A/N: So I've finally conquered my phobia of letting other people read my writing…take a look, and please review. Don't be afraid to critique, I'm interested in improving my writing, not saving my ego. :) Since these are all going to be one-shots, I'll post a quick note at the beginning of each to put them in context for you. This is a songfic that's based off of "Daydream Believer" by The Monkees and is set five years after The Reckoning. This was a random idea I had one afternoon, typed it up in about twenty minutes, had my cousin (THANK YOU!!!) review it and then stuck it up here before I lost my nerve. Anyways, hope you enjoy it!
All the one-shots that I'll be posting (unless otherwise specified), will be in Chloe's POV, and aren't related to each other. These are just little random scenes that wandered into my head (usually during a boring lecture) and that I scribbled down. They don't really lead anywhere and can be short, like this one, but there was something about each of them that tickled my fancy and interested me. If I ever post a one-shot that's related to any of the others, I'll put the same title, but with "Part 2" or something to show it's related.
Disclaimer: I'm not Kelley Armstrong and I don't own Darkest Powers. Shocking, I know…
I'd noticed the date first thing that morning. Cradling a cup of strong tea, I stared at the black borders I'd drawn around that square on the calendar. Black to represent the senseless deaths and destruction of years of research that might have done a lot of good in better hands. In a red pen I had written "5 years" within the square. Five years since we'd gotten our lives back.
The black borders were mostly for Andrew and Margaret; they'd both been killed trying to take down Diane Enright. After witnessing her mother's death, and before destroying the servers and external hard drives that housed all the scientific data, Tori had found the name of her biological father. Divorced and childless, David had been only too happy to hear from her. The last postcard I had received had been sent from the Amalfi coast, a year ago.
We were scattered. Kit had taken his boys and faded into the background, somewhere. Simon had e-mailed me a few times after they'd gotten settled, but I'd never heard from Derek. Derek, who had kissed me like the world was ending before we'd gotten separated in the fighting and who had left without saying goodbye.
As for me, I had gone home, back to face my father with Aunt Lauren. I didn't pay too much attention to how she explained my "misdiagnosis" to him, but the end result was that I'd been welcomed home with relief and joy. Settling back into a normal life was hard, especially with powers that had taken a few years to get under control. I missed my friends every day. I had never stopped feeling lonely without them.
"You're up early," my dad commented, hauling a suitcase behind him down the marble-tiled hall. He parked it next to the front door and came back to the kitchen, helping himself to the cereal I'd left on the counter.
"I'm heading to Shanghai for a few weeks," he informed me, adding milk and spooning up a bite. "Phil's got the bills covered. Do you need any more money for anything?"
I smiled at the name; Phil was my father's much-too-handsome assistant. I'd been seeing him casually for almost a year. He was a great guy, but his kisses never rocked my world like that single, desperate kiss from Derek had.
"Earth to Chloe…"
"No, I've got plenty." We both knew he'd leave a few hundred in an envelope on the counter, just in case. Settling down at the table, I shook open the newspaper. A tiny square of white paper fluttered into my lap. I picked it up.
Oh, I could hide 'neath the wings of the bluebird as she sings, was scrawled in precise writing across it.
"What's that?" my dad asked, filching the business section.
"No idea," I said, wondering privately if I should be concerned, then shrugging it off and diving into the Entertainment section.
Later, after my dad had left, my cell phone rang and Trina – a fellow theatre arts major – insisted I come and watch a new movie with her. The movie was decent but sadly lacking in originality. I tried to convince myself that my dislike didn't have anything to do with the character who turned into a wolf during full moons. It didn't work.
Trina chattered cheerfully on the way home. She was my lifesaver; in the early days when I'd returned to A.R. Gurney, traumatized and friendless, she had taken me under her wing and coaxed me out of my shell. She made me promise to call her the next day for a lunch date and waited until the doorman opened the door for me before driving away.
Tim, our doorman, called the elevator for me and waited until I was in before going back to his post. The soft rushing noise as I rode up to the penthouse was familiar and I relaxed; even after a few years, going out to a movie was still a little stressful. I spent way too much time watching the people around us, always afraid of seeing someone I didn't want to see again, hoping to see a few faces that I did.
As the doors opened, I got my key ready, but froze when I saw the note stuck on the door. After a quick check of the hall, I kept my keys pointed outwards; I wasn't any taller, but self-defence classes had at least taught me how to take care of myself. The writing was the same as the note this morning.
The six o'clock alarm would never ring, but it rings and I rise.
"What the hell is this?" My voice echoed down the hall, and I quickly yanked the note free. I read it again, shoving my key into the lock, hurriedly shutting myself into the condo. When the door was locked behind me and the alarm set, I relaxed, laughing at myself.
We had only moved in a few weeks ago, so the notes could be from someone who thought the previous owners were still living there. I was being silly, thinking the innocent words meant something. I tossed them both in the trash and got myself a bottle of water.
When the phone rang as I was closing the fridge, I jumped a mile, echoes of Derek's voice coming back to me. "You're as skittish as a kitten," he'd said. That much hadn't changed. I was still easily startled, but now I had a brown belt in jujitsu. Woe to the idiot who snuck up behind me or grabbed me now.
I let the machine pick it up. It was Phil, letting me know my dad had just gotten onto his flight and asking if I wanted to grab dinner later. I thought about answering, but I didn't feel like going out, so I didn't answer and spent the rest of the night working on my notes for a group project due later that month.
My alarm rang at six the next morning and it took a huge effort of will to drag myself out of bed, reminded of the words on the note from the day before. After a breakfast of cereal, the limit of my culinary skills, I opened the newspaper and another note landed in my lap.
Wipe the sleep out of my eyes, my shavin' razor's cold and it stings.
The same writing again, but the words tickled something in my mind. I felt a chill creep over my arms when I saw an arrow that directed me to turn the note over.
Go see Tim. Was this some sort of weird scavenger hunt set up by Trina? I totally wouldn't put it past her. Grinning, I threw a sweater over my tank top, pulled on a pair of jeans and stuffed my bare feet into my running shoes. I checked to make sure I had my keys and some cash and took the stairs two at a time to get to the lobby.
"Hey, Tim!" I called, jogging over to the desk.
He looked up with a smile. "And good morning to you, too, Chloe."
I thrust the note at him with an apologetic smile. "What is this?"
He studied it, and handed me an envelope, nodding thoughtfully. "He said to give you this."
"He? What he? Phil?" Was this some weird flirtation thing? I ripped into the envelope, curious but not worried.
You once thought of me as a white knight on a steed. Huh? I turned it over and saw the next clue. Go to Starbucks.
I looked helplessly at Tim. We hadn't been there long and I didn't drink coffee.
"Where's the nearest Starbucks?"
"Just across the street and down a block," he said, and I took off through the doors, the sights and sounds of morning traffic hitting me as I stepped into the sunlight.
The smell of roasted coffee was heavy in the air as I pushed into the bustling coffee shop. I made my way up to the counter, wondering why the gangly, pimply guy was smiling like he knew me.
"Miss Saunders?" he asked, holding out another envelope. My eyes widened, but I reached for it and ripped it open, managing to give myself a paper cut. Sticking my finger in my mouth with a wince, I read the next line, that sense of familiarity hitting me harder now. I knew these words. How did I know these words?
Now you know how happy I can be, oh, and our good times start and end. I knew the drill by now. Bus station.
Bus station, Starbucks…The words. Everything dimmed a little for a second. I knew those words now. My heart started to hammer and I suddenly felt weak. The barista came around the counter, a look of concern on his face and a thermos of hot chocolate in one hand.
"Miss? Are you ok?" He had to touch my shoulder to get my attention, and handed me the silver tube emblazoned with their name and logo. "He said to give you this. It's paid for."
I took it blankly and stared at it for a minute. The barista had to go back behind the counter and serve the next person in line but he kept casting me worried looks. I read the note again and through the rushing in my ears, I knew I had to go, and God help the fool who got in my way.
I jumped into a cab that was waiting outside. The cabbie was friendly enough and he obeyed my request for speed like his life depended on it. Once we got to the station, I tossed him a twenty, not waiting for the change as I scrambled out of the backseat.
"Miss, wait!" he yelled after me, holding out another envelope. This was surreal. My hands were shaking as I took it, sticking the thermos under my arm to hold it while I opened the flap, carefully this time.
Without dollar one to spend, but how much, baby, do we really need? My shaking hands dropped it twice before I managed to flip it over, desperate for the next instructions.
The park across the street, under the tree by the swings.
You're almost there.
I danced impatiently at the corner, swearing under my breath until the "Walk" sign flashed, and then I ran through the wrought-iron gates.
Children played everywhere while their mothers watched and chatted amongst themselves. I stretched up on my toes and searched frantically for the playground, breaking into a jog as soon as I spotted it. The red metal frame supported six swings, all occupied by screaming, laughing kids.
A white square at the base of a huge tree caught my eye. Someone had propped an envelope against a jutting root. I didn't run now that I was so close. The last note had the most writing of all of them, words strung together in sentences I'd recognize in my sleep.
Cheer up sleepy Jean, oh, what can it mean to a daydream believer and homecoming queen. And the back. Turn around.
The thermos dropped to the ground. A huge smile bloomed across my face as I stood there in the bright spring sunshine, sensing a familiar presence behind me.
"I've missed you so much," I whispered, and he spun me around and kissed me like the world was ending again.