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Rest, mo ghraidh (Outlander, F, Claire)


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Back at it again! This time in response to a prompt from Tumblr: "Outlander prompt: how about Claire is the first to come down with a cold, for once. She's too stubborn to stop working, even if she's not seeing people/patients. Jamie gently convinces her to rest. Any season or setting".

Set in the s5 Fraser's Ridge era.

Also: just wanted to take this opportunity to say a belated thank you to anyone who has commented on my other fics that I've posted here so far! I don't want to spam them to the top of this topic thread but pls know that I appreciate it a lot! 🥰



"You're welcome, Mr MacDonald. On your way out would you send the next person in, please?" Claire said, kindly but curtly, and a little breathless as she dashed around trying to sterilise her instruments and put things to right in expectation of her next patient - of which there had been many.

Whilst the North Carolina winters were undoubtedly much milder than those of Scotland or even Boston, they were wet and stormy and meant people spent a great deal more time indoors, and so cold and flu season was in full swing on the Ridge. Both were rife and had been going around with gusto, and the endless queues of coughing, sniffling settlers outside her surgery door every day this week were keeping Claire very much on her toes.

"Aye Mistress, will do. Good day to ye".

Almost as if waiting until out of sight of her patient, Claire's face crumpled against her will as her breath caught, her hand scrambling for the handkerchief tucked away in her skirt pocket. "hhH'IHKJSSZCh'uh! huH?...eh'GTSSSZCh'uh!" she caught in steepled, fabric-covered hands, the heaviness of them making her groan as the growing congestion pulsed.

"There's no one else, Mistress..." a hoarse voice piped back up from the door, "...though from the sounds of it you need a tonic yourself". Claire, red-faced at being caught, sniffled desperately and regarded him with a sheepish half-smile as Mr MacDonald turned to actually take his leave this time.

Jesus H Roosevelt Christ, she was praying to God out of the two possibilities that this was just a cold rather than the beginnings of the flu. Truthfully, she didn't have the time nor the patience for either but especially not the latter.

She put an experimental wrist to her forehead just on the off-chance she'd be able to feel if her own temperature was elevated, but alas, if it was it wasn't obvious yet. It was then that she caught movement in her peripheral vision and she looked to the window, finding her husband in his approach back to the house from whatever business he'd been attending to.

And oh he'd definitely told her what that was only just that very morning. Her increasingly illness-fogged mind grappled for the information that on any other day would have came with ease, much to her annoyance. Something involving Fergus... inspection of the distillery, maybe? Or was he calling in on the children and Marsali?

Whatever it was, something in her chest lightened to see him return, to come back to her, even after all this time and though logically she knew he'd been in no danger; a novelty that had not worn of since her return through the stones.

The sudden and imminent threat of another sneeze interrupted her train of thought however, and she just barely managed to furl her handkerchief from where she'd balled it in her fist, before it barrelled out with poiseless insistence.


She sniffled, wincing a little at the settling congestion and dabbed carefully at the dampness around her nostrils, conscious of damning herself prematurely to the probably inevitable fate of a bright, attention-grabbing scrubbed-red nose.

Glancing back out the window, it was clear that rather than making his way to call by her surgery like Claire had expected him to, Jamie had instead turned towards the main house instead. For a moment she let the automatic, unthinking disappointment sweep over her before blessed rationality took over, and she thought about the hard time he was likely to give her about carrying on with her work day when she was clearly taking ill if he were to see her right now.

After one more quick cursory glance out onto the porch outside the surgery and finding it still empty of any patients, Claire finally let herself thud down into her waiting chair. With nothing more pressing to be attending to she fastidiously set to work on some paperwork - patient logs that allowed her to keep track of who was getting ill with what, injuries on the Ridge, and prescriptions she'd dispensed and when. It made her antsy when her records weren't up to date, and she'd been so busy that morning she'd barely had a minute to sit down, never mind update them.

It wasn't long though until the heaviness of her head started to get the better of her, and the ache creeping in behind her eyelids became apparent as the words on the page she was looking at grew arduous to stare at. With resignation she set the quill down and let her head fall into her hands, elbows leant on the table for support, and rubbed her temples with her thumbs.

But Christ that bloody itch was refusing to bugger off now, seemingly trapped in the growing congestion as it was. "hehhH?…hh'IHGSSCH'euh!" she sneezed tiredly into the folds of the handkerchief.

"God bless ye".

The unmistakable rumble of his voice sounded behind her from the open doorway, and Claire snapped upright, her heart stuttering in surprise. "Christ!". How had she not heard him approach?

Jamie couldn't help but smirk, despite the chiding look from his wife when she turned to meet his eye. "Nah, Sassenach, it's only me...". His expression softened though when her breath seemed to catch in her throat and she let out a couple of weak coughs. He entered the room properly then, one-handedly closing over the ledgers on the table in front of her and gently moving them aside so he could perch on the end. He held a steaming cup in the other hand, and Claire eyed it curiously.

"Though by the looks and sounds of it you could be gearing up to meet Him at any moment" he teased, chuckling at her indignant scoff, and how she rolled her eyes and sat back in the chair, arms crossed.

"Well dod't you kndow how to mbake a woman feel special?" she said, though any harshness she could've been aiming for was offset but the dulling roundness of her consonants, and the rheumy dampness of her gaze as she looked up at him. Strangely or not, the sight warmed him, and affection resonated through his chest.

"Said with all the love in the world, of course" he expressed, reaching out to tuck away a dark, errant curl which had escaped the confines of her hair tie. Satisfied with the sincerity in his voice, she didn't squirm or try to jerk away when he then pressed his large palm to her forehead, calloused with a life of hard work, then the backs of his fingers to her cheek. Even though she'd been relatively sure by her own estimations that she wasn't fevered, she admittedly breathed a sigh of relief when he made a distinctly Scottish noise of approval.

Claire's hand reached up and closed around his own, pulling it down into her lap. "It's odly a cold..." she admitted, tone edging on placating "and with half the settlers currently down with either this or a bad flu, I'd certainly take this over the alterndative". Though he didn't seem overly thrilled about the prospect of her suffering either option, Jamie nodded in reluctance, almost whispering a quiet aye. His thumb had started tracing circles on the back of her hand, and Claire let herself get a little lost in how soothing that felt, a brief but comfortable silence stretching between them.

So much so that she forgot all about the cup he'd been holding but not drinking from, until he passed it into her free hand. The heat from it warmed her hand, and she brought it to her face with a hint of suspicion, sniffing at it in what tuned out to be a bit of a futile gesture, as it turned out she could barely smell anything at all and the steam only served t-to...

"hiH'IHgxsst!" She'd managed a shaky apology before they overcame her, the first quashed into a painful, compressed-sounding stifle, which only seemed to backfire as the second barrelled out with a damp, unrestrainable viciousness. "hh'iH-EH'DJSSsch'ue!"

She had just been able to twist her hand out of Jamie's before turning away and tucking her face into her elbow. Her cheeks burned a deep, visceral pink to match her nose, and she daren't move her arm for the sake of her dignity as she patted around herself for the handkerchief she'd been using earlier.

"Mo ghraidh..." he muttered sympathetically as he took the cup from her hand and joined the search, looking round him until glancing upon it where it lay on the dusty floor below the table. He immediately kicked it further away in disapproval, and instead pulled his own, clean, one out of his sleeve and gallantly offered it to her. She accepted it gratefully and he briefly averted his gaze, if only for the sake of her own pride and to allow her a moment to tend to herself.

After a couple of soft but productive blows she tucked the large square of commandeered fabric away and turned back to him, expression cold-flushed and unwillingly but adorably resigned, her hand outstretched. He handed it over once more and she took a sip wordlessly.

At once hot whiskey doused the scraping sting of her throat, burning away the ache into a pleasant, momentary numbness that made her hum with relief as the warmth spread downwards into her belly, and had her rushing for another sip. Though she couldn't actually taste much, muted notes of honey and unidentifiable spices filtered through, and she couldn't help but smile into the cup.

Hot toddy. Her husband's own much-preferred cold remedy of choice - far and away above any actual tonic or medicine she could give him. It tasted - smelled, even - like home; like Scotland. Like forever-ago nights under the stars or perches by the fireplace in countryside taverns marching with Dougal's rent party or camping with the Bonnie Prince's army. Even like laying the foundations of the settlement they'd built from the ground up and made the shared home they'd never previously been able to have together.

Claire sighed happily, though the heavy sniffles gave away how much the steam was affecting her. That, she could deal with though, as the pleasures heavily outweighed the drawbacks.

There was one element that didn't make sense to her, though, and she focused back on Jamie with a furrow-browed look. "How did you kdnow I was... a bit under the weather before you got here? I barely realised myself undtil about an hour or two ago".

He looked smug then, but evidently fond "You forget, Sassenach, about your glass face..." he said, as he took her cheek in a soft caress. "and I ken that wee glass face like the back of my hand". He leaned forward on that same beat and pressed a kiss to her lips, too swiftly for her to warn him off. If she had time to consider the logic of the situation beyond the gut reaction of not wanting to get him sick, she'd probably rather he catch cold as she had rather than flu if everyone truly had to have their dose of one or the other, as appeared to be the case.

His gaze was intent as he pulled back from it, smiling crookedly as he said "...you can keep nothing from me".

Fighting the urge to smile in answer to his teasing, Claire's eyes narrowed, truly unbelieving that she'd been that obvious. He couldn't have noticed her being particularly pale, because she was always pale, and she hadn't shown any obvious symptoms until after he'd left for the morning.

Jamie could see that she wasn't letting this go, and when had he ever been able to out-stubborn his wife? He sighed, got up, and strolled over to the wide expanse of the window. "I could see you on my way into the house".

Claire barked out an incredulous laugh and got up from the chair, following him across the room. "Coming from the mban who can't see the mborning paper without his glasses!".

His expression dropped into a mirror of hers and he met her toe-to-toe. "Aye, to read! I'm perfectly capable of seeing you sneeze your heed off from less than twenty paces of the window".

They were both laughing at this point, and with a chuckle that rung with finality Claire gave in with a hoarse exhale, leaning forward to rest her forehead, even if momentarily, against Jamie's chest. He responded almost reflexively, winding his arms around her and pulling her into a proper embrace. Such an embrace he was able to use strategically, walking them over to the little bed in the corner of the surgery - met with only minimal reluctance.

For a while thereafter they lounged on the bed and leisurely chatted through their respective mornings, Jamie describing the spot checks he'd carried out at the distillery and Claire the many ills of the Ridge's settlers - neither having much personal knowledge or experience with the other's field of expertise, but both grateful and content if only for the conversation and the time together spent informing the other of what they'd been up to. Something else they weren't sure would ever cease to be a novelty.

Eventually, another sneeze, insistent and laden, smothered into his handkerchief, pierced the veil they'd shrouded themselves in and Jamie looked to her with unbridled concern. "You'll take some lunch and rest a while, aye?" he asked, with an undertone of pleading. "Seeing as there's been no more patients, at least since I've come in?".

Claire hesitated to answer, and so he continued.

"The Ridge willnae fall to disarray if you take a couple hours out, mo chridhe. I daresay you've treated everyone there possibly is to treat at this point. And that's likely why you find yourself in this condition now".

Despite how it may sound, Claire can tell he wasn't judging, or blaming her for her work ethic. He's proud of how good of a healer she is; how dedicated she is to helping people. She knows. If he was married to any other woman he could chance ordering her to take to bed and that would be the end of it. But he wasn't - and he knows his wife.

But Claire also couldn't deny at this point that she herself could recognise the quickly developing cold was taking its toll already, and the idea of food, more hot drink, and a rest sounding very tempting. She scooted off the bed and opened the surgery door once more, checking again that there was no one waiting to be seen or hanging about the porch in need of her services. Satisfied, she closed it again and stepped back inside.

"One hour, and thend we'll see".

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