The darkness was a comfortable weight in his chest. He couldn’t feel anything. It brought a measure of comfort to him. If Jamie concentrated hard enough on the weightlessness, he could imagine he was anywhere in the world.
He envisioned himself being at Lallybroch once more. His last day there started like any other. His father had left a few days before to attend a funeral in Broch Mordha. After a warm bowl of parritch his sister Jenny made every morning, he would start with tending to the animals, getting the oxen ready for the day’s plows, ensure there was enough hay for-
Jamie’s imaginative reflections were interrupted slightly by the feeling of being poked, almost like the chicken were trying to nip at his skin. How did they get up to his neck?
He felt warm fingers grace the underside of his jaw and press lightly for maybe a second or two. Strange, but it was a dream so he let it go.
Voices. He heard voices. Stern, but warm and tender like honeyed milk. Then, stern again as commands were given. Actually, it was just one voice. One rather feminine voice.
“Gunshot wound...idiot could’ve said something,” the female voice said, rather annoyed for some reason. Jamie couldn’t imagine why. He hadn’t been shot. Had he?
He was determined to go back to his dream. I think I was milkin’ the cows in the barn, he thought absently.
A sharp burn of something acrid smelling made the skin on the inside of his shirt sizzle with a wrathful fury. He’d never felt anything like that before!
“Tha mi gasta,” Jamie blurted drunkenly in his mother tongue.
“Welcome back,” Claire replied dryly.
He tried to justify his feelings of inadequacy, but Claire was clearly not having any of it. She proceeded to verbally lash out at him for getting shot and not telling anyone about it. What was her deal? It didn’t hurt at the time; no point in whining like a snot-nosed bairn about an injury that wasna painful! This Sassenach really needed to leave off or else!
Except the longer Claire spoke, no matter how harsh and angry her words were, Jamie couldn’t help but stare. He knew he shouldn’t have been so smitten by her, with her cursing for damn near bleeding to death, but he...just knew...like his Da told him he would.
He wasn’t looking at any part of her face in particular; how could he? Every aspect of her made her the Goddess-like being she was. Her eyes were the colored of finely aged whisky, straight from its barrel. Her lips were supple and full, just begging to be christened with his own. Despite the collection of grime gathering around her hairline and shift, she was the most beautiful woman Jamie had ever laid his bonny blue eyes on. His heart called out to hers, even if she didn’t know it yet.
“Jamie Fraser,” he thought, as much to himself as to God, where his parents and brother were eternally waiting for him to join them, “this is the woman.”