A/N - This is the kind of scene I was hoping for in 6x11 :) I guess I'll have to wait til the end of the season to get something like it! Slightly based off of my video Eternity: .com/watch?v=N3hkzpg_r_U

Little Moments

So, her name was Joan Hart...Claire pondered as she swung her legs over the side of the gurney. And now she has my credit card...so I guess she'll be Claire Littleton for awhile.

After her labour had settled, the doctors suggested that Claire try walking around to get her strength back. She'd been through a series of traumas, after all. That stupid woman...couldn't she have called to tell me she didn't want this baby anymore? What a waste of my time...

Poking her head into the hallway to find somewhere to indulge her sudden craving for tea, Claire padded her slippered feet to the nurse's desk and asked if there was a vending machine nearby.

"Damn thing's been broken all week," The amber-haired young nurse replied as she shuffled through a handful of charts. "But you can make yourself some in the nurses' lounge," She smiled and pointed down the hallway, and then bristled as her pager went off. "Excuse me."

Claire watched the nurse dash off up the hall a moment, curious as to who was in danger, but a sharp nudge in her gut made her wander towards the nurse's station. Her baby boy was demanding...Aaron. Why had she said that? It was as though she knew it; she'd seen his beautiful face and ocean blue eyes. Her son; her Aaron. I guess he's mine, now... she thought miserably as she rounded the corner.

---

Charlie dodged past an orderly and sped into a fire escape. He'd evaded Desmond again, hopefully for the last time, and was now looking for passage out of the hospital. He ran down two flights of stairs and then onto the next floor. It was here he stopped running and tried not to call attention to himself. He passed a window through which he saw a dozen or so newborn infants and continued walking. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw a security guard talking into his walkie-talkie. His heart racing, Charlie swung left.

Almost immediately he ran into someone.

"Sorry!" He cried as he grabbed her forearms before they could smack into each other.

Claire gasped. "It's alright," She exhaled.

"I wasn't looking where I was..." He paused and let go of her hands; his eyes focusing on hers. "Going..."

"It's ok; I'm okay." She assured him.

"You..."Charlie muttered, a smile of amazement creeping onto his face. This was her; this was his beautiful blonde love...this is who he'd seen when he'd choked on his stash of heroin. The one he'd seen and felt only unconditional, mind altering love for. And she was even more beautiful than he remembered.

"I'm sorry?" Claire was put off by the way he was staring at her, and the fact that he was in a hospital gown...she hoped he hadn't escaped from the psychiatric ward.

"Nothing." Charlie released her; but his eyes couldn't move from her angelic face.

"I'm just, ah," She walked into the nurse's station. "Making some tea..."

He hadn't meant to follow her, but he couldn't help it. He'd thought she wasn't real; that she wouldn't exist in this life; that's why he'd been so desperately trying to end his. Yet here, she was.

It was only when he viewed her full body that he saw how heavily pregnant she was. "Should...should you be standing?" He asked in concern.

Claire waved a hand at him. "Oh, no, I'm fine," She smiled and clicked on the kettle. "He's not due for another month or so..."

"But..." Charlie joined her at the bench and pulled a mug down off the top shelf for her. "Then why are you in hospital?"

"Long story..." Claire chuckled. "I, ah, I thought I was in labour but they stopped it." She grinned and took the mug from him. "Would you like some?"

Charlie had to resist the urge to say yes. "No, no thanks." He declined, knowing he'd have to duck out quickly if Desmond was still on his trail.

As the kettle whistled, Claire caught sight of his profile and something tweaked in her memory. "You were on my plane..." She realized. "Oceanic 8-1-5."

"Yeah, yeah, I was," Charlie removed a bottle of milk from the fridge and handed it to her.

"They took you off first..." Claire said, remembering more as she thought. "In handcuffs...you were with the police."

Charlie bristled. "Yeh...I guess I got in some trouble." To this; she smiled. "What?" He asked.

"Nothing; just...you're not the first lawbreaker I've run into today." Claire poured some boiling water over the teabag on her mug.

"Are you here on your own?" Charlie inquired.

"Ah, yes, I am..." Claire replied, stirring some sugar into her cup. "I was, um...I was giving my baby away." She told him quickly; not wanting to have to go through that horrid conversation. Why are you here? Are you visiting someone?

Intrigued, Charlie sat in the stool by the counter. "Really?"

"Yeah, but ah..." Claire tucked a strand of her blonde hair over her ear. "They changed their minds... didn't bother to call me."

"So, what are you going to do now?"

Claire added some milk to her tea and started stirring it in rhythmic circles. "I...I dunno...my mum; she never wanted me to give him away... she said she'd help me raise the baby but...I wanted this baby to have a mother and a father." She smiled wistfully. "A family."

Charlie paused for a moment, "I take it the father isn't around." He said carefully.

"No, not anymore," Claire flinched at the memory of Thomas abandoning her. "He got scared; ran off."

"Sorry." Charlie muttered.

"It's not your fault." She finished up her cup of tea. "Who needs men, right? They're bloody useless."

Charlie chuckled. "It's a boy, I'll bet," He pointed at her tummy.

Claire did a double take. "Um, yeh... yeh it is, actually."

"No doubt he'll be a better man that his father."

"I hope so," Claire smiled politely and took a sip of her tea.

"I, ah, I should be going," he started towards the door; half worried that either Desmond or the police were on the other side waiting for him.

"Oh, ok...it was nice to meet you, Charlie." She smiled warmly, brushing past him as she started for the door; but he suddenly grabbed her arm.

"How'd you know my name?" he asked, eyes narrowing as he rose to stand before her.

An icy shiver ran up Claire's spine. "I...I dunno," She realized in shock. "I just," She locked eyes with him; those adorably familiar eyes... "I just knew it."

Slowly, carefully, Claire reached out and touched the side of his face, wanting to feel why it was so familiar. His skin was soft and rough at the same time.

She'd felt this before.

It's really...sunny... Thus my hat.

I remember peanut butter....I can get you peanut butter....

I'm gonna protect you; you and Aaron...

You always try to be funny when you don't want to answer a question...Try to be funny?

I'll be fine, Claire... Be careful, Charlie, ok?

I told you I'd take care of you...

As if his skin was white hot, Claire pulled back her hands, feeling her son tumbling in circles within her. "I remember." She whispered, tears welling in her ocean blue eyes. "I remember breakfast in bed and... and picnics... I remember peanut butter... I remember you, Charlie."

Charlie smiled; his rush of love and intense connection that he'd felt in those moments before death returning to the surface of his heart. He cupped her angelic face in his hands, smoothing her tears away with his thumbs. "It was imaginary peanut butter," He corrected her with a wry grin. "Claire..." To speak her name was like singing to heaven. "I remember."

xxx

the end