Title: Hesitation

Summary: Four times Shane wanted to kiss Claire, and the one time he did.

A/N: Wow! Thank you for all of your support--this is such a wonderful fandom! The reviewers are fabulous! Please, keep it coming. I absolutely love you all.

Now, as requested, a Shane and Claire First Kiss fic. Enjoy!

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I.

He was still getting used to the fact that the Three Musketeers had gained a new member. The Glass House Trio had become a quartet. The—well, whatever. There was a new girl in the house.

She was hot.

He had thought so right from the beginning, and it had surprised him. He usually liked his girls a bit blonder and heavier in the chest. But this one…she worked. So, yeah she was dark haired, but she had gorgeous eyes. And maybe she wasn't the next Victoria's Secret model, but she had a great laugh.

He liked hearing her laugh. Better yet, he liked being the one to make her laugh. She needed to loosen up a little—studying that much couldn't be good for anyone's health.

She usually sat tucked into a corner of the big couch Michael had bought last spring, multiple books scattered across her lap and a highlighter in hand. Sometimes she would be chewing on the end of it, or tapping her fingers on the back of the couch. But otherwise she was perfectly still.

It made him want to go up and slam the books closed. Tell her she had better things to be doing—without words, preferably.

He had already taken two steps forward before he remembered that she had only known him for two days. As he stopped, he also wondered why that bothered him.

She glanced up, curious. "Shane?"

Oh, right. He liked this girl. They could probably work together, if he didn't rush things. So he shook his head and turned around, heading back up the stairs. He stepped into the bathroom, and reached over to twist the knob for the shower. After another moment, he tested the water. Freezing. Perfect.

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II.

Not only was Claire the smartest girl he had ever met, she was also one of the best cooks. Or maybe that was just because he hadn't had anything but chili for the past five days. It didn't matter. The tacos were heavenly.

Out of the corner of his eye, he noticed Claire staring. Her mouth hung slightly open. Confused he stopped eating and glanced down at his plate. Oh.

He'd started with three tacos. Now there were none. And she had only served the food five minutes ago.

"…don't worry about it," Eve was telling Claire. "Typical guy behavior, shove the food down their throats like they're afraid it'll disappear or something."

Claire met his eyes, and he shrugged, winking at her. She shrugged back and picked up her own taco. "At least there are only two of them."

Michael laughed. Shane smiled. She sure had gotten over her shyness quickly. She took a bite of her taco and chewed. Their eyes met, and she swallowed, tongue darting out to lick the extra sauce off her lips.

Shane looked back at his own plate and took a bite of taco in a hurry. He wasn't sure Michael and Eve would appreciate him interrupting dinner to haul Claire upstairs for a make out session.

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III.

She didn't know about the vampires. Eve had tried to explain it before, but only now was it really sinking in.

Claire didn't look shocked. Shane had expected her to scream, or cry, or have some other normal, sane response. But no. She wasn't interested in crying (he could have lent her a shoulder). She wanted to find The Book.

No chance in hell, he wanted to tell her. Every family in Morganville has been searching for the damn thing forever. Even if she was the next Einstein, she couldn't beat that in a few days. And a few days was all they had.

Eve had gone to bed a long time ago. Claire was still wide awake, doing research on book bindings. For what, he wasn't sure he even wanted to know. Because there was no way she was even thinking about faking The Book.

"Hello Shane," she said, noticing him for the first time.

He looked at her. At the dark circles under her eyes, and the giant empty coffee mug at her side. "You should get some sleep. The internet will still be here in the morning."

She smiled at him tiredly. "You never know, in Morganville. Maybe it won't be."

He shrugged his shoulders and held out a hand to help her to her feet. "Then it won't be. You still need sleep."

She let him half carry her back to her room at the top of the stairs, her arm around his waist. Despite the fact that he hadn't slept at all yet either, he was suddenly wide awake. They reached her door far too soon.

"Goodnight, Shane."

He wondered, then, if a kiss goodnight would be okay. Maybe she wouldn't mind it—but the timing was all off. Not when they'd just learned about Michael, and were waist deep in vampire issues.

So he let her go.

"G'night, Claire."

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IV.

He wasn't sure whether to be pleased or offended when she asked him to break into a house for her. Usually, the requests were much more simple at first. Breaking-and-entering required serious trust.

Or maybe he was just addicted to trouble. If trouble was roughly five foot two and went by the alias of Claire Danvers.

So there he was, on the back porch of one of the university professors, of all people. He'd done his best to stay away from those back during his (brief) college experience. He'd never met this particular professor, but there must have been a good reason Claire wanted to get in.

A sudden thought hit him. She didn't want to—no way. Not Claire. Besides, why would she bring him along if that was what she was doing. Claire got good grades on her own, without any extra help.

And then, of course, she dropped the bomb. She wanted The Book. And she found it. He looked over her shoulder, stunned. It was the real thing.

She turned to him with a huge smile, a mix of genuine happiness and smugness in her eyes.

Shane could have kissed her.

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V.

She was leaving.

He couldn't get his head around it. She had become such a fixture in his life—in all their lives—that having her gone would feel like a part of him was missing.

Hadn't he promised himself years ago never to get sappy over a girl? Yet here he was, ready to cry because one girl was moving away. Or if not cry, at least break something. Or he could…

His feet made the decision for him by carrying him to her door. He raised his hand and knocked tentatively. She answered in nothing but an oversized t-shirt, looking far from sleepy but nowhere nearly as nervous as he felt.

God, there were so many things he wanted to say to her. But he'd never been good at expressing his feelings—or at least, that's what his counselors had said. In the end, he chose the simplest way.

He stepped forward and kissed her. And it was like everything suddenly fell into place. Whatever had been missing from his life was here, in her arms.

And now that he knew what it was, how it felt to be whole, he knew he could never go back to the way things were before. Whatever he had to do, he would do it. This was worth the price, whatever it was.

He could never let her go.

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Phew! That took longer to write than it should have. Okay, please respond!

Shameless Advertising: Please check out the oneshot of Myrnin and Amelie's conversation about Claire. I worked very hard on it. :)

xoxo