Warnings: mild use of adult language
Summary: Post-Supernatural season 6 finale; Chloe Sullivan, who has been helping Castiel fight the war for souls, steps into Sam and Dean's lives and makes quite an impression.
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"I'm not an angel anymore. I'm your new God, a better one. So you will bow down and profess your love to me, your Lord, or I shall destroy you."
Dean, Bobby, and Sam stared in shock and horror, knowing better than to think it was a joke. Castiel didn't joke.
Desperate, Dean tried to reason with him again, "Cas...come on. This isn't you. It's the power talking. You've got to–" He stopped, swallowing tightly when Castiel gave him an ominous look.
"Cas, wait!" a woman's voice interrupted them from the top of the staircase. The three men looked up in surprise to see a delicate-looking blonde woman gazing down at Castiel.
"Chloe," Castiel greeted simply.
She rushed down the stairs, grinning, and once she reached the bottom, to everyone else's shock, she wrapped her arms around Castiel's neck and hugged him. "You did it. I knew you would. I knew everything would turn out all right."
Castiel, even the new Castiel, stood somewhat awkwardly, eventually patting her back lightly, as if part of him welcomed the hug but also felt like she should be quaking in fear, too. But she didn't. She released him and with an incredibly calm expression, she spoke to him as she always had. "Castiel, please don't kill them. You'll regret it later if you do. You love these guys."
"I can always bring them back," Castiel said with that eerie matter-of-fact mannerism he had, and their three companions flinched.
If Chloe was surprised by this response, she didn't show it, and she recovered quickly. "Y–es," she said slowly, "but Castiel, please, I'm asking for loving and merciful here, not vengeful and spiteful. Please." She gave him a fervent look.
The other three looked on as their fates lay in the hands of this inexplicable woman. Each felt as though he should do something but kept his mouth shut for fear of making things worse.
"They're just in shock right now. It's a lot to take in. You know they love and respect you, but they're only human after all. It takes time to register something like this."
"You seem to be taking it well," Castiel said dryly, narrowing his eyes.
Chloe smirked, but Dean caught the slight flush on her face. "Yeah, well, I'm a woman. I handle change better."
There was a momentary pause as Castiel seemed to consider this, but Chloe might have been more nervous than she let on. With a wary glance at Sam, she continued, bringing her voice down a little lower, as if she didn't want the others to hear.
"Please, Cas, let me take them out of here. You know that Sam needs my help right now. He won't last much longer in this state. I can take care of him. All of them," she added. "Besides, I imagine you have other things to deal with right now."
It appeared she had played her final card, Dean realized, because she took a nearly imperceptible step back and waited for Castiel to make a decision.
Finally, he nodded, saying simply, "Fine," and Dean couldn't prevent the audible sigh of relief he released. Bobby shot him a warning look that said quite clearly, "Don't blow the deal, ijit."
The blonde woman–Chloe–seemed to be thinking along the same lines as she shot Dean a similar look.
When they turned back to Castiel, he had vanished.
Dean frowned. "What the–"
"Shut up. Where's the Impala?"
"Your car, Dean, where's your car?" Chloe said. "We're leaving. Yesterday," she added for emphasis, leading the way up the stairs. "Somebody help Sam."
Dean, disliking being in the dark when she clearly knew everything, started to protest. "Listen–"
"Dean," she interrupted, glancing over her shoulder, "now."
Dean looked at his brother, who was on the verge of collapsing, and rushed to him, throwing Sam's arm over his shoulders so he could help his brother up the stairs. He glanced at Bobby, who still looked stunned at everything that had happened. "Bobby?" he growled.
Bobby started slightly and made his way up the stairs after Chloe.
Satisfied, Chloe nodded to herself. "And the car?" she added.
"Side of the road out back."
Growling under his breath about high-handed blondes, Dean shoved a hand in his pocket and–though everything in him screamed in protest–tossed her the keys.
At least she drives well, Dean grumbled to himself in the back seat, his eyes darting nervously from his trembling brother to the mystery-woman driving his car.
Bobby had been the first to belt out questions to her, but she had refused answers, saying it could all wait until later.
As she pulled into the parking lot of a large hotel, however, Dean was getting impatient.
"First we need to get Sam upstairs. He's not going to last much longer."
Indeed, Sam was now shivering, going into some sort of shock, or possibly a seizure, so Dean staid his arguments, if only for the moment. Instead he leapt out of the car, rushing to the other side to help Sam out. "Where are we?" he asked Chloe when she stepped out of the car, closing the passenger door when Bobby got out and then tossing a valet the keys.
"My penthouse," she said calmly, standing beside Bobby. "Bobby," she looked at him, "I imagine there are some phone calls you need to make as soon as possible."
He looked surprised, but nodded.
She pulled a wallet out of her back pocket and fished out some cash, handing it to him. "Take a cab home. That should cover it." He looked ready to protest, but Chloe smirked. "I'll have them call and fill you in when I've finished answering their questions."
Bobby shook his head. "I'm too old for this," he muttered, as he started to head for the waiting line of taxis queued beside the hotel.
"Bobby?" she called after him suddenly. He turned to look at her. "I–I'm sorry about Dr.–about Ellie. There was nothing I could do for her," she said sadly.
Chest tightening, Bobby made no reaction to her strange statement, but finally nodded his head in acknowledgement. "Sure," he said gruffly. He turned to Dean, who was holding a groaning Sam. "You call me the second you get the chance."
Dean was about to say something, but Chloe had appeared on Sam's other side, sliding her arm underneath him as well to help Dean. "Isn't someone going to have a problem with us half-carrying him through the lobby?" he demanded, getting fed up with the fact that every time he tried to ask something, she cut him off.
She only shook her head as they helped Sam toward the door. "No. I have a no questions policy with them. If someone does say something, he's my cousin. He was mugged outside a bar this evening and he has epilepsy."
Dean glared at her but her attention wasn't on him anymore. It was on a rather wrinkled doorman, who hadn't so much as raised an eyebrow at her peculiar companions.
"Miss Chloe," he greeted, nodding his head slightly, "do you require my assistance?" he asked.
Chloe smiled at him and shook her head. "Thank you, David, but we've got it."
"Yes, Miss," he conceded as they passed him. "You do bring home a lot of strays, don't you, Miss Chloe?"
Chloe laughed at his almost affectionate comment, "You have no idea, David. Have a good night," she said over her shoulder.
"You, too, Miss Chloe."
"Miss Chloe?" Dean echoed mockingly when the sliding doors had shut behind them and they started making their way through the gilded lobby. "And you live in the penthouse? What are you, some kind of heiress or something?"
Chloe laughed. "Hardly."
"How do you know Castiel?"
She sighed, "Dean, please, can we wait until we're upstairs?"
"How do you know my name?"
She gave a short, tired laugh as she hit the button for the elevator. "Castiel talks about you a lot."
"You've got to be kidding me."
She smirked. "Well, that, and he frequently vanishes mid-conversation because one of you is calling him. You're a rather demanding pair, you know that?" she asked.
Dean was about to respond, but the elevator arrived at that moment, and there was an operator inside.
"Hello, Miss Chloe," said a young man, who, like the doorman, was strangely unsurprised by her two male companions. "Top floor?" he asked pleasantly.
"Please," she gave a strained smile beneath Sam's weight.
"He all right?" the young man asked. "Anything I can do?"
Chloe shook her head. "We just need to get him upstairs. He had a nasty shock. He'll be fine."
He nodded, and that was the end. Apparently she really did have a no-questions policy at the hotel, Dean surmised. Who was this crazy woman?
When they made it to her suite, Dean had to do his best to keep his eyes from popping out. Even if he weren't accustomed to cheap motels with scratchy sheets, he would have had to appreciate the absolute luxury she appeared to be living in. "How do you afford this place?" he asked as they laid Sam on the couch. He looked at his violently seizing brother with worry. "What happened to him? Is he going to be all right?"
Chloe smiled softly at his sudden change of concern, and the obvious anxiety in his voice when his attention turned to his brother. "Balthazar set me up here," she answered his first question. "And yes. I'm going to take care of him. When Castiel..." she paused uncomfortably, then started again. "Sam's mind is completely back together. He remembers the last year. And he remembers Hell."
Dean looked sharply at her. "Cas did that to him? Cas tore down the damn wall?" he demanded angrily. "Shit," he swore.
But Chloe was shaking her head. "Not...not exactly. Cas tore down the wall that Death put up to protect Sam. After that...I imagine Sam experienced some sort of coma, the result of which was that he managed to piece his mind back together again...for better or worse," she muttered seriously.
Dean swallowed tightly. "You said you could help him. What are you going to do?"
Chloe was shrugging off her jacket, and for the first time, Dean noticed that she was wearing leather gloves. He wasn't sure why it seemed important, but for some reason the fact that she left them on caught his attention. "I'm going to try. I've never done anything like this before," she said. "This isn't so much a physical injury as it is his soul and–" she hesitated. "Well, I've never done anything like that," she repeated. "And I've already discovered that I have certain limits this week," she added ruefully.
"What are you talking about?" Dean asked, tired of her cryptic speech.
She took a deep breath and looked Dean in the eye. "I'm going to try to make this explanation quick, so you can know what's going on. But in exchange, I need you to follow my instructions to the letter, understand?"
Dean's instinct was to argue, but her expression stopped him. "Fine."
"As a result of excessive exposure to radioactive meteor rocks, a few years ago I developed a mutation, an ability." She took a deep breath. "I had the ability to heal people."
Dean gaped at her.
"One very long story later, I lost my power. A few months ago, Castiel approached me. He offered me a deal. He would restore my powers and give me the opportunity to save someone I had lost...someone who died because of me. In exchange, he asked me to help him in the battle for souls. By healing people, saving them when they were on the brink of death, I was able to procure souls without necessarily going against Fate. Unlike his brilliant Titanic idea," she added sourly, shaking her head.
Trying rapidly to keep up with what she was telling him, Dean stopped her. "You said you discovered your limits."
She nodded sadly. "I tried to save Dr. Eleanor. Apparently, there are some beings...some non-humans, that I have no effect on." She looked away, clearly not comfortable with admitting her own failures. "I tried."
"And you can help Sam?"
She nodded slowly, coming back to the present. "I think so."
"Well get a friggin' move on," Dean said, trying to hold his temper as Sam groaned in pain.
She huffed her breath impatiently. "I'm getting to that. Dean, when I first had my power, it came at a cost. When I healed a serious injury, I gave up my own life-force. I can't give without also taking. When Cas restored my power, he improved it, so that that doesn't usually happen anymore."
"Usually?" Dean repeated dubiously.
She nodded weakly. "It's like I said, Dean, I'm about to attempt to heal his soul. Not to mention his seriously over-burdened mind. Something like that isn't going to come without a cost," she warned. "I need you to promise me. No hospitals. No doctors. For the love of God, no morgues," she emphasized. "Put me in the bedroom and just let me be. Understand?"
He was cut off when Chloe suddenly kissed him.
"What the hell?"
She lifted a shoulder and dropped it, the corner of her mouth twitching. "This might not work out so great for me, and I always promised myself I'd do that if I ever met you."
"You are one crazy bitch."
Chloe wasn't paying him any attention anymore, though. As soon as she got her confirmation, she turned to Sam, rubbing a soothing hand over his forehead. "Okay, Sam. It's going to be okay."
Dean watched, transfixed, as she slipped off her gloves one finger at a time, and laid them delicately on the end table. Then she brushed the hair out of Sam's agonized face, closed her eyes, and rested a hand over his heart. Dean fell back a step in surprise when a brilliant white light began to emanate from her hand, slowly encompassing Sam.
Next (Chapter 2)