Possession
Allegiance
Protection
Consent

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The Talisman had left us on the heartbreaking separation of Claire and Jamie, in a sacrificial choice to save their unborn child, in the midst of the Culloden disaster that they were unable to counter, despite their best efforts.

The Journey begins with their crossing of 20 years of desert love, mourning and persistent lack, without appeasement or acceptance. They walk in parallel, building their lives over events.

Jamie endures hunted loneliness, prison and enslavement before he can regain his freedom. He also saw the joy of becoming a father, despite himself, and gradually forged a new male friendship with Lord John Gray, after the loss of Murtagh and his family.

Claire finds Frank, having nothing more to offer him as her dismay is immense, commensurate with her loyalty to Jamie. In this void without perspective, she will find two anchors: her vocation of care which leads her to become a surgeon, and Brianna, whom Jamie has entrusted to Frank's protection.

 

Filiations 

He accepts this unborn child, first out of love for Claire, before loving her fully as his daughter: "Brianna is my child, my daughter," he continued. The only child I will ever have ... (...) That's all the irony of our married life. I can't separate myself from her and you can't see her without thinking of him. "

This is not the only irony of the story, and the theme of filiation offers us several: we now know that Jack Randall is not the biological ancestor of Frank, since he assumed the role of paternity of his brother Alex.

Neither Jack nor Frank will have any biological descent. And in their official family tree, it is indeed Jamie's daughter who becomes the heir to the Randall line.

Likewise, Jamie, who lost everything by then, sees his biological son become the heir to a noble English line, the 9th Earl of Ellesmere, one and only custodian of the two estates of Ellesmere and Helwater. .

James Alexander Malcolm MacKenzie Fraser is thus the father of two children registered in the lines of prestigious English families, whose official fathers are helpless or sterile.

Finally, he himself will be deprived of raising and seeing his family grow up, be it Faith even before being born, or Brianna and William until their adulthood.

This does not prevent him from being a father figure for others, Fergus, Marsali or Joan, and even Petit Ian then Roger… (in this regard, I invite you to read the article by Valérie Gay-Corajoud, " Jamie's Children ”on the dinna-fash-sassenach.com site).

 

Links in echoes  

During this painful time of separation, Diana Gabaldon sows echoed moments, which may suggest that they remain unconsciously connected to each other, despite time and space:

* During Claire's intimate moment with Frank, and Jamie's dream:

(Chapter 3 p43, Claire and Frank) He lowered his head and his lips closed slowly over the nipple. I moaned, feeling the tingling of milk rushing up to the nipple.

I put my hand on the back of his neck, pressing him gently against me.

"Louder," I whispered.

(Chapter 11 p159, Jamie in Ardsmuir) That night he dreamed of Claire. (…) His eyes were golden. Then her breast crushed against his mouth and he took it greedily between his lips, pulling her body against his as he sucked greedily. Her milk was hot and sweet, with a faint taste of silver, like deer blood.

"Louder," she whispered.

She slipped a hand behind his neck and pressed her head to his breast.

"Louder," she repeated. (…) He immediately closed his eyes but the dream was gone.

* When both discover romance romances: Jamie in Helwater, the night before William's birth and Geneva's death (Chapter 15 p196), and Claire in the rest room at the nearby hospital of Joe Abernathy, after his first surgery (Chapter 18 p222).

 

Thanks to the determined quest of Roger and Brianna, finally comes the reunion. Claire is now 50 years old, and Jamie 45. She has taken the time to imagine his return to him, with all the fears and unknowns of what she dares.

Him, nothing prepared him for such a shock. He cannot cross the stones, he cannot come to her or bring her back (his only powers over time seem to lie in his dreams…). And yet, despite the dizzying surprise of his appearance, he welcomes him unconditionally from the first moment, without doubt or restraint. We find them moved and feverish, carried by an intensity that has not weakened, in this generous mutual sharing that characterizes them.

The love is there, obvious. But this feeling from their past history, faithfully cherished, will have to risk themselves and confront those they have become.

The memory and the imagination have lived, it is the time of retuning ...

 

Cardinal values  

The strength of their relationship lies in particular in their ability to overcome their difficulties, thanks to two fundamental qualities that they share and which sealed the first authentic bond of their forced marriage: honesty and trust.

They will often refer to this first engagement requested by Jamie:

“Claire, I have something to ask you. (…) Sincerity. (…) I don't want to push you to tell me secrets that don't concern me. I also have things that I can't tell you, at least for now. So I cannot expect from you what I myself am not able to give. On the other hand, if you have to talk to me, then tell me the truth. And I promise to do the same. Our only good for now is respect for each other. However, respect is not incompatible with secrets, but it is with lying. You agree with me ? He held out his hands to me, palms open. (…) I placed my hands in his. - Yes I agree. I will always be sincere with you. - And me as well. "

 

They still share this community of values, to which is added a deep attention to each other, and constant courage.

 

Fear and desire  

Twenty-three years before, it was Claire who carried the secret of his presence, without knowing how to confide it without putting his life in danger. This time, it's Jamie who needs time to reveal himself. Like her before, he does not seek to deceive her, but above all he fears incomprehension and rejection. He takes responsibility for his story, even when he is not proud of it. He neither victimizes himself nor blames others. Only he needs time to accurately share what he has lived. Laoghaire, Geneva, William ... but also the shadows and the intimate wounds that he will reveal little by little, over the years (and the following volumes): John, the degrading imprisonment of Ardsmuir, the whip, the emotional misery .

His joy at having found her and his desire to keep her close are as powerful as his fear that she will reject him and leave his life again. In addition to the love he has for her, he left with her a part of his heart and his soul. Without it, it is no longer complete, whole. He already told her this during their life together, he confirmed it to her again during their virulent altercation, when they discovered her marriage to Laoghaire:

         "I didn't dare tell you for fear that you would go back. I did not have this courage! Do you even know what it's like to live twenty years without a heart? To be only half a man? "

"If I had told you, you would have turned on your heels and I would never have seen you again." Believe me, I would have done a lot worse than lying to keep you close to me! "

 

Much later, in Jamaica, despite their rediscovered complicity and their renewed ties, he still confides in this regard about William:

         "Yet I kept saying to myself: How can I explain everything that happened to him: Geneva, Willie ... John?" (…) I almost told you about it once, but that was before you found out about my marriage to Laoghaire. Then it was too late. How could I tell you the truth, and be sure you would understand the difference? Geneva, Willie's mother ... she wanted my body. Laoghaire wanted my name and the sweat on my brow to support himself and his daughters. John ... John had my friendship, and I his. But how can I tell you all this, then tell you that I have never loved anyone but you? How could you believe me? "

 

Shared guilt  

In a more diffuse but equally powerful way, it's not just fear that holds Jamie back, it's also guilt.

Claire can act on his fear and reassure him. She has demonstrated her own commitment. She left everything for him as soon as she found out he was alive. She gave up her built life in Boston, and she even gave up on her daughter. This total gift says it all.

But Jamie is a believer, inhabited by the idea of ​​sacred justice, and he carries the weight of his actions. He had already told her when they separated: “If I have to endure two centuries of purgatory, two centuries without you, it is because such is the price I have to pay for my crimes. I lied, I killed, I stole, I betrayed and I broke my word. "

The return of Claire is a divine gift ("God has returned you to me") but what can be the price? He later brings up Murtagh's death to Culloden, and the guilt of losing those who love him. This is increased tenfold during the kidnapping of Little Ian, whom he sent to look for the treasure on the island, to pay the balance of his marriage debt to Laoghaire: "Is it wrong for me?" to have you by my side ?! (…) I keep telling myself that… is it my fault? Is it to sin? Wanting you so much, needing you so much, more than life itself? (…) God has returned you to me; how can i not love you And yet I can't stop thinking about it, I can't stop. "

 

Without sharing the same beliefs of Jamie, Claire also carries her share of guilt, but rather towards him. It testifies to two subjects. The first obviously concerns Frank. By choosing the benefit of a balanced family life for Brianna, her sentimental loyalty to Jamie did not weaken, causing suffering in Frank, of which she was the helpless spectator.

In addition, she learns the pangs of Jamie's journey in her absence, when she has lived in comfort and material security. Jamie tries to clear it, in all sincerity and responsibility: "I told you to go, I told you to forget. Do I have the right to accuse you of having obeyed me Sassenach? No. ". But his perennial jealousy remains: "And sometimes I could see you both alive, making love, holding my child in her arms!" I could have killed you at times like this! "

Finally, a guilty doubt remains, the time to share it with Jamie: what if she had looked back before, if she had tried to find out, would she have found him sooner, would they have had more time together?

 

Reading and scars  

These are all the scars they wear when they meet. Painful past, suffering, loss, regrets, fears, guilt… During their reunion, twenty years of reading awaits them. The one that offers itself to see physically, through their wrinkles, the money on their hair and their scars on the bodies, maternal or warlike. Then the subtle reading, the mutual story of hearts and souls found for the best, without fear of the worst.

 

In this spirit, the possession expressed by Jam ie is much less present in this section than the allegiance , amply expressed in the fidelity of the memory then the joy of the presence.

Consent returns, full of the delicious charm of a careful and delicate reunion.

And protection is needed, powerfully animated by the fear of losing it again. Yet despite past pain and newfound passion, when Brianna's life is on the line again, Jamie makes the same choice again: to protect their daughter, he asks Claire to be ready to let him sacrifice himself, to move on from again the stones and to separate again if necessary.

 

King of the Men, whatever it costs.

 

Happy reading, and we look forward to your feedback!

Carolyn

Jamie Fraser, between possession and allegiance, 

consent and  protection 

By Carolyn Garcin 

Outlander

 The voyager - Volume 3

 

Voyage ... and the retuning, this journey towards each other

 

 

Here we are in the third volume of the saga, for the continuation of Jamie's journey from the angle of his romantic relationship with Claire, on the themes already mentioned of possession , allegiance , consent and protection .

These values ​​echoed by Claire at significant moments are indicated in italics .

 

As for the two previous sections, I deliver the raw extracts to you, chronologically referenced by chapter and page, trying to get to the point, which requires many sections mentioned by a (...), while aleaving the elements of context that allow you to find the emotion of the moment.

 

I took the time to insert the precious translations of Marie Modica and Lucie Bidouille, who gradually correct the oversights of French publications, and thus share with us little pearls and delicious jewelry.

VOLUME 3 The Journey

 

Chapter 1 p7 Culloden  

 

He would never have believed that a dead man could have such a sore nose. (…) Was there something else? Claire ! The name pierced his heart, inflicting pain more bitter than anything he had endured until then. If he had still had a body worthy of the name, he would no doubt have been doubled over in pain. (…) He did not know if the souls in purgatory had the right to implore their Lord but he nevertheless decided to give it a go.My God, make her and the child safe and sound! He was sure she had made it to the circle of standing stones. She was only two months pregnant and ran fast. Besides, she was the most stubborn woman he had ever met. But had she managed to get back to where she had come from? Had she walked along the perilous path of time without hindrance, sailing blindly in the mysterious limbo between past and future? He probably would never know, and that horrible doubt was enough to make him forget the dull stings of his broken nose.  

 

(p11) Thinking of her only rekindled her pain. If only she had been there, with him, laying her hands on his wounds, healing his wounds and cradling his head on his knees! But she was gone, gone two hundred years later , thank God! Tears began to run down his cheeks and he curled up to hide them from his companions. Lord, make them safe and sound! he begged. She and the child.  

  

(p13) His fate was sealed, he didn't have to worry about anything anymore. He had done all he could for his men, his wife and his unborn child. From now on, all he wanted was to end his own suffering and find peace. (…) Would Claire be waiting for him on the other side? No doubt he would have to endure their separation for some time yet? Either way, they would meet up sooner or later. It could not be otherwise. This conviction was even stronger than his faithGod gave him this woman. He couldn't take it away from her forever.  

 

Chapter 2 p22 Claire, Roger and Brianna  

 

“If he didn't die in Culloden,” he repeated more firmly this time, “I can still try to find out what happened to him. What do you say about it ?

(…) She had already crossed the abyss of time twice. If Jamie Fraser hadn't died in Culloden, would she have the courage to try it again? He saw a strange glow dawn in the depths of her amber eyes, as if she had just read his thoughts. (…)

"Yes," she said at last in a voice so weak that he had to strain his ears. Yes, find out for me. Please. I must know.  

 

Chapter 5 p59 Jamie Gribonnet  

 

- Jamie ... what are you doing?

Jenny watched him puzzled. (…)

"I'm cleaning my knife," he explained, wiping the blade. Claire told me that you should always soak your blade in boiling water before putting it in contact with food.  

His sister said nothing but he guessed her astonishment. She had only asked him once about Claire. (…)

" She's gone," he replied, looking away. Never say his name in front of me again. (…) 

He couldn't say why he had just mentioned her name today, unless it was because of his dreams. (…) He inevitably woke up the next morning with a strange sensation, as if Claire had really been there, so close to him that he still felt the contact of her skin on his. Sometimes when he woke up he could swear he could still smell her scent floating around him, musky and rich, enhanced with a fresh, peppery hint of leaves and grass.  

 

(p71) Birth of Jenny  

 

- I know you still mourn Claire, she continued softly. (…) I'm sure Claire wouldn't have wanted you to live alone for the rest of your life, without anyone to comfort you or carry your children. (…)

- She was carrying our child when ... I lost her, he said simply, speaking in her image. How could he have expressed it otherwise? He had no way of explaining to his sister where Claire was, or, rather, where he hoped she was. How do you make him understand that he could never think of another woman? he was sentenced to pray secretly that she was still alive, it out knowing that he never see her again?  

A long silence settled in the room. Then Jenny asked in a soft voice:

- Is that why you were so keen to come today?

He sighed and turned to her, resting his temple against the icy glass.

- Perhaps. I couldn't help my wife bring our child into the world, so I wanted to help you. But I was as useless to you as to her, he added bitterly. In either case, I was of no use.  

 

Chapter 6 p59 Mary MacNab  

 

She interrupted him, resting her lips on his. They were sweet. He grabbed her wrists firmly and pulled away.

- No ! he said. Do not do that. I do not want. (…)

"I know what you are thinking," she whispered. I saw your wife and I know the strength that united you. I've never known that, with neither of my two husbands. But I know how to recognize true love and I don't want you to feel like you're betraying her. (…) All I want, she continued, is to give you something different… less beautiful, perhaps, but useful. Something that will help you be yourself. Your sister and the little ones can't give it to you, I can. (…) Let me give you that little something in return.

He felt the tears burn his eyelids. (…) He stretched out his hands, slowly. (…)

"I ... haven't done it for a long time," he said, suddenly intimidated.

- Neither do I. But I'm sure we'll be remembered.

 

Chapter 9 p126 Lord John Gray  

 

- Green plants prevent scurvy? Where do you get it from?

" From my wife," Fraser snapped back. (…)

- Your wife ... where is she?

The Scotsman gave him a look of steel that made his blood run cold. (…) It only lasted a moment, then the Scotsman regained his distant courtesy.

" My wife is gone ," he said simply before turning away again.

Gray was overcome with conflicting feelings. On the one hand, he was relieved to learn of the disappearance of the one who had been the cause of his humiliation. On the other hand, he was sorry to witness such obvious pain.  

 

Chapter 9 p148 The White Lady  

 

- I already told you ... about my wife.  

The Scotsman articulated as if every word scratched his tongue.

- Indeed, you told me she was dead.

- No, I said she was gone, Major. She's probably dead but ...  

He paused and swallowed.

"My wife was a healer," he said. (...) She was a white lady ... (...)

- The white witch! he breathed. So this man was referring to your wife?

- That's what I thought at first. That's why I had to go check it out. I had to see with my own eyes. (…) 

- I see. And your wife... ?

Fraser shook his head.

- She had nothing to do with it. She's really gone.  

Though still as impenetrable as ever, Fraser's features were hollow with grief.

 

Chapter 11 p156 Memory of their meeting  

 

- Harold, my brother, forced me to go see the body ... He claimed that otherwise I could never believe in his death. Until I saw with my own eyes that Hector, my friend, had really left us, I couldn't stop mourning him.

- Do you consider your life to be an unbearable burden, Mr. Fraser? (…)

- Finally, not too much, he replied finally. What is unbearable is not being able to help those you love.  

- And not to have no one to love?  

Fraser thinks about it before answering.

- No, that's the void, but it's not what is most unbearable. (…) 

- Your wife ... she was a healer, is that right?

- Yes. Her ... her name was Claire.  

Fraser swallowed hard, then raised his glass and drank as if trying to dislodge some foreign object stuck in his throat.  

- You liked him a lot, didn't you? (…)

"I was planning to thank you one day, Major," Fraser said softly. (…) From that night in Carryarrick, when we first met. What you did for my wife. (…) You have shown yourself to be a courageous enemy, Major. It can't be forgotten. (…) You refused to betray your loved ones at the risk of your life, but you spoke to save the honor of a woman. The honor of my wife. For me, this is an incredible act of bravery . (…)

"I didn't save your wife," Gray said bitterly. She wasn't even in danger.

"Yes, but you couldn't have known," Fraser corrected. You thought you were saving his life and his virtue, in defiance of yours. Your gesture was the greatest honor we can do for a woman. I think about it sometimes, since ... she is no longer there.  

Her voice barely trembled as she said those last words. Only the contraction of the muscles of his neck had betrayed his emotion.  

- I see ... Gray said slowly. I'm sorry for your wife. (…)

- Your brother was right, Major . Thanks and good night.

 

Chapter 12 p170 Ardsmuir  

 

Claire, his own Claire ... who had sent her to him, who had propelled her into a life she was not meant for? Yet she had found her rightful place there. Not everyone had the chance to know what his gift was.

 

Chapter 13 p179 Helwater  

 

But still, the first morning prayer and the last before falling asleep were for Claire. Lord, keep her and the child safe.  

 

 

Chapter 16 p212 Departure from Helwater, separation from William  

 

- What is this candle for? asked Willie. (…)

- Well ... uh ... it's a way of praying ... and remembering. (…)

- Who are you thinking of?

- Oh, to a lot of people. To my family in the Highlands ... to my sister and her family. To my friends. To my wife. (…)

Willie frowned.

- But you don't have a wife.

- No. Not anymore. But I had one and I still think about it.  

Willie stuck out a cautious finger and brushed against the statuette. The Virgin stretched out her hands in a gesture of welcome, her gentle smile expressing maternal serenity.

 

Chapter 17 p216 Claire and Roger 

 

She was watching the loch with a distant air, her hand up to protect herself from the sun.

- You like men, don't you? he said suddenly. The big ones ...

She smiles without looking at him.

- Just one.  

- You will leave, if I can find him? (…)

"I don't know," she finally answered. I thought about it, of course, but for that, we would have to cross back ...

 

Chapter 19 Claire in Boston, before her memory departure with Frank  

 

I didn't have this relationship with objects. I had no desire to own or decorate my interior (…) Whether it was because of my nomadic education, or only my way of being, I lived above all in my own skin, without any desire to modify my environment to reflect it. Jamie was like me. He had had a few small items, safe in his sporran, because they were useful or as talismans, but beyond that he had neither possessions nor made much of items in general. . Even during the few months when we had lived in luxury in Paris, (…) he had never shown any interest in acquiring objects. (...) Or perhaps it was natural for him, this renunciation of material possessions,one of the things that brought us closer together.  

  

(p234) Remembrance with Frank  

He walked around the bed and came to stand next to me.

 - (…) He looked like Brianna, didn't he?

- Yes.

- I could see it in your face ... when you looked at her. I could almost hear you think of him. (…)

- I loved you, I whispered. In the old days. (…) And then, afterwards, I tried. I swear I tried. (…)

- I couldn't leave you alone, lost, pregnant. And then there was Brianna. I couldn't give up on it. (…) Did you know I couldn't have children? (…) I'm sterile. You knew it ?

I shook my head.

“Brianna is my child, my daughter,” he continued. The only child I will ever have ... (...) That's all the irony of our married life. I can't separate myself from her and you can't see her without thinking of him. I wonder ... if she hadn't looked so much like her, would you have forgotten her in the end?  

- No, I whispered.  

My response seemed to send an electric shock all over his body.

 

Chapter 22 Roger and Brianna on the eve of Claire's departure  

 

He came and sat down next to her and took her hand.

"Maybe she can come back," he said softly.

- Who knows ? Brianna shook her head, not taking her eyes off the dancing flames. I doubt. She told us how it was. It is not even known if she will survive the crossing. (…)

Roger glanced at the door, to make sure Claire was upstairs, then sat down on the couch next to Brianna.

- His place is by his side, Bree. Can't you see it? When she talks about him?  

- I see him. I know she needs him.  

Her lower lip was trembling slightly.

- But ... I need her too!

 

Chapter 24 p234 Reunion  

 

I reached out and fingered the letters of the name, engraved in black, with my fingertips. A. Malcom. Alexander Malcolm. James Alexander Malcolm McKenzie Fraser. Perhaps. One more minute and my nerves would fail. I pushed open the door and entered. (…)

The door to the studio was open. (…) We could guess the angular mass of a large press. Jamie was leaning over it, his back to me. "Geordie, is that you?" He asked without turning around. (…)

"It's not Geordie," I said in an unusually high, hoarse voice. It's me, Claire.

He straightened up very slowly. (…) He turned around. He stared at me without saying anything. The veins in his neck quivered slightly as he swallowed, but he remained silent. (…)

- When did you break your nose? (…)

- Three minutes after leaving you ... Sassenach .

He had hesitated before uttering that word, almost a question. There was no more than a meter between us. (…) His calm shattered.

- You are real. It's ... it's really you! he whispered. (…)

- So, is that what I'm doing on you? I tell him smiling. (…)

- This is the effect you have on me and even worse, Sassenach said. (…) Praise be to God, you are real.

- You too, I say, raising my head to look at him. I ... I thought you were dead.

I had wanted to speak in a light tone but my voice betrayed me then. Tears started to roll down my cheeks and eventually crashed into the rough fabric of his shirt as he hugged me tightly. (…) My own fingers were gripped to his arm, hooked to the fabric as if I feared that he would disappear at any moment. Seized no doubt by the same fear, he suddenly took me by the shoulders and pulled away from me, scrutinizing my face intensely. (…) He laughed too, wiping his tears with one finger, without taking his eyes off me for a second. Suddenly, I couldn't stand not touching him. I then dove towards him and he just had time to open his arms to grab me. I squeezed him so tight I could feel his ribs crack; I felt his hands caress my back as he repeated my name over and over. Finally, we were able to let go for a few minutes. (…)

He pulled his panties back over his hips, but remembering my presence, he stopped and looked up at me, blushing slightly.  

- You can go, I reassured him, blushing in turn. We are married.

I looked down, however, before adding:

- Well, I believe.

He stared at me for a long time, then smiled tenderly.

- Of course we're married. (…)

I reached out, both to stop him and to greet him. Nothing in the world tempted me more than touching him again, but I felt strangely shy. After such a long separation, how do you start from scratch? He too must have felt that mixture of shyness and intimacy, for he stopped a few inches from me and took my hand. He hesitated for a long moment, then leaned down and kissed her gently, his lips barely brushing my knuckles. Her fingers met my silver wedding ring and lingered there , rolling it gently between thumb and forefinger.

" I never took it off," I whispered. For some obscure reason, it seemed essential to me that he knew this . He squeezed my hand lightly and didn't release his grip.

- I want... 

He stopped and swallowed, still holding my hands. (…)

- I would really like to kiss you Sassenach, he said in a whisper. Can I ? (…)

- Yes, I whispered.

He pulled me gently against him, still holding our hands tied to his chest.

" I haven't done this for a long time," he said.  

I saw the hope and fear in the blue of his eyes. (…)

- Neither do I.

He took my face in his hands with delicious delicacy and put his lips on mine. (…) But we were strangers now, barely touching each other, each seeking the way to the other, slowly, timidly, seeking and giving consent without a word, with our mute lips. I closed my eyes and guessed he was doing the same, we were too scared to look each other in the face. (…)

" I've seen you so many times," he whispered in my ear. You came to me so often. Sometimes in my dreams. I saw you when I had a fever, when I was so lonely and so terrified that I thought I was dying. Whenever I needed you, you came. But you never spoke to me. You never touched me.  

- I can touch you now. (…)

He lifted his head, took my face in his hands, love shining brightly in his midnight blue eyes.

There is no more to be afraid, he whispered again, we are finally reunited. (…)

The other room was as bare as a monk's cell. (…) I heaved a quiet sigh of relief when I saw her, only now realizing that I had been holding my breath until then. He was sleeping alone. A quick glance around confirmed the absence of any female presence in the room, and my heart started beating normally. It was clear that no one except Jamie lived here. (…)

The hysterical laughter had left us, as had the tears, although her face still bore the marks of sudden sharp emotion, just like mine.

- I am so happy that you are here, Claire ... he said softly. I thought I would never ... (…) He swallowed then asked, avoiding my gaze, looking me in the eye:

What about the child? he said. Her face expressed both mad hope and intense fear . I looked at him smiling and held out my hand. (…)

- What ... did you call her?

- Brianna, I replied proudly.

- Brianna? he repeated, frowning. What a dreadful name for a little girl! (…)

- It's not awful! I protested. It's a very nice name, and then, it's YOU who asked me to call it that! (…) When we… when… the last time I saw you. (…) You asked me to give the baby the name of your father. His name was Brian, wasn't he? (…)

- Aye, you're right, I asked you. It's just ... well, I thought it would be a boy, that's all.

- Are you disappointed that this is not the case? (…)

No, I'm not disappointed. Of course not ! (…) But I really don't care to see her, Sassenach. You too. (…)

- I do want to believe you. Do you regret that I came back? (…) Do you want me to go? 

His hand closed around my arm with such force that it made me cry out. Realizing that he was hurting me, he loosened his grip, but without letting go of me. His face had turned pale at the idea. He took a deep breath and exhaled.

“ No,” he said with rough calm. I do not want. I...  

He stopped abruptly, his jaw clenched.  

- No ! he repeated definitively. (…)

- Damn it ! he repeated.

Pulling on his shoes hastily, he tore off his coat from a hook and stopped on the doorstep.

You want to come with me? (…)

"Nothing in the world will be able to stop me," I assured him.

 

Chapter 25 p276 At the Tavern  

 

The apprentice suddenly turned his evil gaze towards me. (…) He moved a big dirty paw to my cloak and parted one side, revealing my yellow silk dress. (…)

"Your beggar looks very much home to me," he said with a satisfied air. Is she like that everywhere?

Before I had time to open my mouth, he grabbed the top of the bodice and yanked it back. (…) The fine material tore from top to bottom, revealing a not inconsiderable expanse of pink flesh.

- Leave her, you son of a bitch! Jamie roared darkly and wielding a threatening fist. 

- Who do you call a son of a bitch?

The second apprentice, wedged against the wall, jumped onto the table and boldly rushed towards Jamie. It was a miscalculation, for Jamie only had to step aside for the boy to crash head first into the opposite wall. Jamie took a step forward towards the first robber robber and struck him squarely on the head, making it shrink several inches. Then he grabbed me by the arm and pulled me out.  

- Quickly ! We're gonna have them all on our backs in a few minutes.

(…)

A low hum arose from the barrel near us. Although I found it hard to understand, the inflection of the voice was distinctly questioning.

Shut up! Jamie barked. One more word and it is I who will trample your rat face. We'll see if you still like it as much.  

There was an amused chuckle and then the keg fell silent.

- He wants someone to walk on his face? I wondered.

- Yes you. He pouted sheepishly and his cheeks flushed. I didn't have time to explain to him who you were, he apologized. (…) 

 

(p280) The house of pleasures  

 

Jamie knocked on the door and it creaked open, instantly dispelling all my memories of the past. (…) My stomach twisted, then relaxed when I heard Jamie call her "Madame Jeanne". This was not how one greeted his wife, nor, I hoped, his mistress. (…) She slipped an arm under Jamie's and pulled him aside with a possessive look that made me unhappy.  

“Mr. Fraser,” she whispered, touching Jamie possessively and loath on the shoulder, “ can I touch you two words in private? (…)

'Of course, Madame Jeanne,' he replied courteously, ' but first allow me to introduce my wife, Madame Fraser.  

My heart paused for a moment, then resumed its beating, beating like a drum, with such force that it must surely be heard by everyone in the small entrance hall. Jamie met my gaze and smiled, his fingers then squeezing my arm a little more firmly. (…)

- Jamie, why do you have your room in a brothel? (…)

- Forgive me, Sassenach. I know I shouldn't have brought you here, but it's the only place we can get your dress sewn up quickly and get a hot meal. (…) But it was probably a bad idea. We can go, if you find that ... 

- The problem is not there, I interrupted. What I want to know is why you have a room in a brothel. Are you such a good customer?

He looked up at me in amazement.  

- A customer ? Here ? My God ! Sassenach, who do you take me for?  

- I really don't know. That's why I'm asking you the question. Are you going to answer me? (…)

 - Yes, I will answer you. It is not I who am a client of Ms. Jeanne, but Ms. Jeanne who is my client. (…)

I relaxed a little, half relieved. (…)

- The real question, Sassenach, is why did you come back? (…) Did you come back to be my wife again? he asked . Or just to tell me about my daughter? (…) You are the mother of my child, he continued. For that alone, I owe you my soul. You assured me that I have not lived in vain and that our child is safe and sound. (…) But it's already long gone, the time when you and I were one, Sassenach. You led your life elsewhere and I led mine here. You don't know anything about what I've been doing all these years. Did you come back because you suddenly felt the urge or because you felt obligated? (…) 

- You're trying to tell me you don't want me, right? I asked finally. Because if this is the case ... I suspect that you have rebuilt your life ... you may have ... other attachments ... (...)

He spun around and looked at me in disbelief.

Lord! he exclaimed. Do you really think I want you to go? (…) For twenty years I have only lived by your memory, Sassenach, he said softly. Don't you know it yet? (…) I am no longer the man you knew twenty years ago, Sassenach. (…) We know each other less today than on our wedding day.

- You want me to go? I repeated in a trembling voice (...)

No! (…) No, he repeated more gently. I don't want you to go. I've told you before, and I mean it from the bottom of my heart. But ... I need to know. (…) Do you really want me, Sassenach? he whispered. Are you ready to take me as I am today, for the love of the man I was twenty years ago?  

I felt a wave of relief and fear run through me (…).

- It's a bit late for me to ask myself the question ... I answered. (…) ... because I have already risked everything I had. But whoever you are now, Jamie Fraser, yes. Yes I want you. (…)

- You have a hell of a nerve, Sassenach, eh? For that, you have not changed. (…)

 - But what do you know, Jamie? You don't know more about me than I do about you. You don't know what I've been doing for the past twenty years either. Who tells you that I haven't turned into a bitter old shrew after all these years? (…)

 - That's right, Sassenach. But you know what? I do not care. (…)

 - Me too, I replied.

(…)

Several times I caught him staring at me the same way, with a sort of fearful greed, but each time he avoided meeting my gaze, keeping a marble face. (…)  

- You do not mind...  

He broke off, blushing, met my gaze, swallowed his saliva then gathered his courage and said:  

- Do you want to share my bed? I mean ... he added hastily, it's cold, we're both still wet and ...  

- ... And there is no chair, I finished for him. (…)

- Oh, sorry, Sassenach. I should have thought of helping you untie your laces. I deduced with selfish relief that he was clearly not in the habit of undressing women. (…) 

He took a step back (…) and looked at me. (…) He didn't say a word. His eyes shone in the candlelight and he gently shook his head without showing any emotion. (…)  

- Lord, he whispered finally. Claire ... you are the most beautiful woman I have ever seen. (…)  

Her eyes shone with tears despite her smile. (…)  

- Jesus Christ, I could stay like this for years. But ... touching you my Sassenach, your skin ... (...) Lord ... he whispered. I can't look at you without wanting to touch you Sassenach or have you against me and not want you.  

(…)

The scar started from the middle of his thigh and went up to the groin, forming a swell of whitish flesh. (…)

- Doesn't that scare you, Sassenach? he worried, putting a hand on my hair. 

I looked up at him to look him in the eyes.

- Of course not ! (…) Take off your clothes, I whispered. I want to see you.

There's not much to see, Sassenach," he said with a hesitant little laugh. But what little I have is yours, if you want it. ( …) 

His gaze followed mine and he gave me a big smile.

- I promised you one day to always be sincere with you, Sassenach. (…)

- Indeed, that's what I said, he whispered. My god, touch me like that again. (…) Touch me, he repeated softlyand let me touch my Sassenach to you. (…) At our wedding, he whispered, his hot breath against my cheek, I saw you there, so beautiful in your white dress, I couldn't think of anything else then but when we would be. alone, the moment when I could then undo your corset and see you naked, next to me in bed. (…)

My nose hit his forehead with a sinister crunch. (…)

- Ouch !!!

- My God, Claire, did I hurt you?  

Chasing the tears from my eyes, I could make out his anxious forehead.  

- No, I lie stupidly. But I think I broke my nose.

That would surprise me. He put out a cautious hand and delicately felt the root of my nose. When you break your nose it makes a horrible crunch and it pisses the blood, he said softly.  

It's going to be fine, he reassured me.  

(…)

"Printer and traitor," he confirmed. I have been arrested for subversion six times in the past two years and my property has been confiscated twice, but the court has never been able to prove anything.

- What if she can prove something next time?

- Oh, he sighed, looking detached, waving his hand in the air, the pillory no doubt, the ears nailed to the public square, the flogging, the prison, the deportation ... but not the hanging.

- Here I am relieved! I say ironically. (…)

- I warned you. (…) Does that scare you? Do you prefer to leave?  

He had said it casually, but I saw his fingers squeeze the edge of the blanket so hard that his bones came out white, contrasting with his tanned skin.  

- No, I say. (…) I didn't just come back to make love once and disappear again. I came to be with you, if you want me.  

If I want you! (…) I… I can't even say what I felt when I touched you today Sassenach and I understood that you were real. (...) To find you again and to lose you again ... ( ...)

- You won't lose me. (…) Even if I find out that you are bigamous or that you drink.

He flinched and suddenly let go of my hand.

(…)

- Hmmm ... and this arrangement with Madame Jeanne, does it include ...? (…)

I know what you are thinking, Sassenach, and the answer is no. (…) You were wondering if I sometimes got paid in kind, right? he asked, raising an eyebrow.  

- Uh ... well yes, I admit it, although that does not concern me.

- Oh no? (…) You really think ? he asked gravely. He was short of breath.  

- Yes, I replied in a small voice. Not you ?

No.  

With that, he hugged me and hugged me. ( …)

- Am I scaring you Sassenach?  

- No. (…) It's just that… The first time… I didn't think it was going to last forever, forever. I wanted to escape back then.

- And you left and you came back. You are here now and there is nothing else that matters. (…)

- What were you thinking, during our first night together? I asked

 Blue eyes slowly opened to look at me.

"It has always been forever for me," Sassenach said simply. (…) You gave me a child, my nighean don, he said in the cloud of my hair. We will be together for eternity. She is safe and sound and we will always live through her, you and me. 

 

Chapter 26 The Next Day  

 

His hand covered mine, his fingers delicately following the contours of my wrists. (…)

- A long time ago, you asked me if I knew what it was, this feeling between us, I say. (…)

- I remember, he said softly. (…) What… When I touch you, when you are with me in bed.  

- I said I didn't know.

- I do not know either. (…)

“I still don't know,” I said, but… I stopped to clear my throat.

- It's still there, he finished in my place and the smile returned, passing from his lips to his eyes. (…)

- Yes. It is, I mean, it's not just because of Brianna, what do you think? (…)

- Do I want you only because you are the mother of my child? Well no. It's not that I'm not grateful, he added quickly. But no. (…) No, he said, I think I could look at you for hours Sassenach, just to see how you've changed, if you're still the same.  

 

(…) Culloden and guilt  

I took a deep breath.

- I ... I haven't looked back. I didn't think I could bear to know ... what really happened.

I bit my lip. This admission seemed to me a betrayal.

- It's not that I tried, that I wanted to ... forget.

I was having trouble finding the words.

- I couldn't forget you, I don't want you to think that ... Never ... But I ... 

- Don't worry Sassenach. (…) I know what you mean. I also tried not to look back to be honest.

- But, if I had, I said, staring at the linen fabric, if I had, I might have found you sooner!

The words hung between us like an accusation, a bitter reminder of the lost years, of the separation. Finally, he let out a long sigh and put a finger under my chin to lift my face up to his.

What if you did? Would you have come and left our daughter without her mother? Or would you have come to me right after Culloden, when I couldn't take care of you? I couldn't have done anything but watch you suffer with the others and I would have felt guilty for imposing such a curse on you. Maybe you would have died of hunger or disease ... and have your death on your conscience? (…) No. I told you to go, I told you to forget. Do I have the right to accuse you of having obeyed me Sassenach? No.  

- But we would have had more time! We could have... (…)

- Yes, we would have had. But come to think of it, maybe not. (…) I don't want to look back at Sassenach, I want to live. If we don't have more than tonight and now then that's enough.  

- Not for me ! It's not enough, I say and he laughs.

- Greedy little creature!

(…)

“I'm sorry, Sassenach,” he said, putting on his shirt, “but you're going to have to stay here. - I could hardly do otherwise, I sighed. I have no clothes! (…)

'I don't want to leave you, Sassenach, but I have to. Will you stay here wisely until I get back? (…)

- Don't worry, I answered, I won't go very far in this outfit.

(…)

- My god, are you okay, Sassenach? ( …)

- I'm a little cold, I say, doing my best not to chatter my teeth. (…)

- Jeanne! (…) When you come back downstairs, could you bring other clothes for my wife? If her dress isn't ready yet, borrow one from Daphne, I think it's the right size

(…)

Here Sassenach, drink this. Your teeth are chattering so much it looks like you're going to bite your tongue.  

Jamie had returned to my hiding place, like a faithful Saint Bernard with his small dose of brandy around his neck.  

- M-Thank you.

I had to let go of the cloth and use both hands to grab hold of the wooden goblet and hold it still. (…) He took the goblet from my hands to give me back the material and observed me thoughtfully while I hastily finished my ablutions, clearly warmed up. I had imagined that her life was complicated but I realized that my return had made it even more complex. I would have paid dearly to know what he was thinking.

- What are you thinking Jamie? I said, looking askance at him as I cleaned the last stains from my thighs. (…)

-   I think you are beautiful Sassenach, he said softly.  

(…) I sat down on a barrel to look at him. Despite the context, I was absurdly and just happy to be there with him. (…) Despite his worries, he moved with the grace and confidence of a fencer, so in control that he was able to completely forget his body.

(…) With Little Ian and you, Sassenach, I will be able to consider myself happy if all my hair does not turn white before we can finally leave this stinking cellar.  

- I ? I wondered. But you don't have to worry about me!

Oh no? (…) Don't worry about you, is that it? Christ! I left you safe lying in your bed this morning, wisely waiting for your breakfast, and less than an hour later I found you downstairs in your shirt cradling a corpse on your knees! And now you look at me naked like a worm with fifteen men above wondering who you are and ... How do you think I'm going to explain to them who you are, Sassenach, tell me? (…) Sweet Jesus ! The worst part is that I have to get back to the coast at all costs in two days, but I can't leave you alone in Edinburgh with a mad killer lurking around, half the people who think you are a prostitute, and ... and ...  

He shook his head in distress. The lace that held his mane untied, making him look like a puzzled lion. I chuckled in spite of myself. He gave me a surprised look and then, catching the absurdity of the situation, he smiled.

- Bah ... he sighed, resigned. I guess we'll find a solution.  

  

(p318) I stood on my tiptoes to slick his hair back and he took the opportunity to kiss me.

- I forgot, he said a few moments later.  

- Forgot what? I asked, snuggling up to his warm chest.

- Everything. The joy , the fear. Mostly fear. I hadn't been afraid of anything for a long time. It's come back to me now, because I have something to lose again. (…) Come on, Sassenach, he said, taking my hand. I will introduce you to my men and I will tell them that you are my wife. For the rest, everything in its time.

 

Chapter 27 p319  

 

- Who are you right now? I asked, puzzled. Mrs. Jeanne calls you "Jamie". But that's not your official name, is it?

- No. At the moment I'm Sawney Malcolm, printer and publisher. (…) It's the diminutive of Alexander in the Highlands, he informed me.

- And me, in this case, who am I?

You are my wife, Sassenach. Whatever name I have, you are and always will be my wife . (…)

He put down his glass and took my hand; hers was large, and so warm that the feeling of warmth quickly spread through my fingers. I could feel the silver ring, separate from my flesh, its metal heated on its touch.

To love and cherish you," he said, smiling.  

"Until death do us part," I replied, not caring in the least that we were attracting the curious glances of the people around us. Jamie lowered his head and pressed his lips to the back of my hand, an action that turned curious looks into obvious interest.

 

(p323) We laughed softly, then we fell silent, each letting ourselves be lulled by the other's breathing.

- Jamie ... I said a little later, I don't remember ever being so happy.

He rolled onto his side, carefully shifting his weight so as not to crush me, then stared at me with a tender smile.

- Me neither, Sassenach. You know, it's not just because we just had sex. (…) God knows that I still want you so much and that I can't help but fiddle with you all the time, but it's nothing compared to the pleasure of having you quite simply by my side, of to be able to speak to you, to give you my heart ...  

- I felt so alone without you, Jamie! So lonely!

- Me too. He looked down, his long lashes hiding his gaze for a moment. I would be lying if I pretended to have lived like a monk, he admitted. Sometimes I needed ... or I would have gone mad.  

- I know, too. And then there was Frank ...  

He put his hand on my lips to keep me from saying more.  

" It doesn't matter," he whispered.  

(…)

-   You have never looked so beautiful, Sassenach. (…)

Her smile widened as I tried to smooth my hair between my fingers.

- Leave your curls alone ...

 He grabbed my hand and kissed it softly. (…)

  I didn't think I could laugh in a woman's bed again, Sassenach, ” he said. Or even make love to a woman, except as a bully, blinded by need.

I picked up a note of bitterness in his voice. I lifted her hand and kissed the small scar on the back of it.

"I can't see you as a bully," I replied.

I had said that lightly, but his face softened as he looked at me, and he replied seriously:

-   I know that, Sassenach. And it's the fact that you can't see me like this that gives me hope. Because I am indeed one - and I know it very well - and yet, perhaps ... (...) You have it in you, this force. You have it, and your soul too. So maybe mine can be saved.  

I didn't know what to say, and remained silent for a moment, only holding her hand in mine, stroking the crooked fingers and the large stiff knuckles. It was the hand of a warrior - but he was no longer a warrior. I turned her hand over and rested it on my knee, palm up. Slowly, I traced the deep lines, the reliefs, and the tiny letter "C" at the base of her thumb; the mark that designated him as mine.  

 - How long since your last confession?

- I told Father Hayes it's been six months.

- Was that the case?

- No, but I told myself that if he had to confess me for theft, attack and vulgar language, I might as well confess for a lie.

- What, and no sin of lust or impure thoughts?

- Not really no, he said seriously. You can think of whatever bad you want without it being a sin, especially about your wife. It's only if you do it to other women that it is.  

- I did not know that my return would save your soul. It's nice to be of help.

 He laughed, then leaned in to kiss me conscientiously.

 

Chapter 32 p388 Return to Lallybroch  

 

- Maybe, Jenny intervened, but the adventures that you have to propose to him are not made for a kid of his age. I don't know which saints protect you, Jamie, but you yourself know that you shouldn't be with us for a long time.

Jamie gave me a small smile.

- Yes, I guess you're right, Jenny. But it's not saints who protect me, it's my love for Claire.  

 

Chapter 34 p405 Laoghaire  

 

- You're not going anywhere, Sassenach, not before ... 

- Don't call me that anymore!

The violence of my tone surprised us both. He stared at me for a long moment, his arms hanging loose, then nodded.

Okay , he said more calmly.

 

(p408) - You should have warned me from the first moment we saw each other! I continued. Why didn't you say anything, for God's sake!

His hands loosened and I managed to free myself. He took a step closer to me, his eyes glistening with rage. I was not afraid of him. I jumped up and slammed my fist into his jaw. - Why ? I shouted, hammering his chest. Why ? Why ? Why ?

- Because I was afraid! he yelled in turn.  

He grabbed my wrists and pushed me back, causing me to fall back onto the bed.

Because I'm a coward! he cried more beautifully. I didn't dare tell you for fear that you would go back. I did not have this courage! Do you even know what it's like to live twenty years without a heart? To be only half a man? To get used to filling the void of the days that you have left to live with what comes to hand, and which tastes like nothing?  

- Are you telling me? What did you think? That I had gone straight back to Frank's to spend happy days there?

"Sometimes I hoped so," he said through his teeth. And sometimes I could see you both alive, making love, holding my child in her arms to her! I could have killed you at times like this!  

Suddenly he turned on his heel and smashed his fist against the cupboard with all his might. The solid oak cabinet shook.

- For my part, I retorted, I do not need to use my imagination. I saw Laoghaire!

- I don't care about Laoghaire! This woman is nothing to me! ( …)

- You should have told me !

- And after ? If I had told you, you would have turned on your heels and I would never have seen you again. Believe me, I would have done a lot worse than lying to keep you close to me!  

He grabbed my hand and put me to my feet. Then he crushed me against him and kissed me fiercely. I felt my knees go limp. I stamped my feet to come back down to earth, blinded by the sight of Laoghaire spitting: " He's mine, mine!" "

"Stop, this is all absurd," I say, pulling away. (…) I can no longer think, I announced. I am leaving.

He grabbed me hard by the waist and kissed me again, so hard I felt the metallic taste of blood in my mouth. It was not a kiss of reconciliation or desire, but a gesture of blind passion. Monsieur had finished speaking, he was marking his territory. I had nothing more to say either. I pulled myself away from him as best I could and slapped him with all my strength.He froze in surprise, his cheek bright red, then he grabbed me by the hair, threw my head back, and kissed me all the more, deeply and savagely, indifferent to the kicks and punches that were raining down on me. him. He bit my lower lip and, when I opened my lips, plunged his tongue into my mouth, stealing away both my breath and my words. He threw me onto the bed where we had laughed together an hour earlier, and collapsed on top of me, crushing me with his weight. He was very excited. Me too. You are mine, said his wild eyes. To me. I struggled like a devil, hitting him back. I am yours, my whole body cried . And too bad for you. I didn't realize he tore my dress, but I felt the warmth of her body against my bare chest. (…)We put all our energy into killing each other, animated by a rage accumulated during twenty years of separation, taking our revenge, him, on the fact that I had abandoned him, me, on the one he had in me. let go; him on Frank, me on Laoghaire.  

  

Chapter 35 p415 Claire's Leak  

 

I sat down on a stump covered in moss and put my head in my hands. Discipline and reason had ruled a good part of my life. Not without difficulty, I had learned the art of healing and ensuring the well-being of others, but I had always stopped at the limit point beyond which one could no longer give without losing its effectiveness. I had also learned detachment and disengagement, at my expense. (…) I had always had to combine compassion with wisdom, love with judgment, humanity with intransigence.

It was only with Jamie that I had given everything, everything risked. I had thrown away all judgment, all wisdom, and the comfort and constraints of hard-earned professional success. To him, I had given nothing but myself, but I had given myself entirely, body and soul. I had let him see me naked, knowing that he would see me for who I was and that he would also cherish my weaknesses.  

I feared he might not want to take me back. Or that he is not able to do so. Then there had been those few days of total happiness, where I had believed that what had been could still be, that I was free to love her and be loved in return with a sincerity equal to mine. Tears were hot under my fingers. I cried for Jamie, and what I had been with him. His words still echoed in my ears: "Do you know what it is to be able to say 'I love you' and to mean it with all your heart? " Yes I knew it. I also knew that I would never be able to love with all my heart again.  

 

Chapter 36 p420 Return to Lallybroch after Laoghaire shoots Jamie  

 

I walked over and put my icy hand on his forehead. I took it off immediately, it was hot. The touch of my fingers made him moan and fidget in his sleep. (…) I didn't notice immediately that he had opened his eyes.

You came back, he said softly. I was sure of it. (…) My love, he said in a groan. I knew you would forgive me when you knew the truth.  

Which truth ? I leaned over him, all ears.

I was so afraid of losing you, mo chridhe, he resumed. So scary. I never loved anyone other than you. From the first day I saw you ... I could not ... I could not .. . (…)

“Oh, Jamie… Moved to tears, I reached out and stroked his hot cheek.

He immediately opened his eyes and jumped up in his bed. (…)

- Oh my God ! he cried. Oh my God ! You are the ? It's you ? Damn thunder of sacrebleu! You are real! (…) In my delirium, I took you for a vision, until you touched me, he explained, panting. But what happened to you coming here? Are you trying to scare me? Ouch! (…)

- You didn't send Little Ian to tell me you were on the verge of death? (…) You mean your little bastard nephew decided on his own to come get me? Didn't you want me to come back?

- Certainly not ! Do you think I need your pity, like a dog left in a ditch? You can keep it! I forbade that brat to go get you! (…) I have already gone through two strong fevers which almost killed me. I believe that this one will succeed. I have not sent for you ... but I'm glad you're here. I ... I wanted to ask your forgiveness and say goodbye properly. I can't ask you to wait until the end, but ... will you stay a little longer?  

 

Chapter 37 p428  

 

We were silent for a long moment, then he continued, staring at the ceiling:

At first I thought I would never want to know anything about your life with Frank. I was wrong.  

- I'll tell you anything you want to know, but not now. You haven't finished your story. He sighed and closed his eyes. (…)

- Do you know what it's like to share a person's life without ever being able to be yourself, or really knowing who they are? he asked softly. (…) During all these years, I have played so many different roles, I have been lent so many distinct personalities… (…) But here, he resumed in a barely audible voice, lying in the dark with you ... I have no name. Finally. 

I lifted my face to his and inhaled its warmth between my parted lips.

- I love you, I whispered. I knew I didn't need to tell her I meant it with all my heart.  

 

Chapter 39 p447 Kidnapping Little Ian  

 

He looked down in annoyance at his sling arm, muttering:

- I should have gone myself, with or without an arm. In the end, it's easier to risk your life than to worry about someone you love. 

- Ah! Now you will know what you are making me go through!  

We strayed a bit from the edge of the cliff to shield ourselves from the freezing breeze, seeking shelter behind our mounts.

 

(...)

- What are we going to do ? I asked foolishly. (…)

I felt paralyzed, unable to analyze the situation, unable to assimilate that Little Ian (…) had disappeared. (…) My mind replayed the film of what had just happened. (…) I relive all of this with the clarity that often accompanies tragedies (…).

“I don't know,” Jamie said, just as bewildered. Good God, I don't know ... I don't know what to do!

His hands suddenly turned into fists. He closed his eyes, breathing heavily. This admission of helplessness only accentuated my terror. Since my return, I had grown accustomed again to having a Jamie by my side who had an answer for everything, even in the most intractable situations.  

(…)

"It's not your fault," I said after a long silence, listening to the sound of the ocean.

- You should go and go to sleep Sassenach.

His voice was neutral with a tinge of desperation that made me move closer to him and try to hug him. He clearly didn't want to touch me, but I was shivering now too.

- I'm not going anywhere.

He sighed deeply and pulled me towards him, settling me on his knee so that his arms penetrated the inside of my coat to hug me tightly. (…)

- I shouldn't have interrupted you.

I made a movement to leave but he held me back.

- No stay.  

We stayed tight together. (…) He breathed in the air as if he was going to speak but he exhaled without saying anything. I turned to touch his face.

- What's wrong Jamie?

- Is it wrong for me to have you by my side ?! he whispered. (…) I keep telling myself that… is it my fault? Is it to sin? Wanting you so much, needing you so much, more than life itself?  

- Really ? (…) If so, how can it be a sin? I am your wife.  

Despite the situation, the word "wife" made my heart lighter. He turned his face slightly: his lips touched the palm of my hand and his hand caught mine. (…)  

- That's what I'm telling myself. God has given you back to me; how can i not love you And yet I can't stop thinking about it, I can't stop. (…)  

- Hush, I told him even if he had not spoken again. Do not say anything. Jamie, have you ever done something for yourself and not for someone else? (…)

- Oh, many times, he whispered, when I saw you. When I took you without knowing if you wanted it or not, if you had to be somewhere else or if you had someone else to love. (…) I love you and I love Ian as if he were my own sonAnd I tell myself that maybe I don't have the right to have you both. (…)  

“Jamie Fraser,” I said again with as much conviction as possible, “you're a terrible fool. (…) You didn't force me to come back or take me from Brianna. I came because I wanted to, because I wanted YOU, as much as you want me and the fact that I'm here has nothing to do with what just happened. We are married, tell yourself that and we are according to all possible criteria: in the name of God, Neptune, Shiva or whoever it is, whatever you want.

- Neptune?

- Shut up, we are married, I tell you and it is not sinful to want me or to have me and no god worthy of the name would take your nephew under the pretext that you want to make me happy. The ! Besides, I'm not going to cross the stones again so what could you do about it, eh?

The small vibration in his chest was a laugh this time and not a chill of cold.

Take you and be damned I imagine.  

He kissed me on the forehead.  

- Loving you has made me go through many Sassenach ordeals and I would do it again if necessary.  

- Bah, and you think loving yourself is a piece of cake?  

This time he laughs frankly.

- No but maybe you will continue?  

- Maybe, we'll see.  

- You are a damn stubborn woman Sassenach, he said, smiling.  

- Birds of a feather flock together.  

We were silent for a while.

 

Chapter 40 p464 

- But what are you talking about? I interjected.

"Freemasonry, Sassenach," Jamie replied with a smile.

- Are you a freemason? But ... you never told me!

"He wasn't allowed to," Jared explained.

(…) This incident, while unimportant, reminded me of how little I knew about Jamie's life. Yet at one time I thought I knew him like the back of my hand. I felt his foot caress mine under the table. I looked up and surprised a knowing glint in his eyes. He grabbed his glass, as if to give us a silent toast, and I felt dimly comforted.  

I thought about the words we had exchanged on our wedding night, when there was nothing between us but a marriage contract ... and a promise of sincerity. I don't want to push you into telling me secrets that don't concern me. There are things I can't tell you, at least for now. On the other hand, if you have to talk to me, then tell me the truth. And I promise to do the same. Our only good at the moment is our mutual respect. Now respect is not incompatible with secrecy, but it is with lying.  

(…) I met Jamie's gaze sitting across from me and we understood each other perfectly. Times had changed. Between us, there was now more than respect, and enough other things that all our secrets could wait to be revealed in due course.  

 

Chapter 41 p472 Departure from Scotland to Jamaica  

 

He held on for a while, visibly greening, refusing to leave the deck while the Scottish coast was still visible.

- I may never see them again, he said in a gloomy voice (…).

- But yes, you will see them again, I say confidently. I don't know when, but I know you'll be back.

He turned to me, puzzled, then a faint smile crept onto his lips.

- You saw my grave, didn't you? he asked softly. (…) Don't tell me the date, I'd rather not know.

- I would have a hard time, there wasn't. Just your name and mine.  

- Yours ?

I nodded again, feeling my throat tighten at the memory of the granite stele. It was what was called a "marital tomb": two quarter-circles encased in each other to form an arch.

“ She had your full name on,” I said. That's how I knew it was you. Under your name was engraved: “Tender husband of Claire. "  

He nodded slowly, his gaze lost in the distance.

' At least that means I'll be coming back to Scotland and still be married to you. In this case, the date doesn't really matter.  

 

Chapter 42 Boat Talk About Brianna  

 

- Do you think, he began softly, without looking at me, do you think it was wise to come and find me now, Claire? It's not that you don't want you, he added hastily, feeling me stiffen.

He grabbed my hand, preventing me from turning away.

- No, that's not what I meant at all! Through Christ, I want you!  

He pulled me to him, pressing my hand in his against his heart.  

- I want you so much that sometimes I think my heart will burst with joy, he added more gently. (…)

- But Bree is an adult woman; she will get married when she wants, not when someone arranges it for her. She doesn't need to get married elsewhere. She has a good education, she can make a living on her own very well. Women can do it. She doesn't need a man to protect her ...

And if it is no longer necessary for a man to protect a woman and take care of her, then I think it will be a really sad time! (…)

- I didn't say it wasn't necessary. (…) I said she had a choice. She doesn't need to get married out of necessity, she can do it out of love.

Her face relaxed slightly.

You got married to me out of necessity, " he said.

- And I came back to you for love, I replied. Do you think I needed you less just because I could feed myself? (…)

- No, he said softly. I do not think so.

He put his arm around me and pulled me to him. (…)

"I think she'll do very well," he whispered. It doesn't matter if she has a poor idiot for a father, no girl has ever had a better mother. Kiss me, Sassenach, because believe me, I wouldn't trade you for all the gold in the world.  

 

Chapter 44 Ship Talk About Fergus and Marsali  

 

“I'm a fool,” Jamie said. (…)

- What makes you think that? I asked, although I got a pretty good idea.

The fact that the only four married people on board lived in coerced celibacy had aroused some amusement among the crew members, whose celibacy was involuntary. 

- I spent twenty years wanting to have you in my bed , he said, validating my hypothesis, and in the month that followed, I made it so that I couldn't even kiss you without sneak behind a hatch, ( …) And no one to blame, except my own madness. What did I think about? (…) I can't even touch my own wife!   

- Oh, you can touch me, I said. 

I took one of his hands, gently stroking his palm with my thumb. 

- But you cannot engage in an unbridled carnal act. (…)

He looked down at our tied hands, where my thumb was still secretly making love to his palm, and he narrowed his eyes at me, but let me continue. He gently closed his fingers around my hand, his own thumb pressing me lightly to the rhythm of my pulse. (…)

If there is one thing I know well, Sassenach,' he said softly, with a brief glance at Fergus, 'it is the sound of a man making love to a woman who is not is not there. (…)

He looked at me then with a half-smile, and despite his mocking smirk I saw the dark memories deep in his eyes. I also saw the terrible need there, the desire strong enough to have endured loneliness and degradation, misery and separation.  

We stood quite still, looking at each other, oblivious to the traffic on the passing bridge. He knew better than any man how to hide his thoughts, but he did not hide them from me. The hunger in him ran deep, and my own bones seemed to dissolve in response. His hand was inches from mine, resting on the wooden railing, with his long, powerful fingers… If I touched him, I thought suddenly, he would turn around and take me here on the deck. As if he heard my thought, he suddenly took my hand, pressing it firmly against the hard muscle in his thigh. 

How many times have we laid down together since you came back to me? he whispered. Once, twice, in the brothel. Three times in the heather. And then in Lallybroch, and also in Paris. (…) Each time, I left bed as hungry as ever. Now I don't need more to prepare than the smell of your hair passing over my face, or the feel of your thigh against mine when we sit down to eat. And see you standing on the deck, with the wind pressing your dress against your body ... (...) There are times, Sassenach, when for a penny of copper, I would take you there, back against the mast and your skirts around your size, and the devil take the damn crew!   

My fingers twitched against his palm, and he tightened his grip, nodding kindly in response to the gunner's greetings on his way to his quarters. The captain's dinner bell rang beneath my feet, a soft metallic vibration that rose through the soles of my feet and melted my bone marrow. (…) We remained standing near the rail, fixed on each other, burning. (…) I took my hand out of my pocket, having found what I was looking for. I took his hand and squeezed the object in his palm. He stared at the image of King George III in his hand, then looked at me. 

- A deposit, I say. Let's go eat. 

 

Chapter 46 p513 Collision of the English  

 

He noticed me at his side and frowned.

- I thought I told you to go down to the cabin? he called out.  

- Indeed, I replied, staying in my place.

 

(p515) - Listen, I say, searching for my words. I am a doctor. They are sick and I can help them. It's ... it must be, and that's it!

He didn't seem convinced. How could I explain to him this need to treat, this compulsion to fight against diseases? Frank, he had finally understood. There had to be a way to get it into Jamie's head.

- I took the oath, I say. My word is committed.

- An oath ? he repeated. What kind of oath?

I had only said it out loud once, but I had a framed copy in my office, a gift from Frank for my graduation. I closed my eyes, and tried to remember word for word. (…)

- I see. The beginning seems a bit pagan to me, but I liked the part where you agree not to seduce anyone.  

- I suspected it. You don't have to worry, the virtue of Captain Leonard has nothing to fear from me.

 

Chapter 54 p596 Pirate Attack  

- What happened ? I asked innocently.

- What happened? he roared back sharply. I would love to know! I ask you to remain wisely hidden in the hold with Marsali and, the next moment, you fall from the sky to my feet, pissing blood. (…) You have come a long way, he informed me. You have your arm notched up to the bone from the elbow to the shoulder. If I hadn't had a cloth on hand to give you a tourniquet, you would now be feeding the sharks! Damn it, Claire! So you can never do what you're told? 

- No, I replied.

 

Remembrance of Culloden

 

- I was happy. he said, sounding a little surprised. Not at all scared. I wanted to die, after all; there was nothing to fear other than that I might be injured and not die right away. But I would die, and then it would be all over, and I would find you, and it would be all right. (…)  

“Too many people have died or suffered, Sassenach, because they knew me. I would give my own body to spare you a moment of pain - and yet I might wish to close my hand right now, so that I could hear you scream and know for sure that I didn't kill you too. (…)

- You didn't kill me. You didn't kill Murtagh. And we'll meet up with Ian. Take me back to bed, Jamie.

Sometime later, as I dozed on the edge of sleep, he spoke from the floor next to my bed.

You know, I rarely wanted to go home with Laoghaire. he said contemplatively. And yet, at least when I got home, I found her where I had left her.  

I turned my head to the side, where his light breath came from the dark ground.

- Oh ? And is that the kind of woman you want? The kind that stays put?

He made a small noise between a laugh and a cough, but didn't respond and after a few moments, the sound of his breathing changed to a soft, rhythmic snoring.

 

Chapter 59 p660 confidence on William  

John Gray's revelations had relieved most of my fears and suspicions, but the fact remained that Jamie had never told me about his son. (…) Perhaps he had loved her, despite Gray's impression. (…) I had believed Jamie dead for twenty years and that hadn't changed my feelings for him. What if he had felt the same love for this young Englishwoman? I swallow hard, trying to find the courage to ask him the question. (…)

Claire, he finally resumed after a few minutes, I have something to tell you. (…) Claire, I have a son. I know I should have told you before, but ... I never told anyone, not even Jenny. (…) I didn't want to tell you, lest you think I had sown bastards all over the place ... lest you think I would love Brianna less if I had another child.  

He looked up at me.

- You forgive me? 

The words didn't want to come out of my mouth but I had to say them.

- And she ... did you love her?

A deep sadness invades his features but he does not escape my gaze.

- No, he said softly. She ... wanted me. Maybe I should have found a way to stop it, but I couldn't. She wanted me to make love to her. What I did ... And she died. I am guilty of his death, before God. All the more guilty as I didn't like him.  

I put my hand on his cheek. He closed his eyes. (…)

- You should have trusted me, I said finally.

Maybe. Yet I kept saying to myself, "How can I explain everything that happened to him: Geneva, Willie ... John?" »(…) I almost told you about it once, but that was before you found out about my marriage to Laoghaire. Then it was too late. How could I tell you the truth, and be sure you would understand the difference?  

- What a difference ?

- Geneva, Willie's mother ... she wanted my body. Laoghaire wanted my name and the sweat on my brow to support himself and his daughters. John… He paused, hesitating. - ... John had my friendship, and I his. But how can I tell you all this, then tell you that I have never loved anyone but you? How could you believe me? 

The question hung between us, shimmering like the reflection of the lagoon at our feet.

- If you tell me, I'll believe you, I said in a small voice.

- Really ? But why ?

- Because you're an honest man, Jamie Fraser.

I smile, so as not to cry.

"   It's just you," he said in a voice so low I barely heard him. Just you, to whom I gave my name, my heart and my soul.  

“Jamie,” I said softly, “you're not alone anymore.

He hugged me and hugged me, whispering through my hair:

You are the blood of my blood, the flesh of my flesh ...  

- And I give you my soul until the end of days, I finished.  

 

Chapter 60 p690  

 

- But I'm asking you one thing, Jamie ...

- I know, he interrupted me in a resigned tone. Do you want to come with us.

- Yes. You never know ... if Little Ian was hurt or sick?

- Okay, you can come! he blurted out, annoyed. But I also ask you one thing, Sassenach: try not to get yourself killed or cut into pieces. It would be very nerve-racking.  

- I will try, I promised cautiously.

 

Chapter 62 p731 Abandawe Cave  

 

He must have felt my hands tighten around his belt, as he stopped and pulled me against him.

- Claire, he whispered, we have to ... talk about something ...

I sensed what he was about to say and groped for his mouth to shut him up, but only met his ear and he grabbed my wrist.

- If you have to choose between his life and that of one of us then it will have to be mine. You know that, don't you? 

I already understood that. If Geillis was still in the cave and one of us had to risk our lives to stop him, then it would be Jamie's job to sacrifice himself. Because if he failed, I would still be there to chase after her in the future and try to prevent him from touching Brianna, which he couldn't do.  

- I know, Jamie.

I also knew what he dared not say: if Geillis had already left, then I would have to go after him, alone.  

- Kiss me, Claire. No matter what, I want you to know that you mean everything to me and that I don't regret a thing.  

I didn't have the strength to answer him but I kissed him with all my strength, first his hand, his warm, firm fingers on my lips, then his powerful warrior's wrist, then his mouth, charged with passion, of promises and anguish, and finally the salty tears from her cheeks.

 

Chapter 63 p756 The Shipwreck  

 

The wave passed and the wood slowly rose to the surface, bringing my nose above the water. Jamie's face stood up a foot from mine, hair pressed against his scalp, features twisted with anguish.

- Hang on! he roared. Good God, Claire! Hang on!  

I smile softly, barely hearing him. The feeling of intense peace lifted me, carrying me beyond the noise and the fury. I didn't feel the pain anymore, nothing mattered anymore. Another wave hit me, and this time I forgot to hold my breath. The feeling of suffocation woke me up a bit, just long enough to see the flash of terror in Jamie's eyes. Then my vision darkened again.

- Damn it, Sassenach! said the voice in the distance. Hold on ! If you let yourself die, Sassenach, I'll kill you!