A/N: No, the title has nothing to do with Claire Redfield. (It's French for 'to the moonlight'. Symbolism, and all that.) And Hotaru, I can't make brownies from the box, either. I can't make anything, for that matter. Anything. I think I don't mix it well enough. Or maybe I use the wrong kind of pan. At any rate, anything I try to make comes out lumpy, crunchy, burnt or soggy. (I still remember the first batch of Jello I tried to make; it came out chewy. Gross.)

Last chapter! If you liked this story, read my prologue to it, 'Dragonfly'. ^_^ It's short, don't worry. Anyway, thanks for reading…and reviewing…and…I will return (mwahaha) with another story soon! And…ah…the ending wasn't all I hoped it would be. So…if you don't like it…you're not the only one…

Chapter 8

      In her room the next night, Claire let out a deep breath as she thought about the previous day's discussion with Leon. Or, rather, the lack of one. Leon had started to ask her something when Sherry burst into the room, screaming about a rat in the bedroom. Leon went to check it out, and in his absence Claire hid in the drawing room until the room was clear. And then she'd kept to that room for the rest of the night.

      Why was she running? It wasn't like she had something to hide from him or something. And she felt horrible for Sherry, who had quickly caught on to the fact that Claire and Leon were having a serious discussion and tried to leave quietly – but Leon followed up on her complaint, leaving Claire alone in the parlor. As Claire slid a red sweater over her head – after all, they were celebrating Christmas that day – Sherry walked into the room.

      The little girl blushed painfully and walked, her head tilted towards the floor, over to her bed.

      "Sherry?" Sherry looked up, her cheeks flushing even redder, and then turned to look out the window.

      "Yeah, Claire?"

      "It's okay, about yesterday. Leon and I were just talking, that's all." Sherry laughed – almost bitterly.

      "Right, Claire." Sherry lay down on the bed, staring up at the ceiling. "I don't see why you guys are being so strange about it. I mean, you both like each other. You don't have to freak out so much, Claire."

      Claire whirled around to look at the girl. "Excuse me?"

      "You heard me. You two need to get together. It's starting to bug me, the way you act so weird around each other. Just go out, already!" Claire watched, speechless, as Sherry stood and walked out the door, rolling her eyes. "I'm serious, Claire," she added as she slid the door shut.


      Leon sat in the still and silent basement, fiddling with the wrench he held in his hands. He loved to work on machines and the like – it always calmed him down, helped him relax, even. Only today, it wasn't working. He was trying to fix the heating system, but every time he turned a screw, he'd see Claire's face, imagine what would've happened if Sherry hadn't burst in on them.

      Not that he held anything against Sherry. Well, maybe he was a little annoyed with her. He'd finally gotten Claire alone, and she just had to came racing in. And about rats, of all things. With a sigh, he turned back to the control panel before him and lifted his hand. Leon paused…did the door to the basement open…? Or was he imagining things?

      The sound of footsteps echoing off the stone steps bounced around the room, and Leon turned, frowning, to see who it was.

      "Leon? You down here?" Claire. Claire was coming to see him. Hastily, he wiped his face on his sleeve and turned around. She looked beautiful – as usual – as she cautiously stepped over a pile of discarded gears and made her way over to him.

      "Um, Claire, hi…" She sat down on a cardboard box next to his chair and looked at him, looked right into his eyes. A square of moonlight from the narrow window above her head illuminated her face and made her eyes glitter like a well-cut gem.

      "Leon, you were right yesterday. We need to talk, and I've been avoiding you. But not because I don't like you, okay? You've gotta see, I've been…a little upset, about this guy, back at Rockfort."


      She glanced at his face. "Yeah, Steve. Steve Burnside. He…he said he loved me, Leon."

      "Did you love him back?" She swallowed. Leon felt his heart stop for a minute, felt his pulse slow down, and it seemed almost as if Time was waiting for Claire to make her choice: Steve…or Leon.

      "…no." The blood pounded in Leon's ears, so loud it almost drowned out Claire's next few words. "But we were friends. Like you and me, back in Raccoon. I don't really know how to say this next part, Leon, but…" She reached forward and took his greasy hand in her own smooth, soft one before continuing. "…I'd like us to be…more than just friends. If that's okay with you…"

      Claire looked anxiously at him, hoping to find a clue to his feelings in that open, charming face. Leon threw back his head and laughed, enveloping her in his strong arms.

      "Claire…there's nothing I'd like more!"


      Chris checked the clock on the wall and looked around the room. Everyone was there…except for Leon and Claire. Carlos was muttering sweet nothings to Rebecca on the couch, Sherry and Jill were playing a modified game of hearts and Chris was pacing back and forth, waiting for the others.

      "Alright, that's it. I'm going to go find those two," he muttered, and started towards the door.

      "Make sure you don't…walk in on anything, Chris," Sherry called, and laughed a little. Chris thrust his head back into the room.

      "What was that?"

      "Oh, nothing…" She laughed again and played her next card. Jill swore vehemently and glared at Sherry, who smiled amiably in response. Chris frowned and left the room, deciding to start from the bottom up. The kitchen, the dining room, the useless room…all empty. The door to the basement was slightly ajar, and Chris remembered Leon going down there earlier to fix the furnace. Laughter drifted up the stairs from the bowels of the basement, and with a grimace Chris started down the stairs.

      There was absolutely nothing he hated worse than unpunctuality, and Leon was a police officer, for God's sake, he should know better…!

      When he reached the bottom of the stairs, Chris came to an abrupt halt, his face a mask of horror. Was that Claire…!? No, his little Claire-Bear was too young for that kind of thing…! He beat a hasty retreat upstairs and waited a minute, catching his breath.

      Then he started down the stairs again, making as much noise as he could, and cleared his throat loudly.

      "Er, Claire, Leon, is that you? We're waiting for you guys upstairs." Claire turned around as Leon wiped a spot of lip gloss off his cheek and stood to greet the bashful Chris.

      "Hey, Chris, we're starting already?"

      "Erm…yes…" Leon turned towards Claire and smiled.

      "Guess we better go up then, huh?" He headed up the stairs. "Wait 'til you see what I got you!"

      Claire chuckled and went to stand next to Chris.

      "He acts like a little kid sometimes, you know…" Chris looked around the room to avoid his sister's inquisitive gaze. Suddenly, she laughed again. "Chris, it was very sweet of you not to interrupt us. I really appreciate it." She stood on her tippy-toes and planted a sisterly kiss on his cheek. "I love you, you know that? I'd never make it without you."

      And with that, she trotted up the stairs after Leon. Chris stood for a moment, with a little smile on his face as he watched her go, no longer caring if any of them were late. Claire had given him anything he could've wanted for Christmas – and a bit more, too. Claire was happy, he was happy, Jill was happy…and at that moment, that was all that mattered.

      Umbrella wasn't going anywhere, Chris decided, and he could wait a day or two to have some fun with friends and family. Christmas only comes but once a year, he thought happily as he shut the basement door. Why not enjoy it while it lasted?