Title: When In NeedSeries: Adept SeriesSequel to: When Bonds WeakenFandoms: Smallville/NCIS/FringeRating: TDisclaimer: Don't own anythingSummary: With Lionel Luthor dying in the hospital, Chloe is in desperate need of a replacement bonder before she goes insane and has another bond forced on her. Things have a way of working out though, considering a candidate, whom she hadn't even considered real, finds her when she needs him the most.
"This is utterly ridiculous!" Chloe hissed, glaring at the NCIS agents gathered in her father's home. When news of her dinner with Peter Bishop had gotten out (and it'd gotten out quickly) not only had he been researched by every single person in her small group of friends (Ducky sending Palmer up to Abby's periodically to check for updates ) but they'd all decided that they had no other course of action than to crash her meeting-which they were all calling a 'date'. They even had a game plan. Since Ziva, Abby, Tony and McGee had been seen by Peter they were thus 'compromised', Ducky and Palmer would go to the restaurant, bugged, and be conduits of information for the others, who'd be in an unmarked van outside.
"Chloe Chloe Chloe," Tony placed an arm around her shoulder. "This is not ridiculous in the least bit. We're just making sure he keeps his hands to himself in the restaurant. I know more than a few men who'd use the cover of the table to crop a feel."
"You wouldn't be talking about yourself, would you?" Ziva threw at him suspiciously.
"Me?" Tony gasped in utter horror, looking way too innocent and insulted. "I'll have you know I'm a perfect gentleman!"
He gasped at her, obviously hurt. "Chlo! When have I ever-?"
"Christmas party." She declared with a smirk, slithering out of his hold and going to look at herself in the mirror once more, trying to figure out what to do with her hair. "You were so drunk you kissed half of NCIS. Me included." She smirked. "Palmer included."
"What?" Tony looked sick. "Lies!"
"Oh no, I've got pictures!" Abby assured him with a cheeky grin. "I'll bring them to work tomorrow."
Tony, paler than they'd ever seen him before, sat down. "I'm never drinking again."
Ziva grinned, evilly amused by his utter despair, as she went to Chloe and helped fix her hair in a simple yet elegant style. She lay her hands on the younger girl's shoulders and met her gaze in the mirror with a reassuring smile. "You'll be fine, Chloe. And if you need anything, we'll be in the van."
"I can go on a date without everyone as backup, you know." Chloe assured her, though she rested her hand on Ziva's with a smile.
"So you're admitting it's a date?" McGee questioned.
"McGee." Abby slapped him up the back of his head. "Let her be."
Thankfully, her father wasn't having anything to do with this plan. He was down below in the basement, working on his newest boat. Of course that showed he was stressed about the situation, but thankfully he took the stress out on wood and didn't make her life any odder, unlike the others, who swore tailing her and having her know they'd be spying oneverything would be reassuring and not downright creepy.
"He's here!" Abby squeaked in excitement at the window. "Hurry hurry hurry! Up up up!"
Laughing at Abby's excitement, Chloe grabbed her purse and allowed the girl to usher her to the door, opening it before Peter had a chance to even knock.
With his hand raised to do just that, he blinked for a moment before he smirked. "Excited, were we?"
She blushed in embarrassment, stepping out and closing the door behind her. "Lets just say I was anxious to leave the house."
Peter cast a glance towards the windows, his lips twitching in amusement as he placed a hand at the small of her back and led her towards his car. "So I take it we're being watched?"
"Like hawks." She nodded.
He gave her a curious look before opening her door for her, and closing it once she'd slid in. The man walked over to his side of the car and slid in as well, slamming the door shut. "You're very protected, Miss Gibbs. Or should I call you Miss Sullivan?"
So obviously he did have friends who were good with computers.
She smiled, shaking her head as he started driving. "I go by Sullivan."
"You know, your records are very well guarded." Peter informed her curiously. "My friend is the best hacker I know, one of the best in the States, and your files were so encrypted all he could get out of it was that you were raised in Smallville as Chloe Sullivan before suddenly leaving and coming here to Washington D.C. with your real father, Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs. The whole working for NCIS doesn't even pop up."
"Good." She smiled. "I protected those files myself."
He sent her another look as they took the corner and joined the main road. "Teleportation and expert hacking. The mystery thickens."
She flinched, looking out of the window. "You're taking this all incredibly well."
"I grew up on weird." He shrugged, mood dimming.
"You mean your father." Chloe remembered reading up on him.
"I would rather not talk about Walter," Peter declared immediately, voice letting her know to stop with that line of conversation immediately.
"Okay, no fathers," she agreed, not really wanting to talk about her father drama either.
"So…" Peter cleared his throat. "I know I said you could pick the place, but in the spirit of not having to eat while being stalked-because I have a feeing we're going to have observers to our meal-why don't I pick the venue?"
He was a stranger and could very well be a murderer for all she knew, but she so didn't like the idea of eating while Palmer and Ducky watched them and reported back to everyone in the van.
The eighteen year old smiled and decided to take a chance. There had to be a reason she'd teleported towards Peter all those times, and it couldn't have been to be murdered. "Okay, surprise me."
He grinned. "Now, to lose our tail."
At those words Chloe gazed behind them to see the unmarked van not two cars down. She shook her head and leaned back hard against the seat, palm over her face in embarrassment. "I swear, they're usually more subtle than this."
Peter chuckled, the sound deep and highly amused, his eyes sparkling with mischief. "Hold on to something!" And with that he swerved onto the next lane.
Chloe grabbed onto what she could and a peel of shocked laughter escaped her lips as the escape began.
"Are they very pissed?" Peter asked with a crooked grin, completely unrepentant before he took his first bite out of his jumbo hotdog, earning a giggle from an old woman with a large sketchpad who was drawing something while seated on a bench situated by a light post.
"Oh, yeah." Chloe disabled her cell phone's tracking abilities, as she had with his earlier, and turned it off, having already called her friends to let them know she was fine and able to go on this "mission" without "backup".
Peter grinned brightly at the news that he'd managed to piss off a whole team of NCIS agents and took an extra large bite of his hotdog.
Chloe laughed and shook her head at him before taking a bite of her own hotdog. They were definitely overdressed for a walk in the park while eating this sort of food, but she kinda liked it, liked how informal this Compatibility Test was, and how relaxed she felt as they made their way towards a bench opposite a lake. "It's a good hotdog."
"Benny's hotdogs are always the best." Pete informed her before he blinked. "Tell me this isn't the first time you've had Benny's hot dogs! You're from DC!"
"I'm from Kansas."
"Well, you live in DC," he corrected himself. "You must've had one of these before!"
Chloe shook her head as she sat down on the bench and stared at the water. "I don't really have much time to go out. I'm usually at school, or at work, or at home." She took another bite and chewed slowly, realizing that she really didn't have a life. "Mostly at work though. Now that I think about it, I've slept in that office more times than I realized."
"That's a small office."
She laughed. "Everyone keeps saying that! But I love that office." She sighed, her smile disappearing. "The boss wants to upgrade me to a bigger office, something with a view."
And just like that her smile returned, laughter even accompanying it as she slanted him a sideways look. "I guess I'm being ungrateful, aren't I? Others would kill for something like that."
"Yeah..." He chewed and swallowed. "But then you'd have to arrest them."
She hadn't been this continuously amused in... She couldn't remember how long. "True."
Peter eyed her before he shook his head and took in a deep breath, his gaze directed ahead of him "So, you said you'd answer my questions."
Chloe nodded as she looked ahead of her as well and took another bite of the hotdog.
"How old are you?"
She blinked and swallowed her chewed bite. "Not the first question I thought you'd ask." She tilted her head. "You know how old I am. You've read that on my file."
"It's got to be wrong though." Peter frowned at her. "No way does NCIS have an eighteen year old working as a Special Agent and is about to promote her to an office with a view."
"I'm a Very Special Agent." She raised an eyebrow.
He narrowed his eyes at her. "Which brings me to my next question." He pointed his hotdog at her. "Why is the Navy conducting teleportation experiments on high-school kids?"
"They aren't." She raised an eyebrow at him. "I'm just... very special."
"So this is a natural thing with you? You're just... 'born this way'... a la Gaga?" He raised his eyebrow.
She snorted in amusement. "No." The girl took in a deep breath. "And that brings me to you."
Peter blinked. "I'm confused."
"Not surprising, I do that to people quite often." She licked her lips and wrapped the tinfoil around the rest of her unfinished hotdog as she rested it on the bench between them. "When I was a minor-."
"You mean yesterday?" He quipped.
She glared at him. "This is not easy for me so I would be grateful if you didn't mock me."
"Sorry." He appeared genuinely repentant. "Please, continue."
Chloe licked her lips. "When I was younger I was tricked by an older man into being a part of something I really didn't understand. I thought I was helping people, and on the surface I was, but then he told me of a way I could help more, of a ritual that had to be performed to do so that would tie me to him, and I trusted him completely at that time so I agreed blindly because it would help me help others and that was all I wanted to do. I didn't realize..." She faltered.
Peter's face had gone completely emotionless.
She looked away. "I was his prisoner for two weeks after that. I only barely managed to escape but have been linked to him ever since, and now that he's dying in the hospital I've been suffering repercussions because the... bond... he forced on me is weakening and needs to be transferred to someone else. It's why my friends thought you were a candidate for a Compatibility Test today and were checking you out so thoroughly."
"Compatibility-a date." Pete caught on quickly. "Why do you need to find someone who is compatible for you? Why is that relevant for this bond transference?"
"You're taking this in stride and not questioning my sanity."
"Sweetheart, you teleported." He raised an eyebrow.
"Right," she nodded, able to see how that could open his mind to other aspects of her story.
Peter suddenly froze, his eyes narrowed. "Considering the fact that you need to go on a date and be 'compatible' with the person you bond with... How does one cement a bond with you?"
Chloe glanced away.
He hissed and stood up. "How old were you when that bastard-?"
"It doesn't matter." She hugged herself, suddenly feeling very naked at this moment and vulnerable.
"And I made fun of your age." He ran his hand over his face, visibly disturbed. "Jesus." He paced in front of her, agitation in his every step. "What I don't get though, is what does this have to do with you teleporting to me?" He then froze and turned to her. "Wait a minute."
Chloe took in a deep breath. "I know that-."
"Look, I'm really sorry, your situation sucks, but I'm saying this as much for you as for me when I say that I am not the guy you want to transfer that bond to!" Peter's eyes widened as he held out his hands.
His rejection wasn't surprising and yet it still stung. "I don't want you to bond with me forever. I just need you to be my temporary bonder until I can find my full-time one. Just bond with me, stay with me until I can find someone to take over the bond permanently, and then you're free to go."
"Look lady, this isn't my problem."
"But Big Eddie is." She hadn't wanted to play this card and yet wasn't too nice not to.
Peter narrowed his eyes. "What are you-?"
"I'm saying that I'm not asking you to do this for free." She stood as well and faced him. "I'm saying that you take on my bond, temporarily, and I will see that all of your debts are paid off in full."
He frowned. "You don't-."
"I have direct access to the President of the United States of America. He likes me. I can make this happen." She took in a deep breath. "Peter, I'm not asking you to take care of me for the rest of your life, I'm just asking you to help me save mine."
He narrowed his eyes. "What do you-?"
But she didn't hear whatever he was asking her, the moon suddenly beginning to scream at her and she brought her hands to her ears to try and drown out the loud screeching as she dropped to her knees. She could feel warm liquid coming from her ears, which were now ringing from the loudness, and when she pulled her hands away when the screeching stopped they were covered with blood.
Peter knelt in front of her, saying something, but she couldn't hear him, couldn't hear anything but ringing.
Chloe reached down and dug her fingers into the dirt, her fingers tracing designs into the humid soil against her will as equations flew in front of her eyes rapidly. She needed to get them out-out of her head! Her fingers hurt from how hard she pressed them into the soil but she continued to work, desperate in her attempts to get down what she was seeing, what only she could see.
Peter wasn't with her anymore, he'd probably freaked out and left. She couldn't find it in her to blame him. This couldn't've happened at a worse time. How was she supped to convince anyone to bond with her if she kept having her freak-out episodes more and more often?
Her fingers began to bleed.
Suddenly Peter was back, the large sketchpad the old woman had been using in his hand. He knelt in front of Chloe and grabbed her hand, yanking it out of the ground and placing it around the pen in his hand, guiding it to the paper.
Immediately her hand began to sketch the equations and designs in her brain, tears falling freely down her pale face, the girl closing her eyes tightly, unable to look at him right now.
The feeling of the page flipping ever so often meant that Peter must've been keeping a track of when the designs would overload the page, and he would change it over to a fresh, empty page for her to continue on.
He was patient.
Finally, finally, it stopped, and Chloe was left shivering and crying, with that ringing in her ears that left her blind and deaf to the world around her as she kept her eyes firmly shut.
Something warm wrapped around her shoulders.
The blonde opened her eyes, confused.
Peter, now jacket-less, sighed as he stared at her, mouthing something.
She pointed to her ears and shook her head.
He frowned and eyed the dried blood before he closed the notepad and helped her to her feet.
She realized she was wearing his jacket around her shoulders and made to take it off and pass it back to him. She was dirty from kneeling on the ground and bleeding, and getting dirt on her hands-.
Pete shook his head and placed the jacket firmer around her shoulders.
She whispered a 'thank you' since at least he could hear.
Pete ushered her towards the car, waved a thanks to the old woman (who looked very worried), and helped Chloe in, who was highly embarrassed.
The girl rested her forehead against the glass and closed her eyes tightly, the ringing still loud in her ears. The tap on her shoulder caught her off guard and she jumped as she turned to face Pete, who eyed her in concern and lifted a written note: What just happened?
"Nothing." She looked away and closed her eyes as she leaned her forehead against the glass once more. "Sorry. Just take me home please."
Another tap on her shoulder. And then another when she ignored the first.
Chloe let out a sigh as she turned to face him, reading the note. "I'm full of shit?" Despite it all she chuckled and looked up at him. "You're such a gentleman."
He made a face and began to scribble again before showing her the note: Is this bond related?
She licked her lips. "I told you... I get... let's just say I go all "Beautiful Mind", okay? Lionel is dying and I don't have anyone to shift that bond to and my body-especially my mind-isn't handling that so well."
He frowned and wrote something down. Why don't you just bind one of the guys from your office?
Fair question. "They're all either in love with someone, or just not compatible with me."
He raised an eyebrow and mouthed three words she did get: 'And I am?'
She raised an eyebrow to him. "I teleported to you."
He sighed and looked away.
"Again, it would only be temporary, I don't want to be stuck with someone who doesn't want to be stuck with me either." She licked her lips. "Just... think about it. Okay?"
He gave a little nod and started the car.
The drive home was made in silence.
Peter Bishop didn't know what exactly he was supposed to do.
On one hand his instincts told him to get the hell outta Dodge. There was a clearly another insane person who wanted to latch onto him, and he'd had enough of crazy people who felt they needed him to save them. But on the other hand, this insane person was much cuter than his father. And damn it, when he'd seen her there, kneeling in the dirt in her pretty dress, bleeding, clearly in pain and distressed as she wrote in the dirt with her nails, he'd felt sorry for her. He'd thought she was crazy as hell, but he'd felt sorry for her. This wasn't something she deserved, it was something that had been done to her by some insane, perverted old man.
Peter had done some digging after he'd left her at her father's house (the father who she'd only barely managed to keep from shooting him when he'd dropped her off in the state she'd been in) and had managed to make a connection. He was almost certain he'd figured out who the bastard was who'd done this to her. It might be a long-shot, but maybe not. He had a feeling the guy was none other than Lionel Luthor. She'd let the monster's first name slip in the car, and Peter knew she was from Smallville, and from there it was easy to trace that Lionel had been her adopted father's boss... and that Lionel Luthor was now on the brink of death.
Lionel Luthor. Millionaire, philanthropist, sociopath, cultist, rapist and pedophile.
Peter felt sick to his stomach.
The girl had said she'd been held hostage for two weeks.
He ran his hand over his face. He'd seen enough of the evils of this world to figure out what had gone on during those two weeks.
If Peter did this, if he helped this girl, not only would he be dealing with her mental instability, but he'd be dealing with the aftermath of that. She hadn't come out and said it but he'd figured out that to cement this deal he'd have to sleep with her. Was it really worth it?
The guy leaned hard against the wall.
Then again, this was only temporarily, and he'd be helping her and himself. She said she'd make his debts to Big Eddie disappear. That alone should really make him consider this offer.
Peter sighed as he looked up at the ceiling, Chloe's face flashing before him as she cried, despair scrunching up her features.
The man growled as he clenched his fist and drove it back into the wall behind him.