He tip-toed around the end of the bed eyeing the room for his coat and sporran.
He had laid out all the belongings he meant to take with him the night before, but in her proper goodbye (as she had so dubiously called it), the items had been strewn about the room. The sun had just started to crescent over the top of the mountain, sending the first rays of daybreak into their home. A quick look to the left and he saw Claire (or he) had somehow thrown the coat onto the chair.
He smiled at the memories from the night before- the way her hair trailed down her back, how the moonlight reflected in the silver strands of her hair, the way her body had aligned so well with his, and the speechless blessing she had given him. The warmth of her he’d carry with him.
Her weight shifted behind him making the bed creak. He turned to find her arm stretching out in the vacant part of their dwelling. He watched her for a moment, the length of her arm running up and down the bed. Her delicate fingers rustling through the blanket. How he got so lucky, he’d never comprehend. Of all the things he had done wrong in life, somewhere along the line God had given him her- his Sorcha. She was his Earthly redemption, an answer to the prayers of his heart’s deepest desires.
The rays of sun illuminated her fine skin outlining the contours of her naked body. He let out a small chuckle when he noticed the base of her neck was red. Whether it was from the marks of his mouth or the roughness of his beard, he didn’t know, nor did he care. She’d be keeping herself covered during the duration of his time away. And he found that he didn’t care, for the separation of a week felt like an eternity to him. If that was a way for her to remember him while he was gone, then so be it. She was his as he was hers-and he too knew a bite mark or two he had to accompany him during his voyage.
He had learned in his life that it was these types of moments he cherished deeply. The moment where the world still slept and a new dawn arose, he could watch her sleep. Memorize the lines on her hands, the outline of her jawbone. It was the quiet moment he could take a picture as Claire had said, with his memory. There was no work to be done, no humans to be fed, no one to harm her. It was his heaven on earth, he supposed.
The sweet lilt of a morning dove broke the silence. It was a sign that morning was approaching, that his time to leave was coming even sooner. She must have sensed it because she opened her eyes.
“I’m cold,” She whispered, her voice hoarse with sleep. “Come back to bed.”
She patted on the empty spot next to her.
“Good morning to ye,” He knelt by her side, brushing the hair out of her face.
“Mmmm,” She moaned as he kissed her cheek.
“Ye ken well enough what will happen if I get back into yer bad, Sassenach.” He took a breath and ran his fingers along her jawline.
“I don’t think it’s a problem.” She was teasing him yet he could hear the small hint of anguish in her voice.
“I must go, Sassenach. Ye ken it as well as I do.”
She reached her hand from under the covers and ran the tips of her fingers along the contours of his jaw before resting on his cheeks. “How long?”
“A week, at least.” He whispered in return. He closed his eyes, resting his forehead on hers.
She was silent in return for what felt like an eternity, but he didn’t mind. He could stay like that he thought, forever, just existing with her.
Finally, she pulled his face down to hers, kissing him. It was slow and steady, her tongue tracing the lines of his lips and seeking his in return. He was more than willing to oblige.
Breathless, he opened his eyes and smiled down at her, her blue eyes piercing into the very depths of his soul. “You come back to me, James Fraser.”
He heard the small crack in her voice. “Or so help me, I will kill you myself if you don’t return to me.”
That made him laugh. He pulled himself up from off the ground and sat down on the bed next to her.
“Ye have work here, surely, to keep ye busy while I am gone?”
“Yes, I do.” She shifted to sit back against the headboard, clutching the blanket to her chest. “There’s a deer that needs to be butchered, I’ve got to find some herbs, and I’m sure there’s laundry to be done.”
“Good,” He responded, though he knew how much she despised doing chores, “And maybe there will be sick folk that come to find ye. I ken ye’d much rather get your hands bloody than soapy.”
“I don’t wish anyone to be so sick they have to see me,” She assured him, “But you’re right. I would rather be a doctor than do the housework.”
“Tis a good thing Mrs. Bug and Bree are here to help.” He could sense the forest and people awakening around him, his time to leave coming even sooner than he wanted. By the look on her face he knew she understood it too.
“I dinna want to leave ye, but I must.” He nodded to her.
“On your way, soldier.” She whispered, pulling her mouth to his once more.
With her blessing, he stood and bowed like he had done so many times before with her. Her eyes were glued to his, a connection that was unwavering between them. He knew he’d come back, he’d made an oath and a promise. It wasn’t his time, no, not yet.
He grabbed his jacket and sporran and left, carrying the warmth of her love within him.