Just realized for some reason this wasn't posted on LJ when it was posted in ff.net. Am correcting that now. Sorry.
Title: Number Nine
Sequel to: Numberless
Universe: Numbers Series
Characters/Pairings: Chloe/Lucas, Lois, Lucy
Disclaimer: Don't Own
Summary: When the girls reach Edge City they separate to try and find the hidden safe house located in one of the most dangerous cities in the country. No surprise Chloe finds trouble. What *is* surprising is she finds another Number.
"I don't know what to do, Clark." Chloe whispered, head hung as tears welled in her eyes as they stood in Lucas' computer room. "I try to be strong for everyone, try to not seem like the weakest link that I am, try to pretend that I'm not worried sick every minute of the day about you and my father...but time's passing and things just aren't going the way they should. We haven't found the lair, we have no word on any of our parents, for all we know they've been interrogated, tortured, and killed."
"Chloe." Her best friend sighed, drawing her into his arms and holding her tightly. "Chloe, if you need to cry, cry. I'm your best friend, if you can't let yourself be weak in front of me who can you do it with?"
She held onto him tightly, letting her tears out in harsh sobs as she finally let herself really express the anguish and fear she'd been holding deep inside her since the attack on the Mountain. "I'm so scared! So very scared!"
"I am too." He confessed, pressing a kiss to her forehead. "I could get my parents killed just because they love me...and every day I know those Mogadorians are closing in and I haven't developed all of my Legacies and am still struggling to master the ones I have now. I'm not ready for this, Chloe."
"Neither am I." She whispered, tightening her hold on the front of his shirt. "If we can't even find the lair, how are we supposed to...to know what we're supposed to do next?"
"You'll just know." He promised her. "No one has better instinct than you, Chloe, and I know that somehow things are going to turn out right...somehow...all this trouble you're going through now is for a reason. Just kept your faith and everything's going to be alright."
She let out a little breath of relief, a smile playing on her lips. "That's one of things I love about you, Clark, you always know what to say to make me feel better."
He smiled back down at her. "It's what best friends do, isn't it?"
"Yeah." She whispered back. "I wish I wasn't just dreaming you up. I wish you were really here and we were really having this conversation and I knew you were really okay."
The dream!Clark gave her a sad smile. "Sorry."
"Even as a dream you're the same." She shook her head in bemusement. "You couldn't just lie and tell me that this is really you and since we're so close we share some sort of bond that allows me to vent to you when we're sleeping."
He rubbed her head apologetically. "Sorry."
She chuckled, gaze lowering. "I should probably wake up now."
"Nah, you need to sleep. Too much has been on your mind." Dream!Clark responded, surprising her by picking her up bridal-style. "I'm taking you to bed, where you can continue dreaming about nicer, more uplifting things."
"Like what?" She mused, leaning her head against his chest, letting herself find comfort in the dream form of her best friend, the man she loved like a brother. "What could I possibly have to dream about that could be nice and uplifting?"
"Well, what about this Number you mentioned?" Clark wanted to know conversationally. "Is he nice?"
She made a face. "I wouldn't exactly call him nice."
"What would you call him then?"
Chloe thought for a second. "Intriguing. I can't make heads of tails about him."
"You? The great Know It All Sullivan?" The dream version of her best friend teased so very like him. "Someone call the media."
"Shut up." She pouted. "You better be glad that you're a figment conjured by my mind to help me de-stress and get off everything I've been bottling up for so long...or I would have hurt you for that one."
He chuckled, shaking his head. "So, what makes him so intriguing?"
"He's not..." Chloe frowned, snuggling closer. "You."
"He's not...naive and trusting and doesn't believe in the good in everyone. He isn't...he's nothing like you...you know...the one with the savior complex who puts others and their problems before himself and his own." She took in a deep breath. "The only reason he brought us to his place is because he's curious and he wants answers from us. He had no problem leaving us to fend for ourselves when we first met." She looked up at Clark's face, yet from this angle all she could really see was his chin, so she leaned her cheek against his chest once more, feeling sleepy...which was ridiculous considering she was already sleeping. "You wouldn't have done that, Clark."
"Maybe I would have, if mom and dad hadn't been there to raise me." The dream!Clark shrugged.
That made her think.
Unlike Clark, who'd been raised by two of the most amazing people in the world, Lucas had only had his Cepan, and he'd insinuated that Alfred had died when Lucas was very young...so he'd basically had to raise himself on the streets.
That had to make you somewhat cold and wary.
"I hate it." Chloe whispered. "Even the dream version of you makes me see things in ways I wouldn't normally...and without meaning to you make me feel really judgmental."
He chuckled. "Sorry about that. But really, you're to blame. I'm created from your memories of Clark and his personality, so I'm going to react like you know he would."
"Hate your logic." She yawned, closing her eyes...before jerking and opening them once more, still sleepy, arms around his neck, nose to his throat. Somehow, his scent had changed somewhat. "Why can't you be here in real life, Clark? I'm sick of only seeing you in dreams." She whispered, burying her face in Clark's throat, wondering why his body suddenly went tense. "I'm so scared and I can't tell anyone. I know if you were here we would have...found the lair by now. You always make everything alright...always know what to do."
His grip on her tightened nearly painfully.
"Clark." She complained, shifting in his hold and tightening her grip on around his neck before opening her eyes and looking up into his face, eyes widening when she realized something. "You've morphed into Lucas."
Dream!Lucas snorted at her, shaking his head, looking more than mildly annoyed with her right now. "Have I."
"Yeah. Two seconds ago you were Clark and now you're Lucas." Chloe whispered, voice thicker with her sleep, as she reached up a hand uncertainly and used it to trace his sharp features the way she didn't dare while awake. "Why did you turn into Lucas?"
He shook his head, sighing in agitation before looking down at her. "Maybe you wanted me to be Lucas."
"No, I doubt that." She refused to believe that, worrying her bottom lip, gaze falling to the side, not noticing the flash of emotion on his face at that. "Clark is soothing, I wanted soothing. You, you're not soothing." She frowned, near pouting. "If anything you're too stimulating."
He nearly tripped on his feet, eyes widening as he gazed down at her, expression blank.
And then Dream!Lucas gave her the filthiest smile she'd ever seen. "I stimulate you."
Despite knowing this was a dream, she pouted darker, blush creeping across her face.
"Between being soothing and stimulating...I have to admit...I much prefer the second option." He declared, seeming in a much better mood now as he continued on.
Chloe figured she must have his character down pat mentally because she could easily see Lucas saying that. "Where are we going?"
"I'm taking you to your room. You fell asleep at the computers." He replied easily. "You were in such an odd position you were snoring. Loud. It was impressive considering how tiny you are."
"I snore when I'm really tired." She sighed, figuring this was a dream so she really didn't need to deny it like she normally would. "And I'm just so exhausted. I haven't had a real night's sleep since this all begun, but especially since coming to Edge City. Especially not the week we had to spend in our truck while saving up money for a motel room...and the motel owner is so creepy, and his brother was just released from jail for having assaulted a bunch of different women and I just couldn't sleep well knowing they had keys to our place."
His eyes were stormy as he listened to her.
"That's another reason why I know you're not my Number." She whispered, eyes closing, speech slurring with sleep. "Clark wouldn't let me stay in a place like that for so long if he had a place like this."
Dream!Lucas was silent, obviously disturbed. "So you're saying that Five is so perfect he'd take in three strangers he didn't know, despite knowing that he needed to be careful, not even knowing if they really were who they said they were."
Her lips curled happily as she smiled and nodded. "Without a second's thought."
"He's a naive fool then." Lucas growled, apparently very pissed.
"I know." Chloe whispered, rubbing her face in his neck. "It's only one of the reasons I love him."
And then she fully drifted to sleep.
Waking up with a cry, Chloe thrashed around in the unknown bed, sweat dripping down her body, her clothes and the bed around her soaked. Her heart raced in terror and her pulse throbbed viciously and she couldn't calm her breathing. Tears ran down her cheeks and she was sobbing and she didn't know why. She tried to think back to what she'd dreamt of, tried to grasp the nightmares that'd plagued her sleep. But try as she may, she couldn't remember, couldn't grasp the fleeting images fading into her subconscious.
Sitting, her hand went to her pendants and froze when her fingers connected with her chest.
Eyes widening in horror, Chloe felt all around her neck and then stood, rushing to the bathroom and turning on the light, revealing the chain and pendants gone.
"No." The blonde rushed back to the bed she didn't remember going to sleep on and tearing at the sheets, finding nothing. "No!"
Turning on the light, she gazed all around the floor, going on her knees and searching frantically under the bed before pushing to her feet once more and tearing out of the room, a little turned around and disoriented. Her gaze on the floor, she tried finding a shimmering glint but couldn't find anything. She found her way back to the computers, where she'd fallen asleep after helping the girls sort through the jewelry into different bags for Lucas, whose contact came to collect them and after going over them had paid for the bags and gone with them. With that money Lucas could pay for the electricity and other stuff, while the girls had been given money to buy clothes and other things they'd need.
After searching around the computers desperately, unable to find anything, Chloe tried to rethink where she could have lost her chain.
She'd still been wearing it when she'd finished updating the computer systems...and then she'd helped Lois and Lucy...
Chloe's eyes widened in horror as she slid to her knees on the ground.
It must have fallen off into the bags of valuables they'd sorted through and sold.
This was her punishment for selling off things that'd meant the world to other people.
She had no right to complain.
Bringing her hands to her face, Chloe cried, alone on the floor.