I got tired of all the untidiness of my account. So, I've decided to combine all my Piers/Claire one-shots. I apologize to those of you that have already read these. I just couldn't stand how strung out everything was. I'll have more Piers/Claire goodness soon.

Pairing → Piers•Claire

Word Count → 680

Summary → The first night had been something neither of them had expected—hot, desperate, and wordless. It was only the morning after when she realized, tangled and content in his cotton sheets, what they had done… what she'd done.

【Haunts and Starlight】

Time is a capsule around the heart-a protective and suffocating case of metal dreams. Emotions are suppressed. Slowly, they begin to absorb into the memory metal. Quickly, they disappear, gone without a whisper.

Time is a murderer of the human spirit.

Claire Redfield glances down at her watch-a practiced act of indifference. Her eyes linger on the second hand, it's methodical ticking suddenly irritating her. Sallow-that's what Chris had said about her skin two weeks after he'd come back from Lashiang. She inhales carefully, the bothersome knot in her throat aching. What the hell am I going to tell Chris? Tears sting her eyes, but she swallows them back.

Why did it have to end up like this?

A distant gull calls to it's flock and she watches them as they disappear into the melting sunset, her shoulders feeling heavy. Piers...

The first night had been something neither of them had expected-hot, desperate, and wordless. It was only the morning after when she realized, tangled and content in his cotton sheets, what they had done... what she'd done. I'd been foolish.

Her heart shudders. "But that didn't stop us from doing it over... and over again."

Desperate and foolish. For whatever reason, they'd kept it a secret-a silent stare in a quiet room, a furtive kiss in the shadow of night. She hadn't realized how much she'd needed... a man's touch. For months, she played this game with herself, denying her actions and committing them with blind eyes.

"Then to hear..." She can't finish as the tears choke her. To hear that you're...


She won't say it. She can't... Her fingertips shyly graze her stomach.

The sickness that morning didn't seem out of the ordinary. Back home, she'd fallen into her routine-work, sleep, eat, work, sleep, eat-only allowing for tiny moments of daydream. Memories of how he'd touched her on those nights... distracting.

She'd not even thought twice about it until a week later, when the sickness hadn't gone away. Her mind ran with hazy 'maybe's, but she'd not been ready to allow any 'definitely's. It was only after she'd missed her monthly cycle-that's when she knew.

No, I'd known from the start.

"I shouldn't have ran from the truth." she whispers, a cool rush of air beyond her fevered lips. "I should have told you..."

Ahead of her, the last trickling rays of sunlight spill through the clouds, painting an orange trail of diamonds across the ocean... straight to her.

I miss you...

Pain grips her chest and she sobs uncontrollably, burying her face in her lap and curling her arms around her waist. Loss... She bites her lip until it bleeds. He'd protected my brother. He'd kept his promise to me... but at the cost of his life. Her arms tighten around her waist. "What do I do now...?"

Loss... Nothing can describe this feeling. She'd felt it before, when a young boy had died in her arms years ago, determined and naive. Stupid kid... Steve Burnside. It had been years since she'd actually had the courage to even think about him.

Like-she inhales a shaky breath-like Piers, he'd been keeping a promise.

"If you idiots would stop making promises to me... then maybe I wouldn't keep losing you." she growls in frustration.

You sound like an idiot, Redfield.

"Yeah, I know..."

She lifts her head just in time to see the sun sink below the inky depths of the ocean, all the warmth draining from the clouds. It's late. She should really get home. Thing is, she didn't want to go back to her apartment. Memories haunt her there, as well.

I'll walk... I'll walk until I can't see anything but starlight and shadow.

"Yeah, that sounds like a good idea."