Loss Ficlet: Announcement

missclairebelle:

Many thanks to @notevenjokingfic and @smashing-teacups for the assist on this ficlet. Our Loss babes are moving into a new phase of life with this ficlet, and my heart couldn’t be fuller. 💜 I hope that this has been worth the wait, and I am still so floored that people are following along on Loss!Jamie and Loss!Claire’s journey. xx. 

Loss Masterlist

Loss Ficlet
Announcement
September 2019
(Jamie POV)

I’ll never forget how Claire looked when she told me she was pregnant (cuffs of her sweater balled in her hand, eyes opening wide like it’d help the words come out of her mouth, lower lip chapped from chewing it incessantly). I had known for at least two weeks at that point. Sometimes I was convinced I knew her body better than I knew my own. After our goal keeper had been removed (she’d handed me the winged intrauterine device like she was offering me a piece of chewing gum, blithely narrating, “that, right there, came out of my uterus”), I learned the quiet, physical signs of her cycle (the tension in her lower back in the days before her period, the tenderness in her breasts around the time she became wild with want, the ibuprofen bottle that lived on our bathroom counter, the hot water bottle that I was not sure did much for her at all).

And by the time she came home to me after work one sweltering-hot night in August, it had been apparent for some time. At least to me it had.

I was on the couch, watching The Daily Show on the DVR, when she plodded into the living room without so much as a greeting.

“Well, hello,” I greeted her, shifting just enough that Buffalo Bill relocated to the opposite end of the couch and put his head on the armest, an affection addicted canine’s plea for a scratch or cuddle.

Claire dropped her too-heavy work bag to the floor with a soft thud, snatched the remote from the coffee table, muted the television, and climbed into my lap. First, she traced the collar of my shirt with one forefinger and rested her hips over mine. Then, she cupped the back of my neck and allowed the pad of her thumb to press down over my mouth.

As much as I knew my Sassenach’s cycle, I knew her better.

Wholly.

In her entirety.

And I knew what she was about to tell me – the telling of her body’s intimate secret.

I had thought my heart would beat faster, that my palms would go damp, that perhaps my vision would blur, but I just felt calm. Like she was about to fit a long-missing corner piece into the puzzle of our life, one that had somehow always been there, just waiting to complete us.

“Jamie,” she started, her voice quavering with some mixed cocktail of emotion (nervousness, excitement, worry perhaps swirling under her unruly top knot). Ifrinn – my name on her lips then. It had never sounded so full, so pure. It never would again. I was certain of that much. And then, “I’m pregnant.”

Though I’d known, hearing it come from my beautiful wife’s mouth did something to me. It was as though those five syllables strung together – words I’d ached to hear for years – were the spark that touched dry kindling and lit a fire.

A dhia, I’d burn alive for this woman, for the blank-slate flicker inside of her that was intentional. A new purpose that was created of our love for one another.

Of their own accord, my arms wrapped around her, drawing her maybe closer than she’d ever been to me. When her tears started to snake down my throat, I held her impossibly closer, tighter. “Mo ghraidh,” I mumbled, fingers tangling in her hair. “Mo chridhe.

Eventually, her tears stopped and she just laid against me – heavy and still as a standing stone, save the slight rise and fall of her chest against mine.

“Are ye happy?” I managed, not realizing that gravel had taken up residence in my own throat. It was then that I realized I’d never quite understood the meaning of choking on emotion, at least one that was happy.

Claire wasn’t one for hyperbole, but she rattled off a series of words that turned that burgeoning fire in my chest into a full-scale conflagration. “Brilliantly, blissfully, dazzlingly happy. You?”

“I’ll tell ye somethin’, Sassenach. I searched the Internet for how to be a good first-time da a few days ago, and–”

“–wait…” she interrupted, pulling back just a little. Perhaps it was the knowledge that she knew a life we had created was growing inside of her, but her cheeks and eyes were positively glowing. “You knew?”

I did not bother being sheepish as I nodded, though I remained purposefully cagey. “Ten days… two weeks… something like that.”

“And you didn’t say anything?”

“It’s yer body. Sassenach, ye havena been a day late in your courses in all the time since ye first took me to your bed. I figured ye didna need me mansplaining it all to ye – conception, how it was just right that day on our hike, or any of the back-to-back days when I’ve had ye….”

Her eyes darkened, as though she hadn’t quite riddled out the timeline until I reminded her of our day of reckless, outdoor lovemaking, the lazy weekend where she had bent at the waist with her hands on the bed and looked at me over her shoulder, the restless nights where she’d been switching from night to day shifts and put herself to sleep by riding me until I felt like the walking dead the next day.

I traced her throat, dared a look at the puckered, flat tuck of her scrub top into her pants. I wondered when she would begin to show, whether she’d carry low or high, the places I’d jog off to in search of late-night bites to sate bizarre cravings, whether we’d sit with tangled limbs and debate baby names.

“I repeat… you didn’t say anything?”

I gave her my most infuriating, non-commital shrug. “I’ve been living in a fantasyland for days, where I start my wee rugby team wi’ our bairn. I’ve been callin’ the wee lad Charlie.”

“You bastard,” she said, her cheeks pinking in an outrage that I knew would burn like a Roman candle (spectacularly bright and hot, that would fizzle fast). “You counted! In the middle of all this… this… shit we’ve been going through, you counted!

I wasn’t defensive, but I rose to her tone, countering, “Didn’t you? Count?”

No! I almost threw up during surgery today, and the other surgeon told me that she almost threw up inside of a patient when she was pregnant. And then I got to thinking and I almost blacked out. Raided the pharmacy and almost blacked out again trying to regulate a single stream of urine into three separate cups for three different tests.”

I knew it sounded like a wee tease (because it was), when I said, “Ye could’ve called me. I’d have held yer piss cup. I ken I’ve no’ ever express an interest in yer toileting habits, Sassenach, but–”

“–you could have mentioned it!” she almost shrieked, ignoring my well-timed joke as her eyes went wide as saucers and her fists wound themselves in my t-shirt.

And then she laughed.

It was a sound that almost roused me as I kissed it out of her mouth.

But it wasn’t sex that I needed then.

I needed her.

To experience this emotion swelling in her – new, potent, intoxicating – with each of my five senses.

To discover whether her radiant joy had a taste and hope had a scent. To learn whether each goosebump that erupted on her forearms at my mention of Charlie had a distinct texture and shape. To watch that glass face work through each emotion – glee and surprise, touched by a healthy flicker of confusion. To hear each intake of her breath as it hit home in the spaces between words that yes we are, we finally are.

Her lips cracked apart from mine with a wet smack, and she asked, “Are you going to tell me what Google told you about being a good dad?”

“First off, our bairn willna call me ‘dad,’” I started with a smirk. “That’s Da.”

And I told her everything I knew, everything I hoped.

How I yearned to see her become a mam.

How the prospect of being able to be a bystander to the process through which she would figure out what songs to sing to the bundle in her arms made me weak in the knees.

The way I wondered what soft sounds evolution had baked into her for various situations – facing a scraped knee or bee sting, the first Salvador Dali-style crayon drawing on a milky-white foyer wall.

That I yearned to see the light that would touch her eyes after we woke the first morning after a full night of sleep.

How I had dreamt of the last crushing moments of labor – when my hand would be in hers, that with a look we’d somehow both know that this was the moment when everything would change with a final push, how proud would be of her as our bairn came screaming into our lives.

Changing spectacularly soiled diapers and onesies in the middle of the night, corralling a shrieking, slithering four-limbed amphibian of a bairn who would be as soft as pudding on a changing table. Swaddling said creature, watching my wife nurse said amphibian back to a human state.

Reading Harry Potter to a small version of my wife – someone with just as much wonder and imagination, an almost preternatural craving for just one more chapter.

She hiccuped against me, something between a cry and a laugh, as she kissed the underside of my jaw.

And when I finished, I just looked at her.

Really looked at her – the golden flecks that looked like hardened amber going molten beneath a sheen of tears; the mahogany ring around her iris that was the most perfect circle I’d ever seen.

I kissed the corner of her mouth, the bow of her lips, the tip of nose. Her head fell forward, and I tugged her bun free of the elastic holding it in place.

It was as though I was seeing her for the first time in the distillery, the second behind the A&E curtains, the third in the pub, and the fourth at the gala. She was utterly familiar to me with all of her soft curves and her fiery eyes, but she was brand new at the same time.

“I hadna kent that I could love ye more, Claire,” I whispered, brushing curls off of her cheek.

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