One Summer, Part XXI (Dice & Doorknobs)

missclairebelle:

As always, thank you to @notevenjokingfic​ for keeping me honest in my writing by not being afraid to say I can do better (but always being kind), telling me when my chapter titles suck (even though she never blessed this one), and for being a good friend (even when I send her weird ass GIFs).

Part I (Adso), Part II (Dislocated), Part III (Entryway), Part IV (Pizza & Beer), Part V (Croissants & Coffee), Part VI (SMS), Part VII (Desktop), Part VIII (Sunday Sunflowers & Sundresses), Part IX (Caught Out), Part X (Netflix & Advil), Part XXI (Ben Nevis & Loch Lomond), Part XII (Non-Negotiable), Part XIII (Same), Part XIV (Toothbrushes & Eyeglasses), Part XV (Renovation & Dresser Drawers), Part XVI (Letters & Mattresses), Part XVII (London & Broch Mordha), Part XVIII (British Airways & Kittens), Part XIX (Airports & Antigua), Part XX (Sawny & Ellen)

(AO3 link)

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One Summer
Part XXI: Dice & Doorknobs

Week one, post-breakup, was ground zero.

The breakup had become an invasive tumor in unexpected places she had never thought much about.

It was in the cuticle of her nails (chewed raw by unoccupied teeth).

The follicles of her hair (unscrubbed, pulled back from her face into the same ponytail for three days straight).

The spaces between her toes (his sneaky drunk Antigua tongue snaking between two, making her squeal, equatorially dividing her brain into hemispheres of horror and delight).

During her morning shift (seven heavy days having passed, the feeling of a lost year), a patient reeking of stale cigarettes and cheap beer made an inquiry that tied her stomach into knots.

“Wot’s that meant to be then?” The question came as his index finger (darkened from a substance unknown, clammy, insistent, prying) touched the thistle on her wrist.

The question took her breath away – the syllables crashing about in her brain as she tried to make sense of it, fumbled for an answer. The feel of his finger on what was publicly very plain, but felt like a part of her as intimate as the parts of her that she had convinced herself would be saved for Jamie only, that now belonged only to her (aching, raw, tender).

Claire pressed the pad of her thumb into the healed brand at her wrist (tucked under a pillow each night, the evidence of her loss concealed), rubbing at her flesh as though it would reverse time to that moment.

To the choice to make Scotland a part of her body forever. To the choice to give herself completely to James Alexander Malcolm Mackenzie Fraser. To the moment when, standing in front of a luxury hotel mirror in Antigua with new, raw tattoos exposed to the air, he had picked up the tube of ointment they had been sharing and looked at it. “Yer blood’s on it…” He daubed some ointment onto the tip of his finger then picked up the blood, letting them mix. In the soupy morass of her toothpaste-filled mouth, something like “what’re you doing?” wanted to come out, but then he smeared the daub over his own freshly-inked skin. “Blood of my blood, a nighean.”

When she’d laughed, spitting her minty mouthful into the sink, she told him he had gone absolutely mental.

He had agreed, picked her up under her thighs, and carried her to the bed.

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