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Beside Her

Summary:
Latest installment in For Her, sequel to Protect Her, Love Her, Hold Her, Keep Her, From Her, and With Her. Whew! In this story, Quil and Claire's first child is born. They face the ordinary travails of parenting, along with some special dilemnas.


Notes:
Largely fluff. no forseeable evil conflicts of doom... but don't worry, there will be plenty in the next tale! this is the series that never ends. 100 reviews, people. or the sequel doesn't go up. or get written. and we don't want that.


1. Chapter 1

Rating 5/5   Word Count 595   Review this Chapter

“Look,” she whispered, and thrust the small, delicate bundle into my arms.

I peered down at it, at the wrinkled red hairless skin, at the strange disproportional face that resembled nothing so much as the aliens that had given me and Jake nightmares when we’d watched Mutant Invaders from Planet Zork in third grade, and for the second time in my life, I fell in love with a baby.

It wasn’t quite the same as when I met Claire. This child didn’t usurp her place as the most important thing in the world. But it was pretty dang close.

It wasn’t the same obsessive love as imprinting, but I felt the familiar thing- keep him safe, Quil, whatever you do.

It was the second time I had been charged with that. This time, I would do a much better job.

“It’s a boy,” Claire said. With that pronouncement, she fell asleep. Quietly I lifted the dark hairs stuck to her clammy forehead, removing the sweaty evidence of this long, painful day. She smiled in her sleep as I kissed the place where the last hair had just left its salty trail.

She was exhausted, weary, in pain. She’d spent the last twenty hours screaming in horrific agony, trying to get this little bundle of joy from her stomach to our waiting arms. It had been hard on both of us- I felt every second as if it were my own pain, watching that.

And yet I had never seen her happier, not since she was an innocent baby herself (and that stage of her life had ended far too soon). Not since I left her at the age of two had she smiled so peacefully.

It was beautiful to behold.

Forks’ sole nurse came in the room and extended her battle-worn arms to take the baby away for cleaning and testing and paperwork, all the institutionalized rituals of a brand new miracle. Before handing him over I looked at my small family- suddenly larger, but still close, even though one of us was unconscious and the other all of five minutes old.

“God, I love you,” I said- to both of them. The peaceful smile on Claire’s face widened to a downright grin.

The baby, on the other hand, screamed bloody murder. Well, you can’t win everything. As he hollered like his toenails were being pulled off by rusty pliers ( a favorite analogy of mine) I handed him over. The beautiful infant cried louder. I guess it’s one of the few talents newborns possess, screaming like demons.

Claire, amazingly, slept through the din. I watched her closely after the baby was carried away. She was so beautiful. Her skin was traced with lines of sweat and tears, tracing patterns down her smooth face. I took her hand, even colder than usual, but moist with the labor of this long ordeal, and waited patiently for her to wake up.

How far we’ve come, Claire, my only, my angel, my love, my everything… how very far we’ve come from the long ago terrible days. I remembered them, when she was a child, when I’d first found (I hesitated to think ‘saved’) her. I still remembered the screams in her sleep, still sometimes saw her freeze and weep at the most random things… but she was so brave, so good, so precious, my Claire. How I adored her, all through the journey that had led us here, and yet was only now beginning.