A one-shot about the awesomeness of Quil and Claire, that I decided to write while I'm sorting out the last bits in the next chapters in my other stories. I'm quite proud of this one. :D Hope you dudes and dudettes like it...x
Disclaimer: I don't own anything; apart from some cheesy nachos, but Quil ate them. T.T
You know what I love? Days off. Seriously, there's nothing better than hauling off the work to someone else and having the whole day to do nothing but be lazy and eat cheesy nachos. I mean, I love being a werewolf and all because, well, it's just plain awesome, but after spending hours and hours of running in a circle with nothing but your annoying best friend's dreamy thoughts about seeing Bella for company, it gets a little boring.
I grinned and stretched out, flexing my fingers until they crackled. Two whole days off. And with Sam, that's the best you could ever get. He was probably with Emily now, all over her while they were alone, because they sure as hell better stop doing anything like that when we got there. Being alone in a room with an imprinted werewolf and his beloved is puke-worthy.
At least Jacob would be there to dilute the sappiness a bit.
I glanced at him, his eyes far off and dreamy, and decided I might have to withdraw that comment. If he had another level of sappiness he would be worse than an imprint.
"I hope Emily's cooked us something." Jacob suddenly voiced, quickening his pace a bit. "I swear, I could eat a cow."
I snorted. "Dude, you eat two cows just for breakfast."
"That's coming from you?"
I shrugged, deciding to let that one slide (mostly because it was true). After a few more seconds, I snickered.
Jacob raised an eyebrow. "What?"
"We're going to be stuffing our faces," I explained, smirking. "while Embry is going to be out running in a circle on his one." I laughed evilly again though Jacob's mouth barely twitched before he shrugged his shoulders.
"Jared will be joining him in an hour." He reasoned.
Jeez, he had to ruin my fun. I promptly decided to ignore him, sticking my bottom lip out a bit. I began listing off the things I would do with my two beautiful days off.
3. Prank call Paul.
4. Sleep some more.
5. Eat some more.
6. Play video games until my thumbs fall off.
7. Sleep again.
8. Eat again.
9. Maybe even eat while sleeping. I'm sure I could do it.
Ah, the beauty of laziness.
We could smell Emily's house before we could see it; a waft of meat and honey slapped us in the face, grabbed us by the noses and started leading us to Emily's kitchen of wonders. By the time we got there we were practically running, wiping drool away with the back of our hands. If there's one thing almost as good as days off, it's Emily's cooking; I could eat her food until I'm fit to burst and still go running up for more. She has a weird skill of cooking things really fast too, which is a good thing when you've got a constant stream of starving werewolves at your door whose cooking abilities can only reach the heights of putting a pop tart in the toaster. And sometimes we even burn them.
I trotted to the door with a big dumb smile on my face, too distracted by the fact I could now identify the food to notice anything out of the ordinary. I only noticed when I had one foot on the patio and a alien voice floated back from the kitchen.
"What a lot of food!" A woman laughed, her voice rising an octave and using that tone adults use when they find something seriously freaky but are too polite to point it straight out. "Why, Emily, I don't think we could eat that much in a week!"
"We're expecting a few friends." Emily's familiar voice explained, a smile evident in her words. "They should be here in a minute, right Sam?"
"Yeah." Sam's husky voice drained my interest in the conversation and I breathed in deeply, checking for scents other than the heavenly food for the first time.
Now that you mentioned it, I could smell something other than Emily's floral perfume and Sam's slightly off smell (he almost ran into a skunk den the other day. It was hilarious.). Three other people, one with a posh-smelling perfume that stung my nose and one that smelled of shampoo, something fruity. Then another that smelled of something sweet, like candy or sugar. Huh. I guess Emily had guests. I glanced back at Jacob who was looking at a shiny red Volvo which I hadn't even noticed before. He shrugged back at me.
"In fact, I think they're almost here." Sam raised his voice meaningfully and Jacob and I instantly took the hint.
Without another word, I turned on my heel and walked inside like I owned the place.
"Hi people!" I yelled, raising a hand and grinning widely in welcome as I swaggered into the kitchen.
Jacob mumbled a gruff 'hello' behind me and managed to wave and whack me over the head in the same movement. I glared at him but didn't pounce on him like I would have done if we didn't have fully-human guests; instead I looked back to our company, finding Emily hiding a good-natured laugh behind her hand and Sam shaking his head. Then I saw the other woman, who had been so freaked out by Emily's mountain of food.
Which I could now see by the way. That honey-cake-y smell seeping out from the oven and a mountain of burgers. And man, it looked good. I wanted to stuff it all down right then but no matter what other people say, I do actually have manners.
Anyway, back to the weird lady. She standing mostly turned away from me, staring at me blankly over thick-rimmed glasses. Her black hair was up in a loose ponytail but her dress was smart and proper, in contrast to Emily's worn apron and jeans. In fact, she looked a bit like Emily; the shape of her face and the full lips were the same, though I'd guess that this woman was a tiny bit older. She seemed to be holding a baby but she was turned so I could only see a flash a jet black hair and tiny fingers that were clinging around her neck. Another child, about four, was hanging onto Emily's leg; she stared at me with huge eyes then glanced back at the woman as though asking her permission to scream. I looked back at the woman too, at a loss what to do. Then her lips twitched into a unexpectedly warm smile and she looked more like Emily then ever.
I could have guessed the next words out of Emily's mouth.
"Quil, Jacob, this is my sister, Regan. And her two daughters; Sarah whose four," she paused to gesture down to the kid wrapped around her leg; she ducked her head behind Emily again, her bottom lip wobbling. "and Claire, whose two." she pointed to the girl hidden in Regan's arms. "they've just moved closer, to the reservations a few miles away, so they came to visit."
I suddenly noticed that the burgers had two patties on them; which means double the meat. Yum…
"Nice to meet you." Jacob announced, sticking his hand out; I scowled mentally at his obviously fake attempt at being a gentleman when I knew perfectly well all he wanted to do was dive head first into the burgers.
Regan turned to accept the hand shake, shifting the little girl to her other arm as she did so. And then I saw Claire for the first time.
She opened these amazing dark eyes and stared right at me.
Oh. My. God.
Something about those eyes suddenly drew me in, pulling me so deep I could never get out. Like a fishing line had just shot out of them and latched onto me. The world span. Everything was suddenly shoved onto a pair of scales; one of those old ones that look like they're going to break apart at any second. On one side there was this girl, Claire, her and nothing else. The rest of my life was thrown onto the other side, less important than a two-year old I had seen for five seconds; suddenly it took everything else in my life to equal to her.
No, she was my life.
Like she had taken over my mind.
I suddenly realized I was shaking; I tried to swallow but my throat refused to co-operate, already filled with my heart which had jumped too high. Claire stared at me wide-eyed for a few more seconds before stifling a yawn and rubbing her eyes with a tiny fist. My breath caught again.
She was so…cute!
I stared around at everyone else, a strange feeling crawling up my spine. I couldn't be the only person who had noticed that, right? Surely everyone else is staring in wonder too? But no, everyone else was staring at me. Hadn't they noticed how important she was? Because she was important. She was everything. I knew more than anything that I had to protect her. How could that just be me?! I looked back at her and had to remind myself how to breathe.
I think Jacob said something but the words were fuzzy and didn't make sense. I noticed Sam staring at me in horror.
My head slowly caught up with my actions and was quick to point out idiocy of my earlier thoughts; it questioned them and Sam's look. Claire was everything? I had to protect her? What the hell? That was stupid!
But also painfully true.
Then it brought up one of the old tribal stories I had only just learnt to take notice of.
I looked at Claire; the movement felt strange, like falling. Letting gravity pull you rightfully back in. Then I looked at Sam who looked like he was trying to control the horror. Then I looked back at Claire. Then back at Sam. Then back at Claire.
Her cherubic lips suddenly twitched into a small smile and she raised a podgy hand; I automatically grinned back, unable to stop the flow of joy when I saw her happy… because… she … something clicked.
I did not just do what I think I did.
I whipped my head round to Sam again, barely noticing everyone else's no-doubt confused looks, and demanded without speaking for him to tell me that did not happen. Because it couldn't have! I would kneel in the dirt and beg if I had to. I couldn't have just done that! Claire was two! That was wrong and just … impossible! No!
But Sam's mouth was mashed into a resigned and thoughtful line. I could read his expression perfectly.
Sorry Quil. It said. But you just imprinted on the toddler.
I did the first thing I could think of. I span round and almost banged the door off it's hinges in my rush to escape.
And I ran.
I kicked my front door open roughly, letting it swing close behind me and not bothering to lock it. It was raining slightly, just a light spray showing on me and dripping down the back of my neck. I hoped Claire would be someplace warm; it would be easy to catch a cold on a day like today.
This thought made me scowl even more and I stuffed my fists deep into my pockets while stomping to the nearest convenience store, planning to re-fill the Quil's-in-a-bad-mood snack cupboard.
I was wearing a thin jacket and shorts, with huge headphones glued to my ears that pumped rock music at full volume through my head; trying fruitlessly to drown out other thoughts. I of course, was in no danger of catching any sort of cold. Even if I did catch anything, my werewolf gene-y things would zap them away before even my body knew they were there. Another plus for being werewolf! Amazing! You know, the only drawback I can think of is the fact that I have completely lost my mind.
Because my freakin' werewolf genes and made me freakin' imprint on a freakin' two-year-old and now I freakin' obsess over her like a freakin' mother hen.
I now spend my time thinking about her, worrying about her, yearning to talk to her and devouring a month's worth of cheese puffs in between. And it's hardly been a week.
I also phase every single day so I can take the same detour all the way to her house to check she is safe; I had found it a few hours after it happened by following her scent which I had memorized after the first bloody day. Yesterday I had gone just to find that she wasn't home at ten at night and had instantly flown into a full-scale panic attack. I had refused to budge from outside her house, ignoring Jared's annoyed whines, for two whole hours until the family had finally returned with Claire sleeping peacefully in the crook of her mother's arm (which I had found amazingly cute. Ugh. I never knew I could annoy myself so much.).
Thinking back now, I think Paul may have mentioned something about Emily's sister visiting her again that day but I was too busy being depressed to listen. Heck, I didn't want to listen to Paul. If I wanted to have a unnecessary, over-protective, loud fit about her then I will have a unnecessary, over-protective, loud fit about her. So there.
… I've been in a mood like this all week. No-one has been able to get a straight conversation out of me.
"This is your longest sulk yet." My mom had laughed the other day, to which I had snapped that I was not sulking and promptly went up to my room to sulk. Old Quil (who is actually one of the coolest people I know and my grand father) had come to prise me out of my room with his walking stick and tell me that I should take this like a man and men didn't sulk. I politely but firmly told him that I was not sulking and decided to go check on Claire and sulk on the way instead.
My family have actually been really cool about all this; as in unnaturally cool. My mom just laughed about it and called it cute (I told her she was a freak and got a remote thrown off my head for my trouble. My head didn't hurt but I've been mourning for the broken remote ever since.), while Old Quil just sort of nodded soberly, thought about it for a second, then asked why the remote was broken. Sigh.
Also, I had to grudgingly add, my friends had been pretty cool about it all too. When they got past the initial response of Oh my God, Quil's a pervert! and actually saw how I saw her through my eyes, they were, apart from Paul on occasions but he's weird, totally supportive.
Well, it's not like you see her in a sexual way, right? Embry had pointed out to me once.
I had been running madly and aimlessly through the woods at the time, ducking and diving around the trees with forced concentration, though I been totally thrown off by Embry's question. I mean, what the hell?!
No! I yelled back to him in horror, a growl rumbling past my teeth. No way! Ew! Of course I don- OW!
And then the conversation ended because I ran head-long into a tree. Yeah.
Jacob's advise had been simply annoying; go with the flow, he said. Go with the flow. Trouble is, I don't know what the flow is. What, should I just waltz on up to Claire's house, knock on the door and say: "Excuse me, I'm a big scary werewolf and I'm obsessed with your two-year old daughter. So may I please kidnap her so I can set my pack's mind at rest? Oh don't worry, I can wait. I'm gonna live forever."
Jacob said sure; if I wanted to go with the creepy stalker approach, that is.
I sighed moodily and ducked into the store, pausing to shake the drops of rain from my hair (like a dog. Bada Boom.). Ignoring the baskets, my feet instantly trudged over to the comforting smell of sugar and powdered cheese, tucked away in the corner of the small shop.
Ah, junk food. Tasty, unhealthy and perfect ammo when your friends are getting on your nerves. Just what I need.
I spent a full ten minutes trying to decide between cheesy balls and cheesy nachos, my arms already full of sugary goodness. On the one hand, cheesy balls are just awesome, but with cheesy nachos, you can have dip. Or I could just have both and forget the extra-chocolaty pop tarts. I really should have brought some more money…
What to chose, what to chose…
I debated for a whole ten more minutes, ignoring the totally freaked out looks I was getting from the normal shoppers. Thing is, I wasn't naive to the fact that I was only spending an honestly stupid amount of time picking between cheese flavored snacks because it was a completely Claire-free problem. I could feel totally normal.
This tiny bliss lasted about five more seconds before my stupid smug smile fell away and left a frown in it's place; the only other costumer in the section noticed this change and quickly scuttled away.
I stared at the small trove of goodies in my arms.
Maybe you imprinted on Claire because you have the same mental age, said a snide voice in my head. I knew this voice. It came from the 'Claire-worshiping' side of my brain. And it seemed to get louder every time I heard it.
Dude, it continued, why the hell are you here? Buying junk food for yourself when you don't even want it?
That was true. Why did I want it? It no longer made me happy like it did a few short weeks ago. I wasn't even interested in cute girls anymore. All I wanted was to see Claire smile again.
Then why don't you go and see her? Moron.
I opened my mouth, as if to answer my werewolf-ish brain out loud, but failed to come up with another solid argument. I felt cornered by my own emotions. Damn imprinting.
Face it. You're not miserable because you imprinted anymore. It because you haven't seen her in-
All brain activity suddenly stopped, mid-sentence. I suddenly fell into a state of shock. Because I suddenly caught the smell of another person coming into the shop. A smell I recognized. Ok, I swear I'm not a perv or anything, but it's natural that after following the same smell for miles everyday to look at a house, you would know it, right? Let's forget how unnatural it is to actually run all that way for a second.
You would recognize the smell of the object of your adoration when she walked into the same shop, right?
My mouth fell open and the food dropped out of my arms; I was running before the bottle of pop had time to hit the floor and explode on impact. I skidded round the corner, grabbing onto a shelf in time to stop myself skidding right into, and probably through, a wall.
Then finally, I saw Claire. My Claire. She was staring at me with wide eyes, her chubby lips slightly parted. Her small tiny hand was half reached out as though she was about to grab something but got distracted when a giant suddenly came crashing into view. AKA me.
"Claire." I breathed, letting out a gush of tension I didn't know I had.
She continued to stare at me. I unwillingly let out a weird squeaky noise, suddenly terrified that she was going to start to cry; if she did, I think I'd start bawling myself.
Suddenly I jumped as a disapproving cough snapped me out of my state; I noticed for the first time what Claire was sitting in. A fold-out pushchair, shopping bags hanging from both handles, the plastic straining so much it was almost transparent. I let my gaze sheepishly crawl upwards and finally caught Claire's mom's look, her sharp eyebrow raised.
"Quil." She sighed and I quickly nodded, frowning at her tone. Had we met before? Apart from me gate-crashing her reunion, that is. She was staring darkly at me over her glasses, as one would do to a troublesome pupil.
"Err… hi, err…" I racked my brain. "…Regan."
She nodded curtly and continued to give me a searching stare and look me up and down. Creepy, much? I wanted to look back at Claire but her mom's almost scolding look made me feel too guilty. So I looked back at her and shuffled my feet a bit, like a kid being caught stealing candy.
"Claire and I went to see Emily today." She informed me suddenly, giving me a loaded look which I'm sure would have made complete sense if I had even the tiniest clue why she was telling me that.
Anyway, they lived miles away (I would know), so I had sort of guessed she had been visiting Emily if they were all the way over here. Duh-ness.
"We went yesterday as well." She continued, giving me such a meaningful look that it made me feel dumb just to receive it.
"Erm, oh right. Um… that's nice." I responded lamely, to which she sighed so dramatically that Claire giggled (insert mental squeal here) and I felt like even more of an idiot.
Jeez, like I cared where she had been… then I remembered my huge oh-my-god-where-is-Claire fit yesterday night. Huh. Guess I did care. Darn.
"We talked about you." She added, hinting something heavily.
"Oh." I said blankly. Creepy. Then my brain, as though it had decided it had watched me suffer enough, picked up it's pace and I finally got what she was going on about. "Oh!"
I guess it was inevitable that Sam and Emily would tell her. They knew that when I had my revelation of how much I really needed Claire (the trigger for which was junk food. Whoever said sugar was bad for you?), that I would instantly want to entwine myself in Claire's life. Like Sam had with Emily. But Claire was two. Of course her mother would need to be told why there was a random six-foot guy begging to be aloud to baby-sit. I was also certain that she didn't know everything.
Just all the things involving me. Great.
But I now interpreted her look as; Don't worry Quil, I know all about your imprinting and I totally understand. I'm so happy you'll be there for her. What to come over for dinner?
Well, it was either that or; Get away from us, you damn werewolf. If you think I'm letting you even ruffle my Claire's hair, you've got another thing coming. And you're not coming over for dinner.
Well, I might as well find out which it is. Having Claire this close but having to be trapped under her mother's glare was killing me. My entire frame seemed to be leaning towards her, towards the irresistible pull. It was like a hard-core alcoholic trying to resist the world's sweetest wine when it was placed right in front of him.
"Um…I…I just…" I noticed Regan quickly twitch Claire's pushchair closer to her, her eyes shadowed and judging, as though she was trying to decide whether I was a pervert or not. I bit my lip. Awkward… "I just want to… protect her you know, and…" I risked a glance down at Claire. Her eyes were wide and innocent, shining in the low light. My next words came out in a rush. "And can I talk to her?!"
There was a few seconds of silence. I didn't look up for her sceptical mother's reaction, too mesmerised by Claire's lightly lashed eyes. If I ever had to look away from them it would be too soon.
Meanwhile, my pre-imprinting part of my head was giving me a slow clap. Well done, Quil, it said, You are officially now the most pathetic guy in La Push. She's not Kate Moss! She's a two-year old toddler! Wait… can she even talk?!
Then Regan gave a resigned nod and I collapsed completely into the Claire-side of my brain with a inwards squeal. Lost forever. Oh my God! Oh my God! I get to talk to Claire! OH MY GOD! Take that world!
Then: Wow, I sound really gay.
I decided not to think too much on that and shuffled forwards, squatting beside Claire's pushchair. She looked back at me, eyes bright with innocent curiosity; I honestly felt honored that she seemed deemed me interesting enough to hold her attention. Two-year-old toddler's attention spans weren't famous for being big. I was actually really nervous; what if I said the wrong thing and she started screaming or crying or something?! Her Mom would whip her away and I'd be left feeling like the worst guy in the world.
3, 2, 1...
"Hello!" I burst, bravely.
I heard Regan laugh at me.
Huh. Didn't she understand this was a very traumatic time for me? Jeez, some people are so inconsiderate.
"Ewwo." Claire gurgled back, unfazed. I grinned in delight and she smiled back, before turning away and looking her mom, making some whiny noise and sticking her lip out. She seemed totally confident that I would still be there when she looked back; which I would be, of course. "Milkie!" She whined, grabbing at the air above her head in earnest. "Milkie!"
I instantly jumped to attention. Milkie? Wh-what was that?! Sweets? I'd go hi-jack the whole sweet isle if she wanted.
What should I do?!
Then Regan suddenly grabbed a bottle of milk out of seemingly nowhere (mothers can do things like that. It's pretty freaky if you ask me.) and passed it to Claire. She grabbed it, acting totally used to the princess treatment, as all kids are, then turned back to me, totally unsurprised that I was still sitting there.
Then she stared.
She drank and stared at me like I was some bright new toy passing her inspection. Which I guess I was.
Still, I was totally happy with the situation. Regan was half keeping an eye on me and half checking out some half price washing-up powder, so I let all my attention circulate on Claire and we just stared at each other in wonder.
She grew more adorable every second that went by (there was still a very small part of my brain that was still screaming No! Quil, dude, don't do this! You're a moron! but it was drowned out by all other Claire-centered thoughts. It was too late for me now. I think another word for 'imprinted' is 'obsessed'.). She was tiny really, about as long as my forearm; keeping in mind that I'm over six foot. Her tiny face was chubby and rosy, a button nose squashed up against her bottle. Her jet black hair was long for so young and hid her ears under waves.
I felt like giggling like some drugged-up school girl; she was so cute!
Suddenly, the bottle came away and Claire beamed at me, a dimple showing up on her right cheek. "My name ish Claire." She informed me happily, poking a pudgy finger towards herself to make sure I didn't get confused.
Does this mean I passed her inspection?
I'm two-year old Claire's new toy!
I bet you're jealous.
"My name's Quil." I supplied in return, grinning.
Claire paused and moved her lips silently for a second, trying to get her mouth around the word. "K…Krill." She said finally.
Oh my God! SHE SAID MY NAME!!!
I think my brain finally died just then and I just became one huge grin and mental squeal. I was on a weird and totally pointless high, jazzed just because I was talking to her; I had all but forgotten that Regan was hovered beside us, monitoring my every move.
"Awe-e-some." I praised her, stretching the word out. Claire giggled delightedly and clapped her hands a few times, then reached up with a tiny fist. I blinked. What was she-
And then she grabbed a lock of my poor hair and yanked on it.
Which, I told my hysterical friends later, after they had trespassed in my head to find out why I was running around and singing, was a very good sign.
If anyone has a baby brother or sister, you must have seen the Drink-Milk-And-Stare-in-wonder look; it's the cutest thing in the world! xD
I just had to make Claire be a master of it. Poor Quil (Krill :D ) never had a chance.
Please review, I'd love to know how you think I did in Quil's Point of View; it's my first time writing in a guy's point of view who isn't an andriod or a half-bird (Tobias! XD). Quil was actually really fun to write. :D
P.S This is the first fic I've used a swear word in. Aren't I a rebel? xD