Title: Always, Again
Summary: This girl, looking at him like he was the answer to all the questions he tried to answer within himself.
A/N: I've wanted to write Hiro/Claire for the longest time, my mind for them is stuck in the Five Years Gone universe. Title taken from 'The Time Traveler's Wife', if you've read that, then this won't be confusing. Hopefully it isn't if you haven't. First drabble as part of my goal to write one every day this month, I'm a little over two hours late, but it took longer than I thought it would.
It was a dingy little coffee shop, hardly worth a second glance. There was some intangible pull to it from within him, and he remembered back to those years ago. The sweet, wide eyed waitress who had changed his world forever. In all the years that had passed between, with him passing through time and space without a thought, he had never happened upon this little Texan town.
Hiro's feet moved automatically, along the littered path. His eyes were looking everywhere, watching everyone. He stopped on the sidewalk, looking in on the diner that hadn't changed at all in the last four years. There were still the photographs on the board, if Hiro looked closely he could see the other him. The one he hadn't been for a very long time.
Hiro was ready to walk away when he heard it, and it sounded incredibly familiar. Light, and carefree. Reminding him of that girl, the sweet sound of her laughter rang through his ears. Before he could help it, he had pushed open the door, and was looking for her.
"I'll be with you in a moment," the sole waitress called, collecting plates off an empty table. She tapped her feet to the beat of the radio, humming lightly as she worked.
He sat himself at the counter, his hand resting over the small blade in it's holster. He was on constant alert, even in this seemingly innocuous diner.
She bustled past him, disappearing into the back, returning with a wide smile for him. "Now, how can I help... Oh my lord." Her mouth dropped open, the small pad in her hand falling onto the tiles below. "You don't look any different, and it has to have been six years."
Hiro could feel himself gaping at her, watching her smile so easily at him, leaning forward over the bench. "Six years since what?"
"Since I saw you," she laughed, poking his arm gently. "I thought about you from time to time, never expected to see you again. Not with how things are these days."
He shook his head, leaning away from her. "I'm sorry, I don't know you. You must have mistaken me for someone else."
"Now, Hiro, you know I'm not mistaken. What you did that day, pretty much blew my mind. Without that day, I more than likely wouldn't have coped at all with the change in me. I didn't cope all that well, but I wasn't completely scared." She smiled fondly, her hand closing over his. "I'm really glad you are here, I'm feel so alone these days. It's nice to know that I'm not alone."
Alone, now there was a feeling he could recognise. This girl, looking at him like he was the answer to all the questions he tried to answer within himself. She would have to answer his.
He looked at the name badge, before taking his hand out from under hers. "We've met before, Sandra?"
She laughed softly again, moving around the bench to sit beside him. "You really don't remember? I suppose it was another lifetime again, and so much has happened since." Sandra looked behind her, before speaking again. "I was at school, sitting up on the bleachers feeling incredibly sorry for myself, thinking that the world just wasn't fair. I had tried out for cheer-leading the week earlier, and this horrible girl got chosen over me. I was watching them practice, imagining every way I could maim that girl, then out of nowhere; you were there."
She looked over her shoulder as she spoke, keeping an eye on the few patrons that were inside.
"You scared the living daylights out of me! One moment you weren't there, and the next you were." Sandra reached out for the coffee pot, and pouring them both a cup. "For a little while you just sat there, watching them with me. Then you turned to me, and told me simply that one day something so trivial as cheer-leading would not be the most important thing in the world - that I should prepare myself for my world to turn upside down, and inside out."
"I don't remember that..."
"I do, as clear as if it happened yesterday. You just looked at me for a minute or two, and then vanished right in front of me." The corner of her lips quirked as she smiled, pushing her hair behind her ears. "It wasn't till a few months later when I was going through my father's files and I found you. It suddenly became clear how you did it, I've been hoping you'd pop in and see me ever since."
Hiro shook his head, standing slowly, "It wasn't me, Sandra. You are mistaken. Before today I have never seen you before."
The bell over the door rang as it opened, and she stood, giving the customer a little wave. "I'll tell you a secret Hiro, my name is Claire, and pretty soon you'll remember me. I'll be here when you do."