Title: Number Nine
Sequel to: Numberless
Universe: Numbers Series
Characters/Pairings: Chloe/Lucas, Lois, Lucy
Disclaimer: Don't Own
Summary: When the girls reach Edge City they separate to try and find the hidden safe house located in one of the most dangerous cities in the country. No surprise Chloe finds trouble. What *is* surprising is she finds another Number.
Once Chloe was able to stop and catch her breath, she felt stupid.
She'd ran into another Number...and she'd ran away. Not once had it crossed her mind that this was a godsend. No. It never even made it into her thought-process that where there was a Number, there was a Cepan, and where there was a Cepan there was information and hopefully answers and a place to spend the night. And, who knew, maybe the Cepan knew where the hideout was located! She'd had the key to her questions right in front of her and instead of gluing herself to him and forcing him to follow her as she looked for her cousins, but she'd pushed him away and she'd run as fast in the other direction as she could!
Covering her face in shame, Chloe slumped against a wall and groaned, feeling a hot blush creeping up her neck as she replayed everything that'd happened. She'd acted like a hussy, trying to distract the knave so she could retrieve her blade and get out of there...and then it'd turned around on her and instead of distracting him she'd gotten utterly distracted...and then she'd realized he was a Number and not a Meteor Freak...and then she'd ran. And left him with her blade.
All in all, she was a complete failure.
Lucy and Lois would have every right to disown her when they found out.
She was going to disown herself!
Chloe pressed her hands harder into her face in mortification.
How was she going to explain this to her cousins?
'Yeah, about that...I lost my battle token because I came up against this guy I thought was a Meteor Freak and decided that there was nothing better I could do in that situation than to seduce him via roleplay. And, of course, to crown this moment's glorious fail, I forgot my objective, realized he was a Number, and instead of bringing him to you two I ran.'
In her defense, she couldn't have thought that someone who associated with thieves was a Number.
He was nothing like Clark.
Nothing at all.
Chloe yanked her pendants from where they were hidden under her shirt, and wrapped her fingers around them, seeking comfort from her only links to the two most important people in her life...wherever they were now and whatever they were going through.
She closed her eyes tightly, blocking out everything and everyone
"I don't know what to do." She whispered to them both, envisioning her father and best friend. "I need you here right now." Her thumb caressed the crest and wedding band, and she breathed in and out, drawing peace from their images in her head. "Be alright." She pleaded softly to them both. "I miss you." Her voice cracked with emotion but she cleared her throat and finished the prayer she'd been praying for so long. "Come back to me soon."
"You know another Number." A cold voice announced darkly from her side.
Squeaking, Chloe's eyes flew open and she let go of her pendant and the wedding band, feeling them swing against her chest as she turned to see the Number leaning against the same wall she was, face emotionless and closed off, hands shucked in his pockets. "You!"
His gaze was dark as it went to the objects resting against her chest. "Number...Five...is it?"
"Yes, Five." She clasped her fingers around the crest and wedding band once more, seeking comfort as her heart raced viciously as she gazed up at him. "What Number are you?"
His jawline tense, he was silent for a moment before raising his gaze to meet hers. "Nine."
"Nine." She nodded, giving him a half-smile, still so very embarrassed and knowing it showed. Just minutes ago she'd been fingers deep in his hair, with his hands on her bare skin. She needed to control herself, needed to be professional, needed to think like Lois and Lucy would, act how they would. "Where's your Cepan?"
"Dead." He replied, looking away, at the mass of people walking passed them. "Has been for a couple of years now."
"Whose been taking care of you? Training you?" The blonde wanted to know, eyes narrowed.
He continued to gaze at those passing by. "I take care of myself...have been for a while."
"And the whole being a thief thing?" She let the pendants slips through her fingers as she folded her arms over her chest.
"I left my pickpocket days behind a long time ago. I'm more into high stakes poker right now." Number Nine shrugged. "I was coming out from having won a game when I saw what happened between you and the pickpocket. It caught my attention. It's not every day you see a pint-sized Thumbelina throw a guy into a wall like that." His gaze slide sideways to her. "You wouldn't be a Number yourself, would you?"
"No." She managed a sheepish smile at that as she shook her head. "Clark's the only Number I know." There was deep silence, and she was uncomfortable with it so she cleared her throat and thrust out her hand towards him. "Chloe Sullivan."
Even to her this was odd and overly formal considering how incredibly close they'd been seconds ago, but that was before she'd known he was a Number and a member of her team and...well...she didn't know. They were in the middle of some war, and she felt a little ashamed to have jumped some stranger in a dark alleyway when she should have been busy doing her part. She couldn't do much in the war, but this was one of the things she could, and yet she'd allowed herself to be caught, distracted, and would have ultimately given herself completely up to someone whom she'd originally thought a brigand pickpocket.
That said very poor things about her and her self-restraint.
He eyed her hand, waiting a second, before finally reaching out and shaking it. "Lucas Dunleavy."
"Lucas." Chloe nodded, pulling her hand from his and hugging herself, feeling the need to prove that she wasn't just some hussy who threw herself at guys she never met before. "About back in the alleyway...I...that kinda got out of hand, didn't it?" she gave an embarrassed little laughter, feeling the blush climbing up her neck. "I mean, I was trying to distract you with the imagery you presented and...uh...it got out of hand." She frowned, narrowed her eyes at him. "I don't usually do that, and to be honest I'm freaking out a little here, especially since you're a Number."
"What does my being a Number have to do with anything?" Lucas sneered, folding his arms over his chest. "You think Five would mind it more if you did that with a Number than with a human?"
She snorted, thinking about how Clark would blush and sputter and go all protective big brother on her had he seen what'd happened moments ago. "He wouldn't exactly be too pleased either way."
"I can imagine." Lucas muttered, reaching into his pocket and pulling out a cigarette, lighting it and taking a deep breath.
Chloe made a face at him. "You have Mogadorians after you. It'd be a pity if you died of lung cancer and saved them the trouble, don't you think?"
He chuckled darkly, sending her a sideways glance. "If you feel free enough to preach to me minutes after meeting me, you must have Five well trained and on a tight leash, huh?"
She frowned at him, not appreciating that comment.
Lucas didn't seem to mind the silence, leaning against the wall with one leg bent under him, foot against the wall as well, as he smoked leisurely.
Chloe's gaze was on the crowd. "Have you seen a symbol on the walls of alleyways close to here that is similar to your crest?"
He let out a ring of smoke, shaking his head. "Can't say I have."
She twisted her mouth in thought, sighing.
The silence grew between them.
Finally, Lucas dropped his cigarette and ground it under his shoes, actions annoyed. "You're pissing me off."
"Excuse me?" She glared at him. "I'm not even saying anything!"
He sent a glare at her. "So annoying."
She glared right back. "You're not exactly the person I want to be with right now either!"
A muscle jerked in his cheek but other than that he didn't react, merely folded his arms over his chest and remained otherwise exactly how he'd been before.
Chloe looked away from him, pouting.
"Are you defective? Is that it?"
"What?" She shrieked, turning on him, mouth open in horror.
He was still glaring at her, as if she'd done something to personally offend him. "You know what I'm talking about."
"No. I have no idea." She replied tersely, clenching her fists tightly.
His eyes narrowed. "I'm Number Nine."
"Yes, you told me that already, Lucas." She hissed, eyes narrowing.
His eyes narrowed further. "I'm Number Nine. And you're not Number Five. You're not a Number at all."
"I know all of this!" She was barely keeping herself from kicking him in the shin. "You're a Number! I'm not!"
"So if you know you're just doing this to annoy me, to purposely piss me off." He accused her.
"You know what, this isn't worth the headache I feel coming on." She shook her head, turning and walking away. The blonde muttered to herself, giving herself over to the mental image of bashing him over the head with a brick. It was probably because she was so deep in said thoughts that she didn't notice him storming after her until he'd grabbed her and dragged in to the mouth of another alleyway, swinging her into the wall and pinning her against it in a mockery of what had gone between them before.
"Are you calling me worthless?" Lucas hissed viciously. "Are you saying I'm unworthy?"
"Are you insane?" She snapped, not at all scared, just really pissed off. "What is your issue?"
"My issue is your failure to acknowledge me!" He hissed darkly, pressing harder against her.
"You're almost on top of me!" She snarled. "I don't think its possible to not acknowledge you!"
"That's not what I mean and you know it!" He growled.
"No! I don't!" She ground her teeth in growing fury. "I have no idea what's got you so worked up! I don't know if its because you're a Garde and I only have a little Lorien blood in me and you think I'm beneath you and should be in awe or worship you or something because I'm nothing special but-!"
Suddenly the fury left Lucas' eyes, replaced by blankness. "What did you just say?"
She paused, frowning. "Which part confused you?"
Lucas continued to eye her before letting go.
Chloe studied him, not understanding this odd Number or his many reactions. "Look, I need my knife back. Not everyone has nifty little Legacies like you do."
His eyes narrowed further, a flash of utter confusion making its way on his face, before it disappeared and he eyed her emotionlessly once more, head tilted to the side.
She reached her hand out expectantly.
His gaze lowered to her hand, yet didn't make any move to give her anything back.
Chloe frowned and shook her hand impatiently. "Give it to me."
Those lips twitched downwards in a frown, and that was the only warning she had before she was once more pressed against the wall, his body pinning her. She opened her mouth to say something cutting when she felt him slide the blade into the hidden sheathe she wore, obviously using their position as a way to cover up what he truly was doing.
They stayed like that, Lucas staring down into her face, one hand palm open to the wall by her head, the other reaching up to play with a blonde strand of hair.
"We should probably stay like this for a little longer." His voice lowered, curling his finger through her locks. "Just in case anyone's watching."
She gulped, unable to say anything, forgetting that moments ago she'd been fantasizing about grinding his balls under her shoes.
"You know..." His voice lowered even more as he leaned in closer, darkening gaze tracing her lips. "Just to be safe."
"Safe." She echoed, not really having caught the rest of that, entranced with his intense eyes when it rose from her lips to capture her gaze once more.
His lips curved in a smirk. "Exactly."
The blonde forced herself to look away from him, eyes going to the pendant now hidden under his shirt. "Does your crest always light up like that when you're...you know?" She gave a nervous little chuckle. "Must be hard to explain to the ladies."
Her gaze raised to his finally, finding his eyes narrowed in confusion once more.
"And here we were worrying about her." A voice scoffed behind Lucas.
Chloe's eyes widened, trance shattered, and she peeked out from behind him to see her cousins eyeing her with amusement. "Lucy! Lois! This isn't what it looks like!"
"What does it look like?" Lois asked with faux innocence.
"What would Clark say?" Lucy taunted.
Chloe growled at her, refusing to raise to Lucy's bait and tell her once again that Clark and her were only friends. Lucy knew it was true, and yet the girl just loved to taunt her.
The blonde reached up and yanked out Lucas' chain so the girls could see Nine's Crest.
The teasing smiles drained from their faces.
Lois hurried towards them. "Where's your Cepan?"
"Who exactly are you and why should I tell you anything?" Lucas wanted to know, attitude changing immediately, seeming somewhat pissed as he pushed away from the wall and folded his arms over his chest.
"Gees, attitude much?" Lucy scoffed, raising an eyebrow.
"He's dead." Chloe answered Lois' question, sending Lucas a glare. "Has been for a while."
"Dammit.Adults around us just keep dying or disappearing!" Lois hissed, running her hand through her hair, turning her attention to the blonde. "Have you found the entrance?"
Chloe shook her head. "I guess asking you two if you've found it is futile."
"They have it so well hidden we can't even fucking find it." Lucy complained viciously.
"Well, you know Aunt Moira." Lois sighed, leaning against the wall. "If she does something, she really does it."
Lucy nodded, before narrowing her eyes and turning on Lucas. "You. Where do you live?"
He raised an eyebrow at her. "Here and there."
"Anywhere now?" Lucy interrogated.
"Maybe." He replied coolly.
"Great. Then we're crashing there tonight." She informed him.
"Excuse me?" He sneered. "I don't remember inviting any of you. I don't even know who the hell you two are."
"Lois. Lucy." Lucy motioned towards them before pointing to Chloe. "We're her cousins, and we're most probably being trailed by Mogadorians as we speak so I'd like to get out of the open thank you very much." She pushed at his chest with her finger. "Get moving."
He flicked her finger away. "Touch me again, little girl, and I'll-."
"You'll what?" She snapped, stepping up in his space, pressing her finger hard into his chest defiantly.
The hands to his sides turned palms towards her, and Lucy visibly skidded away from him, just stopping short of hitting the wall behind her.
Lucas' eyes flashed with annoyance. "No one touches me without permission."
"Why you-!" Lucy charged towards him.
Lois grabbed her and pulled her back. "Calm down!"
Chloe looked between her cousins and Lucas and subtly maneuvered between them. "Uhm, Lucas, we'll be going now. We don't want any trouble." She shot a glare in Lucy's direction. "Do we?"
"I can take him on." Lucy countered.
Lois rolled her eyes and tightened her grip on her baby sister, answering Chloe's question. "No, we don't."
"Good." Chloe nodded at them before turning her gaze back on him. "You need to know that you're not safe anymore, though. Mogadorians are everywhere hunting the Numbers, and you probably already know that One, Two, and Three are dead because their crests are burnt into your calf." When he nodded, she continued. "The thing you don't know is that Numbers Four and Six joined forces, and their being together has nullified the protective charm on your crests. You can be killed out of sequence now."
His eyes widened slightly at that, but otherwise he didn't react.
"So, you've been given the heads up." Chloe reached out to Lucas for some reason and then flinched, pulling her hand back as she remembered what he'd said to Lucy about people touching him. "If you're interested in knowing more, I'll give you my number." She recited the number and when he didn't move to record it in his phone she sighed and turned to her cousins. Reaching for Lucy, she pulled the girl along with her. "Try and behave?"
"I am behaving mother." Lucy rolled her eyes in annoyance as Lois caught up to them. "He's the one being an asshole here."
"Can we concentrate on finding somewhere to spend the night?" Lois asked, making a face. "I think we have enough for a couple of nights at some motel, until we can find the hideout."
"We'll look for the cheapest motel, give us more time." Chloe decided.
The girls, lost in their own conversation, forgot all about Number Nine, who watched them go, expression dark.