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.
The next couple of days at school Chloe was in somewhat of a daze. She kept the necklace John (she was still wondering if she should call him Uncle John or what) had given her, wearing it yet keeping it hidden under her blouse at all times. The blonde didn't know how she got through her days as if her world wasn't completely turned upside-down. And yet somehow she was still able to keep up her grades, keep the Torch running smoothly, hide everything from her father and also train with Nell and the others at the Talon. There was still a lot that she wasn't getting, and Nell always found a way to praise a slightly embarrassed Lana, but at least Chloe found out that there were some spells in latin…and that made up for a lot of the other stuff.
Considering everything that (uncle/cousin/verydistantlyrelated?) John had told her, Chloe shied away from any group activities in which she had to use magic along with the others. Nell kept giving her looks and her annoyance seemed to grow, Chloe being assigned the grunt work in retaliation, but she soldiered on. If the Witch-Hunters were really out there, and if she and the others were really in danger, she wanted to know everything she'd need to defend herself and them as well. It just would be less annoying if Nell wasn't constantly trying to push them to consider binding their circle. The woman was relentless.
"I don't understand why you are all being so hardheaded about this." The older woman announced with a growl in her voice. "You'd think that you'd be smart enough to understand what is at stake here! Your lives! The Witch-Hunters have been more active recently and should they catch wind about us they will come. And you'll all be sitting ducks. You need to bind your circle as soon as possible!"
Lana's cell rang, interrupting.
"Lana." Nell surprisingly enough snapped at her niece. "I've told everyone to keep their phones off while you're studying."
"I'm sorry." Lana blushed in embarrassment, hurrying to her phone and turning off. "Tina just, you know, she wants to hang out and I haven't been able to really do so-so-."
"You don't need people like Tina Greer associating herself with you, honey." Nell sighed, running her hand through her hair. "You are the leader of this circle, you need to step up and show your subordinates that you can protect and lead them."
"Subordinates?" Chloe took issue with that.
Nell ignored her, eyes on Lana. "Until your circle has been bound, and I am satisfied that when the Witch-Hunters arrive you can defend yourselves, you're not allowed to spend time with Tina or anyone else who isn't a part of the circle. Is that clear?"
Lana hung her head, nodding. "Yes ma'am."
"Good girl." Nell rubbed her head approvingly.
"What is she? A poodle?" Greg whispered to Chloe, folding his arms over his chest.
She snorted, having thought the same about Nell's treatment. "Aren't we all her trained dogs learning to bark on command?"
Greg frowned at that thought.
"I hope you all understand that that is for you all as well." Nell turned to them. "Training is your priority now. You can't focus on anything else while going on. Quit your extracurriculars, after school jobs. Starting next week your training begins immediately after school ends."
"No can do." Whitney replied, not even looking up from where he was transplanting some herbs from a smaller container into a larger one. "I'm not quitting football."
"Magic training is more important than throwing pigskin around like a neanderthal." Nell scolded.
"Tell that to coach." Whitney's voice was a near dare.
"I'm not quitting the Torch." Chloe joined Whitney's side on this debate. "I brought it out of retirement and I have no plans of leaving it to the others to run. That's my baby."
"Why am I not surprised that you're fighting me?" Nell shook her head. "You must get this rebellious streak somehow from your father because your mother wasn't difficult like this."
That was probably the nicest thing Nell had ever said to Chloe, and it made the blonde grin in satisfaction at that.
Sighing, Nell turned to Pete and Greg. "You two, you need to concentrate on your defensive spells. You have offensive down pat but you need to know how to protect as well as attack." She turned to Whitney. "Your horticulture knowledge continues to impress me Whitney, you have a knack for green witchery, I want you to continue honing that natural gift of yours and I have some books on magical plants and their various uses that I want you to look over." She turned to Clark. "Unlike Pete and Greg, your offensive spells need a lot of work. You need to also know how to attack your enemies. To kill them if necessary."
"I don't want to know how to kill someone." Clark surprisingly enough stood up to the woman.
"Let's see if you continue to think that when Witch-Hunters are torturing and murdering your family and friends." Nell raised an eyebrow before dismissing him and turning to Chloe. "I don't know what is up with you, but spells are more powerful when they're done in groups, in your circle. You can't just get by by using solo magic. You need to learn to do circle magic and since you've been jumpy and utterly bullheaded I'm putting you with the best to help work out whatever issues you have with this. Me." She turned to Lana. "Why don't you oversee the other's work?"
"Yes ma'am." Lana nodded, gaze lowered.
"I'm not doing magic with you." Chloe frowned at Nell, taking a step backwards, remembering John's warnings. She wasn't sure if it was the same when it was done with another female, and yet she didn't want to even think of someone like Nell Potter getting an addiction to her magic.
"I'm not giving you a choice in the matter." Nell took a step towards her.
"I'm serious! I am not doing magic with you." Chloe grabbed her bag and headed towards the door. "I'm out of here. Van's waiting for me."
"I did not say today's training was finished." Nell's voice was a warning.
Chloe's hand reached for the doorknob yet pulled away when it began to visibly glow with heat. Her eyes narrowed and she turned to catch Nell finishing whispering some sort of incantation. "I'm leaving. So stop it."
"When the Witch-Hunters come for you are you going to tell them that?" Nell taunted.
"Considering they're Witch-Hunters I'm guessing they won't be using magic against me."
"You never know what they'll throw at you." Nell tilted her head. "Sorta like now." She raised her hand and pointed it at her. "Constrict and choke."
Suddenly Chloe's throat tightened, restricting the air passage, making it almost impossible to swallow. The blonde grabbed at her throat, dropping her bag as she gasped desperately for air.
"What are you doing?" Clark snapped. "Stop it!"
Chloe fell to her knees, trying desperately to breathe.
"She needs to understand the seriousness of what we're trying to do." Nell narrowed her eyes on Chloe. "This isn't a game."
Black spots were beginning to dance in front of her eyes as her lungs burned for oxygen and her throat hurt from her desperate gasps.
"Aunt Nell!" Lana cried in horror. "You're going too far!"
"The Witch-Hunters won't stop whatever they are doing no matter how much you beg them!" Nell snapped. "Has no one understood this?"
"YOU are not a Witch-Hunter!" Pete snapped right back at her.
Terror welled inside of Chloe, along with something else. It was that primal something that'd seemed to activate when John had given her the necklace. It seemed like power and yet so much more. It roared inside of her, surging forth like an explosion, and then suddenly Nell was thrown against the far wall, crying out as the impact of her body caused the things on the wall to come crashing down before her body followed.
"Aunt Nell!" Lana cried, hurrying towards the fallen woman.
Taking in her first true gasp of oxygen, Chloe coughed, holding onto her burning throat, chest hurting her, vision still blurry.
That thing, whatever it was, subsided back inside of her, hidden.
"Are you okay?" Clark was by her side in a second, helping her up to her feet.
"That's it." It hurt to speak, Chloe's throat horribly sore, her dark gaze going to where Lana was helping a disoriented Nell to her feet. "I'm done with this. Find another sixth." And with that she grabbed her backpack and stormed out of the Talon.
"Non-verbal magic." Nell ran her hands through her hair, anger, confusion and adrenaline racing through her system. "Why didn't anyone tell me that she could do non-verbal magic?!" She turned on the five kids still in the Talon with her. "I should know these things!"
"What the hell is wrong with you, woman?" Greg wanted to know, standing up from where he'd been sitting on the sofa. "You could have killed her!"
"I knew exactly what I was doing." It rankled her that he questioned her and her control over her own abilities.
"And that's what bothers me." Clark murmured, usually silent and pensive like his mother, yet this time choosing to speak up. "You're supposed to be our tutor, supposed to teach us to protect ourselves, and yet you knowingly nearly killed Chloe. You punished her because she questions you." His eyes narrowed. "Makes me begin to question you too."
"I'm out of here." Whitney grabbed his bag, slinging the strap over his shoulder.
"Where do you think you're going?" Nell turned to him, eyes narrowed, never having expected problems from him either.
"When grownups feel like they have the right to pick on those they think are weaker, I know to bow out." He shook his head at her before storming out, slamming the door behind him.
How could she have let her annoyance cause her to forget that Whitney had had a lifetime of being pushed around by his drunk ass father? She should have realized that he would react badly to her dishing out a wakeup call to Moira's stubborn girl!
Nell palmed her face. "I should apologize to him."
"To Whitney?" Clark frowned, seeming completely shocked. "What about to Chloe? She's the one you tried to kill!"
"I didn't try to kill her, I was just trying to prove to her and the rest of you how serious this is." She frowned at Martha's boy, needing him and the others to understand. "The Witch Hunters won't care that you're just kids. And you also have other witches out there who won't mind using their magic against you. You need to be able to defend yourselves from these sorts of attacks and send counterattacks as well. Chloe's the newest to this circle, she doesn't understand as much as you all do."
"What circle?" Greg pipped, reaching into his pocket and pulling out a cigarette, whispering a spell that lit the tip before he took in a deep whiff, spewing out a blanket of smoke passed his lips. "Last I heard a circle is six, and we're now down two members."
"Whitney and Chloe will come back." She was sure of this.
"Maybe we should all take a break." Pete was apparently joining in on the rebellion, running his hand over his shortly cropped hair. "Things have been intense since Chloe awoke. I mean, our powers have grown in strength and intensity and it has us all on edge. Maybe we just need a couple of days of nothing witchcraft related to calm down and face the training and our issues with a cool head."
"We need to keep practicing." Lana was, of course, ever the smarter, more mature of her peers. "I know that Aunt Nell is a little…hard…on us sometimes, but it's for our own good. We've read about what the Witch-Hunters did in other towns, especially Salem, and they tried to make this a Burning Town as well. We're the descendants of some of the more ancient families, our circle is an ancient, powerful one. They're going to know that we're forming up again. And we need to be prepared for whatever they'll dish out to us."
"Why?" Greg wanted to know, letting out another wall of smoke. "Why wait all this time? They obviously knew that there were witches in this town. If you're to be believed, Nell, our parents' circle had dealings with them. So why did they just leave everyone and are only now concentrating on our generation?"
That was what made her wary about Greg. He wanted to believe he was James Dean, the bad boy, but he was still a nerd deep inside. A smart one. A cunning one. He and Chloe would cause the most problems because they thought of the questions no one else considered, and they were both brave enough to actually ask those questions, to challenge her. Nell wasn't used to being challenged. Sure, at first things had been awkward during the beginning formation of her own circle, but once everyone learnt their place and pecking order most of the chaos had died down and they'd been a well-working machine.
Now she needed to make sure that these kids understood their part in this circle, and that Lana was ready to assume leadership. It wasn't an easy role to fill, and sometimes she worried that her niece wasn't ready in the least bit.
"Because," she met Greg's dark gaze. "They killed your father and our circle broke apart." She could still remember the night too well. "It was the beginning of the end for our circle. Whitney's father had his powers removed from him for his actions by the elders, Pete's mother chose to have the elders take hers, wanting nothing else to do with witchcraft." She turned to look at Clark, who looked nothing like his mother and yet had her good heart. "Your mother chose to remove herself from any circle activity to keep you and your father safe." She shook her head. "And we all know that Chloe's mother skipped town." It still burned her, how it'd all crumbled to dust. "The Witch-Hunters realized that our generation's circle was done for, there were no other witches in our town who I'd join in a circle with, and the Witch-Hunters had bigger fish to fry."
"What fish?" Lana asked softly. "You always hint to the fact that there was a bigger player back in your days, but you never come out and explain to us who or what you're talking about."
"You're not ready. None of you are." She hedged, flashes of the ever handsome John Blackwell flashing mockingly in her mind. "You are all dismissed. I have things I need to do."
And with that she stormed out of the Talon, clenching her fists.
"So, what adventures are we going on this evening?" Van was full of too much enthusiasm as he slipped into her car, his gear in the bag he placed on the back seat.
Still rubbing her throat, sucking on a Halls candy she'd bought at the drugstore on her way to where she'd agreed to meet up with her photographer, Chloe raised an eyebrow. "Farmer Jenkins has had another cow mutilated. That's two in four nights."
"Are we thinking Chupacabra?" Van's voice was pure playfulness and teasing as he waggled his eyebrows, closing his door.
"Chupacabras only drain animals' blood, they don't do mutilation." Chloe shook her head, reversing out of the school's parking lot and into the street. "I'm not exactly sure what it is, but Farmer Jenkins makes a living from those cows."
"And the mystery intrigues you."
"The mystery intrigues me." She agreed, sharing a mischievous smile with the guy, unable to believe that she'd made friends with him. If someone had told her that she'd end up roping the handsome senior who would service the computers in the Torch into doubling as her photographer and sidekick, she would have scoffed at that. And yet here they were, driving towards the Jenkins property while going over their game plan on what exactly they were going to do once they got there.
"By the way, what happened to your throat?" Van raised an eyebrow. "It sounds like you're a chain smoker."
Her hand rose to her sore throat instinctively. "I think I'm coming down with something."
"Just don't give anything to me." He ordered "Dawn would kill me if I passed any flu to her. And she'd force me to take care of her until she recuperated-even if I myself were dying of the same flu at the same time."
"Okay, this is going to be so awkward, but is what she offers that good?" Chloe asked, blushing a little in embarrassment at what she was asking.
Van's eyes widened in shock before he burst out laughing. "I can't believe you just asked me that!"
The blonde groaned as she returned her gaze out the windshield window. "I'm just saying that you complain about her and what she does to you all the time, but I do not see you dumping her any time soon…so what you must be getting out of it to put up with her spoiled ways must be great."
Van was still snickering as his shoulders shook in amusement.
"Shut up." She blushed darker, feeling soooo embarrassed right now.
"Well, to answer your question," Van snorted in laughter, slapping his knee. "She isn't a goddess in bed or anything, but she's got a sweet side deep deep deep inside her barbed-wire heart."
Chloe sent his a sideways glance. "So deep down inside you're actually a romantic?"
He snorted. "I don't know if I could say that, but we connect in a way that's not purely physical."
The blonde thought that over, her gaze going to the road as she made a face. "So was she your first?"
"What? No!" Van was red this time, clearing his throat. "Maybe." His blue eyes stared out of the window. "Yeah."
She was much more comfortable now that he was just as uncomfortable at her. "You hers?"
"Yep." The boy nodded slowly before making up his nose. "Unless she's a real good actress."
Chloe chuckled softly at that, shaking her head.
"What about you?" He asked, turning his gaze on her. "Who was the brave soul to take your Scarlet V?"
She could not believe she'd started this conversation! "Uh…."
Van's eyes widened. "Wow. Really?"
Was she that easy to read?
"Whoa." Van chuckled, gaze going out of the window once more. "I thought it was Pete or Clark. I didn't realize…wow."
"It's not a big deal." The girl mumbled, taking the next right. "I just haven't found the right guy I suppose."
"I don't think I've ever had this conversation with anyone else." Van commented pensively.
"Me neither." Chloe admitted.
The two shared embarrassed smiles before she finally came to a stop, parking.
"This is it." Van declared with a clearing of his throat, opening the door and slipping out, staring at the darkening sky. "So, five dollars says its chupacabra."
"Hmmmm." Chloe smiled as she grabbed her bag and slipped out as well, slamming her door shut. "Five its aliens."
"Aliens." Van snickered in dark amusement, grabbing his bag and slamming the door shut as well. "Next thing we'll be talking witches."
Snorting at his amusement, Chloe stared up at the sunset, gave a smile, and then turned to him so that they could get set up while there was still some light in the sky.