Title: Glowing Hope
Sequel to: Exit Speed
Universe: OFFICIAL Cave Series
Characters: Chloe/Lex, Lois, Annabel
Disclaimer: Don't own
Summary: When someone from Chloe's past asks for her help, she is conflicted, not only about the job but about her relationship with Lex. With time running out does she really want to waste the precious time they have together?
Warning: Spoilers for The New Daughter. Takes place right after the movie.
Written for My paranormal25
150 Prompt Table. Prompt Used #87
. Famous Paranormal Case.
Looking around the remains of what must have been a proud and homey place once upon a time ago, Chloe picked up a broken frame from the ground. In this frame was a picture of a man, his fourteen year old daughter, and eight year old son. There was also a smiling woman, dark hair, blue eyes, smiling lips. His wife.
The one who'd asked Chloe to come here and investigate.
Taking in a deep breath, Chloe put the frame with the broken glass on the remains of the sofa and looked around. "What happened here?"
"It seems like a creature attack." Lois replied, walking in, hands on her hips and face made into a sneer. "The place reeks something bad too." Her eyes were large and ruby red, the only thing that betrayed the fact that she wasn't completely human anymore. "Whatever it was that attacked this place, there were a lot of them, and they were intent on getting what they came for."
Chloe frowned, eyes shifting gold as she surveyed the damage with the eyes of her inner monster. "But why only this house? There are other houses not so far way from here. Why this one?"
"I found something interesting out back." Another voice joined them, as Lex Luthor entered through the kitchen, dusting his shirt off. "It looks like what's left of a Native American Burial Mound."
"What's left of?" Lois raised an eyebrow.
"Someone bombed it, apparently." Lex replied, leaning against the wall.
"That's a little extreme." Lois murmured, eyes narrowing. "Where exactly is the mound?"
"A little ways out back...at the mouth of the forest." Lex replied.
Chloe frowned. "Native American Burial Mounds have had a lot of different legends associated with them."
"Creature legends?" Lois guessed, eyeing the claw marks on the doorway.
The blonde nodded.
"Right. Good thing I brought my toys!" Lois grinned brightly, tapping her Predator Combo Spear, which she always wore on a hook on her belt. "I'm going to go make sure my other babies are all secure and ready for some fun!"
And with that she sauntered out.
Chloe smiled slightly, amused with her cousin.
That smile slowly melted from her face and Chloe sighed one more, hugging herself as she looked out of the window.
"Are you sure you want to handle this personally?" Lex asked, coming up behind her and placing his hand at the small of her back, looking out of the window as well. "If this is too much for you to handle, I will have a group of my best men handle this. I have them on speed dial and stationed close by just in case."
"Why would this be too much for me to handle?" Chloe asked, taking in a deep breath.
"Because the mother who abandoned you as a kid just appeared in your life all of a sudden to ask you to investigate the disappearance of her other family. Of the family she made after leaving you." Lex growled, protectiveness in his voice as his hand rose to cup the round of her shoulder. "It would be overwhelming a situation for anyone."
Trust Lex to be more worried about her when there was a very strong possibility that there were some hungry, angry creatures hiding around them.
The blonde leaned her head against the inner curve of his shoulder. "I'm fine." Her gaze went back to the sofa...to the picture there. "I-I'm just finding it hard to believe that I had half-siblings, and I only find out after they're dead."
"You don't know that." Lex murmured.
"Yes, I do." She looked up at him. "You've seen the state of this place, Lex. You know that whatever attacked them wouldn't have let them live."
He sighed and pressed a kiss to her forehead.
She closed her eyes and accepted the comfort he offered.
They'd stayed like that, in silence, just soaking in the other's touch, before finally Chloe sighed and turned to him. "It'll soon be nightfall. We should head back to the town, get some rest, and maybe research a little before coming back tomorrow morning."
"We can stay a little longer if you like." Lex offered.
"No, we need our rest." Chloe replied, leading him out of the house.
Of course, both knew that when she said 'we' she meant 'he'.
Chloe and Lois were both mutants who had stronger resistance and such than humans.
But Lex was sick, so very sick...and was using his mutation to keep her from healing him because he was worried that by doing so she'd lose her healing abilities forever.
One might forget it sometimes because of how Lex refused to be weak and show how in pain or uncomfortable he was, but Chloe wouldn't allow herself to forget. It was a miracle that he was this strong and this able, and she wasn't going to let him exert himself too much. So they were going to go get a nice room, have him sleep and rest, and they'd come back first light to have a better look of the land. That burial ground was extremely intriguing in itself.
Lois drove the hummer back to the town and they got rooms at the best little bed and breakfast they could find.
Lex offered to help with research, but Chloe ordered him to his room to sleep, and he grudgingly obeyed.
Lois hadn't been much help, conking out as soon as her head hit the pillow of the room she shared with Chloe.
Chloe, on the other hand, was unable to sleep, so she spent most of the night researching.
She found out that her mother had failed to tell her that the reason she hadn't been there when everything had gone down was because she'd left yet another family she'd help create, and that she and John James were going to get a divorce. The children, Louisa and Sam, were in the custody of their father. Apparently Moira hadn't fought for custody at all.
Louisa and Sam...the names alone betrayed that Moira had missed her birth family after parting all ties with them. Why else name her daughter an altered version of her niece's name, and name her son after her brother?
Chloe wondered if Moira had missed her at all.
Moira hadn't gotten into contact with her at all until she'd come to her at LexCorp yesterday begging her help.
Chloe had to admit that seeing her mother again after all these years had brought up so many well buried emotions.
And the feeling that she was inadequate.
Then again, her mother apparently was just the type of person who bailed on family.
Shaking her head, Chloe continued her research, finding out that before the James family had bought the house and land the previous owner, a woman, had disappeared without a trace before locking her daughter in her room. And then apparently the daughter, after being rescued, had been sent to live with her grandfather and then had died in a suspicious house fire. And then when John James, Louisa, and Sam had come to live here, the babysitter had disappeared (only to be found in the entrance of the mound when John James had tried to have it bulldozed) and while the police had at first suspected John James himself of the crime the autopsy had proved that she'd been eaten...alive.
The night the sheriff was taking John back to the house, the sheriff had disappeared, blood being found in his side of the police vehicle, and John, Louisa, and Sam had disappeared forever. Their house had been destroyed, and the mound had been been set on fire.
No one from the town came by this way.
Somehow, it all led back to the mound.
So she researched Native American Burial Mounds.
There were a lot of topics on the internet about these mounds, but what caught her eye was a specific legend.
The Mound Walkers...which were apparently a very paranormal topic in the folk-anthropologic circles.
Feeling tiredness descending on her, Chloe put the Mound Walker legends to print on her portable printer, and headed to bed.
Her dreams were nightmares of herself as a child, hugging herself, crying for a mother who didn't want her.
Needless to say, when she woke up Chloe was far from refreshed, but she pushed back her own memories and insecurities and continued focused on the job, finding more legends about Mound Walkers.
And then she found the legends that spoke of the Mound Walkers waiting for a human child, a female child, with whom to procreate and further their race.
That was when she started feeling ill.
The two cases of things happening in that house involved two young girls.
"Sonsofbitches!" Chloe snapped, standing, running her hand over her hair.
She'd just finished reading what the Mound Walkers did to the female girl chosen to 'save' their race by becoming their 'queen'. There was a ritual that was vague on some aspects of the preparation and such for the girl, but other points were disgustingly clear...like the fact that gang rape was one of the first steps.
If they'd gotten to the first girl, then it would make sense that the mother had locked the girl in the room...and then she would have disappeared because she would have been keeping the creatures from their goal.
And if they hadn't been able to finish whatever it was they'd been trying to do with the annoying vague rituals in claiming the girl...then they would have gone after Louisa.
A fourteen year old.
Closing her eyes in horror and disgust, Chloe sat down on her bed once more, wondering if the process had been finalized this time or if the fact that the burial mound had been bombed proved that John James had figured out what had happened and preferred to sacrifice them all then let his daughter live that terrible fate.
Or maybe that poor child was somewhere in the underground world that must be accessed by the burial mound...being used as a breeding tool by a denizen of monsters.
The thought sickened Chloe to the core and she rushed to the bathroom to bathe, donning her clothes and boots, putting up her hair in a tight bun. She shook Lois roughly before going to the trunk they'd brought in with them, going over the guns and such, choosing which ones she'd be taking with her.
"What's wrong?" Lois murmured, half asleep, hair covering her face.
"They steal a girl to breed with-the creatures that live inside of the burial mound." Chloe turned to her cousin. "The whole colony are males, and they all breed with one female, human child."
Lois sat up immediately, nausea on her face, all sleepiness gone. "What?"
"Louisa might be alive, Lois." Chloe's movements were jerky, frantic. "She might be captive in some dwelling under the ground and being raped by those things! She's only fourteen."
"Fuckdammit." Lois hissed, jolting out of bed and to her feet, racing towards the bathroom, slamming the door shut.
Chloe hurried to Lex's room, knocking on the door, impatient.
The door opened to show Lex in nothing but his boxers, very much awake, probably having been in the middle of yoga when she'd interrupted. "Is everything alright?"
Chloe found her throat dry, unable to keep her eyes from spanning that alabaster white skin, body slender and yet with discreet evidence of muscles right where they needed to be.
Lex eyed her in confusion for a moment, before realization tilted his lips into a smirk as he rested a hip against the doorframe. "Uh, Chloe? You came here because?"
"Oh, right." Clearing her throat, looking away, Chloe fought a blush. "I found out what happened."
That smirk turned into a grim line. "Come inside."
Walking passed him, Chloe took in a deep breath and sat down on his bed, telling him everything that she'd discovered.
Lex listened in tense silence, and the second she was done he was on the phone calling in the swat team he'd had stationed nearby just in case they were needed. When he finished the phone call, he turned to her. "They'll be at the burial mound within the hour, which will give us time to get ready, to eat, and be there as well."
Chloe nodded silently.
He sighed, coming towards her, bending on his knees in front of her, reaching up with his hand to cup her cheek, their gazes mixing "If she's there, we'll find her."
"I know." Chloe sighed, leaning into his hand, eyes closing.
A purr escaped her as his thumb caressed her cheek soothingly, always knowing what to do to calm her. "It's just that-it reminds me so much about what happened to me-in the cave." She gulped. "I was so scared-and they never got to do anything to me. If she's alive-there-..."
"If she's anything like you she'll be fine." Lex whispered. "I don't know what to say about your mother-but at least the latest generations of females in her family are incredible." He made a face. "Just don't tell Lois I said that. It'll go to her head and she'll never let me live it down."
A small smile tilted Chloe's lips and she opened her now golden eyes, connecting with his baby blues. "Thanks."
He pressed a kiss to her forehead. "Go get something to eat, I'll bathe."
She hesitated, grabbing his hand when he stood. "Maybe...maybe you should stay."
The young billionaire sent her a glare. "Chloe..."
"Lex..." She looked up at him, pleadingly. "I don't want you to get hurt."
"I can take care of myself." Lex replied curtly.
"But if something happened to you-." Chloe's voice broke.
Lex's glare melted into a tender smile as he bent down on his knees once more, cupping her face. "My time to go isn't here yet." His eyes searched hers. "You still need me to take care of you, and there's no way I'm going anywhere knowing that."
A lump formed in Chloe's throat, her eyes filling with tears she tried valiantly to fight as she brought her hand to cover the one he had cupping her cheek, the blonde leaning into the touch nearly desperately.
She didn't say anything.
She couldn't say anything.
Not when her throat was so constricted.
But the thing is she didn't need to say anything.
Not when he already knew.
Had always known.
Lex's thumb brushed away the lone tear that made its way down her cheek, and he brought the droplet to his lips, licking it as he stood and walked towards the bathroom, closing the door behind him.
Chloe looked dazedly at the bathroom door, before taking in a deep breath and standing, heading out to have breakfast as he wanted her to.