Original prompt: Heya! So what if - in the Modern Glasgow AU - Jamie's picking Claire up from work one day, and Claire sees Laoghaire make a pass at him.
Jamie slid the gray toque off his head as the automatic doors at the emergency room entrance quietly glided closed behind him. Carefully he dodged out of the way of two hospital attendants pushing elderly women in creaky wheelchairs, a young couple carefully juggling a brand-new baby (and he ignored the small twinge in his heart at the sight) and an armful of flowers and balloons, and a gaggle of doctors headed out for an early dinner. One more turn around the corner and – ah.
“Jamie!” Glenna FitzGibbon’s voice boomed from behind the counter, where she supervised the nurses and orderlies rushing to and fro across the ward.
He smiled and leaned over the counter to give the kind woman – Claire’s mentor and confidant – a lingering hug. “So lovely to see you, Mrs. Fitz. I should have known it was you on duty – I didn’t see anyone idling in the corridors.”
She shook her head as she neatly signed a clipboard full of requisition forms and handed it to a waiting nurse. “Flatterer. Now I know why that wife of yours is so sweet on you.”
“Is she here? I had to see a customer nearby and thought I’d surprise her.”
“Weel she gets off at five - it’s about twenty minutes until she’s done wi’ her shift – I dinna suppose ye mind waiting?”
“Not at all – where I can I stay out of the way?”
She waved toward a set of hard plastic chairs wedged tightly against one wall, beside something that used to be a plant and a pile of battered magazines. “That’s as good of a place as any. Shall I tell her ye’re here?”
He helped himself to a tissue and blew his suddenly-runny nose. “No need – I dinna want to intrude. I can amuse myself.”
She quirked one eyebrow and shook her head. “I daresay. Off wi’ ye, then, afore this entire hospital grinds to a halt.”
Jamie smiled and quickly crossed the room, folding himself into what was possibly the most uncomfortable seat he’d ever had the displeasure of sitting in. He unzipped his coat, rolled his shoulders, and slipped off his right glove, fishing around in his jacket pocket for his phone. For a few minutes he scrolled through his messages – another order for that book on the history of shinty, a proposal for a coffee table book on different Scottish whiskys, an invoice for the reams of paper they’d had to special order from a shop in Edinburgh. But work could always wait – and he certainly wouldn’t bring it home with him tonight.
He thumbed through his applications until he found the folder labeled, simply, MND. It had over 50 pictures now – just four months after meeting Claire, and three months after marrying her. Pictures of Claire laughing over a fried Mars bar they’d shared at a pub; Claire admiring the vast sweep of hill and heather from his very favorite spot at Lallybroch; Claire wearing one of his shirts, mincing onions as she prepared his favorite omelet; Claire peacefully dreaming, propped against the window on a train ride to London.
And Claire’s beautiful, flushed face – eyes closed, lips parted in an ecstatic grin, hair wild on the pillow – the moment right after he’d given her paradise. That one always made his mouth dry -
“Can I help you?”
Jamie blinked harshly – jolting back into awareness – and looked up to see a young, blonde, perky woman clad in pink scrubs. “Sorry?”
She smiled sweetly - too sweetly. “Do you need help wi’ anything? Are ye looking for someone, perhaps? I dinna suppose ye’re in need of doctoring, though I could certainly tend to ye if need be.”
He locked his phone screen and slid it back into his pocket. “No, I’m in no need of doctoring. I’m waiting for someone, is all.”
She shifted the clipboard to her side - proudly showing him how she’d chosen to wear v-neck scrubs that day – and flipped her long hair over one shoulder. “Well then. Ye’re no’ waiting for a doctor, surely? I can page one for ye.”
Jamie noticed she was stepping ever so closer to him – trying to lock gazes. Christ, she was blinking very fast – was something stuck in her eye?
“No,” he replied politely. “No, I’m no’ waiting for a doctor. And Mrs. Fitz knows me – she asked me to wait right here. So I am.”
She tilted her head, appraising him. She was pretty, he had to admit – but in a girlish kind of way. This was no woman – a stronger, more confident woman would subtly emphasize her natural beauty with a hint of makeup, not use dark, garish eyeliner.
“Do ye mind if I sit here wi’ ye, then? Just to make sure the person ye’re waiting for actually arrives?”
He scratched the back of his head. “I suppose not. But – ”
Quickly she plopped beside him and swung one leg over the other, so that her tiny foot almost touched his knee. “Oh good. I’m so glad we can get to know each other a bit better while ye wait.” She paused, then extended one hand – nails covered in chipped red polish. “I’m Nurse Laoghaire MacKenzie.”
Jamie twisted his lips and quickly grasped her hand in his. “Jamie,” he said simply.
“Are ye from Glasgow, Jamie?” Was that – was that her thigh pushing up against his? A Dhia, would Claire not just hurry up already?
Claire wearily slung her purse over her shoulder and mindlessly pushed open the door of the locker room. She rounded the corner to the waiting room and briefly rested her elbows on the countertop of the nurse’s station while Mrs. Fitz hung up the phone.
“I’m off, Mrs. Fitz. Do let me know how everything turns out for that burn patient?”
Mrs. Fitz smirked. “Aye, I will. Though I doubt ye truly wish to hear from me again tonight – turn round.”
Puzzled, Claire turned to see Jamie folded uncomfortably into one of the hard plastic chairs, trying valiantly to fend off the attentions of young Nurse MacKenzie. He had edged as far away as possible from her crossed legs. Absently he twined and tugged at his fingers.
She sighed. No, no, that wouldn’t do. It didn’t matter that they’d pledged themselves to each other, time and time again – he was hers. As she was his. And someone clearly had not picked up on that truth.
As if sensing her, Jamie turned and locked gazes with Claire. His face split into a smile and he removed his left glove, the wide silver band on his ring finger glinting in the harsh fluorescent light.
Claire mirrored his smile and quickly stepped forward, taking his hand with hers. He bent to touch his lips to her forehead, but she pulled him down for a deep, proper kiss. It went on a for a long while, and he settled his wide hands on her hips, tugging her closer as she kissed his smile.
Finally he pulled away. “Ready to go home, Claire?”
She nodded against him and turned to the younger woman. Really, a gaping mouth did not become her.
“Good night, Nurse MacKenzie.”
“Good night, Nurse Fraser,” the girl croaked.
Jamie settled his hand on the small of Claire’s back and pushed her toward the exit. “Thank ye for rescuing me from that – ”
He huffed in surprise as she pushed him into a small, dark examination room off the main hallway. She bolted the door and turned to face him, eyes shining, chest still heaving. His teeth flashed in the dim light, and she heard the rustling of paper as he settled onto the examination table.
“Come here to me, mo nighean donn,” he said softly.
At seven o’clock, Murtagh flipped to a Channel Four documentary on Bonnie Prince Charlie and cracked open another can of beer. Be home at six, the lad had said. We want to look at some flats tonight, the lass had said, so would you mind if we all ate beforehand? He didna mind cooking – though he also knew that they were newlyweds. So he’d had the foresight to order take-away curry – to be delivered at half past seven. Murtagh sighed, shook his head, and settled back into his easy chair.