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With Her

Summary:
Quil and Claire are married. When Claire becomes pregnant, what new difficulties will they face? In the series For Her. Sequel to Protect Her, Love Her, Hold Her, Keep Her, and From Her. In that order... I think.


Notes:
Well, read the others first. I don't own this. By the way, sorry for the wait, but you took FOREVER with the reviews. thank pinkpoop/ alreadyinarithmancy and equuslover22 that this is posted at all. Love you guys!


11. Chapter 11

Rating 5/5   Word Count 593   Review this Chapter

Emily met us at the door, and this time there was no happiness. She had been crying, too.

She held out a bundle wrapped in white. I could just see the blood through the colorless fabric. I took it, trying to hide the tears. They blinked in my eyes.

Little Leah (that’s practically become her name) ran up, smiling widely. “Hi. Auntie Claire, why’re ya cryin’? You’re gonna be a mommy real soon, and it’s Mother’s Day.”

Claire lost it. Her tears were sudden and hysterical. Leah looked on, totally bewildered. Emily grabbed her daughter. “I’m sorry, Claire. I’ll explain to her.”

“No, it’s… it’s fine. She’s only a baby.”

“I’m not a baby. Babies stink! I’m a big girl.”

Emily deposited the struggling child on the couch. “Auntie Claire’s having a bad day. You hurt her feelings. It was an accident, but I’m afraid you’ll do it again, so stay here until she leaves.”

Leah stuck out her lower lip in an adorable pout. Claire sobbed loudly, gasping for breath. I tried to comfort her, but she pushed me away.

I gasped for breath, too. I was holding my children, I realized. It was the closest to their father I was ever going to get. I’d never play baseball or change diapers or go to ballet recitals.

I cradled the bundle tenderly while Claire fought to force the air back into her lungs. She was shutting me out totally, but maybe this was how we had to do it. Take the grief separately. One at a time.

I held it… them… closer to my chest.

“My babies,” she whispered, and started crying even harder. She was positively shaking now, her whole body twitching and convulsing with every gasp. It hurt so much to see her like this. It was far worse than my personal loss, because she was so important to me… so much important than I was to myself.

I couldn’t stand seeing her this way.

“Claire, Claire, what can I do to make this better?”

“It’ll never be better,” she said. The tears showed no signs of slowing. I tried to wrap an arm around her, but she pushed me away. Quietly, gently, and regretfully, I walked from the room, leaving her alone with her grief the way she wanted it.

Soon enough she would come to me. I knew it. She just needed time.

I was used to that.

I chuckled darkly.

Sam was around the corner. “Quil, you all right?”

“Do I look all right?” I asked. “I’ve just lost two children and Claire can’t even stand to be in the same room as me.”

“She’s in pain. I know it’s hard. Give her space, brother. She’ll be fine. She’s strong. She’ll get through this.”

“What if she doesn’t?”

“She will.”

“I know. I am giving her space, see? Here I am. Leaving her alone…”

And then, to my utmost horror, I started crying. In front of Sam and the curious pack, who poked their heads in when they heard sobs. Shame and grief and terror mingled, and I couldn’t choke back the weeping.

Stealthily, Sam and the rest left.

At opposite ends of Sam’s house, Claire and I wept out our broken hearts. We’d never needed each other more, or been further apart.

The bundle in my arms was wet with the tiny bodies inside and my own bitter tears.