Jamie came through the stone circle and landed back in the castle. Except it wasn’t a castle anymore. It was the standing stones at Craigh Na Dun.
And there was no wicked wee fairy. There was only Claire. His Claire. His wife. His childhood friend.
“It was you?” he asked. “This whole time? Ye did all this to me?”
She nodded solemnly. “You were lost, my Laird. Lost to the power of sin. You needed reminding of the person you’d once been.”
He reached out a hand and touched her face, fearful of tainting such perfection with his lack of holy grace. But she leaned into his caress.
“Ye’re a fairy?” he asked, already knowing the answer.
“I’m many things, Jamie.”
“You’re everything, Claire.”
He looked around and realized all the fog was gone from the moor and his horse was grazing happily nearby. There were no gems or castles or altars to be found. Only a few standing stones in the grass.
“Ye have power in ye, lass.”
She gazed back solemnly. “And you have power too, my Laird. Power over your people. Power over the ones you love. How will you wield that power? With greed and wrath? With gluttony and lust? With envy, pride, and sloth?”
He shook his head. “God no. Not after all this. Not after remembering you, mo ghraidh.”
He took her face in his hands and placed a soft kiss on her lips. “Will ye come back wi’ me to the castle? Will ye help me set things right? I’ll need ye, Sassenach, ye ken I will. For you are my courage and conscience, my heart and compassion.”
“Oh Jamie. Do you think I’m whole without you? I’m naught but a lost and lonely outlander unless I’m in your arms.”
“Ye’re so much more than that and we both ken it well. Ye’ll come wi’ me?”
“Nothing could keep me away.”
“So the Sassenach spirit didn’t lie to him after all,” said Claire. “If he found the ring, he would get all those he loved back.”
“Aye.” Jamie stroked her cheek softly.
“So they lived happily ever after? Taking care of their land and people as a good Laird and Lady should? Sharing their bounty and living in the seven heavenly virtues?”
“Aye," he laughed. "Save chastity. He only remained chaste outside his wife’s arms.”
“Of course,” she giggled.
He sighed heavily in complete contentment. “Only you,” he said quietly. “To worship ye with my body, give ye all the service of my hands. To give ye my name, and all my heart and soul with it. Only you. Because ye will not let me lie—and yet ye love me.”
She lifted herself up and kissed him, telling him with her whole body how much that was true.
“Was it a fair story for yer St. Valentine’s Day, lass?”
“It was perfect. I can’t wait to see what you come up with next.”