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Where it's Safe

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Jamie had been up to his eyeballs in paperwork since he clocked in at 8:00 this morning. Apparently there was an incident with a patient’s family member and some of the nursing staff the previous night, so Jamie volunteered to handle the bulk of the incident reports that had to be submitted to HR. 

 

Claire had an early surgery, so she had gone into work just before 6:00. He tried to get up and go with her, but Claire insisted he sleep a bit more. Afterall, she was the one who had kept him up all night…

 

It had been almost five weeks since Claire’s deposition. In that time Frank also had his, which Ned was present for, and spared Claire the details upon request. They were told it could take up to six weeks for a decision to be made, or whether or not it would be going to trial. Per the latest update Ned gave, the idea of a trial was moving further and further away. An agreed upon sentence was more of the idea. 

 

Jamie and Claire purposely didn’t talk much about it. They agreed to go on as normal as possible, not entertaining any negative thoughts surrounding Frank. Jamie could tell though, that it was heavily weighing on Claire. He could see the dark bags under her eyes as a result of not sleeping too well. He could constantly hear and feel her tossing and turning throughout the night. 

 

The past week or so, as they know the results are coming, Claire has been extremely nauseous in the morning, sometimes even getting sick. Jamie was getting far too concerned, but she reassured him that it was just nerves and anxiety. Still, he couldn’t help but think it was something much deeper. Something he couldn’t quite put a finger on. 

 

Needing a change of scenery, Jamie brought his mountain of paperwork up to one of the desks on the OR floor. Sometimes he’d do his work up there, as to give him a better chance of running into his Sassenach throughout the day. She definitely didn’t mind. 

 

Another hour or so had passed when he could hear quick footsteps speeding down the hall. Thinking it was just a medical emergency Jamie didn’t play it any mind. If they needed him, they’d page him.

 

Suddenly, he could hear a familiar cry he knew all too well. Snapping into a panic, he quickly stood to come around the desk to see down the hallway where it was coming from.

 

Claire was barreling down the hallway at full-speed, her white coat tailing behind her, her high messy bun bouncing on her head, and in her right hand she was clutching her phone. Jamie instinctively rushed towards her, arms already outstretched to catch her. As she got closer he could see the tears streaming down. He couldn’t determine the emotion on her face. He couldn’t tell the type of tears that wouldn’t stop falling. 

 

Only seconds passed until Claire slammed into his body with all the force her wee body could manage. Jamie caught her effortlessly, only having to take a couple steps back. 

 

“Mo chridhe, what troubles ye?” Jamie asked into her hair. 

 

“Oh Jamie, nothing my love. Nothing at all.” She answered breathlessly, only wrapping her arms more tightly around him. “I’m free Jaime. I’m free. We’re free. It’s over.” She repeated these words over and over again into Jamie’s ear, who still wasn’t grasping the weight of her words. 

 

“What-- what do ye mean?” Jamie asked, dropping Claire in front of him and grasping her face.

 

“It’s over Jamie. Frank is going to prison for a long long time. I’m finally free.” Tears gleamed in her eyes, and the most joyous grin from ear to ear shined. 

 

Jamie let out a deep, shuttering sigh of relief before crashing his lips to hers. His heart was pounding in his ears, completely unaware of anything and everything besides having Claire in his arms, and kissing her with everything he had. 

 

The only thing bringing him back to the moment were the murmurs of other members of staff around them. Feeling as if they’ve caused enough of a scene, Jamie pulled back. Without even looking at Claire he grabbed her hand and was pulling her towards the closest private room, which happened to be an on-call room. 

 

How very Grey’s Anatomy of them. They joked so many times about how they refused to fulfill the stereotype of sleeping together in an on-call room. But, if Jamie was being honest, he would’ve rectified that months ago. 

 

Pulling Claire into the room and locking it behind him, he fell back against the door, with Claire leaning up against him. He kissed her deeply, one more time. “What did ye say?”

 

Claire gave a breathy laugh and leaned her forehead against his. “Ned just called me. Frank got fifteen years, and he’s never allowed to come within one hundred yards of me ever again unless he wants another twenty.” Claire rubbed her nose against Jamie’s breathing him in, waiting for his response. 

 

“Christ almighty.” Jamie kissed her again, practically sucking the breath directly from her lungs. “Are ye serious? This isna a joke?” He asked, thumping the back of his head against the door. 

 

“I am totally, completely serious. It’s over. It’s finally fucking over. Can you believe it?” Claire inquired with a whisper. 

 

“No I cannae say I can. I mean, I was never letting the bastard near ye again, but to ken he’s going to be locked up for sae long is a totally different feeling. God, Claire I love ye so.” Jamie pushed her back from the door until they both toppled onto the single bottom bunk. 

 

“Oh Jamie I love you too. I love you too.” Jamie is on top of her now, both hands sneaking their way into her scrub top, palming her breasts over her sports bra, longing to have her right then and there. 

 

“God Claire I’m so proud of ye. I dinna think I’ve ever wanted ye more. Fuck that bastard. Yer mine and mine alone. Just as I am yers.” He snakes one hand down palm her over her scrubs. 

 

“All because of you Jamie. I am yours. I am I am I am.” Claire answered. Just as her own hands reached between them for the buckle of his belt when… saved by the bell. Claire’s pager went off, diffusing the moment. Jamie plopped his head against her shoulder with a heavy sigh. 

 

“Fuck. I have surgery. I’m so sorry darling. I have to go.” Claire stated, pushing Jamie off of her as he slumped to the side with a groan. She stood, righting her scrubs and fixing her hair. Looking back at Jamie sulking on the bed, she went back to him. 

 

“We’ll finish this later, and believe me… it’ll be more than worth it my love.” She leaned over him, giving him one final profound kiss, and a tug on his bottom lip. 

Smirking, Claire skipped out of the room before Jamie could even respond. 

 

“Christ Claire.” 

 

__________

 

Jamie had a plan. A big plan. He knew Claire was going to be in the OR for at least a couple more hours which was plenty of time to get everything in order. 

 

He made all the necessary calls and arrangements with plenty of time to spare. The only one left to tell was the woman of honour herself.

 

Jamie sent Claire a text telling her that he was going to be at The Ridge, and to meet him there once she got out. He told her she could go home to change first, however. 

 

Knowing he wouldn’t be getting a reply for a while, Jamie felt that Claire wouldn’t be too fond of one, him not being home after work, and two, going to the ridge for the first time in quite a while.

 

Since everything that happened with Frank, Jamie, Claire, and their friends resulted in finding a new place to have their Friday get togethers. Jamie and Claire were in attendance far more frequently than any of them guessed they would be.

 

Tonight was different. Tonight had to be at The Ridge for several reasons. Whether Claire would be upset, or irritated, Jamie wasn’t too concerned that it would last too long.  

 

A while later, Jamie arrived at The Ridge. His suit was freshly pressed, the champagne was on ice, Geillis was yelling at the lads to behave, all was going smoothly. 

 

Jamie reckoned that Claire would be there within the hour. But when that hour was up, and he still hadn’t received a text, he knew she was running very late. 

 

He was desperately trying to not get too antsy about it. She was in surgery, saving a life, that obviously came first. But tonight, he was letting his nerves get the best of him. 

 

“Will ye cool it Fraser? Yer burn a hole in yer shoes with all that pacing.” Geilies professed next to him. “She’ll be here as soon as she can. Just try and relax, ye numpty.” 

 

“Aye. I’m trying.” He sighed. To try and calm his nerves even a little bit, Jamie downed about two fingers worth of whisky in one go. Still being so wound up, he didn’t even feel the burn. 

 

Maybe another thirty minutes later, Jamie’s phone finally buzzed. He grabbed it so quickly it almost flew behind the bar. Everyone else was still at the booth, hanging out and waiting, but also watching Jamie slowly lose his mind in the best way. 

 

I’m on my way hun. Sorry surgery ran late. Be there in 10. Xx

 

Jamie exhaled for what seemed to be for the first time one probably two hours. He sent a simple text back to Claire, and went over to the table. “Alright, she’s going to be here any minute. Just wait here till we come over to ye, please. Jenny, I beg ye sister, keep them in line, aye?”

 

“Aye brother. I’ll handle these fools.” Jenny gave a sly smirk. 

 

Over the last few months, Jenny and Claire had become rather close, much to Jamie’s appreciation. Every other Sunday or so, Jamie and Claire made sure to go to Jenny and Ian’s home for Sunday roast. It took quite a while to make the move to introduce Claire to his family, not because he didn’t want to, he just knew Claire was nervous. Despite Claire having met Ian a few times, going to their home, bonding with their kids, was something entirely different. Although, in the end Jenny and Claire truly formed such a great relationship. 

 

Leaning back onto the bar, Jamie gripped the wood, reciting what he was going to say for the millionth time. Finally, he heard the pub door swing open. He looked up to see her, looking absolutely breathtaking. 

 

“Ugh Jamie I am so sorry. I couldn’t believe how long that operation took. There was one complication after another, and then I was rummaging through my locker and I had no extra clothes so I didn’t even have time to go home because I already kept you waiting for so long so I’m still in my scrubs then I--” For the first time since she walked in she finally looked up. “Oh my god. Why are you in a suit, and why have you never worn this for me before? What's going on?” Jamie stopped her rambling by placing his pointer finger to her lips, quitting her. 

 

“I must say Sassenach, I dinna think ye’ve ever looked more beautiful to me.” He said, eyeing her up and down. He took her coat and her purse, and placed it on the stool next to her. “Come here.” Jamie grabbed her hand and pulled her to him, kissing her soundly on the mouth. 

 

Still rather dumbfounded, Claire leaned into his kiss, but pulled back before too long giving him a questioning look. 

 

“I ken by that look yer wondering what we’re doing here, aye?” He asked pinning a curl behind her ear that came loose from her very messy messy bun. 

 

“Sassenach, Claire, today we are celebrating the true beginning of yer new life. For sae long ye thought ye had nowhere to go. That ye were trapped in an awful situation that would very likely kill ye one day.” Jamie paused, having to clear his throat of the emotion rising up. 

 

“But ye, my canny lass, ye are a survivor. Ye got yerself out and prevailed because you are strong and sae sae brave. Yer an inspiration Claire, and ye deserve far more than I ken I could ever give ye. Yer worthy of the world Claire Beauchamp.” Jamie stopped again to grab her hand and bring it to his lips, unable to resist not touching her. 

 

“One year ago today Claire, I saw these bonnie curls from that table right over there.” Jamie tilted his head towards the table where all of their friends were, and Claire followed his gaze, her breath hitched in her throat. 

 

She saw Ian, Jenny, Rupert, John, and Geillis all at the stable, staring at the two of them with nothing but heart eyes and wide smiles. She looked back at Jamie, tears filling her eyes. 

 

“It was one year ago today that I saw ye hurting for the very first time, and I longed to go to ye, to help ye, in any way. From the moment I saw ye, I knew I wanted to protect ye, to get ye away from that man if ye’d let me. Now I ken it took a wee while to work up the courage, and not over step. Not until ye were ready.” He looked down then, trying to come up with the proper words that truly expressed what he was feeling. 

 

“That day ye came home with me, I knew that was the day that I’d never let ye go again. When ye cried in my arms, and asked me to spend the night with ye, that’s when I knew I would love ye till the end of my days. Weeks later, in this very pub, when ye said ye were my girlfriend, I swear that was one of the happiest moments of my life.” Jamie gave a breathy laugh, and wiped away a tear of his own. Claire was already fully crying, not making any effort to stop it. 

 

“We dinna need to discuss what came next. But I will say that having to even entertain the idea of losing ye is something I never want to do ever again. A life without ye Claire, is no life at all. Ye are my life. My whole world and everything in it. I knew I needed to wait. I needed to wait until ye were ready. Until I could make ye mine in every unconditional way. And now I can.” He released her hand to reach into her pocket and pulled out the velvet box. 

 

Jamie inhaled deeply and got down on his right knee, taking a second to look back up at Claire, who was desperately trying to contain her sobs at this point. “Claire Elizabeth Beauchamp, ye already hold my heart in yer hands. Ye possess my soul in every way, and I love more than any person has a right to. If ye would do me great honour of becoming my wife, and I yer husband, I swear I will spend each and every day reminding ye how worthy ye are. I will tell ye every day how beautiful and perfect and smart and sexy and even how stubborn ye are.” Claire couldn’t help but giggle through her tears. “Marry me, Claire?”

 

Claire let out a guttural whimper, making a triumphant effort to form any words. “God, yes Jamie. Yes I’ll marry you!” At that Jamie immediately stood as their lips crashed together. Lips, tongues, tears, giggles, all migling together. Jamie’s arms snaked around her. One hand gripped the back of her head when the other was securely around her waist, pressing her closely to him. 

 

Claire grabbed both sides of his face whispering “ I love you.” over and over again. She eventually pulled back, hearing the hoots and hollers from their friends. They looked over, still wrapped in each other’s arms, giving them a smile and a wave. Claire looked back to Jamie, “Do you really want me to be your wife?” She asked, swiping a bead of sweat off his brow.

 

“More than anything in this world, mo nighean donn. More than anything.” 

 

“I think we forgot something.” Claire noted, holding up her still bare finger. 

“Ah.” Jamie pulled the ring out of the box, and slid it seamlessly on her finger. A perfect fit. He brought the ringed finger to his mouth and gave it a generous kiss. “This was my mother’s ring. My father gave it to me long ago. He told me when I met the right lass, and I knew I wanted to give her this ring, then she was the one for me. This ring has been in the bedside drawer since ye moved in, Claire.” Her shoulders sank with emotion. Nothing else had to be said, so she kissed him again, never wanting to stop.

 

__________

 

A few hours and several bottles of champagne later, the whole lot was absolutely knackered, but still wanting to celebrate. Jamie on the other hand, was dying to get Claire to himself, for their own celebration. 

 

They were sitting on the outside of the booth, glued at the hip. Jamie had one arm draped over her shoulders, while her right hand rested atop his thigh as they chatted with the group. Each time she motioned with her hand, he just could not look away from his mother’s ring on her finger. Perfection. 

 

Jamie hardly participated in the conversations unless someone directly spoke to him. He was far too consumed with his fiancé. Each time Claire glanced over to him, and noticed him staring, she’d bite her lip and try to hide her smirk. It was driving him crazy.

 

Her glass of champagne was untouched all night, Jamie thought it was rather odd, but figured she was tired enough from work, and perfectly content with a sober celebration. Jamie was rather drunk, but not all of it was from the alcohol. No, not all.

 

“Let’s get out of here.” He whispered against her ear, making her hand on the inside of his thigh clench just a bit too high. He flinched into her, but still went unnoticed by the others. Claire side eyed him, biting that lip again and giving him a nod. 

 

They were scurrying out of the booth as fast as possible. “Well damn, ye lasted longer than we all pegged.” Rupert bellowed, making the group burst out in laughter. 

 

“Haud yer wheesht, aye.” Jamie demanded, draping Claire’s coat over her shoulders. “Thank ye all for tonight, and being there for Claire and I during our toughest, and our most joyous time. But, it’s time I get my fiancé home.” And with that he tugged a giggling Claire into his side, and off they went. 

 

“No-uh Captain Fraser. I’m driving, hand over the keys.” Claire reached out her hand to him, knowing he was far too tipsy to drive them home.

 

“Ye’ve only been the future Dr. Fraser for two hours and already making such demands? Christ if that doesn’t make me want ye more.” He stared at her sharply, plopping the keys into her outstretched hand. 

 

“Dr . Fraser. I think I like the sound of that.” Claire proclaimed as she secured her seatbelt. 

 

__________

They weren’t in the house two minutes, when they began leaving a trail of clothing leading to their bed. They fell onto the bed in one naked heap. Once that were on the bed, time began to slow. They were still just as eager for one another, but they were in no rush. They wanted to savour each other, this feeling, this night, for so many reasons. 

 

“God  Claire, it was one thing to hope, but now to ken that ye get to be mine forever, I almost feel like I cannae bear it. Like I truly love ye so much it could kill me.” They were on their sides facing each other, chests together, and hands running along the lines of each of their bodies. 

 

“I feel like that too, you know. I didn’t think it was possible to not only love someone this much, but to know what it’s like to be loved. You, Jamie Fraser are the only person in this life and the next that could make me feel the way you do. You saved my life in more ways than one. Not just because of-” she hesitated, “because of him, but also because I now know that my life would have never been fully complete without you.” Claire had to look away, refusing to let her emotions cloud the moment. Not right now. 

 

Jamie could tell she had more to say, her expression changing instantly. He wrapped his hand through her curls, and brought her face to his, kissing her intensely. “What is it?” he whispered.

 

“For a while now, I’ve dreamed about this moment. What it would be like, if it would ever happen, if I even deserved it, or you.” She looked in his eyes, tears pooling in the corners, desperately trying to say the right words. 

 

“I didn’t know that it would be on the same day that my new life could really begin. I also didn’t know that I would have a gift for you too.” Claire hesitated, waiting to see if Jamie understood her true meaning. 

 

“A gift? Sassenach ye ken that I dinna--” He froze when Claire placed his hand over her belly and he began to rub it absently. “Claire…”

 

“You’re going to be a father Jamie. We’re having a baby.” Claire professed, placing her hands over his. 

 

All the breath escaped Jamie’s lungs and the blood rushed to his feet. It was only seconds that passed, but it felt like an eternity of trying to process this. 

 

“A bairn? We-- we’re having a bairn?” Jamie placed his plams more fully on Claire’s still flat tummy, looking up to see they were both fully crying once again. 

 

“Yes Jamie. Yes. Yes. Yes.” she muttered. 

 

“Ye ken I told ye earlier that that was the happiest I’ve ever been. But, I’m afraid right now may have beaten it. Yer really with child? Our child.? 

 

Your child, Jamie. The one we made together.”

 

“Claire… this right here, right now is the greatest gift ye could ever have given me. To ken with my entire being that I get to be with ye forever, and to have a bairn growin’ inside ye, one I put there when I was showing ye how much I love ye, I can’t imagine there being a greater feeling in the world.” Jamie murmured through his tears.

 

“I love you James Fraser. You and our baby, from now till forever.”

 

“And I, you Claire Fraser.”

 

They came together then, slowly but wholly. Each breath, kiss, stroke, whisper, every touch an extension of their love and the promise of a new beginning together, where it’s safe.