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.
"I think it's not premature to declare that we're utterly fucked...and not in the good way." Lucy declared as they sat at the diner across the street from the motel they'd been staying at for the last week, the last of their money being spent on this meal. "We can't find the friggin place, and the money and information it holds. Tonight we sleep on the street." She played with her french fry. "This is so not what I thought my city debut was going to be like."
"We're not screwed." Chloe reached out and laid her hand on her baby cousin's. "It just means that we're going to have to revert to Plan B. That's all."
Lois looked up. "There was a Plan B?"
"How come I've never heard of it either?" Lucy wanted to know, pouting.
Chloe laughed and shook her head. "I always have a Plan B."
The sisters shared looks before Lois tilted her head. "So what's this Plan B?"
"We get jobs." Chloe responded easily. "At least until we can find the entrance to the hideout."
Lucy made a face. "I hate to say this, Chloe, but I don't think, uh, that thats the best idea. I mean, I didn't exactly finish high school per se."
"Me neither." Lois sighed. "Aunt Moira taught us the basics of what we'd need...but she didn't think that it was necessary for us to have a more thorough education because we were going to be warriors and the Multiplication Table wouldn't do us much good while battling Mogadorians."
Chloe made a face. "Yeah, well, I haven't finished mine either...but there are jobs out there that don't require credentials...and even if they do I can forge them."
"You are the fake I.D. Queen." Lucy had to admit.
"Exactly." Chloe nodded, leaning over the table so she could talk softer. "While I've been searching the alleyways and streets I've also been keeping a note of different places that are looking for hired help, jobs that we could easily do." She reached into her pocket and pulled out a small notepad. "I was thinking, Lois and I could get jobs, and that would leave Lucy with the freedom to search for the entrance."
"Makes sense." Lois nodded, reaching for the notepad and browsing through the different scribbles. "Wow, you've really been noting down every one, huh?"
Chloe shrugged, a little embarrassed. "We needed a Plan B."
"You know, with Aunt Moira Plan B isn't even an option." Lucy commented coolly, taking a sip of her soda. "If Plan A doesn't work you're usually just dead."
Chloe frowned. "That's very closed-minded. You need to go into situations with a Plan A, but with Plans B through D planned and discussed just in A, B, and C don't pan out." She shrugged. "Its how Clark and I did our work, and while things went south many times, we both made it out alive and victorious because of careful planning."
The sisters shared a look she couldn't decipher.
"Unless it had to do with Lana." Chloe chuckled at the memories. "Then Clark's rationale flew out of the window and he jumped into the situation and it was really touch and go."
"Talking about Clark-." Lucy, like Lois, had been trying to refer to Chloe's friend by his name and not Number. "At least you know he's still alive, right? Asshole didn't comment about another Number burning into his calf, so so far only One, Two, and Three are dead."
Chloe looked up at that, smile brightening. "You're right." She smiled, clutching her pendant. "He's still out there...alive...and fighting."
"Oh, look at this one!" Lois put down the notepad and smiled, pointing to a hastily scribbled entry. "This looks interesting!"
Lucy and Chloe leaned closer to get a better look.
"I can kinda see you working at a bar." Lucy decided, leaning back and concentrating on her food once more. "I think you should do it."
"And there's an opening for two waitresses, so Chloe and I could work together." Lois added, swirling her straw in her drink thoughtfully. "I could keep an eye on her, make sure no one gets too handsy."
The blonde rolled her eyes. "Please. You are the one who is going to have trouble with guys trying to grope her. Me? I've never been the type of girl to attract guys before." She gave a self-despising little laugh. "I've always been the best friend type. Kinda like with Clark." She clenched her pendants tightly, admitting this for the first time to her cousins. "I was so in love with him for so long...but obviously we weren't meant to be."
The cousins were silent, uncomfortable.
Lucy then reached over a stole the slice of tomato that Chloe had taken out of her sandwich and placed to the side of her plate. "His loss." She chewed on the slice with defiance.
Chloe gave her baby cousin a small smile.
Lois hid her smile behind her cup as she took a sip.
"So, am I going to be the one to bring this up?" Chloe finally asked, clearing her throat. "About the fact that while the Mogadorians could find us in an underground cave they haven't shown up at all in Edge City?"
"And there's another Number here too." Lois agreed, putting down her drink, frowning. "Is there a reason they can't find us here or are they leaving us alone for now?"
"Maybe they're busy interrogating Aunt Moira and the General." Lucy put in her two cents. "Maybe that's keeping them busy."
"No, their primary mission is to destroy the Numbers...and there's one here who looks as if he's lived on his own without protection for a very long time. And without detection, let's point that out. He saw my blade and didn't recognize it as Mogadorian." Chloe leaned forwards, intrigued. "Is there something about Edge City that's keeping the Mogadorians from coming here? Or is everything just circumstantial?"
"Very good questions...which I'm sure we could have answered if we could find the damned lair!" Lucy growled, shaking her head.
"Here's a question I've been meaning to ask and yet it keeps getting pushed back for some reason." Lois declared. "Exactly how did those Mogs find us in the underground cave? I mean, we've been there forever, and we didn't know it was there until we saw Chloe disappear behind the waterfall and not come back out."
"Good point." Lucy frowned darkly, gaze going to her cousin. "Aunt Moira was working on a theory that the Mogadorians were developing some sort of gadget that might track the Numbers...what if they have something that can help them track you too? I mean, it's not like they had a Chimǣra with them in the cave. And even if they did it wouldn't have Chloe's scent...so how is it that they could track us underground? It doesn't make any sense!"
Chloe played with a fry before taking in a deep breath and looking up at her cousins, asking something she'd been scared to ask before. "Do you two know why they're after me?"
The sister's shared confused looks.
"Of course we don't." Lois replied, making a face. "No one does."
"Moira knew." Chloe whispered.
Lucy's lined eyes narrowed. "No, she didn't."
"Yes, she did." Chloe countered, looking up defiantly. "That Mogadorian who was going to kill me-he said my mother knew why I was a target-and he thought it was cold of her to not tell me."
Lois frowned. "Maybe he was lying to you."
"He wasn't." The blonde shook her head. "He was savagely amused and entertained by it. But he wasn't lying. Moira knows."
Lucy leaned hard against the seat. "You've got to be shitting me. She knows why and she wouldn't tell us? Why the fuck not?"
"Question of the year." Lois glared at her half-eaten food.
"Well, like the location of the Edge City Hideout, she just didn't think she could trust us with it." Lucy snapped, glaring out of the plate glass wall next to her. "I'm getting fucking sick of her and her 'need to know' bullshit!" She slammed her hand against the table. "We need to know!"
That garnered them some unhappy glares from the other patrons of the diner, and Lucy was forced to shut her mouth and just sulk.
Chloe looked around them, giving the patrons apologizing smiles, before turning to her cousins and lowering her voice. "I say we go to the bar tonight before someone else snags the jobs."
"I agree." Lois nodded.
Lucy said something, but Chloe didn't hear it, instead turning to look out of the plate glass wall outside at the street...across it...to the building.
It was a club of some sort if the flashing neon sign could be trusted.
She couldn't shake off the feeling that she was being watched...had been getting this feeling ever since they'd first gone to the motel.
Even when she was in the bathroom, which had no windows, she would get the distinct feeling that someone watched her intently.
Shaking her head, Chloe turned towards Lois, surprised to see Lucy gone. "Where's Luce?"
"Little girls room." Lois replied, leaning over the table. "We haven't really had any time alone together."
The blonde raised an eyebrow, intrigued by this. "I know."
"So I haven't had a moment together to talk about Nine." Lois smirked. "I've been dying to ask you about what exactly happened before Lucy and I found you. I mean, you two looked extremely close and compromised."
Chloe felt a blush creep up her neck. "This really isn't important. We're in the middle of a war, and our parents are missing, and we can't find the one place where we can get the answers we desperately need. I don't think, compared to all of that, that hormones-."
"There were hormones involved! I knew it!" Lois completely ignored the first part of that rant apparently, grinning devilishly. "There was just...something..." She sighed, her devilish expression melting to a sad smile as she pulled a strand of hair behind her ear. "Lucy and I-we've never-we've never even talked to guys our age before. That wasn't, you know, important when it came to our training." That smile turned sadder. "I mean, we know all about guys and sex and all that, but it was all training. We might need to use our...wiles...against certain male minions of the Mogadorians, and we were taught on how to seduce and such, on how males are basically unable to resist breasts...unless their gay, of course. Then we're just supposed to torture and or kill to get the information or whatever."
Chloe's expression was dark as she shook her head, reaching across the table to place her hand on her cousin's hand. "If Moira gets out of this alive, I'm going to kick her ass, Legacy or not."
Lois smiled at her, though it was still awkward and sad. "She was just teaching us everything we'd need to survive and win."
"No, she treated you and Lucy as if you were robots." Chloe shook her head, furiously protective. "I almost hope she doesn't come back."
"Chloe." Lois frowned, turning her hand so that she was griping her cousin's as well. "Don't say that. No matter what she did, Aunt Moira is your mother, and one of our greatest assets in this war."
The blonde nodded, knowing this. "I guess I can understand her, somehow. The only reason I'd live with her is because she's useful to me."
Lois sighed, just tightened her hold on Chloe's hand. "He's been watching us, you know."
For a moment Chloe didn't know what her cousin was talking about, and then her eyes widened. "Lucas? Really?"
"Yep." Lois nodded, smile more genuine. "Lucy and I figured you didn't notice, you're terribly oblivious to your surroundings sometimes, but he's been keeping an eye on us. It's not constant, its not every day, but we've caught glances of him every now and then."
"Wow." Chloe ran her free hand over her hair. "I've been getting the feeling I was watched, but its mostly in places where no one can really see me, so I've been feeling paranoid. Maybe, maybe somehow I know subconsciously he's watching us, and it gets carried on to other impossible places."
"Impossible places?" Lois raised an eyebrow. "Explain."
"Well, like, that abandoned building where I got trapped inside of the basement. I know that I was the only one there, and there was only one window and it was boarded up from the inside with plywood. But I kept getting the feeling that someone was watching me, which was impossible." Chloe shivered, remembering having to yank the plywood off of the window, break the glass, and climb out.
"Wait. What?" Lois frowned, eyes wide. "You got trapped in the basement of some building? Why didn't you tell us this before?"
"Because you and Lucy would get overprotective and wouldn't want me going off on my own." Chloe admitted. "I-I know I"m not as good at this as you two, but I can take care of myself. Anyway, I'm spectacularly klutzy but I am smart enough to get myself out of my fixes...even if they have been more happenings recently."
"More?" Lois was frowning darkly.
"It's never anything dangerous. But I almost always end up getting trapped in the different buildings or such I look through." Chloe admitted, embarrassed at how terribly bad at it. "Sometimes I think god exists and is testing me to see just how I get out of there."
Lois tilted her head to the side, eyes so narrowed they were merely slits.
Chloe reached out and took a sip of her drink.
"Have you considered that Lucas might be your Number?"
The blonde choked on the drink, coughing, pounding her chest. "What?"
Lois looked shocked at her strong reaction. "Really? It's never crossed your mind?"
The blonde brought her napkin to her lips. "To be truthful, with everything going on, I kinda forgot about my having a Number."
"Don't let Lucy hear you say that." Lois couldn't keep from smirking. "You know she's slightly envious about you're being Numbered."
"So?" Lois pressed, intrigued. "Now that you remember...what do you think?"
"About Lucas Dunleavy being my Number?" Chloe couldn't help but smirk, shaking her head. "Sorry, but no way."
Lois' eyes widened comically. "Really? Why?"
"I piss him off without even saying a word." Chloe pouted, remembering that weird moment between them. "I mean, he's attractive, and I'm very attracted, but I was very attracted to Clark and we even shared our kisses but Clark wasn't my Number either."
Lois blinked. "You and Clark kissed? Why haven't Lucy and I heard of this? I thought you said that you two had only been like brother and sister and that he never saw you as a woman!"
Chloe blushed. "There were...look...it's not important why we kissed, okay? What matters is that despite all that Clark was not my Number, so there is no reason why my finding Lucas attractive would make him my Number. It just makes him attractive."
Lois pouted. "I can actually understand that."
"Anyway, I don't know, I've always imagined my Number kind and considerate and sweet and naive and innocent and who blushes and..."
"Acts like Clark?" Lois raised an eyebrow, darkly amused at Chloe's confused look. "Oh come on Chlo! You've done nothing but regale Lucy and I with stories about Five. We feel like we know him so well we even find it weird calling him by his designated number! The guy you're describing? It's Clark."
Chloe's expression fell as she slumped over the table. "It is. Isn't it?"
Lois nodded, squeezing her young cousin's hand.
"I guess, I guess Clark is the princely figure I always dreamt about, you know? That Prince Charming every girl wants to find?"
Lois paused, shrugging. "I never really dreamt of Prince Charming. I always wanted a competent Commander of Armies type. And Lucy's admitted to fantasies of a finding her Expert Assassin...but she was drunk at that time so don't let her know I know and told you."
Chloe blinked, not knowing why she was still so shocked at how different Moira's training had left her cousins from normal girls.
"Are you in love with Clark?" Lois finally asked. "I know you used to be, you've admitted to it, but are you still in love with him?"
Chloe thought about it for a moment, seriously thought about it. "I...I love him...but I just..." she sighed, shaking her head. "He and my father are always going to be two of the most important people in my life, I'd die for Clark and he'd die for me, and I'm still jealous as hell of Lana sometimes...but no. I'm not in love with him." She let out a little laughter, biting her bottom lip as she grinned and shook her head. "Not at all."
Lois smiled before squeezing Chloe's hand and letting go. "Whenever you do meet your Number, he's going to be jealous as hell of Clark, you know that, right?"
Chloe let her lips twist in a little smile. "You think?"
Lois chuckled, shaking her head. "You're evil!"
Chloe couldn't help but keep her grin from growing, shaking her head as well as she covered her flushed face.
"Lois, leave her alone." Lucy sauntered towards them and shooed Chloe deeper into the booth and slid in next to her instead of returning to the other side of with her sister. "Chloe is ours now and her Number can't have her anymore."
Chloe smiled at her baby cousin. "Aw, you love me."
"You wish." Lucy pouted, playing it cool, as she stole another of Chloe's fries. "I'm just possessive with my toys."
Chloe and Lois exchanged smiles before the blonde reached out and hugged Lucy, who complained loudly yet made no move whatsoever to free herself.