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A Beautiful, Wild Country

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I slowly drifted awake to the feeling of Jamie’s heart hammering against my back. His arm was like a vice grip holding my body to his chest in the bed that we’d shared that night. As the party had been in no rush to wind down, we had snuck up to my room and let the noise of their singing and conversation hide the sounds of our love making. We had taken our time with each other, going slow and really savouring the time that we were spending getting to know each other’s bodies. His hands and mouth delighted in finding parts of me that made me come undone, time and time again, calling his name and digging my nails into his back. I couldn’t remember when we’d fallen asleep but even resting, we had found our way to each other, my back to his chest as he held me tightly against him.

My doctor brain kicked in and I absentmindedly counted his heart beats, trying to guess what his heart rate was. It was alarmingly fast for sleep so I wriggled in his grip to face him and had the wind knocked out of me by the look of anguish on his face. The muscles in his neck were taut and his mouth was twisting in a grimace, the dream obviously not being strong enough to make him speak out loud but doing a good job of unsettling me regardless. I managed to get a hand free and stroked his hair softly, shushing in a soothing voice.

“It’s okay Jamie, it’s just a dream,” I whispered, “I’m here, you’re safe here with me. It’s just a dream.”

His heart gradually began to slow and the look on his face eased. My heart almost burst when the hint of a smile slipped over his lips, his whole face relaxing as he let out a sigh.

Beauchamp, you’re fucked.

I had always been a painfully pragmatic person. Words like dependable and reliable had always followed me around and I had always considered it a good thing, if a little boring at times. People knew what to expect of me and I knew what to expect of myself, knew that I was a planner and rarely did anything rash or without thinking of every possible consequence. So it was a shock to the system when I realised in that moment that I might be falling in love with Jamie Fraser, a man I barely knew but felt connected to on a level I hadn’t experienced before. There was nothing logical about our relationship together. The fact that we had only actually been around each other a handful of times, that we lived hundreds of miles apart. But there was an undeniable pull that had rooted itself firmly inside my ribcage that was constantly trying to find the quickest way to be by his side. When I had returned to England, I had been utterly miserable, my entire day being made if I received a goodnight text, like a bloody teenager. My head and my heart were in a constant tug of war with each other and I was exhausted.

“I can hear ye thinking fae here,” Jamie’s deep voice rumbled through his chest making me jump.

“Sorry, just couldn’t sleep,” I replied as his eyes opened and found mine. He looked worried. “Bad dream?”

“I wasnae sayin’ much, was I?” His brow furrowed and I planted a soft kiss on the crease.

“Not a word. You just looked…” Tortured? Angry? Bereft? “Worried about something.”

His face softened and I was lucky enough to be on the receiving end of another beautiful Jamie Fraser smile.

“It’s nothing, Sassenach. Pay it no mind,” he kissed my lips gently, his arms tightening around my body as he did so.

“You smile in your sleep,” I whispered like it was a secret, something personal that I knew about him that only a few would.

“Aye, Jenny says that I’ve done it since I was wee,” his teeth gently closed on my earlobe as his hand slipped between us, sending shockwaves through my blood once more. “It means that I’m happy.”

***

“I have a proposition for ye, Beautiful Beauchamp,” Murtagh attempted to imitate his wife’s voice and I almost snorted into my cup of coffee that I was enjoying at the kitchen table. My mind was still reeling with the confusion over the Jamie situation and as a result, sleep was well and truly evading me so I had extricated myself from his sleeping limbs, slipped on his cable knit jumper from the night before padding downstairs to find some coffee before the sun had even risen. The microwave told me it was quarter to six in the morning but it was still pitch black outside and I remembered how much further north I was compared to my usual geography.

“And that would be?” I replied as he sat down across from me, the ever present smirk on his mouth. He grabbed my mug from me and took a swig himself despite my protestations.

“Well what with us only being in the house a few weeks and away to Athens in a couple of hours, I was wondering if I could convince ye to stay on a while? Here,” he said simply, looking very proud with himself.

“Oh, I don’t know, I have to get ba-“

“Ye said ye had the whole week off, did ye no? Ye don’t have to head back to England straight away. And I know it would make Geillis feel better if the place wasn’t sat empty, we’re just not fully settled yet. I think she’s worried the pipes will freeze and burst or something.”

It was clear he was playing on my sympathies, dangling the mental image of a pouty Geillis returning from her honeymoon and finding her dream home trashed because I wasn’t there to look after it. Murtagh had always been the wiley one, able to get you doing something that you thought had been your idea all along but all the while he was pulling the strings. The word Geillis always used was sleekit.

“I did say that, didn’t I?” I agreed begrudgingly as Murtagh grinned at me, clasping my hands with his across the table.

“Thank ye Claire, she’ll be fair chuffed.” He brought my hands to his mouth and kissed them both as I made a face and pulled them away from him as he laughed.

“Yeah yeah, whatever. Now go and wake Sleeping Beauty or you’ll miss your flight,” I dismissed him with a flick of my wrist and he left the kitchen grinning, obviously happy with having got his way.

After drinking the last of my coffee, I pulled the sleeves down to almost cover my hands and I moved through the cold house, my internal compass seeking out Jamie and bringing me back to my bedroom. I was glad to see that he was sleeping soundly, the odd snore rattling through his big chest as I climbed onto the bed and sat on my knees, watching him. Not being able to resist, I reached out and touched the pale skin of his arms, marvelling at what good shape he was in. The memory of the muscles in his bicep flexing as he held both of my hands above my head, pinning me against the wall, shook through me and I smiled to myself, deciding in that moment that I wouldn’t overthink it and for the next week, I would just enjoy the man in front of me. I moved closer to press a gentle kiss to his shoulder and his sleepy eyes blinked open.

“Hi,” he smiled, his voice barely a whisper.

“Hi,” I returned at the same volume, not wanting to break the spell. He slowly propped himself up on one elbow, facing me.

“What are ye doing up? It’s still dark outside.”

“Couldn’t switch my brain off so naturally, I decided to add caffeine to the mix,” I laughed as he did, shaking his head.

“What am I going to do with you Sassenach?”

“Well, you’ve got a whole week to figure that out,” I admitted quietly. Still not fully awake, his face screwed up as he tried to process my words.

“A week? Yer staying for a week?” I nodded as his eyes filled with excitement. His free hand wrapped it’s way around the back of my neck and he pulled my lips to his, capturing my giggles in his mouth. We kissed slowly, relishing in the thought of having a prolonged period of time together. We could do only this for the next seven days and I would’ve been in heaven. He pulled away from me and tucked me against his body, his chin resting on my head. “Seven whole days.”

“Well, only six now but it’s better than nothing,” I clarified and felt his body relax as he sighed.

“Every second I get to spend with you is better than nothing, mo chridhe.”

“That’s a new one. What does that mean?” I asked, stifling a yawn as his hand started to work through my hair. When he spoke, it was almost a whisper.

“Och, nothing much, Sassenach. It doesnae translate.”

***

Murtagh was hauling Geillis’ huge suitcase into the boot of the taxi as she held me in a tight hug, practically vibrating with excitement.

“Enjoy yourselves, you two!” Her green eyes flicked to Jamie standing behind me, “Don’t do anything I wouldn’t do.”

I laughed as she let me go and her arms were almost immediately replaced by Jamie’s as he curled them around me from behind, hugging me against his chest as Geillis got into the car.

“There isnae much ye wouldn’t do, Geillie!” Jamie shouted as she looked back at us with a wink before closing the door.

“Exactly!”

We waved them down the road and once their car was out of sight, I turned in Jamie’s arms to face him, his lips immediately finding me.

“Just the two of us, alone, for seven whole days.”

Six whole days,” I corrected him for the umpteenth time. He rolled his eyes at me as his hands found their way down the small of my back, gripping as he suddenly flipped me onto his shoulder. I yelped as he smacked my arse, walking back towards the house with a sense of determination that I was only too happy to match.

“Better make the most of it then.”

***

The first day passed like a blur. We couldn’t keep our hands off each other, relishing in the idea of the two of us being alone in the middle of nowhere. Out of respect for our friends, we had tried our best to keep the sex to the confines of my bedroom and the en suite but after a few glasses of wine whilst we tried to make dinner together, I had found myself on the kitchen table, legs spread and Jamie slowly thrusting into me in a delicious torture. After he had found my pill packet in the bathroom, we had been enjoying the ability to get down to it whenever we wanted, without needing to rush and hastily procure a condom. And we were taking full advantage of the fact.

“Ye- oh, ye feel like silk, Claire,” he grunted as I looked up at him, my legs hooked over his elbows as he held my hips steady, hammering into me time and time again. My head fell backwards and he immediately growled at me, “No, I want to see ye, Sassenach. I want to see ye when ye- ah!”

He got his wish as I started to clench around him, never taking my eyes off his as I rode my orgasm out. He tensed as he found his own release, his fingertips gripping my hips so hard that I knew there would be bruises. I wanted there to be bruises, a delicious reminder of what he could do to me. He slowly leaned forward and pushed a sweaty forehead to mine, grinning and then suddenly sniffing the air.

“I think we’ve burned dinner, ye ken.”

***

On the second day, I awoke from sleep to find him fully clothed, standing at the end of the bed.

“You look like a puppy who’s excited to go on a walk,” I grumbled as I rubbed the sleep from my eyes. With a chuckle, he held a pair of Geillis’ walking boots in the air for me to see and I threw myself back on the pillows, my hands covering my face.

“It’s no like I’m dragging ye up Ben Nevis, Claire. Come on, these should fit ye fine, get yersel in the shower.”

After a little bit more cajoling and the promise of a large cup of coffee, I had myself ready for exploring the Scottish Highlands. We drove in Jamie’s old Landrover Defender for about an hour before we arrived in the small village of Achnasheen. We had been slowly getting to know each other without any pressure and I was finding that I was starting to build a pretty full picture of Jamie in my mind. He had great taste in music but was tone deaf as he sang along at the top of his lungs anyway, making me laugh until I couldn’t breathe.

Do the twist in the twisting outfiiiiit, the loose tie with the loose limp wrists. Lift your dress enough to show me those shiiiiins, let your hair stick to your foreheaaaad,” he brayed along to a band I hadn’t heard of before but I was enjoying a lot. Not wanting to leave him out there on his own, I was bopping around in my seat to the music, letting myself get infected by his good mood.

“You’re a terrible singer but my God, you know how to sell it,” I told him as he snapped his head towards me with a fake look of hurt on his face.

“Ye cut me to the core, Sassenach. Come on then, let’s have yer choice on next!” He demanded as he kept his fingers drumming to the beat on his steering wheel.

“Oh no, I’m having far too much fun watching you.”

“Claire- wait, what’s yer middle name? Do ye have a middle name?”

“It’s Elizabeth.”

“Claire Elizabeth Beauchamp, you choose a song right now or I will turn this car around!”

“Fine, fine!” I grabbed my phone from my lap and searched through Spotify for a while until I found something suitably agreeable in amongst all the differing genres of music that I listened to. As the opening drums crashed through the speakers, Jamie groaned appreciatively and dug his teeth into his lower lip and he started to nod his head enthusiastically to the song.

“What a tune! You jump in front of my car when you, you know all the time that ninety miles an hour, girl, is the speed I driiiive! Didn’t take you for a Hendrix fan!”

“And what is that supposed to mean?” I glared jokingly at him.

“Just that yer… ye know… It’s a surprise is all I mean!”

“And just what is your middle name Mr Fraser?” He snuck a glance from the road to me and his grin almost stopped my heart.

“James. Alexander. Malcolm. McKenzie. Fraser.”

***

After he had dragged me, sometimes literally, to the summit of Fionn Bheinn, what he had referred to as ‘only a wee Munro’ but was certainly not as ‘wee’ as I had anticipated, we had driven back to the house. At one particularly draining part of the walk, I had bargained with him that I would only carry on if the promise of him running me a bath on our return was on the table. He had wrapped his arms around me and countered with his offer of running a bath for the both of us and who was I to refuse him?

So we found ourselves in the huge clawfoot tub under the open window, my back against his chest as I sat between his legs. He had displaced most of the water when he got in but the addition of his naked body made it all the morning inviting. His slick hands moved over my shoulders as he kneaded away the tightness that permanently took residence in my muscles. I felt his lips press against the hair on the back of my head and I sighed contentedly.

“Penny for your thoughts, mo chridhe?”

“I love it when you speak Gaelic to me,” I admitted with my eyes closed as his mouth found the back of my neck. He trailed kisses along my shoulder and back up the column of my neck, nibbling on my earlobe as I began to squirm.

“I lied to ye, Claire,” his breath was on my skin and even thought I was engulfed in the warm water, a shiver ran through me.

“What do you mean?”

“I told ye it doesnae translate well but it does,” he shifted slightly and I looked up to find his blue eyes blazing with passion, “It means ‘my heart’.”