Title: The New CircleFandoms: Smallville/Secret CircleCharacters: Chloe Sullivan, Whitney Fordman, Major Dru-Zod, Greg Arkin, Cassie Blake, Diana Meade, Mikhail Balcoin, Lucas Dunleavy, Faye Chamberlain/Byron Moore, Adam Knight, Zatanna Zatara, Bart Allen, Clark Kent, Vika Balcoin...Rating: TDisclaimer: Don't own any original material used in the television series or artwork, they belong to their respective creators. I have merely tweaked them for my story.Summary: Chloe Sullivan had a normal-ish life before the circle and John Blackwell turned her life upside down and gave new meaning to the unexplained weirdness that goes on in Smallville. Now life's a witch, she's a part of a circle she's not too sure she wants to be bound to, and not only do they have to worry about Witch-Hunters, but unknowingly to them another circle is on the hunt too.
"I wasn't going to kill them or allow them to be killed." Chloe raised an eyebrow, surprised that this was being questioned. "Some of those people had families with young children."
"It is moments like this when you prove that you are truly humane, but they are our enemies." The Mayor frowned at her. "You yourself proved through your tests that they were allied with Rao Darkseid when his Omega appeared on their foreheads. We were able to put everyone within our walls to the test by making them enter the caves in groups and having you cast your revealing spell, and that alone proves just how incredibly powerful you and your magic are." He stepped forwards. "But to allow those people and their families to walk out of Smallville with their lives? That was a grave mistake that cannever be made ever again."
"Is that so?" Chloe leaned hard against her seat as she eyed the man thoughtfully. "So what would you have done instead?"
He paused, obviously trying to think about how to word what he was about to say, before he took in a deep breath. "Even in the Bible the Good Lord spoke about striking down the heathen and their families so that his righteous, chosen people could survive without of future retaliation."
Chloe licked her lips, her gaze going to those of the Vigilante Initiative who'd come with the Mayor: Hank, Van, Bradley and Trevor. "And you agree with this? That we should have killed all of those people and their families?"
The boys never spoke, their mouths clamped shut, their hands clasped behind their straight backs, their stances military. Their training was really showing.
Van raised an eyebrow. 'You really have to ask that one?'
Bradley's gaze went to the Mayor. 'I'm only here in case we have to kill the Mayor.'
'Hey!' Hank's eyes narrowed on Bradley, considering he was talking about Hank's father. 'He'll cool down. It won't get to that.'
'Unless she wants it.' Trevor's face was expressionless as his gaze went to Chloe. 'He's defying your authority and trying to tell you what to do.'
The humans who became a part of the Vigilante Initiative (or the "VI", as it was sometimes shortened to) had to swear an Oath of Fealty to Chloe before their training. This Oath of Fealty was a necessary evil due to the fact that what these humans were learning were secrets that Chloe needed to be sure only those who were loyal and trustworthy would know. She needed to be sure that nothing taught to these groups of humans would ever be taught to hurt those she loved. It bothered her a bit that the Oath of Fealty had a vague similarity to the Enthrallment, but at least the humans weren't in love with her, they just were extremely loyal to her. To a fault. But other than undying loyalty to her there were no other real changes to their personalities. This meant that whatever they were capable of right now, they had always been capable of.
Hank's gaze turned to Chloe questioningly and somewhat pleadingly.
She sighed. I wouldn't ever ask that of any of you, don't be ridiculous. He's your father, Hank, and he's just trying to protect his town.
Van smirked at her. All she did was ask you guys a question and you took it in a whole different direction.
Chloe's lips twitched, sometimes wishing that he was still the only one who this mind-talk thing worked on, but more and more of the humans she'd united with the night of the battle were linking with her mentally, and that was apparently strengthening their bond with her and causing them to want to join the VI.
"They don't have a place in this conversation." The Mayor's voice was like ice, a frigid reminder that he was still there in the room with them. "The only reason they are here is because they insisted they come along when they found out I wanted to speak to you on the subject."
'I repeat...' Bradley's gaze went to the Mayor. 'I only came here in case we had to kill him.'
Hank glared at Bradley.
Chloe sighed as she stared between the two of them before her gaze returned to the Mayor.
"We are in the process of making it an act of treason to be in alliance with Rao Darkseid, a crime which will be punishable with death." The Mayor raised his chin. "It'll be hard to pass this law considering the rest of the world doesn't understand the dangers we're facing, but it's what we have to do to survive and we're willing to do whatever we have to do."
Chloe sat taller in her chair, eyes narrowed. "I see."
"We will keep you in the loop of things as they progress and let you know what we want you to do. That is all." He then turned and would have left but the door slammed shut in front of him, the locks closing loudly.
Chloe sat there as she eyed his back, waiting for the Mayor to turn towards her before she began. "I don't ask for much, Mr Mayor, but I will ask not to be summoned and dismissed by you at any given hour, as you please. I'm not a lapdog."
He blinked and sputtered. "It was not my intention-."
"Another thing I am not is your guard dog." She leaned forwards in her seat, eyeing him as the room began to grow dark, shadows rising up visibly from the floor. "I agreed to stay here and help protect the people of Smallville and those who came here searching for protection, but that doesn't mean that I'll bite on command."
The Mayor looked around him, eyes wide. "I-I never t-thought-."
Chloe's eyes began to bleed black as the door and windows disappeared from the room, leaving the Mayor no escape. "Lucy Anderson is six months pregnant. Carl Lowe is the sole parent of two children under the age of five. Megan and Frank Reece take care of their nine year old niece, Gracie, who survived the car accident that killed her parents, but left her paraplegic." Her eyes were completely black. "These are the people you're making it legal to kill."
The Mayor licked his lips. "It's nothing p-personal Ch-Chloe, you have to u-understa-and that. But they were traitors, they t-turned against us all and were w-working for the m-monster who is t-trying to k-kill us all!"
Everyone seemed to be throwing that word around lately.
"I believe, Mr Mayor, that once this war is over, we'll all be monsters." The darkness disappeared in seconds, merely the blackness remaining in her eyes as she watched him. "That is all."
Now the one dismissed, the Mayor cleared his throat and hurried out, not even waiting to see if the Vigilante Initiative (or even his son) were behind him.
The girl turned her gaze on the boys. 'Keep an eye on him and the Town Council. I want to know what else they're planning.'
The Vigilante Initiative nodded as they filed out one by one in silence.
She watched them leave before standing and heading out through the french doors onto the balcony overlooking the gardens below. The blonde closed her eyes as she leaned against the railing, feeling the moonlight on her face, the breeze against her cheek, whipping her hair around her as she ignored the sound of the Mayor's car starting and racing away from the house. Instead she clutched at her chest and fought the darkness that was all-too present within her ever since she'd united the Triad, the unsettledness and chaos that'd become her insides since she'd become the mistress of all three caves. They amplified her magic, it was true, but they were also doing something else to her, and she wasn't sure exactly what. She had a feeling it had something to do with why the Genesis Caves wanted her to stay inside the caves for a certain amount of time each year once the war with Rao was over.
"What did the Mayor want?"
She'd sensed his approach and didn't jump, kept her eyes closed. "In not so many words? To restart the Burning Times. He and the Town Council seem to want to kill anyone involved with Rao, be they witches or just plain humans."
Greg Arkin came to lean next to her on the railing. "What was your stance on it?"
Chloe opened her eyes and turned that green gaze on him. "I have the VI watching him and the Town Council carefully."
"Good." Greg nodded. "From what we've learnt, Smallville barely escaped becoming a Burning Town last time."
"And I'd like for it to remain Unburnt." Chloe turned so that she was now leaning with her back against the railing. "Any news on Lionel Luthor and Gertrude Teague?"
Greg shook his head. "No trace of them. Once word of the alliance tests began they must have slipped away so that theirs wouldn't be tested." His eyes narrowed. "They must have been in league with Rao Darkseid this whole time." He clenched his fists. "Those bastards are long gone."
Chloe placed her hand on his shoulder. "It's out of our hands, let it go." She gave him a squeeze. "How are Lex and Jason taking the news of their disappearance?"
Greg shrugged. "Don't really care to be honest, but from what I've heard, they're taking it personally. Jason especially-he lost his dad to Rao's attack, so if his mom is in league with Rao..."
Chloe nodded and licked her lips before she sighed. "Thank you for all you've been doing-I know I've been asking a lot from you since I've come back-I've been asking nonstop actually."
Greg raised an eyebrow. "Please, it's fine."
"No, seriously, you've been in charge of so many different projects and overseeing different things for me." Chloe stared into his brown eyes. "Thank you for being there for me, always."
Greg stared at her in slight confusion before he glared at her, grabbed her by the front of her shirt and pulled her close. "This better not be some sort of goodbye because you're planning some halfcocked, stupid idea again."
Chloe's eyes widened in confused surprise and then she grinned up into his face. "I was only thanking you, I promise."
Greg glared at her suspiciously through narrowed eyes before letting her go. "My bad."
Chloe chuckled as she straightened her shirt. "I like that about you, Whitney and Van, you know. You guys shouldn't ever change that."
Greg continued to eye her suspiciously. "You keep saying things that make me think you're going to do something stupid."
Chloe shook her head and smiled at him.
He merely narrowed his eyes further at her before reaching out and grabbing her hand.
Chloe's eyes widened as she felt the tug seconds before his power took over, a little shocked at just how deep Greg's distrust of her intentions ran. But she couldn't say anything but her whole body went lax as magic rippled through them, making her numb, and then she wasn't with her Cyclops on the balcony anymore.
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"Where are we?" Greg narrowed his eyes as he looked around them, not recognizing the place at all but keeping a tight grip on Chloe's hand so that she couldn't pull away and end whatever it was that they were Seeing.
Chloe frowned as she looked around them. "I think… I think we're in Rao's castle."
Greg turned towards her in surprise. "You think?"
"My memories are fuzzy about that place-I think that was done on purpose." She surprised him by tightening her grip on his hand, obviously not wanting to leave the vision either as she moved forwards and pulled him with her. "Why are we here?"
"I don't know." To be honest, Greg had been acting on instinct when he'd grabbed Chloe's arm and used his magic on her like that. He'd nearly lost his friend and leader too many times to play it safe and he wasn't about to take a chance, not when she was saying so many things that seemed like textbook goodbyes. "I wasn't even trying to See any event in particular. I just-I just wanted to See-I was worried you were going away-that you were saying goodbye-like when you came here."
Chloe turned to look at him curiously at that. "Maybe that's why we're Seeing this."
Greg followed behind Chloe, eyes narrowed as a strange sound caught his attention. It was almost like a-.
Chloe stopped in her tracks, pale, eyes wide and body shaking slightly.
Greg frowned. "What is it?"
Chloe took in a deep breath and motioned for him to follow, the girl still pale and yet resolute as she moved towards a large door off to the side. It was barred, magically reenforced, and the closer Greg got to it the louder the faint sound from the other side of it got.
He narrowed his eyes, tilted his head towards the sound, and turned his head to ask Chloe about it when he noticed just how pale she was-the way her eyes were watery with unshed tears. "Chloe? What is it? What are we Seeing?"
"I don't know-I don't remember this." She brought her free hand to her solar plexus as a single tear trailed down her cheek, a sob escaping her lips. "But I feel so terribly sad."
Greg narrowed his eyes before he turned his gaze towards the door and walked through it, pulling Chloe through as well, and once they were on the other side he wished he hadn't.
There, on the other side of the enchanted door, the sounds were loud and echoed around them freely. Those sounds were screams, of pain and fear.
Whitney and Chloe were chained by magically enforced chains that connected them to the ceiling, the teens close enough to be at an arms-length from the other, and yet not able to reach out and touch the other due to their arms being bound and shackled, held up tightly by those chains.
Memory!Chloe's eyes were wide in terror as she sobbed, unable to look away from a beat-up and bleeding Memory!Whitney, whom a middle-aged woman was circling. "Leave him alone! Stop it! PLEASE!PLEASE!"
The woman didn't acknowledge Memory!Chloe, instead eyeing Memory!Whitney thoughtfully. "You are strong, Sanguine. First offering to take her place today because you couldn't take the sound of her in pain, and now trying to resist my manipulation of your memories." She pressed her hand against his neck, his skin visibly burning under her touch, and yet Whitney did nothing but hiss. She smirked, her awe and fascination growing as she pressed her hand against him harder, the heat intensifying, burning hotter into his skin.
"STOP IT YOU BITCH!" Memory!Chloe screamed as she fought with her chains, her eyes bleeding black, and yet magic raced viciously down the chains and electrified her, subduing her harshly.
"People's thoughts are usually a mess of 'it hurt-it hurts' right about now, but you're more concerned with worrying if she's okay." The woman removed her hand from Memory!Whitney to turn towards Memory!Chloe, who was crying softly, body still shaking in aftershocks from the magical electricity.
Memory!Whiteny took in ragged breaths. "Stay the hell away from her, Goodness. I told you I'd be your toy today." His gaze then narrowed on Chloe. "And you. Stop doing that, damn it! You're going to get yourself killed! His magic's too strong for you."
Memory!Chloe's tear-filled gaze raised to Memory!Whitney's.
"You poor, poor children, so true and faithful to each other, willing to be hurt for each other." The woman sounded so sweet and grandmotherly, so loving, as she went back towards Memory!Whitney, who was burnt, beaten, but and bruised. All her handy-work. "I'll honor that willingness as long as you need me to." She reached out her hand and a ruler flew into it. She used it to slap Memory!Whitney across the face as hard as she physically could.
"STOP!" Memory!Chloe screamed and begged as she fought with the chains. "I'LL DO IT!"
"CHLOE, DON'T!" Memory!Whitney snapped at her, his face bleeding and horribly cut, bruised. "DON'T YOU DARE-!"
The woman slammed the ruler across his face again, viciously, knocking him unconscious.
"I SAID I'D DO IT!" Memory!Chloe was shaking in terror. "Just-stop hurting him"
"Don't worry, I just made sure he went to sleep for a while." The old woman smiled.
Chloe was shaking just as hard as her memory as she watched.
Greg held her hand tightly, unable to believe what he was seeing. He'd always known that what his friends had gone through couldn't have been nice, but he'd never imagined that it would have been something like this.
"You're doing the right thing." The old woman smiled her sickeningly sweet smile to Memory!Chloe as she dropped the ruler. "You know that with you, I can't erase your memories unless you allow me to."
Chloe's eyes widened.
So did Greg's.
"This is for the best." The woman went towards the sobbing, chained up girl. "Once we have stripped you of each and every memory that is holding you back, you will be what you were always meant to be."
Memory!Chloe didn't even look at her, instead her greens were on Memory!Whitney as she sobbed. "Is he okay?"
"Would Granny Goodness lie to you?" The old woman cupped her face, smiled sweetly and stared into Memory!Chloe's green eyes. "Clear your thoughts dear, your worry about your Sanguine is sweet but it's clouding the issue. I want you to concentrate on the memories of the person you're letting me take this time."
Memory!Chloe shivered, her hands clenched above her in her shackles.
Granny Goodness chuckled. "Stop shoving that woman at me, I don't want your mother." She tilted her head to the side. "But him on the other hand? I'll take him."
Memory!Chloe shook her head desperately. "You can't have him."
"Fair enough, we both know that I cannot take anything away from you if you do not allow me to do so." Granny Goodness pulled away from the captive amicably. "I'll just go and wake up our mutual little friend and continue where we left off."
Fear entered Memory!Chloe's eyes. "You can't."
"But, you see, that I can do." That sickeningly sweet smile returned as Granny Goodness turned and moved towards the unconscious boy. The ruler shot up from the floor back into the old woman's hand and began to heat up visibly.
Desperation filled Memory!Chloe's entire face and she let out a half-choked sob as she lowered her head. "Okay."
Granny Goodness smiled as she turned back towards Memory!Chloe and dropped the ruler. "My dear, sweet child. You're finally making the right choice."
Memory!Chloe lifted her gaze to meet the witch, tears falling down her pale cheeks. "If I do this, you have to swear you'll never touch him again. You will never use him like this against me ever again."
Granny Goodness hesitated. "I can't-."
"Bullshit." Memory!Chloe glared at her. "Let's not pretend that these aren't the memories you've been after all this time."
Granny Goodness stared at the girl before she nodded. "After I take these memories, this degree of… persuasion… won't be needed anyway."
Resigned, Memory!Chloe's greens gazed deep within Granny Goodness' orbs as the old woman cupped her face.
The old woman concentrated, and at first there was nothing, and then her pupils expanded visibly as magic exploded between them. She hooked her nails into Memory!Chloe's skin as the teenaged girl began to scream in agony, magic swirling around them, entering Memory!Chloe's eyes before yanking back out harshly.
Throughout it all Greg held onto Chloe's hand hard, feeling the girl's shivering growing worse and worse.
Finally, Memory!Chloe's body went lax on the chains, unconscious, from the pain.
Granny Goodness smirked and let go. "It is done." She took in a deep breath. "Now, to finish my work on the boy's memories before she wakes up. They both need to forget any attachments to their previous lives."
She then turned towards Whitney and made her way towards the unconscious boy, her magic still whirling.
Chloe turned to Greg and yanked her hand out of his.