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MEND MY HEART

Chapter Text

He was hers. Her soulmate, her lover, her everything. At least he was In her mind, because in real life the man himself was totally unaware of her excistence.
For the 12 long months since she started working as nurse in pediatric clinic of Royal Infirmary, the chief doctor of the department Dr James Fraser hadn'had a clue of who Claire Beauchamp was.
"And why should he, after all?" kept asking herself every time he was near, serious, with his glasses on, always reading charts and giving instructions.
He was the star of the hospital, the dream of all nurses and female doctors (and of some of his male colleagues),the hero for sick children's mothers and the most handsome man she had ever seen. She,on the other hand was close to nothing. A young nurse with messy curly brown hair,always in a hurry and in her opinion with nothing feminine enough to draw his attention, or of any other man, to be honest.
And this was not only her opinion but Frank's as well. He told her that much right before he kicked her out of their house in Oxford 14 months ago. God bless Joe, who gave her a place to stay and lick her wounds in his little cottage in Scotlant and eventually a new job and a fresh start at the hospital he was working as surgeon.
But now,with Joe and Gail's marriage only 2 months away, she knew she had to move out of his cottage and find her own place to live, even though he had't said anything yet.
"Nonsense, Lady Jane! You can stay as much as you want. We will live in Gail's apartment and it's final. But if it makes you feel any better, you can pay me 200 pounds per month for rent." he said one day, when he found her nose deep in a newspaper, looking for a decent place to rent.
"Are you out of your mind, Joe? 200 is close to nothing."
"Yes but you'll keep my little cottage in order,in case Gail kicks me out of her house at some point."
It was suposed to be a joke and too late to take it back. Glaire start crying and Joe took her in a bear hug.
"Sorry my sweety. A bad joke, please forgive me."
" Forgiven..." she whispered.

Geillis Duncan was far from stupid. With one close look she could tell that her good friend and fellow nurse was deeply in love with Jamie Fraser, her childhood friend ,neighbor and her partner in every known teenage crime,ecxept of flirtation. Perhaps, she was the only female in this place without a"thing" for Fraser. Practically he was her brother.
As teens,in their long horse rides,he always talked about the girl of his dreams, the one with sharp mind,kind spirit and brave heart.Claire had all that and much more but the adult Jamie was a blind fool,lost in his own self-center life to notice. She needed love and tenderness,being so damaged from her past and he wanted a different lass to warm his bed every night,or at least that's what she heard. It was a shame, because they were perfect for each other.

Chapter Text

Geneva Dunsany, head of PR department for her family's business corporation, knock Mr Grand's president of hospital's council door.
He knew she had no manners but she had money. Money that they desperately need.
Pretty and smart for sure, but she behaved like the spoiled child she was.
The annual donation of Dunsany corporation was coming with conditions, her conditions. The press will be there for the official donation and the council will sign for much more money than they will actually received. Same old...
This year, though,she had another request. She wanted a certain redheaded doctor in her plate and Grand was willing to offer Fraser to be her pet.
If Dunsany cancel their donation, they were doomed. Half the staff must be fired by the end of the month.
"Don't worry about your doctor's welfare. He will escort me in few events and we are done. I promise,i 'll return him in good shape." she said extending her right hand and with the other touched the man's shoulder.
"I'll do my best,miss..." and he shake her hand in agreement.

JAMIE

Nobody really cares who you are. You are a man - a good looking,as they say- and a doctor no less, single at your 35 and they all assume you're a womanizer, a party animal and generally the "bad boy" outside of work,of course.
Few years back, rumours about my love life,spread like fire in dry straw , when i turned down the offer of Laoghaire Mackenzie, the hospital receptionist at the time. She said that she gave me everything and i used her for a night and after, i forced her to get rid of our unborn child. Who,me...! A pediatrician ,an uncle and the one who witnessed the death of not one but two brothers. Eleven years old Willie and baby Robert, hours after his birth along with my mother Helen,few minutes later.
If Laoghaire was pregnant,the baby wasn't mine, simply because I haven't slept with her.
I admit,i gave in few times in drinking and having sex with women i hardly knew but for a single man at my age it's almost ...normal.
What pains me the most is that even my childhood friend Geillis believed all that crap and stopped talking to me. And every time i try to speak to her, she will pretend to be very busy or she will turn her head on the other side and chat with a sweet brunette nurse.
And now, that piece of shit,aka Mr Grand, forced me to be the arm candy for some rich girl because if i don't, i'll be responsible for many people losing their jobs, right before Christmas.
I'm standing outside his office, feeling like prostitute with no opinion,no option and no hope.

Chapter Text

CLAIRE

He was handsome enough, rich with a very expensive car and he made a name as pedocardiologist in Glasgow. He wasn't Jamie Fraser,of course, but the next best thing.
When Tom Christie asked me to accompany him in hospital's Christmas party and with the lack of any other proposals, i accepted. Even Joe wouldn't be there. A minute before the wedding,he decided to spend Christmas with Gail's family.
I think, Tom was flirting with me, but can't be sure. Eventually,i forgot how it is to have someone's interest. What Frank did best was to destroy my self-confidence, i give him that.
At the end,it was Geillis who forced me to accept with her strong disagreement about my non existent personal life and her shocking final argument.
" For how long are you planning to hold yourself back , waiting for Fraser to notice you? You should party and dance,and flirt senseless."
" H...how did you figured it out? " I managed to whisper with a burning sensation on my face.
Geillis started laughing and only stopped when she couldn't breathe any more.
" Are you kidding me, Beauchamp? I think you're going to faint, every time he is near. Everyone knows, sweetheart.."
Perfect....and thought i was doing a good job hiding my feelings.
One of the biggest mysteries in life is why Earth doesn't open to swallow you the moment you need it.

I wasn't sure if my dark red, velvet dress with the open back was appropriate for the first part of the evening ,but again,it was Geillis who convinced me and the Santa's cape i wear all the time while i put one well- wrapped present after another in every kid's waiting hands, kept my dignity intact.
As for the second half of the evening,the party for Hospital's staff,took place in the conference room. On our way there, Geillis informed me that the previous years Jamie was Santa for our little patients but not this year. Actually he came late and with a very elegant brunette by his side.
I saw her before. The previous weeks, she came a time or two to take him after his shift,and their pictures was in magazines and newspapers with references to "the new hot couple in town" . I swallowed my pain and kept my mouth shut as Glenna, the head nurse picked up the phone to call him.
I tried my best not to look at him, but it was pointless. Tall and muscular with that stupid red hair looking more soft than the velvet of my dress. He was talking and laughing and having a good time. As for the brunette, well, she was an entirely different story. Posing and smilling in front of cameras and dragging him to be right next to her, when she gave the check to Mr Grand,press on her feet and her hand in his.
Tom was kind, a bit funny and tried to keep me entertained. At some point, though, he excused himself to talk with few other doctors and gave me the opportunity to chat with Geillis for a bit when something happened. Something i wasn't expecting at all...
A firm hand on my shoulder and a thick Scottish accent in my ears.
"Lass,if you'll excuse me,i need to talk to Geillis for a moment. And i owe you a dance after, for your troubles" said Jamie with a cheeky grin. I was able only to nod in agreement and took her away by the elbow.
With the distance and loud music ,i was totally unable to listen their conversation but my friend wasn't pleased,that was sure.
Lost in thought about the reason of their obvious desagreement,i hadn't saw them coming and his presence and voice flooded my senses.
" Time to pay my debt,lass" only said and lead the way to the dance floor and with his arms around me,i was i heaven.
His body heat,his cologne,his hand on my bare back and i was intoxicated. In that drunk state of mind,i thought he kept my closely to him than necessary for a debt paying dance.
I dropped from heaven hard and fast, when the Brunette came to him and without spearing me a look,took him away.
" We have to go, darling. Come.."
He did as she commanded and left me there alone, standing in the middle of dance floor like beacon in a dark sea, without looking back.

Tom ,thank God,took pity on me, as we danced the rest of the song and gave me the graceful exit i needed.
He left me by my door later and ,ever a gentleman,kissed me goodnight on the cheek.When i was safely inside my house, I kicked my shoes away and tried to decide what i needed the most, a shower or to collapse in bed with my clothes on when my phone vibrated. A text from Geillis which left me equally confused and scared.
" We need to talk. I have few things to tell you about Jamie Fraser."

Chapter Text

GEILLIS

Despite his hasty departure from the party,Jamie was where he said he will be - outside my house, that is- a bottle of whisky in hand.
Tom insisted on going with him, Claire and other colleagues to the pub , the usual place after our long shifts, for one last drink. And,God, Claire looked like she needed that drink but i couldn't, having promised to Jamie the conversation i was trying to avoid for so long.
Half a bottle later, finally, i found a piece of my old friend.
When we were 16,at the eighth anniversary of his mother's death, he dragged me with him in a tattoo studio and from that day on he carried a tiny rose, Ellen's favourite flower, next to his heart, marking his skin forever.
He swore to me, touching that rose over his shirt,that nothing of what Laoghaire said was true. To be honest, Jamie's love life was non of my business. I just couldn't stand the possibility my little dreamer to be proven the heartless beast Laoghaire said he was.
At some point and being capable to read him like no one else could, i sensed his hesitation and i encouraged him to ask the one thing was hanging at the tip of his tongue all night. But when he did, i snapped.
"You think, Claire...."
I cut him off immediately.
" Claire? Claire,who? Oh...you mean the girl ye left alone in the middle of the dance floor, without a word? That Claire? Well, why don't ye tell me about Geneva instead?"
" I...i can't."
" Are ye with her, or not? It's that simple. Because,if ye are, stay away from Claire."
" You can't understand..."
" Then make me,damn ye."
He breathed heavily and tapped his fingers against his thigh like every time he was troubled-an old habit- and swallowed hard.
" We are not together but it's complicated. That's the only thing I can tell, right now. What i wanted to ask is...ye think Claire will forgive me..?"
" What i think is, ye should man up and ask her yourself. Claire is far too good. The best person and a damn good nurse. She's better even than me and ye fucking know how difficult is for me to admit it. But she is good for my old friend, not for Dunsany's pet"

 

JAMIE

 

"Dunsany's pet" that's how Geillis called me and after that i left her house, head down in shame. I have my pride, yes, being a born and raised Highlander and i don't stand taking orders -or insults-from no one. But for us, our commitment to our vows is bigger than our pride. So i left.
Two more months. Then i 'll be free. My contact with Geneva will be over, after the announcement. Dunsany corporation will finance the construction of the new wing of the Hospital. That and the donation which kept all staff with us and their families fed, was my motive and i can't regret it. Soon i 'll be free.
It's been a while, since the sweet nurse ,the Sasse-nach, caught my eye. That terrible car accident with the school bus ,was the reason. Two casualties, the driver and a teacher and three kids in very serious condition. She was fierce and brave and took charge of the situation immediately. I was in awe. By the end of the day, all of us were exhausted but she stayed there all night holding a little boy in her arms singing an old lullaby to calm him down.
Those golden eyes and her mere presence softened my heart and made my soul feel lighter.

 

CLAIRE

I was shocked. My dear friend and Fraser were childhood friends. And shocked is the best way to describe my situation, because i had no idea how to react. The one thing I knew is that Jamie Fraser humiliated me and i was still too angry to even consider forgiving him.
" You never said anything. God,you don't even talk to the man." I managed to say eventually.
" Well,i assume ye've heard the gossip about Jamie and Laoghaire."
I nod and she kept on.
"It was just after i lost Arthur, ye ken, and i wasn't myself. I expected Jamie to be my solid ground and i suppose i was looking for something to be angry with to forget my grief. I chose to believe Laoghaire and it was my mistake.
Jamie is a good man, but something is going on with him. He insisted he and Geneva are not together despite the rumors but i want you to be careful."
We spent the rest of the Christmas Day in silence, cocooning in my couch, Geillis watching silly Christmas movies and me lost in my thoughts.
I was off for two days after Christmas and when i came back to work , another round of rumours about Jamie was on the table. This time about his health.
He fainted the previous day and before that , he stopped stitching a young patient's wound because he couldn't control his trembling hands.

Chapter Text

Feelings confuse your judgement. It was a hard lesson after six years of marriage with Frank, but one I've learned well.
With him all the alarming signs were there and I chose- out of fear or insecurity- to ignore them.
What i knew from Geillis was that Jamie was planning to apologize for the incident .Frank, though, destroyed the little faith i was having to men so much , that no matter my feelings for Jamie, staying away from him seemed the safest path.

As for Jamie, he wasn't himself and it was plain as day. He was pale and struggling to stay focused, which made him anxious and sometimes, rude. When he yelled to a scared mother with no real reason earned a very strict warning from Grand.
The strange thing was that his condition was worst in the morning and getting better as the day went on.
One afternoon, almost a week after the party, Jamie felt brave enough to come and talk to me. He had that puppy look and his eyes were shining. My first thought was to run away to safety but i couldn't convince my feet to obey my logic.
"May i speak to ye, for a moment? "His voice barely a whisper.
No more than few inches away from me, I could feel him,smell his perfume and that deep Scottish accent made me dizzy.
I was surprised i managed to answer with enough sarcasm and bitterness.
" Depends. You going to finish talking or you 'll leave in the middle?"
He lowered his eyes and sighed heavily.
" I... Fine,i guess I deserve that. But, Claire, i want to apologize. I beg your forgiveness,lass."
God, the way he said my name....
" I was a fool, that night. Please, all i want is a chance to make up to ye."
I didn't say a word. Just crossed my arms in front of my chest and waited for him to continue. His cheeks and the tips of his ears gained a deep red colour.
" Well...if ye haven't other plans, of course, i would like to take ye out for dinner, tomorrow night. I know it's New year's Eve and perhaps..."
My God, he seemed so lost and desperate that moment. Geillis's words came to my mind. "Jamie is a good man."
I blame my traitorous heart because against everything i was afraid of, i accepted...

 

Scared and excited at the same time,i run to Geillis to share my news and ask for any kind of advice she could offer.
"Oh, love, I'm happy if ye are! But, please,be careful. When ye choose to let yer heart free, make sure it worth it."
Lost in our conversation, we didn't noticed Tom coming to us. When i saw him, though, he had a smile that didn't reach his eyes.
"Hello, ladies."
" Dr Christie, what can we do for ye?" asked my friend.
"Actually, i came to ask Claire to join me tomorrow night to a party I'm invited.
So, Claire what you say? I had such a great time the other night."
Geillis answered for me before i even thought of a believable excuse.
"So sorry Tom, but Claire and i have plans for New year's Eve."
"You're welcome to come too, Geillis." his voice harder than usual.
"We will think about it. Won't we, Claire?" Geillis asked me with a mischievous smile.
"Y...yes, of course. Tom, it's very kind of you. Thanks." I wish i could hide my glass face.
"Well, you have my phone number. If something goes wrong with your.... plans, call me."
And with that he left, avoiding to look at Geillis entirely.
When he was far enough, my friend start laughing loudly.
"Two in half an hour? Go, Beauchamp!"

 

It was a cold night. Colder than i expected,i mean, even for Scotland in the heart of winter and my coat
couldn't fight the wind. I was shivering and the rattling of my teeth made it obvious. Jamie took off his coat and gently placed it on my shoulders,for the short distance between his car and the restaurant.
He insisted on taking me from my house even though i suggested to meet directly at the restaurant. I didn't let myself to believe he was eager to know where i live.
Our table was in the back of the room,which gave us some privacy. I couldn't help wondering if it was intentional or just a coincidence. To be honest, i was surprised he managed the reservation, in the first place. It looked like all city was out to celebrate.
The waiter brought our wine and Jamie served us both.
"Thank ye again for having dinner with me,lass."
" Out of curiosity. I wanted to know why you behave so rudely."
"Ye don't hold back your tongue! I like that. It reminds me of my sister."
I drank some wine and looked him in the eyes.
"You avoid answering me, though..."
He felt uncomfortable. I could see it despite the poker face he always kept.
"Look, Claire, I'm sorry and probably will be ashamed for the rest of my life for what i did. As for the reason, i promise ye, i'll tell you soon but not now. I won't do such a thing ever again. I promise ye that too, Sassenach."
" What did you just call me?"
" I meant no offense, Claire. It's only Gaelic for an English person and ye're English,no?"
Truth is, i had a lovely time. The food was great and the wine too, but most of all was him. Charming and funny, a born storyteller and i couldn't remember the last time i laughed so hard nor the last time i had a man looking at me the way he did.
I was about to accept his proposal to be with him for the changing of the year when his phone rang. It comes with the job, i guess.
He looked the screen and his expression changed. His features hardened and his mouth became a thin line. Not an emergency at the Hospital,then.
I thought he 'll excuse himself to answer in private but instead he pressed the button right in front of me.
"What do ye want?........No! Ye said not tonight,damn ye."
I wasn't able to hear what the person to the other end of the line said but his face changed again. This time looked devastated and defeated. He threw his phone on the table.
"Claire,i...."
I laughed bitterly.
" Let me guess. You have to leave."
"Claire, please..." He was about to cry.
" You can take your promises and stick them up to your arse."
I opened my purse, threw some cash on the table and this time it was me who left without looking back.
He didn't follow me and i kept walking fast without knowing where i was going, untouched from the cold, simply because my soul was colder.
I didn't payed any attention to the car next to me until i heard a familiar voice.
"Claire! Going somewhere?"
It was Tom in his fancy car , smiling to me.
" Have you changed your mind about the party? It's almost time for the countdown."
I stopped to think, just for a moment.
" I think i have. Shall we?"

Good thing to have someone next to you for the rising of the New Year. Tom kissed me lightly on the lips to honour the tradition. Not the kiss i expected nor from the man i hoped but something to provide me the consolation i needed.
It was past 2 o'clock in the morning when Tom left me in front of my house with a kiss on my cheek. Heavy storm clouds hide the moon and made the winter night even darker so, i struggled to find my keys inside my purse. I finally found them and went to my front door when i stepped on something.
A lightning in the sky killed the dark for a second and i almost screamed. There,on my door step lying a very unconscious Jamie Fraser.

Chapter Text

I fell on my knees to check if the bloody man was still alive. In the dark veil of night i could only use my hands and my senses. He was frozen and i panicked but then a weak breath tickles my ear and i found his pulse. Unstable and weak, but at least he had one. I caught a smell of whisky, just a bit but it was there. Drunk then? No he couldn't be. He had that one glass of wine with me and given his frozen state, i suspected he was there for a long time. As for what happened in the mid time i could only guess but the answers were his to give.
The first raindrops brought me back to reality and i hurried to unlock my door. I switched the lights on and concentrated on the impossible task to drag that giant man inside. 180 pounds of dead weight.
Droplets of sweat appeared on my forehead and i felt like I was running a fucking marathon, but it wasn't about me so I increased the heat and kneeled once again to check him out. Oh God , he was ice cold, i found his pulse even weaker and his pupils were dileted.
"Jamie? Jamie, wake up." I shook him violently but again he didn't respond.
Before my panic take control, i clenched my teeth and cursed.
"What the hell, Beauchamp? You're a bloody nurse, for God's sake."
I put a pillow under his head and cover his body with a blanket. Then i called Joe, praying to answer the damn phone.
" Lady Jane are you alright? It's two thirty in the morning."
Joe? Oh, Joe please tell me you're back in Glasgow." I sounded almost as desperate as i felt.
" Yes! Is it something wrong? "
"Come Joe. Come quickly, please..."
By the time i ended the call, i was crying.

 

I wasn't aware of nothing else but the unconscious man on my carpet so i didn't noticed that storm outside until i saw my friend fifteen minutes later,the longest of my life.
"Good God, it's hotter than hell in here." Said Joe as he hanged his soaked coat. Then he saw him.
With two strides he was next to us.
" What happened? Is he alive? "
" Barely. Please Joe, help him."
My friend opened his medical bag and started the examination immediately. I uncovered him and opened his shirt, reviling a muscular torso with copper curly hair covering his sternum and that delicate tattoo Joe touched with his stethoscope. His temperature was in levels of hypothermia and remained unconscious,no matter what we did.
Few minutes later,Joe exhaled a deep breath.
" Claire..."
For Joe i was always Lady Jane. For him to call me by my name was his way to tell me that the things were bad. I looked at him and waited, praying silently with everything i had.
".... It looks like a serious condition of hypothermia and what you already have done is all we can do. What concerns me though is that he is unconscious for far too long. Any chance to be just drunk."
I explained to him why i thought he wasn't and Joe agreed with me.
"I see. Did he complained about being sic these days?"
" I've been told ,he fainted on Boxing Day and his hands were trembling. I've noticed an odd behaviour since then. What do you think, Joe?"
" Hard to say, love. I will run some tests first,to be sure. I need a blood sample. Let's take him to bed."
Joe's cottage had only two bedrooms and the guest room had a single bed in which Jamie was impossible to fit,so it has to be my bed.

Trying to take him to my bedroom could be a hilarious story is it wasn't a heartbreaking one. We made it, though and Joe the doctor ordered Claire the nurse to strip him from his clothes.
I've done that a thousand times but with him was different. I was shy and i felt my cheeks burning. I left him only with his boxers on and covered his limp body quickly with blankets, in order to warm him up- or to save my sanity.
Joe took his sample and we noticed the slight spasm
of his left hand when the needle pierced his vein.
" Stay with him and call me if anything changes. Otherwise i 'll be here in the morning. Now i have to take the sample to hospital."
I nodded and hugged him in s silent "thank you". Between us the words were unnecessary.

Jamie was lying motionless on my bed and i was afraid to take a full breath so as not miss the sound of his own. The rain flogged my window and the lightning shook the little cottage but i was only aware of his heartbeat as i laid my head on his chest.

Chapter Text

I woke up before dawn from a groan and another distant and unfamiliar sound.

" Oh, bloody hell! You slept Beauchamp? Really?

I recognize the sound as his phone, somewhere in the pile of his clothes on the chair. I couldn't care less about it. All of my attention was on him as he started to have sings of consciousness. I touched his face and hands. Thank God ,he was warm like a living human being again.

It was pointless. Impossible to stay angry with him for long. Not seeing him so fragile and helpless..

His groans, sign of discomfort, became louder as he touched another level of consciousness and slowly opened his eyes. The dim light from the lamp next to my bed wasn't too strong to bother him but enough to let him know he was not in his bedroom along with my presence next to him.

"Welcome back, Fraser." I tried to smile but I've failed miserably.
He looked at me with tired and colourless eyes.

"Where am I?"

"At my house. I found you unconscious outside. You can't remember anything?"

"Ah...no!"

" But you know who i am, don't you?

" Of course I know who you are, Glenna."

I lifted my eyebrows in amazement fearing he had amnesia or something but then i saw his cheeky grin.

"You bloody Scot" i murmured.

"Sassenach, i think i need to use the bathroom"

" Yes..yes, of course. Second door on the left."

He tried to stand up by himself but he couldn't. The moment he left the bed felt dizzy and sat down again.

" Here, let me help you."
i went near and tried to support his enormous body. It took us a few minutes to reach our destination because i felt a bit dizzy myself having his almost naked figure so close to me.

" Do you...em... need any help,in there?"

He became red as beetroot.

"No!No, i can manage." And putting his hands on the wall to steady himself, went to the bathroom and closed the door behind him. I stood few metres away to give him some privacy but close enough, just in case...

Ten minutes later he was safely back in my bed but fairly exhausted.

"Do you need something to eat or perhaps some water?"

"No. What i need is to talk to you, Sassenach. I have to explain few things, but I'm tired."

As much as I wanted to know what happened and why on Earth he was in my door last night, i could see his exhaustion. I checked his pulse and temperature and found them normal. His pupils, though, were still dilated.

"Get some sleep. We have plenty of time, later. Now, you need to rest."

He was out within seconds.

 

I took a shower and changed in more comfortable clothes before i make myself o cup of coffee. The storm was going strong and when Joe entered with the first daylight, he found me next to the window, coffee in hand, looking at the rain.

"Hey, Lady Jane,how is he?" And took the cup from my hands and drank some of my coffee.

" He woke up an hour and a half ago and went to the bathroom. His pulse and temperature are normal. He is back to sleep, now. And get your own coffee! "

"Did he tell you anything about last night? "

" No. Too tired to do much of anything. Now, tell my about his blood tests." I said as Joe went to the kitchen and helped himself with a cup of coffee.

" Well, they found some alcohol in his blood but not enough to cause all this. I will run some more tests, to be certain." He was avoided looking at me.

"What is going on,Joe?". I was dead serious.

"I can't tell you anything unless I'm hundred percent sure. For now, you will have to keep him here for a few days."

"What? Why?"

" First reason,i think Jamie was exposed to something and i want him isolated in a clean environment...."

"That's why we have hospital rooms." I interrupted him.

" That's where he had the first symptoms. Now, where was i? Yes...and second, he will need someone to take care of him. Someone who loves him. So,i cleared both your schedules for a week."

I blushed. I had confessed my feelings to Joe ,long time ago and he was always discreet, until now, that is.

"Joe..."

" LJ, you know it,i know it , don't you think it's time for him to know?"

As much as i was thrilled to have Jamie into my house for a whole week, i was used to love him from a safe distance and the situation took my out of my comfort area.

" Joe, please don't. You can't understand." I tried.

"Oh,i can't. Can i? Care to enlighten me about his presence on your door last night, then?"

Saved by the phone-Jamie's phone,to be exact- which started ringing again.

" What the hell is that?" Asked my friend

" It's Jamie's. Someone trying to reach him for more than two hours."

"Perhaps you should answer it. Maybe it's an emergency."

"What? No. It is mine and non of my business." I protested.

"Yes, but he can't answer now and maybe it's an actual emergency."

When it started ringing again i pressed the button to answer te call with hesitation. I had never done that before, not even with Frank's phone when we were married.

"H..hello?"

" Who the hell are ye?" Said an angry female voice.

Being afraid it was Geneva Dunseny , i responded more rudely that i was planning.

"Who the hell are YOU?"

"I'm Jamie's sister. I need to talk to my brother. It's urgent. Now, who are you?" She demanded.

"I'm his... nurse. He can't talk right now. He is sleeping"

"Is something wrong with my brother? Is he ill?" She sounded very anxious.

" Overworked and low blood pressure." I lied.

" Tell him to call me the moment he wakes." And she ended the call.

 

He woke up the moment we went through the door. Still pale and tired, though.

"Good morning, Dr Fraser. How are you feeling today?" Asked Joe as he took his wrist to check his pulse.

"Ah...Dr Abernathy, right?"

Joe nod , smiling.

"A bit tired,i guess. And dizzy."

" I see. Claire, please,go get him something to eat"

I did as Joe asked, despite our patient's protestation that he wasn't hungry at all. I came back few minutes later with his breakfast tray. Orange juice and a tost which , for once,i managed not to burn and his phone.

" Jamie.... your phone kept ringing for a long time and i..."

Answering someone's phone is indiscreet enough but seeing his body tensed ,i felt terrible.

"Who was it, Claire? "

"Your sister. She asked to call her back. It's urgent."

He relaxed a bit hearing it was his sister and we left the room to give him privacy to call her.
With Jamie preoccupied talking to her, i found the opportunity to drag my friend to the living room for some interrogation.
But before i said anything,the bedroom door opened and Jamie wearing his clothes went to my front door.

"And where you think you're going?" I asked seeing his condition.

" Home." He answered firmly and kept going struggling to stay upward.

"The hell you are! You're about to faint on your next step. "
I was angry and cut his way with my body.

"My father had a heart attack yesterday. He is in the hospital in Inverness. Now, please, step aside."

The bloody stubborn man! I was equally stubborn but i gave in this time, only to prove him that he couldn't do it. He fell right before he reached the door.

"Dr Fraser, I'm afraid you're not in condition to travel." This time it was Joe who tried to put some sense in him.

The Scot tightened his fists and forced himself to stand up. I didn't move to help him.

"It's my father we are talking,here." Answered breathless from the effort.

"You're sick and you need help." I told him firmly.

" Then, come with me, damn ye."

Chapter Text

The weather was bad or worst than that,actually. Heavy clouds were touching the earth and endless rain coming down from the dark sky.
The only thing unmatched in that symphony of the storm was the rhythmical wipers sound.

I tried to forget the sleeping figure next to me and concentrated on driving. Jamie was sick and anxious about his father and some sleep would do him good. And it was good for me too, since I found time to think.For some time it was just me,the endless road and the endless rain.

Everything happened so fast, so I had the feeling i was in a spinning wheel. We went from strangers to something... else in a moment, but i didn't dare to give name or form to this "else" we had become.

I knew he needed to explain himself but I didn't know if i was ready to listen. What if he was a couple with Geneva and i was just a nurse who accompanied him on his journey doing my duty and nothing more?
Perhaps,i let myself get something i shouldn't. Hope...

 

"Ye drive like an old lady." said a sleepy voice from the passenger's seat, bringing me back to reality.

 

"If you need to know, I'm within the speed limit and the weather is too bad to go faster." I answered with enough authority.

"We should have taken my car."

"No way! I don't want anything to do with that monstrous car of yours."

He laughed at that with a beautiful sound that warmed my heart.
He had a huge jeep, a real monster and i was terrified to even think about driving it, so i fight a good battle before we leave Glasgow. My Fiat-late Lamb's Fiat, that is- may have been hundred years old but it was reliable and i felt safe in it.

"I don't fit in here!" He complained.

" That's because it's been made for normal people and not for giant Vikings." i said mockingly.

" But, i don't have enough space for my legs."

"And who's the grumble old lady,now?"

He rolled his eyes at that. Deep inside i was happy. During my time in pediatric clinic i have learned one thing for sure. When a sick kid starts complaining about everything, it only means it's getting better.

My phone's GPS informed me that we were half a mile away from the hospital and we stopped our playful conversation. When we finally arrived, half an hour later than we supposed to,I parked the car and went out to stretch my legs.

"You need help, Jamie? Perhaps i can find you a wheel chair. " I said to Jamie seeing his difficulties.

"No way, Sassenach. I won't meet my family like a crippled man. I 'll do.."

***

 

It was past noon when we passed the automatic doors of the hospital and straight to cardiology clinic on second floor.
Few people waited in the corridor and i spotted Jamie's family immediately, even if i haven't seen them before.
The short woman had the same eyes as Jamie but hair black like night and very pregnant. The man next to her definitely her husband Ian, smiled seeing Jamie and hugged him. His sister, though, hadn't moved an inch.

"Ye took yer time, brother.."

" Let me be, Jenny." Said to her through clenched teeth.
"How is he,Ian."

"Stable. Better. He is sleeping,now."

I stood few metres away in order to observe Jamie with his family. A wave of jealousy flooded my.At some point, in my previous miserable life, i had lost hope to have my own, some day. Even being married, Frank never felt like family.

My eyes was on Jenny. I could tell, something was up between the siblings but being an only child, i had no clue of what that may be. In my mind, if i had a brother or a sister i would love them unconditionally. This two siblings, though, had their daggers up for fight.

It was expected that she would notice my, sooner or later and the look on her face gave me chills.

"And who is she, my dear brother?"

No matter how much Frank had reduced me, i was never known as a meek and obedient type, so i spoke before Jamie was able to think of something.

"We spoke on the phone, earlier.." my tone,the coldest i could have.

"The nurse,then... Tell me, brother, are ye so ill so ye had to bring yer nanny with ye?"

" I'm Claire Beauchamp!" i said without approaching or extending my hand. "And yes, your brother couldn't drive in his condition."

It was like a ping pong game between us and Jamie and Ian only moved their heads from one to the other.

" Aye, Jenny. Claire was kind enough to bring me here with her car." Jamie said at last.

"Oh,It is Claire, now..?" Jenny continued her provocation.

"Jenny! Enough! " It was Ian who managed to end his wife's delirium. "Yer father is in there, fighting for his life and ye two.."

"And who's fault is that,ye think?" Jenny asked her husband and Jamie bend his head and shallow hard.

" Be useful,then, brother. A big order must be delivered before evening. Go see to it, will ye?" said, keep looking at Ian but not for a second her brother.

"Let's go, Claire." Jamie said with a low but firm voice.
"We come back later."
The last part said it loud enough,for his sister to hear.

"What the hell was that?" I asked him on our way to the parking.

"No worries, Sassenach. It's always so, between Jenny and me."

"Jamie,she hates me and with no reason."

" Yer woman, and yer stand next to me. That's reason enough for my sister."

Wow! That was... weird.

"But, you didn't even see your father before she banished us both from there." I protested.

" She would never let me go in his room, anyway." He whispered.

"Why, for God's sake, she would do such a thing?"

" My father and i, haven't talked to each other for years, Claire."

He sounded defeated and sad and that made me sad,too.
"Where are we going? " I asked him when I got my place behind the wheel.

"Start the engine and i will tell ye.."

 

***

 

" What is this place, Jamie?"

I stopped the car, as Jamie pointed up to me, in frond of a huge storage.

" This is the main storage of our company.."

" Company? " I interrupted him.

"My father -my family, that is - owns a distillery. You've heard of LEOCH, haven't ye?"

"Leoch, as..the whisky? It's your family's business? God, it's a fucking empire." I was shocked and i couldn't hide it.

Jamie only nod and get out of the car, in order to do as his sister asked. I stood away from him, once again, leaving him to inspect the load as the workers transported it to the trucks. He gave a weak smile to a man and signed some papers before he comes to me.I was happy to see he was better. The colour of health returned to his face and he was more stable.

" Let's go back to the hospital, Claire." And without another word he got in to the car.

Jenny and Ian were exactly where we left them.

"All right, then?" Asked Ian as we approached.

"Aye..."

In a matter of seconds, Fraser siblings started fighting again and Ian, being tired of all this, took them both to the cafeteria. Nobody invited me and i wouldn't go, anyway. I sat on a chair and waited, not knowing what exactly.
Jamie was well enough. No dizziness and he could walk with no difficulties. Perhaps, i should excuse myself and go back to Glasgow. When he would return for the cafeteria, if Jenny and him hadn't kill each other in the mid time, i was planning on getting him to see a doctor.

"Excuse me, Miss? "
Lost in my thoughts, i didn't hear the nurse next to me and she needed to nudge me to finally get my attention.

"Am, yes?"

"Mr Fraser is asking for you. Please be brief, though. He is exhausted."

"No, I'm not..."

She almost run away before i could tell her that it was a mistake.

 

I stood before the closed doors for a few seconds. At the end, i decided to go inside and tell him the nurse mistakenly considered my a relative. No harm,at that. I took a deep breath and opened the door.

Lying in bed was a man with black hair like his daughter but tall and well built, with deep blue eyes like his son. He smiled to me, kindly.

" Mr Fraser, there is some sort of mistake. Your family went to the cafeteria. I suppose they will be here shortly." I said to the man blushing,not knowing why.

"Then, ye don't know them at all. Actually, It was ye i wanted to see. The lass my son brought us."

At that i blushed harder.

" No, Mr Fraser! You are wrong. I'm his nurse and nothing more."

He gave me a weird look at that.

"Is he very ill, lass? " I could see lines of worry on his forehead.

"Pure exhaustion and low blood pressure,sir. It wasn't safe to drive, though." I lied, not knowing exactly what happened to Jamie. Joe hadn't call me yet. No need to worry a sick man farther.

He laughed at that, like some sort of inside joke when the door opened and Jenny, Ian and finally Jamie entered the room.

"What does she doing here?" Asked Jenny aggressively.

 

"Hold yer tongue, daughter. I asked her to come. Jamie,lad..."

"Da..."

 

 

To be continued.....

Chapter Text

JAMIE

 

It was so good and liberating that I was able to talk to my father after so many years. Stubborn Frasers the both of us, we lost precious time with each other, time i doubted we could have back. I didn't know if we managed to make peace but we made a step forward, that's for sure.

Even in hospital bed, Brian Fraser, was the same calm power, the one i always admired and pushed me forward in my life, regardless of his disagreement with my choices.

So, he made up his mind and we did as he wished. Jenny would return to her children,in Ian's parents' house. They needed her, just like she needed rest, in her condition.
Ian would stay at hospital for the night, because my stubborn sister refused to leave our father in the care of nurses,only. And he had work to do with the pending orders in the warehouse.
As for me and Claire, we will spent the night at Lallybroch. I had work waiting for me at the distillery, first thing in the morning.

I can't find the words to describe of how Claire's presence made me feel. The moment i woke up in her house, in her bed, it was like finding the one missing piece i was looking for all my life.

The day of that horrific accident with the school bus, i saw the sweet brunette nurse who was always next to Geillis, to be transformed into a fearless and dynamic woman. In the middle of a chaotic situation,she had power and authority that even a general would envied.
She ordered everyone with a fire in her eyes that i was dying to find in a woman.
Those who approached me were empty and colour-less but this woman in the simplicity of her existence was an explosion of colours, a true force of nature, unstoppable. She was the one! The one my father had told me i would recognise the moment i see her. The one for me.

We would have Lallybroch to ourselves, for a short time and i hoped i could make her see how i felt for her.
I only hope she could see beyond the chaos that surrounded me.

 

CLAIRE

 

We left Jamie and his father alone in the room and in order to avoid some awkward moment with Jenny, i claimed i needed coffee and left. It was Jamie who found me in the cafeteria, drinking my second cup of what could be the worst coffee in the world and filled me in about our next destination.

"What the doctor said? Are you alright?" I asked as i gathered my purse and followed him.

"Aye, all good. Normal temperature, pulse and reflexes."

" Then, you don't need me, any more. Perhaps i should return to Glasgow."
I was thinking about it for some time now. Maybe it was for the best.

"I don't have a car to return myself, Sassenach."

"Oh, don't mess with me, Fraser. You can afford to have a fucking private jet to came and get you."

"We don't do such things, Claire. Not our style. Please, can you stay with me to Lallybroch for a couple of days. I need to tell you a few things."

I nodded in agreement and went to my car. Of course i wanted to be with him. But i knew, i was about to sail in uncharted waters.

Lallybroch, was the Frasers home, for many generations. I could see the pride in his eyes as he talked to me about the landscape, the house, the distillery, the stables. He was almost... happy. I hated to bring him back to our reality.

"Did you...ah, mend things with your father? I don't wish to be indiscreet, so, don't answer if you don't want to."

"We made some progress, yes, but only time could tell."

"I'm happy for both of you, Jamie."

" Today, we spoke to each other after ten years. Ten years without a single word. Can ye imagine?"

 

"That was the reason Jenny didn't let you in? She blames you for your father's condition?"

"More or less. He was the one who told her to finally allow me in his room."

"Jamie, what the hell happened between you two?"

"Long story, Sassenach. But with yer driving, we have plenty of time."

Cheeky bastard. I couldn't stop myself laughing, though, and to his surprise i increased the speed. Somewhere for the west, the storm broke and we could see a shy sun.

 

"Frasers are stubborn. All of us. My father built the distillery after his marriage with Ma and the business was growing with each passing day. It was my brother Willie who supported to take over but he died very young, so it was me. It has to be me. The only remaining Fraser after my father."

"But Jenny..?" I asked .

"Jenny is a woman. Don't get me wrong. I don't underestimate women,far from it but, ye see, she's Jenny Murray now and her bairns are Murrays also . My father and Ian work miracles together but he never forgive me for becoming a doctor and didn't take over the distillery. Me, the only male Fraser.
I was six when Willie died from complications of the flu, because Broch Mondra ,the nearest village had no doctor. I was six when i swore in Willie's grave to become a doctor some day and give to sick children the opportunity he didn't have."

 

"I think he's proud of you. Your father, i mean"

"Perhaps, Sassenach. But too stubborn to admit it."

"May i ask now, why Jenny hates me so much?"

" She doesn't. If she really hated you, you would probably have some broken bones, by now. I was under her protection after my mother died. She loves me fiercely and no woman is good enough for her little brother. I already feel sorry about her future daughter in law..."

"But, you and i.... We aren't..." I couldn't find the right words, so i stopped before it was too late.

He just looked at me and i saw the blue of his eyes getting darker.

"Eyes on the road, Sassenach.." he told me "Lallybro-ch is right down the hill."

 

The house was spectacular, huge and old but some- how, it looked like a real home.

"It's beautiful." I said in awe.

"Aye. We ..my family likes to live simply, here in the Highlands. Let's go inside, it's getting rather cold."

Jamie knocked the door and in a few seconds an old and slender woman opened it.

"Jamie, lad? It's really ye? "

" Aye. Good to see ye, Mrs Crook." and he took the poor woman in a bear hug. "Sassenach, meet Mr Crook our housekeeper and the best cook in Scotland. This is Claire Beauchamp..."

"Ah, the nurse! Aye, Miss Jenny called earlier and told me to prepare yer room, lad, and the small guest room on first floor for yer nurse."

Jamie seemed annoyed.

"No, Mr Crook. Please, prepare the big room next to mine." Said firmly. "Let's get inside, Claire."

"Oh no, lad. Not ye. Let the lass come in first."

"So, we are...?"

"Aye. Now come in,lass."

I followed Mr Crook, having no idea of what was all about.
"Tis the first footing,ye ken."

"The what?" I asked mildly annoyed. Jamie smiled at that.

"Yer truly a Sassenach, aren't ye?. First footing is an important tradition for us. The first man who will pass yer threshold the first day of the year. A man with red hair is bad luck. We prefer a tall healthy man with black hair. My father used to do it, every year..."

At first, thinking why his father didn't do it this year, was sad but after a while, he started laughing.

"What a great first footing i was for yer house, Sassenach.."

" You didn't cross my threshold. I dragged you in, so it doesn't count."

 

We ate the delicious soup Mr Crook made for us and went to my room, claiming i was very tired and i needed some sleep. I took a shower and i wore my pajamas. The fireplace was on and the room quite warm. The flames lit up the old furniture and the marvelous wallpaper that covered the walls. There,in the old and unfamiliar house with spirits for the past hunting every corner of it and with an unknown future ahead of me, for the first time in my life i felt safe.
A weak knocking on my door ,took me out of my dream world. I knew it was Jamie and i put on my robe before i opened the door.

"Sassenach, are you sleeping? Do i bother ye,lass?"

"No. Just relaxing. It's so peaceful in here. What can i do for you? Are you feeling ill?"

"No, I'm fine. I wondered,though, if ye want to have a dram with me." And he showed me the bottle of whisky and the two glasses he was holding behind his back.

"How did you manage to knock the door?" I laughed and stepped aside so he could get in the room.

"With my head. Hard as rock,ye ken."

"Well, I have the reputation of drinking a dram or two but it's not safe for you to drink. We went through hell,Joe and me, last night."

"Sorry about that, Claire. I 'll have just one dram and ye can drink the rest and he handed me the bottle of a 12 years old Leoch. "If anything happens to me, ye can fix me, nurse Beauchamp."

"And if something happens to me after a whole bottle of whisky, who's gonna fix me,Dr Fraser?

He just smiled at that, placed the pillows from the sofa next to the fireplace and invited me to seat with him. He poured some whisky in our glasses,then he looked the flames with a dreamy look for some time. He drank some, before he started talking.

"I need to tell ye few things, several actually but i dinna ken how to start..."

He told me everything, then. About what Grand forced him to do, about this ridiculous agreement with Geneva, about the contract to never talk to anyone about it.

I was shocked, for sure, but also very angry with that spoiled girl who thought she could do whatever she likes.

 

"Jamie, that makes no sense. Your family has plenty of money. The can build a brand new hospital if they like and you can send Geneva straight to hell."

"Aye, but my father didn't want anything to do with me and the place i work. He gives huge amount of money to charities, all people around here work at the distillery and yet, not a penny to the place that deprived him of the successor he wanted."

"Wait a minute, are you feeling guilty because you can't secure the donation from your family? Is that it? Christ, Jamie. It's not everything your responsibility."

" Half of the staff, Claire! We dinna had the time to find other sponsors or to thing of anything else. People with families and children who live with the hospital payment. I couldn't say no..."

"But, Jamie, the magazines write you are together."

"No, we're not. It's Geneva's doing. Seems good for her public profile to be with a doctor like me. But i assure ye Claire. We are not together, nor she's the woman i want."

I felt i was on fire and absolutely terrified.

"That's what i was coming to tell ye, last night. After ye... left, i went to her house. She wanted me to take her to a party but she changed her mind and told me to leave. I was at yer door just after midnight but ye weren't there. After that, i don't remember a thing, till i woke in yer bed."

"To tell me what, Jamie? " My voice barely a whisper.

"That, ye are the lass i want."

He touched my face so delicately and slowly,oh God so slowly,came closer.

"I would very much like to kiss ye. May i ?" His voice hoarse and his breath hot.

"Yes" i whispered and then his lips touched mine.

He left after some romantic and then some more passionate kisses, claiming he had work to do in the morning and he wouldn't be able to stop if we continued our activities.

I was in heaven, or even higher but i was glad he left. I had a lot to process, so i had to do it with clear head and i could get drunk by his presence alone.

My phone vibrated. I thought it was Jamie and i smiled stupidly. But when I looked at the screen i saw It was a text message from Joe.

"Lady Jane, call me ASAP. I have the results. Jamie is poisoned."

 

 

......To be continued

Chapter Text

"What are you saying,Joe? Is someone trying to kill Jamie?"

" I can't be sure, Lady Jane. The amount of Digitalis in his blood was enough to cause all his symptoms but not enough to kill him. At least, not immediately. As far as I know, he could have fained earlier, while driving and die in a car accident.

I couldn't speak. Or think,or even breathe properly. I knew, I needed to process what Joe just said. Someone was trying to harm Jamie and my mind was in panic. Who? Why?

Instinctively, i started bringing names and faces to my mind and putting them in lists like a bloody detective. Less or more suspects.

Laoghaire? She had reasons but not access in his life. Perhaps someone else did the job for her.

Geneva? She had the access but not obvious reasons.

Frank? Yes, my jealous and possessive ex-husband who had problems accepting our divorce. I haven't heard from him for a long time, nor he could know my feelings for Jamie.

"LJ, are you still there, or I'm talking to myself?"

"I'm here,Joe. I'm thinking about who might want to get rid of him."

"That's the thing, honey. Whoever did that, doesn't want to kill him. There are simpler and undetectable ways to do it. The one who did it, has more vile motives or something we aren't capable of thinking, at the moment. And there is always the possibility of taking the drug by mistake." Said Joe, trying to calm my nerves.

 

"You remember what Pr. Jones, from the labs, used to say? First time is by accident, second by coincidence and third on purpose."

 

I couldn't sleep. My first thought , after Joe wished me goodnight and for the tenth time told me to stay calm and focused for Jamie's sake, was to run in his room and asked him who the hell was his murder level enemy. Just before i touch the handle i stopped and returned to the sleepless torture of my bed.

"Oh, stop it Beauchamp. He needs rest. He is safe here."

At least,i thought he was.

 

After endless hours of insomnia, turning and twisting between the sheets, finally, a new day came and i forced myself to get off the bed. From the east a cold sun rised and an eerie mist covered everything around Lallybroch. I could already feel the cold and the humidity piercing my body.

I was a mess of tangled hair, a pair of black bags under my eyes along with dry and pale skin. Nothing i could do for that mess, so i took something comfortable to wear for my travel bag and headed to the kitchen.
Mrs Crook greeted me kindly and even though a cup of steemy tea was more suitable for that cold day, my sleepless body was craving strong coffee. I had that and a toast, hearing the older woman's chatter. A pleasurable distraction, for sure. After Mrs Crook confirmed to me that Jamie had gone out dressed warmly and having eaten a good breakfast, i returned to my room to call Geillis. She could provide a kind of support that Joe, my oldest friend in this world, being a man, couldn't. I didn't want to talk about the poisoning to anyone else before i talk to Jamie but i wanted to share my other news with her.

 

"Awww... Claire, love, I'm so happy for you. Don't worry, Brian Fraser is tough and his son even worst. God have mercy on your soul, sweetheart."

"You're ridiculous, you know that, don't you?" She made me laugh and it was what I needed to calm my nerves.

"And you still love me." Geillis answered mockingly.

"Always. Now, tell me, was our simultaneous absence suspicious? Did someone ask about us?"

"A few. Only Tom seemed surprised but eventually got the impression that Jamie returned to his home town because of his father's illness and you are in Oxford to settle your divorce."

"I need an elegant and polite way to cut him off. Even if my story with Jamie goes nowhere, i can't see myself with Tom."

"I think, you left the matter with Tom going further than you should have."

 

"And who's to blame for that? Who forced me to have personal life?"

" Ok! I'm guilty!We can kill me,if it pleases ye."

" Geillis, i need a favour. Keep your eyes and ears open. I want to know if anyone is coming for Jamie or asking too many questions. I'll explain when I come back."

"Ok....i will do that..." She said surprised but without asking anything else.

 

I was making the bed when i heard a knock on my door and a fresh from shower Jamie Fraser came in. His hair still damp and his eyes shining, he looked so adorable and made me wonder who ,on earth, wanted to hurt him.

He came to me slowly, almost embarrassed. He was looking at me as he were looking for confirmation or permission for what he wanted to do. I smiled at him and it was as affirmed as he needed to hug me and kiss me tenderly.

"God,i missed ye. I couldn't sleep knowing that you are few metres away from me and the taste of yer lips."

"I couldn't sleep, either." I touched his cheek and felt the warmth of his body.

"Ye were thinking of me,too ? Asked me in a big Kazanova style. I was glad that my next words wiped that look of his face.

"Not exactly." And i left his embrace. "We need to talk.."

 

I could see the wrinkles of concern between his eyebrows and the stiffness of his body. He didn't say a word for a long time. He was just looking at an invisible spot on the floor, as if all the answers he needed were there.

"Jamie, please, say something. You're scaring me."

"What to say, Sassenach? Ye don't learn every day that someone is trying to kill ye." He sounded devastated.

" Please, think. Who might want to do such a thing? Geneva was the last person you saw before you lost consciousness. Is there any chance she..."

"I....i don't know. I don't think so. When I went to her house, she was getting ready for that damn party she wanted to escort her. She told me to have a drink if i wanted to. I can't remember if i drank a single sip of my whisky or not, before she stormed out of her bedroom announcing she didn't want me there any more and asked me to leave."

"Oh,God. It doesn't make any sense. What you think we should do?"

" No,it doesn't. For now, all i want is to go to Inverness to see my father." He told me and straightened his body. "I can kill the bastard when we get back to Glasgow. Now, come!"

"Bloody stubborn Scot."

 

The weather changes in Scotland is a well-known anecdote. Neither of us was really surprised when, right before Inverness,a massive storm hit the area. We run as fast as we could from the parking lot to the Hospital but it was proven pointless. We were soaked to the bone the both of us in record time.

Brian was a lot better. He was reading his newspaper when we entered the room. He smiled seeing us and i could see he was in good mood. No sign of Jenny or Ian and i was glad. I didn't have the courage to confront Jamie's sister and her insults. I was about to excuse myself and leave the Frasers alone when i sneezed badly.

"Oh, look at ye both. Lad, take Claire to the loft before she died of pneumonia. I won't let ye drive back to Lallybroch in this weather. Stay there for the night and i don't take a no for answer." He raised his voice when Jamie tried to protest. "I will call Mrs Bird."

 

"Mr Fraser, we are not going to leave you alone for the night." I said before i start to cough.

"Alone, she says. The nurses going in and out every ten minutes. They don't let me even fart in private. I told Jenny and Ian to stay where they are,too. I'll be fine. Now, go the both of ye."

When we closed Brian's door behind us, i saw that Jamie's cheeks were red.

"My father owns a small loft here in town. He and Ian use it when they are here for business. It's not much, ye ken. A room, a tiny kitchen and a bathroom, so, if ye want, i can book ye a hotel room or i can go to a hotel myself. I guess, my father thinks that ye and i are..."

"What, Jamie?" Asked him and with my hand i lifted his face to look at me.

"More than what we are..."

Seeing him so shy made me bold. Bolder than i ever was.

"And you want us to be more?"

"Oh,God, yes..." His voice unrecognisable.

I turned my back and walk few metres towards the exit. Then, i stopped an looked at him over my shoulder. He looked like a wild animal ready to attack, a predator after his prey.

"Are you coming, soldier?"

 

 

......

Chapter Text

When,finally, your wildest dream comes true you feel terror and an imperceptible sadness instead of pure joy as you should. An emptiness...

You no longer have an unfulfilled dream to keep you sleepless at nights and you're terrified that may not be what you heart yearned for so long.

So, I was absolutely terrified while still soaked and shivering, despite my old car's efforts to warm me up, i followed Jamie through the door of the tiny apartment. He was silent while i was driving in the flooded streets of Glasgow, just nervously tapping his fingers on his thigh. All my boldness disappeared as i was about to fulfill my dream.

A week or so after i started working in the clinic, still trying to get acclimated to my new job, having no clue about children after I was trained as ER and OR nurse, my supervisor asked me to go to the chief doctor's office to sign the staff shift program. A chore for the new nurse, i assume.

He said a bored "come in" when I knocked his door and never looked up from the article he was reading as i asked him to sign the program. He didn't see me. But i saw him and it was as if i was seeing for the first time. As if all my senses working for the first time. The sound of his voice flooded my ears, so deep and masculine. His smell got me drunk, earthy and ethereal at the same time and when I passed the papers to sign and accidentally his fingers touched my hand,i felt every cell of my body coming alive for the first time. Inside i was screaming "I'm here. Look at me" but from my lips no sound came out.

From that moment he was in my dreams every night. His hands touching me and his hot breath traveling for my neck to my whole body. Sometimes i woke up in the middle of the night from the intensity of the dream, breathless screaming his name, so much that I was blushing with shame if it happened to see him during the day.

I tried to give some sense on what was happening to me, thinking that it was probably because it's been so long since I've felt a man's touch. Many months before my divorce, actually. But even in my marriage, Frank was a selfish lover, dedicated to his own pleasure and i was ashamed of how many times i had to touch myself and find the release i needed.

Jamie had a bad reputation. I new all the gossip,of course. I didn't had a choice to the matter, because everyone was talking about him. Every time the staff decided to have a drink in the pub and he turned down the invitation, someone would say that probably Fraser had some bimbo waiting for him. And whenever he accepted the invitation he was distant and very serious, not flirting with anyone, so they were saying that doctors and nurses were not good enough for him and he aimed higher. So, no one was surprised when Geneva Dunsany appeared by his side.

 

"Come in,lass. It's not much but it's warm and cozy. Let me find us something dry to wear. I know, Ian is keeping some clothes here. In the mid time, go take a shower. It will help ye get warm. I'll make some tea and find something to eat..." He was nervous and it was obvious by his chatter.

The fireplace was on, Mrs Bird's doing,i assumed and the small apartment was indeed warm and cozy. I swallow the huge ice cube i had in my throat and took the bath robe he gave me.

"Sorry. Those are the only decent pieces of clothing i found. Our other choice is Ian's dirty t-shirts."

He was right, though. The hot water travelled to my frozen body, warming me up immediately and at some point i managed to relax and calm my nerves a bit. There and then, i deside that even if Jamie was the heartless man everyone said he was, i will keep everything between us in "only sex" level. I'm pretty sure I heard my heart laughing at me.

"Some pasta and a can of tuna, I'm afraid. We can order a pizza if ye like." He said when he heard the bathroom door opening.

"Cruel whether for delivery, don't you think? Past and tuna is fine."

I took the cup of steamy tea he offered me with a sweet smile and stood before the fire. Outside, the storm getting stronger as the time went by.

"Make yeshelf comfortable while I'm having a shower, then we can eat." And he hurried to the bathroom.

Ten minutes later, he found me exactly where he left me, looking the insatiable orange and red flames. He came behind me and touched my elbow. I shocked as if was hit by electricity.

"Easy, lass. Tis me."

"Sorry. I guess i was distracted and i didn't hear you coming." I apologized.

"No need to be scared, Sassenach."

"I'm not.."

"Ye're squeamish like a young foal." He smiled seeing me annoyed. " We don't have to..."

"What?" I whispered

"I mean, i have no expectations, ye ken. If you don't want to..."
I found his blushing adorable.

"What do you want, Jamie?"

Instead of answering my question, he took my hand and placed it on his chest, over his heart. Oh, God! Was beating fast.

"Can't you feel what ye're doing to me,lass?"

" Am I dreaming, Jamie? Are you really here with me, craving my touch?" I said breathless.

"If ye're dreaming, then so am i. I want to kiss ye, Claire. May i?"

"Yes .."

The moment our lips touched, a big thunder made the windows to crackle and the electricity went off. Both surprised, we started laughing. I broke our embrace and i went to the window.

"It seems like a black-out. The entire city is in the dark."

"Aye. That means it could take hours to be fixed. Come. The fireplace will keep us warm, Sassenach."

When i turned to him i saw he spread several blankets for the bed on the carpet before the fire and some pillows.

I put a brave face and i went close to him. My heart, though, was about to burst. Even when i felt his warm hands on my face and his soft lips on mine, kissing me with piety and tenderness, like i wad the most precious and rare flower, i still felt like I was dreaming and i was going to wake up alone in my empty bed.

We were both naked under our bath robes. Our clothes wad in the dryer. Jamie touched the knot that kept my robe tightly closed. He was nervous and impatient and his trembling fingers were incapable to loose a simple knot,so, i touched his hands smiling.

"Sorry, I'm a bit out of practice. It's been a while since I've...."

Was he serious or he was saying what i wanted to hear?Dr "Big Kazanova" Fraser, hadn't had sex for long time?

"Well,i beat you anyway. It's been more than two years for me.."

(Oh,fuck! Did I said that loud? Great job, Beauchamp! Now he will think you're a boring spinster)

He didn't respond, because he seemed distracted from my naked body. He finally opened the knot and slowly pushed my robe from my shoulders, looking at me in pure adoration. Being exposed made me feel nervous and vulnerable and i tried to cover myself.

"No, dinna do that. Ye're so beautiful."

Feeling a little more brave, i took his bath robe off leaving him in all his naked glory. I've seen him almost naked in my house and i knew he had a body similar to a Greek statue but seeing the effect i had in his body was the most arousing sight of my life. Simply, he was magnificent.

I closed my eyes when he gently lay my on the furry blanket and i was waiting for his body to cover mine. Instead of that,i opened my eyes and saw him panicked.

"Shit. I don't... I'm so sorry."

Now it was my turn to panic. Did he regretted already?

"I don't have any sort of... protection."

Funny. If someone asked my before i could swear that Jamie Fraser had a packet of condoms in his pocket all the time. Apparently I was wrong. Then i remembered.

"Oh, hand me my bag, please."

He stretched his long arm to caught my bag from the chair and gave it to me. I was searching in the chaos for a whole minute before i found them. Two square foil packages writing "free sample" on them.

"A volunteer gave them to me yesterday at the hospital. Strawberry or pineapple?"

Jamie started laughing with all he had and so was i .

"Ye're adorable,ye know that?"

The laugh loosened some of our anxiety but the fire between only growth stronger with each passing second. His presence alone was more than enough to burn me alive. He caressed my skin and kissed me in places I've never been kissed before.

He took his time. I could feel he was eager to have me but he tried to keep himself in control to give me pleasure. Me, on the other hand was impatient.

"Jamie, please. I need you..."

I'll never forget the moment our bodies became one for the first time. His breath caught in his throat and his body tensed. He opened his eyes and looked deep in to mine as he gently pushed himself in to my body. I could see his soul that moment as he could see mine.

He started moving, then and i met every move with my own. With each passing moment the volcano of passion and absolute happiness we created,was about to explode. And it did, leaving us breathless and in heaven.

Both spend and happy, we cuddled together without taking, simply enjoying being with each other. Jamie lightly caressed my arms and placed small kissed on my forehead. We could stay there forever if it wasn't my stupid stomach and it's loud protest. Jamie looked at me with concern.

" Sassenach, please forgive me. I only thought of my hunger for you and i left you starving. Dinna move. I'll be right back."

He didn't bother to wear his robe -not that I'm complaining- and put some more logs in the fire. A minute later he returned to our furry shelter with two bowls of pasta. It was delicious.

" How did you manage that miracle with only two ingredients? I'm not much of a cook..."

"No bother. I'm! And it was three ingredients. I found some sun-dried tomatoes" ,said smiling. The flames made his skin glow and every muscle visible.

We ate our food as we ate each other with our eyes. When it was unbearable to stay away any longer, Jamie put out bowls aside and he took me in his lap for a passionate kiss that almost made my heart stop.

"I knew i would love the strawberry. Now, i want to try some pineapple..."

Chapter Text

In the dead of the night, in my dreamy state of mind, i could swear i 've heard Jamie's whispers in my ear, in a language i didn't understand and yet, i felt safe and loved.
But when the first light of the day killed the dark night, i woke alone in our furry bed on the floor and my dream-keeper was nowhere to be seen. I panicked and for a moment, i forgot how to breathe.

At some point, long after we had slept in each others arms, the electricity was back on, so i could tell the huge Scott, wasn't in the tiny apartment.

"His apartment, for God's sake. Calm down, Beauchamp. He doesn't sneak out like a thief from his own house." I said to myself, infrond the bathroom mirror, loud enough to convince him.

His bathrobe was still abandoned somewhere in the room but his clothes were missing while mine were neatly folded on the bathroom counter.

Prior to dealing with Jamie's absence, more practical issues were priorities. I had to empty my bladder before it burst, my teeth needed brushing and of course,a shower. I had done all and in that order when I heard the door open.

Jamie came in, slightly wet, carrying a paper bag and two cups of coffee. He smiled and came closer to kiss me like he had done it a thousand times before, like it was the most natural thing in the world.

"Good morning, Sassenach. I brought breakfast." Then he smelled my still wet hair. " I'm sure, Ian's shampoo never smelled so good on him."

I smiled and the knot in my stomach started to loosen.

"Thank you. I need food and definitely a coffee, right now. How's the weather outside?" I asked, trying to keep a light conversation over breakfast. In the dark i was sure. In the daylight i felt extremely nervous about the state of our relationship.

He murmured something about drizzling lightly before he looked me in the eyes.

"Claire,i have work to do, back in Lallybroch. So, after visiting my father, perhaps we should...ye know. But..."

"Oh, yes. Yes, of course." I hurried to answer trying to avoid his gaze. He must sensed my disappointment because he took my hand in his and brought it to his lips. He kissed the inside of my palm and i felt my lower belly tighten.

"But, what i want is to stay here, with ye. To have ye all for myself, there on our bed on the floor, with the light of fire making your naked body glowing, only for me."

How could I ever respond to something like that? Words failed me, so i stayed silent. The lack of response made him nervous. I could tell, because he started tapping his fingers on his thigh, again.

"Claire,is something amiss? Ye look a bit distant and ... well i..?

"Out with it." I said calmly.

"Have ye regret what happened between us?"

"Have you?"

"No! Never!" He almost screamed. " Lass, i know what people saying about me, but I assure ye, nothing is true. When I was younger i was more adventurous but the incident with Laoghaire made me understand what that kind of life could cause. I broke up with my girlfriend, six months ago and i was alone until..."

For some sadistic reason, seeing him shy and nervous melted away all my fears.

"I don't regret our night, Jamie, but.."

"But ye want to know where we stand with each other,now.."

"That would be nice,yes." I smiled.

"Let's settle things here and when we return to Glasgow, i want to take you out in a proper date. Not like New year's Eve."

"Oh, was that a date? I wasn't aware, Fraser."

" Aye, it was...In my mind. I didn't have the guts to ask ye, after what happened at the Christmas party."

This conversation brought back unpleasant memories and our imminent return to Glasgow, the hair-raising fact of Jamie's poisoning.

 

We had a hot make-out session -with Jamie wishing i had more "fruits" in my bag- before we clean the apartment and closed the door behind us. The situation in Glasgow was in my mind so i asked about it in our way to the hospital.

"I 'll go to the police, when we go back. I promise, Sassenach. Now, can we enjoy our time here? Together?"

I smiled and nodded "yes". After all, i would like nothing more.

 

Brian was scheduled to be free from the hospital,later that day and Jamie was over the moon with the news and so was our patient.We headed to Lallybroch first because of the remaining work at the distillery. Jamie left the house with strict orders to Mrs Crook to move my things in his room. His "orders" to me was to relax and get some sleep because he was planning to keep me awake all night.

I must have slept on his bed because the next thing i 've heard was Jamie and Jenny yelling outside the room.

"So, brother, are ye... official now?"

" None of yer business,Jannet."

"We have her in yer room, under our father's roof. Where are yer manners? No one is sleeping in the same room in this house before marriage,ye ken it well."

"Da knows. He suggested it, sister. Now, mind yer own business and leave us be."

"How do ye ken, she's not after yer money, Jamie?" She asked in a devilish voice. "All the others were.."

"Just because ye have found yer man before our company became that big, i can't find happiness nowhere? I'm convicted to be alone out of fear for our fortune? "

That desperate statement from Jamie, stopped Jenny somehow and her voice calmed a little.

"I ken it's hard, brother, but ye have to be careful with people. Mary..."

"Mary was yer choice, not mine. Thank God,we both realize our relationship was a dead end and we broke up."

"Laoghaire..." Tried Jenny.

" Dinna speak to me her name again. Nor talk low about Claire. Ye don't even know her."

"And ye have? How long ye know her? Five minutes?"

I had enough. I wore my robe, i straightened my body and opened the door. She didn't look surprised at all,as if she was waiting my appearance.

"Your father, the one you say you love like your own life, is in the end of this corridor and he can hear you arguing about me while what he needs is rest and a calm environment. So, you can do me a favour and shut the fuck up, the both of you.
As for my relationship with your brother is none of your business. He is old enough to make his own choices and his own mistakes. And for the record, I don't give a damn about your money and i don't want a single penny from your fucking fortune. Am i clear? "

By the time i stopped to catch my breath, i was nose to nose with Jenny. Me furious, she with a blank face until she broke in a huge smile and left for her room saying " oh, brother, she will do just fine. Sleep well and don't make.. noise. The bairns are sleeping"

Jamie breath out heavily and started laughing , same as Ian who came up from the stairs that moment. I wad still furious, though.

"Good night ye two." He said and he went by to his room.

"Come, Sassenach.And try not to make any of yer wee noises." He received a smack on his forearm for that and we closed the door of our room.

 

Somewhere in Glasgow.

 

"You destroyed our plan. You know what this means?"

" I stopped him when you told me you already gave him a dose. After all, you 'll be happy if he dies."

"Perhaps, but you won't. Am i wrong, darling?"

"Oh,shut up."

"And for your information, i prefer Fraser alive to see him suffer."

"You're sadist."

"It takes one to know one, hon."

"What the hell we will do, now?"

"Plan B."

"I don't like it, you know that."

"He is doomed, either way. At least, his death will be useful."

"You know the risks, don't you?"

"Of course. And you know what you should do."

"Yes."

"All right, then. In a month. We running out of time."

"I know. "

Chapter Text

" Sassenach we are late. Please hurry up, mo chridhe."

My Scot waited for me in my living room. Our living room.The almost four weeks since we left Lallybroch behind and returned to Glasgow pasted in pure joy.
To be honest, deep inside... perhaps, i wanted Jamie to be proven a cruel and heartless man, simply because this was the only type of men i could cope. The only type of men i could have. I was prepared our time together to be just lust, sex and nothing more.

What i wasn't prepared for, was for him to be so sweet and loving and passionate and tender. A man who abandoned his modern apartment for my little cottage because "it felt more like home".
He took care of me in every possible way, day and night. In other words, i was happy my closest neighbours were hundred metres away from my house and couldn't hear me screaming his name every night.

 

At Hospital we were playing the strangers, trying to be as professional as possible. After all, the last thing I wanted was to attract gossip and threats from his huge "fan club". When the working hours were over it was an endless back and forth between date nights and passionate lovemaking in his house or mine.

Few days ago, though, a cold night and with couple of drinks in his system i suggested for him to stay with me. I couldn't let him drive through icy roads to the other side of the city. He was more than happy to oblige and he never left.

By some miracle, we got rid of Geneva Dunsany. She was soon to be married with Earl Ellesmere and with few words in a text message, she released Jamie for his obligation, saying she will do her part anyway. We were both so relieved, well mostly Jamie who seemed to hold the Earth on his shoulders.

Even our mysterious killer left us alone. Jamie as he promised, went to the police soon after our arrival in Glasgow. He didn't eat or drink anything in the Hospital and tested every 4-5 days. Everything was good. So much, we thought the whole poisoning thing was just an accident.

 

I was excited for his reaction to my long silky red dress with the totally exposed back, my loose curls and my red lipstick. I wasn't much for dressing up, normally but I wanted him to see the woman in me.
I was the one, though, who when i saw him i couldn't take a proper breath. My tall redheaded Scot, my Highlander, in full regalia. Oh, boy... How was i supposed to keep my hands of him?

It was Joe and Gail's wedding that night. I was one of the bridesmaids and Jamie just a guest with Geillis serving as his date ,so we can seat next to each other at the reception. Thank God, Tom was in a medical convention in New York and i wasn't in need of some lame excuse in case he would asked me to be my plus one. I hadn't found the chance to put an end to his flirtation, something i could see, made Jamie uncomfortable but always a gentleman, hadn't mentioned anything.

 

The breathtaking kiss i received when I asked him how did i looked was enough to make me understand his appreciation and we left from our house holding hands. One more stop to take Geillis from her house and then, we were going to celebrate love.

It was a beautiful wedding, simple and elegant as were Joe and Gail. The reception was marvelous with plenty of delicious food and drink and we all enjoyed ourselves. At some point the bride asked our help to change in something more comfortable than the stunning satin wedding dress she was wearing. The plan was to leave for their honeymoon immediately. I left to fulfill my duties as bridesmaid along with Geillis and i left my two beloved men savouring a glass of whisky.

 

JAMIE

 

The most extraordinary thing about Claire was that she was totally unaware of her beauty and the effect she had on all men.
The women i knew before were constantly trying very hard to be impressive, sometimes too hard. But Claire had me wrapped around her little finger with sneakers and old jeans, with wild hair and flushed cheeks. With her smile...
That night was a vision. The most sexy woman I've ever seen and i was like a mad man with the need to touch her, claim her as mine. It was the only thing I had in my mind, all night. I didn't even heard anything of what Joe said, until he nudged me.

"Hey, Fraser? Have you heard a single word of what I said,man?"

"Sorry, Joe. I was thinking of... something." I answered ashamed and drank some of the 12 years old single malt he offered me.

"Well, i bet my wadding night i know what it is.. And that's exactly what I want to talk to you about."

"About Claire? Are ye going to threaten me, aren't ye? In case i mistreat her.."

" Yeah. That too. " He said laughing but suddenly he became more serious. "I know it's not my place -i 'll blame the whisky- but i also know my friend and I'm sure she hasn't told you about her past."

"She told me she was married before and about the divorce a year ago."

"Just the basic, then. Like i said,i know her. It's not she's not trust you, or something. If it makes you feel better, i only know what happened to her, coz i was there. Otherwise, probably i would never knew. "

"You're scaring me, man. What the hell happened to her?"

Joe came closer in order to keep our conversation as private as possible and we didn't have much time.

"I suppose you know about her parents' accident and their death when she was five years old and about her uncle Lamb, who took care of her afterwards."

"Yes, she told me..."

"Well, Lamp was an archaeologist without much of a fortune. And the only thing Claire had was her parents' house but not until she turned eighteen. Until then, they lived with Lamp's salary from the University of Oxford -he was teaching there occasionally.


Claire would become a doctor, you know. That's how we met, in our first year of Medical school. She was far too smart and graduated from high school early. She attended nursing school ,so she could work and finance her dream. In the age of nineteen she was working full time as nurse and was accepted in Oxford medical school. 

 Then,Lamp died after a heart attack and left Claire alone. Months later she met Frank Randall, an assistant History professor and almost a decade older than her. She thought she found the love of her life and he found the ideal wife for a professor to be. A young maid with no family who he could shape as he wished. 

Long story short, just a nurse would be acceptable for a wife and he could use her paycheck for his benefit but not a doctor. He needed his wife to be lower than him. I don't know how, but he managed to convince her Lamp left a huge debt and forced her to sell her house and give him all her savings. She could no more afford Medical school, so she abandoned her dream. 

After that, i swear , Claire i knew was gone. Frank, little by little, brainwashed her. It was his decision how she would dress or talk or walk, even what she could eat. Everything was his fucking decision. 

Then he decided he wanted to start a family. He was a respectable professor and he wanted to complete the picture with some children. He forced her into fertility treatment after months passed and she didn't become pregnant. Nothing happened and her allusion it might be problem with his fertility, was answered with a deep cut on her eyebrow and a couple of cracked ribs before he throwing her out of his house. 

She came to me, after many months of isolation, because Frank didn't allowed her having any friends and told me everything. We went to the police and reported domestic violence. Frank was arrested and later we found out he had mistresses- young students, mostly- and of course, Lamp left no debt when he died. Frank used the money for the research that made him professor. It was a double win situation. Using her money his dream become true and she had no money for her dream. She would stay just a nurse, always lower than him."  W

WhenJoe stopped taking ,i was furious. I simply wanted to kill that bastard Randall with my bare hands. No woman deserved something like that and especially not Claire. Not this lovely creature. 

"Now, you know what happened to her and i hope i leave her damaged heart in good hands. You'll have to be patient with her. And, don't hurt her,or else...." Said Joe with cheeks red from drinking. 

"I 'll treat her the way she deserves, i promise mate." I answered honestly. 

"I know, man. I can see my old friend coming back in the surface and I'm grateful to you. Love her and you 'll be loved more than you believe is possible." 

We stopped our conversation because our girls came back smiling. I was looking at my love in pure awe. Knowing how strong she is and what she suffered ,i wanted to hold her and protect her for ever. Claire looked at us confused. 

"And what you were talking about ,you two? " Joe lifted both hands up and said in his weirdest drunken voice. " In my defense, I'm completely pissed..I 'll never drink again,i swear it....." 

CLAIRE

When we entered our house, Jamie was out of control. He kissed me and took me in his arms and into the bedroom. He almost ripped my dress trying to have me naked immediately. He was panting and looked at me like a was holding the last remaining oxygen in this world. 

"I want ye. God, i need ye. Please, say you' ll have me, mo chridhe. Say it or i'll die."

"Yes,yes I' ll have you. I want you too, Jamie."I managed to say completely out of breath.  I

 In seconds i was pinned in bed with my legs wide open, his tongue on my clit and his long fingers deep inside me. He showed no mercy and my orgasm was the most powerful i've ever experienced. But he didn't stopped, not until i begged him to take me.

He took off his clothes in record time and he came to meet me in heaven. Just before he entered me he looked me deep in the eyes and he said it. 

"God, i love you Claire. You and only you." 

I don't know if it was the power of his statement or my totally aroused state but i orgasmed in seconds and he didn't stop thrusting like his life depended on it ,until he came deep inside me with a groan. 

" Did i hurt ye, love?" He asked panicked when i remained silent for too long after he covered us both with the quilt and gathered me in his arms. 

"No. It was perfect. But, you know..." 

"What? What is it, mo chridhe? You scare me." 

"Nothing. Just...i love you,too.." He smiled then, like a child before a Christmas tree and gave me the most tender kiss of my life

 

****** 

 

I wasn't there when it happened. Next day was my day off and Jamie had a late shift. His phone rang just before dawn and he left. Some sort of emergency at Hospital ,he said , before he kissed me goodbye. 

I wasn't there, coz if i was nothing would have happened. 

 It's been two days since the incident. Two days since Jamie Fraser, my love, is missing.

Chapter Text

CLAIRE

I thought I had cried all my tears but apparently i was wrong. Every time I believed "this is it, I'm done" ,a new wave of panic and grief swallowed my existence.

Because our relationship was a secret only few people knew, the police didn't bothered me with questions apart from the questions all staff had to answer. But i was a human rag for everyone to see and i can't thank enough my dear friend Geillis who arranged for me to do a ton of paper work isolated in an office away from indiscreet eyes.

I dangerously balanced between my need to find him and protect him with my own life if necessary and to rip his stupid head off because he didn't trusted me enough with all that happened.

 

THREE DAYS BEFORE...

 

Alex MacGregor was a regular in our clinic. He was born with a serious heart disease and he had the first surgery when he was two. After that, his life was an endless back and forth to hospitals and by the age of twelve the only solution for him was a heart transplant.

He was Tom's patient but with his doctor in New York, when he came with high fever, they called Jamie to take over.
The boy suffered a serious tonsillitis and Jamie had to give him strong antibiotics to prevent any bacteria effect his fragile heart.

Alex, though, was allergic to the penicillin Jamie gave him and the anaphylactic shock was massive. For more than an hour they tried to save him but the boy died in Jamie's arms.

Because two nurses testified and said the information about Alex's allergy wasn't in his file and Jamie couldn't know, the police didn't arrest him but ordered blood tests. He was free until the autopsy and the investigation were completed, so he left without a word.

He abandoned his car in the parking and switched off his phone. I looked everywhere i thought he could be. His house was empty but all his clothes were there and i'm pretty sure he never went there to take anything.
The guy in the gym claimed he had days to see him and in my desperation i called Ian and asked him if he knew something, anything about Jamie.

That's why I had a very anxious pregnant woman and her husband in my living room that evening.

"Where is my brother?"

"I wish I knew, Jenny. I swear, i looked everywhere."

"We don't blame ye for anything,lass. Please,tell us what happened." Said Ian trying to remain calm and focused between two desperate women.

I told them everything i knew and started crying again without even noticing. Jenny embraced me and kissed my forehead.

"The damn fool is very lucky to have ye, Claire." And judging by Ian's smile, that sort of affection from her was rare and valuable.

"Jenny, love, ye need rest. We should be going."

"You're going back to Lallybroch?" I asked

" No. We told my father we have some time alone before the baby's arrival and we booked us a room in a hotel near by. Our father has no clue."

 

"You're more than welcome to stay here with me. This house is empty without him and i could use the company. Three can think better than one, you know."

"Aye, is true. Our things are already there but we'll think about it. We 'll see ye tomorrow, Claire." Said Jenny and hugged me. Then,they left and I was alone once again.

When I was married to Frank, i didn't mind the loneliness. On the contrary i was craving some time alone. When I found Jamie, the hole in my heart was finally full and i couldn't stand to be without him. Now, to be alone was terrifying.

I was making myself some chamomile in a desperate attempt to relax a bit, when i heard my door bell. I thought Jenny and Ian change their minds and came back. Instead, when I opened the door a came face to face with a grim man on his fifty's. Well built with heavy beard and deep voice.

"Evening,lass. Detective Murtagh Fitzgibbons. I came to talk about Jamie. May i come in?" I looked his ID and nodded

 

"Y...yes,of course.." i stepped aside and he came in.

"Lass, i don't have much time, so I 'll go straight to the point. Jamie came to me about a month ago and reported an attempt of poisoning. To be honest, he told me everything, including you.
And now, i need yer help - if ye're willing, that is. Are ye?"

"Do you know where is he? Please..." I begged.

" Perhaps.."

"Is he alright?"

"As good as he can be, under the circumstances. Now, will ye help me or not?"

"I 'll do anything for him."

 

"Good.But first i have to tell you something..."

 

To be continued...

Chapter Text

CLAIRE

I left my chamomile in the sink and made two cups of strong coffee. Detective Fitzgibbons' presence in my house meant every attempt of relaxation would be useless.

"Now, let's talk." I said firmly and sat down on my couch opposite him. He drank some coffee and started talking with his deep Scottish accent.

 

"As ye know, lass, Jamie was the Chief Doctor in yer clinic and it means he has some privileges and some responsibilities. Second in the line for the position is Dr Tom Christie."

"I didn't knew it.." i interrupted him.

"Ye do know. "

"Long story short, Christie wanted Jamie's position desperately but he didn't knew the way to get rid of Jamie. It was a matter of honour for him, some kind of personal vendetta. He is older, he considered himself more qualified and smart and he can't stand to be second.
The solution to his problems came with a pair of long legs, brown hair and gray eyes.
What people know about the Dunsany is that he is rich businessman and aristocrat. What they don't know is about his illegal business.
Many years ago he bought some carpet- manufacturing businesses in India, Pakistan, Afghanistan and other places. Perhaps you know they prefer children as workers in this kind of business..."

 

I nodded feeling a wave of nausea in my stomach.

 

"Like it wasn't child labour crime enough, he went even farther.
Have ye any idea how much a human heart costs in black market, Claire? Or to be more specific, a child's heart?"

"What?" I couldn't breathe and i felt dizzy.

"Oh, yeah. Respectable Mr Dunsany has orphanages in every country he do business and doctors for the job. Desperate parents who are willing to pay half a million dollars to save their child and good doctors in wretched countries to provide the salvation for them.
I don't say the compatible "donor" will be found among those children, but from our research ,i know it happened more times than i can bear.
No one is looking for those children and nobody cares what happened to them. Nobody cares if they died of the hard work and mistreatment or on the surgery table."

I couldn't stand to hear more. I was emotionally exhausted but he hasn't finished.

"They find ambitious and immoral doctors in big hospitals and with the exchange of power and money have them playing their game.
Jamie being in this position is also responsible for the transplant list in yer hospital and member of the National Transplant Organisation, but he has ethics and they knew it. Cristie on the other, have not.
The plan was very simple. Geneva took control of his life and along with Tom gave him small doses of Digitalis so he won't be able to fulfill his duties and force Grand to replace him with the second on the line, just like he did, earlier today..."

"Tom Christie."

"Aye, lass. Tom Christie. But with Jamie departure after his father's illness and some blood tests Abernathy run for Jamie, they had to think of something else.
Young Alex, God rest his soul, was on the list because of Tom. But he shouldn't be. He was diagnosed a year ago with blood cancer, so he couldn't be a potential receiver. In other words, Alex was a matter of time to die any way. Tom left but set Jamie as Alex's doctor in his absence and Miss Geneva - she's a computer expert,ye ken - delete the information about Alex's allergy from his file. The kid was sick all the time, so...."

 

I couldn't hear nothing more. I run to the bathroom and emptied my stomach. The thought of Tom being near me and kiss me, for God's sake, made me want to take off my own skin.

 

When I return to my living room, i was white like ghost and i saw a glimpse of sympathy in his face.

 

"You knew all this and you let it happened? A child died and an innocent man feels responsible for it. He may commited suicide from guilt, have you thought of that?
What kind of people are you?"

 

"I keep an eye on Jamie, no need to worry yerself. As for the other, we don't have enough proof to send them to trial. Tom is the small fish in this story and we want to caught the shark."

"Where is Jamie? " I asked furious.

" He is a volunteer in a shelter. He worked there several nights a week as doctor and now he lives there. As i said, i keep an eye on him."

 

" Is he alright?"

"Αye he is..."

Somehow, the knowledge of Jamie is good but prefers to be away from me, on his own, seemed like a knife in my heart. I swallowed my pain, once again and asked Murtagh.

 

"Does he know all this? "

"No. He is stubborn and unforeseen. If he knew, he would probably kill Tom and Geneva with his bare hands. I want them alive, so i will be able to stop the entire thing."

"And what do you want from me?" I sat down because i felt as i was about to collapse.

"We know Tom wants ye. He is totally unaware of you and Jamie, so we want ye to play the woman in love and gain access to his personal files. We need proof to take them down."

 

I told him to leave because I wasn't in place to make any logical decision. Tomorrow morning, i told him he will have his answer.

I stayed awake all night because every time i closed my eyes, innocent children dripping blood, hunting me. Alex MacGregor's pale and sick face was in every corner of my mind and my love for Jamie made things much more complicated.

 

He came back next morning with documents, pictures and taped conversations of Tom and Geneva. I had to admit they were very careful and if i didn't knew, i wouldn't be suspicious of what they said.

By the time i was about to tell him my decision, the door bell rang. I opened the door to Jenny and Ian.

"Good morning, Claire."
Jenny came in but immediately stopped dead on her feet.
"Murtagh, what the hell are ye going here?"

"Sorry, do you know each other?" I asked confused.

 

"Aye, we are. Murtagh is Jamie's godfather." Said Jenny without taking her eyes of Murtagh.

"Is that true?"

" Aye,lass. Let me introduce myself properly. Murtagh Fitzgibbons Fraser. Brian's second cousin and Jamie's godfather."

" You 'll tell me later why you lie to me. First i want to know how the police left you work in this case, being personally involved."

 

"I'm Fitzgibbons in my agency in honour of my mother who was a detective and died in the line of duty. When Jamie came to me a month ago, i run his case and no one though to look about any kind of relationship between us. That's why I didn't told ye either. Now, you made up yer mind,or not?"

I had, difficult as it was. But first, Murtagh had to tell Jenny and Ian about everything because the stubborn Fraser didn't leave him alone. When he left, she took me in a tight embrace.

"Love force ye to choose, Claire. Ye have my blessing." and made the sign of cross on my face.

"We 'll stay with ye for a couple of days, if ye want us."

"Of course, Jenny. Please, make yourself comfortable."

"God bless ye for loving my brother so much."

Chapter Text

JAMIE

Living among these people can heal yer wounds. Helping them makes ye understand - either ye like it,or not- how insignificant are yer own problems, sometimes yer own existence.

I live in the shelter for homeless and addicted people for more than a month,now. And if i want to be honest with myself , I'm doing it for my own selfish reasons. I need something bigger than me and my problems to keep me occupied, to take my mind away from the hospital, away from my patients, away from Alex's ghost, away from Claire. I failed a young boy and the woman i love. How can i possible look her in the eyes, again.

I want her to be proud of me. I don't want her pity. I need to be a man of worth for her and i can't be nothing less.
I killed that poor boy and at some point i have to face the law and if I'm lucky enough the justice from God.

I informed the police about my current accommodation and i waited trying to be useful. I help with cooking and cleaning, i carry supplies, i clean wounds and make stitches non stop until I'm fully exhausted. Only exhaustion can bring me some sleep. 2-3 hours if I'm lucky. Not a single moment,if I'm not.

I miss Claire terribly. I want to lie my head on her breast and cry. I need to feel her delicate hand on my cheek. I know i don't deserve any of it but I'm a weak man and i crave for her love, her touch, her understanding.

It's a pure torture to be away from her. I see her in every corner, i hear her voice and her laugh and my heart is bleeding.
Two days ago, i swear, i saw my bonnie lass smiling to someone i couldn't see, enjoying her tea in a small café.
I wanted to run to her, kiss her senseless, make her smile only for me but i was too coward to do any of it. I just bend my head and left. I convinced myself she wasn't there. That i thought I saw her like so many times before.

As the days went by, i found my routine comfortable and i now I'm doing my job automatically and without a word to anyone. I'm just waiting to face the law. I know jail is my future and I made peace with it. So be it.

But as i said, I'm a weak man. Especially when it comes to Claire.

My steps brought me to her cottage, our home. The plan is to sneak into the garden covered by the black veil of night and look at her sleeping form spread on our bed from the window. Because, coward as i am, i couldn't do it in the daylight. Because i know the moment i see her eyes, I will fight a lost battle.

She liked to keep the small lamp on her nightstand open and the dim light will help me see her. I want this particular image with me for the rest of my life.

I died that moment. The moment i realized, next to Claire, sleeping peacefully in our bed, with his filthy hand on her bare back, was another man.

Chapter Text

JAMIE

I thought I 'll die many times in my life. The day my brother Willie, a hero -my hero - in the eyes of a six-year-old boy, left this world.
The day i had to say goodbye to my mother and her youngest baby.

None of those moments, however, i felt my heart beating no more.
I was mad with grief and pain, hopeless and desperate but, all those feelings kept me alive in a way.

I left Claire's house like a living dead, though. I could only feel the pain in my hand. The hand i had smashed in the wall to make sure i didn't having a nightmare.

She betrayed me. Simple as that.

Perhaps it was fate. A way to pay my depts for all the people i disappointed during the years. All the women i used for my pleasure, all my mistakes.

Suddenly, i saw red. All my emptiness became anger and i wanted to go back, kill the bastard in her bed and then fuck her hard until she finally understand who she belongs to.

I didn't do any of them . I just returned to my empty and cold apartment after so long and cried myself to sleep.

Next morning, for a few seconds, everything was fine. Then i remembered and I wished I was dead. I wanted to stop thinking. I was an emotional rag, floating between pain, deadly anger and my love for her.
I kept listening her messages in my long forgotten phone over and over again. She sounded desperate to know where and how i was and then suddenly she stopped altogether. No more messages, no emails. Nothing.
Her love lasted for a week. Then, obviously she replaced me.
For three days i stayed in my house, crying or smashing things out of range. When i emptied from everything i had, I made my decision. I was going to face justice for my actions , serve my time in prison and then i will be alone for the rest of my life. I gave my heart to Claire and no matter what she did to me, i couldn't love without a heart.

I shaved my beard and took a much-needed shower. I was going to the nearest police station to see why on earth, this stupid investigation gave no results so far. That moment , jail was a very desirable aspect.

My phone rang and for a moment the thought that it might be Claire left me breathless because in her mere thought i couldn't control myself.
It wasn't her, though. It was Ian on the phone and probably he was trying to reach me for some time because i found 4 missed calls.

Fearing that something had happened to my father i answered, only to find out my sister was in labour and i was expected to, as Ian put it "take my lazy arse to the Hospital, here in Glasgow."

I didn't had the time to ask him why they were in Glasgow. I called a taxi, because my car was abandoned somewhere. When i finally arrived to my destination, i had to face another challenge.
Tom Christie's cabrio parked in front of the taxi and the stupid man rushed to open the passenger's door to Claire. Or someone who looked exactly like Claire but with her hair straight , high heels and very tight clothes. She took his hand and together disappeared inside the building.

I had to go to my sister. I had no time for Christie and his whore.
I found Ian in the corridor, outside of the surgery.

"How is she, Ian?" I said to my best friend.

"Fine, Jamie. They are both fine. We have another wee lass" said Ian with a huge smile.

"Congratulations, to both of ye". I hug him, smiling myself.

"Ye,man, look like shit. Where have ye been? We were worried fer ye. And what the devil happened to yer hand?"

I was about to explain when a nurse came near, asking who the father of baby Murray was. Ian, followed her immediately and left me alone.

I felt her presence before I even saw her. She was thinner and pale but still so beautiful, walking with grace like a small gazelle. I had to remind myself who she was now, who was with now, what she have done to me. When she saw me, her breath caught and stopped dead

 

She was five feet away and pale as ghost but too stubborn to leave.

"Jamie..."

Oh, my God! Her voice...my name from her lips.

"Dinna call my name, again." I said without looking at her.

"Jamie,oh my love. I..."

This time i was furious and i couldn't control myself any more. I went near and pushed her to the wall.

"Yer love? Yer love? I don't want to see ye again,do ye hear me? I hate ye! Do ye hear me?Ye can take yer new man and go to hell. Do ye hear me, whore?"

She slapped me hard at that and left without looking back.

 

CLAIRE

I accused Jamie for taking everything too seriously. For making everything his responsibility. When i was forced by the situation to wear his shoes, i knew why he did it.
The cause was bigger than me and everything else, for the matter. I had to stop something bigger than my fears.

Murtagh's plan was to seduce Tom and take information from him or even better the files with all the criminal activity he was part of .

The bloody bastard was in love with me and my job was easier than i thought.

I was sure he kept everything in the thumb drive i saw in a chain around his neck. I could simply knock him unconscious and take it but what if it wasn't that?
I was afraid i had to be more bold with him. I could tell that besides me, neither Jenny, Ian or Murtagh were very fond of the possibility. I simply couldn't stand to be touched by another man. Someone who was not Jamie.

Thank God, Ian came down with another plan and helped me make it real. It was a success and we all waited for the results until it was time for Jenny to give birth.

I couldn't be there for her because i had to be with Tom, neither i mentioned anything to him about it, out of fear it could expose our plan. Last thing we wanted was for him to wonder what was my connection with the sister of his enemy.

I tried hard not to think of Jamie, all these weeks. I was mad at him because he left me without a word. I was dying from concern and sorrow but apparently he didn't mind at all. I called and left a thousand messages without any response.
I put myself and Jamie on hold because my priority was Tom ,the plan and those children. As i said, all that was bigger than me.

Tom wanted me to be like supermodel. He didn't like my curls and my comfortable clothes, so, in order to become his ideal girlfriend i change my look and my behaviour. It was easier to let him touch someone who wasn't me. I still vomited after every kiss, though.

I kept Geillis and Joe away of all this and i could tell they were both very angry with me and my choice to replace Jamie with Tom. I wished i could tell them the truth but i couldn't put the plan in danger. They were my friends and i knew they will understand the reason.

Of course Jamie would be there for his sister. What i 've been thinking? Tom had an early surgery and it was perhaps my only chance to see Jenny and the baby. God willing,all that was supposed to be over by the end of that week and Jenny and Ian were to return to Lallybroch right after the discharge from hospital.

He was much thinner and with dark circles under his eyes. He looked tired and stressed and his right hand was covered with bandages.

I thought my heart was about to burst at the sight of him and my feet were unable to support my body.

That brutal man was not my Jamie. He pushed me to the opposite wall . He called me whore, for God's sake. I slapped him and i wished i had done it twice.

How on earth he find out about Tom? Murtagh promised to keep an eye on him and prevent any stupidity. Apparently, he failed.

 

When the message from Murtagh that the Dunsany were arrested and he was on his way to arrest Tom
finally came,i was on my way home.
That message meant i was free. I packed a few things in a bag and i left. Everything i had was Jamie and he hates me. He told me so.

I locked my front door and i was about to leave Scotland, perhaps for ever.

Chapter Text

JAMIE

"Ye did what?"

Jenny had just gave birth and she supposed to be harmless at that point. Key word : supposed.
Was i afraid of her? Absolutely.

When i finally entered the room and after all the hugs and congratulations she looked at me hopefully and mentioned Claire will be with us shortly.

I snapped at her because the wound was so fresh and raw and it was my mistake. I was known for my ability to hide my emotions but Jenny surprised me.

I wasn't one to sneak away from battles. I was emotionally exhausted, though, so i told her everything. At least, i thought she would understand me because she questioned Claire's intentions from the beginning.

But Jenny screamed on my face something about being a damn fool and every Gaelic curse she knew.
Ian came in the room immediately fearing something happened to his wife.

Out of her mind, she said to him things i couldn't understand but apparently Ian did and he bend his head defeated.

"Jamie, man, come sit and listen closely...."

 

***

 

I couldn't believe my own ears. How it was possible for a human being too do such a thing to another? To children? I felt sick.
That fucking son of a bitch used me along with Geneva and made me part of their game. I felt terrified of how easily i could be in her bed - she tried more than once,ye ken - if Claire hadn't pulled me out of the mud and back to the light, her light.

If it wasn't for Murtagh to tell me every nasty detail and showed me everything he found in Tom's computer, perhaps i would never believe a word of all that.
Jenny send me and her husband to my godfather's house to put some brain in my empty head, as she gracefully placed it.

"The bastard had the thumb drive in a chain around his neck. We couldn't be sure if it was it or not, so we had to drug him and bought the time we needed to read the information by making him believe he spent the night with Claire. We needed to convince him about her feelings so she could have access in his life and secrets in case we need to search some more.
I tell ye man, she's a brave wee thing. She transformed to a fighter and a bonnie one. She was ready to do the unthinkable for you and those children. But she couldn't stand to be touched by him, that much was clear. So, i thought of something else.
Vera unpleasant thing to undress him and put him to bed, unconscious as he was. His cock is like a bean , man. A small one..." Said Ian in total desperation and showed us with his little finger what he was talking about. Murtagh burst into laughter.

Ian gave him a warning looked and continued.
"I took the drive and i gave it to Murtagh. Then i stayed in the cottage, in the spare room all night, keeping an eye on Claire and waiting for the computer technician to finish his work.
Sometime before dawn he came, we put the drive back in place and Tom woke up that morning believing he spent the night with Claire.
She had a very anxious night and i can tell ye, she didn't caught a wink. She was naked in the other side of the bed afraid Tom will wake up, wanting more of what he thought they had done."

I hide my face in my palms and i kept my eyes closed out of shame. Oh, my God. What have I done?

" Yer name is clear, godson. The prosecutor withdrew all the charges against ye. Ye're a free man and back in yer position on the clinic whenever ye choose. All because of Claire." Added Murtagh. "I considered my mistake what happened between ye two because i was moments away from caughting the bastards and i didn't looked after ye as i 've promised her."

"How on God's name ye thought Claire would leave ye for him? I considered ye a reasonable man, Jamie. This woman loves ye above anything else." It was Ian's turn to beat me up.

"Go find her, Jamie. She's yer happiness and she needs ye as much as ye need her."

"I'm afraid i lost her forever. " i answered, truly believing it, my voice unrecognisable even in my own ears.

 

" Then fight, damn ye. Fight with everything ye have , with all yer heart."

"Impossible, Godfather. She took my heart with her ..."

 

CLAIRE

 

The moment i closed the door behind me, i was determined to leave. I didn't know where but as far as possible. I had no relatives or a place to stay. My parents' house was gone because of Frank and honestly I didn't care. The only thing that really mattered was his words. "I hate ye."
Perhaps it was time for me to activate my long forgotten application for the Red Cross. Every war zone of the planet would be better from here.

I pushed my bag in the back seat of my car when another car i didn't recognize was coming closer. It was blocking mine, otherwise i wouldn't care.

I tall and well known figure came out of the driver's door and came closer .

"Claire?"

"Brian, what are you doing here?"

"I came to meet my granddaughter." Said with a proud smile.
Wild horses couldn't keep him away from what he wanted. And he wanted to meet the baby now.

"Where are ye going,lass. Is Jamie here?"

Hearing his name did the trick and my tears started running from my eyes uncontrollable. Brian came even closer and embraced me with fatherly love.

"Let's have a dram and talk. You need it, i recon."

 

He listened. I didn't know what he could understand but he listened. I was aware that he was Jamie's father and probably he will be by his side but I told him anyway. And when i finished i was exhausted but less angry.

"Put yer hand over yer heart, lass and tell me. Do ye love him?" he asked me after a long moment.

"Yes." I answered without hesitation. If i love him or not was never the case.

He was pleased with my answer and he smiled at me before he continued.

"Jamie has a bad temper. Both Frasers and McKenzies do and he has the worst combination of both. But,lass, can ye honestly blame him? He thought you betrayed him and he is in pain. "

"No. Perhaps i would have done the same if the situation was reversed. I'm angry because he didn't trust me enough, because he believed i forgot him so easily, that i don't love him,because he said I'm a whore he hates."

"Those are words, Claire. And words are easy. Ye slapped him,ye said? I wish i was there somewhere to see it. It's been a long time since his last thrashing and he really needed one. So, cheers to ye lass."

 

"Hey, i think you drank too much."

"Nah, whisky is good for the heart as ye well ken it. Have another yerself and perhaps you will find forgiveness in yer heart for my lad."

"I already have, but I'm afraid everything is lost, now." I said in low voice, rolling my glass between my palms. Brian put his warm hand, so much like his son's, over mine.

"Oh,lass. Nothing is truly lost,only changed."

 

Our conversation was balm for my wounds and by the time he returned me home, my mind and my heart was in peace, after so many weeks. He left me with a kiss on my forehead to go and meet baby Murray number 3.

I slept like dead for many hours. During the night started raining, something that brought me more peace. I woke up after dawn and I wanted nothing more than start the fire and snuggle on my couch with a cup of tea.

A surprise with long limbs and auburn hair waited for me in my living room, sleeping peacefully on my much desirable couch.
Always a light sleeper, he sensed my presence and woke up immediately.

"S.. Sassenach? So sorry. I waited outside but then the rain started and i used my key. ..." He apologized panicked.

I didn't speak to him. I went to the kitchen and put some water to boil. Seeing him, brought back unpleasant memories and so many deep feelings. I could see him from where I was, sitting with his head between his hands.
My instinct told me to go to him, take him in my arms but the echo of his voice in my head stirred the knife in my heart. "I hate ye! Do ye hear me,whore?"

I filled two cups with tea and i sat opposite him, in his favourite armchair.

"Why are you here, Jamie? What do you want?

 

To be continued......

Chapter Text

JAMIE

 

What did i want?
To fell on my knees and weep like a child.
To ask for forgiveness. To beg...

What i did, though, was to remain sitting on the couch- the cup of hot tea burning my fingers and my eyes deep into the liquid, as if all the answers were in the bottom of that cup.

I didn't dare to look at her, but i could feel her eyes on me. Those amber eyes i love so much. She was braver than me or she had made up her mind about us and she was in peace. I dinna dare to ask which one was it and i dinna dare to hope.

My Viking blood whispered in my veins i was going to
a battle, to fight and die. But right infrond of me was my life in the form of a beautiful woman, the woman who was my other half, so, the war was already lost.

After some time, i straightened my body and finally looked her in the eyes. I owed it to myself as i owed her, at least an apology for my rudeness and my cruelty.

"Would you ever forgive me, Claire?" My hoarse voice scratching my throat, barely a whisper.

"Jamie, i..."

A soundless sob from her made me leave my cup on the table between us and gather her in my arms.

"Please, mo chridhe, ye're killing me. Please, don't cry."
I kept her close to my body and comforted her in Gaelic as my mother did for me when i was a wee bairn. After a while, she stopped crying and turned to look at me.

"Why, Jamie? Why you left me alone? Why you disappeared without a word. You broke me,you killed me..."
I could only see pain in her eyes and her pain was killing me. I took her precious face in my palms and looked her deep in the eyes.

 

"No! No,my love,dinna cry. Take your sharper knife and take my life. Have mercy on me, because seeing you in such a pain is more than i can bear."

"Then,why you did it, damn you?" She was mad at me now and i swear i preferred that instead of the broken woman who was drawing in pain. Any reaction- even a violent one- was better than none.

"Why? You want to know why? Because I'm a coward. That's why. Because i wanted to be worthy for ye and i couldn't. Because ye deserve a better man, Claire."

"You're not allowed to tell me what i deserve, do you hear me? I'm perfectly capable to make my own decisions. That's why i did what i did. No one forced me to and i don't regret it." She said tightening her chin and those lovely lips. She was a fierce wee thing and a passionate one.

"And what the hell you meant with that bullshit of not being worthy?"

I put some distance between us and i looked away from her once again out of shame. I had to tell her anyway, so it was worthless to wait.

" I was drunk, Claire..."

" Drunk? When? What the hell are you talking about?"

"The morning after Joe's wedding. We had a couple of drinks at the reception and then, here... after ye and i.."

I could feel my cheeks burning just with the thought of that we did that night, our last night together.

" You slept peacefully in my arms afterwards. I couldn't sleep ,though. I had ye in my arms,and ye looked so beautiful.. I was happy, Claire. Oh, God..so happy. Having ye here,all mine...
I took a shower and then i find the bottle of "Leoch" my father gave ye when we left Lallybroch and i had few more drinks, thinking of what a lucky bastard i was.
When they called from the hospital, i thought I was ok but apparently i wasn't. I could save the boy if i was sober..."

"No, you couldn't and you know it. It was a set up, Jamie and you and poor Alex were their victims. And even if you did manage to save him by some miracle, he was convicted to die. His death there and then was their way to get rid of you.
They chose the day after the wedding, our day off. They knew you might drink a bit too much. It was their fucking plan." She raised her voice to prove her point .

"Either way, i..." I tried to tell but apparently she hadn't finished with me.

"And now, it's time to explain how you find out about Tom...and why you treat me the way you did.."she demanded.

"I...i knew prison was my future and the place i deserved to be. I wanted to keep you away from that mess- it was a blessing,ye ken, that nobody knew about us, besides Joe and Geillis.
Ye deserved much better and ye could have it, if i was out of yer life.
But I'm a weak man, Claire. I desperately wanted to see ye, one last time. So, i came here that night and i looked from the window. I couldn't see yer bonnie face but i saw his filthy hand on yer body.
My heart broke that moment and for days i was between an unbearable pain and so much anger, not myself any more.
I know what Frank did to ye, and i did the same or even worst. I know that you may never forgive me but as long as I live, i will pray for ye to find what ye deserve, mo chridhe, even if i don't see ye again."
I didn't realize i was openly crying and honestly I didn't care a bit.

For the first time since i met Claire, her normally glass face was unreadable. I couldn't see anything,not anger, not frustration, or pity. Not love or forgiveness,or even compassion. Nothing...
With her hands tied around her body,just stood there and looked at me for a long moment.

 

CLAIRE

He was nothing like Frank. How could he thinks something like that? Stupid man...
My ex-husband was a manipulative bastard and he never loved me. For him i was an object and a womb -a useless one,as he said-and nothing more.
Jamie, cherished me and loved me in every possible way. In the short time we were together he gave me nothing but love, he gave me all of himself.
He looked exhausted, thinner and tired. He was much worst since our last unpleasant encounter in the hospital. He was beating himself and i knew it, even if the bloody man would never admit it.
Yes, i was pissed- mad even - with his behaviour but I could understand. I told him to stick his promises up to his arse, our first night out, because I was jealous of Geneva and back then we had nothing between us,save my hopeless love for him.
Yes, he needed to calm his temper ,but this passionate fool was the love of my life and he was broken. It was up to me whether i broke him farther, beyond repair or heal him and make him mine again.

"Are you done? Is that all you wanted to say?" I asked

He closed his eyes and whispered "yes". He was calm, now, finally peaceful.
Silently i approached him and put my hand on his chest, over his heart. I felt his strong pulse under my palm and he opened his eyes in surprise.

"Ah,Dhia..mo chridhe.."

"What?" I asked him confused.

He gave me a sad smile.
"My heart, Claire. I couldn't feel it since that night.."

"Oh, Jamie..."
i was unable to say another word because he fell on his knees and laid his head on my chest, holding me tied. I touched his soft curls trying to comfort him and his body relaxed for the first time in a long time.

Chapter Text

JAMIE

 

She let me touch her. Her body opened to accept me and protect me and a beautiful feeling of completion flooded my soul. Oh,God... To be near her, to hold her, to know and hope...

We didn't talk. The only sound in the room was my silent sobs and her steady heartbeat under my ear. My own heart, once again beating inside my chest.

 

Suddenly, a strange vibe from Claire's body made look up to her beautiful face. She was pale, as if all her blood left her body. I felt her losing control of herself and collapsed in my arms.

I panicked. Doctor or not, having someone you love so much unconscious in your arms, makes ye forget how to breathe.
I was so focused on my problems and my fight to win her back that i didn't noticed how thin she was and how tired. She probably didn't eat or sleep properly for days.

I took my phone from my pocket and called for help.Ten minutes later, Claire -still unconscious- and i were in an ambulance and on our way to the hospital.

Dr Benson, who took over Claire upon our arrival, was an excellent colleague, even though a bit bookish. After an hour, finally his nurse called me to his office.

" Dr Fraser, good to see you again" he told me and he shook my hand formally.

I, as a pediatrician, i eliminated formally for years. Totally useless with children. Benson wasn't a child, though.

"Good to see ye,too Dr Benson." I answered politely.

"May I ask you,Dr Fraser, what is your relation with the patient? Is she a relative, a friend or perhaps something more?"

"A lot more. She's my life! " I answered without hesitation. "Tell me, please, is she alright?"

"Dehydrated, but she 'll be just fine....in a few months." Benson said with a cheeky smile.

It took me a few seconds to figure out what he said and once i did , i think i screamed because i had never experienced such a joy before.

When Benson left me alone after he congratulate me for the third time, i admit, for a moment i thought that perhaps Claire and Christie...
I swear, it was a single thought and lasted less than a second.
No. My Claire was mine and mine alone and i knew it. And if i wanted to be honest with myself, i knew it all that time. I was just so stupid and afraid to see it. Or, perhaps i had convinced myself that i didn't deserve happiness. But the happiness find me and i couldn't get away. Nor did i wanted to..

I opened the door and looked at her, peacefully asleep with her wild hair spread on the pillow. And i was hers for ever. Doomed to love her without limits. Not because of the bairn. Because she was my other half. Simple as that.
The child came to seal our love and make it stronger.

 

I sat on a chair next to her bed and took her delicate hand in mine.
I wanted to dance and sing, to let everyone know that my love will make me a father, that i love her beyond words, beyond time, beyond life itself.
All i did , though, waiting for her to wake up to our new life, was to pray from my heart.
To be enough.
For her and the bairn...

Chapter Text

It's been a while, i know.
In fact, more than an actual pregnancy. But in our little world, it's time for a baby to be born...

 

*******

 

 

CLAIRE

 

At the beginning,i tried my best to ignore it. The sharp pain in my lower back that spread around my belly like millions tiny needless.
I tried not to disturb HIM. I could barely stand HIM for almost six months now.
He was determined to be a father and more determined to keep me with HIM forever.

HIS doctor ordered bed-rest for my entire pregnancy and i haven't moved from that fucking bed in ages, even if i begged HIM. The chain didn't helped matters either...
I heard them saying that i could deliver my baby on that bed, in that dark room.

As my water broke and the hot liquid soaked the mattress, i had only one though aside of my baby. If it was just me, i would prefer to die. But it wasn't...so i screamed...

 

"Frank... please..."

Chapter Text

JAMIE

 

It's been a month since our stupid fight. A month since she left to stay with Geillis for a few days to clear her head.
A month since I proposed and she refused...

Why it was so difficult to fit in her mind that I truly love her and wanted - still want to be honest- to marry her.

Sore as i was from her rejection, I didn't say anything. I let her leave.

 

Claire was already staying with Geillis for five days when i decided it was enough. I couldn't bear it any further. So a Friday morning i found myself knocking Geillis's door.

She took pity on me and assured me she will send Claire home as soon as she will return from her ultrasound appointment.
Claire didn't tell me anything about that appointment and the knot in my stomach became more tight than ever.

Geillis told me her friend was very anxious about that appointment too. She was afraid about our baby's health. I fear she chose not to share.

I was full of hope after Geillis reassurance and went to our cottage waiting for her.

At some point,i much have fell asleep on the couch because when i reopened my eyes, it was dark outside and Claire nowhere to be seen.

I checked my phone, only to find a voicemail and i swear i was terrified to listen to it. Eventually i did and the world as i knew it died around me.

Claire was crying, I'm sure of it. Her voice was broken.

"Jamie...i have to leave. Please, don't look for me. I... I don't love you ...any more. I'm going to USA, to some relatives. I....i 'll let you know when the baby is born but please let me be. Take care of yourself, please...."

Her voice broke even more at the end and the call ended abruptly.

 

After two whole days of crying and unanswered calls to her phone, i packed few things, took an unpaid leave from work and went back to Lallybroch to heal.

 

Last thing I wanted was Jenny's "i told you so" speech, or my
father's judgment. Nothing of that happened. My family took me in,in all ways.

At some point,i thought everything is gonna be fine eventually. Time will heal me..
But one night i overheard a conversation between my father and my sister that opened my eyes again..

"No, Jenny. Claire love yer brother with all her being. I'm sure of it"

" I believe it too, father. Perhaps he - stubborn and idiot as he is- did something to her and pushed her away."

" I don't know what to think any more. What if something bad happened to her? Have you thought of that?"

 

Suddenly the fog of my head cleared and i saw the light. Claire, my Claire wasn't heartless and she loves me. I knew,deep in my bones that she loves me. She wouldn't leave me on her own will,nor she would keep me away of my bairn.

I rushed to my room and opened my phone. I had several messages and calls. Some voicemails too but nothing for Claire .

I called Joe...

"Where the fuck have you been,man?"

"Hello to ye too, Joseph."

"Oh,cut the crap Fraser. Where are you? "

"Lallybroch.. Listen,man, has Claire any relatives in US?"

" No. None. Why?

I told him about everything, understanding that something was off..

"No man, Claire has no relatives at all. Neither she would leave you. She loves you more than anything."

"She didn't want to marry me, though.."

"She is afraid. And pregnancy hormones is a bitch. Come here to put up with Gail, if you have the guts."

"Are ye guys expecting? What a wonderful News.."

"Yes. Thanks, man. Now, focus on Claire. Is there any possibility of something happened to her?"

Was there.....?

 

CLAIRE

I knew that smell. Ether.!!! I knew but i couldn't do anything about it.
When i woke up, the room was dark with no windows. I couldn't tell for sure how many hours or days i was there. I was tied with chains and the cloth in my mouth didn't let my screaming to be heard.

HE came in the room. I thought I ' ll never see him again but here he was. He opened the lights, lifted my dress and holded a knife dangerously close to my belly.

"Call your Scottish bastard and tell him you are leaving him or i 'll stuck the knife straight to your baby's heart.....

 

I 've lost the track of time in that room. I didn't know if it was day or night. The constructions told me loud and clear that i was there for six months..

Each day i prayed for Jamie to not give up on me. To understand what i 've said.
Perhaps he did gave up, because six months had passed....

 

"Frank... please. The baby is coming..."

 

 

JAMIE.

 

I ringed my godfather and soon the police started looking for Claire under every rock in Scotland. Nothing!! For two weeks,they found nothing.

Then, someone found evidence that Frank was in town the time Claire disappeared and footage for a traffic camera of him dragging unconscious Claire to a rental car.
Police in England took control but the bastard vanished from the face of the earth.
He didn't left the country, though. They were sure of it. They couldn't be sure that Claire was still alive. I forced Murtagh and he confessed it...
As i forced myself not to lose hope. It was the only thing that kept me alive.

 

I had my family and our friends to our side. Even that bastard Tom Christie sent me a message from jail, but nothing was enough. Nothing could easy my pain and my worries.

 

I had to find Claire...

 

CLAIRE

 

Frank brought the doctor in the room. She examined me and i saw the look of terror in her eyes.

"She's bleeding, badly..She won't make it and neither the baby. She needs an emergency c- section. Now!! We don't have time!"

"Can't you do it? I want this baby and her!!

"No. If i try it in here,all alone, they won't survive. If you want them both, put her in a hospital. Now, Frank. She already has lost a lot of blood."

So,all that liquid wasn't just my waters,then...
I felt weird,i knew that much and little by little i was drifted to the abyss.

 

 

They were hiding in an abandoned and remote house near Manchester.
Frank and Dr Smith put Claire in the near hospital under a fake name of course but the police had already sent pictures of her in every doctor and clinic in the country and the security informed police the moment she entered the door.

 

Jamie answered the phone in the middle of the night to Murtagh's call.

"We found her,lad....."

Chapter Text

JAMIE

 

I have a daughter!!!!! Can you believe it? A daughter...a tiny little human being. Well, to be honest... not so tiny.

I'm standing outside of the glass window with few other proud daddies, looking at my miracle. She's an angel and I'm begging her to carry my prayers to God.
To let her mother, the love of my life, live. To let my child know the wonderful person she is.
Ugly fat tears running down my cheeks and i don't give a damn.

The time and the road between Glasgow and Manchester seemed endless to my anxious mind.
"God, to be safe. She and the bairn"

 

I remember storming in the hospital, grabbing from the coat the first doctor i saw, asking for Claire.
I was beyond myself with worry.
Eventually, my father asked the right questions to the right people and i found myself outside ICU, waiting for an update.
My family and my godfather tried their best to keep me calm and sane.

The good news about my daughter came first. She was safe and sound. Healthy and strong.
But my Sassenach....
They were forced to put her in a medical coma. They transplant 43 units of blood in her body and the next 48 hours will be critical.
At the end, the ICU doctor put his hand on my shoulder in sympathy and asked me not to lose hope.
I knew, it is my duty to be hopeful both for the sake of my child and myself. But my logical and medical trained mind told me otherwise.

 

Murtagh left after the news about Claire, to look after the investigation for Frank and his crime-partners. My father and Jenny a while after, to the hotel the booked somewhere near. I refused to follow them. I was determined to stay there for those critical 48 hours and fight the Archangel himself,if necessary.

Lost in my thoughts, I didn't hear Murtagh coming. He sat next to me and gave me a much needed coffee.
He looked pale,a unique sight of him.

"He...um... confessed. Everything.."

I looked at his swollen and bloody hands, wandering what he has to do with that confession...

I didn't spoke, waiting for him to tell me everything. And he did.

"Dr McAlister is a specialist in male infertility and Frank came to Scotland to see him. He had some... suspicions
He learnt about Claire's pregnancy by accident from a conversation he overheard in the hospital, little after the News about his own infertility.
He lost it, then. In his crazy mind, Claire was still his wife and that baby could be his. He followed her and when he found the perfect opportunity, he kidnapped her. He threatened to kill the baby if she refused to send ye that awful message.
He brought her here and found a doctor to look after her pregnancy.
That bitch had a huge dept from gambling which Frank offered to pay and it was easy to be convinced.
She claims, he told her she was his wife. He even showed her pictures of their life together to make her believe him.
She also said that it was her who made him bring Claire in the hospital when she learnt about the abduction.

Don't worry, lad. I 'll make sure, they both rot in jail."

I didn't know what i wanted, though. My barbarian shelf wanted to kill them both with my bare hands and at the same time,i was ready to forgive them ,if that was the price for her to live.

 

I felt the presence of my father next to me. He hugged me and the sight of his granddaughter stretching her arms put a silly smile on his face.

"Joe came an hour ago and wants to see ye. Go on ,lad. I 'll stay with yer princess."

"Aye,Da. I'm going. News from Murtagh?"

" Escorting those bastards in jail. I hope he 'll find a way to hang them."

I snorted to his comment, knowing he had no trace of violence in him.

I found Joe outside of ICU waiting for me. K received a critical look from my friend. I knew i looked awful. Sleepless as i was and unshaved for days.

"You look like shit!"

"I feel like it,too.."

We hugged eachother briefly and then k looked him in the eyes.
"Talk to me, Joe. What is it?"

"I was in the unit. It seems that our stubborn girl is going to make it. They're going to wake her up later this afternoon."

I thought i was gonna faint from joy and a new round of tears flooded my eyes.

"I have to prepare you, though...."

"About what?"

"She's severely malnourished. It seems that bastard didn't liked her to put on pregnancy weight and fed her sporadically. It's a miracle your child was born with normal weight. I think my friend ,once again, put herself second.."

I knew that he was talking about. Claire's priority was always someone else. First me, then our bairn..

Oh, that fucking bastard Randall.

 

 

CLAIRE

 

First, i realized my belly was empty. Then it was the familiar yet long forgotten smell of hospital. After that it was the monitor beeping next to my head.
I opened my eyes to the bright lights of the room. Too bright after six months in the dark.

Among unfamiliar faces, smiling but unfamiliar, i recognize one i knew too well.

"Joe... how is she?" My voice came out with difficulty.

"She's fine, Lady Jane. Waiting patiently to meet her mum. How do you feel?"

 

"Like i survived a plane crush."

"Is..um...is..."

"Jamie here?" Joe finished the question for me.

"From the first moment. Hadn't slept or eat.. Please, have mercy on him. He will die in his feet."

I smiled as the nurse was making me more comfortable an the doctors were checking me.

"Tell him,i want to see him. But first i want to see my baby. And i need a pen and some paper."

 

Joe looked confused but gave me what k needed while the nurse went to bring me my daughter.

 

JAMIE

I was thrilled that my love was well. She had,of course, a long way of recovery ahead but she was alive. I couldn't be more grateful.

 

She asked to see our daughter first and then me . Thank god, Jenny and my Da were there because i could barely stand upright. They were both smiling like idiots. Just like me...

 

I saw the nurse currying the tiny crib with my daughter through the door and i thought my heart was going to burst.
When she came out, asked me to go to the room i a few minutes. And i did...

To tell you,i wasn't shocked with Claire's appearance, it would be a lie. She looked so small and fragile.
But seeing her alive with our daughter in her arms, brought tears in my eyes once again.

"Oh, Sassenach....Oh, thank God..." I fell on my knees besides the bed. She didn't say a word, just gave me a piece of paper and smiled.

 

"Jamie, i thought i will never see you again. I prayed and begged, though. And i made i vow.
That ,if by some miracle, you will find me and our child would be fine, my first words to you, will be this....."

I looked at her face, confused

 

"James Alexander Malcolm Mackenzie Fraser, will you marry me?

 

With running tears, i bursted to laughing. I took her face in my hands and kissed her lips delicately, despite our daughter's protestation. Needed her lunch,i reckon...

 

"Oh, Sassenach....i thought you 'll never ask.."

 

THE END

 

 

 

 

 

***That was it, folks.
Thanks for your love, support and understanding.
It's what makes every writer to move forward.

 

Till next time 😍😘🥰🥰

 

 

**A friend of mine, after her 4th C-section, suffered a severe blood loss and received 43 units of blood. She barely made it but now is strong, healthy and mother of 4 little girls. True story.