Original prompt: I always thought that we didn’t get enough of Fergus in the books. Can we please get a scene of a young Fergus with Jamie and Claire? Complete fluff or humor welcome!
Claire settled William tighter in the crook of her arm as she unbuttoned her blouse. She gently caressed the tender curve of his wee cheek, and he rewarded her with a gummy grin.
“He’s smiling again!” she exclaimed as the baby lay a chubby hand on the curve of her breast and began to suck greedily, impossibly tiny fingers kneading gently.
“That’s because he knows ye’re feeding him.” Jamie shifted on his knees, crouching beside the bathtub, constantly checking the temperature of the water streaming from the faucet as Brianna and Faith happily splashed their toys in the shallow water. “He’s no’ an idiot.”
Perched on the closed lid of the toilet beside the bathtub, Claire tucked back the brown wisps of William’s fine baby hair, his piercing blue eyes – Jamie’s eyes – boring into hers. “He’s like his da that way,” she teased. “He loves my breasts. And especially my milk.”
Jamie whirled to face her, eyes narrow, face flushed. “Dinna say such things in front of the girls,” he warned through his teeth. “That talk is no’ suitable for –”
“Milk?” two-year-old Faith asked hopefully, looking up from her plastic horses. “Can we have milk before bed?”
“Milk,” one-year-old Brianna nodded, her wet red curls nearly black against her fair skin, smacking the water around her wee hips.
“Well, we’ve had such a long day – I suppose we can find some milk in Jared’s refrigerator.”
Jamie shook his head and closed the tap, reaching across the bathtub to the bottle of baby shampoo.
It had been a long, tiring day – the train trip from Glasgow to London, and then a second leg from London to Paris, had worked out logistically but had been a very taxing experience. With three small children, plus suitcases, it had been very ambitious. And she’d been so glad when Jared met them at the train station and helped with the kids and luggage, driving them the short distance to his flat in the heart of the old city.
Jared Fraser – Brian Fraser’s elder brother – had moved to France as a young man, setting up a wine exporting business catering to Scottish clients at a time when most Scots had zero interest in foreign alcohol – let alone French wine. But time and patience had paid off – and Fraser Exporters was now one of the most prosperous companies in the industry. Jamie had visited his uncle periodically over the years – but hadn’t seen him in some time. And now that wee William, aged two months, was old enough to travel – he’d finally taken Jared up on the offer to come to Paris.
So they would be visiting for about a week. Claire was still on maternity leave, and Jamie was able to take some time off from the printshop. Faith and Brianna had been on trains before, but never for so long. They were well-behaved, but active, and inquisitive. Brianna had slept for most of the way – as had William, thankfully – but Faith had taken in every single moment with her bright, questioning eyes. Asked questions the whole time, watching the English countryside glide by.
By all rights, the girls should have been exhausted – but they were still full of energy and excitement at the novelty of being in a new place.
And with new people. Jared had taken immediately to his great-nieces and –nephew. Having never married or had children of his own, he’d been immediately charmed by the three wee Frasers. And of course he’d showered them with ridiculous gifts – to the delight of the girls, and the bewilderment of William, who had promptly tried to stuff part of his new plush Highland Coo into his mouth.
And then for dinner, there had been a special guest – the nine-year-old boy Jared had been sponsoring for the past few years. Fraser Exporters participated in a program with a local charity, where employees could mentor, spend time with, and provide financial sponsorship for a child living in a home operated by one of several social organizations. This boy had had a rough start in life – father unknown, mother a drug addict – and he’d been rescued from a filthy apartment, aged two, the victim of severe neglect. He’d grown stronger with the love and attention provided by the home – and by Jared, who had come to regard him almost as a son.
So Fergus had come for dinner – excited at the prospect of spending time with the small children. He was polite, charming, and a bit reserved – but had utterly blossomed in the company of Brianna and Faith. And William, whom he’d held so gently, crooning soft things in French.
Seeing him with the kids had touched something deep inside Claire. Had brought back all her memories of living as an orphan, with dear Uncle Lamb her only family in the world. Of the bone-deep longing for parents – for a true mother and father – and for siblings. And for a home, full of love and laughter.
It had given her an idea.
He shielded Faith’s eyes as he rinsed the shampoo from her long dark hair. “Hmm?”
She gently slid William’s wee lips from her nipple with a soft ‘pop’ and moved him to her other breast. “What do you think about Fergus?”
“What about him? Here, Brianna – take one of Faith’s horses.”
She bit her lip, considering, watching William’s tiny eyelids starting to drowse. “He needs a home.”
Jamie sat back on his knees and just looked at her – so serene, nourishing their precious wee lad. He badly wanted to give her another child to love – but they’d already discussed that William would be their last. Three bairns in three years had taken a toll on her body – and it wasn’t fair to her training as a surgeon, either.
But perhaps there was another way – a way which also provided a family for a loving child who so desperately needed a Mam and Da.
“He does. Ye see yerself in him, don’t you?”
She nodded, not surprised at how perceptive he was. How attuned he was – always was – to her, and her feelings, and her desires.
William’s lips slid from Claire’s nipple – fast asleep. Gently Claire hoisted him over her shoulder, rubbing his small, solid back.
“Do ye want to talk to Jared about it?”
She met his eyes – and in that one moment, their decision was made.
“Yes. We’ll make it work. We have to. He’s a sweet lad, and he loves the kids already.”
Jamie nodded and turned back to the girls. “Tomorrow, then. Let’s make it happen. And quick.”
She nestled William’s dark head closer against her shoulder, her heart already blooming with love for this slight, French orphan who, God willing, would be coming back to Glasgow with them.