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Protect Her

Summary:
Quil is Claire's. He will do exactly what she needs of him. Even when her newly divorced father gains custody and forbids him to go anywhere near her, he does what's best... he leaves her alone. And then, after five long years, he realizes what's been happening to the one he was born to protect. He WILL save her, no matter what it takes.


Notes:
Quil/Claire. Yes, it's a little creepy. He's in love with a two-year -old. Mostly post-eclipse, will skip around a bunch... *disclaims*


3. Chapter 3

Rating 5/5   Word Count 789   Review this Chapter

Mr. Denson forbade me from entering the house. This was not a big problem, as I could just visit during his frequent jaunts out of town. His wife was more than happy to have my help, since Claire’s sister was a handful and a half.

I gathered that Jack had not been the best husband of late. I hoped they would figure things out. I didn’t want my Claire growing up without a father.

I had become something of a confidante to Lina Denson. I spent as much time as possible in her house doing menial labor and whatever else she asked, so it was only natural I should eventually weasel some gossip out of her—not that I would betray her confidences (could hurt Claire.)

That’s how I viewed everything, in terms of how it would affect Claire. She wasn’t the most important thing in my world. She was the world. Everyone else was just too dumb to realize it.

Anyway, Claire was upstairs taking a bath, one of the few activities I was not allowed to assist with (though I swear I wouldn’t try anything funny! She’s only two!), and I was worrying and chopping onions. What if she drowned? Or got soap in her eyes? Or hit her head against the back of the tub, got soap in her eyes, concussed, and THEN drowned? I did not trust a five year old with helping my Claire somewhere as dangerous as a bathtub.

I realized how ridiculous that sounded, really I did, but I couldn’t help it! Life is so dangerous for her. Angels are delicate.

I chopped harder and was utterly engrossed in doing this as quickly as possible so I could go check on Claire. I didn’t even notice Lina was on the phone until I heard her tears. She did sound a lot like Claire, though Claire’s every action was unmistakable. There was enough resemblance that I stopped what I was doing.

“What’s wrong?”

She threw the phone to the floor. “Jack. He wants a divorce.”

Claire couldn’t grow up with just one parent! It wouldn’t be right! “I’m so sorry.”

Now her eyes were full of guilt. “And he wants Claire. He says she’s not safe here with me… with you. And if he doesn’t get what he wants… Jack always gets… I… I can’t possibly support both my girls, Quil. Not on my own. And he’ll sue… he’s got a good lawyer. It’ll… it’s… he’ll take them both away… and never… I’ll never… see them again… Quil, I told him I’d sign the papers.”

I understood. But I pretended ignorance, hoping it would forestall the horror. “What papers?”

“A custody agreement, no lawyers, no courtrooms. He takes Claire, I take Sarah, I get both when he’s out on business. He doesn’t have to do this. It’s better than I’d get if it went to court. I’d never see my children again. Quil, I’m sorry.”

I don’t care about her. I don’t care about him. I care about Claire and that is all and I can’t can’t can’tcan’tCAN’T do this. Can’t.

“I’m going to go say good-bye to Claire. Excuse me.”

I walked upstairs. She was bright pink, freshly scrubbed, grinning my smile, laughing. “Hi, Kwiw!”

“Claire…”

She surveyed me with the serious eyes of a two-year-old. Babies see everything. And I was hers. Imprinting isn’t all one way. “What’s wong, Kwiw?”

“I… your mommy should tell you this, but I want you to know, sweetie. You have to go stay with your daddy, and you know I’m not allowed to see you when Daddy’s around.”

“But… but fo’ how wong, Kwiw?”

“For a long time.”

“But I wuv you!”

My heart twisted and bent and burst. I caressed her face, brushing her soft cheek with one finger and groaning as she smiled a hopeful tiny smile. “I love you, too. More than you can understand, possibly know, anything. But I can’t. God, Claire, I promise. As soon as I can, I will come see you.” Maybe when her father’s out of town. Yeah. That will work.

“I don’t want you to! WANT YOU TO STAY!”

She was working up to a tantrum, so I scooped her up and cradled her against my chest, where she immediately calmed. “I love you, Claire, and I swear I will be back. Someday one day everyday. You are my world, sweetie, you know that? I love you. Good-bye.”

“Bye-bye, Kwiw.”

I set her down gently, leaving a burning kiss on her forehead as I ran into the lonely pain.