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After All This Time

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Chapter Eleven:

Sunday finds them waking early, neither having slept well. Jamie had tossed and turned as much as she normally does, causing them to wake up periodically throughout the night.

This morning, however, Claire is determined not to end this trip on a sour note.

Their Chinese to-go boxes are still on the nightstand, chopsticks inside. She smiles at the memory, knowing her stomach will not be happy with her today for eating so much sodium that late at night.

She can't seem to find it in her to care when Jamie emerges from the bathroom, hand over his stomach and a pained expression on his face. "What's wrong?" she asks in alarm, sitting up on her knees.

"Nay, it's nothin'," he waves her off, but she sees that sneaky, one-sided smirk of his blooming on his lips. "Nothin' my doctor canna fix."

She barks out a laugh, rolling her eyes playfully as she remembers promising him they'd play out his doctor-patient fantasy. "You scared me, Jamie," she scolds lovingly, pulling him to her as she pretends to check his vitals.

He stands between her parted thighs as her hands graze over his skin, pressing on his neck to feel his pulse, using the back of her hand on his forehead to check for a temperature, leaning her head against his chest to listen to his heart. "Well, Mr. Fraser, I think it's just a bit of heartburn."

She giggles as he climbs onto the bed with her, his body pressing against hers.

He complains of different ailments—there's the ache in his stomach that apparently only her body heat can cure, his throat sore but her lips pressed against them seem to do the trick, there's a sudden ear infection that seems to ease when her teeth nibble on the lobe. He finds her name on his lips and his release in her mouth as she gives him a thorough pelvic examination after he reported a pain down below.

She kisses her way up his body, and he leans back and grasps her hips as she straddles his waist.

Her wet core presses against his skin, and he shivers, maneuvering them so that she can slide onto his cock, grinning the whole time as he asks his doctor about more aches and pains. And for the next hour, Dr. Beauchamp fixes each and every complaint from her patient that she can find.

After she's done doctoring for the day, they shower together and head downstairs. They decide to stay home instead of going anywhere ahead of her flight tonight.

It's just after ten, so they make a quick brunch of pancakes and orange juice, talking about his visit to the states in a week.

"Her graduation is this Saturday," she reminds him, "You're flying in on Friday, right?"

"Aye," he smiles, reaching over to take her hand. He presses a kiss to her knuckles, saying, "And ye already took that Friday off tae get things ready for her graduation party, dinna fash."

She sighs, knowing he's right. She's nervous, though, and wants to make a good impression on him. He's never been to Boston, let alone her home. She wants it to look nice, she wants to have plenty of things planned for them to do, but at the same time she wants Julia's party to be perfect for their friends and family that are coming. She comes before anything else.

"Lamb will be there," Claire tells him. "He's so excited to see you again."

Jamie beams, swallowing his bite of pancake. "Oh, I canna wait to see the old coot!"

She laughs, shaking her head and remembering how well Jamie and her uncle got along back then; she can only imagine what the two of them will be like now. "He'll be coming off of a dig in Saudi Arabia, so I'm sure he'll have plenty of stories to tell."

He nods, both growing quiet as they finish their food.

Claire checks her phone; it's only seven at home, so she knows Julia won't be up yet.

She checks in with Joe, though, asking how things have been this weekend.

Stop worrying, LJ. She was at Lizzie's last night for that slumber party so I'm sure she'll be sleeping until at least noon. I told her to call me when she was ready to come home since her car is still in the shop.

Claire smiles, once again thankful for such an amazing best friend.

Thanks, Joe. I'll take her to get her car on Monday after school. Lizzie can pick her up, don't worry about going today. They're only open until noon anyway.

Sounds good. Call me when you're at the airport, and send me your flight number so I can be there on time to get you.

She thanks him again, apologizing that it'll be so late, even though coming here was his idea so she knows deep down that Joe doesn't mind in the slightest.

Her phone pings again before she can put it away. It's Joe again, not so subtly reminding her of the hospitals in Scotland he thinks are best.

Don't forget the newest chief is getting announced within the next week. Lots of thinking you've got to do… those brochures are calling out to you. Remember I think Raigmore is the best! ;)

Rolling her eyes, and ignoring the pit in her stomach at the mention of the chief of surgery position, she kindly informs him that he's an ass and that she loves him.

I'll see you tonight, Joe. Thanks

Smiling, she sets her phone down, picking up her orange juice. She looks over, chuckling when she sees Jamie is already looking at her. "Something on your mind, my love?"

He smiles, eyes going soft and serious. Jamie takes her hand, and her brows furrow, nervous for what's about to come out of his mouth.

"What is it, Jamie?"

He shakes his head, smiling again. "It's just…" he trails off, laughing to himself like he's embarrassed to say whatever it is he has to say.

"Tell me." It's times like these that she wishes she wasn't the only one with a glass face.

"I dinna want ye tae laugh at me because I ken what's on my mind is verra cheesy, even by my standards," he laughs, "and ye always make fun of how sappy I am."

She snorts, but tries to turn her face serious. "I won't laugh, I promise."

Sighing, Jamie squeezes her hand, bringing it up to place a soft kiss to her palm. "It's just… yer face… is my heart, Sassenach, and the love of you is my soul. I dinna ken how else to explain how deep my love is fer ye."

She couldn't laugh even if she wanted to, too overwhelmed with love for this man before her. She pokes fun at him, sure, but she can't deny that all his romantic expressions of love warm her soul and make her feel as if she's the most special woman alive. Claire pushes back her chair, standing and moving to him.

He sits back, and she climbs into his lap, legs draping over his. She wraps her arms around his shoulders, pressing an unhurried kiss to his lips. "Jamie," she breathes, rubbing her nose against his. "The way I feel for you… it's like nothing I've ever experienced before."

He leans his forehead against hers, both of them simply breathing the other in, afraid to burst the bubble of bliss surrounding them.

{*************************}

That afternoon, once she's all packed and ready to go, they settle onto the couch to watch some telly before it's time to head out. They have about an hour before they need to leave to get her there on time.

She's on the opposite side of the couch from him, feet in his lap. His eyes are fixated on the television, watching as the family that's been searching for the perfect house chooses the one that is, predictably, over budget. He's massaging her feet, and she's trying her very hardest to stay awake. It's so relaxing, but she doesn't want to fall asleep and miss her last few moments with him.

Claire is stuck in her own mind as Jamie's hand mindlessly rubs up and down her calf that's thrown over his lap.

Her mind is racing with all different thoughts. She's thinking about Julia and how she'd encouraged Claire to move to Scotland, saying how romantic it would be. Her daughter had even gone as far as texting her yesterday to remind her she wanted her mother to be happy, and once again saying how she'd be more than happy to come visit Scotland several times a year.

Claire smiles at the thought, imagining her and Jamie showing Julia around, taking her to the little town just outside of Lallybroch. They could get scones and shop around before heading out of town to show her Fraser's Ridge. She'd love the horses, and would love to help pick apples come fall. She'd bring a few home and show off her baking skills by making Claire and Jamie an apple pie, which Claire just knows Jamie would assist in making. Julia and Fergus could meet, and she knows good and well they'd instantly get along to gang up on their parents and make fun of them.

It would be nice—this little fantasy world she'd just created feels so perfect, so right...

But could she do it? Could she actually give up everything—her job, her home, everything she's known for decades—to be with him? Sure, it's been fun to fantasize about, fun to laugh with Joe as he shoved pamphlet after pamphlet in her face, but to actually, seriously do it? The thought should terrify her, it would be a huge change, it would uproot her entire life and turn it upside down, but...

She looks over at Jamie, his blue eyes shining as the television reflects on them, his hands still kneading into the arches of her feet.

He's smiling at whatever is on the screen—she hasn't been paying attention, too lost in her own musings—and she grins watching him. He's so content, and being here with him, having a casual afternoon on the couch, feels… like home. All the time she's spent here lately, especially this weekend, has felt so right, so perfect, she can't even truly explain it or comprehend it. She is well aware that living here wouldn't always be sunshine and rainbows; there would be arguments, small spats that any couple would have, and they'd have to go to work and do the day-to-day things together.

She thinks back to her two weeks here and how they'd settled into a bit of a routine with her staying home to work while Jamie was at the Ridge. It would be similar to that, she supposes, and it really wasn't all the bad. It was great, in fact. It's insane, but she loves Jamie, always has, and a life with him, no matter where it is, would be wonderful.

Claire bites her bottom lip and pulls her feet back, leaning in and reaching over to rub the back of her hand against his scruffy jawline.

It draws his attention, and he smiles over at her, capturing her hand and pressing a kiss to her knuckles.

"What is it, Sassenach? I can hear yer thoughts racing all the way over here."

She huffs out a small laugh, saying, "Just thinking…"

"Aye, and that wee glass face o' yers tells me it's something serious."

Jamie reaches for the remote, turning the volume down. He turns to look at her and she sits up, criss crossing her legs on the couch. He gives her a look that says Go on… and she inhales sharply, letting it out slowly, carefully choosing her words.

With a fresh wave of determination, she tells him confidently, "I want to do it."

Jamie looks at her as if he doesn't understand, and she chuckles to herself. "I want to move to Scotland, Jamie. I want to be with you."

She watches as his blue orbs fill with tears, and her heart aches at the amount of love she feels for him. She swallows thickly, blinking away her own set of tears as Jamie reaches over, taking her hand in his.

"Are… are ye sure?"

Her face breaks out into a beaming smile when she states, "Wild horses couldn't keep me away."

She unhooks her legs, sliding over to him on the couch and wrapping her arms around his neck. She pulls him in for a kiss, and she can feel a tear escape his eyes, landing on her cheek.

Jamie pulls back, shaking his head. "Are ye sure? I only want ye tae do it if ye're one hundred percent absolutely sure." He licks his lips excitedly. "Mebbe go home and think this through, talk wi' Julia about what it would really, actually look like fer the two o'ye if ye moved here. Dinna make anything official yet, not wi'out talking wi' her…" He sighs, smiling. "I would love nothin' more than fer ye tae live here, but Julia should have a say in it all, ye ken?"

He's rambling now, but Jesus H. Roosevelt Christ, she loves this man so damn much.

He's not pressuring her one way or the other, just wants her to make a clear-headed decision. And his consideration for Julia and her feelings on the situation warms her to the backbone.

Little does he know, Julia is the captain of the Claire Moving to Scotland ship; it was her daughter (and Joe) who even made her feel like this was possible.

She knows what she wants, but for the sake of not starting another argument, she agrees with a nod of her head. "Alright," she smiles, knowing her mind is already made up, "I'll talk to Julia more when I get home."

"Good." He presses his lips to hers soundly, drawing a stunned moan from her. She reaches up, cupping his jaw and pulling back to look deeply into his eyes.

Time is running out, they have to leave within the next forty-five minutes, but she just wants to look at him. He makes her feel giddy, a feeling she hasn't had since, well, since him twenty years ago. She feels so juvenile, but the way she feels brings a joy to her life she hasn't had in a very long time. Of course, she's been more than happy with Julia, but love for a child and love for a man are two completely different playing fields.

She'd do anything for Julia, she'd give up her own happiness with Jamie if her daughter didn't want her to go. But, she thinks with a smile, that isn't the case.

Settling back against his chest, she grins inwardly, enjoying the feel of his arms wrapped around her for the last bit of time they have left. She bites her lip, trying not to smile too much as she thinks about what life would be like here—quiet nights with Jamie, watching television or cooking together. She knows it's the life she's always dreamed of, but now it's a possibility. An adventure she's excited to take as long as Jamie is by her side for all of it.