Title: The New CircleFandoms: Smallville/Secret CircleCharacters: Chloe Sullivan, Whitney Fordman, Major Dru-Zod, Greg Arkin, Cassie Blake, Diana Meade, Mikhail Balcoin, Lucas Dunleavy, Faye Chamberlain/Byron Moore, Adam Knight, Zatanna Zatara, Bart Allen, Clark Kent, Pete Ross, Jor-El, Vika Balcoin, Van McNulty...Rating: TDisclaimer: Don't own any original material used in the television series or artwork, they belong to their respective creators. I have merely tweaked them for my story.Summary: Chloe Sullivan had a normal-ish life before the circle and John Blackwell turned her life upside down and gave new meaning to the unexplained weirdness that goes on in Smallville. Now life's a witch, she's a part of a circle she's not too sure she wants to be bound to, and not only do they have to worry about Witch-Hunters, but unknowingly to them another circle is on the hunt too.
"Was I supposed to join you guys?" Pete made a face as he looked around in confusion.
"No." Chloe shook her head as she eyed her brothers warily. "And neither was Mikhail, nor Whitney."
Adam looked up at the tree they were all under, his eyes narrowed. "Something's off."
"You sense it too." It wasn't a question, merely a statement as Whitney joined Adam's side and stared up at the branches of the grand tree as well.
The Doppelganger nodded. "If you asked me what it was I couldn't tell you, but I can feel it, something's wrong, something's very wrong."
"Considering we're along for the ride and we shouldn't be, you don't need a 'feeling' to know something's not right." Mikhail rolled his eyes as he ran his fingers through his hair, clearly agitated. "And what's with this place? The tree's blood red. As if that isn't foreboding enough."
"Let's concentrate on what we do know," Pete cleared his throat. "We're separated from the others, we're here and we shouldn't be, and something is definitely wrong."
Byron frowned. "I hope Faye is okay."
Chloe placed her hand on Byron's shoulder. "If anyone will get out of any situation fine, it's Faye."
Byron smiled slightly at that and nodded. "True. She's not afraid to play dirty when she has to."
"Not afraid to play dirty when she has to?" Mikhail scoffed. "When has that harpy ever played fairly to begin with?"
Byron merely smiled larger, seeming comforted.
Pete took in a deep breath. "We need to make a plan, figure out what went wrong and how to go about making it right again."
Mikhail raised an eyebrow. "Who died and made you First? Because it sure as hell wasn't Chloe."
"Mikhail. Don't say something like that." Chloe glared at him. "Pete's right."
Mikhail glared and looked away.
Pete frowned at Mikhail.
Byron looked between the brothers.
Whitney sighed as he stepped in. "Things went wonky in the middle of the ritual, right? And it separated us from the others." He cleared his throat as their attentions all turned to him. "I know my herbs and those herbs dealt with astral projection, psychic powers and psychic workings, it was why they were used for this specific spell, because a form of astral projection was needed for the binding that Byron wants." His gaze went to Byron. "Only you, Chloe and Adam should've crossed over though, so we need to be asking ourselves why Mikhail, Pete and I also made the trip along as well." He turned to face Pete and Mikhail. "What makes the three of us different from the others in the spell?"
"They're both Balcoins," Adam pointed out. "But you're not... and you're not bound to the Balcoin Circle either so that can't be it."
"He used to be, if I remember correctly," Byron reminded.
Whitney shook his head. "But I'm not anymore, so Adam's right, that can't be it. Because if it was, Diana and Lucas would be here as well."
Mikhail licked his lips. "I'd say we were both not a part of a Circle, but Whitney is, so that can't be it either."
Chloe looked up at that. "No, that-that could be it."
Pete blinked. "What?"
Mikhail blinked as well. "What do you mean?"
Whitney raised an eyebrow. "I'm Claimed for your Darkseid Circle, how could that be it?"
"I don't think it has to do with you, Whit, I'll get back to you in a minute, but I think it has to do with Pete and Mikhail and I should've thought of it sooner." She eyed them apologetically. "This is a binding ceremony. And you two are unbound. Not only that, but you're my blood." She could see their eyes widen as they realized the implications. "Thankfully you do not have to do anything, this is Byron's ceremony, but because of how the ritual was created, you were brought along as well as potential candidates to be bound... Or at least that's what I think."
"It makes sense." Pete took in a deep breath.
"What about Whitney though?" Adam wanted to know curiously.
"He's my Sanguine." Chloe's greens turned on Whitney in contemplation. "We still don't really know what that means." She licked her lips. "Zod sometimes calls me Whitney's Animus, which means that there's something more to that position than we really know, even Dragons respect it, and they rarely respect anything." She met Whitney's blues and could see similar questions there to the ones she had. "And there's also the fact that I have Whitney's blood flowing inside of me now thanks to the Ritual. That's quite binding."
"Wait, what?" Pete narrowed his eyes. "What Ritual?"
Chloe flinched when she remembered that Pete and Lana hadn't known about what had been happening with her during the time that the Orb had been draining her of her life due to the fact that they lived with Nell, the woman had a strong influence on their lives, and Chloe really hadn't wanted any of the information to accidentally slip.
"Why was there a bloodletting Ritual that I didn't know about that involved you and Whitney? Do you know how dangerous those sorts of things are? They shouldn't be done lightly. And of course they're binding. Hell, Chloe, if your magic thought you were married to Whitney before you did that bloodletting spell-! Why would you do something like that?" Pete reached out and grabbed Chloe's arm. "What. Is. Going. On?"
Oh damn, he was pissed.
Mikhail made for Pete.
Adam reached him first and removed his hand from Chloe's arm. "Hands off, please."
Pete eyed Adam with a frown before he turned to glare at Whitney. "Fordman, you and I are going to have a serious talk about what sort of relationship you have with my sister." He then turned to Chloe. "Can I talk to you? Alone?"
"The hell you can!" Mikhail glared. "And you can stop talking to her like that too! Also, if there's anyone who's gonna grill Whitney, it's gonna be someone who has a right to, not you!"
"I'm sick of your attitude!" Pete snapped at Mikhail. "You newcomers act as if she only belongs to you, but she's my sister as well, and even before we found out we were related she was one of my best friends for most of my life. So back off, Mikhail, because this has nothing to do with you."
"Where do you get off being so high and mighty?" Mikhail snarled. "You say she's your sister and best friend now, but when that bastard Rao had her you were more than happy to leave her rotting in his cluctches so you could be First with your bitch as co-ruler!"
Pete flinched as if slapped, eyes wide.
Byron's eyes widened as he looked between his siblings.
"Mikhail." Chloe turned to her younger brother, hating how the situation had torn their family even more apart than it had already been. "How many times do I have to tell you that that isn't what happened? Pete was only doing what I asked him to do! You can't hold it against him like this!"
"Can't hold it against him?" Mikhail chuckled darkly as he shook his head. "Can't hold it against him? Hell right I can hold it against him! He just said that we're the newcomers, but we didn't give up on you!He did!" His gaze was dark and furious. "And it was because it was convenient for him to do so."
Pete didn't answer at first, but his clenched fists shook, and begun to glow with icy power. When he spoke, his voice was dark. "The only reason you're not hexed on the floor in a twisted heap right now is because I'm not sure what would happen if I cast a spell in this place." The Secondborn Balcoin stepped forwards. "But believe me, if you ever say something like that ever again I'll forget that we're related, and that Chloe's decided to take you in despite the fact that you're nothing but a stranger-."
Mikhail snarled as he stepped forwards. "I'm more family than you'll ever be! At least I didn't choose some random snatch over my own blood!"
Icicles began to form around Pete's fists. "Don't you ever refer to Lana like that ever again!"
Mikhail's sneer was taunting. "Oh, believe me, that was me being nice considering that my sister's present."
Pete swung his glowing hand out viciously, a jagged wave of icicles lashing out towards Mikhail at lightning speed.
Mikhail grinned darkly and flicked his wrist, a tornado appearing between them and heading straight for Pete.
"You can't be serious-!" Adam's eyes widened.
"You idiots!" Whitney's voice was tinged with anger and worry as he hurried forwards. "Don't you know she'll-?"
Chloe threw herself in between the spells and held her hands outs, her barrier coming up and taking the brunt of both spells simultaneously.
"Chloe?" Pete's eyes widened in horror.
"Chloe!" Mikhail stepped forwards and yet couldn't do much as both Pete's and his curses twisted around her barrier.
"Whitney's right, you're both idoits." Byron wasn't usually one to say something like that, and the fact that he had, and with such viciousness, made both Mikhail and Pete flinch visibly. "If she gets hurt theboth of you are gonna be sorry."
Chloe wanted to yell out that she was okay, that she was safe inside of the barrier, but she was a bit overwhelmed at the moment and concentrated on keeping said barrier up against the hexes. She could feel the anger and hatred, the resentment and fear and all the emotions behind each hex, and it saddened her to the core that two people that she cared for so deeply felt this way towards each other. Also, she'd had a part to play in this. If she'd fought Rao a bit harder, if she hadn't sent Pete back and made him promise to be the First, this wouldn't have happened. The animosity between Pete and the siblings who thought he'd been out to get rid of her wouldn't have ever come about if it hadn't been for her actions. This was all her fault.
Her barrier wavered slightly.
"Don't get distracted, you dope!" Whitney's harsh reprimand brought her attention back on what she was doing. "Hold up for a bit longer."
She nodded and strengthened the barrier once more, riding it out until the tornado and icicles finally dissolved into the ether, having battled it out against her barrier and lost. The girl lowered the barrier with a sigh as her greens landed on Pete and Mikhail, who were both visibly far more subdued now. "When this is all over, we need to talk."
Pete and Mikhail looked away.
"Am I talking to myself?" Her eyes narrowed.
"I'll talk." Pete licked his lips.
"You know where I live." Mikhail cleared his throat.
Despite the promise of a future talk, she could still sense their hostilities towards each other, and the girl sighed. But her concentration broke when she felt a slap up the back of her head. A cry escaped her lips as she flinched and turned to face Whitney while she rubbed the back of her head. "Did you just slap me up the back of my head?"
"They're grown guys." Whitney glared at her. "If they want to act like fools, let them pay the consequences of their actions. Maybe they'll learn something from it."
"I'm the leader of your Circle." Chloe continued to rub the back of her head as she pointed her hand at him accusingly. "You shouldn't be slapping me up the back of my head!"
Adam raised an eye at Whitney. "Seriously, though. What the hell?"
"While I don't agree with the method, I agree with the sentiment behind it, and I think it's another reason why Whitney's here with us." Byron surprised everyone as he cleared his throat. "Adam's an extension of Chloe's magic, or something like that, it's why he's here, to help facilitate with the binding ritual, and Pete and Mikhail are here because, like me, they were unclaimed. But Whitney? Think about it. He knew she'd jump in between the hexes. He'll confront her about things no one else will. She takes care of us, but he's the one who takes care of her whether she wants him to or not." Byron gave Whitney a strange little smirk. "I know I felt relieved when I opened my eyes and saw he was here with us."
Whitney cleared his throat and looked away. "We shouldn't waste any more time. You guys know what you're supposed to do next, right?"
Adam nodded as his gaze went to the tree and then to Chloe and Byron. "Yes."
"Good." Whitney licked his lips. "We should do this quickly and get back before something else goes wrong."
Pete snorted. "Don't jinx us."
Mikhail merely shucked his hands in his pockets.
Adam gazed at the tree with narrowed eyes before he eyed its shadow, eyed the direction of the shadow, before he sighed and motioned to the others. "Come on, what we're looking for is in this direction."
As everyone followed after Adam, Chloe stopped and bit back a cry of pain as she grabbed her arm, eyes wide as she stared down at her hand as a mini tornado with jagged icicles appeared around it. The pain intensified and raced up her arm before it disappeared, along with the mini tornado and icicles.
The witch kept her grip on her arm and stared down at her hand, which shook with pain.
"Is everything okay?" Whitney had turned towards her immediately, eyes narrowed.
Chloe looked up at him. "What?"
His blues met hers, narrowed. "I thought, for a split second, that I felt… pain."
She blinked as she eyed him in surprise. Her memories were messed with, but she vaguely remembered that Whitney could sometimes tell when her blood had been spilled. Had that connection extended to spiritual/magical pain as well? With the mess that Granny Goodness had left of her memories it was hard for Chloe to really know, to be certain of, and that annoyed her terribly. She wanted her memories back, didn't care the price, didn't care how long it took, she just wanted to have them back. She wouldn't have so many questions like she did right now about Whitney.
The image of the blonde in a garden, trying to kill Lex Luthor, Jason, Cassie, Diana flashed in front of her eyes like lightning. Along with the image came the knowledge that while it was her body standing there committing those acts, she wasn't the one in control, and that every time she'd tried to regain control of herself it'd hurt like hell, and that Whitney had somehow been able to sense that pain. And that was before he'd been her Sanguine.
The memory brought on a severe headache, and Chloe placed her hands to her forehead as she groaned. "When… when did I try to kill Cassie and Diana and Lex and Jason?" Her head hurt her like helland she had to sit on the ground because she was dizzy.
Whitney stared at her in confusion. "What?"
"I tried to kill them, but it wasn't really me, someone else was in me controlling my actions… I think?" Chloe whimpered, her headache growing worse and worse as the image kept flickering in more and more detail in her mind. "You were there. So were Clark, Lana, Greg…" a cry escaped her lips.
"What's happening to her?" Byron was by her side.
"Somehow this spell must be triggering a memory that Granny Goodness locked away." Whitney reached out and brushed a blonde strand out of her face. "Chloe, you have to calm down or you'll have a panic attack."
She was already breathing heavily.
"You were being controlled by Francis Balcoin's magic, which you had just yanked out of an infected Conant." Adam spoke as he drew closer and knelt down next to Chloe and Whitney. "You went to kill Lex Luthor."
"What stopped me?" Chloe couldn't remember that far, there was something about this memory that was fighting her, and fighting her hard. She tried concentrating on the only part of her memory that was a complete blank, that was a huge black hole, and the pain intensified but she pushed passed it, feeling that this was important. She needed to know what was in the patch of darkness… And then it was forcefully filled… and she recovered her first memory of Gabe Sullivan. It wasn't a huge thing. It was just a glimpse as he stared at her in horror and fear next to Moira's side, the man telling the woman that the blonde was obviously being controlled and that they needed to do something to save "his daughter"… But that glimpse was the first true memory she'd recovered of the man who'd raised her as his own, and who was the reason she was the person she was today.
A tear trailed down her cheek.
"Whitney stopped you," Adam's voice was like narration to her memories as now that Granny Goodness' block of Gabe on this particular memory was gone, it played out before her eyes. "He kissed you."
"I did what?" Whitney turned to look at Adam, thumb freezing on Chloe's cheek, where it'd been brushing away her tear, the boy flushing dark crimson. "How the hell was that supposed to help the situation?"
"It just did." Adam cleared his throat. "That was the night you became Chloe's Balcoin Hand."
Whitney frowned darkly and brought his hand to his head, obviously disturbed at the fact that he couldn't remember a night that was so important. But considering that it was so important it would make sense that they would mess with his memory of it as well. He was Chloe's Sanguine, her Darkseid Sanguine, so it made sense that Granny Goodness would remove the memory of how he'd become Chloe's Balcoin official Circle member to make sure that there was no conflict of loyalty. From what Chloe had seen with Greg in that vision, Granny Goodness hadn't only wanted to make Chloe's loyalties solely to Rao, but her plan had been to make Whitney's loyalties only to Chloe, and to do so she'd have to remove, alter, or at least mess with the memories that had to do with important Balcoin moments for him.
And that made her worried, especially when it came to the kiss they'd shared, the kiss that they had yet to talk about.
What if it was just because of Granny Goodness' messing about?
Hadn't the Whitney from before said they'd make terrible lovers?
What if this was all Granny Goodness' doing?
Chloe licked her lips. "Whit, you were right, we should get going. The longer we stay here…"
He turned his blues on her, they were narrowed and worried but he nodded nonetheless as he offered her his hand and help to stand.
She accepted it silently.
Helping her up, Whitney eyed her and only after he seemed to convince himself that she was okay did he nod and start walking in the direction they'd been heading in before.
Pete, Mikhail and Byron joined him.
Adam let some distance grow between them before he turned his gaze on Chloe. "You let Whitney believe that it was the pain of that memory that he was feeling."
Chloe's eyes widened. "How-?"
"I mightn't have the sort of connection with you that he does, but I do have a connection with you, Chlo." Adam gave her a sad little smile. "And while he felt pain, I felt a flare up of uncomfortable magic." His blue eyes observed her in concern. "What's wrong?"
She licked her lips as she eyed the backs of the boys in front of them, her voice lowered. "A tornado of icicles appeared around my hand, and it hurt."
Adam's eyes widened and he cursed uncharacteristically under he breath as his gaze went to Mikhail and Pete's backs. "Those damn fools!"
Chloe reached out and grabbed his sleeve. "Don't say anything. I'm fine now." She took in a deep breath. "Let's just… get this over with… okay?"
Adam turned his orbs on her. "If something else happens I'm telling Whitney."
"Byron needs this, Adam." She narrowed her eyes on him. "I'm not letting Mikhail and Pete mess this up for him, and if Whitney finds out he's going to try and force me to stop the ritual. I can't and won't do that, and arguing with him will just tire me out and waste time. All in all it's better to just keep this to ourselves."
A muscle jumped in Adam's cheek as he glared down at her. "Fine." He shook his head. "But we're doing this quickly and getting out of here as soon as possible. I have a feeling in the pit of my stomach that I don't like one bit."
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"This isn't good. Something's going terribly wrong." Jor-El frowned as his eyes, in their reptilian form, pierced through the Magog miasma enough to vaguely see what was going on inside.
"What?" Clark moved closer. "What is it?"
"Is it Byron?" Morgan Edge's heartbeat increased in worry. "Is he alright?"
"Your nephew is well, he is not the one I am concerned about." Councilman Jor narrowed his eyes. "Clark, find Major Zod, tell him something has gone drastically wrong with the ritual."
Clark didn't wait to ask what exactly had happened, he instead turned and ran as fast as he could.
"What do you see?" Morgan Edge stepped closer. "Is it the miasma?"
"No." Jor-El shook his head. "As I had expected, Lady Chloe seems to have some sort of barrier around each of those inside and it is keeping them protected from the poisonous vapors, but that is part of the problem in itself."
"I do not understand." Byron's uncle frowned in confusion.
"Those barriers are extensions of Chloe's magic, of herself." Jor-El stepped dangerously closer to the miasma as he tried to get a better look. "And from what I can see, for some reason, two of the witches inside have apparently instinctively activated magic inside of their barriers, and said powers are aggressively assaulting it, almost as if trying to get through the barriers in desperation to attack each other."
Morgan Edge's eyes narrowed. "Those two must not like each other."
"Understatement." The Dragon licked his lips. "If they pierce through the barriers they'll not only hurt each other, but they'll die due to the miasma." His reptilians went to Chloe's own barrier. "And we have to consider the effect that this will be having on her during the ritual."
Byron's uncle frowned. "She's overwhelmingly strong, I doubt anyone in there could truly hurt her."
"By running interference on their attempts to hurt each other, Chloe's being psychically attacked simultaneously by two of her bloodkin, one of whom, to put it in so many words, is the next in line to the throne, and she's doing nothing to defend herself from these attacks. Instead of defending herself from them, she's absorbing these attacks endlessly while in a vulnerable state. And she'll be even more vulnerable and weakened during the actual binding with Byron." Jor-El raised an eyebrow. "If her bloodkin do not stop their attacks on each other, and thus indirectly on her, and soon, there will be some sort of repercussion, mark my words. They're hurting her and they don't even realize what they're doing, or just how serious the consequences of their actions could be."