Title: Running To You
Original post date: 1st March 2006
Spoilers: none
Summary: Having just learnt how to walk, Aaron decides to go for a stroll down the beach – but who is it that he's looking for?
Disclaimer: I write a different one of these every time I post a fanfiction. Oh wait I actually have to put something down here about not owning Lost don't I? Oh there you go I just did :P


The first thing Aaron had done when he had mastered the art of walking was to toddle off down the beach, Claire following anxiously in his wake, wondering where he was trying to go.

The first person he met was Kate who was walking in the opposite direction and who immediately swooped him up into her arms.

'And where do you think you're going?' she smiled broadly at his sparkling blue eyes but a moment later he began to make noises of protest and indicated that he wanted to be put down. Kate obliged bemusedly and watched as he continued to totter off down the beach on wobbly legs, followed by Claire who merely shrugged and rolled her eyes. Kate laughed. 'Any idea where he's off to?'

'No idea whatsoever.'

'Have fun,' Kate continued on her way and Claire continued to follow her son. Rose and Bernard smiled and waved over their laundry but Aaron barely glanced at them before continuing on.

Jack was arguing with Sawyer when Aaron stumbled onto their feet. Jack immediately reached down to put him back on his feet but it was Sawyer who brushed the sand off his miniscule, lopsided trousers and tousled his hair before continuing his argument with Jack.

Claire couldn't help but smile as Aaron clung to Sawyer's jeans for several minutes, thumb in mouth. He'd always liked Sawyer – a fact that infuriated the poor man and he was called on for baby-sitting duties more often than he would have liked. And it wasn't that he wasn't fond of Aaron – because he was. He just didn't like to be liked and the unconditional love of such a young child was something that he was having trouble adapting to.

And yet it didn't seem to be Sawyer that Aaron wanted either. He didn't say anything, not even a syllable of his usual, forever adorable, garbled attempts at English – he simply let go of Sawyer's jeans and set off down the beach again.

And Claire followed.

Who was he looking for?

A small crowd of people clustered around him, speaking in the sort of nonsense that was reserved only for small children and pets. Claire allowed them to fuss over him for a moment but Aaron was restless, wanting to be put back down again, wanting to keep on walking.

'Come on Aaron,' she swooped down on him and bumped him onto her hip. 'It's time to stop bothering everybody. We'll go back home and have some lunch yeah?'

Aaron squirmed in her arms, crying out and reaching for the ground again as the people who'd been fussing over him slowly dispersed – the show now over. Claire struggled to keep a grip on her wriggling son then sighed heavily and gave up, putting him down again and taking his hand instead.

Again he cried out and pulled against her grip futilely, finally giving up and flopping down on his bottom in the sand. Tears welled up in his pale eyes and he began to wail.

'What's all these crocodile tears for?' Claire squatted down in front of him. 'Hmmn? Who do you want Aaron?'

Aaron scrunched up his face until Claire let go of his hand and then he was up again and tottering to and fro across the sand.

'Aaron!'

Aaron tried to run from her and began to trip over his feet. Claire slowed down again, terrified that he'd trip and fall and Aaron in turn slowed down a little and continued to toddle at a reasonable sort of pace, further still down the beach. His head was turning constantly to and fro as though he was looking for something – or someone. It wasn't until the first threads of sound reached her ears that Claire realised who Aaron was looking for.

Charlie was alone, huddled over his guitar and sitting at the base of a tree, his hands deftly plucking and strumming, his head nodding like a metronome.

'Ah-lah!' Aaron squealed excitedly and set off at a wobbly run. Claire stopped and watched him go with some trepidation. He'd only just learnt to walk properly and running was still a bit of a challenge but he seemed to be going quite well now…

Charlie glanced up from his guitar and his face split into a wide grin.

'Hullo Turnip head!'

'Ah-lah!'

Too late Claire saw the trip and stumble. She took a sharp breath and then an instinctive step forward…

But Charlie had already moved, faster than she'd ever seen him move before and his guitar was laid aside and…

Charlie swept Aaron up into his arms and laughed, tickling him under the arms. 'Whoa there! I think you need a bit more practice at this running thing, yeah?'

Aaron laughed, a wonderful, tinkling sort of sound that always made Claire smile.

Charlie glanced up and saw her standing there, less than ten metres away and called out to reassure her. 'He's okay. A bit sandy but okay. Just needs a bit more practice I think.'

Claire picked her way towards them through the sand as Aaron hit Charlie lightly on the shoulder. Charlie ignored him and instead watched Claire as she strode towards him, her thongs flicking sand up behind her. Aaron, obviously wanting attention from Charlie, hit his shoulder again. And again. And then he reached out and grabbed his nose.

'Ow!' Charlie's face scrunched up in pain and he grabbed Aaron's hand. 'Hey, what're you hitting me for? Eh?'

'Aaron!' Claire said scoldingly. 'You don't hit people!'

Aaron grinned cheekily but when Claire frowned at him it faded a little and he buried his blonde head into Charlie's shoulder.

'Say sorry to Charlie for hitting him,' Claire instructed. 'Go on. Say sorry.'

''Orry,' Aaron mumbled.

'That's okay,' Charlie rubbed his nose. 'As long as my nose is still attached I'm not too fussed.'

'He's been looking for you,' Claire told Charlie, crossing her arms over her stomach and biting her lip so as not to betray her smile. 'He's been walking around the beach trying to find you all morning.'

'Has he now?' Charlie leant down to grin at Aaron. 'Were you looking for me? Well you found me didn't you? You're pretty clever at this walking thing aren't you? Eh? Mum'll have her work cut out soon with you running about everywhere.'

'I already have my work cut out with him running everywhere,' Claire sighed took her son into her arms where he immediately began to squirm impatiently.

'Well I'll keep an eye on him then,' Charlie said genially. 'If I see him off and running and you're not about…well I'll grab him for you.'

Claire smiled knowingly. 'Yeah. I know,' she jerked her head back up the beach. 'Well we'd best be getting back, it's almost lunch time…'

She barely got three steps away before Aaron's squirming and kicking became too much and she had to put him down. He immediately ran back to Charlie and hid behind his legs. Charlie glanced behind him bemusedly then looked up at Claire.

'It looks like Aaron wants me to join you,'

'Aaron needs to realise that he doesn't always get what he wants,' Claire said in a warning voice. Aaron hid behind Charlie's legs again.

'Surely once wont hurt?' Charlie smiled at her, and it was so genuine that Claire couldn't help but cave in.

'Oh alright.' She peered at Aaron through the denim forest of Charlie's legs. 'But just this once okay?'

Charlie took Aaron's hand and picked his guitar up with the other.

'Well then,' he led Aaron forward and Claire took her sons other hand. 'Let's get a wriggle on shall we?'

And the three of them headed back the way they'd come, all holding hands.