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Set Me Free

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I barely remember how I fell asleep last night and am even more surprised when I wake up alone in bed. The space beside me is still warm and I turn to press my face into Jamie’s pillow, humming in delight at the smell of him. The storm . I immediately stand up and walk quickly out of my room, almost colliding with the tray Jamie is holding.

 

“Careful Sassenach or ye might have to start yer day without breakfast.” 

 

I smile when I look down at the freshly baked croissants next to the steamy eggs and grab the cup of coffee into my hands, curling my fingers around it before taking a sip. It’s like last night’s storm didn’t happen and I somehow didn’t live through a whole bloody horror movie that night.

 

We walk back to my room, sitting down on my bed, as Jamie takes a croissant for himself, humming in delight at the warm sweet flavour. 

 

“I was worried last night,” I say, amidst the pressure inside my chest from the unanswered questions. I want to know why he was late and why on earth he didn’t respond to my texts. I was really scared something might have happened to him.

 

“I’m sorry, Sassenach. I forgot to charge my phone at the store and the moment I wanted to tell ye that I would be runnin’ late is when I realised. I never wanted to worry ye,” his hand comes up to cup my cheek, regret shimmering in the depth of his eyes and I lean into his touch.

 

“It’s alright,” I smile, not admitting to the fact that I immediately thought the worst had happened. I’m not quite ready to reveal that part of my past, even though I know I can tell Jamie anything. 

 

Guilt surges through me, the mysterious stalker haunting my mind once more and I swallow the urge to feel bad. This is nothing Jamie has to worry about and nothing he has to get himself involved in. He just got out of prison, and I will not put him at risk of ever returning to that place, no matter what.

 

“It is not,” he mumbles, “I dinna ever want to leave ye again distraught like that, mo ghraidh. I’m so verra sorry.” I’m shaking my head immediately, not wanting him to feel bad for my own past.

 

“It is,” I whisper, “You are here now and that’s all that matters.”

 

His thumb brushes softly over my cheekbone, leaving the faintest trail of warmth on my skin and I close my eyes before placing my lips on his. The food immediately gets forgotten when I mount him to get a better access to his body. My hands disappear into Jamie’s red curls as my lips part, inviting his tongue to mingle with mine. Jamie’s hands wander down my back, halting on my bottom, pressing me closer into his lap.

 

I moan when I feel his hardness pressing against my sensitive spot and the next second Jamie puts the tray on the floor before flipping me down onto the mattress. I smile into his next kiss, biting softly into the flesh of his lower lip. A soft groan slips from his chest, sending butterflies from my stomach to my centre. It doesn’t take long until we’re both skin on skin, our clothes having joined the breakfast on the floor. And I immediately forget about everything. There are no creepy text messages, no accidents, no storms. There’s just Jamie, me and our racing hearts that are beating merely for each other.

 

****

 

A few days pass and I’m standing in the kitchen, preparing my tea while Jamie is out with Murtagh having a glass of whisky at a pub downtown. I haven’t received any strange text messages since before the storm, and am thinking that finally the stalker has given up with this ridiculous game of taunting me.

 

I take a sip of my steamy cuppa before getting my book and starting the new chapter I have been eager to read all day, when my phone chimes, forcing me to roll my eyes in annoyance. I hate when people decide to disturb me at the exact time I’m trying to have a moment to myself. It must be Geillis. She manages to do it all the bloody time. 

 

I almost drop my cup when I see the Unknown number spread over the screen. I don’t think I’m breathing when I open the message which only includes another set of clock emojis.

 

Leave me the fuck alone.

 

My shaky fingers hover above the screen and I’m surprised and terrified at the same time when a few seconds later an actual message follows.

 

Now where’s the fun in that, Claire?

 

I’m trying to think if I locked the front door but can’t remember for sure, so I walk as fast as I can to do just that, sighing in relief when I hear the click of the door.

 

You actually think locking the door helps? Who says I’m not already inside :)

 

My heart wants to stop beating and race at the same time as I feel my breath catching in my throat. I debate whether to run outside and get the hell out of here, or to stay inside until Jamie comes home and just ignore the messages like I have been. Maybe I could just call the cops and ask Jamie to come home?

 

But then again, he would know something is up and the mystery stalker probably just likes to play games. Yet, how does he know I just locked the door? I nervously bite down on my lip typing down a message that feels right.

 

Leave me alone or I will call the police.

 

I walk into the living room, drawing the curtains closed as a result of paranoia and sit down on the couch, looking back on the screen.

 

The police won’t help. But maybe you would like to inform your loving boyfriend. I bet he would love to know once he returns home you won’t be here to greet him.

 

Okay. This goes way too fucking far. I’m standing up, too anxious to sit as I dial 999  and I hear something shattering in the hallway. I jump at the sound, the operator on the other ending picking up as I run towards the front door.

 

I need to get out of here. And I need to call Jamie. He needs to get involved whether I want him to or not. 

 

I’m not even close to the front door when my phone gets ripped out of my hand and before I can even answer the police. I turn around and I only see black clothes. No face. I feel a sharp pain to the side of my head and the whole world turns dark. 

****

 

I wake up. 

 

Everything hurts.

 

I’m moving. But I’m not at the same time.

 

Everything hurts.

 

Jamie.

 

Where am I?

 

Darkness.

 

Everything is dark.

 

****

 

It’s quiet but everything is so loud at the same time.

 

Is that a ringing rushing through the air or is that just in my head?

 

It sounds like faint church bells in the distance.

 

I hate it. 

 

Or does it soothe me? 

 

I don’t know.

 

All I know is I need to sleep. Then nothing hurts.

 

****

 

I’m lying on snow.

 

At least it feels that way because I’m cold.

 

My body is frozen. 

 

I need Jamie’s warm arms wrapped around me.

 

I need to feel his skin heating mine while he holds me. My own personal furnace.

 

God. I need him to hold me. He can always make the pain go away. Darkness.

 

****

 

How much time has passed?

 

I don’t know but the pain is less and I manage to open my eyes.

 

It looks almost as dark as when I had them closed.

 

So I close them.

 

And my head hurts a little bit less.

 

****

 

I open my eyes again, my head pounding hard enough to make me nauseous. My hands brace on the dirty cold floor before I push myself up as well as I can, and my back immediately presses against a damp wall. My memory decides to return like a bloody avalanche. 

 

Out of reflex I try to stand up but soon realise the big mistake as metal shackles bite my wrists, causing a pain to shoot up both my arms and I yelp. From the fire in my throat it must have been something I’ve done quite a lot the last few days. 

 

Panic replaces anxiety and my chest heaves up and down in large gulps as I try to take in my surroundings. It looks like a dark, old mouldy warehouse. The floor is covered in debris and dirt and it wouldn’t surprise me if rats roamed the grounds. A single chair stands in the centre of the massive room I’m in. I hear nothing else but rain pattering against the foggy windows and a few footsteps echoing through the room.

 

“I can see you’re finally awake,” a low sultry voice fills the silence around me and I jerk up to follow its tune and when I take in the sight of the person in front of me I wish I could run. I wish I could be swallowed by a large black hole and never return. He tsks, “Don’t be so shy, Claire, you don’t seem like the kind of woman that shies away from speaking.” 

I’m shaking my head frantically, no words able to leave my mouth. He grins as he sits down on the chair, facing me.

 

“I’m surprised you never figured out it was me,” he chuckles and I want to vomit. “But I guess that’s good because it made getting you here easier than I thought.”

 

“What do you want?” I manage to say in a shaky voice. 

 

“I want a lot of things, but most of all I want revenge, and you know exactly why.”

 

I do. Which scares me more than ever and I can’t help losing tears the moment the room fills with the sound of Stephen Bonnets’ laughter.