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Jamie sat stalwartly as Claire applied a soothing balm to his ribs, his eyes 

Watching her fingers work over his skin.  The lantern on his desk cast her long limbed shadows upon the canvas behind her, and every flick of her wrist churned a longing in him for a more purposeful touch. He ached, yes, though he could think of something that ached worse than his bones. He stirred as her fingers crossed his naval and despite his better judgement was not put off by the sharp glare she gave him.  If anything, it enticed him more.

 

“You’re angry with me.”

 

I’m not.” She replied.

 

“Sassenaach,” He spoke softly. “You’re gruntin’ like a wild boar.” 

 

Claire huffed, and rose to her feet, pacing their tent with her back turned to him.  When she’d returned, Alex was gone and Jamie was stripped to the waist. She immediately pushed him into a seat to examine him. Large splotches burned down his chest, bruises that would bloom in the days to come, though more troubling to her was how his injuries made her feel.  She’d seen far worse than bruising, but seeing wounds on Jamie...

 

“Why did they do that? Beat you?” She whispered.

 

“The elders allow it to not let squabbles fester. A punch to the face is better than a knife in the back.”  When Claire’s stare intensified, he added, “If I had denied it, and proof was presented, they could have taken you from me. It was not worth the gamble with an unfriendly eye watching us.”

 

“So...you took a beating to protect me?” Claire’s lip quaked as she wiped the back of her hand over her eyes.

 

Jamie frowned and looked down at his boots.. “Aye. Of course.  Did ye think...”. But when he meet her eyes, he saw the wetness on her cheeks and felt his witty response melt away.

 

“Och. Hush now,” Jamie whispered, and weaved his unbruised arm behind her shoulders. Claire tucked her nose into his neck as a sob escaped her, and let his soft sounds and gentle hands pour warmth back into her.  His lips turned to her curls as he whispered her name. “Claire?  Could ye sit idle as someone ailed nearby?  No. You could not.”  His fingers wound into her curls. “No sooner could I let harm befall ye while I draw breath, aye?”

 

Claire nodded, and then ignited him with a bruising, frantic kiss. He groaned in relief, as he eagerly responded to every kiss and touch. 

 

A growl rumbled through Jamie’s chest as her hands rucked up her skirts to free her legs.  He grabbed hold of a milky thigh when it appeared and pulled her to straddle his lap.  A sharp gasp escaped her, followed by a snort and a smile against his lips.  His tongue coaxed her lips apart as his other hand found purchase on her bottom and pulled her flush against his arrousal.

 

“Are ye well, then?” He whispered in between her mouth’s assaults. “God, please say yes.  I canna go another night without ye.”

 

Claire felt breathless by his honest decree.  “Yes, Jamie. God, yes.”

 

“To the cot then...”

 

“No. Here,” she breathed, as her lips met his.  His chair was pushed up against his desk, secure enough he realized, and when her hand wrapped around the width of his cock he felt the argument evaporate into the air.  He spread his knees and pulled her core closer until he could feel her wetness upon him. 

 

“I can undress more if you...”

 

“Nay. Like this,” he grunted, as he felt himself slide along her slick folds.  With one hand on the small of her back and the other hooked under her knee, he spread her and rolled his hips to meet hers. It was then, with her hands locked on his shoulders that she lowered herself onto him, until she felt fit to burst.

 

“Holy God,” he whispered.

 

“Uh huh,” she moaned, as she slowly rolled her hips upward. As she rolled her spin, his length hit a spot within her that caught her breath, and a squeal unintentionally left her lips. Her own hand slapped against her mouth but he quickly pulled it away.  

 

“Make that sound again,” he rasped against her ear.  He found the spot once more and this time rolled his hips into her until she cried out again. “Aye, good lass. Again...”

 

“The camp...”

 

“Let them hear,” he growled.  His thumb pressed between her folds until it found her sweet nub, swollen and ready for him. His thumb brushed it and he felt her quake upon him and her breath catch.

 

Claire tightened her arms about his neck and quickened her pace.  Their skin slapped together as she rode his length, pushing him hard and fast into her warmth until he too began to moan. His hand clamped hard onto her bottom cheek, as he aided her pace, racing her to the brink until he roared his pleasure, and burst within her in waves.  He felt her flutter against him as he came and crushed her to his chest a moment later, syncing his breath with hers as their sweat ladened bodies convulsed. It wasn’t until she began to squirm that he loosened his grip.

 

She pressed her forehead to his, her body cooling with each passing moment.  She felt his mouth move against her cheek, as if he was testing words, but did not put breath to them.  She pulled back enough to see his face, though it was heavily shadowed now.

 

“I spoke with Fiona.”

 

Jamie perked. “And?”

 

“She swears it was not her.”

 

Claire rushed the healing tent,  her body strung tight with rage.  Fiona was where Claire expected to find her, setting herbs steeping, though the agony Claire beheld was too sincere to doubt.  

 

The two women stared at one another silently, their expressions communicating with one another as they often did while healing.

 

“Who?” Claire whispered.

 

“I know not.  I spoke to no one.”  Fiona’s lips tightened as she handed Claire a poultice. “Watch yourself, lass,”  Fiona whispered back.

 

“Do you believe her?” Jamie raised a brow.

 

Claire paused. “I do. Should I?”

 

Jamie was silent for a moment and helped her to her feet. He snuffed the lantern out behind them so the tent glowed with the scant moonlight.

 

“I always have, but I’ll admit there are few I trust completely at this moment, besides Alex, and now you.”

 

“Alex surprised me today, but I...” she caught herself, not sure if she was about to overstep. 

 

“But?” Jamie prompted. “Speak your mind, Claire.”

 

“I still don’t see the man you see.”

 

She could see the outline of a smirk as his hand cupped her cheek.  “Your opinion of him is your own. Just know he’s an ally should you ever need one. Now, should we readjust this dressing?”

 

The bandage over his balled chest had indeed come undone during their undulations. With a few seconds work, it was righted again.

 

“That’s mighty fine work,” he murmured as his fingers ghosted from her elbow to her fingertips.  “I’m a lucky man.”