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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.


7. Chapter 7

Rating 5/5   Word Count 600   Review this Chapter

Crap.

This still happened sometimes. A part of me was cruelly taunting, saying, see, Quil, you’re not good enough, she doesn’t want you, she doesn’t love you, even sleeping she knows that, watch her shrink away when you try to touch her, repulsive, revolting, unworthy…

The rest of me calmly informed that demon voice to shut the heck up because Claire needed me right now and I could angst sometime later when she wasn’t screaming like she was being tortured.

“Claire? Sweetheart?”

I was never sure what to do when the nightmares came. Sometimes I thought I should hold her close, other times that I should leave.

But if I left then she was alone again.

And yet I never knew if touching her was the right thing to do, if it would bring back more horrific memories, terrify her further…

“Claire, honey, you’re having a bad dream. Shh…”

She didn’t stop screaming. I was surprised everyone for a hundred miles around didn’t come to investigate who was being murdered. It was an ear-wrenching, brain-bleeding sound of pure terror.

“It isn’t real, Claire, it isn’t real, no one’s going to hurt you, no one’s ever going to hurt you again.”

The screaming faded, but was replaced by a whimper. “Don’t go…”

Maybe it wasn’t the same dream as usual. But I continued, “He’s dead, honey, I killed him. He can’t hurt you…”

“Quil?”

“Yeah?” She knew it was me. That was good. Last time she’d had a nightmare, she’d thought I was him.

I’d been tempted to do a little screaming myself.

“Quil, don’t go. I love you.”

And with those words, no matter that she was asleep, that she didn’t know I could hear her, that she wasn’t even talking really, I felt all my fears fade. She loved me. She loved me, and I loved her, and really in the face of that there were no problems, just minor inconveniences, and together we could face them and defeat them.

“Claire, I’m not going anywhere. I’m here, right here.”

“How long?”

Conversations with sleeping people. This is ridiculous. I could at least wake her up if I need to talk to her…

No, she has an infant. She needed all the rest she could get. “I’m here forever. Or as long as you want me.”

“’s the same thing.”

“Thank you.”

She doesn’t reply, and I decided it’s probably because she’s really asleep now.

My hands drifted, finding the small of her back, the delicate curve natural underneath my gigantic palm.

Claire was delicate. I was huge and clunky and clumsy… but somehow between the two of us there was a perfect balance.

Equilibrium.

And lying here felt so right that the whole world, our whole lives and everything else, could exist just for this moment, and it would be worth it.

It was all I needed, being near her like this. I thought about how long the journey had been to get here.

The last time we’d been in this house, when Claire was sixteen and so afraid, I had thought that was enough, no, more than I’d ever wanted, just knowing she loved me.

I was wrong.

This was everything, too much happiness for one person.

Claire was mine as I was hers, and every difficulty we faced we would face together.

It was hard to believe, but I knew it was the truth.