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Into The Unknown

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"Claire, ye must go back to yer own time, to a man who loves ye.  Ye promised me when we were in Paris, that if the time came, ye would go back." Jamie escorted her up to the summit of the hill.

She pulled back when they reached the edge of the stone circle, "I can't leave you, come with me."

Jamie stepped away from her and circled the center stone, touching the stone he said, "I canna, it's no' my place, my destiny lies on Culloden Moor."

He walked back over and gathered her into his arms, "I will find you, I promise.  If I must endure two hundred years of purgatory, two hundred years without ye - then that is my punishment, which I have earned for my crimes.  For I have lied, and killed and stolen, betrayed, and broken trust.  But there is one thing that shall lie in the balance when I stand before God, I shall have one thing to say to weigh against the rest. Lord ye gave me a rare woman and God I loved her well." 

He placed a finger under her chin and tilted her face up to bring her lips to his.  He kissed her tenderly at first, then the kiss became more demanding and hurried as he poured his heart and soul and everything he felt into that kiss. He gently lowered her to the ground, rucking her skirts and his kilt up, "I must have ye once more before I die."  

He thrust into her repeatedly his lips never leaving hers, tears rolling down her cheeks as she pulled him deeper into her.  If this was to be the last time, they would savor every moment, every sensation.  She would take this moment with her to last long after she traveled through the stones, back to a life she no longer wanted.  She would remember this moment when the only thing she had left to live for was the child that rest below her heart. With one final thrust, Jamie spilled his seed inside of her for the last time, just as the cannon blast brought them back to their reality.  

The battle had begun, she must go through the stones now and save herself and the child, all that would remain of Jamie.  He rose to his feet and taking her hands, he helped her to stand with him.  He pulled her tight to his chest and walked her backward toward the stone that would take her away from him forever.   

Clutching him tightly around the neck she cried, "I love you, I love you."

He blinked to keep the tears from falling, "And I, you."

He turned her in his embrace so that his chest was pressed to her back, and raised their joined hands to the stone.  They touched the stone together and suddenly she faded from his embrace and was gone.  He turned and walked over to where they had laid together, bent down and picked up the tartan that she had dropped when they made love for the last time.  He raised it to his face and inhaled the scent of her, the scent of his wife whom he would never see again.  He walked back to the center stone, tears running down his face, and placed his palm on the stone, thinking only of Claire and the child, bidding them a last goodbye.

Suddenly everything went dark, his body felt as though it was being ripped apart as the otherworldly screams pierced his ears.  He felt as though he was falling from a great height, he could hear his own screams joining the others.  He hadn't seen anyone else near the fairy hill, but he must have died, he must have been killed, for surely this was purgatory.  He held the tartan tight to his chest and wished he could see Claire one more time before purgatory took him.

Just as suddenly as the blackness and screaming began, it faded away.  His body came back together, the screaming faded to birdsong and the darkness gave way to the beautiful ember hues of sunrise stretching across the sky.  He felt sick to his stomach and attempted to sit up.  His muscles were too sore to situp immediately so he rolled over onto his knees so he could wretch the contents of his stomach. 

Once he had finished wretching, he heard sobbing, it was a voice he recognized, it was his wife, it was Claire.  He got to his feet and followed the sound, she was leaning against one of the stones that created the circle of stones, with her knees drawn up to her chest and her face buried in her hands.  He quietly made his way over to her and knelt down in front of her.  She was so caught up in her grief that she didn't hear him approach, "Sassenach, my love, open yer eyes and look at me."

She shook her head, "You're not really here, I left you to die on that bloody moor.  I know I promised you, but I can't, Jamie.  I can't go back to him, I can't go back to Frank, I'm sorry."

His heart broke for her as he reached out and stroked her hair, her head whipped up, her eyes wide and her mouth dropped open. "I ken ye promised me, mo chirdhe, I'll not make ye keep yer promise, ye need not go back to Frank, I'm here now."

She threw herself into his embrace and sobbed into the crook of his neck and shoulder, "Oh Jamie, I thought I had lost you forever, how did you get here?"

He chuckled as he continued to stroke her hair, "I dinna ken how I got here or even where or when here is.  Do ye think we made it to yer time?"

She pulled back and looked into his eyes, "I'm not sure, I know we are not in 1746 anymore.  The sounds of battle are gone but I am not sure what time we traveled to, there is not yet enough light to be able to see anything."

Jamie rose up, bringing her with him, his arms wrapped around her waist as he scanned the land around them. "Aye, yer right, we canna see a thing.  We shall remain here at the stones until there is enough light to see, then we will make our way to Inverness and find a way to determine what time we have traveled to."