Lord John POV
The small cabin that Jamie had built certainly appeared to Lord John Grey to be a bit more rustic than the accommodations he, and certainly the young Master William, were accustomed to. But the sight of smoke rising from the chimney, as well as the sweet smell of baking bread emanating from the house, was perfectly welcome after the three day trip on horseback from the town.
As Lord John drew nearer to the house, he could hear the distinctive sound of the sawing of wood. He dismounted and secured his horse, turning his attention to the sound. As he expected, he saw the muscular figure of James Fraser heaving back and forth over the log. John couldn't help but notice that Jamie was not wearing his coat, despite the autumn morning's chill. Jamie's muscles were flexing through the thin cotton of his dirt-stained undershirt.
It was only when Jamie turned around that John was pulled out of his trance. He looked around briefly in order to conceal the fact that he had been staring at the handsome Scot. Luckily, it seemed to have gone unnoticed by Jamie, who had a look of pleasant surprise at seeing his friend. Noticing this, John let go of some of the nerves he had been holding onto. It had been over a year since he had seen Jamie, and despite their frequent written correspondence, he had been wary of the man's reaction to the impromptu visit.
"What are ye doing out in the back country?" Jamie welcomingly yelled from across the yard. He beganto make his way towards John.
"Well, after your beautiful descriptions of your land in your letters, I figured I would have to come
see it for myself," John replied, only partially lying. "Also, I had some business in Virginia," he admitted.
"Virginia is quite far from here, John," Jamie cocked an eyebrow and grinned slightly. Within seconds, this look quickly shifted in realization.
John could see the hopefulness glistening in Jamie's eyes. "He's here with me," he said gently,
"He is down by the river. I was thinking that we could have a moment to speak privately before |
introduce you to him."
Jamie glanced towards the cabin, and then back at John. "Aye," he said anxiously, "Claire is'na home just now, so we can speak inside."
The men made their way into the warm cabin and John removed his coat as he took in his surroundings. The hearth was alight with the glow of the recently lit fire and room was larger than he had expected. It contained a seating area, wooden dining table, a small kitchen area, and shelves lined with jars and bottles of various sizes. John noted that these must undoubtedly belong to Claire as he recalled Jamie's stories of her talent for healing. John looked to his left and felt a small pang in his chest as his eyes landed on the fairly large bed in the corner. He shook the image of Claire and Jamie cozied under its covers from his head.
Jamie beckoned John to sit in one of the chairs in front of the fire, which he eagerly accepted. His legs were sore from riding and the feeling of the soft cushion beneath him was luxurious. He turned his attention to Jamie, who had his elbows on his knees as he looked into the fire. After a moment, he met John's gaze.
"So what business do ye have in Virginia, if ye dinna
mind me askin'?" Jamie asked.
John turned his gaze to his lap. "Isobel's estate is in Virginia. I must go and tend to it." John had not yet told Jamie of his wife's untimely demise. He had not yet told Jamie of his wife's untimely demise. He had not been expecting for it to be brought up so soon. Unsurprisingly, Jamie inquired about her whereabouts.
"Isobel..." John paused tentatively, unsure how to continue, "Isobel has passed away. She took ill on the voyage to Jamaica and has died." That last word hung heavily in the air. John returned his gaze to Jamie's face, which was twisted in sadness and surprise. He had gotten to know Isobel fairly well during his time as a groom at Helwater.
"She was such a kind lass. I am so sorry, John. How are ye faring?"
John sighed. "As you would expect. It has been hard, especially for William. He is grief-stricken. That is one of the reasons I took him with me on the voyage to the colonies. I thought it may help distract him from the pain."
Jamie nodded at this and reached across to give John a reassuring squeeze on the shoulder. John was grateful for the friendly gesture, however Jamie's touch felt as though it had left an imprint on his skin. Although he would have liked to relish in the warmth of it, John knew it would be wise to change the subject.
"He might not remember you," John said truthfully. It wasn't necessarily a happy topic, but he knew it must be said before he brought the boy to Jamie in order to avoid awkwardness later.
Jamie nodded disappointedly, "Aye, I suppose it 'tis to be expected. Willie was barely six when I left Helwater."
"Oh, and by the way, he insists on being called William now." Jamie smiled at this, and John was relieved to see he was not completely disheartened.
Before either of the men could continue the conversation, the door opened with a loud thud. Both Jamie and John rose to their feet as Murtagh Fitzgibbons made his way noisily into the cabin.
John was shocked at seeing the man. After Ardsmuir had closed, Murtagh was sold into indentured servitude. Consequently, seeing him barge into Jamie's abode was a surprise.
"What a reunion indeed!" John said to Murtagh, "Murtagh Fitzgibbons, it is a pleasure to see you again."
Murtagh grunted and acknowledged Jamie instead. "What is he doing here? Do ye not remember who he is?!"
Jamie rolled his eyes and placed a hand on Johns shoulder. He glared at Murtagh and stated that John was a trusted friend and not-so-subtly reminded him that he owed his life to John. John relaxed as Murtagh begrudgingly slumped his shoulders in acknowledgment of the truth.
John cleared his throat. "My son, William, is unaware how we three met. I would hope that we could not inform him of the circumstances."
Murtagh cocked his head slyly, "Aye, we wouldna want him to know he keeps poor company."
End of chapter note: Hello everyone! I am hoping to post daily (although I am sure that there will be fluke late days). Each chapter should be about 1500+ words. The first few chapters are like the beginning of the episode. I am hoping to get to the changed plot by the third or fourth chapter. Feel free to leave idea suggestions in the comments, as well as any notes for me! Thank you for reading :)