He'd come to talk with her father. He'd had to find her while he was here; see she was okay for himself. He couldn't ask about her without arousing suspicion. The Haitian asked after no one. In all the years they'd known one another and worked together, he'd never inquired after anyone in his family.
She looked so beautiful here, comfortable, and clearly having fun. California suited her better than New York ever could.
He felt as if the wind had been knocked out of him when he saw the boy she was with lean in and kiss her. He didn't need to look at her face to know she was receptive to the kiss. Her body language said it all. It was also clear this wasn't the first time they'd done this.
He'd found them by accident, tuned in to noticing unusual things he'd seen them in the sky. She was being careless and the boy was a fool. Her father would be livid, this was no way to stay discreet. That this boy happened to be one of them The Haitian did not believe was a coincidence. Distantly, somewhere in the back of his mind, he recognized him as someone he'd altered the memories of. He couldn't remember where or when, just that the face was familiar.
He'd never been prone to many feelings over the years. He'd kept himself carefully closed off, for his sanity as well as his safety. Even his relationship with her father was that way. He had not, however, been able to do that where Claire Bennet was concerned. And he had tried, knowing sooner or later this very situation would be presented to him. Watching her with a boyfriend, envious of the person able to take her to the sky, float on the wind.
He left, as difficult as it was to do he knew he had to. Approaching them now would be foolish. He had to take them both separately as he wanted different things from each of them. The boy would not remember today or that Claire was more than a new student. Claire he was of the mind to make her forget the taste of another's kisses the old-fashioned way. One that had nothing to do with altering memories.
It was late by the time he'd left the boy's house, memories altered. The young man had known too much, so the Haitian's powers would have been necessary eventually anyway. He made his way to the Bennet's. He had a way in, her father giving him a key in the event of an emergency. Tonight probably didn't qualify as one in her father's eyes, but to him it was.
He knew which room was hers and found it with ease, closing the door behind him quietly. Hand still resting on the doorknob, he regarded her from across the room. She had fallen asleep, textbooks and notebooks strewn across her bed. There was a bottle or two of nail polish by her bed as well as a phone and other objects he associated with a woman her age using frequently.
He tried not to notice the way the top she wore had ridden up in her sleep, exposing her abdomen and giving him the barest hint of the underside of her breasts. He swallowed, trying to ignore how appetizing she looked just then. The young man certainly had the right idea about kissing her.
He walked toward the bed, moving the notebook resting over her arm. He glanced at it, curious what she did in school. It was something he'd never had the pleasure of experiencing. Long before home schooling was popular he'd been privately tutored and trained by The Company. He'd never experienced first dates, school dances and the corsages that went with them, the excitement of a budding relationship, or the first kiss amidst innocence.
He wasn't sure he had ever been innocent. Perhaps as a child, but even that was doubtful. He grazed one of her fingers lightly, wondering if he'd taint her. She had no clue what he and her father were trying to do, had no idea the risks they were taking. Potential risk not just to themselves but also to those they loved. Not that the Haitian loved anyone. Well, not that anyone knew about anyway. He was loyal to her father, but his feelings for her ran deeper than that. And probably betrayed the loyalty her father gave him in return.
She stirred, shifting closer to him in her sleep. If only she was awake behaving like this. She would be upset with him when she found out he'd altered the boyfriend's memories. Would she believe he did it for her own good? Or would she realize he had ulterior motives that extended beyond what was best for her?
He knew when she woke up, heard the change in her breathing, and drew his hand away from hers. He stifled a groan when the top rode even higher and looked at his feet planted firmly on the floor.
"What are you doing here?" she asked.
"Checking on you."
"Are you my guardian now?"
He glanced at her, hoping it was safe to do so now. "Would you believe I was merely in the neighborhood?"
She smiled at that. "No."
"You would be correct." He sat on the edge of her bed. "I came to see your father."
"And thought he'd be in my room?"
He smiled at that with a shake of his head, letting his hand rest over hers. "No, I needed to see you. To tell you…"
"Tell me what?"
"I saw you earlier this evening."
She stared at him, eyes wide; he saw that she knew what he was referring to, though. "You mean…"
"Yes. You were very careless. Anyone could have seen the two of you."
"Well, they wouldn't know I could do anything!"
"Yes, but it was still careless. And kissing him. Why would you do that?"
She scoffed, as if the answer should be obvious. He supposed maybe to her it was.
"Because he's cute and he likes me and I like him."
"He will no longer."
"No longer like me? Why not? What'd you do? Threaten him?"
"I do not need to threaten."
"Why would you do that?"
"You were taking unnecessary risks. And because you were kissing him."
"I'm a teenaged girl; I'm supposed to kiss boys."
"Who are you? My father?"
"Not your father, no. Your father probably would not have had to force himself to stop at taking his memories as I did. Then again, I am not a father, so cannot speak to what a father would do to protect his daughter."
"And you did?"
He simply stared at her. "If you feel you must find someone like you, there are those who would enjoy spending time with you and assuring you that you are not different without jeopardizing your safety."
He swallowed, lacing his fingers through hers.
"How much will he remember?"
"He will remember having met you before now. That is all." He gazed at her then; surprised she had not dislodged her hand from under his before now. "Did you really cut off your toe?"
"How did you…"
"You actually see what you're taking?"
"Of course, that is how I know how much to take."
"Why would you do that?"
"To see what would happen?"
"And if it hadn't grown back?"
She shrugged. "It was my little toe, it's basically useless."
He frowned. "Still…"
"Hey, I have no idea what I'm capable of. Can I die? Will I grow old? Can I have kids?"
"I do not know."
"Exactly! So I wanted to experiment."
"Are you going to experiment with the other things you're curious about as well?"
"Well, no, I mean, I'm not going to try and off myself. I'll find out about the growing old part in due time."
"And the children?"
"Well, I'm not going to go out and have sex with random guys hoping to get pregnant."
"That is very good to know."
"I should be mad at you."
"I thought you might be, but you are better off without him. He was entirely too…" he paused, looking for the right word. "Sure of himself."
Her lips quivered to a smile. "Look who's talking."
"I am not."
"No? He hasn't walked into my room knowing my dad's right next door."
"I have reason to be here, he does not."
"And that reason includes holding my hand?"
"You noticed that?"
"How could I not?"
"I do not know. You said and did nothing, I wasn't sure."
"Would you have erased his memories if you hadn't seen us kiss?"
"Are you suggesting I allowed jealousy to enter into the equation?"
"You're really jealous?"
"He kissed you…"
"And you want to?"
He simply nodded, uncertain he could actually answer her.
"So, here you are, in my room. No one knows you're here. What's stopping you now?"
"I assumed you would throw me out once you realized what I had done."
She scrunched her nose and shook her head, gathering her knees to her chest. She draped one arm around her knee, leaving the other arm down, hand under his.
"I don't know if I'd say cocky, but he is kind of full of himself."
"And yet you kissed him!"
"Like I said, I'm a teenaged girl, that's what I'm supposed to do. Kissing a boy does not mean I'm going to marry him."
"Mm," he said simply.
"So, are you going to take my memories, too?"
He shook his head. "No."
"And what's to stop me from walking up to West tomorrow and telling him the truth?"
He leaned in and kissed her then, moving his hand from over hers to her face. It took her a moment to respond, to wrap her arms around his neck. She did, though, drawing him closer and inwardly he shouted with joy.
His lips parted at the same time hers did. He thought she might have moaned softly. His tongue found hers, swiping against it. It was his turn to moan. She tasted of bubble gum and he found the taste most appealing.
"I had hoped," he murmured when he broke the kiss, "that I would give you a reason to keep the truth from him."
"Mm, that reason would be?"
He kissed her again, not quite as urgent as the first one. It was no less intense or demanding in what he wanted from her in return.
"Is that supposed to be the reason?" she murmured with a soft laugh.
She was baiting him; he knew this.
"You need more of one?"
"Well, I don't know, I could kiss anyone."
"Anyone?" he asked.
"Have there been many other than this one?"
"No, just one other."
"No, in Texas. And you already erased his memories."
"Good," he said simply.
He frowned, trying to remember whose memories he'd erased in Texas that had kissed her. He could not recall, but that wasn't surprising really. There were so many memories altered, minds touched, images tapped.
Slowly, he reached for a breast. It was too fast maybe, but it was too tempting knowing she was sitting here without a bra on. And that brief glimpse was still fresh in his mind. She gasped and drew away so just her fingertips were at his neck. Then she relaxed into his touch, fitting comfortably in the palm of his hand.
"I don't plan on giving you much opportunity to think on him."
"I think I see that."
He chuckled, lowering his mouth to hers yet again. He grew bolder in touching her when she arched against his hand, almost as if prompting him to move it.
"I did not come here for this," he whispered when she broke the kiss, moving her lips to his jaw.
"I expected you to be upset with me."
"Why aren't you?"
"Because I think it was more the idea that someone else knew my secret. I could be myself, didn't have to hide. He's cute and all, don't get me wrong."
"You shouldn't talk of others being cute when you are kissing me," he swallowed hard as her mouth closed over his earlobe, "like that."
She giggled, softly he supposed, but it sounded loud with her mouth against his ear as it was.
"You like that?"
"I thought you might."
"Your father would…"
"Something like that."
"You can just erase his memories if he finds us."
He chuckled then. "You have it all figured out."
"Sort of. Besides, he likes you, doesn't he?"
"Liking me and wanting to see me with my hands on his daughter might not be the same thing."
"I suppose not," she said with a pout before kissing him on the mouth again. "He has been very intense about this whole not dating thing."
"There is a reason."
He swallowed, shifting his hand so that the side of his thumb grazed a nipple and she breathed in sharply. It was his turn to laugh lightly, and take heart in realizing if she was reacting like this she didn't do this often.
"What is it?"
"I cannot tell you."
"Because it is not my place to. I've told you too much already."
She drew away and in a fluid movement removed her top. He slid his free hand around her, drawing her to him. He could feel the swell of her breast against his chest, the beat of her heart pulsing against the palm of his hand. He felt his, too. Both were beating rapidly but, oddly, almost in time with one another. Almost as if their hearts fed off their excitement as much as the rest of their bodies did.
"As tempting as that is, it will not work."
She smiled, ducking her head a little. "At least I tried."
"I would rather you do such a thing because you want to, not because you're trying to get information out of me."
"It's done. Does it matter why I did it?"
He prompted her to lie back on the bed, taking a moment to look at her. She made no effort to cover herself or shy away from his perusal. He watched as he brushed her breast with the back of his hand.
"Vous êtes trop beau."
His mouth trailed his hand, lightly grazing her breast with his cheek before kissing her there. She made a soft sound followed by a deep breath. He glanced up at her to ensure she was okay. She was watching him, eyes wide. They fluttered closed when he licked one of her peaks and she gave a soft moan.
He froze at the sound of a door opening and closing, followed by a second one. He wanted to kiss, suck, and tease her; to feel her peak hard and taut with his tongue. To nip at the unblemished skin and see his mark there, knowing it would be gone as soon as he was. More doors opened and closed.
"It was just Lyle going to the bathroom," she said, taking advantage of his distraction to work a few of the buttons on his own shirt.
"Perhaps…" His eyes drifted closed when she touched him for the first time. A real touch, her hand against his chest. He couldn't possibly walk away now.
"Don't you dare!"
"I do not want to get caught."
"Then lock the door." She sat up the, arms going around his neck. She smiled, a glimmer of mischief in her eyes. Her father probably hated that look. He, on the other hand, was more than just a little aroused by it. "And be quiet."
"Vous serez mon démantèlement," he murmured.
"What are you saying," she asked as he kicked off his shoes and moved from the bed. He began to unbutton his shirt the rest of the way as he walked to the door, engaging the lock as she'd asked. Really, he knew he should leave. She would wake up in the morning, remembering not only whatever happened here between them but that it came after being told her boyfriend's memories had been altered. Leaving her with no boyfriend.
He did not believe he could be something as basic and common to her, but he wanted to be something like it and knew he would do that if she let him. He also knew that he could only let things go so far here. He wasn't sure what so far was right at this moment.
He returned to the bed, shirt unbuttoned but still in place. "I said that you will be my undoing."
"You are too beautiful."
"You are welcome."
"Do you do that often?"
"Sometimes, yes, the English words escape me or just don't come naturally."
"Is that all right? Or does that bother you?"
"Why would it bother me?"
"I do not know."
"It doesn't." She stretched out on the bed and he let out a soft groan as the movement served to draw his attention to her breasts again. He had been very good until that moment to look at her face.
"Would you stay with me?"
"Here? Tonight? Do you want to get me killed?"
She smiled. "As long as you can. And, no, I don't want that. It's just that one of the things I liked about West is that I could be normal, who I am, and you'll be gone again soon and I won't be able to do that again."
"I'll be back."
"I sort of figured that."
"All right," he said.
"Just all right?"
"I'm not sure, especially if you plan on sleeping topless that I won't give in to my desire to touch or kiss you."
She gave a soft laugh, drawing his head to one of her breasts. "I want you to. I just don't know how much more I'm ready for. But no matter what, I want you here."
He pressed her into the bed, shifting so he was on top of her as he took a nipple into his mouth. Finally, he was able to do what he'd wanted to do since seeing the hint of a breast peeking out from under her shirt earlier. Taste her.
He slid his mouth lower, kissing her abdomen and circling her belly button with his tongue. She giggled at that so he did it again. Hands at either side of the pajama bottoms she wore he glanced up at her after placing a kiss along her abdomen even with the waistband.
She shivered a little but made no effort to stop him or to tell him to, so he pushed the bottoms lower. He slid them off slowly, taking the time to touch her legs, memorizing the shape and feel of each in turn. As with the top, she wore nothing under the bottoms, leaving her naked to him now.
He unfastened the fly of his pants, causing her eyes to widen.
"Sorry, I am not getting ahead of myself or even planning on that. I was just getting uncomfortable."
"Okay," she whispered as he shifted his hardening cock to where he would be comfortable before sliding in between her legs.
She whimpered as his tongue found her folds, parting them so he could taste her fully before sliding up to her clit. That caused more than a whimper.
"Do I need to gag you?"
Her eyes clouded with something akin to desire and he felt himself grow harder at the idea that his suggestion, a joke, would arouse her.
"No," she whispered.
"Since it seems that might appeal to you I will save the idea for another time."
"I didn't say that."
"You did not need to say it, Claire."
"Oh," she said simply and blushed. He chuckled then and returned his mouth to her clit, her labia where his tongue slid inside of her, giving him his first true taste of her. To think if he had sent Mohinder Suresh away without getting the anecdote he would have missed out on this.
He was thorough, both for her sake and his. He wanted to taste and touch everywhere he could, to know that he pleased her thoroughly. And by doing so he was rewarded several times over with her glorious orgasms. The first one seemed to have frightened her. Whether it was the orgasm itself or fear of how he'd react he wasn't sure.
And now she was laying in his arms, on her side facing him still completely naked. Other than his shoes and unbuttoning his shirt, he hadn't removed an article of his.
"Tomorrow you can visit me and it will be even better."
"I don't know why you won't let me…"
"Because if you start I'm not sure I will be able to stop."
"Maybe I don't want you to stop."
"I want me to stop."
"For tonight anyway."
"Because I have erased the memories of someone you were fond of and have come to you fresh from that task. I will not take advantage or have you wake tomorrow regretting what we have done."
"I could regret this."
"You could, but it is not as bad as everything. And if you start touching me, Claire, I'm not sure I can settle for much less than everything."
She blushed again.
"And no offense, but if I was your father and thought my daughter was in here doing everything, a locked door would not stop me from getting through it."
"What do I say to him tomorrow?"
"I do not know. What did you say to him before you got closer?"
"I said hi and stuff. Mostly he annoyed me."
"Then let him annoy you. And then you can come visit me and I will un-annoy you."
"You will, huh?"
"Mais naturellement, mon cher."
"Close," he said with a low chuckle. "But of course."
He noticed she hadn't asked about the last part.
"For a little while, yes, I said I would."
"Are you going to tell me where you're staying?"
"I suppose that would be prudent," he said, giving her the information.
"Thanks," she said, stifling a yawn.
"Get some sleep."
"I'm a lot more ready for sleep now then I was a while ago."
"Funny how that works."
"Now who's sounding cocky?"
"I am merely stating a fact."
She leaned up and kissed him, letting her hand graze his nipples. "And you're sure?"
"Positive. For tonight."
"As long as you still want to tomorrow, yes."
"Should I be glad you're able to resist me?"
"I cannot or I wouldn't have let happen what did."
"That bothers you."
"That I'm, like, your weakness?"
"Yes, someone could exploit that."
"But they'd have to catch you. And you can erase their memories."
"That is assuming I can erase all memories and that I am uncatchable."
"I do not know a definitive answer to either question."
She didn't answer. Either she'd drifted off to sleep or did not know what to say. He couldn't blame her, he wasn't certain either. He ran his fingers through her hair, listening to her breath change as she fell deeper asleep. It took much longer for his body to match his mind's idea to not take things further than they'd gone. Eventually, it did, and when that happened and he knew she wasn't going to wake up again he left, returning to his very sterile - and lonely - room.
Story ©Susan Falk/APCKRFAN/PhantomRoses.com