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.
"Where did they go?" Zatanna wanted to know as she searched around for Mikhail, Pete and Byron, who'd disappeared right before their eyes.
Adam narrowed his eyes on the world around them, which was flickering. "The reality we're in is losing stability."
"Chloe?" Whitney cried out, causing their gazes to swing to him in time to see Chloe's body disintegrate into millions of glittering snowflakes, which were blown away by a strong wind.
Zatanna's eyes widened in horror.
Adam stepped forwards, confusion filling him. He was vaguely connected to Chloe through her magic and despite the fact that she seemed to have died right in front of them… It could be the fact that they were still inside of her psyche, and the fact that it was still up and running and not shattering around them… Whatever it was, at this moment Adam felt with true certainly, with every bone in his body, that the one he really had to be worried about at this moment was Whitney and not Chloe.
The Sanguine was hunched over, shadows falling into his face, but they weren't able to mask the darkness beginning to gather around him, darkness which almost seemed to seep out of him.
"Whitney?" Adam made to move towards the younger witch.
Zatanna flung her arm out in front of Adam, blocking his path.
That was when the Doppelgänger finally noticed what the Bloodbound had.
Whitney's hand was shaking uncontrollably, but not only that, his fingers had elongated, the nails hardened and sharpened, resembling claws. The veins in his hands were prominent, his blood dark against his paled skin.
"Whit?" Adam hadn't even meant to speak.
Whitney's eyes rose to them at the sound of his name, and what Adam saw shocked a loud gasp out of him. The Sanguine's features had sharpened and his eyes - they weren't Whitney's anymore-and it wasn't even due to the fact that they were red.
Adam truly hadn't seen what the big deal had been when Whitney's eyes had gone that color earlier on because he'd figured it was a lingering side effect, or remnants from Whitney's time as Chloe's Balcoin Right Hand. But this? This was different. This wasn't a Hand whose eyes were glowing slightly in a battle-fueled frenzy, this was something else, something entirely new that he hadn't seen before and hadn't expected to see.
Whitney's pupils had expanded unnaturally large, and the whites of his eyes were now blood red. Upon his forehead, instead of the Omega symbol there was a symbol of a heptagon with a monstrous winged serpent within it. His lips were parted and pulled back slightly in what looked like an animalistic snarl, the darkness swirling around him darkening and continuing to gather, casting a distorted shadow behind him.
Adam sensed something and turned, eyes wide as he saw Chloe walk towards them, hand on her forehead, as if she was battling a forehead. "Chloe-." But by the time he turned back towards Whitney, the boy was back to normal, almost as if the other version Adam had seen had been a mere figment of his imagination.
"I'm going to need to dose up on ibuprofen when I get back," Chloe grumbled, apparently not having noticed a thing as she came to stand next to them, gaze downwards and hand on her forehead, a wince on her face. "Got the worse headache-you wouldn't believe-."
"What the hell happened to you?" Whitney's face and body might be normal, but his voice was harsh and vicious, proving to Adam that he hadn't imagined anything.
Chloe must've sensed something because she looked up in confusion. "What are you-?"
Whitney glared at her. "You crumbled into pieces in my arms!"
The blonde continued to stare at him in confusion. "I don't know what you're-."
Whitney stormed towards her, face dark.
Adam was surprised to see Chloe, of all people, take a step back, almost as if in fear.
But the Sanguine merely hugged her, tightly, his arms still trembling.
Chloe froze visibly in his embrace, her eyes saucer-wide, before a blush darkened on her face and she slowly relaxed and wrapped her arms around Whitney. Her confusion returned to her face as she rubbed his back. Her greens found Adam and Zatanna and she mouthed 'What happened?' to them over Whitney's shoulder. It would seem that she was suffering from some sort of memory-loss about the crumbling-event, or maybe the reason that Chloe hadn't reacted to them once she'd started to truly become frozen was because once that shell had been compromised she'd merely gone to another part of her consciousness until the empty shell had been destroyed and she could build herself another form, which was why she didn't know what Whitney was talking about.
Zatanna mouthed: 'I'll tell you later'.
Chloe nodded before she licked her lips and cleared her throat. "Whit?"
Almost as if realizing what he was doing, Whitney pulled away immediately, clearing his throat loudly. "Don't ever do something like that ever again."
"I won't… crumble?… again… I promise." Chloe appeared lost yet eager to comfort and assure Whitney, and it seemed to be doing the trick because as the Sanguine pulled away he was the guy Adam knew, and not that… whatever… he'd been only minutes before. Chloe turned to them and cleared her throat. "So, I'm intrigued as to why you guys are still here. Diana and Lucas should've had enough time to pull your bodies out of the spellground by now."
"Wait, what?" Adam blinked, more confused than ever now.
"He's tied to your magic and I'm tied to your blood. I think we're a different sort of case than the others." Zatanna was quick to offer an answer.
"What about Whitney?" Chloe jabbed a thumb in the Sanguine's direction.
"I think whatever the reason that brought him here in the first place is the reason why he's still here." Adam chanced the guess.
Whitney ran his fingers through his hair. "We're almost to the Tree. We should keep going."
"He's right." Zatanna nodded as she began to walk towards the direction of the Tree, following the shadow.
Adam turned to Chloe. "Why were Diana and Lucas pulling out bodies out of the spellground?"
"Because, apparently, there's some sort of Magii miasma in there."
Zatanna froze and then turned towards Chloe. "Magog miasma?"
The older witch's blue eyes widened. "But that's from the Magog Marshlands in Apokalips… like the shrubbery." She let out a little breath, obviously blown over by this revelation. "How are we still alive?"
"My barrier." Chloe licked her lips. "But apparently everyone's worried Pete and Mikhail might've weakened something while they were unconsciously attacking me, so…"
"What?" Whitney narrowed his eyes.
Adam felt a shiver of unease spread through him once more.
"I'll let Diana explain it." Chloe seemed to not really care about that turn of events, something else entirely apparently occupying her mind. "So… I think the Caves funneled my mother's magic into me."
Whitney surprisingly enough let the issue with Pete and Mikhail drop and instead focused on this new situation. "That… was unexpected."
"So they can act like… the crystal skull… in essence?" Adam made a face.
"My thoughts exactly!" Chloe gave a dark laugh as she pointed to Adam before her lips twisted in a scowl. "Anyway… I think it's ironic, really. Moira kept going on and on about how unlike the Hibbins I was, and now that she's dead, I'm suddenly more Hibbins than I've ever been."
Zatanna tilted her head to the side. "So, she finally proved herself to be useful."
Whitney gave a dark snort. "That was cold."
Zatanna raised an eyebrow, apparently not half as much affected by Whitney's transformations as Adam had been. "That woman was no mother. I say if Chloe can benefit from her death, she should. It's the least Moira could do for her after everything she had planned and put Chloe through." The witch then paused and turned to Chloe. "Does this mean you can have a Hibbins Circle now?"
Chloe snickered and shook her head. "No, the Hibbins never had a Circle of their own. From what I've learnt from the rare chats I've been able to have with Lois lately, our family have always served in someone else's Circle. But the Hibbins were always very strong magic users and these other Circles sought them out, and usually once they'd secured a Hibbins in their Circle, their descendants would stick to that Circle-like how my mother's branch was in the Thoreaux Circle from the days of medieval France."
Adam remained silent as he observed Chloe, the girl seemed calmed and composed, but he knew she could not be taking all of this as well as she was portraying.
The Tree of Life inside of Chloe appeared up ahead, and the youths stopped except for Zatanna, who hadn't seen it the first time around.
The dark haired female frowned as she looked around at their gobsmacked expressions. "What is it?"
"Its a different Tree." Adam couldn't believe it, his eyes wide as he moved towards what had been a blood red, and yet otherwise normal looking, healthy and majestic tree.
"What do you mean it's a different Tree?" Zatanna hurried after him. "That's not possible!"
And yet it was.
The tree wasn't the same they'd left, it'd changed, morphing into a completely different thing altogether. It had grown into a massive tree with leaves of four differing hues that intermingled and blended somehow. The tree itself vibrated, as if with a heartbeat, light and shadow dancing around it as miniature waterfalls of blood cascaded from within it, trailing down the hulking, spiked roots into the crevices of earth surrounding the tree itself. Glittering vines dangled from the highest branches down to the roots, and the bark seemed as if made of scales.
But the tree itself wasn't the only thing different. There was almost a Courtyard in front of it. Four posts erected on each side of the Tree of Life, extending too far into the clouded sky for them to see what exactly was on top of the posts, but they could seem emblems imprinted on each of them, and three were familiar. One was Balcoin, one Darkseid, and the other the symbol they associated with Chloe personally, the same exact symbol that had appeared on Whitney's forehead when he'd transformed not ten minutes ago.
All in all, it made Adam extremely uneasy.
"I know I should be very nervous at this moment and wondering just what the heck is going on… But you've got to admit that this is a huge improvement on my last Tree." Chloe eyed everything in open wonder as she drew nearer. She turned to Zatanna. "My last tree was only red." The blonde didn't give the other witch a moment to respond as she moved towards something else in the Courtyard that hadn't been there before. It was the statue of a Dragon. She rested her hand on the humongous and clawed paw. "Doesn't this sorta remind you of-?"
"The Temple Courtyard in Apokalips?" Zatanna licked her lips, clearly uneasy. "Somewhat. Yes."
The cawing of a raven caused everyone to gasp and look up to see, in shocked surprise, the bird in the tree staring down at them.
Chloe's eyes widened as she suddenly looked around them at the forest surrounding the Tree of Life and went horribly pale. "Whitney?"
He moved closer. "I know."
Adam narrowed his eyes on them. They were doing that thing again, that thing they did that drove him wild sometimes where they had huge, obviously important conversations, with only two or so words-or sometimes only a single look.
Suddenly the world beneath them shook, and behind Chloe and Whitney the earth erupted, a column of stones appearing, extending out from the ground to form an archway. Beneath it the ground gave way, disintegrated into nothing, and in its place a pool of crimson water… no, crimson blood… appeared. Something underneath the blood glowed.
"Whitney!" Chloe's voice held a tinge of panic as she seemed to reach out instinctively for him, grabbing hold of his sleeve.
"I know." He shifted his hand so that it swept hers, his gaze narrowed and never leaving the pool as he moved to stand slightly in front of her, stance clearly protective.
"What's going on?" Adam stepped closer and that was when he saw their reflections. Chloe's was a Dragon, and Whitney's? Whitney's was a more monstrous version of what he'd been when he'd transformed earlier when he'd thought Chloe dead.
Zatanna moved closer and peered within the crimson depths.
Above them, a flock of crows flew by, crowing loudly.
In the reflection of crimson, ripples spread out as the glowing grew in intensity. Something was moving beneath the surface, moving upwards.
Whitney shifted further, now standing directly in front of Chloe, his eyes flashing red.
Adam and Zatanna circled around the stone archway and crimson pool, joining the others on either side. Despite the fact the Adam didn't think that they needed to worry about anything that should appear here he could clearly see that both Whitney and Chloe were genuinely freaked out and worried and he wanted to be by their side and be back up just in case he was wrong. But he honestly couldn't see how he could be wrong. They were in Chloe's psyche. This was all a part of her. What would attack them here?
And, also, what about this was scaring them? It was obviously more than just the visual of the whole thing. There was something associated with this-and he doubted that it had something to do with Apokalips because even Zatanna looked confused as to what was going on. So if it was something that only Whitney and Chloe really knew about, that had them in this state of shock and alertness, he was beginning to suspect that it had something to do with their time in captivity. The time they'd spent under Rao's lock and key was the only instance in which they shared that was still such a mystery-in many ways even to them.
The glowing in the crimson pool increased as whatever that thing was neared the surface, and when it finally broke through the surface and levitated into the air, Adam couldn't tell which of them was the most shock at what it was.
"An… egg?" Chloe whispered as she eyed the Dragon egg from around Whitney's shoulder.
Shadows, light and blood circled around the Dragon egg, which visibly throbbed, as if with a heartbeat. The shell was engraved with millions upon countless millions of symbols. There were too many to even begin to think of counting.
Zatanna opened her mouth and then flickered before she disappeared like Byron, Pete and Mikhail had.
Adam turned to ask Chloe what was happening when he blinked and found himself laying on his back in the cave, surrounded by everyone.
Greg raised an eyebrow. "Welcome back."
Adam frowned and accepted his help up. "Are everyone awake?"
"Not everyone." Cassie was by the entrance to a cavern, where a thick miasma was visible within. "Chloe and Whitney are still out cold."
Pete paced the floor, worried. "What if we've really hurt her?"
Mikhail leaned silently against the wall, face pinched.
Zod eyed Adam thoughtfully. "You have a theory as to why they're still unconscious while the rest of you are now awake?"
Adam suddenly realized that they weren't in the spellground, and that Chloe was the only one not there. "Where is she?"
"We were able to get you guys out after Chloe and Diana had their little conversation," Faye pursed her lips, eyebrows raised, the barrier visible around her like a glowing second skin despite the fact that they were out of danger. "But we were unable to move Chloe so she's still in there."
"Why is she in there by herself while we're out here?" Adam wanted to know.
"Her orders." A muscle jumped in Lucas' cheek.
Jason and Davis were apart from everyone else, talking softly to each other.
Adam eyed them before he noticed Zatanna kneeling over an unconscious Whitney. The Doppelgänger narrowed his eyes as he went towards her and knelt down next to the Bloodbound. "What is it?"
"Look at this." The girl didn't even look at him.
His gaze fell immediately on what she was referring to.
"I noticed it in there when he grabbed her hand, and I wanted to see if it had changed in real life as well." Zatanna lifted Whitney's hand to show that his Hamsa (which had mutated after he'd been claimed by Chloe for her Darkseid Circle to a more clawlike design that featured blood dripping from its claws) had vanished. In its place was an 'X'.
"What does this mean?" Adam wanted to know.
Zatanna shrugged. "I was hoping you'd have some idea."
The Doppelgänger frowned as he stared at the design, which didn't even boast of the Balcoin or Darkseid symbol. Plus, this was the second time that Whitney's symbol had changed.
"What happened to Whitney's 'Freddy Krueger' Hamsa?" Faye wanted to know, eyebrow raised as she peered over their shoulders.
Suddenly Whitney gasped as he sat up and looked around him in confusion, eyes narrowed on Zatanna and Adam as he pulled his hand free. "What are you two-?"
"What happened after we woke up?" Zatanna questioned.
Whitney opened his mouth before his gaze went to the cavern where the spellground had been erected. "Chloe." He pushed to his feet and raced towards it.
Zod grabbed the Sanguine by his arm before he could enter the miasma. "You do not have a barrier around you like the others do. Yours disintegrated. You won't survive in that miasma without some sort of protection."
The blonde glared up at the Dragon before he took in a deep breath and nodded. "You can let go."
Zod eyed the boy before his gaze went to Zatanna and Adam and he lowered his grip to Whitney's wrist, lifting it to face level.
Whitney opened his mouth to protest the action when he noticed the disappearance of his old symbol and the appearance of the new one. "What the hell?"
The Dragon stared at the new symbol and a strange expression fluttered over his features as his blues went to Whitney's face and he let go of the boy's wrist. "Since when has that symbol been there, Sanguine?"
"I don't know." Whitney kept his palm raised, eyes on said symbol, confusion plain. "Where's my Hamsa? And my Darkseid symbol?" He shifted his arm to see the star on his elbow, the one that was identical to Chloe's, and let out a little sigh of pure relief. "At least that is still there."
Zod narrowed his eyes further before he cleared his throat and licked his lips. "It would seem that we are going to have that conversation a lot sooner than I thought we would."
Whitney's gaze rose to Zod's in question.
"What conversation?" Chloe's voice echoed from the cave room, causing everyone to turn towards it in time to see Chloe emerge, the girl glowing bright enough that it actually hurt if one looked at her long enough.
Byron didn't seem to care about that detail as he wrapped Chloe in a tight hug. "Thank the gods you're okay."
Adam could see Morgan Edge backing away slightly from the corner of his eyes.
Jor-El, on the other hand, stepped forwards.
The Doppelganger narrowed his eyes.
What the hell was going on?
-v-v-v-v-v-v-v-v-v-v-v-v-v-v-v-v-v-v-v-v-v-v-v-v-v -v-v-v-v-v-v-v-v-v-v-v-v-v-v-v-v-v-v-v-v-v-v-v-v-v -v-v-v-v-v-v-v-v-v-v-v-v-v-v-v-v-v-v-v-v-v-v-v-v-v -v-v-v-v-v-v-v-v-v-v-v-v-v-v-v-v-v-v-v-v-v-v-v-v-v -v-v-v-v-v-v-v-
She needed to think of a way to get a foot back in the game here. The Thoreaux had always been important players in the Smallville magical community, and with things the way they were, the Thoreaux family needed to step up and show everyone that they were not a 'step above a Dabbler'. They were powerful! Countless Marguerite Isobel Thoreaux had been a witch of legends! People had bowed to her! And there was no way that she would've let things stay the way they were if she were alive right now.
Nell knew knew this to be a fact, and it was her driving force as she walked around the boundaries of Smallville, safe within the magical guards that Chloe had had the Wylt boy design, and placed around the borders of Smallville as extra security on top of the cameras and other signal wards and such that were already there. These were well-thought, well-planned, for kids, and Nell grudgingly gave them credit for what they'd managed to come up on their own, but she wanted an in-needed an in-for the Thoreaux Clan. If Lana wasn't able to do what she needed to, then Nell was going to have to do it and was more than happy and willing to.
Suddenly the alarm rose, the wards and signals raised as a barrier was erected, electrified and loud, sirens blaring in the air.
The witch turned towards the sound and raced towards it, hoping to kill the first wave of enemies and earn herself some recognition, but instead of an invading army there was a single man trapped within the electric cage, and he didn't look like much of a threat.
He turned towards her, holding onto his stomach as if in pain. "…help."
Nell raised an eyebrow as she moved closer, knowing the Suicide Squad and VI (among others) would be here within minutes. "Who are you and what do you want?"
"I'm Charles Meade, and you need to let me speak with Chloe Sullivan." He flinched, once more seeming in pain. "Rao's fortress has been attacked, there's another player involved in this game, and sheneeds to be warned."
Nell's eyes narrowed. "You're lying. There's no one strong enough who could attack Rao and live."
"There is." This Charles Meade (why did that last name sound so familiar?) guy stepped forwards, wormlike creatures moving visibly under his skin. "And I think he's after me."