Summary: some girls have all the fun...occasionally, Chloe's even one of them.
Pairing: Chloe Sullivan/Sam Winchester
Disclaimer: Kripke, Millar, Gough, DC, such and sundry. They own. I don't.
Original Story: Until The Last by savage_midnight
Note: My thanks to my beta. Your advice was invaluable. Title drawn from W.B Yeats' "The Second Coming"
It's Hour Come Round (The Paradigm Shift Remix)
The thing about chaos is that there isn't any. Just as soon as you accept the pattern beneath the chaos, then you can finally get on with the business at hand. Of course, first you need to know what that business is. If it involves Smallville or a boy named Kent, that business isn't so easily identified.
"October 16, 1989."
Chloe sits back, chewing on her pencil and thinking about farm boys from Mars. Well, Krypton. Martians are a whole other business. She twists, reaching over her shoulder for the photocopies. Handwritten pages from a journal she's never supposed to have seen.
Leafing through the pages, she looks at them with a speculative eye. Ghosts and goblins, aliens and meteor freaks, with an alien farm boy from Smallville and a suspected psychic from Lawrence thrown in for fun. Oh joy.
"And why is it always Kansas?"
She shakes her head and drops the pages on her desk. They fan out across it, scattered by the breeze from the window. Pieces of a puzzle she doesn't have a clear image of. She nudges one with her pencil, smudging the pink eraser on the white paper.
"God, I hate playing catch up."
May 15, 1993
Bludhaven's not hell, but you can see it from there. Chloe hates it and says so daily. Dad just shakes his head, promising every morning when he drops her off at school. "Just a few more weeks, the project will be finished, and then it's back to Gotham."
Like Gotham's any better. Chloe doesn't say so. She just clutches her book closer and slides out of the car. Dad gets out, carrying her backpack for her. He looks up at the school with a dubious face. Chloe thinks he might apologize. Instead, he forces a smile and says, "Have a good day, sweetheart."
He kisses her cheek and she takes her bag, pretending a smile of her own. "Bye, Daddy." She shoulders her backpack, feeling it bounce against her back as she runs inside. She ignores the two boys that she passes, but she sees Sam smile.
Looking over her shoulder, Chloe smiles back.
She's not surprised when Sam calls. He's been somewhat of a hobby for years, ever since she saw that familiar name turn up in a Palo Alto newspaper, smack dab in the middle of a story about a suspicious fire. A few years of casual research has turned up a lifetime's worth of interesting reading. A lifetime that includes a brief stopover in Bludhaven.
The phone call comes out of the blue, but she's still not surprised. Chloe always thought she'd see Sam again. She just didn't expect it to be now.
She opens the door to him smiling down at her. Puberty, it seems, was very good to Sam Winchester. Very, very good. Damn. "You're late, Winchester," she says, taking in the view. "The world ended yesterday."
"Last year you mean," he says, waving a finger at her, "and it almost ended. That doesn't count."
"There was looting, rioting, and pandemonium in the streets." Not to mention an evil, alien overlord, but she leaves that out. For now. "It counts."
Leaning against the door, Chloe raises one bare foot, scratching the back of her leg. "Believe me, I'm from Smallville. I know apocalyptic when I see it." Usually a couple times a week, but who's counting? "Get in here."
He grins. Damn. Dimples. She does not need dimples. He doesn't believe her. He's giving her that patronizing 'if you only knew' look that pushes every one of her buttons, and his grin still makes her heart race.
Chloe wants to kick him on the pure principle of it.
"Don't give me that look, Sam Winchester," she warns, ushering him inside. "Only people without brothers on the FBI's most wanted get to give me that look." She pauses. "Wait, no not even them. I outlawed dimple manipulation years ago. It gets me into way too much trouble."
Closing the door, she looks at him. "Speaking of Dean. What was that? A tragic xeroxing accident gone terribly wrong?"
His grin widens. The bastard. "You wouldn't believe me if I told you."
She folds her arms, grinning back. She will not fall for those dimples. Especially not on this subject. "See above, re: living in Smallville. I got possessed by the disembodied spirit of a cheerleader at the prom. Try pulling the other one, Winchester."
He starts at the possession joke. The implications neatly dovetail with what she's heard lately. Chloe watches him push his hands into his pockets, nodding almost sheepishly. "Okay, point taken. It wasn't a clone. Not exactly."
Running through the available options, Chloe settles on the best one. "So that means some kind of shapeshifter?" His eyebrows rise. She's scored points. "My freshman year," she says, "girl goes nuts. Girl turns out to be meteor-created shapeshifter." She leaves out the part about the Lana Lang obsession. Some things are best left in the past. Her issues with Lana, Clark, and Lana and Clark score high on that list.
"And we thought Bludhaven was hell," says Sam.
"Not even close," she nods. "Hell's in Kansas."
He looks away. She remembers the story about his mother and winces. Fuck.
May 21, 1993
Chloe pushes her oreo cookie across the table, taking the chocolate chip Sam passes back. "We're moving next week," she confesses. "For sure."
"No more extensions?" asks Sam around a mouthful of tunafish sandwich.
She wrinkles her nose, waving a hand at him. "YUCK! Sam! That's disgusting!" Her protest is met by an unrepentant grin. He learned that one from his big brother. Dean's the grossest boy she ever met. "Close your mouth."
He laughs, washing down the mouthful with a swig of chocolate milk. "Sorry," he says, still grinning. It's kind of a relief that he's used to this kind of thing. She hates the part right before a move. "Maybe there'll be another extension," he says. "You never know."
Chloe shakes her head. "Not this time. Daddy's done. It's just the grand opening and then we move. It's a promotion so maybe Metropolis instead of back to Gotham." Not that it matters. They move a lot anyway, every project taking them to a different city. She hates it.
Sam nods. "Dad's been talking about leaving too." He picks at his sandwich. "Maybe down south."
She looks at him, frowning. She wants to ask again, but she knows there's no point. Sam never answers her when she asks what his Daddy does. He mumbles some stupid answer that's no answer at all. Chloe thinks he's probably a spy. Or maybe a serial killer. Why else would Sam lie?
"You can write me," she says. "At least, for a while."
She knows he won't, but he'll want to. It's the thought that counts. At least, that's what her Daddy always says. She doesn't think it means anything, but maybe that's the point.
"So, what brings you to Metropolis?" asks Chloe, watching Sam. He looks around her apartment, taking it all in at a glance. She's seen that look before, interviewing soldiers just back from the battlefield. She suspects, if she asked, Sam would know every visible exit and suspect some of the rest. She thinks about the journal and wonders about the FBI. She tilts her head. "Other than checking on old friends?"
He grins. "I told you on the phone. My brother and I, we sort of have this job – "
"Mythbusters, but with ghosts and goblins?"
He nods. "Something like that." It sounds like his answer to a lot of things. "You'd be surprised what's out there."
Chloe grins. "No, I wouldn't be." She doesn't say anything else. It's her turn to be cryptic. Let him stew on that for a while. She turns away. The papers scattered over her kitchen table are her eyes only and she swiftly gathers them up. "I still don't think this is a possession. At least, not the Linda Blair version."
"It has all the hallmarks," says Sam. "Trust me, Chloe, I've seen these before."
She looks over her shoulder, lips curling into a grin. "This is Metropolis, Sam. Trust me, you haven't." At least, she hopes not. This one is a Zoner. The escapees from the Phantom Zone give Clark hell. What they'd do to an ordinary human...she covers her shiver with a laugh. "I thought you said you'd been reading my articles?"
"I have," he says. "Stumbled across a couple new ones on Google."
"Ah Google," says Chloe. "I should've bought stock. It would've made college a breeze."
He laughs. "Yeah, I said the same thing." His laughter fades and Chloe sees the curious look on his face. "So, you're back at The Planet? I thought your column was cancelled."
She clears her throat, looking away. "Yeah, long story. Like most things in Metropolis, it involves the Luthors." Chloe shoves the papers into a folder, slipping it under her laptop. "You stand up to them, there's hell to pay."
From behind her, she hears Sam's feet move restlessly. "I'm sorry, Chloe," he says. "I shouldn't have asked."
"It's old news," she dismisses. "The column was a mistake anyway. Blood money. I'm doing it the right way this time." No more deals with the devil. Even the one in the three-piece suit. "Don't worry about it." She turns around, smiling brightly to cover the sting. "Let me get changed. If we're going to conduct an exorcism, I should probably put on pants."
He grins, taking in the legs left bare by her shorts. "I wouldn't complain."
She throws a pen at him, laughing. "There's food in the fridge. Help yourself."
June 14, 2000
"I promise, sweetheart," says Dad. "This is the last move." He tapes a box shut and stands up to put it with the others. The Sullivan family has packing down to a fine art. Chloe's sure they've moved more times than Uncle Sam's family. "The Smallville plant needs a lot of work, but once it's done I'll stay on as manager. It'll be good for us." He smiles, looking down at her. "And we'll only be a few hours away from Metropolis."
Three hours, three years. It's all the same to Chloe. "It's the middle of nowhere, Dad." She drops books into a box, listening to the satisfying thump. "It'll be like living on another planet."
Laughing, her father kisses her forehead. "You'll love it."
"I'll hate it," she says, emphatic. "There's nothing in Smallville, Kansas, but dirt and corn. Nothing."
In her bedroom, Chloe shucks out of her shorts. She grabs a pair of jeans and pulls them on before digging out her cell phone. She stops, one thumb on the keypad, and listens at the door. She waits to hear the clank of dishes and the opening refrigerator door.
When she does, she closes the door and calls Clark. "Please tell me that you've handled our little problem?"
She huffs a breath, opening a drawer. "Clark, I've got an old friend turned ghost hunter in my kitchen. He's expecting to do an exorcism."
"You've got a what?" asks Clark.
"It's a long story," says Chloe. "Sam's kind of an expert in the supernatural. I've been following his work for a while, he knows what he's talking about. The problem is, you and I both know it's no ordinary demon he's dealing with. It's a body-jumping alien from Planet X and I don't think it speaks Latin."
She pulls the phone away from her ear, listening. It's silent in the kitchen and she creeps back to the door. Opening it a crack, she hears nothing. Hoping Sam's eating and not eavesdropping, she closes it again. "Just hurry up, Clark. There's no way I can keep Sam off this without telling him the truth."
"There's a control crystal I need to find," says Clark. "Like the one I used on Baern. If I can, I can call it back."
"And put it back in the Phantom Zone?"
"Or at least lock it up in the Fortress."
"Well, whatever you do, hurry up," says Chloe. "I'm running out of time here." She snaps the phone shut and goes back for another shirt. What does one wear to an exorcism?
February 20, 2006
"I'm heading out for lunch," says Jimmy. He leans across the desk, kissing her cheek. "You want something?"
Chloe looks up. "Deli, please." Dropping her gaze back to her computer screen. "Just tell them I want my usual." She rests her chin on her hand, staring at search results. Tapping the mouse, she scrolls downward and sighs. "Extra chips."
"Bad morning?" asks Jimmy. He looks at the computer screen. "Research not good?"
Changing screens, she looks up. "Just nothing interesting turning up." The lie rests easier on her tongue than it should. She smiles. "Thanks."
He gives her a quizzical look, but doesn't ask. "Okay, be back later."
When he's gone, Chloe turns back to the screen with a muttered, "Oliver better appreciate this." Fingers flying over the keyboard, she gathers up the information and dumps it in an email.
With her 'mission' from Oliver completed, she goes back to work. There isn't much to be done. In the post-Halloween slump, there isn't much activity at the Planet for anyone. She's submitted her piece on the mysterious deaths in Smallville. It probably won't go anywhere, but she knew that going into it. The medical evidence consists of 'boy exploded from plants, doctors stumped' and the truth is not exactly publishable.
Escaped Alien Eco-Terrorist Kills Two would make a great headline for The Inquisitor, but this is The Daily Planet. Chloe pouts and checks out California. Pity. It would've made a hell of a story.
She skims past the usual celebrity flotsam, ignores the usual reports of mud slides and fires, and then stops cold. The name stands out stark against the screen.
"Sam," breathes Chloe. "Oh, my god."
"Ready to go?" asks Sam.
Chloe grabs her jacket, nodding. "I still don't think this is the way to handle this." She glances at the clock and tries not to frown. Clark needs to hurry. She can't stall Sam forever. "Stuff like this happens in Metropolis all the time and demons? Not really a part of the picture."
Brushing crumbs from his hands, Sam puts the plate into the sink. "I know a demon possession when I see one, Chloe." He looks at her, grinning. "I've seen more than my fair share."
"So, you're a priest?" jokes Chloe. "What a waste."
Sam surprises her by blushing. "I'm not a priest," he says. "I just get around a lot." Which she knows. Having friends like Oliver makes getting FBI files a lot easier than it should be. She'd be alarmed at the state of the federal government, but it's too useful as is. "Believe me, this is a demon possession."
She bites her lip, but doesn't argue. She watches him pick up his coat, check his cell, and then a gun. "Do you know how to use one of these?" asks Sam, holding up the gun.
"I've had occasion," nods Chloe. He looks surprised and she grins. "I told you, this is Metropolis. It might not be Bludhaven, but it has its moments." Generally, super-powered ones, but she's not in a rush to bring up that topic either.
How do you look an old friend in the eye and tell him you're a mutant?
December 5, 2006
Chloe steps out of the Planet, feeling a gust of wind pass her face. She stops, grinning when a Bart-sized dent appears in a dumpster. "February in Kansas," she says. "You've gotta watch out for the ice."
Picking himself up, Bart smiles. "Yeah, well, it's a lot warmer in Bali." He brushes snow off himself, knocking it from his sweater and his jeans.
She holds out a hand. "You weren't in Bali. Give."
He tilts his head, smiling at her. "What, no kiss?"
"No, no kiss," says Chloe. "Now, you owe me files, Imp–"
In the blink of an eye, his hand is on her mouth. "HEY!" says Bart, protesting. "Ixnay on the codenames-ay."
From behind the hand on her mouth, Chloe raises one eyebrow as she raises her boot, bringing it down sharply on his heel. He stumbles backward, and she grabs for the file sticking out of his sweater. "Thank you," she says, bright and cheery, waving the manila folder at him. "Pass that on to the boss, huh?"
"You're a sadist, Sullivan," says Bart. "I need these!"
She looks down at his feet and then at him. "You're the one wearing sneakers in February." Smiling, she leans forward to kiss his feet. "Thanks, Bart."
He's still beaming when she drives off; the thick folder on the passenger's seat beside her. Everything the FBI had on the Winchesters and more besides. Who knew small town sheriffs could work photocopiers?
"Nice car," says Chloe. She slides a hand along the hood, grinning at Sam. "Bet it's hell on gas mileage though. The ghost-busting business must pay good." She looks into the car and whistles. "Oh god, this car is amazing."
Sam grins. "I'll tell Dean you think so."
"His, huh?" asks Chloe as he opens her door. "So where is the big lug?" She slides into the car, looking up at him. "Pulling the wings off flies?"
Laughing, Sam closes the door. "He didn't push you into that puddle on purpose."
"I ruined my favorite dress," says Chloe. "Some things can never be forgiven." She settles back against the seat, putting her bag on the seat. "Ruining a little girl's dress with mud? High on that list." She turns, watching him slide into the car. "But he's letting you drive his car, so I'll consider it. You still didn't answer my question."
"He's blowing off steam," says Sam.
A small smirk tugs at his lips, telling her exactly how and Chloe rolls her eyes. "Why I am I not surprised?" She relaxes, looking over. He looks back, questions in his eyes. She smiles. "It's good to see you."
Sam smiles. "It's good to be seen." Starting the car, he puts his hand behind her head as he backs out of the space. It's hard to ignore the presence of his body so close. It's difficult reconciling the kid she remembers with the man beside her. She's seen the stats in his file, all there in black and white. Seeing it up close and personal... "I always wanted to try and catch up."
She smiles. "Did you really read all my articles?"
"Yeah," Sam grins, quick and happy. "As much as I could anyway. Moving around made it hard, but once I got into college...." he waves a hand. "Writing for the Planet made it easy. Stanford kept copies on hand."
She laughs. "Stanford. I still can't believe that one." His gaze sharpens and his hands tighten on the steering wheel. "I'm a reporter, Sam," says Chloe in explanation. "I get curious about things. If I want to know something, I have my ways of finding things out."
"You Googled me." Sam's comment is light, joking, but she can hear the tension beneath it as they slow to a stop at a red light. "Find anything interesting?"
"Enough to send me running to deeper sources," says Chloe, as honest as she can be without betraying Oliver. "I'm sorry about her, Sam." Snatches of the article run through her memory and she feels the pain anew. She didn't know Jessica Moore, but she knows enough. The tight clench of Sam's jaw tells her everything the articles and police reports couldn't. "Did you get whatever did it?"
He looks at her so sharply, she's glad they're at a red. If they'd been moving, she'd be looking at a serious case of whiplash. "What?" The word is so innocuous, but she hears the layers behind it. The suspicion almost hurts. Except it's been twenty years and she's as good as a stranger. Jessica's face comes to mind. When Chloe first saw her, she thought of the fake Kara who'd turned Clark's life upside down. She still thinks that. It's fate's idea of a cruel joke; two women with the same face destroying her friends' lives.
She picks her words carefully. She should feel guilty, but she doesn't. She can't. Every second they lose to her tap-dancing is another second that Clark gets. It just might be those seconds keep Sam alive and Clark undiscovered. "You said you've been reading my articles. How much do you know about the town?"
"A little," says Sam. "Since the meteor shower in '89, people have turned up with strange powers." He glances at her. "Like your body-jumping prom queen."
She grins. "Yeah, like that." Sighing, she shakes her head. "It's crazy, Sam." She looks at him. "And half the reason I published those stories on the web. The Planet would never have run them. No 'self-respecting paper' would." She thinks of Clark. If only those papers knew. "When I saw the story about your girlfriend, it didn't take much to make the leap."
"Especially not once you saw the police report," says Sam. He's grinning at her when she turns to look. "The work you do? You've got to be a first rate hacker."
Chloe smirks. "Well, I don't like to brag."
"But you totally are," adds Sam.
"I have my moments," she shrugs, watching the blocks past. "Plus, I'm good at reading between the lines."
And so is Sam. "How much have you figured out?"
"Enough to know you and Dean having been raising hell," says Chloe. "Literally." She smiles. "And I thought aliens were weird."
January 20, 2007
Chloe curls one foot beneath her, chewing on a pen. "Ava Wilson," she says, frowning. "Age 23 from Peoria. On the same night she disappeared, her fiancé was found murdered in their home." Leaning back on the couch, she watches Clark open the pizza box. "And she's just the latest."
He looks up. "And you think this has something to do with your friend?"
"Maybe," says Chloe. Abandoning her laptop and her notes, she gets up. The smell of dinner is too intoxicating to pass up. "I talked to the reporter who wrote the article on her. She was a friend of Ava's." Grabbing a slice of pizza, she ducks beneath Clark's arm to get a plate. "It took some convincing, but apparently Ms. Wilson had been having visions."
Clark's holding out a soda when she turns. "Visions?"
"Uh huh, visions." Following him to the table, Chloe adds, "And not the winning lottery numbers either. She was seriously freaking out." She smiles. "Know how she feels."
"No kidding," says Clark, his own smile wry. He pulls out her chair. "Did your friend have visions?"
"I don't know," says Chloe. "It's possible. Everyone else that I've tracked down has been rumoured to have some kind of ability." The pizza is hot. She hisses, grabbing for her soda. "It's been years since we saw each other, anything could have happened to him by now."
And that's what worries her.
"Suicide Slum," says Sam. "That's cheerful."
"But accurate," says Chloe. The steps creak as they make their way up. "Technically, its real name is Hobb's Bay, but Suicide Slum is a much better fit." She holds her breath as they emerge into the hallway and not because of the smell. "Sam."
He looks where she's pointing. The door to the apartment is open and the lights are off. Pulling his gun, Sam reaches out to tug her behind him. "Careful."
The warning comes too late. Fire explodes out of the door, Clark Kent tumbling with it. He knocks them both to the floor, the flames roaring over their heads.
Chloe cringes away from the fire as Sam and Clark both try to cover her. Rolling her eyes, she looks at Clark from beneath Sam's arm. "Didn't find the crystal?"
"Finding it, that turned out to be the easy part," says Clark. He's annoyingly calm, considering. "Using it wasn't."
"Apparently not," says Chloe. They rise slow, keeping a cautious eye on the door. "Round two?"
"Yeah," says Clark. He grins at her. "Wish me luck?"
"I get the feeling you don't really need it," says Sam. He looks from Chloe to Clark. "I'm not going to say it but – "
"We know each other," says Chloe, nodding. "Clark, Sam. Sam, Clark. Clark will be right back." She looks at Sam, folding her arms. "Remember how I said it wasn't demon possession?"
He looks at her, a grin on his face. "You're going to tell me it's an alien, aren't you?"
"No," says Chloe. She starts forward. "You aren't drunk enough for that."
The room smells of charcoal and melted plastic. Chloe steps over the remnants of a television set and looks at Clark. In the corner, he's pressing a young man against the wall. A young man with eyes of fire.
"Forget the alcohol," says Sam. "I'm willing to take it on faith." He ducks forward, grabbing for a blue crystal lying amid the ashes. It's small, but it looks familiar. Like the crystals Chloe remembers from the Fortress. "Now what?" he asks, turning. "Somehow, I don't think Latin's going to do the trick."
Chloe snorts. "Definitely not." She grabs the crystal from him. Smoke is beginning to float up into the air again, curling around their legs like phantom fingers. They're running out of time. Glancing over her shoulder, she can't stop the playful grin. "Cover me, I'm going in."
"Are you crazy?" yells Clark. "Get out of here!"
"Sorry, Clark, too late," says Chloe. "Should've said that years ago." She pushes the crystal into his hand, trapping it against the Zoner's stolen shoulder. The alien in the kid roars in anger, flames rushing upward as the crystal flares a brilliant white.
They all yell and Clark moves, his body shielding her from the flames. Not that it matters, she's already moving, Sam's hands on her shoulders pulling her out of harm's way.
When they stop, Sam slumped against the wall, one arm wrapped loosely about Chloe's. Turning, she presses her face into his shoulder, feeling him curl a hand into her hair. The white light is everywhere, visible even through her closed eyes.
She scrunches her eyes tighter, holding her breath until it fades. Opening her eyes, she finds Sam grinning down at her.
"Well," he says. "That was impressive."
Chloe manages a weak grin. "Stick with me kid, I'll show you the world."
Clark catches her hand on the way out, squeezing it. He flicks a glance toward Sam. "You going to be okay?"
She hears the question in the question and smiles. His hand is warm, strong around hers and the look he's giving Sam is hysterical. Hysterical and annoying. She's tempted to remind him she's not his problem anymore, that she never was, but she doesn't. It's so much water under the bridge, or it should be. She's not looking to open up that can of worms. She keeps her reassuring smile in place, saying, "Don't worry, I've got it covered."
He raises an eyebrow. "Oh yeah?"
Grinning, Chloe pushes him off. "Leave."
Taking a step back, Clark holds up his hands. "I'm just saying – "
"Absolutely nothing is what you're saying," says Chloe. "Except, possibly, goodbye and see you tomorrow." She gives him another push. "Bye."
Stopping in front of Sam, Clark looks at him. They size each other for a moment and Chloe fights the urge to giggle. Sam has a couple of inches on Clark. Its damn satisfying, watching him look up for once.
"Boys," says Chloe, loathe to interrupt the moment, but knowing time's against them. The neighborhood's a slum, but the cops still make house calls. "Are we going to need yardsticks?"
Watching them turn, identical expressions of chagrin on their faces, Chloe finds her missing puzzle piece. Maybe.
As theories go, this one is half-formed, probably insane, but she still can't shake it. Every time she closes he eyes, she sees them standing there. Opposite sides of the same coin. She mulls the image over on the drive home, only peripherally aware of Sam calling Dean.
Ignoring the one-sided conversation, Chloe runs through the research in her head, thinking over the list of names and purported abilities. She lines them up, compares them, and then adds another list. Clark, AC, Bart, Kara, Victor...
"Clash of the titans," says Chloe, muttering to herself. She looks over at Sam. Catching her look, he smiles. She returns it, hoping like hell she's wrong.
"You okay?" asks Sam, one arm reaching over her head and holding open her door for her. She passes beneath it with an embarrassing amount of room to spare. "You seem a little quiet."
"I'm fine," says Chloe. "I was just thinking." Putting down her coat, she looks at him. "Why is it when I'm quiet everyone assumes something's wrong?"
He snorts and raises his eyebrows. "You sure you want me to answer that?"
With a smirk, she shakes her head. "Thanks, but I already know."
"So, what were you thinking about?" Sam closes the door, sliding the lock over. It's probably habit, but she feels a little thrill at the implications. "Your friend and the not-demon?"
"You know," says Chloe, "for a guy who believes in demons – "
"Give me some time, okay?" Sam turns around, his expression sheepish. "There are some things a guy needs to consider."
"Fair enough," says Chloe, "but I reserve the right to mock you later." She steps forward, looking up at him. "Sam – if something was wrong, you'd tell me, right?"
He frowns. "Wrong? Nothing's wrong."
She smiles. "I'm a reporter, Sam. It's my job to dig." She lets the comment hang before adding, "And I'm not talking Google." Reaching out, she slides a hand into his. His fingers curl around hers, squeezing tight. The grip of the desperate man. "I can help."
Sam looks down at her, eyes dark, and maybe just a little scared. "No," he says, voice choked. "You can't. People around me – " He falls silent, looking at her, as if begging her to understand.
She does. It's frustrating, but Chloe does. Too many bodies, too much blood. Pulling on his hand, she draws him down. When he's close enough, she stretches up to kiss him. He's surprised, but he doesn't pull away. After a moment, the grip of his hand on hers gentles while the other comes up to rest on her back and draws him closer.
They part, coming up for air, and Sam sits on the edge of the couch. Standing between his legs, she looks at him. "When you're ready – "
He nods. "I know."
She kisses him again. "I'm glad you're here, Sam."
Sam nods. "So am I."
Chloe sees him in the subway. At first, she dismisses him, but then she looks back. He smiles, yellow eyes fixed on her. She doesn't need the research to know what he is. The presence of evil exuding from every pore, she almost takes a step backward. "You're very good, Ms. Sullivan," says the demon.
"I try," says Chloe. "Someone has to be."
"He didn't tell you a word of it, and still, you put it together." The demon shakes his head, pacing around her in a slow circle. She keeps her chin up, her eyes focused on the far wall, counting cracks in the concrete. "That's impressive, but ultimately useless."
"Is it?" asks Chloe. "You're building an army. I'm guessing Sam was supposed to be your general." She turns, meeting his gaze. "We both know why."
"That we do," says the demon, grinning down at her. His eyes gleam as they sweep over her, she doesn't shiver, but she wants to. His gaze is unsettling as hell. "You can't have him, you know. You can't have either of them."
The comment hits a nerve she'd forgotten she had. Narrowing her eyes, Chloe glares up at him. She's survived both Luthors, aliens, and more meteor freaks than Kelloggs' has cornflakes. Demon or no. She is not going to be scared.
"Just watch me."