Sad? Is that what she was? Truthfully, she didn’t really know. How could she be sad over someone who had yet to exist? Of someone… who never even had a heartbeat?
Numb. That is how she felt – at least right now. Numb.
Void of emotion. Void of feeling. Void of anything.
The stream ran cold through her fingers as she rinsed the small pieces of blood stained cloth. The dark red stains, disappearing into the water, just like the hope she had just a few days before. Gone, in an instant.
It wasn’t supposed to be this hard—Hell, it happened so quickly the first time around.
This time, it was another story.
She could feel the presence of someone behind her—the quiet rustle of the twigs and leaves cracking in the short distance behind her gave her confirmation.
Bree finished rinsing the second cloth and rested it on a rock as the shadow from the person behind blocked the sun’s path.
“Och,” a familiar voice said behind her. “I am verra sorry, lass. I didna ken ye’d be here….”
“Oh.. uhm, it is alright….” Bree said as she blushed and took her apron off, tossing it over the basket holding the bloody pieces of cloth, covering them. “I was just… Doing a small amount of laundry that is… Er… Rather time sensitive.”
She turned to face her father, drying her hands on her skirt and crossing her arms. Her father’s red hair glowed in the sunlight – the summer air hot on his neck, she could see the sweat dripping from his temples.
“Yer mam just needed some more water for something in the surgery. I didna ask any questions.” Jamie said as he held a bucket in one of his hands and shrugged his shoulders. “I just want my supper in a little and did as she told me.”
That made her chuckle softly, and she wiped a small tear from the corner of her eye. She watched as her father looked at her and pursed his lips. He opened his mouth a small bit then closed it rapidly, shaking his head.
“Out with it. I know you wanted to say something.” Bree said as took a step closer to him taking the bucket out of his hands and turning back to the stream.
“Weel…” Jamie started as he sat on a rock near the stream. “It was just earlier… Yer mam made a comment on how ye snapped at her over an herb and stormed off. Seein’ what yer washing here… It just makes sense now, tis all.”
Her breath hitched as she released the bucket from her grasp, dropping it on the pebbles on the shore of the stream.
“Sorry, Da… I thought I was alone… It’s just…” She said as the tears came back to her eyes. “I’m sorry… I’m just not quite myself today and Jem is getting another molar. Mama better have some of the good whisky with dinner tonight.”
Bree felt her father’s hand on her shoulder as he gave it a light squeeze. “Dinna fash, Bree. I knew ye were late on yer courses…I thought it was because… Well, because that maybe you and Roger Mac wanted another…. But, Claire didna think so…”
She stiffened her back a bit and turned her tear stained face to look up at her Da. “Wait… You…. Kept track?” She stammered at him, the temperature in her cheeks rising.
“Ah DHIA.” Jamie said as he shut his eyes and shook his head, mildly in amusement. “Christ ye look like Claire when ye said that- sound just like her, too.”
“Hold on…. Again, you kept track of my courses?” Bree said as she reached for the bucket, filling it half way, and leaving it next to her basket.
She turned to face her father as he gestured to the rock he had just been sitting on, motioning for her to sit down next to him
“Yes.” He said, honestly. “I dinna usually, pay as much attention as I used too. I am a farmer, ye ken? Somethings I just… I dinna know how to explain it…”
“I am sorry. I didn’t mean to snap at you.” Bree said as she took the hem of her skirt and wiped the tears off her cheek. “I…Yes… We thought possibly…But then….”
Jamie put his arm around her shoulder and pulled her to his chest. “The bleeding.”
“Yes.” Brianna said barely audible as she clenched a fist into Jamie’s shirt. She stayed there, releasing the tears of disappointment and frustration.
After a few minutes of Jamie whispering reassuring Gaelic to her, she wiped her cheeks and turned to face him. “You said I looked like mama. What did you mean?”
“She got annoyed I kept track of her courses when we first wed. How… Culloden-” He said, the word stopping him for just a moment. “ How I kent she was with child before she told me…” Bree looked up to find him looking far off into the distance. “She said the same thing ye said to me. The same look on both yer faces.”
“With me?” Bree asked as she rested a hand on Jamie’s knee.
Jamie took his hand and laid it on top of Brianna’s, as he nodded his head yes, and turned his attention towards her.
“Why don’t I have any siblings? Did you not want more—I mean Auntie Jenny has a house full, your mom had 3….” Bree asked. She watched as the lines on her father’s face tightened at a memory – fading into a small smile, his eyes filling with regret, as they looked off into the distance once more.
“Faith.” He breathed and pushed her hand off his knee, and stood up, turning his back towards her.
She waited a moment, as Jamie took a few steps forward, running his hands through his hair, and turning back to face her.
“Bree… I…. Did she no’?” He started—Bree couldn’t tell if he was talking to her or to himself – but as he started pacing back and forth, she just sat patiently, waiting.
“Claire… Did she no’ tell ye, about our time in Paris?” Jamie finally asked – his blue eyes piercing down to hers.
“She did…Rather vaguely, but she did. That’s where you found Fergus…” Bree replied.
“Paris, was…. Something we both tried to forget…” Her father spoke meekly, resuming his spot next to her.
They sat in silence for a few moments – she could feel her father’s eyes on her as the wheels turned in her own mind.
“Wait…” Bree gasped as she grabbed Jamie’s bicep. “Faith Fraser…The cemetery at L'Hôpital des Anges….Roger found the name when we did some searching for you all those years ago. We just assumed, Jared had a wife or a daughter…. That something had happened….”
“May 12, 1744.” He stuttered. Bree watched as his eyes slowly filled with tears.
“My sister.” Bree answered as she sat up straighter, touching her classic Fraser trademark atop her head, the tears filling her own eyes. She formed a small smile as she took a hand and wiped a tear off of Jamie’s face.
“Bree-annnah” Jamie enunciated in the Scottish lilt that made her name his very own. “Yer mother and I, wanted nothing more than to raise ye together, to give ye a wee brother or sister… But ye ken, we didna have so much say in that matter.”
“I… We… Claire, she mustna have told ye.”
“She didn’t go into grave details about your time in Paris, just the general outline of events. Now I get why.” Bree expressed with a slight shrug.
“It was a verra hard time…. For yer mam. It was right after Wentworth we went to Paris, and then Paris… Wasna a success… We went home, to Lallybroch for a time to heal. Then the Bonnie Prince, Culloden, we couldna stop it… And I knew it, you…” Her father exclaimed as he took her face between his hands, wiping her tears with his thumbs. “You happened, and I couldna…. It couldna happen again… Claire and you… I had to see you safe.”
His voice cracked and he took a breath. “If I have done one thing right in my life, it was you and your mom. Dinna doubt that.”
“You sent her back. To the twentieth century. So that I could live.” She said with conviction, her mother’s words echoing in her ears.
“Yes.” Jamie breathed as his voice cracked. “I… am sorry, that things were the way they were. That Faith isna here, with ye… But Bree, to see ye here and now. I dinna regret a single thing. I never will.”
“I know.” She jabbered as she laid her hands on her father’s. “If anything were to happen to Roger and me. I want him to have someone. He has you and mama, but you won’t be here his whole life…. I want him to have someone.”
“I ken, lass. I do.” Jamie whispered as he pulled her face closer to him, kissing her forehead. “It will happen when it is meant too. In the right time.”
“I know, it just happened so easy the first time… Now…” Bree laughed.
“Alright… Now, I think it is time I get back to yer mam. I dinna need to ken the details.” Jamie smiled in response as he kissed her forehead once more, and stood up, grabbing the bucket of water. “When ye are finished, grab yer men. Yer mam will have supper ready soon.”
She watched as he nodded at her and walked off into the distance. She turned back to her basket, taking another piece of cloth and soaking it in the stream.
“Faith…If you’re listening, out there, somewhere, we got really lucky for the parents we have, didn’t we?” Bree whispered to herself.
The gentle breeze flowed through as a bird’s song played somewhere in the distance – giving her the answer she needed.
Bree smiled softly as she pushed a small piece of her red hair out of her face, picturing another woman who looked strikingly like her—with her mother’s whisky eyes, and what her life could have been like if there had been two.
“Bree! Dinner!” She heard her mother calling form the distance and the squawk of Jem as he came running down towards her.
“Coming!” Bree answered as her heart swelled – Faith and her were two lucky lasses to have been loved by Claire and Jamie Fraser.