“Hey guys.” Chloe called as they entered the Beanery. The last couple of weeks had been busy ones. Chloe’d used her computer skills to have Buffy ‘transferred’ to Smallville High and they were pretending to be cousins from her mother’s side of the family.
On top of that, and going to Luthor Manor to check up on things for Lex, who was readying to return, there’d been some more weird occurrences happening in Smallville that Chloe and Buffy both believed had Wall of Weird potential. So the girls were busy investigating to see if they could figure out why people were showing up as dried up skeletons all around town.
“Chloe!” Lana smiled brightly from where she sat drinking coffee with Pete and waved them over. Ever since Clark had disappeared the three of them had become surprisingly close friends, Clark’s leaving having made it much easier for the girls to see each other as friends and not competitors. Still, Chloe was more withdrawn from Lana than she usually was with her friends.
So many people wanted to be with Lana, or be Lana, and while Chloe liked the other girl, she definitely wouldn’t ever want to be her.
“Well, if it isn’t Miss Kansas Sunshine.” Buffy mumbled under her breath.
“Behave.” Chloe didn’t know why, but Buffy didn’t take to Lana at all, and Lana was subtly giving off hints that she didn’t like the other brunette that much either.
“Chlo! Buff!” Pete smiled at them as they sat down on either side of him. “I’ve got to be the envy of all the guys in Smallville.” He commented charmingly. “Imagine little ol’ me surrounded by the three prettiest girls in all Kansas.”
“Only Kansas? I should hurt you.” Yet Buffy was grinning.
Chloe shook her head. “So, what were you two talking about when we got here?”
“Oh, Pete was telling me about an email he got from his cousin in L.A.” Lana replied, sipping on her Cappuccino with a smile, ignoring Buffy, who was returning the favor happily. “According to Pete’s cousin, he’s a modern-day Robin-hood/Blade mix out to save the world from ‘nasties’.”
Buffy frowned, turning to Pete. “What’s she talking about?”
“She’s talking about a cousin of mine, Charles.” Pete replied, finishing his drink and turning to the beautiful brunette. “He’s come to visit once or twice--you remember him Chloe? He hit on you a couple of times and you never realized it?”
“Who?” The blonde asked, intrigued.
“Remember?” Pete stressed. “He’s the guy Clark ‘accidentally’ sucker punched in the stomach for landing on you in the haystack?”
“Gunn?!” Chloe shrieked, blushing. “He was hitting on me? Really?” She pouted. “I never realized it!”
Pete didn’t look too thrilled at Chloe’s disappointed expression but shook his head and returned his attention to Buffy. “Well, lately he’s been saying some weird stuff, and in his last email he told me that vampires really exist and that he and his friends battle them out in the hood where he lives.”
Buffy and Chloe exchanged looks.
Lana frowned. “You know, I laughed when I heard about it at first, but now that I think about it, it’s not really that strange.”
Pete turned to look at her. “What do you mean?”
“I mean, Pete, how many weird stuff have happened here in Smallville?” Lana wanted to know, serious. “Who’s to say that Vampires aren’t real?”
Pete snorted. “Lana, vampires are folklore. Get real.”
She looked insulted but her voice was normal. “And what exactly is real Pete? A coach who can control fire? A guy who turns into an insect, can spin webs, and eats his own mother?” She shivered at the memory. “Or how about--?”
“Okay, okay, I get it.” He looked resentful to have to admit to defeat, but he did it anyway. “You’re right, those are real, but, I mean, come on Lana, you’re talking about vampires.” He threw his hands up in the air. “You know, I-Wanna-Suck-Your-Blood, Transylvania origins, Count Chocula wannabes.”
Lana pouted at him. “They could exist!”
“Okay children, quiet down or you’re both going to your separate corners to have a nap.” Buffy commanded in a bored tone.
Pete turned and smirked at her. “I’ll have the nap if you tuck me in.”
Buffy blinked in surprise (as did Chloe and Lana), and then she blushed, although she was grinning broadly. “Don’t bite off more than you can chew, Ross.”
“Into biting are we?” He teased, raising an eyebrow at her. “Kinky.”
“You pervert!” Buffy laughed, slapping him on the back of his head, both convulsing in shy yet genuine laughter.
Both were blushing.
“Now that we’re off the topic of vampires and perverts,” Chloe drawled, raising an eyebrow at them, barely able to keep the teasing expression off of her face, she straightened. “Guess who has an interview this evening with the handsomest single billionaire of the moment?”
Lana tilted her head to the side. “Lex is back already?”
“Not baldie.” Buffy retorted. She’d seen some of his pictures, and had gotten to calling Lex by a name Chloe knew he’d resent greatly. But no matter how many times she tried to tell that to Buffy, the brunette wouldn’t change her pet name for the bald billionaire.
“How many billionaires do you know other than Luthor?” Pete wanted to know, genuinely interested.
“At least one more.” She giggled, nearly bouncing on the table. “Well? Take a guess!”
“Oliver Queen?” Lana asked, remembering the guy on the front of one of her magazines featuring the richest bachelors in the country.
“Nope.” The blonde shook her head. “Guess again.”
“Although, I think Queen’s a lot handsomer than--.”
“Buffy!” Chloe caught her before she could blurt out the name.
“Sorry oh possessed one.” Buffy rolled her eyes at her friend. “Bounce away.”
“ I am not bouncing.” Chloe denied while bouncing.
“Yes you are!” Pete chuckled merrily, pointing childishly at her. “You look like the energizer bunny on crack!”
“Well excuse me, but it’s not every day that a girl from a small town high school newspaper gets an interview with the Bruce Wayne!” Chloe gasped and covered her mouth with her hands, eyes wide. “I let it slip!”
Lana’s eyes widened. “Bruce WAYNE?” She narrowed her eyes at Buffy. “How is Oliver Queen supposedly handsomer than him?”
“We have a difference in taste.” Buffy replied off-handedly. “You see, mine’s actually good.”
“Buffy.” Chloe warned. What was this? Battle of the brunettes? There can be only one, Highlander.
Lana glared at Buffy.
Pete shook his head. “I don’t know about you two, but I’m handsomer than both those dudes.” He achieved his goal—both girls stopped glaring at each other to giggle at him.
“Congratulations on the interview Chlo.” Lana smiled genuinely, ignoring Buffy’s rolling of the eyes. “I can’t believe you actually got an interview with him! Need an extra hand?”
“She’s got it.” Buffy retaliated. “I’m her personal photographer, remember? So you have no excuse to see Richie McRich.”
“Please don’t call him that during the interview!” Chloe whined.
Buffy chuckled. “Don’t worry Chlo, I won’t do anything to hinder your steps up the reporter ladder.” She then snickered. “Shouldn’t we be getting home so you can do your whole beauty routine?” She leaned over towards Pete. “She bought a new suit, six extra sharp pencils incase they ALL break while she’s taking notes, musk body spray, and make up just for this interview. I think baldie should be worried.”
“What does Luthor have to do with any of this?” Pete frowned.
“Nothing.” Chloe glared at Buffy, who was sending her an innocent expression. The other girl wouldn’t stop teasing Chloe about her nightly conversations with Lex, and Chloe was this close to telling Buffy that Lex would never give anyone other than a brunette a second glance—so if anyone of them had a chance with the handsome, mature, and utterly over-protective billionaire, it would be Buffy.
She was about to open her mouth and deny anything Buffy said about Lex, when the cellular that’d been sent to her via Fed Ex the day after Buffy and her met each other with a note that said ‘Use it, no arguments’, began to ring.
Buffy reached over and grabbed the phone right out of Chloe’s hands, grin growing large when she saw the caller ID. “Nothing, huh?” Flipping open the lid, she put it to her ear. “Baldie, red alert, red alert, the little blonde reporter is two-timing you with Richie McRich.”
Chloe covered her face in mortification.
Lana and Pete shared a look.
Buffy chuckled. “Don’t deny it baldie, the news breaks your cold heart.” There was a pause as she listened to his droll response. “No, actually, I’m serious.” She frowned. “Yeah. I know you two aren’t an item.” Covering the mouth-piece she mouthed “he’s no fun” before returning to her conversation with Lex. “Well, I’ve heard Bruce Wayne’s a great lover.”
She must have gotten some reaction when she mentioned Wayne’s name, because her expression returned to mischievous in seconds. “Oh he is, is he?” She was openly snickering. “She should, should she?” Her expression went completely comical as she placed a hand to her heart. “Now why would I be mocking you?”
Laughing, she closed the lid before passing the cellular back to its rightful owner. “Right before he so snobbily hung up on me, he told me to tell you never to let me answer your cellular again.”
“Why must you harass him so?” Chloe lamented, putting the cellular back in her pocket. “What if what he was calling to tell me was important?”
“He’d call back.” Buffy assured her. “Come on then, let’s go get you ready for your date with Richie McRich.”
Rolling her eyes at Buffy, Chloe got up. “See you two around.”
“Bye!” Pete and Lana waved as the girls left the Beanery.
Buffy swung her arm around the girl she was beginning to care for like the sister she’d never had. The girl she loved to tease, whom she felt with such an urgency that she needed to protect, and with whom she felt at home. “If you ever get an interview with Oliver Queen, you’ll hook us up, right?”
Chloe smiled up at the first girl friend she’d ever truly had. Despite the fact that they truthfully hadn’t known each other for long, she felt as if she knew more about Buffy than she ever had about Clark.
The thought of Clark made her frown.
Buffy noticed her change in mood and instantly grew worried. “What’s wrong?”
“Nothing.” Chloe forced a smile. “Just thought about Clark for a second.”
Buffy frowned as they continued walking to Chloe’s beetle. She’d heard about Clark, and while she felt some sort of affinity for him—she could appreciate running away from troubles to try and start one’s life over with a clean sheet—she couldn’t help but feel slightly resentful of him.
He was Chloe’s best friend.
Buffy wanted to be Chloe’s best friend.
“How about you drive while I go over my interview questions?” Chloe asked, pulling her out of her thoughts.
Buffy gave her a large smile. “Sure.”
What was it with Chloe and somewhat older billionaires?
Buffy sat back in the seat, having taken some pictures of Chloe and Bruce Wayne before the interview had started. She felt in awe, Chloe was really intelligent, sweet, incredibly witty, and she really deserved a nice guy.
The brunette didn’t know what it was about Chloe that attracted her so much, that made her feel like she had to be with her, but the Slayer liked it. She guessed that this was what twins felt. Sure, she’d loved her mother, but with Chloe she actually felt like she was a part of a family, a real family—which was really odd because it was only the blonde and herself.
But the fact that she lived with someone who’d let her cry on her shoulder too many nights to count, had listened to her story of her guilt for having done that to Angel with the doubt that maybe he had regained his soul at the last minute—and Chloe hadn’t judged, it made a bond stronger than carnal passion could ever be to form between them. Chloe was the truest friend Buffy had ever had, and while the brunette missed Willow and the others, she knew she couldn’t go back.
She loved the blonde. She wasn’t in love with her, but she genuinely, purely loved her. With her sweetness, genuine concern, and amazing loyalty, Chloe had wedged herself deeply into Buffy’s heart, and Buffy was a person who, when she loved, she loved with all she had.
Her home was here with Chloe, in Smallville.
Now, if only she could hook up the blonde with some nice guy and find one for herself.
“Thank you.” The blonde blushed as the charming Bruce Wayne complimented her once more.
How many times has that been? Four times in the last half hour?
Buffy wondered if Baldie and Chloe were really only friends. She knew that Chloe thought they were only just friends, but maybe Baldie had ulterior motives. She thought he did. No guy called a pretty girl every evening faithfully and spoke to her for hours just because he had ‘brotherly’ feelings towards her.
Then again, if she was wrong, Richie McRich was handsome and obviously into Chloe despite the fact that she was younger and still in high school.
Just as they were getting into the topic that Chloe had been most interested in asking—the recent crime spree in Gotham—the lights flickered out in Bruce Wayne’s Hotel Room in Metropolis. Since it was night (the girls would be spending the night in the same hotel courtesy of Bruce Wayne himself), everything went pitch black, and it took Buffy a while for her eyes to grow accustomed to the darkness.
Buffy’s ‘spidey senses’ started to kick in and she jumped to her feet. Something wasn’t right.
Chloe must have noticed her unease, because she stopped the interview right away, running off her voice recorder and standing as well. “What is it Buff? Do you sense anything?”
Good thing Bruce Wayne was looking around him suspiciously as well and hadn’t heard that or he might have questioned why Chloe would ask her photographer that.
The door flew open, and a group of men entered the room, locking the door behind them.
The closest once stopped and sniffed, hissing. “The room reeks of Slayer.” He looked at the three of them. “There’s a Slayer in here!”
The others hissed, faces changing to their true demonic images immediately.
Buffy made up her nose. “Vampires.”
Chloe gave a cry of fear.
Buffy was relieved when Bruce pushed Chloe behind him protectively, shielding her from the vampires’ gaze.
“What do you want?” Amazingly, Bruce’s voice wasn’t shaking. How could he, a normal human, seem so calm in the face of these monsters?
“We’re here for her.” The master pointed behind him at a whimpering Chloe.
Buffy’s eyes narrowed. “Why do you want Chloe?”
“We’s dun want ‘er.” One of the vampires in the back spat out. “He wants ‘er.”
“Well he can’t have ‘er.” Buffy snapped, mocking his accent. The lights came back on, and taking advantage of the surprise and confusion, she reached twirled around, fumbled in Chloe’s bag and pulled out her sharpened pencils, throwing one to Chloe and another to Bruce, who looked at her as if she were insane.
With her on pencil in hand, Buffy turned in time to see the fist coming her way and ducked. The fight broke out and she tried taking as many on as possible, but they were eight vamps, none new fledglings, and she could only take on so many. The good thing was that after the first one she staked with the pencil, Bruce realized that the pencils actually killed the vampires, and started using the one in his hand and stopped punching them.
Kicking at a vampire lunging at her, the Slayer turned and stabbed the pencil deep inside the un-beating heart of the vampire next to her, and pulled it out, stabbing yet another that’d come from behind her.
The sounds of explosions behind her proved that the vampires that’d gotten past her were getting taken care of by Bruce.
Hearing a scream, Buffy turned in time to watch in horror as Chloe tried to get away from a vampire that hadn’t entered with the original eight, and now had her fangs deep into the skin of Chloe’s neck.
“Chloe!” Buffy screamed the same time Bruce did, both trying to fight the two vampires each had attacking them, and save the blonde who was pounding against the female vampire in vain.
“Get off!” Chloe brought her knee up at the mouth of the vampire’s stomach, causing her to cry out and pull her fangs free. The blonde fell to the ground and reached for something out of Buffy’s frantic view before the vampire threw herself at Chloe once more, straddling her on the floor.
“Leave her alone or I swear I’ll make you sorry you ever looked at her!” Bruce hissed, dusting another vampire, now left with only one vampire, unlike Buffy, who was still fighting two vampires.
She was too distracted to really fight with all she had.
“Give in to me child. Feel and accept it.” The female chuckled before latching her fangs into Chloe’s neck, sucking her blood leisurely.
“Sorry,” Chloe’s voice was hoarse. “But you’re not my type!” Swinging her hand, she stabbed the pencil through the vampire’s neck.
With a screech, the female vampire exploded into dust the same time Bruce’s last vampire was staked as well.
The vampires fighting Buffy, realizing that the fight was lost, pushed her away and ran for the exit, disappearing down the hall.
Buffy didn’t care, she ran towards where Bruce was already kneeling next to Chloe. “Chloe!” Falling to her knees, she pulled her friend into her lap, tears falling down her cheek as she turned to Bruce. “Get an ambulance right away! She’s lost a lot of blood!”
Bruce nodded and hurried to his telephone.
Cradling Chloe close, Buffy’s body wracked with sobs. “I’m so sorry! It’s all my fault! I should have been able to protect you!”
“And keep me from being able to boast about slaying a vampire?” Chloe chuckled, although her voice was weak and laced with pain. “Don’t even think it.”
“I’m not going to let you get hurt again Chlo.” Buffy promised solemnly. “I’m going to figure out who sent those vampires after you, find out why, and I’m going to kill him. I swear to protect you, I swear it!”
“The ambulance will be here any moment now.” Bruce returned, limping. He’d been beaten up pretty badly by the supernatural baddies, but had held up surprisingly enough for a human. “Wh—what were those things?”
“Vampires.” Buffy whispered, looking up at him. “And they were after Chloe.”
“Why?” Bruce asked, sitting on the floor besides them, pencil in hand just in case.
“Lex was right.” Chloe coughed, wincing at the excruciating pain in her throat. “I attract freaks.”
“Shh.” Bruce placed his finger on her lips. “Don’t talk.”
She managed to muster enough blood to blush, before closing her eyes.
“Don’t even think about sleeping.” Buffy warned, a near hysterical sound in her voice.
“Yes mother.” Chloe croaked as the sound of sirens lit the air.
Buffy had really wanted to meet Lex Luthor, she just hadn’t expected that the first time she’d speak to the admittedly handsome man face to face it’d be in a hospital, with him shouting at her. She took it silently because she knew that he was only venting his frustration and that he was more worried about Chloe and angry at himself than angry at her.
But he was definitely pissed with Bruce, who was still there even after having his injuries tended to.
“I hope you know that I’m suing Wayne Hotels.” Lex informed in a steely voice, he'd gotten on his private jet and came over the moment Buffy phoned him to tell him what had happened. “The attack happened in your hotel, and the assailants got through your security.”
“Listen Luthor.” Bruce growled back. “I’m taking all the responsibility for the attack, but can you stop talking business at a time like this? Chloe’s still in the critical ward!”
“Don’t talk to me as if you care about Chloe.” Lex sneered at Bruce, letting Buffy see that there was a very dark side to the man Chloe seemed to trust with her life. “You don’t know Chloe.”
“But I’d like to.” The heir of Wayne Industries countered.
“You think I’d let you be in the same town with her after what you let happen?” Lex finally exploded.
“You’re not her father Lex.” Bruce sneered, obviously just trying to irk Luthor more than anything else. “You can’t tell me to stay away from her.”
“I’m her guardian.” Lex countered after a moment’s silence. “Her father is a good friend of mine, and Chloe—so is Chloe.”
Bruce frowned for a moment before shaking his head. He turned to Buffy. “Tell Chloe that I’m sorry, and that I’ll gladly finish the interview when she’s better--if she wants to.”
“I’m sure she’ll want to do that.” Buffy answered with an innocent smile, deciding to try out a theory of hers. “She was really excited to get to interview you. She bought a new suit and make up and everything.”
Luthor growled in annoyance behind her.
Bruce managed a smile despite the pain in his body before turning to Lex. “Chloe doesn’t need you taking care of her Luthor. She has this Amazon here for that, and you should have seen her take out that creature all by herself.”
Lex was silent. He obviously was finding it hard to believe that vampires existed.
Nodding to Buffy, Bruce left the hospital.
The moment Bruce was gone, Lex collapsed into the hospital seat. “You two shouldn’t have been in Metropolis at night.”
“They would have found us in Smallville anyway, and at least this way we had Bruce to help us fight them off.” Buffy went to sit next to him. “They were after Chloe. They’d been sent for her. I don’t know why so don’t ask, but someone is after her, and it’s only thanks to Bruce that he didn’t get her.”
Lex ran his hands over his scalp. “I can’t believe that vampires attacked Chloe.”
“You can get a good look at her bite mark if you want convincing. It’ll fade slightly with time, but she’ll always have it.” Buffy winced at the thought of seeing Chloe’s skin forever marred by the scar that only taunted the Slayer, screamed condemningly to everyone that she hadn’t been able to protect her best friend.
Lex was quiet, leaning forwards in the seat, deep in thought.
Buffy leaned back in her seat, looking up at the ceiling.
Neither spoke until the doctor found them to tell them of how Chloe was doing.
“This is ridiculous!” Chloe, now home, was once again arguing with her ridiculously paranoid and protective self-proclaimed guardians. She’d grown up without a mother and with a father who respected her freedom and independence, so their mothering was getting on her last nerve.
“You should be in bed.” Buffy was saying. “You only got out of the hospital yesterday.”
She planted her hands on her hips. “Buffy, I got bitten on my neck, NOTHING is wrong with my feet.”
Lex snorted. “What about your head?”
She turned on him. “What about my head?”
He chuckled at her flushed, angry face. “Chloe, we’re just trying to help you.”
“No, you’re ganging up on me, that’s what you two are doing!” She huffed, folding her arms over her chest.
A small smile lit her face as she once more caught sight of one of the many flowers Bruce Wayne had sent to the house. He’d come to visit her before he had to return to Gotham for business, and she missed him because he’d sided with her and helped her convince Buffy that she should be given back her computer so she didn’t die of boredom while in bed.
She’d also gotten to finish that interview with him.
“What are you doing out of bed Chloe Sullivan?” A voice asked as the door opened and Pete Ross and Lana Lang entered the house. They'd been told the truth behind Chloe's attack (the rest of the world believed it was some satanic cult kidnapping gone wrong) and Lana had stuck out her tongue at Pete and told him that she'd been right, that vampires did exist. Chloe, Buffy, and Lex (who'd somehow gotten the whole truth out of Buffy--including her being a Slayer) had decided that Pete and Lana didn't need to know about Buffy's true calling as yet though.
“Pete! Not you too!” Chloe whined. Was everyone against her?
Lana hugged Chloe tightly and then passed her the cup of coffee she’d brought her. “Thought you’d want some coffee.”
“Lana, you’re an angel!” Chloe took off the cover of the Styrofoam cup and began gulping down the warm beverage greedily before Lex or Buffy could object.
“Hey! Hey! You’re not supposed to--! Argh!” Buffy threw her hands up in the air. “I give up!”
“I don’t.” Lex replied before taking the now half-empty cup from Chloe.
“Le-ex!” She tried snatching it back.
“You remember what the doctor said?” He asked in that patronizing tone of his.
“Why should I when you seem to be able to quote him like a book?” She once again tried snatching the cup of coffee from him, but he held it above her reach, wagging a finger at her.
“Wag that finger in my face while depriving me of my coffee and I’ll bite it off.” She warned with a growl, folding her arms crankily over her chest.
Lex grinned broadly.
“ PMS-y are we?” Pete snickered before going to stand by Buffy. “Hey, how are you doing?”
“Other than wanting to choke the blonde? Fine.” Buffy sighed with a tired smile as Lex and Chloe started arguing once more. “How have you been doing?”
“Fine.” He replied cheerily, noticing Lana frantically trying to make the peace between Lex and Chloe and failing terribly. “She just doesn’t get that those two like to fight, huh?”
Buffy rolled her eyes. There’s a lot she doesn’t get. But she knew that Chloe wouldn’t like her saying that since for some reason she liked Lana, so instead she returned her attention to Pete Ross. “You want to come with me to the kitchen and get some sandwiches?”
He turned to look at her with a smile. “Only if you say you have PB&J.”
She laughed and grabbed his sleeve, tugging him behind her towards the kitchen.