Title: City of Weird
Author: Jinni (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Disclaimer: All things AtS belong to Joss Whedon, et al. All things Smallville belong to DC Comics, the WB, et al.
Distribution: The normal places.
Author's Notes: For 20 Minutes with Connor. Also a sort of response to Malana's challenge at the forums... even though it doesn't really answer the challenge at all. I only had 20 Minutes *grin*
Spoilers: Anything is game for either show.
Summary: She didn't like this city, with its darkness and unfamiliarity.
She didn't like this city, with its darkness and unfamiliarity. Didn't like the fact that she was far from everyone that she loved and cared for... far from the people she needed most to help her grieve for the father that had done his best for her through good times and bad.
But none of that mattered because she, Chloe Sullivan, had lost all control of her own destiny. Lex pulled the strings now and she was as thankful of that as she knew how to be, given the circumstances she found herself in. It was *his* father, after all, that had necessitated all of this. The crying, the pain, the hiding - all Lionel Luthor's fault.
And maybe a little her fault, too, she knew deep down. That damn reporter instinct, that burning passion to always have the whole truth no matter what the cost. If she had just been a little less knowledgeable maybe she would have never ended up on Lionel's twisted radar. But that wasn't what had happened. She'd learned too much, saw too much, and agreed to tell too much in a court of law, against the very man that she knew very well she should have been afraid of. She'd trusted that she could be protected. That she was doing the right thing and that she would be okay. That the world would be a better place because of her actions.
And now her father was dead and she as hiding out. Not in Metropolis or even Gotham, cities that she at least knew. No, Lex had put her in Los Angeles. The last place he hoped his father would ever think to look for her. He would protect her where others had failed, he promised. He swore that he'd make this right... but the look in his eyes had said that he knew without a shadow of a doubt that nothing would ever be 'right' for her again.
Her father was dead. Nothing could bring him back.
She stifled a sob and kicked at a soda can that littered the sidewalk in front of her, uncaring of the loud noise it made as it skittered away, off of the curb and into the gutter. For all that she'd seen the darker side of Metropolis, Chloe had to think that LA was worse. There was just something that was off about the way the shadows moved, the way the darkness was sudden and complete as it took over each day at sunset.
Maybe it was that creepiness that kept most people in this neighborhood inside at night. This was the second night that she'd decided to take a walk to clear her mind, try to ease her pain, and the second night that she'd found herself virtually alone, with only the occasional passing car to keep her company.
She turned down a side street, intending to circle the block and go back to the small, but nicely furnished, apartment that Lex was providing for her... only to come to a halt as a cool hand wrapped around her wrist, dragging her into the shadows.
A scream tore from her mouth before she could stop it, ringing through the empty streets where no one would hear it. Streetlight caught her assailant's face --
Something for the Wall of Weird if she lived through the experience, she told herself in that non-frantic part of her mind as she continued to struggle against the vice like grip on her wrist.
"You smell so good..." The thing snarled through jagged teeth, glowing yellow eyes the only thing that she could see with any regularity.
Were there meteor mutants everywhere?
She kicked out, catching the thing in the leg. With a yelp, it released her arm and, stumbling only once, she began to run.
Taunting whispers haunted her in the darkness above the pounding of her heart, the bitter taste of fear in her mouth. How unfair was it that she'd lived through the bombing only to die from some sick freak in a dark alley?
God, where was Clark to save the day when she really needed…
She screamed as she was grabbed from behind, guttural growls tickling too close to her ear.
“Let her go.”
Not Clark… but definitely heroic-sounding.
The creature released her with a sharp push, sending her sprawling to the ground. Her hands stung as they hit the sidewalk and scraped on the uneven asphalt but even as she came to that crashing stop she was moving again, climbing to her knees as the sound of a fight broke out just a few short feet away.
She turned towards the fight and couldn’t stop her mouth from dropping open at the sight. They had stumbled into the dim glow of a streetlight and now she could see her attacker for the horror that he was. Far from one of the normal looking mutants that sometimes graced Smallville, this creature was something straight out of a horror movie and she unconsciously took a few steps back and away.
The other fighter, the one that she assumed had rescued her, moved with fluid grace. He looked like he was about her age and dressed like many boys of their time, baggy clothes. His hair was medium brown and sort of long. In desperate need of a good cutting was the first thing that came to her mind, as ungracious as it sounded.
He reached over his shoulder as he dodged a punch, sliding a –
… sword? He had a sword, her mind supplied numbly, an entire second before he used that same sword for the one thing swords were good at – cutting. The creature’s head tipped back…and then exploded into ash along with the rest of the body.
“Ick.” She muttered, taking a wary step closer, one eye on her supposed savior as she glanced curiously at the pile of dust that represented the creature’s corpse. “What was that?”
He cocked an eyebrow at her. “Vampire.”
“Vampires don’t exist.”
“Of course they don’t.”
The sneer, his open hostility, took Chloe back a step – literally. She frowned, crossing her arms over her chest.
“No,” she shook her head. “Not until you answer my questions.”
The moment the words left her mouth she snapped it shut again, wincing without even meaning to. This was exactly what had gotten her into trouble before. Putting her nose where it didn’t belong… where it was obvious no one wanted it. She sighed. “Look – thanks for saving my life – Help me out with a name?”
“You don’t know your name? Did he hit you on the head?” The young man’s frown was back.
“No – your name, dufus.” She rolled her eyes. “Mine’s Chloe.”
“Why do you want to know my name?”
“Awfully defensive for the hero-type aren’t you? Just my luck that I get saved by a rude, brooding…”
“I do not brood.”
“I beg to differ,” she quipped. “You’ve got the brooding down pat. Tall, dark and handsome with a side of scowl. I just want to know your name so I know who saved me.”
He considered the request for all of a few seconds before snapping. “Connor. Now will you go home? It isn’t safe out here.”
Chloe’s eyes glanced over the pile of ash that sat between them, all that remained of the thing that had tried to… whatever… Vampire or not, it was dead.
And, as curious as she was, the pain of her past curiosities still left her aching inside.
“I can see that. Thanks for saving me.”
She could feel his eyes on her as she walked away. And while she didn’t hear him and could never see him even when she turned to look, she was pretty sure that he followed her home. It was creepy in a stalker-ish kind of way.
But it made her feel a little safer, knowing he was out there.
Even if he was a little ruder than she usually liked her men.
And if she felt a little better tomorrow night, if she could alleviate any of this guilt she was feeling… maybe she’d seek him out for answers to some of those questions that were already burning in her mind.