AN: This is basically a continuation of A Trip to the Highlands, only this one really IS just the one story and I refuse to let it get out of control. I don't own these characters. Oh, and, as a disclaimer, I'm really sorry if some things just seem unrealistic. I had trouble finding much on life in 18th century Scotland, so I took some liberties.
The first year Victoria spent in Scotland was the hardest of her entire life. Each day alone was more difficult than the dealing with her father's death and living with the Harris family put together. She knew good things would come; the Doctor had assured her of that. But, for goodness' sake, how long was she going to have to wait?
Upon arriving, she had immediately encountered trouble. The Doctor had left her behind so quickly, so far outside of the village! She barely had a chance to think. That was one thing she had always found difficult when she traveled with him. Everything went by so fast, and she required time to think. Imagine that, all of time and space in a little blue box and she felt that she didn't have enough of it!
She shook her head and smiled at the thought before continuing on towards the village. This dress was so uncomfortable. It had been so long since she had worn anything like it. To think that she had been raised in dresses far more extravagant than these, and now she could barely walk in anything that wasn't more modern. Still she carried on, finally reaching the small town.
At least it didn't take her too long to find Jamie. She wandered into the village, the look of despair on her face which was only partially feigned, and it was mere minutes before that boy she had remembered so fondly approached her with concern.
"Excuse me, lassie!" Jamie ran straight towards her. He surveyed her, fixating on her face. Victoria kept hoping he'd recognize her, and it nearly broke her heart when he gave up trying to place her. "You look new here. Are you lost?"
Victoria tried to hold in tears until she realized how well they could help her case. "I'm so sorry. I was travelling with a group of… of…" She hadn't thought of how she would explain. "I was with my family. We're… we're travelling merchants. Yes, that's it. But then I went to… er, to gather some wild fruits because we prefer not to eat our merchandise if we can sell it instead. And then I came back and they had just vanished!" She hoped that he wouldn't notice how she had made it all up on the spot. She knew it didn't make much sense, but if this was the same Jamie McCrimmon she remembered, she knew he wouldn't think on it too much.
"Och! That's terrible!" He looked at her with genuine sympathy. Her story had worked. "D'you have anywhere to stay?"
"No, I was just passing through." She wished that she could stay with him, but that would be improper. She would have to stay with another woman, or perhaps a family.
"I'll find a place for you, then. What did you say your name was again?"
"I didn't. It's Victoria." She half-smiled through the tears, trying to remember the surname the Doctor had suggested. "Victoria…. Heriot."
Jamie looked as if he almost placed the name, then shook his head. "What a lovely name. Well, Victoria Heriot, I promise you, I will find a place for you to stay."
He kept his promise, and that evening she was staying with a very kind, widowed old seamstress named Mrs. Campbell who lived in a small cottage on the edge of town. She was a lovely woman, for which Victoria was truly grateful. Victoria would run her errands, going to market for food and bread, selling her wares to other villagers. While she was fond of the old woman, though, Victoria mainly used her errands as an excuse to find Jamie and talk to him. It was encouraging, even if he did not recognize her, that his face lit up as she would approach.
Victoria had trouble deciphering at first if he had any intention of courting her or not. In some ways, things had been simpler in the TARDIS, traveling with Jamie and the Doctor. They didn't have time to worry about things. There were people to see, planets to save! And yet, in that life, there was no chance of her ever getting to tell Jamie about her feelings. It was simple, yes, but it was disheartening at the same time. It hadn't taken her long to fall in love, and she had always hoped that he had felt the same way. But now, here she was, already knowing everything about him, but he had to get to know her all over again.
The months seemed to drag by at first. She sometimes wished that the Doctor would just show up and tell Jamie everything. And, sometimes, she almost believed he didn't have to.
"Miss Victoria," Jamie said on one such occasion, "if you don't mind my saying so, I feel like I've known you for such a long time. You'll think I'm crazy, I'm sure. But, when I first saw you, I almost felt like I recognized you from somewhere."
Victoria smiled. "Oh, of course it doesn't sound crazy. I felt quite the same about you." It took all of her willpower to keep from telling him that it was because he did recognize her from somewhere.
"Ah. Good. Well, that's certainly reassuring." He looked rather reflective, Victoria thought. Maybe he knew who she was after all. "You know, for a minute, I thought I might actually know you. But that was ridiculous. Besides, something about your name just sounded wrong. I don't know what it is about it." Victoria looked absolutely crestfallen, causing him to backpedal. "I mean, it's a beautiful name, don't get me wrong, it just wasn't what I expected to hear."
And so the weeks trudged by with similar conversations until, one day, old Mrs. Campbell fell ill. She had no children, unfortunately, nor any other surviving kin, and her husband had passed just a year before. To the surprise of the entire town, she insisted on Victoria inheriting everything, should she not make it through. She didn't have much to offer, but Victoria had made her last seven months so easy, so enjoyable. She could think of no better way to thank her.
Victoria hardly knew how to react. When the other villagers would come to call on the widow in her last days of life, Victoria could feel their strange glances burning straight through her. Although they were so kind to her before, she felt like she didn't belong among them.
A few days before Mrs. Campbell died, Jamie came to call on her. He stayed talking to her for quite a while, and, after he exited her quarters, he took Victoria aside. "Miss Heriot, I'm so terribly sorry to hear about all of this."
"Thank you for your sympathy."
"I really hope she pulls through, you know. It would be a shame, a girl like you, living all by yourself."
"I know. I absolutely dread it. It's awful, the way she's going."
"Aye, so it is." Jamie looked at his feet for a moment as if to compose himself. "You know, maybe you shouldn't be living on your own."
"Well, I don't know what else I would do." That wasn't true. She knew exactly what she would like to do, although she daren't say it aloud.
"When I was just in there, talking to Mrs. Campbell, I had to ask her a question, and she said yes. You know, she thinks of you as a daughter, and I know I didn't have to ask her, but I did anyway. I thought she'd like that."
"Jamie? What are you getting at?" She hoped she knew exactly what he was getting at.
"What I'm trying to say, Miss Heriot…" He trailed off, cleared his throat, and looked straight at her. "Miss Victoria Heriot, would you marry me?"
It took every ounce of her will to keep her from flinging her arms around him on the spot. "Oh, Jamie, of course I'll marry you!" Her willpower quickly lost the battle, and she enthusiastically ran up for his embrace.
The two married quickly; the next day, in fact. Mrs. Campbell wasn't sure she would survive much longer, and she very much wanted to see the two wed. The moment Jamie had asked for her consent, she agreed. Legally, of course, no one could consent for the girl, but Mrs. Campbell was glad he asked just the same.
It was a beautiful ceremony. Small, unplanned, and simple. Both of Jamie's parents had long since passed, unfortunately, so neither could attend. The only people to witness it were Mrs. Campbell and a few of Jamie's cousins, to whom he offered his house as he would be living with Victoria from now on. There wasn't a fuss. Victoria wore the same tartan she had come to town in, as it was the only one she actually had in her possession and it seemed fitting for a marriage to someone so quintessentially Scottish.
The day after the wedding, Mrs. Campbell died. It was tragic, though hardly unexpected. Her burial, like the wedding only the day before, was simple and beautiful in its own way. Victoria's sadness was tinted from remaining joy from yesterday. How odd; she waited eight months for anything to happen at all and suddenly it all seemed to be happening at once. She half expected the Doctor to pop up in his fantastic blue box while it was all happening.
Still the months passed on. Victoria loved every moment she spent with Jamie, but still she wished –no, she knew –things would be different for the better once he truly knew who she was. She knew that he remembered her somewhere deep within his heart, and that memory had to be pleasant or else he wouldn't have married her, hadn't it?
In the meantime, though, she tried to savor the moments. She had never truly experienced romance before, but she imagined it was something like this. Jamie was kind and gentle. The same protective nature she had seen in the TARDIS so long ago would show itself if Victoria would show any reason to be upset.
Finally, after four months of being married, it happened. Jamie had gone to the market while Victoria tended to the vegetable garden. He had not been out long before Victoria heard several sets of footsteps approaching. She could only hope for the best, and, as she turned her head, her hopes were met.
After some quick introductions, she invited her guests in for some tea. They caught up for a while, informing each other of developments in their lives. Victoria explained the year she had just experienced, and how much of a relief it was to finally have the Doctor here. "I nearly thought Jamie was going to figure out on his own, once or twice."
The fact that she and Jamie were wed clearly came to the Doctor as a pleasant surprise. "You know, I have been alive for a long time indeed, but if I could call one thing in this universe a miracle, this would be it," he repeated several times.
"Oh, it's hardly a miracle. Just a lucky chain of events, really." Victoria smiled.
After the Doctor and his friends had taken off once more, Jamie took Victoria aside. "This whole year, and you didn't tell me?"
"Well, I couldn't, Jamie. I had to stick to the established chain of events. The Doctor took me here after we just saw him now. It was rather difficult, though. You would mention having strange dreams, and I would have to use all of my willpower to keep myself from telling you everything. Besides which, if what I had said didn't trigger your memory, the whole town would just call me crazy."
Jamie nodded in understanding. "Fair enough, I suppose."
As the two put out flames from candles and went off to bed, they knew that the life they were going to share together would be far greater of an adventure than any they had shared with the Doctor.