It's in the Blood // Claire & MohinderMature

That he could sympathize, Claire was certain. Even something as seemingly harmless as being extra strong had to have social ramifications, and she nodded with a tiny smile. It probably was the same for him, after all, though she doubted he had any bodies to hide. He didn’t seem the sort to condone such violence, let alone participate in anything so…base and bloody.

She listened as he leaned forward as well, though, noticing the way he mimicked. He was a comforting type, the sort who wanted to soothe and solve problems, and one of the quickest ways to earn trust to do so was to mimic someone. It made them respond better, like you more, like you quicker. With most people, it was an unconscious act, but it was Claire’s responsibility, her job, to notice these things. Just like Mohinder apparently felt she was his responsibility, now that she was seeking his help. My responsibility…the words might as well have been spoken by her brother, and Claire couldn’t decide if she liked them or not. Being beholden to anyone or anything made her skin itch, but…he meant it differently. Like William did. Not in a burdensome sort of way, but rather a well-meaning, almost protective way, where his actions would directly impact her life, so he felt a responsibility there. Not that she was his charge, but rather his mission. It was perhaps a fine distinction, but she appreciated it nonetheless.

Lost in introspection, she didn’t say anything or move as he backed away, and found him closer to her face than she’d realized. They shared breath for a second, and she could’ve touched her nose to his if she’d wanted. Claire let out a slow, trembling breath, surprised, as Mohinder turned back to the food. The man was so clumsy, so oblivious that he was almost smooth…If it kept up, there was a chance she’d go back on her resolution to keep business and pleasure separate. As long as it didn’t affect his ability to fix her, anyway. He seemed distracted as it was.

She took a long pull of her tea to gather herself before joining him for breakfast. It was very good, perfectly balanced between the eggs, spices, and vegetables. They made a good team, it seemed. Something told her that teamwork would be important…perhaps intimate…later. “It’s quite tasty,” she answered with a smile, “thank you." She finished her meal in appreciative silence and brought her dishes to the sink. Mohinder did the same, and then led her back outside to his car.

—-

As they pulled up to the curb outside her apartment, Claire warred briefly with her instinct to keep everything hidden. Part of her said it was bad enough that he now knew where she lived, why bring him into the lion’s den? Then another part of her whispered, mind your manners, it’s rude to leave someone waiting, especially when they are doing you a service. Claire bit her lip in indecision before turning to him.

"Come upstairs with me? It’ll be easier with four hands to bring what I’ll need to the car. Not that it’s a lot, mind you,” she back peddled, not wanting to give him the impression that she was bringing her entire wardrobe, “but it’s always easier with help.” She shrugged, mentally shaking her head at herself. Claire always kept anything incriminating hidden, but no one had been in her home before except her brother. It was…odd. But she said nothing further and got out of the car, sliding her card through the door lock to gain entry to the complex, making sure the doctor followed her through. She was on the third floor, the corner apartment, and a rather nice one at that. The heavy door swung open to reveal a spacious, open living room/dining room area. It was all hardwood floors, and the furniture was modern with a tasteful Victorian twist; everything had a neutral color palette, whites and soft browns and blues, and while there were few decorations, it didn’t feel lacking. It was simple and elegant.

Moving to the large windows overlooking the nearby park, Claire pulled the curtains aside to let in the light. “If you want, feel free to take a look around while I get my things. Any open door is fair game.” Which only left him the bathroom, the guest room, and the smaller ‘study,’ but she wasn’t about to tell him that. Though she didn’t keep many books since they were heavy and hard to travel with, there were enough in the study to keep him occupied if he chose. The knife collection, however, was what she figured would draw his attention. In several display cases around that room were antique knives from various countries, more ornamental than functional, but she liked them anyway. They were like little trophies, ones she could actually put out for her viewing pleasure.

Smiling at him again, she departed for her bedroom without further ceremony, closing the door behind her. She had several suitcases and pulled out the three she’d be using; having packed so often, she knew exactly what would fit where. It’d become an efficient process over the years. Personal items went into the smallest–make up, the separate toiletries she always had packed for travel. Miscellaneous things went into the middle one–a few books, a few of her favored knives, just in case, her work phone, and various job related accouterments, if things were to go south. Finally, clothes went into the largest, enough for two weeks–she could wash them, if need be. It was as she was packing the last bit of luggage that she realized she’d left her basket of clean underthings next to the couch. She’d washed them late after a job, having insisted on an apartment with its own laundry room, and forgotten them there in favor of sleep.

Sighing, she made her way back into the living room to fetch them.

The End

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