Title: The Moments Destiny Provides
Characters: Hiro/Claire, that's right Hiro/Claire
Summary: Hiro finally meets the cheerleader.
Comments: Kind of AU given I wrote it after watching Five Years Gone and the finale changed what I was working with a little. Thanks to falulatonks for the beta.
It was awkward when he first met her. Which seemed fitting, given his nature - and the fact that there is no “appropriate behavior” when meeting someone whose life an alternative version of yourself was instrumental in saving.
She was awkward too, because how was she supposed to know what to say to the person whose future self set into motion the events that saved her from death by demented brain eater?
However she ignored her uncertainty and smiled, sadly, as he clumsily extended his hand to shake hers. When he looks back he remembers how soft her hand was, but at the time he was just trying to figure out what to say that wouldn't sound completely idiotic. In the photographs he'd seen of her she always looked so young, and while her facial features hadn't changed there was grief in her eyes that aged her and shook him. Instead of words, he opted for squeezing her hand and giving her his own small sad smile.
Peter cleared his throat, and motioned for them to sit on the couch behind them. They did so and Peter asked them if they wanted anything to drink. Claire requested lemonade and Hiro water. As Peter slipped from the room and into his kitchen, the awkwardness slipped back.
They sat silently for a few seconds. Hiro pushed his glasses up the bridge of his nose and slouched forward, his hands hanging limply off the edge of the couch. Claire leaned forward too, her elbows resting on her legs and her hands clasped together. "Thanks for saving me," she said with a sidelong glance, but he sensed a brokenness and defeat in her voice that contradicted her words.
She unclasped her hands, leaned back against the couch and sighed. He was overcome by a need to comfort her. Unexplainably he felt that if he held her hand somehow they might both feel better or stronger or something. So he reached over and covered her hand with his as he let out a quite, "I am sorry." His English had gotten better, but he still wished it would have came out a lot more poetic and stronger than his thick accent would allow. [She didn't ask what for, and he wondered why for ages until finally, after their relationship progressed, he asked her and she gave him a much happier smile as she responded, "I didn't think it mattered."]
Then she simply squeezed his hand and smiled in response. He sat up a little straighter and nodded back.
Peter entered with their drinks and the brief, little moment drifted away as they gently let go of each other's hands and took their drinks from Peter, who seemed unaware of the moment he had interrupted.
Hiro’s thoughts after that day drifted to little things about her that were either the subconscious observations of some wiser part of himself or the desperate fabrications of a man grasping for something more to hold on to. Either way he distinctly remembered the faint feminine smell she brought to the room, the way her lips curled around the rim of the glass, and the fact that she barely leaned in his direction as they sat on the couch.
Later he would wish that he could go back, and tell himself to pay more attention, that the moment would be important for unexplainable but undeniable reasons. But if there was one thing the time-traveler had learned, it was that you can't change destiny. Sometimes you can't save the waitress or the painter or your best friend, and sometimes you can't stop an exploding man. There was something about that moment that made him think that, just this once, destiny might not be kicking his ass. So, he resisted, and allowed himself to believe that all the things he remembered were facts.
A few weeks after their initial meeting Hiro realized that day hadn’t been the first day they met [although perhaps met wasn’t the right word], and the vague memory of looking up over his Gameboy to see a hesitant man holding a baby girl became incredibly more relevant to him. He asked her what she knew about it. Her lack of concrete answers made him better understand that sadness in her smile.
More moments came, gradually and quietly. Though these occasions always ended with the intrusion of their peers and, consequently, the real world, they never behaved as though they had anything to hide. They never straightened nervously or rapidly pulled their hands apart. Hiro would always unhurriedly and begrudgingly pull his hand away from hers as she scooted away from him just a little. Eventually, he started holding her hand longer after whoever happened to be with them walked back into the room, and she leaned a bit closer in spite of whoever happened to be looking. Somehow, no one ever questioned them.
It wasn't long before there was a little more optimism in her eyes and little less fear in his. He was finally able to identify her scent as some kind of flower, but was never able to classify it as anything past that. It become unimportant to him at some point, and simply calling it Claire become enough for him.
Ultimately, the moments stopped being accidental and started being purposeful, and with the purpose came length, so that it was no longer moments but hours and occasionally days that everyone knew they needed in spite of its lack of officially or even plausibility.
And, even though it probably shouldn't have surprised him, he was still taken aback when she grabbed his hand, intertwined her fingers through his and asked, "Are you ever going to kiss me, Hiro?" His widened eyes and dropped jaw only caused her to give him a not-so-sad-smile and whisper, "You're sweet."
"Thank you," was his still surprised reply, although by that point he was starting to allow himself his own grin.
She shook her head at him, her smile still remaining. It gave him the little bit of courage that it always did, and he finally, slowly, as that had always been their way, kissed her.
And she kissed him back, her hands wrapped around his face.
Comments make me smile.
Comments make me smile.