Title: The New Circle
Fandoms: Smallville/Secret Circle
Characters: 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...
Disclaimer: 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.
A/N: So, I wrote a HUGE chapter… and then decided I hated it and rewrote everything completely different.
Whitney stormed into the room without knocking, not surprised when he was granted instant access. He was one of the only people able to enter anywhere in Chloe's mansion, and he was the only person able to enter any part of the Caves. There were places that, even to the Circles, access was blocked unless Chloe specifically gave it to them. Not Whitney though. He figured it had something to do with the fact that he was her Sanguine… But then again Adam's position was similar (and in some senses Whitney felt it might be stronger considering that Adam was connected to her Balcoin magic) but the same principle still didn't apply to him. There were many places Adam was barred from.
Zatanna peered out of the bathroom when she heard the door slam closed, and with a whisper inside slipped out, closing the bathroom door behind her. "Hello."
"Is what I'm hearing true?" Whitney wanted to know. "Has she pushed forwards Pete's trial? Is it really happening tonight?"
Zatanna glanced towards the bathroom before she nodded. "She says that this issue cannot go passed tonight."
"But I thought Adam wasn't strong enough to do another Glimpse." Whitney moved closer.
"Apparently she has a way of 'recharging' him, her words." Zatanna appeared curious. "When she awoke she appeared quite calm. I expected more of an emotional state, especially when I informed her of her sister's critical state, but she merely called the Cyclops and Darkling and told them to once more take the girl to the Bleeding Caves. She then hung up on them, called Jake about the VI, and then called the Four to organize the trial."
Whitney was surprised that Chloe hadn't gone to see Alicia and had instead entrusted everything to Greg and Byron.
"She appears very stable, very calm." Zatanna moved towards the large walk-in closet and threw the doors open. A frown touched her lips as she entered, gaze on the skirts and shorts and pants, but that frown quickly disappeared as she whispered a few words and they all turned translucent revealing that there was another section of the closet Whitney hadn't seen before, one filled with regal looking dresses. "People have been leaving offerings." Zatanna must've noticed his shocked expression as beautiful gowns and exquisite jewelry were brought forwards. "There are a number of tailors and designers who have offered their services, who have begged to be allowed to make gowns specifically for her, gowns which suit her status. Up until this point she has politely declined their services, stating that she doesn't need gowns, that she is not a queen and they would not be practical." She fingered a scarlet gown. "She wants them now."
How had he not known about any of this? Whitney prided himself on knowing everything, it was part of what made him useful. He glanced over towards the bathroom door.
Zatanna smiled as she pulled the scarlet gown out and observed it. "I do not know what has changed, but I am pleased that she is finally accepting the niceties that come with leadership, and not just the stress. Deb eht ot taolf," she whispered, her eyes flashing blue as the gown floated towards the bed. Zatanna eyed the jewelry. "She's going to address the people before Pete Balcoin's trial starts."
"Any idea what she's going to say?" Whitney eyed the gown curiously. This would definitely be a different look than what he was used to seeing her in.
"No." Zatanna picked up a golden chain with a single red gem within it and found matching stud earrings. "It will be important though, that we can be assured of. She's asserting her presence for it." Zatanna reached for a pair of shoes and moved out of the closet to rest the jewelry on the bed and the shoes on the ground.
Whitney eyed everything and frowned. Like Zatanna, he'd expected an emotional Chloe, and this calculating move of hers made him feel slightly uneasy. She'd lost herself back there with the Town Council, and while Zod was right that she'd gone easy on the members, Whitney had a sinking feeling in the pit of his stomach. Something weird was going on, but he couldn't figure out what. The news had quickly spread throughout the town, and witches were talking about the Thrall Wars, while the humans were whispering about this power to take someone's will from them. There was fear and uncertainty in the town. It was probably a good thing that Chloe had called this meeting. But still, he was uneasy.
"She wants you to have the Suicide Squad and Vigilante Initiative spread throughout the crowd. The Circles as well. She wants you to feel out the crowd." Zatanna stepped back and smiled at the combo on the bed. "She says this will be important, and she wants you all amongst the people."
"Do you really not have a clue what is going to be said?" Whitney narrowed his eyes at her.
Zatanna sent him an incredibly innocent expression, and that in itself proved that she knew exactly what was coming, and she was giddy over it.
Unease growing, Whitney sent the gown and jewelry another look before he nodded. "I'll tell the others." As he left the room, Whitney wished he could've seen and talked to Chloe. But he was going to have to trust whatever she was about to do.
"She's cut herself off from us!" Bradley snarled as he shoved Hank up against the wall, hands balled into fists in the boy's shirt. "Because of you we've been thrown away!"
Van glanced between the members of the VI, who were growing more and more agitated the longer the special connection they'd shared with Chloe was severed. They hadn't needed Jake to come and deliver Chloe's message to them, they'd felt it the second she'd closed the connection completely from her side. It'd been like someone shutting all the doors and windows in an AC-less house in the middle of a scorching summer.
"I—I was trying to help!" Hank looked up at Bradley, his eyes wide in fear, as he glanced around at the other VI members, whose faces were just as dark as Bradley's. "I turned my father in!"
"You should've told her - told us - the second your father stepped out of line!" Bradley's grip tightened on Hank's shirt. "That was your job! Now because of you she doesn't think we're worth it anymore! That she has to still clean up our messes! You've ruined it for the rest of us!"
Voices raised in agreement, in anger.
If Van didn't step in soon things would turn ugly, quickly.
"You knew she wouldn't kill your father! That's why you played everything the way you did to force her hand!" Trevor yelled from the back of the group.
"And now she's punishing us all!" Someone else called.
"We deal with threats, no matter who they are from." Bradley's voice lowered, calmed, turned deadly. "The second you found out what your father was planning, you should've killed him."
Hank's eyes widened. "I couldn't kill him! He's my father!"
"Then you should've told someone who had the balls to do it," Bradley hissed.
Van looked to where Jake leaned, gaze on his phone, obviously not about to step in.
"Then you don't have what it takes to be one of us." Bradley smiled, the expression scary. "We can't be weak. And you? You're weak."
"Okay, that's enough." Van knew that when Bradley smiled in anger, something very ugly was about to happen. "Beating him up isn't going to change anything."
"Don't defend him." Bradley turned his glare on Van. "He's put this whole team in jeopardy!"
"He needs to be taught a lesson!" Someone else yelled.
"Van's right," Jake finally spoke up. "Stop acting like kids. It's disgusting."
The group were quiet, but their eyes were dark and rebellion was clear in their depths.
"You want to do something? Chloe's going to make a speech, she wants the VI mingling with the crowd." He shook his phone. "Make yourselves useful."
Before Chloe would've delivered the message herself, straight to them, and it only served to prove how cut off they were that they needed someone to read a text for them to know what they were supposed to do.
The group sent one last ugly look at Hank before Bradley let go of him in disgust, and left. Hank stayed there, head bowed.
Van wondered whether he should comfort the guy. Comforting wasn't in his nature though.
Jake eyed Hank. "Did you not hear me? Or do you want to sit this out?"
Hank shook his head and silently followed after the others.
Jake watched them all leave before he turned to Van. "She needed to do this."
"You really think so?" Van was handling the severing of the connection better than the others, but it was grating on his nerves, something just didn't feel right.
"You guys have a link with her, I don't think Bradley was wrong. Hank gave in his father, but he knew Chloe enough to know that she wouldn't kill him. She's pardoned too many people who should've been executed on the spot." Jake folded his arms over his chest. "He played it safe. I don't know if we should use him in the future."
"Why do we have to share in his punishment?" Van asked before he could stop himself.
Jake smirked. "That should be obvious." And with that he clapped Van's back and left.
Van watched him before he frowned and followed.
Dax-Ur hadn't been expecting the visit, and when he opened his bedroom door to see Chloe Darkseid standing there in a scarlet gown, decked in jewels and hair up in a regal style, he had to pause in shock. She looked nothing like the girl who usually stormed around in pants and jackets, combat boots and a messy ponytail. He was amazed at the difference that could take place with just a change of clothes. This was what he'd been expecting when he'd escaped Rao's chains. This was the female whose birth he'd been waiting for.
He bowed his head, not a hint of mockery in the move as his brown eyes rose to meet her. "To what do I owe the pleasure of your visit?"
"Cut the crap, Dax." She pushed passed him into his room and headed towards the window.
A small, amused smile touched his lips as he closed the door and turned to face her. "And here I was being genuine."
She twirled towards him, and the skirt of her gown swept with the gesture. "I want to know what you're really doing here. You're not hiding from Rao, you're not seeking protection. You're strong, powerful, ancient. You've had enough time to regain your strength, to plan your next move, and I'm curious what it is." She moved closer to him, her gaze shifting into its reptilian form as she did so. "You're here for a reason, sticking to the background, keeping hidden and making sure that we forget all about you so we don't suspect anything you do." She reached him and straightened the lapels of his jacket. "You're not fooling me."
His smile was genuine as he stared down at her. He could see the darkness barely contained within her petite little body. It was growing more and more, and soon she would be unable to contain it. "It isn't my plan to breed with you, if that's what you believe."
She raised an eyebrow. "Color me relieved."
He chuckled. If this was the change when he brought out such a small bit of what was within, how much would the change be when he continued to draw it outwards? "And as for your question, let's just say that it's in everyone's best interest if you become the Matriarch you're supposed to be. You've made stupid decisions in the past - even removed yourself from the timeline. I can't trust you not to make some other ridiculous, human-like decision and risk you beating Rao and becoming what you're supposed to become."
Chloe tilted his head to the side, eyes curious. "What am I supposed to become?"
"A leader, not a child trying to be one." He could heard footsteps pacing outside the door. "Someone is waiting on you?"
"Zatanna." She eyed him thoughtfully. "We will finish this conversation later. I have to address the people."
He motioned towards the door. "My door is always open."
She left, the door opening and closing on its own.
Dax-Ur turned towards the door and smirked. This was fantastic. As soon as he heard their footsteps disappear around the corner, he emerged from the room and followed.
This he had to see.
Faye Chamberlain eyed her mother with more caution than usual. It'd been a long time since she'd spoken to the woman, and after the events of earlier that night she was somewhat glad of that. She loved her mother, the woman had given birth to her and tried to raise her right, but that didn't mean that Faye was blind to the fact that her mother was more than okay with murdering innocent people to get what she wanted. Cassie was motherless because of Faye's mother had gotten sick of life as a human and wanted to force Cassie to come to Chance Harbor. She'd sent Charles Meade to burn their friend alive so that they could accomplish this.
The thought still made Faye sick. And it wasn't that Faye hadn't done questionable things herself. Hell, she'd tried stealing Cassie's dark magic once upon a time, and had nearly killed all her friends on accident in the process. But she hadn't meant tokill anyone, not even Cassie. Faye was a thief, not a murderer.
The whole town was there. Chloe stood in the shadows, Zatanna the only one with her. She could see her Circles, as well as the Suicide Squad and the Vigilante Initiative making the rounds in the crowd. The members of the Four were present. The humans and witches intermingled, whispers passed back and forth. Questions flittered back and forth. This was the first time that Chloe had ever called a town meeting, she'd never presumed to do something like that before, but things had changed drastically in the last couple of hours.
She'd protected this town, these people, and hadn't asked for much in return. Really, the only thing she'd asked for were members for the VI so that Jake could train them, and even then it'd been for Smallville's protection. She'd taken on Dragons, witches, and Town Councils. She was sick of it. Was this the thanks she got? Was that how they saw her? A guard dog that needed to be leashed and controlled?
Her blood boiled, and she could feel the darkness moving under her skin. It nauseated her as she lifted her arm, seeing the movement beneath her skin. It was so similar to the "demons" that had caused so much problems for Chance Harbor, but more and more she was beginning to wonder whether it wasn't demons, instead rampant Dragon magic. Humans wouldn't be able to control that sort of magic, witch or not, so she could see why those that were unfortunate enough to be infected somehow and consumed by it could be considered demon-possessed.
Calming down so that the darkness stopped moving visibly, Chloe took in a deep breath.
"The Dornhounds are pacing restlessly in the horizon." Zatanna's voice was curious as she shifted her blue gaze on Chloe. "I believe they reacting to whatever has your Draconian magic in such a state."
This is why I like Zatanna. She's extremely observant of the smallest details. Despite that, Chloe didn't want to think about the creatures, not yet at least. "Zatanna, I'm only going to say this to you once more, and then I will never bring this up and we will both consider this matter done." She turned towards the taller woman, eyebrow raised. "Do you want your freedom?"
Zatanna eyed her curiously before she shook her head. "No."
"Okay. You're my Bloodbound." Chloe nodded, finally accepting that. Zatanna had her place, and if she accepted that title then Chloe wasn't going to fight it anymore. She wouldn't be like the other Dragons who had humans for slaves. Other Dragons might view Zatanna that way, but it protected her, and as long as Chloe didn't treat Zatanna as a slave she was done with feeling bad about Dragon-owning the witch.
Zatanna nodded, a curious yet pleased expression on her face. "I do not know what has happened to you, but you seem… different."
"Different how?" Chloe asked, because she felt different, buy couldn't pinpoint how or why.
"More regal, I think." Zatanna straightened her dress carefully. "Older."
Chloe definitely felt more tired, and less willing to put up with anyone's bullshit. The one she was fighting was her father, she didn't have time or patience to put up with anyone else, not anymore. They didn't like it? She'd give them one last chance to get out while they could. Afterwards? Well, there was only so much abuse a dog could take before it turned against its abusers, and Chloe, Smallville's apparent guard-dog, had had enough.
Jason, Davis and Faora joined the group, visibly curious and whispering amongst themselves.
"I want you on the stage with me," Chloe informed Zatanna. "I want you taking in the crowd, observing anything or anyone whose reactions might interest me."
That intrigue grew on Zatanna's face. "I can do that."
Zod leaned against one of the walls, arms folded over his chest, and next to him Jor-El, Clark, and Melissa stood.
"Well, no use putting this off anymore." She turned to Zatanna. "Wish me luck."
"You don't need it."
She'd smile if she didn't feel so sick at her stomach. She was about to change things, drastically, and things could quickly grow ugly. She didn't care though. No. There was no one in that crowd who was a real threat, not when she had her Circles and two Dragons who were aligned to her, three, if you counted Dax-Ur. He was a wild card, but she felt sure he'd back her up as well. She didn't trust him, but for some reason he was invested in her future and seemed to be on her side - at least for now.
Taking in a deep breath, Chloe trained her face into blankness, removing any emotion as she moved from the shadows and moved onto the stage. Immediately quiet descended on the group as their gazes all raised into her.
"Thank you for coming on such short notice." Chloe noticed the people from the Smallville Ledger, as well as the radio station, recording this. Good. "While I'm not usually one for public speeches this is something very important, it affects each and every one of you." She let her gaze pierce through the crowd, who were silent. "Earlier tonight the Town Council, led by our Mayor, attempted to magically enslave me so that I would become their puppet, a dog on a chain who had no choice but to obey her masters' orders."
There as a quick outbreak of whispers amongst those below. Many people turned to peer at Hank, who looked like he wanted to sink into the ground.
Off to the side, Lois (arms around Lucy), Julian and Dinah stepped forwards, their eyes narrowed. That was a reaction shared by all of the witches present, while wide-eyed worry dominated in the humans.
Zatanna raised her hand and motioned for silence.
It didn't come immediately, but tapered down quickly into silence once more.
Chloe waited until not a whisper could be heard before she continued. "It goes without saying that that attack was fruitless." She clasped her hands in front of her. "While it was in my right to kill them for their betrayal, I instead Enthralled them, as I have Nell Potter for her previous transgressions." There were more whispers, mostly amongst the humans, the witches all nodding. Lana was silent, hugging herself, but she looked more worried about whatever Chloe had to say than annoyed at what had happened to her aunt. "But that is the last time I take such a half-hearted response to betrayal from my own camp." Chloe could see eyes widening, but she continued on, voice emotionless. "I offered to leave, to let you have Smallville, but you begged me to stay, so that offer is now off the table. You kept me here, only to whisper about me - plot against me. I will not stand for that any longer." Her gaze narrowed on the people. "The attack from the Town Council - from the people electedby Smallville - has changed things." She could feel her Balcoin dark magic fluttering inside of her. "If you do not like the way I am running this town, then get your things, your family, any money you might have left, and get the hell out of my town."
Gasps and cries could be heard from the crowd.
Chloe stepped forwards, unable to keep herself still any longer. "I am seventeen years old, that's true, and if the thought of a teenager taking charge bothers you, you can leave. Tonight is a safe time. Gather your things and go. No one will stop you. No one will harass you. If you're a member of the Vigilante Initiative," she saw quite a few of the members tense in the crowd, "I'll release you from your oath, but in return you'll have to have all memory of what you learnt destroyed. Only your VI memories will be affected, everything else will be fine." She spoke louder, over the whispers and cries. "You're all free to go. In fact, you're invited to go. I'm fighting a war here and I don't have time or patience to deal with your damned quibbles and backstabbing." She could feel darkness leak from her visibly, rising around her like dark mist. "But be warned, if you choose to stay here, you're acknowledging that you accept my leadership unconditionally. I'll protect you to the best of my ability and do my best to make sure that your lives are well lived here. But the next time someone tries an uprise or threatens anyone under my protection, or my person - that person will die."
Shock was visible on everyone's face as more and more outcries could be heard.
As she stood there, taking in the chaos that was on the border of breaking out amongst the group, Chloe almost couldn't remember a time before the war. How long ago had it been when her biggest issue was figuring out who the freak of the week was and how to stop them? Not so long ago she would've been horrified at the words she was sputtering, but she'd gone through too much, had survived too much, and was sick and tired and taking everyone's shit. Did they see her as a monster in need of control? Of a leash? Well, she'd give them a monster. She'd show them what the Dragon within her was capable of, would stop trying to pretend that Smallville wasn't hers.
She wasn't going to risk herself for a bunch of ungrateful people. She wasn't going to take on a war for them. Wouldn't have a nervous breakdown for them. She was done with this. Things had to change, and they were going to. "You all criticized me for letting those marked with my father's symbol to leave with their lives, well, after tonight you'll get exactly the type of leader you wanted."
Those from the Ledger and KROC held their hands up, shaking them vigorously, once they realized that she was finished.
She didn't know whether to laugh or cry that even in this situation the press could be relied on to remain all-business. "Joe Fraser, Smallville Ledger."
Joe moved forwards, clearing his throat, recorder held out towards her. "Are we to understand that Smallville is to become a dictatorship?"
Her lips pulled into a smile. "I'd call it a monarchy. I will appoint both a witch and a non-magical human to act as Ambassadors and serve as liaisons between myself and the people. These two will be voted into position by whoever decide to remain in Smallville, and will represent you, your needs, and concerns."
Hands went up immediately once more.
"Cordelia Scott, KROC." She noticed Bradley making his way towards the stage, and yet kept her gaze on the reporter.
Cordelia didn't disappoint. "What is your response to anyone who might say that, given your past sympathetic actions, this is all a bluff?"
Chloe smiled, and knew that the sight wasn't pretty, as the darkness began to slip down from the stage and intermingle around the crowd, who cried out and glanced around them nervously. "It'd say, if you really think that, call my bluff."
Without pause, magical black fog rolling around them or not, more hands raised.
"Dillon Grady." She wasn't exactly sure why fourteen year old Dillon was with the reporters given he wasn't one, and that was part of the reason why she called on him.
Dillon's eyes widened and he cleared his throat as he adjusted his shirt and moved closer, his phone between them, recording. "Dillon Grady, I created and run a popular blog called Welcome To Smallville." He was young and eager. She wondered where his older brother Kevin was. He was usually always around the kid. "My followers are wondering what your romantic status is." He must've seen the dumfounded expression on her face, because he hurriedly continued. "T-there are rumors that you're with Whitney Fordman, Lex Luthor and Major Zod. My readers want you to dispel all rumors and clarify if you are dating, and if so, who."
Chloe just stared at Dillon. Here she was threatening to kill people - and he decides to ask about her love life. She cracked a smile, couldn't help it. "Well, you can let your readers know that I'm not seeing anyone in particular right now. I'm a little busy, but if they want, they could always weigh in on which of those three is the better choice."
Dillon grinned and nodded. "Sure! Thanks!"
A chuckle escaped Chloe's lips before she sighed and she opened her mouth to call out for another reporter, when Bradley reached the front line of the crowd and, with a lowered head, went down on one knee, a fist clutched to his heart. Her eyes widened in shock at the declaration of loyalty. She hadn't expected something this showy! Just a word or two, and yet all around them, one by one, the VI members knelt to their knees, bringing them chest-deep into the shadows. One by one she felt her connection to them opening back up, even without her initiating it.
Don't cry. Don't cry! You'll ruin everything and people will think you're bluffing! Cold bitch! Be a cold bitch!
And yet those desperate thoughts must've transferred to the VI because they looked up as one and nodded, encouraging.
They were bullying Hank, Van informed her.
She'd have to talk to them about that, later. Hank wasn't at fault for what his father had did, and he should not get punished for the Mayor's actions.
The blonde stayed there and answered more questions, none of them having to do with her love life (thankfully) until she finally called an end to the assembly and left. Now that this had been taken care of, she'd go to the Bleeding Caves and not only check up on the progress of Alicia's healing, but find out what the hell the girl had been doing outside the border.
That was when she felt it, a presence at the border.
Eyes narrowed, Chloe slipped into the shadows and took off running, using the commotion in the town square and the rising darkness to disappear.