Title: The New CircleFandoms: Smallville/Secret CircleCharacters: Chloe Sullivan, Whitney Fordman, Greg Arkin, Cassie Blake, Diana Meade, Mikhail Balcoin, Lucas Dunleavy, Faye Chamberlain, Byron Moore...Rating: TDisclaimer: Don't ownSummary: 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.Wanna thank tenshinrtaiga for betaing!
Glancing behind her, Chloe couldn't see anything but she didn't trust her eyes, not after what had just happened. The teenager pushed on, her feet bare after having lost her remaining shoe sometime during her latest scuffle, the bottom of her feet cut and bleeding but she ignored the pain as she continued. There was something following her in this place, something that she couldn't see but feel. It was stronger than anything else inside this realm and it was after her with a vengeance. She didn't know what it was, but it wanted her blood, it wanted her pain, it wanted her everything. It terrified her more than any other monster she'd seen so far. Her magic seemed useless against it, even her shield had faltered against it, the blonde vulnerable to its attacks and only able to continually flee throughout this vast wilderness of nightmares and shadows. Whenever she stopped for a moment or two to try and catch her breath, she'd feel it closing in on her and would push on despite how tired or in pain she was, the girl pushing back the desire to cry because she knew what it was doing.
It was tiring her. It really wasn't putting up a true chase. Whatever this thing was, it was exhausting her. Once she collapsed, too tired to run, it'd pounce on her then, and that was when it'd make it's truemove, and she'd be too exhausted to defend herself.
"Damn it, Chloe! Wake up!" Whitney banged against the barrier with all he had, and yet he couldn't get through, the Quarterback twirling around as the sound of a roar echoed somewhere in the shadows. His eyes narrowed, fists clenched. It was probably that creature with the spikes on its spine again; it had been circling around a couple of times. Considering that it was always twilight in this dimension, the witch wasn't exactly sure how long he'd been here, especially since it'd taken him awhile to locate Chloe, but it felt like he'd spent weeks trying to break through the bubble of darkness surrounding the unconscious girl floating inside. What he didn't understand, though, is how things could emerge out of the bubble but he couldn't go inside.
Something shifted in the dark fog surrounding the shadow bubble, the large and vicious creature formed before apparently finally deciding to make its move as it stepped forward.
Whitney moved on instinct, raising his hands high above his head. "Flames, burn back our path." He then used the momentum and slammed his hands palms down on the ground, flames erupting as it encircled Whitney and the bubble with Chloe, flames burning high, closing off the path of the creature who roared loudly in displeasure, pacing on the other side of the flames.
The creature moved closer, testing the flames. Whitney narrowed his eyes and the earth next to the creature exploded, sending it flying backwards with a screech.
Chloe cried out.
"No." Whitney's eyes widened, twirling around to face her, seeing the girl's eyes open wide before rolling into the back of her head, her body arched abnormally. "Not again." He slammed his fists desperately into the side of the shadow bubble. "Stop it!" Tears of blood began to fall from her eyes and he could taste metal in his mouth. "Wake up, Chloe! WAKE UP!"
Adam had known that it would be hard but he'd been training with his family at home; it hadn't only been family fun in the Tentagel House. Still, as he sat opposite Clark with his palm on the boy's forehead and the knowledge Jake had received from Greg that Clark, Pete and Lana had been washed (almost) clean by a Wiper… This was still much more of a challenge than he had expected. It didn't help that the pressure was on tenfold. There was the fact that Chloe (who had done so very much for him) was basically being held hostage, that the ever sweet Diana was considering going dark side, and that all these guys were expecting him to perform miracles while breathing down his neck. Adam took in a deep breath and concentrated harder, trying to find the pieces that were left.
There was nothing coherent, nothing left to be put together. It was as if something had taken a film reel and had cut up most of it, throwing it away while only leaving little odd bits and pieces of it behind. But he was searching to see if maybe they'd forgotten the negatives. Or maybe impressions had been left somewhere. Maybe. Somehow. He didn't know.
His attempt at trying to find out any information on where exactly they were being kept and who Wiped them was useless. Adam was about to give up when something Jake had told him about Greg's dreams made him pause. They'd been keeping Greg's repeated dreams a secret from the others for various reasons. One of those reasons was that they weren't too sure that they could actually really trust the trio. It was harsh to say that, but they'd been under Rao Darkseid's thumb for longer than anyone really knew and who couldn't say for sure whether they'd been infected or converted? Who knew for sure whether they weren't unknowingly, or knowingly even, working for him? If they were working for Darkseid, having their memories removed of this would be very convenient, wouldn't it?
Adam paused, clearing his throat. Only he, Jake and Greg (well, and Cassie now, he supposed) knew of the dreams Greg was having, about the Skype session that never happened, and they couldn't help but wonder if those memories had been removed from the trio as well or if they were in on the plan. And the thing was, if they asked the trio then they'd be giving away the fact that they knew insider information, so they couldn't. It was a no-win situation.
So instead, Adam fished inside of Clark's head, keeping him away from the safety Lana and Pete afforded him, trying to figure out what secrets the trio might have, and if they, or at least Clark Kent, posed a threat to Chloe.
Suddenly that triggered something, Adam finding himself inside flung into some sort of a backdoor entrance into Clark Kent's memories.
She stood on the top of a cliff with nowhere to run, and that presence, that invisible something, standing in front of her. She could feel its rank breath on her face; it smelt like death. A growl echoed around her, it nudged her closer towards the edge of the cliff.
"No," she whispered, looking back, seeing the edge which seemed to fall into eternity.
Something slashed her back, eight claw marks drawing blood.
What had eight claws?
Chloe cried out, staggering backwards, ever closer to the edge. "No!" She held out her palms towards the general direction of whatever this was, but her magic did nothing, the blonde crying, finding it hurt to do so. She brought her hands to her eyes and brought them back up to find them covered in blood. "What's happening to me?"
Whitney watched the blood-covered butterfly as it climbed out of Chloe's mouth, the girl having gone limp for now. The butterfly was unlike any earthly counterpart, its wings dripping with blood, baring dragon eyes as they fluttered, drying, the creature moving so that it was resting on her lips so that her breath bathed it. As the wings dried, they began to metamorphose, becoming jagged, splitting and curling out, hardening into scales. The butterfly took flight as it emerged from the bubble of darkness and crossed over the ring of flames into the fog right as its body began to shift, transforming into something monstrous.
The teenager frowned, pressed his back against the bubble, seeing the darkness grow in the mass in the fog on the other side of the flames. The creatures were accumulating, gathering. "Chloe, you've really got to stop that."
Something was happening: Adam and Clark both swayed before righting themselves, Adam's hand on Clark's forehead glowing slightly as his power strengthened.
Jake leaned closer.
Byron chewed his thumbnail, obviously very nervous. While everyone had taken Chloe's departure badly, Byron had taken it worse because he blamed himself considering she'd traded herself for his cure. He was the most invested in getting his sister back, and while that made him an excellent soldier, that also made him somewhat of a loose cannon Jake had to keep a close eye on.
Lucas and Mikhail received a text message, the two silently excusing themselves, leaving the loft.
Jake watched them go before returning his gaze to Adam and Clark.
It was just her, the edge, and that thing.
Chloe shivered in terror, bleeding, not knowing what to do as she clutched at the Balcoin necklace John had given her, the one Vika Balcoin had been wearing in the portrait she'd seen in Rao's study. Unlike so many other times when she'd been in trouble, it was now cold, useless, lifeless on her chest.
Something chuckled dark in her ear, guttural, and then something cold entered her, and all went black.
Adam Knight found himself at the Talon, surprised to see himself here and a little disoriented at first, but the raised voices drew his attention to the group standing around the living area.
"What do you mean we can't tell Chloe and that we have to stay away from her?" Clark Kent frowned, eyes narrowed at Nell Potter.
"We're not going to do that." Pete Ross shook his head. "She's our best friend. I don't care what's happened to us and the fact that this place almost became the next Salem. She won't turn on us because of what we are now. We are not going to turn on her. She-"
"She's one of you." Nell stopped their argument with those four words. "It's because of that that you cannot tell her that you are witches, and why you cannot be friends with her, for now."
"You're making no sense." Clark made a face, stepping forwards. "If Chloe's a witch as well, then we should tell her. We should-"
"No." Nell shook her head. "There have been instances where people with her temperament who find out this way enter into a sense of denial and block their ability and we need her to manifest. She's a part of Lana's Circle."
"Fine." Pete frowned. "We won't tell her. We let her find out on her own like we did. That doesn't mean we have to stop being friends with her."
Nell sneered. "Have you two ever been able to keep a secret from her? She'll figure it out immediately, freak out, and subconsciously throw up barriers left, right and center, destroying any chance of this Circleever being formed. No. You will do as I say: you will remove yourselves from her life and let her powers awaken on their own." Her gaze rested on the boys. "This is for Chloe's own good. Stop being so selfish."
Clark looked away, clenching his fists.
Pete did the same.
The scene blurred and changed to Chloe's old bedroom, the one in her old house. Clark climbed in through the second floor window and paced the floor, rubbing his hands nervously as the sound of a shower running could be heard. The boy kept mumbling to himself, practicing something, obviously worried and kept gazing back from the bathroom to the window, almost as if second guessing himself and about to throw himself out of the window before manning up and keeping himself inside.
"You can do this, Clark," the boy whispered to himself. "She's your best friend, has been since you were a kid. She'll forgive you even though you've been a rotten, horrible person who just out of the blue abandoned her and left her out in the cold for a group she thinks are a creepy teenage cult who probably sacrifice virgins on the full moon." He seemed to get even more nervous than reassured though, running his fingers through his hair. "Maybe I should have just gone for the flowers approach like Pete suggested."
Except he didn't really think Chloe would forgive them with just an attack of the floral kind tomorrow at school.
It was why he was staging this desperate home invasion.
Taking in a deep breath, Clark squared his shoulders. This was something he had to do. He had to prove to Chloe that there was a good reason. That they really were witches – that she really was a witch. Yes. He wasn't leaving here until she was convinced.
"Clark?" Her voice was a squeak, a barely contained scream, the girl having just come out of the bathroom in a huge, old t-shirt and had obviously been shocked to find him there.
He turned around at the sound of her voice, sheepish. "Uhm, hi."
Adam now found himself in Potter's Potts with Clark, Diana and Chloe. Clark was concentrating, a glowing ferret seated on the table top, transparent and ghostly, yet glowing and sparkling brilliantly.
Clark seemed quite proud of himself, not so disparaging about this ability anymore. "Mom says that the creature will be different for everyone."
"So it really is like a Patronus." Chloe couldn't and wouldn't stop herself from geeking as she reached out slowly and caressed the top of the ferret's head, feeling her Balcoin symbol tingle as the nearly transparent ferret's colors began changing. "Whoa."
Clark's eyes widened and he gulped loudly.
"You need to teach me this spell," Diana gushed, reaching out to pet the ferret's back.
As soon as her scarred hand touched the ferret, Chloe could feel their magics intertwining and suddenly the ferret took a life of its own, body growing and contorting until it was larger and more muscular and its eyes were raging red.
Both girls removed their hands immediately, the creature's body quickly returning back to normal, the ferret blinking innocently at them.
Clark must have lost all concentration because the ferret disappeared and the boy shook his head, bringing his hand to it. "What was that?"
Chloe and Diana exchanged looks before the blonde held out of palm to Clark. "I think it was these."
Diana tapped her own scarred palm. "What exactly did we do?"
"I need to sit down." Clark seemed almost woozy as he pulled up a chair and collapsed onto it, resting his head hard on the counter.
Chloe and Diana exchanged worried looks before going on either side of the boy. "Are you okay?"
"I – I felt – wow." Clark seemed a little disoriented, his voice strained. "That was a physical manifestation of my magic and your magics – wow."
"We might have broken him." Diana sent Chloe a nervous little look.
"I'm fine," Clark assured, still not lifting his head from the counter. "It's just – I think I got an overload surge from your magics mingling with mine. Whooo!" He finally lifted his head, shaking it a little, still seeming somewhat woozy. "I feel a little tipsy right now."
"I'll get you some water." Diana slipped away to the back room.
Adam frowned, stepping closer, but immediately the scene began to change.
Once again, the background shifted and Adam found himself back at the Kent's but this time behind the barn watching Whitney and Clark tend to the cattle. The two teenagers were talking about things that had happened recently, Whitney being filled in.
"Married?" Whitney choked on his water during a quick break.
"That's what Melissa said Gabe told them." Clark eyed the shell shocked look on his friend. "It's why you can sense her when something is up." He chuckled, slugging the blonde. "Don't worry. Melissa also said that Gabe mentioned that if Chloe binds other people to her Circle who aren't blood, that the magic will slowly get that that isn't the case with you two and that she's just being weird, even by Balcoin standards."
"I'm never going to let her live this down," Whitney promised, slowly seeing the humor in this whole situation.
Clark grinned, admittedly feeling a little evilly amused at the thought of the future teasing Chloe was going to suffer. "Just don't let her know I'm the one who told you!"
The Quarterback chuckled, shaking his head, putting down the container of water as he got back to work. "Don't worry, I've learnt from the best. I don't reveal my sources."
Clark eyed the blonde thoughtfully, shaking his head as he took continued working. "You know, I still can't get my head around it, you know?"
"Around what?" Whitney asked curiously, wiping at his forehead.
"You two used to hate each other, you remember that right?" Clark could still picture those days clearly in his head.
"I wouldn't say we hated each other." Whitney made a face. "But we didn't like each other, I'll give you that."
Clark nodded, figuring that the other boy was right about that since hate was a really strong word. "Think about it, if it wasn't for magic, you never would have become friends."
Whitney frowned slightly, sending Clark a little look as his golden eyebrows touched in thought.
"Funny how life is, huh?" Clark chuckled, dismissing the idea and humming happily as he got back to work.
Whitney remained standing there a little longer, a small frown on his face, before he slowly followed suit.
Clark stepped off of the plane, staring at his palm, highly disturbed.
The winged serpent tattoo on his palm had disappeared.
What did that mean? Were the Trials over maybe? Or had he forfeited his right to the tattoo when he'd left?
"Clark!" Pete's voice jerked him out of his thoughts and he turned to his waving friend and smiled, deciding to call back home and see what was going on as soon as they got to wherever it was they'd be staying.
"Pete!" Clark hurried towards him. "What's going on, man! You said it's life and death but back home-"
"I'm sorry, Clark. I know I'm probably the worst friend ever but it's Lana." Pete grabbed Clark's arm, looking around him in worry, walking him away from the airport, obviously worried that they were being watched. "She's been taken."
"What?" Clark frowned. "By who? Why? And why haven't you told Nell? The police? What's going on, Pete?"
"It's not only that, Clark. The guy who has her, he's after Chloe." Pete's words chilled Clark to the bone. "It's why I couldn't come out and tell you anything until you came here. He doesn't know he's after her yet because he doesn't know who exactly he's after."
"You're confusing me." Clark stopped walking, yanking his arm out of Pete's hold. "What is going on?"
Pete looked around before drawing closer. "This guy, Clark, he's a really bad guy. And he's looking for the Balcoin Firstborn, okay?"
Clark's eyes widened. "Lana."
"He'll get it out of her eventually if we don't get her back." Pete took in a deep breath. "Thing is, he has people watching me. If I contact people from back home, he'll find Chloe. I took a big enough risk contacting you but I had to take the chance. You're the only one I could count on."
"Why me?" Clark asked. "Why not Nell?"
"Because I trust you when it comes to both of them," Pete whispered. "Not Nell."
Clark eyed Pete before smiling, reaching up to clasped his friend's shoulder. "We'll get her back."
Pete smiled, though he didn't look too sure.
They'd failed and he knew it was only a matter of time before he was captured as well. Clark had slipped into an internet cafe and logged onto one of the random computers there, desperately hoping that Chloe's editing skills would pick up the many errors in his email as a last ditch effort to warn her because once he was taken, if his mind was read, he didn't want them to be able to see him writing an outright warning. He'd tried to cleverly disguise it, and yet considering that he'd never been that great at his editing in his pieces for the Torch, a part of him feared that Chloe wouldn't really pay much attention to the errors. Still, he hoped that she'd stop and wonder at the many out of place punctuations as she read his true message to her:
YOU ARE IN DANGER BE READY
It was after leaving the cyber cafe and sending this message that Rao Darkseid's men finally caught him.
Adam gasped, stepping back from the edge, almost falling into an abyss. This memory was so shattered, it was literally broken. He clung to a part that remained intact, watching a woman that matched Greg's description of "Granny Goodness" circle a tied Clark, who hung from the ceiling, his ribs visible from obvious lack of food. The woman dressed like some sort of religious fanatic and seemed like anyone's sweet little grandmother, but there was evil in those eyes as she circled him.
"Why do you resist?" Granny asked, tutting, shaking her head. "Just tell us what we need to know. We know about the girl. We know she exists. She belongs to my Master." She brought her hand against Clark's chest, the boy gritting his teeth as her hands heated visibly, burning his skin. "Just talk, save yourself from this needless, thankless pain. I know you're thirsty, hungry, cold and scared. I know you miss your parents, that pretty girl you think about all the time. Melissa, is it?"
Clark glared at her.
Granny Goodness smiled at him. "Just give us what we need, give us the information on the girl, and you'll be free."
Clark stared into the woman's eyes. "No."
Granny's smile slipped before it returned full force. "Don't be foolish, my boy, listen to a wise old woman who only has your good at heart."
He shook his head.
"Fine. Have it your way." She sighed and whispered an incantation, his chains going black.
Clark closed his eyes tightly as he began to scream.
Clark opened his eyes, the boy weak and in pain from his seemingly endless rounds of torture, to find someone tugging on his bindings. His eyes widened, shocked to see who it was.
She gave him a little smile, bringing a finger to her mouth before letting him loose, the boy falling hard against her, dragging her to the ground in his weakened state. "What have they done to you?"
"What are you doing here?" Clark whispered, horrified, terrified. "If they find you-!"
"It's okay," she whispered softly, looking around. "This is a rescue mission." The girl was so adorable he could burst if he wasn't about to faint from fatigue. "The others are close by right now. You're safe, don't worry. I just jumped the gun a little and came for you a little sooner than I should have, sorry, but we should be fine."
He gulped back so many emotions, reaching out to wrap his arms around her. "You have no idea have much I've thought about you in this hell hole."
"Really?" She sounded like she was smiling.
"It's your face – it's what's gotten me through everything. All the torture – everything." His voice broke as he held on.
"It's okay, Clark." Melissa rubbed his back. "Everything's okay now. You're safe." She then pulled away, eyeing Clark nervously. "You haven't told them about her though, right? You haven't told them where she is?"
"Of course not. I-" Clark paused, eyes narrowed. He stared at Melissa before his face broke and he looked away. "Get away from me."
"What?" Melissa whispered.
Clark turned to look at her. "No one knows we're here. No one's coming to rescue us."
Adam felt for the boy, but this was a memory and there was nothing he could do but watch as it unfolded before him.
Melissa's form wavered before disappearing.
"Very good," a man declared, appearing from the shadows. "Do you understand how rare it is for someone to see through my mental manipulations? Especially when I use Lust as a base? I can see what Granny was saying, you're a strong one."
"Don't dirty Melissa by impersonating her," Clark spat from where he sat on the ground. "No matter what you do, I won't tell you anything."
"It doesn't really matter." The young man smiled as he went to kneel in front of the battered boy. "You don't have to tell us anything anymore, we have all the information we need. This whole charade was only for fun."
"We have a situation," Mikhail announced as they returned, Lucas passing Jake and Byron the phone. On it, Grant and Trent had sent them a couple of pictures from the pub they'd been having drinks in while on a stake out, the pictures clearing showing Faye and Diana being escorted into the "Ace of Clubs" by Bruno, and then Greg and Cassie sneaking in after them. The next picture showed the four teenagers being escorted from the club by Bruno and some of his top bouncers before the ceremony could even take place. Grant had said that he'd stayed behind to continue his stake out of the club while Trent was trying to follow the vehicle that the four had been shuffled into. Brendan was still inside the club itself.
"What the hell?" Jake frowned, keeping his voice low and drawing away from Clark and Adam so as not to interrupt what was going on between them.
Byron just stared at the picture, a blank expression on his face as he joined the other boys away from Adam and Clark. "What does this mean?"
"I don't know." Lucas shook his head. "But the fact that he didn't tell us can't be good."
Jason Teague looked around the remains of the village which still bore the marks of the massacre that had only recently left it a ghost town, barren of any form of life. The American in a foreign land took in everything as both he and Davis walked slowly through the small village where Moira Sullivan had disappeared in before the bloodbath had taken place. It was a tiny village in a remote mountain area of Romania and Jason had to wonder exactly what Moira was doing here in the first place.
His mind flashed back to that night in his car, to the long and revealing conversation he'd had with Chloe, to the revelation that Moira had been controlled by someone else when she'd killed Gabe. So why, after grabbing her things, had the woman chosen to come here of all places?
There had to be a reason.
"Jason," Davis was ahead of him, standing on the rise of a hill, "you need to see this."
Frowning, Jason hurried his pace and crested the hill, standing next to Davis, eyes widening. "What the hell?"
"Exactly what I was going to say." Davis nodded, wiping the back of his palm across his sweaty brow. "Chloe's mother was a wolf shifter, right?"
"Right." Jason nodded slowly.
"Well, this can't be a coincidence then," Davis mumbled. "I just… I don't know what the hell it could mean though."
As Jason stared at the hundreds of mutilated wolf carcasses lining the hills stretching before him, he had to admit that he didn't know what it meant either.