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Living for the hope of it all

Chapter Text

Claire sat in the break room with some oolong tea and a new romance novel from Joe when she got a page. Apparently, she has been requested by a patient.

Sighing, she walked into the room. Looking up, she noticed that an intern or resident was about to break a man’s arm.

“Stop! You can't do it like that, you'll break his arm.”

They'll just let anybody be a doctor these days she thought. Being a young resident herself, she couldn't really judge, or blame the new intern, but the person that is training them, or hiring them. But still, it's just a dislocated shoulder!

She rushed forward, not really looking at her patient, but at his dislocated shoulder, poking and prodding at it, to check the swelling and the injury.
“ Did you look at an x-ray? Is there any broken bones or other damage?”

Claire glanced up at the two new residents in their white coats, they were staring at her, scared. One of them began flailing around trying to put up the x-ray for her to see. Without really looking at the x-ray, but at the shoulder, Claire said, “ nevermind, it's fine, just a bit of swelling…”

She finally turned to the patient, grabbing his hand, and looked into his eyes.
“This is the worst part.” she said, while realizing who was sitting on the examination table in front of her.

“I know, sassenach,” he responded while heavily breathing, waiting for the pain, and for his shoulder to go back into place.
“You've helped me with this… before!” he tried to say as she moved his arm into position and back into the socket, not counting back from three. They've been through this before.

Not even bothering with an hello, Claire said, “Really, Jamie, this is what? The fourth time I’ve had to fix something like this, and a shoulder this time... again,” while staring him down.

Sheepishly, Jamie responded, “ Fifth dislocation overall, third time you've helped me out Sassenach. Lost count of the stitches though.”
He grew up on a farm, was a reckless kid, and a reckless college student, who knew a pre-med student thankfully, who was able to help with a few drunken two am calls for help with an injury.

“Alright, well, at least you know the drill, let me find you a sling.”

With her back turned, looking through drawers for a sling, Jamie mustered up the courage to ask, “So, how’s Frank?”

Jenny may or may not have told him that Claire and Frank were over, but he wanted to be sure. He honestly hadn’t seen Claire in a few years, and was just curious. He just wanted an update on his friend, well his sister’s friend, he told himself.

“I wouldn't know.”

Claire turned back to face Jamie, looking down at the sling she was putting on his arm, not looking him in the eye. She was suddenly very aware of the young residents in the room. They love gossip. She has no clue how they have enough time and energy for it, or the time to just stand there, instead of helping other patients...

Jamie tried to get Claire to look at him the entire time she was explaining how long he'd have to wear the sling and whatever, but she kept her eyes trained on his shoulder.

“Thank ye, Sassenach. Truly.”

She glanced up, then.

“ Maybe I could buy you a real drink to thank ye sometime, instead of all the god awful, cheap beer I got ye in college?” Jamie asked.

There, he thought. She was looking at him now. Well, staring, more like. But still, progress.

Claire, caught off guard, studied Jamie’s face, looking for answers. Was he serious? Was this a date? Was this not a date? Does it matter if it is or isn't? It's just Jamie, right? Just two old friends catching up. Even though they could just go to Jenny’s house at literally any time, and see each other there.

Still very aware of the new residents in the room, Claire reached into her pocket to get her prescription pad. She wrote him a prescription for pain meds. And then her number on another sheet. Again, taking Jenny out of being the middleman, a very nosy middleman.

“Sure. I'd like that. And here, I know you won't use this, but please take a look.” Claire said while handing him the two slips of paper.

Standing up, Jamie said, “Aye, Sassenach.”

Taking their cew, the residents awkwardly stepped forward, in front of Jamie.

“You’re James Fraser, the football player, Right? Can we get a picture please?” one of them said while the other took out her phone.

Claire rolled her eyes. Before Jamie could respond, she cut him off and reprimanded the supposed ‘professional doctors.’

“ excuse me, what about doctor patient confidentiality? I'm sure that Mr. Fraser is in a lot of pain, and he shouldn't have to take selfies with his doctors to be allowed to leave.”

That made Jamie smile. He just asked his doctor out... maybe? And she gave him her number, then proceeded to call out others on their professionalism. She is right, he thinks, he isn't exactly in the mood to be The James Fraser at the moment, but that's part of the job. Thankfully, they move out of the way, without taking any pictures, and Jamie walks out, with Claire right behind him.
He wanted to continue to talk to Claire, but out in the open, he saw a few people recognize him, and he didn't want an audience.

Claire stood awkwardly, not knowing how to say goodbye to Jamie, in the middle of a busy hospital hallway, right by the nurses station. And the nurses love gossip more than the interns. Luckily, or unluckily, her pager went off.

“I gotta go, see you later, Fraser.”

“Aye, see you soon, Dr. Beauchamp.”

Chapter Text

Claire, Joe, and Geilis are sitting at a table in the cafeteria, on their breaks.

Geillis starts the conversation that Claire has been dreading.
“So I heard that a certain football fox was in here earlier with a broken arm or something? Did you hear anything about that Claire?” she said.

Of course she already knew that Claire had treated him. But did Geillis know that she was requested to be his doctor? Did she know that she said yes to going out for drinks with him? Did she know that they knew each other from college?

“It was just a dislocated shoulder. He's set to play in the game you bet on next week, Geillis.” Claire said. The season is almost over, since it's the playoffs. She wonders when he’ll be free for that drink.

Joe eyes Claire, seeming like he can sense that she is holding back. He's good at reading her. Geil is pretty good at reading people too, when she cares enough to pay attention, which makes her a good psychologist, money makes her care.

Geillis wasn't having it that Claire wouldn't give her any more information, and excused herself, saying that her break was over. Claire turned to Joe, who was already expecting it.

“Alright Lady Jane, Bring It On.”

She hesitates, not really knowing where to start. From the beginning? When exactly is the beginning? When she met Jenny, the girl in the dorm across the hall, and became best friends through their trauma and a shared terrible world history professor? Or when, in sophomore year, they were roommates, and her younger brother came to the same college, and the same parties? When Jenny became closer with his friend Ian, leading to Jamie and Claire doing what exactly? Or, how she had barely seen him in the past few years, and now she cant blame it on work because it might've been because of Frank, or Anna. And Joe and her were on their break at work, so the full story might need to be saved for a couch and a bottle of wine.

“Well, you see, I know Jamie, I mean James, from college. We were friends sort of, I was best friends with his sister. We still keep in touch.” Claire, paused, gauging Joe’s reaction. He nodded, telling her to continue, without wide eyes or a raised eyebrow, only a small, encouraging smile.

“Right. Okay. So, today he actually, apparently, requested me as his doctor. Oh god, and two of the new residents were there and saw the whole thing, I have no clue how Geilis doesn't know the whole story yet.”

Joe interrupted then, “because LJ, you can be one scary lady, and they don't want to be the next target of Medusa’s glare.”

That cheered Claire up a bit. “Really, a grey’s reference, already? At this point, it doesn't matter that it's what made you decide to become a doctor, it's pathetic.”

Joe laughed. Claire took a long sip of her coffee, then continued.

“We reminisced a bit, about counting how many times I’ve had to fix his injuries or whatever. And then, I think he asked me out.”

Joe answered immediately, “Wow, finally, it's finally like Grey’s, it was all worth it, for a patient/doctor romance that i'm not even a part of, you're like Izzy and Denny or Teddy and Henry or...” he coughed and recovered, going back on track, after seeing Claire’s face. “Okay how do you not know if he asked you out?” he asked.

“Okay, first of all, I am nothing like Izzy, and yeah, Jamie can be like Denny,” Joe visibly brightened, “But I don't know who Teddy is.” Joe opened his mouth to protest, but Claire wouldn't let him. “He wanted to go out for drinks, he said it was for thanks, and to make up for all the cheap beer in college.”

“Lady Jane, that’s... that’s a date.”

She moved around in her chair, leaning across the table, “But is it? There were other doctors in the room. We’ve barely spoken in a few years, and used to be good friends in college, what if it's only to catch up? What if I try to make it into something bigger than it is, when in reality, he just wants to buy me expensive whiskey that he can finally afford, because we always talked about it, the ‘one day’,”she said with air quotes, “over a few pints of tap beer?”

He sighed. “Claire, I know I don't need to bring up Frank, but James, Jamie, isn't him. And personally, I think its a date, because youre a catch, and he’d be stupid to not ask you out.”

Claire tried to protest, but Joe persisted. “I don’t care if he is some big shot football player. You are probably still out of his league, because you are a big shot doctor, you save lives, and you're hot. So he is going to text you, or even better call, and you are going to make plans, not cancel, dress nice, and drink expensive whiskey with a guy you've known for almost a decade, whose first thought after having his dislocated shoulder fixed, was to ask. You. out. End of story...” He paused seeing Claire still hesitating, “Look I can tell you want this, honestly you need it LJ. please, at least try.”

Joe saw Claire visibly brace herself, standing up from the table, holding onto her coffee with both hands for dear life, “So, it’s a date.”

Chapter Text

Claire might have watched the playoff game to see Jamie, alone in her apartment, even though She usually went to a pub with Geilis, or went to Jenny’s if she wasn't working. She also might've been a little too happy when his team lost, meaning their season was over. And maybe, when Jamie called two days later, she acted nonchalant, like she saw some of the game on at work, and was upset they lost. Claire also might have danced around her room afterwards, because he called, and they were going out for drinks, on a date.

Jamie might have been agonizing over the fact that he might not be home with a decent schedule for a while so he couldn't see claire. He might've been going over what to say to her on the phone, or if he should text her, for days. And when his team lost, he might've not been as upset as some of his teammates. He definitely didn't try to lose, he barely played because of his shoulder. But he definitely was ecstatic that he could finally call Claire, to make plans to go for drinks, to go on a date.
***

Claire walked into the pub that she's never been to, even though it's two blocks from her place. She was dressed in a simple black long sleeved shirt, tight jeans, and ankle boots, prepared for this to be a date, or a night out for old friends. She noticed Jamie right away, her eyes gravitated towards him, always. He was at a booth in the corner, looking damn fine in a blue t-shirt.

Jamie heard the door open and looked up, meeting Claire’s gaze. Before he could get up to greet her, she was at his table, and sliding into the seat opposite of him, with a breathless hello.
Jamie loved this place. Murtagh, his godfather owns it, as well as a few other pubs, and Jamie is treated like any other regular, instead of The James Fraser. No one here cares all that much, and Murtagh doesn't have TV’s set up in every corner playing sports channels, which helps.

“Hi Sassenach. Sorry it took me a few days to call ye, I was a little busy.”

Claire gave him a look that seemed to say “seriously,” he could still read her like an open book.

“ I know Jamie, I saw, you did quite good, with your injury and everything, I mean. I’m sorry your season is over already though, I always enjoy watching your games.”

Even though she was offering condolences on the bad ending to the season, she was smiling, she wasn't sorry at all, Jamie thought. He was trying not to focus on the fact that she likes watching his games, he knew she was a football fan at university.

“Aye, well, I’m not all that sorry. I am injured after all,” he said with a smirk, “and it gives me more time with Jenny, Ian and my nephew, and for this.”

Murtagh brought over whiskey, then. The good shit. The whiskey that jamie and claire dreamed of being able to afford bottles of to drink daily while they were broke college students.

“Thank you Murtagh. And it's so good to see you,” Claire said. Murtagh smiled back, if it could even be seen under his beard.

They fell back into their old ways quickly. Talking like they were not separated for a few years. They retold stories from college, yelling and laughing, remembering. Updated each other on what they missed in each other's lives, mostly Claire’s since Jamie has graced the news and social media outlets a few times. She thinks if he picked up a medical journal instead of a trashy gossip magazine once in a while, he'd know she was quite famous as well. Jamie thinks that he is glad she is too busy being in medical journals to read every gossip magazine he is in, they make up way too many things.

Gasping for breath, laughing and wheezing after something Jamie had said, Claire went to the bar to get their second drinks.

She returned, once again, going down the memory lane.

“That reminds me, Do you remember, when we caught Jenny and Ian together, for the first time?” she asked giggling still.

“Oh god, I wish I didn't.”

“I mean, she had her own room junior year, why did they stay on the couch??? And... and, Ian’s face, do you remember his face? It was priceless.” she went on.

Jamie was encouraged by Claire’s laughter, “Aye, Jenny looked mad, like we should've known better, but i swear it looked like Ian shit his pants.” He was laughing now too.

“I covered your eyes so you wouldn't see your sister shirtless... oh and I mean she had tried to tell me about... you know, but to see his...”

“Please stop, Sassenach, or I'm gonna need another drink already.”

By the third drink, they approached the topic of exes. Jamie remembered his senior year, Claire starting med school, meeting Frank, an aspiring professor. Claire remembered Jenny’s new years party when she was finishing med school, and Jamie was a professional football player, and he brought Annalise, a model. They each dated people in college but it never went anywhere, none of it mattered, until Frank, until Anna, even if she didn't last that long.

“So,” Jamie started, “Frank...”

“Was a narcissistic, condescending, cheating asshole with too many sweater vests and bad taste in music, with an ever so boring preference for the missionary position.”

Jamie almost spit out his drink at that revelation. But she didn't stop there.

“He proposed. Did you know that? It was the first year of my residency maybe, and he was trying to buy me into being a stay home wife and mother with a giant, ugly diamond. He didn't know me at all, and he didn't want to. He tried to change me from the day I met him. I was a naive impressionable idiot, that spent way too much money on straighteners and hair products to impress a man that was balding in his thirties.”

Claire stopped then, for a breath, and a drink. “ I realized that, whatever that was, wasn't love, and I dodged a bullet, found out he was cheating, had been for years, after I turned down his performative proposal, and I barely cared. I’m over it, I'm over him. Anyway... Whatever happened with Annalise or any of the others?”

Jamie also sipped his whiskey again.

“With Anna, it was the same as you, the cheating, not the balding or sweater vests. And sure I was infatuated, I thought it was love, but I was young and naive with all this attention on me... and sure I’ve dated around, I’m not a monk, but it's hard to connect with people that dont see you as a person. I am so happy for Jenny that she found love, and married Ian and has her wee Jamie, and it's not a competition, but it just really shows how my life has been on a different track.”

Claire nodded along, and slowly said, “ I think I can relate, or at least understand a little bit, my life has been so focused on my career, it was the most important thing to me. And you're always traveling now, which I did growing up. You still have a home in Scotland, in Lallybroch, but it's different. I think of Scotland and even lallybroch as my home now too, but to see Jenny with her child living there... We are all accomplishing so much, doing what we’ve always wanted but it's still... somehow not everything we thought it would be.”

Well into their fourth drinks, things took a less depressing turn. Someone said something that led to a ‘thats what she said’ joke, which led to more innuendos, and a ‘title of your sex tape’ joke or two as well.
Claire looked up at Jamie, confessing she thought he was hot in college, Jame swallowed, and said he always thought Claire was beautiful.
They didn't realize they were leaning over the table, so close, breathing the same air, until their elbows made the glasses clink and wobble between them, ending the moment, as they saved a glass from crashing on the ground.
Somehow they ended up outside. And they were leaning in, about to kiss.

Yes!! This is a date with Jamie, Clare thought, before all she could focus on was Jamie licking his bottom lip.

Jamie thought, Finally a date with Claire, as he licked his lip, after Claire bit hers.

It wasn't their first kiss. it wasn't even their most sober kiss. And they've definitely kissed while being way more wasted. But this was different. This was a date. This was the beginning of something other than the two friends of a couple relating as third wheels. This was the beginning of more. More than kissing. More than friends.

Coming up for air, Claire took the leap, “my place is two blocks that way.”

Jamie pulled his forehead away from resting against Claire’s, taking her hand in his and simply said, “lead the way.”

Chapter Text

Claire was used to waking up next to a Fraser, she lived with Jenny for three years after all. She crashed in the same room as Jamie after parties, slept a door down from him when visiting Lallybroch during holiday breaks, but waking up in Jamie's arms was entirely new, and she loved it. He was already awake, he's always been an early riser. The morning could go a million different ways, and she was nervous, because this was Jamie, she felt so comfortable with him, that it rattled her. He said good morning, with a smile on his face, calming her fears a little bit. Claire still used the excuse of having to get ready for work even though she had a few hours.

They ended up in the tiny kitchen, drinking coffee. Claire was taking her time getting ready for work, Jamie was taking his time leaving, looking around her apartment to get a sense of the Claire he hasn't spent much time with in a few years. The pictures on her fridge consisted of a few from university or med school, postcards from places she's been and invitations to weddings. A picture of Claire holding his nephew caught his eye in particular. On her window sill, with some flowers in it, wilting only slightly, was the blue vase that Jamie bought for Claire when she moved into her own place, her own home for the first time, during med school. It replaced a vase that she bought for the apartment she shared with Jenny the last two years of school, so excited about decorating an apartment, it eventually broke, and Claire still doesn't know it was Jamie’s fault, because Ian took the blame.

Dressed in scrubs already, Claire was putting her hair up, while watching Jamie as he stood in front of her fridge.

Breaking the comfortable silence, she said, “ I wonder what Jenny will have to say about this.”

Jenny was opinionated, and always spoke her mind, and they loved that about her. She was a spitfire, and will most definitely have plenty to say about Jamie and Claire. Most likely, she'll tease them a bit, but still approve, of whatever this was. Claire hopes it's just light teasing, and no harsh judgement and no mentions of things from college that Claire is now regretting ever telling Jenny.

Without skipping a beat, Jamie turned around, leaned down on the counter, with his finished mug of coffee in his hands, “ Well she married my best friend so she can't say much.”

To avoid saying anything stupid, and in attempt to hide her blush, claire gulped her coffee, finishing it too soon.

“ I remember, I was there when they first started dating, and you still had plenty to say, and to yell, threatening the both of them about what would happen if they hurt each other. And even more to say in your best man speech as I recall.” Claire finally replied.

“Aye, well it seemed to work out, didn’t it? Seeing how I got the cutest nephew named after me.”

Claire rinsed out her mug and put it in the sink, the dishwasher was full and she didn't feel like dealing with it right this second. Jamie followed suit.

“Well I Guess I should be going now, Sassenach, let you get to work, I’ll text you later.” He said, as he headed for the door.

Claire followed him, not knowing what else to do. “Bye Jamie, I- I had a good time.”

“Me too.” and he left after kissing her, leaving Claire staring at the door for a few minutes.

She was ready for work about three hours too early, so she finally emptied out the dishwasher and did other chores, thinking of Jamie the entire time.

***

Once again, Claire sat with Joe and Geillis in the Cafeteria. Now that things with Jamie are going… somewhere, she wants both of her friends to know.

“So, um, I went on a date last night.” Claire started casually, not looking up from her food. Still, Geil stopped scrolling through her phone, set it down, and said, “excuse me?”

Joe gave Claire a look, an encouraging smile, he desperately wants details as well. Claire got her phone out, ready for the conversation she needs to have with Geillis. She opened her old facebook account, and pulled up a photo of Claire, Jenny, Ian, and Jamie at some party, arms around each other, laughing.

“Remember that patient last week, with the dislocated shoulder, that requested me?” Geillis stared at Claire trying to figure out who she meant. It clicked as Claire passed over her phone, and said, “we went to college together, and we got drinks to catch up, and one thing led to another and…”

Geillis didn’t touch the phone, only looked at, for a few minutes before turning back to Claire and glaring at her. “You knew James Fraser from university, and never told me?”

“There's pictures of him on my fridge G, you never looked.” Claire responded.

“So it went well then?” Joe asked

Claire couldn't help but smile, “really well.”

“You know James Fraser, and didn't think to mention it to me as we watched football games together for years and ogled at him???” Geillis continued

“You’ve met his sister, G. we both have.” Joe supplied.

“Speaking of,” Claire dragged it out, trying to figure out how to convey her thoughts from what happened this morning. “ I need some clarification on something.”

Joe said, again for emphasis, “yes LJ, it was a date.”

“No, I know, it's just, Jamie said something this morning, that caught me off guard, and he probably didn't mean it like that, but…”

The words ‘this morning’ peaked Geillis’ attention, and she finally looked up from scrolling through Claire’s old facebook account.

Claire settled in her seat, “I jokingly mentioned Jenny, you know, wondering what she is going to have to say about this… whatever it is.”

When Claire didn't continue, Joe and Geillis were waiting on every word, trying to figure out whatever was going on. They were assuming the worst, that he said something that Frank would say, even if he didn't mean to. “And… James…” Joe said.

“Jamie, he said something about how she'd be a hypocrite if she didn't approve or whatever, because she married his best friend.”

Claire looked at her two best friends, besides Jenny, expectedly. Like they were supposed to freak out, like she so obviously was.

“Do you think he meant it like that?” Clare asked, hating the silence.

“No, I don't think he proposed to you, Clairy” Geillis suggested.

“I know, but it sounds serious, he sounds… serious, about us.”

“And that's a good thing, right?” Joe asked. “And you were the one that mentioned telling his sister.”

Claire thought about it for a moment. While this was technically the first date, they've known each other for years. They've been on what could've been considered double dates with Jenny and Ian a million times. This is Jamie. Of course it's serious. And that's okay. It's not a big deal, because it is Jamie, and Claire trusts Jamie. Even if he is a huge football star and she is a nobody. She knows the real Jamie, while everyone else just sees James Fraser.

“I guess.” Claire finally supplied.

Geillis held out Claire’s phone back to her, “your wee fox just texted ye. I didn't read it, but I think I saw a heart emoji. He’s serious.”
Claire smiled while taking her phone back and looking at the text. Jamie wanted to make her dinner, at his place. She couldn’t stop smiling as she replied. When she relayed the information to Joe and Geillis, Joe told her that he sounded like a good guy, a keeper, while Geillis told her to not wear underwear and to bring a condom.

For the rest of Claire's Shift, she was in a good mood. Only Joe and Geillis knew why, and they were really happy for her. She deserved this after that dick, Frank. She stayed away from guys for a while, and still from anything serious, but it seemed like James was a good fit.

Geillis was obsessed with the idea that Claire was with the famous football player, even if she promised to keep it a secret. Joe had a few worries about the spotlight, and James’ work, but Claire also has weird hours. They just had to wait and see where things were heading, and they both really wanted to meet the guy that was already making Claire this Happy.

Chapter Text

“I know Jenny, I feel like I haven't seen you in forever. I'm sorry I can’t make dinner.” Claire was walking aimlessly around Geillis’s apartment, talking to Jenny on the phone.

Geillis just broke up with the guy that she was seeing, so on their night off they decided to stay in and watch movies. They had just finished Jaws, making fun of everyone in the movie, and were deciding between ten things I hate about you, and Scream.

Claire plopped herself back on the couch, and picked up her glass of wine.

“You better get off work for wee Jamies birthday party, he wants his favorite auntie to come...” Geilis could hear Jenny say, now that Claire was seated right next to her.

“Of course I’m coming to his birthday party, this week has just been crazy, and I have to work Sunday, I am sorry. Raincheck?” Calire said, very obviously not telling the whole truth. At least, it was obvious to Geillis.

Claire ended the call.

Geillis sipped her wine, watching Claire gulp hers.

“Still havent told Jenny that she is no longer your favorite Fraser, now that you’re fucking her brother?”

Claire coughed, and Geillis laughed.

“No, I haven't gotten around to it. I think Jamie wants us to tell her together. And I can't face her alone until then. She’ll... know something is up.”

 

“Clairy, I bet she already does.” Geillis said.

“Anyway, back to you, I noticed what's-his-face texted you, probably begging for you back...”

Geillis moved her phone out of Claire’s reach, and started the next movie. She chose Scream. Looks like she was in the mood to make fun of people being stupid and dying instead of being idiotic and in love. Figures.

***

It's been two weeks of remembering everything she already knew about Jamie, and learning the rest. She remembered that he couldn't sing for his life, but loves karaoke, especially when drunk. She never forgot his ability to mask his face, or his tells, like his finger tapping. She recalls all his old favorite music and compares it to now, and how her and Jenny got him to watch one tree hill. He still swears he watched it for the basketball storyline, but when prompted will rant about the characters and couples.

Claire was surprised how easy it was to fall into life with Jamie in it. It's like they never parted ways. So far, being with Jamie is as simple as breathing. Claire is waiting for the complication, the obstruction to the airway, every single time he makes her heart rate increase, and jump, and skip, she expects it to stop. Because having him in her home shouldn't feel normal, not yet. But somehow he fits in the space, not sticking out or causing issues. She feels comfortable in his home, and that makes her uncomfortable. His apartment is in a big, expensive, secure building, with security guards and a parking garage and a key in the elevator, a precaution due to his profession, and that scared her. But he opened up the door for their dinner date, and felt safe, like she was home. Like he brought a little bit of Lallybroch with him to the city.

When Claire was with Frank, nothing was this easy, it was all work, not necessarily forced, just a bit slower, with Jamie the work seemed enjoyable. Gellis didn't get to see what she calls the honeymoon phase of claires and Frank's relationship. She saw the rest though. She saw Claire cling to the first six months from years ago despite the fact that none of those feelings were left. Claire is terrified that the same will happen with Jamie. Just because it's good right now, for a few weeks, doesn't mean it always will be, and it doesn't mean it will be worth it.

So telling Jenny, the apparent next step just two weeks in seems like a lot.

Claire keeps thinking how stupid she was, being the first one to bring it up.

But Jenny is Claire's oldest friend, if it was any other guy, Claire would go over right away, or call and give her all the details. She was hesitant because it was Jamie. She has barely talked to Jenny for two weeks, afraid to bring up her dating life, her new… relationship.

Claire agonized over what to get wee Jamie for his birthday, even though he's just a toddler, because she’s his godmother, and now apparently might actually become his real aunt. She's always been auntie Claire, but that thought, two weeks in… is daunting. The Frasers have been her family for years because of Jenny, and that's all she ever needed. She had the guest room, the extra seat at the table, the chair in the living room, not the love seat or couch, and she thought it was enough. But now, there were so many more possibilities, and she wanted them. She wanted to sit on the love seat with Jamie, to be on his right when he's at the head of the table, to never spend a night in the guest room again, especially since it's definitely going to become another kids room. And it was terrifying.

***

Jamie is on the phone with Jenny, a few days before his nephew's birthday party. Him and Claire are spending a lazy day in her apartment, watching netflix. He is going to convince her that the US version of the Office is better if it's the last thing he does.

Jenny once again starts talking about introducing Jamie to lovely local lass, but for once he doesn't tell her “mind your own business Janet” before hanging up. He smiles, glancing at Claire in the kitchen making more popcorn.

“Actually, there's no need for that, since I'm bringing my girlfriend….”

Claire whirls around to face him with a deer in headlights look on her face. Jamie has to suppress the urge to laugh.

“I think you'll really like her.”

Claire starts shaking her head, slowly, making Jamie bob his up and down. He shrugged, and Claire sighed.

Jamie knew that Claire was bad at lying, with her glass face, and keeping this from Jenny was definitely necessary at first, but telling her was also really important. And seeing that they were both going to Jamies party, there was no escaping it, and it was as good a time as any. They get there early of course, help set up, but then the spotlight would move off them and onto the kids.

All the while Jenny was going off on a tangent.

“You better not be bringing some random model or soap opera star to a kids party Jamie. I ken it's hard to meet people, which is why I keep suggesting laoghaire. Seriously, if you're serious about this mystery girl that you've hidden from me til now, she better be ready for ice cream cake and a bouncy house, not whatever it is ye superstar exes were used to.”

“Jenny,” Jamie interrupted. “I ken that ye don't believe all those stories about me in the tabloids. I don't bring just anyone to Lallybroch, ye ken that. Ye make sure of that. It'll be great. I swear, ye’ll love her.”

Jamie attempted to wink as he said that, making Claire roll her eyes as she shoved a handful of popcorn in her mouth, walking back to the couch.

She sat down basically in his lap after Jamie ended the call.