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
Dean was safe.
She was free.
Chloe's heart just over-filled with happiness as she climbed back into her bedroom window and tumbled onto the floor with a satisfying thud. The blonde remained laying on her back on the ground, staring up at the ceiling with a stupid-ass smile on her face as she chuckled.
It was over.
It was over!
Dean wouldn't just fall down dead if she somehow failed to complete the conditions to the contract! He was safe and sound, his life his once more and not in jeopardy-at least because of her. She wouldn't be at fault if his life was cut short. She didn't have to keep having nightmares that she screwed up and was forced to watch the life draining out of his eyes as he collapsed in front of her.
Closing her eyes, Chloe let out a little relieved breath, enjoying the cool of the tile beneath her.
Considering Chloe had still been in her room when he'd finished bathing Dean had left her to her own devices and went down to the living room to grab her laptop. He kept the television off, feet up on the ottoman as he logged onto her desktop and unrepentantly went through her browser history. A voice in his head that sounded a lot like Sammy whispered that this wasn't a nice thing to do, that it was violation of privacy.
Like always, Dean ignored that voice.
Finally he paused on what he'd been looking for and clicked on it, a website for a Loony Bin in Star City popping up. He got more comfortable as he began reading the information while simultaneously running a check on Google for anything related to the institution. The hunter made a face at the fact that the institution ran two divisions, one a maximum security lockdown for real insane nutjobs, while the other was a "research clinic" dedicated to "alternative treatment and research".
He didn't like the term "research", made him feel like whoever was there would become some sort of guinea pig.
Chloe's footsteps were rapid and loud on the stairs before she jumped off and slid into the living room, eyes flashing and mischievous, smile bright. "Are you looking at porn again?"
He flashed her the most irritated look he could muster. "I have never-."
"Despite the fact that it's in cartoon form, I know what "hentai" anime is you know." The blonde rolled her eyes, that smile more mischievous as she came towards him and threw herself next to the hunter on the sofa, finally getting a glimpse of what was on the screen. Her smile slipped for half a second before transforming into a more wry one. "It's a real neat place."
"It's on the same compound of a maximum security nuthouse." Dean pointed out, still very much against that.
"But there's no interaction between the two places." She promised. "And I wouldn't be staying there permanently. It'd just be for a little bit to see if these "alternative methods" of treatment actually work." She worried her bottom lip. "I don't want to be on a million different meds Dean, but if this doesn't work I can't see any other way around it." She sidled him a sideways glance. "And I don't want other people's lives screwed with because of my issues."
Ah, this was all about last night.
"I'm a light sleeper." Dean mumbled with a shrug.
"Not that light." She raised an eyebrow.
"How would you know?" He countered with a raised eyebrow. "Anything could be sneaking up on me in my sleep. I hunt monsters for a living. Don't kid yourself that I'm just like that for you."
And damn it, that was mean.
Chloe flinched, looking away, before pulling her legs up to hug to her chest. "True." She mulled it over for a couple of minutes before sending him a curious little look. "Maybe you want to become a part of the study group?"
"Study group?" He raised an eyebrow. "Not likely."
"Thought not." She chuckled, shaking her head as she slid towards him, resting her head against his shoulder as he finally minimized the window to view the desktop picture, which was of Lois and Chloe covered in mud and laughing.
Dean's lips twitched as he gazed at the picture, the girls' eyes twinkling in merriment as they flung an arm around each other's shoulders, laughing. The feeling of family, of deep love and acceptance, was there in this picture, and Dean wondered why everyone in this little town hadn't noticed it. They couldn't have, otherwise they wouldn't be able to believe that Lois had actually left of her own free will.
There was no way.
"Daytime actress." Chloe muttered, reaching out to trace Lois' figure on the monitor.
"Huh?" Dean raised an eyebrow, rearranging himself so he could be more comfortable in this new position, ending up resting his arm over her shoulders.
"Today's "Maybe's She's A:..."" the girl fascinated him sometimes with the weird things that went on in her mind. "Today, I'm sure she's trying out for some daytime soap opera." She let go of her hold on her legs and turned slightly, resting her cheek against his chest and staring up into his face. "Maybe even Dr. Sexy M.D."
His lips twitched at the very thought. "Dr. Sexy M.D. is a night time drama. I do not watch soap operas."
She grinned brightly, teeth showing. "You like Days of Our Lives."
"I do not." Dean insisted, although he was smiling at the very same time. "Though I have to admit, that Eric Brady guy wasn't half bad."
"Oh my god! Eric left Salem ages ago!" Chloe gave a wicked little crow of amusement as she slapped his chest. "You've watched that show before!"
"No I haven't!" Dean tried to assure her, but his own mouth had betrayed him, causing the hunter to groan. "I had a girlfriend for a while, Cassie, and she kinda liked the show. I watched with her."
Chloe went still, eyeing him thoughtfully.
For some reason her deep examination made him somewhat uncomfortable.
"You've actually had a real girlfriend before? Not just some random hook up?"
"Kids shouldn't say 'hook up'." he tried to hedge.
"I'm turning sixteen in less than a month." She leveled him with a raised eyebrow. "I'm legal then. So you can't keep referring to me as a kid."
That news shocked him, and admittedly threw him through a loop.
Chloe pulled away from him and sat up on her knees, interest in her wide green eyes. "What was she like?"
That awkwardness returned four-fold as Dean was forced to think back to the time he'd spent with Cassie in Athens, Ohio. "Uhm, she was smart, beautiful, I don't know what else to say." Damn it, but he was uncomfortable.
"How did you two meet?"
"She was studying and I was on a hunt."
The girl was not put off by his vagueness. "Studying what? Hunting what?"
"Journalism. A ghost near her college campus."
"How long did you guys go out?" Chloe continued eyeing him intensely.
He squirmed under her glance. "A couple of months."
There was silence, and then she sighed, turning once more and leaning against him, fitting perfectly in the crook of his arm as she rested her head over his heartbeat. "Sorry."
"For what?" He made a face, arm resting around her shoulder once more.
"She broke up with you." Chloe replied, resting her arm around him in a half hug. "Was it because she found out about what you do? Was it too much for her to handle?"
Dean froze before looking down at the golden head resting on his chest. How had this girl been able to see through him like that so easily? Was he so transparent?
He only grunted, unable and unwilling to continue this topic any further.
"You wanna go to the game tonight?" Chloe asked softly, once more able to read him with horrifying ease. "We can watch Coach Arnold scream at everyone from the sidelines."
"Coach Arnold?" He was admittedly relieved in the change in conversation.
"Yep, he's the school's football coach. I...I don't like him much." Chloe admitted. "Sure, he's brought victory to the Crows since he took over coaching, and he's been there for years...but there's just something about him that I can't take to."
The computer began to make this very odd sound.
Something popped up on the screen.
Chloe reached out and tapped something, and then an image appeared on the screen. It was grainy at first, hard to make out...and then Sammy came into view. "Hey Sam!"
"Hey! How-?" Sam's smile froze on his face as his eyes slowly narrowed, growing tenser. "Hey."
Dean raised an eyebrow, wondering at the change in the guy.
"You are never on skype." Chloe got a little more comfortable as she faced the screen. "What's going on?"
"I could ask you the same thing." Sam mumbled to himself, sending Dean a look that seemed judgmental and condemning as well as disbelieving, before returning a small smile to Chloe. "How's everything on your side?"
"Great!" She grinned as she leaned in closer against Dean so as to get a better view, seeming not to notice Sam's oddness. "How about the revision quiz you were studying for? How did that go?"
"Aced it." Sam grinned proudly.
"Yay!" Chloe laughed, patting Dean's stomach in lieu of clapping.
Dean grunted. "Easy!"
"Oh, take it like a man!" She laughed, patting his stomach harder.
"Jesus." He grabbed her hand in his and held it in the air, away from his stomach. "This is abuse."
"You know, for a big bad hunter, you're a real wuss." Her voice trembled with hardly contained laughter as she grinned up into his face mischievously.
He narrowed his eyes as her but ultimately allowed her to slide her hand free and return to that half hug around his waist.
Sam watched them, his bitch face obviously dying to appear although he fought it valiantly.
Still though, what the hell was wrong with him?
"How's Jess doing?" Chloe asked, proving that she was oblivious to the annoyance on his brother's features.
"She had something to do with some of her friends that I really didn't want to join in so I begged off and stayed home." Sam replied sheepishly.
Dean cleared his throat and looked away.
For Sammy "home" was Stanford...and Dean was really beginning to not blame him anymore for that. A part of him actually understood the boy somewhat.
"I was actually thinking about maybe visiting this weekend, see how the two of you are." Sam announced oddly.
Dean could feel Chloe stiffening against him, probably reminded that by the weekend she'd have had to move out of her home so her father's replacement could move in.
"Why don't we visit you?" Chloe surprised them both by asking. "I have...stuff...and it makes no sense for you to come here. Why don't Dean and I stop by and spend the weekend with you instead?"
This actually could be something that could keep the girl's thoughts off of her homelessness.
"Yeah, we should do that." Dean agreed. "Plus, I haven't seen your dorm digs in that posh little school of yours."
"I, uh, moved out of the dorm after what happened there." Sam sent Chloe a little flinch at the mention. "I got an apartment close by."
"Perfect! We're inviting ourselves over!" Chloe grinned brightly.
Sam thought it over for a second before nodding and smiling.
The conversation came easy after that and they never did make it to the game.
Dean jolted up in the bed, gasping, body covered in sweat despite the AC blowing full blast. He brought his hand to his throbbing head, shaking it, unable to remember the nightmare that'd awoken him in the middle of the night, but somehow knowing that it'd been about Chloe. The remnants of his fear from the dream bled into reality as the young hunter pushed out of bed and stumbled out of the room, not even bothering to close the door behind him.
Making his way towards the familiar path towards her bedroom, Dean pushed the door open and stared inside, finding it dark yet empty.
She had to be downstairs.
Pace quickening, Dean reached the stairs and descended two steps at a time, his bare feet touching the cold wooden floor as he hurried towards the living room...sliding to a stop when he found it empty as well.
Cursing, looking around him in the darkness as he ran a hand over his head, Dean headed towards the kitchen, his heart rising up his throat to find it empty as well.
"Goddamn it!" He hissed, trying to figure out where she was, and what was going on. "Chloe! Damn it! Where the fuck are you?"
A shadow moved outside passed the window.
He didn't even think about the danger, racing towards the door and unlocking it.
Flinging it open he raced outside. "Chloe?" The young hunter looked around for the human figure he'd seen seconds before but there was no one there.
The scent of smoke reached his nostrils.
Taking in a couple of whiffs, a crackling sound caught his attention and Dean looked up towards Chloe's bedroom window, eyes widening in horror to see the room lit up with a horrifying orange, smoke escaping through the window.
To be honest Dean hadn't even realized he'd started running back into the house until he hit the stairs, stumbling the first couple of steps as he raced up.
He reached the top of the stairs and continued running, his bare feet slipping a couple of times on the tile but he somehow managed to keep his balance as he raced into the room, which was now an inferno, fire consuming everything.
Terror filled him at that pained voice, froze him for a minute before he finally was able to gaze up above...to where Chloe was pinned to the roof, stomach and chest sliced up, fire all around her.
Suddenly Dean was transported to his past, to when as a young kid he rushed into this very same scenario, and his father had given him his little brother and told him to rush outside.
Instead of his mother though, Chloe was the one reaching a hand pleadingly towards him.
"No!" He yelled, finally jolted out of his horror as he tried to get closer. "No! You can't fucking have her!"
A tear formed in the corner of her eyes and trailed down her blackening cheeks before an explosion of fire sent Dean flying out of the room, his back hitting the hallway wall.
"NO!" Dean screamed, trying to get back into the room, but the door slammed, locking from the inside. "NO!"
"Dean!" Chloe's voice screamed from the room. "Dean!"
"NO!" Dean slammed his shoulder desperately into the door, but it wouldn't budge.
Suddenly Dean's eyes flew open, darkness all around him, a figure leaning over him, hands on his shoulders. On instinct he reacted, reaching for the figure and yanking it down over him onto the bed. He flipped them over so that he straddled the figure, hand sliding under his pillow to pull out his knife and had it to the person's neck before the person could even react.
The body beneath him tensed up yet didn't fight him.
Eyes slowly growing accustomed to the darkness, and Dean gasped as he recognized the girl under his blade, removing it immediately and letting it fall to the bed harmlessly.
"You were screaming." Chloe whispered, staring up at him, not at all scared despite his having had a knife to her throat seconds ago.
Dean stared down at her, the nightmare he'd just awoken from still plaguing him, filling him with nausea.
"Dean?" She whispered, reaching up to rub his thighs with worry. "Are you okay?"
He could still smell her burning flesh, hear her screams.
Dean barely managed to throw himself off of her and reach the toilet in time to bend over and vomit. Images of his mother and of Chloe interchanging over and over again in his mind just causing him to be sicker as he collapsed to his knees and let everything he'd eaten come out.
In a role reversal Chloe was there, rubbing his back, whispering soothingly.
"It was just a bad dream." She whispered, voice hoarse with sleep as she rubbed circles into the small of his back. "It wasn't real."
He felt so stupid and pitiful right now.
How could a damn nightmare have affected him like this?
He wasn't a fucking kid anymore!
Finally, once it was over, he flushed the toilet and went to the sink, gargling and spitting out water before washing his face and staring at the reflection in the mirror. "Were you sleeping?"
"Yeah." She sat on the now closed lid of the toilet, watching him with worried curiosity. "But don't worry, I was having a nightmare as well, so I was relieved to get that wake up call." She made up her face. "It was a new one too. I mean, I've had some frigged up dreams before...but I've never dreamt that I was on fire before."
Dean froze, his face going horribly pale, staring at her reflection in the mirror.
Chloe stretched, yawning. "Want a beer?"
Dean tightened his grip on the sink, unable to look away from her reflection in horror.
Cracking her neck, trying to run her fingers through her hair but it was too tangled, Chloe yawned once more before turning her attention to his hunched over back. "Dean?" She frowned slightly. "You okay?"
He finally managed to tear his gaze away from her reflection as he turned around to face her, eyes narrowed, fists clenched. "I need to see my father. Now."
Surprise and confusion filled her eyes as she tilted her head to the side. "Are you, uh, leaving now or in the morning?"
He narrowed his gaze on her.