Only three years in the making. Rated 'M' for VERY mature content (Just to be on the safe side, lol) I'm a little out of practice so please be kind with reviews!

Clare awakened and opened her eyes slowly. Uncurling herself from her sleeping position she attempted to sit up yet found herself weighed down. Still ever so slightly sleepy, she removed Johns arm from it's position around her waist. Free from his grasp, she twisted around on the bed and watched him sleep. That ever present snarl gone and his features softened, John slept on, oblivious to Claire's stare. She watched as he breathed in and out, watched the movement of his bare torso, up and down. Followed with her eyes the thin line of hair from his belly button to his…..well. She traced it lightly, fluttering over it with her fingertips, not wanting to wake him. A cool wave of an emotion that she couldn't quite identify washed over her. Panic perhaps. Fear? She didn't know. She knew that she hadn't gotten drunk or high yesterday, but she must have been under the influence of something…..How had she gotten here?


As John walked, Claire took big strides trying her best to keep up with him. He strode faster and faster, only slowing down every now and again to check Claire was behind him. He couldn't quite bring himself to talk to her, or even look her in the eye, but he still needed to know she was safe.

She didn't know how he knew where to find her, but he had a knack of showing up when she needed him. She wondered if this was a good thing, she had never before considered herself in need of saving, but then, what before in life had truly threatened her safety. She didn't know what fate would have awaited her had John not showed up.

She had only wanted an escape. She didn't think about it, she was tired thinking. She felt an odd sense of invincibility, like nothing could penetrate her enough to hurt her. She felt numb. She hadn't thought she was in any danger, she just assumed she'd hand over the money, they'd give her the drugs and she would walk away. At the point when more and more boys started emerging from the trees and from around corners and shadows that a brief wave of panic rose within her. She told herself to look steely, look hard and unaffected. Show no fear. She considered her options, she could run, she could tough it out or she could shout. She couldn't see a clear path. Shit.

It was at that point she felt a hand on her shoulder, and just when she was wondering if she could turn round quick enough to give the person a swift kick in the balls, John whispered in her ear.

"Come with me"

He took her hand, took the drugs from whoever that guy was and strode past the crowd of boys. Claire kept her hand down, her gaze focused on their interlocking hands. His rough hands engulfing hers in a firm grip.

Once they were safely out of the park, John dropped her hand and started to walk.

"What were you thinking" He stopped walking and turned to face Claire, gesticulating wildly with his hands. He started to walk away once more.

"I wasn't" Claire replied bluntly


"How did you know?" Claire grabbed his arm, tried to slow him down

"Spike said. I could kill him, he knows what those guys are like and he let you….."

"I do have a mind of my own" Claire felt indignant, didn't like the thought that John saw her as weak.

"God, don't I know that" John faced her, his voice softened "But your so naïve"

"I'm not, I knew exactly what I wanted, and I knew that was where to get it, what's so naïve about that?"


"Well I'm okay right?"

"But Claire" John lowered his voice "You so nearly weren't. Those guys are animals."

Claire lowered her head. Finding no answers, she shrugged her shoulders. John seemed to accept this and decided not to push the issue any further. He knew all about doing stupid things.

"So it's almost dark, do you want me to walk you home?"


"Too ashamed to be seen with me?" John asked, one eyebrow cocked, making an honest question seem like a wisecrack.

"You know I'm not" repiled Claire quietly

"Do I?" John, muttered quietly, under his breath.

"You should" Claire slowly reached out and took his hand in hers. John let her do this, but stopped walking and looked at their entwined hands. He looked up and addressed Claire.

"Then…I mean it's getting late. Where do you want me to take you?"

"What, like you have better things to do?"

"Seriously princess, where do you want to go"

It wasn't that John didn't want to spend time with her, but he wasn't good at this. He didn't know what she needed, or if he could give it to her. She seemed okay, he expected her to be shaken and fragile after what she had nearly done, but she seemed to have inner reserves of strengh that kept surprising him.

"You know The Greenfields?"

"The hotel" John spoke slowly, what was she getting it?

"Yeah…I wanna go there" Claire spoke quietly but confidently "I have a credit card, and god knows, nobodys going to notice me missing"

"Okay, come on, I'll walk you there"

"Would you stay with me?" Claire addressed John shyly, what was she doing? She pleaded silently for him to get her hint.

"Claire, I don't know if that's what you really need, and besides, they wouldn't let someone like me in a place like that"

"Someone like you?"

"Yeah" John looked down at his self, the torn jacket, the ripped jeans "Someone like me"

"John" Claire spoke sharply "You have to get over that, you're worth a million times more than half the guys at school"

"Yeah right" John sniggered.

"Right" Claire affirmed "Besides, we could both be dressed in garbage sacks and it wouldn't matter, my dad's a big customer, they wouldn't dare turn me away"

"And wouldn't they tell daddy dearest that his little girl checked in with a boy?" John teased Claire, she had to be bluffing.

"Believe me, I'm the least of my father's priorities, Now are we going?"

"You seriously want me to come with you" John looked at Clare's face, looking for a hint of a joke, choosing to disbelieve her because what she was implying made him feel… he couldn't describe, unsettled.

"I'm serious. Stop making excuses. Come with me" Trying to draw upon her earlier courage, she reached for John's hand, intertwining her fingers with his and holding them tight. It had been a snap decision, the words tumbling out her mouth, but the more she thought about it, the more she knew this was what she wanted. She didn't need to find her escape in drugs, perhaps he was already here, and maybe he needed a vacation from reality too.

"Okay" Decision made, John gripped Claire's hand in return as they walked towards their destination.


John opened the door to their room, turned the lights on and looked around.

"Holy shit"

Claire walked past him from behind, and grinned at John.

"How can you afford this?"

"Trust me, my Dad wont see this on his bill, he's been booking a lot of hotel rooms lately, what's one more? Claire walked around the room inspecting it, she wondered if he could hear her heart. How could he not?

John shut the door behind him. Ignoring the nervous feeling plaguing him, he tried to maintain as cool a demeanour as possible.

Claire continued to look around. Scared but relishing the tension between the two of them, she stopped walking and sat down on the bed. John was standing by the door, seemingly afraid of walking any further.

"I'm going to take a shower, just chill out okay?" Claire couldn't believe how apprehensive John looked.

"Okay, I'll try, not used to such luxury surroundings, you know?" John kicked off his boots and headed toward the minibar.

"Take whatever, I wont be long"

Claire closed the bathroom door behind her. What was she thinking. Try telling the Claire of two weeks ago that she would be in a hotel room with John Bender. Try telling the Claire of this morning. And never did she think in this situation, one which she didn't imagine happening for a while yet, would she have to be the one to take charge. But she understood why.

She peeled off her clothes and turned on the shower. Stepping underneath the water, the steam built up around her and she turned face on into the spray. The butterflies flew around her stomach and down her legs. She'd never felt anything so powerful. She turned the water off and stepped out, the cold air hitting her and sending chills down her spine. She grabbed a towel and dried herself off and after some debate put her clothes back on. A robe would be a little too daring.

She brushed her hair, cleared a little circle in amongst the steam fogging up the mirror and looked at her self. She would need to do some redefining after tonight. Tease no longer, Virgin no more. Popular? Nope. What remained? She studied her face, what was left that she could identity as being her. Perhaps she shouldn't be sad, a change was long overdue.

She opened the door and peered around, John was walking around the large room, studying all the little details and pictures, in awe of the niceness of it all. Looking, and Claire hated chilches but this was so apt, like a fish out of water.

"None of it matters you know"

Claire's voice startled John.

"Come sit" Claire patted the bed beside her.

"You know Claire, we don't need to do anything" John seemed reluctant go anywhere near the vicinity of the bed.

"I know" Claire looked at him and patted the bed once more

John sat beside her.

"Yeah, but I'm still going to" Claire flashed him a wicked smile. She brushed a few stray bits of hair out of her way, and leaned him to kiss him softly on the lips. John responded hungrily, his hand cupped her face, a display of tenderness that only she knew he was capable of. They fell back on the bed and rolled so that John was on top of her. They kissed for what seemed like forever. Claire softly moaned as John kissed her lips, her eyelids, her ear, her hair. The buffterflies exploded. She drank him in, his smell, a combination of the mints he'd obviously just eaten and an indescribable smell of boy, the realness of his body pressed against hers, his tongue brushing against hers, his hair falling between them. She hadn't felt so alive, so divine since god knows when. John eventually slowed down and pulled back slightly. He cocked his head to the side, panting slightly and looked at her, trying to figure out what the change was.

"What?" Claire laughed, feeling self conscious

"Nothing" John stood and held out his hands on help her up

"Are you sure about this?" John looked Claire in the eye, looking for any trace of uncertainty in her face. He saw none

In response, Claire lifted her arms. John slowly lifted her top off, throwing it into a corner of the room, he kissed her forehead, moving down to her lips, then her neck, her throat and her stomach. Claire breathed in, feeling like she was out of her body looking down.

John returned to her, wrapped his arms around her almost bare torso and pulled her to him, kissing her urgently. She felt him against her, every inch of him. Finding the courage, Although inexperienced, she somehow knew what to do, and took off his jacket before lifting his vest over head.

Feeling shy, she looked him up and down. She reached out a hand and touched him. Softy running the back of her hand down his face, and tracing a line down his bare chest. He was toned and almost hairless except for that one line of hair that started at his belly button and ran down into the waistband of his jeans. Her hand lingered at that waistband before she undid the top button. Feeling his gaze on her she slowly undid the zip. She looked up at him. His eyes full of questions. Both of them relishing a tender touch, something that for John in particular, had been missing too long.

John slowly reached out and undid the zip to her skirt, making sure he gave her enough time to change her mind, he watched as her skirt fell to her floor. Held his breath as she took a step out of it toward him. She was so beautiful, her skin was fair and unblemished, compared to his that was scarred and bruised.

She turned around let him unhook her bra, then pulled back the covers to the bed and almost shyly, crawled in. John removed his jeans, and then joined her. He pulled her close to him and began to kiss her again. He felt her hand brush against him and he guided her hand. As Claire began to caress, John groaned and saw her smile slightly, amazed at the effect her touch had. John removed her hand, kissed her once more and then helped her out of her panties. He paused one more time to give Claire space to change her mind. Without skipping a beat, she impatently pulled John toward her, needing to feel his touch. As he slowly traced a path up her thigh, Claire though she might explode with longing, This was so alien to anything she had ever felt before but she knew that she didn't want it to stop. As his find finally reached it's destination, Claire's eyes widened. Powerful sensations flooded through her. God, why had she never done this before? Claire looked at John.

"I'm ready"


Feeling Claire's gaze upon him, John stirred. The sunlight peered though the thin curtains. Claire was sat up, the cotton sheet wrapped around her, her hair dishelleved and every trace of make up gone.

Wordlessly, John opened his eyes and drank in the sight of her. God, it was, he couldn't describe it. He had built so many walls, never thought that he would find someone who would actually care enough to spend their time getting to know him. With Claire it had been effortless. He found him self in that detention, found himself wanting to stick up for her when Andy started ribbing her. He didn't know why he was drawn to her, still didn't, but he was so thankful she felt the same. He had so many bad things in his life and now he had her. And he hated all that chick flick bullshit but the thought of her, that was his. And no amount of punches and put downs and dirty looks could take that away from him. And she had let him in too.

He looked at her, saw her blush as he deliberately looked her slowly up and down.

"Morning princess" John couldn't stop the grin spreading across his face.

"Hey" Claire tried to pull the sheet up a little further

"Little late for modesty don't you think?"

"Yeah" Claire looked sad

"Hey" John sat up facing her "You don't regret it?"

"Oh no" Claire replied hurridly "No"

"Then…?" John tucked a stray bit of hair behind his ear. The diamond in his ear glimmered.

"No, last night was amazing. I guess it's the good girl complex. I used to judge girls who slept about and now look at me" Claire seemed distressed.

"Claire" Fighting to keep a straight face, John addressed Claire "What we did, it wasn't just sex, not for me. I've slept with girls before, but it was never like that. Never. That was so much more, there's nothing wrong with it when you feel so much for the other person. Or is it just me?"

"It's just you. I just used you for the sex I'm afraid". Claire grinned, reassured.

"Wanna use me some more?" John raised that eyebrow, lowered the sheet to beneath his torso.

"We cant" Claire repiled, although she sure wanted to.

"Give me one good reason?"


"I said a good reason"

"Seriously" Claire wanted her life to get back into some semblance of normality. Whatever that was

"Well you can go, I'll just chill here" John pulled the sheets back up and snuggled back into bed.

"How about we go shower together?"

John threw back the sheets and headed wordlessly towards the bathroom. Claire watched his naked ass go. Not bad. Not bad at all.


Claire and John checked out of the hotel and headed towards school. John grabbed Clare's hand and interlocked his fingers with hers firmly.

"School seriously?" John spoke to Claire, really not wanting to spend his day there. The morning started off so well.

"Yeah. I mean, I want to graduate this year don't you"

Not exactly high on my list of priorities"

"If you ever want to make anything of yourself, it's a good start"

"You saying I'm not good enough?" John challenged Claire

"Oh please, It would be an acheivment for yourself, not for me"

"Oh" John smiled.

"Look, this, what are we?" Claire stole a sideways glance at John

"Does it need a category?" John tested Claire

"No, but I just want to know where I stand, some certainty about it"

"Well, I know this for certain, I don't want to be without you" John saw Claire smile out of the corner of his eye

"So that makes us?"


"Oh Okay" Claire stopped and softly kissed his cheek

"The kids at school are going to love this" John sniggered

"Fuck the kids at school" John looked at Claire, was he a bad influence?

"You going to be so sure about that when we get there?"

"John" Claire spoke lightly "I'm always going to be sure, I think I've got it right for the first time in a long while. I'm only going to care about what the important people think.

Claire was only human though and as she and John approached the school, she felt his grip loosen, giving her the opportunity to pull away, She merely gripped tighter. Trying to ignore the confused looks around them, John and Claire, hand in hand, climbed the steps and went into school.