Loss (Act II), Part Twenty-Seven [The End]


A little less than a year ago I mentioned to Tat and Kristin that I wanted to try something different for Act II of Loss.  I had no idea then how much emotionally exhausting work would go into writing this.  Here we are, with them dragging me across the finish line.  Between the ficlets, Act I, and this last part of Act II, I have written almost a quarter of a million words about this version of Jamie and Claire.  Thank you to everyone who loves them as much as I do.  I hope this is a good way to send off this act. 💜 

This labor of love is owed in no small part to the people who have cheered for me in the writing process.  I owe no small debt of gratitude to the folks who have been behind the scenes on this one: @sassenachwaffles (who at one point walked away from me in a mall based on what I said to her about this story), @kkruml, @notevenjokingfic, @balfeheughlywed, @thefraserwitch, @holdhertightandsayhername, and @kalendraashtar. This site is teeming with talent, and you’re all evidence of that.  You make me a better writer even when I don’t want to be one.

Act III is in the early planning stages and will be out sometime this summer or early autumn.  There will, of course, be ficlets in between. 

Without further ado, here’s the last bit of Act II.

loss: act i and ficlets

Loss: Act II: part one | part two | part three | part four | part five | part six|part seven| part eight| part nine | part ten | part eleven | part twelve | part thirteen | part fourteen |  part fifteen | part sixteen | part seventeen | part eighteen |  part nineteen | part twenty | part twenty-one | part  twenty-two |part twenty-three | part twenty-four | part twenty-five | part twenty-six

Loss (Act II)
Part Twenty-Seven

Together we smelled like a family.

(The scent of us emanated from common places.  Our things in closets.  Our rain-damp shoes in neat rows by the front door.  Our shapes molded into the couch cushions.  Our fingerprints on one another’s flesh.  Our small sounds as the white noise at bedtime.)

It was a Thursday night.  I was done with work for the week and drifting further and further from sleep with one leg dangling free of the bed linens.  

It would be a night of wakefulness.

However, instead of counting sheep or clearing my mind of the happenings of my day, I tallied the things that I had to accomplish before Maggie was entrusted to our care for the weekend.

(Our niece. Oh… I had a niece, a primer for the care of a small human of our own… I hoped).

I focused my attention on the shadowed notch in the ceiling above my head. The abstract indented shape was a result of an inebriated defrocking shortly after we moved in. (His belt buckle had made acquaintance with the ceiling as I enthusiastically ripped the belt off of my soon-to-be husband. He was properly bemused, and luckily the plaster was the only casualty, not one of his eyeballs.)

It was long past rain-sodden, velvet midnight (just as I started to mentally prepare a list of Maggie’s birthday treats) when Jamie told me without much of a prelude at all.

(It was the time of the night that he regularly chose for his quieted, secreted, sacred confessions.  

The first “I need you,” the seminal “I love you,” the proposal that made the melting together of our lives permanent.)

He had been so quiet that Thursday night. So still that I had not realized that he was even awake.

A little startled at his saying of my name (my Christian one), I jumped and turned to my side to look at him.  He was fixated on the ceiling (perhaps at that same clean-carved, belt buckle-shaped void in the ceiling).

“We were in Afghanistan together.”  

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