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Where it's Safe

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Everything was as it usually was, the same array of songs blaring through the speakers, copious amounts of alcohol and dead-end conversation flowing through the pub. It was as typical as expected. 

Jamie, John, Ian, and Rupert made this an almost weekly routine to end their long and demanding week at each of their jobs. It went without saying that it was something to relieve the stress and clear their minds. For Jamie, he has his own reasons tonight. 

He was about to start a new position as Captain of Security at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary this coming Monday after taking four months leave from his former job. One would think it was cause for celebration; Jamie however, did not.

Despite his distant mood, this Friday seemed just as ordinary as the others, but would quickly prove to be the beginning of something of an entirely different nature. 

__________

Jamie was a deputy in Edinburgh’s police force for the past eight years. He had joined at the ripe age of twenty-two, fresh out of the academy. He loved his job, every part of it, even the desk duty. But most of all, Jamie loved being on the road with his partner Angus. 

That is, up until recently. 

Four months ago, Jamie and Angus received a call from the chief about a possible domestic disturbance. They’d gotten calls such as these dozens of times over their eight years together as partners. They knew how to handle them - for the most part. 

This last one just happened to take a turn for the worst.

They arrived at the scene and instantly heard the yelling and screaming from the street. With a quick nod to one another, they made their way to the door. 

Jamie and Angus hardly had to communicate on the job. They knew each other’s moves before they happened. Their own unspoken language. Without hesitation, they knew who would open the door while the other took the lead, and vice versa. This time, Angus kicked the door in while Jamie entered first. 

What they walked into was disturbing, but not as uncommon as one would hope. A couple tearing into each other, except they knew where this argument had gone, and where it had the potential to go. The woman was cowered on the floor in between the couch and the table, clearly trying to make herself as small as possible. There was a man leaning over her, yelling and kicking her. 

The couple didn’t hear the officers announce themselves, or even hear them bust down the door, but they had seen enough. Angus took the right while Jamie took the left. There were no weapons visible, the perp’s fists were doing a fine job on their own, or so it seemed. Once more, they announced themselves and told the abuser to put his hands up. It took a second to register, but he finally heard them. 

Angus had his gun pointed towards the perp while Jamie was behind him on the other side. That's when Jamie saw it. The perp reached his left hand back. 

Two shots were fired. The first was from the perp, the second from Jamie’s gun. And that was it. The perp was dead before he hit the floor, but Jamie didn’t realize that he got to Angus first. 

It only took a moment, for everything to change.

Before Jamie even reached the other side of the couch, he knew his partner of eight years was gone.  

I should’ve reacted quicker. I was trained to react quicker. 

I failed him.

Following Angus’s death and a thorough investigation, Jamie was placed on mandatory paid-leave, with the department’s hope of his return after he recovered. Despite all their accommodations, counseling, and a mandatory retraining course, Jamie knew he wasn’t going back. He could no longer risk putting another partner in danger, or to waste away within his guilt at a desk forever. He needed a change. A new purpose. 

After a bit of research and self contemplation, Jamie discovered a security position at the hospital had opened up. His semi-upstanding resume seemed to impress the chief of security, seeing as he offered Jamie the rank of captain right off the bat. Assuming in part to his previous experience. Nonetheless he didn’t shy away from asking why a young thirty-year-old police officer wanted to come do security at a hospital. Jamie explained it was simply where he wanted to be. To attempt to protect those who can actually save others, unlike himself. 

Or so he thought. 

Maybe it's the least I could do despite my past failures both as an officer, and a partner.

Jamie then set a challenge upon himself. He vowed to dedicate not only his career, but himself to protect those inside one of Scotland’s largest hospitals. Jamie was determined to do his absolute best to ensure the safety of those with the ability to save lives.

Maybe I could honor my former partner along the way. 

__________

Planted in their usual corner booth, so the other lads could have a view of the entire pub, lasses and all, they were simply going about pub business as usual. 

Jamie had just started his second dram, but in truth, he was ready to call it a night. The past week was filled with nothing but long conversations and formal resignation papers. He was longing to go home, and officially close the door on his past. 

Just as Jamie was about to excuse himself from the lads, already prepared to ignore their judgemental protests, when something caught his eye. 

It was the most exquisite mop of curls he’s ever laid eyes on. Elegantly draped over a lovely knit jumper, were innumerable shades of brown and auburn that were visible even in the pub’s dim lighting. The curls were so free, so beautiful. What I wouldn’t do ro run my fingers through those curls. Jamie sat there from afar just admiring them. Maybe for just a few seconds, if not minutes. They were mesmerizing. 

Jamie wasn’t the type to go after women at a pub, he didn’t feel it was the proper place. However, he just couldn’t peel his eyes away from those bouncing curls. Without second guessing himself, he decided to approach her. Jamie didn’t even have to see the woman's face to feel how drawn he was to her. Her curls alone were like a gravitational pull, inviting him in. 

Jamie had just begun to slide out of the corner booth, determined, when he noticed she was with a man. Disappointment ensued. But that wasn’t all that he noticed. Her head was down, as her body faced his on the bar stool, his hand with a far too firm grip on her bicep. From almost fifteen feet away Jamie could see the whites of his knuckles. 

Jamie immediately bolted up from the booth. It took everything he had not to march up to the man and bounce his forehead off the edge of the bar. 

Ye son of a bitch. 

“Jamie lad, where are ye off too?” Rupert said in the midst of a laugh. “I’m just going to get a wee refill is all.” Jamie firmly said to him over his shoulder without looking back. He overheard the lads remarking how his dram on the table was still full, but he didn’t care. 

Jamie was maybe six feet from the couple when he stopped dead in his tracks. He realized that he was in no position to confront the man. In contempt of what he’d see he had no notion what was truly going on. He was not about to cause a scene that could potentially make it worse for the lass, despite the pull he felt towards her. 

Clearing his head, Jamie decided to stand off to the side of the lass to “order another drink”. That was when he heard all he needed to confirm his initial thought.

“I can’t believe you came out with me wearing such a ratty jumper. God, you never put any effort into looking even the least bit presentable.” The man hissed at her. “Frank, I- I- this was all I had in my locker at work. I didn’t know my shift would go over and I would have to meet you here. I’m sorry.” she responded with a hesitant whisper.

Ah. Sassenachs, both of ‘em. 

 “It doesn’t matter. You’re always looking disheveled no matter what you wear, especially with that rat's nest looking excuse of hair you have on your head. It’s embarrassing being seen in public with you. Then you wonder why I never bring you around my department at the university.” This time, it was more of a disgusted snarl as the man was practically spitting in her face. 

Jamie could hear the blood pumping in his ears and his fists automatically curling on top of the bar. It was his turn for his knuckles to turn white. He didn’t have to see the lass to know that she didn’t deserve to be spoken to in such a manner. 

Nobody should be spoken to like that, especially in a public setting. 

“I’m sorry. I’ll start trying harder to look more presentable for you. I’m sorry, please don’t be angry.” Jame could hear her attempt at suppressing a cry in her voice. “That’s just it, you don’t try to do anything. Not with your looks, not your job, not in this relationship, not your life. You’re just this shell of a woman. A mediocre bore. Yet you expect me to just stick around and wait for you to become what I want? Do you think you’re even worth that much?” She said nothing. Jamie could feel the rage heightening inside him. The lass just kept her head pointed towards the floor. That’s when Frank  leaned in closer and loudly said “So you have nothing to say for yourself?” 

This caused her to flitch, Jamie did too. As a result, he accidentally elbowed her purse off the bar and onto the floor spilling its contents. He immediately knelt down to pick it up when he felt her get down from her stool as well. She was frantically trying to gather her belongings and shove them back into her purse. “I’m sae sorry lass. How clumsy of me.” Jamie said in what he hoped was a soft, reassuring tone. “N-no. It’s fine. It was m-my fault.” She still hadn’t looked up, but he could see the faint glisten of tears on her face.

“At least let me buy ye another round for causing such a mess.”

“That isn’t necessary, we’re leaving.” This Frank said as he all but hurled the lass off the floor by her arm. Jamie hardly had time to stand up before he dragged her out of the pub. 

Before Jamie could process what was happening he started to follow them. It was quiet, but he clearly heard the man say: “Again, you caused an embarrassing scene by making such a mess. Wait until we get home.” Jamie had enough. He didn’t care, he wanted to intercede. He needed to say something, but as always, he was too late . She was already being shoved into a taxi. 

Jamie watched as the taxi drove off with the poor lass inside with that horrid excuse for a man. He took a minute to gather his thoughts before heading back inside to tell the lads he was going home. 

I should’ve said something sooner. Lord, I can only imagine what he must be like in private.

That poor lass.

Her head was still down.  

Jamie trudged back into the bar when he nearly slipped on something. He looked down to notice a plastic card under his shoe. When he picked it up, his breath hitched in his throat. He immediately recognized those curls. 

It was her. 

Dr. Claire Beauchamp, MD

General Surgery 

It was her hospital ID badge. She was a doctor at…

Edinburgh Royal Infirmary. 



Chapter Text

Jamie spent the weekend wondering how differently Friday’s situation could’ve gone if he had just mustered up the courage to intercede the situation. He could’ve helped Claire, or potentially made it worse for her.

Claire.

Sorcha. 

Now, with her ID card in hand, and his first day on Monday, he needed a plan to give it back to her without creating an awkward situation. He didn’t want to embarrass the lass. But lord, even despite the situation, Jamie couldn't wait to see those curls again, or to finally see Claire’s face. He couldn’t help but stare at the one inch picture throughout the weekend. As terrible as the quality of the photo was, she was still beautiful. 

__________

The majority of Jamie’s first day was simple training. Touring the hospital, going over protocols, a layout of the security system, introducing himself to staff members with the chief, etc. He grasped it all pretty quickly. So far it seemed a bit easier than what he was used to. 

But where was Claire?

The last couple hours of his shift he was instructed to man the security desk at the east entrance. He observed the monitors, transferred calls, gave navigational instruction to visitors checking in. Simple. That was, until he saw those curls walking through the foyer. 

His heart immediately started racing, almost deafening. He didn’t get up. He was sure his legs no longer knew how to work. She was getting closer. 

She had to check in. 

Before Jamie was able to move even a centimeter, Claire approached the security desk in front of him.  

Christ she’s beautiful . Those curls, those whisky eyes. Lord, what a creature. 

She must’ve said something, because she was just staring directly back at Jamie. Shame he couldn’t hear it over his own panic. 

“Sorry lass, what was that?” 

“Are you new here? I don’t think we’ve met. I’m Claire. Dr. Claire Beauchamp.”

“Uh, James. Captain of Security, James Alexander Malcolm Mackenzie Fraser. Your servant, Doctor.”

Did I just give her my full name? Jamie, get it together lad. 

“Wow that’s quite the mouthful you have there Captain James….”

“Please, call me Jamie.”

“Okay Jamie. Welcome to Edinburgh Royal. I’m sure we’re all very lucky to have you on our team.” She said with the most gorgeous, genuine smile he’d ever seen. Certainly a change from what was witnessed on Friday. 

Friday. Her card. Shite. 

“Why thank ye mistress. I appreciate the warm welcome.”

She nodded and proceeded to open her purse and take a step toward the staff check-in monitor. Jame could tell she was getting flustered, murmuring on about how she knew she had it in there. 

I couldn’t wait any longer. 

“Something amiss lass?”

“It’s just my bloody ID card. I know I put it in here after my shift on Friday. Oh, where on earth did it go?”

“I think I could actually assist ye with that Doctor. ” He hesitated as he reached into his pocket and held up her card between two fingers. 

One heartbeat. Two. Three. 

“Where th- how- where did you get that?”

“I uh, found it actually. On the floor of the Ridge. Ye ken, the pub over in Old Town near Bakehouse Close? I knew I’d be coming to start work today so I figured I’d just bring it in wi’ me. Hope that’s okay.” 

That infectious smile was gone. She just stared at her card. No expression. 

“Oh that’s uh. That’s fine. Thank you for bringing it in.” Her tone turned cold, distant somehow. 

“I was actually that clumsy dolt who knocked yer purse off the bar if ye remember. Again, my apologies.”

Jamie ye ejiit. Don’t upset her. 

She was looking down at the floor. Again. 

“Don’t worry about it. It was an accident. Thank you for bringing in my ID. I have to start my shift now. See you.” She hurried off before Jamie could get in another word. He just watched her disappear down the hall. 

I embarrassed her. Claire, I didna mean it. 

Jamie wrestled with the fact that he didn’t have to bring up the pub. He could’ve told her someone found it here in the hospital and left it at the desk. But no. Instead of making her feel safe, he caused her even more uneasiness. He had to make this right, but it wouldn’t be today. His first shift was over. 

__________

Jamie wouldn’t see Claire again at work until Wednesday. This time, Jamie was checking on a security sensor in the PRE-OP unit when he heard her voice coming from a patient's room. It wasna just her voice either. It was her laugh. He knew it had to be. He felt it. He couldn’t help but smile just from listening. Christ it was the most beautiful sound he ever heard. 

I wonder if he’s ever made her laugh.

Claire then came out of the room and went over the nearby nurse's station. Jamie was finished with the sensor, and was already walking towards her. He couldn’t help it. There was that pull again. 

“Afternoon Dr. Beauchamp. Pleasure to see ye again.” 

“Oh, hello Captain. How have your first few days been?” She took a slight step back then. Her arms simultaneously crossing in front of her. Was she afraid? Or just caught off guard?

“So far sae good. Yer wee staff hasn’t caused too much trouble yet”

“Well then, I’ll be sure to keep them in line.” She said with a very faint, but still visible smirk. 

They both just looked right at each other for a few moments. Those whisky eyes had so much to tell. Jamie wanted to learn more. He wanted her to know he’d listen, that he’d help her if she needed, if she’d let him. 

Would she? Could she ever?

“Dr. Beauchamp, I was wonderin’ if you’d like to have a coffee wi’ me in the staff cafeteria? I have a wee break just now, if you have a few moments to spare. But I ken yer a very busy doctor that has lives to tend to, so perhaps another time.”

Did I just ask her to get coffee wi’ me? AND I’m rambling? Christ, I’ll never make it.

Jamie was already turning on his heel to go back to the security room before he managed to shove his foot further in his mouth, when he felt the gentlest touch on his shoulder. 

“Captain, I would very much appreciate a coffee. I was actually about to get one myself to prep for a surgery I have in thirty minutes.” There it was, that faint, but oh so present smile. 

“Excellent. Shall we?” returning the smile, Jamie motioned for Claire to lead the way.

__________

Once they got to the cafeteria, Jamie sensed that she seemed a bit timid. Was she always like this? Did he make her uncomfortable? 

How can I get her to understand I just want to be her friend, someone to trust?

They hadn’t spoken again, but once they sat down at a table, and Claire reached for a napkin, he saw it. 

Bruises. 

The sleeve of her lab cost lifted just enough on her arm to reveal what appeared to be fingers marked into her wrist. It only took a second, but Jamie saw them. Dark enough to know they were left there with such force, imprinted into her beautiful pearl skin. 

Claire looked up instantly and saw where he was staring. She hurriedly pulled down her sleeve, and tucked her hands into her lap. 

Jamie could feel his jaw clenching hard enough to crack his teeth. 

He puts his hands on her. I knew it. That bastard. 

Again that range was boiling beneath his skin. But he wouldn’t let her see it. He wouldn’t scare her off. He needed to earn her trust. 

“That’s nothing. Patients, they can get aggressive or frightened sometimes. All part of the job.” She said as she fumbled with her hands in her lap. 

A lie. I know it. He hurts you mo chridhe. Let me help you. 

“Och. I can imagine.”

Just brush it off Jamie. Give her time. She doesn’t trust you yet. Just be there. Be there for her.

“My old line of work would give me even worse most days. I would go home with all sorts of bruises, scratches, sometimes more.”

“Really? What did you used to do?” She was starting to relax. Good. Progress. 

Let her get to know you. To know who you are. That you mean well.

__________

The conversation flowed rather smoothly. Jamie told her about his time in the Royal police academy, and his work on the force after. He had told he lost his partner on the job (while avoiding some details), needing a change, and eventually it led to him telling her about Lallybroch, and why he decided to join the police force. 

“My parents were on their way home from their friends house just a few miles away from our family home. Ye see, in the Highlands the roads are very narrow. Scarcely big enough for one vehicle at a time. Well, the roads were slick that night from the rain. They were almost home when a drunken bastard was speeding down the road and collided with their car. They were both killed on impact, which I’m grateful for in a sense. But, that bastard was able to walk away from the scene.” Jamie hadn’t realized that he was now the one looking down, or that their hands were barely a hair’s length from touching. When he looked up, Claire was staring right into him, like she could really see him. Like they could see each other.

“I was almost done with uni at the time. I had just turned twenty one, and was getting ready to take over the management of the family business wi’ my sister Jenny. But that all changed. I needed to do something more. I couldna change what happened to my parents, but if I became a police officer then perhaps I could prevent it from happening to another family. I would be putting people away that deserve it, and protect others that need it along the way. So, I dropped out of uni and headed to the academy.” He stopped talking then. He just looked into those sweet and calming whisky eyes, as if that’s all he’ll ever have to do.

Lord it’s so easy to talk to her. I want to tell her everything. I want her to tell me everything. 

“I am so sorry Jamie. I’m sure your parents are so proud of the work you’ve done and the people you’ve served. You’ve done well by them.” At that moment she put her hand on top of his. So gently, as if it were just a breath of wind. It only lasted a second, even for a moment Jamie thought he’d imagined it. But knew he didn’t. 

“Och. It’s been a long time lass, nothing to fash about now.” 

“It’s quite strange you know. I had lost my parents in a similar way as a child. That’s part of the reason why I decided to become a doctor. To save those that still had a chance to be saved.”

She went on to tell him how her parents passed in a car accident as well. Just a simple accident that could’ve happened to anyone. She was five at the time. So young, too precious to experience such heartbreak. 

“So I ended up having the most unusual yet extraordinary childhood traveling the world with Uncle Lamb. It wasn’t until I went off to university shortly after he died that I really began to settle down for the first time in my life. I was in my last year of med school and about to start my residency when I met… uh—” She came to a halt. He could read it clear as day on her face. Before Jamie knew he had actually said it, he finished her sentence for her. 

“Frank.” he said dryly. 

“Y-yes. F-Frank.” Fear. That’s all her face showed. Fear. “You probably remember him from the pub. Sorry for how curt he was towards y—” He cut her off right then and there. 

“Sassenach dinna ever apologize for that man's actions. Now, ye and I dinna ken each other that well yet , but I do see that ye dinna deserve to be treated that way by him.” Jamie couldn’t help himself, it was all spewing out of him. There was no stopping it. “I saw enough at the pub to ken that he isna a decent man, and I bet those marks on yer arm are no from a patient.” He subconsciously grabbed her wee fingers and held them in his hand lightly stroking her knuckles. Neither of them looked up. “He doesna deserve ye Sassenach.” 

“I uhm—” saved by the bell. Her pager started going off and she pulled her hand away.  “I’m sorry, I have to get to surgery. Thank you for the coffee.”

Then she was gone. 



Chapter Text

After their exchange over coffee last week, Jamie had an agonizing feeling he’d overstepped. He didn’t want to come across as some overbearing stranger she barely knew that happened to witness something embarrassing. So for over a week, he gave her space.

It had been ten days since they last spoke. Jamie was getting worried about her. He  just wanted to know if she was okay, he needed to know. Although he understood that he barely knew Claire, ever since the pub, he felt the need to protect her. To keep her safe. As if that was his newfound purpose. Not this job. Not making these life changes to forget his past. It was Claire. He was drawn to her, beyond his control. Everything in him just wanted to let go and be absorbed by her, just as he longed to consume and protect her. From him. It was unexplainable.

I want her to let me in. 

_________

On day ten of their “no communication stand-still” Jamie was completely caught off guard on one Friday. He was going over the security footage from the night before, when he felt her near him. He slowly looked up to see Claire standing in front of his desk. Those soft, innocent, amber eyes looking directly at him. 

“Hello Captain. I was just headed to the cafeteria for a coffee break. Would you care to join me perhaps? If you aren’t too busy.” 

There’s that smile.

“Aye, Doctor. I’d love to.”

__________

Jamie and Claire started to develop their own routine together as the weeks went on. Wednesdays, Fridays, every other Saturday, and sometimes Tuesdays their shifts aligned for them to be able to get coffee together on their breaks. Unless Claire was in surgery, they knew to just meet in the cafeteria. Fortunately, Jamie had newfound access to the staff’s scheduling system (for safety precautions of course) so he always knew if she was in surgery or not. 

They took their time genuinely getting to know each other. From the foods they liked, how they spent their free time. They discussed their families, childhood memories, favorite movies. Claire making fun of Jamie for actually enjoying running, Jamie teasing Claire about how her favorite movie is Titanic , never mind the amount of times she's supposedly watched it. He thought it was adorable. That she was adorable. 

It was a work in progress, but they really had began building a friendship. Jamie knew, sensed that she was beginning to trust him. Sometimes he would even think she was flirting, but he knew it couldn’t be. They exchanged so many laughs, the brush of a hand here and there, a poke in the ribs, or a shoulder bump if they’d run into each other in a hallway. She’d even wink at him when she passed the security desk if he  was on duty, then later on she’d bust out laughing telling him he couldn’t do it back and he just looked like an owl. It was fun, peaceful, safe, for her. 

Lord, please let me keep her safe. 

Jamie was always a bit cautious about the territory of their conversations. He never brought up Frank, or what he had said the first time they had coffee. Neither did she. She needed to feel that she could open up to him in her own time. Even if for now, Jamie was just a distraction for her. No matter how badly Jamie wanted to strangle the bastard with his bare hands every time he thought about him yelling and putting his hands on her. All the while he still ached to take Claire into his arms and keep her there forever. 

Christ, this woman. She has no idea how rare she is. 

It was becoming more difficult for Jamie to keep his words to himself some days. He noticed every time she came in work trying to cover up her arms as much as possible, how she winced if she moved a certain way, or even the amount of makeup she had around her eyes. It pained him. He couldn’t bear seeing her hurt and not doing anything about it. He so badly wanted to help protect her, but she wasn’t ready, and he wouldn’t force her.

I will free you mo nighean donn. I promise. 

____________

As Friday came, Jamie was just about to head to the cafeteria to meet Claire when he got called to the waiting room in the ER. A patient was completely irate about how long she had been waiting and decided to take it out on the nurses. 

He handled the situation as calmly as he could manage and told the women that the staff was trying their best to see everyone in a timely manner. They were simply swamped with more serious cases at the moment. Since this was not to her liking, the women decided to “take her business elsewhere” which was probably for the best.

Noticing the time, he was only a few minutes late to meet Claire, so he hurried to the cafeteria. He knew she’d still be there. No matter how long their breaks together were, he worshipped every minute.

When Jamie walked  into the cafe slightly out of breath, she was the only one there. Claire was sitting at their usual spot in the far corner. She looked so peaceful, content, enjoying the quiet. Part of him didn’t want to disturb her. He took a minute to just look at her, taking in the sight. But the bigger part of him couldn’t resist. Instead of getting his coffee, Jamie quietly walked up behind her as she was working out a kink in her neck. 

That’s right, she had a long surgery this morning. 

With a playful idea in mind, he’d figured he’d help her with that. Jamie’s fingers had barely squeezed Claire’s shoulders when she quite literally jumped out of the chair, her coffee going with her.

Fuck. He’s put his hands there, and I know it isn’t to massage her shoulders after a long day. I should’ve known. 

“Oh Christ Sassenach I am sae sorry. I was just trying to play a wee joke and sneak up on ye. I didna mean to give ye a fright.” She was shaking, panicking, and covered in coffee. Looking down. Jamie was also starting to panic, he didn’t know what to do. Instinctively, he gently put his hands on her arms to steady her. “Sassenach, yer okay, tis only me being a daft fool scaring ye like that.” She still wouldn’t look up from her shaking hands, or the mess on her scrubs. Jamie lightly reached up and used a forefinger to raise her chin to look up at him, to bring her back from the dark place he’d sent her. “It's just me here. Shh mo chridhe, breathe with me. I’m here.” Together, they took enough deep breaths until she started to calm down. His finger still held her chin. Her hands were no longer shaking either. They were lightly resting on Jamie’s hips with a slight, yet firm grip on his belt to steady herself.

“It’s okay. I’m okay. I know you didn't mean it. Sometimes quick movements or touches like that just catch me off guard and I think that...” her voice broke then, nearly breaking his heart along with it.

“Shh Sassenach. You didna have to say it. I ken. Trust me. I ken what he does to ye. Yer beautiful glass face gives it all away when yer wi’ me. But Sassenach,” Jamie then took a small step closer, their faces mere inches apart. He tilted her chin up just a bit more, “I need ye to ken that you dinna ever have to be afraid as long as I’m wit ye. I will always keep ye sa-”

“Claire? Or should I say Dr. Beauchamp?” Claire jumped back from him so quickly he almost lost his footing. Her face was instantly sheet white to the point where it was almost translucent. The tears were instantly pricking in her eyes threatening to spill over, and her hands began to quiver. “Interesting to see that you’re slacking while on the job per usual. One would think that you’d have patients to tend to, yet here you are, and with your own little companion.” 

The bastard was walking towards them. Towards Claire. Jamie took a slight step towards Claire, putting her somewhat behind him. 

“F- Frank, this is my colleague James. Captain James Fraser of the security department. I made a mess with my coffee and he was just helping me clean up is all. What are you doing here? Don’t you have late class on Friday’s?” She was frantic, Jamie sensed it. 

But she was trying to be brave. My brave lass, I am sae sorry for this.

He was still walking towards her. “Oh but I do. Only today I gave an exam that ended early, so I thought I’d visit my fiancé while she worked.” The way he referred to her as his fiancé made Jamie’s heart lunge to his stomach. He said it with such a pitiful taste of ownership and disapproval, it took everything for Jamie not to throttle him where he stood.

Does this bastard not understand how lucky he is? Yet he hurts her so badly. Mo nighean donn, ye must get away. I need to get ye away. 

“So imagine my surprise when I was told at the nurses station you were on your break and I could come see you in the cafeteria, only to find you like this. Not only were you far too close to this security guard , but you’re in your workplace in such a sloppy manner. Claire, I thought we agreed to work in this?” Just then he reached up and pinched her scrubs inspecting the “mess”. 

She absolutely shrank away at his touch. My heart along with her. 

“Claire darling, I think we need to get you home . I don’t think you’re feeling very well. Oh, and this poor mess. We have to get you cleaned up. You should go on and tell your supervisor you need to end your shift a bit earlier than expected.” The asshole was smirking.

No. She’s not going with you.

“The lass is fine to stay and ye ken it. Why don’t ye go home and let her finish her shift, aye? I’m sure you can discuss the problems you have with her later.” Jamie stepped closer to Frank, really highlighting the difference in their size.

I wilna let him hurt ye anymore mo chridhe, I won’t. 

“Jamie— Captain, I’m fine. Frank is right, I think it best that I go home a bit early today.” Claire barely turned, but managed to give Jamie a look he had never seen before. Her eyes, those beautiful whisky eyes he wanted to drown in were pleading to not make matters worse. Jamie had to listen. She didn’t give him a choice, because she had already made hers. 

“Claire, I wilna—”

“Excellent, lets go Claire. We need to get home,” 

No. Claire, please. Ye canna go wi’ him. Stay with me. Stay with me mo chridhe.

Before Jamie could beg her to stay, she was already walking behind Frank out of the cafeteria. Just a brief moment passed before Jamie was following them out. 

What have I done? This is all my fault. I shoulda stopped him. 

The visitor’s car park was right near the entrance that led to the cafeteria, so by the time Jamie caught up with them, they were already outside. As soon as the revolving door opened he heard the yelling.

“You filthy bitch. Are you satisfied? Now the whole hospital is going to know what a dirty whore you are. I’m sure this is bound to get back to the university.” He shoved her into his car and she immediately started to fold into herself on the seat. 

Jamie couldn’t watch this happen, even if Claire didn’t want him to get involved. Jamie started to run towards the car to stop him from taking her, but he was too late. He took too long. Again. Frank was already speeding away, taking his Sassenach with him.

He was right there. Right back in the pub car park. Again, he had to watch him take her away because he wasn’t quick enough. 

Sassenach, this is all my fault. 

I did this. I’m the reason he’s going to hurt ye today. I didna stand my ground for ye even though I promised. I wasna the man ye needed me to be, and now I canna protect ye. I knew what he would do, and I still let ye go wi’ him. 

Jamie stood in the car park staring at the exit for God knows how long, waiting, willing for Claire to come back to him so he could take her into his arms and never let her go.

It was at this moment that Jamie realized why he felt so drawn to Claire, why every cell in his body was screaming at him to protect her. To do something.

He loved her with everything that he was. He knew it all along. From the moment those alluring curls caught his eye in the pub two months ago.

But he took her from him, knowing what would happen.

Jamie was no longer going to do this on Claire’s terms. He knew she didn’t want him to get anymore involved, but that no longer mattered. He must. He knew too much. He’d seen too much. The love he had for Claire didn’t leave him with a choice. He had to get her out. Even if it makes her hate him. 

Tha gaol agam ort, mo sorcha. I will not fail ye again. 



Chapter Text

Jamie couldn’t sleep that night. He felt as if his insides were ablaze from all the worry and anger he was bottling up. Worry for Claire, and anger towards himself… and Frank. 

She’s with him right now, hurting, because of me. 

Jamie had no way of reaching Claire. They never exchanged numbers, and he wasn’t permitted to access her records for personal use. He had been working at the hospital for two months now, but he didn’t know any other doctors well enough to ask such a favor. It wouldn’t be appropriate, despite the circumstances. For hours he would attempt to find a way to fix the situation he caused. It went as far as considering reaching out to the lads at his old unit, but with what evidence? All he had witnessed was two semi-confrontational arguments between a couple, and bruises on Claire that could very well have been from a patient, even though Jamie knew the truth. He was helpless. 

__________

Dawn had eventually started to creep in through the windows of his flat. He had to get out of his head, or else he would go mad. Jamie then jolted from his bed, changed into shorts, grabbed his running shoes and went out the door. 

Jamie ran and ran and ran. With no destination in mind, he just kept going, willing for the ache in his stomach to subside. Hours must’ve passed until Jamie found himself at the base of Holyrood Park, more than halfway across the city. Drenched with sweat, and legs that were on fire, he stopped. With his hands on his knees trying to control his breathing, Jamie didn’t know if he was going to vomit, or burst into tears. 

I can’t do this. She needs me. I need her. 

He slowly started to walk back in the opposite direction when he decided to take the more scenic route through the park. Riddled with exhaustion he took a moment to lean his forehead against a tree. That was until his fists began connecting with the bark. 

Over and over, punch after punch, Jamie let loose on the tree as if it would rid him of his mistakes. It wasn’t until other people in the park were starting to stare that he realized the scene he was creating.

With his knuckles covered in blood, and his head towards the ground, Jamie headed back towards the direction of his flat feeling worse about himself than he did before his run. 

__________

The rest of the weekend couldn’t have passed more slowly. Jamie was more than itching to get to work on Monday. He knew Claire’s shift was scheduled to start around the same time as his. This was his chance to confront her. To ensure her that he was going to help her, to even take her away if she’d let him. He refused to let her get away from him again. 

Jamie was sitting at his usual spot near the East entrance. He purposely showed up early so he wouldn’t miss Claire checking in. The fingers of his left hand were furiously tapping his thigh while he stared down the door. He couldn’t help but hold his breath each time the door began to open. But it was never Claire. 

Claire was due to arrive for her shift more than two hours ago. Jamie’s panic was becoming unbearable. That’s when he noticed Dr. Geillis Duncan walking down the hall towards his desk. 

“Dr. Duncan, I dinna mean to be a bother to ye, but my monitor here says that Dr. Beauchamp had a shift today starting at 9. D’ye ken where she might be?” The nerves in his voice were impossible to hide. 

“Och, yes. Claire phoned me this morning askin’ me if I could cover for her. Says she came down with somethin o’er the weekend. She should be back in a couple days. I wouldna fash too much Captain .” Geillis then gave Jamie a very assertive wink at that last notion. 

Geillis had spotted Jamie and Claire’s breaks together numerous times. It was always with a sly, “How’s the coffee tasting today? Strong? Is it hot enough?” Jamie didn’t mind the onlookers of their breaks. He knew Claire and Geillis were rather friendly. Sometimes he even hoped she’d run into them because every time she said something, Claire’s cheeks turned the most adorable shade of pink. Jamie relished at the sight of it. 

“Ah. I see. Uh, thank ye. If she phones ye again, tell

her Captain Fraser was askin for her, aye?”

Before Geillis could respond he was up from his chair and heading towards the nearest bathroom. He had barely made it into the stall when he vomited into the toilet. 

It’s bad. If she’s not coming into work, it’s bad. 

Jamie sat on the bathroom floor for the better part of half an hour. His head was between his knees as he just let the tears flow silently down his cheeks. 

__________

Two more days had passed and she still hadn’t come to work. Jamie wasn’t sleeping, he wasn’t eating. Every single second of every day he thought about Claire. It was becoming insufferable. He had to do something, he couldn’t take it anymore. 

She could be near dead because of me and I would never know.

Jamie reached the decision that he was going to not only beg, but demand that Geillis, or anyone really, to give him a way to contact Claire. He didn’t care what it took. 

Just as he was about to get up to find her, he saw them. Those curls. 

__________

She was there. Right there. Twenty yards away talking to a couple of nurses. 

How did I not see her come in?

Before he knew it he was more than halfway to her, almost at a run. It took so much control to suppress the cry creeping up his throat. 

Mo nighean donn, yer here. Yer whole. 

Jamie was beginning to open his mouth to get her attention when she turned around. She saw him, like she was a deer in the headlights. The tears began to prick his eyes, but he urged them back. 

His heart stopped when he saw her eyes. The whisky was dark, too dark. Cloudy. Sad. Then he noticed what was around them. She had deep, almost grey bags under her eyes. She looked as if she had gotten less sleep then he had in the past five days. But that wasn’t all. Claire was wearing a turtleneck that came up unnecessarily high, and what appeared to be the remnants of a healing split lip. 

Christ. That fucking bastard. How has nobody else noticed? 

Jamie wasn’t sure how long had passed with them just looking at each other in the middle of the hallway, but he needed to touch her, to talk to her, to feel that she’s there for himself. She was as still as a statue, so Jamie finally took the first step. 

Ever so slowly he was walking towards her, never breaking eye contact. When he was just a foot from her, he stopped.  

“Sassenach.” He whispered, so quietly he didn’t think she’d heard him. 

“Hello Captain.”

He cleared his throat. “Doctor, may I have a word wi’ ye in private? Just a few questions about a security matter. Confidential.”

“S-sure.”

This time, Jamie led the way. She was walking behind him, but he refused to say or do anything else untilthey were alone. Eventually they reached an empty conference room. When he unlocked the door, he motioned for Claire to enter first, then shut it behind him.

Her back was to him. He was almost too scared to move, never mind say anything. That’s when he noticed her shoulders were shuttering. Jamie moved towards her, and reached to put his hands on her arms. With no force whatsoever, he turned her to face him, and gathered her into his arms. She began to sob.

“Shh mo nighean donn, I got ye. Let it out.” Jamie held her so tight he was sure he was crushing her, but he needed to feel her. Even Claire was gripping her wee arms around him using all the strength she had. “J-Jamie I…” 

“Let me speak first, aye?” He loosened his grip so he could look at her face.

Ye look as beautiful as ever Sassenach.

Lightly brushing a few stray curls from her eyes, Jamie cupped her face with his right hand, as she leaned into his touch. 

“First, I need to ken. Are ye okay?”

“I’m o-okay. A bit s-sore, but okay.” She said between muffled sobs. 

Jamie took a deep breath. Breathing her in. 

“Claire. I need to say somethin. I am sae sorry. I ken I shouldna let ye go wi’ him. I kenned this would happen, but I still let him take ye. I was a coward. I failed to protect ye, and for that he punished ye. I am sorry Sassenach.” She began to cry again, this time the tears were a constant stream down her face. 

“Jamie, you didn’t do this! He did this. Please. I don’t want you to blame yourself. I wouldn’t be able to handle it if you felt guilty because of what he did to me. You didn’t do this. I knew you wanted me to stay with you, but I told you to let me go. I knew what I would be going home with. Trust me, it was better that I did.” 

“Better?! How could this have been better Claire? I didn’t stand up for ye. Instead I had to watch him drag ye away knowing I was the one that sent ye wi’ him because I was too cowardly to protect ye?”

“It isn’t your job to protect me Jamie. That can’t be—”

“Do ye not understand then? Why it most certainly is my job to protect ye? Claire, for months I have been trying to get ye to trust me and ken that I will keep ye safe. Now I ken I failed once, but I wilna be doin that again.”

“But why, why do you feel like you have to? This is my life, my mess.”

He couldn’t say it. Not now, no matter how badly he wanted to. 

“Because Claire. Because I care for ye. Very much. I canna continue to stand here and watch that man continue to hurt ye. Please, please trust me. I wilna ever hurt ye. Ever. I just want to get ye away from him. I want to get ye out of there, for good.” Jamie now had both of his hands cupping her face, their foreheads nearly touching, breathing the same air.

“I can’t get out Jamie. I can’t. You don’t understand what he’s capable of. I’ve been with Frank for almost six years now. He’s dangerous, he knows too many people. Don’t you see? I’m too far gone.”

“No. Ye aren’t Claire. I wilna stand here and let ye tell me that yer going to stay wi’ him any longer. Ye think I’m scared of that man? Well, it’s too bad he doesna ken what I’m capable of. This ends. Now. After our shifts end today yer coming home wi’ me.” 

“Jamie I can’t! He’ll be expecting me home. He’ll come looking for me.”

“Then it’s a good thing he doesna ken where I live then, aye? Before we leave I’m putting a notice through the rest of the guards and staff that he isna allowed in the hospital nae matter what he says.”

“You can’t possibly-”

“Ye think that’s all? I still have friends over in the department. He’s not coming near ye again unless he wants to go to prison.”

“You’d really do that? Jamie, I don’t have to come stay with you. I could go to a hotel, or ask Geillis. I don’t want to be a burden.” 

“Sassenach, when is it going to get through to that beautiful, brilliant brain of yers that I’d do anything for ye? It’s settled. Yer coming home wi me. I’ll be damned if I let ye go again.” 



Chapter Text

The remaining hours of Jamie and Claire’s shifts were uneventful. It’s doubtful either of them were able to get any work done though, given what they had to deal with when they left the hospital. 

Jamie successfully sent out the security notice to the hospital, and put in the call about the restraining order to one of his friends back at the department. He gave only the information that was necessary, but given that it came directly from Jamie, he knew it would go through. 

Claire was able to pull some strings of her own for the next couple of weeks. If need be. A few of her colleagues owed her a favor or two. Her payment was getting to choose her own schedule for a while. Purposefully, she aligned it seamlessly to Jamie’s set hours. They’d be coming into work together, and leaving together. 

When it finally came time to leave, Jamie was more than eager to get her out of there and back to his flat. 

“What about my car? I don’t know if I just want to leave it here. He’ll probably come here and see it.”

“Och. Yer right Sassenach. Tell ye what, why don't you just follow me to my flat and we’ll leave it there, aye?”

He could sense that she was nervous. Whether it was about driving separately, or coming with him at all, he didn’t know. 

“Hey.” He walked up to her, placing his hand on her cheek again. It fit perfectly, as if his hand was molded to hold that very spot. “It’s going to be okay Claire. He isna going to get to ye. Not while yer wi’ me.”

“And when I’m not with you?” She said placing her hand over his. 

“Well, it’s a good thing I dinna plan on letting ye out of my sight for the time being.” He gave Claire a soft, reassuring smile. She hesitantly returned the same.

__________

The drive to Jamie’s flat was just a few minutes. As both cars pulled into the carpark, Jamie got out of his first, and went to help Claire get out of hers. 

“I just realized I don’t have any of my things.”

“We can go buy what ye need Sassenach. Tis’ okay.”

“No no. I need to go to Frank’s. There’s things I need to get.” She was starting to panic. It’s too much.

“Okay okay. D’ye ken when he’s going to be home? It’s 5:45 now.”

“He’ll be home at 6:30 tonight. He’s teaching a late afternoon class. I only live 10 minutes from here. I’ll be quick.” She was already moving back towards her car.

“I dinna think so Sassenach. Yer not driving there alone. Get in, I’ll take ye.”

On the drive to Frank and Claire’s flat, Jamie briefed her on how to go about it. “Dinna take too much that he’ll notice yer really gone. Take what ye need, but leave enough so it looks untouched. Leave the toiletries and those sorts of things. We can get ye those. That would be too obvious, ye ken?”

“I ken.” She repeated. He couldn’t help but smile at that. 

My brave lass. 

Jamie felt quite uneasy as he sat in the car outside their flat. He hated to admit that he was nervous Frank would come home while Claire was inside. He was just about to go inside to fetch her, when she finally came out carrying two medium sized duffel bags. 

“I promise I didn’t leave it bare. He won’t notice. It’s just some clothes and some personal items.”

“I believe ye Sassenach. Let’s get ye back, aye?”

Before heading back to his flat, they had stopped at the local Tesco so Claire could get some other things she needed for the time being. Using more of his former “cop instincts” Jamie made sure to get Claire another SIM card for her phone. That way, Frank wouldn’t have her new number. On the other hand, Jamie realized there was an utter lack of food waiting for them at his flat. 

Once they had what they needed they piled everything into the car. 

“Ready?”

“Honestly I’m not sure. But I think I trust you enough to find out.”



Chapter Text

Once Jamie and Claire arrived back to his flat, they were both a bit on edge. Jamie wasn’t entirely sure on how they were about to handle these next steps. He was mostly concerned for how Claire was going to cope. 

What if she wants to leave? What if she chooses to go back to him?

It was evident that Claire was incredibly nervous. She didn’t say much on the ride back. She was completely out of her element, heading towards an entirely different form of dangerous territory. Whether it was this newfound situation with Jamie, or the fear of Frank lurking from behind. It was all too much too quickly. She was bound to snowball. But when? 

__________

Jamie’s flat was more than decent for a single man that works many hours. His kitchen was tidy, the living room was quite spacious, there were loads of records and books on a bookshelf that lined the far wall, a large TV, an immaculate wooden whisky and wine cabinet that was carved with thistles. Of course. To the left side of the living room was a small hallway leading towards his rather roomy bathroom, and the one bedroom. 

“Come on in Sassenach. Please, make yerself comfortable while I put all this away.” 

Claire was still standing next to the door clutching her bags to her person. She was looking around the strange flat in front of her, unsure of where to take her next step. 

Jamie was moving about the kitchen trying to make small conversation about what he could cook them for dinner, but Claire heard none of it. It wasn’t until Jamie went to grab the duffle bags from her iron grip, that she flinched back against the door. 

“Claire, yer safe here. I promise.” Jamie made no move as to not startle her further.

“I- I don’t know what I’m doing here. I can’t be here. I think I need to go back. Frank is going to expect me to be home, he’ll get very upset. He’s going to come and find me.” Tears welled in her eyes, but they did not fall. 

“Claire, I understand that yer frightened. I’d be concerned if ye weren’t. But please hear me, ye canna go back to that man Claire. He hurts ye, with his words, with his hands. Ye dinna deserve to be treated in such a manner, no matter what he says. It’s too dangerous. Now I ken ye may not want to stay here wi’ me, and if that’s the case then I swear, tomorrow I will help ye find somewhere to go. Anywhere ye wish, just not back to Frank.”

Please Sassenach, stay here wi me. Let me keep ye safe. 

“One day at a time a nighean, aye? Now for tonight let me cook for ye, and let ye get a good night's sleep.”

“O-okay. I’ll stay here tonight.” 

“There’s a good lass. Let’s get ye settled.”

She let Jamie take her bags, and motioned for her to follow him. He led her to his bedroom, and placed her bags on the large double bed. 

“Ye can sleep in here Sassenach. I promise ye the sheets are clean.” He gave with a smirk and his famous failure he called a wink. 

“Jamie, I’m not taking your bed from you. Your couch is big, and I imagine it is rather comfortable. I can just sleep out there.”

“No, yer not Claire. I’ll be sleeping on the couch, and ye get the bed. Tis’ no up for debate. Ye need yer rest. I’ll bide well enough in the living room. 

“Fine.” 

__________

Once back in the kitchen, Jamie started to cook them dinner. Claire sat at the table with a cup of tea simply observing, for Jamie would not let her help. 

“Something simple tonight? Creamy tomato and spinach ziti. That sound alright Sassenach? I’m no much of a chef, but I can muster up a dish or two.” 

“Sounds lovely. Thank you Jamie.” She was so quiet. 

Relax Sassenach. Yer safe. 

They ate in almost complete silence. Just a few comments about the food, a bit or two about the hospital, all without Claire looking up once. 

When they were done, Jamie cleared their plates and put them in the sink. The dishes could wait till tomorrow. He needed to make sure Claire was comfortable. 

“Can I get ye anything else Claire? More tea? Maybe a whisky? I even have some good red if ye prefer.” Jamie’s fingers were going nuts against his thigh.

“I’ll take some more tea, if it isn’t too much trouble. It might help me sleep a bit.” 

“Aye.”

They both ended up settling on the couch. Jamie offered that they could play a board game, or to find something off Netflix. Ultimately, Netflix won. They decided to begin watching The Crown, seeing as how it’s supposed to be rather good, and they wanted to poke fun at the inaccuracies. 

Jamie and Claire both sat upright, and side by side on the couch. Both were very aware of the new, and fairly awkward circumstances. They were almost two episodes in when Claire’s head started to fall towards Jamie’s shoulder. He stiffened. After a couple minutes, she finally let her temple rest lightly on him. He could smell her floral shampoo. Jamie let the show continue running, as if he didn’t notice the newfound presence on his shoulder, he didn’t want to make it even more awkward. 

They had reached the episode about the crippling London smog of 1952, when they started to doze off. It had been a long day. 

“If it's alright, I think I’ll try and get some sleep now.”

“Of course, Claire. Go right ahead. Use whatever ye need.”

Claire got up and went to the bedroom, grabbed her bag, and went to the bathroom with the door closed firmly behind her. Jamie remained on the couch, tapping his fingers, not quite sure what to do with himself. After about a minute or two of stewing within his nerves, he went to his bedroom to change into some clothes to sleep in, and got some extra linens for the couch. Wearing only his flannel pajama bottoms, he made up his impromptu bed, and waited for Claire to come back out.

She’s just using yer bathroom man, keep it together. Well that, and she’ll be sleeping in yer bed. 

Christ.  

Once he heard the door begin to open, he subconsciously stood. 

“Okay I think I’m all set.” she spoke so softly from the opening of the hall. She couldn't help but notice that Jamie was indeed shirtless. Inadvertently she looked him up and down his immaculate figure, but not before Jamie noticed.

Clearing his throat; “Great Sassenach. Try and get some sleep aye? I ken we both have afternoon shifts tomorrow so dinna fash about wakin’ up too early.” She nodded and started to turn towards the bedroom. Claire abruptly turned back around, “Jamie I just— I just wanted to give you my thanks for today. It truly means the world to me that you would go through all this trouble to help me. I hope, in time, I could repay you for all you’ve done. I know this isn’t over, but I just wanted you to know you really are a dear friend.”

“Och, Claire dinna fash. I care for ye, I’d do anythin’ for ye as I said. Try and get some sleep. I’ll be right out here if ye need anything.” He gave her a smile, and with that she turned back down the hall leaving the bedroom door slightly ajar.

Dear friend. A dear friend. Och mo chridhe, how I wish I could be more to ye. But if friend is what ye need, then friend is what I’ll be. 

__________

Jamie wasn’t sure how much time had passed. His flat was dark, peaceful, and utterly quiet. He was still awake, contemplating the events of the past few days while being far too aware that Claire was currently sleeping in his bed. He so badly just wanted to go and curl up behind her, and hold her while she slept. 

Lord, I bet she’s sae bonnie when she sleeps. 

Resisting the urge that began to rise deep within his belly, he willed himself to fall asleep.

Just as he was finally on the brink of sleep, Jamie was jolted awake by a blood curdling scream. Standing up right in the middle of the living room, it took him a moment to get his bearings. 

What on earth...

Then he remembered.

Claire. 

Jamie darted down the hallway in less than five strides. He swung open the bedroom door to a sight that may as well have plunged a dagger through his heart. Claire was thrashing her arms legs trying to shield her face all while screaming: “No no no! Please! Don’t! NO! PLEASE!” 

Jamie rushed to her and knelt down on her side of the bed. He didn’t want to frighten her more by startling her awake, so he gently rubbed her back and her arm. “Claire, it's okay. It’s just a nightmare. Please, mo nighean donn, wake up. It’s Jamie. I’m right here.” After almost a minute of coaxing, her body began to relax, and her eyes fluttered open. 

“There ye are Sassenach. Ye just had a wee nightmare.” 

“Jamie? You’re here? You’re okay?” Claire said with a look of concern as she sat up, eyes darting all over him. “Of course Claire, why wouldn’t I be?” Jamie reached up to brush the stray curls from her face. Her cheeks were still wet with tears. “I dreamt that he… that he found me here. I— I came out of the bedroom and he was leaning over you. You were on the floor bleeding. I tried to get to you, but he grabbed me. He told me it was all my fault, that I did it to you because I didn’t listen.” She was crying again. Jamie then sat on the bed with her, taking her hands in his as he faced her. 

“Claire, Frank isna going to get to me, or more importantly to ye. I promised ye, remember? Yer safe here wi’ me. He isna going to find us. Tis’ just a bad dream.” He was stroking her knuckles, trying to relieve the tension. “It just felt so real. I thought that I really was the one that hurt you, just because you tried to save me. I couldn’t bear it Jamie, I couldn’t.” 

“I ken Claire, I ken it felt real, but it wasna. I used to wake from nightmares about my old partner. Ye remember I told ye about him?” She nodded. “Well, I’ll tell ye more about it another time, but for a long time after he was killed I’d have dreams that it was he who was telling me his death was my fault. I’d wake crying every night wi’ no one to bring me back from it. But Claire, now I’m here telling ye it wasna real. I’m right here, I’m okay and yer okay.” His right hand moved from her hand, up to cheek, using his thumb to stroke her cheek gently. She closed her eyes and inhaled deeply.

“How about ye try to get back to sleep mo cridhe. It’s still the middle of the night. We have a long time before we have to wake. Hmph?” Jamie got up from the bed, tucking Claire back in. “I’m sorry I woke you.” She said looking up at him. “Dinna fash Sassenach. Tis’ what I’m here for. To care for ye. I’ll be right out here if ye need me. Sleep well, Sassenach.” 

Just as Jamie made way to close the bedroom door behind him, Claire stopped him. 

“Jamie?”

“What is it Sassenach?” 

“Will you stay with me?” 

“Aye, Claire. I’ll stay wi’ ye.”

Jamie made his way to the other side of the bed and climbed in as Claire made room. Once he was beside her, she scooted her back and her bum up against him. Jamie reached his arms over her, and tightly gathered her against him, with the back of her head resting under his chin. Their bodies molded together perfectly, as if they were made to fit together. 

Right here. This is where ye belong mo nighean donn. Always. Of that I’m sure.

“Rest now, mo chridhe. Nothin’ will harm ye.”

Together, they both peacefully drifted off, encapsulated within each other’s arms. 



Chapter Text

Claire slowly started to wake from the ambiance of a dream-like haze. She felt at peace, comfortable, which was honestly quite odd for her. She wasn’t normally a sound sleeper, which definitely has to do with the fact that she still slept in Frank’s bed. It took her a few moments, but before she opened her eyes, she remembered where she was. 

I’m at Jamie’s flat. He helped me. I’m safe. I’m in Jamie’s bed. With Ja-

Claire slowly reached behind her, only to find that the other side of the bed was empty. He didn’t stay the night then. Claire couldn’t help but feel slightly disappointed, although she didn’t exactly understand why. She turned over to look at the overturned sheet on the other side, wondering what time he left her. She ran her fingers over the indented pillow, remembering the way his body felt behind her as he held her while she slept. Before she could contemplate anymore, she was distracted by the smell of eggs, bacon, and coffee. 

After a moment, she got up, attempted to tidy the mop on her head, and padded down to the kitchen. Jamie was at the stove, hard at work making breakfast. Frank has never made breakfast, insisting it's women's work.  

She couldn't help but look him up and down. His flannel pajama bottoms fit perfectly to his hips, and she could see the shadows of his muscular back through the thin linen shirt. Claire stood behind one of the chairs at the table, simply taking a minute to observe. In that moment she felt unbelievably grateful for him. This man had taken her in without any cause of his own, because he genuinely cared for her and she could feel it. In the six years she’d been with Frank, never once had he cared for her in such a way. It has only been one official evening with Jamie, but being able to sense such a difference made her breath hitch in her throat. 

He cares for me. 

He makes me feel safe. 

He makes me feel safe. 

He makes me feel safe.

“That sure smells lovely.”

Jamie abruptly turned, nearly knocking over the carton of eggs in the process. “Och, Sassenach I didna hear ye wake. I hope I didna disturb ye. Ye were out like a log when I woke, so I thought I’d see to breakfast in the meantime.” The remanence of sleep was still evident behind his eyes and his red curls were askew. It made him look younger, she had never seen him so serene. The serenity made Claire feel that much more comfortable being around him. 

“No not at all. I woke feeling fully rested. More so than I have in a long time I think.”

There was a brief, slightly awkward pause. Claire noticed the tips of Jamie’s ears had gone to a faint pink. Was it because of last night? “Och. I’m glad to hear it. Uh, here’s breakfast. I didna ken what ye liked, so I made eggs, bacon, we have some toast, and there’s fruit in the fridge if ye prefer.”

“Eggs and bacon sound wonderful. Thank you, Jamie.”

“It’s nae bother. Eat up Sassenach, we have work in a bit. Wouldna want yet sticking yer wee hands in patients with an empty wame.” He said with a sly smirk, and gently nudged her plate towards her.

She nodded, and proceeded to eat. “Uh, also Claire, I found which hotels in the area have vacancies, and some flats up for leasing. I ken ye dinna want to stay here, and I did promise ye I’d find ye somewhere. I can bring ye after work if ye prefer.” 

“Oh, uh… that’s kind of you Jamie. But, I was thinking that maybe it would be better if I stayed here a bit longer? That is, if you really don’t mind. I just think it could be safer, to not be alone.”

Because you make me feel safe.

Jamie reached across the table and grabbed her hand. “Claire, I meant what I said. Ye can stay here as long as ye like. Ye wilna be alone. I’ll see ye safe, always.”

Claire instinctively tightened her own grip around his large fingers, tears threatening to rise from deep within, feeling that nothing else had to be said. 

_________

Jamie and Claire arrived at the hospital, together in perfect time for their shifts. They both knew that questions would be asked, and eyebrows would be raised at this sight, but Jamie refused to allow Claire to take her own car. Frankly, he seemed more nervous than she was.

Claire on the other hand, managed to keep on the bravest face she could muster. She knew Frank probably showed up at the hospital, more than likely caused a scene, and now she would have to answer for his rage even at work. 

As they walked through the carpack and headed towards the east entrance, their shoulders just barely brushing up against each other, Claire could sense that Jamie had something tugging at him.

“You alright over there Captain?”

“Huh? Oh, aye. Just thinking is all.” he said with a huph. “What about?” Claire nudged his shoulder with hers. “Och, just I dinna ken what we’re walking into and I dinna want ye to be uncomfortable, or have ye regret comin in wi’ me.” Claire stopped walking, and grabbed Jamie’s elbow pulling him to face her. 

“Jamie, I don’t. Am I still scared out of my mind that I’m going to walk into work and have Frank show up fuming, ready to drag me away? Yes, I absolutely am. Quite honestly it's all I can really manage to think about. I’ve never been able or have really tried to escape him before, so why would now be any different?” Jamie tried to interject, but she put a hand up to stop him. “But, I want this time to be different. I know it's only been what? 18 hours? But do you know what I’ve learned since yesterday in the conference room?” Jamie looked down at her, never breaking eye contact, but with no notion on how to respond.

“I learned that you were right. You’ve been right for weeks, if not months. I shouldn’t go back. I can’t- I don't want to. That is something I’ve been trying to convince myself of for years, and you, James Fraser managed to get it through to me clear enough in less than 24 hours. So no, I don’t regret coming into work with you today, or going home with you last night. I also know I’m ready to take on whatever mess that bastard has managed to conjure up. Like you said, I’m not alone. It’s you and me Captain, aye?” 

Jamie couldn’t help but allow a wee smile to creep across his face. “Aye Sassenach. You and me.” Ever so slightly he reached up and swept the pad of his thumb across her cheek and pinned a curl behind her ear. 

Once inside, Jamie made way to the security room while Claire clocked in. “I’ll see ye later? If ye need me, you know where to find me, or just send a page.”Jamie lightly squeezed Claire’s arm in reassurance. “I’ll be fine Captain. I’ll see you on break.” She gave him a quick nod and was off towards the nurses station. 

__________

“Och nice of ye to make an appearance ‘round here after all the disruption ye caused last night Fraser.” The chief all but yelled as Jamie walked in the room. 

“Pardon, Chief?” 

“A man, a very angry man came to the hospital last night sayin his wife was a doctor here, but she hadn’t been home or had called him when her shift was over. Colin over here said he received strict instruction directly from ye to not allow the man into the hospital or to talk to any staff no matter the circumstances. The team all but had to physically drag the man out to get him to leave. Now, did ye give those orders Fraser?” 

“Aye Chief, I did. A friend of mine, a doctor-friend, well she's in some trouble. I’m helping her get through it. Now, I’m sure judging by the man ye met last night ye can understand why I told them to not let him in. I also dinna wish to go into Doctor Beauchamp’s personal matters but I’d like ye to continue to enforce the order. It’s for her safety, ye ken?”

“Ye know Fraser, ye havna been here too long, but with yer experience and all that ye’ve done so far, I’m choosing to trust ye on this. That yer handling it properly. However, with that being said, this is yer responsibility Captain. If this flies off the handle ‘tis yer arse that will be on the line, understand?” The chief was exceptionally serious. 

“Aye, Chief. Ye have my word.”

__________

Claire actually felt at ease starting her shift. It felt foreign to her because surely she should be a wreck over the events of the past couple days. But she wasn’t. She knew she would see Jamie in a few hours, and that she’d be going home with him again tonight. She wasn’t too keen on admitting it to herself, but it wasn’t just that Jamie made her feel safe, she simply enjoyed being with him. She felt silly thinking that when they’d only spent one evening together alongside their coffee breaks, but truthfully she’d enjoyed his company from the start. 

Friends. Just a really good friend, Beauchamp. Nothing more, your life is messy enough. Don’t let him get anymore involved. 

Brushing off any more thoughts about Jamie, Claire readied her patient files for the day and reviewed her OR schedule. That was until the lounge door slammed behind her causing her to drop her files and her heart to lunge to her feet. 

God he’s here. I knew this brief moment of bliss would never last. It will just be easier to take it. Don’t put up a fight. 

“Beauchamp! Care to explain?” 

Claire whipped towards the door, relieved to see her friend. “Geillis? What on earth are you talking about and why do you feel the need to slam the door? Do you know how long it took me to organize these files?” 

“Well babe, just so happens that after ye left here last night, your very cordial fiancé came lookin’ for ye. Said ye werna home when ye shoulda been and he hadna heard from ye fer hours. Security all but hauled his arse outta here with the scene he was causin. Then sweet little Mary told me that she saw ye walking in from the car park with yer red haired captain this morning. So, if you’d humor me.”

Shit. Jamie and I never discussed what we’d say if people asked about what was going on. He would know what to say, I sure as hell don’t. 

Relax Beauchamp, it’s just Geillis. 

“Oh well um….”

“Look Claire, I ken ye dinna think I’ve ever noticed, but I’ve been starting to. It isna too hard to put two and two together when it comes to Frank. But I get it, I’ve been with my own Frank before and I ken it’s complicated, and that ye have been tryna handle it yerself for some time now, aye? Until Jamie?” Geillis was more calm now, maybe it was her attempt at trying to be soothing for once. 

“Y-yes I suppose you’re right. Frank he uh, he’s been getting worse. Jamie noticed rather quickly, and has even witnessed it once or twice. He’s helping me. Jamie, he’s trying to help me get away from him, so I went home with him last night. He wouldn’t let me go back, and to be honest I don’t want to.” Claire was urging the tears to stay at bay, but it was no use. 

She failed to realize how badly she needed to tell some other than Jamie what was really going on. Some of the pressure from inside her chest from years of keeping it all bottled away was finally getting just a bit of a release. It also made it feel more real, and that alone was dangerous enough. 

“Claire, shh it’s okay. I dinna ken it was like that. Do ye need me to do anything to help? What can I do?”

“I don’t- I don’t know. I know I’m going to have to face him eventually. I don’t know how long I can go without him finding me. Jamie said he’s getting his old unit to put in a restraining order for now, but I know Frank won’t care about what a piece of paper says. Geillis, I haven’t said this to Jamie, but I fear that if I do go back or if he finds me, Frank he’ll…” Claire couldn’t control her tears, or stop herself from what she was saying. 

“Claire, it’s okay. Ye dinna have to say it. I get yer meaning” 

“ I h-haven’t really figured out my next step beyond that. What I do know is that I know I wouldn’t- couldn’t have left Frank if Jamie wasn’t here. I tried to before, I was never able to even make it out the door. After a couple times, I just stopped trying. It stopped being worth it. But now, I can only hope that Jamie helping me doesn’t put him in danger he doesn’t deserve. This is my mess.” Claire was wringing her hands together, fearing the inevitable. 

Was she more worried for Frank finding her? Or Frank finding her with Jamie? 

“Well, the hospital knows not to let him in. Ye have yer captain whose already willing to jump in front of a train for ye, and ye have me and the other girls to help ye. Ye will get through this Claire. We’ll figure out how to get a clean break. That asshole doesna stand a chance.” Geillis wrapped Claire in the tightest of hugs. 

“Thank you Geillis. I hope you’re right.”

__________

Something within Claire had shifted. For years she had succumbed to the life and pain Frank Randall had forced upon her. She was working her way toward accepting her fate. She could never get out. There was never going to be an escape. 

At least, not one she would never find on her own. But now, now she was finding that she was in fact worthy of a better life, and a better man. Frank Randall be damned if he thought he could strip that conception from her. Claire Beauchamp was done cowering away. She was determined to take back her life. 

Chapter Text

That evening after their shifts it went without revalidation that Claire would be going home with Jamie. After she clocked out Jamie was waiting for her just outside the east exit. Leaning against the wall, back in a pair of denim jeans and sporting a rugby t-shirt, Claire walked out of the automatic doors with a smile flourishing across her face. 

Although she had yet another emotionally trying day to start, she felt at peace being able to go back to Jamie’s. She knew what to expect from him, and that was a comfort. There was no Frank fiasco at work today, surprisingly . She didn’t have to worry about what she would be going home to, she wasn’t walking on eggshells trying not to tip him off, and she wasn’t fearful of what the next minute held. All was well in her world, for the time being

Jamie on the other hand, was just as pleased to be heading home. Throughout the day he was playing in his head over and over again the night’s events; Claire finally trusting him enough to go with him, getting her away from that monster, what it felt like to eat across the table from her, when she leaned on his shoulder on the couch, and his favorite of all, how it felt to hold her in his arms while she slept. Something he had envisioned doing for months. 

__________

As he held her, he burrowed his nose into those beloved curls while wisps of lavender and vanilla tingled his senses so pleasantly. Her scent, her pearl white skin against his, taking all of her in. His sizable arms enveloped around her small form effortlessly. A perfect fit. For a moment, Jamie had to concentrate on controlling his breathing, his heart thumping against her back, pleasure and excitement stewing from within, wanting to be expressed. But it wasn’t the time. Jamie knew that.

Once he was sure she was asleep, Jamie let go of what he was longing to say for months. What could not be said awake, could be while she slept. Seeking the most intimate words within himself, being released to his Sorcha;

“Mo nighean donn,  no man shall ever lay a hand on ye again, not while there is breath still in my lungs and a beating heart in my chest. But that heart now beats for ye mo chridhe. I vow to use my body and soul to protect ye, always, as long as ye let me. Tha gaol agam ort, my Sassenach.” 

In that moment, Jamie swears Claire heard, or even felt his words. For she snuggled against him even further, till there was no space in between their bodies. They both exhaled a sigh of relief, and Jamie held her even tighter, finally letting sleep whisk them away together.

__________

“I was thinking Sassenach, what do ye say we order Chinese take away tonight? It’s been a long day and it is rather late. That way we can catch a few more episodes of The Crown before bed?” Jamie asked as he opened her car door, giving a hand to assist Claire out. 

“I think that’s a great idea Jamie.” Claire said with a simper. 

They walked up to Jamie’s flat silently, but timid as to what to say next, although it wasn’t the least bit awkward. It was more of a worry for disturbing the newfound gratification

Once the food was placed for delivery, Jamie and Claire both rinsed off the work day, and settled on the couch for the evening. They were more than halfway through the first episode of the night when there was an incessant pouding at the door. Claire was implausibly startled, and instinctively grabbed Jamie’s hand as she all but leaped into his lap out of fear. 

Despite her novel determination, Frank was still adrift in the background. She’d only been away from him for 30 hours, albeit it felt like more.

Jamie’s arm grappled her shoulder, “Dinna fash. Stay right there?” Claire nodded back, hanging onto his hand for just a second longer.

Claire deeply exhaled with alleviation when it only turned out to be the delivery boy. 

“Did ye have to bang my door so ferociously lad? Nearly gave me a start.” Jamie said, signing the receipt. “Sorry Mate, just a wee bit behind on my deliveries. I’m in a bit o’ a rush is all. My apologies to ye and yer mistress.” said the boy. Yer mistress. The pink tone of Jamie’s ears had returned, as the boy scurried away. 

Jamie came back to the living room and placed the bag of food on the tea table. He sat back down next to Claire who was still visibly shaken, wringing her hand in her lap and staring at the floor. He halted his approach. 

“I-I’m sorry. I overreacted. It’s just strange. I feel okay, not really too frightened, almost as if it’s forgotten, then something as silly as a door knock can set me off apparently.” She didn’t look up.

“Och Claire, tis’ alright. It isna silly. It’s been naught but a full day. It’s going to take time for ye to adjust.” Jamie grabbed Claire’s hand with his, and used his other pointer finger to raise her chin up to look at him. “Yer okay Sassenach, yer safe here. I’ll keep tellin’ ye that till I’m blue in the face. As often as ye need.” Claire closed her eyes, and leaned into him, her forehead resting on his shoulder. Jamie bent his own head and touched his lips to Claire’s curls. He softly kept his lips there as he felt Claire’s breath against his neck, closing his eyes as well. 

He pulled away, both of them slowly opening their eyes to meet each other. Claire reached up and placed her own hand on Jamie’s cheek, he too leaned into her. They exchanged wry smiles, just taking a few brief moments to really study each other. Neither wanted to look away, attempting to preserve the moment. 

Lord knows how much time had passed until Jamie adamantly made the first move away. “I dinna want yer food going cold Sassenach. Let’s eat, aye?” 

“Aye.” 

After a couple short hours, and just two more episodes of their new favorite show, Jamie and Claire were both ready to call it a night, but neither were too sure on how, or what the sleeping arrangements would be. 

Claire got up to do her nightly routine in the bathroom, while Jamie, for safe precaution, assembled the linens on the couch. Despite his aching need to hold Claire while she slept again, he would never insinuate it himself. 

Jamie sat on the couch, clad in another set of flannel bottoms, checking his phone one more time for the night. About ready to set it down, he received a text from Duncan, one of his former colleagues at the department. 

Fraser, I got the order for Claire Beauchamp against Frank Randall approved. For the foreseeable future he must stay at least 150 meters from her at all times. He cannot go to her place of work, seek her out, or contact her without breaking the order. It just got approved, so you wont get the official documents for a few days. Randall will also be receiving his. I just wanted to give you a heads up in advance. The Chief did a grand job at getting this passed in just a day, he still cares for ye. Yer doing a good thing for Miss. Beauchamp. Good luck. 

Jamie couldn’t believe it. Good news. Good news for Claire. She’s just about free of him. He’s never going to hurt her again. Now just to tell her. 

“Sassenach?” Jamie called down the hall.

A small “yes” came from the bathroom. “Could ye come here a moment? I got something to tell ye.”

Maybe a minute or two later Claire came out to the living room, Jamie stood from the couch fingers hastily tapping his thigh. “I uh, I got some news for ye.” 

“Okay, do tell…”

“It’s from my former lad at the department. Duncan, he just messaged me. My old Chief put a rush on my request and he got ye the restraining order against that bastard Randall. Claire, he’s going to jail if he tries to come anywhere near ye, yer friends, or the hospital.” 

Eyes wide, she didn't move. She didn’t answer. She hardly even reacted. 

“Claire? Did ye hear what I said?” 

“I heard you.” More silence. 

“It's just… is this really happening?” The tears welled in her eyes. 

“Aye Sassenach, it is. Yer practically free . He’ll never be able to hurt ye again.”

The tears were cascading down Claire’s face, she looked as if she were about to fall over. Jamie rushed to her, putting his hands under her elbows, steadying her. 

“Claire, are ye relieved or no? Tis good news is it not?” Immediately Jamie worried she’d think this was all a mistake, that she’d choose to leave him and go back to Frank.

“Y-yes Jamie, it is good news. I’m just having a hard time believing it. Am I really going to be rid of him? He won’t get to me?”

“Aye, Sassenach. Believe it, cause it's true. I told ye I’d get ye away.” he said in a supple tone. 

Claire let out a breathy laugh through her tears. “That you did Captain Fraser. It just took me a bit to actually believe you. I just never thought I’d ever get away. For so long he has had such a tight grip on me and my life. I’ve been wishing to get away for years. I stopped loving him even long before that, but I never saw an end in sight. I was trapped. I suppose if I had looked up at the pub those months ago, perhaps I would’ve been able to then. Thank you Jamie, for this and everything you’ve done for me. I don’t know what I’ve done to deserve you in my life, but I will be forever grateful.” Claire was gripping Jamie’s arms, unable to look away. She owed him so, so much. She still didn’t understand why he did all of this. WHY was this man willing to go above and beyond to save her? She couldn’t bring herself to ask. Not now. But without thinking, her heart took a step further than her mind, as a way to bring herself closer to the man who rid her of Frank’s hold. 

Claire leaned up and firmly crashed her lips to Jamie’s. She caught him off guard, causing him to stagger back, but not before his hands moved to her hips. It started off entirely innocent, intended to be just a flash of her appreciation. Very quickly it began to flare up. Jamie’s mouth opened, welcoming the exploration of Claire’s tongue, his to quickly mingle with hers. Hands began to wander and breathing was becoming labored. Slowly, reluctantly, they pulled apart. 

“That was uh..”

“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean, that’s not what I intended to d-”

“Shh mo chridhe.” Jamie placed a finger on her lips to quiet her. “I’ve been wanting to do that since I first saw ye. It just wasna the right time. Now, as much as I want to continue this, I think it’s best call it for tonight, okay?” 

I dinna want to stop Sassenach, but I must. For ye, it needs to be the right time. I’ll wait for as long as it takes. 

“You’re probably right. Best we head to bed then.

“Aye.” Once more Jamie pecked Claire on her lips, and kissed the crown of her head. “Sleep well, Sassenach.” He said as he turned towards the couch. 

“Jamie? He turned back. “Will you still stay with me again? What if I have another nightmare? I don’t think I could sleep without you.” He could see the alarm in her eyes. 

Christ Sassenach, ye fill my heart. 

“Claire, if ye wish me to stay wi’ ye, ye ken I will. Let’s go to sleep.” 

Jamie took Claire’s hand in his and walked her towards their- his bedroom. Together they climbed in and just as the previous night, Jamie placed himself behind Claire, wrapped his arms and now a leg over her. Claire nudged herself back against him and took one of his hands in between both of hers, kissing the top of it.  

“Can I ask you something Jamie?” Claire asked drowsily. 

“Always.”

“What does ha guel ahkum orsh mean?”

“Ye mean, tha gaol agam ort?” She couldn't see it, but Jamie’s ears were a vivid shade of pink. 

“Yes! That! Last night, I swear I heard you say it, but maybe I dreamt it.”

“No, ye didna dream it Sassenach, but I’ll tell ye at a later time, okay?”

“Fine Fraser, keep me waiting.” He could feel her roll those whisky eyes.

Jamie kissed the top of Claire’s head, and burrowed his nose properly within her curls. “Sleep now, mo nighean donn. I’ll be here when ye wake.” 

“Aye Aye Captain.” She produced through a yawn. She kissed his hand once more, tucked it under her chin, nuzzled against him and swiftly drifted off. 

Jamie lay awake for a time, using his free hand to stroke Claire’s hair, murmuring sweet endearments in gaelic. Eventually feeling the lull of sleep, he left her with one last simple expression; “It means I love ye Claire.”

__________

Jamie and Claire quickly fell into a good-natured routine. They’d go into work together, leave together, all while still cherishing their mid-day (or mid-evening) coffee dates. There’d be stolen glances and smiles in the hospital’s halls, smirks from Geillis who clearly noticed every possible detail about their newfound relationship? Nevertheless, she was supportive, though they were still attempting to be as private as could be, not wanting to burst the peaceful bubble. And in truth, they have yet to have the “what is this?” conversation despite having lived together for nearly a month. 

Since then there had still been no sign of Frank, the documents were received and fully processed, things were looking up, but they had yet to take it further. Small, passionate kisses were shared before and after bed, they would linger just a bit longer under the sheets, limbs firmly intertwined, the clasp of hands walking into the hospital, or even across the dinner table, cuddling on the couch, and many more subtle touches. 

There were a few, more than a few, occasions where their subtle touches had become more frenzied. Innocent middle-school makeout sessions on the couch, or even in the bedroom quickly turned into erotic moans, intimate touching, racing hearts, and a deep longing for more. Both have thought “it’s finally going to happen” only for one of them to end up freezing, and in good timing too. They both wished for it to continue, but neither Jamie nor Claire initiated the advance. Jamie was too tentative for Claire’s sake. Despite how deeply he wanted her in every way, he didn’t want to push her too soon. This was something that he wanted to be on her own terms. Regardless of a timeframe, he would be willing to wait for when Claire was ready to have him. 

Claire desperately wanted Jamie in every sense, but at the same time she knew that taking that next step meant entering a new part of her life entirely. She was scared to wreck what she and Jamie already had. That once they moved forward, her life would go back to the same repetitive pain. 

What if he can’t handle me? 

What if Frank had always been right?

What if he gets sick of me? 

What if he changes? 

What if I hurt him?

Could he hurt me?

Eventually she knew she would have to find out. That, or just wait for the last shoe to drop. 

 

Chapter Text

“No! NO! You’re completely wrong!”

“Sassenach I think yer the one whose mistaken here.” 

“I’m not saying I completely disagree with you. Olivia Coleman is phenomenal in every role she does, but NOBODY can compare to Claire Foy as the queen!” Claire then leaped onto Jamie pinning his back to the couch laying on top of him.

“Okay okay!” He said giggling

“Admit that Claire is the best or be ready to face the consequences.”

“Fine. I admit that yer entitled to yer own opinion on this Claire Foy actress.”

“Oh you bloody scot!” Claire began tickling Jamie’s ribs as he struggled to get his arms out from under her knees. Both of them immersed in a fit of laughter, until Jamie finally broke free and wrestled Claire down beneath him. 

Completely out of breath Claire was trying to find a way to form a sentence. “Stop! Okay! I give up!”

“I’m sorry Sassenach, I didna hear ye. What was that?” Jamie said pinning her wrists above her head with one hand as he straddled her. 

“I said, I agree to disagree on this debate Captain. ” Claire said, catching her breath.

“Just a second ago it was ‘bloody scot’ and now yer back to Captain, aye?”

“Aye.” She said looking up at him, red curls dangling over his eyes. 

“Well, Sassenach, if it's any consolation, there’s another Claire that this Foy woman couldna hold a candle to.” 

“Is that so?” Claire asked, tilting her chin up just a bit.

“Tis.” Before another second could pass, Jamie took her mouth with his. Releasing her wrists, Jamie reached one arm under her back, bringing her up to him. The other hand knotted deep within her curls. Claire’s own arms wrapped around his neck, pulling him down to her even further. 

Hands, lips, tongues, each mingling and exploring each other as the heat rose between them. Jamie let go of Claire’s lips, and began kissing down her jaw until he reached her neck. As he suckled her tender skin, Claire began to moan and squeak as the pleasure was flooding through every vein in her body, urging him to go on. Her hips began to jerk underneath his body, feeling him against her, seeking any form of friction at the center of her desire. 

Just as she thought he’d continue, Jamie suddenly pulled back from her, eyes gone wide. “Claire, I-uh I got a wee bit carried away there. I'm sorry, I didna ken what just came over me.” Jamie was moving to get off her, when Claire reached up and cupped his face with both her hands.

“Jamie, it’s more than okay. When we’re both ready, we’ll know. There’s nothing to rush. I for one, am incredibly happy right where I am, with you.

“Ye aren’t disappointed then?”

“After all you’ve already done, it’s kind of hard to believe you could ever disappoint me James Fraser.” She leaned up and softly kissed his lips.

_________

“Sassenach can ye see who that is messaging me?” Claire reached into the cup holder and grabbed Jamie’s phone. 

“It’s Rupert again , asking why you’ve been MIA for months now, and if you want to meet them at the Ridge tonight.”

“It’s fine. I’ll answer him later. How does chicken parmigiana sound for dinner tonight?” Jamie said staring out onto the road. 

“Jamie, why don’t you go spend time with your friends? I’ll be okay at home by myself for a while, and besides we have the day off tomorrow.” She reached over and placed her hand on his thigh. “Really, Jamie. You deserve to get out for a bit.”  

“No Claire, I dinna want ye to be home by yerself while I go drink wi’ the lads. Something could happen and I dinna want ye to be alone.” 

 

She squeezed his thigh; “Jamie, you’ve done nothing but care for me for well over two months now. You deserve to be without me for an evening. Go have fun, I insist.” As much as Claire really didn’t want to be parted from him, she was being sincere. 

“I’m not going Claire, not unless ye come wi’ me. And if ye don’t then I’m not going and I’ll stay home wi’ ye.” 

“Oh you stubborn-”

“Scot?” he finished for her, glancing over with a flirtatious smirk. 

“Yes. You stubborn scot. Always your way or the highway. Fine then Fraser, let’s go out tonight. Maybe I can finally teach you a thing or two on how to properly hold a whisky.” Claire leaned over the center console and quickly nipped Jamie’s earlobe with her teeth. 

“Och Sassenach, those are very threatening words for a respectable English woman such as yerself to say to a proper scotsman.” He took her hand, and brought her fingers to his lips. “But, I shall like to see ye make an attempt.” 

__________

Jamie and Claire arrived at the Ridge promptly at 9:30. They walked towards the corner booth, hand in hand, and ready for interrogation .

Jamie was clad in dark jeans, a black v-neck t shirt, his favorite worn out brown leather boots, and a burnt burgundy leather jacket. Claire was sporting black trousers that clung to her in all the right places, black ankle boots, and a very flattering cream colored blouse. Her curls let free. 

“In case I didna say it yet Sassenach, ye look beautiful tonight” 

“Actually you have told me that. Three times to be exact, but who am I to stop you?” She said squeezing his hand. “You look rather dashing yourself tonight Jamie.” he gave her a cheeky smile. 

“He lives! James Fraser back from dead.” Rupert said, raising his pint. 

“Sure sure make yer jokes. Lads, this— this is…” He froze. They still hadn’t put a label on whatever this was. She wasn’t his friend. He knew that, she knew that. She wasn’t just his flatmate either. No. There’s more. So much more. 

“I’m Claire, Jamie’s girlfriend. I’m also the one who's been keeping him from you these past months, so I give you my apologies. Next round on us then?” She interjected.

Girlfriend. Claire, my girlfriend. Finally. 

“Oh Jamie, we like her already.” John said, taking a swig. 

“In that case, whiskys’ all ‘round then on Jamie!” Ian projected. 

“Fine ye gromerils. Claire, care to assist me at the bar?”

As they walked across the pub, Claire could feel the heat rising in her cheeks. “Jamie before you say anything I’m sorry about what I said. I shouldn’t have just inferred that I was your gir—” Jamie grabbed her by the arms and quieted her with a deep, long kiss. 

“Sassenach, if ye think yer my girlfriend then ye are. I’ve been wanting ye to be mine since the first time I saw ye in this very pub.”

“Really? You aren’t upset?”

“No mo nighean donn, I’m not upset. I’m the furthest thing from it. But, this does make me yer boyfriend does it not?”

“It does, boyfriend. ” Claire said kissing him once more. “C’mon let's get these lads some drinks.”

___________

Drinks all around, pleasant conversation, good company. Jamie and Claire were very much enjoying their time outside of their private bubble for the evening. No hospital talk, no worries, they were just having a good time. 

A couple hours into the night, Rupert was going on about how he once dated a pair of sisters, and had no idea until he showed up at a family event. Everyone was bursting at his ignorance. 

“Alright alright now that that’s over I need to use the ladie’s room. Jamie, can you let me out?” Claire asked, still laughing. 

“O’course, girlfriendddd. I’ll get us another round. What would my beautiful girlfriend like?”

“Either you’re feeling the whisky, or you just love saying that.” She said, grabbing his hand to stand up. 

“Och, maybe a wee bit of both.”

“Okay fair. I’ll take a gin and tonic with extra lime please boyfriend. ” Claire beamed as she swiped her tongue across his bottom lip and playfully patted his bum. 

Stunned at her discretion, Jamie said, “Oh, I’ll get that for ye straight away then my lady.” He then proceeded to dramatically bow to her. Claire giggled and gave him a wink as she headed towards the ladies room, and Jamie towards the bar.

Leaning on the bar, waiting in the small queue, Jamie couldn’t help but grin to himself. He felt so damn lucky to be with Claire. For her to finally be his, and he to be hers. He loved her, so much and he couldn’t wait to tell her. So much so he was already planning on bringing her home after this round just to show her how much.

A dark presence was suddenly very close to Jamie; “You think you've got quite the girl there don’t you.”

“I beg yer par— what the bloody hell are ye doing here Randall?” Frank Randall. Frank Randall was standing shoulder to shoulder with Jamie at the bar. He could already feel the anger rising in his chest, and down to his fists. 

“Oh well I just thought I’d come check in with my fiancé, see how she’s faring on her little respite. So tell me, how is she Fraser? Or should I go in that bathroom and see for myself?”

He made a move toward the bathroom, but Jamie was quick to clench Randall’s shoulder. 

“Yer not going take another step. Now, I highly recommend that yer take yer arse out of this pub at once.” Jamie’s eyes had gone completely cold. It was taking all the self control he had to not pummel him into the ground just for breathing the same air as Claire. 

“I see what’s going on here. You think you’re being the better man by taking responsibility for her, yeah?”

“Oh I know I’m a better man than ye, just by being everything that ye never were towards Claire. I don’t belittle her like ye do so well, nor have I ever considered putting my hands on her. Ye don’t deserve her. Ye never did. It’s over Randall, she made her choice. She’s done with yer abuse. Yer never going to lay an eye on her again, nevermind yer hands. Ye need to leave. NOW .” 

“She’ll come crawling back eventually you know. She always has. Because she knows who she belongs to. But I will say, that little act with the restraining order was quite the kicker. But, once you get as bored as I had, she’ll know where to find me. For now , I guess I don’t mind you taking her for a spin.”

Jamie took a step closer, their noses almost brushing against each other. “I’ll say this one more time. Ye can either leave here on yer own, or in a body bag. The choice is yers.”

“She is a great fuck, at first, I’ll give her that. Then she just becomes rather mundane . It becomes quite boring actually. Then she wondered why I had all those other women in between. But she still never got the hint. Maybe you’ll even liven her up a bit for me for later, eh?” Randall sneered as he smacked Jamie’s shoulder. 

Jamie literally felt something snap inside of him.

Rage. Rage. Rage. All he saw was red. Thinking back to everything he’s ever done to Claire. What he’s seen, and what he still doesn’t know. It was enough. 

The next thing he knew, his fists shot against the bones of Randall’s face, over and over and over again. He doesn’t know how long he had him, or how many blows he was able to get in. Before he knew what was happening, Ian and John pried him off by his shoulders while Rupert pushed him back. 

Randall layed on the floor completely bloodied, face almost unrecognizable. Jamie was still trying to lunge towards him. Randall somehow was able to stumble to his feet. He spit out a mouthful of blood, and looked once more to Jamie as his friends tried to maintain control. 

“Look out Fraser. You don’t want to know what comes next.” Randall laughed, laughed as he shuffled out of the bar.

The lads forced Jamie onto a barstool, urging him to calm down. They shoved a dram into his hands and he downed it in one gulp. Realizing Claire still hadn't been seen he rushed to his feet, with no avail. “WHERE IS SHE?”

“Jamie ye need to calm down!”

“I NEED TO FIND CLAIRE.” Jamie yelled in sheer panic.

“Jamie!? Jamie what on earth is going on?” She was rushing towards him, pushing her way through the small crowd. Seeing her, he pushed the lads out of the way and crushed her into his arms with all his strength. 

“English Jamie, speak english!” He was spirling completely in gaelic.

“Yer okay? He didna hurt ye? He didna touch ye?” His hands were moving all over her body, inspecting her for damages. 

“Who Jamie?” She grabbed his face with her hands and gave him a harmless shake, trying to bring him back.

RANDALL!

“F-Frank? He was here? You saw him?”

“That bastard still thinks he has a hold on ye. Let’s go, I need to get ye out of here.” Jamie grabbed her hand, not giving her a chance to object and completely ignoring the shouts of his friends. They reached his car in less than a minute.

“Jamie, will you slow down and tell me what the hell is going on.” She pulled on his hand, feeling a sticky substance. She looked down to see that each of his knuckles were completely raw. “Jamie, what happened!?” She yelled as she began inspecting his hands further. 

“Claire, listen to me. I’m going to tell ye. But first, we need to leave because if we stay here any longer I’m going to go find him, and it isna going to end well for anyone.” She had never seen him like this. She could physically see the anger writhing within him. His beautiful blue eyes were dark as the night. It was like he was looking through her, completely unaware of anything but his anger. She didn’t recognize the sweet, caring, protective man in front of her. 

Claire began to tremble as she got into the car, slightly afraid of what was to come…

Chapter Text

The short drive back to Jamie’s flat was filled with utter silence. Jamie didn’t say a word, nor did he look at Claire once. He was gripping the steering wheel so tight, his raw knuckles began to bleed again just a bit due to the strain. But Claire? She couldn’t look away. 

Damn you, Frank Randall. 

When they arrived home, Jamie was already out of the car before Claire even undid her seatbelt. Not waiting for her, he went right inside. Claire slowly followed. He still hadn’t looked at her while he went to the whisky rack and poured himself a generous dram. Claire stood in the kitchen, usure of how she should handle this. 

“Do you blame me for it Jamie? Was it my fault?” He nearly choked on his whisky. 

“Blame ye? God Claire, what on earth would ye be blamed for?” His eyes were beginning to go from sheer anger, to a sense of despair. 

“Because of all the mess I’ve brought into your life. Because of who I am from what Frank has done to me.” With no warning, tears began to spill down her cheeks. 

“No Claire, that isna it. That bastard came to the pub, lookin’ for ye I’m sure. He had quite a bit to offer in terms of what he thinks of ye and I.” He then downed the rest of his whisky, and began to pour another. 

“What did he say?”

“I’ll not be repeating it. Better left unsaid for your sake. I handled it.”  

“My sake? What you beat him to a bloody pulp, and I’m just supposed to say ‘okay’ and move on like nothing happened just because you handled it ?” Claire stared at him dumbfounded.

“Aye. Ye dinna need to know what he said Claire. Just drop it, please.” 

“I will not just bloody drop it! Christ Jamie! My new boyfriend who is just so damn protective beats my ex fiancé, you know the one I’ve been hiding from for over three months, in the middle of a pub, but he wont tell me what happened! What, you don’t think I can handle it? Is that it? Am I just too damaged that you don’t want to break me?” Now Claire was the one filled with rage. 

“NO! I just dinna want to tell ye because I dinna see the point in repeating such nonsense. He has a very particular opinion of ye Claire. But ye dinna need to listen to it. Yer mine to protect, not his.” 

“I’m not made of fucking glass you ignorant bastard! I’m not your property, or someone who needs babysitting either! I belong to nobody but myself. I don’t need you to protect me from every little thing! Frank thought he owned me, and look what happened there.”

“FINE! You wanna hear what he had to say?” Jamie slammed his glass onto the table. “He called ye a mundane fuck and maybe I could livin ye up a bit before ye go and crawl back to him. Satisfied?” 

All the blood in Claire’s body rushed to her feet, but the worst of it? She wasn’t at all surprised that Frank had said those things. It wouldn’t be the first time. What shocked her was those words coming out of Jamie's mouth. 

“Apparently I’m damaged goods as Frank would so elegantly put it from time to time even to my face. But it’s good you know now, and it’s better you realize for yourself. But what did you really think this was Jamie? A project you think you can fix? You became a cop because you couldn’t fix what happened to your parents, you then left being a cop because of your late partner.  Now here you are thinking you can fix me. Well, no sense in trying to fix something that’s too far gone. It's probably just better that you stop wasting your time and move on to your next quandary challenge. Maybe with someone that isn’t so mundane. ” Before Jamie could respond, Claire sped down the hallway and slammed the bedroom door.

Claire plopped herself on the bed and covered her face with her hands trying to submerge her sobs. She instantly regretted what she said to Jamie. She wasn’t mad that Jamie told her, she was mad at what Frank said to Jamie. She feared he would believe it. But, she had gone too far bringing up his parents and his late partner.

He’s not like him. He’s not like him. Christ Beauchamp, he’s proven it time and time again. You know him. He’s a good man. 

Giving herself a few minutes to gather her emotions, she knew she had to go and apologize. She got up, changed into a pair of athletic shorts, and one of Jamie’s shirts that was thrown on the dresser. Just as she pulled the shirt on, there was a soft knock on the door. 

“Claire, can ye please let me in. We need to talk about this. Dinna shut me out. Please.” She could hear the remnants of a cry in his voice. Claire’s breath hitched in her throat, knowing that she made him feel like that. 

One, two, three deep breaths, and she went to open the door. 

He was standing in the door frame, head and shoulders hunched over, unable to look up. Claire stood, staring at him for a moment, heart aching at the sight. She then grabbed his hand, pulled him in the room and headed towards the bed. They both sat down, facing each other. 

“Claire I-”

“Jamie I kn-” they both said at the same time.

“Let me first, please?” she asked, placing a hand on his bent knee. He nodded. 

“Jamie I am so sorry for the things I said. I didn’t mean them. I went too far because I was just so upset and angry. I know you don’t see me as a project. I didn’t mean to infer that. And I know with Frank, you were just protecting me like you always have. I just, I’m scared that you’ll believe what he said. That you’ll get sick of me and just toss me to the side like he did.”

“Sassenach, its… Christ the things he said. I wanted to kill him for it, for what he’s done to ye. It broke me thinking that he thought those things and would still put his hands on ye had he the chance. I couldna bear it Claire.” He placed a hand on her cheek and she leaned into his touch, squeezing his knee.

“Ye have to believe me Claire, I know in my heart nothing that man says is true. I could live a thousand years and never tire of ye. I know ye dinna belong to me, but god I want ye to be mine to have forever, just as I want to be yers. Claire, I would never, will never treat ye even close to the way he has. I swear to ye, I will never ever lay a hand on ye, or speak to ye that way. Ye are worthy of the world mo chridhe. I will do everything in my power to prove it to ye for as long as ye let me. Ye have my word.” 

“I’m just so afraid Jamie. I know you nothing like Frank, and I want to believe that we’d never hurt each other, but what if Frank is right? He thinks I am nothing but the filth under his shoes. I don’t want to hold you back from someone with less baggage . What if I upset you? What if I do something wrong? People can change, Jamie. I don’t want you to grow to resent me or—”

“Claire, we’re going to have our moments where we argue and disagree. We will probably even have moments where we dinna wanna be near each other. But, that’s how all relationships are. We’ll fight, it's completely normal. However I know it in my bones that  it will never escalate to anything even close to what you have had to endure my own.”

“Do you promise? You’ll never walk away? I can’t lose you Jamie. I can’t. I won’t survive it.” Claire was now gripping Jamie’s wrists as he held her face, determined to believe what she was hearing. 

“I promise ye Sassenach, I will never walk away. And even if I do, ye’ll ken it’ll just be for a minute and I will come right back to ye. I even ken that you may need a minute away from time to time, and that’s okay. We will always find a way back to each other. Besides, do ye even ken what happens after a fight?” He said as he brought her face closer to his until their foreheads were resting on one another. 

Claire shook her head against his, fresh tears slowly running down her cheeks. Jamie used the pad of his thumb to brush them away. 

“We get to make up after.” She brought her eyes to meet his, and ever so slowly, their lips came together as one. 

Removing his hands from his face, Jamie lowered them to her hips as he pulled her astride his lap. Claire’s fingers were deeply entangled in his curls pulling him towards her, deepening the kiss as Jamie grabbed the back of her neck, and wrapped an arm around her waist. They kissed for a long time, both too hesitant to break the bond until oxygen became a priority. Claire reluctantly released her mouth first.

“Jamie…” she whispered, eyes closed and out of breath as Jamie moved to gently scrape his teeth along her jaw.

“Oh mo chridhe. I want ye. I want ye so much I can scarcely breathe. Will ye have me?” He asked, giving her one hard, hungry kiss. 

“Yes Jamie. Yes I’ll have you.” She kissed him back, tongues fusing together. 

Moments later, it dawned on her. 

Pushing Jamie back with both hands on his chest, Claire moved away from him with a jolt. “Jamie, wait!”

“Claire I’m sorry. If ye changed yer mind tis’ okay.” He looked her up and down worriedly. 

“No no. It isn’t that. I want to, it’s just. I need…. I need to tell you something first.” He nodded as Claire got off his lap, and stood in front of him. 

“I uh. I just wanted you to know that… that I have…” she couldn’t say it. She wanted to, needed to . But she was afraid. Afraid he would change his mind after he knew. After he saw.

“Claire, ye can tell me. Ye know that, aye?”

He needs to know first Beauchamp. Just spit it out. 

“It’s just that I have... some scars on my body. Scars from Frank.” She finally said it, but she could no longer look him in the eyes. 

Jamie stood before her. He used a finger to bring her chin up so she could see him. His eyes went dark, angry, yet somehow filled with sorrow. Tears once again threatening to spill down Claire’s cheeks. 

“Show me, mo nighean donn. Let me take the pain away.”

Slowly, hesitantly, Claire reached for the hem of her t-shirt, Jamie’s t-shirt, and pulled it over her head. Although she was completely bare underneath, Jamie still did not stray from her eyes.

“There’s one here.” Claire whispered, bringing Jamie’s hand underneath her left breast, alongside her ribs. Delicately, with Claire’s guidance, Jamie’s fingers moved along a jagged line of about 10 centimeters. “He pushed me and I fell into a glass side table. It shattered everywhere. I had to get 11 stitches. But before I went to the hospital with some rubbish excuse as to how it happened, he made me clean up all the glass and blood.” 

Oh Claire, I am so sorry I wasna there to protect ye. 

There was so much Jamie wanted to say. But he knew it would do nothing. He could never change what Claire had to go through. Instead, Jamie brought himself to his knees, wrapped his arms around her middle, and patted soft, feather like kisses all along the length of the scar. 

“There’s more.” Jamie looked up to see Claire looking down at him, a stoic expression across her face. 

She’s playing it all back. 

Claire pulled Jamie up back to his feet. “Here.” Again taking his hand and bringing it to the inside of her right bicep. 

How did I not see this before…? 

She’s always wearing sleeves.

“17 stitches, a pretty deep one. After a night of drinking and self-indulgence, Frank came home and apparently the house wasn’t tidy enough. I had back to back surgeries that day, so I got home late and was just tired. He continued to drink and berate me well into the night about how useless and lazy I am. Eventually it turned into him hurling a whisky bottle, and a few other items within his reach at me. I tried to cover my face with my arms, but it still hit me.”

“Claire…” Jamie ran his fingers over her arm as he raised it and placed her hand on his shoulder. Starting at her wrist he once again gave her gentle kisses all down her arm. When he reached the gruesome scar, he used the tip of his tongue to caress her. A soft, almost breathless moan escaped Claire’s lips. 

Continuing up the rest of her arm, over her shoulder, and eventually in the crook of her neck Jamie used his lips and tongue as an attempt to draw her away from the painful memories. 

“Hold on. Hold on Darling, almost done.” She gently nudged him back once more. 

Claire brushed her curls to one side and began prodding at the hairline behind her right ear. “Here.” Now, without her guidance, Jamie followed suit, feeling around the base of her hair until he felt it. It was about the size of a one pound coin.

“I accidentally burned dinner. He didn’t like that. He grabbed me by the hair and knocked my head into the corner of the kitchen countertop. I was unconscious on the floor for over an hour laying in a pool of my own blood. I’m fairly certain he thought he killed me, because when I woke up he was gone. He didn’t realize how much head lacs bleed. I just cleaned everything up and when he got back, we both pretended like it never happened. Those are all the major ones. All the other marks and bruises have healed. I guess you could say he got more discreet.”  

Jamie brought Claire’s head to rest on his shoulder as he rubbed the marked spot. After a long moment, Claire felt droplets fall on her shoulder. She looked up to see tears streaming down Jamie’s face. 

“No no please don’t cry.” She stammered as she took his face in her hands. “I’m okay, it’s over now.”  It was now Claire’s turn to swipe away his tears. 

“Mo chridhe, it tears my heart to see and feel what has been done to ye. I only wish that I could’ve helped ye sooner. I am so sorry.”

“It doesn’t matter now. I’m all healed, and he will never be able to hurt me again, right? I have you to protect me.” She forced a faint smile to reassure him. 

“Aye, right.” They stood just holding each other for a few moments, savoring the feeling of sanctity and their newfound revelation. 

“Sassenach, you once asked me what tha gaol agam ort meant. Do ye recall me saying I’d tell ye at a later time? Well, it means-”

Claire cut him off. “Jamie, I love you too.” 

“Ye, ye do?” 

“Yes Jamie, of course I do. I’ve loved you since the first night you brought me home. Perhaps I even started too well before then, but I think that’s when I first admitted it to myself that yes, James Fraser, I love you.”  

“And I love ye, mo nighean donn. I have since first I saw these pretty wee curls from across the pub. I knew then, that I was meant to love and protect ye, always. Now Sassenach, if you’d do me the honor of allowing  me to show ye just how much I love ye…” Jamie slowly stuck his thumbs into the waistband of her shorts and started to pull them down her thighs. 

“Yes Jamie, a thousand times yes.” Quickly, Claire moved to remove Jamie’s shirt before getting a jumpstart on his belt buckle. Before she knew what happened next, she was underneath Jamie’s bare chest, feeling just how much he wanted her against her belly. 

Hands exploring new destinations, tongues caressing untouched crooks, lips lingering, breathing the same air, both were desperate to preserve these new discoveries within each other. But with every passing moment, the need to possess each other only intensified.

“Tell me if ye want me to stop Claire.” Jamie raggedly breathed as he finally positioned himself over her.

“Never.” Claire panted as she took him in her hands and guided him to her entrance. This time, there would be no stopping. 

Slowly, then all at once he took her body and soul within his own, to keep safe and to cherish forever. Two beings intertwined to become one. A refuge, a sanctuary, a sense of belonging, a new home they created within and for each other. From this day and since long before today. For always and forever after.

_____________

Hours later, with the pre-dawn glimmer creeping through the windows, both Jamie and Claire lie awake facing each other. Bare limbs tangled together beneath the sheets, hands stroking one another, enjoying the quiet, postcoital bliss. 

“You know, I might’ve lied to you earlier this evening.” Claire said in all but a whisper and she brushed her lips over Jamie’s scraped knuckles. 

“Oh aye? About what ye wee minx?” Jamie wondered. 

“Earlier I said I didn’t belong to you, that I wasn’t yours. It was a lie.” She murmured scooting closer until her head rested in the crook of Jamie’s neck. 

“How so?” Jamie gushed as he brushed her hair to the side. 

“I am yours, and you are mine James Fraser. There are no two ways about it.” She whispered, and placed a tender kiss over his heart.

Jamie paused for a moment, hugging her tightly as he breathed in her scent that was now mingled with his. “Aye, mo chridhe. Seems I canna possess yer soul without losing my own.” 

She smiled into his neck and delicately suckled at the sensitive skin. Sensing this, Jamie pushed Claire to lie on her back and began a clever trail of kisses starting from her neck, over her breasts, and making his way towards her navel. Claire, with her fingers knotted in his curls was slightly forcing him to descend lower. Both obvious of his final destination. 

Just as he was about to reach Claire’s center, the sound of a cell phone on the bedside table startled them both. 

“Christ who is that at this hour?” He asked between kisses.

“Oh hush, it’s probably just the hospital.” Low and behold it was. 

“Dr. Beauchamp. Geillis? What’s going on?” Claire couldn’t help but motion for Jamie to stop his descent. “Okay… oh wow yes, I’ll be right in.” Claire sighed as she hung up the phone and looked down to see Jamie with puppy dog eyes looking up at her as he rested his head on her hip bone. 

“Up you get Captain. I have to head in. Duty calls.” Claire said, attempting to squirm out of his hold. 

“But do ye have to?” He protested with a pout. 

“Why yes I do. There was a massive pile up on the motorway. All hands on deck.”

“Let me come with ye. I’ll go sit at the desk.”

“No, you’re fine. It’s supposed to be our day off. I should only be a few hours, so how about you stay right here and wait for me to get back? You’re going to need your rest for what I have planned for later Captain.” She expressed seductively. 

“Oh aye? Then I wouldna want to keep ye from yer duties then Dr. Beauchamp.” He declared into her hip and gave her one last nip. 

Reluctantly, Claire got up and headed to the bathroom. She quickly threw on a pair of scrubs and piled her curls into a bun on top of her head. Knowing she couldn’t leave her poor lad without an official goodbye, she went back to the bedroom once more. 

The sheet was barely covering his middle as his red curls were wild in every direction. His eyes were closed, and Claire took another minute just to look at him, peacefully laying there with a soft smile across his face. She quietly patted over to the bed, leaned down, and gently placed her lips on his. “Get some sleep. I’ll be back before you wake love.” Kissing him once more, she could feel his smile beneath her lips and held on for a second longer, but not before Jamie made way to grab her bum. 

Stifling a giggle Claire insisted, “I really do have to get going, and if you keep doing that I know I’ll never leave.”

What felt like an “mmkay” into her mouth, Claire grinned and kissed the crown of his head. 

Just as she was about to close the door she turned back for a final glance. 

“I love you, Jamie.”

“mm’love too

__________

Jamie woke a couple hours later to the vibration of his phone next to his bed. Drowsily he reached for it, assuming it to be Claire. 

“Sassenach, I assure ye I havena moved since ye left. Are ye calling to tell me yer on yer way home to come back to bed?” 

“Fraser?!”

“Geillis? Why are ye callin’ my phone?”

“Ye need to come to the hospital right now. It’s Claire.”

Chapter Text

Please. Please dinna take her from me. Not when I just got her. Please Lord, let her be alright. We havena had any time. I need more time.

He didn’t remember getting dressed. He didn’t remember getting to his car. He didn’t remember speeding the entire way there. Nothing. His only recollection was that Claire, his precious, stubborn, beautiful, curly wig, smart Sassenach was in trouble and she needed him.

Geillis didn’t tell him what happened or what was wrong. As soon as Claire’s name escaped her lips, Jamie’s entire world went black. Next thing he knew he was springing through the hospital doors looking for someone, anyone to tell him where she was. 

“CLAIRE, DR. BEAUCHAMP. I need her room number NOW. Where is she?!” Jamie was all but leaning over the nearest nurses station. 

“Fraser! There you are. Come here!” Geillis bellowed. 

“Where is she? What happened? I need to see her! She needs me!” He was completely incoherent. 

“Ye need to slow down and relax or else I won’t be lettin’ ye in that room. Stop, and breathe. I’ll tell ye what happened.” He nodded, trying to maintain control.

“As ye know she came in to help with the pile up. She performed a couple minor surgeries, patched some patients up, and since it was her day off, she was the first to be relieved. She told me she was on her way home to ye, and that the two of ye finally made things official.”  

Jamie couldn’t help but let a small smile flash across his face, remembering the two of them together just a few short hours ago. 

“I assumed she made it home. About thirty minutes later a resident coming in for their shift ran through the door screaming that he needed a stretcher. I was right there and followed suit. When I got outside, I saw her.” Geillis' voice dropped, as did her face. 

“Saw what? Geillis what did ye see? Tell me!” Jamie grabbed her shoulders, begging for the rest. 

“She was out there. Next to her car, laying in her own blood. One of the car windows was shattered all over her. She was bleeding from… lord there was so much blood Jamie. The first I saw was her head, I assume that’s what did in the window. A nasty head laceration, broken nose, two battered eyes, three fractured ribs, and a punctured lung.” Her voice was severely quivering. “Jamie, she has a brain bleed.” 

He couldn’t take it. He couldn’t believe it, never mind process what he just heard. “No. No she doesna. She was just with me. She’s fine . There has to be a mistake Geillis! It’s not her, it canna be her!” It was then that he dropped to his knees in the middle of the hallway, and the walls began to close in around him.

“I ken Jamie I ken. Shhh, ‘tis okay.” Geillis came down to the floor with him, holding him while he sobbed. 

After a few short minutes of Jamie’s wailing, he was starting to catch his breath. “Is… is she gonna live? Can I take her home? She needs to come home with me. I take care of her.” 

“I ken ye do Jamie, and ye do such a braw job at that. But right now, she’s in a medically induced coma — she’s sedated while they monitor the brain bleed. It’s just a grade one bleed. That’s a good thing. It’s just precautionary. All her other injuries have been tended to.”

“Can I see her? Please. She needs to know I’m there.”

“Because she’s in the ICU and she’s intubated, normally it wouldna be allowed.”

Panic insused. Geillis could see Jamie preparing to pounce. 

“Normally, it wouldna be allowed. But dinna worry. Since ye are an employee here, everybody knows who ye are, and about ye and Claire since the two of ye did such a piss poor job at hiding it. Aye, ye can see her.” 

He was on the move, before Geillis even told him where to find her.

“Can ye wait a minute ye numpty?” Geillis said as she quickly followed to pull him back. “I need to tell ye a few things first. As I said, she’s intubated, ye need to prepare to see that. There’s a tube in her mouth that’s regulating her breathing right now. Dinna be frightened by it. Her face, it's in rough shape, I ain’t gonna sugar coat that for ye. But it’s still her, Jamie. Ye can touch her, but try not to jostle her because of her brain and her ribs. Just — try and be as calm as ye can. Even though she’s asleep, she’ll ken yer there. She’s in room 231.”

___________

He hadn’t stopped praying since he got the call. But now, standing in front of room 231, no words of solace or petition came to mind. He was lost. 

5,4,3,2, deep breath, 1. He opened the door. 

Bleak, sterile, sharp metal, bright lights, white. Cold. So very cold. 

Jamie had been working in the hospital for several months, but he never really noticed the specificity of the scent until now. It was suffocating. Latching itself in his throat, he desperately wanted to escape it, but there was nowhere to go. 

Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep. 

He couldn’t look at her yet. 

Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep. 

A few more brief moments,submerging himself in his last image of her.

Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep. 

Her curly mop spread over his shoulder. Lust lingering behind her eyes and at the tips of slim fingers that never left his skin. Her breath, warm, pleasant, against his neck. Her smile. The same smile he’s been waking up to every morning for god knows how many days in a row now. He stopped keeping track weeks ago. What’s the point when you think you have forever?

Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep. 

One night. 

One night, he was able to claim her. To call her his own, and for her to do the same. That’s all they were given, before this. What he’d been trying to prevent her from for months. What he vowed to do, always. And yet, he was about to face another failure. 

But this time? This time was different. It wasn’t the feeling he had when he learned the fate of his parents. It wasn’t the feeling he threw himself into when he leaned over his partner's lifeless body. 

No. Not like that. 

This time was different. 

He couldn’t move. Feet frozen where he stood, eyes locked on her wounded face, bandaged head, and the mass of tubes and wires. 

Jamie didn’t realize he was holding his breath until his vision began to blur. Finally, he exhaled with a wavering force, and pushed himself off the door, taking his first step. 

Christ yer so small mo chridhe. 

Standing at the foot of the bed, looking down at Claire’s limp and bruised body, all he wanted to do was cradle her small form into his chest and never let her go. 

He couldn’t bring himself to touch her, despite how deeply he longed to. 

I dinna want to hurt ye even more Sassenach. 

A long while passed with Jamie just staring at Claire, gripping the foot of the bed 

Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep. 

Nothing changed.

Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep. 

More than a couple times he forced his eyes shut, counted to ten, wishing that when he opened them, it wouldn’t be Claire laying there.

But it was. 

Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep. 

He couldn’t take it anymore, as painful as it felt, he had to touch her. He needed to confirm it himself that she was in front of him, alive . He was looking at her, right there, just a couple feet away. But he had to feel her. He had to make it real. 

Mustering up any courage he had left, Jamie was able to bring himself to scoot the chair over to her bedside, and sit down. 

Tentatively, he reached for her hand that the IV wasn’t attached to. 

Delicately he wrapped his fingers around hers, truly feeling how frail and vulnerable she actually was. 

“Claire… I’m here my love. I’m here.”

Chapter Text

Hours passed. Hours, with Jamie simply holding Claire’s hand, unable to look away even for the briefest of moments, because if he did, he feared she would disappear. Geillis came in to check on them almost every hour, trying to convince Jamie to take a break or go for a walk. 

He refused. 

A while later, she came back. “Geillis, I already told ye, I’m no leaving her side. I’m fine where I am so ye can stop trying.” he said without looking up. 

“Fraser.” came a deep voice. 

Jamie looked up, stunned. “Chief, what are ye doin here?”

The chief of security took another step into Claire’s room. “I heard what happened. One of the nurses told me where to find ye. I figured I’d come see how yer lass if fairing.” 

“Well thank ye chief. As ye can see, she’s no so good.” 

“Aye, I do see. Listen Fraser, dinna worry about working for right now. Focus on Dr. Beauchamp. We can talk about ye getting back to work when yer able.” 

“Thank ye Chief, I appreciate that.” 

“Fraser, there’s something else. Why don’t ye come out into the hall wi’ me?” Just as he said that Geillis popped into the room.

“Go ahead Jamie, I’ll sit wi’ her.” Seeing as he didn’t have much of a choice, he nodded and began to stand. He took a long moment looking down at Claire’s small form in the bed. Slowly, he bent down and softly kissed the top of her head, away from the bandage. He whispered, so the others in the room wouldn’t hear; “I’ll be right back mo chridhe. I promise.” 

Jamie followed the Chief out into the hall. “Okay, what do ye need to tell me?”

Clearing his throat, “When I got word that a Doctor had been found in the car park, I had the lads immediately rush to check the footage of the employee lot. They came directly to me with what they found. Now, the video isn’t the clearest, but it is clear enough to make out who attacked Dr. Beauchamp. Now I don’t think ye should—” 

“Show me. NOW.” This wasn’t a request. 

__________

They hurriedly walked to the security room, all eyes on Jamie when he entered. Without saying a word he sat down in front of the main monitor. “Play it.” he said coldly. 

As the footage began rolling… 

Claire was seen walking to her car. She was digging in her purse, probably trying to locate her keys. After a few moments, a man wearing a dark brown trench coat approached her. She quickly turned around towards the man, and backed up until she was trapped against the car. It seemed as though they were just talking. That was until Claire made a move to get away from the man, and he grabbed her arm, pinning her back against the car, and stepping far too close to her. Still, she was trying to break free of his hold, but it was no use. 

More talking. More struggling. Then it happened. The man grabbed Claire by the back of her head, and put her face through the car window. But that wasn’t all. She was on the ground, cowered over on her side, hands trying to cover her battered face, and the man continued to hit her. He punched and kicked her head, her body, everywhere. Eventually Claire was no longer moving, and the man finally stopped. 

Jamie counted twelve blows. 

The man stood over, just staring for almost a minute. Then he turned to walk away. Right there, beaten face and all. 

It was Frank Randall.

__________

“Send all this footage to this email address, right this second.” Jamie began scribbling down Duncan’s email. 

He bolted from the room while whipping out his phone to call Duncan. “Duncan, it’s Fraser. Listen, something happened to Claire, Claire Beauchamp… Yes the lass I had you get the order for… No she was attacked in the hospital car park… Yeah they’re sending you the footage as we speak… it’s him… Frank fucking Randall… I saw the footage myself and can confirm… he approached me at the pub last night and threatened both of us… no he didna see her, he tried, but I stopped him…I got him good, that I’ll gladly admit to… it was him… clear as day… he must’ve followed her or was waiting for her… No I was at home waiting for her and the hospital called me… okay… alright… go get him… let me know when ye have him… thank you.” 

Jamie hung up the phone and breathed a momentary sigh of relief.

They’re going to get the asshole. 

He immediately headed back to Claire’s room. 

Upon entering, Geillis was still sitting by her side, and another doctor that Jamie wasn’t too familiar with was checking her chart.

“How is she?” He asked. 

“No change so far. But, no change is a good thing.” Geillis responded. “Her brain bleed has subsided, but we’re going to keep her under for another day or two just to be cautious. Her body just needs time to heal, and if she’s under, it’s less stress for her.” Jamie nodded but couldn’t keep from choking up. 

All my fault. All my fault. 

“Are ye sure ye dinna want to—”

“NO. I don’t”

“Okay. Let me know if ye need anything.” Geillis said leaving the room, giving Jamie’s shoulder a squeeze. 

He sat perched in his usual spot, holding Claire’s hand.

“Mo nighean donn, I ken this is all my fault. Yer in this bed because of me. I couldn’t keep him from ye. I should’ve tried harder, I should’ve done more. I am so so sorry mo chridhe. It’ll be different this time. He’s going away Claire, he’s going away for a long long time. And me? I’m going to take ye far away for a while. Just ye and me. I’ll take ye up to Skye, or even to Lallybroch if ye wish. Ye remember the stories I told ye about when I was a wee lad? We can go swimming in the loch, I can take ye riding through the heather. We can sleep curled up by the fireplace after I attempt

to make some of my Ma’s best recipes. Anything ye wish, it's yers. But ye have to get better Sassenach, ye have to wake up so I can show ye the highlands. I’m not done with ye, I need more time. There will never be enough time. I need ye keep making fun of my winking, and to watch ye drink yer tea while I’m making ye breakfast. I need to wake up with yer curls all over my face, and have ye turn to me to kiss me good morning. I want to listen to ye tell me about how yer surgeries went. I want to argue over whichever show we watch next, or hold ye while ye cry to Titanic for the millionth time. I want to force ye to come running wi’ me, even though I ken ye hate it. We have our life that we need to build Claire, the life we need to build together. We could have a farmhouse, with big garden for yer wee herbs, horses so we can ride together, maybe a pup, and our bairns Claire. I want to fill our house with our bairns. We’ll start off wi’ one, ye ken? A wee lass or a lad wi’ yer curls and maybe my red color, but wi’ yer whisky eyes. They’ll probably have that Fraser stubbornness, but wi’ yer bravery and independence. Och, they’re going to be so beautiful Claire. We are going to have such a happy life together my love, such a happy life.” 

__________

Two more days passed of Jamie staying by Claire’s side. Two more days passed without making her laugh, kissing her all over, looking into her amber eyes, making love to her, or sleeping curled behind her while hearing her say “I love you.” There was nothing. 

She was right there in front of him, but he was the one that felt so adrift. As if he was the one in the coma. For days Jamie had just been going through the most basic motions. Sleeping upright in his chair, his fingers constantly touching her. He managed to shower once in the staff locker room, simply because Geillis threatened to kick him out if he didn’t, just as she would stay and watch him eat the subpar hospital food. 

“What do you think she’s going to say when she wakes up and sees you have not taken care of yerself? Ye ken she’s going to be raving mad.” He couldn’t disagree. 

__________

“Can we see if she’ll wake up today? It’s been two more days. Is she ready?”

“Aye, we’re going to reverse the drugs in just a bit. After it’s reversed it should be a few hours for her to come out of it. So far her vitals and brain function are looking good. I’ll come back in a wee while to get started.” Geillis said with a soft smile as she left.

“Ye year that Sassenach? Just a few hours and ye can wake up. I canna wait to talk to ye, hear yer voice. I’ve missed you so much.” He whispered to her, bringing her fingers to his lips. 

__________

An hour and a half later, Geillis came back with another doctor and a nurse. Jamie moved out the way while they worked on Claire. 

He had no idea what they were doing. 

They spoke to him about her EEG, reversing the propofol that kept her under, her vital signs, and loads more of medical jargon he didn’t understand. He was only concerned about getting her to wake up. He watched them press all sorts of beeping buttons, moved around some wires, removed some wires, and lastly, they took the tube out of her mouth. 

After they cleaned her up and removed the equipment they no longer needed, they left him alone with her. Despite the bandages and the remaining IV, she looked as though she was simply sleeping. She was smaller somehow. 

Jamie sat back down, grabbing her hand and kept it pressed against his lips. His other hand was gently running through a patch of loose curls that hung over the pillow. 

“C‘mon mo chridhe. Wake up. Please wake up.”

_________

We were in bed. It was a chilly morning. Claire turned over and ran her freezing hands up and down my back until firmly grabbing my arse. 

“Christ ye wee vixen, yer as cold as ice!” I squealed. 

“Well, it's a good thing I have my own personal heater then.” She said smirking into my neck. 

“Och, is it? I guess I should come and warm ye up then, hmph?” Just then I bolted on top of her. Spreading warm, wet kisses all over her face, neck, lips, and breasts. “Warm enough?” I asked looking down at her welcoming, beautiful face. 

“Not even a little bit, Captain.” She said as she nipped my bicep.

“Well, let’s see to that.” With a wee joke in mind, I leaned down and kissed her deeply, intimately. She began to grind underneath me, and I knew she wanted more. BUT, I had a plan. She was going to hate it.

As I was kissing her my hands traveled to her ribs and I began to tickle her like mad! 

“You beast! Stop that right now!” She yelled trying to calm her own laughter.

“Oh I can’t, must keep my lady nice and warm!” I said, continuing. 

She finally got her hands freed and began pinching my arse as a distraction! Both of us completely consumed with the utmost of belly laughs, she managed to gather enough strength to push me off and climb on top of me. 

“HA! I got you now Captain Fraser.”

“Seems as though ye do, Dr. Fraser. What are ye going to do with me then?” 

“Oh well, I think I’ll just have my way with my husband, any way I like.”

Just as my wife leaned down to me, everything went black…

__________

Jamie had dozed off leaning on Claire’s hand. He was slowly waking to a brushing sensation traveling from his cheek, through his curls, and back down over his lips. 

Completely unaware of his surroundings, his eyes began to flicker open, and he was met with the most beautiful sight he’d ever seen.

The most alluring pair of honey drizzled eyes gazing down on him. 

“Hey there, sleepy head.”

Chapter Text

“Claire? CLAIRE? Are you— how— do you— och, Sassenach…” He broke down. Jamie buried his head into her lap and began to sob. “I’m sorry. I’m so sorry. All my fault. All my fault. I’m sorry.”

Claire was slowly and weakly stroking his hair while he laid in her lap. She wanted to wrap her arms around him and hold him till he subsided, but she didn’t have the strength. “Jamie… Jamie please. Please darling, look at me.” She whispered.

He almost couldn’t bring himself to face her. To realize that he’d failed her again. 

“Jamie.”

Eventually, he leaned up and wiped away the tears that were still falling. “Claire I just, please, I canna—“

“No. I will not stand for any of that. You are not going to apologize anymore. None of this is your fault.”

He was still crying, though now it had subsided a bit. “I just shouldn’t have let ye go to work by yerself. Not after what happened at the pub. He threatened us, you. I should’ve taken it more seriously. Instead I let ye go alone while I slept. I will never forgive myself for it, and neither should ye.” He wouldn’t look her in the eyes. 

“James Fraser, you look at me and you listen.” Claire grabbed his face as hard as she could muster with one hand and forced him to look at her. “This is not on you. This is on Frank and nobody else. You put the impossible on yourself. No matter what you did, he was always going to find a way in. It was inevitable. You were able to prolong it for as long as you could. But deep down you need to understand that it wasn’t going to last forever. As much as we hated being apart, it was bound to happen and he was going to take his opportunity no matter what. We couldn’t stay in our perfect bubble forever. As much as you look the part, you're not Superman Jamie, and that’s okay with me. I like you just fine the way you are.” Now he couldn’t look away. He was speechless.

“Jamie, do you have any idea about what you’ve done for me these past months?”

“Ye mean besides puttin ye in more danger?” He vaguely snickered. 

“You’re a fool, you know that?” She said, taking his hand in hers. 

“You, Jamie Fraser, you have saved me. You brought me out of this shell of a life I was living. For years I felt stuck, that I was never going to get out. I was trapped in my own personal prison with a man who hurt me in every way he could find. I was so sure I would die there either by his hands, or some other means I had yet to discover. I had accepted my fate for a time.” She paused for a moment, trying to catch her breath to continue. “Until a certain red headed highlander got nosy at a pub. You came into my life when I needed you most. You not only saved my life Jamie, but you also brought me back to life. I would gladly endure all this pain and heartache ten times over if that’s what it took to lead me to you.” With tears filling her eyes, Jamie got up and put one leg on the bed to face her. 

“Mo nighean donn. When I got the call that ye were hurt I didna ken what to do. My whole world had gone dark. To see ye in the bed, hooked up to machines and such, and there was nothing I could do, I couldn’t bear it. I saw what that man did to ye, and to think that I could’ve lost ye because of him, I couldn’t I—. For so long I’ve felt adrift, as if I’d never fully be complete, but I didna ken why. Now I ken, it’s because I was waitin’ for ye. Ye, Claire Elizabeth Beauchamp, ye are my home now.Yer face is my heart Sassenach, and the love of ye is my soul.” 

“I love you Jamie. I love you. I love you.

“And I love you.” He whispered back. 

“Then kiss me, Jamie.”

Careful as to not harm her, Jamie gently leaned in, and placed his lips to hers. He could feel how dry and slightly chapped they were, but it didn’t matter. They both couldn’t stop the imminent tears that began to mingle on their cheeks. There weren’t enough words to express their love for each other, nor could any action ever suffice, but they knew. 

Despite how deeply Jamie wanted to continue kissing Claire, he could feel her exhaustion rising. “Claire.” He said as he pulled away hesitantly. “Ye need to rest, mo chridhe. Ye need to get yer strength back.” He made a move to get off the bed and go back to his chair. 

“No, stay.”

“Sassenach I’m not going anywhere.” He said, tucking her back into bed. 

“No, I want you to stay in the bed with me. Please?” She pleaded. 

“Claire, I dinna want to hurt ye. Yer wee ribs need to keep still. I’ll be right here in the chair.”

“Jamie please, please just hold me.” Despite how much he knew he shouldn’t, he couldn’t deny her.

He took a deep breath. “Aye Sassenach, always.” He said as he oh so gently climbed onto the bed. He softly placed an arm around her shoulder as she nuzzled into his chest as best she could while still trying to remain flat. Their hands found each other, and were being held over Jamie’s heart. 

Just as they were about to peacefully rest, there was a faint knock on the door. 

“Ye know, that statement is true. Doctors really are the worst patients.” Geillis said peeking her head in the door. 

Jamie went to move, but Claire put a hand out to stop him. 

“Hi Geil. Thanks for taking such good care of me and this one over here.” She said nudging Jamie. 

“Och, it’s nae bother. He was a worse patient than ye. Doesn’t listen for shite.” She grinned. 

“So I’ve seen.” Claire softly smiled. “Right, run it done for me. How am I looking?”

“Well, your face has seen better days that’s for sure.” Geillis smirked. “But, the cuts on your face are superficial, so they’ll heal fine. Same with those two black eyes. Yer nose was a clean break that’s been set so give it a couple weeks for the swelling to go down. Your head lac needed a few sutures, those can get taken out in a few days. I’d imagine you’ll probably end up doing that yerself anyway.” She rolled her eyes. “Let’s see… yer ribs, well, ye ken how painful those are to heal. Just take it easy for the next six weeks or so kay? If that’s even possible for ye Beauchamp.

“Yeah yeah fine, Duncan. What about my head? Any substantial damage? I really don’t remember much. I just remember walking out to my car, and Frank was there. I’m pretty sure he was waiting for me, and knew I came in alone.” Claire could feel Jamie tensing at the mention of his name. She gripped his hand tighter as he brought her closer to him. “Next thing I knew, I was waking up here and Jamie was asleep next to me. It didn’t take long to assume what happened.”

“Ye had a grade one bleed as a result of blunt force trauma. It wasn’t serious, and the bleed didn’t last long. Ye definitely have a fairly good concussion though. We put ye out because with yer head, yer ribs, and how hurt yer face was, we figured it would be easier to monitor and to let yer body do what it needed to do for a bit without the stress I’m sure ye would’ve brought to it.” Geillis was trying to make light of the conversation for Claire’s sake, but she still couldn’t hide the fact that this was hard for her as well. 

“Claire, I ken ye might not want to hear this, but I’ve spoken with the department and they ken what happened. Now, as yer friend I wanted to be the one to tell ye, that while ye can take all the time ye need to heal before ye come back to work, they’re also referring ye to a therapist here at the hospital. They want ye to see one once a week for the foreseeable future.”

“I don’t need a bloody—”

“Mo chridhe just  listen, okay?” Jamie interrupted and turned so he could face her more clearly. “Sassenach, ye are the strongest, and most courageous person I’ve ever kent. Ye have endured more these past years than most do in their lives. For that alone I admire ye so. But Claire, I think this is something that ye need to do. Now I will do whatever needs to be done to help ye get through this, but Geillis is right. Ye need to speak to a professional. Ye remember when I first brought ye home? How scared and timid ye’d get at the smallest things?” He put a hand on her face, careful to avoid any of the cuts. “Ye’ve gotten so much better with that mo nighean donn, but it still happens. I see ye still flinch at wee noises and some sudden movements. Sometimes when I’m holding ye while ye sleep ye still whimper and mumble about being hurt. I’m able to help ye get out of it without waking ye, but it still kills me that yer suffering and ye may not even ken it. I think just even talking to someone, once a week for a wee while will really help ye Claire. Please, please consider it.” Once again tears were pooling in Jamie’s eyes. Seeing this broke Claire. She had no idea he’d noticed all these little things about her, or that he'd been up at night to take care of her and she had no idea. 

“Okay Jamie. Okay, I’ll speak to someone.”

Feeling as if she’d been interrupting a moment, Geillis quietly excused herself and said; “I’ll get ye the referral Claire and check back later.”  Claire nodded and turned back to Jamie and Geillis left. 

“Why didn’t you tell me all of these things?” She asked seeming concerned.

“Because ye were doing so well, and I didna want ye to take notice and start reverting. I thought if I’d just keep helping ye, and ye didna ken, then ye’d be okay. But now I realize that even though ye seemed okay, deep down it was doing more harm than good.” Jamie took her fingers within his and stroked her knuckles. 

“I understand why you thought that. I really had no idea. I guess I was just so used to it that I stopped noticing. But you, you noticed plenty for the both of us. Once I’m able, I’ll make sure I see someone. I promise.”

“Thank ye Sassenach. I think this will be good for you, and us as well. Ye ken I will support ye anyway ye need. Ye can tell me as much as ye want, or as little. As long as it helps ye, I’ll bide either way. There’s no rush either mo chridhe. Ye can start going once yer healed and ready.” He kissed her hand. 

“You sweet sweet man. I do love you.”

“I love ye too. Now, as yer boyfriend and yer live in nurse for the time being, I’m ordering ye to get some rest now a nighean.” Jamie said trying to sound demanding, but failed with his coy smile. 

“Aye aye Captain. As you say.”

__________

Claire was released from the hospital a few days later. Jamie was given strict instructions by Geillis to make sure Claire drinks plenty of water, gets a lot of sleep, doesn’t spend too much time reading, watching TV, or anywhere where there’s a lot of light exposure for the next week or so because of her concussion. She also told him that Claire shouldn’t do a lot of excessive moving while her ribs still healed and that there was “no sex allowed” for the next few weeks. She also gave Jamie a bottle of minor painkillers just in case, because she knew Claire would refuse to take them. 

When they arrived home, Jamie helped Claire inside and got her settled on the couch before going back to the car to retrieve their bags. Once everything was put away, they were finally able to relax. 

“Do ye want a cuppa mo nighean donn?” Jamie said, placing another throw blanket on top of her legs. 

“That sounds lovely, thank you Darling.” Claire said smiling up to Jamie as he kissed the top of her head and walked to the kitchen.

Waiting for the kettle to boil, Jamie checked his phone and had a message from Duncan; 

Fraser, how are ye and Claire holding up? Give me a call when ye can. It’s about Randall. We got him. The footage ye sent over is enough to keep him here and it will definitely get him some time, but we can already tell this bastard isn’t going down without a fight. Ye need to tell Claire that she needs to press more serious charges and take him to court. With what ye’ve told me about their history and the restraining order, her testimony will be enough to put him away for a long time. Call me when ye can, and ye might want to put a call in to Ned as well. Randall has a lot of suits coming in and out to meet with him…

Chapter Text

He wanted one more day. One more day where they could just be home together . No concerns from the hospital, Frank, or the department. He just wanted to hold her in his arms for as long as possible and help to forget all that's happened. He knew of course she wouldn’t, neither of them would, but he’d sure as hell give it his best effort.

But time was dwindling. 

Jamie glanced over to the couch to see that Claire was already beginning to doze off.

Tomorrow. This can wait till tomorrow. 

Jamie sent a quick response to Duncan telling him that he’ll get back to him in a day or two. Claire needed time to settle. He knew Frank wasn’t getting out anytime soon, and that was enough. Claire’s healing was more important to him than the legal matters right now. 

“Here ye go sweetheart. Take your time drinking it.” Jamie said as he placed her tea on the tea table, and pushed the table closer to Claire. 

“Thank you.” She whispered.

Jamie settled on the other side of the couch and put Claire’s feet in this lap. He was nervous to look at her, knowing that she’d see that he was keeping something from her. As if she read his mind, she nudged his belly with her foot. “What're you thinking about over there?”

“Hmm? Och, nothing. Just tired. How’re you feeling, mo chridhe?” He said almost too matter of factly. 

“Don’t try and change the subject.” Claire snickered with another foot nudge. “Tell me what’s on your mind.”

“Sassenach, tis nothing.” He hated keeping this from her, but he knew it would be better to wait. Strapping on an endearing smile, he wrapped his hands about her feet and rubbed them tenderly. “Sassenach, ye ken I’d do absolutely anything for ye, nae matter the cost?” His eyes softened a bit, as if trying to urge her to comprehend where he was really coming from.

“Jamie, of course I do. I’ve never had to question that. Where is this coming from?” She tried to sit up a bit, causing her to wince. Jamie’s eyes went wide with concern. “I’m okay. Really Jamie, what’s going on.” 

Seven minutes. That’s about how long he could keep this from her. It was truly a valiant effort. 

“Tis just… I got word from Duncan. He says although the footage is enough to keep Frank in holding, tis likely he wilna go down without a fight. Ye, we are going to have to press charges and more than likely testify when the time comes. I wasna going to tell ye til tomorrow so ye can rest but…” He couldn’t meet her eye, instead he continued grappling her feet. 

A few moments passed. “Typical Frank trying to find a way out. That’s to be expected.”

“Claire I canna imagine how difficult this must be for ye, but if ye have to testify in order to get this bastard put away — god I dinna want ye to have to relive it again.” He couldn’t suppress the tears from pooling in his eyes simply at the thought of Claire enduring anymore suffering. 

“I know. I know. I wish I didn’t have to either. But, if I must, then I will. I want him out of our lives Jamie, forever.” As exhausted as she was physically, and mentally no doubt, Jamie could still sense that determined fire. 

“I will be with you throughout mo nighean donn, always.” He answered nodding. 

__________

Some time passed along with several episodes of Friends reruns with Claire having fallen asleep hours ago. Jamie was still awake, and anxious nonetheless. Not because of Frank, but he was just scared to fall asleep if something were to happen with Claire. He knew it was rather daft. She was right here at home with him, but he couldn’t help it. 

Not minding the TV in the background, he couldn’t look away from her. She looked so peaceful sleeping. Such a rare beauty, his beauty. 

Every now and again, Jamie would suddenly get taken aback by just how much he loved this woman. It utterly consumed him to the point where sometimes it was almost too much to bear and his emotions would get the best of him. 

Simply staring at her sleeping form, not even noticing her marks he could feel the well in his chest. 

Needing more of a connection he whispered; “God shield my beloved, my white dove. Preserve her from violence and from harm. In this place and every place.  On this night and every night.” Wiping a loose tear he continued, “I love ye Claire Elizabeth Beauchamp. I love ye more than my own life. I will gladly spend the rest of my days making sure ye ken it.”

At this declaration she began to stir. Once again she whimpered while she adjusted her position and as slight of a movement it was, it still pained Jamie to know she even had the slightest amount of discomfort. 

Claire’s eyes fluttered open a few moments later, and she quickly formed a slight smile. Jamie smiled back, and reached over, placing a kiss on her outstretched fingers. “What was that you were saying?”

“Och, nothing. Doesna translate o’er well. How’s your pain? One to ten?”

“Hmm maybe a six.” 

Sassenach I ken that means it's a seven or an eight. 

He didn’t say this outloud of course, he admired her pride too much.

My strong lass. 

“Do ye want one of yer wee pills anyway? Might make that six a bit more manageable?” Jamie asked, knowing she’d refuse. 

“No no, I’m okay. There is something I would like though…” She said earnestly.

“Aye? And what would that be mo chridhe?” 

Sliding her foot up at down his chest, she adoringly said, “I would just love to have a bath, but I think I may need help with the washing” she finished off with a pout. 

“Is that so, Sassenach?” Jamie said getting off the couch. “I’ll get that started for ye straight away then.” He declared, but not before leaving her with a deep, lingering kiss. “Dinna move Sassenach.” 

Jamie went to the bathroom to draw Claire her bath. He placed a set of towels on the countertop, and added that special scented bubble bath he knows she likes. He patted back down to the sitting room to see Claire adoringly waiting for him. “Ready mo chridhe?” 

“Oh yessss.” She announced putting her arms up. Jamie bent down to pick her up, careful not to jostle her ribs as much as possible. She gently wrapped her arms around his neck and put her head on his shoulder. It didn’t take long before she started pressing light kisses to Jamie’s neck. 

“Sassenach, I ken what yer trying to do. As much as I’d love to, you ken we can’t” He postulated. “Doctor’s orders.”

“But I’m a doctor, and I say we can.” She declared between more kissing. 

When they reached the bathroom, Jamie gently placed Claire on the toilet, and crouched between her knees. “Sassenach, ye ken that I would love to have ye more than anything, but we can’t. Ye got to do some more healing. I’ll not be the reason that yer in more pain for a longer amount of time. We can bide for now, aye?” 

With an adorable eye roll, she responded with a very endearing, “Aye.” 

“Now, arms up.” Jamie demanded. Claire slowly raised her arms while Jamie stripped her of her shirt. He then placed her arms around his neck for support, stood her up, and freed her from her leggings one leg at a time. She squealed just a bit when her bottom sat back on the cold seat of the toilet. 

With one last check of the temperature, Jamie again picked up Claire and placed her in the tub. She slowly leaned back with a moan that went straight to Jamie’s cock. 

Christ ye vixen, I ken exactly what yer doing. 

With Claire watching his every move, Jamie soaped up the loofah and began tenderly scrubbing her arms. He then moved to her chest while avoiding her eyes, and went about his duty. 

Claire then dropped an arm into the water and splashed water all over Jamie’s shirt. “Oh Jamie, I am so sorry. I’m just so clumsy.” Jamie glared at her, but they both knew he wouldn’t keep a straight face. 

“Sassenach…” 

“Jamie, your shirt is just soaked. You’ll have to take it off.” She said seductively. 

As much as he wanted to resist her and his urges his shirt really was drenched. “Fine. But that’s all yer getting out of me.” He peeled off his shirt, and tossed it into the pile where Claire’s clothes were. 

“Much better.” Claire said kissing his shoulder. “I’ll behave, I promise.” 

Jamie went on scrubbing Claire’s front and gently nudged her to lean forward. He couldn’t help his quick intake of breath. He hadn’t noticed with the bubbles and the water level, and frankly he wasn’t really looking to try and avoid the tension, but her sides and her back were covered with deep, dark multicolored bruises. 

He desperately tried to choke down the lump in his throat, but it was too late. She noticed.

“Hey.. hey, Jamie it’s okay. It doesn’t hurt too bad.” She reached up placing a hand on his cheek, caressing him with her thumb. “I’m okay. We’re okay.” 

Sniffing and clearing his throat, “I ken. Tis just seeing ye with these marks, it tears my heart mo chridhe.” 

“I know Darling. But it’s over now.”

He nodded, unable to say anything else. He again, nudged her forward, and placed a hand on her breast while she leaned against him. Not in a sexual or seductive way, he simply just wanted to feel her while he finished bathing her. Claire knew his intention. 

When he was done, he placed an array of kisses all over back, covering every inch of her bruises. He made his way up to her neck, around her jaw, and then finally to her lips. He kissed her for a long time, his tongue easily mingling with hers. There was no rush or sense of demand. They were just here, in the moment, taking each other in. 

Minutes later, they pulled apart, foreheads leaning on one another. “Can we go to bed?” Claire whispered. 

“I feel ye should eat something first, mo chridhe.” Jamie said kissing her forehead and reaching for the towels. 

“No, no. I just— I just want to go to bed and have you hold me.” 

“Aye, Sassenach. Lets go to bed.” Jamie reached down, wrapped Claire in a towel and took her into his arms. He then walked her down the hallway, to their bedroom and placed her on the bed. 

He gently dried her off, and placed her atop the duvet. “I’ll just go lock up, okay?” 

Just a few moments later, Jamie came back with a soft smile as he leaned against the door frame. Claire was sprawled on the bed, looking utterly content. 

“Yer so beautiful, Claire.” Jamie said walking over to her. “So beautiful, mo ghaol.” 

“How can I not love a man who says such things.” She expressed, urging him to come to bed. 

Jamie quickly took off his sweats, and climbed into the bed, getting them both under the duvet. Both naked, craving as much skin to skin, Jamie pulled her to him, and hitched her legs over his, as she curled into his chest. With an arm around her shoulders and the other across her body holding her arse to keep her close, he caressed her with his fingers. “Christ, yer a brave wee thing.” 

A moment passed.

“Am I?”

Jamie slightly leaned back in order to look her in the eyes. “How do ye feel?”

She splayed a hand over his chest, giving him half a smile. 

“Safe.” 

Jamie smiled back, and brought her even closer. Kissing her forehead, breathing her in, and thanking the Lord for this precious gift, they both drifted off together into a blissful sleep.

Chapter Text

Claire woke hours later. Everything ached; her head, her ribs, her back, Christ it even hurt to breathe. She peered around their bedroom, and there was no evidence that the sun would be rising any time soon.  

Locked in Jamie’s tight grasp, she winced trying to break free without waking him. With careful maneuvering that took much longer than usual, she was able to slip away. Nudging her way towards the edge of the bed, she glanced at the clock on the bedside table: 3:23. She estimated they’d been sleeping for five or six hours. 

Slowly getting up, so not to jolt her ribs, she placed each foot on the floor one at a time, and used the springs of the bed to give her a bit of momentum in getting up. The head rush she got almost made her topple back, but with a quick grasp of the table, she was able to stay up right. 

Claire slowly and silently shuffled to the bathroom and closed the door behind her. The blinding light only intensified her headache. She leaned her hands on either side of the counter, and focused on her breathing for a few moments. It was then that she realized she had yet to look at herself and her damages in a mirror. 

C’mon Beauchamp, just do it. It can’t be as bad as it feels. On the contrary, it could be worse. 

Hesitantly, with her palms still on the porcelain counter, she raised her head first, and then her eyes. 

What started out as a whisper, ended in a gutteral sob, “Jesus H. Roosevelt Christ.” Her hands then shot to her mouth to stifle her cries. They weren’t tears of pain. It was a cry of shock, distress, frustration, and disgust. 

Overcome with emotion, Claire turned towards the door and ripped down the towels that were hung over the full length mirror, not minding the stream of pain that shot down her sides. 

She stood there, staring at what she knew was her own naked body, but she didn’t recognize it. Stepping closer she poked and prodded her face. Tracing her fingers over the stitches still in her scalp, grasping her nose, able to feel where the fracture is. The swollen, dark bulges surrounding both her eyes. 

She then brought her hands to her ribs, careful not to push too hard. She counted them, highlighting the ones she knew were broken. She almost began admiring the coloring of the bruises. So many tones and shades of black, blue, green, yellow, and purple.

One thing she knew Jamie loved about her was her pearl-like skin, and how much of it she had. Now, her entire body resembled more of a disfigured rainbow than that of a pearl from the sea. 

“Disgusting.” She said allowed at a volume slightly louder than a whisper. “Horrible. Treacherous. Degrading. Weak. Sad. Broken.” Words words words. More words.

But they weren’t aimed at the man who did this. No, Claire was talking to and about herself. “Undeserving. Nothing.”

She knew. She knew she wasn’t at fault for what happened to her. For what Frank did to her. If you asked her six months ago, well then she would’ve taken all the blame and not even realized. But not now. Jamie led her to that realization. 

Then why was she being so hard on herself?

“You let it go for far too long Beauchamp.” She said to the figure standing in the mirror. “This is what had to be done? You couldn’t have enough courage to have gotten away sooner? To realize it wasn’t right? No. No. You were too weak. That’s what gave him all the power.”

Still staring at her damaged body, she rolled her eyes and put her palms back on the counter. Gently, she turned on the faucet to splash some cold water on her face. When she went to grab the hand towel that was laid on the counter, she saw it. Her bottle of painkillers. 

“Oxy. Nice choice Geillis.” She muttered to no one.

With another look at the mirror, Claire knew the answer to the question she had yet to ask herself. “What’s your pain really at Beauchamp? One to ten?”

A nine. 

Shaking her head she tried to open the bottle. She didn’t on the first try. She couldn’t on the second, nor the third. The child lock coupled with her generally weak state, she couldn’t muster the strength to open a simple pill bottle. 

“Jesus bloody FUCK.” Her tone now exacerbated. She tried twice more, and nothing. She slammed the bottle back down and was now gripping the counter. 

“You fucking bastard. You fucking piece of shit!” Oblivious of the strain this newfound anger set upon her and her body, Claire realized this anger wasn’t newfound at all.

No. It was six years of pent up rage. “I FUCKING HATE YOU. I FUCKING HATE YOU FOR EVERYTHING YOU’VE EVER SAID TO ME. I FUCKING HATE YOU FOR EVERY TIME YOU PUT YOUR HANDS ON ME! AND I HATE YOU FOR LETTING HIM!” At this last notion, Claire instinctively grabbed the glass bottle of decorative soap and hurled it at the full length mirror. It shattered into thousands of pieces and came down in a crashing heap. 

Claire then fell to her knees, grappled with the towels that were thrown on the floor, she sank her teeth into one and began to scream. 

Seconds. This all took seconds. Jamie was immediately at the door. “Claire?! What— the door— did ye fall— Claire let me in!” She had locked the door, knowing he’d try to follow her if he woke. She didn’t answer him, but he could hear her sobs. “Claire, open the door. I need to ken yer okay!” Now he was pounding the door, most definitely using his shoulder. 

The seconds passed at a glacier’s pace. 

“I’m fine. I just need a minute.”

“Claire I need ye to open this door right now unless ye want me to break it down.” She knew he’d do just that. 

Leaning on several towels as to not cut her knees, she was able to unlatch the door. He opened it instantaneously.

IFRINNN!”  he yelled in shock as his foot hit the glass. He came to a full stop, seeing the sight before him. Broken glass everywhere, and Claire. His Claire, sitting on a pile of towels, naked and curled into herself, crying in a way he’d never heard before, and hoped to never hear again. 

“Mo chridhe…” he was about to take another step before he realized what he’d be stepping on. For a brief second he didn’t care, but he bolted to the front door and slipped on his trainers in a flash. 

He slowly went towards her, glass crunching to dust beneath his steps. He crouched down to her level. 

“Mo nighean donn. Are ye alright?” It was a stupid question. She was very obviously not alright. 

“I hate him Jamie. I hate him.” She wouldn’t look up. 

“I ken Claire, and that’s okay. Yer allowed to hate him.”

“Am I?”

“Sassenach, what he did to ye... ye’ve endured things by this man that no human should ever have to experience. Least of all you. So aye, ye are most certainly allowed to hate him, and to feel whatever else ye want towards him.”

“I hate myself a bit, for letting this happen. I should’ve been more brave. I should’ve tried harder, told someone. But I didn’t. I convinced myself that I couldn’t. I hate myself for only realizing that now.”

“Claire ye can say yer should’ve, would’ve, could’ves all day and night but it wilna change what happened. What matters is that ye did get away. YE were brave enough to get away.” 

“Only because of you.”

“Nah. Not only because of me. I ken ye could’ve and would’ve without me. It may have just taken a wee bit longer. But none of that matters. What matters is that now yer free. Ye are safe. Ye are whole, mo nighean donn.” 

“How can you have me like this?” She whispered so quietly he almost didn’t hear her. 

“Claire, I will have ye anyway I can. Always.” As he said his ‘always’ he gathered her small form into his arms, and carried her out of the bathroom. 

Kicking his shoes off in the process, he brought them down to the bed, never breaking contact. 

“Ye are my life Claire. My whole life. The thing I love most in the world. I will be whatever ye need me to be.”

“I’m sorry I made a mess in the bathroom.”

“Dinna fash mo chridhe. It’s nae matter. I think ye needed to break that horrendous mirror. I was meaning to throw it out. That’s why I kept the towels hung over it.”

He felt her breathy giggle rumble against his chest. 

“Jamie?”

“Yes?”

“I think I’d like to have one of the pills now. I may have been a bit too subtle with my six from earlier.” Saying nothing Jamie untangled himself from her and kissed her head. He slipped his shoes back on and was back in less than a minute with a glass of water and an easily opened bottle of her prescription. 

He took one out, handed it to her, and she followed it with the entire glass of water. 

“Tis alright?”

“Mhmm.” She responded as she drained the last gulp. 

Jamie set the glass down and climbed back in bed. He gathered her into his arms, bringing her over him so her face was in the crook of his neck, her favorite spot to be. Her leg hitched across his bare hips, and his arms wrapped securely around her, as he coaxed her with his finger tips.

“I love you Jamie.” She breathed into his neck. “More than I know I could ever express. Christ, I love you so much.” She nuzzled closer, urging his body to simply absorb her own. 

“Trust me, I ken well enough Claire. If my last words aren’t I love ye, ye’ll ken it’s because I didna have time.”  

She smiled into him, kissing his neck, but never removing her lips from his skin. He did the same with the crown of her head.

Again, the night took them away together. Both dreaming of the other, and healing just a bit along the way.