Descending the stairs Brian saw Lord John and went bright red at the memory of dreaming about him the previous night. John stood up when he saw him.
“Good morning, Brian.” John was breathing heavily, just from standing. “I trust you had a restful night.” Brian nods.
“Yes, thank you Lord John. I slept like a log.” Brian smiled at the Lord. “What about you, did you sleep well?”
Lord John looked down and chuckled. “I did. Not quite slept like a log but I slept without waking in the night.”
Brian grinned and sat down, his aunt put a plate of bannocks and some honey in front of him, “Thank you auntie Jenny.” he poured the honey over the bannocks and ate happily.
“What are you doing today, Brian?” Claire sat at her son’s side.
“I’m going to work with dad again today. I love working the stables.” He grinned, John grinned back at him.
“Well today you’ll have a new horse.” he grinned, “mine.” Brian’s breath hitched a little, he closed his eyes and tried to calm back down, hearing John say ‘mine’ made him think of John saying it about him.
John looked concerned but Brian opened his eyes and stared at him, “I’m sorry, came over all funny there.” He chuckled nervously, “Lucky I didn’t faint, really. But I will do my best to look after your horse and return it to you in peak condition. Speaking of which I have to get going or else dad may tan my hide!” he laughed, of course he was joking, he even took his bannocks.
Jamie watched his son approaching the stables and saw he had a stack of bannocks in his hand, “Ye didna need to bring bannocks lad. I ate before I started.”
Brian looked shaken, “Oh, no dad. These are mine, I just brought them with me.” He let out a breath. “Can I ask you a question?”
Jamie looked at him, “Course ye can, what’s on yer mind my lad?” He pulled hay out of the trough and put it in Donas’ stall.
Brian closed his eyes, “When mama was in Boston with Frank, did you ever feel anything for anyone else?” Jamie turned to face Brian.
“What do ye mean by ‘feel anything’?” Jamie knew what Brian was going on about but he needed him to say it.
“Did you fall in love?” He looks up at Jamie, Jamie sighs. “I know. I really do love Roger but I haven’t been able to get John out of my head…” Brian sighs and puts the bannocks down, raking his hands through his red curls. “I hate myself for thinking about John this way, but the thing is...is that my feelings for Roger haven’t gone away...I, I want them both.”
“Lad! Ye canna have them both, one would probably kill the other to have ye…” He looks at Brian. “Dae ye ken if John wants ye as much as ye want him?” Brian nods. “Then they will kill each other. Men dinnae want tae share, they’d want ye all to themselves.” Brian looks down. “Ye’ll need tae decide who ye want in yer bed, lad. Lord John, or Roger.”
“I know, I know you’re right I just...here comes mom.” Brian prepared himself for his mother’s scolding.
“Brian James Henry Beauchamp Fraser!” Brian gritted his teeth, when his mother used his full name (and it wasn’t lost on him that she had dropped ‘Randall’) it meant he was in serious trouble. “I didn’t raise you to be rude to guests and to family, did I?” Brian shook his head, “So why did you just leave the table, obviously not finished as you took your bannocks with you, without being excused just to avoid Lord John?” Brian glanced to his father, “Don’t look to your father to help you, I want an answer.”
Brian shouted his answer, “Because I have feelings for him!”
Jamie looked around nervously but no one was around the stables, “Ah Dhia math, lad!” He said through gritted teeth, “ye cannae go around shouting that out. What if someone heard you!”
Brian had finally let his tears go, Claire stared at him, “What about Roger?”
Brian threw his head back, “Oh, I’m still in love with Roger, but I’m feeling things for Lord John and I don’t want to be feeling these things.” Claire pulled her son into her arms. He sobbed for a little while and then pulled back and looked at his mother. “I want to meet the rest of my family...the only one who isn’t here for me to meet...I want to go to France and see my sister’s grave.”
Jamie sucked in air through his teeth, “Of course ye should, lad.” He sighed, “Dae ye want us to accompany ye or go on yer own?”
“I don’t know where she’s buried, so I suppose you’d have to come with me.” Jamie went white, “You okay dad?” Jamie nodded.
“Just a little sea sickness, lad. But wi yer ma here I should be fine” He attempted to smile. “Also, seeing yer sister’s grave again...ye ken I havenae been there since yer ma and I said ‘goodbye’ tae Faith?”
Brian nods a little, “I know. But I need to see her grave myself…”
Jamie nodded and promised that they would be on the next boat to France.
On the way to France, Jamie’s stomach lurched violently as a wave tossed the boat. It wasn’t a particularly big wave nor had the boat been tossed violently but his stomach reacted the same as it ever did. Turns out Brian had inherited his father’s sea sickness, Claire sighed and made a vat of ginger tea for the father and son who were both hanging over the side of the boat. This was going to be an interesting few days voyage.
In Paris, Jamie grabbed Claire’s hand and squeezed it gently. “Ye alright, Sassanach?” Claire nodded, “I ken ye didnae want to return here after we lost Faith but we have our lad. That’s something good to associate with Paris, aye?”
“Yes, but I’d have loved to bring them both to Paris and watch them grow up together.” Claire wiped her eyes.
Jamie and Claire watched as Brian went over to a flower seller and bought a posy. The woman asked if it was for his paramour, Brian responded “My sister.”
“Come lad, let’s go and say hello to Faith.” At l’hopital de Anges the little family stood around the grave of one Faith Fraser, died 1744, “hello, lass. It’s yer da, and yer mam. We’re here because we have someone to introduce to ye, lass.” He bent down and touched the plaque gently. “Da’s sorry he hasna been visiting, but he’s here now.” Claire’s eyes filled with tears and Brian wrapped his arm around her,
“And mama’s here, now. You’re surrounded by family, my girl.”
Brian stepped forward and knelt down next to his father, “This is someone verra special tae yer ma and me. This is yer wee brother, mo nighean.” He clapped Brian on the back and Brian put the posy on the ground, next to the spoon his parents had left almost 20 years previously, on the plaque.
“Hey Faith, It’s your little brother...Though if you could see me you’d think I wasn’t so little.” He smiled, Claire joined them on the ground, Jamie’s hands snaked around both their waists as he held his family close. “I’m sorry I didn’t come and see you before, I guess I was just too far away. But I’m here now, and I brought you this posy. I don’t know if you’d like posies but I saw it and I couldn’t resist.” He reached into his pocket and pulled out something else, a small wooden toy cart, he placed it on the grave. “I thought you might like a toy of your very own, to play with.” he wiped his eyes and heard his mother. “I promise I’ll come back to visit you, and next time I’ll get da to make you a little wooden horse to go with the cart, then you can really play.” Jamie laughed through the tears. “I think that was da saying ‘of course he’d do it’. It was really nice to finally visit you, “he pressed a kiss to his hand and then touched the top of the plaque, “Sleep tight, Faith.” He finally broke down and the three of them stayed like that for an hour and a half until all their tears were spent.
At Jarod’s house where they were to spend the night Brian was in his nightshirt and rubbing his eyes, “Today took it out of ye did it, lad?” Brian nodded sleepily and was enveloped in a hug from his father, “Go tae bed, after giving yer ma a hug goodnight.”
Brian pulled his mother into a hug and kissed her cheek, “‘night, mama…” and with that, he retired to bed.
“It did him good to see where Faith lies, today.” Claire walked over and fell into her husband’s arms.
“It did us all good, Sassanach.” Jamie grinned and kissed the top of her head. She yawned, trying to stifle it behind her hand. Jamie immediately picked her up bridal style and carried her to their bedroom. “Bed fer ye too I think.” He chuckled and tucked them both into bed and fell asleep as soon as his head hit the pillow.