Rated G (because I'm too lazy and stubborn to learn the new rating system!)
A fluffy family!CC fic inspired by the promotional pictures released for "The Greater Good." Charlie and Claire sing the baby to sleep.
"Hey there little fellow, what's this crying about?"
Claire looked up as Charlie entered the tent set up on the beach for her and the little one, not yet a day old. He had been crying all day and Claire's best efforts had produced no effect. She had taken advice from anyone who cared to give it (namely Kate and Sun, who had been by to check on her earlier) and was beginning to feel exasperated.
"I don't know, Charlie. He's been at it all day!" she said as Charlie kneeled in front of them.
"Quite the set of lungs on him. Could hear him halfway down the beach." Charlie reached out to take the child's tiny hand in his and watched with something like awe in his face as he gripped Charlie's pointer finger with surprising strength. "The lad's going to be a strong one. I'll have to teach him some footie when he grows a bit."
"I'd like that, if I can ever get him to stop crying," Claire muttered. She pushed her bedraggled hair out of her eyes with one hand while she gently bounced the squalling infant, trying to calm him. "I've checked his diaper, fed him, tried to put him down for a nap, and nothing. He won't stop!"
Charlie watched two fat tears roll down the baby's cheeks as he whimpered, apparently too tired now for the all-out yelling he'd been indulging in only a few minutes ago. On an impulse, Charlie held out his arms hesitantly. "May I?"
Claire didn't even hesitate. Carefully, she handed the baby over to the only other person on the island she felt she could trust with her son. "I suppose you haven't held many babies in your life?" Charlie shook his head. "Just be sure to support his head. There you go, that's perfect."
"He's heavier than he looks. How'd a little thing like you manage to carry him around for nine months?" Charlie asked.
"He wasn't always this big," Claire laughed. She leaned back a little, slightly relieved to hand the baby off just for a moment. A slow smile spread across her face as she watched Charlie cradle the baby. They made a pretty picture, the two of them. Charlie almost looked like a proud father…
Claire squelched that thought immediately with a light toss of her head. That was ridiculous, of course. Charlie was just a friendly person. Just because he showed a little interest in the baby didn't automatically make him a candidate for Daddy.
Charlie rocked him back and forth a little, murmuring nonsense under his breath. The baby gave a few halfhearted cries that soon cave way into coos of contentment. Claire didn't let herself feel any jealousy over the fact that her son seemed to like being in Charlie's arms more. Instead, she let it feed her hope.
"He looks sleepy," Charlie murmured.
"I suppose it's about time for a nap. I think. I don't have much experience with babies…" Claire bit her lip. "But they're supposed to have naps, aren't they?"
"You're asking the wrong bloke, love. But if I had to give my opinion, I'd say yes, babies do need naps," Charlie responded, glancing up at Claire's face in time to see a hint of a smile. "Maybe I can sing him to sleep."
"Didn't know Drive Shaft was into the lullaby business," Claire smirked.
"Hey, now. Drive Shaft has a place very close to my heart. No mocking," Charlie chided. "Besides, even hardcore rockers like us can have a soft spot. I'm an uncle, you know." He smiled sadly. "Though I'm not very close to my niece."
"Pity," Claire murmured. "I think you'd do well with children."
"Well, we'll see, eh? This one can be my test subject. We'll see how badly I bollocks this up before I go raising a family of my own," Charlie grinned.
Claire hoped her giggle didn't sound too forced.
Charlie cleared his throat and sat up a little straighter, keeping a supportive hold on the drowsy baby. "Heard my brother sing this one to his little girl once. I think our mum used to lull us to sleep with it. 'S always been one of my favorites." He hummed lightly under his breath before beginning the song. "Catch a falling star and put it in your pocket, never let it fade away."
Claire's breath caught in her throat.
"Catch a falling star and put it in your pocket, save it for a rainy day. For love may come and tap you on the shoulder some starless night. Just in case you feel you… wanna… oh, bloody hell." Charlie flushed crimson and grinned apologetically at Claire. "Sorry. Didn't mean to sully his ears. Just forgot the lyrics…"
"Just in case you feel you wanna hold her, you'll have a pocket full of starlight," Claire picked it up, sliding off the airplane seat she'd been using to sit beside Charlie in the sand. The baby was looking up blankly with eyes as bright as hers and almost seemed to be listening.
Charlie continued, "Catch a falling star and put it in your pocket, never let it fade away."
"Catch a falling star and put it in your pocket, save it for a rainy day."
Together, they sang, "For love may come and tap you on the shoulder some starless night. Just in case you feel you wanna hold her, you'll have a pocket full of starlight."
The baby's eyelids were drooping.
"For when your troubles start multiplying, and they just might, it's easy to forget them without trying, with just a pocket full of starlight," Claire sang.
The baby was asleep.
Claire nodded at the homemade crib. It had been lined with fluffy blankets for the baby's comfort and brought to the beach that morning. Charlie laid the child in it and gazed at him for just a moment before turning back to Claire. She was still sitting on the ground, and her smile was as bright as any falling star.
"I think there are some people here who wish they'd brought along a pocket full of starlight," Charlie mused, casting a glance over the beach as he sank down to sit beside her. "Though our troubles seem a bit too big even for a falling star to solve."
"It hasn't all been bad," Claire protested.
"Don't see how it can get much worse than a plane crash on a deserted island. You were kidnapped, you had to give birth without an epidural, Claire! Don't know how you recovered so quickly," Charlie said.
"All the clichés are true. As soon as I held him in my arms I forgot the pain." Claire paused and grinned at him playfully. "Though thank you so much for reminding me."
Charlie felt her lean against him, shoulder-to-shoulder, and found her body heat comforting. "I think Mummy's getting as sleepy as Baby. Should I put you down for a nap as well?"
"Mmm. Sleep sounds very good right now." Claire closed her eyes and leaned her head on his shoulder, reveling in their familiarity. Though her memory was coming back in pieces, Charlie remained the only person she felt she could put her trust into without fear. "Do I get a lullaby as well?"
There was a pause. With the sun baking them from overhead and the rhythmic crash of wave against shore, Claire found herself quickly drifting into sleep. Just before she slipped over the edge, Charlie's voice came to her.
"For love may come and… tap you on the shoulder…" his fingertips brushed her shoulder before his arm settled around her waist, holding her loosely. "…some starless night. Just in case you feel you wanna hold her…" the arm tightened slightly, "…you'll have a pocket full of starlight…"
He pressed a stubbly kiss to her temple. "Thank you for letting me be a part of his life, Claire."
She wasn't sure if she was supposed to hear that. She didn't have time to respond before she fell asleep.
The baby's crying woke her up an hour or so later. Someone had slipped a seat cushion beneath her head for a pillow and draped a thin blanket over her body. When she opened her eyes, she looked around immediately for her baby, mother's instinct already instilling constant worry and fear in her.
It dissipated when she took in the scene before her. Charlie had already taken the baby out of the crib and was sitting in her chair, rocking him and singing to him again. The baby quieted quickly and Charlie motioned for Claire to remain where she was.
"I've got him. You rest, Claire," Charlie urged. She watched him soothe the baby into sleep once more, though when he tried to put him back in the crib the crying started once more. "Perhaps a walk will do us good, eh, little one? Let Mummy get some rest. She deserves it, you know. She gave birth to you. With no epidural."
Charlie winked at Claire. "I'm going to go show him off. You sleep."
Claire nodded and watched him walk away, holding the baby close to his chest.
"You're welcome," she murmured at his retreating back.