Title: Early Presents
Pairings: Claire/Zach
Rating: G
Word Count: 718
Summary: Zach tries to figure some stuff out.
Disclaimer: I admit it! I made it up!
Notes: 2006 Christmas fic for my flist. ♥

“So, why don’t you hang out with Claire anymore?” his friend Josh asked him one morning at his locker.

“Claire Bennet? The cheerleader?” Zach asked, surprised.

“Yeah. You guys were practically inseparable for the past two weeks. You have a fight or somethin’?”

Inseparable… Zach’s head suddenly hurt as he tried to recall memories that weren’t there. He hadn’t spoken to Claire in years, but then again there was this nagging feeling that he was just forgetting… that there was something on the edge of his thoughts that he couldn't quite reach.

“You know,” Zach began slowly, “I found this wrapped Christmas present in my room yesterday. And the tag was made out to Claire. I mean… who does that? A Christmas present in October?”

Josh shrugged. Slight confusion ran across his face, as he wasn't sure where Zach was headed with this. “I dunno, man. You guys seemed pretty tight to me. You’re allowed to buy her a gift early. I’m sure whatever happened will blow over before Christmas.”

The bell rang loudly, stopping the million questions that rushed into Zach’s head in response. Josh ran off to class, leaving Zach alone with his confusion.

That night, Zach peeled back the wrapping on the Christmas gift. What he saw inside made no sense to him. Did Claire like gardening? Was he trying to play a prank on her? He couldn't imagine doing anything like that, but he couldn't help but wonder what could have happened in those times in between what he remembered. They were all white noise and his temples began to throb if he thought about it too much.

He knew the only way to solve this. Wondering what his life was coming to, he brought up his recently received calls (Since when was Claire in his phone book?) and pressed Call.

“Hey, Zach. What’s up? Do you remember something?” she asked immediately when she got to his house. Her voice held an urgency, and he almost wished he could say yes.

“What are you… I don’t know what I’m supposed to remember. I was hoping you could help me.” He held out the gift, still partially wrapped. “Does this mean anything to you?”

She stared at it in confusion, then took it from his hands. Quickly, after seeing the tag, she tore away the rest of the paper. She started laughing, but that quickly escalated into crying as she stared at the box. “Oh, Zach…”

What the hell? “You do realize that is plant food, right? Am I crazy?”

“It’s Miracle Gro plant food,” she clarified between sobs.

“What difference does that make!?”

She looked up at him through bleary eyes. He noticed she wasn't wearing makeup. For some reason, that made him feel at ease. “How much time do you have?”

“So your father gave me amnesia.”

“Well, it was technically a guy that works for my father, and he only got rid of your memories of me, but yeah, sort of.”

“This doesn't even make sense. How am I supposed to believe you?”

“Well, I could hurt myself? I mean, either I’m telling the truth or I’m crazy, right? So by hurting myself I prove which one I am pretty thoroughly.”

“I guess…” Zach replied, not liking the sound of that.

Claire looked around for something appropriate, before spotting a video camera under the bed. She rushed over and pressed the tape eject button.

“Uh… what are you doing?”

Claire beamed. “You forgot one of the tapes!”

“What tapes?” Zach said, exasperated.

She rewound the tape and handed him the camcorder. He watched in amazement as Claire fell 80 feet, and he heard his own shocked reply on the tape.

He looked back at her in disbelief. “So… we were close.”

She laughed through a small sob. “You made me want to be a freak.”

“Wow, I must be pretty awesome.”

“Shut up,” she said, but she was laughing and punching him in the shoulder. It hurt, but he found that he didn't care.

This was going to take some getting used to. But he’d done it before, right? How bad could it be? “So, Little Miss Miracle Gro…”

She made a sound of indignant anger, but she was beaming at him. Yeah, he could get used to this.


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