This is the most ideal way to get yourself tossed right out the apartment door and dash all your hopes of ever being cured, Claire thought, fighting back a sudden warm stinging at her eyes. Tears of frustration and shame threatened to spill over in a most unwelcome and unfamiliar show of genuine emotion. Her hand settled on the arm of the chair, ready to push herself up and away, when she caught sight of Mohinder setting down his stethoscope. Before she could protest, Mohinder had embraced her in all of himself, pulling her into his warmth.
Claire knew what to do with kisses, sidelong glances, fervent touches…and she was good with them, either repelling or encouraging. But hugs? Those were genuine, undemanding, and wholly baffling to her. She shivered in his arms and slowly, hesitantly hugged him back. It was brief, over almost as quickly as it’d begun, but she’d done it. A bubbling sensation spread from her chest outward as Mohinder spoke, expressing his desire to make her happy as well. But he didn’t stop there.
At the mention of their kiss, Claire couldn’t help but give the tiniest of grins, the memory coming back to her. And it meant something to him…that burgeoning bubbling turned into a quiet explosion. She was breathless and found herself completely without response. Instead she only blinked and dared to let her hand rest on his arm.
Several still moments passed that way before Claire regained her voice. “If we’re being honest,” she began slowly, not at all sure she wanted to say what she was about to, “then I’m not quite sure what any of this is, but I know for certain that I’ve been kissed countless times, but not one of them made me that aware of my entire being.” The whispered words were fervent, quick, and sincere, and she returned his smile, suddenly feeling like a teenager again. The urge to kiss him again came over her, but she didn’t act on it, not yet. Don’t get ahead of yourself, she thought, letting out a long breath.
“But…yes,” she continued, clearing her throat, “I would…be amenable to ‘working on it together,’ as it were. Forming a friendship, if you will. Thank you.” Unsure of what she was thanking him for, Claire was acutely aware of their proximity and the fact that they were, actually, supposed to be working on a way to cure her, not playing at romance. She looked down at her hands before glancing up at him through her lashes.