Fandom/Ship: LOST - Charlie/Claire
Disclaimer: I own nothing, obviously.
Summary: Charlie confesses.
Author Notes: This takes place almost immediately after the season two finale - spoilers ahead.
Charlie grinned and gazed intently at his large hand in her small one. Her fingers were running over the bumps of his knuckles lovingly in a way that sent tingling jolts straight to the pit of his stomach. Thinking back to what seemed like ages ago, he remembered how irresponsible and unsuited he felt she was to be a mother. She was too young, too carefree to be responsible for another life as fragile as a newborn baby was. He had been only half-wrong. Yes, she was all of those things, but he'd never seen a love so fierce than when she demanded to come with him and Sayid to search for Danielle and get her baby back. He knew then that she would love and protect and cherish her son as long as that carefree spirit of hers could live.
And this amazing woman, the woman he vowed to protect even before he realized how deeply he cared for her or how much he wanted to be more than just a friend, had just kissed him. It was nothing more than a soft kiss on the lips. It wasn't deep or hot but it made the butterflies in his stomach flutter and his body warm up from the tips of his toes to his face that flushed unknowingly to her in the firelight. In some weird way, he felt like it was her way of letting him know he was safe now.
"I really missed you, Claire," Charlie admitted, softly but steadily. "All those weeks you shut me out, kept me away, I never stopped thinking about you."
"Charlie," she started, but Charlie ignored her interruption.
"I just couldn't get the look of disgust and disappointment and anger out of my head. It was killing me knowing you wouldn't let me near Aaron after what I did. I really thought I was protecting him, you know? I just wanted what was best for the both of you, but all I did was bugger it up."
"Yes, you did," Claire said seriously before bringing up her free hand to touch his cheek and nudge his head to meet her gaze, "but that doesn't mean it was easy for me either. On one hand, I knew I couldn't let you near my baby after what you did that night. I did what I felt was right for him at the moment. I was just so angry that you would lie to me like that, that would be using drugs around him."
"But, I wasn't!" Charlie said, a little louder than he should have and Claire's hand fell from his cheek. "I was completely clean. Don't you see? The whole time! The whole time I was just keeping it all around to test myself. The longer I could go without wanting the drugs, the closer I was to becoming a better person. I just wanted to be someone who was good enough for you, someone you could be proud of. I-I wanted to be someone you and Aaron could count on."
"On the other," she continued, shakily, "it hurt waking up everyday knowing you wouldn't be there to keep me company. I lost my best friend."
Claire lowered her gaze and her head drooped a little so that a few locks of hair that had already escaped her ponytail fell in her face. He brushed a soft, blonde strand of hair behind her ear; she looked up to meet his eyes suddenly, her own starting to slowly fill with tears as her own emotions and confusion threatened to break her.
"What I said before, do you believe me?"
Claire nodded hesitantly.
"Can you forgive me, Claire?"
She was silent for a moment as his eyes flickered, scanning her softened expression for some sort of sign or confirmation.
"I don't know, Charlie. Trust, it's a hard thing to earn back. I think we should just take what's happening as it comes and just see what happens with us."
That was the most Charlie could hope for. He grinned cheekily and let his thumb run over her knuckles. "So there's a ‘us’, now?"
Claire gave him a small, shy smile and blinked as a tear began to trail down her cheek. "Well, when flaming fireballs and flying forks become involved, you can't help but want to take a chance on something real."