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How Will I Know

Chapter Text

Oh it's you, I know, you're the one I dream of

 

Jamie groaned, throwing the covers off himself. He glanced over to the nightstand. 5:39. Christ. He huffed and a stray curl unglued itself from his damp forehead. His hand went to his chest where he found the silver cross he wore as a pendant and he held it in his clenched fist while his heartrate normalized. He began mentally praying, but his mind wandered. He began whispering his prayer, in hope that it would be more effective. But his mind kept replaying his dream. This was the 4th time he'd dreamt about her, and every time he did, he woke up sweating, panting, his cock throbbing something fierce. He gripped his cross tighter, lest his hand wandered down his body.

 

Tantalizing leopard eyes danced in front of his heavy lids, and he didn't know whether it was his tiredness that was making him lightheaded or his lust. He wet his lips, still whispering his prayer, but his voice came out strangled.

 

"…and lead us not into temptation…" a low moan escaped his lips unwillingly as he now remembered how, in his dream, she took his hand in hers and guided it to her quim. Her leopard eyes were staring right into his behind her thick lashes, all the while using his fingers to touch herself. Her pupils dilated and her eyes darkened considerably as she pushed one of his long fingers deep inside of herself, and he groaned as she clenched her walls around it. She inhaled sharply and removed her hand from over his after helping him set the pace, placing it over her clit which she began caressing languidly, making sure to reach his finger as it was going in and out of her as she did so. His eyes dropped from hers down to her breasts, and without preamble he grabbed a handful and squeezed, moving his thumb over her nipple over and over in sync with his thrusts. She whimpered needily, which prompted him to suck it into his wet mouth next. He released her swollen bud with a loud pop only when he felt her wee hand clasped around his throbbing length.

 

He gasped, his eyes open wide as he realized it was his own hand wrapped around his cock and he bit his lower lip, holding his breath through his final few strokes. His whole body shuddered as he came in ribbons over his own abdomen, then sunk deeper into the mattress, panting heavily.

 

With no point in delaying getting up, he hopped into the shower, this time ignoring his already recovered erection.

 

He donned a white dress shirt and black slacks, tucked his cross underneath his shirt after promptly kissing it and crossing himself, then stepped outside.

 

He told himself he needed the warm summer morning sunshine to dry his russet curls fresh from the shower, and he had the extra time, so he deliberately opted to go by foot. He also knew a certain lorry would be driving up the curb delivering fresh flowers to his neighborhood florist.

 

Just as he rounded the corner his breath caught, as if he hadn't just been thinking about the fact that he'd be seeing the lorry parked in front of the flower shop.

 

As if he hadn't just been thinking about seeing her eyes shine extra bright on this particularly shiny summer morning.

 

Those leopard eyes.

 

He stopped dead in his tracks at a reasonable distance and watched as she kept bringing armfuls of flowers into her shop, taking note of how she would slow her pace while inhaling the fragrance from the enormous bouquets, burying her elegant nose in between the petals and fluttering her lashes closed.

 

His heart skipped a beat as he recognized her lashes fluttering in much the same way while she begged him not to stop.

 

Before he could snap out of his reverie, the lorry was driving off and she was busying herself inside the flower shop as he could easily see even from a distance through her large display windows. Before he could reach the shop, he heard the little bell ring as someone beat him to it. Not that he actually wanted to go in.

 

He couldn't.

 

He shouldn't.

 

He lingered momentarily in front of the shop, watching her flowy dress move with her as she made her away across the parquet fetching different stems for her customer, bending slightly to retrieve one flower or the other from their respective vases.

 

Even in that dress that was perfectly proper and didn't stick to her bum like second skin, much like most women flaunted their assets usually, it managed to give just a hint of what was underneath when she bent or when she turned just so and the fabric swooshed around her.

 

He unglued his eyes from the window and continued on his way hurriedly.

 

He crossed himself, entering the Christian Orthodox church, and joined the men in the transept, as they chanted byzantine hymns. His father raised his eyes to meet his briefly before beginning chanting Agní Parthéne in Greek.

 

Jamie exhaled, closing his eyes, the lyrics escaping his lips with practice ease

 

Agní Parthéne Déspina, Áhrante Theotóke/ O virgin pure, Immaculate lady Theotokus

 

Hére Nímfi Anímfefte./ Rejoice, O unwedded bride

 

Ipsilotéra Uranón, aktínon lamprotéra,/ More radiant than the rays of sun and higher than the heavens

 

Hére Nímfi Anímfefte./ Rejoice, O unwedded bride

 

Hará parthenikón horón, angélon ipertéra/ Delight of virgin choruses, superior to Angels.

 

Hére Nímfi Anímfefte./ Rejoice, O unwedded bride

 

Eklamprotéra uranón fotós katharotéra,/ Much brighter than the firmament, and purer than the sun's light

 

Hére Nímfi Anímfefte./Rejoice, O unwedded bride

 

By the time Jamie finished choir duty that morning and took his leave from his father- the church's parish priest, who blessed him for the day if not a bit annoyed with his son's tardiness, he deliberately chose a different route on his way to work at the print shop, his heart lighter and his focus resolute.

 

And he managed to keep it that way.

 

Until nightfall when a pair of leopard eyes stared into his soul once more.

Chapter Text

 

 Look into my eyes, take me to the clouds above

 

"Let us pray to the Lord" Brian chanted with the choirmen replying "Lord have mercy." He then proceeded, facing the bride and groom before him "Blessed are You, O Lord our God, Holy Celebrant of mystical and pure marriage, Maker of the laws that govern earthly bodies, Guardian of incorruption, Kindly protector of the means of life: do You Yourself now, O Master, Who in the beginning created man, and appointed him as the king of creation, and said, <<It is not good for man to be alone upon the earth; let us make a helpmate for him>> then, taking one of his ribs, made woman, whom when Adam saw, he said, <<This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh, for she was taken out of her man.

 

"For this cause shall a man forsake his father and his mother, and cleave unto his wife, and two shall be one flesh>> and <<whom God has joined together, let no man put asunder.>> And now, O Master, Lord our God, send down Your heavenly Grace upon these Your servants, Richard and Michelle, and grant unto this woman to be in all things subject unto the man, and to this Your servant to be at the head of the woman that they live according to Your Will.

 

"Bless them. O Lord our God, as you blessed Abraham and Sara. Bless them, O Lord our God, as You blessed Isaac and Rebecca.

 

"Holy God, Who fashioned man from the dust, and from his rib fashioned woman, and joined her to him as a helpmate for him, for it was seemly unto Your Majesty for man not to be alone upon the earth, do You Yourself, O Sovereign Lord, stretch forth Your hand from Your holy dwelling place, and join together this Your servant Richard and Your servant Michelle, for by You is a wife joined to her husband. Join them together in oneness of mind; crown them with wedlock into one flesh; grant to them the fruit of the womb, and the gain of well favored children, for Yours is the dominion, and Yours is the Kingdom, and the Power, and the Glory: of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, both now and ever, and to the ages of ages."

 

Brian joined the couple's right hands and then took the bridegroom's crown and chanted "The servant of God Richard is crowned for the servant of God, Michelle, in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen" repeating it three times, making the sign of the Holy Cross using the crown, then placing it on Richard's head, proceeding then to do the same for Michelle.

 

Jamie then began chanted from the transept "The Reading from the Epistle of the holy Apostle Paul to the Ephesians. (5:20‑33)"

 

"Let us attend"

 

Jamie continued "Brethren, give thanks always for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God the Father. Be subject to one another out of reverence for Christ. Wives, be subject to your husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior.

 

"As the church is subject to Christ, so let wives be also subject in everything to their husbands. Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.

 

"Even so husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no man ever hates his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body. <<For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother and shall be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one.>> This is a great mystery, and I take it to mean Christ and the church; however, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband."

 

Brian interjected "Peace be to you who read." to which Jamie retorted "And with your spirit. Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia. O Lord, You shall keep us and You shall preserve us from this generation forth and forever."

 

Having done his part, Jamie relaxed next to the other men in the choir, not having to follow in so intently now that he knew when to chant next alongside the others. He looked over to the young couple. It would probably never cease to feel special to him to witness two people come together in holy matrimony. This was the pinnacle of Christian life, uniting his life with another's and thus fulfilling God's will.

 

He felt peaceful knowing the day would soon come when he would also unite his life with the mate that God had chosen for him. As to who that might be, it was still a mystery. If he'd listened to his family he would've been married ten times over by now. No. None of them had felt like the one.

 

His father was adamant that he shouldn't tarry much longer. He was 23 already, more than ready to take on married life and priesthood. Brian was to leave the parish in Jamie's capable hands, but for that, he first needed to marry so that he could be ordained. His sister, Jenny, had married Ian who was already serving alongside his father. But he was not his own flesh and blood and therefore would not become the parish priest. That spot was reserved for Jamie, and Jamie only.

 

In truth, Willie should've been the one to inherit it all, but alas, God had taken him with Him. Jamie sometimes felt that he was cheating faith by stepping in in his brother's shoes, he felt as if that wasn't, in fact, the life that he was meant to lead. But he couldn't disappoint his father, who had put all his heart and soul into this church; no, he was going to honor his father's will.

 

Soon it was time for the dance around the anti-altar, and Jamie watched as the bride handed her bouquet over to her bride's maid, probably. What he didn't expect was to look at the woman who reached over to take the bouquet from amongst the people in attendance and feeling his blood freeze in his veins. It's her.

 

 

The procession began and he stuttered, chanting along with his fellow choirmen

 

"Rejoice, O Isaiah! The Virgin is with child,

 

And shall bear a son Emmanuel,

 

Who is both God and Man,

 

And Orient is His Name,

 

Whom magnifying we call, the Virgin blessed.

 

O Holy Martyrs,

 

who fought the good fight and have received your crowns,

 

Entreat ye the Lord,

 

That He will have mercy on our souls.

 

Glory to Thee, O Christ God.

 

The Apostles boast,

 

The Martyrs Joy,

 

whose preaching was the Consubstantial Trinity."

 

He never unglued his eyes from her, and she, totally oblivious, buried her nose into the bride's bouquet just as he'd seen her do the morning he'd seen her unload flowers from the lorry and into her shop. Just as she did before, she fluttered her eyelashes shut and she inhaled the flowers' fragrance and he felt his voice cracking mid-chant.

 

The dance around the anti-alter over, the couple resumed their places and Brian began his preach, which was to the point and heartfelt, as always, and then the people in attendance formed a queue to congratulate the newlyweds.

 

"Has she no shame?" the two elderly women that moved along the queue were not as discreet as they thought, since Jamie heard every word from over at the choir lectern.

 

"Aye, showing up like that, her hair uncovered. She's no spring chicken that one to be attending church like that"

 

"Aye. And she's no even wearing a skirt. Showing up in trousers, for a wedding, no less" the woman crossed herself tsking, followed closely by the other


"Canna expect much from the youngsters if women her age set such an example now can ye? Och, Jamie!" the woman spotted the young man and addressed him "You chanted beautifully, my dear. The voice of an angel if I ever heard one"

 

"Och, Jamie, when will ye be the one adorning the bridegroom's crown? I dinna want to die before I see ye marrit with my very eyes"

 

Jamie chuckled "Auntie ye needn't worry, I doubt it will be too long before farther has me married off"

 

"Jamie, I ken just the girl for ye"

 

"Auntie…"


"Dinna "auntie" me, I ken my ways, I'm an old goose. Ye need a fine lassie, to suite such a handsome lad, dinna ye worry I wouldna be setting ye up with anyone I wouldna want for my own boys, ken"

 

"'Tis alright, auntie, but I'll manage. If it's meant to be I'll find her myself, aye?
 

The woman hmphed "Well, dinna tarry for much longer, yer father is getting old and the parish needs ye!"

 

The women got pushed along the queue and Jamie escaped their inquisition. His eyes immediately scanned the procession but couldn't find her anymore. Which was a right shame, because he'd never seen her… never seen her in trousers. He loosened his collar and stepped into the queue to congratulate the couple, which he'd be seeing again later that evening for the reception, since they were family friends.

 

 

 

He drove to the venue alongside Ian and Jenny who were attending as well, with Jenny the designated driver as she was pregnant anyway (yet again). "At this rate father will have wee Jamie take over the parish" Jenny used to joke, but Jamie didn't particularly find it all that funny.

 

He didn't particularly find it all that funny when he was sat at the "single's table" at the venue, instead of next to his own family, and a certain lass by the name of Laoghaire was sitting right next to him. Her eyes widened visibly when he'd approached the table and ever since he claimed his seat, she kept chatting him up incessantly.

 

She fidgeted with strands of  her long, blonde hair, twirling it around her fingers and making a show out of throwing her head back whenever she laughed at something he said, that in truth wasn't even meant to be funny. He immediately regretted attending. He'd done it at the insistence of his brother in law, whose opinion he valued greatly, and his opinion was, surprise surprise, that he should try and get out, meet someone, do what young people do. The fact that Ian was married and already a father made him play in an entire different league, even though he was just one year his senior.

 

Jamie decided to sit through the bride and groom's first dance and then make a run for it. Which he did. Stealthily, he excused himself leaving Laoghaire mid-sentence and purposely made his way out the of the venue and into a back alley, from which he knew he could cut his way back home shorter, since he was going by foot now.

 

As soon as he stepped through the door and meant to put his coat on, as the evening had the temperature drop considerably, he stopped dead in his tracks when a waving hand caught his attention. The hand had meant to clear up the smoke from the cigarette the woman was now hiding by her side, but Jamie almost didn't notice it at all. He was transfixed to be staring right into those leopard eyes he'd grown to recognize anywhere.

 

"Och" he stuttered, not really sure why he was just sitting there, staring at her; he felt he needed to address her somehow or die right there and then. She seemed caught off guard and he gestured at her hand "I didn't mean to barge in on you. By all means…"

 

She meant to bring the cigarette back to her lips, but he just sat there staring into her eyes making her clumsily drop it. She huffed and promptly stepped on it. She then opened her clutch and fished out her pack of cigarettes and pulled one out, using just her teeth. She held it between her plump lips and Jamie felt like he was watching the single most erotic thing he'd ever laid his eyes on. Not that he'd watched much in the way of… that, but he was pretty sure it couldn't get much dirtier than what he'd just witnessed her lips do.

 

She paused before lighting her cigarette, extending the pack, offering him one. Jamie swallowed, his eyes looking at her extended arm, puzzled. Sure, he'd been offered a smoke loads of times, even Ian smoked, to his father's dismay, but so far he'd never been tempted. He found it to be a nasty vice and couldn't see the appeal to it. Not until he saw her do it, and suddenly it seemed like the most wildly enticing thing.

 

Just knowing her lips probably touched some of the other cigarettes.

 

Looking closely, he could actually see her lipstain on some of them. Before he realized it, his hand already moved to fish one out and he awkwardly brought it to his lips. She then lit hers, puckering her lips around it, stoking the fire. Jamie almost chewed off the butt of his cigarette between his teeth at the sight. She then extended her hand with her lighter still lit, and he bent his head towards it, mimicking her.

 

The first draft got him instantly lightheaded. Either that, or all the blood had drained from his upper body and went straight to his groin. He was grateful for the coat he was still holding folded over his forearm, concealing his cockstand. Suit trousers were certainly not the most forgiving.

 

He tried really hard not to choke on the smoke, and must've grimaced pretty awfully to elicit a mighty grin from her "Been a while?"

 

He cleared his throat, exhaling the smoke, making sure not to direct it straight towards her but not breaking eye contact. She looked at his cigarette gesturing with her head.

 

He looked at it as well, sitting between his fingers in such an alien manner, and shrugged, taking a second draft.

 

He saw her shudder slightly and placing his cigarette between his teeth again, he held out his coat, rising his eyebrows. She shrugged, mimicking him, and turned around for him to place it over her bare shoulders. He hadn't even had the time to take in her little black dress. He didn't dare let his eyes linger too much before she turned back around and met his eyes dead on, this time somehow closer to him than before.

 

"Why not go out the front with the rest, in the smokers' area? I believe it also has a patio heater"

 

She looked away then, her eyes going momentarily to her feet "I don't particularly know anyone here. I'm the florist, I provided all the arrangements. The bride was kind enough to invite me to the venue as a guest, seeing as I'm new in town. She thought I could maybe mingle, meet some people, maybe unashamedly advertise my local shop" she gave a little laugh at that and Jamie's eyes softened. She was all alone at the party and it must've been daunting.

 

"It can get worse than that"

 

"How so?" she looked back up at him

 

"Ye could've been made to sit at the single's table"

 

She laughed in earnest at that and he marveled at her throaty laughter. So different from Laoghaire's high pitched squeal that had scratched his eardrums all night long, canceling out the music. "Well, I'm offended now. Why weren't I?"

 

Jamie's eyebrows shot up at that, and it even amazed his own self at how much he'd needed to know if she were single or not "Consider yerself spared" he rolled his eyes slightly earning another grin from her

 

She looked at him more intently then, her eyes flickering to his lips just momentarily "I gather you weren't as lucky?"

 

He shrugged again, to her apparent delight as she smiled wider "Do you think it's because I'm a Sassenach?" she made a show of her horrible try at an accent.

 

It was his turn to laugh "Och, dinna think anyone would hold that against ye. -Anymore."

 

She stifled a laugh "I thought so too, not so sure anymore, though" she grew quiet and focused on her cigar "Makes me wonder whether I've really thought this through before I set up shop in the middle of Scotland"

 

"What makes ye say that?" his brows furrowed and she huffed

 

"Well, I'm not sure. I get the feeling I'm not very welcome"

 

"Nonsense…"

 

She raised an incredulous eyebrow while exhaling her smoke

 

"I'm officially welcoming you to Scotland" Jamie declared, bowing ceremoniously.

 

She giggled, visibly taken aback and then recovered, curtsying in turn "Thank you…" she then furrowed her brows smilingly "I don't even know your name".

 

"James. Jamie. Jamie Fraser"

 

"Nice to meet you, James Jamie Jamie Fraser"

 

He raised an eyebrow, smirking "Nice to meet ye too, Sassenach"

 

She gasped, feigning insult "Charming. I'm also known as Claire. Claire Beauchamp." she held out her hand and Jamie only hesitated for a split second before shaking it lightly.

 

Reluctant to pull back away, he gave her delicate fingers a gentle squeeze before letting go.

 

"Charming" she whispered again, barely audible.

Chapter Text

 

Oh I lose control, can't seem to get enough

 

 

"So, what about you?"

 

"What about me?"

 

"Well, you clearly didn't come out here in the back for a smoke" she raised her eyebrow giving his almost self extinguished cigar a look

 

He looked at it quizzically and decided to throw it away, stepping over it although it probably was out already. "Guess not" he smiled at her and he noticed her own lips quirking slightly at the corners

 

She then gasped playfully "You weren't… leaving the party, were you?" He grimaced smilingly, looking away and she laughed "The singles' table treating you that badly?"


He narrowed his eyes, still smiling "Ye could say that"

 

"Would you mind helping me break free as well?" He furrowed his eyebrows slightly. Just what exactly was she asking of him? "I'm afraid I might close shop and move come morning if I have to endure another minute of this. It sounds desperately tempting, and I'd really be considering it in earnest had I not just put all my life savings into it" she laughed, but her laughter never reached her eyes this time.

 

He worried his lower lip for a quick moment "Well then, I guess that means ye're coming with me"

 

"My hero" she smiled, throwing her cigar away and putting it out, then following him down the narrow alley that led into the main street.

 

They walked in silence for a while, the only sound piercing it coming from her high heels hitting the pavement "How much further till we reach your car?"

 

Jamie looked at her as she hugged his coat closer to her body "Actually, I'm on foot. I came with my sister and brother in law but they're staying, since they obviously were not made to endure the singles' table. Are ye cold, lass?"

 

She nodded "Not really, it's more a matter of stilettos on cobblestone"

 

He looked down her long, shapely legs to where her impossible looking shoes touched the pavement and hummed "Ye're a brave wee thing to be walking in those. We're almost there, the cabs are usually stationed just around the corner, there. Do you want me to call an Uber?"

 

Faint music was now also piercing the rather silent neighborhood and she turned her head in the direction from which it came from. Turning back to look at him she gave him an once over that made Jamie clench his fists in his pockets, effectively stretching out the material should his cock get any ideas again.

 

"What say we put our fancy clothes to good use before we call it a night? I don't want to go to bed thinking I've nearly sprained my ankles for nothing"

 

Jamie looked over to the pub from which the music was coming from, with the door to it opening now and again and allowing the music and pleasant chatter to escape into the silent street, alluring them, and then his eyes were back on her. In fact, they weren't particularly overdressed for a pub, his suit was one he'd worn to church more times than he cared to remember, and her little black dress was simple in itself, what made it special was the woman wearing it. And she looked even lovelier with his coat sitting over her shoulders.

 

"Sure, why not" he finally said and he swore he saw a glint in her eyes upon hearing that.

 

They made their way inside and the music was surprisingly not overly loud that they couldn't hear each other over it. Most probably it just echoed louder in the quiet outdoors.

 

"This is nice" she hummed while they found a table for two near the window.

 

She sat down while he stood "What would ye like from the bar?"

 

"Oh, I don't know. What are you having?"

 

He raised an eyebrow at that "'Tis Scotland, lass. I'm not sure they serve much else beside whisky"

 

"I'm afraid I'm not what you'd call a whisky connoisseur. I'll just have what you're having"

 

"Very well" he hummed and went to place their order at the bar. He took his time, his mind suddenly racing. Here he was, out on a Saturday night with the very object of his wildest fantasies and he had no idea what to do, but he was very aware that he was more than willing to do whatever it took. He'd already smoked just for the sake of her company.

 

When he came back, she'd shed his coat on her chair's backrest and was looking out the window, resting her chin on her palms.

 

He gulped, having the sudden urge to bolt before it was too late.

 

She could see her legs crossed elegantly under the table, the hem of her dress riding up to her mid thigh. From his vantage point he could also see just the slightest amount of cleavage, but it was enough to make him want to sit down, the sooner, the better.

 

His legs moved on their own accord as he sat himself on the opposite side of the small table that barely had room for her clutch and their two whiskey glasses.

 

She looked at their two glasses and then picked hers up. He leaned in, clinking their glasses together "Sláinte!" to which she smiled and promptly brought the glass to her lips, almost downing it all in one gulp.

 

"Whoa. Easy there, lass. 'Tis whisky neat"
 

She groaned slightly, enjoying the burn "Yes, I see that"

 

"Thought ye said ye werena a connoisseur. Ye look like ye can hold yer liquor just fine"

 

She drank the rest of it "Yes, but that doesn't mean I know my whisky, and this is some fine whisky"

 

"Glad ye approve" he then narrowed his eyes as he took a sip of his "I'll get ye another" he meant to stand but she caught his arm, stopping him

 

"No, don't. Later, when you're done with yours as well"

 

"Ye're gonna stand there ogling me drink my whisky?" he smiled and glanced at her still lingering hand on his arm

 

She removed it slowly but grabbed his glass on the way, and effectively poured half of his remaining whisky into her own glass "There. Fixed it"

 

He chuckled "I guess ye did" he swallowed, trying not to think too much about the fact that he'd just drank from that very liquor she'd be sipping through her luscious lips next.

 

"Needed the liquid courage" she laughed lightly, to which he must've appeared visibly surprised as she explained "I haven't been out in a pub for a while. Nearly forgot how nice it could be to get out on a Saturday night like this"

 

He almost told her he could probably count the number of times he'd frequented a pub but decided against it eventually.

 

She cleared her throat "So, James Jamie Jamie Fraser. Will you be getting in trouble for ditching the wedding, do you think?"

 

"Och, I doubt anyone will notice I'm even missing"

 

"Well, apart from the single lassies still waiting for you to come back to the singles' table, I would imagine"

 

"How about you? Ye were supposed to mingle. Maybe shamelessly advertise yer wee shop, was it? How did ye even end up setting shop here, Sassenach that ye are?"

 

She huffed "That's… a long story, and I've certainly hadn't had enough to drink for that one"

 

To that, he downed his remaining whisky and, as per agreement, took both their glasses back for a refill. When he got back, he furrowed his brows "Now I dinna ken which is which"

 

She gestured for him not to worry about that "I promise I don't have cooties"

 

He didn't reply to that, his brows still furrowed trying to distract himself from overthinking it.

 

"Hey, you can trust me. I'm a doctor" His eyes shot up at her at that "Well, I'm not practicing anymore. I… it's actually part of that whole story I'm not nearly drunk enough for. Sláinte!"

 

He raised his glass, mirroring her "That's pretty good"

 

She grimaced, setting the glass down, pacing herself this time "I decided to give up my practice, and move here. I just decided one day that I didn't want to be living that life anymore"

 

"Being a doctor is overwhelming, I would assume"

 

"Yes, it is. But that wasn't the main issue"


"Och?"

 

She put on a forced smile "I'll just go to the ladies' room. Be back in a jiff"

 

Jamie nodded in acknowledgement and swished his whisky around in his glass. The liquor was effectively calming his nerves, but he was still very much on edge. He still could hardly believe they were really there, the two of them. Mere minutes ago she'd seemed unreachable, intangible, even though she had been ever present in his mind, from the moment he'd first laid eyes on her. It felt surreal to be talking to her, hearing her voice, hearing her say his name. He felt as though he'd just won the lottery to be able to sit across from her and be able to get his fix, to look at her for however much he wanted without having to quickly avert his eyes and look away. He wanted to know her, get to know every nook and cranny, he wanted to undress her not just of her clothes but of all her secrets, insecurities, worries. She'd come to Scotland to escape her past, and even though she was not ready to share the reason with a mere stranger, he felt it right down to the marrow of his bones that he would do whatever it took to give her respite from it all, to help her escape whatever plagued her. He wanted to be the one to cast all her fears away, to chase away all her demons.

 

He snapped out of his reverie when a bottle of Laphroaig landed in front of him on the table and he looked over at mischievous leopard eyes "Thought we'd cut the trips to the bar short"

 

He chuckled, albeit nervously, but found himself pouring another glass each.

 

"So, Jamie. Here I am, spilling all my secrets, and all the while I know next to nothing about you"

 

"There's no much to tell"

 

"Well you know I'm a florist and that I'm also a doctor. What is it that you do?"

 

He debated over how much he should share. He decided for the strictly necessary, for now "I'm an editor. Slash printer"

 

She raised an eyebrow and he mirrored her to which she replied "Well. You don't get a body like that sitting around in a print shop"

 

Jamie furrowed his brows and nodded, trying not to read too much into her talking about his body "I like the outdoors, I love to go munro bagging"

 

"That's it?"

 

He could feel himself blush slightly "That's… it"

 

"Good genes" she observed

 

"Yes, I'd say so"

 

"Good metabolism… how old are you, anyway?"

 

He inhaled audibly "I'm three and twenty"

 

"Three and… what, twenty three? You're twenty three?" she asked incredulously

 

He nodded, eyes widening in amusement "Last time I checked, aye"

 

She shot up her eyebrows and poured herself more of the Laphroaig and he didn't miss her mouthing "Holy shit"

 

She looked as though she was anticipating him to ask her about her age. He figured she couldn't be over 27, but still, he knew better than to ask a woman her age.

 

"Maybe you'll take me out on one of your hikes one day"

 

"I'd love to" he smiled "I could show ye a part of wild Scotland ye'd never seen before"

 

"Oh, I bet" she mumbled downing some more of her whisky, then cleared her throat "One of the reasons I picked Scotland is precisely the fact that the outdoors are just begging for you to go out, exploring. I used to never even see daylight most days, lived off of fluorescent hospital lights most of my adult life"

 

"That's a right shame. The very place where people go tae get better is caging them in away from God's best healer. Nature."

 

"That's…" she huffed, smilingly "that's beautiful, Jamie"

 

"Ye're a florist now, so ye're already halfway there"

 

"Indeed I am. And maybe it'll help me get in shape too, since it seems to be so effective"

 

"In shape? What shape might that be?"

 

"Uhm. I meant, you know, get fit"

 

"Yer shape is lovely, Sassenach. I wouldna change a thing about it" he said in a lower voice and Claire's eyes suddenly turned a shade darker.

 

She extended her hand over the small table that separated them to reach his cheek- most likely as an affectionate gesture to repay his compliment, and even though Jamie was not drunk, not in the slightest, he was definitely a good 5-6 glasses in, enough to make him lean into her hand slightly, all the while watching her reaction intently.

 

To that, her pupils dilated, and she didn't remove her hand, just holding it there for a long moment as if deciding what to do next. She eventually began caressing his jawline with her thumb, slowly at first and then with firmer pressure, rasping her delicate skin against his slight stubble. Her eyes then dropped to his mouth and she wet her own lips as her thumb travelled to his lower lip, tugging on it slightly.

 

Before Jamie could react in any way, and God help him, he certainly didn't know how to react to what was happening, her hand traveled even lower and grabbed his tie swiftly right by the knot, using it to pull him towards her as she, too, moved closer towards him, their knees bumping against one another underneath the tiny round table. He barely managed to instinctively wet his lips before he felt her soft, pillowy lips against his. She tasted of whisky and everything sinful ever known to man. The sensation was so heady that he was extremely thankful to be sitting.

 

His large hands found purchase into her wild curls, cradling her small face, his thumbs grazing her jaw just the way she'd done to him earlier, feeling her muscles clench and unclench beneath his fingers as she was kissing him with wild abandon.

 

It felt positively sinful to be kissing her like that, especially in public, but he couldn't find that he cared at all about any of that.

 

She gave his lips a tentative lick and he felt a spark run through his whole body, short circuiting him in its wake. He groaned, opening for her and she immediately plunged her eager tongue into his mouth.

 

He couldn't understand how he could possibly feel all that all the way to his cock, as if it wasn't even happening to his mouth at all. Their tongues danced languidly together, their mouths molded perfectly over the other, in a manner that felt just as natural and ancient to him as the moon following a sunset and then the sun rising again in turn, so on and so forth.

 

She broke the kiss and only then did he realize how urgently he'd needed to gasp for air, panting heavily. She didn't pull back, her mouth still hovering over his, her breath warm and just as labored as his own, her whisky (or was it leopard?) eyes looking at him from beneath hooded eyelashes "Take me home, Jamie".

Chapter Text

 

When I wake from dream, tell me, is it really love?

 

"Fuck, you're gorgeous" she inhaled just before launching in for another kiss. Jamie barely had time to catch his breath, she was invading all his senses, straddling him as she was, on her couch. 

His mind raced, it had all happened so quickly. After he'd cleared the tab at the pub, they'd ubered back to her place. The car ride should've felt awkward, silent as it were, but it was a chance for him to regroup, and try and make sense of what had just happened.

She'd kissed him. 

"Kiss" didn't even seem to do justice to what they'd just done. It had felt entirely more intimate than just plain old kissing.

Jamie was soon to be a priest, sure, but he was no monk. He'd had his fair share of girlfriends, dates, kisses, but nothing had ever gone beyond that. And since he knew he couldn't cross a line, he'd become fairly well acquainted to what stood before that line. 

He'd kissed quite a few "lassies" and none had even come close to Claire. He couldn't believe how different it'd felt with her. 

Before he knew it, he was dragged into her flat by a very giddy Claire, whose words had begun to slur a bit. She'd sat him on the couch, asking him whether he'd like a coffee. He accepted her offer but she merely put the kettle on the stove before she came back and pushed him by the shoulders so that he was leaning against the back of her sofa, and next thing he knew she straddled him.

Her mouth was on him, and as she moaned into their kiss it felt absolutely sinful to hear such noises come from her, unperturbed by the chatter of the pub or the background music. He clenched his fists by his side, trying to fight the urge to feast his hands on her round arse. The hem of her skirt was riding higher and higher as she moved her pelvis, hovering (thank God!) over his, and he couldn't stop imagining pushing it all the way up to her hips, exposing her lingerie that no doubt had to be just as erotic as everything else about her.

"Touch me, Jamie. Please" she whimpered between kisses and he groaned in frustration. How could he say no to that? Especially when she asked so nicely.

He tentatively placed his hands first on her bare thighs, and her skin felt so soft, it was unreal. He caressed her skin up and down, just till the hem of her dress allowed. She exhaled languidly, throwing her head back a little which exposed her long, elegant, swan-like neck. He couldn't resist inhaling her skin just there, where she'd purposely spritzed her perfume, and the scent of it mixed with what was undeniably her, was dizzying.

She'd rested her hands on his broad shoulders until then but now she buried her long fingers into the curls at the nape of his neck, pulling him even closer and he couldn't fight back the urge to place his lips on her skin there, dragging his tongue up towards her jawline, and close to her earlobe.

She shivered and whimpered again, and spread her legs wider so that she was now sitting on his lap entirely. They both gasped as he could feel her through the thin fabric of his dress pants and her flimsy lingerie. He couldn't resist looking down between them through heavy lids, her dress had ridden all the way up to her hips now and he could see a hint of black lace right against his trousers. He snapped his eyes shut and threw his head against the back of the sofa, praying for something, anything to give him power to stop this from happening. 

"I'm so wet for you, Jamie" she moved her hips languidly, effectively rubbing herself against his erection "God, you feel so good". He opened his eyes and what he saw almost made him orgasm from that alone. She looked so wild, so wanton, biting her lower lip while moving against him like that. Her pupils were blown wide making her eyes appear almost black with lust. 

He panted heavily, his hands that had frozen into place after she'd spread her legs wider now resuming their work, caressing her skin, going higher now that there was nothing in their way, till he reached her lingerie. He hooked his fingers on it, on each side of her hips, and used the flimsy fabric to pull her even tighter against him, to which she squealed in surprise.

Spurred on, his hands kept working on their own accord, and he found himself splaying them across her buttocks that were half covered in soft lace, half bare, to which he groaned hungrily, an animalistic sound he'd never even heard himself make before.

She moaned, hearing his reaction, and began rubbing herself against him more urgently "Yes- yes, Jamie!" she whispered hoarsely "God, yes!"

He kneaded her flesh in sync with her movements, they weren't even kissing anymore now, just staring into eachother's eyes while their breathing got more labored by the second.

He could feel her glide perfectly against him now, her lingerie soaked all the way through and the silky fabric of his trousers aiding her movements. He could feel her perfectly, the softness of her quim caressing his cock perfectly, her clit adding just the right bit of pressure. He couldn't even comprehend how he hadn't made a fool of himself yet right in front of her, his cock had never felt so hard before.

Suddenly, her voice went even higher, whimpering gibberish, her eyes shut tight, her mouth going slack, and then she stilled, collapsing against him, and her whole body shuddered uncontrollably. She huffed a laugh against his temple, going limp in his arms "Fuck, Jamie. I can't remember when I last came that hard". She panted heavily, fighting to normalize her breathing. Jamie realized he was still groping her arse, and immediately removed his hands.

She pulled back to look at him through heavy eyelids "It's your turn" she warned, with a predatory smile on her otherwise satiated features. "I can't wait to taste you", suddenly her voice sounded as if she was again about to climax, and the mere thought that what she said had turned her on even more was cut out of his wildest fantasies. 

Before he could say anything, she kissed him, even more ardently than before, if it was even possible. 

He had to stop her.

Please, God. I canna... I canna resist this. Please... Please don't stop.

Just then, the kettle whistled and he couldn't believe that all that had happened in mere minutes. They parted with a startle and she laughed nervously "Right. Coffee."

She climbed off him and tried to find her footing, she was still wearing her high heels and Jamie bent forward to catch her by the hips, steadying her.

She looked down at him and caressed his cheek much in the same way she'd done back at the pub, and she then bit her lower lip "My, my. I've made a right mess of your trousers"

Jamie didn't have to look to know he was positively drenched in her juices. 

The kettle still whistling, she hurried into the kitchen to take it off the stove.

Jamie had a quick few seconds to make up his mind.

Stay.

Go.

Stay.

Go!

Stay, you eejit.

Go. Ye'll never be able to live with yerself if ye don't.

Stay. Ye'll never get a second chance at this, at her. She's going to be disappointed if ye leave.

Go. Ye ken fine well why. Do it. Now.

By the time Claire emerged from her kitchen, Jamie was waiting by the front door, his coat held neatly against his groin "You're leaving?"

Her disappointment was eating at him. He lowered his eyes as she carefully made her way towards him. She'd removed her heels and now the height difference made him want to pull her in against his chest and keep her there, safe, for always. Instead, he bent towards her and as he did so, she went on tiptoes automatically, and he pulled her closer, claiming her lips again. This time it was less urgent, but still intense and full of promise. He tried to tell her all he couldn't through that kiss, hoping she would understand why he couldn't, mustn't stay. 

When they parted, his lips curled into a smile "Raincheck on that coffee?"

Chapter Text

 

How will I know if you really love me

 

Jamie sat in his bed, lights out, staring at the shadows dancing on the ceiling whenever a stray car passed by or a gush of wind shook the branches of the tree just outside his window. He didn't even remember how he'd gotten home.

He was sober, the amount of whisky he drank at the pub was insignificant and even though it'd loosened him up a bit, he'd sobered up instantly when he walked into the reality of Claire's apartment.

He desperately tried to keep his eyes open, for if he shut them images of what had happened between them immediately flooded his mind. 

Try as he might, he still couldn't understand how he'd let it go that far. Sure, he'd fantasized about it, but never in his wildest dreams did he really think he'd ever get to play out those fantasies.

So much had happened in so little time, he could barely wrap his mind around it.

He could still feel her in his arms, could still smell her all around him, the feel of her beneath his fingers was right there. Her lips on his, so delicate yet so incredibly carnal, the way their bodies seemed to fit together so perfectly. Her voice. Oh, her voice. He'd never heard her before tonight, he'd had no idea she was a Sassenach. Her whimpers, the sounds she'd made. The sounds he'd made her make.

Jamie rested his forearm over his damp forehead. He was sweating bullets. His balls ached something fierce, he physically needed release but he would not give in. 

It would have been so easy. Just a couple of strokes, really, he was so far gone already. He'd never been so turned on in his life. Never felt physically ill from lack of release. Was it normal to have a cockstand last this long? He'd even taken a cold shower, nothing helped. He couldn't even pray before bed, how could he? Depraved as he was.

He glanced over at the clock, it was past 4am. When had it gotten so late? He had to be in church in just over 3 hours, for Sunday liturgy. 

Good thing he hadn't stayed for coffee- his eyes widened in realization, probably in more ways than one. Just how far would've things gone had he not left? 

She pulled back to look at him through heavy eyelids "It's your turn" she warned, with a predatory smile on her otherwise satiated features. "I can't wait to taste you", suddenly her voice sounded as if she was again about to climax, and the mere thought that what she said had turned her on even more was cut out of his wildest fantasies. 

He could hear himself moan at the memory and he couldn't take it anymore. He touched himself and shuddered at the feeling, imagining her lips caressing him in slow, languid motion. She'd no doubt feel so much better than he'd ever be able to replicate, just as her kisses had been so much better than any other he'd ever experienced before. But he'd never gone so far with any other girl, no one had ever touched him so intimately, and even through clothes it had been phenomenal. To have her lips on him, he couldn't even fathom what that would feel like. But his imagination was serving its purpose, he could picture her on her knees looking up at him from underneath thick eyelashes, could feel her breath on his skin whenever she would take him to the hilt. Could she take him all in her sweet little mouth, he wondered? He imagined her rolling her eyes back in ecstasy, she would no doubt love it, wee temptress that she was. She would hum her pleasure sending vibrations all the way through him to his balls, sending him over the edge. 

He panted in exertion and relief as he finally reached his completion on that thought. He didn't even bother cleaning up, he was so exhausted that he just collapsed into his mattress, dead to the world.

 

Waking up with a start, he didn't even need to look at the clock to know that he was late, very late for church. His alarm hadn't gone off, or maybe it had, but he'd been in such deep sleep that he hadn't heard it, which had certainly never happened before. He grimaced noticing that he was in dire need of a shower, which required time that he could not afford but it couldn't be helped. 

He washed up as quick as possible and drove to church just as parishioners were leaving. He'd missed all of it.

He crossed himself entering the establishment and wavered before entering the altar to greet his father. The man didn't even turn to greet him as he was tidying up with the help of the psalm reader "Where were ye today?"

Jamie got closer and was grateful to be able to kiss his hand, and in turn Brian blessed him "I'm sorry, father. My alarm, I don't know why, it never went off"

"Did ye stay up late last night, at the wedding?"

Jamie's eyes darted to the right, where, sure enough, Ian was standing. He couldn't lie to his father, much less as they were standing in the middle of the holy altar "No, I left early actually. But I must've been more tired than I realized. I'm sorry. It wilna happen again"

Brian then finally faced his son "Make sure of it. Ian had to fill in for ye today, and he's a priest in his own right. Ye look pale" the man's brows furrowed in worry "Maybe ye're coming down with something" Jamie gulped and lowered his eyes "Get some rest, 'tis the reason God made Sundays. aye?"

Jamie nodded and watched his father walk away, and he then walked alongside Ian outside

"Will ye tell me where ye disappeared to last night?"

Jamie sighed, just then realizing that he'd intended to text Ian upon getting home that he'd left, seeing as him and Jenny were his ride back home "I dinna mean for ye to worry"

"Oh, I wasna worried. Well, Jenny was. But she worries over every little thing. Why are ye avoiding the question?"

Jamie knew he shouldn't lie to his friend, to his brother in law, but being outside the church he decided to go for a lie by omission this time. He wasn't even sure what to tell him. He hadn't had time to process it "I went home. I had that Laoghaire talking my ear off for the first two courses, I couldna get out of there fast enough"

They both waved as his father drove off and headed towards their respective cars. Ian kept quiet and eventually asked "Are ye coming over for lunch?"

"Is Jenny gonna bark at me for leaving like that?"

"Is the sky blue?"

"Right. Raincheck, then" he almost choke on the phrasing, and coughed it off

Ian raised an eyebrow "Are ye alright?"

"Fine. See ye later". Jamie waited for Ian to drive off first. Then, slowly drove off himself, deliberately putting some distance between them until he couldn't see his brother in law's car. He took the wrong turn and ended up putting the car in park just far enough so he could have a good view of the flower shop. Sundays were busy, people seemed to be going in and out constantly.

He took out his wallet, where he'd placed her card. She'd given him her business card, with her personal phone number, in reply to his request for a raincheck on the coffee. 

He wanted nothing more than to enter the wee shop and look at her, just watch her busy herself putting together beautiful arrangements for her customers. He wanted to drink her in. 

Before he realized it, he was locking his car and heading towards the shop. The bell chimed announcing his presence, but she didn't acknowledge it, her focus on her task on hand. 

Christ, but she was lovely.

He was seeing her with different eyes now, almost like seeing an entirely different person. The previous night he'd seen her all sexy, wild, woman. Now she looked so sweet, so fragile, he wanted to hide her inside his jacket like he would a wee kitten, and bury his nose into her soft curls, nuzzling in her sweet flowery scent. 

She was wearing a flowy, summery, lilac dress that complimented her alabaster skin perfectly. Her soft lips looked plumper, and he wondered if it was because of all the kissing. He hoped so. Suddenly, images of what else he'd pictured her doing with those pillowy lips invaded his mind but he dismissed them rapidly. He was feeling with his heart now, and he didn't want his nether regions meddling in.

She was bent over her workdesk, carefully devoting her attention to the floral arrangement she was putting together. Rays of sunshine landed on her auburn curls, bringing out myriad lovely nuances.

The bell chimed again, startling him from his reverie and he stepped to the side to make room for the new customer "Och Jamie, darling!"

His eyes still glued to her, he caught her expression looking up from her work and saw the glint in her eyes as their gazes locked 

"We missed ye in church today!"

Jamie nodded smilingly to the elderly woman but she went on "Father Ian is gifted but not quite as yerself. Yer voice is like a balm for this old soul, ken"

"I thank ye, Mrs. Rowland"

"Are ye quite alright, dearie? Never seen ye miss a Sunday before, and I've known ye since ye were but a bairn"

"Aye, dinna ye worry, I'm braw"

"Well then, something important must've come up I'm sure"

He smiled again and thankfully Claire had wrapped up her work on the arrangement for the previous customer, so Jamie gestured for the elderly woman to cut in line before him "Och, ye're such a sweetheart, are ye no. Thank ye, Jamie" she then directed her attention to Claire and he noticed her voice turning several degrees colder "Good day to ye. I'll be having four stems of tulips. Heading out for the cemetery, fine day for it"

Claire stepped out from behind the counter and Jamie's breath caught at the sight of her shapely legs. He didn't miss Mrs. Rowland's "hmph", either. "Certainly. White ones?"

"Aye, they'll do. Didna plan on flowers but since ye're open on a Sunday..." the woman turned to Jamie and rolled her eyes then crossed herself

Claire's expression however didn't waver. She gave the woman her tulips and then her change, and as soon as the bell chimed again and she was out the door, Jamie finally let out a breath he didn't know he was holding in.

"Hi" she said, her voice like honey to match her eyes.

"Hi yerself" he took a few steps closer, his hands in his pockets, the counter between them "So this is the infamous flower shop" he hummed"

Her smile widened "It is. Though I gave you that card for you to use the number on it"

He struggled to find his words. Of course she'd had no idea that he'd known precisely where her shop was that whole time.

She let out a laugh and then added in a small voice "It's alright. Though you didn't have to skip church for my sake"

Och, if only ye knew, Sassenach...

He cleared his throat, smilingly. He couldn't stop smiling and neither could she, apparently "Uhm, my alarm didn't go off"

"Were you feeling particularly tired?" her eyes twinkled

He let out a throaty chuckle "Weel. I never did have that coffee, after all"

"So I recall"

"Do ye also recall me asking for a raincheck?"

She pretended to ponder it for a moment "Vaguely"

"Och? What do ye recall vividly, then?"

Her eyes fixed on his then and slowly lowered to his lips "Other... interesting things"

"Such as?" he was now staring at her lips as well and when she wet them he couldn't resist closing the space between them slowly but surely, his lips hovering over hers.

The bell chimed once more and they parted awkwardly. She busied herself with something or the other and told him "Use the card and I'll be sure to tell you all about it later, alright?"

That was his cue, he didn't mean to put her in an awkward situation in front of her customers, so he waited until she looked up at him again and as soon as he saw her fighting back a smile he grinned and nodded, taking his leave. 

Chapter Text

 

 I say a prayer with every heartbeat

 

Jamie was at a loss. He didn't know what to do next. The ball was in his court, he had her number. He already felt like he'd done the wrong move going to see her earlier that morning. 

Had he?

He wasn't sure what to think. She'd seemed pretty glad to see him. And it wasn't as if he'd planned on going in, his body just seemed to do things on its own volition when it came to this woman. 

He was not the impulsive kind. And yet, with her, everything he'd done had been impulsive. Taking her out drinking to that bar. Then going back to her place. How far he'd let things go there. He barely recognized himself.

But he needed to wise up. One wrong move and, he knew, it would all be over. And he certainly didn't want it to.

He knew that he was avoiding thinking about it on a larger scale. He didn't want to go there, not yet at least. Which was, again, careless of him, but he knew that if he allowed himself to think about what his family would think about it, what people would say, what it would mean for his future as a priest, he'd have only one way to go about it, and that was to smother this, whatever it was, in its crib. 

And that... that was not an option he was willing to take into consideration.

What he'd felt today, that was... different. He looked at her for the first time in a possessive manner. He was jealous of some other bloke coming in, ogling her legs, watching her dress fall in silky folds beneath her round arse, staring at those pillowy lips, holding her gaze and catching her attention. No, he could not allow that. He would not.

As he got ready for bed he kept talking himself into texting her, then finding a reason why it was too soon to do it. 

He brushed his teeth for much longer than necessary and rinsed absent mindedly while he realized he was looking at this from a wrong perspective.

Too soon? What was this, highschool? She was a woman, not a lassie. Surely she was past playing these mindless adolescent games. She'd been pretty clear about her intentions from the get go, and she probably wanted him to be just as honest about it as she was. No games. Real talk.

He sat in bed and made himself comfortable. But he felt as though he was sitting on needles.

He fumbled with his phone. 

What do you say to a woman who's probably been courted by way more experienced men?

And what exactly was it that he wanted to say?

He shut his eyes and then opened them blinking rapidly. No, not that. He couldn't tell her that. Not yet, anyway. He sighed. He longed to be able to tell her all about that as well. Maybe sans words. Preferably.

Again, he dismissed the implications of his own admissions of wanting to bed her. 

Before he could ponder it any further he sent her a text message <<You looked lovely today, Sassenach>>

He suddenly could not handle staring at the blank screen anymore. He was about to get up for a glass of water when his phone chimed <<Good evening to you too, James Jamie Jamie Fraser. Thank you. I was not expecting you to come by today>>

<<I'm sorry for dropping by uninvited like that. In truth, I had planned my morning quite differently. >>

<<Oh, yes, I remember you were chastised for skipping church. Tsk... I believe I may be a bad influence on you. And no need to apologize. I only said I wasn't expecting it. It was a pleasant surprise>>

<<I'm glad of it then. And I believe you were about to share with me some "interesting things" you seemed to have a more vivid recollection of>>

<<Yes, I was just thinking about said interesting things, actually>>

Jamie's brows shot up <<Were you, now?>>

<<Indeed I was. What a coincidence. You wouldn't happen to be spying on me, would you?>>

<<Suppose I were, how would I know what you were thinking about?>>

<<Oh there might have been some clues. Some you've been acquainted with, even>>

Jamie inhaled sharply. Christ, this woman. 

<<Cat caught your tongue? >>

<<No. The clues had me... distracted, for a moment>>

<<They had me distracted the whole day. Sad to hear it's only been a moment for you>>

<<It's hardly been a moment that I haven't been distracted since>>

<<Is that why you skipped church? You were too distracted?>>

<<Oh lass. You have no idea.>>

<<Oh but I think I do.>>

Jamie didn't think he could take it anymore. His heart was threatening to burst out of his chest. How could she turn his insides upside down like that just through some text messages? He would've loved to keep at it but he knew it was just a matter of time before she left him speechless again and he didn't want to keep giving her the upper hand. Jamie was a man of action, and he was better at one on one interaction.

<<And I'd love to hear all about it- over that coffee you owe me>>

<<Oh, yes. The infamous raincheck. Alright. What did you have in mind?>>

<<Are you free tomorrow after you close shop?>>

<<Seeing as I don't like to be in debt, and you were promised... errr, coffee, yes I am>>

Jamie bit his lower lip knowing exactly what she was referring to <<Wear something casual and comfortable. What time do I pick you up?>>

<<Oh? Alright. Color me intrigued. 4pm sound ok?>>

<<More than ok. Looking forward to it>>

<<As do I. Good night, James Jamie Jamie Fraser :-) >>

<<Good night, Sassenach :-) >>

 

The following day, Jamie thought it best to wait for her in the car just outside her flower shop. He could see her through the window and when she came hurriedly to flip the sign on her door to "Closed" after the last customer, she spotted him and waved enthusiastically at him. 

His heart jumped in his chest seeing her smile at him like that and he stepped out of the car to greet her as she grabbed her canvas rucksack and set the alarm system before locking the shop.

When she looked at him again and took in his sports attire her smile wavered "Oh shit"

He laughed out loud "Nice to see you, too"

She narrowed her eyes at him "I thought you said my figure was just fine"

He hummed, looking her up and down appreciatively "Aye, and I stand by that statement"

"Then what gives? You look like you're ready to have me run a marathon"

He gestured for her to get inside his car while he opened the passenger door for her. After she got in he leaned over the window "I'm taking you hiking"

Claire's mouth fell agape and watched him circle the car and buckle in his seatbelt "Hiking? You should've said something! I'm wearing jeans! I almost wore flats!"

Jamie gauged her reaction "Ye said you'd love me to take you hiking with me, did ye no?"

She pouted "Yes, but that was because there was whisky involved. Sober Claire would never willingly sign up for a sports session. I'm the laziest person I know"

Jamie's brows furrowed slightly and he lowered his gaze for a moment "Anything else ye regret about that night that I should know of?"

Claire bent forward to catch his eyes "Jamie. I don't regret anything about it. I'm sorry if my fucked up sense of humor made you question that" 

Jamie's breath caught. The sincerity in her sweet voice made him see her in an entirely different light yet again and he was loving everything he was getting to know about this woman.

"Do you?"

His eyes went to where she'd linked their hands together and then back at her honeycomb eyes "No. Of course not"

She searched his eyes "The way you bolted had me thinking that maybe I came on a bit too strong. I'm sorry if I let things get too... intense. I'm not sure what came over me. I'd.... never done that before. I want you to know that" upon seeing his puzzled expression she went on after squeezing his hand and looking at their entwined fingers "Never brought a man home that I'd just met, I mean. But. It felt right. And I don't regret it. And I don't want you thinking it was the whisky. It wasn't"

Jamie's lips curled in a half smile "I'm glad of it. Thank ye for telling me" he cleared his throat and then carefully picked his words "I'd... never done that before, either"

Claire looked like she wanted to say more but instead smiled at him and turned to fasten her seatbelt "Time for something else I've never done before, I guess" she sighed dramatically

Jamie started the engine and drove off "Ye're a rookie, I'm no taking ye rock climbing just yet. It's just a wee hilltop I like tae go to to clear my head. I think ye'll like it"

"I'm sure I will" he could hear the smile in her voice without having to look

 

"Wow. You were right. It's beautiful up here"

Jamie couldn't agree more, but he was admiring her, not the view. This had to be the first time he'd seen her quite as "disheveled". Her curls were everywhere, the wind having made it appear even wilder. Her cheeks were rosy from exertion, the climb hadn't been steep but for someone who was not used to outdoor activities it did get the blood flowing. He'd only seen her in trousers at the religious wedding ceremony she'd attended, but the jeans she was wearing clung to her round arse magnificently. 

She always looked beautiful, but out here, surrounded by nature she just seemed to... belong. She was wearing minimal makeup if any, and what was most attractive had to be her smile. He'd never seen her smile so much ever since he'd first laid eyes on her.

"Hiking agrees with ye, Sassenach. Ye look verra much in yer element here"

"I love nature. I told you, I couldn't wait to get rid of hospitals and drown myself in my first love, botany. I'm just sorry I didn't do it sooner"

"Still, hard to give up being a doctor I would assume. It's not quite the odd job, is it?"

She inhaled audibly "Hm. Quite. Yes, it was definitely not easy, and I do miss it terribly sometimes"

They sat on a rock formation that allowed for respite while still laying out a beautiful view ahead of them. Jamie fished a thermos out of his backpack and held out two cups to pour coffee into, earning a raised eyebrow from her followed by a giggle. The raincheck implied there would be coffee, after all. "Would ye say it was yer calling?"

"Being a surgeon?" she sipped on her coffee experimentally and then decided to have some more

"A surgeon? Christ."

She furrowed her brows slightly "I don't know. Not to toot my own horn, but I was pretty damn good. And I did like it, I liked it a lot actually. But I'm not sure I liked it for the right reasons, you know?" Jamie tilted his head to the side for her to  elaborate "I think I went to medschool because... certain people felt like that was what I should be doing. I was a great student, finished top of my class, went on to have a successful career, but to me, it never felt... right. It felt almost as if I were living someone else's life. And there was nothing wrong about it. It's just this feeling I had that I couldn't shake off"

Jamie swallowed a lump in his throat. He knew all too well what that felt like. It was as if she was talking about his own inner turmoil over priesthood. Even though he wasn't yet a priest, the pressure and the expectation made it feel like it wasn't his own decision at all. And although he knew he had calling, and he felt extremely passionate about it, it just felt like something that had been already decided for him without him even having a say in the matter, and that made him question whether he really should be pursuing it further or not. After all, priesthood was not an odd job either. 

"How did ye finally take that leap of faith? Must've been daunting" 

She scoffed "Took me years to work up the courage to do it. Let's just say... some events aided my decision. I had to decide quite hastily, all of a sudden, whether I was going to stay or leave that whole life behind. And I knew that if I took the leap, I could never look back. But when I finally did it, it was like ripping of a band-aid. I suddenly felt liberated, almost as if a veil had been lifted from over my eyes. 

"And then ye came here" 

"Yes. And here I am now" she looked around and then smiled and looked at him intently "No other place I'd rather be"

Jamie took her hand in his and she entwined their fingers further. He prayed silently that this moment would never end. Nothing had ever felt so right before "Neither would I"

Chapter Text

 I fall in love whenever we meet

Looking up from their entwined hands, Jamie noticed Claire's eyes going a few shades darker in the span of a few moments. She looked back at him and then lowered her gaze to his lips to which he bent his head towards her slightly and she met him halfway, pressing her soft lips against his. He'd dreamt of kissing her again, really taking his time to savor her, and now that it was happening urgency hit him like a freight train and he found he simply could not keep his passion in check when it came to this woman.

Maybe when he'd been at her place it had all been a new experience, heady with the novelty of having her grind against his cock, whiskey had maybe played a part in it though he'd only had a couple of glasses-- but she'd had quite a few, still, her passion could've been a direct result of that for all he knew, and not much to do with him at all. But now, kissing her atop that hill, no romantic setting, no "liquid courage" as she'd called it, it felt just as heady. She moaned into his mouth and the sound went right to his cock, making it throb painfully. He panted heavily, gathering her onto his lap, sinking his hands into her arse over those jeans that appeared to be plastered over her skin. She felt just as amazing as he'd remembered. Even better, in fact. He supported all of her weight in his hands and bent forward slightly, holding her as if she weighted nothing, and she giggled never breaking their kiss "Fuck, you're strong". She ended her sentence in a whimper as he trailed kisses down her neck and buried her hands into his hair, and he found that he liked the way she lightly pulled on his curls when she got hot and bothered.

"I dinna want ye scraping yer knees against the rock" he panted against her ear and she shuddered

"How about this rock?" she gasped, grinding against his erection and he groaned loudly, spurred on "But you painted a picture I can't get out of my head now" she panted and moved her lips to his earlobe, taking it into her wet mouth and playing with it

"Christ! What picture?"

She looked around and he also noticed it was getting dark, they probably would have to get back to the car, it could get pitch black once the sun set completely "Are we quite alone here, do you think?"

He raised an eyebrow and before he could answer that they were probably the only ones around for miles she sunk to her knees, pushing his legs further apart "I want to scrape my knees. I want to look at them later and remember how it felt when I took you into my mouth

Jamie's mouth fell agape, watching her looking up at him from beneath her eyelashes, then she palmed him over his trackpants, massaging intently. He placed his hand over hers, stilling her, his brows furrowed. But he couldn't get himself to remove her hand, his traitorous member twitching against her palm, encouraging her to move her thumb over the head, making his eyes roll back in pleasure. "Lass, I cannae..."

"Don't you want me to? I'm dying to taste you, Jamie. Been thinking about it ever since you left before I got to do it..." she rubbed her cheek against his thigh like a kitten and his grip on her wrist softened, allowing her room to move her hand better against his crotch. "You did say raincheck" she pleaded, her voice husky

He hissed, as she toyed with the strings holding up his trackpants "Of course I want ye to. I havena been able to stop thinking about it...Fuck!" he cursed as she finally made her way past his boxers and took him bare into her hand

She whimpered, tracing her finger over his precum and rubbing it further down his length "You're spectacular"

He looked down at her through hooded eyes, she licked her lips in anticipation looking at his cock and how her hand was moving up and down its length as if it were a work of art. He panted in anticipation, and could almost spill himself in her hand, she was touching him just right, it felt better than he could have ever imagined. He pushed all thoughts of propriety away, let alone of guilt over what he was allowing her to do to him. His desire was outweighing everything, and most of all, it felt right. She made it feel right.

He barely had time to process all of that before he felt her hot breath against his skin closely followed by the feeling of her wet, hot mouth around him. He huffed out a laugh, his heart was threatening to burst out of his chest. Christ, it felt unreal. She closed her eyes in ecstasy, moaning as she took him in deeper and deeper and he groaned, suddenly unable to keep still. He threaded his fingers into her curls at the nape of her neck, not guiding her head in any way, but almost desperate for her not to pull away. He tugged on her hair slightly and that earned him a low moan from her and the vibration of it against his cock almost made him lose it completely. He was fighting the hardest internal battle, he didn't want to come, wanting to prolong what she was doing to him for as long as possible, but at the same time he desperately needed to.

She hollowed her cheeks, sucking more intently and stroking what she couldn't fit into her mouth more vigorously and he actually began seeing dark spots, he was so far gone "Ffffuck!" he hissed, pulling at her hair a bit tighter and she gave him some respite licking him top to base, while toying his scrotum into her hand

"Oh" she shuddered and then looked up at him hungrily "That's it, Jamie. Talk dirty to me" she whimpered

He couldn't understand how she could sound so turned on by what she was doing to him. He leaned forward closer to her and asked in a low voice that he himself didn't recognize "Ye like it, don't ye, ye wee vixen? Bringing me to my knees like this"

"I believe I'm the one on her knees" she smiled wickedly before redoubling her efforts "Yes" she huffed "yes, I like it, I can't wait for you to come in my mouth"

He let out a strangled moan, he was more than happy to oblige. Christ, her words only spurred him on. He was already on the brink of sanity. What she was doing to him felt so incredible, she looked unbelievable going down on him, he thought nothing he'd ever imagined had ever even come close to the reality of it "Oh, God. Oh, Claire!"

She sucked him intently and moaned low in her chest when he finally came, swallowing every last drop he'd given her. She didn't stop afterwards, still stroking him gently, bringing him down from his high then finally releasing him with an audible pop. He immediately scurried her into his arms, kissing her for all he was worth.

She giggled against his lips at his display of gratitude "I take it you liked it"

"Liked it? Christ, woman. Ye blew my mind" he grunted squeezing her arse intently.

"Thank you for the raincheck" she winked at him and he grinned ear to ear. How was she the one thanking him?

"We're not done here" he warned her "But I'll have tae ask for a raincheck again, we should get going if we ever hope to find our way back to the car"

She raised her eyebrows "Oh, I like the sound of that" she purred, melting against his touch as he caressed her all over, needing to touch her, feel her in any way he could. For some reason, he found that his thirst for her had not been quenched, not in the least. If anything, he only felt the need to take her, to posses her body and soul even more than he did before.

Later that evening, after he'd somehow managed not to invite himself into her house and finish what they'd started, getting his full of her kissing in the car like lovesick teenagers, he drove himself home and waited for debilitating guilt to engulf him. But it never came. He did not regret what had happened between them, not in the slightest, and it still felt as right as it had before, even now, his mind clear, without her in his arms to distract him. He was alone with his thoughts and the more he thought about it-- the more he wondered why he didn't feel any guilt... the more an idea began to form in his mind. And the realization made his heart skip a beat everytime it popped into his mind.

In spite of what had just happened, in spite of the powerful physical attraction that was undeniable between them, it was more than that. So much more.

He'd probably known it, deep down, all this time, but tried to justify it as just a crush. Just lust.

Because as much as he kept replaying what she'd done to him with that beautiful mouth of hers, what really made his heart flutter was what had lead up to that, what she'd shared about herself, what she'd opened up about. And he was dying to find out more about her just as much as he was dying to make good on that raincheck and devour her. He couldn't wait to peel all her layers off, both emotionally and physically. He couldn't wait to hear her tell him more about herself just as much he was dying to hear those incredible moans and wee noises she made when she was in the throes of passion.

He was... in love with her.

Chapter Text

 I'm asking you what you know about these things

Having promised his father that he'd be there to help around the farm, Jamie found that he actually welcomed the distraction. He'd left Lallybroch when he enrolled for Seminary. After graduating, he rented a flat in town, a decision supported by Jenny and Ian. Brian was not too pleased with his decision, having always pictured his son settling in and raising his family at Lallybroch, but made a concession as he too saw that Jamie would sooner meet someone better suited in the city, not giving up on the prospect that one day he'd return to Broch Tuarach.

Jamie knew that all too well. It was the very reason why he kept his distance from his ancestral home, and it pained him to do so for he loved Lallybroch deeply. It was the one place where he felt at peace with himself, the one place that remained a constant throughout his life. He'd grown up there, running through the neverending fields, nature was everpresent in his day to day life. Forests, hills, lochs, he knew the terrain like the palms of his hands. He loved getting lost in the nature. Farmlife was part and parecel of his upbringing in the highlands, and he enjoyed every aspect to it. He loved animals, loved tending to them, especially horses with which he'd always had a special bond. He missed it, missed all of it, and was sad to have had to move to the city. He enjoyed his privacy, enjoyed having the liberty that came with it, but felt it in his bones, his acute longing to be out there in the fields. They called out to him.

Having done most of his seminary at a monastery, it had provided him with ample opportunity to continue on with his lifestyle from back home. There were plenty of chores needing to be done, and he was more than happy to tend to the animals in particular, but what he couldn't do was wander off into the woods, at least not nearly as much as he'd liked, and that had been a problem. So when sleep evaded him, he'd turned to the altar and had found great comfort then in the early hours

When he'd come back home, his father had expected him to dive right into priesthood. Just one little box left that needed to be ticked off the list- he needed to get married first in order to be ordained. And Brian had kept busy, keeping an eye out for prospect daughters in law. Jamie had been appalled when his father kept shoving so and so down his throat, pushing the matter incessantly, until he'd had no other choice but to leave Lallybroch and move into the city. He'd began working at the printshop to earn a living, pay the rent and whatnot, but the pay wasn't enough for him to afford a house. A small flat it was, then; but it had made Jamie feel almost claustrophobic.

He'd started munro bagging for this very reason, an excuse to be out in the wilderness, whilst also blowing off steam in the form of physical exertion. That's what he'd known all his life, he simply could not sit idle at home and do nothing in the way of manual labor. All his life he'd gone to bed physically spent and that was the only way he knew how to have a good night's sleep.

Jamie was there to break in a filly, old Alec had come down with a stomach bug of some sort and could not tend to the horses properly so Brian had asked Jamie to come and lend a helping hand. Ian was usually at Lallybroch more often than not himself, pretty much having taken over Jamie's responsibilities, and it infuriated him that his father had still not asked Jenny and her husband to move in. With them already having a kid and another one on the way, Lallybroch was the perfect place for them to raise their family, and Ian was out there helping his father in law or in church most of the time anyway. The fact that Brian stubbornly wanted Jamie to be the one to raise his family at Lallybroch, and only him, made absolutely no sense, there was plenty of space to fit 3 families at the very least. But his father was of opinion that the wife should move out with her husband, not the other way around. He knew well enough how oldfashioned he could be, especially when it came to patriarchal values he so cherished. Speaking of which, his eyes darted around, there was no sign of Ian today. But he did spot Brian heading towards him, and he inhaled sharply, readying himself.

"M'annsachd" Brian greeted Jamie smiling softly "Sae glad ye came"

"Said I would"

"I ken ye did. But I'm still glad fer it. Ye're a sight for sore eyes"

"Ye've just seen me Sunday"

"Briefly. Wasna like ye to skip church like that"

Jamie immediately regretted bringing it up, but he'd fallen right into his father's trap. There was no use trying to disentangle himself from that conversation now "I know, I'm sorry. Willna happen again"

"So ye've said" Brian leaned over the fence enclosing the paddock "Met anyone at the wedding?"

Jamie sighed, keeping his eyes glued to the filly "Wasna looking to". It wasn't a lie, after all.

"Ye have to try harder than that, mo mhac" his father chided, in what appeared to be a soft pleading tone, but Jamie knew better.

"Maybe I am" he all but grumbled before he could stop himself. A deep pang reverberated in his heart knowing that his father would not let this slip unnoticed. He praised the Lord in his mind when he heard Ian's 4x4 pull up. Thank God for small mercies. He stole a glimpse at Brian and noticed how annoyed he was to have the conversation interrupted, but could not press the matter further now that Ian was approaching them.

"Jamie, glad tae see yer alarm clock is working again!"

Jamie shot his brother in law a look that told him to knock it off and he could see he'd gotten the message loud and clear "Father" he addressed Brian "Jenny is in the car, she wondered if ye could help watch wee Jamie as she has an OB-GYN appointment today"

"Of course. I'll take the lad out to pet the animals"

"Only tae pet them, aye? Dinna let him get too close" Ian was waved off by his father in law who was already headed towards the car

"So I take it Jenny is still holding a grudge since she dinna care to come say hi tae me" Jamie approached his brother in law at the fence

Ian raised an eyebrow "Hey, ye dinna need me to be telling ye what yer sister is like. Ye're avoiding her too"

Jamie mirrored the man, raising his eyebrow "Am I now?"

"What's worse, ye're avoiding me"

"Hmph."

"Are ye no gonna tell me what's happening, brathair? Oh ye of little faith..."

Jamie eyed Ian cautiously. He was dying to confide in someone, and who better than Ian who had always been there for him. He could also do with his whole view on the matter as a priest himself. Inhaling profoundly he rested his hands on his hips and looked around making sure there was no sign of his father anymore, and also avoiding eye contact while doing so "I... met someone"

"Well thank God, it was either that or ye were leaving church or something" Ian chuckled but he stopped dead in his tracks when Jamie didn't correct him "Didna realize it could be both, though. Will ye speak up?"

Jamie was impressed. No doubt Ian's experience in confessional rendered him the ability to read people easily when in anguish, but he never counted on him deciphering his renowned poker face "I dinna ken where tae begin" he sighed "She's..."

Ian was losing his patience "What? Divorced? Underage? Dinna tell me she's married!"

Jamie shot Ian a look "She isna married. Definitely not underage, she may be older than me, actually, I'm not very sure. She could also be divorced? I dinna ken, tae be honest"

Ian's mouth fell agape "What do ye mean ye dinna ken? Well what do ye ken?"

Jamie drummed his fingers against his hipbones, growing impatient himself with Ian's inquisition "Look. Do ye want me tae tell ye or no?"

Ian sighed, and fished a cigarette from his backpocket. He too looked around making sure Brian was nowhere to be seen "Aye. Sorry. I just... wasna expecting it, I guess. I mean, I only thought ye were keeping this a secret so that father wouldna jump tae conclusions again. Ye're tellin me she's older? Well, what of it. I dinna think he'll object solely for that reason. Even if she's divorced. It's not like it's taboo anymore. Sure, he won't like it, but it wouldna stop him from giving ye his blessings.

Jamie furrowed his brows "His blessings?" he scoffed "I dinna ken about that..."

Ian took a drag and tried to compose his apprehension "Why is that?"

Jamie looked him in the eye then "She's not religious, I dinna think. I couldna say for sure, but I dinna think so. Dinna think she's orthodox either" he was taking in Ian's visibly growing shock as his eyes widened "She's very... outspoken. She has a mind of her own, definitely. She doesn't shy away from what people may think or say. She had a whole other life before she moved here"

"Wait a second" Ian placed the cigarette between his lips and gestured towards him "Is this the woman that opened that flower shop not far from church? The one that just moved here, aye" Ian's eyes widened in realization "Christ, man. She's gorgeous"

Jamie grinned and then sobered up upon realizing that this was the man that was married to his sister appraising his woman's beauty "Watch it"

Ian laughed out loud "Och brother, ye've got it bad. Och, Christ. Ye're in trouble, deep, deep trouble, a charaid!"

Jamie's features softened and he felt his body slump a bit in relief "Glad ye find this funny" he chided

"It isna. But it's still funny somehow" Ian chuckled, trying to compose himself "Ye've never strayed, not once. Yer father is gonna have a heart attack"

Jamie's eyes widened, his anxiety spiking up again "Ye cannae say that, 'tis been eating at me already. Dinna ken how to handle this."

Ian kept quiet for a few moments, looking at his brother in law intently "Ye're in love with her, aren't ye?"

Jamie just looked at Ian, telling him what he couldn't put into words. He knew it was too soon, but he also couldn't deny his feeling any longer. He was, God help him, he was head over heels for her.

"Christ" Ian exhaled "Didna realize it was this serious. Well, that... changes things. How serious is it, exactly?" Jamie once more looked at Ian and clenched his jaw and Ian nodded in understanding "Have ye bedded her, then?"

When Jamie ceased to reply Ian's eyes blew even wider but he finally cleared his voice "No, but it hasn't been completely... innocent, either" Ian had to light another cigarette, both eyebrows raised in consternation. Jamie huffed "Sorry not all of us got to meet their other half since childhood and had their whole life laid out perfectly before them"

Ian narrowed his eyes "Do ye think this is what this is, me judging you?! Far from it. And ye should know better! I would never judge you, ye're my best mate. Ye eejit"

"Well then dinna just stand there. Tell me. What should I do? I dinna want to disappoint him, Ian. I really don't. But I gotta tell ye. I'm not feeling guilt over it. I thought I would, but I don't. She makes me happy. She feels... right. I canna explain it, she just does. I may not know her all that well, but ye know me, ye know I wouldna just lose my heid over something like that if it werena serious."

"Aye, that I ken well enough. I also ken that ye're a realist, a pragmatist. Surely ye ken what ye'd be giving up for her. The question is, is she worth it? Truly. It's not something ye can go back and reconsider"

"Ye dinna think I ken that?! I need... time. I need more time with her. I need to know where she stands with all of this"

Ian whistled "She doesn't know about...? Jamie, she doesn't know ye're preparing for priesthood?"

Jamie shook his head "No, and I'm terrified of telling her. I dinna want her to label me as churchboy and dismiss me before she even gets tae know me, in the real sense"

"You being a "churchboy" is very real, my friend. It's a huge part of yer identity. Ye canna erase all that, surely ye dinna want to"

"Of course not"

"Well, then? Tell her, man. She deserves tae know the truth of it. She needs to know what ye're willing to give up for her. Unless ye think... and it's a long stretch, by all means, but do ye think she'd even consider converting?"

Jamie huffed a laugh "Even if she would, she's not exactly priestess material. I wouldna want her to if it's not who she is, I would never force something like that on anyone. And no, I dinna want to tell her, not yet. That would just put pressure on something that is still really fragile between us. It's not ready for this thing to weigh it down like that. I want her to get tae know me better before I tell her about this"

Ian was silent a long while again "Don't jump at me, it's an innocent question, aye? Do ye mebbe think this might have to do more with... lust, rather than love?"

Jamie was surprised himself at how he didn't feel the need to bark back at his friend for asking that. He'd been contemplating it himself incessantly since he'd met Claire "I've had plenty of time to go over it time and again, and no, I'm certain 'tis not just lust. It's sae much more than that. Tae me, at least"

"How about her? Do ye know where she stands?"

Jamie shook his head running a hand through his curls "No idea. None whatsoever. That's the thing. I'm sure of my feelings for her. But I can't open up like I'd want to until I ken how she feels. If it's just physical for her... I'll call it quits. As much as it'd pain me, I'm not looking for just a bit o'fun"

"Well then. Do that. Take yer time, get tae know one another better. Mebbe not too well, if ye catch my drift"

Jamie raised an eyebrow "I'm trying. God knows I'm trying"

Ian nodded "I get it. She's a wee bit older, aye, I've seen her a couple o' times. And people talk. Obviously. Most likely she'd been married, would explain why she opened up shop out of the blue, with no prior connection tae the place, and her being an englishwoman, no less"

"Why, what have people been saying? Not that I care, but I dinna like them spreading falsities about her. I've witnessed some snarky remarks too" Jamie grimaced

"The usual. Men had no objections, to be clear" Ian raised an eyebrow, smirking "But women? Christ help them. They cannae help it, I guess. But they dinna like her coming here, catching their men's attention perhaps"

Jamie's eyebrows shot up. Well, it wasn't as though he'd been fooling himself he'd been the only one to notice her. Surely there'd been other men trying to catch her attention. Suddenly he felt a lump form in his throat. He hated the fact that he couldn't be sure whether she'd returned any of their affections. She'd told him she'd never taken a man home before, one she'd just met at least. But that didn't exclude the possibility of her going out with someone else. Especially someone as open minded as she clearly was.

"Heard Tom Christie has been frequenting her shop. There's only sae many occasions tae buy flowers in the span of a week, if ye ask me" Ian chuckled and then it morphed into laughter taking in Jamie's shocked expression "Calm down, aye? Ye ken he's been going after every single woman in town for years now. She was prone to be top of his list now, would've surprised me if it weren't the case"

"I'll wring his neck" Jamie grunted

"Aye, keep adding tae the list, yer confessional is gonnae be a long one, brathair" Ian kept on laughing which earned Jamie flipping him off

"How's that for adding tae the list?"

"Oh, I doubt it deserves even an honorable mention at the rate ye're going!'" Ian wiggled his eyebrows and ducked when Jamie pretended to go in for a punch

"Let's get some work done before father gets any ideas. Which reminds me, ye saved me earlier. I may have slipped about seeing someone. I doubt he didn't catch it"

"If he did, he's going tae make some inquiries, to be sure. If ye dinnae want him to know about it yet, mebbe keep it lowkey fer now. But dinna hide it for much longer, it's gonnae catch up with ye eventually.

Jamie nodded "Whatever ye do, do not mention anything tae Jenny", he warned

"Yer confession is safe with me, my son" Ian grinned

"Och, wipe that smirk off yer face, ye eejit. Ye really did help. I'm grateful for ye, brother"

Ian sighed and squeezed Jamie's shoulder reassuringly over the fence "All in the day's work, what's some extra Fraser drama on my plate? Come on. Let's get tae work"

Chapter Text

 How will I know if you're thinking of me

It had been almost a week since their last encounter, and Jamie hadn’t heard from Claire at all. He wasn’t sure what to do. On the one hand, he felt like the ball was in her court, he’d taken her “hiking”, or whatever that had been, had showed up at her flower shop, he’d been to her place first night they met, he’d texted her... 

And even though she took initiative once they actually were physically together, he still felt like he should let her reach out for once. 

But that was before Ian had told him about that leacher of a man, Tom Christie. He was in his 30s, he’d dated almost all the single eligible women in town and still hadn’t found “the one”. Jamie was no fool, if he’d set his mind on winning Claire over, he would play all the cards he had up his sleeve. As much as he hated to admit, Tom was not a bad catch. In fact, the very reason he was still single was the fact that he was so damn picky. He was definitely more grounded, had his life put together, had the means to care for a woman like Claire, offer her everything she wanted. 

And what did he have to offer? 

He was working at the printshop, barely afforded rent. He was unsure of his future, vocationally. He clenched his jaw thinking that Tom was, in fact, the better man for her.

But he wasn’t going to sit around and wait for Claire to figure that out. 

He grabbed his things, eyeing the clock. It was well past closing time. 

He walked slowly, his footsteps measured. When he landed in front of her doorstep he squared his shoulders, knocking before he could overthink his way out of her building. He heard her fumbling around her apartment, a muffled “Just a sec!” followed by more fumbling. He furrowed his brows smilingly, what was she up to over there?

She swung the door open and then saw her freeze in her spot “Jamie!”

He buried his hands further into his pockets and rocked on his heels “The very same. Is this a bad time?”

She pushed her oversized, thick framed glasses up her nose and then ran a hand nervously through her messy curls, hiding behind the door  “Uhm. No, I… I just wasn’t expecting you. I thought it was my chinese takeout”

He waited a few moments awkwardly, then huffed “I’m sorry. I should have called first… I uhm, I guess I’ll catch ye another time?”

“No, wait” she said before he could pull away from her doorstep “I’m sorry, I’m being rude. Please, come in” she opened the door further and he hesitatingly stepped inside.

“What are ye hiding behind that door fer?” he chuckled and then his eyebrows shot up, and he cocked his head to the side appraisingly. She was wearing the shortest shorts in the history of pajama shorts, an oversized t-shirt that made it difficult for him to even spot said shorts in the first time, and legs for miles that were stuffed in ridiculous fluffy oversized slippers.

She grimaced “I know. I’ll just go change, you make yourself comfortable”

“Why? Don’t” he said, softly, a hint of playfulness in his tone “I like seeing ye like this”

“Like what?”

“Dinna ken… homey”

She raised an eyebrow and finally realized she was still wearing her glasses, and quickly removed them which earned her a chuckle “I love those too. Dinna ken ye wore glasses”

“Well, contacts, usually”

“Ye look lovely”

Her mouth fell agape and before she could reply, someone knocked at the door. Jamie wiggled his eyebrows “Chinese, ye say?”

She nodded and he gestured towards the door “Mind if I answer it?”

She gestured for him to suit himself and an enthusiastic Jamie greeted the delivery man, paid and overtipped him and proceeded to take the takeout into the kitchen. Claire followed him reluctantly.

“You must really like chinese”

Jamie chuckled, shrugging “I’m partial to it”.

“Well, you seem awfully happy about it” she teased, crossing her arms across her torso

“I am, but not about chinese” he scrunched his nose and then turned towards her after placing the takeout on her counter, taking her by surprise 

“What about, then?”

“This” he could tell he surprised her again when he gently took the glasses from her hands and placed them back on, then leaned in to playfully kiss her nose.

She gave him a tentative smile at that and his heart leaped in his chest finally seeing it. She’d seemed out of sorts when he’d arrived. Maybe she was just taken aback, or maybe she was just tired. 

She gestured for him to sit on the couch while she rummaged through the different takeout boxes to bring them over to the coffee table. Jamie folded her blanket to the side so they could have room and in doing so, scattered around used, crumpled up tissues. He furrowed his brows, quickly glancing at Claire who was looking for cutlery through her kitchen drawers, picked them up hastily, tucked them under the blanket and then eyed the box of tissues that sat on the coffee table next to a giant glass of red wine, and an almost empty bottle of the same.

He then looked at her tv screen, she had “The fault in our stars” on pause. He raised an eyebrow. What was going on here?

She made her way to the coffee table with the takeout “So what will you be having?”

“Nah, I’m good”

She gave him an incredulous look “Exactly how partial are you to it? Do I need to freak out, are you one of those people who don’t care for chinese?”

He grimaced “I canna stand it”

“Wow. Just… wow” she shook her head in mock disdain “Well, more for me” she shrugged, digging in

He smiled, relaxing against the couch watching her eat messily, one of her feet propped underneath her plump arse. He bit his lower lip scanning her body shamelessly when she cleared her throat “You sure you don’t want any? You’re eyeing it like you could lick it off the floor”

His eyes snapped back at hers and he choked back a laughter “What exactly are ye offering there, lass?” He couldn’t help it. The innuendo was too good to pass up.

She shifted in her spot and suddenly turned bashful “Uhm, actually, sorry. I shouldn’t have said anything… I, uhm…”

Jamie knitted his brows “What’s the matter?”

She looked at him then, almost apologetically “Well, that raincheck that we agreed upon, I’m afraid it’ll have to wait. I’m… you know”

He didn’t, actually “What are ye talking about? And who said anything about the raincheck?”

“Wel, I just assumed, since you came by, maybe you’re… expecting for something to happen, but since I’m on my period I’m afraid it’s a no go tonight”

He stared at her for a good few moments until she finally unglued her eyes from her food to look at him “I”m sorry if you’re disappointed, Jamie. But to be fair, you didn’t call, I would’ve said something, spared you the time”

“What?” even he was taken aback by the iciness of his tone. She froze into place and sighed, placing her food on her coffee table

“Jamie…”

“What are ye saying, Claire? This is why ye think I came over? Fer a quick shag?”

“Well… I mean… Sort of? But judging by your tone I’m assuming this isn’t the answer you were hoping for?”

He stared into her eyes and as much as he searched, he just couldn’t figure out what she was thinking “Is that really all I am to ye, then?”

“Why are you being like this?”

“Like what?” he was trying his level best to keep his disappointment in check, to be calm and composed, but everything she kept saying just set him off even more.

“Like… I’ve just told you something appalling”

“Well, it’s because ye did. Ye’re telling me all this is to ye is meaningless sex, is that it?”

“Well, not meaningless. You make it sound awful, Jamie. We’re adults here. We’re enjoying each other. Why are you looking at me like that?”

Jamie just looked at her in disbelief. It felt as if she’d taken his heart and picked it apart with those damn chinese sticks.

“What about the other day? Up on that hill? Did I really just imagine it all? Did ye really not feel anything fer me?”

Her eyes widened and for a brief moment she looked just like a deer in the headlights. But she didn’t say anything. And that was answer enough.

He stood up then, almost knocking over her wine glass as he bumped into the coffee table “I came here tae see you. Because I wanted tae see you. I wanted tae know… if ye were thinking about me, as I was thinking about ye. All these days, I kept waiting for ye tae text… tae call. Anything, tae know I hadn’t just imagined it. But I guess I know now why I never heard from ye” he shoved his hands into his pockets and made for the door

“Jamie, wait. Please, don’t leave like this”

“Why? Ye’re on your period, so what’s the point of me sticking around, right? I’ll see myself out”

She got up, following him “Jamie. Listen. You got it all wrong. I didn’t mean it like that!”

He scoffed “Ach, I think ye did, lass. Nae bother. Nae hard feelings, alright?” he took a deep breath, his hand on the handle as she reached him “Look. I’m sorry. I dinna mean to overreact. Ye were clear from the get go. Maybe I read too much into this. Maybe I should’ve been clearer, too. I’m not looking for a fling” he let out a laugh, looking away “I’m a virgin, for feck’s sake...”

She stared at him in shock, clutching the collar of her t-shirt “What?!”

“Sorry tae disappoint” he narrowed his eyes and then pressed his lips into a flat line “But I meant no disrespect tae ye, Claire. If that is what ye want, it’s yer life, yer prerogative. I’m just no the man fer it.”

“Oh, Jamie…” she made to touch him but he took a step back and opened the door

“Fer what it’s worth… I dinna regret it. Goodbye, Claire” he took another pained look at her, trying to ingrain the memory of her into his brain forever. He knew he had to bolt, before it was too late, before he gave in and told her he’d be anything she’d want him to be. But he couldn’t. He couldn’t be just that to her, when she was so much more to him.

 

He all but ran to the church, knowing he would still catch the Evensong. He slipped next to the choirmen in the transept and refused to let his mind wander anywhere else. But he knew his soul was truly doomed when he found that he couldn’t. Not anymore. And that managed to glaze his eyes in unshed tears. For if he’d lost his sole refuge, if he was unworthy of worship without any distractions, he knew that he was truly, utterly lost.

 

Chapter Text

I try to phone but I'm too shy, can't speak

Jamie looked over to his date for the event. His date. That felt odd, even thinking about her that way. But a date it was, or so had Jenny insisted when he’d agreed to her seating them next to the other at his niece’s christening party. “Ye just have tae sit next to each other, it’s not like she’ll be biting yer head off. See if ye like her, if ye have anything in common. ‘Tis not healthy Jamie, ye need to try more. Consider this fair warning. Ye dinna want father meddling into yer affairs again, do ye? I’ll fix ye right up, leave it tae me tae find ye a lass if ye’re too much of a numpty tae find her yerself”. His sister’s words were still echoing in his head, and he knew better than to argue with a sleep deprived Jenny. His wee niece was just 2 months old and for her christening, Ian and her were throwing a pretty lavish party.

He’d managed to successfully avoid many of the recent social events that he’d been invited to, sick and tired of the single’s table and what it ensued. But he couldn’t miss wee Maggie’s party. Ian had probably talked to Jenny about not sitting him at the single’s table and in doing so, he’d actually made it worse, for his sister had taken it upon herself to find him a date for the occasion. 

“Is there something on my face?”

“Sorry?”

“You keep staring at me” Annelise blushed 

Jamie snapped out of it “Sorry, lass. Dinna mean to, I was just lost in thought for a while there” he cleared his throat, looking at the way her features relaxed. She was nervous, and he felt for her. She shouldn’t have been, but she had no idea that he was emotionally unavailable and had no interest in dating at the moment, so he owed her the courtesy of at least trying to be polite and seem at least a little interested “So… how do ye know Jenny?”

Annelise smiled “We met at the hospital, actually. I was there when she delivered Maggie”

“Och, ye’re a doctor then?” he felt a tinge in his heart at that, but ignored it. He’d gotten fairly good at doing that.

“No, just a nurse, but I love it”

“How did a french nurse make her way all the way to Scotland?”

She shrugged “Destiny, I suppose”

“Fair enough”. He looked around, satisfied that sufficient conversation had been made for it to be less awkward to be standing next to each other in silence, save for the surrounding music and the chatter of the other guests.

“Oh, I love this song!” 

Jamie debated whether to ignore her, but he knew that was code for “I wish you’d ask me to dance”, so he did, and she giddily accepted. They made their way to the dancefloor and he found that he didn’t dislike her company as much as he’d thought. She was not overly chatty, not too pushy, didn’t cling on a little too close to him while dancing. She seemed… normal. He looked more attentively at her as they were dancing. She was a pretty enough lass, not strikingly beautiful but not plain, either. She was blonde, and he’d always had a soft spot for blondes. Petite frame, feminine. Her french accent was definitely interesting. But then, he’d always loved a lass with an accent… He caught himself before he even finished that train of thought, struggling to only think about Annelise. She was a decent woman, his age, ambitious, smart. What was not to like?

Surely there must be something…

She leaned in a bit and told him smilingly “You’re staring again”

He smiled back apologetically and then tried to just stare into space as they swayed. 

She’s not her. And that was reason enough.

 

Eventually, Annelise had to call it an early evening at around 10pm, explaining that she had a morning shift the next day, which was a Sunday, and he wondered briefly whether she was Orthodox or if Jenny had been so desperate to hook him up with someone that she hadn’t even taken that factor into consideration. If so, that was alarming, seeing as Jenny was adamant that Jamie had to step up and give their father a respite in his old age, taking over the parish and thus fulfilling his duty to his family. If she’d been that desperate to have him date whomever, regardless of that aspect, then he really had reason to grow concerned.

He offered to walk Annelise home (he’d carpooled with Ian and Jenny and the bairns yet again as he knew he’d have to keep the whisky close to make it through the evening) but she insisted he’d better not miss his own niece’s party, which was genuinely nice of her and instead only walked her to her uber outside the venue. She hadn’t lingered on when he’d opened the door for her to get in the car, and he was thankful that she was not reading too much into this supposed “date”. He didn’t make any promises that he’d call her, just wished her good night and for all he knew, would most probably not be seeing her again.

He almost turned on his heel to go back inside when something caught his eye and now he couldn’t look away even if he wanted to. 

He purposely avoided this street for the past 4 months. The venue was a fair way down the road but the light caught his eye, especially since at this late  hour there was no reason for the shop to be open.

Before he could stop himself he crossed the road and walked the distance. 

The moment he saw her through the window his heart leapt. Had she always been so beautiful? She was so beautiful it almost pained him to have to look at her from a distance. 

He didn’t know how long he’d stood there staring at her, not too close to the shop so that he’d not spook her if she glanced out the window. But he then saw her wipe at her eyes, her shoulders shaking slightly and he sobered up immediately. His eyes searched, taking in the whole scene before him, not just her lovely self. The shop seemed sparse and it was filled with odd boxes, she was in fact taping up one of them and scribbling something on the cardboard. 

She was… packing.

But why?

Surely she wasn’t just going to… not after… “No” he murmured to himself “No” he repeated going for the door, and freezing realizing it was locked. Of course it was. And now it was too late, she was already looking at him standing there like the idiot that he was. He wasn’t exactly sure why he felt like an idiot, but something deep down really screamed at him that he must’ve been for her to be there, at 10pm on a saturday, evidently packing her belongings and closing up her shop.

“Claire!” he shouted, making her flinch, almost as if she’d not been quite sure whether he really was standing there or not. He sighed, his shoulders sagging “Will ye let me in?”

She reluctantly came to the door, unlocking it, and he pushed it open, stepping inside before she could change her mind. He was panting, but he didn’t know why “Claire, what’s happening? Why are ye packing?”

She just stared at him and he truly took in her appearance. She was thinner, her undereyes darker and her honeycomb irises the saddest shade he’d ever seen them. “Sassenach…please say something” he tried a gentler tone, trying to calm himself down too

“I’m… It’s not working out, so I guess this is it” she bit her lower lip, looking downcast and shoving her tiny fists into her jeans’ pockets.

“Ye’re closing up?”

She nodded slightly, still not looking up at him

“Christ. I’m sorry, Claire… I ken how much this shop means tae ye. And what it represents…”

She huffed out an emotional laughter “It’s alright. I’m used to things not ...turning out the way I’d want them to”

Jamie inhaled sharply, straightening his back “I ken a thing or two about that as well”

She looked up at him then and he was sure she could read all the hurt in his eyes as he could in hers. “Where ye really just going tae leave without saying goodbye?” he finally asked, in a small voice.

She searched his eyes and swallowed a lump in her throat “When you left… you just, you made it clear that you never wanted to see me again, and I--”

“I what?”

She blinked at him, confused “Well you said… I mean, there was so much I wanted to clarify but then I really thought it was best if I just left you alone. You’re such a great guy, Jamie. And you deserve someone just as great. Not a… walking disaster”

Jamie watched her eyes widen as she looked past his shoulder, out the window and he turned to see some of the guests leaving the party, walking down the street and looking towards the shop, no doubt wondering why it was open this late at night as well. Before she could react, he flicked the switch, turning the lights off and drowned them in darkness save for the soft warm light coming in from the streetlights.

Still standing close to the door, he extended his arm and locked it, never taking his eyes off hers. The streetlamps were bringing out the gold in them and Jamie gulped audibly, taking her in, as if he could actually see her better now, in the dark “What did ye want to clarify?”

She closed her eyes, taking in a deep, shuddering breath “So much. I wouldn’t even know where to begin…”

“I wanted tae clarify some things, too… but I ken where tae begin”

She barely had time to open her eyes and look at him puzzledly before he closed in the space between them and captured her lips with his. She inhaled, taken aback but didn’t break the kiss. He lingered, ghosting his lips over hers, and then her hands were around his neck and her fingers threaded through his curls, urging him to deepen the kiss. He couldn’t believe he was kissing her again, savoring her like a man lost at sea and her the pouring rain after days of scorching hot sun. He felt her in every pore of his flesh, in every cell of his body, her hot mouth his only lifeline tethering him to this world.

“God, woman” he moaned into her mouth when she pressed herself against him just right “I dinna ken how I’ve survived these 4 months. Staying away from ye was the hardest thing I’ve had tae do” he pressed his forehead against hers, pacing himself. They had important things to discuss, and he didn’t want to get carried away before they had a chance to talk. He couldn’t risk it again.

“Why did you?” she whispered, playing with the curls at his nape, caressing his nose with hers

He didn’t reply. He just raised his head so he could look her in the eyes and when he saw the sadness pooling in them his mouth fell agape. Had she really missed him, the way he’d missed her? 

“I wanted tae call ye… sae many times. Picked up the phone only to throw it across the room… Ye made it quite clear when I left that… that ye werena interested in me that way… that ye just wanted tae keep things casual… and I canna do that, Claire. Not just because of who I am and what I stand for… but” he swallowed gravely, knitting his eyebrows “Ye’re verra precious tae me, Claire. I ken we’ve known each other a short while. But I really want tae get tae know ye…” he moved his hands slowly up and down her arms, caressing her bare shoulders “...tae be with ye. Truly. But I understand if…” he inhaled sharply “I ken there’s much ye havena told me, and ye have yer reasons, and I respect that. If ye feel like this is not something ye need in yer life now, if you only want tae have some fun… I canna do that. That’s what I meant when I left that night. And it came out all wrong. Ye never implied ye… wanted anything more. I ken my reaction was over the top. And it’s not yer fault… “ he looked deep into her eyes for a long minute “...but I was heartbroken”

Jamie never expected to see her eyes glaze over and for her to bite her lower lip, stifling a sob. He tilted her chin “Hey, now. What is it? I’m sorry if I said anything tae upset ye, Claire… I dinna mean tae-”

“-No, no, Jamie. It’s alright. It’s not you” she batted her eyelashes, trying to stop her tears, and smiled widely, putting on a brave face only to have her chin tremble the next second “God, I’m such an idiot” she turned around and tried to compose herself, putting some distance between them, facing away from him “When you came by that night… I was having a particularly rough day, for a number of reasons… And then, things got out of hand, I don’t know why… I think I got scared” she sighed shakily “You see, I hadn’t let anyone in as close as you in a long while. I admit that initially I’d wanted this to just be casual. When we met, there was that instant attraction, at least for my part, and I decided to act on it and for once and not overanalyze things like I tend to do with everything in my life. Moving here was supposed to mean a new beginning for me, a way for me to break free from my old life, live in the here and now and not worry so much about everything all the damn time. When you accepted my invitation back to my place, I was over the moon. I’d never brought someone home like that, I told you this… I was rooting for this new Claire, finally out there, living her best life, carefree and alive…” she turned back towards him, hugging her torso “And then you asked for that raincheck… And I was even more excited. Instead of… being disappointed about you leaving before we even got to really do anything… I was intrigued, and... I couldn’t stop thinking about you”

Jamie’s breath caught, listening to her. He tried steadying his heartbeat to no avail. Was she really telling him all this?

“Then, when we went on that hike” she huffed “I acted like a damn teenager, almost jumping your bones. And you, a virgin!” she took a step closer, her voice solemn “Jamie, if I’d known, I’d have never acted so casual with you. Evidently you don’t take this lightly. But things were getting a little bit too real up there on that hill and I needed to deflect from my feelings, needed to prove to myself that we were just having fun, and that I was definitely not… catching feelings. It was easier for me to imagine I was just enjoying being physical with you, when in reality, it was so much more than that. I berated myself for letting my emotions get out of hand. That’s why I didn’t reach out. But when you came over, you took me by surprise, and the way you… answered my door, paid for the takeout, took it into the kitchen. It just hit me, how… real it was, how right it felt. You kissed my nose and you seemed to just want to… be there, with me. And I guess I wanted to prove to myself that I was reading too much into it? To protect myself from getting my hopes too high. I wanted to take sex off the table and see what remained. Wanted to see if you felt the same. But you took it the wrong way, completely opposite to how I wanted it to come out, and when you told me you were a virgin I just… I realized that, wow… This really was not just about me and I may have inadvertently hurt you. And it made me sick to my stomach!” she finished between gritted teeth, looking away.

Jamie felt as if he’d been sucker punched with a wave of emotions he’d never experienced before. He tentatively closed the space between them again, resting his palms back over her shoulders and when she nestled against his chest, he finally allowed himself to embrace herself the way he’d wanted to ever since he’d first seen her. He knew his heart was beating strongly, threatening to break free from his chest with what he wanted to ask her, so he just tightened his arms around her, for fear of what she may have to say next “Claire… ye’ve said sae much, and I’m sae grateful. And we still have so much more tae talk about… But I need tae know…” he pressed his nose against her soft curls, closing his eyes shut, trying to find the courage “Will ye give us a chance? A real chance. I want ye, I’ve never wanted anything in my life as much as I want ye. Tell me, will ye have me?”

Claire slowly looked up at him only to see him waiting for her answer with his eyes shut, his jaw set and his heart pounding against her palms resting over his chest “Yes, James Jamie Jamie Fraser. Yes, I’ll have you.”



Chapter Text

 

Falling in love is so bittersweet

 

Jamie knew deep down that they still had so much more to discuss, so much more to figure out together, but he couldn’t stop himself when he asked her to go home with him. She accepted with a shy smile that melted his heart. On the way, the short walk they had to take, his mind was racing; if he slept with her he knew realistically that his future as a priest was most likely doomed, not that it was absolutely unacceptable for a priest to not be a virgin when marrying, but to him it felt like he’d be crossing a line that he knew, mentally, would be like making a choice, and although he was no monk and he’d already explored quite a bit of his sexuality, this was another thing altogether.

It wasn’t even about marriage and priesthood, it was about his own convictions and things that weren’t just taught to him, but the kind that he’d decided for himself on his own. He knew in his heart that he only wanted to be with one woman. One love. Just one. He’d waited so long for the right person to come along.

Was Claire that person? 

Everything in him told him so. But he couldn’t trust his own feelings right now. After 4 agonizing months trying to forget this woman, a few minutes in her proximity completely threw him off, making him forget all his thought process, all the things he’d told himself in order to better cope with her loss. He knew next to nothing about her, he’d known her for a small period of time, he was mistaking lust for love and the list went on. Technically, all of that was correct, and he was aware of the fact that lust could cloud one’s judgement. But when he saw her pack her things and realized he’d caught her right before she would’ve left for good, when he realized how close he’d been to losing her, he knew that he’d not been wrong about his feelings for her, however hasty and seemingly all too soon it may have been. He’d fallen in love with her, and he was tired of trying to trick his mind and heart into believing otherwise.

 

He’d seated Claire in his small living area that was separated from his kitchenette by a bar, and was pouring her some whisky as per her request when he’d asked her what she’d be having.

“Neat” he pointed out, handing her the glass and she took it, clicking their glasses together and then sipping on it, rather than throwing it back as he’d expected her to “It’s not spiked, I promise” he chuckled “Ye’ve seen me pour it straight out of the bottle” he squinted his eyes at her playfully

She laughed nervously, looking around while sitting on the couch and Jamie leaning against the bar “So, this is your home”

“Nah. Lallybroch is home. This is… where I live, temporarily, I guess”

She gave him a puzzled look and he immediately regretted bringing Lallybroch up “Story for another time?”

“Depends if the actual story is you’re actually divorced and your ex wife got that place and you’re stuck with this… temporarily” she raised an eyebrow playfully

“Aye, we’re divorced on the grounds of me not wanting to give up my virginity”

She laughed in earnest now and then sipped some more of her whisky and Jamie downed his glass as well, regretting having brought up that as well.

She then got up and placed her glass on the bar next to him, getting closer “We don’t have to rush anything, Jamie. I understood your question back there, and I’m sticking with my answer. I’ll have you, however much of yourself you’re willing to share. And you can have me, however much of me you want” she took his hand and placed his palm over her heart

He inhaled sharply, straightening and getting even closer “I do want ye, Claire. I want all of ye. More than ye know. Never doubt that.”

“But you’ve waited so long for this. I don’t want you to rush into it. I’ve already pushed your limits, I know that now. I’m sorry. I didn’t know…”

“Ye’ve nothing tae be sorry fer. I’m a grown man, I knew what I was consenting to, nobody put a gun tae my head” he halfsmiled and she mirrored him

“Yes, but you’re only human. I practically threw myself at you. I must say I was impressed then, but now I’m blown away to know that an actual virgin had so much self restraint”

“Hmph. Ye’d be surprised”

She raised an eyebrow “Is that a dare?”

He actually gulped, realizing she had no way of knowing what he’d actually meant, and now the wee vixen was eyeing him in that sultry way of hers that turned all his insides to jello. 

“Ach lass, I wouldna dream of it” he knew he should’ve sounded more serious but he couldn’t help playing along. 

She smirked and he knew he was done for. She closed the space between them and began tracing the tip of her nose along his jawline, her hot breath tickling his skin, her wee hands resting on his chest and he knew she must’ve felt his pulse pick up considerably.

“You’re a … how was it?- grown man, after all. Nobody’s putting a gun to your head…”she whispered in his ear and then gently bit his earlobe.

It was the last straw.

With a growl he bent and kissed her thoroughly, pressing her lithe body to his in an effort to anchor both of them to eachother for he was officially losing his footing in more ways than one.

“That I am” he panted moving to her neck “And I seem tae remember another rain check that we havana had the chance to agree upon”

“Oh” she all but moaned, and he knew it was not just because of how he was leaving hot kisses along her long, swan-like neck

He bent further, splaying his large hands across her arse giving it a firm squeeze but then slid them further down her thighs to hoist her up. The way she immediately clung to his shoulders and crossed her legs around his torso gave him all the indication he needed to take things further and make their way to his bedroom. He didn’t bother turning on any lights, the streetlamp outside bathed the room in just enough warm light for him to see her leopard eyes shine with lust when he placed her on his bed.

“Jamie, wait” she must’ve seen his confused expression for she hurried to explain “It’s not that I don’t want to, God knows I’ve been fantasizing about this… but I was fooling around, I didn’t mean for it to get out of hand, if this is something you’re not ready for, or if it makes the whole thing even more difficult for you… please don’t feel like you owe me anything. I mean it” she sat up on her elbows “Trust me, ok? Honestly, going down on you was just as much for me as it was for you” she raised an eyebrow and Jamie couldn’t take it anymore

“What makes ye think it’s any different for me? I’ve dreamt of this for sae long” he narrowed his eyes and hovered over her until she rested back fully on the bed, scooting her up and up till she reached his pillows “I’m dying tae ken what ye taste like”

She wet her lips, pulling him in for a kiss “Only if you’re sure”

“Och, I’m more than sure. Let me savour you. May I?” She nodded but continued kissing him “Ye do ken I meant yer honeypot, right?” his lips curled into a smile

She giggled “My what? Oh, you ridiculous man” she threw her head back on the pillow

“Are ye laughing at me?” he asked, unbuttoning her jeans and peeling them off her shapely legs, his tone playful

“I most certainly am!” she continued giggling until he palmed her over her drenched panties and she shuddered, mewling in anticipation

“Then ye’ll get what ye deserve!” he warned, hooking her underwear to the side and sinking his middle finger into her in one swift motion

“Jamie!” she gasped 

“Not sae funny now?” he asked, his voice considerably huskier. He watched her roll her eyes back in ecstasy and decided to add another finger, to which she arched her back off the bed. He furrowed his brows, watching as his fingers go in and out of her a few times and then he slowly removed them watching her honeypot ooze her nectar, beckoning for him to lap it all up. He sucked on his fingers, the smell and taste of her the headiest thing he’d ever experienced, and hearing the sounds she was making when he wasn’t even touching her made him realize he’d gotten himself into something much more powerful than he’d anticipated. 

He couldn’t think straight, she accaparated all of his senses and he couldn’t get enough of her, he peeled her flimsy panties off and dived right in, flattening his tongue against her glistening core. She cried out and he worried he’d be the first to climax if she kept up those wee noises she was making, without even having her touch him.

He kissed her like he would her lips, gentle and languidly, pressing his whole face against her, applying firm pressure “Oh God! Are you sure you’ve never done this before?” she eyed him dubiously, her fists clenching his bedding in a tight grip

He chuckled against her which made her groan and he made a mental note of that “I never said I was a monk”

‘You… ahhh! You could’ve said something, would have spared me the ahhhh….the guilty conscience”

“Hmmm” he hummed against her, trying out the vibration again and earning the same response “Just teasing ye, Sassenach. I’ve no done this before, so let me know what ye like. Aye,  just like that” he almost whimpered himself when she switched from clutching his sheets to clutching his curls, she tugged enough for it to sting deliciously good.

“God yes!” she arched her back again as he sunk his fingers back inside of her “Curl them” she moaned “Curl them upwards”

“Like so?” he watched her intently as he hit a particularly soft spot inside of her

Her only answer was a string of curses as she sat back on her elbows, head thrown back and her pelvis pushing down against his fingers urgently, quickening the pace. He picked up on what she needed, making her relax back on the pillows, and making sure he kept the rhythm he focused on her clit next, sucking it gently. When she screamed, for a second he thought he’d hurt her somehow but then she clamped her thighs together, muffling his ears and he felt her whole body shudder in powerful spasms that pushed his fingers out. He couldn’t resist lapping her up gently, making her body shudder some more when he reached her clit after dragging his tongue from her weeping entrance all the way to her swollen bud. 

He couldn’t seem to get enough of her. When she didn’t stop him, likely because she looked as if she’d fainted, her whole body going slack after what had looked like a mind numbing orgasm, save for the occasional shudders, he continued, probing her entrance with his tongue, getting drunk on her delicious juices that were intoxicating him more than whisky ever could have. She began moaning again “What are you doing to me? Ah, Jamie. Don’t stop”

“Wasna planning tae. I never want tae stop. Ye’re intoxicating”

She whimpered as though she were on the verge of crying but her fingers threaded through his curls once more and she pushed his face harder against herself. When she next arched her back, he grabbed her arse firmly and lifted it off the mattress, opening her up even more. He kept a steady rhythm, swirling his tongue around her clit and then slipping it inside of her until she cried out even harder than before, and he finally let go of her as she was kicking her legs uncontrollably. She didn’t go limp as before though, grabbing him by the collar and pulling him towards her, kissing him thoroughly. He laughed against her lips, taken aback “Ye only seem to get more ravenous each time”

“That’s because I am. I can’t get my fill. Quite literally” she groaned in frustration, pushing him aside and then straddling him. His eyes went wide and she bent to kiss him some more “I’m afraid you stoked a fire you can’t put out, Jamie. This is what you get for playing with fire”. Jamie watched as her dripping sex rubbed against his painfully throbbing erection over his dresspants, and it reminded him of that first night he’d gone to her place. He closed his eyes tight, inhaling sharply. How was he going to survive this?

She unbuckled him and unzipped his dress pants with surprising dexterity and before he knew it she had him in her wee hand which she first coated in her own juices and then proceeded to rub him firmly. He bit his lip, breathing heavily through his nose as he watched her scoot downwards so she could take him into her hot, wet mouth.

 

By some miracle, Jamie had survived the night. They’d eventually went to sleep, naked, after removing what was left of their clothing, Jamie throwing his duvet over them. She was fast asleep, wrung out from all their lovemaking, for that was what it’d felt like to Jamie, even though they’d done everything but had actual intercourse. He was physically tired, but his mind was wide awake realizing his virginity was now just a technicality. He felt as if he’d given her his whole body, and he’d taken hers in return. She was now blood of his blood and bone of his bone, and he was fooling himself thinking that going all the way could change anything at this point. He’d crossed the line long before that night, and he’d just fooled himself into thinking that it would make a difference whether they were just kissing or actually sleeping together. 

He looked at her, sleeping peacefully in his arms, nestled against his chest, and he knew she was his woman. His woman, the one love he’d been waiting for. He burned for her, even after all they’ve done to pleasure eachother. But it wasn’t just his desire to claim her completely. It was the ache in his heart to make her his, his for the whole world to see.

It didn’t matter that they still had so much to talk about. Everything seemed superfluous at this point. Her heart called out to him more than anything physical. The way he’d seen her pack up her shop, knowing he’d been this close to losing her forever, had sobered him up completely. He couldn’t let her go. Not now, not ever. She belonged right there, in his arms, his to hold and love and serve and protect. And he knew what he had to give up to keep her, but so help him God, he knew it was the right thing to do, he knew it in the marrow of his bones.