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Our son.

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As my plane touched down on Scottish soil, I looked out over the beautiful landscape, I snorted to myself thinking of the last time I had touched down in Scotland, four years previous. Eager to sight see with Uncle Lamb and oblivious to how my life was about to drastically change. My first time in Scotland was a promised visit, A long overdue holiday with Uncle Lambert, while I finished medical school and still had the luxury of a summer break, before going out in the real world of hospital rotas and long shifts. The visit had been in Uncle Lambs mind for sometime, his best friend Brian Fraser owned a historical Estate called Lallybroch, in a small village, Broch Morda, high in the hills of the Scottish highlands. Since my parents had passed away three years previously, Uncle Lamb had taken me on as his own, and did his level best to be both Mum and Dad to a very broken and scared sixteen year old. Brian and Ellen had visited us plenty in Boston during those first few years, helping Lamb find his feet with a teenager and offering support wherever they could to me. We had never managed to return the visit, Lamb had plenty of times, while he worked in Scotland on digs, he always stayed at Lallybroch. He had never managed to bring me, until that summer. It was one of my best holidays, made only better by the presence of Jenny and Jamie Fraser. Brian and Ellen’s children. My first time to meet them but we became quick and fast friends. Three weeks of unadulterated fun! What was the worst the could happen? Little did I know four years ago, in an unused cottage on Fraser lands, that my son would be conceived. And here I was returning to Lallybroch again, as a guest for Jenny’s wedding. My first time in Scotland and my first time in a long time to be in my son’s fathers presence. I took a breath and stepped on to Scottish tarmac. ***********

 

Three months after returning from my holiday with Uncle Lamb I came to the slow realisation that my periods had stopped. Funny with all my medical training, I put it down to stress and losing weight over exam stress. It was only as I was almost approaching my second trimester that I realised, I was in fact pregnant. One long night between the sheets with Jamie Fraser being the cause of my ailment. A frantic and absolutely awkward phone-call to Jamie ensued. Followed by equally frantic and awkward phone calls between Lamb and the Frasers shortly after. Promises of standing by me and helping, flowing free on both sides. I just lay on my bathroom floor crying, wondering how the hell would I manage to sit my final exams 8 months pregnant. True to their word, the Frasers including Jamie had done everything and anything since our little was born to help me be a single mum and work as a doctor. He was flown back to Scotland every two months. Ellen usually flying to Boston to collect him, spending a few days with me and then flying them both home, where the little monkey was thoroughly spoilt for weeks at a time. Jamie flying him back, brief and nervous greetings at Airport arrivals with me, before Jamie was rushing to a departure gate to return to Scotland to manage the estate and farm. We managed to co parent as only two modern full time working adults can, our communication being completely facilitated by Ellen, Brian, Lamb and Jenny. This was the first time I would be in Jamie’s company for longer than a few hours with our son present. Deep Breath. ***********

Jenny picked me up from the Airport, Jamie had brought Willie to Inverness to pick up horses and would meet us back at Lallybroch. Willie had arrived in Lallybroch, three weeks earlier, accompanied by Jamie. I simply couldn’t wait to see my little boy. I fidgeted nervously with my hands. Imagining how the week would go, all of us together. Jenny bubbling with excitement about her upcoming nuptials, chatting animatedly on the way to Lallybroch. Her brown hair tied in a messy bun and her hands moving over the steering wheel to illustrate the story she was telling. Wedding flowers. Jenny and I, had built a strong friendship since my first visit to Lallybroch. Obviosly because of the consequences of that visit we were thrown together somewhat. The Frasers simply became family. I was the mother of Jenny’s only nephew and the Frasers only grandchild. Jenny flew out and stayed with Willie and myself often and was always on the end of the phone in both support of Willie and friendship for me. Quite simply Jenny and myself had a strong bond, I was so touched and taken aback when she asked me to be her maid of honour. I may have cried for several hours after her phonecall. I had no siblings, and for Jenny who had any amount of friends, to pick me to be at her side on one of the most important days of her life was simply not something I would ever forget. Her gruff speech and the rarity of emotional words from her, the day she rang to ask, didn’t help the flow of tears. “Ye ken it’s no just because yer Willie’s mam, ye’ have been there for me more in the past four years then anyone, yer my sister Claire no matter what else,” she sniffed at her end of the phone and added jovially “ asides it’ll make Da happy, he can try and push you and Jamie towards the priest and legitimise his grandson.”
***********

We had both laughed at that. Jenny had been excitedly talking about her wedding, a change in her voice, interrupted my thoughts. “So ye have yet to meet Laoghaire then Claire?” Jamie’s new girlfriend. “Yes, that’s right. What is she like Jen?” Jamie had phoned me a few weeks before, gruffly stating he was seeing someone and would it be ok for Willie to meet her. I had said off course, I trust your judge of character but the whole episode had left me feeling empty and I was struggling to think why, probably because I didn’t want any other stepmum type person in Willies life. I knew that was silly because Jamie wouldn’t allow someone to act as a Mum to Willie ... and yet still. Jenny’s tone had gone a little higher in pitch when she replied. “Ach, I s’ pose she is grand Claire.. she is queer mad about Jamie, I dinna know if that’s necessarily a good thing though... she can come on a bit strong...”

Intrigued by Jenny’s first statement, I questioned,
“What’s she like with Willie?”

 

Jenny squinted her eyes as if trying to sum up her thoughts,“Weel she came on a bit strong there too, tried to smother him with affection, to impress Jamie I presume, but then she rang one of the days asking could she take him out, Mam had to tell her it wasna appropriate .. I think that stung a bit .. but it settled her down some.”

 

This woman was going to be around my son and I prayed Jamie had chosen well. “Do ye mind?” Jenny’s voice softening. Clearly thinking this a sensitive topic. “Not about her being around Willie, but Jamie having a girlfriend I s’pose”, she finished. “No don’t be silly why would I mind, Jamie and I were never a thing”, that empty feeling returning again. “Well that’s just it, I have no asked ye before Claire but ... weel was Willie just a one night thing or was there more to it?” She glanced over to look at my face and quickly added. “Yer welcome to tell me to mind my own business, aye? But I always wondered about ye?” I simply replied. “No just the one night.” A sudden flashback of me lying spread eagled and wanting, under Jamie’s strong body came back to mr. Nails clawing down his back and Jamie’s whisper of Gaelic in my ear, made my stomach clench. I looked out the window so Jenny wouldn’t see my expression. This trip was clearly unearthing regressed memories. Great.

***************

We pulled into Lallybroch courtyard to be met by Brian Fraser. Tall and dark unlike Jamie’s colouring But had the Fraser eyes, which my son had inherited. “Ach there she is now, Claire ye look bonnier each time I see ye!” Brian’s outstretched arms waiting to embrace me. “Quit yer embarrassing pur Claire, Brian stop it.” Ellen smiling at her husband, knowing he had no intention of stopping. Brian Fraser, always the charmer and made no secret he wanted his son married to the mother of their child, partly for old fashioned reasons, partly because I was the niece of his best friend and partly, I hoped because he liked me. His teasing of the issue was guaranteed and accepted. I’d probably be more upset if he stopped. What would I do if he was jesting with this Laoighaire about marrying Jamie? Get a grip Beauchamp. “Claire, Jamie and Willie willna be long now, I’m sure yer dying to see yer wee lad, god he is a braw boy isnt he Brian Mac?” “Aye Ellen, like his Da and me..” A loud ahem from me and a smile. “Oh aye you too Claire, Jamie was only saying he gets more like ye every day.” Did he now. I was sitting at the large kitchen table in Lallybroch’s kitchen when I heard a Jeep door slamming and little footsteps thumping through the house. “Mama... Mama!”, Willie bounding into the kitchen and up into my arms. Jamie following closely behind him, standing, arms folded and resting against the doorframe. Watching Willie and I unite, a smile on his face. “I miss you Mama” Willie clutching me about the neck, “me an Da counted down all the days ye we’re com’n on Da’s pone.” “Oh well hasn’t Da a clever pone!” I exclaimed mocking my sons pronunciation of phone, ruffling Willies red mop of hair, just like Jamie’s. I took in Willie from head to toe, satisfied that all was well and not much had changed over our three weeks apart, only a few more freckles and maybe a little taller. I readjusted my gaze and looked back up at Jamie, who was watching my ministrations with Willie, a tender look on his face. “All as it should be Sassenach?” A smirk forming on his lips. “Yes, sorry I’m always afraid il miss something”, “aye me too, Dinna fash I do the exact same.” I took in Jamie’s appearance. I always forgot how big he was. In terms of genetics I couldn’t have picked a better father. Jamie was a beautiful man. Perfectly carved muscles, a strong Viking face and beautiful red curls just long enough to tumble around his face. I couldn’t look in my sons eyes without seeing Jamie’s. Willie was quite simply his double and had all the promise of Jamie’s height too. “How was yer flight?”, I stood to greet him, with a wriggly three and a half year old in my arms. He broached the distance, kissing me lightly on the cheek. “Hi Jamie, it was good I slept for most of it”. It’s great to finally get her and lovely to see everyone. I forgot how beautiful Lallybroch is”, Always good to see him. We stood for a minute taking in our son, before we could hear Ellen shouting to bring me up to my cottage. -