Jamie Fraser had never wanted much in his life. He grew up expecting to be laird of Lallybroch, have a wife, and god willing be blessed with a few bairns. As he lies here, hidden away in the priest hole, all he wants is to see her face.
Sometimes he resented her for leaving. And that feeling is immediately followed by a sense of guilt that is so intense it almost knocks him off of his feet. He made her go. To save her life. To save the bairn’s life. He could not resent that. He meant to die on that field.
What kind of life would Claire and the child have here anyway? What kind of father would he be able to be constantly having to be hidden away? What kind of husband?
They would have a better life in Claire’s time. He thought to himself.
Still every time he was hidden away from the redcoats, which was often these days, he couldn’t help but imagine Claire showing up at Lallybroch and saving him from this unbearable grief of life without her. He cannot help but think that if he could just see her face one more time--her actual face, not some fever dream version of it.
All I want is nothing more
To hear you knocking at my door
Cause if I could see your face once more
I could die a happy man, I’m sure
Claire lay in her bed staring up at the ceiling, sleep eluding her. She blamed her insomnia on the pregnancy with Frank but she knew the real reason for her awful sleeping habits. She can’t bear the dreams.
They’re different every night but they always come. Sometimes they were beautiful. Visions of the life that could have been had it not been for that bloody war. She and Jamie with their children at Lallybroch; wonderful domestic bliss. Sometimes they were thoughts of what Jamie’s last moments had to be like. Alone on that damn field in the heat of battle. Other times they were almost memories of the day that Jamie sent her back through the stones. Determined to see her and their child safe even if it costs both of their happiness. She didn’t know which dreams were worse.
Thankfully Frank was away at a conference in Oxford this week so Claire was free to wallow in her grief as she wished. It was particularly bad tonight.
Earlier this evening she had felt the baby move for the first time. She was overcome with joy. She’d forgotten what it was like with Faith. How miraculous the movements seemed. The proof of life within her.
Without even thinking she called out, “Jamie! Come fee-,” and stopped abruptly when she realized.
The pain of what could have been and the unfairness of it all hit her square in the chest. The grief came on like a tidal wave and it was all she could do to crawl into bed and not collapse on the floor right there.
Now laying there two hours later, the tears have slowed but the memories still run through her mind on an endless loop. The star of tonight’s show seemed to be the last memory she had of him, when he sent her back through the stones.
A little bit of me died inside that day, she thought.
Just as the thought entered her mind she felt a sharp kick to the ribs, the strongest she had felt yet.
“Hello there, wee one,” she whispered.
Part of her may have died the day she lost Jamie but she didn’t lose him completely. Jamie had left her with a piece of him forever. That was what kept her going, what made even the hardest days bearable.
When you said your last goodbye
I died a little bit inside
I lay in tears in bed all night
Alone without you by my side
Jenny was worried about him. It was obvious to everyone. It was also obvious to everyone that Jamie did not care.
He wanted to be alone in his pity. Wallow in his heartbreak and just have everyone leave him be. It is one of the main reasons he moved to the cave to begin with.
Jamie had just kept a nice buck that should keep the family fed for the next few months and was delivering it to the kitchen when he heard them.
“It isna normal, Ian,” Jenny said to her husband.
“Let him be, Jen. He’s still grieving her,” Ian replied.
“Any blind man could see he is still grieving. This isna about grief. He needs to move on. He hasna lain with a woman since Claire,” Jenny states.
“If it were you, mo chridhe, that left me?” Ian asks, “should I just move on? Be with the next woman who so much as looks at me?”
Jenny’s face visibly goes white at that but never one to be wrong she simply lets out a weak, “Yes.”
Jamie, having heard enough of his family talking of him behind his back, walks into the kitchen, sets the deer down on the table, and turns to go.
“Wait!” Jenny calls, “Wait, mo ghradh.”
Jamie pays her no head and continues on his trek back to the cave.
He does not want to hear anything from his sister just now. He knows that her heart is in the right place but no one save he and Murtagh knew the real truth of how Claire had fared.
She isn’t dead. Perhaps that hurts worse he wondered. Knowing that she lives, just not with him.
None of this is right, he thinks on his way back to the cave. Love is supposed to be the most powerful force on the earth. What could he have done so wrong in his life that God would take away all of his love, just like that. First Faith. Then Claire and the child.
He meant what he had said to Claire. If this is what he has to do to pay for his sins, he’d do it. He will endure 200 years without her because he knows that she will be on the other side of those 200 years. He would do anything if it meant seeing her again. No matter how long the wait.
All he wanted to do was find her.
But if you loved me
Why’d you leave me?
Take my body, take my body
All I want is and all I need is
To find somebody, I’ll find somebody
As you are
Brianna was pretty much the only thing that brought Claire any joy these days. Nothing could light up her face like when her baby smiled at her. Nothing broke her heart like it either.
Brianna was like Jamie in every way. Her hair, her eyes, the stubborn highlander temper. She was a miniature James Faser through and through.
Frank was a good father to her. But every time Claire would watch Brianna and Frank together she couldn’t help the feeling of resentment towards Frank that brewed within her. It made her feel guilty because Frank has been nothing but wonderful to Bree since the second he knew about her.
But Jamie was the one that should get these moments with their daughter. Bree should get to know how deeply her real father loved her from the moment she was conceived.
Frank had made her promise to never speak of Jamie outloud. She had to let him go. And she hated Frank for it.
She knew that Frank was often confused about her behavior. She was very different from before.
But the three years that separated her from Frank had deeply changed her. No longer was she the lovesick young girl that hung on his every word like she had been when they were first married. Her time with Jamie had forever changed her. Made her stronger and more willing to voice her opinions.
That did not fit well into 20th century Boston. Women should not have differing opinions from their husbands. And they should most definitely not speak them outloud.
Claire simply could not go back to who she was before her time in the past. For many reasons. But she could not go back to keeping her thoughts on matters to herself. Jamie had brought out the best in her. Encouraged her to share her beliefs and ideas and made decisions with her, not for her.
Frank had been trying to reignite their love life for the past few months. Claire could admit that he was putting in a great effort.
But every time he pulled her close or moved to kiss her she felt shame wash over her. She felt as though she was betraying Jamie for even thinking about it. And then she would feel shame all over again at the look on Frank’s face every time she would shrink away.
Jamie was Claire’s greatest love. Being with someone after that, even Frank, a man whom she had once loved with everything inside of her, had felt wrong.
See you brought out the best of me
A part of me I’ve never seen
You took my soul and wiped it clean
Our love was made for movie screens
Fraser’s Ridge 1769
Laying in bed, wrapped up in her husband’s arms, Claire did not think that she had ever been more content. She could not help but think about how blessed they were to be here and all of the trials and tribulations they had gone through to get there.
“I can hear ye thinking, Sassenach. It’s disturbing my sleep,” Jamie grumbled.
Claire placed a kiss to his chest and told him, “Just thinking about how grateful I am.”
“For what?” Jamie asked.
“For this,” she answered, “Being here. Now. With you.”
“Aye,” he smiled and leaned up to press a kiss to her lips. “I’m thankful for it too. Everyday.”
He layed back down and pulls her into his chest and sighs with contentment.
“I layed in bed so many nights,” she tells him, “desperate to know what happened to you. Consumed with grief. I still can’t believe that I found you. That this is real and we are finally together.”
Jamie moved to tilt her chin so he could look her in the eye.
“I laid awake too, Sassenach. Far too many nights to count. Wondering how ye fared. Ye and the child. Not knowing whether or not ye made it back safe was the hardest. But ye did and yer here and tis all that matters,” he said, “it doesna do anything to dwell on the twenty years we were apart. We’re together now and I willna be parted from ye again.”
Claire, with tears in her eyes leaned down to kiss him and poured every ounce of emotion she was feeling into it.
“You’re right,” she whispered against his lips. “All that matters now is that we are together. It is all I ever wanted.”
“Me too, mo chridhe. Ye are all I have ever wanted,” he said and claimed her lips again.