Brian stepped out of the aircraft at Glasgow airport, they had a long journey ahead of them to Inverness...and to Roger...but it was worth it. He turned and helped his mother down the steps and onto the asphalt. “I’ll get our bags, mama.” He went to the back of the plane and got the bags and joined his mother in the terminal. “What time is the train at?”
“Around three. We have half an hour if you want to get a coffee and a sandwich darling.” She smiled at him and took the bags so that Brian could go get a drink and bite to eat. He came back with an Irn Bru and a scotch pie.
“When in Rome, huh?” He laughed at his mother’s eyebrow raise. He made a face at the first sip, “Ugh, tastes like cough syrup. And not the good kind…” He chuckled slightly when his mother started laughing. “I was expecting an orange taste...it’s orange, like as orange as the skin of an orange…”
He decided to save his pie until after they were halfway to Inverness, again he made a face. “This is so oily.” He wiped his hands on a serviette his mother handed him. “I mean, how do these people not have heart attacks every week?”
“Don’t forget, ‘these people’ are actually your people too.” His mother chastised him. “You’d do well to remember that you’re half Scottish, half English.” She stared out of the window.
“Yeah, yeah.” his tone was more playful than dismissive, “Just so you know I asked Roger to research that branch of my family tree...nothing specific, just a little ‘can you look up this guy, please’. He hopes to have information for me by the time we arrive at the manse.” His leg was vibrating under the table they were sitting at.
“I know how excited you are to see Roger...and his father…” she added cautiously in case anyone was listening, “but don’t get your hopes up. He might not have found anything.”
He nodded “I know mama. I’m just hoping he’ll have something to tell me, even if it’s that Jamie died at Culloden.” He looked around and then whispers, “And I am looking forward to sleeping under the same roof as Roger again.” he blushed and chuckled.
Arriving at Inverness station, Roger waved and Brian’s heart skipped a beat. Claire hugged Roger and the Reverend Wakefield. Then Brian embraced them, his heart leaped at the touch of the man he loved. “So we shall drive you to the manse. No tae worry. I’ll let Roger take yer bags.” Roger took the bags off of Brian, allowing their hands to brush in doing so.
In the manse, Roger took Brian to the side. “I found James Fraser...are you sure he died at Culloden?”
“Mama said he did. I haven’t looked into it myself but I’m sure she knows to tell me so.” Brian frowned at his boyfriend.
“Because there were four Fraser generals, and three of them are on a plaque at the visitors centre...none of them were James. So I looked for Janet, and I found some diary entries in 1746 where she was talking about her brother who came back from Culloden injured and had become a widower. Get this, his wife’s name was ‘Claire’!” He looked really pleased with himself. “Same as your mum. How weird is that? But anyway, it looks like James Alexander Malcolm MacKenzie Fraser did not die in battle at Culloden but was severely injured and lost his wife in the battle.”
Brian’s breath hitched, “He didn’t die?” He started to hyperventilate, “I have to tell my mom.” He runs off then runs back, kissing his boyfriend’s cheek. “Thank you for doing the research.”
He pulled his mother to the side. “Mom, remember I told you I’d asked Roger to do some research on James Fraser...our relative?” He smiles. “He found something and...well, you know how you thought he died in 1746 at Culloden? Well, he did not…” Claire felt herself go light headed.
“He survived…” She pulled Brian up to the guest bedroom. “I have to find out what happened to him until now...I’m coming with you when you go through the stones…”
“If I can go through the stones…” Brian hugged his mother close, a knock at the door signaled the arrival of Fiona Graham, the granddaughter of Mrs. Graham the housekeeper Claire knew on her first visit here, to tell them that supper was ready.
Sitting next to Roger at supper Brian could feel a hand on his thigh, and felt a certain member get harder at the touch.
“Father, I was thinking. It disna do to have a grown man still share his room wi his mother. However wi a friend would be better.” He chanced a glance at Brian but Brian wasn’t giving anything away.
“Yer right enough Roger. Brian, how would you feel about moving into Roger’s room?” The reverend looked at Brian, expecting an answer.
“Yeah, sounds amazing. To get away from Mama for a few nights I mean…” Brian chuckled.
“We can get his things from the guest bedroom now. If we may be excused, Father.” Roger smiled as the Reverend nodded and waved his hand to dismiss them.
Brian and Roger moved his things into Roger’s room and set up the spare mattress on the floor. “Now...now I can show you exactly how much I missed you…” Roger crossed from the closed door and took Brian’s face in his hands and kissed him, hard and needy. They fell onto the bed and continued to kiss.
As they lay in the aftermath of their first time Brian remarked. “Was that your first time?” Roger shook his head.
“There’s a place that’s...friendly to queer folk. I’ve had a few dalliances wi the lads there.” He smiles cannily. “Yours?”
Brian nods. “I’ve kissed many men before but, God that was nothing like this...thank you for being my first time.” Brian leans down and kisses the love of his life.
In the morning Brian and Roger come down for breakfast and they make plans to go to Craig Na Dun, Claire desperate to reconnect with Jamie and not caring if Roger knows as well.
At Craig Na Dun, Roger frowned, “What is that horrendous noise?” Both Claire and Brian turn to him. “Ye cannae hear it? It’s like it came up from the bowels of hell itself.”
Brian grabbed his hands. “If you can hear it, that means you can travel. Like us…” He kissed his boyfriend’s hands.
“Not sure I want to...However bad being queer is now it’s nothing compared to being queer there…” He gripped Brian’s hands tight. “Don’t go...stay here wi me.”
Brian smiled a little. “I have to go...please understand. This is my family. I’ll come back. I promise.” He grinned at Roger and then stroked his face, tears in his eyes, kissing him gently. Roger turned it into a more needy kiss. “I love you”.
With a final look back at Roger, Brian touched the biggest stone in the centre and disappeared.
Looking around he spotted his mother lying not too far away. “Mama!” He rushed to her and helped to pick her up. “Are we here?” He looked around for any sign of Roger and, upon finding none, realised that it must have worked. “So. To Lallybroch?” He put out his elbow, which Claire took readily.
And they started back on the road.