"The Space Between" is a novella by Diana Gabaldon, originally published in the anthology The Mad Scientist's Guide to World Domination, edited by John Joseph Adams. The story takes place within the larger narrative of the Outlander series, and focuses on several supporting characters from the main novels.
On October 11, 2012, "The Space Between" was included in A Trail of Fire, a collection of four of Gabaldon's short stories published exclusively in the U.K. On June 27, 2017, the novella was published in a new collection, Seven Stones to Stand or Fall, which consists of seven Outlander stories.
This story deals with Michael Murray – second son of Ian and Jenny Murray – and with Joan MacKimmie, Laoghaire's second daughter and Marsali's younger sister. Joan sets off for France, under Michael's protection, there to take up her vocation as a nun.
The Comte St. Germain, given name Paul Rakoczy, has recently arrived in Paris circa 1778. He has heard that Master Raymond, the mysterious man who somehow spared his life at the French court thirty years ago, when both Rakoczy and Claire Fraser were accused of witchcraft, has returned to Paris. Rakoczy is nervous but intrigued, hoping to learn more from the man about the magic they both seem to practice. Since his "death" at the Court of Miracles, Rakoczy has made several extended trips through time and come into contact with Mélisande, a traveler herself who taught him about the stones and other forms of magic.
Meanwhile, Joan MacKimmie is setting off to Paris to become a nun at Convent des Anges in Paris. She's accompanied by Michael Murray, her cousin via her mother's brief marriage with Jamie Fraser. Michael is returning to his life in Paris as a wine merchant, but he's still recovering from the double blow of losing his father mere months after the death of his French-born wife,
When Joan arrives at the convent, she gives the abbess, Mother Hildegarde a letter from Claire. Joan's poor French leads her to tell Mother Hildegarde that Claire is her mother, rather than her stepmother. Thanks to misinformation from Michael's incautious friend Charles Pépin, Rakoczy also comes to believe that Joan is Claire's daughter.
While in bed that night, Michael has a vivid sexual dream about his late wife. However, he wakes abruptly to realize that his wife's sister Leonie, is in his bed. Feeling violated and alarmed, Michael leaves.
The following day, Joan encounters Léonie at a public market and notices Léonie has purchased an abortifacient. A few minutes later, Joan runs into Rakoczy, and the voices instruct her to "tell him not to do it." This she does, to the shock of Rakoczy.
Michael goes to Léonie's house to confront her about the previous night, but finds her near death after attempting to perform an abortion on herself. Léonie tells Michael that the baby is Charles Pépin's, and she and Charles hoped to pass it off as belonging to Michael.
The next day, Joan is kidnapped from the convent by Rakoczy. A panicked Michael arrives at Rakoczy's home just in time to see Rakoczy leaving with Joan. He hurries to follow them.
The Comte, still convinced that Joan is Claire's daughter, takes her to the underground cavern with powerful stones and a pentagram carved into the floor. He promises not to hurt Joan, repeating that he just wants to show her something. He is disappointed when Joan is unable to hear the buzzing noise made by the stones. However, they are interrupted by Master Raymond, who confirms what Rakoczy had already begun to suspect - that Joan is not one of Raymond's "sons and daughters."
Michael arrives to rescue Joan, though by this point both Raymond and Rakoczy have largely lost interest in her. Rakoczy is distracted by the revelation that rather than being a contemporary of Raymond's, Rakoczy is one of Raymond's many "sons." Rakoczy asks Raymond if it's possible to travel forward, and a reluctant Raymond agrees to show him. The pair vanish into nothing in front of a shocked Michael and Joan.
Michael and Joan leave the cavern, agreeing that both Rakoczy and Raymond were Auld Folk. Joan decides to go back to the convent. She and Michael agree to reevaluate in a year. However, before they part, Joan asks Michael to kiss her, saying "I think I should maybe know that, before I decide."
- Michael Murray
- Joan MacKimmie
- Comte St. Germain
- Jared Fraser
- Lilliane Murray, Michael's deceased wife (mentioned only)
- Léonie, Michael's sister-in-law
- Eugenie Galantine
- Madeleine, Comte St. Germain's lover
- Charles Pépin
- Eulalie Pépin
- Master Raymond
- Mother Hildegarde
- Sister Eustacia
- Sister George
- Sister Philomène
- Sister Mathilde
- Sister Anne-Joseph
- Madame Fabienne
- Madame Eugenie
- Maxim Le Grand
- Working title: "Terror Daemonium"
- Excerpt – “The Space Between” via Diana Gabaldon's website