Title: Freeing Jake Gray
Characters: Chloe, Ava, Lana, Jake, Varden
Sequel to: When Tara Met Jason
Universe: Tara Paranormal Investigations
Disclaimer: Don't Own
Summary: Thanks to a vision of Ava's, Chloe and the psychic are now cross country, trying to find a way to free Jake Gray. Then Chloe discovers that someone from her past is in the thick of this, and he holds the keys to Jake's freedom...literally.
Written for my Paranoraml25 150 Prompt Table. Prompt of the day #120
Should be a two-or-threeshot
"So who is Varden?" Ava asked as they ate the food Chloe had picked up for them at some diner after leaving the sheriff's office.
The two young women sat under a tree, filling each other in on what had happened to them during their separation.
"He's someone from my past." Chloe picked at her beef sandwich, giving a little sigh. "We had a...thing
...some years ago."
"A thing..." Ava echoed, looking intrigued.
"Yeah, a thing. A very hot and heavy and totally inappropriate thing." Chloe replied a little testily, pouting. "We should have known it wasn't going to last, you know. I was fourteen, he was dead
Ava choked on her fry. "Dead
"Undead." Chloe quickly rectified. "Vampire."
Ava continued to look at her with wide eyes. "You were a vampire's Lolita?"
"Kinda, technically." Chloe nodded, making a face. "I needed stability in my life, and my dad was always busy and Alice loved V."
Ava went still at the topic, before looking up at Chloe through her eyelashes. "He knew Alice."
"He met me the day she was born. Or, well, he was kinda in the wrong place at the wrong time and we were stuck together in an elevator at the museum when my water broke two weeks ahead of schedule." Chloe smiled softly at the memory. "The elevator broke down in the shaft and I'm claustrophobic, and the stress and terror made me go into labor a bit prematurely. Varden had been at the museum at the time finishing a deal with the curator and had gotten stuck with me in the elevator. He delivered the baby."
"Wow." Ava had finished her sandwich during the story, and was now wiping her hands in her tissue. "Why didn't he just---you know---eat you and the baby? There must have been so much blood and to a vampire..."
"Temptation, I know." Chloe nodded. "He later told me that he wanted to, god he wanted to, but something kept him from hurting me, like a voice in the back of his head telling him it would be the stupidest thing he'd ever done in his life and he'd live to regret it. So he withstood the bloodlust and delivered Alice into this world. I kinda forgot about him, but when I took Alice to the museum a couple of months later he was there and despite the fact that he seemed to know a freaky amount about me I didn't care. Of course, I didn't know at the time that once a vampire has your scent they can track you, and that he'd had me investigated...and when I found out I was more flattered than peeved."
"Teenaged girls." Ava snarked.
"So true." Chloe sighed. "We started our affaire when I was fourteen, a couple of months after I met up with him again. He helped me get over my fears of intimacy and...well...after what had happened I was broken and Varden helped repair me."
"How long did it last?" Ava asked.
"We broke up when I was seventeen."
The brunette's eyes widened. "You were with him for all of those years?"
Chloe nodded. "Varden's been the most important person to me for a very long time, it was hard to end it, but he wanted to mark me as his with his little tattoo and I realized that I didn't want to be just another piece of property. You know? I broke off our relationship, he didn't take it too well...but we finally made our peace, and when it came down to hunting Lucy's coven, it was my experience with Varden that helped us do it."
Ava nodded, remembering the story of how Lois had gotten initiated into the Supernatural. "Is he a part of the vegetarian coven Lois talked about?"
Chloe snorted. "No. V's far
from vegetarian, they are another coven I met through him."
"Oh." Ava gave Chloe an odd look. "So he drinks from humans and you haven't hunted him?"
"Well, Varden...Varden's special." Chloe sighed after finishing her sandwich. "And anyway, after...after Alice...he chose special victims. Rapists. Killers. People who the law doesn't catch or turns a blind eye to." She looked at Ava, serious. "I don't care if he kills those people."
Ava was silent.
"Plus, a vampire can feed off of you and not kill you. Just means they have to feed more often so that they'd not hungry enough to drain you dry." Chloe replied, balling up the foil wrapping her sandwich had been in. "As long as you as the Bleeder eat healthily, especially a lot of foods that will strengthen your blood, you could be that vampire's source of food and he would never have to kill ever."
Ava looked horrified. "You're talking from experience, aren't you?" She leaned towards Chloe. "He fed
"Apparently my blood is special." Chloe confessed, unable to look at Ava. "It filled Varden quickly, easily. It was better than him going out and feeding from someone else---just the thought made me jealous at the time." She cleared her throat. "Plus, I kinda liked it."
Ava blinked. "I'm seeing a whole new side to you right now."
Chloe looked down at her shoes, a little embarrassed by how much she was revealing to her friend.
Thankfully, she was saved by her ringtone.
Pulling out her Samsung from her pocket, Chloe answered the call and placed it to her ear. "Sullivan speaking."
"Hey Chlo." Lana's voice could be heard.
"You survived manning the phones." Chloe teased.
"Don't talk to me." Lana sounded like she was pouting, before she cleared softly. "So, Lois filled us in on the particulars of the mission you're on. You okay?"
"Yeah, we're fine." Chloe nodded even though she knew Lana couldn't see her.
"Lois tried to use your computer. She couldn't even turn it on. And I----after last time I didn't even want to go near it. So since Jo is out on a new case---some haunting in a home uptown, Clay decided he'd try. He managed to boot up the computer and get the search working, but it has been fighting him all the way." There was a pause. "You're computer hates us."
Chloe bit down on her bottom lip to keep from laughing. "That's not true, Lan. It's just been programmed well."
Lana sniffed. "Anyway, I'm emailing you the files you need. Get to the nearest cyber cafe and print them out. There are tons of files that meet your description, and all around the time you specified." She paused. "So, what do you plan on doing with this Jake Gray when you spring him free? And how do you plan on springing him in the first place? Sure this could prove that there is someone else out there that kills the way they thought Jake did, but it doesn't mean he didn't do it. They could take it to mean he has an accomplice, or that there's a copycat killer."
"I won't worry about how they explain it, I'll just give them the information and he'll get it done."
"He?" Lana asked, picking up on that one word.
Chloe hesitated. "The sheriff of the town, and the doctor at the institute they have Jake in are both Varden's familiars."
Lana was silent for a moment. "Varden
"Yeah, I---I'm going to meet up with him in his lair in a little bit." Chloe replied, nodding. "He owes me for saving his life that one time, and he'll get Jake off for me, I know it. The heads of the whole town from judge to senator are most probably his as well, he'll find a way to do it."
"Plus, if its for you, Varden's proven he'd do anything."
Chloe gave a small smile, hearing the wistfulness in her friend's voice. "Lana. Don't get any ideas in your head now. This isn't a reconciliation."
"Why not? You're both still in love with each other." She was almost whining. "Why can't you just, you know, get over the little argument you had and...?"
?" Chloe raised an eyebrow. "Lana, I bashed him in the head
with a hammer
Ava choked on a sip of her drink.
"Only because you knew that with a little blood he'd be fine." Lana argued. "If you'd known it would really hurt him you wouldn't have done it."
Chloe paused. "Well...there are some fringe benefits of being with someone undead, I'll give you that, but Lana, I know you liked the thought of me and Varden being together, but it just isn't going to happen. I can't---I can't be the person I was when I was with him. I grew up."
Lana sighed. "But he still loves you."
"You don't know that."
"Yes I do." Lana protested. "He's always going to love you."
"He wants me, he's possessive of me." Chloe tried explaining. "He doesn't love
"So he offered you a 'half of his kingdom' because he's possessive of you."
"He was drunk."
"Because you dumped him!" Lana exclaimed, exasperated. "Again
Chloe winced. "Which shows that we can't work out. We got together twice, we broke up twice. That's just how things go."
"He moved to Smallville to be closer to you." Lana sounded tense. "The reason it didn't work was because you were too scared to love anyone fully because you're scared they'll leave you. The relationship didn't work out because you didn't risk your heart or soul or anything, and while I can understand how life has made you harden yourself against being 'vulnerable', but Chloe, if you don't change and see the good things that can happen to you if you would just open your heart a little you're going to end up old and alone and it'll break my heart if that happened!"
The killer part was that Chloe couldn't snap at Lana for that tirade.
Because Lana was right, and Chloe knew it.
So biting back her angry response, Chloe sighed and closed her eyes, running a hand over her head. "I know that, Lan. I do. But---but things won't work out with V, please understand that."
Lana sighed. "It doesn't have to be with Varden, Chloe. What I'm saying is that he loves you and you need to stop closing yourself off from love. You're going to meet a wonderful guy who loves you and who makes you want to love him back in return, but you'll be so closed off, so scared, so unwilling to risk getting hurt or losing someone, that you're going to push him away like you did Varden and you're going to miss out on the most beautiful thing you could ever experience."
Chloe looked down at her shoes, feeling like a child chastised by her mother. "Stop watching Dr. Phil."
Lana laughed, dispelling the tension atmosphere. "You're incorrigible."
"I know." Chloe smiled.
There was a moment's silence, and then Lana cleared her throat. "You know, Lois has been trying to convince me to send Clay over there to help you."
Chloe smiled. Clay was always such a great help to her. He was the newest member of Tara, and yet he'd quickly made himself invaluable to the team. He was protective and smart and sweet and all the girls practically ogled
him every single time
he passed by...not that he noticed.
The blonde had to admit she'd done it a couple of times herself.
"Tell her thanks, but I'd prefer for him not to be here for this one." Chloe finally replied. "You know how Varden can get, and he's already pissed off because I'm contacting him because of some 'man'."
"Ouch." Lana agreed. "I'll let her know."
"I got to go. Talk to you later." Chloe turned to Ava. "I think you should stay out of this one. I'll leave you at the motel and go see him on my own, okay?"
Ava looked a little disappointed at not getting to meet the mysterious Varden, but agreed as they went to the car and drove to the closest Internet Cafe, transferring the files from the computer to Chloe's usb. With that Chloe dropped Ava off and headed towards the directions that Whitman had given her, coming upon the barn by the time the moon was full in the air.
Taking in a deep breath, Chloe got out of the vehicle and walked towards the open door into the light, unable to keep herself from smirking when she saw him standing by the stairs of the barn, looking just as handsome as he always had. "V."
"Chlo." He smiled, those dimples going deep as he pushed away, stalking towards her, hair dark, eyes darker, skin pale as moonlight. "It has been too long."
Chloe tilted her head back a little to look at him, feeling that sensation of longing she always did with Varden, but suppressing it. "How long has it been since we saw each other last?"
"Four years." He replied smoothly, not having to think the answer.
"You haven't changed a bit, as to be expected." She snarked, looking him over admiringly before taking a step back and holding out her usb drive in between them. "So, you saw me. Here's all the information on killings by Anne Kilton that your people can use to make up some story. Now free Jake Gray."
A moment's darkness passed over Varden's features before he cleared his throat and reached for the usb. "I had him taken off of his medications after we spoke earlier. He should be...more lucid now."
"So, what was your deal in all of this?" Chloe wanted to know, unable to keep herself from asking the question. "Why do Anne Kilton's dirty work?"
"We did some business together, she asked a favor." He shrugged. "She was killed a couple of months ago."
"Really?" Chloe asked in surprise. "By who?"
"Someone who has the Colt. I'm thinking it might be John Elkins, but I'm not sure. Word is that Luthor's coven killed Elkins and took the Colt, but then Luthor's coven got eliminated, so I'm not vouching for the validity of the claim. Someone
has the Colt and is using it on demons...so I'm guessing its a human, a Hunter."
Chloe frowned. "You're keeping yourself well hidden from the Hunter alliance, right?"
For a second he didn't react, and then he smiled. "You're worried about me."
I'm worried about you." She snapped. "Someone out there has the Colt
"I doubt they'll use it to try and kill me when decapitation works so well." He replied dry, before smiling once more, those dimples so deep, so beautiful. Even his eyes seemed to twinkle as he smiled. "It makes me feel good to know that despite the fact that you bashed my head in...the thought of someone else hurting me gets you upset."
"Bash someone's head in once
and they never
let you forget it." Chloe muttered to herself before turning to Varden. "I have to go. Do the orderlies and warden at the facility know not to give me any trouble?"
He nodded, smile melting away to slight longing as he watched her. "I was hoping we could talk for a while."
"You wanna talk, come visit me at Tara
." She replied offhandedly as she turned to leave. "I'm on a job right now. No time for socializing."
He seemed...surprised. "You would welcome a visit from me?"
"Why wouldn't I?" Chloe asked, genuinely confused as she turned to look at him. "V, we mightn't be, you know, like that anymore, but if you ever need me, I'm just a phone call---or a visit---away. You know that, right?"
Apparently he hadn't.
His amazed smile was all the answer she needed.
But he gave her one anyway. "And I am always here to help you as well, Chloe Ann Sullivan."
"I know." She winked with a smile before marching out of the barn, waving as she went. "Take care of my half of the kingdom for me!"
She could hear his laughter behind her as she made her way to her vehicle and drove away, dialing Ava.
"How did it go?" The brunette asked upon answering.
"Fine, I'm heading towards the institute as we speak to pick up Jake. V will take care of the rest." She smiled. "How about you? Have you figured out why your Sight's acting all wonky?"
"Well, I'm thinking it was the dark magic that happened at that place." Ava admitted. "It's overloading my senses and causing havoc."
"It would make sense." Chloe agreed.
"So, I got a call from Clay." Ava announced oddly. "He said he'd called you but you weren't picking up so he was worried something had happened to you and called me. I told him that you probably hadn't taken your phone with you when you went to meet Varden."
"I didn't." Chloe admitted. "Is something wrong why Clay called me?"
"No, not exactly." Once again Ava sounded odd. "You just...uh...know him. He's very...protective." There was a pause. "Especially of you."
"Yes, well, he does get his paychecks from me." Chloe laughed, taking the corner, about ten minutes away from town and twenty from the Institute.
Ava gave a little growl. "Yes, of course."
Chloe raised an eyebrow at the sisterly frustration in that voice. "Is everything alright? You sound like you want to tell me something."
"If you haven't figured it out already, I don't think I should help you." Ava sniffed.
Amusement filled the blonde. "This sounds intriguing. What am I not figuring out?" She took a left and entered town. Suddenly a thought crossed Chloe's mind and her eyes widened. "You and Clay aren't....are
"Chloe!" Ava exclaimed in horror. "I'm going to get married to Brady in a couple of months! I love my man to pieces! Of course
Clay and I 'aren't' !!!!!!!"
"Oh. Right. Relief." Chloe sighed. "I like Brady a lot."
"How about Clay?"
"How about Clay what?" Chloe asked, confused
"Do you like him
"Of course I do!" Chloe laughed. "Who doesn't like him alot? He's handsome, sweet, charming, got great work ethics..."
"That's it!" Ava growled. "I give up!"
Chloe was going to ask Ava what in the world she was talking about when she saw the institute in the distance. "Ava? I'll have to call you back later."
She hung up to Ava growling something about obliviousness.
Chloe laughed and shook her head, humming to herself the rest of the way until she parked outside of the institute.
This visit was a lot different than the one she'd made previously.
Now they seemed to be tripping over each other trying to be nice and helpful.
She wondered what exactly Varden had said when he'd called ahead and given the orders to make their attitude change so much.
But there were other more pressing matters at hand, as she came face to face with Jake.
He was awake, sitting in a wheelchair, looking lifeless, out of the straitjacket and wearing clothes that might have once been his, or maybe not. She didn't know, and she didn't care.
Jake Gray had lost everything in his life.
He'd lost his family, his friends, his home and belongings (since the people of the town had set his home on fire when he was convicted of all the killings)...and he may have even lost his sanity.
Living here like this, with the memories and the guilt he must have, blaming himself for what had happened to those he loved...and being pumped up with so many drugs...
...It was enough to drive anyone
a little insane.
But Chloe was going to help him.
She'd take him back home with her, and she'd help him get back to health (both mental and physical) and she'd help him with anything. If he wanted to work with them, great, if he wanted to just disappear afterwards she'd accept that as well.
"Hey Jake." She whispered, going to kneel down in front of him. "Do you remember me?"
He nodded, the movement slow and clumsy from the drugs still in his system.
"I'm taking you out of here, okay?" She placed a hand on his knee. "I'm going to help you."
He looked fearful.
Here was another stranger in his life taking him away.
"I know you have no reason to trust me, but you will, in time." She promised, heart hurting her as she could see the pain and suffering Jake Gray had gone through all over his face. Chloe squeezed his knee reassuringly. "I'm going to help you, and if you want to leave when you're better, I won't try to stop you."
His eyes looked surprised at that.
"I'm not taking you from one prison to another, Jake." She whispered, looking up into his eyes and wishing for him to believe her. "I'm taking you to my home, which, hopefully one day will be your home too. At least until you're ready to take the reigns of your life back."
A flash of hope flared alive in his eyes at those last words.
Chloe smiled, standing and grabbing the bag with a few of Jake's belonging from one of the orderlies and wheeling him away.