Title: The Last Chance Texaco
Fandom: Supernatural & Smallville
Characters: Dean Winchester, Chloe Sullivan and Sam Winchester
Disclaimer: The characters you know and love all belong to their respective creators.
Summary : Dean and Sam are invited to Chloe and Jimmy's wedding, much to Chloe's surprise.
The Last Chance Texaco
Dean was still sleeping when Sam returned from his morning errands laden with coffee, donuts, and a month's worth of mail from one of their P.O. boxes.
He set Dean's coffee on the night stand, figuring the aroma would wake his brother soon enough. Sam settled in at the table in the kitchenette area and began perusing the mail. They needed some new credit cards - but it wasn't an application that caught his attention.
The over sized enveloped was addressed in flowing calligraphy to him and Dean. Carefully, he opened the invitation wondering who they both knew that might want them at this kind of event.
Sam stared at the embossed lettering which declared that Chloe Anne Sullivan was to marry James Olsen. He read the names twice more, wanting to be sure he'd digested the information correctly before he registered that the date was only days away.
Chloe was getting married. He wouldn't have thought the independent reporter would ever want to settle down. She'd stumbled upon them during a hunt which had revealed their world to her. Chloe had then spent the better part of last year traveling with them while chasing stories for the Daily Planet.
They'd parted ways after she'd had one doomed hook-up with Dean. Chloe was gone before Sam had even figured out what had happened. It was only because Dean had moped for months, refusing to chase after her that Sam knew his brother had screwed up somehow. He never did get the whole story.
Now, Chloe wanted them at her wedding. It didn't make sense but he couldn't wait to see what Dean would do. Usually, Dean was as predicable as the sunrise, but Sam never had gotten the truth about his relationship with the fiery blonde reporter.
Sam looked over to see that the aroma of coffee was having its desired affect, sleeping beauty was waking up. A hand snaked out from under the covers and tentatively felt for the coffee. Like a whale breaching the ocean surface, Dean threw off the blankets and grasped the morning elixir, sighing as he downed the first sip.
Sam watched this morning ritual with amusement and waited for the right moment. Dean had just taken a large gulp of his brew when Sam finally spoke: "Chloe's getting married in five days."
He only wished he'd thought to take out his camera before he'd spoken. The spit take that Dean produced was one for the ages. Coffee flew every where as Dean sputtered for breath.
"Not funny, Sam!" His brother snapped, wiping dribbles of liquid from his face.
Sam was laughing so hard he couldn't catch his breath. "Its true," he gasped out.
Dean glared at him, droplets still clinging to his chin. That only served to increase Sam's mirth as he held up the embossed invitation for his brother to see.
Dean stalked over and ripped the card out of his hand. Watching the color drain from his brother's face killed his good humor. "Dean, you okay?"
The elder Winchester didn't say a word as a determined look crossed his countenance. He threw the card down on the table, glared once more at Sam and began rooting around for something to wear.
Sam watched him dress and begin packing, all with out saying a word or losing the single-mindedness that had taken over his bearing.
"Dean," he broached again tentatively.
"Pack it up, Sam. We're going to Smallville," Dean snapped without deviating from his task.
"You can't be serious. I'm sure Chloe didn't really expect us to come." Sam wouldn't mind seeing his friend again and they were between hunts, but something about Dean's demeanor had him on high alert. This was not the reaction he had been expecting. Dean should have been making some snarky remark or even denigrating Chloe's choice. He shouldn't have looked – what –– upset? No, it was more than that. Sam couldn't put his finger on it but Dean was definitely troubled by the idea that Chloe was getting married.
Dean flung the last of his belongings into the duffle before responding. "She's possessed and we have to save her. Of course we're going." He slung the bag over his shoulder and headed for the door
Sam strode over and grabbed Dean's arm, forcing him to look at him. "That's your first thought, that she must be possessed. How about she's happy and loves Jimmy?"
"No way she voluntarily marries that goober. Has to be a spell or maybe a curse," Dean growled as he yanked his arm free. "Now grab your gear. Rubber hits the road in five." Dean stormed out of the hotel room, slamming the door behind him.
His brother had lost it. Sam wasted no time gathering up his things. He didn't think Dean would leave him behind yet he wasn't taking any chances. The wedding was five days away and they were at least two days from Kansas. It was going to be a long, strange ride.
They had been driving for over an hour in tense silence. Dean's lead foot was in full force and Sam calculated that at this rate they'd be in Kansas by the next afternoon if Dean didn't wrap the Impala around a pole first.
Sam decided this had gone on long enough. "You want to tell me what's going on?"
Dean sent him a look that said 'I already told you' before turning his attention back to the road.
Sam shifted in his seat to face his brother's profile so he could better study Dean's reaction. "I'm not taking about your stupid possession theory. It's been almost a year. Why are you so hot to see Chloe now?"
Glancing over, Dean sent Sam a nonchalant smirk. "Come on Sammy. She's in trouble. I'm just doing my job."
"Bullshit!" Sam snapped. "You never told me what happened, but after she left you moped around for weeks."
"I did not mope," Dean insisted.
Sam sighed. After Chloe left, Dean had been characteristically stoic about what had led to her departure. Sam had tried emailing his friend but Chloe too had been unresponsive which made the wedding invite all that more peculiar.
Sam was determined to find out what had happened between Chloe and Dean. Before they barged in and disrupted her wedding, Sam had to know the truth.
"Dude, you are so full of it," Sam said. "You are going there to break up her wedding. The possession is just an excuse."
"Just drop it, will ya?"
"Not happening." Sam stared at his brother. "I know you two hooked up and then you dumped her. You've misused lots of women in the past but, dude, Chloe deserved better."
"That's not what happened." Dean paused. "Well not exactly."
"It's a long trip and I'm not going anywhere. So spill."
"What are you a little girl? We are not having this conversation."
Sam crossed his arms and glared at his brother.
Dean shook his head and let out sigh. "I screwed up," he said softly.
"I'm sorry, what did you say?" Sam asked knowing perfectly well what Dean had said. It was a relief to finally hear him admit it.
Dean spared a menacing glare at Sam but did not repeat his confession.
"How did you 'screw up'?" Sam used the annoying finger quotes to emphasize his point. He knew Dean hated when he did that. Sam felt the need to antagonize his brother. He smiled thinking that Chloe would appreciate him pissing off Dean in her honor.
"I left before she woke up," he admitted. "I was only going out to get some fresh air and then I thought I should get some coffee and before you knew it-"
"You disappeared for hours," Sam finished. He remembered that morning. Chloe had knocked on their motel room, all smiles, looking for Dean and when she found him gone her whole demeanor had changed. She had returned to her room without another word.
Sam hadn't figured out until later that they'd spent the night together. He had figured Dean was off with some random hookup. It never crossed his mind that it had been Chloe.
Dean had stumbled in after dinner, drunk with some lame story about how the Impala had broken down. He and Chloe barely acknowledged each other and two days later she was gone.
"I didn't - that is I --" Dean ran a hand through his hair as he struggled to find the words to explain his horrible treatment of Chloe. "I couldn't face her, ya know. And she – she was just so amazing and I wasn't thinking straight. When she left, I figured she was better off." Dean smiled ruefully. "I mean what kind of life is this anyway. She wasn't gonna stay, right?"
Dean looked at him for confirmation that letting Chloe go had been for the best. Sam was shocked at the hint of sadness he saw behind the façade of nonchalance. Then it hit him. "You fell in love with her."
Dean's eyes went wide before he scoffed an unconvincing. "No! That wasn't it at all."
Sam wasn't going to argue but now it all made sense. Dean had bolted as the reality of his feelings for Chloe hit him and being the idiot he was, had no idea how to express them to her. Sam wondered if it was only today when Dean had seen the invitation that he'd finally acknowledged how much he really cared for her.
He also knew why Chloe had walked away. She'd given Dean the cold shoulder for his morning abandonment but the fool hadn't apologized. Chloe wasn't about to beg for an explanation; she could be just as stubborn as Dean.
"What ever you say, Dude."
"She was a nice girl and I treated her badly, that's all." Dean insisted. "Now I have a chance to do something for her and we'll be square."
"Still think she's possessed then?"
"Yep," Dean quipped.
"It couldn't be that she's found a nice guy that she wants to spend her life with?"
"Chloe doesn't need a nice guy," Dean grumbled. "She'd walk all over a nice guy."
"Then who does she need?" Sam looked pointedly at Dean.
Dean looked away in response.
The Impala sped up another five miles an hour and Sam figured it was time to drop the subject before they found out exactly what happens to a classic car when it breaks the sound barrier.
Sam settled back into his seat as silence reined again. He wondered how this was all going to play out. Dean was walking into an emotional battlefield and Sam didn't expect Chloe to be happy to seem them. Then again, she had sent the invitation. It wasn't like her to be petty and she hadn't spoken to either of them in a year. So why make contact after all this time?
Thinking about all this made his head hurt. In the end, Sam was just along for the ride. The best thing he could do was stay out of the way
They pulled up to The Talon, which housed Chloe's apartment above it. Sam wasn't sure what Dean would do once he found the blond reporter.
Dean exited the Impala and stood looking up at the building. As if coming to a decision, he moved purposefully around to the trunk and popped the latch.
"Dude, what are you doing?" Sam asked but already knew that Dean intended to gear up as if they were heading out on a hunt.
Ignoring Sam, Dean pocketed a flask of holy water. He was reaching for the EMF meter when Sam caught his hand. "You can't go in there armed for an apocalypse, dousing her with Holy water and then expect her to be happy when you're wrong."
Dean yanked his arm away and glared at his brother. "She'll thank me when she's herself again." He tried to reach into the trunk for another item but Sam blocked him.
"Dude, you can't do this," he snapped. "If you want to see her fine, but as a friend. I won't let you go in there ready for a fight."
They'd been having the same conversation for two days. Sam had figured out that Chloe represented something different to his brother. He was pretty sure that Dean was in love with her but Sam hadn't been able to get a straight answer from his brother after that one brief admission that he'd screwed up. Sam almost wished that Chloe really was possessed just to give Dean the chance to figure out his feelings.
"And if I'm right?" Dean challenged him.
"Come on! Enough with the possession already." When his brother continued to glare the challenge at him, Sam relented. "Fine! Bring the holy water but no tossing it unless I give the word."
Dean's glare turned into a grin. "Finally getting with program, Sammy." He slammed the trunk shut. "Let's go say hello to the bride," Dean said cheerfully and practically raced up the steps into The Talon
Sam was suspicious of the quick turn in his brother's demeanor. Just one more strange behavioral quirk in two days full of them. "I think you're the one possessed," Sam muttered to his brother's retreating back before moving to follow Dean into the coffee shop.
Chloe stared at the seating chart on the monitor, trying to glare the puzzle of proper relative placement into submission. This shouldn't be so difficult. Frustrated, she was debating wiping the file and starting over. In two days she'd be walking down the aisle and she still hadn't figured out who was sitting where. General admission was looking like a viable option and it might be fun to watch everyone fight it out like a bad game of musical chairs.
In two days she'd be Mrs. Jimmy Olsen. Usually focusing on that was enough to calm her frazzled nerves but as the big day crept closer the contentment that accompanied that thought was becoming increasingly elusive.
It's just stress, she thought as she once again rearranged table number five. Chloe was also a little miffed that Jimmy had found a reason to run off to work and avoid some of the more mundane tasks.
Once she was on the honeymoon, all the stress of the preparation behind her, she was sure she'd be able to recapture the feelings that had prompted her to say yes in the first place. Chloe pushed down the small voice that kept insisting that her inner turmoil was more than the traditional cold feet.
A pounding at the door brought her out of her musing. She was grateful for the interruption, though she couldn't fathom who would be looking for her at the apartment in the middle of the day.
Chloe opened the door without preamble and felt her jaw figuratively hit the floor.
"Hey Chloe," Sam said sending her a small wave before shoving his hands deep into the pockets of his jeans.
Chloe snapped her mouth shut before croaking out, "Sam? Dean?" Her disbelief was palpable as she stared at the two men standing in her doorway.
Dean smirked as he leaned against the door post. "Guess she's surprised to see us," he said to his brother.
"What are you doing here?" she demanded a little more forcefully than she'd meant too.
"Hey sweetheart you invited us," Dean reminded her as he pulled the invite from his pocket to wave it at her.
She was very sure that she hadn't. Chloe thought back to the mailing of the invitations. Lois had volunteered to handle the stamps and – damn her cousin. That had to be it.
When she'd run home after the blow-up with Dean last year, she'd confessed everything to Lois - maybe too much - about how she couldn't get the annoyingly sexy gun toting hunter off her mind. It seemed Lois had decided that Chloe had some unresolved issues with Dean and invited him to the wedding. What had Lois been thinking – that she might change her mind about marrying Jimmy? It didn't matter. Lois was in for a world of hurt next time Chloe saw her 'oh so helpful' Maid of Honor.
So now on top of all the wedding stress, she had the Winchesters on her doorstep. She wasn't sure how that made her feel but she wasn't about to admit that inviting them had been Lois' idea. "Oh, guess I did. Forgot," she lied.
"So," Sam began and gestured toward the inside of the apartment.
Before Chloe could respond, Dean brushed his way past her and headed to the couch where he promptly stretched out, plopping his feet on her coffee table. Chloe started at the contact he'd made as he passed and chided herself for the blush his momentary nearness had brought to her cheeks.
It wasn't right that he could still make her feel this way. She was getting married; she shouldn't even be noticing Dean. But she was. Damn him! If he hadn't been such an ass after the night they'd spent together then she wouldn't have left and – wait - what was she thinking? It was because she'd come back to Metropolis that she and Jimmy had found each other. She loved Jimmy and should be grateful that things had ended badly with Dean. So, why didn't she feel grateful?
Behind her Sam cleared his throat pulling her from her tumultuous thoughts. She turned to see him still standing in the hallway waiting. "Oh sorry," and gestured for him to come in. "Nice to know one of you has manners," she quipped.
"Someone has to make sure we still get invited back to the nice places," he replied smiling down at her.
"A full time job." Chloe smiled back as she felt herself start to relax. She truly enjoyed Sam's company and had missed his friendship when she'd bolted last spring.
"So you're getting married." Sam cringed at the lameness of the statement.
Chloe chuckled. "Yep taking the plunge. You remember Jimmy?"
"Sure, he seemed – " Sam began.
"Like a geek," Dean interrupted as he bounced to his feet and came to stand in front of her all the while mumbling something under his breath.
"What did you say?" Chloe demanded.
"Jimmy's a geek." Dean said smugly.
Chloe stared at him. "Not funny. What else did you say?"
Dean looked down at his shoes. "Christo?" He repeated halfheartedly.
Chloe looked from Sam who was shaking his head to Dean who was beginning to look a little embarrassed. Her anger hit the roof. "It's bad enough you insult Jimmy but you came here because you thought I'd have to be possessed to want to marry him?"
Dean stepped back as her anger hit him and he turned toward Sam for support.
"I warned you not to go there," Sam said as he gestured for Dean to leave him out of this conversation. The younger Winchester discreetly moved to the couch; settling in away from the line of fire.
"Traitor." Dean threw at his brother before turning to face Chloe's anger head on. He tried smiling at her to defuse the situation but she just glared at him. "You can see how this looks, right?"
"No Dean how does it look? That the only reason I'd marry Jimmy is if I wasn't in my right mind." She folded her arms across her chest, challenging him for a better explanation.
"That's not what I meant."
"Oh really? Then you don't have holy water in you pocket?."
Across the room she heard Sam snickering. "She's knows you too well, Dean."
"Shut up, Sammy. I thought you were staying out of this," Dean snapped.
Sam raised a hand in surrender and removed himself once again from the argument.
"You do have holy water!" Chloe barked as she stepped closer to him. "I don't believe this!"
"I was only looking out for you," Dean snapped as he loomed over her. "You getting married so fast raised a few flags and Jimmy's not exactly- "
"Not exactly what, Dean? YOU!" She poked a finger into his chest. "Damn right he's not you and that's not even one of his best features. That's a bonus."
"He's a geek and an idiot," Dean shouted. "This guy is no where near good enough for you! You belong with someone who appreciates you. You deserve - " he trailed off as the emotion of what he was saying registered.
Chloe was speechless as she looked up into his green eyes seeing the sincerity behind his out burst. It hit her that Dean must really care about her. Why else would he be so upset that she was marrying Jimmy and why was the small voice of doubt about Jimmy suddenly getting louder?
Dean reached out and gently enveloped the finger that was still pointed at his chest. "You can't seriously love this guy."
"I am not having this conversation with you." Chloe pulled her finger away and pointed it toward the door. She was struggling to maintain indignation at this whole conversation. "I have found someone who loves me, who does treat me like I deserve to be treated. If you can't accept that then you can leave now."
"Do you love him?" Dean rephrased the question. There was no anger or accusation in his voice.
Chloe stared at him as if he'd asked her if she'd ever been to the moon. She loved Jimmy that's why she was marrying him, wasn't it? "Of course I do." Chloe winced at the lack of passion in her own voice.
Dean snorted. "Not real convincing there, sweetheart."
She felt her anger flare anew. It wasn't right that Dean could waltz into her apartment after almost a year and make her doubt her commitment to Jimmy. "I fail to see how any of this is your concern."
"Damn it Chloe! Can't you see what a big mistake marrying Jimmy is?" Dean's moment of calm satisfaction had passed.
"All I see is a big jealous oaf who wants to ruin my one chance at happiness because he screwed up a year ago!" Why had she said that? Dean couldn't be jealous because jealousy meant that he might have feelings for her and she did not want to think about that possibility at all.
"If you'd stuck around, maybe I could have explained. But no you ran right into Mr. Wrong's arms."
"I wasn't going to be just another one night stand, Dean."
"I never said you were!" Dean threw his arms up in exasperation.
"So I didn't wake up alone the next morning?," Chloe reminded him. She's been crushed when she'd realized he'd left while she was sleeping, wondering how she could have been so stupid. She'd let herself fall for him and Dean had broken her heart.
"You are the most infuriating woman I have ever met. Can't you just listen for once?"
"You aren't going to say anything I want to hear except goodbye." Her arms were once again crossed over her chest as she stood glaring at him.
Dean growled in frustration as he ran a hand through his hair. "And this is why I never told you. First you want me to explain and then you don't. I give up. Marry Jimmy. Have a nice life." He turned and yelled at his brother. "We're leaving Sam." He spared one more sad look at her before he headed for the door.
She couldn't believe it; he was giving up, leaving. Chloe reached for Dean's arm to stop his exit. "What did you never tell me?" She had to know; had to understand what had just happened here.
Dean looked at the hand on his arm and then into Chloe's questioning eyes. "Doesn't matter now. You're getting married and you're obviously going to be very happy," he said barely hiding the sneer in his voice.
"Now wait a minute," she demanded. "You don't get to walk in here, drop all your baggage and then just walk out again."
"Sweetheart, it ain't my baggage. I'm not the one marrying someone I don't love."
Chloe clenched her fists at her side; trying very hard not to smack the smirk off of Dean's face. In the end she decided he deserved it and swung out with her right hand but Dean was ready. He grabbed her wrist, twisted it around her back as he drew her close.
"Let me go!" She shouted.
"Just tell me how you feel about Jimmy and I'll go."
"I don't have to justify anything to you." She struggled against his grip.
"You still haven't said it."
Defiantly she looked up at him ready to express her undying love for Jimmy "I -," she began and stopped when she gazed into his eyes. Looking away she tried again. "I do – I love -" Chloe was determined to tell him exactly how much she loved Jimmy but the feelings she had for her fiancé seemed to have fled in the face of the hope she had seen in Dean's eyes.
"I didn't think so," he said quietly. Then he smiled and she felt her heart skip. The feelings for Dean that she thought she'd buried came rushing back.
Chloe couldn't say she loved Jimmy; it was a lie and now Dean knew it too. Damn him. Why couldn't he just mind his own business?
She opened her mouth to tell Dean to leave but instead found her self falling into his kiss as he brought his mouth crushing down onto hers. Her confusion passed instantly as she allowed herself to melt into the kiss. She reached up to run her fingers through his close cropped hair as she deepened their connection. She was devouring the taste of him and hoped it would never end. This is what kissing should be like she thought as she felt him pull her closer. When they finally broke for air, Dean was grinning at her.
"Don't marry him," Dean said as her stroked a finger lazily along her cheek. "He's not the one for you."
"And you are?" she asked, not sure what answer she wanted to hear.
"Yes," he said simply as he bent down to capture her mouth in another kiss. Her last coherent thought before she lost herself to his passion was that she was going to have to thank Lois for inviting the Winchesters after all.