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Love In The Streets

Chapter Text

There's got to be love in the streets

There's got to be love there for me

I'm tired of believing a broken dream

 

 

Sirens. Cold wind. Mumbles and the crackling of the fire my group of people just lit. I’m turning my head around, to watch the flames dancing, while I cover myself with the blanket I found in a garbage bin a few miles from here. That’s the only useful thing I found today, maybe some empty bottles I may be able to re-use in the future but other than that, Boston City has not been very profitable.

 

I’m sighing at the thought of going hungry for another day and I’m doing what I always do. I’m closing my eyes, imagining the taste of a freshly baked croissant melting on my tongue. The saltiness of the butter makes my stomach flutter. I’m swallowing the water in my mouth and imagining the last bite of the baked good falling into my stomach. It helps. Pretending that my saliva is in fact food. It eases my hunger for at least a bit.

 

“Beauchamp!” Someone calls me and I’m turning my head to look at John who decides to sit down next to me. “Are you alright?”

 

I’m nodding, curling up my lips into a tiny smile. “Just a little hungry is all. I haven’t eaten anything solid in two days but I’m heading to the city tomorrow, hoping for a few dollars.”

 

“Sorry darling, but maybe these babies will help you a little.” He holds up a little plastic bag that hold tiny blue pills and I’m holding my hand out to him, asking for the tiny pill that helps me to escape reality for a little while. Oh, they also help me sleep.

 

“Thanks John.” I say, before throwing the pill into my mouth and the bitter taste hits my tongue.

 

John and I have been inseparable for two years, when we decided to leave London and head to Boston, with the cash we stole from our parents. Not that they noticed because no one has ever looked for us and we are happy about that. Some may call us ungrateful brats or dumb but they don’t know us like our group does. They don’t know how it feels to rather live beneath the stars than with people that do indescribable things to you.

 

I’m back to watching the flames dancing in front of me and I don’t realise that John has left my side and once the pill is hitting me I’m giggling as flames turned into figures and they made me feel less alone.

 

I’m waking up from a cold breeze that’s running through my messy curls when I hear a bark from a distance. Oh fuck, the cops must have found us again.

 

“Guys!” I’m standing up, trying to shake everyone awake.  “Guys, there’s someone coming. Wake up!” I say louder, but try to avoid any screaming that could bring attention to our little spot. It’s always like that, when we found our niche and started to feel comfortable in it, someone found us, either the cops or other kids and we were asked to leave.

 

John shoots up from his sleep and so do the other’s when I see the dog, or shall I say wolf, coming closer. His bubble eyes glare at me and make it hard not to reach out and pet his inviting fur. His tongue is out as a result of him running and I’m turning around to get to my things. We have to hide.

 

“Rollo!” I hear a voice a loud whistle follows right after. I’m staring at John in panic who shakes his head. We both know our time is up, there is no way for us to hide, so we just have to see if it are cops and we’re forced to leave everything behind or if it are other kids that will allow us to take our stuff. “Rollo boy, come here.” Says the voice again and I’m seeing a boy, a little older than me and John, walking towards us. His hair is red, I guess, because it reminds me of the fire I stared at last night and the night before.

 

I’m watching the dog following his orders when the boy is looking around in our group. “Christ, sorry people, my dog ran off and I dinna want to cause any trouble.” He says carefully. “I’ll be gone before ye ken it. Rollo boy come .” The boy doesn’t dare to look any of us into our eyes and I see John staring at him.

 

“Wait!” He says and all of us are looking at John quizzically. “Do you have a place to stay?” He asks and I’m turning my head back to the boy.

 

“No, I just arrived a few days ago in Boston after livin’ in New York fer a while. I just walked fer three days, lookin’ for a place to sleep a wee bit.”

 

“You can stay with us.” John says and we’re looking at him. How can he just trust a stranger? Invite him into our safe space without even asking questions. We don’t know if that boy is telling the truth and maybe we'll all wake up dead the next morning. Trust me, I’ve seen it happen before.

 

“Are ye sure? I dinna want to intrude.”

 

I’m looking at the dog, whose name is Rollo I figured and it almost looks like he’s smiling at me. I’m kneeling down and patting on my knee to see if he only follows the redhead’s orders or also mine and a second later the wet tip of his nose is touching my cheek. I’m giggling at the affection this animal is giving me and I feel my heart warming up. My arms wrap around his neck as they bury themselves into his fur and I’m almost tearing up because the last time I felt affection like this was the day before my cat died. I don’t know how it happened, she was suddenly just gone.

 

“Don’t mind her, Beauchamp here has a heart for animals.” I hear John saying to the boy and I suddenly wonder about his name.

 

“What’s your name?” I ask bluntly and stand up, my hands still buried in Rollo’s fur.

 

“Jamie MacTavish.” He says, and I slightly squeeze my eyes a little. I don’t know if it’s really his name but the again, if he chooses to lie, I’ll let him choose a lie.

 

John introduces all of us to Jamie and I watch Angus and Rupert lose interest in the redhead quickly and go back to mind their own business and so do I. I’m planning to eat today because if I won’t eat another day I will literally die. I’m bowing down to clean up the blanket I use for the nights when Rollo’s wet nose brushes on my leg and I smile.

 

“You’re such a good boy.” I say, petting him once again. “But I have to get on my way so I can get something to eat.” I smile and look up. Jamie is standing next to me, marking his spot that is very close to mine. I don’t mind, as long as he won’t pull his knife in the middle of the night and decides to kill me. Once again, I’ve seen it happen.

 

“Here, Sassenach.” Jamie suddenly says and I see him holding a chocolate bar my way. “It isna a three course meal but then again I canna remember ever havin’ one o’” I don’t let him talk because I rip the bar out of his hands and take a bite. I forget everything around me as the sweetness of the chocolate explodes in my mouth. God, this tastes amazing. It’s better than any croissant I’ve ever dreamed of.

 

“Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!” I’m taking another bite when I see John walking up to us.

 

“Don’t mind her, she hasn’t eaten in a few days. You might have saved her life.” He smiles and turns his head shortly when Hector calls Rupert and Angus to head out with him. “Wait for me!” John yells and turns his head back to me. “Beauchamp, can you manage?” He asks and I know this gaze. He wants to be with Hector, trying to find out if the guy feels the same way as he does and even though I’ll be left with a stranger I’m nodding. What can happen? Oh yeah, knife. But even if Jamie would pull a knife, I think Rollo won’t let him kill me, cause that animal has spent more time with me than him since they arrived.

 

“Go.” I say and he kisses my cheek before he runs off with the other’s.

 

“And you’re coming with me?” I ask Jamie and he nods.

 

“Aye, we can head to the city, it’s a Saturday mornin’ so it should be packed.” I watch him take a piece of duct tape to fix the hole in his sneakers before he stands up. “Let’s go.”

 

“What about him?” I ask and point to Rollo who has nestled himself on my blanket. “He certainly doesn’t look like he wants to join us.” I smile.

 

“He’ll stay here, he doesna need to come.”

 

“But what if…”

 

“Sassenach, Rollo has been wi’ me for a while, he kens how to handle things by himself.”

 

“You called me like that before.” I say, looking at him with curiosity. “Sassenach.” I try to say it the way he does but my ch sounds more like a k and I see him smirking.

 

“Well, it means Outlander but I dinna mean to offend ye, it’s just a Gaelic term fer the English.”

 

“I might be a little offended.” I say jokingly, smiling at him. “But I haven’t had a nickname in a while so I take it.”

 

We grab our things and walk off to the city and I feel the sudden urge to ask him things as nothing more but silence surrounds us.

 

“How did you come to Boston all the way from Scotland?”

 

“I’ve been here and there fer the past five years, nothin’ special.” He says and I know that it’s a lie. Out here we all have a special story to tell. Some of them see the light of the day while some are never brought up anymore, some you want to speak about but haven’t found the right time to speak about it and some you just have to deal with yourself. That’s life. “What about ye? Ye’ve had a long way yerself.”

 

“Also nothing special. It’s been two years for me and John.” I smile and I see the glimmer in his eyes.

 

I just realise now how blue they are and I feel the urge to jump in the ocean that lingers in them and I am not one that loves to swim. But his eyes look inviting. I see the bench I spent some nights on and sit down with Jamie. “I’ve slept here for a few days, exhausted from looking for some food.” I say not telling him the real reason I actually passed out on this bench. I don’t think he’d be pleased if he knew drugs were the reason I couldn’t make it back to camp anymore.

 

“It’s alright, ye dinna need to tell me. “ He says and his eyes stare into my soul.

 

“Do you have parents?” I ask all of a sudden and turn my head to look ahead of me as I don’t dare to see if this question upset him.

 

“Aye, I do.” He answers after a while. “What about ye?”

 

“Yes.” I say, not thinking about continuing my story. I don’t talk about my parents, or shall I say creators? I don’t know. But I just don’t talk about them. They are the reason I’m jealous of those little brats running around the playground while their Daddy picks them up and actually spoils them with love while their mother’s are having tea with each other happily talking about family stuff. I am jealous but I’m trying not to be.

 

“Claire are ye alright?” Jamie suddenly asks and I realise now that I’m crying. Wet tears walking down my cheeks like they are on a hike and I’m wiping them away with my hands. I don’t cry. Crying is for weak people and I’ve been weak long enough, they made me weak. Now I’m strong and I can conquer it all.

 

“I’m good. Sorry, I had something in my eye.” I say, knowing he won’t believe any of it.

 

“Ye ken, it’s alright.”

 

“Listen, Jamie, I don’t even know you for one day and just because you have this cute lovely dog I am not going to pour my heart out to you. I like you, I really do and maybe we can become friends but just maybe because I don’t know where life takes me and we’re young. I mean I’m nineteen and you are what? Twenty? Twenty one? And now I’m just brabbling, I’m sorry.”

 

I feel bad for attacking him the way I do but that’s me. That’s what I do. I can’t become too attached to people because they can get ripped away from you any second. You could hug them one moment and the other they are laying in front of you, dying and there’s nothing you can do. You just watch them go, hoping you won’t be next and Jamie is dangerous. He’s easy to like which makes this harder for me.

 

“It’s alright, Sassenach, and I’m twenty one.”

 

I’m looking at him and he’s just smiling. That’s what I mean. He’s easy to like.

 

“Let’s try to find some food or money, otherwise they will kill me.” I say before standing up.

 

“Arena they lookin’ fer food and money too?” He asks, standing next to me and I’m heading in the direction of the city.

 

“They are looking for other stuff.” I say and with silent understanding he walks next to me and the only thing I am trying to do is keep an emotional distance from him because Jamie MacTavish is a charming young man that I always dreamed of having when I played with my toy castle in the dark stinky room. He was the prince and I was the princess and we’d live happily ever after. Away from the screaming, away from the violence. Just him and I living the fairy tale six year old me dreamed of. But I know that happily ever after does not exist for me. My prince can never be my prince because dreams don’t come true for people like me. They just don’t.