Title: Spring-Heeled Jack
Sequel to: See No Evil
Characters: Chloe Sullivan, Dean Winchester, Lex Luthor, John Winchester...
Disclaimer: Don't own the fandoms
Summary: Two months have passed and Dean is in Smallville with Chloe taking care of her while secretly investigating Lois' disappearance, disbelieving that she left of her own free will. To make things worse, when the young hunter takes Chloe with him to confront John about Margaret's words concerning his mother's death, John's current case spirals out of control.
Written for my LJ 150 Paranormal Prompt Table. Prompt used #118: Spring-heeled Jack.
This is a Chloe/Dean friendship!fic and in this story their ages are: Chloe - 15 & Dean - 23
"I swear I'm fine." Chloe complained as she sat in her change of clothes, which consisted of shorts and an overly large shirt she'd stolen from his dufflebag when he wasn't looking. Said shirt proudly proclaimed her a Federal Bikini Inspector. It was a disconcerting mental image to say the least.
A part of Dean wanted to point out that that was his shirt and to take it off, but it was an old shirt that he usually only wore to bother Sammy, and anyway he'd noticed the sly introduction of new shirts and pants and such to his drawers. They obviously weren't Gabe's clothes (which had all been packed away by the blonde the night after Dean had arrived, and thrown into the attic) and they were most definitely his style.
He'd noticed the way she's striped Gabe's room of everything that made it his. The sandy-haired male hadn't offered to help, instead merely gave the girl her space, recognizing the actions for what they were. He'd heard the phone message left the night he'd come back, how her father knew what she'd just been through, that she'd been injured and nearly killed again before being abandoned by Lois (something he still didn't believe) and yet Gabriel Sullivan had said that what he was doing was too important to leave. That he'd get into contact with her when he could. Chloe's striping the room clean of his things was obviously therapy of some sort for the girl who scrubbed the bathtub as if it had years of grime on it and wasn't sparkly clean already.
Anger had raised in Dean's throat as he watched her put all her sadness and frustration into the cleaning, into moving him in. He'd told her that he'd stay until either Lois or Gabe returned, but as the days began to turn into weeks and then months he couldn't help but wonder if he'd trust either once they eventually returned. And it annoyed him because he shouldn't have allowed this kid to get so under his skin and yet she had. She reminded him too much of Sammy when he'd been a little boy, except she was fragile in a way Sammy never had been.
Sighing, Dean kept his gaze on her wounds. They were honestly not very deep or life-threatening in the least bit, but they bothered him like hell because she'd gotten hurt under his watch.
He knew he should be more pissed off with this kid for keeping the fact that she knew his baby brother a secret from him, but at the moment Dean couldn't find it in him to be more than a little annoyed. It wasn't just the fact that Sam had made it clear without exactly coming out and saying it that if Dean got on Chloe's case about it that Sam would get on the first bus to Smallville and "kick your ass" (which was hysterical because no way could Sammy take him on)…and it wasn't even because Dean didn't know if Chloe's psyche could actually handle him being pissed off at her. There really wasn't a reason for why he felt this way, he just did.
It was intriguing for Dean to realize that he was more worried about her than he was pissed off at her…but then again that's how it was with family.
And that thought shocked the hunter to the core.
Just how close had he let this kid get?
"Yeah, we'll see how fine you are when these all get infected." He grumbled, sitting on the ottoman while she sat a little higher up on the arm of the sofa, the hunter dabbing his father's homemade disinfectant on the cuts and scrapes she sported. He'd already dabbed a more than generous amount on the wound in her forehead which he felt needed stitches, no matter what the paramedics had thought about it, and was working on her arms. There really wasn't anything but minor scrapes and cuts, but there were light scars from where she'd cut up her arms on the barbed wire in the cage in Goodnight's little torture room.
Dean's eyes narrowed on the marks, wondering if they would fade away or if she'd always have physical reminders of what she'd gone through. Like the scars permanently over her heart.
"What's in this stuff anyway?" Chloe whined, wiping at the excess liquid from her head wound which was sliding down the side of her face. "It stings like a mother-."
"Secret family recipe." He shrugged, not really knowing himself but refusing to let her know that. He'd never questioned John about his concoction, and it was the first time that he was beginning to wonder if he'd been too compliant. "You have to be a Winchester to get access to that information."
Her eyebrow raised as she snorted. "I know my curiosity is legendary, but I don't know if it's worth marrying you."
"Someone thinks a lot about herself." He snorted in dark amusement as he shook his head. "And for the record, I'm not into kids. I like women."
"Good. I'm not into senior citizens either." She shot back. "Especially not crotchety ones."
"Crotchety?" Chuckling despite himself, Dean finished dabbing the last bit of the antiseptic, closing the bottle and throwing the cotton ball into the garbage can. Slam dunk! "Kiddo, using words like that one makes you the senior citizen."
She pursed her lips at him, on the edge of a tantrum.
He smirked brighter, thinking about how much she reminded him of a spoilt version of Sammy…if Sammy had been a girl…and hell on wheels.
"You're thinking something that I'd punch you for, aren't you?" Her eyes were narrowed suspiciously at him.
Dean awarded her with his best innocent expression.
Her eyes narrowed further, suspicion mounting seven-fold.
A knock at the door was his salvation, and Dean sat up with a chuckle as he made his way towards the front door, opening it. Immediately though his smile turned into a scowl and he folded his arms over his chest as he saw who was there. "What do you want?"
Lex Luthor stood in the doorway, wearing something that probably cost more money than Dean would ever see in his life. "I was wondering if I could have a word."
Dean opened his mouth to tell the dude that they wanted nothing to do with Luthors.
"Dean? Dean! This thing is dripping!" Chloe arrived in the hallway, shirt pulled up to reveal the tight camisole underneath, covering her view. "It's gonna get your shirt stained!" She eased the shirt off of her head, avoiding the wound, before shaking her head and turning towards him, finally freezing when she realized he was not alone. "Oh." Bringing the shirt to her chest immediately, a red blush began making its way up her neck. "Mr. Luthor."
"Please, call me Lex." Luthor announced with a smile Dean just couldn't trust. "Mr. Luthor is my father."
"Mr…uh…Lex." Chloe's voice squeaked before she cleared it and forced a smile. "Please! Come in! I'm going to change into something else then I'll be right down." The look she shot Dean was obviously one for him to not be rude, and then she was racing up the stairs as fast as her feet would take her.
Not waiting for another invitation, Luthor strode inside passed Dean, his hands in his pockets.
Narrowing his eyes on that straight back, not trusting anyone who had anything to do with Luthor Castle, Dean reluctantly shut the door. "We have beer."
"No thank you." Luthor's gaze was on the pictures hanging on the wall, his hands in his pockets. "Do you lean towards amateur photography?"
"Huh?" Dean leaned against the door, folding his arms over his chest.
"I was wondering if you weren't in these pictures because you'd taken them." Luthor replied, finally turning towards him.
Dean shifted his weight on his feet. "Dude, the pictures I take never end up on walls."
The only time he'd take pictures was when scoping out a place or a person while on hunts. And those kinds of pictures were burnt immediately after to avoid detection and suspicion from anyone who might find them.
Luthor opened his mouth but footsteps hurrying down the stairs caused him to close it and turn around to look up.
Dean followed his gaze and raised an eyebrow. "You did not just wipe off all the disinfectant I put on your wounds."
"I looked ridiculous. And it was dripping." Chloe rolled her eyes as him, dressed in one of her cuter shirts as she stopped mid-staircase, turning to Luthor. "Would you like something to drink? We have beer, water, soda…"
"No thank you, I think we've both had enough water today." He chuckled.
Dean narrowed his eyes, reminded of the fact that Chloe had nearly drowned hours earlier. That joke wasn't funny at all.
Chloe grinned, chuckling softly. "I agree." She hurried down the rest of the stairs and sent Dean a quick look before stopping next to Luthor. "Please, come sit down. We, uh, weren't expecting company so please excuse the mess."
Dean raised an eyebrow.
"It's fine, I'm sorry for intruding." Luthor followed her into the living room, sitting down besides her on the sofa. "To be honest, when we had the accident I was heading towards your house."
Leaning in the living room's entryway, Dean folded his arm over his chest. "Is that so?"
"Yes." Luthor's blue gaze went to him, raising an eyebrow. "You know, I pride myself in knowing the lives of key employees, but I didn't realize that Gabriel's nephew was taking care of his daughter, I thought it was a niece."
Dean just didn't like the subtle enquiries as to who he was and what the hell he was doing here. First there'd been the question about him being her brother and now cousin.
"Dean's my protector." Chloe replied, causing both males to turn towards her in surprise. "He, uh, takes care of me."
"Ah." Luthor nodded. "He's your guardian."
Chloe paused over that word, then gazed up passed him at Dean and smiled brightly before turning her attention back to the bald man. "Yes. He's my guardian."
Dean suddenly found it hard to swallow.
"I see." Luthor cleared his throat. "The killings at the manor-."
Dean tensed up immediately.
"We were going to act sooner but due to…personal issues…we've only just now been able to reach out to the survivors and the families of the victims." Luthor declared, very severe. "We're starting a foundation to help those affected by Jacob Goodnight's rampage, especially those who lost loved ones. A trust will be set up in everyone's names-."
"Money won't help them get their dead loved ones back." Dean didn't care how hostile he might seem right now, it was just that everything this guy said and did seemed to annoy him even further.
"We know that." Luthor replied quite coolly. "But it will help with any financial issues their passing might have caused. We know that money cannot bring any peace to their broken families, but we hope that with this they won't have to worry about anything financial."
"That's good of your family." Chloe was being frustratingly nice about this whole situation.
"Good of them?" Dean sneered. "It's their fault this happened."
"Dean!" Chloe snapped at him.
"They had a goddamn serial killer hiding in their house!" He snapped right back at her. "They should have made sure that before they brought innocent civilians and took away their phones so they couldn't even call for help-!"
"Dean please." Chloe stood, horrified.
He felt like a villain right then, and cursed under his breath as he left the room, storming out.
The home phone rang and he tore into the kitchen, yanking the phone from the handle. "What?"
"Boy, this is not your cellular." Bobby's voice was condemning in his ear. "You answer this number with manners, you hear?"
Sighing, Dean closed the kitchen door and sat down. "What is it Bobby?"
"Well, don't shower me with so much love." Bobby grumbled. "It ain't like I ain't doing you a favor or nothing."
Dean ran his hand over his face. "Sorry. I-I'm just not in the best of moods."
"Idgit." Bobby mumbled before clearing his throat. "Everything okay with the girl?"
Bobby had yet to meet Chloe but Dean had had enough conversations with him about her considering he couldn't talk to his father for advice. Not only was John Winchester not the type of person to sit down and counsel others, but he'd also stopped talking to Dean since he'd stood him up and sent Bobby to the case. His father had called only once to scream at him, saying that he was shaming his mother by settling down and "babysitting" while her murderer was still out there. Dean had just barely kept from snapping at his father for the first time in his life.
"You know the family that owned the castle with Goodnight in it?" Dean leaned back on the chair.
"The Luthors?" Bobby asked.
"Yeah." Just the name made Dean frown. "Apparently the heir or something is in the living room right now. And get this, he ran into Chloe earlier today, like, his car into hers. Both of them toppled into the river and the idiot nearly drowned herself pulling him from his car." He didn't let Bobby react to that, just rolling on. "And now he's here, obviously challenging what the hell I'm doing here since I'm no one, and he has the nerve to want to give the people from the Luthor Castle Cleanup Disaster money. Probably just to shut them up. But Chloe's just eating it all up, thinking they're doing such a grand and noble gesture, and unable to see that they're just buying their silence! It fucking annoys me!"
"So I take it you're fixing for some good news."
Dean sat up straighter. "You have some for me?"
"Not really." The old bastard snorted. "But I do have some information from my friend Frank. Though, 'friend' is stretching it a bit. He's a jackass and a lunatic but he's also a surveillance expert and that's what I'd need for what you asked me. Don't get around computers too much myself."
Dean waited for Bobby to get to his point.
"My point is that I gave him the two names you passed me, Lois Lane and Adam Knight? He's run them through the databases and hasn't come up with anything. There's nothing on them."
Dean sighed. "So they must be using cash or-."
"You don't get it boy. There's nothing on them. At all." Bobby replied in his harsh tone. "No birth certificates, nothing. It's as if they never existed."
Dean shot up to his feet. "What? But that's impossible."
"Frank checked this General Sam Lane you say's her father, but he's listed as only having one daughter, who's off to school somewhere in Europe."
"The hell?" Dean whispered, running his fingers through his hair. "What the hell is going on?"
"I don't know." Bobby was frowning, it was obvious in his voice. "Either this girl never really existed…or someone's gone to a very great length to make sure it looks that way."
"There are pictures of her Bobby. I knew her. There's evidence of her all over this house. She existed." Dean insisted, her face bombarding him at this news. "Something's got to be wrong. She existed. She exists."
"Look, send me a picture of them both if you can get your hands on it. I'll get it to Frank and see if he can use the pictures somehow." Bobby grunted.
"Yeah, I'll do that." Dean began to pace the floor. "Something's not right, Bobby. I knew it the second I came back and Lois had gone. She would not leave this kid like that."
"If someone else is behind this, you've got to ask yourself a couple of questions Dean." Bobby was, as always, going straight to the bone. "Whoever it is has to be able to pull some strings to pull this off, means there's connections, and why would someone that powerful use his or her abilities to make this girl disappear? What could this person gain from this girl's vanishing?"
"I don't know." Dean hated admitting it. "But something's going on here and I'm not going to rest until I find out what."
"Calm down and don't get your panties in a bunch." Bobby declared. "Just send me those pictures, okay?"
"Yeah." Dean nodded. "Thanks Bobby."
The kitchen door swung open and Chloe's footsteps drew closer before suddenly her arms were around Dean's waist, her forehead pressed into his back.
"Kiddo?" Dean gave a little jerk, but she tightened her hold on him. "I'm gonna have to call you back Bobby."
"Talk to you later." Bobby grumbled gruffly before hanging up.
Dean tried to pull free and turn to face the girl, but the skinny kid was holding on tightly. He frowned, awkwardly patting the hands clasped around his stomach tightly. "What's up shortstop?"
"He transferred." She whispered into his back, the sound muffled yet still audible enough to make out.
"What?" Dean tilted his head as far back as he could. "What'ya talking about?"
"Dad." Chloe's voice was choked. "He was transferred to Gotham. Four months ago. That's why he was hardly ever here…he came to visit." She held on tighter, her arms trembling as she hid her face harder in Dean's back.
Dean stared ahead of him, the hand holding the phone clenching tightly as the hand that'd been patting hers remained there.
"Lex was on his way here because this house belongs to Luthorcorp, the managers of the Smallville plant are supposed to live here and the only reason why there hadn't been an issue till now was because they hadn't found someone to replace dad. But they have." She was crying. "Lex was here to give me the polite version of an eviction notice."
"That fucking-!" Dean tried to turn once more but she held on tighter, pressing her forehead in harder, and he realized she didn't want him to see her crying so he stopped.
"He asked me if I wanted to stay here-that as a favor since I'd saved his life-but no, I couldn't-not with everything." She held on even tighter, hurting him a little, but he didn't complain. "He says that he'll arrange for a different place for me, but I need to be out of here in a week."
Dean closed his eyes, biting back the desire to go berserk.
"Apparently he just bought the old Talon building from Nell Potter-Lana's aunt-and he's going to convert it into apartments. Said that he'll give me the top floor for myself as a thank you for saving him. It'll take a month or two for it to be ready to move in and he'll pay for me to stay somewhere else till then." She took in a deep breath, trying to get a hold of herself. "It'll be mine, not dad's." She hiccupped. "He said that since I'm a minor I'd need someone to be the trustee until I become of age…for legal purposes...and I asked him to name you on the documents."
Dean went still.
"I'm sorry…I didn't know who else…I don't expect you to stay forever or anything…I just need…" She was trembling again. "Since we're survivors we're already getting a little trust in our names from the Luthors, the apartment is added in mine, so it'd be easy for you to be named as my trustee since you're already going to get a trust and…"
"I don't want that asshole's money." And yet he kept his hand on hers.
"You could buy more weapons with that money, to replace the ones you lost." She whispered. "And you don't have to stay, but you could always know you'd have a place to hang out between hunts or when you were hurt or just lonely." Her voice broke. "Everyone gets lonely."
Dean just closed his eyes again, tightening his hold on her hands.