The whole passage
And then, to lie close, and let a lover’s dreams caress your skin as you begin to sink once more beneath the waves of consciousness, blissful in the knowledge that dawn is far off—that’s second sleep.
I came very slowly to the surface of my first sleep, to find that the highly erotic dream I had been having had some basis in reality.
“I’d never thought myself the sort who’d molest a corpse, Sassenach.” Jamie’s voice tickled the tender flesh below my ear, murmuring. “But I will say the notion has more appeal than I’d thought.”
I wasn’t sufficiently coherent as to respond to this, but thrust my hips back toward him in a fashion that he seemed to find as eloquent an invitation as one written in calligraphy on parchment. He took a deep breath, a firm grip on my buttocks, and brought me to an awakening that could be called rude in several senses of the word.
I squirmed like a worm impaled on a fish-hook, making small urgent noises that he interpreted correctly, rolling me onto my face and proceeding to leave me in no doubt that I was not merely alive and awake, but functioning.
I emerged at length from a nest of flattened pillows, damp, gasping, quivering in every engorged and slippery nerve-ending, and thoroughly awake.
“What brought that on?” I inquired. He hadn’t pulled away; we lay still joined, washed in the light of a big golden half-moon, riding low in the sky above the chestnut trees. He made a small sound, partly amusement, partly dismay.
“I canna look at ye asleep without wanting to wake ye, Sassenach.” His hand cupped my breast, gently now. “I suppose I find myself lonely without ye.”
“I’m here,” I said, and his arm tightened suddenly round me.I HEARD THE BREATH catch in his throat, and my hand tightened on his thigh.
“What is it?” I said.
He drew breath, but didn’t answer at once. I felt him draw back a little, and fumble under the pillow. Then his hand came round me again, but this time seeking the hand that lay on his leg. His fingers curled into mine, and I felt a small, hard, roundish object thrust into my hand.
I heard him swallow. “I love you,” he said, so softly that I barely heard him, close as we were.
I lay still for a moment, feeling the stone grow warmer in the palm of my hand. Surely it was imagination that made it seem to throb in time with my heart. Where on earth had he gotten it?
Then I moved—not suddenly, but with deliberation, my body sliding slowly free of his. I rose, feeling light-headed, and crossed the room. Pushed open the window to feel the sharp touch of the autumn wind on my naked bed-warm skin, and drawing back my arm, hurled the tiny object into the night.
Then I came back to bed, saw his hair a dark mass on the pillow, and the shine of his eyes in the moonlight. “I love you,” I whispered, and slid under the sheet beside him, putting my arms around him, hugging him close, warmer than the stone—so much warmer—and his heart beat with mine.“I’m none so brave as I was before, ken?” he said very softly. “Not brave enough to live without ye anymore.”
But brave enough to try.
I drew his head down to me, stroking the tumble of his hair, coarse and smooth at once, live beneath my fingers.
“Lay your head, man,” I said softly. “It’s a long time ’til dawn.”