn't it?" She crossed her arms, looking at him. 

"Aye, mostly it is,” He admitted, laughing, ”I think I only had three coffees from there since I bought it."

"And you're even proud of it!” She chuckled,  “What am I going to do with you, James Fraser?" She leaned against the counter, watching him.   

" I have a couple of ideas, Sassenach," He wiggled his eyebrows, making her laugh. 

His favourite sound. 

After some more stubborn tries, Claire finally succeeded to work the coffee machine and let out a small noise of victory.  She even made some french toasts with additional cinnamon on top, for all the goodness to accompany the coffee. The smell of a fresh brew and butter was floating in the air as she made her way back to the bed, where Jamie managed to sit up and was waiting for her, leaning against the headboard, messy hair and cocky expression on his gorgeous face.  

"Wot?" She asked with a thick British accent, smirking as she placed the tray down on the bed and sat down.

"I was just thinking how happy I am,” He stroked her back. 

“I canna tell ye how much ye mean to me, Claire. And how much I am grateful to have ye next to me right now. I truly dinna think I would be taking the situation so well if it wasn't for ye and yer strength. Ye put yer whole life on hold for me and I dinna ken how I can thank ye -- " His words were interrupted by Clair's lips on his own for a brief moment until their eyes met and she gave him the sweetest smile.

Stroking his cheek with her thumb, she whispered, "I mean what I said last night, I love you and you will never be alone again Jamie. Just don’t break my heart, okay?."

"Aye, I ken mo chride and I love ye too, so much. I promise I willna break it" He kissed her cheek, smiling. 

“I will only make sure it’s safe and protected, always,” He placed a soft kiss on her hand and took a mug of coffee.

Relieved, Claire sipped on her own coffee and watched him, "I hope you like pain perdu," She said in impeccable French.

"Pain what?" He laughed.

"It's the French term for actual french toasts," She smirked, taking a sip of coffee. 

"Ohh, ye speak french too? I went to France for the holidays at my uncle's once. I canna speak a word of it but I almost lost my virginity in Paris if ye'd like to know.”

She took a bite of toast and leaned back, amused "In Paris? How romantic of you."

"Oh aye, verra romantic, My uncle walked in on us before I had the time to finish remove her bra,” He laughed, “She didn't write me when I went back home as she promised," Touching his heart, he acted hurt and ate a toast.

"Should we find that lady on Facebook and try to rekindle the romance, perhaps?"

"Nay, I like french toasts but I prefer English breakfast," He said making her laugh at the comparison.

"Good to know for next time," She grinned, kissing his sugary lips.

Jamie finished his toast quickly, as if he didn't eat for days and sipped his coffee, watching Claire, enjoying her own breakfast, skin glowing in the warm light of spring mornings.

It was a rare occurrence for Claire to be spending a lazy Wednesday morning in bed, enjoying breakfast and with a naked Scot next to her. She could see herself doing that for the rest of her life. It was so easy with him, and even if she had been scared to open up at first, the fear of losing Jamie after the accident had put everything into a whole new perspective. 

After putting the tray on the bedside table, Claire removed her t-shirt and laid back down with Jamie, pulling up the cover over their heads.

Their little peaceful cocoon, away from the world.

Jamie watched her, smiling as she stroked his chin slowly, "I was thinking, Sassenach..."

"It's great that you think," She teased him, smirking.

He chuckled, stroking her bare stomach, "Och, it happens! I was actually gonna say I was thinkin' that ye should put yer medical books on the unoccupied shelves here. If ye’d like, of course,” He looked at her, smiling shyly. 

"Really?" She looked at him, confusion and happiness mixed together. This was not simply about her books, it was much deeper than that. She had moved in with Jamie because of his legs, to help his day to day life and to make things easier for him, but until now, she didn't think about the long-term of the situation. 

She didn't dare to think.

"Aye, this place was mine for a while but also cold and empty. I dinna think ye will believe me but I never brought a woman here before. It’s my sanctuary, a place to be alone and write when I dinna wanted to be around people but now, seeing ye here with me, cursing at the coffee machine or hearing yer laugh echoing in the room, I canna see this place without ye in it. I dinna want this place without ye in it, or any other place for that matter."

She was speechless, a rare occurrence for Claire Beauchamp. She couldn't mutter an actual cohesive response so she simply leaned up and kissed him, pouring her hearts into the kiss and all the things she wanted to tell him, Jamie Fraser had managed to piece her heart back together and she was so grateful.

Nodding, she smiled against his lips and whispered, "Okay, my books will move in but -- ”

“But what?” Jamie asked eyebrow raised. 

“ We're buying a kettle to make tea, I’m never touching that coffee machine again,” She stated, making him laugh. 

"Whatever ye want, mo chride," He smiled, holding her close, against his beating heart.

Only beating for her. 

Chapter Text

After moving her things into Jamie's loft, Claire had to go back to work and even if it was only two days a week, the same days Jamie was at the hospital for rehabilitation, he had felt her absence and his mood was low. The fact that his condition was not improving, wasn't helping either.

They had decided to take a trip to Lallybroch for a couple of days, Claire hoped the highlands and his family would boost his spirit.

They drove for a while, Claire behind the weel and Jamie next to her, a grin on his face as she was happily singing her favourite spice girls’ song.

If you want my future, forget my past
If you wanna get with me, better make it fast
Now don't go wasting my precious time
Get your act together we could be just fine

"That song is awful," He laughed, shaking his head. 

"That song is an actual masterpiece, thank you very much!" She stated, hitting his arm playfully. 

******

Lallybroch was a handsome three-story manor of harled white stone, windows outlined in the natural grey stone, a high slate roof with multiple chimneys, and several smaller whitewashed buildings clustered about it. 

It looked like a painting, frozen in time with shades of yellow and green and exactly the way Jamie had described it.

Claire parked the car and looked at him with a smile, "This is beautiful!"

"Aye, welcome home Sassenach," He smiled and kissed her tenderly.

Home. What a foreign word was that was to Claire.

She never truly had a real home, not counting her fully furnished and cold apartment she had left a couple of days ago or the tent in Egypt with Uncle Laumb. Until she met Jamie. Then, she began to understand what home truly meant. It wasn't about a place but about a person.

The inside was as impressive as the outside. Big wooden furniture, paintings on the walls in the hall, a smell of fresh peonies mixed with warm apple pie in the air and pictures of the Fraser children all over the place.  

Thankfully, the residence was spacious enough to move Jamie around in his wheelchair, which would give him more space to move around instead of staying in bed or on the sofa, all day. As they made their way inside the house, Claire noticed he was already more relaxed and her heart felt lighter.

She saw Ellen Fraser three times since Jamie's accident. Each time, she loved her a little bit more, secretly hoping the feeling was mutual. This time was no different.

Ellen walked out of the kitchen, a broad smile on her face and open arms, “Welcome!” She wrapped around Claire, squeezing her, "I'm so happy to see ye two finally here!"

Jamie watched his mother, chuckling, "Mam, dinna suffocate her please."

"Nonsense!" She grinned, letting go of Claire and place a kiss on her son's head, "How are ye feelin’, a leannan?”

"Aye, I'm okay," He smiled softly, quickly changing the subject, "Where's Da?"

"He's in the kitchen," As soon as Ellen finished her sentence, Jamie had started to make his way to the kitchen leaving his mother alone with Claire.

"What's up with him?"Elle asked, worried. 

"He's been a bit down since I went back to work and he's frustrated he's not making much progress. I hope the time here will help a little," Claire smiled softly, trying to hide her worries from her mother-in-law. 

"Aye, I ken it will," She smiled and gave Claire another hug.

"Come, I'll show ye the room," Ellen took her hand and lead her in the guestroom downstairs, where everything had been prepared for their stay. The big windows had a direct view of the garden and the horses. A lovely sight. 

"If ye need anything, just ask me or Brian, we're never verra far," Ellen stated, putting the bags on the desk.

"And ye deserve to relax too, Claire,” She looked at her, smiling, “I'm verra thankful ye're taking such good care of my son." 

She gave her another hug, "Ye're part of the family now."

"Thank you, Mrs. Fraser truly,” Claire’s heart squeezed at that and she smiled warmly. 

"Oh nay, it's Ellen no Mrs. Fraser for ye," She winked.

"Alright," Claire smiled and touched her arm, "Thank you, Ellen."

******
"It's good to have ye home, son," Brian Fraser admitted, with a smile,  as he sat at the kitchen table and talked to his son.

"Aye, feels good to be," Jamie mumbled, looking down at his hands. 

"What's amiss?" His father frowned, concerned.

"I'm tired of this wheelchair...I havena made any progress, I canna run,  I canna do simple things without someone's assistance and it might be like this forever. Claire doesna deserve this!  She deserves a man who takes care of her and not the other way around," He sighed, ashamed of himself for not being able to get of out this wheelchair.

"So it's about Claire," It wasn't much a question but more an affirmation. Brian Fraser was very well aware of his son's affection for the sweet sassenach and it broke his heart to see him like this.

"Ye remember when I was a wee lad, ye told me I would ken the right woman when I'd see her and I never truly believed ye until I saw Claire,” He smiled softly, “Before that, no one seemed right for me and now here I am, stuck in this mess. She deserves the world, Da, and I canna give it to her."

"Jamie lad, she's no taking care of ye because she's a doctor. I ken the looks she gives ye, they are the same yer mam gives me and I ken ye never had someone who cared for ye so much so ye’re no’ used to it. The other women only wanted yer money and yer good looks that's why you feel like this, but Claire loves ye, and ye ken it as much as I do."

Jamie nodded, finding truths in his father words, "But she deserves a fully functioning man, not this,” He gestured towards his legs. 

“I wanna sweep her off her feet by surprise, go on horse rides or what if we have children one day? She canna take care of them and me too. I’m not worthy of her."

As they were talking, Brian and Jamie were not aware that Claire was in the hall, hearing every word. She wasn't there from the beginning but heard enough to get the conversation. Even if she understood Jamie's points she couldn't help feeling completing helpless and crushed by his words. She loved this man, so much and a wheelchair was not going to stop this.

Stubborn Scot. 

She went back to the bedroom, waiting for Jamie to show up to have a necessary discussion about the whole situation. 

He arrived a few minutes later, as she was sitting on the bed, a sweet but sad smile on his gorgeous face. 

"Ah ye're settled in, this isna my usual room but it'll be easier than having the one upstairs -- "

"Yes, your mother told me that, it's a lovely room nonetheless," She returned the smile. 

"Aye it is, I like the view of the garden," He made his way to her, fully aware something was wrong. She looked sad and it was the first time he was seeing her like this since the beginning of their relationship.

"What's wrong, Sassenach?" He asked, softly reaching for her hand. 

"I heard you talking with your father, Jamie," She whispered almost too quietly. 

"Claire, I..."

"No, let me talk for a minute, please," She interrupted, looking at him. 

"I understand you are frustrated with the situation and that it’s not easy for you. You were someone who ran every day, who didn't need anyone for assistance, I get it truly I do but you cannot start pushing me away now. Since I went back to work, I can see how things are slowly moving around and I can't let that happen. I am not going to let you sink into a dark place and ruin our relationship because you are too stubborn to listen to me."

"Sassenach, ye canna be with a man who can't provide for ye or that ye need to help dress and wash every day!" He avoided her gaze and looked outside.

"Of course I can be when I love the man in question!" 

"Aye, and I love ye too much to let ye waste yer time and yer life on me."

"Jamie, please look at me, "She was begging him and he obliged, slowly turning his gaze on her.

"I am not wasting my life on you, you’re not a fucking waste. And you being in a wheelchair won't stop me loving you, Jamie, nor whatever you will say to try and persuade me to the contrary," She took his hand and looked at his face.

His beautiful face.

"I have something to tell you, too. And you might not want me after you'll know but I owe you the truth. I heard what you said about children... and even if it's early to talk about this topic, I need to tell you something," She was now avoiding his gaze, too afraid of what the words she was about to speak would do to their relationship.

"I can't have children."

Silence.

This was something Frank threw at her face every time they fought and the main reason he had used to explain his affairs. She knew she would have to tell Jamie had some point and the sooner the better, she never expected to love this man, even less having children with him, but she owed him the truth. 

After what felt like very long seconds to her, Jamie finally spoke, holding her hand tightly, "Claire, there are other ways to have bairns. Christ, I only need ye and nothing else! Ye turned my life into something light, amazing - ye put a glint of happiness on everything before ye I was empty, I canna live without ye anymore."

"Then don't push me away, please," Tears rolled down her cheeks, as she tried her best to speak. 

"You are my home, Jamie and I need you, as much as you need me, wheelchair or not.”

"Dinna cry, mo chride," He whipped her tears away with his thumbs and pulled her on his laps, wrapping his arms around her and cradled her head, "I'm sorry I'm such a fool, I ken how much ye care for me even if ye deserve so much better, mo chride.” 

"I don't want better, I want you," She nuzzled his neck, holding him close.

"And I ye, Sassenach. Forgive me, aye?"He held her against his beating heart, stroking her soft curls slowly. 

She looked up at him and placed a soft kiss on his lips, "Forgiven." 

He kissed the tip of her nose and smiled,“I dinna ken what I did to deserve ye but Christ, it must have been something great.” 

She chuckled at his words, stroking his cheek, “You surely did something very bad.” 

He grinned, “I love ye.”

“I love you too, Jamie,” She kissed his cheek and rested her head on his forehead, relieved. 

Everything was going to be alright. 

Chapter Text

Jamie Fraser had never been a morning person but things had changed since a certain Dr Beauchamp started to share his bed. He was not partying late at night anymore. No more waking up in the afternoons, hangover, and a stranger, with half a brain, whining for attention next to him.

Something simply switched. 

He woke up always before her and developed a new habit: watching her sleep.

There’s was something quite peaceful about it. The sound of her breath soothing him, her hair a mess of curls scattered on the pillow and a smile always graced her gorgeous face, pink lips complimenting her ivory complexion. She looked like a porcelain doll and he was afraid to touch her in case she would break. Her body was half covered by the Fraser colours plaid and the morning sunlight reflected on her pale skin, making it glow.

Jamie was pretty sure that’s what an angel looked like.

After their conversation the day before, he felt better and even more determined to get back on his feet. Not even for him but for her. They, then, had dinner with the whole Fraser clan. Everyone was loud, the food was delicious and Claire had felt right at home.

In bed, Jamie confessed to her she was the first woman he has ever brought home and they made love slowly, enjoying one another and their growing closeness, still basking in the newness of their relationship. With his legs, their lovemaking had to be slow but he did not mind as it was sensual. 

Claire stirred slowly and opened her eyes, revealing the whiskey colour Jamie loved so much. She looked at him sleepily, a sweet smile on her face, “Morning,” She said with a raspy voice. 

“Aye, morning to ye, mo chride,” Smiling, he placed a kiss on the tip of her nose.

“You know, I still haven’t decided if it’s cute or not that you stare at me while I sleep,” She grinned, leaning up to kiss his lips chastely. 

He chuckled, pulling her close to him and gave her glorious arse a squeeze, “I dinna ken what ye’re talking about.”

She grinned, nuzzling his neck and kissed his soft spot, “You ken well enough.”

He held her close, stroking her tangled curls softly and smiled, “Aye, ye’re right. But it’s cute, admit it!”

“You said I was right, no need for further discussion,” She smirked and interrupted whatever he was going to say with a long and slow kiss, her hand travelling to his cock to take hold of it.

"Aye, no need," Groaning, he pulled to cover over them and returned the kiss, his urge for her growing by the second.

His fingers found her perfect skin, and stroked it delicately, like a painter's brush on a blank canvas. He liked to take his time, there was no rush with Claire.

No rush at all.

Jamie never took his time with the other girls. He didn't care because he was not preoccupied with their enjoyment but his. With Claire, it was different, he only cared to please her and he could watch her forever. The shape of her mouth when she moaned his name under his touch, her whiskey eyes gleaming and the goosebumps on her skin.  

Yeah, James Fraser was very much in love. 

*****

"I'm glad ye didn't run away after dinner last night," Jamie grinned, placing a soft kiss on her head as he stroked her back. 

"They are really loud but I love it," She smiled, looking up at him, "It's nice to see a big family, I'm not used to this but I always wanted one."

"It's yer family now too," He smiled, stroking her cheek.

"I have to say, I'm terrified of your sister," She admitted, making him laugh. The fact that Claire Beauchamp could be terrified of someone was amusing to him but he understood where she was coming from. 

"Aye, Jenny is a handful and she's quite stubborn, as all Frasers can be but she's great when ye’re on her good side. And ye already are, she's just careful but I'm sure she's delighted I finally brought a girl home, she was always the one telling me to stop and settle down. She's thrilled, she just needs some time to show it."

Claire nodded, finding some reassurance in his words. The whole family welcomed her with open arms but she could feel something was off with Jamie's older sister. She had been polite at dinner, making small talk and inquiries about Claire but she wasn't as enthusiastic as the other member of the Clan Fraser about her arrival at Lallybroch. 

"You are right, maybe she just needs some time," She placed a kiss on his lips and smiled.

Holding her close, Jamie stroked her curls, "What would ye like to do today mo chride?"

Sitting up, she turned to look at him and grinned, "Today, you're gonna walk!"

"Ye're verra optimistic," He chuckled, bringing her hand to his lips.

"Always," She smiled, leaning down to give him a long and sensual kiss.

"Aye, walking can wait a wee bit longer," He whispered.

"You're insatiable!" She buried her face into his neck, chuckling against his warm skin.

"That, I am," Grinning, he pulled her on him, brought the covers over their head again and in no time, he was home again. 

******

After a day outside with Jamie and his youngest brother Robert, helping Jamie with some rehabilitation, the boys went back inside to grab some drinks and snacks, a quiet moment Claire took to enjoy the silence around her.

It was a perfect day,  not too warm, not too cold. The sun was shining, the sky was blue without a trace of cloud and a fresh breeze going around, caressing her skin as she laid on the grass.

Lallybroch was truly a beautiful place, she could very well imagine Jamie's childhood, him running around and playing in the dirt with his siblings until his mother would call them inside for dinner and they would whine to play outside some more.

She felt at peace.

As they took quite some time, Claire decided to go back inside to see if they didn't need any help. Getting up, she brushed some grass off her dress and made her way inside the house and to the kitchen. She could hear Jamie and Robert arguing about which whiskey to bring outside.

Leaning against the doorframe, she crossed her arms and smirked, watching the two men, "You need any help gentlemen?"

Chuckling, Jamie shook his head, "Nay, just a whiskey matter but we're taking both bottles. Thank ye for yer concerns, Sassenach."

"Oh, anytime," She smiled and kissed the top of his head. 

As they were getting ready to go back outside, their conversation was interrupted by Jenny walking in the kitchen, a broad smile on her face, "Ah, there ye are! Come to the hall, we've got a visitor!"

Who could that be? Claire wondered. As far as she knew, they weren’t expecting anyone but if some family member knew about Jamie being at Lallyrboch, they would most likely come for a visit. 

They followed Jenny and made their way to the hall, Claire pushing Jamie's wheelchair. As they approached, she could see a woman, her back to them, she had straight long hair and a suitcase at her feet. 

An aunt? 

The woman turned around, too young to be an aunt, Claire noted. She smiled at them, "Well, hello..."

Jenny was smiling wickedly, Robert was silent, Claire didn't know who that was and Jamie tensed into his chair as a sound came out of his mouth.

"Geneva" 

Chapter Text

”Geneva.” 

“What are ye doing here?” Jamie looked actually pleasantly surprised and Claire was confused on the effect the stranger was having on him.

Claire didn’t understand.

Jenny stepped in and smiled, placing her arm around Geneva’s shoulder, “Well, she’s visiting for a bit, it was planned for a while and how great it is that ye’re here too just like when we were teenagers. The more the merrier!”

Claire felt like she wasn’t in the room anymore, as nobody was paying attention to her, Jenny complimented the woman, Robert had disappeared and Jamie was silent, eyes fixed on his sister and the guest. 

“And this is Jamie’s friend,” The way Jenny spit out the word made Claire’s skin prickle and not in a good way. Her sister in law had a wicked look in her eyes and Jamie didn’t make a move to correct her.

Friend.

Swallowing, Claire stood a bit straiter, “Hi, I’m Claire. Jamie’s girlfriend." 

She smiled politely at the guest who looked at her with utter disgust, she wasn’t the type to pee all over her man but since Jenny omitted the detail and Jamie had become mute, she might as well rectify it.

The guest was a bit younger than Claire but they shared the same paleness, with high cheekbones and dark hair - hers were just not curly.

“Geneva’s our childhood friend, she grew up right next door and was here all the time until she moved to boarding school in London…” Claire nodded as she listened to Jenny, she had zero interest in the story. 

“…and broke Jamie’s heart, aye? They dated for a while and Jamie was quite infatuated,” Jenny finished.

Ah.

Claire’s smile was tight and her glass face gave away all her emotions much to Jenny’s delight. She knew something was off at dinner and she had been right, now for how long Jenny had planned this, she didn’t know but she was determined to fight.

Jamie finally spoke, not knowing where to hide, “Aye, a long time ago…”

“Weel, let’s get ye settled dear, ye can have Jamie’s room as he’s in the guest one downstairs. Full of memories for ye,” Jenny winked, picking up the suitcase and leading the guest upstairs as Claire stared at them, quite incredulous.  

The bitch. 

Her stay at Lallybroch started very well but her peaceful bubble had just been burst by Jenny Murray. 

Jamie finally looked at her and started, “Claire I…”

“No, don’t,” She interrupted, full well knowing she needed to get out quickly before she would start an argument.

“I’m going for a walk, we’ll talk later,” Were the only words she could say, as she felt the tightness in her throat and he had no time to answer, she was already outside the house. 

Jamie wanted to run after her but he simply stayed in his wheelchair, his world crumbling around him.

******

Claire was aware her reaction was extreme but she could not help it. She felt humiliated and hurt but both Jenny and Jamie and if she had to face this during her stay, she needed to get away for a bit. All the memories of Frank’s behaviour came back to her, the pain she had finally moved on from and the fear of it happening again. 

As she walked, she thought about Jamie’s words the night before, a lump in her throat.

“I have never brought a woman home, Sassenach. Ye are the first and ye will be the last.”

Well. He didn’t need to bring the stranger home, she had lived next door for his entire childhood and teenage years. She knew Jamie and from what Claire had grasped, was also his first intimate relationship.

She had no reason to doubt him, or even to be jealous but his reputation came back to her and she had seen his face, the way he looked at Geneva was too bloody familiar to the way he looked at her and she did not like it one bit. 

Breathe Beauchamp, he’s not Frank.

Sitting down near the barn, Claire watched the house from afar, her thoughts drawn between the rationality of her mind and the reasons of her heart until a wee blondie sat next to her.

“What ye doing auntie Claire?” Ian Murray Jr., five years old, asked a wide grin on his face. She had become auntie Claire at dinner last night when he was sitting next to her and requested some bread. 

“Nothing darling, I’m just enjoying the sunshine,” She looked at him with a smile as he laid her head on his legs. 

“I wanna ask ye something,” Ian looked up at her seriously, the expression almost making her laugh.

“And what is it?” Claire stroked his blonde hair.

“Are ye a faerie?” 

“Why do you think I am one?” She grinned.

“Ye look like one from my wee stories book but ye can tell me, I willna say a word!”

Claire chuckled, stroking his hair back, “Thank you for keeping my secret then”

“Ye are welcome, Auntie Claire! Do ye wanna go pick flowers? Ye promised ye would tell me their names and all last night.”

“True, let’s do that!” Claire got up, holding Ian in her arms and walked towards the garden. 

******

Jamie waited for Jenny to make her way downstairs and looked at his sister, arm crossed in front of his chest, “Janet!”

“Aye brother? I ken what ye’re going to say and I dinna care. Ye brought the sassenach home when ye ken full well the only English woman I want ye with his Geneva.”

“It’s no’ about what ye want, Jenny!”

“It is no’ but I ken what ye want, ye grew up and ye are ready to continue where ye left off with Geneva now. Ye’ll thank me later.”

“I dinna care! I was eighteen the last time I saw Geneva and ye ken full well I’m serious about Claire, I dinna need anyone else now so dinna even start stirring the pot of shite ye just created.”   

“Whatever ye say, brother,” Jenny walked away, unbothered, leaving her brother alone and furious in the hall.

Jamie made his way back to the room and sighted, visions of his first love as a young man and the heartbreak he felt when she had to leave for boarding school. Geneva came from a rich family, from the beginning he knew they would never end up together - as her parents didn’t approve of the lad-  and yet, at seventeen, you believe you can fight your way through things and succeed but the day she had left, he had lost hope.

In a way, he knew his behaviour towards women had been caused by the heartbreak back then, he was afraid to be vulnerable and to feel emotions until the day he met Claire, she made him feel everything and like a drug, he always wanted more.  Jamie was not eighteen anymore and, alone in the room watching Claire through the window, he realized the difference between love and infatuation.

Looking out of the window, Jamie observed Claire and his nephew deep in conversation about little purple flowers Ian was holding and it made his heart almost burst.

Ian looked at the window and smiled widely, waving the flowers in the air, “Hello Uncle Jamie!”

Jamie smiled and waved as Claire watched him and turned to Ian, “Darling, go bring these to grandma, I’m sure she’ll be very happy.”

“Aye auntie Claire but one for ye first!” Ian handed her a flower proudly and smiled widely before running inside the house to find his grandmother, Ellen. Claire watched him and smiled, Ian was the spitting image of his father, a true Murray she imagined but he was so much like Jamie, it almost broke her heart just thinking about it.

Jamie.

She remembered he was looking at her the through the window and she realized she couldn’t hide from him forever, that would make Jenny way too happy and she wasn’t going to give her the thrill of it. His ex-girlfriend was in the house, she would deal with it like Claire Beauchamp dealt with stuff: like a boss.

Their relationship might be recent but they had discovered early on they didn’t need to talk to communicate or understand what the other one was saying, so sensing his plea, Claire made her way inside and to the room they shared. Inside, Jamie had turned and was facing the door, waiting for her.

Sorcha.

Jamie would never get used to the feeling of seeing her and feeling a rush of adrenaline deep in his bones but he did not think he’d mind, that one of his favourite feeling.

Closing the door, Claire looked at him, arms crossed.

“Aye Sassenach, what’s that wee flower ye’re holding?” He asked, trying to lighten the mood.

“Forget-me-not, keep trying to act like you have no idea what grows into the garden, it’s not working.”

Jamie’s mouth curled up into a smile and held out his hand, “Busted. Now please come here.”

“You lied to me, Jamie,” He could hear the sadness in her voice and he would give everything to make it go away, hating himself for being the reason behind it all. 

“I dinna lie to ye, I forgot about Geneva and I dinna think my sister would invite her here. Claire, it was a long time ago, we were young and I thought she was the only girl for me but I wasna right. She was the first but I only want ye to be the last, no one else. I’m sorry, I should have told ye about her,” Jamie was desperate to catch her eyes and cursing himself not to be able to get up from that damn wheelchair and beg her on his knees. 

Nodding, Claire sat down on the bed, “Yes you should have. You know how I feel about your reputation and how Frank treated me, you promised me honesty and I promised you the same. I do not deserve to be treated like this by your sister and for you not to say a single word.”

“Aye, ye are right and it willna happen again, I promise. I already told Jenny how I felt about this, I canna do much more but I should have spoken up in front of ye, I was just surprised is all,” Jamie brought her hand to his mouth and kissed her palm softly, looking at her eyes with an expression worth more than words.

“I saw the way you looked at her, I just don’t want to be the reason you are not happy,” Her voice was so soft it was almost a whisper and he wasn’t sure he heard what she said properly but he felt like club blow on his head.

“Claire…Did ye hear what I just said? Do ye really believe I would leave ye for her?  Geneva is my past, ye are my present and I want ye to be my future as weel. I dinna want anyone else but ye, my Sorcha” Lifting her chin, he looked at her whiskey-coloured eyes, still avoiding his gaze.

“Ye’re tearing my guts out Claire and I dinna want ye to stop,” His thumb stroked her cheek and she finally met his eyes, brown crashing against the blue. 

“Please forgive me, lass,” He pleaded softly. 

Forgiven.

Claire didn’t need to say the word, she simply leaned towards him and place her lips on his, marking him, “You’re mine James Fraser, never forget that.”

“I dinna think I can do such a thing Sassenach,” He smiled and held her close, cradling her head. 

Chapter Text

Jamie might have the habit of waking up before Claire to watch her sleep, sometimes, she would beat him at his own game and enjoy the sight of the sleeping Scot, a content smile on his gorgeous face, before he could wake up. Then, she would place a soft kiss on his forehead and sneak into the shower as everyone in the house was still asleep.

Warm water cascading over her naked body, Claire closed her eyes and enjoyed the feeling of peace and quietness of the moment. The days at Lallybroch were full of life and as much as she enjoyed the noise, she wasn’t used to it and sometimes she needed to step back into her own solitude. It had been two days since Geneva arrived and when Claire wasn’t in her room, she could feel four eyes on her at all time. Thankfully, apart from Jenny, everyone was on her side and treated her like family, something that made the guest’s extremely annoyed. Claire learned to brush off the sneaky remarks of her sister in law and simply not to pay attention, as for Jamie, he took it as a personal mission to shower her with love and affection, even more so than usual, and her heart was full. 

She loved him so much.

Claire stepped out of the shower and dried her hair and body, letting her curls go wild - she had learnt a long time ago not to try and tame them because they had a mind of their own. She got dressed in a light summer wrap dress and went to the kitchen to find some breakfast. As no one was up, she started to make some coffee and toasts to bring to Jamie in bed when she heard footsteps.

“Well, you’re up early,” came from Geneva, the only other British accent in the house.

“I’m a doctor, I’m used to be up early,” Claire answered, continuing her task.

“That’s really impressive, I couldn’t open bodies and quibble inside them for all the money in the world. Kind of gross,” She admitted, watching Claire intensively. They shared some similarities and she came to the conclusion that Jamie had a type.

“To each their own and you don’t usually do it for the money, that would make you a terrible doctor.”

“Right...Anyway, it’s really impressive what you do for Jamie, not everyone would stand by his side in the situation.”

“I believe it’s called love,” Claire said dryly, assembling the tray.

“Love, yes... Until he gets better, at least. Then he will leave you for another blonde bimbo with big tits. I’m sure you know as well as I do how much he loved those,” Her statement made Claire turn around.

“Look, he told me you were his first, Geneva. I think it’s already quite awkward to share the same roof, you don’t need to prove to me you don’t have any class, I think I got the picture when you arrived.”

“I’m just saying it. Jenny told me you had to cut out work to take care of him and you are wasting your life while you do it, I just don’t want you to regret it once he’ll be better and leave you without giving it a second thought.”

Claire was starting to lose patience, not because of her words but because she saw how much enjoyment Geneva was getting out of it, “Just like you left him?”

“But I’m back and we both know how things would have turned out if you weren’t here. I heard his accident happened on his way to a dinner with you, I’m sure if you never met him, he would still be healthy and running. I know how his life has been since you two met, quite frankly, I pity the poor guy. He was so full of life, so happy and now look at him, stuck with a wheelchair and an English whore.”

The words went right through Claire, like a dagger in her heart, neatly and swiftly, enough to cause the pain and the bleeding. She heard the sound before she realized her hand had travelled to Geneva’s cheek and slapped it violently, all the repressed feelings of the last couple of days coming out full force.

Geneva pushed the right buttons but still seemed shocked by the result, as she was holding her redden cheek tightly, eyes dark with anger, “You’re going to pay for that!”

In a neat and posh English accent, Claire simply said a very clear, “Fuck off,” and walked out of the kitchen with the tray, leaving a furious Geneva behind.

******

When Claire walked in the room quietly, Jamie was laying on the bed, an arm behind his head and a smirk on his lips as he saw her, “Good morning Sassenach, ye are up early.”

“I beat you for once and I got to watch you creepily for a bit,” Claire smirked, making her way to the bed and sat down next to Jamie.

“And ye have got breakfast, I am really spoiled,” Leaning up, he placed a soft kiss on her warm lips. Jamie kissed his fair share of girls but Claire’s lips had a particular taste he was not likely to forget nor would he ever have enough of. 

Claire smiled against his lips and stroked his cheek softly, “Well toasts and coffee, nothing fancy. Maybe one day I’ll learn to make pancakes or waffles, just for you.”

Touching his heart, Jamie grinned, “Aye, ye ken how to talk to me Sassenach.”

“Of course I do, now let’s eat it’s going to be a beautiful day, I want to make you work out in the pool today,” she smiled, helping him sit up.

“Also, I slapped Geneva,” She added nonchalantly, making him laugh.

“Ye what?”He looked at her amused. 

“We were both in the kitchen just now and she was a bitch so I slapped her. It wasn’t really premeditated, my hand went alone and I realized what I had done once it happened. I’m really not sorry.”

“Aye Weel, ye have been graceful towards Geneva and my sister since she arrived, I also ken ye wouldn’t slap someone without reason and I’m sorry ye have to go through this, I told ye we can go back to the city earlier.”

Shaking her head, Claire took a bite of toast, “No, I told you, I won’t give her that satisfaction and everyone else is nice to me. She’s the one who should feel embarrassed here, not me.”

Jamie watched her with a proud smile, “Aye, exactly and I’m sure the whole house heard ye last night. Ye were pretty loud,” he wiggled his eyebrows, making her laugh.

“That was all your doing, James,” she purred in his ear, nibbling the skin softly.

“Oh, James is it now?” He grinned, “my wee vixen, I like it when ye bite.”

She laughed, pecking his cheek, “Can you eat and stop talking please?”

“Aye aye but I dinna want only toast for breakfast,” He smirked and took a bite of toast, eyes burning with desire. 

******

Claire was the first one in the pool, much to Jamie’s delight as he attentively watched her curves in the two pieces swimsuit, the same curves he had spent the morning naked with under the sheets. Smiling sheepishly, he didn’t notice Rabbie’s amused look at he was waiting next to him.

“Ok so should I help ye in or are ye gonna stare at her forever mate?” His younger brother said, making Claire laugh.

“Aye aye, help me in ye wee thing!”

“I’m no wee, or I wouldna be helping ye brother, aye?”

Claire watched the two siblings amazed and amused as Rabbie was helping Jamie to get in the pool. The teasing was constant between the two youngers Fraser but their love for one another was very present and she found it very sweet. Rabbie left Jamie in the water with Claire and returned to his reading occupation on the terrace. Brian and Ellen went on a horse ride with Jenny’s children, Jenny and Ian had left to go to town and Geneva seemed to be hiding in her room, much to Claire’s relief.  

“Okay soldier, come to me,” Claire swam a bit further from where Jamie was holding the side and held out her hand.

“Sassenach I dinna think I can...”

“Come to me if you want a kiss, your feet are touching the ground, just let the water carry you,” She smiled, watching him.

“Ye really ken how to make me do things Sassenach, I applaud ye,” He chuckled “Ye’re gonna save me if I fall, right?”

“You are not going to fall, just come over here!”

“But will ye safe me if I drown?” He asked again. 

“Of course I would! Now come here,” She grinned. 

Jamie knew very well he could never say no to her and might as well go and get a kiss, as much as he was embarrassed by his situation, his determination was taking the best of him so he started to walk, carried by the water and the desire to kiss his beloved.

Claire watched him, her eyes beaming with love and proud. The road to recovery was a long one but she loved him too much and she knew he would get better. Her thoughts were interrupted when two strong arms wrapped around her body and pulled her close, “My kiss. Now.”

“Bribing can get me anywhere, am I right Mr Fraser?” Grinning, she wrapped her arms around his neck and kissed him slowly and passionately, causing him to let a low Scottish noise deep in his throat

“Aye, anywhere,” He whispered against her lips, giving her arse a good squeeze.

Jamie held her for a while, enjoying the feeling of being finally standing up, his arms wrapped around her like a cocoon, a safe haven where nothing could arm her. After a moment of perfect stillness, he finally spoke, looking down at her whiskey eyes.

“How will I get there?” Jamie asked in a whisper, about his recovery.

“We will get there,” Claire responded with a smile, before placing a soft kiss on his lips.

******

After the afternoon activities in the pool and Jamie’s progress, Claire got changed and joined her mother in law in the kitchen to start on the sides for the barbecue, as the boys were busy in the garden trying to light the fire.  

Ellen Fraser was very much like her son: very tall with fiery red hair and the kindest eyes. She was always smiling, as she watched Jamie and Claire interact, the quiet moments, the whispers and kisses they shared when they thought no one was watching.

“What should I start with? ” Claire asked.

“Oh ye can cut and grill those veggies, with a little bit of olive oil, salt and pepper, dear”

Claire was not the best cook but she enjoyed her time in the kitchen with her mother in law who was very forgiving of her accidentally burnt creations the previous nights. Growing up, she always wondered what it would be like to share some time with her mother, to learn to cook or to knit but she had to wait until her adult life to see a similar scenario come to life.

“You need to give me some of Jamie’s favourite recipes before we leave, I’d like to cook more for him,” Claire stated, cutting the veggies.

Ellen smiled, “Of course, I’m sure he’s gonna enjoy that! Thank you for all you’re doing for Jamie.”

“The last thing you need to do is thank me, really. I love Jamie so much, I don’t see taking care of him as this great burden to go through,” She smiled, “ Of course, it’s tough but I know he will get better.”

Her words and the commitment Ellen Fraser saw in her daughter in law reminded her of her own love for her husband and even if she already suspected it, at that moment,  she knew his son had found the other part of his soul. Her arms wrapped around Claire and held her tightly, “You are like a daughter to us, I hope you never forget that, Claire. And I’m sorry about how Jenny has been behaving lately.”

Claire nodded, a kind smile on her lips and the feeling of belonging wrapping her heart, “Thank you, truly. And don’t worry about Jenny, I’ll handle her.” 

“Aye, I ken ye will,” Ellen winked. 

*******

Everyone was reunited around dinner at the big wooden table in the garden. Of course, Jenny sat next to Geneva and spent the evening glancing over Claire who was too busy flirting with Jamie to pay attention. Jenny was annoyed as her plan was crumbling to pieces with no real way to save it and no plan B in mind. When she invited Geneva, she thought Jamie would fall right back in love, like the hopeless seventeen years old he was when they broke up but she underestimated his feelings towards Claire. 

Jenny had always been very close with Geneva, as they grew up together and knew each other’s secrets as teenagers, she was like the sister she never had and when Jamie had started to go out with her, Jenny started to imagine their children playing together and forging an equally strong bond. 

She needed to find something quickly.

But as dinner progressed and dessert was served, Jenny was so deep in thoughts, she didn’t notice Jamie’s request for a toast until Geneva nudged her arm.

Jamie stood up from his wheelchair, helped by Rabbie. His legs had gotten somehow stronger since the exercises in the pool and he raised his glass, a broad grin on his face, “Weel, I’m just taking a wee moment to say how happy I am to be home, surrounded by my family” He started, ignoring his sister and her guest. 

“Before I came home I was feeling down and defeated because of the accident but being here reminded me of what’s truly important in life so thank ye everyone for taking such good care of me,” He continued, smiling.

“And ye, mon nighean donn,” He looked down at Claire, eyes beaming with love and touched her cheek softly.

“I dinna ken what I’d do without ye and not just because of my legs. Ye knocked me off my feet the moment I saw ye in the coffee shop, like the sun had finally come out on a cloudy day and it hasna been raining since then. Ye are an extraordinary woman, Claire Beauchamp, I dinna ken what I do to deserve ye but hopefully, I’ll be worthy of ye for the rest of my life...if ye allow me,” His hand left her cheek momentarily and Jenny watched the scene in slow motion.

Jamie took a little velvet box out of his pocket and opened it in front of Claire, to reveal a silver ring with a delicate honey topaz, the same colour of her eyes during their most intimate moments. It was simple because he knew her hands were primarily used to save people and he didn’t want something that would get in the way. Claire was also someone who never dreamt of a big diamond ring to show off to everyone but when he saw the ring in the antique shop, he knew he needed to get it for her. 

“Claire, Sorcha. Will you marry me?” His mouth curled up into a smile, as he stared into the most beautiful eyes he had ever seen. 

The words resonated into Jenny’s ears and her mouth had gone dry. Until now, she truly believed she had the power to make her brother change his mind but marriage was another level of things. It was a serious business, something she didn’t take lightly and she knew Jamie was not the kind of man to joke about it, either. Jenny had to admit, Claire Beauchamp might be more important to her brother than she initially thought and she felt really embarrassed. 

Slowly, she turned her head towards Geneva and realized she had turned green.

Claire stood up, tiptoeing to wrap her arms around Jamie’s neck. She placed a soft kiss on his lips, a wide smile on her lips and cheeks wet from happy tears, “Of course I will marry you!”

The words sent a feeling of reliefs into his body. Holding her close, Jamie sat back down in his wheelchair, the future Mrs Fraser on his lap and their lips sealed as the table erupted in cheers and applause. 

Chapter Text

As a child, Claire Beauchamp was not one to dream of her wedding and a princess white gown. In fact, the only white item of clothing she would dream of was a lab coat. 

As a teenager, she was not the kind to look for love and to find a future husband, she was too busy travelling the world with Uncle Lamb, and as a young woman, it wasn’t until she met Frank that she finally started to think about marriage. However, that didn’t last long as the professor was too busy with his mistresses to pay attention.

Now here she was, engaged to Jamie Fraser, the very same man she called a Casanova upon their first meeting and to whom she refused to give her number for a while.

Funny how life turned out.

Claire turned her head and her soulmate was asleep next to her, snoring loudly with an open mouth. The sight amused her as much as it made her heart full. 

Cuddling him, she nuzzled his neck and held him close. The last days at Lallybroch had been amazing. Geneva had left soon after the proposal and Jenny seemed to have lost her voice while all the other family members were ecstatic about the engagement.  

Finally, back in the city, Claire realized how much she missed their little bubble. She loved the Frasers, dearly, but just to be with Jamie alone brought her far more peace than she’d ever imagined. Her favourite moments were in the morning, wrapped in his strong arms, like a safe haven, the warmth of his skin mixed with his scent was just enough for Claire to feel at home and drift back to sleep. 

******

Tuesday meant Jamie was due at the hospital for his rehabilitation therapy while Claire would work a day shift in the emergency. They had the routine of meeting at the cafeteria for lunch and today was no different.

Claire arrived, thinking she would be late, but Jamie was nowhere to be seen so she got their food and sat down, checking her phone while waiting. It wasn’t unusual for Jamie to arrive after her, as his exercises would take some time and the emergency room was thankfully not always crowded. Her mind ran through all the things she still had to do before going home and didn’t notice her fiancé arriving.

Jamie appeared and stood next to her, resting on some crutches, smiling, “Hello, doctor.” 

Claire turned around and looked up with a smile, not realizing he wasn’t in his wheelchair, “Oh there you are! I’ve got us some sandwiches.”

“Aye, here I am, Sassenach. Sorry to be a wee bit late, I walked here and I’m not as fast as I used to be. At least not yet,” He smirked, proud of himself as Claire finally realized the sight before her.  

“Jamie!” Claire got up and hugged him tightly, “Oh my god! You’re standing up!”

“Aye, mo chridhe,” He smiled, kissing her head.

“The pool exercises ye made me do at Lallybroch helped. I’ve been trying the crutches and I can walk with them now, slowly but surely. I wanted to surprise ye.”

“Oh my love, this is the best surprise,” Smiling widely, Claire kissed him tenderly, “I’m so proud of you!”

“it’s no’ perfect yet but it’s a start, aye?”  His lips found hers again and smiled “Now let’s eat, I’m famished.”

“Of course! And it’s a great start, Jamie,” Smiling she helped him and sat down.

“I plan to lift ye up and walked ye out of the chapel on our wedding day,” He took her hand and brought it to his lips, eyes beaming.

“Sounds like a great plan to me, Fraser,” She grinned, starting to eat her lunch.

“Also, I’ve been thinking about finding a bigger house. I ken ye would like a garden for yer wee herbs and as much as I like the loft, ye do have a lot of books to store and it’s getting a wee bit cramped,” He said simply, making her laugh at the truth of his words. 

As a writer, Jamie owned many many books and adding the number of medical books Claire had in her possession, the empty shelves in the apartment were fully stocked up since she had moved in. Some books even had to live on the wooden floor, as they had nowhere else to put them.

“Yes I would like a garden for wee herbs,” She grinned, mimicking his accent.

Grinning, he finished his sandwich, “Aye, I’ll phone some real estate agent and get some appointments tomorrow then.”

Claire finished her food as well and smiled, “Great, let’s bring you back to Joe.”

Getting up, Claire helped Jamie and handed him back the crutches before cleaning up their table, “Joe always tells me stories about ye in medical school, Sassenach. They are quite entertaining.”

“And I’m sure you enjoy them very much,” Claire grinned, kissing his cheek.  

Claire had never been a wild student. Her college years were mostly spend in her dorm, a nose in a book and a warm cup of tea in hand, much to her friends’ amusement.

“Aye, but can I ask ye somethin’?” He looked at her seriously as they started to make their way out of the cafeteria slowly.

Claire frowned, “Shoot.”

“Did ye and Joe ever…?” He watched her expression change slowly, turning into an amused one.

“Had sex? No, we never did. Joe is more like a brother to me if you wish to know,” Claire grinned, “But I like to think you can get jealous from time to time, Fraser.”

“Oh, ye do now? I dinna like it much, Sassenach,” He pouted.

“Of course I like it! it means you care,” She smiled as they walked slowly. 

“But ye dinna think I dinna trust ye, right? Because I trust ye with my life mo chridhe, I was just wondering is all,” His accent tended to get thicker when he was nervous. 

“I know I judged you when we first met but I had no right to, I was just afraid to be hurt. Now that I know you and love you, I trust you.” 

“Ye love me?” He grinned.

Claire stopped him and wrapped her arms around his neck before kissing his warm lips tenderly, “Where did you get that idea?” She whispered.

“It’s more of a feeling than an idea, Sassenach,” He smiled and kissed her in return. 

Claire nuzzled his neck and closed her eyes for a second before he talked again,“Ye ken I would take ye right here if I could?”

“What is it with empty hospital halls that’s so aphrodisiac to people? We’re not in Grey’s Anatomy,” Claire smirked against his skin, making him laugh.

“It’s no’ the halls, Sassenach. Ye’re the aphrodisiac, I canna help it, seeing ye all serious in yer lab coat, I have a thing for a curly-haired doctor,” He grinned, as one of his hand took a firm hold of her ass. 

“Yes, I can feel how aphrodisiac I am to you right now,” She purred, placing a kiss on his Adam apple, “But I’m afraid your wee friend will have to wait”

“My friend isna wee, Sassenach and ye ken it,” He rasped. 

“Okay I’m going back to work and you’re going back to Joe,” She chuckled, kissing him one more time, “I’ll see you in two hours”

“See ye,” Grinding, he watched her walk away to the elevator and disappearing behind the doors, blowing him a kiss. Jamie started to walk slowly to the rehabilitation room.

******

A day at the emergency could be completely quiet or completely chaotic and today tended to be the first option, much to Claire’s relief. She liked to be on her toes, ready to save lives but she was tired and it was nice to actually sit down and have time to review all the files she accumulated during her stay at Lallybroch. Her productive afternoon was interrupted by a knock on her office’s door but as she looked up, expecting a nurse or a colleague, she instead was greeted by Jenny Fraser’s face.

“Jenny? Everything’s okay?” Claire asked, surprised.

“Hello, Claire. Dinna worry everythin’ is fine. Are ye busy?” Jenny asked, hesitant to come in.

“No, I’m not, please come sit,” Claire smiled politely, closing her file. 

Jenny walked in after closing the door, and Claire watched her as she sat down. Before the silence had the chance to get awkward, Claire spoke, “So what bring you here?”

“I wanted to apologize,” Jenny said softly.

The emergency room was full of surprises but that was unexpected. 

“I ken I treated ye badly, I shouldna have invited Geneva in the first place. I’m sorry. I just always had this idea in my mind that Jamie would marry Geneva one day, our children would grow up together just like us when we were bairns but I dinna have any right to control Jamie’s life and who he chooses to marry,” Jenny started.

“Ye ken my brother spent his time with women who were just after his money but I never worried because he didn’t care about them like the way he cares about ye,” She continued before being interrupted by Claire.

“So you thought I was just after his money? Because I don’t need it, Jenny. When I met your brother, I didn’t want to have anything to do with him, because of his reputation and when I finally accepted a date, it wasn’t because of his bank account but because I realized he was a good man.”

“Aye, I ken Claire. That’s why I came hoping we could start over ye and I. Everyone loves ye and I see how good ye are to Jamie and how in love he is with ye, it’s nothing like the way he was with Geneva. He was young and infatuated, now he is an adult and verra much in love with ye.” 

Claire had never been a jealous woman. And with Jamie’s past, she very well knew all the other women had meant nothing to him until she met Geneva and learned of their former relationship. Claire couldn’t help but feel slight jealousy towards the other English woman, the only other person Jamie had been in a relationship with as a young man so hearing Jenny’s words eased the feeling.

“Thank you for coming here and apologizing, I truly appreciate it. I love your brother with all my heart and I would like for us to be in good terms. I’m going to be his wife, after all, I think you and I will have to see each other for a little while.”

His wife. 

Claire couldn’t help but smile as she spoke those words.

“Aye, ye will be and I owe ye respect, Claire. This willna happen again, I promise.”

Claire had learned that Frasers didn’t take promises lightly and it touched her that someone has stubborn as Jenny apologized. She knew Jenny loved her brother deeply but now she had no doubt about it.

“I always wanted a sister, Claire,” Jenny admitted making Claire smile.

“Well, that makes two of us,” Claire responded with a smile, getting up.

“Do ye forgive me then?” Jenny got up as well.

“Forgiven,” Claire smiled and hugged her sister in law to prove her point.

Jenny hugged her back and smiled, “Thank ye, truly. Now I’ll let ye work because I need to go and get the bairn from school soon.”

“Alright, see you soon and say hi to the everyone for me.”

Jenny nodded and smiled but before she could say anything, Claire added “And I’ll say hi to Jamie for you.”

Nodding, Jenny smiled, “Aye, please do.”

Jenny walked out and closed the door, leaving Claire with a feeling of relief. The last thing she wanted was for Jamie to be cross with his sister because of her. Growing up without a family, Claire knew all too well how important it was to have loved ones to care for and share memories with and thanks to Jamie now, she would have such a thing.

******

“So Jenny came to the hospital to apologize? That’s a first, Sassenach,” Jamie grinned, sitting in their bed as Claire walked out of the bathroom.

“Yes she did, so I think you should call her and maybe invite her for dinner?” She smiled, freeing her curls from the hair tie and noticed the change in his eyes.

“Aye, tomorrow,” Jamie rasped, watching Claire. She was wearing her beige silk pyjama set. Thin strapped top and some matching shorts, and it drove him crazy. 

“Wot?” She asked innocently with her thick English accent, leaning against the chest of drawers and crossed her arms. She knew very well what was going through his mind right now, like every other time she wore the silk set, but she loved to tease him.

“Ye ken what, Sassenach. Ye ken exactly what seeing ye like this does to me, with yer hair wild around yer face, yer skin smelling of soap after a warm shower and yer nipples peeking through the silk fabric.”

“Well, it’s nothing you haven’t seen before,” She grinned, lifting her top, “Is it?” She asked innocently, as Jamie’s mouth dropped open.

“Remove the top and come here, Sassenach,” It wasn’t a question nor an order, it was more a desperate plea. Jamie was pretty sure Claire would kill him one day, just by existing.

Removing her top, Claire threw it at him with a grin. 

Jamie looked like a young man, about to lose his virginity and seeing a naked woman for the first time. Claire was used to the expression, it wasn’t the first time he bore it on his face but she will never be tired of it. She kneeled on the bed and made her way to him slowly like a panther approaching its prey, whiskey eyes burning with desire for her Scotsman.

He swallowed. 

Claire straddled him and in no time, his hands found her arse and his lips her breast to start giving them the attention they deserved. The feeling of his mouth on her nipple made her moan and she could feel Jamie growing erection against her thigh.

Cupping his face, Claire looked into his deep blue eyes for a moment, they had turned dark for the occasion and she kissed him before slowly running her tongue over his lower lip.

Jamie made a low groan and squeezed her ass again before turning them over and revealing his naked state.

“Oh, you were naked under the plaid,” Claire smirked, patting his arse.

“Aye, surprise Sassenach!” Jamie grinned and started to kiss the ivory skin of her neck down to her breast to get back to his labour. His attentions made Claire moan and arch her body and as Jamie watched her, he could feel his own body boiling with desire. 

“I like it when ye make wee noises, Sassenach,” Jamie whispered against her skin. 

“I don’t make wee noises, love,” She grinned, biting her lower lip.

“Aye, ye do…” Jamie grinned, his hand cupping her centre.

“Jamie, love…I want you inside of me," She purred. 

He didn’t need more to oblige. After months in a wheelchair and feeling in his legs restored, he moved between her legs, never breaking eye contact: the earth against the ocean. 

Jamie couldn’t wait and in a swift motion slid inside of her, her warmth enveloping all his senses. 

Home.

Until now, their lovemaking had been slow and careful, always laying on their sides or with Claire on top. This time, Jamie was in charge and Claire needed him to be. He started to move, slowly at first but soon unable to control his desire. Her moans and her hands on his back urged him deeper and he obeyed.

Watching her made him frantic, he was seeking his release but most of all, he was seeking hers. Claire could feel his mouth everywhere and her climax slowly building up. For the first time, she could watch his body move, every muscle contracting as he was getting closer and closer.

She was so close, as well.

Claire wrapped her leg around his waist as he pinned her arms above her head and interrupted her thoughts with his raspy voice as he leaned down and pleaded,  “Gimme yer mouth Sassenach!”

Their lips met hungrily, teeth clashing as the release of months of tamed passion was fully exploding inside their bodies. Jamie could feel her tightening around his cock and he needed to make her come, he needed to hear her voice saying his name during climax but most of all, he needed to see the exact moment her eyes went from whiskey coloured to the shade of golden honey as pleasure took over her body. 

Feeling her coming, Jamie gave one final push and watched the firework that was Claire Beauchamp during climax in awe and he didn’t need more to join her into oblivion.

Jamie collapsed on top of her and buried his sweaty face in the crook of her neck as they both panted. He could hear her smiling and felt her hand stroking his wet curls. 

It didn’t happen often but for once, Claire Beauchamp was speechless and had no idea what to say. Secretly, she didn’t want to ruin the moment so she simply held Jamie close against her heart.

After a bit, Jamie moved next to her, wrapped his strong arms around her frame and finally spoke softly, “Sassenach? ”

He rested his forehead against her and smiled before their lips met for a long moment, “Yes?” 

When the day shall come, that we do part,“ he said softly"if my last words are not ‘I love you'—ye’ll ken it was because I didna have time.” 

Claire pulled the plaid over their body and tangled her legs with his, “Same, my lad.” 

Chapter Text

As Claire slowly came out of slumber, she felt the soft breeze coming through the window on her skin mixed with the familiar sensation of Jamie’s touch. Opening one eye, she saw her Scotsman gazing lovingly at her - blue eyes beaming with happiness. There was something about the way Jamie looked at her that was different from the other men she had dated in the past and it was this very look. He was stroking her cheek with his thumb, so carefully like she was the most delicate thing in the entire world and as if he was almost scared to break her.

Claire yawned and smiled, rubbing her eyes like a child, “Good morning, Fraser.”

“Good Morning, Fraser-to-be,” He whispered and placed a soft kiss on her lips “Ye have a smile that reminds me of childhood memories, mo chridhe. Do ye ken that?”

“It’s not even nine and you already quote Guns N’ Roses? Are you even for real?” Claire laughed, pulling him closer.

“Sorry to tell ye, Sassenach but it’s already ten thirty and I quote what I wanna,” His attempted wink made her laugh even more. Jamie had a lot of quality but winking properly wasn’t one of them.  

“Dinna insult Guns N’ Roses, aye?” He grinned, pecking the soft spot on her neck, “I made some breakfast so it’s time to rise up, I called the real estate agent and we have an appointment at noon”

“Already today?” Claire smiled, sitting up, “Alright then. Since you’re already dressed, I don’t see the point to stay in bed much longer anyway,” She mumbled, his turn to laugh now.

“How are your legs?” She asked, looking at him with a smile.

“They carry me so I dinna have anything to complain about,” He smiled and stroked a stray curl behind her ear. He kissed her lips tenderly and smirked against her lips, “Get up and get ready for breakfast Sassenach before I change my mind and take a bite out of ye.”

“I believe you’ve already done that last night,” She grinned, kissing his cheek.

“Not that I would complain,” She added as she got out of bed, still naked from their previous night’s activities. 

“I look forward to doing it again soon,” He smirked, licking his lips and giving her ass a squeeze. 

He heard her laugh as she disappeared into the bathroom and he shook his head, getting up. At that moment, Jamie naively believed he couldn’t love Claire more. 

But he was wrong.

******

Claire drove to their first appointment with the real estate agent as Jamie played the human GPS, telling her where to turn and go in a robotic voice - something that made her laugh out loud.

“Are ye laughing at me, Sassenach?” He raised his eyebrows with a grin.

“Yes, I most certainly am!” She chuckled, keeping her eyes on the road. 

Claire wasn’t aware the first appointment was actually also the only one as Jamie had planned a surprise. They talked about moving houses only the day before but he had it in his mind for a bit now, the timing worked perfectly and he hoped she would be pleased. 

After a while, Claire realised she knew the surroundings and the neighbourhood they were driving to but stayed silent. 

“Ye can stop here, Sassenach,” Jamie looked at her with a smile.

Parking the car, Claire stopped the engine and looked at her fiancé with a raised eyebrow, “Are we going to visit what I think we are ?”

“Aye, mo Chridhe,” He touched her cheek and stroked it with his thumb. “I ken how much ye like this house, ye talk about it every time we droved by and I learned it was on sale so I thought you’d like the idea...” He had no time to finish as Claire’s lips found his own.

“You bastard” She grinned, looking at his eyes. 

“Ye think I dinna listen when you talk, Sassenach?” He asked with a grin against her lips.

“I told it to you once!” She chuckled, “I don’t know what I did to deserve you, Jamie Fraser but I’m glad about whatever it was,” She stated, making him laugh.

“I believe it was a lot of bad things, mo chridhe,” He grinned, “Let’s go see the inside, I’m sure it’s even better than the outside”

“Sounds familiar to me,” She grinned, referring to him and kissed him again before getting out of the car.

The house had been Claire’s favourite since she moved to Glasgow. The first time she walked by it, it was in the middle of December and it was covered with snow and Christmas lights. She could hear music mixed laughs of children inside and it made her heart melt. It looked like a house from Brooklyn, with a couple of steps to reach to the front door, big windows and red bricks.

The inside was indeed even better than the outside. Wooden floors in every room, big windows that let an insane amount of light inside, even with a typical gloomy Glasgownian day like today. The living room had the most gorgeous fireplace and built-in shelves for their books. The bathroom had 1920s tiles and a bath big enough to fit them both, Jamie had remarked with a smirk.

The master bedroom was just how she had pictured it and she could hear Jamie thinking about the things he wanted to do to her in this very room. At some point, he looked at her intensely and she knew that if the agent wouldn’t have been in the room, they would have ended up naked and panting on the floor. Just that simple thought made her blush.

It was amazing how little conversation they needed to simply understand one another. 

Claire smirked at Jamie and quickly kissed his cheek as they continued their visit.

Room after room, Claire’s love for the house grew and she could picture their life together in this place for the years to come. It also amused her how the real estate agent was all over Jamie, like most women she had met. What was even better was how clueless Jamie acted about it, he only had eyes for Claire. One of her favourite activities was to flirt with him even more so than usual when a woman was watching him too languorously and he didn’t mind when she marked her territory.

He didn’t mind at all.

As they finished the grand tour in the spacious kitchen, Claire felt a foreign sensation taking possession of her body. After twenty-nine years without proper roots, she felt like she finally belonged somewhere. But as she turned to look at Jamie, she realized she didn’t feel like this because of the house but because of him and the promises of a life by his side in this place, no matter what would come their way. 

Her thoughts were cut short by his warm voice and his strong arms wrapping around her body “So, do ye like it Sassenach?” He asked even if he already knew the answer.

Smiling, she nuzzled his neck, “I love it, Jamie. I feel right at home here with you.”

“Then let’s sign the papers and celebrate, mo chridhe. I canna wait to move in and fill these walls with memories of us,” He held her close. 

“Welcome home, Claire,” Jamie whispered with a smile, resting his forehead against hers.

Home.

******

After the visit, Jamie and Claire went back to the coffee shop, the very same where their story started and spent the afternoon talking about life around warm cups of coffee and chocolate chip muffins. It became a tradition to go back there from time to time, always to reminisce about their first encounter when Claire was sleep deprived and in a hurry and Jamie was busy flirting with the barista.  

Claire observed the scene in front of her: the good-looking guy, aware of his charms, flirting with the dumb roll and making her feel his muscles. She rolled her eyes so hard that she was surprised they didn’t get stuck in her skull. The tall stranger in tight gym clothes was the barista’s only preoccupation: she had completely forgotten the other customers, growing impatient too. Claire waited for a bit, her British politeness taking over. However, after ten minutes of this and a few attempts of frustrated noises and grunts, that did not help her case. Claire decided she had had enough.

Patting the stranger’s shoulder, she cleared her throat “Excuse me” She said in a thick British accent.

Jamie turned around, his signature charming smile on his face and a coffee in hand,“Aye just a minute and I’m yers, sweetheart.”

The nerves, she thought.

“Look, sweetheart” She started, with a sarcastic smile, “Some of us have to work and it would be very much appreciated if you could stop distracting the lady over here. You’re going to get her number anyway and you,” she said looking at the barista, “Stop playing hard to get, you’re practically drooling.”

She grabbed the coffee out of his hand and deposited a 5-pound bill in his top front pocket before turning on her feet and disappearing. Claire usually didn’t like to make a scene but she was tired and just wanted her caffeine fix so she could finish her shift before going home and go to bed. 

Jamie blinked, speechless and watched her leave.

“I love this place so much, Sassenach,” He brought her hand to his lips and placed a soft kiss on it.

“Even if you have to pay your coffee now that you don’t flirt with the barista anymore?” Claire grinned and cast a glanced at the said barista, who even after months now, was still very mad at Claire for catching Jamie’s attention more than she had.

“To tell ye the truth, Sassenach. I only flirted with her so I dinna have to pay, nothing more. She Isna my type,” He grinned, stroking a stray curl behind her ear. 

“Oh, so you have a type?” She asked innocently, taking a bite of her muffin.

“Aye, I have. Tall with ivory skin and wild brown curls, whiskey eyes and the most glorious arse I’ve ever seen. Intelligent too, and witty,” He winked, as badly as the first time.

Claire chuckled, “And where exactly are you going to find such a thing?”

“Found it already, in this verra place,” He grinned and leaned over to seal their lips once again, “I have to admit she wasn’t an easy lass but she was worth it.”

“You know what? I miss your terrible flirty remarks and mostly, I miss calling you out of them.”

“Weel I still flirt with ye,” Placing a kiss on her hand between every word, he smiled.

“You do but instead of playing hard to get now I just drop my panties in a flash, something I swore I would never do.”

“Never say never, Sassenach and I’m no’ going to complain about it,” He grinned and whispered in her ear, “I love it when ye drop yer panties for me. Or actually, I prefer when I pull them down with my teeth.”

Claire couldn’t help but laugh, “James Fraser, you naughty man!”

“Aye, I am. Are you sure ye wanna marry that?” He raised his eyebrow with a grin.

“Of course I want to marry that and everything else you are, James Fraser,”  She smiled and kissed him on the cheek.

Chapter Text

Lallybroch was a place full of life, laughter and noise. With a hoard of Frasers and Murrays, it was rare to find moments of complete silence but Claire knew exactly when to find such a thing. She was grateful for them all, they welcomed her into the family with open arms and open hearts, even after Jenny’s initial rejection, and tomorrow she will officially become one of them.

Claire Fraser. 

The simple thought made her heart swell with happiness, in Jamie, she didn’t only found a lover and a best friend, but a home and a family too.

Standing on the terrace, Claire watched the horizon, warm mug of coffee in hand and the cold breeze of the early morning caressing her face. The last few months had been a dream, between renovating the new house, Jamie gaining back full control of his legs and getting back to writing.

She felt peaceful.

Claire felt two strong arms wrapping around her waist and in a matter of seconds, Jamie’s lips had found the skin of her neck to grace it with soft kisses.

“Good morning, Sassenach,” He smiled against her skin.

Claire smiled, leaning against his body. The feeling of his unshaven skin against her neck drove her crazy, “Morning, Fraser.”

“I canna wait to call ye like that from tomorrow too,” Jamie grinned proudly against her reddened skin. 

“I woke up in bed alone and I wondered where ye went, I was scared ye ran away or something,” He pecked the back of her neck. 

Claire chuckled, “I only ran away from your snoring and farting, yes.”

“I dinna ken what ye’re talking about Sassenach, truly,” Jamie looked at her, acting clueless. 

“Maybe ye were hearing yourself,” He said, making her laugh and got back to kissing her neck, his hands slipping under her t-shirt to stroke her stomach.

“I know I snore, I can at least admit it. Not like some people,” She remarked with a grin, sipping her coffee and pressing her hips against him.

Jamie let out a low groan in his throat, “Sassenach, dinna tempt me with that arse of yours.”

“You started,” Claire pointed out.

Jamie bit her skin softly, making her laugh, “Jamie, I’m not getting married with a hickey on my neck, stop it!”

“Aye, fine. I’ll stop but I hope ye ken I’m sad I willna be sharing a bed with ye tonight,” Pouting, Jamie let go of her and crossed his arms.

Claire turned around, eyebrow raised and mouth curled up into a grin, “First of all, it’s a family tradition, I didn’t decide that. Plus, you’ll share my bed for the rest of your life, enjoy the quietness one last time.”

“Actually, I canna sleep properly if ye’re not next to me. I canna even divorce ye now because I won’t be able to have a restful night ever again,” Jamie admitted, taking the mug from Claire’s hand and taking a sip of coffee.

“We’re not even married yet and you’re already talking about divorce? Thanks a lot,” Claire laughed, “Also I shared your bed last night and I don’t recall you having a restful night, either, just saying.”

Jamie smirked at the thought of the previous night and their heated activities. “Are ye complaining Claire Beauchamp?” He finished the coffee and put the mug on the table.

Claire shook her head, curls bouncing and smiled, wrapping her arms around his neck, “No, I like to keep you up all night long and I’m looking forward to doing it for the rest of my life.”

Jamie smiled and kissed her cheek, “Why are ye up so early and here all by yourself, mo chridhe?”

“I just wanted to enjoy the quiet before everyone wakes up, I love them but they can be a lot,” Claire smirked, making Jamie chuckle at the truth of her statement.

“Oh aye, I agree. and I ruined it, didn’t I?”

“No,” Claire smiled and kissed his lips tenderly, “You don’t ruin my peacefulness, that’s why I’m going to marry you.”

“I’m happy to ken this, mo chridhe,” He smiled and kissed her nose.

“But I ken a quiet place that stays quiet the whole day, let me show ye,” Jamie placed another a kiss on the tip of her nose and lead her towards the woods behind the barn. It was a beautiful place with a little waterfall where the Frasers go swimming in the summer.

“Well, I know about the waterfall my love,” Claire remarked, looking around.

“Yes but ye dinna ken the cave. Willie and I found this cave one day and it’s our secret ever since. When I was a lad and I dinna want anyone to find me so I could read in peace, I would come and hide here.” 

Jamie watched Claire making her way inside through the narrow entrance and she looked around with a grin, “A man’s cave? Romantic, Fraser. Verra romantic,” She grinned, mimicking his accent.  

“And how on earth can you get in with your height and frame?” She looked at him and then at the entrance. 

“Aye,” Jamie chuckled as he made his way inside, “It’s years of practice but aye, it’s gotten difficult since puberty and my sudden growth, I admit it.”

“And no one else knows about this apart from your brothers?” She looked at him with a smile.

“Right, dinna tell them I brought ye here, I canna be breaking our pact, ye ken.”

“I ken,” Claire smirked, imagining the three young Frasers spending their time here hiding from their parents and sister, and wrapped her arms around his neck, “And can I ask why Jenny doesn’t know about this place?”

“Weel,” Jamie started, sliding his hands down her back to fondle her arse. 

“I think ye can imagine why we never told Jenny, she would have told everyone and use this as a private room for her and Ian when they started dating,” He made a face, “No, thank ye.”

“So you never brought a lass here?” She smirked, looking at him. 

“No, no one important enough to bring here before ye, Sassenach,” Jamie pulled her close.

“Are you flirting with me, Fraser?” Claire wrapped her arms around his neck, cocking her head to the side. 

“Aye, I’m getting married tomorrow ye ken so I’m taking advantage of my freedom before then.”

“Oh, I see and how’s that fiancé of yours? She must be a saint to support you,” Claire smirked.

“Aye, a true saint,” Jamie nuzzled her neck.

“I’m verra lucky wi’ her and I still dinna ken what she’s doing with a lad like me,” His words made Claire smile as she stroked his hair back.  

“She’s intelligent, witty, strong minded and the most beautiful woman I’ve ever laid eyes on,” He continued, “And her arse…” Jamie demonstrated his love for it by squeezing it again. 

“Ah Dhia, She has the roundest arse I’ve ever seen!”

Claire couldn’t help but laugh again. Jamie’s fascination with her ass was quite something, “Does she know that you talk to in the morning sometimes?”

“I dinna talk to it! But do I gush about it in Gaelic? Yeah,” Jamie looked up at her face and grinned.

“Let’s move on about my ass,” Claire shook her head with a smirk and sat down on the floor, “So this place, do you know what it was?”

Jamie smiled, sitting behind her and leaning against the wall, “Aye, we did some research with Willie, as you ken he’s a history lover,” He pulled her close as she nodded and rested her head on his chest.

“It’s the tale of the Dun Bonnet,” Jamie started, stroking her side.

“It’s our ancestor, His real name was James Fraser like me and he was the 9th of Foyers. Having fought at Culloden, he spent about seven years in this cave,  his hideout was well known to the locals and they called him Bonaid Odhair, Dun Bonnet so that they could talk freely about him and the redcoats wouldn’t find him. His wife was suspected to be a faerie because she was a white lady and disappeared right before the battle.”

Claire listened to him attentively, “I can’t imagine staying here for seven years alone, I know the years after Culloden were terrible for people in the highlands but I had no idea just how bad.”

“Aye, he dinna have the choice. He was a traitor and had a price on his head but after those years, he gave himself up to the English for his family to get the money. No one knows what happened to him after that, Willie is trying to find out though.”

“You know, if you were alive in the 18th century, I could totally picture you as a clan leader. I guess you have it in your blood,” She smiled.

“And ye as a white lady, aye?” Jamie asked with a grin.

“Young Ian already thinks I’m a faerie so,” She chuckled and turned her head to kiss him, “Do you think she died? His wife, I mean.”

“I dinna ken, Sassenach. If she was really a faerie, maybe she came back after a while and they were reunited? I like to think so.”

Claire smiled and stroked his chin, “I love you so much.”

Jamie held her close and smiled, “And I ye, Sassenach”

Silence enveloped them as Claire closed her eyes and enjoyed the peace that being in Jamie’s arms brought her. After a while, Claire gathered some courage to ask him something and opened her eyes, “Jamie?”

“Aye?” Jamie knew her tone. 

“Will I be enough for you?” Claire asked softly, the unspoken fears about her infertility written all over her face. 

“I’ve seen you with young Ian and I hear you praying at night when you think I’m asleep. I want you to be honest with me because it’s not too late to call off the wedding if you think you can’t be fully happy with me. As much as I would like to give you everything, I know I can’t and it wouldn’t be fair to you,” Her throat was tight and she did as best as she could not cry but tears strolled down her cheeks. All Claire wanted was for Jamie to be happy and if that meant giving him his freedom, she would make the sacrifice.

“Claire…” Jamie didn’t know what to say to her because at that moment, every word seemed useless to his cause. How could he explain to this woman he did not need anyone else but her?

Gently, Jamie lifted her chin but Claire’s eyes stayed glued to her hands, “Claire, look at me.”

Claire could hear the pleading in his voice and slowly looked up at his eyes to find exactly what she knew she would in his deep blue eyes: reassurance, “If there is anything I can do to make ye, believe me, I need ye to tell me what it is because all I have right now are words and truly I do hope they will be enough.”

Jamie held her face in his big hands as if it was the most delicate thing in the world, “When I met ye, I was empty. I had money, a career aye but when I was alone at night, I felt an utter void I tried to fill with women I dinna care about and parties but in the morning, I still felt completely hollow. No matter the number of books I sold or women I seduced, there was something missing from me and I dinna ken what it was…until I met ye.” 

His voice broke, “Ye arrived like this wee fireball and turned my world upside down for the better. Finally, after years of looking for something unconsciously, I realized ye were the missing part of me and I cannot go back to a life without ye. My Da always told me I would ken the right woman when I’ll see her and let me tell ye, Brian Fraser is always right.” 

His last sentence made Claire smile through the tears.

Jamie’s thumb stroked her tears away as he blue eyes crashed against her whiskey ones, “Ye are my heart Claire, and one cannot live without a heart. Aye, maybe we will never have a bairn of our own but there are other ways. Ye had yer uncle but other kids are no’ that lucky and have to stay in orphanages. We can provide a home for one of them or even more, blood doesn’t matter when the heart is involved. And if we are no’ blessed with that either, spending the rest of my days wi’ ye alone is a far better alternative than what I thought I would have. Mo chridhe, it is selfish but after being with ye, I dinna think I could ever be alone again. Ye are enough, Claire and every morning when I wake up and look at yer asleep in my arms, I thank god that ye love me.”

His lips found hers with an unspoken promise and they kissed for a long time. Claire had never seen Jamie so vulnerable, even after his accident, and she did not question his words for a single second. Jamie’s arms held her close and safe. 

Home.

Cradling her head against his chest, Jamie stroked her soft curls slowly and whispered, “Dinna be afraid, Claire, there’s the two of us now.”

Chapter Text

Ian Murray Jr. was on a mission.

He had to go to Auntie Claire’s room and deliver a gift carefully hidden in an envelope and her bouquet of fresh flowers picked up by Jamie in the garden earlier this morning. 

Auntie Claire was young Ian’s favourite, for lots of reasons. She looked like the faerie from his favourite storybook. She always smelled like vanilla and she was the only one who could make uncle Jamie smile like an idiot on any given occasion. Something that young Ian found extremely funny. 

Afternoons spent with her were always the best and, she was also a doctor saving people’s lives which the young boy found oddly entertaining. 

His little hand knocked on the door and waited for a response. When auntie Claire opened the wooden door, she looked like a princess. Hair tied back with some curls escaping, the kindest smile and a long white dress. Claire found it in a vintage shop and knew right away it would be the one. Thankfully it fitted like a perfectly. 

“Look at you!” Claire exclaimed with a smile, the sight of her nephew in his little formal kilt melting her heart.

Smiling proudly, Young Ian looked up at her, “Are ye done gettin’ ready? I have got some things for ye from uncle Jamie.”

“I’m almost done. Come in while I finish, I wanted to ask you something anyway,” Claire stepped aside and closed the door when he had made his way inside.

Young Ian handed her the bouquet of forget-me-nots tied with a ribbon of Fraser’s colours and smiled widely, “Uncle Jamie picked them for ye this morning, I went wi’ him!”

Claire kneeled down and hugged him, “Thank you, darling, it’s beautiful! You lads did a great job.”

“Auntie, ye look like a princess!” He held her close and buried his little head in the crook of her neck, there was something extremely reassuring to young Ian about Claire, “And ye smell good too!”

“Do I smell bad usually?” Claire raised an eyebrow, grinning.

“I dinna ken! I dinna smell ye all the time but I’m sure no anyway,’” He giggled furiously.

“Okay good. You look dashing as well and I love the bow tie!” She grinned, making him laugh, “Thank you for bringing the flowers” Kissing his head, Claire got up again.

Young Ian climbed on the bed and watched her finish applying some makeup up. It was the first time he had seen her wear any since he had known her, “Ye said he wanted to ask me something auntie?”

Nodding, Claire looked at him through the mirror,“I was wondering if you would walk with me down the aisle to your uncle?”

“Aye!” He exclaimed happily, “I can walk ye to uncle Jamie verra well”

“Well perfect then,” She smiled and put on her earrings, “How’s everyone downstairs?”

“Waitin’ for ye! Uncle Jamie is nervous,” he giggled and laid on the bed. “He said he was shittin’ himself, but dinna tell Ma I told ye that.”

Claire laughed and got up, “I won’t tell her you said that, don’t worry. Do you have the rings with you?”

Sitting up, he nodded and patted his pocket, “Yup, it’s in my pocket! I have another thing from uncle Jamie for ye as weel!”

Claire sat down on the bed and stroked his hair back, smiling, “I’m spoiled.”

“Well, uncle Jamie loves ye verra much!” Young Ian smiled widely. He might look just like his father but the many similarities he shared with Jamie always managed to make Claire smile.  

Handing her the little envelope, he watched her attentively.

Claire pulled out a pearl necklace and a note saying: “See you downstairs, Mrs Fraser.”

“Auntie do ye want me to help ye put it on?” Young Ian offered, getting up on the bed.

“Yes please, darling,” Claire smiled, handing him the necklace, emotions slowly taking over. 

Tongue pulled out and a frown on his little face, Young Ian applied himself and after a few tries finally managed to close the lock of the necklace, “There ye go! Now ye are perfect!” 

Hugging her neck, he kissed her cheek and held her close for a moment, “Auntie? Can I ask ye a question?”

“Yes, what is it?” Claire stroked his cheek tenderly.

“Why ye have no mommy and daddy here today?” He asked softly, afraid to make her sad. 

Claire looked at him trying to find her words to explain the subject to a six years old, “Well darling, when I was a bit younger than you, my parents and I had a bad car accident and sadly they did not make it, I was lucky enough to have a very lovely uncle who took care of me after that while my parents watched over me from the sky.”

Young Ian listened to her attentively, nodding, “Is it why ye wanted to be a doctor? To save people aye?”

“Aye,” Claire smiled and booped his nose, making him giggle. That’s exactly why she wanted to become a doctor. 

“Or maybe that is just yer story because ye are a faerie and ye cannot tell me the truth” Young Ian tried to wink and failed, another treat he shared with his uncle.

Claire chuckled, “You are one smart ass.”

“Aye!” He grinned proudly.

Getting up, Claire took a flower from her bouquet and looked at him with a smile, “Come here, you need a flower on your suit, like a proper gentleman.”

 Carefully, she pinned it to his jacket, “Perfect, go look in the mirror and tell me if you like it.”

Young Ian got off the bed and went over the big mirror, standing in front of it with a broad grin, “I looook dashing! Let’s take a picture auntie Claire!”

Claire grabbed her phone and kneeled down next to him, “Okay get ready”

“Should we pull funny faces?” He giggled and Claire nodded, grinning.

Claire positioned the phone in front of their faces, “Okay. One, two, three!” Together, they pulled faces and laughed, “Okay I think we got it, darling”

“Great! Now let’s get ye married aye?”

Claire picked him up and kissed his cheek, “Aye!”

“Auntie Claire?” Looking at her, his cheeks suddenly flushed, “I love ye much,” He said softly, resting his blonde head on her shoulder. 

Claire held him close and smiled, whispering, “I love you too darling, even when you steal my cookies and you think I don’t know about it.”

Young Ian laugh was interrupted by a knock on the door and both heads turned to look at the door opening, Ellen Fraser appearing, a broad smile on her face “Claire! You look…”

“She looks like a princess!” Young Ian interrupted his grandmother with a smirk.

“Aye and a gorgeous one! Jamie will faint when he’ll see ye!”

Claire chuckled, putting her nephew down, “I hope not even if that would make a great story.”

“Well Brian did faint on our wedding day so I wouldn’t rule it out, dear. Quite gracefully for someone so tall, I might add,” Ellen grinned, recalling her wedding day to Brian Fraser 35 years prior. 

Stroking her grandson’s blonde locks, she smiled, “A leannan, go tell yer mom downstairs we’re coming in a minute so they can get ready aye?”

“Aye! Then I will come and get auntie Claire again because I will walk wi’ her to the priest!” Smiling proudly, Young Ian ran out of the room and made his way downstairs to his mother.

“Well let’s go then, I guess everyone is waiting for us,” Claire smiled, taking her bouquet.

“The necklace suits ye perfectly, dear. I gave it to Jamie a long time ago and I’m glad it’s finally put to good use. I never thought I would see the day Jamie would offer it to his future wife.” 

“The necklace is yours?”Claire asked, even more touched by Jamie’s gesture. 

“Was mine, aye,” Ellen smiled, “Now it’s yers and I’m proud that in a few minutes ye will be Claire Fraser. I ken today might be bittersweet for ye, that ye would like for yer parents to be here but I ken that they would be verra proud of the woman ye are, dear. Verra proud.”

Claire nodded and smiled, Jamie was everything to her and the Frasers were now her family, she would never be alone again, “Yes, I would love for my parents to be here today but I can’t change the way things are. On the other side, I think I have found the best family I could find with you all, I will always be grateful for the way you welcomed me with open arms and treat me like one of yours.”

“Ye’re one of ours, Claire. Never forget that,” Ellen hugged her daughter-in-law close, “Ye are a Fraser, dear. Now I think we should go before our makeups are ruined and some stubborn Frasers come upstairs to find us!”

*****

The day was glorious for a wedding, with a bright blue sky and the sun shining. The little chapel near the property was full of loved ones dear to Jamie and Claire, family members, friends and colleagues, and had been decorated with flowers, matching the bride’s bouquet, and candles the day before.

Jamie stood at the altar with his older brother by his side. He wore a kilt, making him look even more like an 18th-century clan leader and watched his mother make her way to her seat. Ellen winked at him for reassurance and Jamie relaxed. He wasn’t nervous per se, more excited and he still couldn’t believe Claire would become his wife in a matter of minutes. Two years ago, he was a lost soul, filling his life with meaningless women, nights fueled with alcohol and parties until Claire showered up and saved him. She had turned his life upside down for the better and the idea of spending the rest of his life with her gave him a thrill. 

The music started, echoing in the chapel and everyone stood up, heads turned toward the entrance eagerly awaiting the bride. Jamie stared intensely at the door, his palms getting sweaty. Maybe she wouldn’t come. Maybe she realized she could do better and ran away. 

He couldn’t blame her, she deserved the best and even if he was grateful she chose him, he was convinced she could do better but when Claire appeared, holding Young Ian’s hand and a broad smile on her lovely face, the sight took his breath away and made all his fears disappeared. Their eyes met and stayed connected for Claire’s entire way down the aisle if he was sure of one thing it was that he would get drunk on those whiskey eyes until his last breath.  A single tear strolled down Jamie’s cheek and his mouth curled up into a smile as Claire stopped next to him and Young Ian entwined their hands with a broad grin.

“Thank ye lad,” Jamie winked at his nephew.

“Ye’re welcome!” Giggling, the little boy ran to his mother and sat down on her lap.

Jamie looked at his bride once more and placed a kiss on her hand, whispering, “Ye’re so beautiful, mo chridhe.”

Claire looked at Jamie, the butterflies in her stomach having a party and smiled warmly. As a little girl, she never dreamt of the perfect wedding nor a big white dress. She was more preoccupied to find her place in the world, orphan and constantly on the move, she was lost. But as she stood next to Jamie, she was reassured once more that home wasn’t a place, home was a person. 

And she had found it.  

As the ceremony progressed, the love shared between the bride and the groom was palpable in the room and the looks they gave one another made everyone smile. Most people present never thought James Fraser would ever get married one day but they were glad he had found someone like Claire, who made him better and constantly pulled him up, no matter what. Before they would exchange rings, they had agreed to share traditional Scottish vows, mindless the blood - Dr Beauchamp, soon to be Fraser, had made a great point of sanitary reasons not to do this and Jamie agreed. The priest wrapped their joined wrist with a ribbon and the couple looked, a smile on their faces Eyes locked, they repeated in Gaelic together:

“You are Blood of my Blood, and Bone of my Bone,
I give ye my Body, that we Two might be One.
I give ye my Spirit, 'til our Life shall be Done.”

Brian Fraser turned to his wife and smiled, recalling their own wedding ceremony. They shared a quick kiss before being reprimanded by their grandson whispering loudly and pointing to the altar, “The wedding is happening there!”

Jamie and Claire were too busy in their bubble to even notice what was going on behind them as the priest untied the ribbon and they continued with the exchange of vows.

“I, James Alexander Malcolm Mackenzie Fraser, take thee, Claire Elizabeth Beauchamp, to be my wedded Wife, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death us do part,” Smiling, he slid the slim gold band on her finger and brought her hand to his lips to place a soft kiss on it.

“Aye! Weel done, uncle Jamie!!” Young Ian raised his thumb and made everyone laugh. 

Claire turned back to Jamie and took his hand, “I, Claire Elizabeth Beauchamp, take thee, James Alexander Malcolm Mackenzie Fraser, to be my wedded Husband, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death us do part,” Eyes beaming, she slid a similar ring to her own on his finger and grinned broadly.

The priest smiled, touching their joined hands, “I now pronounce you man and wife. May God bless this union and you may kiss your bride, Jamie.”

Jamie didn’t need more to pull the new Mrs Fraser close to him and seal their lips, with the promise of love and eternity. Claire wrapped her arms around her husband’s neck and melted into his kiss as everyone erupted in cheers and applause. 

“Doctor Fraser,” Jamie smiled, whispering against her lips. 

“I can’t believe I finally married Jamie Fraser The author,” Claire winked, referring to the nickname she gave him in the early days when she thought she wouldn’t even give this man her phone number. 

Never say never. 

Claire kissed him again and held him close, “I wouldn’t have any other way, my love.” 

Jamie grinned broadly, lifting her up, bridal style and carried her out of the chapel, just like he had dreamt to do when his legs were too weak and he had no hope of ever walking again. Claire knew then and Jamie knows now. 

Together, they were invincible. 

Chapter Text

Honeymoons were overrated.

At least that was what James Fraser thought before he got married to his soulmate and surprised her with a trip to the Amalfi Coast.

Before the big day, they both had agreed to rent a little cabin in the Highlands for the days following the wedding to enjoy their time as newlyweds before going back to the reality of work and everyday life. 

Instead, knowing how much Claire wanted to visit Italy, Jamie had planned the perfect trip for the new Mrs Fraser. And after much reluctance, from her part, to wake up early the day after the wedding, he managed to drag her to the airport and surprise her. 

The room had ceramic tiles on the wall and terracotta floors. A canopy wooden bed took centre stage, and the french window opened up on the terrace, revealing the breathtaking view the hotel location provided, even while laying in bed: the coloured houses of Positano and the Tyrrhenian Sea.

When Claire was supposed to work, she was always sleeping lightly, to make sure she was ready for any emergency during the night but when she was on holiday, nothing could trouble her sleep...Not even Jamie slowly stroking her delicate skin or placing a kiss on her forehead before getting up to go to the balcony. 

The view took his breath away but it was nothing compared to the sight of Claire, asleep on the king size bed, hair scattered all over the place from their lovemaking, body slightly tan and the sunlight hitting her skin, behind him.

They had been married for five days and Jamie still couldn’t help but smile like an idiot every time the word wife came to his mind.

His wife.

******

Claire stirred slowly, the delightful ache in her body reminding her about the previous night and day activities with Jamie. 

Far off, she could hear the noises of the island and felt Jamie’s side of the bed only to find it empty. Opening her whisky eyes, Claire let them adjust to the morning light before looking around for her husband, the light sheet barely covering her naked body. Usually, Jamie would watch her sleep until she woke up but this time, Claire found him watching the view over from the balcony.

Naked.

Claire sat up and watched him for a while, amused. They had ditched clothes as soon as they arrived at the hotel, a few days ago and didn’t bother putting anything on since then, apart from a swimsuit the one time they had ventured to the beach, yesterday.

Getting up, Claire grabbed the satin bathrobe and put it around her body, loosely wrapping the belt at the waist.  She made her way onto the balcony and wrapped her arms around his body from behind, “Fraser, you’re up early,” She purred, placing a kiss on his back. His skin tasted salty and his familiar smell enveloped her. 

Jamie smiled, feeling her arms tightly around him and her warm lips on his skin, “Aye. Good morning, mo chridhe.”

“Good morning, indeed,” Claire’s hand found his ass and gave it a squeeze, making him grin, “The view from the bed was great, I’m sure everyone else is enjoying it, too.”

“I dinna ken what clothes are anymore, that’s all yer fault,” Jamie turned around and looked at his wife with a coy smile, “Oh, ye found a bathrobe,” He pouted disappointed.

“Well yes, I’m less adventurous than you are by coming on the balcony naked.”

“No one can see us,” Jamie kissed the tip of her nose, stroking a stay curl behind her ear. 

“That’s what you think. I’m pretty sure some Italian grandma has been observing you and enjoying it for however long you’ve been standing here,” She chuckled, holding him close.

“Aye weel, what can I tell ye? If that makes her day brighter, it’s a good thing,” Jamie grinned, his hand reaching between them to untie the bathrobe belt and opening it.

Claire looked up at him, raising her eyebrow, “What did you just do?”

“I dinna ken, Mrs Fraser...” His hands slipped behind her and took hold of her ass before fondling it properly. 

“Christ, ye have the roundest arse I’ve ever seen,” Jamie spoke softly, the feeling of Claire’s body pressing against his sending all the blood rushing down to his cock.

Claire smirked against the skin of his neck, feeling his arousal against her stomach, “Should we go back inside?”

“Aye,” Jamie lifted her up, “I need to take that bathrobe off ye, it’s driving me mad.”

Wrapping her legs around his waist, Claire smirked, “You don’t like it?”

“It’s verra pretty but it’ll be even prettier on the floor,” He rasped, walking back inside their room with her. 

Claire dropped the robe on the floor as soon as he stepped inside and her lips found his while his hands had a firm grip on her buttocks. They kissed thoroughly, savouring each other’s for the countless time until Jamie laid his wife on the bed and watched her for a moment.

She was lovely.

His deep blue eyes had turned dark with lust, a familiar sight Claire recognised every time they were intimate and that always managed to turn her own whisky eyes into a honey colour.

Claire smirked, “Are you going to stand there and watch me forever?”

Jamie could, as each time he laid eyes on her, he found new things to love and to cherish.

“Aye, my own. I could watch ye forever,” He admitted with a smile.

“Forever is a long time,” Claire pointed out, sitting up.

“Wi’ ye, forever is not long enough Claire...” Kneeling down on the edge of the bed, Jamie smiled and held out his hand to her.

Claire pulled him down and sealed their lips, her hands stroking his sun-kissed skin, “I love you,” She whispered between kisses. 

Claire didn’t say it often, an orphan she wasn’t raised to say such things, but since Jamie, she found herself needing to say it more, not to validate their relationship but to make sure he knew.

“And I ye, mo chridhe,” His thumb stroked her cheek, Claire was the first woman he had truly loved and she would be the last.

He was sure of that. 

“What are we going to tell people when they’ll ask how the island was?” Jamie asked, raising his eyebrow.

“We’re on our honeymoon, whoever asks that has never been on one,” Claire grinned and rolled them over so she was on top, a position Jamie really seemed to enjoy giving the sheepish smile on his face.

His fingers delicately travelled from the line of her toned stomach to her right breast and took hold of it, the shape perfectly made for his hand, while their eyes never broke contact.  His other hand stroked her side, sending a delightful shiver through her body,“But again, Sassenach, It’s no’ my fault I canna resist ye.”

Claire leaned down to kiss his neck and whispered, “Not even now?”

Jamie let out a low groan deep in his throat, his hands fondling her arse, “Never. Wi’ yer hair a mess around yer face, yer body pressing against mine and the wicked look in yer eyes, I dinna ken how much longer I’ll be able to control myself, Sassenach.”

“It’s your lucky day then,” Claire rested her face in the crook of his neck and grinned.

“It’s been my lucky day since I met ye, mo chridhe,” Jamie said softly.

“Saying things like this will get you anything, Mr Fraser,”  Claire cupped his cheeks and looked into his eyes, her plan to drive him crazy failing as her own arousal was taking over her body.

“Weel, I only want ye, Mrs Fraser,” Jamie rasped, “I want ye so much I can scarcely breathe.”

Claire didn’t need more to oblige, seeing the need in her husband’s eyes was enough to make her blood boil. Reaching between them, she took hold of him and guided him inside of her. 

Home. 

******

They finally emerged from the room in the early afternoon and agreed to go down to the beach for lunch and to get some sun. Claire put on a floral wrap dress over her bikini and some sandals while Jamie opted for his swim shorts and a short sleeve linen white shirt, leaving the few first buttons opens. With the sun hitting his auburn hair and his lightly golden skin, Claire was already looking forward to going back to their room later. 

The weather was a nice change from Scotland even in June, most days were rainy and grey but here, the sun shone early morning till evening and the fresh breeze from the sea made the heat tolerable.

Their hotel had their own club and restaurant down to the beach, Jamie and Claire settled on lounge chairs in front of the water and ordered some cocktails with lunch.

“I could get used to this view,” Claire said with a smile, tying her nest of curls in a messy bun.

“Aye, me too,” Jamie agreed, removing his shirt.

“Thank you for bringing me here, darling,” She looked at him and smiled,“It’s warmer than a cottage in rainy Scotland.” 

“Aye it is,” Jamie chuckled, “And it’s my pleasure, Sassenach. We can go to a cottage in the highlands on the weekend, a honeymoon is more special, ye ken.” His attempted wink made her laugh and she leaned to kiss him. 

“Pass me my sunglasses, instead of making fun of me for my bad winkin.’”

Claire grinned and looked in the bag before passing him the sunglasses, “You’re actually my favourite winker, you have your own style and all.”

Jamie laughed, putting on his sunglasses, “I’m glad to hear it.”

“And Young Ian has inherited the same trait.”

“Are ye trying to tell me he’s cuter than I am? Because if so, I’m offended Claire,” He pouted.

“Well you are the cutest Fraser and he is the cutest Murray,” Claire grinned and removed her dress before laying on her stomach, “Good?”

“Good answer,” He grinned, “Should I assist ye with some SPF?”

“You always manage to find an excuse to touch my ass, Fraser. It’s impressive,” Claire looked at him behind her sunglasses and smirked.

“Always, Fraser. It’s a real talent,” Jamie grinned proudly and grabbed the bottle of SPF, “I dinna want ye to burn this beautiful skin of yers.”

“You’re so thoughtful, my love,” Claire reached behind her to untie her bikini top.

Rubbing the lotion between his palms, Jamie smiled and applied it thoroughly on her back causing his wife to groan, “I like yer ivory skin, mo chridhe but it looks good with a wee tan, as well.”

“To be honest, I’m surprised I haven’t got a sunburn yet.”

“It’s no’ like we’ve been out of the room a lot,” Jamie grinned, giving a little tap on her butt, “Ye’re all set.” 

“If you really insist, we can actually spend our time exploring the island instead of each other,” She suggested, turning her head to look at him with a smirk.

“I’m no’ complaining,” Jamie laughed, “At least ye’re completely naked when we’re there.”

Claire looked at him and turned around, removing her top, “Fixed”

“Christ, Claire!” Jamie grabbed the towel quickly and laid it on her.

“What?” She chuckled, “I don’t want a tan line and there are boobs everywhere anyway.”

“I don’t want other men looking at ye.”

“But you can look at other women?” Claire asked, raising her eyebrow.

“Is that what ye think of me? I dinna care about other women, Claire. Ye should ken that,” Jamie grabbed the newspaper and took up reading as an excuse to grumble.

“Do you really want to argue right now?”

“No. I’m just reading the newspaper, so I dinna have to control myself not to look at other women,” He added sarcastically.

“You’re cute even when you’re grumpy,” Claire removed her towel and laid on her stomach again, closing her eyes. She wondered how long he would take him to talk to her again and smirked amusedly.

Jamie tried to keep his glance solemnly on the newspaper but Claire was like a magnet for his eyes, too powerful to avoid and the way she positioned her butt didn’t help his cause either. 

Wicked thing Claire was.  

After a while, she decided to put back her top and, without a word, made her way to the water. She could feel his eyes on her and grinned, freeing her curls before walking into the water. Jamie cursed in Gaelic under his breath, this woman would be the end of him.

Jamie watched her, behind his dark sunglasses. In the translucent water, Claire looked like a mermaid, coming up the surface of the water gracefully as if the sea had always been her home. She swam for a while, fully aware of her husband’s glance on her, before slowly walking out of the water towards their chairs and Jamie.

She knew exactly what she was doing

“Oh great, the food came! I’m ravenous,” Claire stated, drying her body with the towel before sitting down.

“Aye, and cocktails.”

“You should have come in the water, it felt amazing.”

“Watching ye was good enough,” He said softly, taking a bite of focaccia.

Claire grinned, leaned back on the lounge chair with her plate of pasta “Pizza, pasta e amore. Now if you would stop being grumpy, it would be perfect.”

“I’m no’ grumpy.”

“Acting grumpy, I mean. I know you’re not, you’re just stubborn,” Claire ate and looked at him “ Do you want a taste? They’re delicious”

Jamie looked at her, his mouth finally curling into a smile, “Aye”

Claire chuckled and fed him, “You’re such a child.”

“I just dinna like other men looking at ye, I’m sorry I overreacted,” Jamie stroked her cheek and some wet hair behind her ear.

“I promise I won’t show my tits in public again.”

“Thank ye, Sassenach,” Jamie chuckled and kissed her lips tenderly, “They’re only mine to see.”

“Yes,” Claire laughed, “now can we move on about my breast, Jamie?”

Jamie nodded and kissed her again, “Just ken they’re always in my head”

“I ken,” Claire shook her head and ate her plate of arrabiata with a grin, “The quicker you finish that pizza, the quicker we can go back to the room and you can see them again” 

Jamie brought her hand to his lips and grinned, “So ye can bite me again?” 

“Maybe,” Claire winked and kissed him. 

“Ye vixen,” Jamie grinned, removing her plate from her hands and put it on the table next to their chairs, “Come here.” 

Claire obliged and moved on his lounge chair. Laying on him, she felt his strong arms wrapping around her body and she closed her eyes, nuzzling his neck. Jamie’s hands rested on her arse while he whispered sweet nothings into her ear. Claire soon fell asleep and Jamie watched her with a content smile. 

He had never been to heaven but he was pretty sure it was something like this.

Chapter Text

Bliss doesn’t last. It’s an ephemeral feeling that goes as quickly as it comes and sometimes leaves behind broken pieces of reality, shattered on the floor for everyone to see.

After coming back from their Italian honeymoon Jamie and Claire settled in their routine as a married couple. Jamie wrapped up his novel and Claire went back to saving lives, while at the same time cherishing each other. 

The new house had been renovated and decorated to their tastes. A mix of medical books and classics on the shelves. Jamie’s old but comfy leather sofa in the living room. Uncle Lamb’s Moroccan rug, Claire loved too much, in her office and a mix of new pieces of furniture, artworks and objects turning the house into a home.

Their home.

After almost six months of marriage, the newlywed phase was still very much present but a new routine started to take place between the couple. And the misty Sunday morning of November didn’t seem to bring anything out of the ordinary. 

Claire had woken up early and made love to Jamie with sleepy eyes and careful touches before they fell back asleep. Limbs tangled and content expressions on their faces. Around noon, they had some brunch. French toasts and omelettes.  prepared by Jamie, in bed and cuddled some more. 

Sundays were always uneventful at the Frasers’ household and they loved it exactly that way. The last day of the week was only theirs to enjoy and to spend time alone. No writing for Jamie. No hospital for Claire and no family dinner at Lallybroch. 

No matter what happened during their busy week, on Sundays, Mr and Mrs Fraser were in their own little bubble, unbothered and in love, recharging the batteries for the week ahead.

Everything was going as planned until the doorbell rang, around four o’clock. Other than the unusuality to have a surprise visitor on a Sunday, nothing else was amiss. 

Yet. 

“Are you expecting anyone?” Claire frowned, looking up from her book. 

They had eventually put some comfy clothes on and moved over to the living room, taking place on the big leather couch. While Jamie watched football, stroking his wife’s legs, Claire buried her nose in one of his books, only to look up from time to time to check the score.

“Nay," Jamie frowned, looking at her, a bit annoyed to be bothered, “Are ye, mo chridhe?”

Claire shook her head and put the book away, “Don’t move, I’ll go see who that is,” She smiled and got up, kissing his cheek before making her way to the hall.

As Claire opened the door, she came face to face with a young tallish woman, with soft black curls and almond-shaped light grey eyes staring at her. She didn’t think she had ever seen that person before, “Hello...can I help you?”

“I’m looking for James,” The young woman said nonchalantly with a slight Scottish accent, and somehow sending a shiver down Claire’s spine. Who was she? And most importantly, why did she wanted to see Jamie? Quickly, Claire ran the inventory of women working with Jamie but she had met both his editor and publisher and she knew what they looked like.

Claire stood straighter and crossed her arms, asking with her thick British accent, “And you are?”

“Malva Christie,” The woman answered, “I don’t believe ye and I have met before,” She pointed out, studying Claire from head to toe.

“No, we have not,” Claire answered coldly. Something about the young woman wasn’t sitting right with her.

“Is James here? If ye don’t mind it’s quite cold outside and I need to speak to him.” 

James. No one ever called Jamie like that, apart from Claire when she wanted to tease him.

“How do you know my husband?” Claire asked, not even sure she wanted to really know the answer. 

“We’ve been to college together and lost touch until Jenny’s birthday in June, he didn’t mention he was married,” Malva scoffed and walked past Claire to walk inside.

“Cute house,” She stated, looking around. 

The nerves, Claire thought, closing the door. 

Looking at her, she could feel, her patience being tested, “I don’t recall inviting you in.”

“Claire?” Jamie appeared in the hallway and Claire was glad to notice he had put on a t-shirt.

 “Malva? What are ye doing here?” A frown appeared on his at the sight of the unwanted visitor. 

So he knew her. 

“James,” His name in her mouth made Claire’s stomach turn but she stayed silent and simply stood next to Jamie, watching the young woman intensely.

“I need to speak to you about something. To be more precise, it’s about what happened at Jenny’s birthday party, five months ago,” Malva removed her winter coat, revealing a noticeable baby bump.

Jenny’s birthday. 

The very same Claire had missed because of the flu and where Jamie had stayed the night over at Lallybroch. Claire knees almost gave up, as if the floor started to crumble from below her bare feet and she held onto the nearest thing: Jamie’s arm.

Jamie looked at his wife quickly and at Malva again, his frown deepening. apparently, he was the only one in the room not understanding what this was about, “What about it?”

“We made a baby,” Malva said simply, a smile on her face, resting her hand on her belly.

The words resonated and cut through Claire quickly and neatly, just like the scalpel she used at work to save lives, but instead, this one made her bleed from the inside. It was raw, both with anger and sadness. It couldn’t be. Claire felt like she was outside of her body, watching the scene in front of her eyes in slow motion as her entire world crumbled around her. 

She was going into shock.

“Malva, what are ye talking about?” Jamie tried to remain calm as he noticed Claire’s distress next to him and replayed the evening of his sister’s birthday over and over again in his head, but it was very apparent on his face that he was panicking too. 

“Of course you don’t remember, we were both quite drunk that evenin’ and you know…Well, we ended up in your bedroom and here we are,” Malva spat out at him, crossing her arms, “Do you want me to draw it for you?” 

“No! I was drunk, aye but we didn’t end up in bed together. I might no’ remember much but I ken I was too hammered to even walk properly!” Jamie hissed loudly. Fury was taking over him, with a mix of fear. Claire was too quiet. 

“Why would I be lying about this?! I’m pregnant, Jamie! Pregnant and it’s your child, either you like it or not! Next time you will think about your actions and you should also mention you are married! If you had, I wouldn’t be here today.” 

Claire listened to Malva talking and cutting through her a little bit more with each word spoken.

“I dinna touched ye!” Jamie didn’t know what else to say, he spoke to her during the evening, that much he knew but the rest was a blur. An awful blur.

“A paternity test should testify to that,” Malva looked at Claire for a second before turning her glance back to him. 

“I’ll call you, I guess you have some explaining to do right now,” Malva put on her coat again and disappeared as quickly as she had come in, leaving behind her the remnants of her accusation hanging in the air between Jamie and Claire.

Claire looked at him, eyes deprived of expression but full of unshared tears and chin wobbling. Deep down, she had always known he would break her heart someday, and that day had arrived.

“Claire…” His voice broke as he saw her eyes, red and puffy, with an amount of sadness floating in their rich whisky colour he had never seen before. He reached to stroke her cheek but she shrieked at his touch.

“Do not touch me,” Claire whispered, stepping back and closed her eyes, warm tears strolled down her cheeks, “How could you do that to me?! Jenny’s party was a week after we came back from our honeymoon. A bloody week, Jamie! And while I was at home with the stomach flu, you were drunk, fucking another woman!” 

Jamie came closer then but only to be pushed away by Claire. She was furious, wounded and devastated, “Take your things and leave, I can’t see your face right now,” Her voice cracked.

Please, Claire. Ye have to believe me! I dinna sleep wi’ her,” Jamie ran his fingers nervously through his hair. He might have been drunk but he would never do that to her, that was probably the only thing he was certain of, right now. 

“You can’t remember shit!” Claire was right and furious. He didn’t remember anything from that night as much as he liked to believe he did. 

“From all the things I thought you would do to me, James Fraser, this is the fucking worst. You’re not only a cheater, you also managed to make a baby to another woman but your barren wife!”

The day before their wedding, he had promised her she would be enough, she had believed him and he lied. 

“Claire I didn’t...No! I...I will fix this, I promise ye,” Jamie said softly, his eyes looking for hers but she was avoiding his glance. He was desperate

‘Don’t ever promise anything to me ever again.” Her voice was so soft he almost didn’t hear her, “She is pregnant! And not by the grace of God.”

Pregnant. 

That pill was the hardest to swallow. Cheating was one thing but the fact that another woman would carry Jamie’s child was the last blow for Claire. Images of Frank’s infidelities replayed over her eyes, their arguments and the many times he had blamed her for not being able to get pregnant, but this time it was so much worse.

It was Jamie. Her Jamie. She had open to him from the very beginning, he knew how she had felt and he promised he would never do the same, he had promised to protect her and cherish her for the rest of their lives.

“Claire…”Jamie begged, wishing he could take her in his arms and reassure her but he simply couldn’t without her pulling away. He couldn’t swear to her nothing had happened between Malva and himself, because he didn’t know. 

He didn’t know.

The only thing he could do was leave his wife alone before she could hate him, but he was afraid it was already too late, “Ye canna just shut me out, I ken ye need time right now but we have to resolve this, together.”

“As of right now, Jamie, there’s no together,” Claire’s eyes were deprived of emotions as she spoke and she simply walked upstairs, leaving her husband alone to face his mistakes.

Chapter Text

As a little girl, Claire had soon realized she had a tolerance to pain higher than most people. When her parents died, she was both too young and innocent to truly understand and to feel the enormity of her loss and when she finally did, the memories of her parents were too blurry to feel more than some regrets. 

When she became a doctor, she learnt to compartmentalise with each patient lost, to shut the little voice inside her head that made her think about it too often. Claire could come across cold and sometimes, heartless. The truth was, she was good at hiding pain and weaknesses and she avoided letting herself be vulnerable.

Until she met Jamie.

Only with Jamie had she given everything she had, risked it all. She had thrown away caution and judgement and wisdom. She had brought him nothing but herself, been nothing but herself with him. Given him soul as well as body, let him see her naked, trusted him to see her whole and cherish her frailties.

Once, travelling through Japan, Uncle Lamb had told Claire about kintsugi. The art of precious scars.

“It’s a traditional Japanese art, Claire dear,” Lam said with a smile, holding a vase.

“It uses precious metals such as liquid gold, liquid silver or lacquer dusted with powdered gold to bring together the pieces of a broken pottery item and at the same time enhance the breaks. Right here, look,” Lamb kneeled down and showcased the vase and, its repairs, to his ten years old niece, who was watching him with interest, big brown eyes and unruly, already at that age.

“Every repaired piece is unique, because of the randomness with which ceramics shatters and the irregular patterns formed that are enhanced with the use of metals,”  Lamb added, adjusting his glasses while Claire ran her finger carefully along the gold lines.

“Is it the same with humans, uncle?” Claire asked, carefully holding the vase, “Of course, we can’t fix ourselves with gold but you get my meaning, right?” She looked at him with a sneaky smile that made him grin.

Lamb nodded, “I do and yes, in a way, it’s exactly like humans. But this technique suggests many things. For example, how we shouldn’t throw away broken objects when they break because it doesn’t mean that they are no more useful. Actually, the breakages can become valuable. That’s why we should always try to repair broken things because sometimes in doing so we obtain more valuable items.”

His hand tenderly stroked Claire’s cheek and his mouth curled up into the kindest smile, “This is the essence of resilience, my Claire. Each of us should look for a way to cope with traumatic events in a positive way, learn from negative experiences, take the best from them and convince ourselves that exactly these experiences make each person unique and precious, even. And more importantly, they make us stronger.”

********

One hundred and sixty-eight days.

That’s how long Claire and Jamie had been married when Malva walked into their lives, their home and destroyed everything without mercy. 

The days that followed passed in a blur. The only things Claire was aware of were Jamie’s absence and the utter void she was experiencing. Even as a doctor, she wasn’t able to point out exactly where the pain was coming from. Sometimes, it was her entire body aching, sometimes it was her heart stinging and sometimes it was her soul burning.

Jamie had tried to call, countless time, and even showed up at the house to get some clothes but she avoided him, hiding in her office. He didn’t try to talk with her, knowing full well she was still too hurt to acknowledge him. He was willing to give her time, as long as he could manage to fix the gap created between them.

He had spent days and nights playing the evening of his sister’s birthday in his mind over and over again. He asked everyone he could think of to give him info about his whereabouts during the party but no one recalled seeing him after the cake had been eaten. The other thing that was on Jamie’s mind was the child. What if Jamie had really slept with Malva and now he was going to be a father? It wasn’t Claire’s but could he love it nonetheless? The baby was innocent in all of this.

Claire knew they had to talk and she would have to face him at some point but the truth was, she had no idea if she had the strength to see him without falling apart all over again. How badly she wanted to believe nothing happened but since her husband didn’t even know what he did, her hopes were not very high.

******

Jamie came by again, one evening, unannounced. Yet, Claire had been expecting him. They were both so connected that Claire could feel it every time he was near.

Sitting on the large leather sofa, Claire heard the key turning in the front door and wiped her cheeks, wondering briefly how she still had tears left to cry. She quickly tied her messy curls in an equally messy bun and looked at the door until Jamie appeared. Eyes as puffy as hers, his face was deprived of the slightest expression except for some shame.

“Claire,” Jamie started, his voice was soft and so low, she almost didn’t hear him. 

It took all the courage she had to bring her eyes to look at his for the first time in a long time but she did and they stayed silent for a bit, both taking in the other’s state. 

His eyes dropped to the floor, seeing his wife so sad was breaking his heart, “I ken I should have called before showing up here but ye dinna answered my previous attempts so I thought I would come anyway.”

“I guess I couldn’t hide from you forever,” Claire said softly before adding: ”Even if I really want to.”

Jamie ran his hand on the back of his neck and nodded, “Aye, I canna blame ye for that...Can I sit?” He asked, like a stranger in his own home.

Claire nodded, pointing to the velvet chair in front of the sofa.

Jamie sat down in it, watching her. His heart tight in his throat, “I was worrit ye dinna answer any of my calls nor Jenny’s.”

“I had no will to talk to anybody, not you and even less  your sister, Jamie.”

“I ken, she was just worrit too. I had to tell her everything, ken? I spent all my time asking every single person who was at the party what they saw.”

“How did she even get our address?” Claire looked at him. 

“Malva works in a publishing house, that’s no’ difficult to get my number and my address if she simply called my editor and ye ken it weel.”

Hearing Jamie pronouncing the name gave Claire a sickening feeling. When her days weren’t occupied by Jamie, her nights were full of visions about him with Malva. The most recurrent one was about her taking Claire’s role as Jamie wife, best friend and lover. Claire would see them in bed, him cradling her bump, amazed at the baby kicking or whispering sweet nothings in her ear. Claire would then wake up shaking, with a feeling of utter disgust in her stomach.

“You still don’t remember? Or you’re simply shutting out the memory because you’re too afraid to see what a mess you’ve created?” Claire asked, looking at him.

“I dinna ken,” Jamie moved next to her slowly.

“Claire, I hate myself, more than ye even do right now. For one, I canna remember what I have done, or not done, to be able to assure ye this is a terrible farce. And second, I canna promise ye I didn’t hurt ye. The only thing I ken, deep down, is my love for ye. I believe it to be strong enough for me not to hurt ye, even unconsciously.” Slowly, he reached for her hand and placed his on hers.

Claire didn’t take her hand away, simply letting the warmth of his skin penetrate against hers while a tear escaped her eye, “I had this whole speech planned in my head for when I would bring myself talk to you but I can remember any of it. I am numb, Jamie. Every party of my body ache yet at the same time, I can’t feel anything, anymore. I want to scream at you, but I’m pretty sure no sound would come out if I tried.”

The sight of Claire so fragile and heartbroken made Jamie even weaker. Claire was a strong woman, a fighter, and she would allow herself to be weak sometimes but he would be there then, to hold her tight and tell her how everything would be alright. Today it was different: she was falling apart and it was all his fault.

“I am so sorry,” Was the only thing Jamie could mutter. And it was true. He was sorry for everything. For coming into her life, making her open her heart to him for, in the end, breaking it into a million pieces. 

“Please tell me what I can say or do to make ye better, it kills me to see ye like this and even more to be the cause of your heartache Claire.”

“There is nothing to do, at least not until the child is born and we can take a paternity test,” Claire spoke, her voice erased of emotions as if she was talking to some interns at the hospital before a surgery.

Jamie nodded, sensing Claire had something else to ask him, “Ye can say what ye think, Claire.”

It took a little bit of time but it eventually came out, “You still believe you could be the father, don’t you?”

“Ye ken as much as I do, this child is innocent in all of this and if it turns out he is mine, I will take my responsibilities,” Jamie said softly. 

“I canna ask ye to stay by my side if I faulted ye, it would kill me to live without ye Claire, I feel like there’s no air around me since this happened but I canna force ya to forgive me, either. It wouldn’t be fair.”

“No, it would not. My rational mind tells me to call a lawyer and to ask for a divorce, yet I can’t bring myself to do it.”

It was Jamie’s turn now to let escape tears. A divorce. It was the last thing Jamie wished for, death seemed less painful,  but if Claire asked for one, he would give it.

“I can’t bring myself to do it because my heart tells me you couldn’t do something like this to me. There’s is this little voice, constantly present in my head, reminding me of our life together and how good you were to me,” She added softly, making him look up at her face again. 

“I am willing to give you the benefit of the doubt... until she gives birth”

“Oh Christ, Claire,” Jamie wrapped his arms around her wife, who didn’t move away but didn’t hug him back, either.

“I said I will give you the benefit of the doubt, I didn’t say I will act as if nothing happened. Everything is different Jamie and even if we get out of this alright, it will take time. You can stay here, in the guest room, I’ll be on night shifts as soon as I’m going back to work,” Claire got up and looked at him, chin wobbling. 

She almost added an “I love you” but bit the inside of her cheek, “It hurts, Jamie. It hurts so much I’m wondering how I can even be standing right now,” With that, Claire left him in the living room and went upstairs.

Claire was determined to fix the broken pieces of her heart back together, she wasn’t sure if it was with liquid gold or bad glue yet, but it would be a start.

*******

Claire managed to avoid Jamie for the next two months. When she would come home from work in the morning, he would be out for a run, in the shower or still asleep and when she would leave in the late afternoon, he was either writing in his office or a nose in a book. He knew her boundaries and how not to push her, something she was thankful for. Having Jamie in the house already eased her soul, her dreams about him and Malva were less frequent, and hearing his voice through the walls when they were both awake, was like a balm to her heart.

Her body was exhausted but her mind kept pushing for more work. It was the only way she felt fulfilled these days. And as much as Claire was missing Jamie, his kisses, his touches and the overall peacefulness he used to be able to bring her, she decided instead of falling into a dark hole, she would throw herself into her work and be useful. She was on autopilot. Eat, sleep, save lives, repeat.

She had just come out of a seven hours surgery when Claire made her way to the cafeteria to grab a coffee. The very same place she would share meals with Jamie between his sessions of rehabilitation after his accident and they would talk about the future and kiss like two smitten teenagers. It seemed like a million years ago, now.

The place was always deserted in the middle of night shift but once a coffee in hand, Claire spotted Jamie, sitting down at their usual table, a mug of coffee in front of him, and her breath hitched.

Looking up, Jamie saw her and smiled softly. He didn’t need to say anything as Claire started to walk towards him, attracted like a magnet, “Jamie? What are you doing here?”

“Hi, sassenach. Well, I thought I might find ye here,” He said with a smile.

“You thought? Since it’s where I work, it must have taken long enough to figure that out,”  Raising her eyebrows, she couldn’t help a little smile. The first in a long time.

“It is,” Jamie smiled, his witty wife was still there, somewhere, “I’m here because I dinna ken when ye would come home today and since it’s the anniversary of the day we met, I thought we could share a coffee.”

“The day we met,” Claire repeated softly.

“Aye, when ye stole my coffee -- ”

“I didn’t steal it, stop telling that to everyone. I slipped money into your front pocket when I took the coffee and left,” Claire sat down in front of him, putting her beverage on the table.

“Is that so? It’s truly no’ how I remember it but fine,” Jamie smiled, it was the first time Claire didn’t shut down completely in front of him since the news.

Claire shook her head, an amused expression on her face and warmed her hands on her mug, “You remember it just fine.”

“Okay, I admit ye gave me money before disappear wi’ my coffee.”

“Your disgusting coffee without milk or sugar, yes,” Claire joked, yawning. She had no idea what time it was but it was still dark outside.

Jamie smiled, “Mrs Fitz told me ye were in surgery when I arrived so I waited here.”

Claire nodded, rubbing her eyes, “Yes I’ve been in there for seven hours at least.”

“Aye, I ken, I’ve been here,” Jamie looked at his watch, “For the last six and a half hours.”

“Jamie, it’s the middle of the night,” She looked at him with wide eyes, “You’re crazy”

“Aye... I’m crazy about ye,” Jamie rested for his hand on top of hers and even if Claire stayed silent, he saw the flicker in her eyes and with it came the realisation that maybe, just maybe, not everything was lost.

“Jamie…”

“Claire, I’m no’ here to talk about what is going on between us at the moment, I ken very weel ye’d rather not see my face but I’m here because that morning, *I didn’t fall in love with ye. I walked into love with ye, with my eyes wide open, choosing to take every step along the way. I do believe in fate and destiny, but I also believe we are only fated to do the things that we’d choose anyway. And I’d choose ye; in a hundred lifetimes, in a hundred worlds, in any version of reality, I’d find ye and I’d choose ye. I just want to be sure ye ken that,” He brought her hand to his lips and place a soft kiss on it. 

“I became a respectable man because of ye, Claire.” 

They talked for a long time until the sun rose and nurses, patients and doctors started to fill the cafeteria. They talked about everything and nothing, just being themselves for the first time in months, without a dark cloud menacing their love.

Then, she felt it.

The warm liquid, slowly slipping between the hollow pieces of her heart to paste it back together. 

Chapter Text

The call came in the middle of the night, startling Jamie, while Claire was sound asleep next to him for the first time in a while. 

They had watched a movie in their bedroom last night and Claire had fallen asleep against his chest, exhausted from a hard day at the hospital.  Jamie couldn’t bring himself to leave their bed to go back to the guest room. Instead, he watched her, his fingers delicately stroking her soft curls until he fell asleep, rocked by the comforting sound of her breathing. 

During the last few weeks, the things between them had got better. Slightly. They had learned how to navigate around one another, putting the awkwardness of the situation aside and Claire was slowly starting to open up again, much to Jamie’s relief.

Slowly but surely.

Jamie picked up his cellphone, his eyes still heavy from slumber and reluctantly got up from the bed, “Aye?” He said softly, not to wake up Claire.

“James, hi. It’s Joe, I’m sorry to call this late, but you two wanted to know when Malva got into labour and well, she’s been admitted to the hospital an hour ago,” Apart from Claire’s longtime friend and colleague, he was the only person at the hospital who knew about the situation and he had promised Claire he would take care of everything - and he had.

“She won’t have the baby for another couple of hours from what I can see but at least now you know. Sorry if I woke you up,” Joe apologized. 

“Aye, tis’ fine. Ye dinna wake up Claire.”

“Nothing can wake up Claire when she isn’t working,” Joe teased, trying to make Jamie relax.

Jamie smiled and nodded, even if Dr Abernathy couldn’t see him, “Verra true.”

“How is she?” Joe asked softly.

“Ye ken her, she’s keeping a brave face when I know she’s not fine, but she’s trying and the last few days have been good between us. I even managed to get a little laugh out of her,” Jamie smiled at the thought.

“You two will be fine, I know it.”

“Aye, I hope Joe. I canna live wi’out her,” Jamie admitted softly, in the midst of the night. 

“And she can’t live without you. You are two sick lovebirds and it’s as disgusting as it is cute,” Joe grinned, “Look, as soon as Malva has the baby, I will send everything to the lab and in a few days, everything will be sorted.”

Jamie ran his hand on the back of his neck, “Aye, good. Thank ye, Joe.” 

He smiled softly, knowing the bond shared between Claire and Joe. She had explained early on into their relationship how Joe was her only friend in medical school and, before Jamie could start to be jealous, how much Joe was like a brother to her. Now, Jamie was quite fond of the funny American lad.

“You know I’ll do anything for Claire and for you, too. If she chose you, it must mean you’re not that bad, eh?”

“She made me better, that’s for sure. I don’t deserve her.”

“No one does, but if she decided you were worth spending the rest of her life with you, it means something. And you know it.”

“Aye, it means something,” Jamie repeated, finding some truth in Joe’s words.

“I have to go back to work, try to sleep and don’t worry too much about the results. I’m sure everything will be fine.”

“Thank ye, Joe. See ye soon,” Jamie said softly, looking absently outside the window of the bedroom.

“Anything for you two,” Joe hung up, leaving Jamie to the silence of the night. He put the telephone away and got back into bed. The moonlight reflected on Claire’s ivory skin, making her look even more beautiful than she usually was. Jamie stroked a curl away from her face and simply watched her. She looked peaceful and it soothed his heart.

After a bit, Claire stirred, feeling his eyes on her and blinked slowly, “What it is?” She asked, her voice croaked from sleep.

“Aye, I was just awake and watching ye, is all,” Jamie admitted with a smile.

“I’m sorry I fell asleep on you last night. I was exhausted,” Claire yawned, turning over to look at the clock: 4:32 am.

“Dinna worry. Claire…Joe called,” HIs words made Claire remember the sword of Damocles still hanging over their heads, menacing to fall any minute, and she sat up slowly. 

“Malva is in labour, he said he will send everything to the lab as soon as the baby arrives and he will call us…”

“In a few days” Claire finished and nodded, “Do you…Do you want to go see the baby?”

“Ye ken I dinna” Jamie’s hand touched her cheek slowly, “This isna my baby Claire and I dinna belong in that room wi’ her. Ye ken it as much as I do.”

And deep down, she did.

Claire nodded and laid back again, “No point in staying awake, I guess.”

“Nay,” Jamie looked at her and got up, “I will go back to the guest room. Good night Claire.”

“Jamie?”

“Aye? Ye need anything?” He asked, frowning.

“Just you,” She answered softly, “Stay.”

And he stayed, holding her safely in his arms as they both fell asleep again.  

******

The days that followed felt endless. The minutes seemed like hours and drove Claire crazy. She decided to take a few days off from the hospital, unable to work properly when her mind was occupied with other things other than her patients’ welfare and as much as she tried, the paternity test was the only thing she could think about. Instead, Claire stayed home, ran, slept and tried to make waffles - tried -  while Jamie stayed in his office, writing and occupying his own mind.

Finally, two days after Malva’s entrance at the hospital, Joe called. 

“Claire?” The familiar voice of her friend both eased her and terrified her. 

“Do you have the results?” Claire asked at once, not even bothering with the polite details.

“I do, I haven’t announced them to the new mother yet, but I think you three will have to have a serious discussion,” Joe answered seriously.

Claire could feel the knot in her stomach and she sat down. She was prepared for the worst but not sure she could actually handle it,“ Joe, just spit it out at once, please.”

“Jamie is not the father, Claire,” Joe smiled at the phone. 

Silence. Quickly followed by a crushing wave of relief.

For the first time in months, Claire felt like herself again. Deep down, all along she knew and yet, she doubted him.

“Joe, I… I need to say this to Jamie, but we’ll come around soon enough I guess,” Claire said somewhat unsure, still not fully coming to terms with Joe’s information.

“Take your time, we won’t let her out before you two come around, and I won’t say a word about the test just yet, either,” Joe admitted. 

“I know it hasn’t been easy for you and Jamie, take all the time you need before you show up here, really.”

Claire nodded, even if Joe couldn’t see her, “Yes. Thank you so much, Joe! I’ll call you as soon as we leave for the hospital.”

“No need to thank me, I only did my job,” He smiled. 

“See you soon, Dr Fraser,” Joe hung up, leaving Claire still incredulous. She put the phone away and leaned back in the leather sofa, the same one where she had been sitting the day Malva rang the doorbell: something cracked inside her, something buried so deep she forgot she had it and finally, Claire let herself go and started to cry. It wasn’t sadness. It was relief.

It was over.

Jamie emerged from his office in search of a snack after writing for hours, to try and take his mind off the impending call. The moment he saw Claire sobbing on the sofa, his knees almost gave up and he had to steady himself on the door frame. No, it couldn’t be. 

Jamie gathered the little courage he had left and swallowed hard, “Claire…”

Looking up, Claire sniffed and whipped her cheeks. She was a little bit dizzy from Joe’s call and didn’t realise Jamie’s face had lost all colour, “I’m so sorry, Jamie.”

His heart broke on the spot and Jamie fell on his knees, in front of her. If he needed to beg he would, but he couldn’t lose her, not now, not ever, “Oh Claire, I’m so sorry!” He buried his face on her lap, gripping her legs tightly, and started to cry.

“This must be a mistake, I wouldn’t do that to ye, I ken it!”

Claire frowned and soon realised he misunderstood her reaction. “Jamie, look at me,” Her slender fingers slowly ran through his auburn hair and she softly said again, “Love, look at me.”

Love? Maybe she didn’t hate him, after all.

Slowly, Jamie looked up, his vision blurred by tears. Claire stroked his cheeks softly, her mouth curling up into a smile, “I meant, I’m sorry I doubted you. You’re not the father, Jamie, and I should have known.”

“Oh god, Claire,” Jamie buried his head in the crook of her neck and held her close. He wouldn’t lose her now and that’s all he needed to know to keep on breathing.

“I’m sorry I doubted you,” Claire repeated, holding him close, “I’m sorry I didn’t believe you when you said you wouldn’t hurt me…”

Jamie looked up again and interrupted her with his lips, that had burned for her for so long.

They kissed thoroughly, freed of fears and the restraint of the last few months unleashing in a second, “Dinna ever apologise again because of that, Claire. I put us in this situation by being reckless. I should have stayed wi’ ye when ye were sick and not end up pissed drunk at my sister’s birthday. I am sorry about this mess I created. I truly am.”

His thumb brushed her cheek softly, “I dinna ken what I did to deserve ye, but I hope ye still want me now.”

“There is not a day that goes by and that I don’t want you, James Fraser,” Claire whispered against his lips before kissing him again, tears rolling down her cheeks. This time, they were not full of sorrow but full of love, “I will never doubt you again,” she promised.

“I will never give ye a reason to doubt me again, I promise,” He rested his forehead against hers, the sight of his wife smiling again making his heart almost burst, “We’re mated for life, Sassenach. Like lovebirds.”

“One can’t go one without the other,” Claire finished softly, her hands cupping his cheeks.

“Aye,” Jamie smiled, kissing the tip of her nose, “I love ye so much, mo chridhe.”

“And I love you, Jamie.”

They held each other, then, in silence, for a long while. They made it, a bit bruised and rough around the edges but they came out of this much stronger. 
 
And together.

******

Jamie and Claire arrived at the hospital a couple of hours later, after spending their time in each other’s arms on the sofa, simply enjoying their newly recovered intimacy and safe haven. As promised, Claire had called Joe before they left the house and asked for Malva to wait in her office for them to arrive. When Claire opened the wooden door and walked inside the room, holding Jamie’s hand tightly, she was there, sitting on the chair and waiting with a stern look on her face.

“Malva,” Jamie said coldly; “Ye ken why we’ve asked ye to be here.”

Malva crossed her arms, “It must be about the results? Dr Abernathy wouldn’t tell me about them. I hope you’re ready to pay child support, James Fraser.”

Jamie shook his head and let out a contemptuous laugh, “So that’s all it was, eh? Ye wanted our money? I guess it was easy. Claire is a successful surgeon and I do alright wi’ my books, and ye kent about it when ye saw me drunk at the party, so ye thought ye would use it at yer advantage.”

“The results are negative, and I’m no’ the father of yer child.”

Malva looked at them, eyes widening, “Now, I’d like to ken two things. The first is who’s the poor man who knocked ye up,” Jamie was visibly upset and Claire could tell he was trying as much as possible to control his anger. 

Malva swallowed back her tears and stayed silent for a while. It wasn’t worth lying anymore, “The father is my ex-boyfriend,” she said softly. 

“We broke up a week before the party when I told him I was pregnant. We had been dating for two years but he said he didn’t want the child and he wanted me to get an abortion, but I refused. I… When I saw you at the party I realised you could be a good father. Ye had the name and the money but I spotted your wedding band,” She looked at his hand for a quick second before looking at him again.

“I saw you again later when I was going to the bathroom, ye were drunk and ye had passed out in your bedroom, leaving the door open and that’s when I got the idea,” She finally confessed, looking down.

Claire watched her husband, and not at all surprised of Malva’s confessions. She should have known, “The second thing I’d like to ken is why ye were so sure about the paternity test? Even saying to us ye were willing to do it.”

“I was bluffing,” Malva admitted, shrugging, “I thought that by then your wife would have had left you and you would take on your duty as a father without a test…But I was wrong.”

“Aye, ye were!” Jamie’s frustrations were coming out. He hated himself for the slightest doubt he had about how the evening turned out, “Even if Claire would have left me, I would have wanted a test. I dinna take on paternity because someone claims I’m the father of their unborn child!”

“Well, next time just watch how much you drink and maybe you would have remembered how your evening went,” Malva brushed off, getting up.

 “You can’t blame me for trying. I’ve known you since university and I’ve known your reputation. Surely, she did too,” She glared at Claire.

Claire stepped in front of Jamie, “Yes, I did. You almost succeeded but do you know why I didn’t let him go? Jamie loves me more than anyone ever loved you and I feel sorry for you because you’ll never find someone like him, ever. And I’m sorry about your child,  no one deserves to grow up with such a mother.” Claire spit out. 

“Now, get the fuck away from me and my husband,” Claire’s tone sent chills through Malva’s body and the young woman pushed past her, leaving the room as quickly as possible.

Claire turned around and looked at Jamie. Her eyes pleaded to him and she did not need to say anything for him to understand what she wanted.

Take me home. 

******


Their home was exactly the same state they had left it earlier, with Claire’s book on the table next to her cold mug of tea and her glasses and Jamie’s tracksuit jacket laying on the bench in the hall, after changing for a proper jacket before they had left. 

But something had changed. 

Claire couldn’t pinpoint exactly what it was at first, it felt like the engorging silence after a terrible storm and she realized that it was finally over. The suffocating feeling she carried for weeks had disappeared to leave space for serenity.

Jamie’s strong arms came around her slowly, his chin resting on her shoulder, “Mo chridhe,” he whispered softly.

Claire looked at him, her hand stroking his cheek, “Are we supposed to do as if nothing happened? Because I can’t do that, Jamie. Even if I tried.”

Jamie turned her around and held her face in his palms as if it was the most precious thing in the world. And to him, it was“We won’t do that, but I dinna think this has changed, ye and me, Claire. It’ll take time but we will make it. We’re fine and that’s all that matters right now.”

“I’m so sorry I doubted you…” Claire said softly, almost as a whisper.

“Dinna say this again, please,” His thumbs slowly stroked her cheeks while his eyes gazed in hers, getting drunk on the whisky. 

“I didn’t give ye a single good reason to believe me and yet, ye stayed. It didn’t matter how much it hurt and how much ye wanted to hate me, ye stayed, Claire. No one had ever stayed before.”

“For better and for worst, aye?” Claire asked, her mouth curling up into a soft smile, “I didn’t take this vow lightly, James Fraser. And at the end of the day, you haven’t done anything wrong, apart from not holding up your alcohol like a true Scotsman.”

Jamie chuckled softly, “Ye’re already joking about it? Ye’re a savage.”

“That’s why you love me,” Claire winked and sealed their lips.

“Not only for that, mo chridhe,” Jamie whispered between kisses, pressing his hands on Claire’s lower back to pull her closer.

Claire looked at him and he noticed she looked different from the broken woman he had watched for the last few weeks. The spark in her eyes was back. His wife was back. Her skilful hands of a surgeon meticulously unbuttoned his shirt, revealing his toned chest with each buttoned out of the way. Her lips found his again and they kissed, going from a few chaste kisses to something more.  

“I want ye, Claire,” Jamie said in a low voice, “I want ye so much I can scarcely breathe…”

His breath hissed while he couldn’t stop kissing her, “Will ye have me?” It wasn’t a question, but rather a pleading. He needed her.

Claire nodded, kissing him again, her own breath coming out short. She could feel his burning skin against hers and it was enough to make her head spin with need and the fact that they hadn’t been intimate in months was not helping, “Yes, yes, I’ll have you,” Claire answered between desperate kissed. It felt like she needed to possess him in order to be herself again.

In no time, their garments were scattered all over the living room floor as their kisses increased in intensity and became feral. They slid on the floor, pulling, kissing and biting, letting out the frustrations of the last couple of months evaporate. Jamie’s mouth found her nipple while Claire let out a groan before tucking at his hair and pulling him away from her breast to make him look at her.

Jamie groaned and laid down on the floor when Claire shifted their positions.  Her hair tie had given up under the weight of her unruly curls and her hair was as wild as ever, just like her. Jamie didn’t know how long he could hold on before his wife would make him burst.

It didn’t take her long to reach down and take a firm hold on him before guiding him home. Claire started to move her hips, slowly at first, watching her husband’s face change with each surge of pleasure hitting his body. She dug her nails into his chest and started to increase her movements until they became frantic. He was hers and she would make sure he knew. Quickly, Claire could feel her walls tightening around him, and knowing Jamie, she could tell he was slowly reaching his climax, as well. 

They came together, a wave of pleasure crashing over their bodies in unison and sending them both over the edge with a perfect mix of lust and love.

Laying on their sides, they silently looked at one another, panting. Jamie smiled in awe of his wife, stroking her cheek and she kissed the inside of his hand. A kiss here, a caress there, a declaration of love without a single word needed.

“I’m yers, mo chridhe,” Jamie said softly, his eyes gazing into hers, “And ye are mine. It seems I canna possess yer soul wi’out losing my own.”

Claire nodded, stroking his chin and kissed him tenderly, “Was I too rough on you?” She whispered with a grin, stroking his reddened chest.

“Weel, when ye bed a vixen ye have to expect to get bit,” He grinned, pulling her closer.

“A vixen, uh?” Claire couldn’t help but burst into a laugh. The first real laugh since a while and the sight made Jamie’s heart burst with happiness. He had missed his favourite sound, “Well, your vixen is ravenous.”

“Aye, so am I,” Jamie wiggled his eyebrows and kissed down her neck, making her laugh again. He looked up and grinned, “Ye’re talking about real food, eh?” Claire nodded, grinning.

“Weel, I guess we can continue after a wee bite,” Jamie winked, the bad Fraser wink of his, and got reluctantly up. Grabbing the plaid on the sofa, he laid it over her with a smile.

Claire watched him disappear into the kitchen and grinned, “Great ass, Fraser,” His joyous laugh made her mouth curl up into the widest smile. 

How much she had missed him. 

Chapter Text

It’s a well-known fact, Paris was for lovers. Young and old, simply infatuated or deeply in love. Lovers who would stay together for a lifetime and others who will say goodbye after only one night. There was something in the air. Written by Baudelaire and Hemingway. Sung by Edith Piaf and Josephine Baker. Painted by Renoir. Photographed by Brassaï. Something unique and ungraspable that made Paris...Paris.

Jamie believed it was the perfect place to spend the first anniversary of their wedding and the constant happiness on his wife’s face since their arrival reassured him he made the right decision. 

He had been to Paris often. For books tours and literary salons, but he had never found the city dreamy, even with its beautiful buildings and museums full of masterpieces. Being here with his wife (he would never get tired of that word) was a different experience. 

For starters, Claire spoke French fluently and the way she had introduced herself to the hotel manager upon their arrival with a neat: “Je suis Madame Fraser”, made his blood boil with desire.

Raised by an archaeologist, Claire knew the different sections of the Louvre like the back of her hand and her commentaries always managed to impress him. 

There was something carefree about her in the city of love. She didn’t bother with a bra under her silk shirts and she didn’t try to tame her unruly curls. She was so sexy that it drove him mad. She spent hours at Shakespeare and Co. picking up books and pointing out his with a proud grin, much to his amusement. She whined about the Parisians being rude. Exclaimed that the brioche at Café De Flore was the best she ever had. It was. And carried her vintage camera everywhere, snapping away on any occasion.

One year ago, on this exact day, Claire walked down the path in the garden at Lallybroch, holding Young Ian’s hand and making Jamie the luckiest man on earth. 

They had promised each other’s love for eternity. In sickness and in health. For richer and poorer. Until death does them part. Neither of them had believed in words more than they believed in their vows that day. They knew that no matter what, they belonged together. The Malva incident almost brought their happiness to an end, but they made it out of it stronger and even more determined to love one another fiercely until they’ll draw their last breaths. 

June was a glorious time to visit Paris. Tourists were not as numerous as in July and August and the weather was simply perfect. When Jamie woke, feeling the other side of the bed empty, he opened his eyes in search of his wife and found her on the balcony. Feet up on the table, a croissant in one hand and a book in another. Claire was wearing the shirt she removed off his body the previous night and the sight made his body tingle in delight as if he could feel her lips on his skin again. He grabbed the camera to immortalise the image forever, both on film and in his mind.

“Bonjour, Madame Fraser,” Jamie said after a bit in his best French, causing Claire to turn her head and look at him with a cocky smile. She loved the way his Scottish accent blended with his french.

“Monsieur Fraser,” Claire smirked, putting the book on the table and making her way inside the room, “Bien dormi?”

“Aye, I slept great Sassenach,” Sitting up, Jamie smiled and pulled her on his lap, her legs on each side of his. 

“Not much sleep though,” he whispered against her lips before sealing them with his. She tasted like sugar and coffee.  

“Complaining, are you?” Claire cocked her head to the side and raised an eyebrow, wrapping her arms around his neck.

“Nay,” His hands took a firm grip of her bum and gave it a squeeze, “Did ye leave any croissant for me?”

“Nope, I ate both of them because I’m heartless,” Claire smirked and placed a kiss on the tip of his nose.

“Ye’re lucky ye’re cute, Sassenach. I dinna like to share my croissants.”

“Caring is sharing, remember? Also, I’m your wife so you don’t really have a choice in the matter, but I’ve kept a bit for you,” Claire smiled and fed him the piece of her croissant.

“Aye, ye’re my wife,” Jamie grinned broadly, chewing “Happy anniversary, Madame Fraser.”

“One year down, Monsieur Fraser,” Claire said, wrapping her legs around his waist.

“A lifetime to go,” he smiled, tucking a curl behind her ear, “I ken this year wasn’t perfect and I’m sorry -- ”

“Jamie…” Claire looked at his deep blue eyes, stroking his chin, “This year was challenging but we’re here, aren’t we? You know I don’t like to look into my past and cry over what happened or what almost happened. And once it was resolved, we had a great time.”

“Aye, I ken… I just want ye to know it,” Jamie brought her hand to his lips and smiled, “Tha gaol agam ort.”

“I love you too,” Claire sealed their lips.

“I knew it, ye know,” Jamie whispered against her lips, “I knew I would marry ye from the second we met.”

“Oh, I knew it too,” Claire smirked, “I just wanted to make you work for it.”

“And that ye did,” Jamie smiled, stroking her lips with his index finger, “And now, I wake up every day and I find that I love you more then I did than the day before.”

“Even when I snore loudly during the night?” Claire asked with a smirk, making him snort.

“Even then, Sassenach,” His mouth found the tender skin of her neck and stamped it with soft kisses, while his hands opened the buttons of the shirt she was wearing.

“Yer skin is like white velvet,” Jamie rested his forehead against her breast as her fingers ran slowly through his fiery curls, “I dinna think I can have enough of ye, Claire. Of us.

Claire lifted his chin and leaned down to whisper against his lips, “Lie back.”

Slowly, she removed the shirt off her back and Jamie obeyed, leaning against the headboard, his eyes glued to his wife and completely under her power. Claire was a white lady, one who could bewitch any man and he was forever glad she set her mind on him.

Their lovemaking was slow and sensual. Claire rocked her hips slowly in circles, riding him, while Jamie’s hands travelled on her body, from her firm arse to her thighs and to finally grasp one of her breasts while his mouth worshipped the delicate skin of the other. Each sound coming out of her mouth made the hair on his skin prickle, a sound so familiar, and yet, every time, seemed like a discovery. A new way to say his name, a new emotion attached to it, a new fragment of their love revealed out loud in the intimacy of their linked body.

Moving together in a steady rhythm, their breath quickened, climax creeping in dangerously close, menacing to throw their bodies over the edge into a sea of pleasure. Claire gazed into his blue eyes, turned dark with lust, feeling herself tighten around him. They were moments away from getting lost in each other. She simply jerked her hips in one last movement and felt Jamie spilling himself inside of her, their moans echoing through their luxurious hotel room, with the view over Place Vendôme.

They fell on each side of the bed with satisfied smiles on their faces, “Christ,” Jamie groaned, his hand grasping hers.

“You can just call me Claire, darling,” she said with a grin, looking at him, a wicked glimmer in her whisky eyes.

Jamie smirked and rolled on his belly. He placed soft kisses on her stomach and whispered sweet nothings in Gaelic, making her skin shiver with delight. Claire stroked his hair slowly, keeping her eyes closed. She always found his warm voice comforting, but even more so when he spoke in his ancestor’s language.

“I have a gift for you,” Claire said after a while, a smile in her voice.

“I have one for ye too,” Jamie smiled, looking at her.

“Me first,” Grinning, Claire got up and quickly took the package, hidden in their suitcase, before getting back in bed where Jamie had sat up.

“Happy anniversary, my love,” Kissing him tenderly, she handed him the little package and watched him attentively.

Jamie unwrapped the present and opened the little box to reveal a silver signet with their initials intertwined engraved on it, “Claire… Is it my grandfather’s signet ring?”  

Nodding, she smiled, “Yes, I asked your mother about it and she gave it to me. I simply asked someone to engrave the letters. I hope you like it.”

“I love it, mo chridhe,” His lips brushed hers and he smiled before putting it on his finger, “Thank ye, truly.”

Claire returned the kiss and stroked his chin, “My pleasure.”

“My turn now,” His smile grew wider before he left the bed.

Claire watched him amused while he rummaged into his leather backpack and took out her present, carefully wrapped in a liberty paper. Jamie sat back on the bed, facing her, and handed her the package, “This is for ye, Sorcha.”

Claire opened the gift to find a hardcover book, white with the title “Sorcha” engraved in gold. Running her finger on it, the corner of her mouth curled up into a smile and she looked at her husband with a questioning look.

“Open it,” Jamie said softly, trying to hide his nervousness. He had started working on it soon after their first meeting and hid it from her.

Claire opened the book and turned a few empty pages before finding one with  writing on it,

“Sorcha,

I didn’t know what love was until I got drunk from the whisky of your eyes. I used to think it was a lie, invented by poets to fool us all. I read books in order to understand, to try and discover the secret, but I never did. What those artists omitted to say was that real love was not easily found. There are trials and errors, falls and heartbreaks, and yet, it is all worth it in the end.

When I look at you, now, my love, I understand it all. It’s not an easy task to write about love, the feeling ungraspable and inexplicable. I could need only one word, or a million. What I know for sure is that forever wouldn’t be long enough to explain how just much I love you. Forever would never be enough when it comes to you.”

Claire looked up, a tear dropping onto the page and staining it, “Jamie, I…” 

Her voice cracked, “You wrote a book for me?”

“I wrote a book about ye,” Jamie smiled shyly, his thumb brushing over her wet cheek. 

“Before we met, I couldn’t find inspiration to put words down on paper. The blank page terrified me and I thought that I might not be able to write again. And then, you walked into my life. It was as if the sun had appeared on a cloudy day. The first time at the coffee shop, I spent the rest of my day thinking about ye and wondering about yer life. When I met ye again at the park, I went back home and sat down at my desk, the words suddenly flowing. They never stopped.”

“Is that why you didn’t want to show it to me?” She asked, smiling through her tears.

“Aye,” he smiled, running his hand on the back of his neck, “I was scared ye wouldn’t want me to write about us and I wanted it to be perfect.”

Claire shook her head of curls and cupped his cheeks,“I don’t mind, darling. And I can’t wait to read it.”

“I have never been so nervous to have someone read what I wrote,” he admitted and kissed the tip of her nose.

“You already made me cry with the dedication, so I think it’ll be fine,” Claire grinned and put the book away before wrapping her arms around him and resting her head on his shoulder.

Holding her close, Jamie cradled her head and closed his eyes. He wasn’t done telling stories about their love and he couldn’t wait to see what the years would inspire him to write. 

Chapter Text

“Life changes fast. Life changes in the instant. You sit down to dinner and life as you know it ends.” - Joan Didion: “The Year Of The Magical Thinking”


 

Claire’s night shift had been quiet and terribly boring. A broken arm on one side, a suture on the other. The emergency room had been calm but that didn’t mean she let down her guard. After all, she had one more hour to go. If she knew anything about her work it was how quickly the situation could change. 

As they say, it was always the calm before the storm.

8:23am. That was when the storm happened. 

Claire had barely slept. She wanted to go home and cuddle Jamie all day but life had other plans. The emergency team had been notified of two ambulances arriving any second now.

Car crash. Family. Three people. Serious Injuries.

Claire nodded, listening to the information and preparing herself for the task ahead. The ambulances arrived quickly. Carrying the bodies inside on stretchers, while the doctors on duty decided what to do. The parents were in the worst state. Unrecognisable due to the intensity of the crash and they had been rushed into surgeries immediately.

Her shift had turned into total chaos with the arrival of the family and Claire immediately went and took care of the child. She was always prepared for the worst but the moment she stood over the stretcher, the sight of her young nephew lying unconscious and injured on it, she realised that maybe, she wasn’t.

Family. Three people. No. It couldn’t be. Yet, it was. 

She couldn’t think of that just now, her priority was to make sure young Ian was going to be just fine. She would do anything to make sure of that.

As her skilled hands worked on autopilot, healing his tiny body, her mind stayed focused on the little boy, not daring to wander to Jamie, Brian or even Ellen and even less on Ian and Jenny in the other surgery rooms. The Frasers should all have been notified by now and most likely were already roaming the halls, in hope of good news.

As hours progressed, the fear of her nephew’s heart dropping any second or his little body giving up stamped in her mind, images of her own childhood and the memories of her parents' accident came back flooding. She had not been in the car then, but at home with the nanny, a change of plans that most likely saved her life on that dreadful night. As much as she couldn’t recall what happened the day after the accident, she recalled every detail of the last time she saw her parents alive. 

“But I want to come with you mama!” Claire whined in the arms of her mother, her little British accent full of sadness and disappointment.

“I don’t want to stay here with the nanny, you said I could be with you! Mum please!”

“Claire bear, we can’t take you with us, I know we said we would at first but it will end too late and you need your sleep, my dove,” Julia Beauchamp stroked her daughter’s wet cheek, “You will stay with Jane.”

“But mama please!” Claire sobbed, resting her head on her mother’s shoulder.

Julia’s scent was a mix patchouli and vanilla, something her daughter would remember for the rest of her life, her hair was the loveliest shade of Auburn and bouncy curls-- soft like her daughter would grow to have as well.

Julia stroked her daughter’s hair, softly singing a lullaby to soothe her, “We will be back before you know it and tomorrow morning, I’ll make you pancakes. How about that?”

Claire looked up at her mother, whisky eyes shiny with tears, wiping her nose with her sleeve,“With chocolate chips?”

“Of course, my darling,” Julia smiled warmly, placing a kiss on the tip of Claire’s nose, “And then we can go to town and buy you a new dress”

“And a book, too?” The little girl asked with a cheeky smile, making her mother grinned.

“And a new book, Claire bear. But only if you are good with Jane, brushing your teeth and going to bed when she says you should while we are out.”

Claire nodded and smiled, hugged her mother tightly, “I promise you, mama.”

“Good, my love,” Julia kissed her cheek and put her down.

Claire looked at her parents and smiled.

Henry Beauchamp kneeled down and held his daughter close, his fingers slowly combing her curls, “Have sweet dreams, love. Don’t forget to say goodnight to the moon.”

Nodding, Claire smacked her father’s cheek with a kiss and giggles, “And the cow jumping over the moon.”

“Goodnight light,” Henry continued with a smile.

“And the red balloon!” Claire finished with a wide smile. Hugging her father’s neck, she kissed his cheek, “I love you, daddy.”

“And I love you, princess,” They high fived before Henry got up again, putting on his hat, “Be good, doll. You won’t even realise we’re gone.” 

Nodding, Claire watched as her parents walked out of their Hackney home, on the rainy November night. It was the last time she saw them, other than on scrunched pictures in photo albums.

Usually, a long surgery was a strain on her body but not her mind. Claire would always be ready to push herself to the limit of exhaustion to heal but this time, it was different. Compartmentalising had not been easy, in fact, it had been impossible. There was no way she could treat her nephew like any other patient, if he died under her care, she would never forgive herself.  If Claire had only one more life to save, it would be this one.

And that’s exactly what she did. No matter how tired she was, or how much her hands wanted to shake, Doctor Claire Fraser saved Ian Murray Jr.

It took five hours but young Ian was stable and out of danger, letting Claire dare to take a breath for the first time since the ambulances arrived. She was in a trance, not fully realising the full extent of the situation. 

The nurse installed him into a room while Claire scrubbed her bloodstained hands fiercely to clean them. She had forgotten what sleep was by now and simply sat down next to the bed, watching the little boy’s chest rise slowly with every breath, the only sound of the machines in the room to keep them company. She needed to go and check on Ian and Jenny but she was unable to move just now, afraid of the worst and to leave the child alone. She held her nephew’s hand and prayed everything would be just fine. 

******

The frantic call of his mother was what woke him up in the morning. Jamie had rushed to the hospital, his heart racing with fears. His parents were in the waiting room, puffy eyes and held tight together, waiting for any news about their daughter, son in law and grandson. Jamie stayed for a long while with them, in silence, until the doctor came out and announced to the family the dreadful news of Jenny and Ian’s passing.

Jamie was disoriented and felt as if he was outside of his body, living his life as the spectator, unable to do anything to change what was happening. Claire. He needed to find to find her. His sorcha.

Roaming the halls like a ghost, the immaculate white colour of the walls mixed with neons blinding him, Jamie heard her, then. Ther soft voice coming from one of the rooms. 

The sight in the room 324 warmed his heart as much as it broke it. Claire, holding young Ian’s hand in her own, her whisky eyes fixed on the little boy and gently singing a lullaby to soothe him.

“Oh, I do like to be beside the seaside,

I do like to be beside the sea...”

“Claire -- ” His voice cracked, making his wife get up at once. He made his way inside and simply wrapped his arms around her and held her tightly, closing his eyes, tears strolling down his cheeks. 

Claire held him then as if he would disappear any second and cupped his face, stroking his wet cheeks, unaware of the healing her simple touch was providing, “Young Ian will be alright, my love. I promise you.”

Jamie looked at her then, the look in his eyes freezing her to the bone, “Jenny and Ian...they dinna make it,” He said it so softly, Claire almost didn’t hear it and she felt like the air had disappeared from the room, her heart breaking into a million of pieces. 

No, it couldn’t be. 

Jamie collapsed into her arms and sobbed uncontrollably for a long time, his body shaking with shock. Dr Fraser lost the little compartmentalisation she had left and joined her husband, her own tears roaming free. They sat on the leather chair for what seemed like hours, simply holding one another, eyes puffy and red, fixed on Young Ian. Only seven and an orphan. 

Absently stroking Jamie’s fiery curls, Claire placed a soft kiss on the top of his head. She was speechless and she didn’t know what to tell him to soothe his heart. She was convinced nothing she would say could help at the minute, so she stayed silent and simply held him tighter.

Finally, Jamie spoke softly, “Thank ye for saving him, mo chridhe.”

“I had no other choice. I swore an oath a long time ago and today it took a whole new meaning. I couldn’t have looked at you again if I had failed him,” She admitted heart heavy with sorrow. 

She wished she could have saved Ian and Jenny too, but she only had two hands and they had worked incisively to save their nephew. Claire was crawling with sleep but her body fought, “I couldn’t leave him alone here, I’m sorry I didn’t come to look for you or your parents, I’m sorry about this, I wish I could have done more, I can’t…”

Jamie sealed their lips together, seeking the warmth and familiar taste of her to find comfort, “Dinna be sorry, none of it is yer fault”

“What did the doctor say?” Claire asked softly. 

“They both had internal bleedings, several crushed organs...their bodies were too weak and fragile to survive. I dinna recall the medical terms, I just...I canna believe it. This poor lad will grow up wi’out his ma and da, I canna bear to think...” His voice cracked then and Jamie started to cry again, his head buried in the crook of Claire’s neck.

“He has a family, my love,” Claire whispered, cradling his head. 

They will all need time to grieve but for young Ian, it would be important to make him their priority, just like Quentin Beauchamp did when Claire found herself orphaned. Closing her eyes, she recalled the day she had moved in with Lamb, her uncle and the man who would come to be one of his favourite person in the entire world.

“And this is your room, love,” Lambert said, holding his niece in his arms as he walked inside the room he had prepared for her in his Oxford cottage.

“This lots of books,” Claire said looking around, “I like books.”

“I thought you would,” He smiled, “And I also wondered if you’d like for me to read your stories before bed every night?”

Claire nodded, smiling, “But when is mummy and daddy coming back?”

“Claire bear,” Lamb sat down on the bed with his niece and stroked her cheek, “You remember I told you mummy and daddy said I will be the one to take care of you now? Well, it will be forever, love... This is your new home”

“Do you think they will miss me? Because I’ll miss them much,” Claire said sadly, holding her teddy tightly against her chest.

“Oh yes, they will but they will forever be in your heart and they’ll be with you everywhere, protecting you and looking over you while you’ll go and do great things, love,” Lamb held her close and placed a kiss on top of her curly head. It broke his heart to see his niece’s eyes full of sorrow -- eyes she shared with his late brother.

“Can I ask you something else?” Claire said after a while.

“You can ask me anything you want,” Lamb smiled warmly, stroking his niece’s curls. 

“What is your favourite ice cream flavour?” Claire asked seriously and looked up at him, interested. 

“Well, I have to admit I have a particular foundness for strawberry.”

“I like you already,” Claire smiled widely and held him tightly.  

Chapter Text

Claire had never been a woman who wanted children. At least not until she married Jamie.

Before him, she was career driven. Too much, even sometimes. Being a doctor, the strain, the training, the hours. Everything made it hard to think about being a parent. Even less be one. There was also something else...something she carried within her since childhood: the constant fear she would die. Die just like her parents and leave an orphan without the care of its mother. Now, there was also her infertility issues weaving into it all, making her believe that, after all, she would never be a mother.

The more she thought about it, the more Claire wished for nothing more than a child with the love of her life. Each time, the knowledge of such a thing happening kept her up at night. They had started to think about adoption. She knew better than anyone a parent didn’t need to be related by blood to take care of a child and love it well. Nonetheless, during the night, while Jamie would be sound asleep next to her, she’d pray one day she’d carry their child.

Though, any child or adoption discussion had been put on hold since Jenny and Ian’s dreadful accident.

The weeks that followed their burial passed in a blur. The funerals were held in the little chapel near Lallybroch and the bodies were buried in the cemetery up the hill behind the estate with other people of various generations of Clan Fraser.  

Claire stayed at young Ian’s bedside morning and night. Cutting back on her work hours to make sure her nephew had the best possible care. She even decided not to attend the ceremony in case the little boy would wake up and not see a familiar face. His injuries weren’t as bad as the one that took his parents’ lives but his frail body needed time to heal.

Telling a child he would never see his parents again was probably the hardest thing Claire ever had to do in her life. As a doctor, she had been confronted with the issue more than a few times but she would never get used to it. How could she? She experienced first hand the trauma of such a situation and no matter the age, it was something that stayed with a child for the rest of his life.

“Auntie Claire...will ma and da come back?” The little boy asked, curled up into his aunt’s arms.

Claire knew the question was coming and as much as she had prepared, there was no right way to do this.

“You remember when you asked me why I didn’t have parents and I told you that they were looking over me from the sky, darling?” She stroked his blonde curls back, looking at him with the most tender expression.

Young Ian nodded, attentively listening to her “Aye, they had an accident too, like Mam and Da.”

“Yes, they did. Well now, your parents are with them too, my love,” Claire placed a kiss on the tip of his nose, trying not to let her tears fall.

“They can’t be here but they’re looking at you to make sure you’re a good lad,” She booped his nose, “If you brush your teeth before bed,...”

Young Ian looked up at her amused, “I always brush my teeth, auntie Claire!”

“Do you?” She grinned, “I recalled you whining about it a couple of times.”

“Nah,” He tried to wink and giggled softly, “I promise I will be good for Mam and Da but I miss them lots.”

“I know you do,” Her heart broke, there and then, “Everyone does but they’re here, ” She pointed to his heart, just like uncle Lamb had done with her.

“Always with you,” She held him close, “They won’t go anywhere.”

“I love ye, Auntie Claire,” Ian whispered, hiding his face in the crook of her neck and closing his eyes.

“I love you too, darling.”

Young Ian was dismissed from the hospital one month after the accident, his right arm in a cast and his bruises slowly disappearing.

Jamie carried his sleeping nephew carefully to his bedroom at Lallybroch and laid him in bed before covering him. He watched the sleeping boy for a little while, too preoccupied to realise Claire had been leaning against the doorframe, her eyes glued to her husband.

“Jamie,” She whispered, touching his back and bringing him out of his haze.

Turning his head, Jamie smiled softly and held out his hand to her before pulling his wife close. He wrapped his arm around her and placed a kiss on her curly head of hair. Letting silence envelop them as they watched the little boy.

“Let’s let him sleep, darling,” Claire whispered against his neck, “He needs it and I want to talk to you about something.”

Jamie nodded and let her out of the bedroom, carefully closing the door. They walked hand in hand without a word to their own room.

Sitting down on the bed, Jamie pulled her onto his lap, burying his face into the safe hollow of her neck. He placed a kiss on the little beauty mark she had there.

He had been a complete shell of himself since the passing of his sister and his best friend. Claire tried to give him all the time he needed to grieve and heal but it killed her to see him like this. She had no family, yet, she could understand all the pain the Frasers were going through. After all, no matter the rocky start she had with Jenny, the two women had become like sisters and her loss was immeasurable for Claire as well.

“How are you, Jamie? And don’t give me the usual bullshit, I know you’re not fine,” Her tone was in no way accusatory. She wasn’t angry at him to be in pain, far from it. She simply wanted him to talk to her about it. Hopefully, she could help him carry his grief.

“I want you to talk to me, you barely have since the accident happened,” She touched his face, letting him melt into her touch.

“Aye no, I’m not fine sassenach,” He held her tightly, tears strolling down his cheeks.

“I miss my sister, Ian and when I look at the wee lad, I cannot help but feel my heart break in a million of pieces all over again for him. Growin’ up wi’out parents...”

“Ian has lost his parents but you lost your sister and your best friend, Jamie. You aren’t going to be okay in a couple of weeks. Not even a couple of months,” Claire kissed his tears away and stroked his cheeks.

“Grief does take time and it never goes away, you simply learn to live with it,” She stroked his jawline with her index finger, his scruff grazing her skin.  

“On the other hand, there’s this little boy now who will need us to be strong for him,” Jamie nodded at her words, his grip around her waist tightening.

“I remember how I heard my uncle cry sometimes at night for my mother and for his lost brother. How he prayed to be strong for me and to be able to help me go through this...Now, looking back, I’m so thankful to Lamb for all he did for me. How strong he was even if he was devastated.”

“I dinna ken if I can be strong, Sassenach...I truly dinna ken it,” He rested his forehead against hers and closed his eyes for an instant.

“You can, I know you,” She kissed his lips, holding him close. Her throat was tight and her vision was  starting to blur with tears

“And Frasers are stubborn, remember?” Claire smiled softly, “Being strong doesn’t mean forgetting your pain, my love. It doesn’t make you weak to have bad days, either. Quite the contrary.”

“What have I done to deserve ye, eh?” His mouth curled up into a smile.

“Bad bad things, Fraser,” Sealing their lips again, Claire could feel her husband’s tears on her own cheeks but also his smile against her mouth. She would mend his heart. No matter what or how long it took.

She held him close for a long time, both eventually moving to lay down on the bed. Silently just enjoying being together, only the two of them. It had been a while, since their time was spent at the hospital, cramped on an old leather chair watching over Young Ian.

Claire had missed her husband and the heat radiating out of him like a human furnace. She didn’t know but her arms were his own private sanctuary. A place where peace could take over him and chaos of the outside world was non-existent. A place where he could be himself completely and unapologetically because she would never judge him for being angry or sad, and even less vulnerable.  She saw all his flaws, yet, she loved him all the same.

She simply held him and gave him the solace that was her healing touch, without asking for anything in return. The only sound in the room the one of their synchronized breathing. She didn’t need to tell him just how much she loved him, Jamie simply knew. Without a word, he slowly started to unbutton her silk shirt.

Claire smiled, then, and let him undress her, his deep blue eyes turning dark with lust. And started to undress him after a few seconds.

Both naked, Jamie rolled them over and let his wife straddle him. Tonight, he needed her to possess him and she did just that. Every inch of his being. His body. His soul. It was hers. Joined together to make one.

Eyes locked, Claire gently caressed his cheek while her hips moved in slow circular motions, reminiscent of the first time they had made love. Back then, they both were discovering new territories that they learnt they knew everything about already. Jamie had been on his wheelchair and the solace that Claire brought him that night made him realise just how much he loved her. How much he needed her to be happy.

Tonight was no different. Every kiss, every whisper, every touch healed him. She wasn’t taking the pain away, she simply made it bearable for him to live with it.

Moonlight cast a blue light over her ivory skin and took Jamie’s breath away just seeing her. Sometime, he still couldn’t believe she was his wife but god, he was grateful for it. The long lines of her body, as if it had been made to perfectly fit his, the soft curls cascading over her shoulders and her eyes...Dark whisky turned golden with lust. Piercing his soul.

Jamie sat up slowly, his hands firmly planted on her hips and buried his face between her breast.

Claire cradled his head against her, moving slowly and gripping his curls.

He looked up then, eyes shiny with tears and lips trembling. He cupped her cheeks, bringing her face closer to his and gave her a long and slow kiss. Full of something. Something Claire recognize to be gratefulness. For what? She didn’t know. But she smiled against his lips.

“Ye’re the only thing that makes sense to me right now, Claire,” He whispered, holding her close and letting her take him over the edge of pleasure like she did many times. Like she would for the rest of their lives. She reminded him how alive he was and that’s all he needed.

******

“We could bring Young Ian to the zoo tomorrow? What do you think?” Claire looked up at him, moving up slightly. They’d both briefly drifted to sleep after making love but they had woken up again, in the middle of the night.

“Good idea, Sassenach,” He smiled and placed a kiss on the tip of her nose. His hand drew patterns on her back.

Claire stroked his cheek with her thumb, “Jamie?”

“Yes, mo nighean donn?”He said softly, holding her close.

“You know, there are a few spare bedrooms at home…” Claire bit her lower lip softly, her eyes locking with him. They had no need for words to communicate. Never had. Never will.

Jamie sat up a bit, eyebrow raised, “Are ye saying what I think ye are saying?”

Smiling, Claire nodded, “ We should adopt Ian. I know your parents would take great care of him but he loves spending time at our house and I think we would be good guardians to him.”

“Aye,” Jamie’s mouth curled up into a smile and his heart warmed at once with Claire’s words, “Ye’re right, Sassenach, I thought about it --”

“I know you were, you might hide your emotions well, I’m your wife after all and I can hear you think now,” Grinning, she pecked his lips.

Jamie chuckled softly and kissed her back,  I’m glad I dinna need to talk for ye to understand me.”

“Do you think your parents will be mad if we tell them this? I don’t want them to believe we think they can’t take care of him --”

“Oh no, my mam kens how much we want children and this situation might not be what we had imagined but I think we would be great parents to young Ian,” He stroked her hair back, “We talked about adoption before ye and I. I think we  owe it to Jenny and Ian to make sure the lad will be just fine.”

“We should talk to your parents and see what they think is best and if they agree, ask Ian what he thinks about it too. Then we can start the procedure,” Claire laid her head on his bare chest and closed her eyes with a smile.

“Christ, I love ye so much,” Jamie whispered, his eyes blurring with tears.

Claire looked up at him and wiped a tear strolling down his cheek, “And I love you, darling.”

“Can ye tell me how ye felt when yer parents passed away? Ye dinna have to if ye dinna feel like it but…” Claire rarely talked about her parents and Jamie knew this similar situation was weighing on her. He was afraid to be insensitive but he needed to know. For his nephew.

“No, I’ll tell you,” Claire sat up and leaned against the headboard, as Jamie did the same. He watched her attentively, his face bore an expression of curiosity.

“It’s been a while I talked about it though,” She admitted, smiling softly.

“Truly, ye dinna have to tell me if ye dinna want to,” Jamie took her hand reassuringly and brought it to his lips.

“Jamie, I tell you everything, really I don’t mind,” Claire smiled and kissed his cheek.

“Aye,” Jamie wrapped his arm around her neck and pulled her closer. They were not tired. It happened sometimes and they’d spend the night talking and making love. Just now, they both were simply happy to be together, alive and well, no matter what was going on around them.

“Well, you know my parents died in a car accident coming home from a party,” Claire looked at Jamie who was nodding.

“I was supposed to go with them but they changed their mind last minute and decided to leave me with a nanny,” She started, holding his hand.

“ I don’t know why they changed their minds but I guess, it doesn’t really matter anyway,” She shrugged and he wanted to hold her even tighter. He wanted to make sure she’d never be hurt again.

“I didn’t know what happened until I got up the following morning and I found my uncle downstairs,” She continued, “It was unusual to see him there because he travelled so much. Lamb only came around for Christmas or my birthday. I remember seeing him and feeling the rush of happiness because I had missed him so much. I ran in his arms and he held me for a very long time, which I recall finding odd. Even more, since he was sobbing and I had never really seen adults crying before that day.”

Claire felt Jamie’s arm tightening around her for comfort and she felt her own throat tightening with her recollection, “Then, of course, I asked for my parents. It was unusual to wake up and not smelling pancakes or bacon in the air. The few times it  happened, it was because my mother was either out early or sick in bed with the flu.”

“Anyway,” Claire wiped her tear, “My uncle sat me down and explained to me how my parents had a terrible accident and wouldn’t be coming home. He told me they were now looking over me now and that they lived in my heart forever. I didn’t understand then and I secretly hoped they would come back one day and stop their tasteless joke. Sometimes I even wondered if they had left because I had been a bad girl -- ”

Jamie looked at her, heartbreak was written all over his face and held her close, “I’m so sorry ye have been through this, Claire. I wish I could kiss all the pain away. I really do. I can bear pain myself but I canna bear yers, mo nighean.”

“It wasn’t easy but I made it through and young Ian will too. Lamb was truly marvellous with me,” She touched his cheek, “I think we can be that way for Ian too. We won’t ever replace his parents but we can love him and raise him well. Hopefully, Jenny and Ian will be proud, wherever they are.”

“Aye, I think so too,” He kissed her forehead, smiling.

“And you know,” She cupped his cheeks, “One day, Ian will find a woman who will kiss the pain away...just like you do to me.”

Jamie’s mouth curled up into a smile, “Dinna think I heal ye, Claire. It’s the other way around in this story.”

“Oh, is it?” Claire raised her eyebrow, bringing his face closer and kissing him.

“Yes, ‘tis...” He looked into her eyes, getting drunk on them. “When I met ye, I was drowning and ye rescued me. I thought was life was worthless and ye prove me it wasn't. But most importantly, I was wounded and ye healed me. Ye stayed wi’ me after my accident. Always there, watchin’ me, helpin’ me...I got better and yet, ye still heal me every day. ”

“Jamie…” Her voice cracked.

“Ye heal me every day, Sorcha,” He smiled through the tears.

“Well, I’m a doctor,” She joked, sniffing.

“Fair point,” He chuckled softly, ”But ye heal other people’s bodies...not their souls. That’s just something you do to me.”

“Good God, Fraser,” Claire pulled him close, wrapping her arms around his neck, “You sure know how to talk to women.”

“Jamie Fraser the author, remember?” His eyebrow rose and he smirked.

Claire burst into a laugh, “Yes I do remember that!”

“The very same one who ye wouldna drop yer panties for...” He remarked, kissing the delicate skin of her neck.

“Did I say that?” She let out a moan, feeling his scruff, “I don’t recall...”

“Oh aye, ye did,” He whispered against her skin, making her skin erupt in goosebumps. His hands travelling to her bare bum and took a firm hold on it.

“But I made you work for it,” She smirked proudly, trying to resist him. It wasn’t working.

“Ye did that too...but still, ye dropped them,” Jamie smiled mischievously, looking at her. “More time than once.”

“Don’t tell anyone,” She said seriously, trying not to smile.

“I dinna need to say anything, ye’re loud enough to have the whole word hear,” He looked at her, mischief floating in his eyes.

“And what is that supposed to mean?”

“Ye just make squeaky noises is all,” Jamie’s lip flicked up.

“I do not!” She said scandalized.

“Oh aye,” He grinned, kissing the delicate skin of her neck, his unshaved beard tickling her skin, “Ye do.”

Claire closed her eyes and enjoyed the sensation of his warm lips travelling on her skin. She wasn’t going to try and contradict his statement because it took approximately three seconds for her to start and make squeaky noises again