Title: Primeval Season Two
Sequel to: Primeval Season One
Characters: Chloe/Becker, Stephen, Nick Cutter, Abby, Connor, Lester, Leeks, Jenny, Helen
Disclaimer: Don't own
Summary: Chloe's trip to the past has changed their present and many other very important details in their lives, though some more than others. Is there a Ben Becker and a Claudia Brown in this universe? And what is Helen up to NOW?
In the blink of an eye the light was gone, the anomaly alone remained, and all pain within her vanished.
And yet deep inside of her, Chloe knew that something had gone terribly wrong.
"Oh my god." Nick helped her to her feet.
The others acted as if nothing had happened.
Connor looked down at a device which monitored the Anomaly's frequencies. "It's closing."
"No!" Nick raced towards the anomaly. "We have to fix whatever we did wrong!"
Stephen and Connor rushed towards him, Stephen's arms going around Nick and restraining him right before he could reach the anomaly.
"No!" Nick fought. "I have to go!"
"Don't be stupid!" Stephen held on tightly. "You'll get marooned there!"
The anomaly continued to fluctuate before vanishing completely, leaving nothing but an empty forest in its wake.
Stephen finally let go of Nick.
"Something's happened." Nick turned to them, eyes wide. "Something happened while we were in there, something's changed. The world's evolved differently."
Chloe's gaze scanned the rest of the team, everyone eyeing Nick with worry, as if scared that he'd suffered a mental breakdown.
Lester wasn't paying attention, talking to someone on his phone. "On my way." He ended the call and looked up, completely unphased by what was going on around him. "I think we're done here, aren't we?"
"No, no." Nick turned and hurried after the retreating man. "Claudia Brown." He circled around and faced Lester, desperate. "Claudia Brown, she's been with us since the beginning. She was in charge of the day to day running of the anomaly operation."
"No." Lester shook his head. "It's Leek, Oliver Leek."
"Who?" Chloe asked, confused.
Lester shot her a look. "You can't have forgotten him, you saw him at the ARC this morning."
"The what?" Chloe frowned, eyes narrowing.
"The ARC." Abby came towards her, obviously worried. "The Anomaly Research Center."
"No, no, you mean the Home Office." Nick shook his head.
"No mate." Connor shared a look with Abby. "We moved from that place ages ago."
The news obviously disoriented Nick, who looked around him at the forest blankly, almost as if he was about to pass out.
Lester continued on uncaringly towards his car.
Chloe rushed to her father, grabbing him when he stumbled, her arm around his body. "Hold it together."
"You remember, you do." Nick looked down at her almost desperately.
She nodded, just as confused as he was about what was going on now in this alternate reality whatever they'd done wrong in the past had created.
If no one could remember Claudia Brown...and they now worked in some place called the ARC...what else could have changed in this new world of theirs?
Was Ben alright?
Was he even still alive?
Her stomach clenched in fear.
"I-I'm fine." Nick whispered, breathy, clearly not fine, but needing some space.
Chloe let go of him and watched as he stumbled towards where the cars were parked.
She took in a deep breath, not so steady herself, and turned towards where the anomaly had been.
What had they done?
Where was Claudia?
Did she even exist in this timeline?
A hand came down on her shoulder, causing her to cry out in shock as she turned, looking up at Stephen.
"You're trembling." He whispered, drawing her around and into him, wrapping his arms around her tightly, pressing a kiss to the crown of her head.
She held onto Stephen because he was the only thing that seemed unchanged.
He was strong.
And there for her.
Chloe clutched the front of his shirt and tried to calm herself, tried to fight the desire to just break down and cry. "He's not insane you know." She whispered. "I remember her too."
Stephen just held her tighter, not saying a thing.
She took in a deep breath.
Stephen did as well. "Chloe-about-about what happened with Helen-what she said about me and her-it was a mistake in the past. I know I should have told you but I was so worried that you'd-."
"Stephen," Chloe pulled away and looked up at him. "What happened between you and my mother, happened in the past. It was a mistake. I'm sure Nick will understand. You did choose him just now."
"I didn't-." Stephen frowned at her. "You're really mad at me, aren't you?" He sighed, looking down. "And you have every right to be. I-I should have told you a long time ago."
"You should have told Nick." Chloe replied, pulling away completely and hugging herself, looking at the woods. "It has to do with him, anyway. Not me."
"Not have to do with-?" Stephen turned her back towards him, frowning. "It has just as much to do with you as it does Cutter!"
"Why?" She raised an eyebrow. "Because they're my parents?"
He looked down at her, frowning darker. "Not just because of that and you know it."
She frowned, not understanding what he was getting at.
"I'm sorry." And Stephen really looked sorry. "It was stupid and it's all in the past. She means nothing to me now. Nothing."
"Fine." Chloe looked up at him, a bit confused as to why he was so worked up about this with her.
If anything he should be saying these things to Nick.
Stephen sighed, closing his eyes. "You're really pissed."
"No, I'm not." Chloe placed her hand on his shoulder, not knowing why it bothered him so much how she'd react to this. "Stephen, I'm fine. I don't care what you and my mother did before I was even born." She suddenly stopped and chuckled. "That makes you sound old, doesn't it?"
Stephen looked at her in shock. "You...really aren't...mad."
"Like I said, you need to be having this conversation with Cutter, not me." Chloe responded, turning back towards the truck.
Stephen caught up to her quickly and led her the rest of the way, opening the truck door for her.
Chloe remained silent the rest of the drive as Stephen drove them towards this ARC that existed in this new world. It was large, and impressive, and intimidating.
Inside reminded her of a hospital.
Tons of levels, halls, and painted whites and light blues.
There were security teams all over, talking about creatures they'd helped capture or sent back to their rightful time.
Stephen's arm went around Chloe's shoulder as they passed a set of lockers.
One of them had the name Chloe Sullivan-Cutter on it.
The blonde gulped as they passed it.
The rest of the team seemed quite at home in the place: Connor grabbing a skateboard and zooming down the halls, Abby going to sit down on a posh sofa in a resting area...which Stephen was leading Chloe towards.
"Why don't we have some coffee?" He asked, motioning to the coffee machine in the resting area. "It always makes you feel better."
She doubted coffee could really make up for all that had happened, but let him lead her anyway.
The blonde looked around, not recognizing any of the workers who walked passed her, waving at her and saying hello, all calling her by her name as if they knew her very well.
She could see Nick going through the same thing as he continued down the hallway.
Gaze going to Stephen, who was preoccupied with getting their coffee, Chloe left him and journeyed after her father, as Nick pushed open a pair of doors and entered another space.
She followed after him and did the same, eyes widening as she gazed at what must be the Command Central.
All around there were workers, and above were men with guns, circling and protecting.
There were glass panels that gave a view into rooms where scientists were studying, workers working...a busy beehive.
"What have we got?" Lester asked, heading towards a skinny balding man.
"New creature reports." The man declared. "An intercepted emergency call at the Castle Cross shopping mall. Security guard screaming something about a monster."
"A shopping mall?" Lester sighed. "God help us."
Chloe's gaze went to her father, who was ahead of her, just looking around, obviously as dazed as she was.
The doors swung open behind her to show Stephen. "You worried me!"
"Sorry." She gave him a weak smile, before pointing discreetly to the thin man next to Lester. "Who is that?"
Stephen sent her a worried look. "Do you really not know who that is?"
She looked up at him, lost, and knowing it showed.
Stephen looked down at her, so worried it was painful.
"I've instructed the police to stay out until we've investigated." The man with Lester announced before looking up and seeing Nick, smiling. "Oh, Professor! Glad to see you back well and safe. Though I gather your wife won't be joining us."
Nick frowned at him. "Who the hell are you?"
"Oh yes, Professor Cutter's suffering from some kind of stress-related amnesia." Lester announced as Abby and Connor entered the room as well, clasping his hands behind his back. "Miss Sullivan seems to be suffering from the same symptoms. Considering she has no recollections of the two years she spent in her first anomaly I think this may be a side effect of some kind to being a certain amount of time through the anomaly itself."
This wasn't amnesia!
Just-she remembered the other world.
"They've seemed to have forgotten, well, pretty much everything really." Lester continued.
"No, I haven't forgotten a thing." Nick frowned. "Wish I could."
"Now he's being enigmatic as well." Lester despaired. "What a vivid repertoire." He motioned to the man next to him. "You really telling me you don't know who this man is?"
Nick hesitated, before turning back and looking at Chloe, a question in his blue eyes.
She shook her head no, not having the faintest clue who he was either and communicating that to her father.
A decision made, Nick turned back to Lester and cleared his throat. "No, of course, it's Leek, Oliver Leek. I know exactly who he is."
Chloe hugged herself.
"Is this some kind of industrial action or did no one hear that we have a creature-sighting in a shopping mall?" Lester folded his arms over his chest.
Connor turned to Abby, both wary. "Let's go."
Nick nodded, turning and walking with those two, out of the Command Center.
Chloe hesitated, turning towards Lester and Leek, before following after, Stephen silent at her side as they walked a good distance behind the others.
"You really don't know who Leek is." Stephen commented as they continued to walk together.
"Never seen him before in my whole life." Chloe whispered, still hugging herself.
"So you're saying that something's changed because of what happened in the Permian anomaly." He frowned, obviously trying to digest this, believe it. "Something changed in the past and that changed the course of the future, making a new, alternate reality of sorts?"
"I think so." The blonde looked up at him. "Stephen," she reached out and grabbed his arm. "I've never been in this building before in my life. I don't know these people. Claudia should be here." She took in a deep breath, trying to calm herself. "The only thing familiar, are you, Abby, Connor...and Lester. Everything else is different."
He looked down at her, silent.
"I'm not crazy." She whispered, although she felt as if she were.
His face shifted with emotion as he raised his hand to cup her cheek. "I know that. And I believe you."
"You do?" The blonde felt so relieved she could cry. "Thank you." She hugged him tightly. "You don't know how much this means to me."
He held her tight. "We're going to have to sit down tonight and figure out what exactly has changed...other than what we already know."
"That sounds great." She smiled, pulling away, and as they drove to Castle Cross shopping mall she still smiled because at least Stephen believed them.
In the mall's parking lot Stephen pulled out weapons from the chest in the back of his truck, and Abby injected liquid into darts.
"What are we using?" Stephen turned to her, handing her a dart gun.
"Ketamine phenyl," Abby replied. "But it would help if I knew what size creature we were dealing with. I've had to guess the dosage."
"Where's my gun?" Connor frowned.
"Abby and Chloe got one!" Connor complained.
"They know how to use it." Stephen replied.
Chloe looked up from the gun she was awkwardly holding.
Since when did she know how to shoot?
Connor pouted, and continued to do so as the only unarmed person in the group as they made their way into the Mall. While in the walkway of pure plate glass, they'd come upon the Duty Manager, who'd confirmed that they'd gotten a call from one of their security men that had been just screams, and they hadn't been able to raise him since. Nick had told the man to get out of there and to close the shutters behind him, which he did very quickly and happily.
The mall was humongous, a mass of shops, floors, and escalators.
Chloe found herself falling behind while Stephen made his way next to Nick up front.
Their conversation was brief and tense and from the fact that Chloe caught a word or two, she could guess that it was about Helen.
Basically Stephen had tried to clear the air and apologize for his brief affaire with Helen, and Cutter had told him he really didn't care and that he was sick of the past.
The group went up to the security room and went over the camera footage, finally able to discover what they were up against.
A raptor had been caught on one of the cameras racing through the mall.
Cutter, of course, was fascinated by it and thought it beautiful.
Chloe just wanted it to go back to where it came from.
She'd seen the Jurassic Park movies.
She knew that she did not want to be dealing with raptors.
They went down to the bowling alley section in the mall, tranquilizer guns at the ready.
This was where the footage showed the first security man being eaten.
Or, well, he'd gone in the space behind the bowling pins and then there'd been screams.
Connor and Abby stayed behind as Stephen and Nick went to check behind the pins...where the anomaly must be.
Chloe, she went to the bathroom.
After making sure that there was nothing in there she locked the door behind her and used the toilet before going to wash her hands.
She looked up at her reflection...and froze.
Staring at her was herself.
And yet not herself.
Her hair was much longer.
And not just one color.
Her hair was her natural blonde...but with streaks of black, brown, purple and red.
She hadn't noticed because all this while her hair had been pulled back in a ponytail.
"What the hell?"
It didn't look bad.
And yet...and yet Chloe couldn't imagine herself actually doing this to her hair.
She definitely was in some sort of an alternate universe!
Hearing banging and snarling, Chloe raced out of the bathroom to find that Abby had had to close the shutter to one of the entrances to the bowling alley, a creature snarling and throwing itself against the shutter viciously, trying to get in at them.
Nick and Stephen were there with the others.
They'd hurried out of the bowling alley through the other entrance and made their way down the hall, Stephen and Nick arguing up front once more as Stephen wanted more firepower and real guns to deal with the raptors while Nick argued that messing with nature had already caused him to lose a friend and he didn't intend on letting it happen again.
Chloe had been about to get in between them when they'd spotted one of the cleaning crew, who obviously had no idea of the danger he'd been in all this time.
Abby and Connor left with the man, to get him out to safety.
Chloe stood between Stephen and Nick, feeling awkward. Those two hadn't had the time needed to talk about Helen and get things out in the open. They weren't giving their all in this mission, it was kinda obvious, and Chloe wasn't about to get either of them killed just because they had the ghost of Helen between them.
"I'm going to go back to the security room," she declared, taking a couple of steps backwards, readying her gun. "You're going to need eyes on the mall to let you know if there's any more of those things running around here."
"No." Stephen shook his head, eyes narrowed. "I don't want you running around alone."
"We don't have time." Chloe continued stepping backwards. "We don't know how much longer the anomaly is going to keep open, and we don't want it to close and leave raptors here in our time."
As a kid, she'd always had nightmares about monsters closing in on her...and she really attributed it to the stories her 'aunt' Helen had filled her head with on her visits...so Chloe was kinda scared of running through the hall towards the security room by herself. She also didn't remember how to use a gun, this version of her obviously did, but if it meant that Stephen and Nick got some time alone to talk then it was worth it.
"Chloe." Stephen took a step towards her.
"She's right." Nick declared, face betraying that he wasn't happy about it. "We need eyes on the place store to make sure that we're not missing something." His blue gaze trained on her. "Be careful."
"Always." Blowing a quick kiss to them, Chloe turned and began running back the way they'd came.
"Chloe!" Stephen yelled after her, but Nick stopped him when he moved to follow her, grabbing his arm.
The girl turned the corner and stopped, taking in a deep breath, trying to calm herself.
If she came up against a raptor she really didn't stand a chance, did she?
Closing her eyes once more, breathing in and out, in and out, the blonde continued towards the security room, quiet as she could be, eyes alert. There were a few minor scares that proved to be nothing, and when she turned the corner to the room that had eyes on the whole mall, she stopped.
The door to the security room was open.
Had they left it open when they'd left?
Gulping, gun ahead of her, the blonde slowly entered the room, trying to scan the darkness.
Reaching blindly to the side, her hand found the light switch and flipped it on, revealing the empty room.
Taking a deep breath out in relief, Chloe relaxed and turned to close the door behind her, coming face to face with a raptor.
Screaming, Chloe grabbed the door and flung it closed just as the creature pounced at her, managing to close it before the dinosaur head butted it. The door dented, the wood cracking slightly under the pressure.
Shakily raising her gun, trained on the door, Chloe breathed in and out, her body heating up with her terror, the world seeming brighter around her.
The raptor roared, continuing to head-butt the door, cracking the wood more and more as it tried to get in at her.
Realizing that her hand was shaking too much to have the chance of ever getting a clear shot even if she did have some talent with guns, Chloe looked around her, frantic, trying to find another escape route.
And yet there was nothing.
Somehow, being in the modern era, trapped, made her more terrified than when she'd travelled the anomalies.
Maybe because it was just wrong for these creatures to be in this time.
The pounding on the door stopped.
Chloe turned her attention back to the door that was all cracks, and then movement to her right caught her attention and she saw on the cameras that the man Abby and Connor had been taking out to safety had somehow gotten injured, and was lying on the ground with his neck bleeding. Abby was unconscious on the ground as well, but didn't seem to be bleeding, which could only be a good sign. Connor was the only one standing, gun in hand, a baby raptor tranquilized at his feet. He looked around him, confused, before wincing at Abby.
Only then did Chloe see the dart sticking out of Abby's leg.
Connor had accidentally shot and tranquilized her.
No wonder he looked so scared.
Abby was going to kill him when she woke up.
Chloe couldn't help but smirk when Connor loaded Abby onto a loading cart of sorts and dragged her behind him out of the place, obviously looking for Stephen and Nick.
She dialed Connor's cell, watching him stop and frantically search his pockets for his cellular, before answering.
"Hello?" Connor asked.
"You shot her?" Chloe shook her head.
Connor looked all around him. "How-?"
"Big Brother's always watching." She replied.
He looked round and located one of the many cameras, giving her a little half wave. "Cutter and Stephen with you?"
"No, they're..." she searched for them on the cameras and finally found them, sitting on a walkway, a sedated adult raptor unconscious between them. She sent Connor the directions and ended the phone call, looking down at the buttons on the panel before her. She'd never used a system like this before, but she had always had a way with technology, and in seconds the screen with Nick and Stephen on it zoomed in on them, and the volume rose so that she could hear what they were saying.
"Look at it," Nick gazed down at the raptor in fascination. "Just a perfect killing machine." He kept his blue eyes on the creature. "Do you know, in a fair fight, mammals wouldn't stand a chance."
"Well as a mammal I'm all in favor of cheating." Stephen replied, back against the plate glass railing of the over-walk. He stared at Nick before sighing, looking away. "Yeah, about the gun...um..." He looked at Nick, repentant. "I was wrong."
Nick nodded. "Ah, never mind." He smiled sadly. "Listen, you could have gone with Helen, you could have left, but you didn't. And right now, that's all that really matters. So..." He finally looked up at Stephen. "So just forget about the rest."
"Think she'll be back?" Stephen made a face.
Nick sneered. "You mean, do I think she's finished messing with us?" He shook his head. "I seriously doubt it. Helen never handled rejection particularly well."
Stephen smirked, amused, before taking in a deep breath and looking down. "Nick...I just want...I'd never hurt Chloe. You know that, right?"
Nick blinked, looking a little confused at the change in topic. "Of course I know that."
Chloe, from where she was spying on them, made a face as well.
What did she have to do with any of this?
"I'd die for her." Stephen pressed, face determined.
Nick looked at him before nodding. "I know that, Stephen. You two have always been very close."
Stephen took in a deep breath. "It's just that, with our lives and how things are going right now, I've been wanting to talk to you for a while." He ran his hands over his brown hair, looking a little agitated. "I never thought I'd be doing this. I never thought the one I'd be asking was you of all people. I mean. You're Cutter. My best friend. My mentor. I never thought I'd be intimidated by just the thought of asking you something in my life." He gave a little sheepish laugh. "I never thought I'd have to ask you."
Nick looked just as confused as Chloe felt.
"I never thought I'd do this, ever, in my life. Thought I wasn't that type of man. But I want to be that type of man." Stephen looked so sincere. "And I want to do this right. So I need to talk to you." He cleared his throat. "And by now you probably already know what I'm stumbling to ask you for."
Nick's eyebrow was raised, his expression stumped. "I can honestly say that I haven't the faintest idea what you're trying to get at."
Stephen sighed, leaning his head down before looking up again, determined. "Nick, I'm-."
"Professor Cutter! Stephen!" Connor called, interrupting the men's confusing conversation.
Shaking her head, Chloe decided that she'd had enough time spying, and instead did what she should have done from the beginning, checking the other cameras. From what she could see there was only one other raptor out there, and it was circling outside the door to the security room.
Turning towards the door, Chloe gulped, wondering what exactly she should do.
Giving a scream when her cellular began to ring, Chloe closed her eyes, telling herself to calm down, and answered. "Sullivan."
"I thought you were trying to go by Sullivan-Cutter now?" Stephen's voice greeted her.
"I was?" Chloe blinked, confused.
He sighed. "At least you're okay." There was a pause. "You are okay, right?"
"Yeah." She sent the door a look. "Everywhere looks clean. There's only one raptor left."
"Where?" He wanted to know, sounding like he was walking rapidly, cocking his gun.
"Outside my door." Chloe gulped, hearing the creature whining on the other side.
"I'm on my way." Stephen then ended the phone call.
Suddenly, as if sensing that its time was running out, the raptor roared and threw itself at the already weakened door.
Screaming, Chloe dropped her cellular and raised her gun just as the raptor threw itself against the door once more, this time breaking through, stumbling into the room.
Chloe fired the gun.
The dart imbedded itself into the skull of the creature and then dropped off when it roared and shook its head violently.
Chloe quickly reloaded the gun with another dart and raised the gun, shooting it into the raptor's throat as it lunged for her, knocking the gun out of her hand and crashing behind her into the camera system, causing electricity to spark brightly.
Chloe stood there, back to the door, body shaking in terror as the creature pulled itself out of the wreckage and turned to her. It must have a helluvan immune system because the tranquilizers weren't working.
The room was brighter.
She was hot.
Her body shook.
The raptor opened its mouth wide, teeth gleaming, breath humid and rotten, bathing her face with its stench.
Suddenly there was a flash to her right, and the feeling of something brushing past her cheek, before the large dart imbedded itself deep inside of the raptor's throat.
It roared and pulled away, shaking its head, trying to loosen the dart inside of its mouth to no avail.
Chloe turned, shocked, and was pulled into Stephen's chest as he slung an arm around her and held her tightly while raising his gun and letting off another shot.
Finally the raptor succumbed to the tranquilizer, collapsing to the ground.
"You have really good timing." Chloe whispered into Stephen's shirt.
"I try." He replied, dropping the gun and cupping her face, looking down at her, worried. "Are you okay? Were you hurt?"
"Not a scratch." She promised, smiling up at him.
"Just how I like you." He pressed a kiss to her forehead and then turned to the raptor. "Lets get this ugly with the others."
Which proved to be as hard as it sounded.
The raptor was heavy, and dragging it across the mall floor wasn't easy.
They finally made it to the bowling alley, where the others were, Connor and Nick talking, Abby still unconscious on the carpet.
Apparently not only had the cleaner who'd been injured disappeared, but Nick had discovered while passing one of the electronics stores, that a certain radio channel was picking up interference from the anomaly...which meant that they could have a chance of finding a way of tapping into that and finding out when anomalies opened within moments of their appearances.
Connor was already geeking over the possibilities.
Chloe watched as Stephen and Nick put the raptors onto the loading cart Connor had had Abby on previously. The raptors were a bit big for it, their limbs hanging down to the ground, but it would work.
Connor sat down next to a snoring Abby.
"Ready?" Stephen asked Nick.
Cutter nodded and together they raced, pushing the cart forwards and then letting go as they reached the anomaly, sending it and the raptors on it flying through the light, disappearing on the other side.
Stephen then grabbed his gun and raised it, pointing to the anomaly in case anything else should come out before it closed.
Nick gazed at the anomaly, temptation obvious on his face, before he went to stand next to Chloe, gaze still on the anomaly.
"Thank you." Chloe whispered, leaning her head against his shoulder.
"For what?" He whispered, arm going around her.
"For not trying to go through that anomaly. For not trying to find a way to change things back to the way they were." She bit her bottom lip. "I don't think its possible."
"I might end up wiping out everyone in the world in my quest to change things back." Cutter sighed, lowering his head, proving that he had thought it over. "I just got you back, Chloe, and I'm not going to risk losing you again." He gave her a little squeeze. "I don't know how to be a father...but I want to be one...to you."
She smiled and looked up at him. "We're going to be just fine."
He smiled down at her.
"Claudia-just because she doesn't work here anymore doesn't mean she doesn't exist." Chloe continued on. "She could be a nurse or something."
Nick grinned. "I hadn't thought about that."
"I'll help you look for her." Chloe promised. "If she's here, we'll find her."
Nick hugged her tightly before pulling away. "Are you going to look for that sweetheart of yours?"
Chloe gulped, looking down, Ben's smiling face flashing before her eyes. "I need to know that he's okay...that he still exists."
Father and daughter could understand each other so well.
Suddenly the anomaly closed.
And the radios worked once more.
It proved Nick's theory.
Now, with this knowledge, they'd be able to pick up whenever anomalies opened...and not wait for a creature attack to clue them in.
The team returned back to the ARC, and Chloe found her way to a computer with Internet on it, hesitating only a second before logging onto her old facebook account, shocked to find the password the same as it was in the other world. But other than that there were many vast differences in this facebook and her old inactive one. One was that, according to her info, she'd never gone to Smallville High, instead had gone to some school in Metropolis before finishing her secondary education in some high school in Maine. Her old friends consisted of pictures of people Chloe had never seen before, Clark Kent, Lana Lang, Pete Ross and so many others not there.
Considering that, considering that for some reason her father hadn't moved to Smallville but to Maine...she hadn't been in Metropolis when Ben had gone there. She'd never met Ben in this timeline...even if he actually existed!
A cry choked Chloe as her whole world crumbled around her.
Nausea churned in her stomach, and she logged out, trying to remember to breathe.
Images of her and Ben, of the way he smelt, held her-how his voice always changed to a softer pitch when he spoke to her or of her-they haunted her.
She remembered the last time she'd seen him, how their hands had been entwined, hope filling both of them.
And then another anomaly had come and ruined it.
She wanted to cry.
She wanted to scream.
But she couldn't.
Stephen poked his head in the room and smiled when he saw her. "There you are. Lester's calling us for a meeting. Apparently we're having a new member join."
"A new member?" Chloe pushed back her anguish, refusing to let it out until she was safe and alone at home. She stood and joined him in the hall as they made their way to the Command Center, as she liked to call it.
"Apparently its some bloke who'll be in charge of the PR, make up excuses to the press to hide what we're doing from the outside world." Stephen replied as they went to stand next to Nick, Abby, and Connor.
"Good, everyone's here." Lester announced. "She should be here in a moment."
"She?" Chloe frowned. "I'm not used to everything British-but I thought only guys were called blokes."
"They are." Stephen assured her.
"Yes, well, apparently our new man is actually a woman." Lester announced, as the doors swung open. "Ah! And here she is now."
"Hello." A female voice announced as the woman walked into the room.
Chloe's eyes widened as she turned towards the voice.
"I'd like you all to meet your new colleague." Lester announced. "This is Jennifer Lewis."
Chloe's gaze went to her father immediately, seeing his eyes widen in shock when he finally turned to look at the new recruit, having been previously engaged in talking to Connor.
"I'm Jenny." The woman smiled, coming closer. "Nice to meet you all."
"Claudia Brown." Nick whispered.
Chloe reached out and grabbed Stephen's hand.
This was insane!
She didn't know how she got through that introduction, acting as if she didn't know this woman from a previous life, by a different name. Chloe had to admit that she was kinda in shock, so she was so grateful for Stephen when he drove her to her (new, mind you) home and opened the door for her, leading her into the abnormally warm flat.
The sound of tiny feet hitting the floor was the only warning before Baby, thankfully still existing in this universe, appeared from the bedroom, making a happy little noise to see them.
Chloe smiled and reached down, picking up her baby Bagaceratops and hugging her to her heart. "Thank god you're still around."
Baby just nuzzled her.
Stephen grinned and reached over, rubbing the baby dinosaur's head. "You're too spoiled."
Chloe stuck her tongue out at him.
He laughed and pulled off his jacket, hanging it up on the coat rack by the door, and taking hers, placing it there too. "How about some tea before we talk about what you were telling me this morning?"
"Uh, sure...but I don't know where anything is." Chloe flinched. "This wasn't my apartment back home."
For a second a troubled expression crossed Stephen's face, and then he shook his head, heading ahead. "I'll get it, why don't you just sit down, okay?"
"Okay." She nodded, going to the living room and sitting down, petting Baby, and gazing down at the happy little creature. "Mommy's not insane. Really. She isn't."
Baby made a little noise and climbed out of her lap, jumping to the floor and heading to where Stephen had gone.
Chloe sighed, watching her till she disappeared, and then looked to the side.
A smile touched her lips as she reached out and picked up the picture frame her gaze had landed on, bringing it to her so she could look down at it. She had no memory of posing in this picture with Stephen, Nick, Connor and Abby, but it was obvious that it had been a very happy moment.
Finally Stephen returned and placed two cups of steaming tea on the coffee table in front of them before collapsing on the sofa next to her, placing his hand on her thigh. "Don't worry, we'll get through this, okay?"
Chloe smiled and turned to him, putting down the picture frame. "You don't know how much your believing me means, Stephen."
He smiled, eyeing her tenderly. "I know you, Chloe, and no matter how insane it sounds, if you believe it and say its true, then I trust you, and I believe you."
Chloe smiled back at him. "You're kinda awesome."
Chuckling, Stephen shook his head and reached out, cupping her jaw, before leaning over and pressing his lips to hers in a deep, intense kiss.
Chloe's body froze, her eyes wide, and she squeaked before pushing him away, jumping to her feet. "Stephen!"
He stood. "That wasn't a prelude to sex. I know this is important and you need to talk about it. And I will listen. And even if you just want to sleep tonight then I'm fine with just spooning you, if that's what you need."
Chloe looked at him, utterly confused.
He-what the hell was he talking about?
"When we moved in together I told you I was serious about this, that it wasn't just passion." Stephen reached for her, cupping her cheek once more and smiling down at her. "I love you baby, and we're going to get through this, don't worry, okay? We'll figure out what's going on, what's changed, and we'll find a way to deal with it."
Chloe looked up at him, heart racing, a big reality of this world slapping her violently in the face.
"Stephen?" Her voice shook with shock and confusion.
"Yeah, love?" He whispered, staring deep into her eyes.
Chloe pulled away quickly, gaze going to the pictures all around them.
While the others had pictures of the team as a whole, most of the pictures had Chloe and Stephen together.
They were grinning, holding each other, kissing.
They were a couple.
They were living together.
In this flat.
Chloe looked back at Stephen, eyes wide."Oh my god."