A nasty wind is whipping down the narrow streets, weak late autumn sunlight only adding to the somber mood. The 5-0 are busy, distracted, wanting to get home and as far as Dean's concerned, the fewer the cops, the better.
He's busy arguing with Sam, again, when he notices the cute blonde standing at the edge of the police tape. She looks out of place, which is to say, she looks like them. A little too young to be hanging around crime scenes. A lot
too cute to be that interested in blood and gore.
He sends Sam off to talk to the authorities with some bullshit about "looking more responsible". Sam's happy with that and leaves Dean to gather the "color commentary".
Dean's pretty sure that Sam didn't intend for it to come from her.
Even though it's a good try, Dean can spot a fake agency ID a mile off; it's one of the many skills he's acquired for the family business. He has to give her points, though. It takes balls to play like you're one of the guys from Homeland Security (he ought to know), but she's working the steely glare, just daring him to call her bluff.
It's written all over her face. EPA agent, my ass.
And what an ass it is.
Fuck me, he thinks. It might be love.
Dean hums happily along with the old Zeppelin tape as they drive through the city. Meanwhile, Sam scowls and broods and offers a hundred different perfectly logical reasons why this is a bad idea.
They work alone, he says. How can we trust her, he asks. You're being led around by your dick.
"Maybe you're right, little brother. But this chick?" Chloe, he remembers, grinning. "She knows things."
Sam looks at him pointedly from across the car. Dean looks back and with four words he effectively ends the discussion.
"And she doesn't flinch."
It's an old building, a single room at the end of the hall, right by the stairs. Smart pick, he notes, just as the door opens wide enough for them to see in. Their jaws drop at the sight, and Chloe grins.
"Gentlemen, welcome to the Wall of Weird, version 2.0." She extends an arm and sweeps it around acting as the hostess for the most bizarre game show Dean's ever seen.
It's like his dad's journal has exploded all over her studio apartment. Newspaper clippings, glossy photos, handwritten notes and bits of various things --
"It must've taken you years to collect this much," Sam whispers, like he's trying not to disturb anything.
Chloe shrugs and looks at Dean. "I started young, and my high school years were very active."
Oh, really? He just cocks and eyebrow and waits. And?
Trying to stifle a laugh, and not doing a very good job of it, she weaves through the room -- piles of textbooks and small stacks of newspapers everywhere -- to her closet. When she whips back the curtain, some sari fabric by the look of it, he can tell that half the space is occupied by one giant filing cabinet.
After a few minutes of searching through a drawer, Chloe re-emerges with a fat manila file folder. "I think this is what we've been looking for." She passes the file to Sam before turning to close the curtain once more. When she turns around, she catches Dean peeking over her shoulder.
"What?" he mouths and tries to look innocent.
Rolling her eyes, Chloe just smiles and motions for Dean to take a seat on her bed (thankfully devoid of any stuffed animals) as Sam starts to read from the file, dropping into her desk chair as he does so. For a second Dean wonders where Chloe's going to sit, but then she answers the question for him.
She drops down on the bed, sitting next to him, but not touching. She stretches back lazily, bracing all her weight on her arms. She's heard the file before, hell she wrote it, so she can afford to step back.
To Dean, there's nothing sexier than women with confidence to burn.
They lock eyes again, and it's intense. They're grinning at each other like fools. Then she forms the words without speaking.
"I don't believe it."
Parked side by side, the Impala and Chloe's VW look like long lost cousins; well, at least the trunks do.
"Wow, is that a Blackhawk Gladius?" He knows he is geeking out, and bad, but Dean can't help it. "I've been trying to convince Sammy that we need one of these!"
"You just want it because it's new and shiny. If it came out of a cereal box, it wouldn't make any difference to you."
Pawing through the rest of the gear in her trunk, Dean responds absently, "Depends on what kind of cereal."
Sam throws up his hands in defeat and walks off muttering something about "kids and their toys". Next to Dean, Chloe is looking through the Impala's trunk. She is careful not to touch anything -- "Guns? No thanks; give me my laptop any day." -- but she's still curious.
Meanwhile, in the far left corner of the VW's trunk, Dean finds something plastic and...flexible?
"Oh. Kinky." He stands up and dangles the set of Flexicuffs from his thumb, looks at Chloe expectantly.
She backs out of the trunk with his 16" Tac Light. It's his pride and joy. "Says the guy who owns this. Compensating for something, are we?"
Chloe leans against his car, holding the flashlight provocatively in her small hands. She has to know exactly what she's doing; otherwise her smile wouldn't be so wicked.
It's lucky that he chases wicked things for a living.
He takes the two steps to close the gap between, and stands close; leans in and braces his arms on either side of her small frame. "Do you really want an answer to that?"
"Okay," Dean says, his voice low. His heart's beating against his chest like he is fifteen and it's his first real date all over again. Leaning down, he pushes her hair behind her ear and lets his lips brush the outer shell. "Then tell me what the Flexicuffs are for."
Her body tenses against his. A moment later she relaxes and leans into him, one hand braced on his chest. Chloe tilts her face up and smirks, "When I knock people unconscious, I like them to stay down."
Dean nods his head. "Fair enough."
"Now I have a question."
"A sixteen inch flashlight? Isn't that excessive? It's not like those few extra inches are going to make the beam any brighter."
"Well, like you said," he can't help laughing. "When I knock people unconscious, I like them to stay down."
"Now, I was about to kiss you, wasn't I?"
It's what Sam calls a rhetorical question, so Dean just lets his body drift forward, mouth coming to meet Chloe's, his hand cupping the back of her head, fingers threading through her hair. And then -- contact. There's no hesitation, and all at once it's like, yes! and awesome!, and right away they've got this give and take rhythm going, push and pull and god, what's
she doing with her teeth? Fucking fantastic.
And then, "Don't you guys need to get going?"
Sam's voice makes it around the corner before he does. Dean knows that tone -- this is the impatient, pinched one. The one Sam uses when he can't believe that Dean is the older brother.
They separate, and for his part Dean tries not to look guilty.
"Right. We were just finishing up here."
Chloe lifts something out of her trunk and then closes it. "Just need to get one more thing and we're ready to go."
He and Sam see it at the same time. "Rope?" they ask, boggled.
Chloe looks at them like they're morons. "Always have rope. Haven't you guys ever seen Boondock Saints?"
"As first dates go, so far this one's not half bad."
"We just crawled through a tunnel of muck, are currently sitting in a smelly basement, and whatever's in that fractal? Is about to come out. And it's pissed. So tell me," Dean asks irritably, shaking god knows what off his hands, "how can do you consider this to be a good date?"
"Well," she yells, over the loud hissing of the opening fractal in front of them. "For one thing, you haven't tried to kill me yet!"
"Who the hell have you been dating?!"
"So." He yawns and does the classic reach around so his arm drops oh so naturally on Chloe's shoulder. The Impala was made for this move. "These guys you've been dating. You don't go in for the hero type?"
Funny, the charm usually doesn't make them laugh this hard.
"I'm sorry," Chloe says, recovering. "It's just, well, a really long story."
"Have something to do with the arsenal in the trunk of your car?"
She nods in the affirmative as she leans over into his space. For a second Dean thinks that she's going to kiss him, but Chloe just hovers, her lips millimeters from his. "Lots."
And then she kisses him, and he thinks numbly that deprivation does have its benefits. The kiss is short and sharp and fierce, but way too brief for his tastes, because Chloe pulls away and starts laughing.
This is really, really not how things usually go.
"What is that?" she asks, pointing to the radio.
"Side one, Led Zeppelin IV!" Chloe's curled into the passenger seat, still laughing. "Just for that, you don't get a shower; the gardener's hose is around back. And Sam gets to sleep on the futon, you can have the floor."
"It was an accident!"
He figures maybe all isn't lost when Chloe leans through the car window and kisses him one last time before going inside.
"She knew, Sam! How did she know?"
"Uh, maybe she watched Fast Times at Ridgemont High just like you did."
Dean considers this for a moment. "Dude, that is so hot!"
"What, that she's seen the movie or that she didn't fall for your lame ass move?"
"Well, look at it this way: She's lives smack dab in the middle of the country. Odds are we'll be passing through here soon enough; you can try again."
The open road stretches before them, a whole world of demons and spooks to fight. And though Sam doesn't know it yet, they've got a detour to make. A little town called Smallville is just calling their names.