In honor of St. Patrick’s Day and being Irish I wanted to share part one of another of my fanfictions. This time an alternative universe of Outlander where Claire never goes through the stones. Also my heroine is Irish, sassy and badass if I do say so myself. so Enjoy. (Just so you know this AU begins much like the books because I didn’t want to change Jamie’s intro too much but the back end is completely different. Which will be added in weeks to come or check out links at end)
The dark woods enveloped them as Murtagh dragged a feisty young woman through the blistering rain to a shack. Cautiously hidden within the dense brush of the highlands, a faint orange glow radiated from beneath the door, followed by a rush of warm air that began to quickly thaw the icy chill that had soaked deep within her bones. A trickle of blood cascaded down her forehead mingling with drenched locks of her long ebony brown hair. The thin wet layers of cloth covering her body suddenly felt like nothing as the men, crowded within the small room, stared at what was left of her chemise and corset. Unaware if her captures were friends or foe, she backed herself into a corner facing the Scotsman, shielding her aching body as best she could.
Flowing phrases of Gaelic were spat between the men. If it hadn’t of been for the whack on her head, made during her capture by the butt of Murtagh’s pistol, she would have been able to concentrate well enough to understand what they were discussing.
“What about young Jamie?”
These words snapped her attention to a young man crouched on a stool by the fireplace. His head hanging, auburn hair disguising his features. Looking closely, she noticed he was holding onto his shoulder which was jutting at an abnormal angle from the socket.
“Well we can’t leave him here, and you can’t ride a horse now can you lad?” Murtagh questioned, concern laced within his words.
The young man managed a painful shake of his head.
“Than the only option is to put that shoulder back where it ought to be.” The leader of the group decided, motioning to the man closest to Jamie. Swiftly, a big brawny man quickly took his arm ready to forcefully pull it towards him.
“STOP! You’ll break it!” She cried out, unaware that words had actually escaped her throat.
The man stopped immediately, jolted by the sudden order from the foreign woman. Slowly all the men peered at her as though they forgot she was ever in the building. Forcing herself from the corner she positioned herself in the man’s way who was about to set the injured one’s shoulder.
“If you pull it out without maneuvering it back into place first it will break his arm.” She spat. Her Irish accent thick and annoyed, anger now replacing the fear that being held captive had induced.
Without another word she stepped into Jamie’s path, crouching down slightly to study his arm. After a few seconds she gently touched him, wrapping her hands above and below the elbow. Glancing up to her face, his eyes threaten to drown her within their blue depths, he signaled to her that he was prepared for whatever was to come. She took a deep breath, gave a quick nod, then began to carefully twist his swollen arm out of its abnormal position and back into the socket.
He gasped at the sudden release. His breathing beginning to slow, he looked up and for the first time saw her without the haziness caused by pain. Her emerald eyes sparkled in the firelight, staring back at him.
“I need someone’s belt.” she voiced, eyes never leaving Jamie’s gaze.
The leader of men signaled to the brawny one who reluctantly handed his over to the girl. She gently secured it around Jamie’s chest immobilizing his arm before realizing she had most likely helped one of the men that might end up killing her or worse, deliver her to the British.
The storm continued to pour frigid rain down upon them as the men exited the shack and began mounting their horses.
“What should we do with this one?” Murtagh questioned, pushing the girl violently in front of him.
Her face whipped around and glared at him.
“We can’t leave her here, she could be a British informant.” The leader Dougal grumbled.
“I am no such thing!” she argued.
Dougal let out a deep sigh, “Then the only option is bring her along until we know for sure if she is lying.”
He then pushed her towards Jamie’s horse, “If you should try anything I will slit your throat for ya, do you understand me.”
She looked up at the injured man, happy she wouldn’t be forced to ride with Murtagh or worse Dougal. Escape was futile at the moment, so she decided to bide her time. Jamie outstretched his hand, an offer to help her mount up. She ignored the gesture, as Dougal bent down to give her a leg up, she grabbed a large chunk of mane and pulled herself gracefully in front of him.
After shifting into a semi comfortable position Jamie began jerking behind her.
“What are you doing?” She snapped, looking over her shoulder at him.
“I’m getting my plaid loose to cover you, your shivering.”
“I’m fine,” She insisted.
“You’re shaking so hard it’s making my teeth rattle. The plaid’ll keep us both warm, but I canna do it one-handed, “He groaned as the maneuvering jostled his tender shoulder.
She huffed, turning to grab the corners of the fabric, gently she wrapped them around her. Until that moment she hadn’t realized just how cold she was, or for that matter how afraid. Jamie’s heaviness behind her was remarkably comforting as they rode through the night. The warmth that radiated from him allowed her to slip into the realm of sleep a few short times but when the golden bursts of sunrise rose around them she found herself uneasy as she discovered where they were.
“ Are we near Clach a’ Choillich?”
Some of the men slowed their horses and turned to her, the perfect Gaelic that flowed from her lips startled them?
“Aye, Cocknammon Rock is just over that next ridge.” Jamie replied.
“We have to get out of here now!” She screeched, fear showing plainly on her face.
“And just why would we do that lassie?” Mocked Dougal.
“Before you found me in the woods, I overheard there were movements of a British patrol heading this way.”
“It’s a Bonnie place for an ambush, right enough.” Called one of the men.
As if Hell itself appeared in front of them, shouts and gunfire echoed all around them. The men jeered with anticipation of a battle. Jamie yanked his bad arm from the belt tying it down and twisted the girl off his horse, drawing his blade in one smooth motion.
“Hide yourself?” He growled, rampaging into the gunfire.
She ran into the brush as fast as her legs would carry her, branches and limbs scratched at her but the pain would not stop her from running. She knew she had lost her dirk before Murtagh had found her, so being weaponless made the situation that much more dire. Suddenly the brush ledge ended, and she leapt down to a dirt path that winded away from the cock’s tail.
The beat of a horse’s canter pounding the earth behind her forced her into a sprint, her dark hair whipping around her.
“ You’re a quick one,”
It was Jamie’s brough, deep and melodic to her ears. She slowly turned to look at the highlander. Blood stained his chest and face, his breast heaved as his heart began to slow.
“Isna my blood, well most of it anyway, we need to go the others will be waiting for us upstream.”
She cocked her eyebrow, frowning at him. “Im not going anywhere with you.”
“Yes, you are.” He hissed, dismounting his horse, bloody sword in hand.
She began stepping away from him as he moved towards her.
“You going to run me through if I don’t obey you Scotsman?”
“No, but you don’t look that heavy. If you won’t come with me I’ll pick you up and throw you over my shoulder.” He bellowed.
“ No you won’t,” she began backing up. “Not if ya can’t catch me.”
Jamie cursed in gaelic but sprinted after her. It didn’t take long before his long strides made him able to catch up to the fleeing girl. He grabbed her from behind and held on tightly as she thrashed. When she finally calmed he sheathed his blade and threw her over his shoulder.
“Your a fiery filly I’ll give you that.” He smiled, heaving her up onto his horse.
As they rode to meet the others his mood once again became sullen, the excitement of battle now weariness and fatigue.
Seconds slowly became minutes, minutes sluggishly transformed into hours and the day was soon swallowed by the night. Its chill once again biting deep into the woman’s bones, but her will kindling the warmth within her spirit. Nothing had ever broken her, and this situation would be no different.
Jamie’s gunting soon became increasingly steady as the bumps of the road jostled the horse’s strides.
“I hope that hurts worse than you’re letting on… you deserve a thrashing for charging into that fight with your bad shoulder.” She smirked enjoying the groans coming from behind her.
“Well, wasna much of a choice. If I dinna move my shoulder I’d never have moved anything else, ever again.”
She whipped her head around to glare at him, “Why then don’t I believe that?”
“I can handle a single red coat with one hand, maybe even two Lass, but not three.” He boasted.
As the other scotsman began crowding around them she spun back around.`
“Besides, you can fix it for me again when we get where we’re going.” He chortled.
Before she could respond to his ridiculous assumption, Angus, one of the smaller Scotsman stopped the group and raised his flask in her direction.
“Here’s to you lass, for tipping us to the villains in the rocks and giving us a wee bit o’ fun… slàinte mhath !” He toasted, passing the flask to the woman.
She couldn’t help but smile while taking a nip, allowing the familiar liquid to warm her stomach and help calm her frazzled nerves.
As the night progressed and their pace began to slow, she could feel Jamie’s heaviness behind her shift drastically. She stopped the horse, digging her fingers into his plaid in an attempt to keep him in the saddle but her strength was not enough to keep him from falling.
Swiftly she dismounted and feverishly began to try and pull him into a sitting position. Murtagh quickly joined her along with Angus who took his arms and pulled him next to a nearby tree illuminated by the moonlight. She kneeled beside him feeling the warm blood trickle from his re-set shoulder.
“A bullet hole, the idiot could have said something!” She grumbled as she began applying pressure on the wound.
“Is it serious?” Murtagh questioned, a worried look now resting on his face,
“No, I dinna think so but he’s lost a lot of blood… I have to clean it to make sure…I need your flask!” She requested Angus who handed it over after taking one last sip.
She slowly changed her position onto Jamie’s lap in order to keep him from moving. Calmly she poured the alcohol into the deep wound, bolting upright,
gasping in pain and cursing, Jamie regained consciousness.
“Damn, yer not dead afterall, thought I’d be having the horse all to myself.” She joked, releasing the breath she did not know she had been holding..
“You alright lad?” Questioned Murtagh, suddenly relieved.
“I’m fine, just a wee bit dizzy.”
“The hell you are! You’re bleeding all over the place, you’re lucky you aren’t dead.” She snapped, “You could have told me you were shot before you fell off the horse you know.”
“Didn’t hurt much at the time.” He stated staring back into her emerald gaze.
Without looking away she tore a long strip of cloth from her petticoat and began binding his wound.
“Does it hurt now?” She growled, pulling the bandage tight,
“Aye.” He groaned,.
Her smirk returning, “ Good.”
Moments later she grasped his hand tightly, helping him stand, “Well that is all I can do fer now.”
“Thankyou Lass. Truly.” He assured.
She simply nodded releasing his hand, “Now, back on your horse before they leave us.”
Riding once again through the harsh night, cold and bloody, the promise of better things to come was not even a thought after prayer. But the hope that things could not get worse was a fleeting dream that she held on to as tight as the horse’s mane. As the sun rose over the horizon a massive castle could be seen in the distance. Their destination that would soon prove to be either her sanctuary or her prison… Castle Leoch.
The sounds of hammer on metal and the morning chatter of the castle tenants were the only distractions left for the girl. As they came to a halt and began dismounting to greet family and friends, the master of the horses was the first to meet the party; followed closely by an older woman who affectionately welcomed the men and sent them on their way for breakfast.
The woman stopped suddenly, appearing to be lost for words when she spotted the Irish girl. Her appearance savage, bloody in soaked through undergarments that were torn to shreds.
“What do we have here?” The older woman questioned Jamie as she approached the two.
Jamie turned to the girl, he had no idea who she actually was. He had not been present when Murtagh and Dougal interrogated the girl before bringing her inside the cabin.
“Daniea Douglas.” She stated attempting to not appear as fragile as she felt.
“This is Mistress Fitzgibbons.” Jamie told Daniea as he walked over to the older woman, “Murtagh found her, and Dougal said we must bring her along with us so..”
Mistress Fitzgibbons shook her head in acknowledgment to Jamie’s plight.
“Well….Daniea,” She began, rolling the girls name on her tongue like a question.
“Come with me, we shall find you something to eat and something to wear thats a bit ,” She looked over Daniea’s disheveled appearance once more as she began to guide her towards the castle, “Well, a bit more.”
Daniea halted, “What about him?”
Jamie scoffed and continued to unpack his horse with one arm.”I can fend fer myself Lass.”
“I think not, you’re hurt.” she snapped, turning towards Mistress Fitzgibbons, “He got himself shot yesterday.”
“I’ll be fine.” He insisted.
“The hell you will! If I don’t finish tending to that gaping hole yer sporting or that piece of meat you call a shoulder you’ll be having dealings with Saint Peter soon,” She growled her temper flaring at his foolishness.
“Oh I. I agree with the Lass.” The woman chimed, turning to Daniea, “But do you mean to say you know what to do?”
“Are ye a charmer then? A beaton?” Mistress Fitzgibbons questioned, perplexed by the young girl.
“Aye,” Daniea answered, exhaustion beginning to show through her strong exterior.
“Jamie!” Mrs. Fitz hollered, “ You heard the lady, you need tendin, let’s get ye out of the rain.”
The young highlander huffed but slowly did as he was told, following the two women inside the castle to be looked after.
Once settled in a room upstairs, Daniea began tending to boiling water in the hearth’s copper pots as Jamie stripped off his bloody jacket and shirt. He quickly wrapped himself in a nearby blanket as Mistress Fitzgibbons bustled back into the room, arms full of odds and ends.
“As you asked, cherry bark and comfrey fer the pain and garlic and witch hazel to boil the rags.” Mistress Fitzgibbons listed as she handed the vials and cloth to Daniea.
“Perfect, I thankyou kindly.” Daniea replied, quickly adding the herbs to the pots in the fire,
“Call out if ye need anything else.”
“I will, thankyou again Mistress Fitzgibbons.”
“Everybody calls me Mrs. Fitz, I would be pleased if ye did the same Lass,” Mrs. Fitz instructed.
Daniea smiled and nodded as the woman left, then hastily redirected her attention to the injured man beside her. She slowly stepped behind Jamie and began to remove the blanket he had been clasping onto tightly. As the crisscrossing of scars across his entire back became illuminated by the firelight he began to speak.
“The redcoats… flogged me twice in the space of a week.They’d have done it twice the same day I expect, were they not afraid of killing me.” He took a deep breath, memories flooding his mind. “There’s no joy in flogging a dead man.”
“I wouldn’t hope that anyone would feel joy from such a thing.” Daniea replied as she gently cleaned the back side of his shoulder where the round exited, careful to not disturb his scars.
“Well if Randall was not precisely joyous, he was at very least pleased with himself.”
The name startled Daniea for a second, “Why were you flogged in the first place?” She asked attempting to cover up her reaction.
“Well the first time was for escaping Fort William, and the second was theft I believe… or at least that’s what the charge sheet read,”
“Why did you need to escape?”
He turned slightly towards her, a smile spreading across his face, his voice lowered to a whisper, “They were holding me prisoner.”
His sarcasm quickly broke the tension that had been building, “I figured that,” She chuckled, “But why were you imprisoned in the first place… what charge were they holding you fer?”
“Oh that,” a puzzled look emerging on his face, “ I think it was…obstruction.”
“Obstruction? That doesn’t seem like a good reason to imprison someone.”
“Ahh well, I suppose it is when the English decide what it means.”
“Aye, you have a point there.” She agreed, tightening the first bandages around the bullet wound.
He took a deep breath in, “It was near four years ago now,” he began as he slowly told Daniea the story of his capture, Randall’s cruelness not only to him but his sister and finally his journey to prison,
“When I woke up, I was trussed up in the wagon with the chickens, jolting down the road to Fort William.”
Daniea stopped dead in her tracks, her hand resting on Jamie’s injured shoulder, “I’m sorry.”
He tried to make a joke when he sensed her mood, “Aye, but the worst part was how poor company the chickens were.”
She smiled for a short second before she finished bandaging his arm. He winced at the pain, “I’m going to have to strap yer arm to your side, so don’t be getting any foolish ideas until it’s healed,”
He chuckled at the warning, stopping abruptly when pain shot through his torso from her strapping his shoulder down. When she finished she allowed her fingertips to trail across a few of the scars by the dressing before she sat down on the floor in front of him by the hearth.
“You’re a kind woman, with a good touch. Your clan must be proud to have a healer such as yourself.”
“Thankyou…” she whispered her voice trailing off as she stared into the fire. Her memories overcoming the anguish she had suffered through the past few days. Tears began falling onto her cheeks, Jamie’s words far away.
“Daniea?” He spoke gently, she didn’t respond. “Daniea… Mistress.” He called now becoming worried at her comatose state. “Mistress Douglas what’s wrong?”
His voice louder and filled with worry snapped her back, “I’m…. I’m fine just thinking about my family is all..”
“Ohh.. I’m sure they will be happy to see you again, don’t worry we will get you home.” He tried to insure her, his hand on her back as he moved to kneel beside her on the ground.
“That’s impossible..” she stated quietly.
“Why’s that Lass?”
“Their dead… I have no one anymore.” She answered, realization hitting her. At that moment she could no longer control herself, racking sobs began to form within her chest.
“Shhh… there Lass, don’t cry, shhhh,” He pleaded as he pulled her into him, wrapping her within his warmth. She remained there in the comfort of his arms for what seemed like forever, as she slowly pulled away their eyes met, heat rushed into her cheeks, her heart racing like never before.
“I’m sorry, I shouldn’t be…” She whimpered, finally pulling away from him.
“You need not be scared of me, nor anyone else here so long as I’m with ye.” He promised
“And when yer not with me?” She questioned.
He slowly stood, “Be careful. You’re a stranger here and until that changes…”
She nodded in understanding.
“Now eat and sleep a bit, your worn out. Won’t be too long before someone will be wanting a word with you.” He smiled, making his way to the door,
Before she could stop herself she reached out, grabbing his hand. “Jamie?”
Like a dream Jamie was gone, sleep had fallen hard upon her and harsh banging on the door was bringing her back to consciousness.
“You must get up! Come along now, up with ye!” Mrs. Fitz called as she whipped around the room, opening curtains, laying out clothes and pouring warm water to clean up with,
Daniea roused herself awake and stumbled over to the basin. “Make yourself presentable Lass, I will be back soon.”
Once Mrs. Fitz left, Daniea slowly bathed, tamed her wild raven curls, tying them into a neat bun, and glanced quickly in a mirror. She wasn’t too stunned when she saw the state she was in, her forehead black and blue, the bruising standing out greatly against her alabaster skin along with her lip cut and swollen. The aches within her echoed the beating she had endured.
Gradually she slipped into her new corset and dress that had been laid out for her and waited nervously for what was to come.
“Ahh much better, now yer ready to be taken to himself.” Mrs. Fitz complemented when she returned to usher Daniea away. When they reached the other end of the castle, Murtagh took over, guiding her through the winding halls and finally taking her into a study.
“Wait here.” Was all he said before he closed the door behind him.
Colorful birds chirped in a gilded cage surrounded by leather bound novels. Daniea whistled quietly to them as the door opened, revealing a short older scotsman, an air of authority radiating around him. Daniea soon noticed his legs were deformed but knew better than to let her eyes linger for longer than a second.
“ I welcome ye mistress, my name is Colum Ban Campbell Mackenzie, Laird of this castle.”
He motioned for her to sit.
“Thankyou my Laird.” She answered shyly taking a seat.
”It was my understanding that my brother and his men found you in some apparent distress.” He continued as he took the seat behind his desk.
“I..” She began, mustering her courage, “I was attacked and nearly raped by a red coat captain.”
“And other than this… near rape, you suffered no further molestation?” He asked.
“No, my Laird.”
“Now how exactly did a lady such as yourself come to be wandering about in the woods, dressed in nothing but her shift?” He questioned, staring harshly at Daniea.
“I was making my journey from Ireland when the party I was traveling with was attacked by highwaymen. I managed to escape but found myself lost in the woods when I stumbled upon a group of redcoats. Their Captain, a Jack Randall his name was, attacked me, relieved me of my clothes and attempted to have his way with me.”
“It’s true, Jack Randall does have a certain reputation.” He stated as he looked deep in thought, not uttering a word for a few minutes then, “ May I inquire why an Irish Lassie is traveling such a long way into Scotland by herself?”
Daniea took a deep breath, if telling her tale of Randall was hard enough, this surely sought to break her.
“Aye, I am an only child my lord… my mother passed a short time ago leaving me with nothing but a few coins and a letter. The letter told me if anything ever happened to her to seek out my father. My father is a highlander my lord.”
“What pray tell is this man’s name?” Colum inquired.
She answered softly, “Taran Douglas, my Laird.”
A slight look of shock crossed his face. “Does he know about you Lass?”
“Aye my lord, he….he was around when I was a bairn.”
Colum simply shook his head, “Well then, I will contact Taran myself and make him aware of yer situation, till then I offer you the hospitality of our humble home.”
Daniea could not help but smile, “Thankyou my lord, from the bottom of my heart.”
As she left the study to find her way back through the castle, she couldn’t help wondering why the Laird looked so surprised when she named her father. She had no real recollection of him except for what her mother told her. But he was alive and Colum knew who and where he was so that had to mean better things were in store.
If you want to read more check it out on archiveofourown or fanfiction.net, or wattpad under wild rose of ireland