**Part Seven**
Word Count: 1,335

She was on the couch watching TV when she heard the door open. She was so tired all of the time, but it was too early to go to bed. She'd showered earlier in an attempt to look like she hadn't worked all day when they got here.

"Did you forget someone?" She glanced to the still open door, expecting Molly to come in any second.

"Mohinder is back in the country. That is why I was delayed, I had to bring her back to New York."

"Oh. I thought maybe you'd left her in Vegas with Micah."

"I could have, they get along."

"I imagine they do. Plus being around adults would be boring. Especially someone like you who's not so much with the talking."

"I'm talking now."

"I hear that, and like it. It's very sexy."

"My talking is sexy?"

She smiled, ducking her head a little. She hadn't really meant to say that part out loud. "Yes, very."

He pushed back some hair from her face and kissed her. "I am very glad to hear that."

"I made dinner if you're hungry."

He glanced at the kitchen. "Food wasn't foremost on my mind."

"No?" She glanced at him with a smile. She might have gone ahead and eaten on her own if she'd known he was coming back alone. "What was then?"

"The fact that I'm finally alone with you again."

"You know just what to say."

He chuckled, taking her into his arms. He kissed her again and she practically sobbed from having him back. Or it could have been the hormones. She wasn't sure anymore what she should blame on them.

She clutched to him, hands at his arms affirming he was here. That she wasn't going to be alone. That had been her biggest fear. Not that she'd be safe here, but that she'd have to live life alone, a college drop-out because she had no one to baby sit her child. One thing she knew, she wasn't sure she could live a complete lie the rest of her life.

Tears were flowing from her eyes, causing him to break the kiss. He brushed his cheek against hers, blotting the tears away.

"What is wrong, Claire?"

"You came back."

"Of course I did."

"I just," she said with a sob. "This is so embarrassing."

"What?"

"I don't know. I just can't stop," she said, laughing through the tears. She settled her head against his chest, heard the beat of his heart and it seemed to ground her somewhat. His hand was at her head, smoothing down her hair. He kissed the top of he head. He had to have other things on his mind. He'd said as much. She didn't feel rushed or pressured to get over this crying fit. She loved that he could stand here and hold her like this.

"It's okay. There is nothing to be embarrassed about."

"I'm not normally so emotional."

"It's to be expected."

"Yes."

"What did you do while I was gone?"

"Work. Saw my dad. I mean, really saw him. We saw a movie. The same one we saw."

"Oh?"

"Well, I had to talk to him and couldn't think of anyplace else that we could both be that wouldn't attract attention."

"He knows."

"Yes, how did you know?"

"Because I saw him."

"And? Did he do something?"

"No, he did not try to hurt me if that is what worries you. He, in fact, said nothing but I could tell that he knew."

"Why?"

"He was, what is the expression? Sizing me up. He has never had need to do that before. I was a colleague, an employee; this was more personal. As if he was thinking about taking me home. Or wondering if I'd hurt you."

She drew her head away from him to peer at him.

"I told him everything."

"I am surprised he did not try to hurt me then."

She shrugged. "I donít think he'd do that, because he knows I wouldn't have gone through the effort of telling him if I wasn't going to have it."

"You are?"

"I am."

"You are sure?"

"Yes, I've had plenty of time to think about it. Before you came to visit I wasn't so sure. The idea of doing it by myself was frightening and, well, I just want more from my life than to be a mother at eighteen."

"Understandable."

"But since you and Molly came, and then left again. I want to have that. A family. I'll never have my mom, dad and Lyle back. I've accepted that and I don't want to be alone. Bad reason maybe, but that's what it is."

"I am relieved."

"I thought you might be. You are going to stay, right?"

"I told you I would."

"Just making sure, because I came to realize most of all I want you here. I don't like the idea of you being somewhere else."

"I will still be called away from time to time. And I won't be able to tell you where I go or who I see, not even if it's your father."

"I know."

"I had to make sure you knew that. It's not because I don't want to tell you, but my being here really will compromise your safety to some degree. I will not do more to make your new identity weak."

"I understand. That doesn't mean you can't talk to me, though. If you need to talk, or something's bothering you about things going on."

"Very well. Now," he said, lifting her into his arms with ease. "I have a couple of weeks to make up for, even longer if you count having a child in the room next to us before that."

He carried her to her bedroom. She giggled softly when she saw realization dawn on him that he didn't need to close the door behind them. He set her on the bed. It amazed her how gentle he could be with her at times like this. It wasn't like he thought she was fragile, just deserved to be treated pristinely. Properly. She liked it, whatever his reasons for it were. "Then we'll see about that dinner for the both of you."

He slid his hands to her stomach, stroking her abdomen with his thumbs. He looked kind of awestruck, amazed.

"What?" she asked. She had to know what he was thinking.

"You're really doing it, and it's not due to pressure from me?"

"No pressure. What if I don't get another chance? I don't know how this whole thing works with my healing and regenerating."

She'd hit something there, she saw it in his face. Had he thought of that, too? Or had she mentioned something that hadn't occurred to him? She was kind of surprised she was able to get pregnant at all, but she didn't know much about her abilities.

"And besides," she said, lifting her shirt a little so his hands were against her skin. "It's yours. I went to you for a reason."

"I'm very glad you were logical in your choice."

"Now that we have that settled," she said, sliding his hand up higher. "It seems to me you said something about time to make up for. You might need to work awful hard to prove you really missed me."

"You do not believe me?"

She smiled, blushing a little. "I could pretend I don't. Would that work?"

"It just might. I will try not to disappoint," he said, raising her shirt up and off.

"You haven't yet."

"Good to know," he murmured. "Did I mention I missed you a lot?"

"Show me," she whispered, drawing him to her for a kiss. She didn't want to talk anymore. She'd made a decision, told him what it was, and he was still here. They had the rest of whatever to talk; she needed the physical now. Him in her, holding her, loving her as she knew only he could do.

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The non-illustrated icon is courtesy of lay-of-luthien @ LJ. She's got some nice work, and did this and 4 others very quickly! The illustrated icon is courtesy of: julietbunny who gave me this in addition to some other great goodies for the Heroes_Holidays Spring Hiatus project.

Story ©Susan Falk/APCKRFAN/PhantomRoses.com