Title: Like A Song

Author: Edith

Pairing: Charlie/Claire

Rating: G

Summary: Claire wants to know why Charlie writes on his fingers. Spoilers through "Raised by Another"

Feedback: Oh please. J

Like A Song

When Claire wakes up, it is the loneliness she notes first. Confusion still, since Thomas is not curled behind her and, while with the baby she is never truly alone, his absence is the most apparent to her then. She misses him, in a hollow far away sense. The pain, the blame he'd placed on her, has made it impossible to still love him, but in those first few seconds, she forgets that. She finds herself half expecting him to come to the bedroom; to kiss her awake and make her laugh with plans.

Then, she realizes that the hard floor of the caves isn't her mattress. She notices the humidity of the air, smells the wildness of the outdoors, and it all comes back to her.

Those few seconds are the hardest of her day. She feels like she ages every time she wakes. Protectively, she wraps her hands around her stomach and gazes up at the stars. Theyare the same ones she'd seen in Australia but they seem different here.

A noise by the fire catches her attention and she turns her head, a soft smile curling her lips and dimming her bewildered pain. Charlie sits there, not watching her exactly. He is stooped, writing on the bandages on his fingers with the marker he won't let go of.

It takes a bit of an effort, but she sits up and says his name. He looks at her and smiles back, pleased. She feels her grin widen. It's nice to be taken care of. Nice to feel as though she could have a friend… if not something more. That potential frightens her and warms her and its that she thinks about when she falls asleep.

"Didn't wake you, did I?" he asks, concerned. A beat. Then, "Didn't have another nightmare?"

She shakes her head 'no' to both questions and counters with one of her own. Gesturing to his marker, she says, "Why do you write on those?"

He seems startled by the question, as though he's never really thought about it before. Frowning, he studies the tape in silent contemplation.

She, in turn, studies him. It's something she appreciates about him: how seriously he can ponder her prodding. It makes her feel important. She also likes how he wrinkles his nose when he concentrates; how his forehead creases into tiny little lines that she wants to smooth away with her thumb.

He answers her after a moment, his voice scratchy in its effort to be quiet. "It's like writing music, I guess. It's sort of… neat to play with the words. See how you can change the whole meaning with just one letter? You can tie them all together. Make a new meaning." He smiles slightly, embarrassed. "Sounds bloody ridiculous out loud, but there you have it."

She doesn't think it sounds ridiculous at all. She continues to regard him for awhile and when he catches her look of curiousity it does something to him. Something funny to his insides. He knows he should be attracted to Shannon or Kate. He knows he should be drawn to their very obvious good looks but at that moment Claire is the most beautiful thing he can ever remember seeing. He can't recall the last time somebody has had a genuine interest in him.

"Why don't you write an actual song?" she continues, not breaking eye contact.

He grins teasingly. "On what, love? Bark?"

She chuckles a little and then lights up. Heaving herself to her feet, she waddles over to her makeshift bed and hunts awkwardly through her things. With a triumphant "aha" she resurfaces again, journal in hand. When she is back beside him, he takes her hand and helps her back down. Smiling still, she tears out a few pages and offers them to him.

"Are you sure?" he asks, surprised, "Your supply is rather limited."

She nods enthusiastically, intent on giving him her gift. "I'm sure. Write me a song, Charlie. Write me a song about being stuck on an island and eating a bug."