Summary: Chloe and the team are trying to solve a very strange case indeed, so it would be great if Homeland Security weren't dogging them all of a sudden. It also doesn't help that, given recent developments, the unravelling is starting to show, especially in her relationship with Peter. The team's about to gain a new member... and lose another.To bogusbabe - for always making me laugh!
Title: The Stain
Series: Adept Series
Pairing: Chloe/Peter Bishop
Disclaimer: Don't own
Peter watched Chloe as she slept peacefully in his bed, curled up around a pillow. Her hand was back to normal, no traces left of the burning char that had begun to consume her from within. He hadn't been able to do more than kiss her while they'd been under the freezing shower, but it'd been enough to stop this thing, whatever it was, from spreading. Once his own marking were properly restored he'd figured her well enough to be moved, and they'd done just that, taking everything back to his place.
He'd been grateful that Lincoln was there, because the Teacher's Pet basically took over everything, allowing Peter to merely concentrate on Chloe. Lincoln had handled the shot-up motel room situation, had handled the Winchesters, as well as Special Agent Mercer. He'd also been the one to call the others so they'd know to call the search off.
That'd given Peter the opportunity to be there with Chloe the whole time, and the second she'd become conscious he'd taken off his clothes and slipped into bed with her. He'd tried to be gentle, but the fear that'd gone through him at her kidnapping, and then at finding her in such a horrible state, made it impossible. He'd kissed her roughly, trying to silence her groans, moans and whimpers with his mouth as he moved inside of her. He wasn't even sure how many times they'd both cum, but by the time they collapsed in bed, Chloe snoring softly within a span of mere minutes - her arm was completely healed.
She'd been sleeping for two hours now, and Peter hadn't left her side. He remained seated on the edge of the bed, watching her sleep.
There was a soft knock on the door before it opened to reveal Lincoln, who entered when Peter motioned him to do so. The newest agent of the Fringe Division joined Peter by the side of the bed.
"How is she?"
"Her arm's healed," Peter responded in the same low tone. "I don't know how long that will last though, that's never happened before. I don't even know what it is."
There was a moment's hesitation, before Lincoln sighed. "I think it's something called the Unravelling, or a result of it."
Peter looked up at him, eyes narrowed. "What are you talking about? What do you know?"
"I've been studying about the Adept, I asked Chloe and she gave me what she'd complied so far." Lincoln pushed his glasses higher up the bridge of his nose. "I came across this text talking about the relationship between the Adept and the Anchor - or Bonder you call it. Basically it was explaining why the Anchor is such an important person, which is why the Anchor must not only physically and mentally strong, but emotionally or spiritually strong as well. It says that if the spirit waivers then the 'unravelling' will begin." Lincoln gulped as his gaze went to Chloe's now perfectly normal hand. "It mentions a black stain, and something about a selection. I don't know what any of it means, but Chloe's arm looked stained with that charred black."
Peter ran his hand down his face as realization rattled him to the core. "This is all my fault."
"There's no way this could be your—."
"My spirit's wavered," Peter hissed in self-disgust. "I've been trying to ready us both, you know? So, unconsciously, I've been pulling away. And she's noticed that, and it's affected her… I just didn't realize how much."
"Why can't it be you?" Lincoln asked softly. "I know this is known of my business, and that I'm the newest to the team, but even I can see that you love her. And she loves you."
Peter gulped down his answer to that, and took in a deep breath. "I don't love—I care about her. I—."
"What's wrong with admitting that you love her?" Lincoln wanted to know with a little anger in his tone. "Because you do!"
"Enough!" Peter growled as he stood and turned to Lincoln. "I can't be her permanent Bonder, okay? My father's been locked up in an insane asylum for seventeen years now." He let out a deep, frustrated sigh as he sat back down and ran his fingers through his hair. "He's mentally ill, okay? That means, that even if it's only him, mental illness runs in my family, in my bloodline. Even if it hasn't manifested itself, it's still somewhere deep inside of me."
Lincoln's eyes widened in sudden understanding. "The Anchor cannot be frail of mind."
"Exactly." Peter closed his eyes and visibly calmed himself before opening them once more. "So, I care about her, but I can't love her. And I can't stay."
Lincoln stared at him in silence before he took in a deep breath. "So, what's the plan?"
"I just said the plan," Peter responded softly. "I can't stay."
Horror covered Lincoln's face. "But you just saw her! She can't survive this without you here!"
"She won't survive this if I am here." Peter hardened himself as he had while growing up under Walter Bishop, as he had one the news of the atrocities his father had helped William Bell commit. This was the only way Peter had survived in the past, and this was how Chloe would survive now. "If I leave now she'll be forced to take someone else, someone permanent. It's the only way she's going to survive."
"Just stay a little longer," Lincoln survived him by begging. "This is going to break her. Please."
Peter smiled at Lincoln before patting him on his back. "You're seriously a Teacher's Pet." And with that he turned and opened the door. He walked out of it, ignoring Lincoln calling for him.
He swung open the front door to find Special Agent Mercer standing there about to knock.
"I need to talk to Miss Sulli—Miss Gibbs," Mercer informed him.
"Go on in." Peter walked passed her out of the apartment and down the hall to the elevator. He was gone before Lincoln could reach him.
Anne was totally winging it.
She knew the barebones of what was going on, Chloe had told her her plan in case something like this might go down, but Anne had never expected that she would be the one communicating with the President of this version of the United States via Skype to inform him about the "Nomad Initiative". But with Chloe indisposed the way she was, Anne had no choice but to pick up the slack.
"There's more crimes being committed against the American People than we alone can handle," Anne announced as she sat in Chloe's office and stared up at the screen projected in front of her. "With the Nomad Initiative we will have people on the ground, tending to the smaller yet still important missions, allowing us to remain more time in the Capitol. Not only will this allow us to tend to different fires and put them out as quietly as possible, but the Nomads will give us eyes and ears all over the country."
"How sure are we that we can control them?" The President wanted to know. "We can't just give a bunch of hunters with guns power to do whatever they want. They could abuse it, and without close supervision this could quickly descend into anarchy."
"That's why we're starting out small, with a very limited group whom we can trust," Anne informed him. "John Winchester is a decorated ex-marine who was discharged with honor, and his sons, Dean and Sam, were trained by him from childhood to take up the mantel. They are our test subjects."
Their conversation last three more hours, and by the end of it the President, nor the Secretary of Defense, were very convinced. Anne had assured them that Chloe would convince them of the validity of the project once she wasn't indisposed, but she could feel the reserve in those men… and understood it as well.
A knock sounded on the door. "How'd it go?"
She looked up to see Jared leaning against the doorway. "Not that great, but I've managed to buy her time." She leaned forwards against the desk, very tired. "How is she doing?"
"Last I heard, fine." Jared made a face. "Can you believe they had a tail on her this whole time and we didn't even know? Jesus."
"Yeah, I heard something about that," Anne muttered as she ran her hands over her face. "Who's the new person?"
"Some redhead from the Secret Service," Jared replied. "Tess Mercer or something like that."
"Lutessa?" Anne looked up in shock.
Jared's eyes widened. "Wait, you know her?"
"I know the her from my reality," Anne whispered as she stood. "Do you know who she is?"
"Other than the Secret Service Agent appointed to look after Chloe?" Jared squeaked. "No! Who is she?"
Anne took in a deep breath as she ran her hands over her head. "She's the daughter of Lionel Luthor."
Jared's eyes widened in horror as he reached into his pocket and yanked out his phone. "Shit!"
"When I found out that the President was looking to place one of ours in charge of the security of an Above Classified Individual I had a feeling it might be you, so I assigned up for the vetting process." Special Agent Tess Mercer took in a deep breath as she stood by the bed. "I probably am the only person on the team who even knew about you."
"How did you know about her?" Lincoln Lee wanted to know curiously from where he leaned against the wall. "Despite Fringe cases that I only now realize intersected with FBI cases, I had no clue about her or the Fringe Division until I was recruited. So how did you?"
Tess eyed him in silence before she turned her gaze back to Chloe. "I was born Lutessa Lena Luthor."
Chloe's eyes widened in shock as she stared up at the girl who had Luthor-red hair. A part of her was horrified and sick. What did Tess want with her?
The blonde gripped the bed sheets and glanced around the room. Where was Peter? Why wasn't he here? She needed him here!
"I never had a relationship with my father, he was never there. I don't have his last name for a reason." Tess cleared her throat. "You're not the only one my father experimented on."
Chloe's gaze turned to her in shock.
"He didn't do to me what he did to you." The disgusted look on Tess' face proved she knew what he'd done to Chloe. "I was born from an affair he had and was given to a woman who ran and orphanage, or, well, whose orphanage was a front for an organization which specialized in brainwashing and the creation of child assassins."
Lincoln's eyes widened as he pushed away from the wall. "St. Louise's Orphanage."
Tess turned to look at him in surprise. "How do you even know that name? After I got into the Secret Service I found out that all records of it had been wiped!"
"I never met 'Granny Goodness' myself, but she definitely had an impact on my life." Lincoln took in a deep breath. "So you're from the last group, the ones that were rescued."
She nodded. "I was adopted out to this couple in the bayou, where I had a childhood that I don't want to remember. I got into Harvard at 15 just to get the hell out of there, and I worked my way up. When I was contacted by the Secret Service to start their training course I jumped into it." Tess took in a deep breath before she turned to Chloe. "I found out who my real father was through connections I gained on the job, and I discovered out what he did to you." She let out a heavy, forced breath as her green eyes met Chloe's, and the blonde could see her own pain reflected in them. If there was anyone who could understand Chloe's nightmares and inner demons, it was this redhead. "I'm just glad he was dead by the time I realized everything."
Lincoln stared between the two of them.
Tess let out another deep sigh and squared her shoulders. "If my relation to him is too much, I'll resign."
Chloe glanced around the room once more, not understanding why Peter hadn't been there when Lincoln woke her up to let her know Agent Mercer was there and needed to talk to her. Why had he left her? Where was he? Why wasn't he here?
Her green gaze caught Lincoln's and the look in his eyes startled her. He knew about Lionel Luthor. He must've been able to figure things out from what she'd given him, and he'd must've done research of his own, because none of this was surprising for him. Not concerning her and Lionel Luthor. He just looked disgusted and worried.
His gaze asked her if she wanted him to escort Tess Mercer out of the apartment.
She almost nodded a yes, and yet…
Chloe returned her attention to Tess. Half of her wanted to vomit, and yet the other… The other suddenly remembered where she'd heard her name before. Coyote had mentioned 'Tess Mercer' amongst the list of women that Chloe had been with in the alternate realities. Somehow this was just as shocking as the fact that Tess was Lionel's daughter, so while Chloe wanted to throw her out just for her relationship to Lionel, another part of her whispered that if any version of herself had loved a version of this woman, then she couldn't be all that bad.
While she herself didn't feel any sort of romantic attraction, curiosity was definitely there, and was probably what finally made the decision for her. "As I keep on being reminded by the higher ups, I need a protection detail, and, well, everything aside, you've proven yourself very capable so far in not only tracking me down, but quickly getting info on who my assailants could be." She hesitated before finally asking: "Does a three month probation time sound okay to you?"
Tess' eyes widened in surprise as she nodded. "That sounds good." She smiled and let out a surprised breath before she cleared her throat and rolled her shoulders. "I'm going to have to make some modifications on this place if you're going to be spending a lot of time here. The security's ridiculously lax."
"This is Peter's place," Chloe responded warily. "I don't know how he'd feel about—."
"This is me doing my job," Tess reminded. "I've been told your safety is a matter of National Security, and if there's only going to be one person on your security detail I need to hustle and install a lot of preventative measures."
"Of course," Chloe sighed. "I'm already regretting this."
Tess grinned. "No take backs." She reached into her pocket and pulled out her phone. "I've got a couple of locksmiths to call." And with that she left the room, already dialing a number.
Chloe stared at Tess' retreating back before she turned to Lincoln. "What have I done?"
Lincoln's lips twitched. "The President will be happy."
She rolled her eyes. "Well, as long as he's happy." Her amusement wasn't long lasting, though, as she once more glanced around the room before turning her attention to Lincoln. "Where's Peter?"
"He, uh, had to step out for a while." Lincoln's smile disappeared immediately as he looked away, unable to meet her eyes. There was something he wasn't telling her about Peter.
Worry coiled in her stomach. "Is he okay? Was he hurt? I don't really remember—."
"He's fine," Lincoln assured her quickly, honestly.
"Oh." Why wasn't Peter here then?
He's got a life outside of yours, you know, Chloe. A life he's desperate to get back to.
A spike of pain pierced her fingertips, and she hissed. Chloe grabbed her wrist and outstretched her fingers. It felt like someone was pricking under her fingernails with a very fine, very sharp needle.
"What is it?" Lincoln asked as he appeared by her side, almost immediately.
"I'm fine." She then whimpered when the pain amped up for a second and caught her off-guard.
"Sure you are," Lincoln whispered to himself, his tone completely unconvinced. "You need a permanent Anchor, Chloe, and you need it now."
She stared at her hand and nodded. "Yes, I know."
Dean leaned back on his seat at their new motel and tried to stifle his groan. Sam was flat out laying on his bed with his hands over his face, clearly trying to imagine himself anywhere but there. The phone on Dean's bed was on speaker, and John Winchester was chewing them out so badly for their monumental fuckup that Dean felt like he was six years old again. This really could've ended badly, and considering everything, Dean wasn't too sure that it hadn't. They had National heat on them now. And they were taking orders from people in government who had no clue about even the most basic hunting skills or knowledge. Great. Just great.
And there was the whole thing about them bringing unwanted attention to "the Adept", and his pa was seriously pissed off about that. John Winchester had known for for a while and no one, no one, had known. Now, though, there were all sorts of rumbling amongst the hunter community because there'd been a hunter who'd been at the same motel and had seen some things go down.
"DO YOU EVEN UNDERSTAND THE PRECAUTIONS I HAVE HAD TO MAKE SURE THAT NONE OF THE ASSHOLES CHASING AFTER US FOR REVENGE KNEW ABOUT HER? AND YET YOU TWO JUST GO WALTZING IN, AND EVEN AFTER HER REPEATED ATTEMPTS TO PROTECT YOU TWO—!"
Dean groaned and slid to press his forehead against the table.
He had a feeling they would be hearing about this for years to come.
Peter Bishop stared up at the board showing departures and arrivals. He didn't have much on him. He'd gone back to the apartment after cooling down and from the murmurs going on in the bedroom he could tell Agent Mercer was still in there. It'd been the perfect distraction for him to grab his passport and money, as well as a few things like his computer and other necessities. In and out in under five minutes, he'd stared at his bedroom door, fighting the desire to go in there to explain himself - to say goodbye - but he knew that if he stared into those green eyes he wouldn't be able to go through with it, so he'd left.
And that was how he'd ended up here, a plane ticket in one hand, his phone in the other. His thumb kept hovering over Chloe's name in his contacts list. He couldn't leave without saying goodbye, but maybe it would be better to do so from the plane, right before it took off.
Suddenly the screen flashed with a call, Chloe's name was written all across his phone. He inhaled deeply and answered the call as he brought his phone to his ear. "Hi, uh—."
"When's your plane leaving?" She asked softly.
His eyes widened and he glanced around him, almost sure he'd see her somewhere. "In half an hour." He cleared his throat and got comfortable in his seat. "How did you—?"
"Call it a hunch," she responded with wry amusement. "Peter, I'm sorry for the circus your life's become lately."
He closed his eyes tightly. "You have nothing to apologize for."
"Yes, I do, I shanghaied you into this, and then I didn't apply myself to finding you a replacement, like I'd promised you I would. I got so used to depending on you that I guess a part of me… No. Not 'I guess'. I didn't want to think about you leaving so I put it off, and that was unfair to you." She cleared her throat.
"How's your hand?" He asked softly.
"It's great, I'm just tired after everything." She could be heard moving. "Your landlord's going to be angry at you for leaving."
"I've paid up till the end of the month, and I'll be long gone before he has any reason to care."
"What about your things?"
"I have what I need with me, give everything else to someone who needs it," he replied before finally opening his eyes as he leaned forwards in his seat. "About this case—."
"Don't worry about the case, I've basically already got it solved. Don't worry about anything, okay? I'll be fine."
"I'm sending you over the file on someone who I think can replace me as your Bonder," Peter informed her, his voice thick. "He's a good guy and I think he'll have what you need."
"Thanks," she whispered. "Take care of yourself, Peter. And—don't be a stranger."
He ran his hand over his face as he slowly breathed in and out, told himself this was the best thing for both of them. As long as he was there she wouldn't find a permanent Bonder, and that meant that if he stayed with her she'd die. He couldn't stay and watch that. He had to leave and give her the push she needed to find his replacement. "If you need anything, call me. I'll keep this number."
She didn't answer for a couple of seconds. "Bye Peter." And with that she hung up.
Peter closed his eyes tightly and brought his phone to his forehead. "Bye, Chloe."
"Glad to see we made it," a surprising voice announced.
Peter opened his eyes to see Anne, Jared and Abby headed towards them with two large suitcases dragged behind them. "What are you guys—? How did you even get passed security?"
"Please, we're higher level than these people." Anne rolled her eyes as she collapsed onto the seat next to him. "Chloe figured you'd left with only your passport, money, your computer and maybe some shirts. Looking at your bag I realize she was right." She motioned to the suitcases Jared and Abby dragged behind them. "She quickly packed stuff for you and sent them with us."
"We can probably fit your bag in one of these so you only have two carry-ons," Abby announced as she sat down on Peter's other side. "The others were already checked in… don't ask us how…" She held out the luggage's tags for him. "Here you go."
He stared at them in surprise. "How did she even know?"
"Chloe's scarily smart," Jared reminded him. "She figured you'd go to the airport, and figured out your schedule, and let us know so that you wouldn't have to wait by yourself."
Anne nodded as she leaned her head against his shoulder. "She didn't come because, well, I don't think she could."
Peter gulped around the lump in his throat. "Take care of her."
"Of course we will." Abby also leaned against him with her head against his shoulder. "Plus, she has Mercer around now, so she'll be extra protected."
"Did you know Mercer's the daughter of…" Jared stopped, his eyes on Anne, and then cleared his throat as he smiled at Peter. "…an old porno actress? Cool, huh?"
Peter wondered at Jared's hesitation but wasn't of the right mind to wonder about that. He silently listened to Abby, Anne and Jared's prattle until they called for his plane to begin boarding. Somehow, despite having made sure to never get too close to these people for this reason, it was still very hard to say goodbye.
As he joined the line, Peter glanced around as he gripped his ticket tightly. He knew Chloe wasn't there, that he wouldn't see her, but a part of him really wished he would—while another part knew it'd be horrible if he did.
Swallowing passed the emotion clogged in his throat, Peter gave his ticket to the attendant, and when he got it back he turned, waved once more to his friends, and said his final goodbye as he walked down the tarmac to board the plane that would take him far, far away from here.
This was the best thing for everyone.
"Well, that was a whole crock of lies," Lincoln muttered from his place in the corner. "I don't know where to begin - the part where the investigation is already solved, or the part where you're doing dandy."
Chloe ignored him and his mountain of truths. She still had no idea what was behind the murders, or how the victims were being selected, or even the timeline between murders. She also, as Lincoln was pointing out, not exactly great. A quick glance to her hand didn't reveal anything odd, but should she twist her hand palm-up you could clearly see the black stains on the very tips of her fingers. It appeared as if she'd dipped her fingertips in purest black paint.
"So, I actually know the guy whose records Peter just sent you, or, well, I know him by reputation, at least," Lincoln declared as he glanced down at the file she'd opened and shown to him. "He's FBI, and really good at his job." He pulled out his phone and began typing something. "Seeley can be our wingman for this one since I think they've worked on a couple of cases together."
The blonde experimentally pressed her fingertips together, expecting pain yet found them numb to the touch. There was no feeling in it.
"Does it hurt?"
She finally looked up and shook her head. "I don't feel anything at all."
"Nothing at all? That doesn't sound good." He reached out and pressed his pointer finger against hers.
A jolt of pain wrecked through her finger and Chloe gasped as she pulled her hand away. She gripped her wrist and took in a deep breath. "Okay, so it comes and goes."
Lincoln eyed her warily before he returned to composing the text to Seeley. "I'm telling him it's urgent."
"No, I said immediately," they could hear Tess' voice as she paced back and forth in the living room. "This apartment is like one giant bullseye, I'm surprised Mystic hasn't been kidnapped a hundred times over, or assassinated for that matter. So when I say get here immediately, I don't mean at your earliest convenience, I mean as fast as your vehicle can bring you. And if that's not fast enough because of traffic, get out and run."
Lincoln glanced up with an eyebrow raised. "She's terrifying."
"Is my codename Mystic?" Chloe blinked. "I have a codename."
"I wonder what mine is," Lincoln pondered.
"No, Mystic's with Glasses," Tess announced into the phone. "I want this place protected from top to bottom by the time they get out of the bedroom."
Chloe bit her bottom lip.
"Glasses? Really?" He pushed up his glasses up the bridge of his nose, and then his eyebrows raised when he got a text back from Seeley. "He's throwing a party and will invite this guy over so it'll be very subtle. Give you the ability to meet this guy and see how you two jive without any pressure."
"Jive?" Chloe tested out her fingertips once more to find that they'd gone numb again. No matter how hard she pressed against the wall, she couldn't feel it at all.
Tess' voice raised in the living room. "Tell him to take some anti-diarrhea medicine, put a cork in it, clench his cheeks, and get here!"
Lincoln raised an eyebrow. "So…. are you going to wait for her to terrify more workers into making this a safe house to tell her Peter left so there's no more reason to come here?"
"No." Chloe taped her fingertips against the wall. "I've talked to the landlord and… I'm moving in."
Lincoln's eyes widened. "Uh, Gibbs isn't going to like that."
"I know," she admitted softly. "I haven't mentioned anything to him yet, but, it's time. And anyway, until we can figure out a way to send Anne back to her reality she's going to be staying at his place, so that'll smoothen the transition."
Lincoln opened his mouth to say something, but obviously thought better about it and cleared his throat. "We should maybe make this party a house warming party for you then, we'll figure a way to get John Scott here without it being weird."
Chloe glanced up at him, grateful that he hadn't pushed or questioned in regards to her staying here in Peter's apartment.
"I had two bullets in both my legs and still walked six miles," Tess declared, clearly unimpressed. "So you tell her to stop trying to get sympathy with that arm cast and get her job done. She doesn't need both hands."
Lincoln looked utterly horrified and motioned with his thumb to the door as if saying: What the hell?
A small smile touched Chloe's lips before she lowered her gaze to her black fingertips. "So, John Scott, huh?"
"He's got a strong jaw," Lincoln informed her as he turned his phone around to show her the picture of the FBI agent. "Va va voom." He waggled his eyebrows before making up his face. "I'm never going to say va va voom ever again."
"Yes, please don't!" Chloe laughed as she shook her head.
Lincoln grinned and nodded. "Done."
Chloe shook her head, yet her laughter caught in her throat when her gaze fell upon Peter's old MIT jersey, the one she hadn't been able to pack away for him. The emotions she'd been trying to suppress nearly overwhelmed her, but she managed to turn her back on Lincoln before the tears prickled her eyes. Be strong, Chloe. Butch up. She closed her eyes and took in a deep breath as she wiped the tears from her eyes.
It took her a couple of minutes to get her emotions back under control, but by the time she turned around Lincoln was studiously examining the contents of his phone. He was not so subtly giving her the space and privacy needed to pull herself together.
Sighing, Chloe nodded. She could cry later, right now she had a case to solve and a last candidate to meet.
"And a party to plan," Lincoln muttered as he continued to study the phone.
"Right," she agreed. "Let's do this, Glasses."
Lincoln pouted. "We've got to change that codename."
Chloe smiled at him. There was still a lot "In Progress" in her life right now, and she was without the only anchor in her life, but she'd get through this. Peter's happiness was important to her; he needed to leave, needed to restart his life, and she'd do everything possible to help him. She'd find a Bonder, any acceptable Bonder, and she'd free Peter. And she'd make her life a little less of a mess, and prove to him that he didn't have to worry about her anymore.
He could live his own life without putting everything on hold because of her and her issues.
She was going to solve this case, and find a permanent Bonder, and get her life in order, for Peter.
Because she loved him.
Chloe gulped deeply.
This was the first time she'd allowed herself to admit it, even if only silently. It would also be the last time she admitted it as well, so she savored the thought.
"What do you think about this?" Lincoln asked as he motioned her over.
Shaking her head, Chloe reminded herself now was not time to think of Peter and cry. No. That would be tonight, when she was alone in bed. For now, she had a lot to do.
It was a good thing she had her head screwed on too, because events were about to befall her which would require every bit of her focus.
But that's another tale.