Title: The New Circle
Fandoms: Smallville/Secret Circle
Characters: Chloe Sullivan, Clark Kent, Pete Ross, Lana Lang, Whitney Fordman, Greg Arkin, Nell Potter, John Blackwell, Gabe Sullivan, Lex Luthor, Davis Bloome, Jason Teague, Tess Mercer, Oliver Queen, Patricia Swan...
Disclaimer: Don't own
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.
A/N: Timeline-wise it is side-by-side with events in Secret Circle. It is around Season One of Smallville...with alterations of course. And Lex Luthor has not arrived in Smallville up until this point in the story.
From the outside the Talon was rundown, unattractive, and in desperate need of a coat of paint. The inside wasn't much different, except it was still fascinating. One wouldn't think from first glance that the inside would look quite like this, or have the constant smell of incense in every corner of the building. It was obviously dedicated to the craft, with symbols on the walls and floors, calendars with the moon's cycles and their names (and magical properties) as well as other magical instruments she could recognize from the many magic-oriented movies she'd watched growing up.
There was a section that was dedicated to growing herbs and plants, another section was a miniature library with books which looked ancient, and another contained a table with mystical designs carved into it and magical tools laying on it. There was also a section with sofas which was obviously a recreational section for the group when they weren't doing spell work and just hanging out. There was obvious proof that the place had been used a lot lately.
"Welcome to home sweet home." Greg announced, arms out as he did a little circle before going to throw himself down on one of the sofas.
Chloe gazed around her, taking it all in. Who would have thought that the Talon was hiding this inside of it?
"I'm going to get something to drink, would anyone like something?" Lana asked, going towards a door in the back.
"Coke." Greg called from where he was relaxing on the sofa, combat boots and all.
"Me too please." Whitney nodded, going towards the planet, surprising the hell out of Chloe when he picked up a watering can and began to tend to them.
"I'll help you." Pete offered, following Lana into the other room.
"It's a lot to take in, I know." Clark declared from Chloe's side.
"Yeah..." Chloe blinked, watching Whitney adjust some special lights over the plants. "I didn't think he even knew what plants were."
"I, uh, meant this place."
"Oh, right." Tearing her gaze away from Whitney, Chloe sent Clark a sheepish smile. "I'm still trying to compute everything that's been happening."
The front door opened and closed. "And that's completely understandable."
Chloe turned to see Nell Potter sauntering towards them, a smile on her face.
Nell was the town's "spinster", despite only being in her early forties, and there was rumors that the reason why she'd never married was because Mr. Kent had been the love of her life. There could be something to that, considering that while Mrs. Kent and Nell were always friendly with each other they'd never been friends. Then again, now that Chloe thought about it, Nell really didn't have "friends" per se. Chloe wondered if it was because everyone had noticed that while Nell smiled a lot, the smile never reached her eyes. There was just something in those eyes that had always unnerved her, and still did.
"So, Lana tells me that the blackout near the Beanery was your doing." Nell announced as she arrived by her, circling Chloe with an odd smile on her face. "That's...impressive. Especially considering that out of everyone you're the least trained. Of course, when Lana awoke it started to rain."
Chloe didn't feel like giving this woman her back, having never really liked Nell too much, and liking her less now that she was examining her like she was cattle for sale.
"You don't have to be so wary honey, you're amongst family now." Nell announced with a bright smile, finally coming to a stop and clasping her hands in front of her.
"Everyone keeps saying that but I don't get how being witches could make us family." Chloe didn't back down, staring into the older woman's eyes.
Nell nodded, as if having expected this, and given the fact that Chloe was the last to "awaken" magically she probably had had to answer these questions for the others as well. "You see doll, it's much more than just the witchcraft that binds us together. I mean, there are some other witch families in Smallville and yet they've never been a part of our circle. It's always been the Clarks, the Fordmans, the Grants...their names having suffered alterations and some other changes to try and hide their presence from Witch Hunters...the Withridge (who now go by Arkin)" her gaze went to Greg, who was putting out his cigarette. "The Hibbins," her gaze returned to Chloe as she mentioned her mother's maiden name. "And of course, the Thoreaux as head of the circle." Pride filled those eyes as her raised higher. "One of the most powerful witches to date, Countess Margaret Isobel Thoreaux, is our directancestor."
"So you're saying that there are other witches in Smallville?" Chloe asked in surprise.
Nell pouted, seeming put out, maybe because the blonde wasn't at all impressed with her dead relative. "Yes, but they don't matter. They are practically not even witches. Our six families were the ones with power...the Hibbins, Thoreaux, and Withridge are traceable to sharing a coven as far back as medieval France."
Again, she was not interested. "So my mother was in your circle...which I'm assuming is the "old" circle everyone keeps mentioning."
That annoyance grew slightly before Nell breathed out and smiled. "Yes. Moira was a very strong witch, made the Hibbins name proud. Her sister...not so much." Nell made up her face. "But 'back in the day', as you kids call it now, we had a circle of our own. Your mother, Clark's mother, Whitney's father, Greg's father, Pete's mother and myself...we were all in our own circle."
"Why you and not Lana's mother?" Chloe wanted to know, confused.
Nell smiled brighter at that. "Oh, you see honey, in powerful families, the eldest child is usually the one with the most power...and if it is a family with many members of both sex, the eldest male and the eldest female child..the firstborns...will inherit their parent's true powers. Still, the Firstborn of all the siblings will be the strongest overall."
So Nell was older than Laura.
Okay, that was a very long and complicated way of answering the question.
"And since I myself never had a child and Laura did, our family gift passed on to Lana." Nell smiled proudly, flicking long dark locks behind her shoulder. "By her birthright she is the leader of this circle."
"So my father has no magical-?"
"Gabriel Sullivan?" Nell chuckled, shaking her head. "No child, your father is completely normal. Not a bit of magic in him."
She felt insulted on her father's behalf for the derisive way Nell said that. "Thank god."
The smile slipped from Nell's lips.
"Aunt Nell!" Lana grinned as she and Pete returned from what must have been a kitchen, carrying a tray with glasses of ice in them while Pete held the gallon of coke.
"Oh darling, let me help you." Nell went to her niece.
Rolling her eyes, Chloe turned her back on them and gazed around the room, curious as she made her way towards the plants.
"I know she might seem like it, but she's not such a total bitch." Whitney surprised her by announcing, his expression amused. "She's just one of those old people who have only done one great thing in their lives, and they tend to just live vicariously through the memories, you know? So try go a little easier on her."
Chloe sent a gaze to where Nell was charming Clark into doing something for her, the blonde's green gaze returning to the quarterback. "Why are you behaving civilly with me now? The kiss wasn't that good."
He snorted in amusement, tilting his head to the side, golden hair falling into his face. "I was only such a jackass to you because I was getting sick of waiting for you to awaken. A circle is six. Extreme emotions are supposed to make your powers manifest quicker...and I figured anger should work on you like it did on me." His lips curled in a smile. "Have to admit though that if I'd known that kissing you was the key to everything, I would have done that a long time ago."
She scoffed, though she hated the blush that darkened on her cheeks.
"You know, that was your first taste of magic...mine." Whitney leaned towards her, his voice low. "For all intents and purposes...I was your first."
"Dream on, Quarterback." She slowly pushed him away, not even looking at him.
"Whitney!" Nell called. "Why don't you come and help Lana over here?"
"Sure thing." Whitney nodded, pushing away from the table and going towards her.
Noticing movement out of the corner of her eye, Chloe's gaze narrowed in on Greg, who was beckoning her over with a curled finger. She narrowed her eyes before figuring she had nothing to lose, going over towards him on the sofa and sitting down next to him as he slid to a seated position.
"She enjoys the attention." Greg leaned in, dark brown eyes on Nell as she flirtingly laughed with the other males. "I think she figures herself a MILF...which she kinda is an an auntsort of way."
Chloe's lips twitched in an amused smile.
Greg was about the only one she'd never had down pat.
He'd been best friends with Clark and Pete before she'd moved to Smallville, but according to the boys early on something had "changed" about him, and their friendship had fallen away to nothing by the time she'd arrived. He'd been a geek and loner who'd been fascinated with bugs, the one picked on, known to have a really bad relationship with his mother. And yet (minus the mother issues) the guy sitting next to her was none of those things.
"I'm probably gonna hit that one day." Greg shared with a nod of his head.
Chloe chuckled as she shook her head. "Is that so?"
"Oh yeah. I'm working my game plan. So far it involves a lot of rum."
"For her or you?"
Greg turned to her and grinned a large, toothy grin. "Where have you been all my life? These guys are all uptight!"
The blonde smiled, before her gaze noticed something hanging above him on the sofa. Her smile slipped as she stood and reached up, pulling the picture off of it hook on the wall and sitting down next to him once more. Six young faces smiled at her in the faded picture, many of them familiar, one of them horribly so. She found her fingers trailing her mother's face, unable to believe that Moira had truly been a witch-and a happy one if her huge smile was anything to go by.
"It's trippy, huh?" Greg's gaze went to the picture. "Seeing them our age, knowing their were ages more advanced magically than we are…" his gaze was on his father's face. "You would have thought we would have at least been raised closely the way they had."
"They were raised close?" Chloe looked up at him in surprise at that.
"Yeah. Apparently most families groom circles before they're formed." Greg nodded. "And just like Nell said earlier, your family and mine, as well as hers, have been in a circle ever since medieval France."
"Now that is trippy." She shook her head before standing up once more and hanging the picture, sitting next to him with a pensive little expression on her face. "This doesn't seem real."
"Want me to pinch you?" Greg waggled his eyebrows at her.
She turned her gaze on him and shook her head, lips twisting in a smile. "I'll pass, thanks."
He grinned back. "Probably a wise choice, I've been told I have a vicious streak."
"So, what's the what?" She leaned hard against the sofa, eyeing the others.
"I'm the right person to ask." He agreed with that, leaning hard against it as well, slightly towards her as they spoke. "Okay, so Nell's the one who's teaching us what's what and who's who and all that stuff that's only interesting when she's wearing a low-cut shirt."
"Right." Chloe nodded.
His grin grew. "Lana's apparently the power child of awesomeness who farts rainbows and pisses gold." He shook his head. "She's really nice, I mean really nice, and I admit to having had a crush on her before I realized just how many low-cut shirts her Auntie Nell owned..." he shook his head, having wandered into a different topic. "Point is she's nice, she's cute, and apparently god shat her family out one day just because he's god and he can."
Chloe was beginning to wonder why she'd never talked to Greg Arkin up until today.
"The Thoreaux are apparently some legendary French family of witches who are one of the most powerful bloodlines." He grinned. "I like to remind Nell it's 'one' of the most powerful and not 'the' most powerful."
"That might be why you haven't scored yet." Chloe pointed out.
He paused and thought it over. "Yeah, you might have something there."
She chuckled, enjoying this talk a lot more than she'd thought she would.
"So apparently Lana's the first to awaken because, like Nell's said more than once, their family's one of the strongest bloodlines and the born leaders of this circle." Greg continued on. "It rained when her powers awoke inside of her as she stood over her parents graves...which she goes to visit in the dead of the night by herself."
"That's not safe." Chloe frowned.
"Well, she beat the odds of cute girl alone in the dark." Greg shrugged. "I was the next to awaken...I'd had another fight with my mom and was running away...which would have worked out if I hadn't actually had an accident. The shock of it and the adrenaline must have jolted my powers into awakening because I walked out of an accident I shouldn't have. And I shouldn't have because I was on fire…except only my clothes were. I got out of there butt naked. Imagine explaining that to people when you couldn't figure it out yourself." Greg snorted. "Nell figured what'd happened and sent Lana to recruit me. Sadly, the whole fire-proof thing didn't last much longer, according to Nell it was only because I was awakening that the magic coating me shielded my skin from the flames. But now that that's over I'm as flammable as the next man." He ran his fingers through his dark brown hair. "Talking about the 'next man', it was Fordman. He had a huge fight with his father who beat him and guess what...for the first time ever Fordman hit back."
Chloe went still, her eyes wide in horror.
She hadn't known that Whitney had those sorts of problems at home.
"His daddy's a miserable drunk who got used to pushing his boy around, and then one day Fordman got enough and he beat the living shit out of the old man...the fury awakening the power inside of him. Lightning struck the tree outside the Fordman's house and split it in two." Greg smirked. "His old man figured what was happening and hasn't raised his hand against him since then. The old fart lost his own powers years back for abusing them; they were removed by the Elders, and it was one of the reasons why he was such a miserable asshole."
"They can be removed?" Chloe's eyes widened.
Greg nodded. "Sucks, huh?"
Chloe breathed out, shocked by all she was learning.
"Pete's happened when he was swimming out by Crater Lake, he hit his head while jumping in during a night dive and the lake froze over." Greg announced, apparently vastly informed on everyone's "awakening" story. "Clark was with him and in his desperation to get to Pete his power awoke and a mini earthquake hit just the lake, breaking the ice." He rolled his head towards Chloe. "And of course we all know how you joined our happy little "family". Surprise Incest. Pure and simple."
Chloe slugged Greg's shoulder, blushing darkly at his amused chuckle.
"So now that Nell has the set, she's gonna want to bind our circle." Greg made a face. "She's been talking about it since I joined, about how once we have the sixth we can do the binding ceremony. It's supposed to make us more powerful and to protect us, but other than that she's keeping things close to her chest."
"Bind the circle?" Chloe frowned. "I don't know if I like that...it sounds...definite. You know? I'm here because I want my questions answered...not because I'm signing away myself to some coven."
"Circle." Greg responded. "It's called circle."
"Whatever." Chloe pursed her lips. "I don't like this idea."
"And what idea is this Miss Sullivan?" Nell's voice cut in.
Taking in a deep breath, Chloe turned towards her. "What does it mean when you bind a circle? It sounds permanent."
"It's a necessary precaution that has to be taken now that the six of you are with active powers." Nell replied, coming towards them. "As I said, this circle is an old one, and now that there are six potential circle members your powers are going to start drawing on each other's. They'll...be a power boost in a sense...and you will be unable to control them. Innocent people will be hurt. Only with your circle bound will you be able to slowly master and control your powers."
"Thing is, I don't like slow." Greg was surprisingly enough on Chloe's side, resting his elbows on his knees as he eyed Nell. "And I don't like the thought of being bound either. It's like I'm being tied down. I don't do tied down."
"Me neither." Chloe agreed, rubbing her arms. "I come from a long line of people who get fidgety when they're faced with long-term commitment. I mean, just look at my mother. She's a fine example of what happens when you try to tie down a Hibbins."
"Your mother was bound to our circle, she didn't have problems with being committed to us." Nell responded, folding her arms over her chest. "She was smart enough to understand that it was necessary to be bound, to be a whole and not six pieces. She understood the need to be a part of something greater than herself."
"Then why aren't you a circle anymore?" Chloe wanted to know. "Why'd she split on you guys too if you're so wonderful?"
Nell sighed. "By the time your mother left our group had already been broken, due to Greg's father's death."
"So death of a member of the circle unbinds it?" Clark asked, eyes narrowed.
"Yes, unless there's another member of the same family who's ready and willing to step into the vacated place." Nell sat down on one of the seat. "Otherwise a new circle would have to be bound, with a new member...or remain unbroken and its former members, volatile, vulnerable."
Thing was, this was the first time Chloe had seen some genuine emotion on the woman's face, and it unnerved her.
"Your mother and I were friends once, Chloe, and I know that her leaving you has left you very wary and untrusting, but you have to understand that this is for your own good." Nell's gaze met hers. "The circle has to be bound. Maybe not today, or tomorrow. But soon. Or you're all going to be in grave danger."
"Will you tell us now?" Lana asked softly, hugging herself, seeming so unsure and worried. "Will you tell us what's coming? Will you tell us what you're so scared about?"
"Yeah Nell." Pete nodded, placing a hand on Lana's shoulder. "You told us that once we had the sixth that you'd tell us."
"Soon." Nell promised, sadness deep in every corner of her face as she stood. "I need a drink." And with that she headed towards the kitchen and disappeared through the swinging doors.
Lana watched her aunt go with worry.
Pete squeezed her shoulder.
She gave him a sad smile.
Clark sighed as the rest of the unbound circle joined Chloe and Greg in the seating area, silence falling onto them. "I think we should do it."
"Me too." Lana agreed quickly. "We've already felt a spike in our powers since Chloe's blackout last night...and that's only the start."
They'd already started feeling an increase in their powers?
Chloe's eyes widened in shock.
"We should do it. It's what every circle's done before us." Pete sat on the armrest of Clark's chair. "We're safer that way, and with the Witch Hunters out there I think it's the best thing for us to do."
"If this is a vote, I'm voting no." Greg declared. "I don't need to be bound to a circle to fry some Witch Hunters if they come after me." He smirked at Pete. "I'll protect you if you want."
Pete rolled his eyes.
"I say no too." Whitney surprised them all by declaring. "I'm don't like the idea of "binding" it sounds restrictive."
"Exactly." Greg agreed.
Clark's gaze went to Chloe.
"Sorry," she folded her arms over her chest. "My vote's with these two. No."
Clark sighed, obviously disappointed.
"So we're at a stalemate." Lana frowned. "No one can be forced to make this choice, but I really do believe that it's the best thing for us a group to do. Really. I do."
A silence fell over the group as they stared unseeingly in front of them.
For the first time they were a complete circle...and yet never before had they been so divided.