Rating: PG

Archive: As usual anywhere that wants it just let me know.

Disclaimer: Do we have to do this every time. I think it's clear by now that I don't own them.

Summary: Claire reflects on her time with John on the 18th month anniversary of their romance.

Authors Notes: Written as a tribute to my Nan who passed away on 13th January 2007. I miss you Nan and always will.

Also for Gem6 who has reviewed all of my stories so far. I wrote a John/Claire Fic especially for you because I know how much you are missing them.

I hope to get back into writing as soon as possible.

You will always be with me.

No matter what the day, or time, you will always be in my heart.

I sit here in my favourite stuffed armchair, a photo album lying open in my lap, thinking about the past few years. A tear slides down my cheek and pools on my hand as I remember your smiling face. No one ever knew about us, which is why no one understands what I'm going through right now.

A year, a whole year we we're together on the quiet and still no one has noticed. Well except Hodges, but that's only because I yelled it at his face, the arrogant bastard.

I walked into CID the day after it happened, after I heard the news and I knew, I just knew he was responsible. I almost got up and strangled him right there and then, but I held myself in check, because even through the pain and the tears, I knew something they didn't, something that could get him into more trouble than he ever thought possible. If only you were there to see it. If only that stupid bastard Hodges hadn't fallen for his tricks.

Another tear falls as I flick the page and another picture, brings back a memory, of the fun times we shared together. Do your remember that hotel we stayed in that got burgled and we had to run rings round everyone to solve the case so no one saw the security tapes, that we was paranoid we were on. Yeah, that didn't work out too well either did it? We made it worse and then sergeant Ackland had a go at us for skipping out of the first aid refresher course.

Several more tears form and fall silently onto the pages as I turn them one at a time, searching through the memories to remember the good times. A loud knock, startles me from my thoughts, and I jump up knocking a glass of wine across the floor.

"Damn," I curse as I pick it up and put the photo album down on the chair why I go and see who's at the door.

I don't bother wiping the tears from my eyes as I assume it is only a salesman or something and I really can not be bothered with them.

I pull open the door, and blink away the tears to focus on the person standing in front of me.

"Hey, what's up?" Kerry asks me.

Yeah that was a surprise; I didn't think anyone wanted anything to do with me after my secret identity was revealed. I would have told you John, honestly I would. I was just about to explain all when you picked up the phone and went to meet that conniving bastard. I should have stopped you, I know I should, but I didn't know how.

"Hello, earth to Claire, anyone in there?" Kerry asks breaking through my reverie.

"Sorry I was miles away," I explain. What else could I say?

I reluctantly invite her inside, momentarily forgetting about the photo album still face down on my chair, and offer her a drink. After getting us both one from the kitchen I return to the living room and sit down in the now vacant chair. I hand Kerry one of the glasses realising what she's looking through.

"I had no idea," she mumbles leafing through the album.

"Yeah well, it was for the best, it had to be that way," I explain.

"How long?" she asks me.

"18 months today," I answer another tear rolling down my face.

"That long and you never told anyone?"

"I couldn't, it was too risky, if anyone found out it could've got us both into trouble, put both our lives at risk, not to mention you and the rest of Sun Hill."

"Did you see him, … you know, … when…?"

"Yeah!" I mumble, " I should have stopped him, warned him," I repeat my mantra, knowing if I could change things, go back to the way they was, I would've told you, even if it means you would've hated me.

"What happened?" she asks me.

Maybe she doesn't know about Beech then? I dunno whether Hodges revealed that titbit of information to them.

"We had had an argument earlier in the day, and were talking it through, when the phone rings. He picks it up and it's Beech, wanting to meet him to discuss the case or meet a witness or something, So, he goes, and yes I know I should have tried to stop him, but I didn't know what to say. So anyway, a few hours later I get a phone call, it's Meadows asking everyone to come in early. I was so shocked at what he told me, I just followed his orders blindly."

"Wait a minute, are you saying that it was Don Beech that did that to him?"

"Yeah, I thought you had already figured that bit out?"

"No one told us that, it was all just speculation. No one said anything about it."

"Well, I guess you know now. Beech was the one that … and if I had told John the truth I might have prevented any of this from happening."

"You couldn't have known what was gonna happen. I mean they were supposed to be best mates or something"

"Maybe, but I knew what Beech was capable of, I didn't thing he would go that far with, … but I had seen evidence of the damage he could do. That's why it had to be a secret."

"I think I understand, but what have CIB got to do with it?"

"That's the whole point, Beech was and is corrupt, CIB have been investigating him for years. That's why I was sent to Sun Hill, to report on his dealings, and find the evidence to convict him. Everything was going fine, until I made the biggest mistake an undercover officer can ever make, falling in love with a potential suspect."

"But…"

"Don't get me wrong, I knew John wasn't involved, but proving that to that arrogant git, Hodges is like trying to get chewing gum off the bottom of your shoe. It just doesn't happen."

"So you mean …."

"Yes."

"Oh my God."

I think I have officially shocked Kerry into silence. Yeah I know, not an easy task I can assure you. If only you was beside me to see this first hand.

I give her a few minutes to comprehend it all before, saying, "The hardest part is, that because no one knew, no one will ever understand what I'm going through, how hard it is, the memories."

"I wish there was something I could do to help," Kerry adds regretfully.

"No one ever can," I whisper.

We talk for a few more minutes before she gets up and leaves, promising to visit again tomorrow. Even if she can't understand, she's willing to still be my friend. That's more than I could have ever hoped for.

I sit back down with the photo album in my lap. Tears filling my eyes. Through the tears I whisper, "I love you John, no matter where you are, whether we're together or not, I'll always love you and you'll be forever in my heart and mind."

I let the book fall closed and slip into a peaceful sleep, with you on my mind.

The End.

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