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.
"Shouldn't we have had some sort of revision before we get tested?" Chloe wanted to know as she hugged herself, looking around the remains of Miller's Field, feeling it was in bad taste for Nell to have picked here of all places considering what'd happened. She also felt unsafe, knowing that in open spaces like this the wolf thing could still be around. And while the blonde was sure that she'd kept her further digging into what that thing could be a secret, she wasn't going to play it unsafe. Especially when she was more and more sure that it was either a human in wolf form, or a beast controlled by a witch and thus had intelligence on its side.
Not that Nell knew this per se. Chloe had asked the circle not to tell Nell anything, and considering that the woman hadn't commented on it Chloe was almost sure no one had tattled. A part of her knew that it was foolish not to tell Nell given the fact that John wasn't getting back to her, but Chloe just didn't trust the other woman. If one wanted to say she had a grudge for the near strangling she wouldn't deny it. There was just something about people who tried to kill her that made her distrust them, even when she was forced to work alongside them.
Didn't mean she was going to bind the goddamn circle though.
"It's not really a test if you're ready for it, is it?" Nell muttered up front, turning to face them, clasping her hands in front of her. "I brought you here because obviously someone else was testing you for some reason, and he or she got whatever it is that they wanted to know. You obviously passed their test. You're alive. That doesn't mean that they aren't going to come back again, and I want to gage how you six react to certain events." She eyed them. "People died, so at least I know that you are capable of doing whatever is needed to survive."
Chloe's gaze slid away, hugging herself tighter, clearing her throat, knowing that it was her out of control lightning that had done most of the killing. But to be honest what bothered her the most about the whole situation was how it really didn't affect her. She should be feeling scared, guilty, scarred. She should be having nightmares. She wasn't. A part of her felt cold, knowing that it had been her friends or those strangers, and she couldn't find any sort of guilt over their deaths or any part she had in it.
The blonde licked her lips, gaze going to Lana, who was paler and not as ridiculously perfect as usual. It was obvious that this had taken a lot out of the leader of the unofficial circle, that she wasn't sleeping, not taking half as much pride in her grooming as usual.
That is how Chloe should be.
She shouldn't be sleeping well knowing that whoever had ordered the attack wouldn't think twice before ordering another all-out attack like that…or that there was some sort of crazed wolf-thing that could climb up walls and open locked bedroom windows. And yet she slept peacefully every night.
"You will be tested one by one, and you will be wearing this." Nell pulled something out of her pocket, causing the teens to take steps backwards when they saw the glowing green pendant on the all-too familiar necklace.
"That-." Lana gasped.
"This is a special sort of meteor stone that fell many years ago, it's very rare...I found this here when I came to look over Miller's Field after hearing your story." Nell declared, clearing her throat, obviously uncomfortable. "Its properties are numerous, but it was discovered many years ago that it acts as a draining agent to witches. Depending on the method of contact, it can severely weaken, and in some times temporarily remove a natural born witch's powers. It was this stone that allowed the Burning Times as the witches were left powerless and unable to defend themselves from the Witch-Hunters." Her gaze was grave on them. "You will all take turns wearing this daily from now on."
"What?" Greg snapped, clenching his scarred hands.
"The more you're around this, the more of a resistance you can start building-or at least learn how to work around its debilitating properties." Nell cleared her throat. "Had they managed to get one of these on all of you-the happenings of that night could have been very different."
Chloe hated to admit it, but the woman was right. "I'll take the first shift with it."
Nell's gaze was wide and shocked, as were the others.
Then again, Chloe had never been the most cooperative, had she?
Nell eyed her in intrigue before her lips curled and she nodded. "As soon as the tests are over you can start wearing it. A week. Then it goes to the next."
Chloe nodded silently.
"Lana." Nell turned her gaze on her niece, holding the necklace out. "You will be tested first."
Lana eyed the necklace wearily before reaching out and taking it from her aunt. She flinched the moment her hand closed over the green stone, her hand's veins seeming to bulge slightly and turn visibly greenish before all visible effects disappeared. "Here goes nothing." Taking in another breath Lana pulled the necklace over her head and clenched her fists against the feeling of powerlessness and fatigue she'd told Chloe it gave her.
"Go to the center over there." Nell ordered.
Nodding, Lana swayed a little bit yet managing to keep on her feet as she trudged through the ash to the place indicated.
Nell watched her with narrowed gaze.
Lana turned towards her aunt. "Now what-?"
Suddenly all around her exploded in power as a barrier rose above her, cocooning the brunette.
"Jesus." Whitney whispered.
Pete and Clark both took a step towards the cocoon of power.
Greg reached into his leather jacket and pulled out a cigarette and lighter, lighting it and breathing out a ball of smoke.
Chloe narrowed gaze went from Lana to Nell and back.
Lana looked around herself at the barrier, worry and determination in her hazels as she reached out to touch the barrier, crying as electricity visibly entered her system, driving her to her knees.
"That's too intense!" Pete took another step towards Lana. "We were only able to get through our own barrier together! As six! And we weren't wearing the necklaces anymore! You can't expect her to-."
"That barrier is strong enough for one person to destroy or escape, it's not even a tenth of the strength of the one you six came across." Nell interrupted, never looking away from her niece. "And I can expect her to not fail me because I know she's strong enough to do this. I have faith in her. She is your leader. Have faith in her abilities."
Pete frowned in worry before turning his dark gaze back on Lana.
Stumbling back to her feet, Lana staggered forwards and nearly hit the barrier again, only just stopping from touching it.
The young beauty licked her lips as she closed her eyes and held her hands out, mouth moving silently.
Giving a little whimper, Lana tried once again.
Eyes flying open, Lana reached down and yanked off her shoes, digging her feet into the ash and ground.
Nell's lips curled in a smile, her voice soft and pleased. "Good girl."
Lana looked queasy, incredibly pale, and the necklace on her began to glow a little brighter, obviously fighting her. But her determination was incredible as she closed her eyes and took in a deep breath, grounding herself in the ear as her lips began to move silently once more in a spell.
And this time she wasn't rewarded with nothing.
At her feet the ash began to move as if on waves, and then vines began to emerge from the dead ground. They arched away from her, sliding against the barrier as would snakes against a container they were being held in.
Lana fell to her knees, horribly pale, the meteorite shining against her chest, her hands visibly shaking.
The vines pushed against the barrier, visibly expanding it as they continued to grow and take over the little dome she found herself in.
Sweat began to course down the side of her face, the teen seeming barely able to hold it anymore.
The vines appeared to realize it, the desperation she must have been feeling shooting into them like urgency as they slammed against the dome for her viciously.
Suddenly a writhing vine pierced through the barrier, and the barrier collapsed all around Lana, the vines shriveling up and dying immediately all around the brunette, who remained on her knees.
There was silence, and then Nell brought her hands together in a loud clap. "Well done."
Lana's eyes slowly opened, her breathing hard as she slipped the necklace off and let it fall to the ground. She lowered her head, visibly exhausted, most probably fighting fainting.
Pete and Clark moved at the same time, both boys hurrying towards Lana and grabbing her, helping the girl to her feet.
"No one can use the same technique, spell, to get out." Nell declared. "Each and every way out must be new. Creative. Surprise me."
"I'll go next." Greg flicked his cigarette away and crushed it beneath his feet.
Something vibrated in her pocket, and Chloe pulled out her phone, frowning at the unknown number. She moved away from the others as Greg went to where Lana had thrown away the necklace, before moving to his own little assigned area, the barrier coming on around him the second he stepped into it.
"Who is this?" She continued walking away from the group, hand against her ear.
"Chloe!" Nell called from behind her. "No telephone calls! You need to concentrate on what the others are doing!"
There was a moment's silence, then: "Repeat after me: Air make a barrier and take no sound to eager ears."
Recognizing John's voice, Chloe's eyes widened as she nodded. "Air make a barrier and take no sound to eager ears." All around her she could feel a shift in the wind, felt the magic around her, and smiled slowly at herself as she turned so that she could gaze at Nell out of the corner of her eyes but the angle didn't allow Nell to read her lips. "How did you get this number?"
"Witch." He reminded.
She laughed softly. "I didn't realize that made you an instant telephone directory."
"Yes, well," he cleared his throat. "I need you to do something for me."
Her eyes widened at this. "What do you need?"
"I need you to DHL me something as soon as possible, hopefully before the end of the week." He declared.
She blinked, surprised. "Uhm, okay?"
"The thing is that I need you to retrieve it for me from the person I have holding it." John declared. "He's in Edge City."
The girl bulked at that. "Edge City."
"Yes." John cleared his throat. "I know that it isn't the safest of places, but I really need this...thing...that he's holding for me. It's urgent that I get it as soon as possible. If it wasn't for the time frame I'd get it myself but I can't risk leaving here for a second. Not with things as critical as they are."
Worry filtered into her. "Is everything okay?"
"All I can say is that something I've been working towards my whole life is about to be accomplished, and if everything goes according to plan, I will be there soon and have the conversation we need to have face to face."
It was all sorts of cryptic, but she could sense the urgency in his voice. "What is it, where is it, and how do I prove to this guy that I'm from you? Because I'm figuring he won't just hand it to me just because I say I'm there on your orders."
"It's a package." He was ever the vague one. "Marx Anton is holding it for me, he's the owner of Crouch End."
"Crouch End as in the Stephen King short story?" Which, she totally knew it wasn't but couldn't help herself.
"Crouch End as in the nightclub." He replied.
"Okay, a good time to try my newest fake ID." She cleared her throat, trying to butch up for this.
An explosion had the girl turning around, eyes wide as Greg stumbled out of the barrier...which was now only a circle of burnt, smoking ground.
Nell was coughing, waving her hand in front of her. "Very creative."
"I get these explosions of genius." He stumbled, still cocky in his weakness as he yanked the necklace off and threw it at Clark, who caught it, the veins in his hand pulsating green. "Don't feel too bad if you aren't able to live up to that, we all know I'm a tough act to follow."
Rolling his eyes, Clark watched Nell for directions to his area, and slipped on the necklace, visibly wincing as he did, the barrier coming up and encircling him.
Chloe, sensing Nell turn towards her, shifted her body back to its original position. "So what do I do to get this Marx Anton to give me this package?"
There was a hesitation.
"John?" Chloe felt dread rising.
"It's not so much what you do...as what you give."
Her stomach went queasy. "As in?"
"Blood." John responded. "You need to retrieve the package from its hidden place, and to do so you need to give a little blood. Only someone with my blood can get it."
Chloe's eyes widened. "Are you saying it's in some sort of magical safe that can only be opened by someone of your family?"
"In a nutshell? Yes." John cleared his throat. "There's a little more to the whole thing than just bloodletting, but yes."
"Okay." She nodded, clearing her throat. "I'm actually out with the Circle and Nell right now, so why don't I call you once I sneak back home and you can give me more specifics?"
There was a pause, and then a sigh. "Chloe, I would prefer it if you didn't get so close to the Smallville Circle or Nell Potter...especially Nell Potter."
Chloe worried her bottom lip, not sure how to respond to this without being disrespectful. "I've been friends with Clark and Pete my whole life, and they're a part of the circle. I'm not going to stop being friends with them...and the others aren't half bad either." She cleared her throat, feeling his dissatisfaction. "But I'm never going to be close to or trust Nell Potter, so I wouldn't worry about that."
"She's going to expect you to bind the circle." He reminded.
"And if it wasn't for the fact that I'll only be able to use magic with the others I would do it." She lied just out of rebellion and could hear his silence, his strong disapproval. "You lied to me. You said that if I did magic with the others that they'd grow addicted to my magic. They haven't."
"You've done group magic." He whispered.
"We were nearly killed the other night." She frowned, annoyed at this guy, who was basically a stranger, acting all...all...like a disappointed father. "We were kidnapped and attacked. There was no other choice!"
"Witch-Hunters-?" He began.
"No, Nell said they weren't Witch-Hunters. Someone else is in the game and is testing our unbound circle for some reason." Her eyes widened at the complete silence from his end. "You know who it was who did this!"
"I have an idea." He admitted. "But it is something that I need to speak to you about face to face." His voice was like a hiss. "There's less time than I thought there was. Chloe, I need that package if I'm going to keep you and the others safe."
She gulped, sensing his genuine worry and desire to protect her. "I'll get it for you."
"Thank you." He replied.
"Chloe, it's your turn." Nell's voice broke into her conversation. "Who are you talking to?"
Chloe turned towards the witch, who was eyeing her curiously. "It's my father." She gulped, saying the first thing that came to her mind. "He realized that I was out of the house, it's late at night, and he freaked out a little. I'm telling him that I'm fine and with you."
"Oh." Nell eyed her before nodding. "Do you need me to speak to him to confirm your whereabouts?"
"No. He heard your voice." Chloe shook her head. "I'll be there in a second."
"Okay." Nell nodded, probably being gracious because she thought Gabe was listening.
Turning her back on Nell, Chloe brought the phone to her ear. "I'll call you back in a couple of hours."
Turning off her cellular, Chloe slipped it into her pocket and turned for Whitney to place the necklace in her hands, proving that she'd missed Clark and his test...maybe Pete had gone as well, she wasn't sure. The blonde hissed as the moment her hands closed over the meteorite it made her blood boil in her veins, which throbbed and turned green.
"Since you were not paying attention..." Nell raised an eyebrow, hugging herself. "Greg managed to create a similar electric force as the barrier-and when the two energies collided they cancelled each other quite...explosively."
Greg grinned proudly at that, smoking once more.
"Clark quite creatively bombarded the earth around the barrier enough to destabilizing the crystals I used to anchor the barrier, and while it didn't fall it was weak enough for him to escape." Nell nodded proudly. "Likewise, Whitney used the earth to his advantage, pulling out a large boulder from under the earth and used it to break through-as stone isn't a conductor it went through the electricity and he escaped with minimal injury."
The cut against Whitney's cheek proved her words.
"And Pete." Nell's gaze was on the handsome young man. "He coated the barrier with ice and then shattered it."
Chloe's eyes widened as she turned towards Pete. "Wow."
He blushed, obviously uncomfortable with the obvious praise. "It wasn't anything."
Chloe doubted that, already feeling horribly weak as she slipped the necklace on and walked to where Nell directed was her testing area.
As the barrier came up around her, Chloe felt her mind blank, not knowing at all how to break out of this thing while feeling so terribly drained and without using the same techniques the others had already used. She felt herself entering into a panic but did her best to fight it, trying to ignore Nell watching her so shrewdly, the blonde gazing around her, trying to find some sort of weakness in the barrier she might be able to exploit, but everything seemed strong and in place.
Cursing softly, the teen licked her lips before following Lana's lead and kicking off her shoes.
Nell had praised the girl for this move earlier so obviously there was something to it.
Chloe cleared her throat and held her hands out to her sides, willing lightning once more, knowing it had worked the last time...but as she tried to use her magic the meteorite around her neck began to glow brighter, her veins feeling like it was transporting needles to her heart instead of blood, the blonde faltering with a cry as she clutched at her heart.
Clark and Pete stepped forwards once more, much as they had with Lana before.
Nell's eyes narrowed.
Chloe tried to issue her magic forth, but the stone around her neck just glowed brighter and the pain was harder and harder to push back, soon the sensation was all she could truly concentrate on. It was all she could do to keep from yanking that thing off and throwing it away, her pride refusing to give in that much even as her strength failed her and she collapsed to the ground.
"Chloe!" Lana called out in worry. "Chloe take it off!"
Curled in the fetus position on the ground, Chloe cried out in pain as it was getting hard to breathe, but no matter how hard she tried every second she tried to unleash her magic the needles-in-veins pain continued. How could the others have fought this so much? It was excruciating!
Unbeknownst to her, darkness had begun to rise from the ground around her, curling like smoke in a crystal ball, obstructing everyone's view of her.
She could feel the other side of her magic begging her to release it, to let it do its job, and then when it sensed her hesitance and fear it broke through her control and the next thing Chloe knew she was crying as the already unstable earth opened up underneath her and she was falling.
When the darkness retreated, finally giving them visibility, the witches' eyes widened to find Chloe wasn't in the barrier anymore...and the barrier was still very much alive and up.
Nell's eyes widened, shocked out of belief.
"Where is she?" Greg coughed on his smoke, dark browns wide.
Nell couldn't answer, and she hated it.
Groaning, Chloe pushed herself up off of the ground, surrounded by nothing but darkness. She had the vague recollection of the earth opening up and devouring her before closing back up, leaving her in this pitch black. Once again she should feel terrified, should feel trapped, but she felt nothing but relief.
The pain was gone.
Chloe's hand went to her neck and her eyes widened in the darkness to feel nothing but the chain around her neck...the meteorite apparently gone.
Sitting up Chloe could feel that other side of her magic retreating deep within once more, allowing the other side of her magic free reign once more.
The blonde took in a deep breath and held out her hand. "Give me light."
A ball of light appeared in her palm, illuminating the...underground cave.
Gulping, Chloe slowly rose to her feet, shadows and light playing off of the walls, green eyes narrowing as she realized that there were drawings on the cave walls. She drew closer, seeing native american-like cave drawings everywhere, and yet they weren't the normal sort that one would expect. There were drawings of a group of six youth standing around a fire and holding hands...a circle. There were other symbols and drawings depicted on the walls, records of some sort.
A symbol drew her attention, the blonde heading towards it and reaching up on her tiptoes to reach it, her fingertips brushing against the symbol. She couldn't understand why she felt so drawn to it, why she felt as if she was supposed to be here...
...shaking her head, knowing that the others were probably worried about her, Chloe turned to her ball of light and brought it to her mouth as she whispered to it, not even sure where she was getting this spell from. "Will O' The Wisp, guide my path."
The ball of light hovering over her palm suddenly shot up into the air, circling above-head a second before floating ahead.
Chloe stood, staring at it for a second, shocked.
"Instinctive magic." She whispered to herself, mulling over it as she began to follow.
Nell had lowered the barrier, proving that it wasn't an illusion, the girl truly had disappeared. Her shoes remained though.
"Where is she?" Clark whispered, standing exactly where Chloe should be. "Where is she?"
Nell bit back a sharp retort, frustration and confusion growing inside of her.
The green meteorite had hurt Chloe more than the others...and that along with this new happening...Nell gulped as she searched around her.
What if this girl didn't actually belong to Gabe Sullivan?
Nell fought the beginnings of hysteria.
What if this girl had dark magic in her?
What if she was a Blackwell? A Balcoin?
Nell ran her hands over her head in mounting confusion and queasiness.
She'd known that John had been friendly with the women of the circle, that he'd flirted both with her, Geneva, Martha and Moira (and the girlfriends of the men of the circle), but when Moira had become pregnant Gabe Sullivan had stepped in as the father and Moira had married him with the blessing of her parents given the fact that she'd been so young at the time. John wouldn't have allowed that if he'd known that Moira could be having his child, right? All he'd ever talked about was bringing his family back from the brink of extinction, he being the last of Francis Balcoin's lineage…if he'd known that he'd fathered a child…a daughter...
Nell gulped, gaze going back to where the barrier had stood.
The meteorite affected natural born witches badly...but they affected those with dark magic even worse...but depending on the power in the dark witch supposedly...
"Chloe?" Lana gasped.
Nell turned rapidly, eyes wide to see the blonde walking towards them, hugging herself against the cold of the night, obviously tired yet not as tired as one would have expected.
"What happened?" Whitney asked, jogging up towards the girl, eyes wide.
"Seriously." Greg lit another cigarette now that he knew she was fine. "What the heck was that?"
"I'm not too sure." Chloe made a face. "I passed out and woke up over there in the forest."
"How?" Clark asked the question of the hour.
Nell turned her gaze on Pete, realizing he was the only one asking questions, if anything he was eyeing Chloe thoughtfully, questioningly.
The blonde looked up at him, nodded nearly undecipherable and then turned a weak smile on Lana.
Nell's eyes narrowed fractionally.
Pete Ross knew something he wasn't sharing with the rest of the class, and yet she doubted that he knew everything.
She doubted he knew that one of his friends was most probably a witch with powerful dark magic coursing through her veins.
"What happened to the meteorite rock?" Lana wanted to know in shock, reaching up to touch the empty chain.
Chloe gulped, giving a feeble smile. "I think all the fight we gave it overloaded it because it just-uh-exploded."
"Oh wow." Clark whispered, eyes wide.
Nell's eyes zeroed on Chloe, suspicion confirmed.
There was only one blood so strong that it could destroy the meteorite.
The older witch raised her chin as she eyed the blonde in a new light.
John Blackwell had a daughter.
Nell's lips twitched before curling in satisfaction.
There was no way she was letting that girl bind herself to any other circle now.