A Claire/Mohinder drabble, exploring Claire as a mother.
Heart-wrenching wails broke Claire’s predawn fog, calling her out of the warmth of the bed she and Mohinder shared. He was fast asleep still, having gotten up last time Sandhya needed attention. Her mind immediately jumped to the familiar: cries meant pain, pain meant an attack, and an attack meant an attacker. She reached out to the nightstand, slid open the drawer, and palmed the knife she kept there. It was small but efficient, and a deadly instrument in her hands. Creeping past her open-mouthed, slumbering husband, Claire made her way to the next room, every sense alert for the presence of an intruder.
It wasn’t until she checked the entirety of the hallway and her daughter’s room that she actually picked the infant up, knife tucked into the pocket in her robe. Claire had fallen asleep wearing it again, exhausted from keeping up with the girl still wailing in her arms. Habitually she raised Sandhya’s bottom up to nose level, needing only a faint sniff to confirm what had woken her in the middle of the night. As she laid the girl down on her changing table and set about the now effortless task, it dawned on Claire what she’d done. Even half asleep, her first instinct put her on the offensive. She’d brought a weapon into Sandhya’s room, fully intent on killing anyone she might find there.
What kind of mother was she, reaching for knives before a bottle?
Disposing of the dirty diaper, Claire wrapped her daughter in the fuzzy blanket hanging off the edge of the crib, hand shaking. Though Sandhya had quieted, Claire found herself in need of something warm and tangible to hold, and didn’t put her back in her crib for the night. Instead, she sat down in the rocking chair Mohinder had bought, decorated with carvings of elephants and exotic flowers, and held Sandhya to her chest. The baby cooed as she began to rock, big eyes searching the darkness for her mother’s face. A little hand wormed its way out of the blanket and took hold of Claire’s finger, its tender grip overwhelmingly sweet. I don’t deserve this, Claire thought, biting her lip against the tears that threatened to spill down her face. This trusting little creature who doesn’t even have a word for me yet…
She wondered if she’d ever stop being paranoid, ever stop running from the past that had finally started to loose its grip on her. Mohinder had sheltered her, loved her, cured her, and redeemed her from herself. He had quite literally saved her life, and she was no longer a part of any of that…darkness. Yet her guard was rarely down and her mind still jumped to shadowy assailants lurking in corners. Even as her daughter began to gum her finger, Claire couldn’t help but think she was going to be a worse mother than her own had been.
But there was Mohinder…sweet, wonderful, capable, adoring Mohinder. He had even managed to convince Claire herself that she was worth something. And if this child was even half of him, Claire was certain she would turn out perfectly fine. Dwelling on that calmed her fears, reminded her that her world was much sweeter now…even if she did still keep a knife by her bed. Claire took a long, measured breath and let it out slowly, finally letting a few heated tears streak down her cheeks. “You are too good for me, mon petite,” she murmured in French, unable to keep herself from smiling. Sandhya brought that out in her, she’d learned.
Claire began to sing a nonsense lullaby in French, gently lifting Sandhya’s hand with her finger as she rocked them both. Though she may have doubts about herself, in her past and what kind of a parent time would prove her to be, she knew for certain she would do anything to keep her little girl smiling and safe, no matter the cost.