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.
"He wasn't even that cute." Ziva folded her arms over her chest and jutted her hip out defiantly.
"Liar." Chloe rested her forehead against her desk, voice muffled. "You specifically said he was cute."
"I... was having eye problems that day." Ziva hurried to defend herself.
Abby reached out and placed her gloved hand on top of Chloe's head softly. "Some guys are into the freaky, Chlo. He might've secretly found it hot."
"Not him. Okay? And he was the only guy I went out with who was even close to passing the Compatibility Test." Chloe hated feeling sorry for herself, but today was not a good day at all. "I'm never going to find a bonder by the time Lionel bites the dust." She finally looked up at them, a red spot on the middle of her forehead from where she'd been resting against the desk. "That bastard's gonna die and some demon like Azazel's gonna come and claim me."
"Don't say that." Ziva slammed her hands palms-down on the table. "We'll call John in if we have to."
"Gibbs is gonna love that." Abby's lips twitched.
Even Chloe could find that somewhat amusing. "I love you two."
The two women smiled. "Back atacha."
Ziva and Abby's pagers went off.
Ziva looked up from hers. "Gotta go."
Abby made a face. "Me too, some evidence just came in that I need to go over."
Chloe nodded and shooed them away. "Go solve non-supernatural cases."
"You know we will." Abby gave Chloe a thumbs-up as the girls left.
Chloe waited until the door closed to lean her forehead against the desk once more with a groan. "I could do with a good murder right now." Her phone rang. She eyed it. "I didn't mean it." The blonde reached for the phone and brought it to her ear. "Special Agent Chloe Sullivan."
"Top of the morning to you my fair lady."
She snorted in amusement. "Booth, your British accent is appalling!"
"That was probably because it was supposed to be Irish." He sounded affronted. "And I've been told it's angelic."
She rolled her eyes. "So, to what do I owe this call, Oh Angelic One?"
He snickered. "Angela found a new candidate she is sure has an aura that will match yours."
Chloe, once more, dropped her forehead to the surface of the desk. "Just kill me now and put me out of my suffering already."
Booth continued to snicker, completely unsympathetic to her cause. "She's drawn up charts and everything."
"She hasn't!" Her voice was the sound of horror personified.
"Oh, she has." He assured her. "And Bones has gotten into it as well, giving her advice and such despite at first declaring that we should stay out of it as it wasn't our business. But then Angela turned her over to the dark side by reminding Bones that back in the day the whole 'marriage arrangement' or 'matchmaker' thing was a big deal, and from an anthropologic point of view-."
He snickered once more before he took in a deep breath. "Lionel's taking a turn for the worse."
She licked her lips. "You're keeping an eye on his health."
"Of course I am."
The blonde smiled softly. "You're a real sweetheart, you know that?"
"I am not!"
She smiled larger at the affront in his tone. "I'm fine."
"So that episode you had last night was exaggerated?"
She sat up straight in her seat and blinked, shocked. "How do you-?"
"Let's just say that I have eyes and ears in that department." He was trying for an air of mystery.
She narrowed her eyes. "You've intimidated Reid into telling you everything he finds out, haven't you?"
He sputtered. "It isn't intimidation! We've cultivated an inter-departmental network of communication!"
"But how did Reid find out?" Chloe wanted to know. "I haven't told him anything yet."
Booth paused. "He has eyes and ears in that-?"
She leaned back hard. "McGee ratted me out. I can't believe it."
"How did you-?"
There was a knock on the door and it opened to reveal the last person she would've expected. He smiled. "Hey."
"Peter?" Chloe's eyes widened in shock as she straightened in her seat. "How did you-?"
"I told Gloria I was your boyfriend. She remembered me from last time-head's up that she's going to be grilling you about our 'relationship', but if the way she kept eyeing my butt has anything to say about it, I'm sure she approves." He looked around as he closed the door behind him. "You really should accept the offer for a larger office, by the way. A view wouldn't kill you."
She stared at him, utterly confused. "Is that so?"
"I've had many offices with many views, you've seen some of them." He smirked as he plopped down onto the seat opposite hers. "I'll wait for you to finish your conversation."
Chloe had forgotten all about Seeley, and her eyes widened as she brought the phone back to her ear. "Uh, Booth? I'm going to have to call you back, okay?"
"Is this the guy from last night?" Booth wanted to know. "Reid said that from what he heard about your connection with him, this guy might turn out to be a dark-horse candidate." There was a pause. "I'm not too sure what that means, but-."
"Seeley." Chloe raised an eyebrow.
"Fine." Booth cleared his throat. "I'm reporting this back to Reid though." And with that he hung up.
Chloe groaned as she brought the phone to her forehead, took in a deep breath, and then hung it back onto the receiver and turned her gaze to Peter Bishop. "I can't believe they let you back in here."
"Oh, I had to get this," he flipped a Visitor's Pass that was clipped to his leather jacket, "as well as an escort to the door." He gazed around her small little room once more, critical, before he returned his gaze to her. "Not even a picture?"
She raised an eyebrow. "What are you? A home decorator?"
He smirked crookedly. "Not even close."
"Could've fooled me," she mumbled, self-conscious about her little cubbyhole all of a sudden.
Peter opened his mouth.
Chloe's pager went off. "I'm so sorry." She looked down and gazed at the address. "I have to go, this is official business." She looked up at him apologetically.
"That's fine." He nodded as he watched her stand. "We can talk later."
"Okay." She stood and grabbed her things. "I'll walk you out."
Chloe made her way towards the isolated park, which had been cordoned off, Vance and his men having kept the people from coming anywhere close. Vance wasn't usually in the field for cases, but she found that when it came to the ones she dealt with, she usually met up with him on scene, especially whenever her father was busy on his own cases and didn't know she was on hers.
"Hey Director." She moved towards where he stood over the covered body. "We're a little on the heavy with the law around here, aren't we?" She didn't like so many people around her crime scenes and he knew it.
"Its a heavy traffic area, it took this many of us to keep people from trespassing onto the crime scene and contaminating anything." He motioned her closer as he knelt down and uncovered the body.
Chloe knelt next to him and peered under at the mutilated mess beneath. "I see."
Vance nodded. "What's the verdict?"
Chloe looked up at him as she rested her hands on her knees. "My 'professional opinion' is that public should be informed that there's a definite chance of toxic chemicals rising from the ground. There should be a quarantine area and there should be only a couple of men holding the perimeter very far from here and they should be in hazmat suits." That should be enough to keep any curious person from trying to get a closer peek at what was going on.
Vance nodded. "That can be arranged."
"Thank you." She smiled and dropped her large bag a good distance from the body, where she was sure it wouldn't bother any evidence. She put her hair up into a high pony tail before slapping on a pair of medical examiner gloves. She then pulled out some tweezers as well as some evidence bags and cups for anything she found on the body. Ducky had been giving her lessons on medical forensics during her free time, and while she wasn't an expert on the subject she was the only thing close to a medical examiner that her 'division' had.
She watched as the men moved away, left her completely alone, before she uncovered the body and stared at the horribly mutilated remains. There was no way that any human or animal had done this, it was no wonder why she'd been called.
Pulling on a surgical mask in case she breathed in some sort of spore or something, Chloe began taking pictures of the body and everything around it, putting everything the NCIS team had taught her to good use. It was moments like these in which she got why the Pentagon was so insistent that she prioritize getting the team together, things would go so much faster and smoother if there were multiple people who knew their jobs and were good at them, but she couldn't take the time to train people, and to be honest, she confused people too much. It was one of her mortal sins. Also, the thought of putting together a team of strangers was terrifying. It made much more sense to just continue the way she had for so long now.
Finishing with the pictures, Chloe went to examine the body.
The flesh was torn to pieces, muscles and organs falling out, bones wrapped around bones or just ripped out of their sockets. In fact, the man had died when his arm had been yanked out of its socket and shoved through his throat. Whoever had killed this guy had really been pissed off at him.
Her mind was already working, going through different pictures and texts, calculating the strength that would be needed to rip a man's bones out of their sockets like that, as well as have claws to tear through flesh and organs. Another factor was that there didn't seem to be anything that had been consumed so this wasn't a crime that had been committed so that the creature could eat. It seemed more and more like something personal-like a creature that could reason, which thankfully helped her brain with the eliminating process because already she was getting a horrible migraine as those pictures and texts flew passed her eyes in rapid succession.
Suddenly the images stopped. Her mind needed more information, more variables, to continue through the shifting process.
"Remind me not to piss off whoever he did."
Chloe jerked in shock and turned to see Peter Bishop standing behind her, hands in his pockets as he stared down at the body. She yanked down her surgical mask, her voice high and breathy. "What are you doing here?"
"I said we'd talk later, didn't I?" He asked innocently as he knelt down next to her to get a better look. "That's nasty."
"I thought you meant later as in tonight!" She snapped in shock, hand to her rapidly beating heart.
"You thought wrong," he informed her.
She narrowed her eyes at him. "What are you doing here?"
"I was curious to see what the Navy had an eighteen year old teleportation expert doing for them." He made a face at the body. "Not what I expected." He turned to face her. "I alsoexpected more actual teleportation and less use of public transportation to be involved."
"Duly noted." The blonde licked her lips. "How did you get passed-?"
"The guys putting on hazmat suits?" He looked highly amused. "Easily. They were putting on hazmat suits. That doesn't afford them much visibility."
She narrowed her eyes further. "You do realize you're not supposed to be here, right?"
"You do remember my long police record, right?" His grin was charming, annoying, but charming nonetheless.
She went for a different tactic. "Did the fact that the they were putting on hazmat suits not make you doubt the smartness of coming here without one on?"
"You don't have one on," he pointed out.
She opened her mouth and then closed it, not able to find a good answer for that one.
"So what exactly do you do for NCIS?" He eyed the mutilated remains. "This guy doesn't look old enough to be in the Navy. Unless you think the killer was Navy?" He raised an eyebrow. "First teleportation, then something that can do this. What sort of experiments are the government conducting?"
She raised an eyebrow back at him. "Smartypants, I told you why I teleported. No government conspiracy was involved in that. Or this." She gazed down at the body. "I think." She shook her head. "Anyway, you shouldn't be here. You could get arrested. You should get arrested." She looked back up at him. "Why am I not arresting you?"
"I'm very handsome," he informed her.
"No you're not." She hated the fact that she was smiling at him right now.
A twig snapped somewhere in the bushes.
Chloe and Peter looked up immediately, the blonde pulling out a gun and training it on the noise, eyes narrowed.
Peter's eyes widened on her.
"NCIS!" She yelled, aim firm. "Come out with your hands where we can see them!"
Suddenly something shot out into the sky from the bushes: shadows mixed together as one, twirling as if dancing.
Peter narrowed his eyes on it. "What is that?"
Chloe observed the mixture, her brain immediately shoving aside everything that had to do with the case that it'd been previously assimilating and instead tried to decipher this new mystery in front of her.
Peter leaned in towards her and mumbled: "I don't think it's going to give itself up. You might have to try being more authoritative."
She sent him a little glare before she returned her gaze to the phenomena. "Are you always this annoying?"
"Yes." He gave her a crooked smile. "Do you still want me as your bonder?"
"I'm beginning to seriously reconsider."
He imitated getting shot in the heart.
Despite the situation she laughed. "We have a UFO right in front of us and you're joking?"
"A UFO?" He chortled in disbelief as he threw out a hand in the direction of the thing. "Really? You want to go that far?"
"It's unidentified, flying, and an object." She kept her gun pointed at the thing. "If I remember correctly, that's what UFO stands for, not for 'alien'."
"Well, if you want to be that way, then 'alien' is derived from the Latin alienus, meaning 'stranger' and/or 'foreigner', and wasn't actually originally meant for little green men fromouter space."
Her eyes widened as she took her gaze off of the thing to stare at Peter incredulously. "You're impossible."
"No, I'm correct."
"You're this close to being 'accidentally' shot, and then arrested."
"I'm getting arrested for being shot?" He blinked, although his smirk was killing his attempt at looking innocent and confused.
"There's a shadowy flying thing over there! Stop distracting me!" She turned back towards the thing, only to find it gone. Chloe cried out as she turned back towards Peter and slapped him on his chest. "You made it disappear!"
"Ouch!" He rubbed his chest. "Sweetheart, this is abuse."
"I'm not your sweetheart." She bent back down on her knees and took in a deep breath as she decided to examine the body once more. "Keep an eye out in case that thing comes back. You made us lose it."
"Oh, so now I'm not going to get arrested? Or shot?"
She sent him a glare. "Don't tempt me."
"Alright, alright." He smirked, hands up in submission.
Chloe shook her head and yanked back on her surgical mask before she started with the examination, but not before motioning to her bag and the extra gloves and mask she kept on her in case anything happened to the ones she usually wore.
"Were you serious when you said it wasn't smart to come here without a hazmat suit on?" Pete wanted to know, pulling on the gloves and the mask.
"Little late to be wondering that, isn't it?" Chloe knew she was being mean, but she was still annoyed that she'd allowed him to distract her like that.
Peter came to stand next to her and gazed down at the body, apparently unbothered by the sight of the mutilated mess.
"Why are you here?" She eyed a fragment she'd removed from the body. "What could've been so important that you couldn't wait until tonight to talk?"
"You know about Walter." His voice was muffled by the mask.
"I thought we weren't talking about your father." She looked up at him.
"We're not. We're talking about me." Peter frowned. "If I did this temporarily in exchange for my debts being cleared - haven't you considered that you'd need a bonder who is exceptionally - and don't get insulted here - mentally stable and strong?"
"Yes, I have considered that." She eyed him before her gaze returned to the fragment. "Like you said: this is only temporary. My permanent bonder will have no form of mental illness in his family, even if the sickness isn't hereditary."
Peter was silent as he shoved his hands into his pants pocket.
Chloe tilted her head to the side as she noticed something, discarding the fragment she'd been examining into a sealed evidence bag before she reached into the man's intestines, which were flowing out of his body, and pulled out something that had been embedded deep within. Her mind worked a mile per second as it rearranged the material it'd shoved to the back of her conscious due to the appearance of the shadows. Once the priority was set, it once more began sifting through possibilities and discarding options now that she had this new piece of information to help her narrow things down. "Hmmmm."
Peter blinked and knelt next to her to get a better look at the object. "Is that… a press-on nail?"
"Welcome to my world, Peter Bishop." She didn't even look away from the nail as she put it in another evidence bag. "It would probably be better for you to leave."
"With dancing shadows and press-on nail wearing-something-out there?" He snorted. "Not a chance."
She looked up at him. "Would you like me to walk you to the safety zone?"
He glared at her hotly. "I'm not worried about my safety."
She stared at him somewhat lost before she blinked, understanding. "Oh."
"Oh?" He raised an eyebrow at that.
"It's just that I'm surprised." She lowered her head and fought the blush she could feel rising up her neck. "You don't have to worry about me, everyone else does all the time and have taught me how to take care of myself." She smiled softly as she tapped a gloved finger to her temple. "And this is all I need to be a step ahead of this." She tilted her gaze back up at Peter. "Plus, I'm not really in danger." Nope. As the Adept she was far too valuable for anyone to actually let something happen to her, especially when she was so close to needing a new bonder. There were too many things and people out there who wanted to force a bond with her once the time came that she knew she'd be fine… Until Lionel died, of course. If she hadn't found a new bonder by that time things would get ugly.
"You can't know that." Peter made a face. "The shadow-."
"Oh, right, that." She pursed her lips. "I still need more information to calculate that, but I do know that it's a completely different entity than the thing that did this."
"How can you be so sure?" Peter wanted to know.
She tapped her temple again. "Its body mass is solidified and while it is subject to molecular and physical transmutation it does not ever become an non-corporeal mass." She then froze and realized she'd done it again, she'd gone on in her weird way that confused people and made them look at her weirdly, and she hadn't even-!
"So you're saying that whatever did this is a shapeshifter but that that ability does not include becoming a bodiless mass of shadows."
Chloe's eyes flew open in shock as she stared at him, her heart racing, her voice soft and shaken when she spoke. "That's exactly what I'm saying."
Peter nodded, as if what she'd said was something a kindergartener would've understood. "Teleportation and shapeshifting." He let out a sigh. "This is a lot to take in."
"You're doing incredibly well." She was still shaken.
He flashed her a grin. "Gotta look cool for the ladies."
She fought the blush extra hard as she looked back down at the body in an effort to calm herself.
Suddenly an electric force erupted around them, visibly doming over them and trapping them inside.
Peter stood, eyes narrowed. "This dome looks a lot like those shadows did."
Chloe kinda wanted to kiss him for how well he was reacting to all of this, but she merely cleared her throat and stood as well. "I agree."
The man knelt back down, yanked out some blades of grass from their roots and tossed them into the dome, watching them burn up into crisps. "So. Still sure this isn't what killed the guy?"
Chloe nodded, eyeing the dome thoughtfully.
Peter sent her a sideways glance. "You're loving this, aren't you?"
"Of course I'm not." And yet she turned her back to him so he couldn't see the fascination on her face.
This was definitely something new.