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Brian, your grandfather, your legacy

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Brian Randall put product into his hair, he had a date and was so nervous. The lucky lady really liked him but if he let his true feelings be known he'd be thrown in jail and lose his job, at best. He'd be a pariah and he'd also be beaten in the streets. It wasn't the done thing to love who Brian loved...other men. He sighed and looked at his reflection, it was 1966, and he doubted anyone would accept his sexuality.

He had told his mother of course but Frank? Frank would never accept him. Frank barely looked at him and, if he was honest, Brian couldn't blame him. Brian looked nothing like either Frank or his mother. Whoever he looked like Frank had hated him, or her.

Giving his mother one last kiss on the cheek he went out to pick up the girl in his car. Frank had set this up. The girl was a student of his that had gone on to do her Phd, what was her name again? Candy? No, Sandy.

As Brian pulled up at her house he pulled the corsage out of his glovebox, at Frank's insistence, like he was at the prom again and taking Jenny Wilson again. That had been an uncomfortable night where she had expected prom-night-sex. To her credit, Sandy came out looking disinterested, she wouldn't be expecting sex tonight then. He smiled and handed her the corsage. "Shall we?" He opened the door for her and helped her inside. He remembered Frank's words: 'be a gentleman. The lady is special, treat her as such.' he sighed and spotted a cute guy across the street, smiling he got in the driver's side and pulled away.

"So really, I had no idea what to do after school and figured I'd go into history. Family and all that. But to be perfectly honest it bored me. So I changed Majors and did art instead." Brian sighed, she had asked about his university career and he'd just finished and she sat looking for the exit. "I want to ask you a question, and I want you to be honest with me. In return, you can ask any question you like and I'll do the same for you, deal?" She nodded so Brian continued, "Did you really want to come on a date with me?"

Sandy shook her head. "Your dad told me about you and suggested a date would suit us both...honesty, right?" Brian nodded. "I've kinda been seeing your dad for a few years, I am older than you after all, and I really do like him."

Brian frowned. "Frank's cheating on my mom?" he plowed a hand into his auburn hair. "wait. I recognise you...mom's graduation." He scoffs. "you turned up to pick up dad and we all left for the restaurant early..." tears pricked his eyes. "So he set us up, knowing full well he was seeing you. Why?"

Sandy shrugged, "I don't know. I didn't mean to hurt you."

"You haven't, honestly. I'm not hurt, I came here as a favour to Frank." Brian gulped. It was a half-truth but he couldn't tell her the whole truth as he didn't know how she would react. "I think I should drive you home. And go home myself." Ever the gentleman he picked up the check 

In the car, Sandy looked at him "you said I could ask you any question I like and you'd be completely honest, right?" He nodded, suddenly regretting it. "Are you mad with your dad, for me?"

Brian blanched, he wasn't expecting that "well, yeah. I am. He's cheating on my mom and I don't know if she knows...god knows they've not been the best of lovers but I didn't think he was like that...like, other men."

Sandy looked at him. "You don't call him dad, why?"

Brian smiled at her, "one question. Unless you wanna be honest with me again." She looked at him, yes she was. "Okay, are you in love with Frank?"

She looked down, "Yes. I have been for a long time." she smiled again, "your turn. Same question as I asked..."

Brian pursed his lips. "I don't look like him, he doesn't treat me like a son. Take your pick. He's Frank and I can't call him 'dad'. I mean physically can't, it hurts to." He pulled up at her place and opened the door for her and took her hand. "Have a good evening Sandy. Thank you for being honest."

Driving home he was furious with Frank, if he didn't love mom he should do the decent thing and divorce her. He slammed the door closed on his arrival home.

"You're home early." It was his mother's voice but Frank was the only face he was focusing on.

"next time you want to set me up, don't set me up with your girlfriend." Brian was furious and he barely acknowledged that his mother was behind him, putting a hand on his arm. "I know mama knows but you really didn't have to set it up for me to know too." He shakes off Claire's hand on his arm and grabs Frank's collar. "If you don't love mama anymore you should do the decent thing and leave her, not set up your son on blind dates with a woman who's in love with you." he lets go of Frank and storms upstairs, slamming his door closed. Tears prick at his eyes, if he had an opportunity to be with someone he loved, truly loved, he wouldn't hesitate. He could hear the sounds of Frank and his mother's voices drift up from downstairs. She was crying and damn him, Brian had caused it. 

The next day Brian went down for breakfast and saw only his mother there, "no work today?"

"No. I called and told them I'd need some compassionate leave. Frank walked out last night. Turns out he wanted you to go on that date to truly hurt you and by extension me." Claire's arms folded across her chest. Damn it, he hated Frank for that. Brian pulled his mother close.

"It's alright mom. We've coped all these years without him emotionally it won't take a lot to adjust to him not being here physically." he smiled at her. The phone rang. "I'll get it." He picked up the receiver. "Randall residence...Joe, how nice to hear from you! Do you want to talk to ma...he was...he did...okay I'll tell her...Thanks for calling to tell us, bye Joe." replacing the receiver on the cradle Brian returned to the kitchen. "Mama sit down."

"The sausages are still cooking, I don't want them to burn." As he took the pan off the heat she looked at him, he looked worried. "What is it?"

"Sit down mama."

"Please, tell me, Brian. You're scaring me." Brian physically moved his mother to sit in a chair.

"Frank was in an accident last night. He was taken to the hospital and Joe did everything he could to try and save him...but he couldn't...mama, he's dead." Claire put her head in her hands and let out a sob, at this Brian held his mother close. Damn the bastard, he's managed to hurt her one last time before he passed away. "He walked out mama, you don't owe him anything..."

"Stop that, Brian. He may have not loved you like a son but he raised you." the tear tracks are visible on her cheeks. "I'll be forever grateful that he took you on despite you not being his..."

"What? Well, I suppose that explains that feeling I've always had..." Brian looked at his mother. "So you wanna tell me the story of my real father?"

Chapter Text

As he sat across from Claire she couldn’t help but think how much she looked like Jamie, his hair, his eyes, his height. And now he wanted to know about him. This was Claire’s dream come true.

 

“So. what was my dad like?” she frowned, not knowing where to start. “What did he look like? Did he look like me?”

 

Claire nods, happy to have a starting point, “he did, my love. Especially now, with your hair, height, eyes. You are the mirror image of Jamie at that age.”

 

“Jamie…” he drifted off. “That was his name?”

 

“James Alexander Malcolm MacKenzie Fraser. And I was proud to wear the name ‘Fraser’. It felt right to me.” her heart swelled to see her son smile, God. He really was Jamie’s double.

 

“When I met him I was lost...I’d been in Scotland with Frank and then suddenly found myself in a hut just outside Inverness and your father was there.” she smiled at the memory. “You look just like him at that age, when I first met him. He had a dislocated shoulder and his friends were about to force it back in place...until I stepped in…” Brian laughed.

 

“I always knew you couldn’t resist a man injured. And you couldn’t resist an opportunity to help someone.” he looked at her, asking for more.

 

“After I helped him he and his friends took me to his uncle’s castle...that was where we fell in love...truly. He married me about 2 months after that and we returned back to his home, with his sister and her husband and her children…”

 

“I have cousins?” Brian grinned. “Never had cousins before. That’ll be new.” Claire looked down.

 

“We eventually went to Paris to help his cousin with a wine business...it’s there that your sister is buried…” Tears pricked at Claire’s eyes and Brian grabbed her hands. “After that I couldn’t stay there...so we came home…and then came the battle of Culloden…”

 

“Mom, be serious!” Brian smirked.

 

“I am, your father died in the battle of Culloden in 1745...he sent me back to Frank so you’d have a better life...and a father…” Brian scoffed.

 

“I didn’t have a father. He treated me like I was an inconvenience, not a joy.” Brian was furious at Jamie now.

 

“Jamie didn’t know that. Please don’t be angry with him...he did what he thought was best…”

 

“The best? That would’ve been to let you go back to his sister and let me grow up with family...a real family!” Claire sighed. “Mama, I’m just saying...maybe that would have been easier…” He put his head in his hands. ”I don’t want to hear anymore... I don’t want to know anything more about him.”

 

Claire sighed and started to cry again. Brian stood up and walked out of the kitchen. The last thing Claire heard was the door as her son closed the door behind him.

 

It had been two weeks since Frank’s funeral, boy that had been an...interesting affair.

 

Flashback

 

Claire sat in the family row of Frank’s funeral, Brian had a hand on hers and was holding it tight.

 

“Frank would hate all of this...all this fuss…” An American voice behind them noted. Caire turned in her seat and saw Sandy glaring at her pointedly.

 

“Friend of Frank’s?” Brian shook his head at Sandy, not wanting a scene but also not wanting to let this go on. Sandy moved to sit at the empty seat next to Claire.

 

“You should’ve let him go...from when I first saw you at the house I wanted you to kick him out...send him to me...but you held on. And now I can’t have him ever again, and it’s all your fault!” Sandy’s eyes had started welling up.

 

“If you must know, I gave Frank the option to go when I first saw you...but he said he wouldn’t give me the satisfaction...so he had the option and didn’t choose you…” Brian squeezed his mother’s hand to keep her calm.

 

“Go back to your seat Sandy. You’re making a fool of yourself.” He addressed the woman who had loved Frank. She did as she was told but not without starting to sob.

 

A Scottish brogue broke through the sea of English and American accents. “Claire, I’m verra sorry to hear about Frank.”

 

“Reverend Wakefield, and Roger. How lovely of you to attend. I know Frank would have appreciated it.” She said that last part a bit too loud, obviously hoping Sandy would hear her. Brian sighed and looked up.

 

He saw a white-haired gentleman in a dog collar and then he saw the most beautiful brown eyes he’s ever seen and they were attached to an even more handsome face. His breath hitched a little and he saw the other man’s breath hitch as well. “You must be Roger.” Roger nodded and then looked down, trying to control his smile. Good, Brian wouldn’t be beat up if he made a move. “It’s nice to finally meet the Wakefields. Frank was always talking about you.” The reverend was a little shocked to hear Brian refer to Frank by his given name but he didn’t show it too much.

 

End Flashback

 

Brian hadn’t been able to get Roger out of his head, they’d kissed at the wake: in the kitchen and with no one else around, and he could still feel the softness of his lips on his. He could still feel the tiny scratches his beard made on his chin and upper lip.

 

Of course Claire noticed his dreamy look and grinned. He looked exactly like Jamie had on their wedding day and Claire was ecstatic that he was in love. “I was thinking we could go to Scotland on holiday, darling. What do you think?” Brian’s heart leaped in his chest at the prospect of seeing Roger again. “You should know where you come from really.”

 

“I’d love it. We should go and see the Wakefields again…” he tried not to look too excited but eventually looked at his mother. “Is this how My father felt when he met you?”

 

Claire nods. “Yes, in fact, he looked just like you do now on our wedding day. He was so full of love.” Brian sighed.

 

“Tell me more about my sister...how old was she when she died? What was her name? What did she look like?” Roger was a good influence and he wasn’t as angry at Jamie anymore.

 

“Faith...Faith Fraser. She was born dead.” Claire’s heart ached. “She had red hair, same as you, though we don’t know if it would’ve stayed that way.” Claire wiped her eyes. “Her lungs couldn’t cope with being out of the womb but apart from that she was perfect...ten toes, ten fingers, two eyes, two ears, a nose, and a mouth...she was beautiful...I miss her all the time…”

 

Brian pulled his mother close. “I’m sorry mama, I’ve been hurting you a lot recently haven’t I?”

 

Claire shook her head, “No, Brian. Don’t you dare say that. I don’t think I could’ve gotten through the last few weeks if not for you.”  The tiny family sat like that for a few hours.

 

“Do you think I could travel? Like you did?” Claire looked at Brian. “I know you said my father died at Culloden but…” he took a deep breath. “I’d like to see if I could find my other family. My aunt and uncle and cousins...some connection other than you.” he smiled sadly.

 

“I don’t know.” she answered his sincere question with absolute honesty. “It’s possible, and your auntie Jenny and uncle Ian would be delighted to know about you, God knows I couldn’t tell them about you, although with your resemblance to your father Jenny might just faint on impact…” she laughed a little.

 

“I want to try. Is that okay mama?” he looked at her, worried she’ll think he doesn’t appreciate all she had done for him in his life.

 

“It’s fine. You’re 18 anyway, you don’t need mummy’s permission.” She laughed.

 

“No, but I wanna ask you to show you some respect.” He grinned at her. “I’m excited for Scotland now, and now it’s not just because of Roger.” They both laughed and started to plan their Scotland trip.

Chapter Text

Dear Roger,

You don't know how much I miss you, I wish I could see you right now. But neither of us will have to wait for long. Mama and I are coming to Inverness for a vacation. I hope we'll get to see you while we're here. I'm also looking forward to getting to know the country the man I love calls home. 

I also have news on my family that you may be able to help with; mama told me that a relative of mine died in the Battle of Culloden in 1745. I was wondering if you would help me find out more about him, please? His name was James Alexander Malcolm MacKenzie Fraser, he was around 25 and he was born in a place called Broch Morda in a house called Lallybroch. I'd like to know more about him. If you need any more information I know he had a sister called Janet, known as Jenny to her friends and neighbours. 

I'm only asking you because you're a historian. Otherwise, this letter would be taking a very different tone right now. 

I'll see you soon and my lips will be on yours soon...you can show me how much you missed me too.

All my love,

Brian James Randall.

 

 

 

 

My Dear Brian,

I think I do know how much you missed me because I'd guess it's the same amount as I missed you too. You also have no idea how much I'm looking forward to you visiting me. And don't worry about that, I make an excellent tour guide.

This is an excellent opportunity, hopefully when you arrive that I'll have information. I don't know if I'll find too much on James so I'll go through Janet. There wasn't too much on soldiers fighting at Culloden. Records were getting scant by the end so I don't know how much I'll find on him. But we can talk about that when you arrive. 

I've been instructed to tell you to tell your mother not to book a hotel as my father intends to have you stay with us. I'll try not to look too excited. I'm not 'out' to him yet, so I don't want to give it away. I don't think a man who believes "A man who lies with another man should be stoned" would take kindly to my being queer. But know that I am excited about the prospect of having you sleeping under the same roof as me.

I'll see you soon, hurry my darling.

Roger Mackenzie Wakefield

 

 

As Brian read the words he sighed, he couldn't imagine not being out to his mother, Frank be hanged it was all about being honest with his mother, and his heart ached to read the pain of his beloved. But they would soon see each other and they need not be secret on their own.

Chapter Text

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.

“To Lallybroch.”

And they started back on the road.

Chapter Text

Brian entered the courtyard of Lallybroch first. Jenny was tending to the herb garden that Claire had left behind but frowned as she turned around.

“How’d ye get changed and downstairs so quick, brother?” Okay, so she obviously thought Brian was Jamie.

“I’m not Jamie, Aunt Jenny…” he smiled, she’d clearly noted his American lilt. “I’m Claire’s son...Brian...Jamie’s my dad…” Jenny was staring behind him now, to a ghost she knew all too well.

“Hi Jenny…” Claire attempted to smile at her sister-in-law, just then the door burst open and Jamie ran out to Claire.

“Claire! A dhia! Yer back!” He kissed her, deep and needy. How he had felt since that day he put her through the stones bleeding through onto her lips.

“Darling, I’d like to introduce you to your son...Brian…” Claire gestured to the handsome lad who looked like Jamie.

Jamie beamed with pride, his son not only looked just like him but was strapping to boot. “Aye, my lad.” He hugged Brian close. “ Our lad.” He corrected himself. They stood like that for a while until Jamie heard a sob come from his son. “What is it, lad?”

Brian furiously wiped his eyes, “I’m sorry, it’s just. I’ve never had this with a father figure before.” Jamie frowned, surely Frank would’ve taken care of Brian. “I mean, Frank, he would never just hold me like that…” he sniffed, “I’ve never really felt safe like that before…”

Jamie’s jaw clenched, he suddenly hated Frank, he’d sent them both back so they’d be safe and the bastard made his son feel unsafe...noticing his fist curl Jenny cut in.

“I’d imagine yer both famished from yer journey. Why don’t ye go inside and I’ll find Mrs McNab to make you something?” Claire smiled and Brian nodded.

“Mrs McNab? What happened to Mrs Crook?” Claire moved in, Brian following her and Jamie and Jenny at their back.

“We lost her some years ago and Mary McNab took over. We’re verra grateful.” Jenny takes in Brian properly, “Ye canna deny he’s Jamie’s right enough…” She looks at Claire, “This Frank, was he…”

“My husband for the past 18 years? Yes. I thought Jamie was dead and I was pregnant so I took another husband.” She looks at her son. “He couldn’t help how much he looked like his father but Frank forbid me from ever telling him about Jamie, or where he really came from.” Jenny nods. “Not that I wasn’t grateful to him for supporting me through my pregnancy, and then financially supporting me and Brian...not that he was really a father…”

Jenny watches her brother and her nephew. “He looks like he didna ha’ any trouble finding work though. Anyone woulda been lucky to have him.”

Claire smiles. “He was working when I found out Jamie was still alive, I mean he had a job. At a livery...I mean stables...near where we lived in Boston.” Jenny couldn’t help but smile. “I visited him at work once, to give him some lunch, he reminded me so much of Jamie I nearly fainted. Now seeing them side by side…” Claire’s heart burst with pride.

Jenny smiled “That’s funny, never meeting but he takes after his father so much. Down to the work he got.”

While the women went into the kitchen to talk to Mary McNab the boys decided to catch up. “So, Frank wasna the man I believed him to be?”

Brian shook his head, “I think he might have been, before mama disappeared but when she came back pregnant, in love with someone else, and scared of him he might have changed a little….” He chuckled slightly, “There was a gouge in our bookcase at home and when I was 10 I asked mama about it...apparently, they had an argument the day I was born and she threw an ashtray at him, he ducked and it hit the bookcase…” Jamie let out a barking laugh.

“Aye, sounds like yer ma.” He laughed for a good 10 minutes before calming down enough. “I had to dodge my fair share of crockery in my time wi yer ma afore I sent her home. Like the second week of our marriage…” Looking at his son he saw the invitation to tell him the story. “Och, ‘twas silly. I had told her to stay put and she had went for a walk where she was caught by redcoats, had to break her out of Fort William, anyway when we got back to the tavern we were staying at I had to punish Claire for putting us all in danger; most of all herself. And, she didna make my task easy, let me tell ye. Threw various trinkets and crockery at me, screamed, fought, tried to break my nose…” He saw his son look down.

“Punished, how? Cause Frank would sometimes slap me if I did something wrong...or even if it wasn’t serious…” Jamie frowned, Frank had hit his lad? He supposed he was the boy’s father for 18 years and had a right.

“A skelping….wi ma belt. I’d felt it meself, wi ma faither ye ken?” Jamie laid a hand on his son’s shoulder. “What dae ye mean ‘no’ serious’?”

Brian took a steadying breath, “If I spilled milk at dinner, he’d slap me...if I made too much noise while he had guests I’d get pulled by my ear and then have the same ear slapped...once I remember asking a question when I was 6 and him slapping me and telling me not to ever question him again.” Brian had tensed up when he was recounting the tales.

“And Claire?” Jamie couldn’t believe that Claire would step back.

“Mama always defended me, and he did raise a hand to her once. That one time was when I’d questioned him. She got in between us as usual and his hand, this time a fist, came down on her face. They’d argued about that, I heard. Mama told him if he ever did that to her, or me, again it would be the last thing he ever did...he always hit me when she was away after that…” He hadn’t realised Jamie had pulled him into a hug.

“Ah Dhia, lad. Nae wonder ye didna feel safe wi Frank. I’ll protect ye. I’m sorry I ever sent ye back to that man...I shoulda sent ye back here...at least ye’d have been safe from physical harm…” Brian smiled.

“I understand your reasoning...even in the 1960s a woman unmarried and pregnant is a social taboo…”

They stayed like that until Claire and Jenny came in with some lunch of bread and cheese with some ale.

“Hogmanay tonight. And Lallybroch will be jumping.” Jenny smiled. “Have ye ever experienced a  Scottish Hogmanay?” Brian shook his head, “then ye’ll have a lotta firsts this year…”

Jenny smiled at the father and son pairing. “Brian, why don’t you tell yer da what it was ye did fur work in Boston.”

Brian grinned, “I’ve been working at a stables since I was 16.”

Jamie smiled and slapped him on the back, “Good lad. When ye get settled in ye can help me wi the horses in the stables. I could do wi getting to properly know ye.”

At the party Claire helped Jenny decorate, with Jamie and Brian reaching up to the top of the ceiling to decorate the whole room. As the door went Brian answered. Laoghaire MacKenzie’s jaw dropped, “Jamie? Ye havna changed since Leoch…”

“Ah!” Brian’s American accent broke Laoghaire’s fantasy, “You’re mixing me up with my dad…” He smiled warmly at her and her daughters, Marsali and Joan, “Not to worry, even Aunt Jenny did that this afternoon.”

Leading her in he saw his mother’s jaw clench. And his father’s arm snake protectively around her waist. “Laoghaire, I see you’ve grown. How are you?”

“Verra well mistress...I have two bairns of my own now, Marsali and Joan...and it’s mistress McKimmie now.” Laoghaire hated seeing that Claire had won, with a son to him there was no way she or anyone else would take Jamie’s heart. “I see you have a boy, Brian he was telling me his name is, strapping young lad. Awful like Jamie he is.”

“Yes, he is. Marsali is your double...if you don’t mind me saying...very sweet and trusting.”

“I just hope she disna get hurt by her first crush as I did…” Claire nodded. Laoghaire’s broken heart had almost led to her death. No one wanted a repeat of that feat.

Chatting with the tenants who had come, feasting, dancing, and laughing had been their lot on New Years Eve and when the bells chimed to signal a new year Claire brought Jamie’s mouth to hers and they kissed in the new year.

Brian was drunk and tired by the time 1 am approached and so retired to his bed to dream of Roger and a boy with flaming red hair and chocolate coloured eyes...their boy...how he wished it could be so and put a hand on his abdomen. He fell asleep, snoring heavily.

Chapter Text

Jamie looked at Claire as he got ready for bed, “Brian told me about what Frank did tae him. Did he truly beat my son for everything he did, even down tae asking questions?” Claire nodded,

“He did...I couldn’t stand seeing it and often got in the way…”

“And when he couldna stand ye bein in the way?”

“He hit me...with his fist. But I told him if he ever did that to me or Brian again I’d gut him like a fish and he never did…” Claire frowned. Jamie sighed and looked away before looking up at her again. “Or at least not me...what did Brian tell you?”

“He waited till ye had gone tae yer work. Then he beat the lad, sometimes open palm, sometimes fist...sometimes just shouting at the lad was enough to have him wetting himsel wi fear.” Claire looked down. “I suspect he didna tell ye for fear ye’d get hurt yersel…”

“Oh God. If I’d never went to work, he’d have never hit him...I can’t believe it…” Jamie hugged her close. “N-no wonder he always wanted to come with me to see the hospital…” Claire was sobbing now. Jamie held her close and shushed her.

“Dinna fash yersel, Sassanach. Yer no tae blame. If anyone’s tae blame it’s Frank fer lifting his hand to my son and if he were living I’d kill him all over again!” Jamie kissed the top of her head. “I love ye both, and if I coulda found ye through the stones I woulda.”

“I know, but if I hadn’t been at work all the time I might have been able to stop him abusing our son…”

“Claire, you know as well as I do that if ye couldna practice yer healing ye’d be lost.” he kissed the top of her head. “Dinna blame yerself fer something Frank did.”

Claire frowned, “when I told Frank I was pregnant and it was yours he...he got very violent…” Jamie looked furious, “not with me, with the Reverend Wakefield’s shed...apparently Mrs Graham went there to survey the damage and he’d destroyed nearly everything…” she sighed.

“Claire, ye ken none of this was yer fault, don’t ye? Ye couldna ha predicted how he’d react to his wife being wi another man’s child, nor that child looking so much like his faither that his own Aunt couldna tell the difference. Ye ken that, aye?” Claire nodded.

“On some level I suppose I knew. Nothing to be done about it now. But Brian will get to know what it’s like to have a father’s love…”

“If he can stand to hear my voice in the morning...he didna have that much whiskey, did he?” Claire shook her head.

“That was his first time drinking alcohol. The legal drinking age in Boston is 21 and Brian is only 18.” Claire giggled, “so he will likely be very hungover in the morning.” It was Jamie’s turn to chuckle.

“And will ye offer him ‘hair of the dog’ or the whole hound?”

“Neither. He’ll need food and maybe a drink of coffee...or tea...and then he can go and help in the stables. The fresh January air might do him some good.”

“As usual yer right, Sassanach. If ye’ll excuse me I need to go and see Jenny.” He makes to leave and then sees Claire’s quirked eyebrow. “Hogmanay tradition amongst us, Sassanach, called ‘first footing’. Jenny and I tend to do it to each other’s rooms. Brings luck for the coming year.” he pulled some wrapped figs out of his pocket. “And if ye go empty handed ye’ll bring the house bad luck.” he smiled and went to go down the hall. He stopped briefly at Brian’s room where he heard something; it was Brian talking in his sleep. “Roger, I love you. Please wait for me to come home…” his talking turned to mumbling and Jamie continued his path to Jenny and Ian’s room.

He made a mental note to ask the lad about this in the morning.

Chapter Text

Brian woke up with the worst hangover he’d ever known, granted it was his first time drinking the night before but he had never felt this level of nausea or headache before.

“Mama?” He looks around the house, his mother has to to be around here somewhere. All he sees is Jenny up with the kids. “Good morning, Aunt Jenny…” he lets out a breath and puts his head in his hands.

“Good morning lad. Take it yer feeling the after effects of yer whiskey consumption last night?” Brian nods. “I’ll make ye a bowl a parritch to help wi the sickness.”

As Brian sits eating his bowl of porridge his parents come down, laughing loudly “Mama, daddy, can you not be so loud?” Jamie raises an eyebrow and looks to his sister.

“Too much Whiskey last night lad?” He chuckles. “Ye’re a man now.” He slaps him on his back.

“Dad, no offense, but I want to go back to being a little boy…” he chuckles and eats more of his porridge. “I can’t stand porridge normally but this is delicious…”

Jenny chuckled and Claire nodded, “Scottish oats are the best for porridge.” She grinned and looked at Jamie, who seemed as equally amused by their son’s first hangover. “You’ve just been reared on American rubbish all your life...and full English fry-ups.” She grins at him and he grins back.

“So yer ma was thinking ye might want tae help wi the horses today.” Brian’s eyes went wide. “I ken yer no feeling too great, but ‘tis outdoor work and ye could use some fresh air, lad.” Brian thinks about it a little, then nods. “Then ‘tis settled, ye’ll help me out wi the horses.” Jamie went back to eating his bannocks.

Brian stared at the bannocks. “I didn’t know the Scots made pancakes…” Jenny looked at him, “I mean, that’s like something my friends’ moms used to make for us when we had sleepovers. They were called pancakes.”

“Bannocks, they’re called lad.” Jenny smiles. “Would ye like some?” Brian nods.

“Do you have honey, or jelly?” His cheeks flushed a little. “I mean jam.” He smiled a little at his Aunt.

“We have honey, but a little.” Ian pipes up as he descends the stairs uneasily, Brian jumps up to help his uncle down the stairs.

“How did you sleep Uncle Ian?” Ian smiles at him, he didn’t need to ask, he knows that. But he wanted to be as normal with him as was humanly possible.

“Well enough, thank ye lad.” Ian smiled at Jenny as she brought a fresh pile of bannocks and a pot of honey.

“Thank you, Aunt Jenny.” Brian took some bannocks and added a dollop of honey. It tasted wonderful. He hummed happily, “A little taste of home…” he ate happily and then got dressed to help his father in the stables.

In the stables Brian was mucking out the stalls, his earlier task of exercising the horses having helped his nausea immensely, when he heard someone call out “Jamie” in an English accent. Since he was sure his father would be nearby he didn’t answer but the voice simply repeated itself.

“Jamie, why don’t you answer me?” Brian was forcibly turned to look upon the visage of Lord John Grey.

“Oh, I’m sorry, I’m Jamie’s son. Brian Fraser.” He smiled in what he hoped was a friendly gesture. “I thought my dad was about but apparently not…”

“Of course. You look like your father when I first met him. I was 16, attempted to kill him but in those days there was a war raging…” Brian chuckled. “He spared me, my brother spared him and finally we became friends…”

John’s stomach had been in knots ever since he saw Brian, that smile made him melt and tell him the story of how he met Jamie. “But where are my manners? You’ve told me your name but I have neglected to tell you mine. Lord William John Grey, most people call me John or Lord John. you may also.” There was that beautiful smile again, good God man get a grip.

“Well then Lord John, let me take you up to the house. Likely my father is up there.” Brian wasn’t sure but he felt like Lord John was like him…

Sure enough Jamie was up at Lallybroch. “Have ye finished so soon lad? I was fetching us food…” he smiled when he saw his friend come up behind Brian. “John.” he moved and embraced him. From what Brian could see he was right, Lord John held his father a little closer than other straight men would have. “Brian, John was my parole officer while I was at Helwater.”

“Oh, then welcome to Lallybroch.” Jamie smiled to see the reaction on Brian’s face.

“Jenny will look after ye while Brian and I finish tending to the horses. We will join ye for dinner.” John smiles and watches the father and son pair go back to the stables with a basket of fresh bread and sighed, both of them he wanted and could have neither of them.

Jamie sat with his son in the paddock and ate their fresh bread and cheese in silence. Then Jamie spoke up; “I was going to Jenny’s room last night when I passed yer room door, I couldna help overhearing ye talk in yer sleep.” Brian tensed up a little. “Who is Roger? Ye said ye loved him.”

Brian started breathing heavily, “Please don’t ask me that…” his eyes were wet with tears. “Please, dad.”

Jamie’s eyes were suddenly full of concern. “Lad, dinna fash yersel. I’m no’ asking cause I’m angry, I’m askin’ cause I’m curious.” he smiled at his son. “It’s different in yer time, eh? That kind of thing is no’ so wrong, is it?”

“You can’t be executed, but it’s still illegal. Roger and I need to be careful but...we’re as in love as you and mom…” he smiled at his father, it’s an uneasy one but it’s a smile. “We have to sneak around, if anyone were to report us we could be jailed, lose our jobs, and be beaten in the streets. And those are the best case scenarios. Someone could easily take a length of rope and hang us both…” Jamie gulped. “Still, not as bad as here I suppose.” he smiles sadly. “I dreamed of him last night. We were at home, fire roaring...a baby on the floor...I know it’s impossible but, I want to happen.”

Jamie smiled at him, “Well God kens how much yer mother and I prayed for you after yer sister passed…” Brian let out a breathy laugh. “Lad, it could happen. Ye never know.” He took another bite out of his bread and cheese, “let’s finish the jobs and then we can get up to the house for some Steak Pie and potatoes.” he smiled at his son and they got the rest of the jobs done quickly and walked back to Lallybroch.

“Ah, ah!” Claire admonished them both, “Go wash up before supper…” She looked at her son, “You know the problems with dirt getting in your food.”

Brian smiled and went into the kitchen and washed his hands. Supper passed with minimal talk and then the small family sent Brian up to show Lord John to the guest bedroom.

As they stopped outside the room and Brian smiled at Lord John, good God, how does one small gesture make that man’s insides go to jelly? “I know, Lord John...and it’s okay…” he looked down the corridor and back up, to make sure no one was watching and listening, “Roger...that’s my boyfriend’s name. He’s in Inverness…” Brian couldn’t tell him ‘and 200 years in the future’.

“Hector...my first love…” Brian smiles and nods. But John is disappointed as his brain tells him that since he has a boyfriend there’s no hope for them. Both Fraser men have his heart and, for different reasons, he can never have either of theirs.

Brian dreams again, but instead of just having Roger in his dreams, both of them are in his dreams. This friendship with Lord John is going to be interesting.

Chapter Text

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.

Chapter Text

The Fraser clan were back on Scottish soil. “I’m not traveling by boat for a long while.” Brian was still looking a little green around the gills despite being back for almost a week now.

“I’ll agree wi ye there, lad. Nae mare boats fer a long time now.” Jamie had been picking at his breakfast for about an hour now.

Claire sighed in exasperation, “Can you both get out from under my feet please? I’ll have to dry and grind herbs and I’d rather not have you two puking in them as you merely think about a sea voyage. Go on, shoo.” She waved her hands in their faces and made them get up and move out of the living room.

“I can’t face the stables today.” Brian complained to his father. “Isn’t John staying longer?” Jamie nodded at him.

“Aye, he extended his stay…” He smiled at Brian and looked at him, “Why don’t ye accompany him on a ride today?”

Brian frowned slightly, “What are you up to? You’ve never encouraged me to get to know John before.”

“Twice ye’ve called him ‘John’ now, before Paris ye’d always called him ‘Lord John’ so I’m thinking ye’ve changed how ye feel about him.” Jamie’s brow furrowed “I think ye may need to spend time wi him tae find out how ye’ve changed how you feel about him.”

Brian made a thoughtful face and then looked up to see Lord John William Grey, looking ready for a day of riding, and his heart skipped a beat. “You knew he wanted to go riding today, didn’t you?”

“Actually, I suggested it to him…”Jamie didn’t get any further in his explanation as John got to the bottom of the stairs and smiled at Brian.

“Are you ready, Brian?” Brian’s brow furrowed as John asked that of him, “Your father said you wanted to go riding today? Is that not the case?” Now John’s brow had furrowed.

Brian turned to look at his father, “No, it is the case. It’s just that I wasn’t expecting it to be in the morning. But if you’ll indulge me to get ready we can leave in around 30 minutes.” Brian smiled as John nodded and he ran upstairs to put on his riding clothes.

“I actually didnae tell the lad he should go riding wi ye until just there...he didna mean to go riding wi ye today.” John frowned.

“Then why did he say he did? I mean I don’t want to take him away from anything important…” He was cut off when Jamie put up his hand.

“He canna stomach a day in the stables today. So I suggested he goes riding wi ye…” Jamie sighed. “I dinna ken if I should tell ye this or he wants to but…” He hesitated like he was debating with himself. “He’s no too sure if he likes ye that way because of Roger but...I ken the way he’s feeling about ye is changing.”

John nods, “Do you believe I should tell him about Isobel? I mean I only just married her after you left Hellwater and...he deserves to know.” Jamie looked thoughtful.

“No’ until yer both sure…” Now it was Jamie’s turn to be interrupted.

“I’m sure how I feel. You used to dominate my every thought, waking and sleeping, and at first I thought it was just because he looked like you that my heart skipped a beat and I got nervous when he was around but lately you haven’t been anywhere near my thoughts. It’s all been Brian…” Jamie winced a little.

“I dinna want tae ken how ye felt...I want him to ken.” He licked his lips. “Ye need to confess yer feelings, and let him confess his own feelings. Then ye can deal wi other people in yer lives.” John nods knowing he’s right.

Brian descends the stairs in his riding clothes given to him as a Hogmanay gift by his father and John can hardly stop the loving look on his face. He hears Brian say something as if hearing it from under the water at the mill. “I’m sorry? Can you repeat that?” Brian chuckled.

“I said ‘are you ready to go?’” He smiled at him, “clearly you’re dressed to go, are you ready?” John merely nods, not trusting himself to speak. “Then lets go.”

“I’ll come wi ye’s. Tae get yer horses prepared.”

“I don’t have a horse, dad, you know that.”

“Ye have one now. I’ll lend ye mine while ye go riding.”

While in the thick of the surrounding forest John had started asking about Roger. “I met him at Frank’s funeral, his father was Frank’s friend and he came to Boston for the funeral, we kissed at the wake...in secret I mean. After that I truly couldn’t get him out of my head and…”he looked down and smiled at the memory. “Gave him my virginity. He was so gentle.”

John sighed dejectedly. “I’m sorry Brian. It’s just, um, I’m jealous.” Brian stopped the horse and motioned for him to get down, they’ll talk on the ground. “I’m jealous of Roger...he got your virginity and I...I want you. But I can never have you…” Brian opened his mouth to question his saying that. “It’s not because of Roger...it’s because of my wife.” John wouldn’t look at him. “Don’t you see? You deserve someone like Roger, who will have you and no one else…” “Do you know how I felt about you? How my heart skipped a beat? How I felt guilty about Roger everytime I dreamed about you? How I dreamed of all three of us? And a child, which is impossible as it is…” John cut off Brian’s rambling with a kiss. Brian kissed back for a little and then threw him off, “Have you even been listening?”

“You told me you dreamed about me...I just want to feel you under me…”

“I want that too. But I won’t be the other man! Frank cheated on my mom and I saw how she felt! I won’t do that to your wife...I won’t do that to Roger! It’s not worth it…” he was cut off by John pulling him close.

“If you don’t want to, we won’t. But I’m so glad you told me how you feel…” Brian looked up into John’s eyes and then leaned forward and met his lips. He pulled back as fast as he could

“I’m sorry if I’m sending you mixed signals but I...I need to go back to Lallybroch…” John nodded and helped him up on his father’s horse and they rode back in silence.

Jamie greeted them at the stables, “Lad, ye better get on up to the house. Ye’ve a visitor.” He arranged the horses in their proper stalls and walked Brian up to the house.

“Dad...I have a confession…” Jamie stopped and waited on his son talking. “I, uh, kissed John…” Jamie merely made a Scottish noise and then began walking again. “Did you hear what I said?”

“Aye, I heard ye. But I think ye should see yer visitor before ye make any declarations of feelings…”

Brian frowned and went inside the house. He stopped in his tracks when he saw who was at the table, “Roger!” Brian ran at him and threw himself into Roger’s outstretched arms, “What are you doing here? I thought you didn’t want to come here?”

“I’ve come to take ye home.” He grinned and Brian kissed him gently, John looked away. “We have made great strides in getting rights back home. Wi any luck in 3 or 4 years we wilnae need tae hide and…” He stopped as Brian took his hands and encountered the gold wedding band on his left finger. Brian looked at him, the hurt written all over his face.

“Why are you wearing a wedding band? You...you’re gay.” Brian threw Roger’s hands down and tried not to cry. “Please...don’t say…”

“I had tae take on a wife…” Brian couldn’t stop the tears now. “My father found our letters to each other...he was furious. I didnae want tae marry but he threatened to report me unless I married…” John looked at him, John was furious.

“If you have to tell me that at least me it wasn’t…” Brian looked at  Roger who looked down. “Jesus Christ on a bike, Roger! Fiona?! Anyone but her...anyone!” Brian ran upstairs, Roger made to follow but was stopped with Jamie’s hand to his chest.

“Gi’ him time, lad...he left you in Inverness and then all o’ a sudden ye turn up and yer merrit? He’ll find ye when ye wants ye.” And then Roger sat down.

As soon as Jamie and Claire left the room John crossed the room and grabbed Roger by his collar, “Brian doesn’t deserve this! You’ve broken his heart, do you know that? He gave you his virginity and this is how you repay him?”

“What’s it tae do wi you? I was forced…” Roger shakes off John, “And the way you talk about suggests you love him as much as I do…” Roger’s hands sit on his hips, “tell me I’m wrong. I dare ye!”

“Of course you’re not wrong. I’d have him in a heartbeat if he’d have me.”

“Ah! And yer single? A batchelor?” Roger was testing him now, John’s eyes narrowed.

“I didn’t take his virginity! And no I’m not!”

Roger nodded, tears forming in his eyes, “Boyfriend?”

“Wife…” He’s got John there and they both know it.

“Ah! I see...and how is your situation any different?”

“I was married when I met him…” Roger blinked back the tears, “and I didn’t take his virginity...that’s the worst about you’ve done…”

“I just think yer pissed off that I have his love and you, well, you have nothing.”

John looked at him, and by god he was going to feel this from Brian, “I kissed him and then he kissed me…”

“Yer lying!” John smirked, “yer lying ya filthy English bastard.” Roger was about to hit John when Jamie came back in. Roger instead raked a hand through his hair.

“Claire is talking tae Brian fer ye now, lad.” Roger let out a breathy laugh.

“Tell her thanks, but no’ tae bother...clearly I’m no longer welcome at this house by him.” Roger gathered his things, “I’ll no stay where I’m not wanted.”

“Lad…” But before he could ask Roger to stay and see Brian, he was gone.

“What have you done, John?”

Chapter Text

Brian came down, all full of the forgiveness he was ready to give to Roger. Except he found his dad and John tearing chunks out of each other verbally. As he approached he found out what they were saying; “Ye caused him tae run, John!”

“John never made me run away from Roger…”

“Nae lad, he caused Roger to run…” Brian frowned.

“Why?” Neither man felt like giving an explanation, “I’m asking both of you! Right now my boyfriend had walked away from me when he didn’t immediately own up to being married to his father’s fucking housekeeper and he has no reason to fucking walk away in a fit of anger, but I leave him alone with you…” he jabbed a finger in the direction of Lord John. “And suddenly he’s gone, just as I was ready to forgive him. So I will ask again: why did he leave?”

John sighed, “I may have overstepped my mark.” Brian arched an eyebrow, “in the sense that I scolded him for breaking your heart and then…” he hesitated, worried Brian would reject him, “I...I told him about our kiss…” Brian crossed the room and slapped John hard in the face.

“How. Dare. You?!” He was furious and Claire knew it. “You had no right! I was mad but I would’ve told him about it eventually. It wasn’t your place to say!” Brian paced a little then turned back to John, “For penance, you’ll lend me your horse so I can catch up to Roger.” John nods, he knows there’s no arguing with Brian.

A few minutes outside of Lallybroch he saw Roger sitting by the roadside. “Why aren’t you further down the road if you’re going home?”

Roger looked up and shrugged. “I got this far and then...why am I angry? I didn’t even admit to being married, you saw my wedding ring and I should’ve been the one to tell ye… “ Brian slid down the saddle and onto the ground.

“Yeah, you’ll have no argument from me...and I should’ve been allowed to decide when to tell you about the kiss…” Brian holds out his hand and Roger takes it and hauls himself onto his feet. “You want to walk back to Lallybroch? This is John’s horse...may be a bit hard for you to ride knowing that.” Roger merely nodded and they started walking, Brian holding the reins to the horse all the way.

When they got back Jamie and John were still arguing about them, and Brian cleared his throat.

“You found him then?” Brian looked at Roger in surprise and then back at John. “Yes, stupid question.” John takes a deep breath. “Well, I think that…” Brian put a hand up.

“You don’t get to tell us what to do. Roger and I will go upstairs and talk this out and then you can have your turn.” John nodded. “I’m so mad at both of you right now for two different reasons and we all need to talk this out.”

Not waiting for a reply he bounded up the stairs two at a time, just trusting Roger to follow.

“You shouldn’t have left.” He gets pissed off when Roger opened his mouth to argue. “No! You don’t get to speak until I have told you my piece! You don’t think I saw the way she looked at you when I was there? The only way I could deal with how she felt about you was to console myself with the fact that when we went to bed it was just the two of us but now that’s gone!” He’s holding back tears. “She’s got you, and the minute things get hard between us you run away…”

“I was running away from her...I didn’t want you knowing about her because you’d never come home with me…”

“I’m sorry, did I say I was finished and you could reply?” Roger shook his head. “No. So let me finish!” Roger shrank back. “Thank you!” He paced the floor. “You ran away...do you know what that said to me? It said to me that you don’t care. So what if I kissed John? I didn’t marry him and then turn up at your door and not tell you until you see the wedding ring on my hand.” He was trying to hurt Roger, and it was working. “You’ve turned into a rude, selfish, bastard!”

“Enough! I’ve had enough of you telling me what it made you feel, he didn’t tell me to hurt you, or even because he thought I should know. He told me because he’s in love wi ye! I know that look, it was the same one I saw in the mirror whenever I thought of you, what I need to know is how do you feel about him?” He put his hands on his hips.

“I don’t want to tell you that! You’re being unreasonable!” Brian sniffs and looks at Roger who just stands and stares at him. “Alright! I really like him. It hurt me to admit it, even to myself, and then I started to dream about all of us...all three of us with a family...and yes, I know that’s damn well impossible.” Roger pursed his lips.

“Can you forgive me fer not tellin ye I was married?” He made pleading hands and put them to his lips.

“I already did...that’s not the question you need to be asking.” Brian chewed on his bottom lip. “You can ask me what you need to…” Roger shakes his head. “If you can’t ask it then we’re done and you should go home to your wife.”

“I’m so sorry for running away. I shouldn’t have because I had no right to be upset, yer right, yer always right about that.” He looked up” Can ye ever forgive me?” Brian crossed his arms.

“Forgive you for what? For being a pompous ass?” Roger nods. “For being rude to me and to my father’s guest?” Again Roger nods. “For being selfish and only thinking about yourself? For being…”

“Let’s just say ‘all of it’.” Roger looks at him expectantly.

“I do. But I have a few stipulations first...you, me, and John sit down and talk about our feelings. And then if neither of you want to be with me then you can both go back to your wives and I will never bother either of you again.” Roger puts his hand on his cheek and Brian leans into him. “I love you enough to do that for you.”

John is sent up and walks in as Brian kisses Roger’s palm. “John, please sit down.” John sits on the bed and looks at both of them, “We all need to talk. Because I like you and we need to figure out what we are going to do about us. If you don’t want me you can go back to Isobel and I won’t bother you ever again…” He was cut off with John’s hand up.

“I want you, I burn for you...Lord knows I used to think it was related to my feelings for your father but recently I can’t stop thinking about you. I...oh god...I love you! Isobel be hanged, I love you!” Brian looked to Roger who nodded. “What?”

“John, we want to let you into our relationship. Roger’s going to stay here and let his wife file him as dead...but, um, I don’t know what you want to do about Isobel?”

“I can’t stay indefinitely.  I will have to go to Isobel at some point but I’d be happy to spend as much time with you as you will allow.” Roger smiles, he’s happy that he’ll have the longest time with Brian.

Brian grins and leaves to tell his parents it’s all sorted. John puts a hand on Roger’s chest, “I can’t tell Brian this but...it’s not just Isobel...it’s also William…” he closes his eyes as he realises how it sounds. “William is Isobel’s nephew whom she is raising after his mother’s death. I don’t want to tell Brian as William is...well he is his half-brother.” Roger frowns.

“And you wouldn’t want to tell Brian he has a half-brother because…?”

“It’s Jamie’s place to tell him when he’s ready. And I’ve already made Jamie angry enough. Any angrier and he might just run me through.” He smiled a little at Roger.

“Alright, I’ll keep yer secret, but I canna promise I willna talk to Jamie about it.” John frowns. “Tae get him tae talk tae Brian about it. Whatever happens to me, Brian needs to know that he has more family than he knows what to do with.” Roger smiles and then goes down and speaks to Brian.

That night Brian is sleeping sandwiched between Roger and John with Roger’s arms around his waist and John’s around his shoulders. Both men pull Brian to themselves, which pulls Brian into an uncomfortable ‘S’ shape. Pulled out of sleep, Brian wakes up both the other men, “Um, this is kind of uncomfortable.” After they let him go. “Please don’t do that again. If you do I’ll go and sleep elsewhere.”

All three men fell asleep again, in their sleep, both men instead pulled themselves closer to Brian's body. Brian had a contented smile on his face the rest of the night.

Chapter Text

Fergus walked up the path to Lallybroch and sighed. He and Marsali would have to let their parent’s know that they were courting but with the return of Milady and their son Marsali’s mother would spit nothing but venom towards the whole household. Fergus even had to steal time with Marsali away in the woods because everytime he came near the house Laoghaire would scream at him and call him ‘Spawn of a witch’.

Jamie spotted him coming up, “Ye back from Balriggan, a leannan?” Fergus just nodded and leaned against the door lintel. “Did Laoghaire see ye?”

Fergus merely nodded slightly, “Oui, she saw me several times.” He crossed his arms over his chest. “And screamed at me every time.” He looked down, utterly dejected. “I need to speak to you and Milady. About why I went to Balriggan.”

Jamie looked confused, “Ye went to get Laoghaire to speak to us, did ye no?” Fergus shook his head.

“No, Milord. The true reason I went is a good one, but I won’t speak of it unless it’s with both you and Milady.” Jamie sighed and went to fetch Claire from her surgery and brought her into the parlour. They sat opposite Fergus and he took a deep breath. “I am in love with Marsali.” They both nodded at him, “And I wish to marry her but I fear that her mother would not approve of the match…” Jamie nodded his understanding.

“And given that Marsali is verra attached tae her mother ye think she widnae leave her.” Fergus nodded, grateful for his understanding. “Leave it wi me lad. I’ll ask Jenny to discuss it wi Laoghaire. Hopefully she’ll come around wi regards to you and Marsali.” He took Claire’s hand, getting Laoghaire to accept Claire was not going to fly.

Brian came downstairs. “Good Morning Fergus…” he looked between the three of them, “mama, dad.”

Fergus jumped up and smiled at Brian, “good morning, mon frere. I trust you slept well?” he pulled the man he called ‘brother’ into a hug.

Brian hugged back. “Yes I did. Well, I woke once in the night but managed to fall back asleep.” Claire suppressed a giggle and Brian continued. “Will you be in the stables with me and dad, or in the fields today?” Fergus looked to Jamie.

“Stables today, lad. Ye’ll be in the field wi yer uncle.” Jamie didn’t look up from his tea. “And before ye start arguin’ I need some time alone wi Fergus so I need ye tae gi yer uncle Ian a hand in the field today.” Brian shut his mouth and nodded.

“Yes dad.” he slapped Fergus on the back. “I’ll go and eat before I go to help uncle Ian.” and with that he went into the kitchen in search of bannocks and honey. Jamie finally looked up at Fergus.

“I’m gonnae gi ye advice about marriage and how I’ve experienced it. Also what happens if yer separated for a long, long time.” he smiled at Fergus then looked at Claire. “That I have vast experience of.”

“I really think you should talk to Laoghaire, maybe she won’t talk to me or Jamie but she should talk to you, yes?” Claire looked to Fergus who shook his head.

“No, Milady. You didn’t see how crazy she looked.” He cringed a little. “Once she brandished a knife at me. She was cooking and then I knocked on the door.” Claire winced.

“Seems she’s being irrational again. And taking it out on my family.”

“Aye, and that’s why I dinna want ye or Brian, or Fergus now that I know, anywhere near Balriggan.” Jamie caressed Claire’s face then turned to Fergus. “I also want ye to wait. Marsali is 15, yer nearing 30. As mature as she is there will still be a wait of two years, ye understand me?” Fergus nodded. Jamie smirked and took Fergus out to the stables to begin the working day.

Brian helped his Uncle to plow the field while his uncle sowed the seeds, after about half an hour Ian’s leg started to ache from the work so he sat on a hay bale. “Would you like a drink while you rest your leg, Uncle Ian?”

Ian nodded, “aye lad, thank ye.” Brian handed Ian his own flask. He took a long drink and sighed. “I see ye have developed a taste fer the whiskey.”

Brian barked a little laugh. “I suppose I did.” he shook his head. “I don’t suppose there’s much of an alternative save ale and water…” he took a long drink himself.

Ian looked at him pensively, “Be careful lad, dinnae take too much whiskey. It leads to trouble.” Ian raised an eyebrow at him. “Ye may get into trouble wi yer men…” he chuckled with mirth, “Ye needna be so surprised, Lallybroch’s walls are thin. Jenny and I never meant to hear ye but we couldna help it ye ken?” He looked around. “Be careful when the tenants come around. We used to think them family and none would turn any of us in but after what Ronnie McNab did tae yer faither...well we’re no too sure anymore.” Brian nodded, his mother had told him the story but he didn’t think after what the other tenants did to McNab he didn’t think there was any among them that would turn any of the trio in but, as in the 20th century he needed to be careful. He suddenly realised that Ian was talking to him. “I said promise me, lad. Promise me ye’ll be careful.”

“I promise Uncle Ian, I’ll be careful.” He smiled at Ian. “So what do you want to talk about while we rest?” He and Ian talk of inconsequential things until Rabbie finished with the cows and took over for Ian who was able to supervise the plowing and sowing into the evening.

“Right lads, that’s supper. Go back to the house.” Rabbie walked slowly back to the house and Brian helped Ian to his feet, “dinnae fash yersel lad. I’m fine.” He smiled at Brian and the three of them walked back together.

In the house Claire and Jamie were watching for Brian and took him into the parlour, Lord john was there too and Brian went to sit on John’s right side but was quickly shifted over to sit by his mother. “Lad, John and I have a secret we think both of ye ought to know.”

John licked his lips and looked up at Brian whose eyes were shaped into a worried expression, “I haven’t told you about the last member of my family. Isobel you know about...William you do not.” The tears that Brian had been keeping at bay threatened to spill. “Not that William is a lover or anything like that. He’s...my son.”

“More accurately. He’s my son.” He looked to Claire looking for a reaction. “ He’s eight years old and I didna think either o ye would return to me so I never believed the son I had to give up…” He gestures to Brian. “And the son I had to walk away from would ever meet. So I kept it a secret...even from you both.”

Brian looks to John. “Why didn’t you tell me?”

“I wasn’t my place. I’m your lover, not your father.” he smiled at Brian who sighed. “Roger knew as well. I just told him last night.” Brian’s head whipped up, a look of fury on his face. “Now, before you go and shout at him as well, know this; it wasn’t his place to tell you either.”

“Nay lad. The only person whose place it was to tell ye was me.” He looked at Claire. “Dae ye forgive me?” Claire’s eyes are shining with unshed tears.

“There’s nothing to forgive. I was dead to you. We didn’t know the other had survived and you did what you had to.” She wipes one tear away.

“Ye dinna know who his mother is, or why I laid wi her…” Jamie sighed. “I was paroled in England. Lady Geneva Dunsany and her family were largely unaware of my true identity. Geneva discovered my identity and I was blackmailed into taking her maidenhead…” Claire gasped and put her hand over her mouth. “Dinna fash, Sassanach. I did what I had to and that was the end of it. Or so I thought. When she visited, great wi child, I couldna deny it were my child. When he was born Geneva’s husband knew right away and tried to throw Willie out of a window. I acted fast and saved the babe’s life. It wasn’t until last year, when the resemblance became apparent, that I had to leave him.” Claire got up and embraced her husband and Brian embraced John. “I’m sorry I kept it from both of ye.” Claire shushed him and rocked him gently.

Brian caressed John’s knuckles and smiled at him. “After supper you, me and Roger will go to bed...not to sleep.” Claire smiled when Brian attempted to wink. Obviously he’d inherited his father’s inability to wink. John chuckled which Brian took to be seductively. “Let’s go and eat.”

The family ate with Ian and Jenny trading glances whenever Jamie looked at Brian and when Brian laughed at something Roger or John had said. Even John and Roger were starting to see each other as rivals less and as friends more. It was obvious they’d never be lovers but that they were moving closer to friendship made Brian’s heart soar.

After supper, the trio made their way to Brian and Roger’s room and both John and Roger made love to Brian, both of them giving him their all. Afterwards they slept in each other’s arms.

Chapter Text

Claire and Jamie had warned all the children not to go near Balriggan as what Laoghaire had screamed at Fergus had been a big warning, so they stayed on the estate at Lallybroch.

A week after Jamie had told them not to go to Balriggan, when Brian was working near the house a figure appeared at the gate: “Ye’ll take me tae yer faither.” Laoghaire demanded of Brian, who stood slowly. His eyes were fixed firmly on the pistol at Laoghaire’s side.

“And if I don’t?” His mind was running a mile a minute trying to come up with a plan to get the pistol off of her, “you really gonna use that gun? Cause I don’t think you will.” He made a step towards her and she raised the pistol, pointing it at him. Brian took a step back and put his hands up. “Dad’s not here right now. He’s visiting a tenant in the village with my cousin Jamie. So you won’t see him today.” Laoghaire became ever more frustrated at the news and stamped her feet.

“Then get the frog!” Laoghaire had realised the gun got her what she wanted and Brian frowned.

“The frog?”

“The Frenchman! I’ll be damned if the spawn of a witch will marry my girl.” Laoghaire had ground this out between her teeth. Brian nodded his understanding. “Get him now or that witch will be missing a son!”

Brian didn’t have the opportunity to go into the house as Fergus rushed out and put a steadying hand out to try and calm Laoghaire. “Please Madame MacKimmie. Be at peace. Marsali and I, no matter what we feel for one another, are not attempting to marry...at least not yet.” Laoghaire’s eyes became wild at the ‘yet’ of Fergus’ speech.

“Ye shouldna be marrying her at all!” Laoghaire snapped and pointed to pistol at Fergus, Brian got an idea. While Laoghaire was occupied with Fergus he moved around to her other side. “It’s no fair! Jamie was mine and she stole him, had his son so no one could compete with her…”her rant was cut short as Brian tackled Laoghaire, knocking her finger into the trigger and the pistol misfiring, straight at Fergus.

Fergus fell onto the ground and Laoghaire, in complete shock at what she had just done, ran out of the gate. Brian knelt down next to Fergus. “I’m so sorry, Fergus! I just wanted to get the gun off of her, I never meant for you to get hurt. Mama!” Hearing her son’s desperate cry, Claire ran to the courtyard followed by Jenny, Ian, and Roger.

Brian and Roger carried the wounded Fergus into the parlour and laid him on the dining table. “Mama, I’m so sorry. If I hadn’t tried to grab the pistol he wouldn’t have gotten shot.” Claire gave him a look in warning.

“You did what you had to do, it’s not your fault she went full psycho when she heard about Fergus and Marsali.” Claire was already fussing around Fergus and ordering the rest of the house around to get bandages and whiskey for anesthetic and for cleansing the instruments.

Fergus had been shot in his shoulder, it was a birdshot. Claire started by splashing whiskey on the area where he got shot and as Fergus hissed Roger took Brian by the hand and pulled him into the office where he had been record keeping that day.

“Don’t Roger, okay? Don’t tell me it’s okay, or it’s not my fault. Because it’s not okay! And it is my fault! If I hadn’t tried to get the gun from Laoghaire none of this would have happened. And...and….” He sighed and looked up at Roger helplessly who opened his arms and pulled him close.

“I’m no’ gonna tell ye it’s okay, or that it isn’t yer fault. Even though both of these things are true. But I ken John isnae here but if he were he’d be here wi us, and he’d have ye in his arms. So I’m just gonnae have ye in my arms because he cannae.” Roger kisses the top of his head and rocks him gently. Brian gently sobbed in his arms. “It’s alright tae cry. Ye let it all out.”

That night Brian is reluctant to leave Fergus’ side. “I’m sorry Fergus. You’re hurt and it’s my fault…”

“Non, Mon frere. I should have not gone out to speak to her. I knew how she felt, although I confess I had not known she had the pistol.” he took Brian’s hand. “I am sorry she put you in that position.” Brian shook his head.

“No, I should’ve just let her go on her rant and not gotten involved…” Both the heads snapped up as both Jamie’s walked in the door.

“What’s happened?” The elder Jamie demanded of his elder son, once he hears the story he growls a little. “That little bitch! How dare she come down here wi a pistol and threaten my sons?!” He stood and paced the room.

“Dad, come sit down. Fergus will be fine thanks to mama and I doubt Laoghaire will be back.” He looked away as Jamie’s eyes met his. “Everything worked out in the end.”

“There’s something else, my lad. What is it.” Brian looked at him with unshed tears. “Ye cannae be blaming yersel. Ye couldna ha’ predicted that Laoghaire would have come here much less wi a pistol.” Brian stood and crashed into his father’s arms. “It’s alright a leannan.” He stood for a while and held his son while keeping an eye on his other son. “I think both o ye need a rest.” He sent both men upstairs to their beds and poured himself a whiskey. “Slante.” And with that he downed the dram in one. “Laoghaire, ye have no idea what ye’ve awakened.”

Slamming the glass, he took the stairs two at a time before taking off his shoes and flopping on the bed next to Claire.

Chapter Text

Brian never left Fergus’ side when he woke up. He felt so guilty even though Fergus kept telling him he wasn’t to blame. Jamie had disappeared for a little bit and came back with a redcoat in tow. He wasn’t averse to them since he had served both his time in prison and parole.

 

“As ye can see, she came onto the property. Seemed quite deranged, aimed a pistol at my boy and...well let it off.” The redcoat nodded and took Fergus’ state in. “Normally I wouldn’t involve you but this woman...she needs to be properly punished for this…” the redcoat nodded and took Laoghaire’s name and where she lived. 

 

After the redcoat left he embraced Brian. “Dinna worry son, ye did nothing.” Brian still sniffed a little. “Dinna weep son. Dinna weep.”

 

“But dad, I am to blame. Don’t you see? If I hadn’t tried to knock the pistol out of her hand it wouldn’t have went off and then Fergus wouldn’t be lying there, shot…” He trailed off as Fegus grabbed his hand.

 

“Mon Frere, please. Stop torturing yourself, I am fine. And Milord has made sure Laoghaire will be punished.” He smiled at Brian. “No need to weep anymore.”

 

Once outside Brian breathed in the fresh air and exhaled slowly. As much as he loved Roger he missed John so much when he was away. Jenny emerged and gave him a cup of tea. “Thanks Aunt Jenny.” He managed a small smile in gratitude. 

 

He was sipping his tea gently when he heard hoofbeats and the servants get ready to take a horse to the stables. Looking at the entryway he felt his breath hitch when he saw the rider. “John!” Putting the tea down he practically ran to him and hugged him close. “Let’s go up to our room…” he turned to the servant in the courtyard. “Can you find Roger and ask him to meet us up there please?” the servant nodded and went to tell Roger they were all together once again. 

 

In the room John held Brian close as he sobbed again. John soothed Brian gently and reassured him, though no one could, that he did nothing wrong. After a while, Brian felt new arms around him and realised Roger was here too. Both of his boyfriends were there and they were both focused on Brian right now, and why wouldn’t they be? He was hurting and they wanted him to stop hurting. After around 30 mins of this Brian slumped in their arms and they put his sleeping form in their bed and went downstairs, Roger clapping John on the shoulder as they went.

 

“He’ll be fine. He needs some rest and lots of cuddles.” John smiled at Jamie when he got a cup of tea. 

 

Jamie merely sighed, “He doesna believe anyone that he did nothing wrong.” John looked at him. “I know, I know...but he’s my boy. And Laoghaire threatened him as well. Dinna think I forget…” His train of thought completely came off the rails as a knock at the door brought them all out of their thoughts. 

 

Marsali and Joan were in the care of two redcoats and Claire stared at the two girls. “Ma was arrested…” It was Joan’s desperate cry that came first. As she pressed into her sister and sobbed the redcoat continued.

 

“Her mother wanted them to be in your care.” Claire sighed and looked at both girls. 



Fergus came downstairs groaning in pain. “Marsali! Mon cheri!” He threw out his uninjured arm and Marsali flew into it. He held her close. “I am sorry Mon cheri! This is my fault…”

 

“Fergus, don’t you dare! If ma hadna came down here and reacted really badly to you and I we wouldna be here. This is ma’s fault!” Marsali kissed his cheek and stroked his wooden hand.

 

After supper Brian, John, and Roger lay in their bed. “I came back because I have news…” John sat up and rested on his hand. “I have been given a new post...in Jamaica…” Brian and Roger’ breath hitched. 

 

“Jamaica?! What about us?” Brian knew in some way that Isobel would be going with him but they had no business in Jamaica and it would be months and months between meetings.

 

“I will always love you…”

 

“So ye came here to end things?”

 

“No! I wanted to leave my reassurances that no matter the distance, you will both have a part of my heart.” Bringing Brian’s hand up to his lips he kissed it gently. “And to know no matter what I will always be bound to you!” Brian stroked his face gently. 

 

“It could never have lasted anyway...you...you’re…” He broke off and turned away.

 

“Married?” He sighed. “You must know the difference between love and duty. You’ve seen both...you must know you are love, she is duty.” He took Brian’s chin between his fingers and turned him to face him. “You’ll always be love.” It broke his heart to see the tears in Brian’s eyes.

 

“How long?” Brian leaned back into Roger’s chest and stared at his other boyfriend.

 

“A month or so...it’s really two but I only need a month to prepare, so I’m here spending the rest of my time with you. The man I love.” He smiled sadly. Brian looked away again. “I am so sorry. It’s come out of the blue for me as well.”

 

“Well if we only have this month. Let’s not waste it fighting.” Brian lay back down and wrapped his arms around them both. “I love you, both of you.”

 

Roger kissed Brian tenderly on his temple and John kissed his cheek. “We love ye too, babe.”

 

Down the hallway a form was sneaking gingerly to another room when he bumped into a bigger mass. “Ah, iffrin! What are ye doing creeping about in the dark a lennan?” Jamie asked a startled Fergus who merely stammered. “Let me guess, the lovely Marsali is just doon there? Ach lad, come now. Back tae bed. Ye’ll see the lass in the morning.”

 

When the last goodnight had been said by the occupants of the second biggest bedroom then silence finally fell on the Fraser-Murray house.

Chapter Text

Brian woke up with John’s arms around him and John still deep asleep, snoring gently. He had felt a kiss just a moment ago on his cheek with the bed dipping slightly as Roger got up to make them all breakfast. Smiling slightly Brian reached over and stroked John’s face, who smiled in his sleep then slowly opened his eyes. “Good morning...are we better than last night the…” His question was cut short as Brian put a finger to his lips.

 

“Don’t. You don’t need to ask that anymore.” Brian smiled and kissed him gently. “I love you.”

 

John smiled and kissed him back, a little more needy this time. “I love you too.” 

 

They lay like that until Roger returned with a tray with three cooked breakfasts. “Mrs McNab didnae have any eggs so it’s bacon and kippers…” he was cut off when Brian covered his mouth and grabbed the chamber pot next to the bed. Roger put the tray down and both he and John rubbed his back. “Ye a’right babe?”

 

Brian shook his head and continued retching. When he’d finally finished he looked up at both of them. “It was the smell of the kippers...I don’t understand...I usually love the smell of kippers.” Roger pulled him into a hug. 

 

“Well, ye dinna have tae have them if ye don’t want tae.” He looked up at John who sighed and rubbed Brian’s back.

 

Jamie looked up as both the boys descended the stairs alone. “Brian no’ awake yet?” he sipped his tea.

 

“He is. He was sick this morning so he’s resting a little more.” John looked at Claire who frowned. “Tell you the truth, possibly Claire could take a look at him…” Roger rubbed his back.

 

“We were worried...he seemed fine when I brought our breakfasts up tae the room and then he was bent over the chamber pot.” He sighed.

 

Claire knocked on her son’s door. “Brian. Are you awake?” There was a short shout from inside and Claire entered. “Are you okay?”

 

She looked her son up and down. “Honestly mama? No. I don’t know what’s going on. Kippers this morning and…” he closed his mouth as another wave of nausea passed over him. “Suddenly I’m bent double over the chamber pot.” He chuckled wryly. “It’s almost like I’m pregnant. But that’s impossible...isn’t it?” He rubbed his stomach, trying to settle it.

 

“It should be...but I can check.” Claire reached out and prodded his stomach gently and then looked him in the eye. “I need a urine sample...only yours…” Brian went pale and she brought his hand to his stomach. “Feel that? Your stomach is hardening. Darling. I believe, impossible as it may be, that you are indeed pregnant.”

After the sample Claire called up John and Roger. They went immediately to Brian’s side. “One of you is going to be a father…” Brian looked up at both his boyfriends.  They both put their arms around him. “It should be impossible.” His voice was thick with emotion.

 

“A lot of things should be impossible, but here we are.” Roger kissed his temple. “We will all see this through together.”

 

“We won’t though! Not if John has to go to Jamaica, which he does!” Brian’s eyes filled with tears as he looked at John. “You can’t say no and not arouse suspicion, baby, you have to go.” John kissed his forehead as the tears began to fall. 

 

“But until then I will have the absolute privilege of helping Roger and you through this time. I can delay it without raising suspicion, you know.”  He smiled and squeezed Roger’s shoulder. As much as he had been angry at this man and fought him for Brian’s heart he had grown to see the other man as a friend in the recent months and they kept in touch. Although neither would like to admit it but they were growing closer though they’d never be lovers. 

 

“Ye see babe. We both love ye.” Roger stroked Brian’s hair. “We’ll help ye.” 

 

Jamie knocked on the door. When he heard the ‘come in’ he entered and found his place by Claire’s side. “So, yer unwell are ye lad?” He looked at Brian and Brian smiled a little.

 

“I suppose I am...Grandpa!” He laughed and put his hand on his stomach and Jamie’s jaw dropped. “I know. I thought it was impossible as well.” His eyes shined with tears. Jamie laughed as well.

 

“I’m to be a grandda?” He looked at Claire who nodded. “Ah dhia, lad! Didn’t I tell ye it could happen, that ye never know.” He moved to the bed. “May I?” Brian moved his hand and Jamie started cooing at his still flat stomach and whispering Gaelic phrases that Brian had a hard time understanding until he heard one his father whispered to him all the time. 

 

“They love you too, dad.” He smiled as his dad realised he understood the Gaelic for ‘I love you’. He looked at his mother. “And you too mama.” he patted Roger’s cheek. 

 

Claire smiled at her husband. “I think we should leave the little family to come to terms with the news.” She took one last look at Brian and then went out of the room with her husband.

 

Jamie cuddled her from behind. “Granny and Grandda. Suits us, don’t ye think Sassanach?” She just giggled and went off to her surgery to start the day. 

 

Later on the boys emerged and Brian asked for some food. Both John and Roger watched him like a hawk, making sure he was eating, Ian sat beside them. “Feeling better, lad? Yer ma tells us ye have big news but...we ken ye’ll tell us yerself when yer ready.” 

“Still trying to wrap our heads around it ourselves Uncle Ian, if we’re being totally honest.” Brian smiles at his Uncle and picked up his fork, spearing some of his potatoes he shoved it into his mouth and hummed contentedly. Ian smiled at the boys. 

 

After dinner John and Roger sat with Brian and rubbed his back. “Babe, ye think we should fill John in on all that we are?” Brian looked at John and then at Roger and nodded vigorously. “Ye tell him then.”

 

John frowned and opened his mouth, “Please don’t John! If you do then I might lose my nerve!” He licked his lips and continued. “Roger and I are both from the future...I was born in 1948 and Roger was born in 1941.” John moved back. “I know, I know! But my mother’s from the future as well. She came here accidentally and then found she was in love with my father and was forced to go back to her first husband...I’m sorry...I’m talking too fast aren’t I?”

 

John stood up. “I don’t understand it. From the future?” He rubbed his face. “H-how...how are you both here?”

 

“The standing stones at Craig Na Dun brought us here. Me and mama first. Then Roger.” Brian chuckled a little. “I know it’s impossible but so is me being pregnant.” 

 

John paced for a solid five minutes and then looked at them both. “I don’t understand...I’m not saying that I won’t ever understand but I don’t right now.” He sighed gently. “But I don’t want to lose either of you.” Sitting back down he kissed Brian’s cheek. “And I’ll be here. I love you both.”