DISCLAIMER: Katherine "Kate" Austen, Claire Littleton et al belong to Jeffery Lieber, JJ Abrams, Damon Lindelof, as well as Bad Robot Productions, Touchstone Television, ABC and Disney. No copyright infringement is intended or inferred. The story along with any/all original characters are the sole property of the author and cannot be used without expressed permission first.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: This is in response to Wolvie's challenge. The pairing is Kate and Claire. The following line, "When you help someone deliver their baby, you become part of their family", must be included in the story. Use the word 'Lilly'. A happy ending (if possible - it is LOST). And it must be mid-long in length. I think I've been able to satisfy all the requirements.
This is my first attempt at writing a story based on the characters from LOST. I followed the show through the first season and could not wait for the second season to begin. But if you've watched the show, you already can feel the frustration I felt when they showed repeats ad nauseam. I'm hoping I've kept "in" character that they're believable. If not, let me know where you thought I went "wrong". I've followed canon up to a certain extent, before branching out in a different direction.
SPECIAL THANKS: To my beta readers, RD and Lisa for checking spelling, punctuation and their ideas and to Rainbowluver for checking if I stayed in character as to mannerisms, etc.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
FEEDBACK: Oh yes, it's important, see above.
COPYRIGHT: May 30th June 3rd 2006.
By A.M. Glass
"Come on Claire," Kate pleaded as she tried to get the pregnant woman back to camp.
"I can't...I can't," Claire panted, her hands around her waist protectively, sweat pouring down her face, stinging her eyes.
"You have to!"
Why had they gone? Why did they have to go to the waterfall?
Because I wanted to get to know her better and she asked, that's why. Kate silently answered her own question. Ever since Sawyer opened his mouth about the place, Claire had been saying she'd like to go...
"You know, have a look around. I probably won't have a chance later, once the baby's born."
"What about Charlie?" she asked. "I'm sure he'll take you."
"You're right, he would," Claire replied, looking at the ocean as they stood at the edge of the surf, the cool water lapping at their feet. "But I don't want him to, Kate," she turned the brunette. "I want you to take me, please?"
Kate rubbed the side of her neck, contemplating Claire's request. What else did she have to do? Put up with Sawyer and his attempts to get in her pants.
Freckles this, freckles that.
Then there was Jack...
He had gotten under her skin quicker than anyone else had before and that scared her.
With Sawyer it was easy, no strings
Jack, he'd want everything
Something she wasn't prepared to give at the moment, if ever. So, her answer was clear:
"All right, first thing tomorrow morning..."
"Thank you, Kate..."
"Hold up," she said. "You need to tell me the minute you feel something happening," she gestured towards Claire's bulging stomach.
"Fine then, I'll come by around eight."
"I'll be ready."
Kate knew, as she looked at Claire, that she was going to have the baby and there was nothing she could do to stop it.
"I'm sorry," Claire, gasped out as another wave of pain washed over her.
"It's not your fault, it's not," Kate said as she helped Claire walk to a clear area underneath a tree. "I should have known better," she muttered to herself as she helped Claire down.
"AGRHHH!!!" Claire cried out.
Kate had unsheathed her knife without hesitation and was kneeling by Claire's side the moment she started yelling. She looked around, trying to expand her senses, anything to let her know if they were 'safe'.
No one had better attempt to get to the blonde and her unborn child while she was around.
"Claire... I know you're hurting..." Kate said as she continued to look around. "But please... you've got to be quiet," she returned her gaze towards the blonde and resisted the urge to reach out and move the strands of hair from Claire's face.
Claire looked at her as if she grown two heads. Quiet? Me? Now? "You're kidding right?"
Kate slid her knife back into its sheath and took her backpack off, rummaging through it, trying to find anything that could help. "No, I'm not. We're, at the most, two hours away from camp and we don't know where "they" might be."
As if a bucket of ice-cold water had hit her, Claire finally understood the enormity of the danger they were in. "Help me up..." she groaned as she attempted to stand.
"Will you get back down!" Kate hissed. "Like it or not, you're going to have the baby and it's going to be here," she said sharply. The hurt look on Claire's face made her wish she could take the words back. She unbuckled her belt and folded it a few times. "Here... anytime you feel like crying out, bite on it... okay?"
Claire nodded as she took the belt, willing herself not to cry as she watched Kate look around.
"I'll be right back, I promise," she said as she stood up.
Kate walked a few feet away before returning. "I'm... I'm sorry. I shouldn't have snapped," she said, squeezing Claire's hands. She had to get a grip. She couldn't keep acting like this, it wasn't right.
She had to get her emotions under control now.
Claire, simply put, brought out the lioness in her; a deep seeded need to protect the blonde at all costs. It was something she felt comfortable with.
It was different with Jack and Sawyer.
She believed Jack wanted to take care of her in his own way. He always tried to exclude her from anything remotely dangerous and it pissed her off. She could take care of herself. She'd been doing it for years without his help. When would he learn?
Sawyer... he wanted her to run wild, to be more like him, to show up Jack. "Lookie what I got, Doc." She could almost hear him say it if she were to end up with him, like some kind of trophy to be won or lost without any input from her.
"It's alright. I understand," Claire replied, unknowingly disturbing Kate's inner thoughts.
Kate nodded and walked away.
Claire kept her eyes on Kate for as long as she could before losing track of her. Her head snapped to the right. What was that? She began to rock back and forth.
How could this have gone so badly?
Her idea was perfect.
In fact it was bloody bonzer.
So how could her plan having Kate escort her to the waterfall - get so... mucked up?
She should have given more thought to her due date. She knew Kate would take care of her and the baby; they were both nervous about being so far from camp, that's all.
She knew she was in good hands with Kate. The thought made her blush.
Something Charlie didn't do.
She liked Charlie, she really did but he wasn't Kate.
He wasn't the one who snuck into her dreams at night.
He wasn't the one who made her feel things she had pushed aside long ago and hadn't thought about since high school.
Not since Lilly.
Lilly McCann was a childhood friend who, one summer evening, surprised her by kissing her. Lilly had begged and pleaded with her not to tell anyone; told her how sorry she was and that it would never happen again.
Of course she'd promised. The only thing was, she'd wanted it to happen again. They were inseparable the rest of the summer. They had almost gone "all the way," but had decided to wait... it had to be special. After all, "It only happens once Claire," Lilly had whispered in her ear.
She shook her head, what's the point of thinking about the past? It doesn't change anything... does it?
Was it because Kate reminded her of Lilly? Was that the reason she felt this 'pull'?
Was it the soulful eyes? The brashness? The self-assuredness? Was it because she was breathtakingly beautiful? Or was it because she longed to hold Kate in her arms and kiss those enticing lips?
Were they the only reasons she wanted to be more than friends with Kate?
No, she shook her head. It had to be more than that.
She knew both Jack and Sawyer were snapping at each other over the brunette, but she had a feeling neither of them would come up the winner.
She quickly brought the belt to her mouth and bit down hard as another contraction came. She felt a rush of wetness between her legs; her water had broken.
Where was Kate?
She spit the belt out and groaned inwardly as she attempted to push her underwear off.
"What are you doing?!"
"For the love of God... you scared me nearly half to death," Claire said angrily, trying to keep her voice down.
Kate could see the blonde had her dress hiked up. "Umm, Claire... what are you doing?"
"My water broke, okay? I'm trying to push my knickers down."
"My knick...never mind."
Claire grunted as she managed to slide them down her thighs, but stopped. She was too exhausted. Where's that damn belt!? She asked herself. "Would you please help me with this?" Claire asked.
"Sure... right. Not a problem," Kate replied as she nervously reached up and took hold of Claire's underwear and began pulling them off. She tried to ignore the way Claire's skin felt soft, warm, inviting.
She gazed into Claire's face and saw the blonde staring at her with a strange look in her eyes was that desire? She tore her gaze away and finished taking the undergarments off.
This wasn't the time or place to get lost in her eyes.
Granted Kate had wanted a chance to approach Claire for a while now but Charlie was always hanging around and she thought Claire wouldn't be interested.
She might have to re-think that assumption.
"You okay?" Kate asked.
"Perfect did you find what you were looking for?"
"You were looking for something, weren't you? A few minutes ago?" Claire asked as she tried to find a more comfortable position.
"Oh, yeah that," Kate reached behind her and brought out the mango she'd found. "I thought it might help?"
Kate smiled weakly. "Couldn't find any ice chips..." she joked.
Claire was about to respond when another contraction hit. She bent forward and moaned into her chest.
Instinctively, Kate went to Claire's back and supported her while whispering, "It's going to be okay, I promise. Breathe, Claire, breathe."
Claire panted as she slumped against Kate. She smiled and shook her head. Just great. Her one chance to be held in Kate's arms and she can't do a thing about it.
"Jack and the others, they'll come looking for us... I know they will," Kate told her.
"But not for a while, right? I mean, we're not due back at any given time."
Kate couldn't answer her. She hadn't told anyone where she was going she had woken up, gotten Claire and left the beach camp.
"Did you tell Charlie? Where we were going?" She asked, her breath tickling Claire's earlobe.
"No. I didn't want him tagging along. We're in trouble, aren't we?" Claire asked, as she turned her head to look behind her and found she was a mere breath away from kissing Kate.
"Trouble?" Kate replied, her lips barely brushing against Claire's. She shouldn't do this. She shouldn't give in. Not now, not out here, but God she wanted to taste Claire's lips.
"Yes," she whispered, her heart pounding in her chest. Claire felt her eyes drifting shut as she bridged the tiny gap.
This is not happening. This...is happening.
Lips softly pressed against each other, neither able to make the next move. It could be easily explained away, as long as they didn't apply any more pressure; as long as their lips kept still. As long...
Claire sat up straight as another contraction wracked her body.
Kate shook her head; what was she thinking? Besides the fact that she wanted to kiss Claire again? Get your shit together, Kate! "Claire, how far apart are the contractions?" she asked as soon as it passed.
"Five minutes, probably less."
Kate scooted from her position behind Claire. Grabbing her backpack, she took out an extra shirt that she had brought with her. It would do. "I'm... I'm going to put this down, between your legs, okay?"
Claire couldn't trust herself to speak and nodded instead.
Kate gently opened Claire's legs and placed the shirt down. She's having a baby she's having a baby, Kate continued to tell herself as hands brushed up against Claire's thighs. "Claire, I don't know what to do," she admitted.
"I've never had a baby before either..."
"Did you take any classes?" Kate asked, silently praying that she had.
Claire looked down, "No. I... was going to, when I got to the states."
Kate bit her lip. "The only thing I know is you push, then you don't and you breathe a lot," she said jokingly.
"Don't forget the towels and the hot water..."
"Can't forget those," she said quickly. "Do... do you want to talk about what just happened?"
"Only if you do."
"I like you Claire, and I'd like the chance to get to know you better."
Claire beamed, "That's good, 'cause I like you too and I think we need to talk later," she rushed as she grabbed the belt and bit down again.
"Charlie!" Jack called out as he stomped through the sand.
"Hey Jack, what's going on?" He put his guitar back in its case.
"Have you seen Kate?" he asked, as he looked up the beach trying to spot the brunette.
"No I haven't. In fact, I haven't seen Claire either."
"I'm sure they're fine," he said, more to calm Charlie than himself. "Do you know where John is?"
"He's with Sayid," Charlie answered as it dawned on him that the two women were most likely missing. "I'm going with you," he said as he grabbed his pack and began stuffing it with water bottles. "Claire's due anytime now!"
"I know," Jack said, knowing there was nothing he could say to keep the Englishman from coming along. "Meet me at Sayid's." He walked away.
"Right," he said as he looked around, wondering what he might need to take with him. "Jack," he called out.
"Yeah," he answered as he continued his trek towards Sayid's.
"Don't leave without me."
"You're doing great Claire."
"It hurts...it hur-hurts," she stuttered.
Kate's heart clenched in her chest, wishing there was something she could do to take Claire's pain away. "I know, I know," she repeated as she continued to wipe Claire's forehead.
"What's the matter, Jack?" he asked. The tone in Jack's voice did not bode well.
"You looking for me?" Locke asked as he stepped from behind a bush, carrying a small load of firewood.
"Claire and Kate are missing..."
"How long?" he asked as he put the firewood down.
Jack shook his head. "I don't know Hurley said he saw Kate this morning."
"And Claire?" Sayid asked.
"For all I know they could be together."
Locke picked up his pack and slung it on his shoulder. "I'm not sure how much help I'm going to be Jack the trails' cold."
Jack ran his hand through his hair. "We have to try..."
"Of course," Locke replied.
"I'll gather some torches. We may need them later on," Sayid offered.
"Let's go what are you waiting for!" Charlie said as he joined the group.
Locke walked over to the Englishman and placed a hand on his shoulder. "I want you to think very carefully about what I'm going to ask."
"Can't it wait?!"
"No. It can't."
"Alright," he nodded.
"Has Claire said anything to you recently about wanting to go somewhere do something?"
"You're not thinking, you're simply answering. Now think. Has Claire," Locke stressed, "has she said something to you in passing, anything?"
Charlie thought about the conversations he's had with Claire recently. He couldn't think of a single thing.
The only thing he could recall was how...
"Sawyer? What about him?" Jack asked, his blood pressure rising as soon as he heard Sawyer's name.
"He and Kate were talking about some bloody waterfall..."
"And?" Locke questioned.
"She seemed," he shrugged his shoulders, "I don't know, interested."
"Enough to want to go there?" Sayid asked.
"I don't know," Charlie stated. "She never asked me to take her."
"Perhaps she asked Kate. We need to ask Sawyer were it is," Sayid said.
"Come on," Charlie told them as he headed towards Sawyers'.
"Come on, push!" Kate encouraged as she kneeled between Claire's legs.
Kate looked up, Claire was exhausted and her face was flushed. "You can do it Claire, it won't be much longer."
"That...that's what you said an hour ago."
Kate had the decency to look chagrined. Claire had been in labor for almost four hours and Kate knew it could be a matter of minutes or even days before Claire finally had the baby.
Only Jack could tell, and he wasn't there and it was getting dark.
"Sawyer!" Charlie called out as he ran across the beach, kicking up sand.
Sawyer looked up from the book he was reading and wondered what the limey runt wanted.
"I'm right here and I don't have a hearin' problem," he answered.
"The waterfall, where is it?"
"You heard him, where is it? What direction is it in?" Jack demanded.
Sawyer sat back, a smile on his face. It must be important if Jack-ass was asking.
"We don't have time for your bullshit, Sawyer."
"Well, that's were you're wrong Doc. We've got all the time in the world," he said smugly.
Jack turned around, trying to keep his anger in check.
"Sawyer, Claire and Kate are missing and we think they were headed there," Locke explained reasonably.
"Yea! Now, will you bloody well tell us where it is?!" Charlie yelled, taking a step towards Sawyer.
"Now is not the time to lose your temper," Sayid told him as he held Charlie back.
"You'd best listen to Osama there, wouldn't want you to get hurt," Sawyer told Charlie. He got up slowly and put his book and reading glasses away. "Well, times a-wastin', let's get going."
"Just tell us where it is."
"What? You wanna play hero Doc? Is that it? Rescuin' the fair damsels? I don't think so. Either I go..."
"What? You're sidin' with him too?"
"There are no sides here," Locke said. "Jack has to go in case Claire's in labor and, God forbid, there are complications."
"Hell, I care about Mamacita too!"
Locke stepped into Sawyer's personal space. "James," he said quietly. "You have to be here in case the Others decide this is the perfect time to pay a visit. I'll let Kate and Claire know you wanted to be there."
"You don't play fair do you?" he asked rhetorically.
Locke smiled. "I don't know what you're talking about."
"Whatever," he snarled. "I'll tell you," he looked pointedly at Jack and smirked.
"Thank you James."
"Oh my God!"
"What is it? Is something wrong? Please tell me!" Claire began to panic.
"I can see the head..."
"Really?" Claire asked, hope rising within her.
"I'm going to be a Mum," she said.
Kate laughed. "Yes, you are." She saw another grimace of pain flash across Claire's face. "Breathe honey, breathe."
Before Claire had a chance to question the endearment, the need to push took her breath away.
Locke stood up and looked around. "They were here earlier..."
"And?" Charlie asked.
"And, there doesn't seem to be any signs of foul play. Their tracks lead back towards the beach." Locke said pointing in the general direction.
"What the bloody hell was that?"
"Claire, she's having the baby," Jack said, more to himself than anyone else, as he ran towards the cry.
"One more, please..."
Claire bore down with everything she had. "ARGHH!!!"
"You did it! Oh my God Claire, you did it!" Kate exclaimed as she held the squirming baby boy in her hands. She gave the squealing baby to Claire, placing him on her stomach.
"Is he okay?" Claire asked, looking at her baby with tears of joy rolling down her face, counting fingers and toes. "Is he okay?"
"He looks perfect," Kate replied. Just like his mom. Kate wiped her hands on her pants and unsheathed her knife. Tearing at her shirt, she tore off two strips of cloth and tied it around the umbilical cord. "I need to cut the cord," she told Claire.
"Go ahead, I trust you."
Kate nodded and quickly cut it, freeing the baby from Claire's body. "How are you feeling?" she asked.
Looking up from her son, "Exhausted," she smiled.
"You did it Claire."
Claire reached out and took Kate's hand in hers and brought it to her lips. "We did it Kate. We did. When you help someone deliver their baby, you become part of their family. And there's no one else I could think of who I'd want to be a part of my family. No one."
Kate looked down she felt the heat on her face. "Thank you," she whispered.
She looked up. "Yes."
Claire released her hold on Kate's hand and reached up behind her neck drawing Kate slowly closer, giving her a chance to break away if she wanted. She stared into brown eyes, seeing a wonder in them.
Their lips met again.
This time it was different.
This time, lips moved against each other.
Mouths opened slightly, teasing, promising delights yet unexplored.
The baby's cry separated them.
"Oh... I'm sorry Aaron."
"Yes. Aaron, this is Kate she's very important to the both of us, alright?"
"It's Jack," Claire said quietly.
"Yeah...I guess I'd better call out to him," Kate said.
"I suppose so," Claire answered.
"CLAIRE! KATE...ANSWER ME!"
"Wish I didn't have to."
"So do I," Claire smiled.
Kate bent down quickly and kissed Claire before standing up. "JACK! WE'RE OVER HERE!"
They looked at each other as they heard the men crashing though the brush.
"Over here," she called out over her shoulder, refusing to break their connection.
"This isn't over."
"No, it isn't," she answered.
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