DISCLAIMER: The characters herein are used without permission. No infringement intended.
SPOILERS: Season 2 before Buried but after Vendetta
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
FEEDBACK: To ariadni.mou[at]gmail.com

New Family
By Athena


Claudia pulled her legs up until her heels almost touched her butt and rested her chin on her knees. Her arms were wrapped around her legs making her a tight little ball looking incredibly small on the lounge chair on the porch. She sighed and stared out into the darkness. The house was quiet which was not all that surprising since it was two in the morning. A faint sound behind her made her look over her shoulder. HG Wells was standing by the open door, smiling at her. Claudia closed her eyes and exhaled in relief.

"God HG, you scared the fracking crap out of me."

Helena chuckled and walked over. She looked down at Claudia, studying her face for a moment. Finally she gently tucked a pink lock of hair behind Claudia's ear. Claudia's eyes seemed shinier and Helena cupped her chin.

"What's wrong darling?"

Claudia shook her head and bit her lip. Her head snapped up again when Helena pushed her in the back.

"Scoot forward a little."

"What?" Claudia said, but she inched forward.

To Claudia's surprise Helena sat down behind her, stretching out her long legs on either side of Claudia. Helena then proceeded to unclasp Claudia's hands from around her legs and pulled her against her until she was holding Claudia in her arms. She kissed Claudia's head.

"Something is troubling you. I can tell," Helena whispered in Claudia's ear. "If you don't want to tell me, that's all right. I could however use some comforting too, so if I may stay with you I would greatly appreciate it."

Claudia chuckled and nodded. "Don't think I don't know what you're doing," she muttered as she settled in in Helena's arms.

Claudia closed her eyes and sighed. It felt really good to be held. And somehow it also felt right that it had been Helena who had come to her on this night of all nights. She would have appreciated any of them, but none of them could really fully understand what was eating away at her like HG could, Claudia thought.

"I have absolutely no idea to what you are referring," Helena said with feigned surprise in her voice.

"Yeah, right," Claudia muttered and shook her head. She turned her head a little so she could see Helena's face. "Thanks."

Helena kissed her cheek and smiled. "Any time darling."

Claudia sighed and relaxed more in Helena's arms. "My parents," she mumbled.

"Yes?" Helena said, encouraging her to continue.

"They died twelve years ago… today," she whispered.

"Dear lord, Claudia," Helena gasped. She cupped Claudia's chin again. "Why didn't you tell us?"

Claudia shrugged. "You know, I'm used to being on my own. I'm not used to being able to depend on other people and have them care about me."

"We don't just care about you darling," Helena said and kissed Claudia's cheek again. "We love you. You are family to us."

Claudia sniffled and wiped her nose on her sleeve. "Sorry," she mumbled.

Helena pulled out a pristine white handkerchief from her pocket and handed it to Claudia. Claudia wiped her eyes and blew her nose. Finally she settled in against Helena again. She turned a little and curled up in Helena's arms. Helena pulled the discarded blanket sitting on the floor over Claudia encasing her in a warm cocoon. Claudia closed her eyes as Helena slowly stroked her hair.

Helena stayed awake long after Claudia had fallen asleep, watching over her, still stroking the girl's hair. Finally sleep overcame her too and her eyes closed.

Pete stopped in mid step with his mouth open to say something to Myka when he saw her smile and hold up her hand for him to stop. She made a sign for him to be quiet and then waved him over. He tiptoed over, now curious as to what she had spotted. He froze when he saw Helena, still asleep with Claudia in her arms. Claudia was smiling in her sleep, clearly enjoying the comfort Helena offered.

"What?" he whispered confused.

"I think they have realized that they can help each other heal," Myka whispered.

Pete looked at Claudia's face, noticing how relaxed she looked. It occurred to him that Claudia always seemed to have a bit of a guarded look on her face, as if she almost expected the universe to turn on her at any second. In sleep Claudia looked younger and free from worries and the sadness that had scared her so. It tugged at his heart and he felt tears in his eyes. He looked at Myka when he heard her chuckle.

"Are you getting choked up?" she teased.

"Yeah, well they are kind of cute, aren't they? Like mama bear and her cub kind of."

A chuckle from the chair made both of them look at the two sleeping women again only to find themselves looking at a very much awake Helena. She smirked at them.

"Can you two please be quiet? You're going to wake her."

Pete opened his mouth and then closed it and just nodded. Myka chuckled and folded her arms as she grinned at Helena.

"She needs you," she said gently to Helena. "I'm glad that you decided to stay, Helena."

Helena nodded and looked at the sleeping girl in her arms. "So am I, darling."

Claudia stirred and yawned. She started to stretch when she realized that she was not alone.

"What the?" she mumbled. She turned her head and stared at Helena. "You stayed?" she whispered.

Helena nodded. She caressed Claudia's cheek. "That's what family do for each other."

Claudia's lip trembled and she nodded. She clung to Helena when Helena pulled her closer.

Myka took a step closer and looked at Helena. Helena smiled and nodded. Myka sat down behind Claudia, balancing on the edge of the lounge chair. She stroked Claudia's back offering her support, not knowing exactly what was going on. Claudia froze and turned her head. She stared at Myka and then threw herself in Myka's arms. Myka, a little surprised by the sudden change of things, held her close. Helena smiled and put her hand on top of Myka's.

"Family," she whispered.

"Well I'm family too," Pete muttered. "I want in on the hugging."

With those words he wrapped his arms around both Claudia and Myka. Claudia laughed out loud. Helena glanced at Myka and their eyes met over Claudia's head. Myka held out her hand to Helena who took it without hesitation.

The End

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