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Teach Me How to Dream

Chapter Text

When Claire Beauchamp returned from her shift, all she wanted to do was lay on the couch with a microwave meal and her PJs on. But she knew that wasn’t possible since her evening class was starting in about two hours and she needed to freshen up before leaving.

 

She had just ended her shift at the garden center. Not a job she loved, but it paid the bills. But all she really wanted was to be a writer. So she finally decided to apply to an evening writing class which began today and would last for the next four years.

 

She regretted applying at the moment, as her muscles ached and her body begged her for sleep. She didn’t know the last time she had actually rested. Just keep going and don’t complain, Beauchamp. 

 

Claire took a shower and ultimately put on clothes that looked presentable yet also weren’t too uncomfortable. It would have to do, after all, she was there for herself and not to impress anyone.

 

Looking at the clock, she had exactly ten minutes to eat something before she would have to sit in school for three hours. She decided to quickly eat a microwave meal on her couch and then depart. 

 

She had to admit that she was rather nervous. Claire was always anxious to meet new people and she cared a lot about others' opinions of her. She only wanted to be her best self. 

 

Claire quickly typed in the address onto her navigation.

 

15 minute drive.

 

35 minute walk.

 

“I’ll walk.”, she muttered to herself as she set out on foot with a bag holding her laptop and notebooks. She was well prepared and proud of it.

 

Claire had moved to Scotland just a year ago to be with her boyfriend, Frank Randall.

 

The moment her mind switched to Frank she shook her head to quickly forget about him. Now was not the time to let Frank haunt her memory. This evening was huge for her and one step closer to achieving her goal of doing what she loves. Fuck Frank.

 

The walk didn’t seem like thirty-five minutes and she was surprised to find herself in front of a beautiful building. The archway was made of beige granite with beautiful engravings  covering the stone. Light shone through the windows and it made the building look like a monument. Breathtaking.

 

She walked inside, moving slowly as every footstep echoed through the hallways. For a school the building seemed rather empty, but then Claire remembered that it was past the usual school time and not many people would choose for an evening class.

 

In front of a door she saw a woman with beautiful long strawberry-blonde hair. She looked just as lost as Claire did when her big eyes met Claire’s. The both of them didn’t have to say a word to know that they have been looking for the same class, but to be sure and to start a conversation, Claire still asked.

 

“Are you also looking for classroom 2B?”

 

“Aye.”, the woman said, surprised and Claire knew that she would hear another comment about her british heritage but the woman only looked at her with her big beautiful eyes.

 

“Where are my manners, I’m Geillis, Geillis Duncan, and ye are?”

 

“Claire. Claire Beauchamp.”

 

“A sassenach. What brings ye here tae the beautiful Scotland?”, she giggled and Claire looked at her confused, but ignored the rude remark of being called sassenach . After all it just means English woman. She handled far worse insults.

 

“‘Tis verra nice tae meet ye, Claire.”

 

“Likewise.”, she smiled shyly at her. This woman had a mysterious air about her, yet Claire liked her already and had a feeling that they would make great friends.

 

A few more people joined and waited with Geillis and Claire in front of the door. Their introductions were only short, with no more than a “Hi” and their names, and Claire was suddenly more than happy to have at least Geillis to help make her feel less nervous.

 

Class was about to start and Claire started to wonder where their teacher was. A few decided to enter the class room already.

 

“Shall we?”, she asked Geillis who nodded. Claire knew that her new classmate was just as happy as her to not be alone amongst the others who didn’t seem to have interest in getting to know one another.

 

Geillis sat herself next to Claire and they chose a table in the front as both of them seemed determined to learn a lot from this class.

 

“What got ye into writing, Claire?”

 

Claire looked up at Geillis, who now was smiling genuinely. No one had ever asked her this question. And she seemed to be truly interested.

 

“Well, writing has always been a sort of escape for me. A world beyond my imagination. Tales that deserve to be told or come alive. The human mind can create a world filled with fiction and make it truthful. The thought of someone getting hooked onto my words is breathtaking and I would love to publish my own novel one day. But I am no more than a beginner which is why I’m here. I want to know everything before getting into it. I’m kind of a perfectionist”, she grimaced at her own words “and you?”

 

Geillis smiled and nodded.

 

“Beautifully said, Claire. Fer me ‘tis almost the same. I’ve some trouble coming up wi’ the tales ye just talked about. I’m here tae freshen up my mind a bit and tae find out where my passion can go.”, her gaze fell towards her notebook in front of her. “Ye ken, I would love tae be an author for children books. Writing about faeries making little kids smile at the words I have written for them.”

 

Claire just smiled as genuinely back at her and laid a hand on top of hers.

 

“And you will.”

 

A sudden creak of the classroom door which certainly needed some oil made Claire look up and she laid eyes on a man as beautiful as a field full of her favorite flowers. His copper red hair looked like flames entangling with each other, as parts of it were darker than others. He wasn’t completely shaved which left some stubble on his chin, and his eyes, oh his eyes, as blue as the ocean and for a second Claire forgot how to swim.

 

Get it together, Beauchamp.

 

“Good evenin’ everyone, my name is Jamie Fraser and I am yer teacher for this class.”

 

“Good evenin’, Mr. Fraser”, the class echoed in almost synchronic voices. 

 

Claire’s voice was almost a whisper, her throat went dry just from hearing the low Scottish purr the beautiful man in front of her released from his chest.

 

He’s your teacher. Stop.

 

“Tonight we will start off wi’ a quick introduction round and after go straight ahead wi’ the eight basics of creative writing by Kurt Vonnegut.”

 

His voice.

 

“Let’s start wi’ the front.”

 

Claire swallowed as the pair of ocean blue eyes set on her whisky gaze and something in the air changed the moment their eyes met. The air had some sort of electric tension to it and Claire felt her throat going dry and her heart hammering against her chest, while her blood started to heat up.

 

She swallowed thickly before getting a soft side kick from Geillis.

 

“Uhm, hello everyone, my name is Claire Beauchamp and I moved from Oxfordshire to Scotland around a year ago. I am 27 years old and have wished to be a writer ever since I read my first book.”

 

“Thank ye, Mrs. Beauchamp.”

 

“Uhm… it’s Ms, I’m not married.”, she felt awkward correcting him, but she knew it needed to be done.

 

Geillis went on with the introduction round and Claire felt her face turning red, leading her to stare down at her notebook until the heat of her face cooled as much as possible.

 

After they learned about the basics Mr. Fraser spoke of, Claire had a hard time focusing on the actual topic. The man who taught her was far more interesting to study.

 

Stop. it. Beauchamp.

 

Jesus H. Roosevelt Christ.

 

The last thing she needed was to feel this way towards her teacher. She just ended things with Frank a few months ago. She can’t and won’t dedicate her heart to love once again.

 

Claire knew that she needed to do this for herself, to follow her dreams and to forget about the darkness lingering inside of her. She couldn’t open up the freshly stitched wounds inside of her. She couldn’t open her freshly mended heart. She just couldn’t.

 

So she decided to focus on her dream, rather than on the red-haired Scot who would turn her life upside down.

Chapter Text

It’s been exactly one week since Claire started class. Jamie Fraser’s class. She hasn’t figured out how to keep thoughts of him at bay. Visions of her instructor haunted her mind daily and crept into her dreams at night.

 

To keep herself busy on her weekends, Claire decided to study, rather than spending time daydreaming about the Scotish voice that had requested she write about the 5 Techniques for Good Craftsmanship by Annie Proulx for Monday. Or how she noticed that he would hold his gaze a few seconds longer on hers before moving on to the actual student that he was addressing.

 

She was smitten.

 

But Claire knew that she couldn’t be. Too many demons still haunted the depths of her mind while darkness still lingered on the beating heart she felt was broken. There was no love left in her and Claire knew there would probably never be anyone who would awaken it in her again.

 

And she was broken.

 

Claire knew in order to focus on what’s really important, she would need absolute  distractions like concentrating on completing her homework as well as cleaning her apartment which looked as if a bomb had exploded in it. She couldn’t remember the last time it had a proper clean up. Now was the perfect time.

 

After being busy for a while with Annie Proulx her mind went back to Jamie Fraser.

 

Stop it, Beauchamp.

 

Clean your pig-sty.

 

So that’s what she did. She cleaned her apartment until day turned to night and her body longed for rest. Muscles aching and sweat shining on her forehead, she wiped it away with the sleeve she had rolled up almost to her elbow.

 

“Jesus H. Roosevelt Christ.”, a breath of exhaustion escaped her chest.

 

Longing for hot water blasting over her skin, Claire chose a hot shower and planned to stay in it longer than usual. She needed it.

 

Turning on the water to the perfect temperature, she finally let her wild curls be subdued by the warm wetness that now also covered the rest of her. Claire closed her eyes while applying the delicious foamy shower gel.

 

While her hands covered her body and the water relaxed her muscles, her mind gave her an image of the man she’d tried to get out of her head. Her teacher.

 

Red curls.

 

Blue eyes.

 

Tall.

 

“And married!”, she popped open her eyes as her own subconsciousness reminded her of the ring that shone on his finger.

 

Indeed Claire had seen the golden circle that fitted so well onto that man’s hand.

 

“He is married. So stop it, Beauchamp.”

 

She had lost her fucking mind.

 

And so she decided to finish her shower and try to get her teacher of her mind again. She did not really succeed in that.

 

-

 

Jamie Fraser was a man of word, and so he promised to look over the assignment Miss Beauchamp had given him. Miss not Mrs. as she had corrected him a week ago. She wasn’t married. But ye are, ye clotheid.

 

He shook his head while making some notes on Claire’s paper. He couldn’t think about a student this way, ever. He would risk his career as well as his private life he shared with his wife Annalise Fraser. 

 

Jamie had been married to Annalise for almost five years and their marriage was nothing like he had thought it would be.

 

He’d always imagined marriage would be caring for each other and being there for one another through dark and bright times, but as soon as darkness surrounded him he found himself lonelier than ever. He had no intention of burdening his wife with his inner battles and he knew the reason why.

 

He found it rather sad that he had this perfect image of him laying the world at his wife’s feet, bringing wonderful and beautiful children into this world that would bear his name and call him Da. But he was sterile.

 

Annalise just didn’t get pregnant. It was his fault.

 

He looked around, sighing, as he stood up to leave the classroom and  go home where he knew the next storm was waiting for him.

 

“Jamie! It’s negative again!”, she croaked in a slightly french accent.

 

Annalise had moved to Scotland when she and Jamie started dating. He had always admired her for taking the leap and moving to his country as he could have never felt completely at home in France. He was grateful for her and he had told her so a thousand times.

 

He put his bag in its usual place as he heard her croaky voice coming from the living room.

 

It had been one of those days.

 

“I’m sorry.”, was all he managed to say as this had been a repeated scenario for almost...well for a while.

 

“You are sorry?! Jamie, you know how much I want children. You can’t just be sorry as it is you that is the reason!”

 

Deep breath.

 

“Ye canna know that An, and ye ken that!”

 

A scoff escaped her chest.

 

I am for sure not the problem. It is you, Jamie!”

 

Another deep breath.

 

“We can always adopt a child.”

 

“Not this nonsense again, I want my child.”

 

Yer child? No ours?”

 

Jamie watched her distress increase as she swung her arms around her tiny body and let her blonde hair swing around her shoulder. She had blamed him for a while now, without knowing for sure if he was the actual problem. He had to admit that he started to believe it himself.

 

“You can’t have children, Jamie. Maybe we should just find a donor.”

 

He nodded, having no energy left as this discussion had come up way more often than Jamie wished. He growled a low apology as he made his way towards the kitchen to prepare himself and Annalise supper, as she of course was too busy with herself.

 

Jamie loved to cook. It was like therapy to him. Annalise mostly left him alone so he could reflect on the day he had and once again, as it had over the rest of the week, his mind brought up the beautiful brown haired lass who sat in the front row and held the name Claire.

 

Claire.

 

Ainm brèagha.

 

He set the table, shaking away the thoughts of Claire once again as he found it inappropriate to think of a student while he was cooking a meal for his wife. God, he was even planning on a family with her. He couldn’t think of another woman, let alone one so beautiful as Claire Beauchamp.

 

Get it together, Fraser.

 

“An, food is done!”

 

And so they savoured the meal in peace while not daring to look at one another. Jamie focused on his meal to be distracted from thoughts of a pair of gleaming whisky eyes and brown curls, rather than being haunted by them. Annalise didn’t dare to say one word about the matter of Jamie not being able to give her a child.

 

Just a usual evening in the Fraser household.

 

Jamie was used to evenings like this, as the majority of them played out in the same manner. But nothing had prepared him for the future. His soul was carrying more darkness than he would like to admit but he saw a light. A light that could propel him out of the black surroundings he seemed to find himself in every single day.

 

Sorcha.

 

Claire.

 

Stop. It. Jamie.

 

He tried. He really did.

 

-

 

Claire must have fallen asleep on the couch with her study book opened to an unknown page, fallen to the floor.

 

She grunted and pushed the curls that dangled in her face behind her ear and picked up her book.

 

Claire was surrounded by the white noise of the water pipes as one of her neighbors likely had decided to take a shower.

 

After freshening herself up, Claire decided to check her phone and found a missed call from Geillis. The next second all Claire heard was the happy voice of the friend she had made a week ago. She was grateful.

 

“How’s my fav’rite English lassie?” of course.

 

“Good evening to you too, Geillis.”, Claire couldn’t resist a giggle.

 

“I was wonderin’ if ye’re up for a wee dram in the pub?”

 

Claire looked down at herself, feeling far from ready to head out to a pub. But it was the weekend and she clearly was so bored that she just slept through her studies so the next second she found herself agreeing to meet Geillis in half an hour and pulling out her favorite dress and her heels.

 

Judging what she had found to be decent enough, she ordered an Uber that delivered her just in time to the Pub Geillis had suggested.

 

The World's End.

 

How ironic.

 

She walked inside. She could hardly miss her friend as she sat at the centre of the bar, her strawberry-blonde mane put up in a bun.

 

Claire decided to approach the seat next to her and before she could seat herself, Geillis must have already sensed her presence.

 

“Ye made it!”

 

“Of course, I am very famous for being on time.”

 

The both of them laughed as Claire ordered a whisky to loosen herself up, as she had always been nervous amongst people.

 

“So how’s life goin?”

 

“It’s alright. You caught me studying. But to be honest, I fell asleep.”

 

She sipped on her glass while viewing a smirk on Geillis’ face.

 

“What?”

 

“Och”, she waved off with a grin. “I think ye just want tae impress our wee teacher.”

 

“Ja- Mr. Fraser?”

 

Argh.

 

“Aye.”, she decided to ignore the little slip up. “It seems tae me that ye both have found a liking for each other.”

 

Claire almost spilled her drink.

 

“Geillis! He’s my teacher for god’s sake!”

 

“That doesna mean anything. Ye both are of age and we’re no in High School any longer.”

 

“I think you’re seeing things.”

 

“I think I do.”, she grinned and decided to drink from her cocktail.

 

Claire focussed on her whisky and turned her head down as she felt heat creeping up her cheeks.

 

Was she so readable?

 

This needed to stop.

 

She can’t under any circumstance like James Fraser and she would do anything in her power to keep it this way.

Chapter Text

Another week passed and Claire finished filling up empty shelves in the garden center as she checked the time on her watch. Two more hours.

 

Time certainly wasn't going as fast as she wished so she repeated tonight's homework over and over again in her head.

 

Being busy with George Orwell’s Questions and Rules, Claire didn’t realize customers requiring help were approaching her

 

“Excuse Me, Ms…?”, said a female voice that tore her from her thoughts, followed by the timbre of the voice that filled her mind ever since she first heard it.

 

“Ms Beauchamp.”

 

Simply her name being spoken, but unspeakable things happened to her body and nervousness was written on her face. Claire felt the heat creep into her cheeks and knew she must have blushed when the woman who accompanied her teacher raised one eyebrow at her.

 

“You know the staff here?”, Annalise’s voice was filled with a degrading tone and Claire didn’t like it one bit. If this was his wife he seemed to have low standards.

 

“An, she’s a student of mine. Claire Beauchamp.”

 

“Good afternoon, it’s a pleasure to meet you. Mrs. Fraser, I presume?”

 

She tried to keep things as professional as possible while the gaze of An burned itself into Claire’s skin, watching her every movement.

 

“Yes, correct. We were looking for red roses but can’t find any that are beautiful enough.”

 

“I can show you where all roses may be found. You might also consider creating a bouquet yourself, so that you can choose the ones you like best.”

 

Claire saw the couple nodding and was surprised to find Mr. Fraser this quiet.

 

Once they arrived at the roses, Jamie’s wife must have found what she was looking for; she walked down the aisles picking some red and white roses.

 

“Quite interesting, George Orwell.”, she could have slapped herself right there.

 

“Oh aye. I’m verra glad you like it.”

 

She nodded, a tiny smile on her face but she decided to not speak any more as she didn’t want to embarrass herself further. How could she talk about school with her teacher while he was shopping with his wife? She wished at this moment that some sort of stone would appear that could transfer her to somewhere else than here. But this wasn’t possible.

 

Buckle up, Beauchamp.

 

“Mon chère, I have found everything, we can go. Thank you, Ms. Beauchamp. ” 

 

Of course she pronounced it french. 

 

“Anytime. Enjoy your day and thank you for shopping at The Green Thumb.”

 

“I’ll see ye tonight.”

 

And just like that they were gone.

 

I’ll see ye tonight.

 

Blue eyes.

 

Red hair.

 

He’s beautiful.

 

Stop it, Beauchamp.

 

Claire decided to distract herself once more with her homework, rather than thinking about what just happened and how she’d embarrassed herself in front of her teacher. It was bad enough that she had to see him again tonight. 

 

Quite interesting, George Orwell. Really?! For God’s sake!

 

-

 

Jamie couldn’t get her out of his head and the fact that he met her in that garden center didn’t help clear his thoughts at all. He couldn’t explain the feelings she had awoken in him and it was becoming rather hard to deny them. But he has to. 

 

He gave Annalise his name and his promise to stay true to her no matter what. She had a temper like no one he had ever met, but it was him that couldn’t give her what she wanted. It was him that failed his wife. It was him that couldn’t grant her her biggest wish. A child. 

 

It wasn’t till they arrived home that Jamie felt how tense his wife actually was and his intuition wasn’t wrong in that she indeed had something on her mind. And Annalise was not someone to hold her tongue.

 

“Do you always look at your students that way?”

 

She turned to face him, her big blue eyes staring him down from across the kitchen counter.

 

“Whatever yer meaning is lass, i dinna ken.”, he has been through this more than once. Annalise was famous for her unfounded jealousy. Jamie wouldn’t ever betray her, no matter how much his feelings for her were fading, but Claire wasn’t making it easy for him.

 

“Oh, you know very well what I  mean, Jamie. That student we just met in the garden center. She literally turned into a tomato in front of us only looking at you.”

 

“Since when is it my fault when people are looking at me, An? I havena done anything and ye ken that verra wel.”

 

Jamie took the bunch of roses Annalise had picked and put them in a vase, presenting  them neatly on the empty space on the table.

 

“And now, I have tae prepare for my class tonight. If ye dinna mind.”

 

Jamie walked upstairs before he could hear his wife vent further. He closed the door behind him then sat at his desk and shuffled through the stack of papers in front of him. He couldn’t deny the small amount of pride he felt when he heard that Ms. Beauchamp actually took a liking to his class. Why on earth would that matter?! He has never cared if a student likes his class or not. What was important was that he got through all topics of the first semester. But somehow he felt that this was different. But it couldn’t be.

 

Tonight.

 

Brown curls.

 

Whisky eyes.

 

Her.

 

Stop it, ye clotheid.

 

-

 

It was time for Claire to finish her shift and get ready for her evening class with Mr. Fraser. She couldn’t forget to tell Geillis all about this encounter tonight.

 

She had found a great friend in Geillis Duncan and was happy she had someone to talk to ever since she ended up alone after her failed relationship with Frank. Also the two women had decided to meet up once a week after class to catch up with each other and Claire was more than happy that this was happening tonight.

 

After freshening herself up, Claire gathered everything she needed and walked off to school where she saw her friend waiting for her.

 

“Well hello my favorite English-lassie.”, she had called her that ever since.

 

“Hello my favorite Scottish-lassie.”, Claire tried in her best Scottish accent which made Geillis giggle a bit more than usual.

 

“Well, ye tried but I’d rather have ye stick to yer own accent, Claire.”

 

Claire smiled and nodded.

 

“You’re right. You should wait for what I have to tell you tonight, but of course in my own accent.”, she joked but knew that she now had the full attention of her friend in case she didn’t have it already.

 

“Does it have tae do with our red-haired teacher?”

 

Claire nodded and saw how Geillis’ eyes widened. Before she could speak further, Claire heard steps echo through the halls and the low voice that haunted her.

 

“I’ll speak tae ye later, Murtagh.”

 

He said goodbye to a colleague as he turned to look at her.

 

Claire’s legs felt like collapsing when the ocean blue eyes lingered on her a bit longer than intended. Luckily her friend held her steady and led her in where they once again took their seats in the front row.

 

“Hold yerself”, Geillis whispered into Claire’s ear.

 

“I’m trying.”

 

Claire took out her laptop and her notebook to have something else to look at other than her handsome teacher in front of her.

 

“Good evenin’ class. I hope ye all had a wonderful day?”

 

Claire only nodded, still feeling the heat in her face while thinking about the encounter she had with him at work today. Just don’t look at him. Focus on your work, Beauchamp.

 

“Please hand in yer homework and we’ll get on with today’s class. We’ll be talking about Storytelling today. And, as ‘tis verra important to have someone else’s opinion, we will have a special guest over. He is verra experienced in historical writing, which will also be the topic of some classes next week.”

 

“Hopefully another handsome teacher.”, Geillis whispered into Claire’s ear while trying not to giggle too loud.

 

Claire smiled at her and prepared to give her homework to Mr. Fraser as he walked around and collected the papers.

 

The moment the class actually began and Mr. Fraser spoke about the 10 tips of Storytelling, Claire could finally focus again on what mattered. Her degree. 

 

But yet she studied every movement of the man teaching her. The way he tapped his knee between sentences, the way one side of his lips moved upward as if he was telling a story. The way his red hair fell into his face when he looked down. His ocean blue eyes that lingered over the class, checking if everyone was taking notes. 

 

Typing the last sentence, she was forced to look up, waiting for the others to finish their notes. She found herself staring at him the same instant he stared at her. Heat crept once again into her face, causing her to type sentences into her document that didn’t make one bit of sense.

 

After everyone was done typing, it was time for the historical writer to make his entrance. Geillis was more excited than anyone, hoping she would find her match in the man who would teach her something about a topic she liked.

 

Claire hung on every single word Jamie said before introducing the man that would be there for the evening and she smiled until the name echoed inside the walls of the classroom, until her blood froze and a shiver made its way down her spine.

 

“Please welcome, Professor Frank Randall.”

 

Frank. 

 

Randall.

 

Frank Randall.

 

For God's sake.

 

Claire’s hands grasped her chair until her knuckles turned as white as her face. She couldn’t imagine sitting in the same room as Frank for more than a minute and when he walked in and laid eyes upon her she felt like she couldn’t breathe. The air was forced from her chest, from her very existence, and tears blurred the images in front of her.

 

Not now, Beauchamp.

 

Do not have a fucking panic attack now.

 

Geillis’ hand was on Claire’s shoulder and her voice was barely audible yet Frank’s voice was clear as day.

 

“Are you alright, Madam?” Frank asked.

 

Tears ran down her face, as she nodded and packed up her things.

 

“I’m sorry, Mr. Fraser. I’m not feeling well.”

 

And so she left. Alone. And broke down the moment she stepped outside the school.

 

He would never leave.

Chapter Text

Even breathing was hard for Claire as she pressed her hand onto the cold stonewall of  the building she just escaped. How on earth was it possible for Frank to haunt her in the most horrifying ways. She had made her peace as best she could with that man, but seeing him in front of her so unexpectedly was something she couldn’t prepare for.

 

She had still some classes left for the evening but knew deep in her heart that she couldn’t go back inside. She couldn’t face the man who haunted her to this day ever again, or she would break down in front of everyone.

 

Didn’t that just basically happen?!

 

For God’s sake Beauchamp, get your shit together.

 

The sudden warmth from two hands covering her shoulders showed her that she was  shaking from the cold and the panic attack she was experiencing. Claire turned around to look into Geillis’ green eyes. Her gaze was worried, filled with questions, but answers weren’t what Claire could give her right now; her chest got tighter and tighter and her lungs ached for oxygen.

 

“Breath, Claire, Breathe.”

 

Her voice was faint, not even close to Claire, even though she wasn’t standing far away from her. She heard a sob; it must have come from herself.

 

The world didn’t seem real anymore and Claire felt like she was taken to a place where her worst nightmares had made a home for themselves.

 

And then she saw him. Frank. And her chest was throbbing with pain from the sobs trying to find a way out of her body. But instead of a sob they turned into a scream.

 

Claire barely heard Geillis’ panicked voice talking to Mr. Fraser and the next moment she was pressed against the steady chest of her teacher as he carried her away from the people who kept staring at her.

 

When she was seated on a bench next to the school, she suddenly felt the wetness of water on her lips as Geillis tried to hydrate her and she sipped thankfully trying to control her breath, eventually succeeding. After a few more minutes Claire was able to let everything that just happened sink in.

 

“God, are ye alright, Claire, ye scared the shite out of me!”

 

Claire looked up at Geillis, still  breathing heavily, and nodded.

 

“I’m sorry. I-”

 

She looked now to her other side where her teacher had seated himself and she saw that he was just as worried as Geillis.

 

“I’m alright.”

 

“Are ye sure, Claire? I mean, Ms. Beauchamp.

 

The way he rolled the r in her name made her want to suggest he always call her by her first name. But she knew she should keep it professional and not correct him, so she just nodded.

 

“I promise. I’m alright, I think I just need to go home.”

 

“‘Tis that professor right? Randall?”

 

Her nerves twitched when Geillis spoke his name.

 

“Has he hurt ye?”

 

Claire perceived the more Geillis spoke the more tense Mr. Fraser became. She felt the heat vibrating from his body onto hers and she felt how much he had hoped that Frank wasn’t the reason she had reacted in this way. Little did he know.

 

“Please Geillis. I’m alright.”

 

Claire tried her best to stay as steady as possible and she knew in order to keep up the wall  she had built in all these years, she needed to show them just how strong she was. She couldn’t be vulnerable, not now. She wasn’t ready for the world to know about her past. She wasn’t even ready to review her past in her mind. How on earth would she ever be able to face it, let alone talk about it.

 

“I suggest Ms. Duncan bring ye home as I dinna want ye to see yerself home. I will excuse ye from yer further classes tonight and in case ye need more rest Ms. Duncan can give me a wee notice. But please see yerself rested, I dinna want ye to overwork yerself.”

 

Claire hung on every word he spoke and nodded. He  cared so much that she was alright, and the fact he did made her more grateful than ever. No one had ever wanted her to look out for herself.

 

“Thank you, uhm, Mr. Fraser.”

 

He nodded and one side of his lip twitched up and it looked like he was half smiling. Geillis helped Claire up since she was still feeling a bit dizzy from her attack.

 

The two of them walked to Claire’s apartment. Both of them remained as quiet as possible until Claire was sitting on the couch with a glass of water.

 

“Thank you Geillis, I really appreciate your help but I don’t want you to miss further classes. You should go back.”

 

Geillis scoffed and sat herself next to Claire.

 

“If ye’re really thinkin’ that I’ll just leave ye alone here now, then ye’re quite mistaken. And I think your wee fox-cub wouldna be happy wi’ me if I left ye all to yerself.”

 

“Wee fox-cub?”

 

“Jamie Fraser.”

 

There she goes again.

 

“Geillis, please.”

 

“Look, we arnea talkin’ about this right now, but I wilna leave ye. Ye scared the piss out of me, I thought ye couldna breathe anymore. Ye were white as a ghost when that Randall-”

 

“Don’t.”

 

Claire couldn’t hear his name any more. Not today and most certainly not in this house.

 

Her hand found itself to her forehead which has a throbbing pain within, and she closed her eyes while deciding to take another sip of her water.

 

“I wilna pressure ye to talk, Claire. But I AM worried about ye.”

 

Claire looked up and the certainty on Geillis’ face made her tear up again. Her gleaming whisky eyes filled with salty tears that rolled down her cheeks the next second.

 

“Claire.”

 

“No, don’t”, she croaked, her voice nothing more than a raspy breath.

 

Claire wasn’t used to showing her feelings to anyone other  than the reflection in her mirror. 

 

The next moment she found herself in the arms of her newfound friend and it felt strange for Claire to have a shoulder to lean on, as if it could be ripped away the next moment.

 

She knew she couldn’t tell Geillis her story, and felt if she did she would find herself once again without a friend. She would run.

 

Once Claire removed herself from her friend's hug, she forced herself to smile.

 

“If you don’t mind Geillis, I would like to be alone. I’m so thankful for you bringing me here but I really am in need of sleep.”

 

She wouldn’t get any tonight but she needed to be alone.

 

“Of course. But promise me, ye will call me if ye’re needin somethin’, aye?”

 

“Aye”, she tried to speak it with a smile but failed.

 

A short hug from Geilis and she was alone, breaking down in tears with the image ofone face  in her mind after having hidden it for all this time. Frank Randall.

 

“You bastard. You bastard. You bastard.”

 

“Leave me FUCKING ALONE.”

 

And she cried until sobs eventually changed into small breaths and the air around her held nothing more than a sudden silence.

 

Hours must have passed as she saw the clock striking ten-thirty. She stood up from her couch, her curls wildly poking out all around her face. Claire picked up the hair tie that was still laying on the table and pulled her hair into a messy bun.

 

Claire was in need of sleep but her growling stomach begged for something else. As she cut bread to make herself a sandwich, she heard a knock on her door.

 

Her brows furrowed in curiosity over who it could be, so she walked quietly to the door.Fear crept up in her body, worrying it could be Frank. She checked the peephole only to find a bunch of red curly hair in front of it. Jamie. Eh… Mr. Fraser. She opened the door.

 

“Mr. Fraser?”

 

“Oh… Hello Ms. Beauchamp, I hope I havena awaken ye?”

 

“Oh no, I was just making myself something to eat.”

 

“I’m sorry for my late visit, I just wanted to bring ye the things ye’ve missed tonight in yer classes.”

 

So thoughtful.

 

“That’s so nice, thank you very much Mr. Fraser.”

 

Claire took the papers he’d put neatly into a folder from him and smiled.

 

“Would you care to join me for a cuppa? I wouldn’t want you to have come all the way here only to give me my homework.”

 

You are so stupid Beauchamp. So so stupid.

 

“Och, I couldna disturb ye at this late hour could I?”

 

His wife was probably waiting as well.

 

“I don’t mind. I’m not really tired yet, to be honest.”

 

“Well, aye, but I’d rather have some whisky... if ye have, of course.”

 

“I always have whisky. A lot.”

 

“That sounds verra good!”

 

Claire made space for him to enter and then it dawned on her. She must look horrible. Stuffy nose, red circles under her eyes, and her curls up in a messy bun yet falling out all over the  place.

 

Great.

 

Claire took out two glasses and a bottle of whisky, little knowing what this evening would bring her, was far away from the life she had always expected to lead.

Chapter Text

Claire couldn’t believe that she was sitting there with her extremely handsome teacher after having  thought about him since their first meeting.. She tried to push away the thoughts her mind bombarded her with  every single day, but hadn’t really succeeded in that.

 

Frank’s appearance at school this evening didn’t really help; she jumbled with emotions and she hadn’t ever thought about seeing him there, right in front of her. She was happy that Geillis brought her home but really didn’t want to seem weak in front of them all and  or someone in particular . And that someone was now sitting in her kitchen, drinking a glass of whisky.

 

“I’m sorry, Mr. Fraser, for everything today. I’m very grateful to  you for bringing me all my schoolwork.

 

“No worries at all. Yer other teachers are sending their best regards as well and they agree wi’ me that ye should take the time ye need tae get  back on yer feet again.”

 

“Thank you. But I will be back tomorrow evening.”

 

Claire saw that this worried Mr. Fraser. It seemed like he wanted to say something about her decision but instead chose to sip on his whisky rather than speak words he might regret.

 

“May I ask ye something personal, Ms. Beauchamp?”

 

Claire couldn’t deny that this question had always raised an anxious feeling in her and the seconds of agony while waiting for the other person to actually ask their question, were the worst.

 

“Of course!”

 

She tried to stay as calm as possible and hid her emotions by gently sipping on her glass,  letting the beverage warm her belly. Was it really the beverage that provided the warmth?

 

Stop it.

 

“What was it that upset ye this much?”

 

Claire had expected a similar question, but hearing it out loud and knowing she would somehow have to find a way to explain it to him, scared her. He must have felt it.

 

“Ye ken ye dinna have tae answer me, aye?”

 

His eyes held a comfort Claire had never experienced in another’s gaze and for the first time she was calm, even though  thoughts of Frank haunted her memory. But she wasn’t inclined to completely trust her feelings as they had misled her more than once. She can’t follow her heart the moment it speaks to her. That just wasn’t her.

 

“I know, thank you kindly, Mr. Fraser. I just felt uncomfortable with the situation. It woke some emotions I thought I no longer had, about certain things ending. I know this doesn’t make any sense to you at all.”

 

She must sound ridiculous. But Mr. Fraser didn’t show any expression  that indicated he would make fun of her, nor that he felt what she said wasn’t making any sense. He nodded with the most understanding gaze she had ever seen.

 

“Ye make sense. What was the trigger if I may ask?”

 

Claire saw his glass was empty after his last swallow and didn’t wait to refill it, which he thankfully accepted. She also filled her glass once more as she felt that she needed it for this sort of talk. 

 

“Mr. Randall was the trigger. We have a past.”

 

There it was. He knows. Of course not the background but Claire thinks he would understand a small part of the connection she once shared with Frank. She knew she couldn’t and wouldn’t tell more. First of all, Mr. Fraser is her teacher and second, she had never spoken it aloud and she wouldn’t as she didn’t want to re-open those wounds.

 

She couldn’t go through that pain again.

 

“Did he hurt ye?”

 

Claire looked at her teacher and she swore she could see the ocean blue eyes change to a blue as hard as ice. The tone in his voice changed and was more of a low growl, like an animal that was ready to attack.

 

She took a sip from her glass and turned around; something about Mr. Fraser made her more than nervous. She didn’t want to reply but her silence was the answer to his question  and she felt the sharpness of his gaze on her back as she was hit by a sudden wave of goosebumps.

 

“I’m alright, Mr. Fraser. That’s all I can say about it.”

 

Claire saw him taking his last sip and looking at her, accepting and respecting her choice not to tell him. She was grateful to him for not pressuring her into it but felt his tension.

 

She sat next to him and felt the closer she got to him the warmer her body temperature rose. It was definitely not the whisky.  

 

The both of them continue talking for some more hours. The bottle started to get emptier and they felt that they had stepped past some undefined boundary as the atmosphere got a bit too friendly.

 

“I should go, Claire.”

 

In the midst of the drinking, they had called each other by their first names and Claire couldn’t explain what hearing him say her name did to her. Unspeakable things.

 

“Yes, I have to get up in a few hours.”

 

Claire giggled and stood up from her chair. It was that moment she realized that the world around her was spinning. The next moment she fell into Jamie’s arms and burst out into even more laughter.

 

“If ye even can stand up, Sassenach!”

 

“Sasse-what?”

 

Sassenach. ‘Tis used by us Scots to call the English. I dinna mean it to offend ye and the name sure fits ye.”

 

“I must say I feel a tiny bit offended but you saying it does make it sound acceptable.”

 

Claire managed to stand on her own two feet when she followed Jamie to the door. He too had trouble standing up.

 

“Hey! Are you here by car?”

 

“Oh no. I walked. I just live two streets away.”

 

“Good, I wouldn’t have let you drive, even you’re having trouble walking.”

 

“Aye. And that isna a good sign for a Scot.”

 

Claire burst into laughter again and threw herself into his arms.

 

“Ops, I’m sorry. I will see you tomorrow, Mr. Fraser.”

 

“‘Til tomorrow, Sassenach.

 

Claire watched the door close and reflected the evening once more in her head.

 

Jesus H. Roosevelt Christ, Beauchamp. What the fuck did you do?

 

-

 

Jamie walked home, trying to focus on walking straight and getting the smell of whisky to fade. Annalise would kill him if she knew. How could he let himself get this comfortable with a student? It could cost him his entire future if it affected his reputation as a teacher.

 

Get her out of yer head, Fraser.

 

Entering his house, he expected his wife to bombard him with questions but Annalise couldn’t be found anywhere. Jamie walked into every single room on the ground floor when he heard clattering coming from upstairs.

 

“An? Are ye there?”

 

Jamie walked upstairs when he heard mumbling voices and he knew his wife wasn’t alone. This thought only confirmed itself when he entered their bedroom and found Annalise  wearing only her robe while the man  with her rushed into his pants.

 

It took him a moment to process the image in front of him and he just stared at his wife as she walked towards him.

 

“Dinna touch me! And you, leave my house and my wife be!”

 

Jamie saw red and grabbed the man by his arm.

 

“Calm down ye idiot! Yer wife contacted me!”

 

“Contacted?”

 

It was now he realized that the man had many features like himself. Blue eyes, red hair, facial structure, fit and so much more.

 

“Can someone explain tae me what is going on?!”

 

“Let me go first!”

 

Jamie let go of the man in front of him and turned to face his wife. Annalise looked at Jamie, trying to find the words. Jamie, of course, could add one and one and put it all together  before An could  attempt to explain herself.

 

“Ye seriously contacted a stranger to fuck  in our bed, trying to get pregnant to raise a child that isna mine with me?! Are ye out of yer goddamn mind woman?!”

 

“Jamie, I just wanted a baby I-, listen... anyway it didn’t work out.”

 

“How can ye know already?”

 

It dawned on him then. 

 

“This wasna the first time ye did it.”

 

He looked at Annalise who was staring intently at the floor, clearly feeling ashamed. Jamie was thrown back by a sudden wave of realization that his life was about to crumble and shatter into a million pieces. His wife had betrayed him, after all these years, only because he was incapable to give her a child.

 

Jamie left the house immediately. He couldn’t bear it anymore. He couldn’t look into his wife’s  eyes  at the moment because he only felt shame. Shame that he couldn’t do right by her. Shame that he couldn’t give her happiness. Shame that he couldn’t give her a child.

 

Somewhere he blamed it all on himself.



Chapter Text

Jamie walked through the dark streets of Edinburgh while his mind raced countless images flashed through it. The cold breeze didn’t bother him at all. Waves of heat rippled up and down his body from the raging anger that coursed through his veins.

 

Eventually he came to a quiet spot in a nearby park and practically collapsed on a bench below a beautiful tree that somehow called peace to him. He looked up and finally allowed tears to run down  his cheeks. What had he done to deserve this? What if he had never found out and raised a child in a lie? It wouldn’t have bothered him to raise a bairn that wasn’t his by blood, but it would have bothered him if he were  surrounded by lies.

 

After failed attempts to stem his tears and repeated pawing at his wet cheeks, Jamie finally broke Into sobs. All those years spent with the wrong woman by his side, trying to follow his dreams of living in a happy marriage and being blessed by beautiful little bairns that would call him “Da”. Jamie was a man filled with love and was ready to spoil people around him with it. The right people. 

 

How could he have been this naive and stayed with Annalise? Somewhere deep in his heart he had come to feel she was the wrong woman but his mind didn’t want to admit it while calling  for a life with a loving and ideal marriage.

 

Jamie buried his face into his hands, his throat raspy from the sobs that still shivered through his body. It wasn't the cold that was shaking him but fear. A fear of loneliness and grief. 

 

Gradually he took in his surroundings more and more. The tree was already etched in his mind but he watched the wind tickling the grass around him, making it look like the green leaves danced in rhythm with the wind. The water from a fountain streamed in front of him, soothing his soul as cruel images made their ways back into his mind. Images he had buried years ago. Images that left scars still burning on his brain.

 

Until tonight Jamie was grateful for the life he built himself. He was a teacher, helping people daily to fulfill their dreams. He had a wife and eventually he would be blessed with children. He was financially stable and could provide for others. And every little bit of that now seemed to crumble away.

 

His work was not what it once was, nor was his life. It didn’t bring him the joy it once did, since one tragic accident cost him his best friend. Jamie didn’t know why he thought about John or his entire life right now, but the incident with Annalise opened up past wounds that had never fully healed.

 

John Grey went to university with Jamie and they were best friends. John’s boyfriend Hector was a wonderful addition to their friendship and Jamie had always supported their relationship wholeheartedly. After their graduation John and Hector married and Jamie remembered the day where John asked him to be his best man. It made him feel wanted, after all he went through when his family was killed in a fire when he was only fifteen years old.

That had forced Jamie to live with his Uncle Dougal in Glasgow until he went off to university where he tried to  reclaim and rebuild his life as much as possible.

 

Jamie remembered wishing John and Hector a beautiful honeymoon, never dreaming they would not even reach their destination;  the aircraft didn’t land safely. He found out when he saw the news and eventually received a call from John’s mother. He was alone once again.

 

Several months later Jamie found his new position in France. That is where he met Annalise.

 

She worked in the coffeeshop on his way to work and a few months after meeting each other they started dating and everything seemed to come together again, for once in his life. Of course he still grieved all the people he’d loved who were missing from his life, but finding Annalise distracted him from that hole in his heart. It made the pain bearable, even though it never disappeared.

 

And now she had betrayed him as well. She had ripped away the thread that kept his wounds stitched and threw it away to a place he could never find. He was alone once again and didn’t know how he could ever find his way back again. He didn’t know how to ever feel at home again.

 

A sudden wave of nausea hit him when the word home echoed through his mind. 

 

Home.

 

Lallybroch.

 

Broch Mordha was a few hours ride from Edinburgh, the area near Inverness where his family estate once stood. Lallybroch was a beautiful farm his father modernized into a 20th century farm. His father Brian and his mother Ellen had put their blood and sweat into rebuilding the old farm and once it was complete, they had lived within those walls for many years.

 

Jamie still thought about those days of laughter. His sister, Jenny, and him running around the hallways, smelling the fresh paint that was applied a few weeks prior. Their parents asked them to be careful running around the grounds. The both of them laughing and playing and feeling as carefree as possible. Jamie spent a lot of his time in the stables after school unlikeJenny who took after their mother and loved to paint.

 

The older she grew, the more portraits were drawn by the both of them and every single one had a special place in his heart. Jamie still kept them in his attic but never dared to look at them. The box was in a hidden corner and darkness surrounded it. Jamie was not one to touch this darkness.

 

As years passed and Jenny started to get more involved in painting, often after school, she shared a room with their mother. The passion filled both  the women's hearts. Brian loved to care for his family and mostly kept the farm going together with Jamie when he wasn’t at school. Jamie vividly remembered the day when the school director had come into his class and called him into his office. His Uncle Dougal was standing there, which gave him the worst gut feeling possible as usually he never visited, except for birthdays or other occasions.

 

Jamie remembered as clear as day when they told him that Lallybroch burnt down, including his parents and Jenny. He remembered how his scream echoed through the halls of the school and how his tears couldn’t stop, but rolled down his cheeks.

 

He remembered seeing his home turned into ashes, the smell of fire surrounding the place his parents loved. He could hear his and Jenny’s giggles when they would play together as toddlers and he could smell the food his mother cooked for them even though his nose was filled with the smell of darkness. He could see his father working the lands and watching him proudly when he was riding his horse all by himself. All those memories once again played through his mind and caused him to sob uncontrollably again.

 

O Dhia tha mi gad ionndrainn cho mòr. (Oh God I miss you all so much)

 

They were able to save some belongings, including a few paintings that Jamie had hung into the stables. The very same artwork that now lay in a box in the attic darkness. Jamie knew exactly which drawings he would find if he ever decided to open up that box. But opening up the box would tear open his heart and make him bleed.

 

Jamie dwelt in those thoughts and didn’t realize how much time passed. He sat on this bench for hours and the cold finally took over and made him realize that it was time to go home

 

His eyes were swollen and his throat ached from all the sobs racking his chest.

 

Night turned into dawn and a few people were now appearing for  their morning walks with their dogs and a few people decided to do their morning sports.

 

Jamie stood up, feeling the cold breeze buffeting his body, and making him shiver after sitting there for so long. His nose was stuffed and his tired eyes were not truly looking where he  was going. The next thing he felt was someone running straight into him, making him almost lose his balance.

 

“Jesus H. Roosevelt Christ can you not look where you are go- Mr. Fraser!”

 

Jamie would know this voice anywhere as it echoed through his mind ever since he heard it for the first time. He couldn’t look up. It would give him away. He couldn’t be weak in front of a student, even  someone as close to him as Claire. She probably already forgot about what happened yesterday.

 

“‘I’m sorry, lass.” His  voice did not sound like itself at all and for a second he thought a stranger spoke. “I dinna look where I was walking. Are ye alright?”

 

Jamie didn’t look at her and he felt her staring.

 

“I think the question is more if you are alright?”

 

She took a few steps towards him and he realized his lips were trembling.

 

Don’t cry in front of her. Don’t you dare, Fraser. Leave.

 

“Aye. I’m alright, lass. Dinna fash. I’ll see ye tonight in class.”

 

Jamie wasn’t ready to show his vulnerable side and, besides, his burden wasn't hers to carry. She was his student and  had a dream she was trying to make reality. It was his responsibility to be a part of that dream. To help her grow and eventually become the person she wanted to be, not to share his feelings about how his life crumbled and shattered into a million pieces.

 

“I’m sorry, again.” and he walked off to the place he once looked at as home. To the place where confrontation was waiting for him. After a night of tortured thoughts and his mind being burdened by scars of the past, he had to stay strong like he had all those years.

 

And he didn’t know if he would be ready for that at all and he knew he had to start by facing the woman who waited for him in a house he once called home.

Chapter Text

Claire stared after her departing teacher. She had noticed the red puffy eyes and his running nose and the shivering of his body wasn’t to be missed. He’d cried and had been here more than just a few minutes. Did this have to do something with last night? Has she overstepped their boundaries?

 

Not everything is about you, Beauchamp.

 

Claire stood there for a few seconds longer until she decided that this was none of her business and that they needed this sort of distance to continue their professional relationship. After all he was her teacher and she was at school to finally get the degree she had been fighting for so hard.

 

She decided to pick back up on her run and set off at a quick pace through the cold air of Edinburgh, her thoughts circling around her teacher and her future. Claire’s dream had always been to study writing and evening classes weren’t as efficient as she wanted them to be but money didn’t fall from trees so it was the best she could do. Her dream was still, and would always be, full time study at the University of Edinburgh. Claire dreamt about this for far longer than she could remember.

 

Claire ran faster than she realized until the burning sensation in her lungs forced her to stop. She bent over and placed her hands on her knees to try to calm her breathing. If she had studied at the UOE she would have never met James Fraser.

 

But you would live your dream.

 

Get him out of your head!

 

Claire knew this was easier said than done as the blue gaze of Jamie Fraser haunted her not only during daytime but also filled the majority of her dreams. She didn’t want to think about him but her mind seemed to have a talent for projecting images she simply tried to forget.

 

But not only had the ocean blue eyes crept into her dreams but also the dark brown pair of Frank Randall’s has appeared to her more often since last night. She thought about Frank every now and then but since he walked into her class the previous night, her mind was occupied with past memories of him she thought she’d hidden a long time ago.

 

It was then her stomach turned and she retched as her breakfast made its way out of her body.

 

Her life was starting to get messier than it already was and she could only hope that Frank wouldn’t be at school more often. After all he was only a professor that came for one subject. 

 

Or wasn’t he?

 

Claire didn’t want to think about seeing his face every single day while following her dreams. Hearing his words echoing in her mind while he called her names she would never forget.

 

She shook her head to clear it and decided to walk home as her now empty stomach hadn’t recovered yet. Her mind went from Frank to Jamie and from Jamie to Frank and she didn’t know which was more concerning. The tornado of emotions was close to overwhelming her, and she was scared she’d get lost in its winds and never coming out.

 

Once she arrived home, she freshened herself up. The hot water of the shower caressed her aching body and her curls now hung past her shoulders. She closed her eyes when the blue gaze appeared once more. Last night's event ended differently for Claire in her head and the scenario of Mr. Fraser ended not with him leaving her apartment.

 

God stop it Beauchamp and get your teacher out of your head.

 

After her shower, Claire changed into her work clothes for her shift  in about two hours. She sighed at the thought of another boring day at the garden center when her doorbell rang and she opened it to see her friend Geilis standing there with two coffee cups and two croissants.

 

“Good mornin’ Claire, I hope ye  rested well?” her big green eyes observed Claire and were quite satisfied to see Her not quite as pale as when she left her last night.

 

“Yes, I did, and I do feel better.”

 

Geillis was handin Claire the beverage and the delicious pastry when she spotted the   whisky on the kitchen counter.

 

“Did ye have a party wi’ out me?” she pouted with a slight hint of worry in her gaze as she didn’t part voluntarily with Claire last night.

 

Claire wished she would have cleaned them up, but she couldn’t have known that Geillis would storm into her apartment in the light of the day. Claire was grateful she did, as her first breakfast left her body during her morning jog.

 

“Oh that, no… I didn’t drink that all by myself if that’s what you’re asking.”

 

Geillis looked at her friend in confusion, then she suddenly let out a surprised gasp.

 

“Did ye have a late night visit then last night?” She grinned now as she saw Claire’s facial expression which so clearly gave away the answer and she needed more time than usual to reply.

 

“It’s not what you’re thinking, Geillis!”

 

“What’s his name? Does he have a big co-”

 

“Geillis!”

 

Geillis giggled and took a bite of her croissant followed with a gulp of the hot coffee. Claire knew her friend to be forward. Another thing she loved about her, but she could be a slight bit too forward which made Claire hesitant about telling her about who actually drank whisky with her.

 

Instead she started off with the encounter with their teacher in the park this morning.

 

“Do ye think he broke things off wi’ that wife of his? Maybe he's after ye Claire!”

 

“It’s not funny, Geillis, he looked so upset. I don’t know what happened, he was so hesitant and after-” it was then Claire stopped before telling too much, but she knew that every single word was too much. Geillis was well aware of every word Claire said.

 

“After what?”

 

“Geilis, you’re not making this easier at all.”

 

“What have I done now?!”

 

The green orbs of her friend stared her down. Claire decided to take a bite of her croissant while she  figured out her next words and whether she would tell Geillis about Jamie being here, drinking with her. Claire had become quite close to Geillis and she didn’t expect her to run off and tell the world about what happened. Should she eventually tell her?

 

Nothing happened, Beauchamp except you being all over your teacher.

 

Claire still was more than embarrassed thinking how she threw herself onto him. No wonder she thought that Jamie’s mood in the park could have been caused by her childish and irresponsible behaviour.

 

Oh God what if Mrs. Fraser knows?

 

Her facial expression must have shown as Geillis pressured Claire to end this silence.

 

“Mr. Fraser emptied the whisky bottles with me.” Claire took a large gulp of her coffee as she watched the eyes of her best friend widen even more than before.

 

“Ye had whisky with our wee fox-cub teacher?”

 

“Mhm”, she mumbled in a high pitched tone.

 

“Claire, how?!”

 

Geillis was speechless and Claire had never seen her speechless in the short amount of time she’d known her friend.

 

“He brought me the schoolwork I missed last night and, well, yeah.”

 

“Now ye have tae tell me more!”

 

And so she did. Claire told her everything from the moment he sat at her table until he left after she fell into his arms. She didn’t leave out a single detail.

 

“He called ye Sassenach?”

 

“Yes. But as I said he didn’t mean offense and I believe him.”

 

“Ye ken he's our teacher? And he’s married, Claire!”

 

“I know! The moment he left I regretted it!” She took another sip from the warm beverage that now wasn’t that hot anymore but still quite enjoyable. She finished her croissant with one last bite.

 

“I kent ye had eyes for each other and I must say he is handsome, but when ye met him this mornin’...”

 

“He was so upset, Geillis. I don’t know for certain but it only makes sense that something happened because of me…”

 

“Ye dinna ken that for sure. ‘Tis strange, but we canna jump to conclusions. But maybe ye have to take it a bit slow. After all he’s still married and ye dinna want feelings to interfere with  yer education. Ye have to think about why ye’re doing what ye’re doing.”

 

Claire nodded since she knew Geillis was more than right. She couldn’t open herself up to Jamie the way she wanted. First because he’s married, second he is her teacher and third she still has her issues with Frank and her own shit to deal with. There was no space for a new mess and the name of James Fraser couldn’t be spoken into Claire’s existence without a  mess following right after. She needed to focus on what was important:  Her education and her future.

 

“There is also Frank Randall.”

 

“Geillis…”

 

“I ken ye dinna want me to say his name in front of ye.”

 

“And that didn’t change.” Heat crept up beneath her skin followed by an icy shiver when Geillis uttered Frank’s name.

 

“Ye ken ye can talk tae me…”

 

“I know but there is nothing to talk about.”

 

“Whenever yer ready, ye have the ears of a friend wi’ me.”

 

“Thank you.”

 

The atmosphere between the women shifted after Frank Randall’s name echoed around Claire’s four walls. This was her safe space but the more that name was being spoken into that space the less safe she felt. Images filled Claire’s mind which she shook away instantly.

 

“Thank you for breakfast Geillis, but I really have to get to work.”

 

“Alright, I will see ye tonight in class.”

 

They exchanged a hug and Claire once more thanked Geillis for listening before the strawberry blonde mane disappeared from her eyesight. 

 

She wasn’t used to calling a friend and speaking her mind, nor was she used to someone speaking sense to her so bluntly. If it was for her alone she probably would have done things she would deeply regret.

 

“Alright Beauchamp, buckle up.”

 

Claire sighed and made her way to work with her mind still swirled with thoughts about class tonight and whether she would see Frank or Jamie or even both.

 

Work was essentially  as Claire expected, long and boring. After freshing herself up she packed all her supplies and walked to school where she was met outside by Geillis.

 

“Claire. Dinna be upset!”

 

A confused expression settled on Claire’s face.

 

“Mr. Fraser isna in tonight. Frank Randall will cover his lesson.”

Chapter Text

Jamie tried his best to not give into the temptation of looking back at her standing there, clearly knowing that something was bothering him. He couldn’t cross that boundary and open up to her. Jamie first needed to face Annalise, but his legs had never taken him  home more slowly than they did this morning. He didn’t know if he was ready, after the night of those memories haunting him. Jamie never thought that feeling this pain would again release all the memories he had pushed away.

 

He remembered the time he met Annalise, as clear as day. She was standing behind the counter of his coffee shop on his way to work. His need for caffeine was just as big as every other week day at this time of the morning. Her long blonde hair was pulled up into a ponytail while she prepared a beverage for a waiting customer. Her white teeth showed as she smiled while talking and her ocean blue gaze held a sincerity that caught Jamie’s  interest.

 

He couldn’t say that it was love at first sight, but there was something about her that made him feel something again for a long time.

 

And from there it took over. Jamie went every single day until Annalise knew his go to beverage, until he finally asked her out for dinner one time and she happily accepted.

 

Jamie knew back then he could trust her but not so much as to share his darkness with her. This was a feeling for only him to carry. He now knew it was more a feeling of shame. He was embarrassed to show weakness in front of her because Annalise had a talent for making him feel guilty. He was scared she would blame him for sharing his burden with her, so he decided to keep the demons in his backpack and let the positive emotions which still remained in him flow into the relationship he was building with An.

 

One date led to another and eventually they decided to move to Scotland together. Annalise’s family didn’t agree much with sending their daughter off to another country, but she quickly convinced them that this is what she wanted. Jamie couldn’t feel at home in France and he was lucky enough that Annalise joined him in this big step, as he had just gotten a position in Edinburgh. Everything seemed to work out and they found a beautiful house, big enough to hold a little Fraser family. Little did he know. 

 

Jamie arrived at the house he shared with her and looked up at the silhouette of the building. Everything seemed strange and he couldn’t imagine ever again calling this place home. Everything he had invested in living a happy marriage was now crumbled  and he was a breath away from again living his life a lonely man. 

 

He walked inside and heard the hasty steps of Annalise growing louder as she approached him.

 

“Jamie! Where have you been? I was scared something happened to you!”

 

“Dinna touch me Annalise. I had tae think.” He couldn’t look into her eyes and decided to head to the kitchen to make himself a cup of coffee. “‘Tis best I leave. I’ll book a hotel ‘til I can find a new place. Ye can have the house.”

 

From the corner of his eyes he could see his wife’s growing panic. She wasn’t going to give up on him, but all he felt when looking at her was pain and disgust. If love was involved in a relationship, and Jamie previously only ever believed in relationships based on love and care, no one would cheat or lie like Annalise had.

 

“Jamie, this is our house and you won’t go anywhere, do you understand me? We belong together!”

 

He pressed the mug onto his lips and scoffed.

 

“Together? Then explain to me An why ye had to fuck other men?” Of course Jamie knew the answer but he didn’t know what else to say to her, feeling thoroughly done with their relationship.

 

“I wanted a baby!”

 

“This isna a goddamn excuse, Annalise! Ye dinna deserve to hold my name any longer!”

 

“What?” she knew what he was going to say and her body went numb.

 

“I want a divorce. I dinna think I have more tae say tae ye.”

 

The next moment Jamie felt her arms around him as she hysterically started to cry and begged him to think about what he was doing. For Jamie it was as clear as day, he couldn’t forgive her. He felt betrayed, lied to, mistreated by the woman he called his wife. By the woman he swore an oath to before the altar of God. But he wasn’t the one who broke their vows, even though he chose to break this oath.

 

“No! James Fraser you belong with me!”

 

“I dinna belong to anyone but meself.”

 

He walked upstairs to pack some of his belongings but he knew he only wanted to get out of her sight. Jamie tried to ignore the hysterical cries of his wife, packed his things, and left for a hotel downtown. He didn’t care what hotel it was as long as he had personal space and a warm bed to rest in and let everything sink in.

 

After checking in and quickly taking in his new surroundings he laid on the hotel bed when he noticed the clock on the nightstand. Shite. Class.

 

Jamie knew he couldn’t teach a class; he was unprepared and not in his right mind at the moment. He decided to call in sick, feeling a slight ache in his chest while brown curls reflected in the depths of his mind. Stop it Jamie. She wilna care if ye’re there or no.

 

When he called in sick he asked specifically if Murtagh could take over his class to make sure everything was done correctly. Jamie was precise with his work and knew that the man would be able to fulfill his wishes. Never had he expected the turn this night would take when he answered a call from Geillis Duncan that ripped him from sleep shortly after midnight.

 

His brain was wondering at first how she got his number but was shortly processing the thought of course she must have gotten it  from the contact list of the school. Then it dawned on him. Claire. And he picked up in less than a second, only to hear the hysterical voice of his student.

 

“Ms. Duncan? Is everything alright?”

 

“Shh, hen, I’m here, ‘tis alright.” he heard her voice in the background calming a hysterical cry.

 

“Mr. Fraser! I’m so sorry fer waking ye but I didna know who tae call.”

 

He was wide awake.

 

“Dinna fash! What’s the matter?” his voice was alert. There must be something serious as the cry in the background only increased in volume.

 

“Please, Claire. God. Stop shaking. I dinna ken what to do. I dinna ken.”

 

“Claire is havin’ a panic attack. She was alright during class with Randall but after we arrived back home she started to get strange and then a while later when I addressed it she broke down. I dinna ken how tae react, she-”

 

Randall?! He asked for Murtagh!

 

“Where are ye?” He was pressing his phone between his ear and shoulder while he got dressed, to not lose any time.

 

“Her place!”

 

“Give her water! And speak tae her. I will be there as fast as I can.”

 

-

 

Geillis didn’t know if she’d made the right choice in calling their teacher, but she didn’t know anything about Claire’s life or whether she had other friends or family around here. Claire was a friend with many secrets, Geillis thought, but turned her main focus on refilling a glass of water for Claire.

 

She knelt down in front of the couch where Claire was shaking, her fingernails clawed into each of her arms, rocking back and forth as if her mind had left this world and was lost in a memory far far away. Geillis was almost sure it had to do with Frank Randall’s lesson.

 

Claire had acted as brave as she could during the hours of Randall’s class, but once they went to Mr. Fitzgibbons’ class, she saw her friend needed to focus a bit harder, she kept drifting away. And in Mrs. MacKenzies’ class, she was on another planet until they walked home where Claire had exchanged a few words with Geillis. They both  had enjoyed a drink before Geillis realized that every little sound outside had scared Claire in a way that worried her.

 

She only planned to look out for a friend and started to speak about it when Claire had lost it completely and slid into the state she was now. Claire had told her how Mr. Fraser spent the evening with her and he had encountered a panic attack before, so he was the closest  help Geillis thought to get. All that mattered was caring for her friend, she didn’t care if it was their teacher!

 

After what seemed like forever, the doorbell rang and James Fraser stood in the doorway, not hesitating a second before he rushed to her friend.

 

Chapter Text

Screams echoed in the depths of her mind but her surroundings were quiet. All Claire felt was the pain her fingernails gave her while pressing themselves into her arms. It was the anchor for her. Pain. It gave her a feeling of existing, of reality. It made her visible to the world and to herself.

 

Claire felt a cold wetness on her lips which she realized was water. As if she felt she wasn’t drowning enough already, she gulped tiny swallows that ended with her choking as the sobs shook her chest and shudders took over her body. Her world was gone, she had been living again in the darkest corner of her past, holding herself as she had no one else to hold her.

 

Class replayed itself in her head, but she barely had a true memory left of it, only his deep voice  which left the horrid tingling feeling on her body. She wouldn’t ever forget that low rumbling voice of Frank Randall, it had haunted her for a while now.

 

No Claire. Don’t think about him. He’s gone. He’s gone. He’s not here.

 

He is here.

 

In your school.

 

As your teacher.

 

Another scream vibrated thru her body, and she didn’t know if she made it audible or drowned it in herself. Claire knew Geillis was with her, but all of a sudden she felt a warm pair of hands on hers. Her fingernails released their grasp on her skin as the pair of hands held hers, stroking them softly. The dark corner she sat in suddenly didn’t feel as dark as before and she slowly found her way back out of it.

 

“Aye, here ye are lass. Here ye are.”

 

She looked up into the ocean blue gaze of Jamie Fraser. What is he doing here?

 

“Here, take another sip, Sassenach. Aye, there ye go.”

 

The cold beverage felt like balm for the soreness of her throat and she closed her eyes, releasing a bunch of tears that still lingered in the corners of her eyes.

 

Her hands were still surrounded by warmth and the tingling sensation that reverberated from the skin stroking hers.

 

“Jamie.” Her voice was nothing more than a croak and it pained her a little in the aftermath of her screams.

 

She didn’t care at this point, calling him by his first name, and was glad he was there. Claire was even surprised how fast the dark room disappeared around her as usually she dwelt in it for much longer.

 

“Hen, ye scairt the shite out of me again. Oh God.”

 

Claire looked up and found Geillis completely pale. She had never seen her friend this upset and realized that her attack wasn’t just her usual mild one, but severe.

 

“I’m so sorry. I’m-” Claire gulped as the aftermaths of her sobs still were felt in her chest and Geillis soon sat next to her, and replaced Jamie’s hands. No. No. No. No.

 

“Claire, tis’ alright. This isna yer fault at all.”

 

Claire nodded and squeezed her hands thankfully.

 

“Thank you, Geillis.” it was not more than a whisper and Claire shed a few more tears. She never had a friend like Geillis and was grateful to have her by her side. She didn’t   know what else would have happened if she had found herself alone.

 

Besides being there, Geillis had called Jamie. Probably she didn’t know anyone who might be close to Claire and little did she know that it was true. Claire was alone, always had been, until she walked into class and befriended Geillis a few weeks ago.

 

“Drink more, Sassenach.”

 

The next thing she felt was the cold glass on her dry lips once more and she now realized how thirsty she was. Gulping the water down, feeling with new energy flow through her veins by every swallow she took.

 

“Thank you!”

 

Claire now held the glass herself, attempting to stand up.

 

“Oh hell no, ye willna just stand on yer feet, are ye daft, Claire?”

 

Claire looked at Geillis who was dead serious. Claire, too exhausted to argue about it, sighed and sat back.

 

“You know, at some time I’ll have to stand up again, going to pee, or to bed, or work, or school.”

 

“Yes, but not now. I’ll stay the night with ye!”

 

“Geillis, that is not necessary at all! You should go home and rest, I have Jamie here.”

 

She spoke faster than she wanted. Oh God, that came out so wrong.

 

But there was no taking back in her words and she didn’t dare to look at either of them, waiting for someone to break the silence.

 

“I can stay wi’ her, Ms. Duncan. Ye look tired and unlike ye, I already had a few hours tae sleep.”

 

“But isna yer wife waiting? Ye canna say that yer staying wi’ a student.”

 

“No, she isna waiting.”

 

The atmosphere changed the moment the words left his mouth and Claire shot a short glance at Geillis, looked at Jamie afterward.

 

Was it her fault?

 

Did his wife leave him?

 

Was he in the park because of that?

 

Stop it Beauchamp.

 

“Alright,” she sighed with hesitation “I ken there isna any way tae talk some sense into ye and ye have our teacher here.”

 

Claire knew exactly why Geillis mentioned that specific word the way she did and was slightly irritated that Geillis would think something between her and Mr. Fraser would happen. She must admit last night's whisky occurrence she felt there was something, but she also knew that she could not give into her emotions. Never.  

 

“Mr. Fraser, ye’ll call me if there’s anything ye need and so will ye, Claire.”

 

“Yes, mother.

 

Geillis rolled her eyes and kissed Claire’s forehead and gave a slight smile to Jamie before she left.

 

The awkward silence grew, before Claire realized she hadn’t offered Jamie a drink. So polite of you Beauchamp.

 

“Would you like something to drink?”

 

Mr. Fraser? Jamie? What should I call him? This is so complicated.

 

“Aye, I can get it, if ye dinna mind? I won’t be having ye on yer feet just yet.”

 

She stared at him, images flashing through her brain as heat coursed through her body.

 

“I dinna mean! I meant, I want ye tae rest. I will get meself a glass of water.”

 

“Of course! Of course! Feel at home.”

 

Feel at home?! What the fuck? Sure, just invite Mrs. MacKenzie and Mr. Fitzgibbons as well, make them feel at home in your house. Oh God.

 

Claire looked at Jamie who returned with a glass of water and sat himself next to her.

 

“Do ye want to talk about it?”

 

Claire knew that she eventually had to talk about it and that this question was sure to come. He wouldn’t come all the way here after midnight, calming her down and staying the night, only for her to not tell him what happened. She knew he would never force anything out of her, but somewhere she felt like she owed him.

 

“Ye dinna have tae talk Claire, but it can help.”

 

Claire. God, how he rolls his r is still out of this world.

 

“I know, I know. I want to talk but I don’t think I’m ready. I haven’t ever spoken about it. I replayed it in my head a million times but never got the courage to talk about it. I hid it and now it all came crashing down on me. I should have known that those kinds of things would catch up with me, no matter where I am.”

 

Little did Claire know that Jamie felt those words in the depths of his heart. She looked at him and he patiently listened to her. His blue gaze lingering on her while hanging onto every word she said. He didn’t pressure her at all and for a split second she wanted to pour her heart out to him. She wanted to tell him everything about her life from the first day she could remember until now. But she couldn’t. No. She definitely couldn’t.

 

“I want to tell you, Jamie. I really do. I hope in time I can. But first I have to figure it out myself. I haven’t thought about all of this in a long time. Feelings stay hidden if you want them hidden but somewhere, deep inside, you just know that they are always there. They will always linger in your body like scars that you carry with you. On some days those scars are perfectly healed but on other days it feels like someone scratches them open, feeling joy in seeing you bleed. Today was one of those days for me.”

 

She already said more than she ever said to anyone about how she felt, and she wasn’t done.

 

“Seeing him brought many things up in my life. Lots of aspects I have to think about again and again.”

 

“I ken.”

 

She looked up at him once again after having stared at her fingers a bit too long.

 

“I, well. Ye found me in the park, this mornin’. I found out my wife wasna faithful tae me and it brought up dark things from my past. So I ken what ye’re feeling, Claire.”

 

He understands.

 

“I’m so sorry… You know you can talk to me.”

 

He smiled but there was no happiness behind the curled up lips.

 

“I ken, but just like ye I need time to process it all. The universe has weird ways of showing its way tae us. But Sassenach, ye ken ye have yer friend Geillis and ye can always speak yer mind tae me.”

 

She saw he wasn’t done.

 

“I have asked Mr. Fitzgibbons to cover the class fer me tonight and I will ask the school why they gave Frank Randall the task tae do so. I ken he upsets ye in someway and ye said ye both have a past. It isna my business, but according to the second bad reaction yer havin it isna a pleasant one. Please ken it wasna my intention to hurt ye.”

 

Hurting me? He blamed himself.

 

“Jamie,” her hands now found his, just like his found hers when he led her out of the darkness. “This is not your fault. I don’t want you to blame yourself one second for it.”

 

Their hands intertwined, Claire felt electricity flowing through her body, now covered in goosebumps. She didn’t know what had gotten into her but the next moment she felt her lips burning against the ones belonging to Jamie Fraser.



Chapter Text

The burning sensation on Claire’s lips lasted as long as they stayed on Jamie’s. Her consciousness screamed at her to stop this but her body ached for the touch of the man in front of her. It was Jamie who in the end broke the contact, although it was clearly visible how much he wanted to continue.

 

Sassenach, I’m sorry, I- this canna happen. I mean ye’re…”

 

“Oh God. I’m sorry. I kissed you. I didn’t know what came over me.”

 

Claire what the fuck have you done?!

 

Should I do it again?

 

Should I?

 

God what the fuck is he doing to you.

 

Before the next thought completely  crossed her mind, the heat on her lips returned, this time with the aching need of Jamie. Just like Claire, Jamie wanted it to happen too.

 

The next thing she knew she was sitting on her teacher’s lap, pressing her body against his, heat reverberating from both their longing bodies. Claire put her hands around his neck and slid her fingertips into the red curls that almost reached his shoulder. Their tongues played a game, neither of them wanted to give up and Claire felt a strong need she never had before.

 

A moan escaped from her mouth into his as her body pressed even more urgently against his. She felt his need for her, pulling her even more onto his lap. His panting caused her to moan even louder.

 

“Yer bed, Sassenach?”

 

She pointed towards the slightly opened door and the next moment she hung on his lips once more. He stood up, carrying her as if she was the lightest thing he’d ever held. Claire slung her legs around his torso, playing games of fire with his tongue when she felt the soft surface of her pillows.

 

Once Jamie’s shirt was off, Claire could only stare at his muscles.

 

Beauchamp, he is a fucking God.

 

She ignored the note her consciousness added, which was he is your teacher and touched him once again, forgetting every single thought she had in her mind. Her hands ached the second they left his skin and she knew he felt the same when he only let her go long enough to undress her.

 

“God Jamie!” Claire didn’t want him to stop and the next thing she knew  the both of them were naked. Bared of every piece of clothing, the both of them stopped to look at each other. Taking in every single detail of the other’s bodies, trying to figure out what made them ache, what caused the need they felt. Claire felt the throbbing between her legs and  seeing how ready Jamie was for her she only managed to moan more.

 

“Do it now, Jamie. Please!”

 

“As ye wish, mo ghraidh.

 

She didn’t have time to wonder what that could have meant for in one stroke his full length filled her like nothing ever had before. She gasped as her fingernails clawed themselves into his back, causing him to move faster inside of her. Claire felt the equality in this act of love which made her forget every single thing of her surroundings. For the first time ever in her life she felt carefree.

 

Her hands wandered from his back to his buttocks, squeezing lightly, pushing him deeper into her as if he could lose himself inside of her. Somehow she knew he was trying to do the same. He wanted to get lost in her as much as she wanted to lose herself in him.

 

Claire felt how close she was to feeling the release her body was begging for. Somewhere she sensed she didn’t want it to end, but somewhere she also knew this night Would not involve a lot of sleep. 

 

Jamie’s hands were touching her in places she didn’t even know pleased her the way theydid. He found areas of her body that longed for touch but never received it in the way he gave it to her. The both of them searching for release but aching with the need for it to last forever.

 

“Come for me, Claire.”

 

It was this moment she felt the warm sensation in her womb and she knew Jamie released himself. This alone pushed her over the edge and made her release herself to him, while they called each other’s names simultaneously.

 

She knew at this moment she had been lost and Jamie lent her a hand and had found her.

 

The both of them came slowly to their senses after losing them, an awkward silence building in  the air. Claire covered herself up with the blanket while lending Jamie a sheet to cover himself.

 

You just fucked your teacher.

 

Are you out of your goddamn mind, Beauchamp?!

 

“What are ye thinking about, Sassenach?

 

At least he has the courage to break this stupid silence.

 

“We shouldn’t have done this, Jamie.”

 

There it was. What emerged from her mouth was what occupied her mind the moment she had regaibed her senses. This shouldn't  have happened. Yesterday she had spent the time drinking whisky with him and then the moment after, regretted it. He had just called things off with his wife and now he was next to her, naked, after having shared this incredible intimacy with her.

 

I think I’m gonna puke.

 

This was a mistake.

 

Please Jamie, think the same.

 

“Aye. Ye’re right. This shouldna have happened.”

 

He agreed. Did he? There was some hesitation in his tone.

 

He agreed.

 

“God. This is my fault, I’m so sorry. I have gotten you in this horrible situation and then the next thing I knew was...nothing. My mind went blank. I must have reacted purely on my emotions.”

 

“I apologize I have taken advantage of that, lass. I dinna mean tae…”

 

“No, don’t s say anything  further. You have nothing to apologize for.”

 

Claire stood up, collecting her clothes, moving as fast as she could into her bathroom where she looked at the flushed reflection of herself.

 

Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck.

 

Collect yourself, Beauchamp. It was one time. It won’t happen ever again.

 

She took a deep breath before putting on her clothes after freshening up and left the bathroom a few minutes later to find a completely dressed Jamie.

 

“I can call Ms. Duncan in order to look out for ye. I still dinna think ye should be alone for the night.”

 

Claire knew he didn’t say it but he now meant for her not to be alone after what had just happened. He knew she was alright and recovered from her panic attack, but he also felt that this had upset her more than she thought. All she wanted was to be alone.

 

“I will call her. But for now I just would like to be alone, if you don’t mind?”

 

“Aye, of course I dinna mind. But I will ask her tomorrow if ye actually called.”

 

His voice was so soft, nothing of the confident, strong voice was left. He felt bad as well.

 

“I can take care of myself, Mr. Fraser.

 

He looked into her eyes and she swore the warm ocean blue gaze turned  icy the moment the phrase left her mouth. She didn’t regret saying it in that moment, but pain showed on the beautiful face of his, aching in the left chest of hers. She knew she couldn’t take it back when he nodded.

 

Ms. Beauchamp.

 

And then he left.

 

The moment the door clicked Claire threw herself onto her bed and all she was able to do was cry. She let out sobs that wracked her body, thinking of how naive she was to even let this happen. Geillis had warned her with a gaze before she left, but all she did was ignoring the signs that she indeed had made a mistake. How was she to face Jamie in class without turning as red as a tomato? How was she to face Geillis without telling her what happened. She would find out the moment her eyes met those of her friend, so she decided to send Geillis a text message, in the hopes she still was awake.

 

Claire (01:30 AM) : Geillis, are you still awake?

 

Geillis (01:30 AM) : I am now, I left my phone on loud for you. Is everything alright? Is your wee fox-cub still there?

 

Claire (01:31 AM) : He left. I asked him to.

 

Geillis (01:31 AM) : Wait what? I told you I don’t want you to be alone tonight.

 

Claire (01:32 AM) : It was better he left.

 

Geillis (01:33 AM) : Claire… Don’t tell me you...ARGH. I’m coming over!

 

Claire (01:33 AM) : No!!!! Stay at home! I want to be alone.

 

Geillis (01:40 AM) : Too late. I’m already on my way.

 

Claire sighed after putting down her phone. She wasn’t really ready to share this with someone else but knew, as with most Scots, Geillis was too stubborn to accept a no

 

It didn’t take her friend more than fifteen minutes to knock on her door. Once she opened it, Claire expected Geillis to scream at her but was surprised when she just hugged her tight. She couldn’t help but sob into her friend’s shoulder and be grateful for the stubbornness of Geillis. 

 

“Now Hen. Let’s pour us a dram and ye tell me what happened.”

 

Claire sighed, and she knew she had been right when she thought it would indeed be a sleepless night.

Chapter Text

Jamie left the apartment quicker than planned, but he only wanted to run away as far as he could. His mind was still racing, images of the shared emotions with Claire burning into the depths of his mind. He thought of hearing his heart crack when she addressed him as Mr. Fraser before he left.

 

Jamie wasn’t a man to just jump into bed without feeling something and he knew that Claire was no exception. He felt something for her. Something he couldn’t  explain, not even to himself. The first moment he saw her when he walked into that class room. Her brown curls framing that beautiful face of hers while the most beautiful pair of whisky eyes burned themselves into the depths of his mind just as much as his favorite drink burns his throat with every swallow.

 

But as Jamie well knew, she was a student. It was that moment he realized exactly what they had done and he felt panic creeping up in every corner of his body. How could this all happen? How could he take advantage of her and give into the waves of emotion? How could it come this far? 

 

You are a fucking arse, Fraser.

 

A fucking arse.

 

The next moment he felt the burning sensation on his knuckles, the aftermath of hitting a tree  next to him. Tears were running freely from his cheeks and he couldn’t take hold of all the emotions building inside of him. How was he supposed to get out of this mess? Jamie didn’t know. For the thousandth time in his life, he didn’t know what to do or what his next step would be, but only knew that he would be a lonely man once again after all.

 

Arriving at the hotel he threw himself onto the unmade bed he had left behind. He couldn’t care less about the hour of the night and lost himself once again in thoughts about the shared night with Claire. Her silky white skin, her soft lips, her little moans when he just kissed the right spot on her neck. Her body. Her soul. Her existence. Jamie was in love .

 

For the first time since stepping into Claire’s apartment earlier that night, he noticed the buzzing sound emanating from his jacket. His phone. Annalise. 

 

He grabbed the mobile phone and when the screen lit up he couldn’t believe the number of missed calls and messages from An.  

 

An (11:03PM): “Jamie come back!!!!!!!!”

 

An (11:10PM): “Pleaaaaaase I’m so sorry. Mon chère.”

 

An (12:00AM): “Pick up your stupid phone, I know you see my messages.”

 

Jamie didn’t find the strength to answer them, nor did he want to reply to any. He was done with her, and she knew it. That’s what scared her, the fear of being lonely, no husband to provide for her and no man to give her the stability of creating a little family. She was just as lonely as he was and he thought she deserved it.

 

Maybe that thought makes ye deservin’ of this fecking mess ye’ve made of yer life.

 

There he was, at the age of 33, laying on a bed in a hotel room, about to be divorced, with no children, and no woman to love, stuck in a job in which he no longer found  joy. 

 

His hand ran over his face and a deep sigh vibrated from his chest. Jamie’s mind was racing and it didn’t intend to stop any time soon as brown curls, divorce papers, lost friends and lost family crossed his mind while he cried himself into an uneasy and restless sleep.

 

-

 

Claire emptied her second glass without a further word to her curious friend. Geillis gave her time and space to collect herself, seeing  just how much  Claire needed. She was a mess. A mess of emotions. She just started to deal with the fact of seeing Frank at school, spent hours in the same room, breathing the same air with him and next she finds himself in the sheets with her teacher James Fraser.

 

She swallowed a sob and drowned it in another gulp of the burning liquid that travelled down her throat.

 

“Hen…”, Geillis was careful not to pressure her or force her to speak about it before she was quite ready.

 

“I slept with him… I fucking slept with him. Jesus H. Roosevelt Christ Geillis, what on earth was I thinking?”

 

Now you said it aloud, Beauchamp.

 

It’s out. It’s official.

 

Knowing that those words were now little fractures of air, floating around, made her even more scared than before and she couldn’t explain why.

 

“I ken.”

 

Of course she knew. God, you truly are dumb.

 

“Claire, dinna be so hard on yerself”, it was as if she could hear her thoughts and Claire looked up into the green eyes of her friend and broke down in heartrending sobs.

 

Claire didn’t know how she could ever again look into the ocean-blue gaze of Jamie’s without breaking into thousands of pieces.

 

This all went too far.

 

“It wasn’t just sex. I- there’s-”

 

Deep breath. Deep breath. Deep breath.

 

“I can’t continue this Geillis. I need to change schools, I have to find another place to continue my studies.”

 

“Claire, stop. Ye canna decide so hastily. Ye first have to see how ye’re feeling in class tomorrow. I’m with ye there, ye arena alone any longer.”

 

“Geillis. Frank is there and now Jamie. How on earth do you expect me to focus on my degree when there are two men teaching me that… that…”

 

She couldn’t take further without saying words she wasn’t ready for.

 

“I just need to go to sleep. I’m so tired.”

 

Claire held her hand onto her forehead only realizing now the pain it gave her. Geillis smiled and helped her up, leading her to her bedroom where both of them laid down, facing each other.

 

“Thank you, Geillis. You’re the best friend I could ever wish for.”

 

“Of course Hen. I won’t leave ye alone any longer, ye ken that.”

 

“I ken”, she sighed already half asleep, leaving Geillis with a smile for her new found best friend.

 

-

 

Claire woke up, finding herself alone in bed, memories of last night crashing down onto the headache that still hadn’t left. She mumbled something inaudible, only to hear rumbling in the kitchen, which gave her the strength to stand up and find out what is going on.

 

“Good morning, Hen, I thought I’d make some breakfast, but I couldna find anything.”

 

“Geillis, how late is it?”

 

“10 AM”

 

SHIT! MY SHIFT!

 

As if Geillis knew she held Claire back.

 

“Ye dinna have tae work, I called in sick for ye.”

 

Thankful for her doing just that, she decided to go about her usual morning routine. Heading to the bathroom for a needed shower she looked at herself in the mirror. She spotted a little red mark on her neck and images of Jamie burned themselves into her memory. She closed her eyes at the rising sensation between her legs when she thought of him biting her there, leaving his mark.

 

Stop. it. RIGHT NOW.

 

Shaking her head, she got into the shower, focusing on the water caressing her skin and trying to not remember that last night a red-haired Scot had been in all the same spots this morning's warm water flowed.

 

God, his body.

 

God.

 

  1. Stop it, Beauchamp.

 

Claire finally managed to focus on getting herself clean, and she stepped out to get dressed.

 

“I’ll  head down to get the mail shortly.”

 

“Sure, breakfast is almost done, Hen.”

 

Once Claire got the small stack of letters, mostly commercial mail, one letter caught her eye.

 

It was a bigger envelope than the others, addressed as confidential, and she felt anxiety rising in her chest. Those letters never mean anything good.

 

Walking upstairs, Geillis saw the sudden change of expression on her friend, but didn’t ask as Claire now opened the envelope a little faster than someone usually opens typical mail.

 

Claire read it, letter by letter, and couldn’t believe what she was seeing.

 

“What does it say?” Geillis asked with great  curiosity; Claire had been quiet and almost  in shock for a while.

 

“It says that” she swallowed “I inherited a sum of… well, a lot… due to the passing of my Uncle Lamb and as I’m the only family member left, I get all his savings, insurance money and so on. It also says he has left me his estate up in Inverness.”

 

Geillis stared at her periodically while she read the letter for herself.

 

“Claire, ye’re rich!”

 

“Stop it! It’s not about the money. Uncle Lamb was a wonderful man.”

 

“Then why did ye never tell me about him?”

 

“He left me to follow his dreams to be an archaeologist. After my parents died when I was little, he was the one who raised me. Well, actually the nannies did and the daycare. He never showed much interest in raising a daughter. But I think he felt guilty about that and this is why I’ve inherited all his money.”

 

“If ye say all, tis’ all for sure.”

 

Claire couldn’t believe it, and kept re-reading the letter over and over again. If this were true she would be able to quit her job at the garden center and change to a full-time course of study at her dream university here in Edinburgh. She could quit evening classes and proceed  more quickly to earning  her degree. But, most of all, she could escape Frank’s horrifying teaching and the complicated thing she has going on with Jamie.

 

Claire felt light and relieved and thought that maybe now life would finally work out the way she’d always wanted.

 

Thank you, Uncle Lamb.

Chapter Text

Claire hadn’t realized quite yet that her life was about to change more than she ever could have imagined. She received the inherited money the following week and submitted her application to the UOE, quitting her job at the garden center. She had never before felt so relieved yet so nervous in her life. She was  about to be a breath away from following her dreams and earning an actual full-time degree.

 

She also knew that she needed to get away from Jamie, no matter if her CV would suffer from the incomplete courses. Life was about to finally go smoothly and Claire finally realized   that was true when her acceptance mail from the UOE came two weeks later.

 

“GEE! I MADE IT!”, she squeaked into the phone to her best friend who was just as joyful.

 

“I’m so happy for ye, Hen. Even though I’ll have to be without ye in class.” 

 

The only reason Claire was sad was that she wouldn’t spend as much time with Geillis as before, but happiness was the emotion that ultimately won out. I can still see her every day.

 

“I know Gee. But we will be alright. Also, I have lots of time on my hands before the semester starts so to keep my mind fresh and ready, I can always help you with some work.” 

 

“Aye! Also, I won’t ever leave ye again. But ye ken that.” 

 

The both of them giggled and eventually caught up with more talk until they hung up and Claire was left with nothing but her thoughts once more.

 

She had not talked to Jamie  since he walked out of her door. But not talking to him doesn’t mean she hadn’t thought about the red-haired Scot.

 

He wouldn’t be her teacher any longer, but that didn’t make this less complicated. Claire still had to fight a different battle with her inner demons, and she wasn’t ready to share it with anyone just yet, nor did she want to open her heart to someone else. Also there was not space for her to think about a relationship at the moment.

 

You’re just about to get your life back Beauchamp, no man has the right to take that away from you.

 

Thoughts about Jamie, the excitement regarding school, and thoughts about love must have gotten to Claire, as a second later she ran to the toilet to empty her stomach. After what felt like forever, Claire stood up to clean herself.

 

Come on Beauchamp, don’t let this mess bring you down.

 

Not. again.

 

Frank is gone.

 

Jamie is gone.

 

You are safe.

 

Am I?

 

I am.

 

-

 

It has been three days now since Jamie moved into his new place. His apartment was neat, not too much and not too little. It had two bedrooms, a spacious living room, a beautiful veranda, and a kitchen with a view to the park just outside. The furniture hadn’t arrived yet and Jamie was desperate to receive his bed. His back was giving him some problems from the air mattress he’d been sleeping on nightly. 

 

Walking to the kitchen with his mind racing, he made himself a cup of coffee while dwelling in his thoughts.

 

Claire left school, with no further contact and all Jamie could think was that it was his fault. He was the reason she stopped studying something she was passionate about and he felt even worse than before. He had robbed her from the opportunity of a future at the school and somehow he knew this time he couldn’t fix it.

 

Ever since leaving her apartment all he could think about was her sad eyes and how she’d  called him Mr. Fraser. She knew very well that it shattered his and her heart at the same time.

 

Jamie called his lawyer Ned Gowan to arrange the divorce with Annalise and he knew that it was currently in the works. He no longer saw himself married from the moment he found her with that man in their bed, but of course he also wanted to be free of her on paper. A divorce was not something that was done in a day and Jamie knew that, but at least it gave him enough time to make peace with himself that he’d failed in marriage and life, and he had let down two women.

 

Annalise has let ye down, not ye her.

 

But ye canna even give her a child.

 

Ye failed, Fraser.

 

-

 

Claire didn’t feel a bit better. Her throat was sore from retching every now and then, and her stomach hurt. One second she felt hungry, the next she felt nauseous and the moment she  put on her newly purchased perfume, she ran to the toilet again. She never realized how much perfume actually stinks.

 

Claire decided to go outside for a walk since the best medicine, besides sleep, was fresh air.

 

Walking through the park, she sat herself on a bench, and closed her eyes for a second. She took in the sounds of nature: the wind rustling through the leaves and the birds chirping. Claire imagined what those birds would have a conversation about. Oh how she wished to be a bird.

 

A sudden wave of memories hit Claire, when her mind drifted off from a bird in the park to a bird on the windowsill of the home she shared with Frank. 

 

The surroundings were dark and Frank’s voice was no more than a short distance away from her.

 

“You bitch! Are you unable to actually clean right?! Do I have to show you how to clean properly?!

 

Claire felt a strong hand on the back of her head, pulling her wild curls to the sink where a plate of leftovers was standing. The next moment she found her face being pressed onto the plate, smelling the cold tomato sauce that was filling her nostrils. The next instant she was pulled up and her cheek burned.

 

“You make me do this Claire! You make a mess of everything! You are truly out of your goddamn mind! Why on earth did I even want to be with you? You’re no good for anything, you’re not even beautiful.”

 

“Frank… I-”

 

She focused on the twittering of the birds outside. It calmed her. It eased the pain on her cheek. It made her forget about the tomato sauce. It made her forget about everything. Oh what she would give to be a bird.

 

She sang in her head a song she remembered from one of the nannies.

Oh, I do like to be
beside the seaside

She closed her eyes. Hearing shouting in the depths of her mind.

Oh, I do like to be
beside the sea

Her other cheek started to burn.

Oh, I do like to stroll along
the prom, prom, prom

“Claire?! Are ye alright? Claire?”

Her eyes opened, tears running freely from her cheeks. She slowly became aware she must have drifted away, as she now was looking into the ocean-blue gaze of Jamie Fraser.

 

Her body was shaking, her hands cramped as she felt Jamie taking one of them, trying to relax her. She pulled her hand away; she was not ready to be touched by anyone.

Her flashbacks stopped, and now they are back. They are back.

Why are they back?! You did so well, Beauchamp.

You did so fucking well.

“Claire, are you alright?”

She now saw how worried he was and she couldn’t do anything other than nod but before she could tell him she was alright, she found herself retching,  throwing up everything she had left inside of her.

“Sassenach, Christ”, he held back her hair that slowly fell into her face.

While other people passing stared at her with surprised and disgusted faces, Jamie couldn’t help but tell those people to leave them be. He covered the sight of her so she wouldn’t feel too embarrassed. All he really wanted to do was wrap his arms around her and give her the feeling of safety.

Jamie handed her his handkerchief to clean up her mouth.

“Thank you. I’m alright Jamie. I must have caught a bug, this isn’t the first time today.”

“I can bring ye to a doctor!”

“No, I’m alright. Really, Jamie. Thank you!”

“I don’t believe ye. Let me at least walk ye home.”

She knew he wouldn’t accept a no from her and she simply nodded.

“Alright you bloody stubborn Scot.”

Claire swore that in his worried gaze she saw a tiny smile on his face when she addressed him that way and she couldn’t help but smile as well.

After arriving at her front step, Jamie made sure to not overstep any boundaries. Their walk home consisted of more silence than words and Claire felt a tiny bit awkward. She was happy when her apartment came in sight.

“Thank you for walking me home, Jamie. I really appreciate it.”

“Can ye call Ms. Duncan so ye’re not alone?”

“I only felt a bit sick, and to be honest I actually feel quite better already. Must be your stubbornness.”

Shut up, Beauchamp, you’re flirting.

“Must be that then, Sassenach.”

He’s coming closer.

Stop him.

Don’t stop him.

Stop him.

“Jamie.”

You did it!

“I’m sorry, Claire. I- Can we talk?”

“I can’t Jamie. Please. There has been so much going on and I really… I can’t talk about it.”

“Talking helps, ye ken.”

“What is that supposed to mean?”

“Nothing. I will leave ye alone then. It’s probably better.”

“Yes.”

“Goodbye then, Ms. Beauchamp.

That hurt her more than she thought it would.

Chapter Text

Claire sat herself on the couch, exhausted from the whole day, Jamie’s voice still echoing through her brain. Ms. Beauchamp. She felt as if she was going to be sick all over again.

 

Claire made herself a cup of tea to ease her stomach, her mind bouncing from Jamie to Frank and from Frank to Jamie. She hasn’t forgotten about the flashback that swept through her mind while she sat on that bench in the park. The simple chirping of birds triggered her mind and caused it to bring back one of the horrific memories that haunted her in its depths.

 

Once the water was boiled and the tea steeped, Claire took her mug back to the spot that awaited her since she left. A deep sigh escaped her chest and she knew that she had to go through it all again. It didn’t matter how far away tried to push this part of her life, it would eventually resurface.

 

She took a sip from her still much too hot tea and flinched when the hot brew scalded the insides of her mouth. Eyes closed, she drifted off to the moment when Frank Randall made his appearance in her life and changed it forever.

 

It was a usual morning for Claire. She returned from her shift at work and knew Uncle Lamb would not be home. Being old enough to make her own decisions, Claire decided to go out for once. After all it was her 25th Birthday.

 

“Happy Birthday, Beauchamp, may all your dreams come true.”

 

She couldn’t hide the sarcasm in her voice, as she was used to spending her birthdays alone, ever since her parents died. Not that she would remember any days with them, she was way too young for that.

 

Claire lost her parents when she was two years old. Guardianship was transferred to her uncle Lamb who happened to be a very busy archaeologist. She was raised by nannies that usually lasted for maximum a year but never longer. Claire never had anyone she could rely on, as everyone eventually left her.

 

She remembered one of her nannies specifically. Louise was her name, she was a french woman that came to England for an exchange year as an Au-Pair. They had the greatest fun together and sometimes Claire still thought of her, most of all on her birthdays. Louise knew how to throw a great birthday party for a lonely child and she made Claire’s 9th birthday very special.

 

When Louise returned to France, Claire never connected to anyone else as much as she had with her and never knew if it was the age gap of only seven years, or because Louise understood her. Claire just knew she would miss her.

 

Claire was getting ready to head out to the new pub that opened just around the corner and took one last glance into the mirror where she nodded with agreement.

 

As she arrived at the pub, she headed to the bar and ordered a whisky. Once her glass was empty she saw a man sitting himself almost next to her and something about him seemed mystical and she also was tempted to not spend this birthday as alone as the ones before.

 

Before she could order another drink, the man sat himself next to her and ordered another drink for Claire.

 

“Well, thank you sir!”

 

She was not one to refuse a drink, most certainly not from a handsome man. Claire knew this guy was not close to being her usual type, but she was lonely.

 

 “You’re most welcome! What’s a lonely lady like you doing here all by herself?”

 

“Celebrating my birthday, I assume.” she giggled and took a sip from the re-filled beverage that was placed in front of her.

 

“Happy Birthday! I’m Frank, Frank Randall!”

 

“Thank you, Frank Randall, I’m Claire, Claire Beauchamp!”

 

Claire didn’t realize how much she was shaking. She took another sip of tea while her mind drifted back off to moments she wished she would never have to relive again.

 

“I got a position in Edinburgh, Darling!”

 

“Frank, that's wonderful! I can actually apply to the UOE there and get more into writing.”

 

Claire was happy. She could see a future for the both of them. Frank teaches history and she could get more into writing and maybe publish a novel in the future.

 

“Claire, writing is nonsense! You should actually do something useful, like doing dishes, bearing a child, cleaning the house and not going to school! Also, who do you expect to pay for your study? You don’t have enough money  to even pay for a month of tuition at university, Darling.”

 

Claire nodded. What else was she supposed to do? He was right. She couldn’t afford her dream, nor was she good enough to get accepted into her dream university. Her dream would stay a dream for now and she wasn’t going to make it real. But Claire wasn’t a woman to give up. Maybe after moving to Edinburgh with Frank, she could get a job and pay for her semesters. She didn’t need Frank for that.

 

Claire gasped when she returned to reality, her mind still reeling from the flashbacks with Frank. Gut wrenching sobs echoed through her apartment as her mind carried her off to the first time Frank did something to her that changed her completely as a person.

 

“Claire, I’m home.”

 

Claire was scrolling through some job offers when she heard Frank’s steps behind her.

 

“Hi Darling. I’m just looking for some work.”

 

“Work? For what?”

 

“For me. To save up for school.”

 

“What did I tell you about school, Claire? I won’t support you and you know that!”

 

“Frank, you won’t have to pay a pound for this. I will try to provide for myself and I could always take part-time studies fir-”

 

Before she could talk further she felt her cheek burning from the aftermath of Frank’s hand slapping her. Claire stared at him with fear, fear what was coming next. Fear of what to say. Fear of how to address this. Fear of him getting even angrier.

 

“You are to obey me, Claire! You are not going to work! You are not going to school! You are a woman! Women are there to care for their husbands not to follow some bullshit dreams!”

 

“Frank, what century do you live in?! I wan-”

 

Another time.

 

And another.

 

And another.

 

Until Claire was laying on the floor covering her throbbing face, while she felt one last kick to her stomach.

 

Frank did this and so much more. He hurt her so many times she couldn’t even catch up with the amount. At first she counted but then she lost track. She lost track of time and she lost herself. Until she was finally brave enough to walk away. 

 

One day she finally left, moving to where she is living now. Luckily their apartment head was in Frank’s name only, which made her disappearance a lot easier. She waited till she was in the possession of the keys for her newhome. Claire didn’t have much, but she always took care to have a certain amount of money on her to provide for simple things in her life. And this care brought her to the moment she is now.

 

This all happened only eight months ago. She had lived with Frank for only four months and he destroyed her. He made Claire fear for her life. He made her believe that she wasn’t good enough and somewhere she began to believe it, until one day she had the courage to go after what she believed in, until one day she got this job offer which allowed her to pursue part-time study, until one day she met Jamie Fraser, and eventually her heart was broken again.

 

Claire sobbed uncontrollably thinking about all those times. It wasn’t even a long time ago, but she felt like she had lived for years on since it happened.

 

Claire didn’t know why her mind brought up her whole story with Frank right at this moment. Was it because she was finally able to reach for her dreams? Was it something else? She didn’t know. All she knew was that she wanted to focus on the positive aspects of her life.

 

She wanted all thoughts of men gone. Claire was ready to take on the new wave of positivity life will throw at her, she was ready to leave Frank behind. She was ready to forget about the night with Jamie.

 

Are you, Beauchamp?

 

No.

 

Yes.

 

No.

 

Yes.

 

Shut up! You are!

 

She was ready to set sail to start her new chapter, thanks to Uncle Lamb and Geillis. But what she didn’t know was that the wave of positivity would not reach her before a storm hit first.

Chapter Text

A few days passed and Geillis Duncan had still not gotten used to the fact that her best friend would no longer join her in class. She had become used to having Claire with her during her studies, but was also very happy that her best friend was now able to finally pursue her dreams.

 

Geillis didn’t know much about Claire but she would give her all the time she needed to open up to her as she felt the sincerity in their friendship. Claire wasn’t like Geillis’ past friends, who betrayed her and left her, and she was grateful to have made a friend for life.

 

“Ms. Duncan? Can ye give us the answer?”

 

“Excuse me, Mr. Fraser I must have drifted off.”

 

“Can I see ye shortly after class?”

 

“Aye.”

 

Geillis knew this must have something to do with Claire as he didn’t look like the sort of  teacher that would give her some serious speech to be more aware while in his class. And if she was honest, ever since Claire left, Mr. Fraser’s class seemed to lack the content it had before and she always looked forward to switching teachers.

 

Frank Randall left school. He was there to fill them in on certain topics he was known for and not more. Geillis was glad that Claire only had him for one full class since it upset her to see her best friend like this. What had that man done to her? Geillis wasn’t sure if she even wanted to know.

 

After class with Mr. Fraser was complete, Geillis waited until her classmates made their way to Mr. Fitzgibbons’ class and looked at her teacher.

 

“How’s she doin’ Ms. Duncan?”

 

“Mr. Fraser...I dinna feel verra comfortable talking to ye about Claire.”

 

“I ken, but I need tae know how she’s doing.”

 

Geillis looked into the ocean blue eyes of the man in front of her and sent a quiet apology to Claire while she filled him in in Claire’s life.

 

“So she’s accepted at UOE?”

 

His face was lighting up and Geillis nodded with a smile. He looked so proud, as if his next words would be that’s my girl. But Geillis knew how Claire felt about the situation with their teacher and forgot about that thought the next second.

 

“Aye, she deserves to have a proper education wi’ her talent!”

“Aye, she does.”

 

“Thank ye, Ms. Duncan. Ye have given me something positive again and I havena had that in a while.”

 

She nodded and before she could leave the classroom she heard her name once again.

 

“Oh and Ms. Duncan, I would appreciate it if ye could be wi’ yer wee head in my class the next time.”

 

Geillis scoffed and shook her head giggling, before she left the classroom. Men. 

 

-

 

Claire waited for Geillis in the evening, preparing some snacks as it was one of their weekly get-togethers. She always looked forward to those moments, where she could have a conversation with someone and did not have to be afraid of how she would choose her words.

 

After drifting off in thoughts of her time with Frank, Claire had time to process them. She woke up a few times in the night, covered in sweat as she emerged from a nightmare that included his face. She dropped her glass of water when a sudden sound of a roaring car outside shook her.

 

Claire had those little encounters that scared her, but she took them as a sign of progress rather than triggers. You’re gonna be fine. You’ll go to a new school, have new thoughts and Frank will not haunt your fucking life any longer. It will be fine.

 

She repeated those words in her head when she heard a knock on her front door, and knew  her best friend was awaiting her.

 

Greeting Geillis with a warm hug, she opened the door further to make enough space for her to enter. But before Geillis even removed her shoes she burst out with something Claire wasn’t prepared to hear.

 

“Yer wee fox-cub asked about ye tonight.”

 

“Jamie…”

 

“Aye, he was happy tae hear ye got accepted to UOE.”

 

“You told him Gee?”

 

“Aye, his expression was so sad, I couldna resist! I’m sorry, Claire but he seemed verra genuine when I told him that yere doing well. He said I gave him something positive and that he hasna had that in a while.”

 

“Alright.”

 

Claire tried to act cold but the warmth surrounding her heart grew the more Geillis talked about Jamie. She didn’t know what it was, but it scared her. She was scared the feeling would grow and eventually she would get addicted to it. This could not happen to her.

 

“Claire. He isna yer teacher anymore. Why don’t ye give him a chance?”

 

“Gee, God, not  this conversation again. You know that I don’t want to have any men in my life at the moment. I’m about to start a full-time program!”

 

“So, people with full-time studies arena having any relationships?!”

 

“God, you know what I mean!”

 

 “I think ye’re just stubborn. This man could be the man for ye, Hen.”

 

“I thought that with Frank!”

 

“Och aye, but he wasn’t it and I dinna ken what happened between the two of ye and ye dinna have tae tell me, but every person can see that James Fraser has nothing in common wi’ Frank Randall, and I dinna even have tae know either of the men.”

 

“Please Gee! Can we just enjoy this evening without mentioning Frank or Jamie?”

 

“Alright, then.”

 

Claire heard Geillis sigh but was happy when she agreed to her terms. Why was Claire ready for her future but Geillis seemed to be stuck in her past? If she ever wanted to  truly be happy she knew she would have to let Frank and Jamie go, otherwise she would dwell in memories and feelings she doesn’t want.

 

Feelings. You don’t have feelings, Beauchamp.

 

Not for Frank, not for Jamie.

 

Well Jamie…

 

No.

 

After a bit of more talking, Geillis and Claire decided to watch a movie. While Geillis snacked on some salty crisps, Claire looked around for something to dip her cheesesticks in.

 

“What are ye lookin’ for?”

 

“Nothin’ Gee, I-”

 

And before she could talk further, Claire dropped her food and made haste to her bathroom where she brought up the snack that had just settled in her stomach.

 

“Hen, are ye alright? Is it still that bug?”

 

“I don’t know… In some moments I’m fucking hungry and could dip pickles into a nutella jar and the next second I’m throwing up like I have the flu.”

 

Geillis was as quiet as ever and Claire waited for some explanation from her best friend when she turned her face to stare into a shocked pair of green orbs.

 

“What?”

 

“Hen, tell me, are ye takin’ the pill?”

 

“What are you talking about Gee? I- “

 

It then dawned on Claire. The whole night she spent with Jamie flashed through every single active braincell to find that specific moment that now mattered a lot.

 

“No…”

 

Claire’s voice was no more than a whisper.

 

“But ye have used a condom, Hen, right? I mean you wouldna just jump into bed and not use any protection, would ye?”

 

Claire just stared at Geillis with no further words in response to her question.

 

“Are ye out of yer mind, Claire?!”

 

“It happened so fast!!! I couldn’t think, Gee!”

 

Her best friend now brushed her strawberry blonde mane with her skinny fingers while looking for answers as if they would drop from the bathroom ceiling.

 

“I will get ye a test and ye’re going to take it, now.”

 

“Oh God. No!”

 

“Ye have tae know!”

 

And before Claire could protest further, her friend rushed out of her apartment to go to the 24/7 pharmacy that was just around the corner.

 

FUCK. FUCK. FUCK. FUCK.

 

Beauchamp you are fucking stupid! 

 

Claire didn’t know what she would do if that test showed her what she didn’t want to see. How would she tell Jamie? Would she keep the baby? Would they raise it together? How will Jamie react? 

 

All the answers to those questions were something Claire didn't yet know. She didn’t know if she would keep the baby. 

 

I don’t fucking know.

 

A few moments later, Claire still had not moved from the bathroom floor.  She kept repeating those questions as if the answers would just pop up in her head. But they didn’t.

 

“I’m back, Hen!”

 

Geillis kneeled down beside her and handed a little box to Claire.

 

“Now.”

 

“Alright. Now.”

 

She closed the door in  Geillis’ face in order to pee on the tiny plastic stick that would either be her worst nightmare or her biggest relief. Once the plastic cap was back on it, Claire asked Geillis to set the timer before opening the door.

 

In two minutes she would know.

 

What would she do?

 

One and a half minutes.

 

God this is a nightmare.

 

One minute

 

It feels like forever.

 

Half a minute

 

GOD PLEASE BE NEGATIVE.

 

The alarm on Geillis’ phone rang and Claire swore it was one of the scariest sounds she has ever heard.

 

“God, I don’t want to look.”

 

“Ye have tae. I‘m here! Ye can do it, Hen!”

 

And with a shaking hand, Claire took the plastic stick into her hand and broke into tears when two stripes appeared and told her she was carrying Jamie Fraser’s baby.

Chapter Text

Claire kept staring at the tiny plastic stick in her hands, trying not to shake too hard. She failed miserably in that aspect. Tears were rolling down her pale cheeks and she didn’t know what to do. Claire felt scared, lost and embarrassed at the same time and wished she could hide from the whole world.

 

“Hen…”

 

Geillis’ voice was no more than a distant buzzing and Claire couldn’t focus on the words  escaping her friend’s mouth. The next second Claire felt the plastic slip from her hands and she looked up into the pair of green eyes she had forgotten about.

 

Geillis is here.

 

You’re not alone.

 

Not. Alone.

 

I’m pregnant. I- 

 

“I’m pregnant.”

 

Claire couldn’t say anything else as waves of shock vibrated through her body and she kept repeating those two words all over again until she felt the arms of her best friend wrap around her body. Sobs escaped her chest and she didn’t know  how long she was crying for how she had gotten into bed.

 

Claire woke up when the sun warmed her skin and the smell of fresh coffee filled the air and for a second she forgot all her sorrows. But that feeling didn’t last long when her hands fell to her stomach.

 

Oh God.

 

The next moment before she could think, Claire was on her feet running towards the bathroom to deal with her morning sickness that now was more than explained to her. It was no flu distracting her day to day life nor was it stress or exhaustion. She simply is growing another human being in her stomach. 

 

I’m not ready.

 

After Claire freshened herself up, she walked to the kitchen where Geillis had already prepared their breakfast. Already forgetting about her nausea she felt cravings hitting her now and savored every bite of the freshly made pancakes.

 

“Oh my God, Gee. This is so good!”

 

“I’m glad Hen”, Geillis had to giggle a bit as she knew the worst part was yet to come.

 

Claire looked up into her best friend’s eyes and stopped munching her pancake, swallowing her last bite as Geillis sat down in front of her, holding her freshly brewed coffee, Claire sipping her decaf.

 

“We need tae talk about it, Claire.”

 

No, I don’t want to.

 

“I know.”

 

For a moment there were no words and Claire didn’t know what to say. She still hasn’t thought about what to do about this situation nor had she decided how she wanted to tell Jamie. Clearly the both of them couldn't be in the same room without feeling something.

 

Thinking about feelings again?! You have no goddamn feelings.

 

“Ye have tae tell Jamie.”

 

“No! Yes I know… but no!”

 

Claire clearly didn’t know what to do or if she even wanted to keep the baby. She always wanted children, once she was married to the man she loved and finished her studies. Claire always imagined herself writing her novel while little ones were running around the house. Not that writing with children would be easy, but Claire didn’t mind. This was her vision of the future she wanted to have and she planned for herself.

 

But Claire also knew that planning life hardly works out. She was the living proof for that.

 

“Claire, ye canna keep a secret like that from him. This isna fair tae him nor tae ye! Ye have to make every future decision now with him.”

 

“I know I can’t keep this from him but I don’t even know if I want to keep the baby. I don’t know if I want to raise it with him, Gee!”

 

“So ye want to bring a child up in a lie?! If ye decide to keep it?”

 

“No… Yes… No! It all sounds so complicated when you say it out loud.”

 

“Aye, I ken. But ye have tae tell him, Claire!”

 

Claire drifted off into her thoughts while Geillis started to eat her breakfast. She didn’t know what to do. Claire knew Gee was right and that no matter which way she decided, she would eventually have to tell Jamie. It’s his child too. Just the thought of the whole situation made her feel nauseous again, and  rose up from her stomach, but she had to get herself together.

 

Claire didn’t realize that every single sound of her surroundings faded into the background, or how her breath became unstable and how her grip around the table tightened. She didn’t realize a sob escaped her chest and tears ran down her face until Geillis stood up and talked to her.

 

Claire looked up into the eyes of her best friend, Gee’s mouth was moving but no sound escaped and Claire couldn’t hear a single thing so she just kept staring. She couldn’t talk, nor could she move, and only  realized  that Geillis was afraid. Claire wanted to tell her best friend that she’s fine, and that she doesn’t have to worry but she couldn’t, she had no control over her body nor had she control over her life. To Claire everything was as messy as it could get.

 

-

 

Geillis tried to get Claire out of her thoughts, because the moment she heard the sobs of her best friend they scared her. Geillis remembered the day Claire had been like this, and she also remembered how she wasn’t able to calm her down. She was going into shock, trapped in her own thoughts.

 

Jamie. I have tae call Jamie.

 

Geillis kept talking to Claire but only received stares in return, and she knew she couldn’t do it alone. It was too much for her, seeing someone she loved like this. The only person who has ever reached Claire when she was in that state of mind was Jamie.

 

Geillis knew this whole situation was a mess and that Claire had to tell Jamie eventually, and it was up to her best friend to decide where and when. But she had to call him.

 

The phone rang twice when she heard his voice.

 

“Mr. Fraser?! I need ye tae come to Claire’s place.”

 

Geillis heard rustling in the background and knew he was already on his feet while he kept talking to her.

 

“What’s wrong? Is Claire alright?!

 

His voice sounded dreadful as he must know how serious it was if Geillis called him.

 

“She’s not responding to anything I’m saying! It’s like when Randall had class wi’ us, or the second time ye came here to help her!”

 

Geillis heard how fast he was walking and was relieved to know he was on his way, as Claire was still crying and staring at her, tightening her grip on the wooden tabletop.

 

“Gi’ me ten minutes!”

 

He stayed on the phone and Geillis was more than thankful when he reached Claire’s apartment in only eight more minutes. She dropped the call and opened the front door and he brushed against her to focus on Claire.

 

-

 

Claire felt warmth on her hands when she now stared into a pair of blue eyes instead of green . Her lips were trembling and slowly she felt how cramped she had been. Voices increased in volume and words started to make sense again. Claire let out a cry when she realized how caught up she was in her thoughts and who now was in front of her.

 

You got to stop this shit, Beauchamp. 

 

More control.

 

She eventually calmed down enough to pull her eyes away from the ocean she was looking into.

 

“Are ye alright, Sassenach?”

 

“Hen! Ye scairt me!”

 

“I’m alright!”

 

Somewhere she was angry at Geillis for calling Jamie, knowing well that he was the last person she wanted to see. But at the same time she was thankful he was there as she has to admit that no one had ever calmed her down as much and as fast as Jamie could.

 

“Are ye sure, Hen?”

 

“Yes.”

 

Sassenach, what happened?”

 

Claire sipped the water given to her by Geillis and looked at her best friend who nodded and then to Jamie.

 

“Nothing. I just thought about Frank again, is all.”

 

Claire caught the look she got from her friend but ignored it after glancing back at her hands in front of her. Jamie’s hand suddenly found hers and she felt the slight shock of electricity shooting through her veins, just like the first time her skin touched his.

 

“I’m always here if ye want tae talk, Claire, ye ken that?”

 

“Thank you, Jamie. But I’m fine. I really appreciate you helping me and caring for me but Geillis is here and I’m fine.”

 

Please don’t leave.

 

Why am I so rude to him? 

 

Please stay.

 

I’m sorry.

 

“Alright”, he looked up shortly at Geillis before he getting to his feet, having knelt down in front of her “If ye need anything, ye ken where tae find me.”

 

“Thank you, Jamie.”

 

“Aye, ye’re welcome.”

 

And with one of his famous nods, he went out the door and Geillis shot a mad look towards Claire.

 

“Ye hid it from him?! Ye could’ve told him!”

 

“Gee, I can’t!”

 

“Ye can, he cares for ye! So deeply, can’t ye see it? I think sometimes ye must have fallen on yer head!”

 

Claire had never seen Geillis so mad that it left her speechless. She kept playing with the glass in front of her and regret started to fill her body. Claire knew she had to tell him. She knew Jamie deserved better than to be left in the dark.

 

“You’re right. I have to tell him.”

 

And with no more thoughts, Claire walked out the door, down the stairs and just saw him striding around the corner.

 

“Jamie! Wait!”

 

She ran now, gasping, scared she wouldn’t make it anymore. Scared she would back out and walk back upstairs and never tell him. And just as she was about to run around the corner, he appeared, forcing her to halt.

 

“Sassenach! Are ye alright? Is something wrong?”

 

His eyes immediately filled with worry.

 

“Jamie, I have to tell you something.”

 

Her hands braced her stomach and with a confused gaze he looked into her amber eyes and she knew she would have to tell him right there, right now, otherwise she would never do it.

 

“I’m pregnant.”

Chapter Text

The words escaping from Claire echoed through the depths of Jamie’s mind. He couldn’t wrap his mind around them at first but slowly realized what she had told him a few moments later when she continued speaking to him.

 

“Answer me, Jamie!”

 

He stared at her, at first wondering how this could even be possible, worried if she had shared the bed of another man. But then he didn’t understand why Claire would run after him to tell him if she could just go back to her usual routine and continue living her own life.

 

“I- I- I dinna ken what tae say, Claire, how… who is the father?”

 

Jamie knew his choice of words wasn't the best, but he had been so deeply disappointed  that he was afraid to get his hopes up over the possibility of children of own. A feeling of happiness was creeping up in every corner of his body but he pressed it down, waiting for Claire to clarify the situation.

 

“Well, you know how. And what kind of question is that? You, of course.”

 

His eyes pooled with tears when Claire named him as the father of their unborn child. After all this time of being told that he was the problem, he had never counted on hearing those words . Jamie had dreamt of it before, of someone telling him he would get to be the father to a bairn, but never in his life did he expect to actually hear them.

 

Tears rolled down his face at the same time a sudden gasp filled the air. Jamie didn’t look at Claire so he couldn’t see that she was crying as well waiting for his reaction.

 

“Ah Dhia.”

 

He ran his hand through his curls while his lips turned up into the tiniest of smiles, while he shed a few tears more. He now finally looked up at Claire who stood in front of him, so beautiful, despite a runny nose and tears rolling down her cheeks. Jamie knew then that she was the most beautiful woman he’d ever seen and she was carrying his child. If for only that reason he owed her his life.

 

“I’m sorry, Jamie. I should have thought about protection. I don’t even know what to do.”

 

“Claire, I-, Thank ye.”

 

Jamie saw the confusion cloud her face after he thanked her and it dawned on him now that she probably hadn’t considered he could ever be happy about it, and for a second he saw everything in front of him: little bairns running around in the garden of the house they bought together, Claire wearing the ring he slid on to her finger while promising to be there in sickness and health. Images of him taking her in their bed. Of waking up next to her, watching her sleep until the sun tickled her silky skin. It was her.  

 

And with two large steps he moved close to Claire and pressed his lips on hers without thinking another coherent thought. The start of surprise from Claire made him realize what he has done and he stepped back, apologizing all over again.

 

“I’m sorry, Sassenach. I’m... I dinna want tae put ye in this position.”

 

Before he could say more she took a step forward and kissed his cheek, leaving Jamie to look down at her, holding her gaze with his.

 

“Don’t be sorry, Jamie. I want it too but I’m just not ready. This whole situation is scaring the shit out of me. Last night, I didn’t even know if I would want to tell you, nor if I wanted to keep the baby”, he wanted to say something but Claire held up her hand “I know, I would have told you, so I regret even thinking about that at all. I didn’t expect you to react this way, I thought you would laugh or yell at me for getting pregnant. I thought you would leave me thinking about the next steps all alone. And then I always would look upon this child and see you and remember how you resented me for keeping the baby. I'm terrified Jamie and I want to open up to you, about Frank, to make you understand what I’m going through and what this does to me. I also want you to understand that I care about you but there is a reason I’m not ready yet to share my life with you or any man.”

 

Jamie didn’t think he had ever heard Claire talk this much. He was grateful and honored for her to open up to him, despite not knowing him very well.

 

“Aye lass, I’d like verra much to listen tae ye.”

 

Claire nodded, taking a deep breath and Jamie felt her tension. She led the way back to her apartment where Geillis still waited on the couch. She looked at her best friend and Jamie, waiting for any revelations from the conversation they had.

 

“I ken.”

 

“Gee, we would like to speak about it, if that’s alright?”

 

“O’course Hen. Call me if ye need me, aye?”

 

“Aye.”

 

They exchanged a hug and Geillis gave Jamie a nod of encouragement before she grabbed her jacket to take her leave. Jamie sat himself at the table while Claire made sure that both of them had a glass of water.

 

Claire took a few deep breaths and Jamie had to admit he was nervous. Nervous about not being ready to hear what this Randall did to her. Nervous about seeing her upset and dwelling in memories of the past. Nervous about this whole situation, or even upsetting the baby. He had to admit that this was one of the most nerve wracking conversations, he’d ever had to have.

 

Jamie looked up and realized Claire didn’t look into his eyes as she started talking. But once she did, she couldn’t stop and he listened. He listened through every heartbreaking sob that emerged from her chest when she needed a moment. He listened through every frightening experience that had scared her. He listened through every horrible night she woke up from nightmares. He listened to all the  suffering Claire had to endure, and knew she still did in her mind. He listened and heard his heart crack with every single word she spoke. Her eyes were dark, not the shining golden-yellow topaz color they usually held. Randall had almost broken her, but still, here she was.

 

She’s a brave wee thing.

 

“... That was it.”

 

She had told him everything and Jamie knew it. He cried a few tears and Claire wiped them away with her smooth fingers. He couldn’t ever imagine someone hurting her that way. He  personally wanted to hurt every single individual who might lay a hand on her.

 

“God, I’m so sorry, Sassenach, I’m, I canna even think of how this feels for ye. Damn that Randall, I want tae… Tae think that he stood there in front of ye and ye were forced to go through all of it. Ah Dhia, mo ghràidh.”

 

And then she cried. She cried uncontrollably in his arms while he pressed her against his chest, stroking his fingers through her curls, kissing her forehead while mumbling soothing words in Gaelic. It didn’t matter to Jamie how long it took her to calm down, he only wanted to give her comfort, and try to show her that she would be fine.

 

“I’m so sorry, Jamie.”

 

“Please dinna apologize, Claire. Ye have nothing to ask forgiveness for.”

 

“I want to keep the baby and raise it with you.”

 

Jamie couldn’t fathom how much this all meant to him. His tears trickled down his cheek.

 

“For so long I thought I couldna have children, Claire. I always wondered how it would feel like tae be told I was going tae be a father. Annalise was pressuring me, taking at least three pregnancy tests a week. She told me that I wasna capable, I dinna think tae go get meself tested. I found out a while ago she had been sleepin’ with several men, tryin’ to get pregnant, took men that looked a bit like me to make the bairn resemble me. I’m sorry, lass. I dinna mean to burden ye with this, I’m just so  happy is all, that ye made the decision to let me help ye.”

 

Jamie looked at Claire staring at him, at a total  loss for words when she wrapped his hands in hers, stroking them with her thumbs. It was a small gesture that meant a lot to Jamie. This whole conversation meant a lot to him. He now knew the depth of Claire’s heart and was thankful to have been let inside. He knew her fears and why she couldn’t  give away her heart just yet, but that was okay for him. Deep inside he knew that Claire would be the only one to have his heart and he didn’t care for how long he would have to wait, even if it took until he was an old man.

 

Chapter Text

Claire kept talking with Jamie about the pregnancy and realized quickly that he was all in. He wouldn’t leave her alone and he would support her in everything she chose to do. She was more than thankful once this became apparent.

 

She listened to Jamie talking about his marriage with Annalise and felt angry, sad, and upset all at the same time. Claire couldn’t imagine pressuring someone like that. Jamie was one of the purest souls she had ever met and deep inside her heart she felt a feeling of happiness surrounding every single beat.

 

“Are you okay, Jamie?”, the silence was beginning to fill the apartment before Claire hesitantly broke it.

 

“Aye. Aye I am, I’m sorry lass, I got a wee bit carried away.”

 

“It’s alright. We both have some thinking to do, I guess.”

 

“Aye. But I dinna ken if I want tae do my thinking alone.”

 

“Me neither.”

 

“Ye dinna have tae.”

 

Claire looked at him, answering his gaze with hers as she put her hands in his. She wanted to be close to him, breathing in his scent, feeling his breath on her skin, yet at the same time she wanted to run away, be alone, go somewhere far away from Jamie. She felt trapped in the middle.

 

“I know, but I- I’m a little tired, Jamie. I will text you. I got the number from Gee.”

 

“Oh, aye! I understand, Claire. Ye ken I’m always a call away, or a text. Whatever  ye wish.”

 

“Will you be okay, Jamie?”

 

“Aye. Dinna fash about me, Sassenach. I’ll be alright! What about ye?”

 

“Me too. I just need some time to process everything. But eventually I’ll be okay.”

 

Claire saw the hesitant look on Jamie’s face but gave him a glance of reassurance that she only needed some time to process the events of the day. It was a lot for her to take in. Going through her emotions towards Frank, opening up in a way she had never done to anyone else. And then there was the pregnancy. She touched her stomach as a reflex to her thoughts. Knowing there was a little human growing inside of her because she hadn’t thought to use protection with her former teacher. A man she was attracted to, but knew almost nothing about. A man that obviously cared for her, and she for him. Nothing more.

 

Claire had so much thinking to do. She always imagined meeting a man, going out on a few dates, sharing their first kiss, sharing her bed with him, marrying after a few years and then starting a family. It felt like she was doing everything the wrong way around.

 

Lost in her thoughts, Claire didn’t realize that Jamie stood up to take his leave.

 

“I will leave ye tae yer thoughts, Claire.”

 

She looked up, nodding.

 

“Thank you, Jamie and, as I said, I will text you.”

 

And with a nod and what Claire thought was a tiny smile, he left,  leaving her to think about more things that already occupied her mind to begin with.

 

-

 

Claire didn’t want anyone to be with her that afternoon so sent a short text message to Geillis saying that she would get back to her tomorrow.

 

Once she was ready for bed, her body settling onto the clean sheets, she let the fabric caress her silky skin and stared at the ceiling. Both of her hands glided along her stomach while her thumbs circled on her skin.

 

“Hello there. It’s your Mama.”

 

Claire took a deep breath, thinking herself silly at first but realizing shortly that it felt breathtakingly beautiful to be able to talk to her unborn baby.

 

“I don’t know if you can hear me, but I’m very excited to meet you in a few months. I just had a talk with your Dad and you will be one of those lucky little babies that has both of their parents. Your Dad would never leave you, he’s wonderful. To be honest, I don’t know him that well, but I know he already loves you so so much.”

 

Tears were now falling freely off her cheeks.

 

“I wish I could open up my heart a little bit more. I feel like I’m being a bit rude to him but he is respecting me in a way no one has before. You will be just taken away by him as I am, little baby. Mama loves you.”

 

A tiny sob escaped her chest as she turned to her side, looking at her phone which lay on her pillow. 

 

Text him. You need him. 

 

Don’t text him.

 

Text. Him.

 

And without another thought, Claire took her phone, pulled up Jamie’s number and type a text message to him.

 

“Hi Jamie, it’s me Claire. I’m alright, but as promised I’m sending you a text.”

 

“Hi Sassenach, I’m glad you are alright. Thank you! I hope you will  sleep well.”

 

“I talked to our baby.”

 

“How did it feel?”

 

“Nice...I cried a little though.”

 

“Sometimes crying is better than holding it in. I’m glad you found a way to be able to let go of your emotions and feel what you want to feel, Sassenach.”

 

“Can you?”

 

“No.”

 

“Why?”

 

“Because I’m a very lonely man, Sassenach. I have learned to control my emotions.”

 

“But you shouldn’t do that. You should be able to talk to someone about it.”

 

“I have no one.”

 

“Friends?”

 

“No.”

 

“Family?”

 

“No.”

 

“I’m sorry, Jamie. Do you want to talk about it with me?”

 

“Another time, Claire.”

 

“I’m sorry if I have upset you?”

 

“You haven’t. You can’t upset a man that’s already upset. ;)”

 

“Jamie…”

 

“Please, Sassenach. I will tell you. I’m just thankful that you texted me. It feels good to know someone is there that cares, I need it. I haven’t felt like this in a long time. So thank you! And you know how I feel about our child. I will love it every second of my life, I already do.”

 

“Maybe talking to our baby would help you too?”

 

“Maybe it will.”

 

“Then you should.”

 

“Yes maybe one time.”

 

“You can always talk to me, you know that, right?”

 

“I do, thank you, Claire.”

 

“Don’t thank me!”

 

“I want to and goodnight, Sassenach.”

 

“Goodnight, Jamie.”

 

Claire put her phone away and it didn’t take long at all for her to drift into a sleep filled with dreams about a red-haired Scot holding a little red-haired baby they both loved so dearly.

 

-

 

The next morning, Claire decided to call Geillis to come over for breakfast. They both had a lot of catching up to do and before she could finish setting the table and brewing the coffee, the doorbell rang and Claire greeted her nervous best friend.

 

“And?”

 

“Good morning to you too, Geillis!”

 

“Aye! Good morning, Hen, and?”

 

“You are unbelievable, do you know that?”

 

Claire couldn’t hide a smile, knowing Geillis was almost exploding from barely contained curiosity.

 

“Well, we talked and he wants to be there for me and the baby.”

 

Claire held her ears the moment Geillis broke out into a squeak she thought she last heard in her teen years.

 

“Hen, I told ye, that wee fox cub is husband material!”

 

“Woah, woah, woah, Gee! No one is talking about marriage.”

 

“Not yet”, she giggled.

 

Claire rolled her eyes but smiled at the same time, leading the way to the table that held their breakfast.

 

“I told him about Frank and he was so amazing, Gee. He was understandable and his words... God. It just felt so good talking to him. He listened and, well, he called me something I wanted to ask you the meaning of. It’s of course Gaelic.”

 

Claire looked into the grinning face of her friend, who quietly listened to her babbling about Jamie and completely losing track  of her surroundings.

 

“What?”

 

“Nothin’, go on. Ask me.”

 

Claire watched Geillis suspiciously.

 

“Alright, I’ll try to pronounce correctly.”

 

“Mhm”, she grinned while letting out that high-pitched remark and sipped on her coffee.

 

“It was, mo ghràdh .”

 

Claire stared at her best friend who now was almost choking on the hot beverage she’d just enjoyed a few seconds ago.

 

“Is it something bad?”

 

“No, not at all.”

 

Geillis’ smile was back.

 

“I’m no’ so sure yer ready to hear it yet, Hen. And I think ‘tis something he should tell ye himself.”

 

“Come on, Gee, you can’t do that to me!”

 

“I can.”

 

“Please tell me, you’re my best friend!”

 

“Alright, alright, I will tell ye.”

 

“I’m listening!”


“It means my love.

Chapter Text

Claire had to let the words coming from Geillis’ mouth sink into her consciousness . She wasn’t yet ready to hear anything like that and wished at this moment that she had for once  listened when her friend told her so. My love. The words alone sent shivers down her spine but knowing that any man,  let alone Jamie, the man who’d gotten  pregnant,, thought of her that way made her feel like she was lost altogether.

 

It didn’t take Geillis long to realize that Claire again needed some time for herself and Claire was so grateful to have a best friend in her life who respected her feelings the way Geillis did. While cleaning up the leftover breakfast and doing the dishes, Claire decided to gather all her courage and talk to Jamie. She couldn’t let it go, nor did she want to spend her day wondering about whether he actually meant it.

 

She picked up her phone and typed a short message to Jamie, which she promptly decided to delete. If she was doing this, she would do it face to face. Dropping the towel, Claire got her jacket, slipped into her boots and decided to walk to Jamie’s place. She knew where he lived thanks to  Gee who she thought would make a good salary working with the FBI. It took Claire around 20 minutes to get to Jamie’s place and her heart began to race faster than she thought it would.

 

Thinking about doing something and actually doing it are two completely different things, and Claire wondered if she was doing the right thing indropping by Jamie’s home, invading his privacy, and talking about her feelings. But she also didn’t walk all the way here only to not have the guts to talk to him like an actual adult and just turn around. Jamie always seemed like someone who respected her feelings, and he had made the offer to talk.

 

The thought of his words gave her the courage to walk up the long path and ring the doorbell which echoed through Jamie’s hallway.

 

Claire wasn’t sure what she expected, but it certainly was not what she saw when the door opened. Jamie wasn’t all freshened up, nor was he in  clothes like those she usually saw him wearing.

 

He was standing in front of her what must be his pyjama pants, a white shirt that fell loosely from his toned body and a face with a nose nearly as red as a tomato and dark circles underneath puffy eyes. He had been crying. 

 

Jamie was staring at her, obviously regretting having opened his door, but he couldn’t  hide now.

 

“Sassenach, are ye alright?”

 

“Are you sick, Jamie?” You are simply an idiot, Beauchamp.

 

“Oh… Aye. Dinna feel so well.” 

 

Claire looked at Jamie, remembering that he had looked the same way when she met him in the park a while ago. This time she would be there for him. With two small steps Claire was wrapping her arms around his neck and pressing him to her.

 

Her heart was aching for him and she felt it shatter the moment he began sobbing into her neck. Her fingers played softly with the curls on his neck while his sobs turned into small tremors and he eventually removed himself from the embrace.

 

Ah Dhia. I’m so sorry, Claire. I shouldna have…”

 

“Jamie, it’s alright. I’m sorry for visiting so abruptly, I should have texted you that I was coming.”

 

“There’s nothing tae be sorry for, Sassenach.”

 

Claire knew that he eventually would ask how she knew where he lived, but she also already expected that he would guess Geillis played a role in that.

 

“Do you want to talk about it?”

 

“I wouldna want tae bother ye. But ye did come here for some reason, what was it?”

 

Claire could never in a million years tell him why she was here. A name which wasn’t at all  bad, but caused her to have a feeling of fear, was now nothing compared to seeing Jamie like this.

 

“It can wait. Jamie, you can talk to me, you know that?”

 

“Aye, I ken. But I dinna ken if I’m ready.”

 

A sudden wave of realization hit her and her hands automatically placed themselves on her stomach.

 

“If you can’t talk to me, maybe it would help if you spoke to our baby?”

 

The gaze from his ocean blue eyes hit her, and Claire didn’t know if he was about to break down in front of her or break out in the most spectacular smile. A mixture of both happened and his eyes glistened with tears while he nodded, his lips curled up into a grateful smile.

 

“Aye, if ye dinna mind?”

 

“I don’t mind at all.”

 

Jamie made space for Claire to enter his apartment and once she was inside of it she was surprised by how bright and tidy it appeared. It was small but the many windows let in the natural  light to brighten up the interior. Jamie must have liked the old fashioned interior, as everything looked like it was designed in the 40s but she didn’t mind. She actually wished her place looked like this.

 

“Would ye like something tae drink?”

 

“Yes please, maybe a cuppa if you don’t mind?”

 

“I dinna mind.”

 

It was still utterly awkward being with him in an intimate place such as his home. When he visited her they were both with Geillis, at first. This felt farmore intimate. 

 

Claire watched Jamie plugging in the kettle and waiting for the water to boil.

 

“I dinna ken which flavor ye like but I have a few tae offer.”

 

She chose Chamomile tea as her flavor of the day and then silence surrounded them before the tea kettle could interrupt it with the rumbling Claire waited for.

 

“Thank you”, she said after being given the hot mug with the tea bag still soaking in the freshly boiled water.

 

They both decided to sit at the table that stood right next to the kitchen, and Claire couldn’t help but look at Jamie who stared down at his hands in front of him.

 

“Jamie…”

 

“I just have one o’ these bad days, Sassenach.”

 

“I can’t stop thinking about what you said last night, that you have no one to talk to.”

 

“Aye.”

 

“And I meant it when I said you can talk to me.”

 

“What I would have tae say, Claire, is more than I ever want tae bother ye with. I canna lay those things on ye. Annalise never wished for a husband to be so verra open about his feelings, ye ken? So I decided tae leave it as it was and use my bad days tae deal wi’ it.”

 

Claire couldn’t believe what she heard. How could a wife ask such things of her husband? How could she wish for him to hide how he truly feels yet burden him with her own baggage? Claire knew that this marriage held nothing for Jamie the more he talked about it. She didn’t need to meet Annalise again to come to this conclusion.

 

“I’m so sorry Jamie. This isn’t normal in a marriage, at all. You are allowed to share your feelings, no matter what! No one should be alone and no one should hide their emotions. I promise that I won’t feel burdened. I will be more concerned if you don’t talk to me.”

 

Something in what she said must have struck him; he stared at her in a way he never had before. It was like a lightning bolt hit him, making him realize that in front of him sat someone with an actual interest in the things he had to say.

 

And from that point on he didn’t hold back. He told Claire about his friends John and Hector and then his family, Lallybroch and eventually the fire. Claire could relate in a way having herself lost her parents, but the way Jamie had lost them was something no child should endure.

 

There were no real words of comfort to be said but the next moment Claire was making space for herself on Jamie’s lap, cradling herself into his arms with her hands once again around his neck, pressing him to her. She let him cry as long as he needed to and she would keep her promise to be there for him. Claire meant what she said about this not being a burden, as somehow she wanted to carry it with him. Somehow she was feeling like he had let her in and somehow that made her feel good.

 

It was then she felt a sudden warmth on her stomach, realizing it was Jamie’s hand, his thumb stroking the fabric softly. He soon began talking.

 

“A leannan, Is e d ’athair a th’ ann. Chan urrainn dhomh feitheamh gus coinneachadh riut agus do chumail nam ghàirdeanan. Bidh thu cho brèagha ri do mhàthair agus bidh mi an-còmhnaidh ann dhut. Tha uimhir agam ri innse dhut ach leis gu bheil fios agam gu bheil thu a ’fàs a’ lughdachadh mo phian. tha gaol agam ort a leannan.” (Sweetheart, it's your father. I can't wait to meet you and hold you in my arms. You will be as beautiful as your mother and I will always be there for you. I have so much to tell you but alone knowing that you're growing is easing my pain. I love you sweetheart.)

 

Claire was staring at him in awe. Even though she didn’t understand a word, she heard the affection he held in the tone of his voice. She felt her eyes fill and soon her cheeks were covered with  salty tears and her amber gaze was met with a wave of ocean.

 

“No, why are ye crying, mo ghràdh?”

 

There it was again, my love .

 

“I- I just like being here.”

 

Claire didn’t know what else to say, as she was overwhelmed by all meaning of words. He had called her once again his love, but she didn’t want to address it. Not today, maybe not ever as she came to the realization that she didn’t mind at all being called the love of Jamie Fraser.

Chapter Text

Finding solace in one another, the hours passed easily. Claire listened to the words Jamie spoke to their child, not understanding a thing aside from his tone. She relished in the feeling of his hands stroking her stomach and closed her eyes for the entire time. Once his fingers left, Claire opened her eyes only to meet the ocean gaze before her. She couldn’t stop taking in the beauty of the man in front of her, tracing every single detail of his face with her fingers.

 

Claire couldn’t deny what she felt for Jamie and no matter what she  tried, she failed to let him go. She wouldn’t know how to raise her child without developing feelings for its father. When Jamie called her his love she was terrified. She didn’t know if she was ready to belong to someone else again, but little did she truly realize her heart  belonged to him long before this.

 

The moment he walked into that class room and his gaze met hers, Claire felt a flutter inside of her stomach and a warm feeling of comfort caressed her body. She knew that it couldn’t happen then but now, thanks to the money she inherited, Jamie could keep his job and she could still follow her own dreams. They could raise their child together and grow their love into something beautiful. Claire finally had a chance to have a real family.

 

“I know what mo ghràdh means.”

 

Claire didn’t know why on earth she blurted it out now, nor did she want to put Jamie in an uncomfortable situation. She saw his ears turn pink and his eyes looked away from hers. His finger tapped nervously on his left thigh while he began searching for the right answer. Claire wanted to relieve him of this nervous feeling and pressed her lips against his, the taste of his dried salty tears still lingering on them.

 

“Claire… I- “

 

“I want you, Jamie. I want every part of you. I have tried so hard to fight it off. Tried to think that I am not ready for another relationship. Then we were blessed with a child neither of us even planned on having. We fit together. Like a real family, Jamie. I want you and this child to be the family I have always dreamed of.”

 

While stroking his cheek, Claire’s fingers were suddenly dampened by the few new tears  trickling from Jamie’s eyes and she couldn’t help but shed a few herself.

 

“If you’ll have us, of course.”

 

“Aye Sassenach, o’ course I’ll have ye both!”

 

And the next second his lips were once again on hers. The kiss was different, more possessive in a way but also more passionate. It was like he didn’t need to hold back any emotion felt in his body anymore, and neither did Claire.

 

Claire stroked the curls on Jamie’s neck softly with her fingers while pressing him closer to her. Her body reacted to his in a way Claire didn’t understand. One touch of him and her skin was covered in goosebumps and all she wanted was to crawl into him and she knew he felt the same.

 

After a while of their tongues playing a game of love and passion, Claire couldn’t wait any longer and asked him to bring her to his bedroom. He didn’t hesitate a second, as if scared she would decide otherwise and the next moment Claire was surrounded by bedsheets that filled her nose with the scent of the man she loved so much.

 

Claire felt his lips travelling down her neck and his hands spanning and roaming the sides of her body and she swore this alone could have sent her over the edge. Jamie did things to her which simply were unexplainable and she thrived in them.

 

Once  they helped each other out of their clothes, Claire realized how different this time was from the last. This was an act of real love. Not that last time her feelings weren’t existent, but now she could truly express them. She could look at him without feeling guilt. She could look at him without feeling embarrassment. She could look at him and know that he was hers. It felt right.

 

Claire felt Jamie all over her, his fingers tracing her skin like he was drawing a piece of art. Her breath fastened as she felt his excitement long and hard on top of her, rubbing over her. She swore if he kept going like that she would be thrown over the edge.

 

“I want you inside of me, Jamie! Please!”

 

She didn’t want to wait any longer, and guided him into her. Inch by inch he filled her, and she couldn’t help but moan with passion, only growing louder once he started moving.

 

Claire clawed her fingers into his buttocks to press him deeper inside of her while moving with him. She knew he couldn’t hold on much longer and neither could she.

 

The both of them eventually came with each other, their names echoing through the bedroom and followed by a sudden silence that was only partially lessened by their shivered breaths in the aftermath.

 

“Christ, Sassenach.”

 

Claire smiled while breathing in exhaustion, as she felt tiny kisses just in between her breasts.

 

“Are you out of breath, Mr. Fraser?”, Claire grinned.

 

“Oh it’s Mr. Fraser again? Dinna think ye’d call me that ever again.”

 

He kissed Claire with a sheepish grin, which she only answered with a giggle.

 

“Well, not that you mind.”

 

“I see what ye’re doing, Sassenach and Christ, ‘tis workin’.”

 

Claire laughed and she realized at that instant that she hasn’t done so in a while. Laughing without having a care in the world. Living in the moment. That moment was Jamie. Just as she thought this, it was as if he could read her mind or perhaps even hear her thoughts.

 

“‘Tis wonderful tae hear ye laugh, Claire.”

 

“The reason I do, is you.”

 

“I’m honoured tae be the reason.”

 

“I’m honoured to be here.”

 

“I’m honuored ye are here, mo ghraidh.

 

“Be mine, James Fraser.”

 

“I already am yers, Sassenach.”

 

“And I am yours.”

 

The two of them made love to each other a few times more, knowing that after  they would just be together. Neither of them knew exactly how to handle their mountain of emotions but they were ready to figure it out together and Claire and Jamie knew that they were finally on the right course to do so.