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Chloe is Strange

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“You were here today, Max,” I say, “You saved me! I’m still tripping on that… seeing you after all these years feels like-”.

“Destiny?” Max says almost wistfully.

I sigh and lean forward, resting my elbows on my knees.

Max seems a bit put off by my sudden mood swing and does her best to try and comfort me.

I feel her small hand caress my back, rubbing me up and down soothingly.

I stand up abruptly and walk towards the edge of the cliff.

I don’t need comforting… there’s only one thing I need.

“If this is destiny, I hope we can find Rachel. I miss her, Max,”.

She stands up and follows, setting herself right there beside me.

“This shit pit has taken away everyone I’ve ever loved… I’d like to drop a bomb on Arcadia Bay and turn it to fucking glass…” I say, feeling a familiar bitterness rise up and fill my chest.

Max stands there stiffly for a moment before taking a few steps back, grabbing at her head.

I turn to her curiously, she got a headache or something?

But no… she crumbles to her knees and moans in pain.

Ahhg, fuck,”.  

“Max?” I say, a bit more alarmed when she falls over.

“Max!”.

I rush to her side and prop her up, trying to pry her hands away from her face.

“Dude, what the fuck is wrong with you?!”.

Max struggles in my grasp, panting as if something were chasing her.

No...no...nononono. ” she moans before her eyes shoot open.

They look glazed and distant in a very familiar way.

Is she… high? Huh, way to go Max… I didn’t know you had it in you.

Max looks past me sitting in front of her and stares blankly over the cliff at the setting sun.

No… noo nononono,” she continues, forcing herself to get up, using me as support.

Damn, she must be having one hell of a trip… she’s hallucinating, I think, getting up with her.

Max shoves me away and staggers dangerously close to the edge.

I stop dead in my tracks, not wanting to startle her.

“Whoa… M- Max,”.

I carefully inch closer and grab her shoulder, swinging her around to face me.

A mixture of horror and relief is written all over Max’s face when she sees me.

“Chloe… you’re here,” she mutters, falling over a bit.

I catch her and settle her on the ground.

“I’m back. Oh, my Lord. This is real… it’s real. Oh man, this sucks…” she continues, her head whipping around as she takes in her surroundings.

“Max, what’s going on? You totally blacked out…” I tell her with great concern.

“I- I didn’t black out… I had another vision… the town is going to get wiped out by a tornado,” she says in a blind panic.

“Oregon gets about five tornados every 20 years. You just zoned,” I reassure her.

She’s definitely high.

“No, no. I saw it. I could actually feel the electricity in the air…” Max says, grabbing my hands and pulling them closer to her.

“Come on, take a breath okay…”.

“Chloe, I’m not crazy. But there’s something else I have to tell you. Something… Hardcore,”.

I nod slightly, “Talk to me, Max,” I say, allowing her to hold my hand, feeling as if that’s the only thing keeping her grounded.

“I had this same vision earlier in class… when I came out of it, I discovered I could reverse time. Like I said: not crazy”.

I shake my head a little, “But high, right?”.

“Listen to me. How do you think I saved you in the bathroom?” Max says, desperately trying to get me to believe her.

“By reversing time? Yeah, sure,” I say, resting my hand on her shoulder.

“I saw you get shot, Chloe. Saw you actually… die,” Max pauses and looks down at her right hand, “I was able to go back and hit the fire alarm…”.

“Okay. I see you’re a geek now with a great imagination, but this isn’t an anime or a video game,” I say bumping her shoulder as if saying jokes up, “People don’t have those powers, Max…”.

“I don’t know what I have… But I have it. And I’m scared shitless,” she says, shaking her head slightly.

With a light laugh, I say: “You need to get high. It’s been a hella insane fucking day…”.

Suddenly, Max pulls back and wipes at something on her face.

I look around us, seeing as small white things fall from the sky.

“What the hell is this?” I say, getting to my feet.

“Snowflakes…” Max replies.

“It’s like… 80 degrees… how?” I point out.

“Climate change,” Max says, getting to her feet, “Or a storm is coming,”.

I look at her in disbelief, watching my friend’s body be silhouetted by the setting sun, “Max, start from the beginning. Tell me everything…”.

Chapter Text

“Drink?” I ask, offering Max my beer bottle. 

She steps back in disgust, “Yuck”. 

“You are so cute- you haven’t changed a bit,” I say with a light laugh, “Okay, let’s do this. Can you go find 5 bottles while I prep the shooting range?”. 

Max rolls her eyes, “Beer and Guns, Nice combo”. 

“You can handle it. Now go find us 5 bottles. Pretty please?”. 

I make my signature ‘puppy eyes’ that I know Max can’t say no to and watch as she rolls her eyes again and goes off to find the bottles. 

I watch impatiently as she wanders through the yard, taking nearly 15 minutes to find all 5. 

“Thanks, Max,” I tell her with slight annoyance as she hands me the bottles. 

I set them up all in a neat little line, taking one last swing from my already started beer. 

“You’re serious about this…”. 

I nod and get into a shooting position, “We’re going to shoot all these bottles without wasting a single bullet! Max, you have to help me aim. Show me the way, Max”. 

Max sighs a little, “Aim a bit to the right,”. 

“Sir, yes sir!”.

I aim up and pull the trigger. 

The bottle explodes when the bullet hits it, sending green glass flying everywhere. 

“Oh yes! Did you see that shit Max?”. 

“Duh,”. 

“That was so fucking cool! Now for the second bottle. Okay, Max, where do I aim?”. 

Max smiles slightly and sighs again, “Aim slightly above,”. 

“Right between the eyes…” I announce, pulling the trigger again. 

Bang!  

The glass explodes again. 

“Watch out, Nathan,” I say, growing slightly trigger happy, “Now that is fun. Let’s pump up the volume and find me another target. I want to get creative here… give me something to shoot, Max”. 

“Let’s take out this wheel rim on your left,” Max says, sounding like she’s starting to enjoy herself. 

“Taking out the wheel rim now…”. 

I aim, steady myself and fire, watching as the bullet ricochets and hits the bottle. 

“Hella yes!”. 

“Nice shootin’, Tex,” Max says with a smirk. 

“Now that’s what I’m talking about!”. 

“Satisfied?”. 

“Like, never. So I want one more uber cool trick shot…”. 

“How about using that junker for a target now?” she suggests, pointing to a beat old car that sits on a heap of junk. 

I nod, “Dude I need a target before I shoot,”. 

Max hesitates for a moment, making me think she probably thinks this is a bad idea again. 

“Well, Max? *sigh* Okay, you’re too busy to help so I’m going to kill the car bumper,” I say, getting ready to aim. 

“Wait, no!” She says suddenly, “D- don’t shoot the bumper. H- how about aiming for the left tire?”. 

I turn to her confused for a minute, do you want to play or not, Max. Pfft, make up your damn mind, but then I realize she looks a little pale like she’s just seen a ghost. 

I brush it off without a second thought and ready my aim again.

“Adios, spinning wheel of death…”. 

Bang!  

I shoot but… nothing happens, so at first, I’m a little bit pissed but then the old junker starts to flip, it’s weight displaced, and crushes the remaining 3 bottles. 

“Ubercool,” I say as me and Max do our signature handshake, “I can’t believe this is for reals. My best friend is a superhero! Now it’s your turn to but a cap!”. 

I watch for a second as Max presses her hand against her head, seeming to be in pain.

“I- I don’t know,”. 

Suddenly her nose starts to bleed.

“Max, your nose. Damn…” I say, holding her up as she stumbles into me.

”I… don’t… feel so super..” Max mutter before falling limply into my arms. 

“Max!” I scream, catching her as we both hit the ground. 

Oh shit… oh shit, she passed out. 

Did she overuse her powers? 

“Max, Max! Can you hear me?” I say, lightly slapping her cheeks, seeing if that’ll wake her. 

It doesn’t work. 

“Shit, j- just hold on,” I say, bending down and picking Max up with surprising ease. 

She really light, but then again Max has always been super small, even when we were little kids. 

“I… I’ll get you somewhere safe,” I say scanning the junkyard for a safe place to take her. 

After a moment of thorough thinking, I decide on an old red junker clear across the yard. I carry her there and sit on the hood of the car, resting her head in my lap. 

I look down at her with genuine concern because I feel partly responsible for her passing out. 

Tears well in the corners of my eyes, “Please say something, Max,” I say, rubbing my hand down her shoulder, “Please wake up, Max. Please?”. 

I can’t help not to cry a little, I mean… Max has… Max has always meant a lot to me even a kid, like a lot and I don’t want to lose her. 

Ugh, who am I trying to kid. 

Max has been my childhood crush for like, as long as I was aware of my feelings. 

“Max…” I say, realizing she’s starting coming to. 

I don’t even know if she likes me back, or any more than just a friend. 

“Come on, Maxie. Wake up,” I say, wiping my face on my jacket and assuming my ‘tough punk’ look. 

Max moans painfully and sits up, her hand still places against her temples. 

“Y- you freaked me out there. Do you feel any better now?” I ask. 

“A little,” she mumbles, “Thanks for helping me, just… give me a minute…”. 

“T- to much excitement for Arcadia?”. 

“Maybe not enough,” Max says, slowly getting to her feet, “T-this is kinda fun. Scary and stupid, but fun”. 

I nod and lay back on the hood of the car, “Let me know when you feel okay,”. 

She nods and wonders around for a bit, even taking a quick snapshot of me before eventually giving me a look that tells me she's ready to play again.

"Okay, looks like you’re ready to lock and load,”. 

“I- I don’t know about this…” Max says, seeming hesitant again. 

“Are you afraid of getting in trouble? Oh boo hoo, Max is afraid! I know you can handle this. And I’m here to guide you. Make me proud sista!” I say, sliding the gun into her hand. 

She takes the gun in her hand, struggling to figure out how to hold the damned thing.

“Hey, it’s Thelma and Louise. Or is is Bonnie and Clyde” says a voice coming from our left. Max jumps and hides the gun behind her back just as the blond-bearded man walks up to us. 

“Excuse us, Frank” I say, pissed that our cover was blown by my dealer. 

“Oh sorry, Chloe. Don’t let me get in the way of your bonding. I heard the gunshots and the breaking glass. It’s cute that you’re playing with guns.Just like me at your age” he says, getting a little too close for comfort. 

I look the bastard up and down and shake my head, “We’re not anything alike, man”. 

“We both need money. In fact, you need it so bad that you owe me a shitload. Don’t you, Chloe? Huh?”. 

“You’ll get your money”. 

“Don’t they all say that? Y’know, even when they’re broke and acting tough…”. 

Max shuffles anxiously behind me, drawing Frank’s attention to her.

“What are you hiding there, girlie? Let me see!”. 

He points at her with a shaky hand, his jacket rolling up and revealing a bracelet.

“Where did you get that bracelet?” I ask, anger bubbling up in me. 

“A friend,” Frank replies, backing off from Max, and it’s none of your goddamn business. You’re my business and now I-”. 

“That’s Rachael’s bracelet. Why the fuck are you wearing her bracelet?” I snap again. 

“Calm yourself, alright? It was a gift,”. 

“No it wasn’t. You stole that shit. Give it to me right now asshole”. 

Like the dumbass I am I go to grab the bracelet from Frank only to have him pull his blade on me. 

“You better step back before you regret it, girl. I mean it. You me to cut you, bitch?”. 

I step back and raise my hands up in surrender, turning to Max, watching as she holds the gun on Frank. 

“P-please… please step back” she says, her voice shaking a bit. 

I let my guard down and step back, wondering if she’s actually going to shoot him. 

“You’re kidding. Put that down,”.

Max looks at me for a split second before swallowing her fear and pulling the trigger. 

CLICK.  

Shit… it’s empty, well, I guess that’s a good thing. 

“That is hilarious! Oh man… I’ll remember you kid. I’ll remember that you almost shot me. And you’ll wish I had no memory, because I never forget,” Frank says as he shakes the knife in front of her face. “You have until Friday to pay me. Don’t ever pull crap like this again- it will be the last time you do,” he says, making his point by holding the knife in front of me, “Try bullets next time, brainiacs”. 

I watch as he walks away and mentally flip him off, asshole.  

“Sorry,” Max says suddenly, sighing unevenly. 

She looks genuinely freaked out so I lean in and embrace her, “You were awesome. Thanks for standing up for me…*sigh* let’s blow. My secret lair didn’t feel so secret today. At least Frank is gone, he won’t fuck with us again. He just want his money”. 

I take the gun back and walk off toward the train tracks. 

*sigh* There’s no way this day could get any stranger.

Chapter Text

The soft hues of pink light that flood into my room is one of the first things I see when I wake up. 

The next thing I see… is Max. 

She’s sound asleep next to me, her soft, sweet, calm breathing sounding like music to my ears. 

It’s been a while since I’ve woken up to the sound of someone next to me, and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t miss it. 

I sigh inwardly and continue to watch the small brunette that rests beside me. 

God, she got pretty, I think to myself, trying to ignore the blush that’s settled on my cheeks. 

I’ve crushed on girls before… but not like this, not with someone I’ve known almost my whole life. 

Just give it up… do you really think she likes you back? She left you. Forgot all about you. Bitch didn’t even give you a reason why she never called and you just let her waltz back into your life like it’s no big deal. 

“Stop,” I growl softly to myself, wanting the little insecure voice in my head to shut up. 

Max came back… she’s here and I let her back into my life in a heartbeat… in a heartbeat. 

I sigh audibly and turn back to Max, feeling her shift slightly. 

Shit, she’s waking up! Play dead! 

So, as Max groggily wakes herself up, I pretend to be asleep, continuing to watch her through half closed eyes. 

She rubs her eyes and turns to me for a second before stretching out and  looking up at the cracked ceiling. 

She stays there for a moment before reaching down for something resting on the ground. 

Her camera? I think, smiling to see her pulling it up from under the mattress. 

Max positions my dad’s old Polaroid in front of herself, seeming to be trying to get in into the frame as well. 

Now’s your chance! I think to myself as I sit up and get myself right up in the picture. 

“Photobomb!”. 

She turns to me and smiles, “Photo-hog!”. 

Max rests her head against mine as I rest my chin against her shoulder. 

Max smells like… chlorine and… green apples? Huh... 

The flash from her camera breaks me from my thoughts as we both pull away.  

Way to be a weirdo, Chloe… sniffing your best friend.  

I sigh inwardly and roll over on my side as Max puts her camera away. 

“It feels like a different world from yesterday…” she says, propping herself up on her elbows. 

“We left a skidmark on Blackwell last night” I reply, smiling my dumb smile. 

“Like it needs another one. I’d like to do something good for my school and Arcadia Bay. I can’t even submit my photo to represent… I just don’t want to be rejected” Max says, turning around so now we’re both facing each other. 

“Every great artist gets rejected before they get accepted. So you have to enter a photo,” I say with gentle encouragement. 

“Even though I’m pimping the school and town you want to torch?”. 

“Come on, I don’t want to see Arcadia Bay burn to the shore, I just say shit like that because I’ve been trying to get out of here since- since you left, basically”. 

I roll over and face away from her for a moment as I grab the remote for my Hi-Fi, not really wanting max to see the still fresh pain on my face from bringing up those lost five years.  

She doesn’t care that she lost contact, or… blatantly decided to ignore your text. This bitch doesn’t care about you and she never will.  

I shut my eyes tight and turn on my music, willing the voice to piss off and take hike. 

Max does care about me… she wouldn’t be here if she didn’t. 

“If I could find Rachel, then pay Frank off, I’m still leaving to start a whole new life…”. 

"I wish we could just hang out all morning like when we used to… Maybe we should get up, I have to get back to Blackwell soon” Max says as we both lay back down. 

“Oh, does the schoolgirl have a test today?” I tease lightly. 

“I’m starting to feel like going to Blackwell every day is a test. I just need to get on my regular school schedule again”. 

I stay quiet for a moment, sorta glad to hear that Max isn’t pissing away her scholarship like I did. 

“I am so wiped out from last night. But it was so worth it,” I finally say. 

Max giggles a little, “I have to ponder what kind of criminal I’ve become”. 

“Last night was only the tip of the iceberg”. 

“I have to admit, it was pretty cool to take over the Blackwell gym”. 

“Today the gym, tomorrow the world. We need to step it up,” I say cheerfully. 

“We still need to be careful how I use my power… I don’t want to get stuck in time”. 

Finally, after a few more minutes of silence, Max rolls out of bed, getting herself ready for the day. 

I watch as she wonders around my room, searching for her clothes. She finds them sprawled out on the chair next to my desk.

“Ew. Still reeks like a chlorine factory” she says, recoiling from the smell. 

“See if you can find a suitable outfit in my fashion hole” I say, pointing to my closet. 

She nods and trots up to the closet, pushing it open and looking inside. 

I catch sight of a few key items and smile, slowly crawling out f bed to join her, “Hey, there you go! Rachel left a bunch of her clothes with me… she’s your size”. 

“But not exactly my style” Max replies with a timid laugh. 

“Max, you don’t have a style yet. At least give it a try. You can always rewind back to your chlorine brand T-shirt and generic jeans”. 

“You suck, I like my shirt and jeans… but it would be cool to try on Rachel’s clothes, just to see if they fit”. 

I laugh. 

“Stop second guessing yourself, Max!” I say, giving her shoulders a light shake, “Put this on and let your inner punk-rock girl come out! You can afford to take chances! When and whatever you want to try”. 

I swallow hard and voice my next thought. 

“For example, I dare you to kiss me!”. 

Max’s face goes red, “What?”.

It’s now or never Price!

“I double dare you. Kiss me now”. 

Before I can even blink, Max steps forward, rests one hand on the side of my face, the other on my shoulder… and kisses me. 

Holy shit.  

I pull back in surprise, startled that she actually kissed me. 

“D- damn, you’re hardcore, Max! Now I can text Warren and tell him he doesn’t stand a chance… unless he’s into girl on girl action” I say, quickly and subtly retreating back to my bed. 

“You’re such a dork”. 

I avert my gaze as she changes, desperately trying to wrap my head around the fact that Max Caulfield, my best friend just kissed me. 

Calm your gay ass down, it was a dare… it doesn’t mean anything the voice in my head says, and for once… I ignore it because I know. 

That kiss… it meant something.