A/N - Hey there. I wasn't overly content at how my last fic ended, so have decided to do a sequel for it - plus I wanted to add a few more complications! This follows on from where he left at the end of the last one, but I thought I'd keep the plotline going.
I think it's fairly clear to most out there that Chris leaving was just...well, the worst thing he could've done. Especially the way he did happen to leave on top.
Oh well, we can't always have things our own way. Here we go!
"So how did it feel handing in your notice then?" Clara tossed a dustsheet over the sofa as she helped in getting everything ready to be moved.
Chris shrugged. "Weird, I guess." He felt incredibly thankful that she decided to muck in with covering everything up.
They weren't due to move for another month, but he would've rather got everything done than wait till it got further down the line or leave it at the last minute.
"Really, why do you say that?"
He had to think for a few minutes. "'Cause I never thought I'd see myself do it."
"When's your leaving date?"
He smirked to himself at the fact that she was asking him twenty-one questions. "It isn't just yet. I work there for another four weeks and then I'm gone."
She nodded slowly. "I think they'll miss you."
He noticed she'd finished helping him out where she could. "Ok," he went over to her, placing a hand on her shoulder, "you wanna come out with me and get a takeout now?"
They never went out and did things like that, but they'd bonded incredibly well during the preliminary packing.
In fact, things had gotten better between them since that night.
After they'd had something, they snuggled up together on the dustsheet-draped sofa, watching a late-night film.
It was something Chris rarely ever did on a weeknight, but he should've at least allowed himself to relax a bit more – he was leaving his job within a month or so!
"Getting tired yet?" He nuzzled his nose in Clara's dark hair, liking its freshly sugary scent as he took it in.
She shook her head. "I'm surprised you're not," she pointed out, "you should've gone to sleep an hour ago."
"I guess you're right. I should go to bed," he sat up more as he thought about turning in, "but you have to go to bed as well as me."
He still couldn't believe how annoyingly foreign the 'dad' label felt to him. "Now come on, don't start that. You know full well that doesn't work on me."
He quickly got up after switching the TV off. "Get yourself to bed, young lady."
She pouted cutely, although she did what he told her to. Nonetheless, she still proceeded to do what he'd told her to.
He may have been everything anyone at her age could've wanted as a father. He doted on her like mad and loved her to pieces, but he expected her to obey him when it came to things like bedtime.
She leapt into bed, waiting in anticipation for him to come in, fold in the sides of the blankets under the mattress and give her a kiss. She hoped that he'd still do all that once they'd moved into their new place as it was something she felt she thrived on.
"I know what you're waiting for," he teased in a singsong voice as he came into her room.
He carefully folded in the sides of her blankets and leant over her to kiss her.
She closed her eyes in anticipation of the kiss, but she opened her eyes when she didn't feel it. It was something she didn't want to be without.
Maybe her worst fears had been confirmed in the fact that he felt she should've grown out of it; after all, she was seventeen.
Instead, his bright, blue eyes fixed onto hers and they weren't expressing anything lucid– he was just leaning over her and staring into her piercing green orbs. "Close your eyes and go straight to sleep." He cupped her face softly. "Don't want you crabby in the morning, do we?"
She giggled at his teasing remark and slid her hand up his arm. "Not like last time?"
"Especially not like last time."
She was still waiting for his kiss. "Love you, dad."
He pressed his lips to her forehead. "Love you too, honey. Sleep well now."
Chris couldn't sleep.
He knew why, of course – everything that was happening was happening in ways he wasn't expectingthem to.
For starters, his and Clara's bond was as strong as it had ever been, not that he was complaining; secondly, managing to find a place that was suitable for both of them was strangely easy to find and get hold of, and thirdly, having to hand in his notice was easier than expected. When he explained to Karen what his intentions were, she didn't say anything that would've stopped him from going.
That, he couldn't quite understand and he knew that there was something that seemed to be playing on her mind more so than him handing in his notice to her. He knew that was a better option than to have walked out completely, and if he did the latter it wouldn't have given him a very good reputation that he'd have left with the school.
He tried to switch his thought process off, but it was just so hard. He knew that whenever something was on his mind, it took him forever and a day to sleep and even if he managed to get any sleep at all the exhaustion was somehow able to set in the following day and really make itself known on him.
He vaguely heard something behind his door and it opened very slightly to reveal a tense-looking Clara in the doorway.
He should've acted a bit more shocked, but he wasn't. For some reason she'd been having trouble sleeping and he'd been refraining from letting her stay with him.
That really wasn't viable in helping a seventeen-year old, but he found it too harsh in telling her to go back to bed, even if he told her to. He thought he'd managed to wean her off going to bed with him, but maybe a one-off wasn't so bad.
"You can't sleep either?" He loosely assumed, sitting up in bed. He was thankful she couldn't see just how tired he was.
She nodded slowly. "I didn't know if you were awake, but…"
Chris slid over to give her some room. "Unfortunately I am, but I'm not going to tell you to go back to your own bed this time."
Her eyes widened in glee. "Y-you mean you're letting me stay with you?"
He nodded slowly. "But just for tonight, ok? Then you have to stay in your own bed the next time you can't sleep. Is that fair enough?"
"Ok." She couldn't care less if it was just for one night, she felt so much better snuggling up to him.
He lifted the nearest corner of the blankets up for her to get in. "Come on then – before you get too cold or I change my mind."
Quickly, she scrambled into bed, and they snuggled up together.
She closed her eyes and drew in a small sigh at feeling him wrap his strong arms around her. Never before had she had anyone that felt so protective of her.
"Now are you going to find it easier to sleep, young lady?"
"A lot easier…" Her voice tailed off from sheer exhaustion.
"Good," Chris pressed his lips to her forehead, "close your eyes then."