Author's Notes: Here's the next reposted chapter (also the last chapter I'd already previously posted for this story). Among other things, this chapter also introduces the Balcoin siblings. Anyways, enjoy reading!

Within Darkness

3. Shocking News

After Adam had driven her home Cassie had headed straight up to her room, barely taking the time to kick off her shoes and not even bothering to change into pajamas before laying down in bed. Her head had barely hit the pillow when sleep already claimed her, the strain of her extensive use of magic to save Faye clearly demanding its due. It wasn't long before the blond began tossing and turning in her sleep, occasionally muttering quietly to herself.

She was driving on a dark, lonely street lined at each side with old trees. She felt a trace of confusion, not knowing why she was there or even how she had gotten on this road. Yet these questions were soon drowned out by an ever growing sense of anxiousness coursing through her. She kept looking around, kept checking the rearview mirror. Someone was following her. Chasing her. She had to get away, had to escape!

Then she saw it, the movement in the rearview mirror, the car speeding toward the one she was currently driving. - No, the car that Faye was driving. This was Faye's memory. ... Nonetheless she could feel everything that Faye had felt. She felt the initial anxiousness turn into fear, then panic. Felt the force of the collision as the other car crashed into her's - Faye's - and then the tumbling and crashing. She felt the pain that exploded within her, was aware of every bone as it cracked and broke. Heard and felt her own screams as they rose within her and tore from her lips...

Cassie woke with a start, gasping for air, her heart pounding wildly in her chest. As the panic brought forth by the nightmare slowly began to subside, her heartbeat and breathing slowly starting to normalize, the confusion set in. Not only had the dream been far more vivid than any other dream she had ever had, but part of her had been aware the whole time that it was a dream. No, not a dream, more like a vision... Somehow she had tapped into Faye's memory of what had happened that night. How was that even possible? Was it because she had used her dark magic to keep the other girl alive? However, before long a sense of horror and shock began to rise within her, drowning out the confusion and wonderment, a chill running down her spine at the realization what her dream meant. It hadn't been an accident at all. Someone had intentionally run Faye off the road. Someone had tried to kill Faye...

But who - and why? The other four Balcoin children came to her mind. But no, it couldn't have been them. If it had been one of her dark half-siblings they surely won't have bothered to crash Faye's car like that. They would have just used their dark magic to kill her. Right? On the other hand, who else could have an interest in killing Faye, or any of them, really? The hunters were dead, the demons destroyed. It couldn't have been that voodoo practitioner, Callum, could it? After all, Jake and Adam had marked the guy, if he had come back anywhere near town they would have known instantly...

After a while Cassie let out a heavy sigh, turning her gaze to the alarm clock on her nightstand to see what time it was, considering that, while it was light outside, she wasn't sure whether the sun was rising or setting. It surprised her slightly to see that it was already nearly six in the morning, meaning she had slept most of the past day and all through the night without waking up once. But apparently she had needed the sleep... And with everything considered - the shock of finding Faye the way they had, the strain of keeping the other girl alive long enough to get her to the hospital, being up most of the night while Faye was in surgery - it was probably no real surprise that she had been completely exhausted. Frankly she was still feeling a little worn out. However, after her dream and with all the questions swirling through her mind right now, she knew there was no way she would be able to go back to sleep. Besides there was just too much to do, to think about. Surely, it won't take long before the cops would start to realize as well that it hadn't been an accident. They would want to talk with her again, and she would have to figure out what to tell them. She could hardly tell them that she was a witch and that she had kept her friend alive with magic, let alone that she already knew what had happened, because she had dreamed about it... And, of course, she had to talk to the rest of the circle about what she had found out as soon as possible. In addition there was also the question how Faye was doing. Even though they hadn't really gotten along that well in the past, Faye was part of her circle, part of her family. When push came to shove they could count on one another and no matter their past differences the other girl hadn't deserved this to happen to her.

No, getting any further sleep was certainly out of the question, and only a moment later Cassie let out a low sigh and got out of bed. After a moment of consideration she made her way into the adjacent bathroom to take a quick shower.

The quick shower ended up lasting until the water started to turn cold. But the warmth had been comforting, relaxing, and as Cassie stepped out of the shower, wrapping a towel around herself she noted with a trace of satisfaction that at last even the most persistent remnants of blood were finally gone from her hands.

As she walked down the stairs ten minutes later, after getting dressed and ready for the day, she was still tired and worried about Faye, but at least some of her tension had dissipated and her mind was a little clearer. Making her way into the kitchen she first headed to the coffee machine and got it ready. While the coffee was brewing and running through the machine she felt her stomach give a little rumbling sound, reminding her that she hadn't eaten anything since she and Adam had been at the diner, before they had found Faye... After a brief moment of consideration she got a box of cereal from the pantry and milk from the fridge, not feeling like taking the time for anything requiring too much preparation. She set both down on the kitchen island, then got a bowl and spoon.

Once the coffee was ready Cassie poured a large mug of the strong brew, adding some sugar and milk, before sitting down. She then proceeded to pour some of the cereal into the bowl and after adding milk she started to eat, occasionally drinking some of her coffee. While she was eating she tried to figure out what she would tell the cops once they inevitably came to talk with her again. Perhaps she should call Adam and ask him to come over. It would be comforting to have someone there with her.

Only a few miles away at Melissa's house Diana had bolted awake in the early morning hours, having had the same nightmare as Cassie. Her heart was pounding so hard in her chest, she could feel it resonate throughout her entire body, her breath coming in quick, strangled gasps. Taking a look around the unfamiliar surroundings only intensified the panic coursing through her.

It was only a while later, as she gradually began to calm down, that she realized where she was. That she remembered she hadn't gone home after leaving the hospital, but instead had gone with Melissa and had slept over at the Glaser residence. After arriving there they had decided to first watch some movies including 'Alice in Wonderland' and the 'Pirates of the Caribbean' movies, neither of them feeling like they would be able to sleep just yet, despite the long night at the hospital, and arguably it had been a nice distraction from the night's events. They must have fallen asleep some time during the third movie, as the TV set and DVD player were both still on, the movie's menu screen running.

"Diana? You're alright?" Melissa's concerned voice eventually disrupted her thoughts, making her jump slightly.

Turning to look at the other girl Diana gave a slight nod and replied, "Yeah... I just dreamed about Faye, her accident..." A shiver ran through her at the memory of what she had dreamed, and crossing her arms she absentmindedly ran her hands over her upper arms, as if she were cold.

Melissa eyed Diana for another few minutes, still worried. Eventually she asked, "Are you sure you're okay?"

"I'm fine, Melissa. Don't worry." Diana assured, giving a slight smile, trying to make her voice sound convincing.

But frankly she wasn't entirely sure if what she said was really true. She just couldn't shake off the remnants of her nightmare, the bad feeling it had sent coursing through her simply wouldn't subside. It had felt so real, as if it hadn't been merely a dream but a memory - as if it had happened to her, not to Faye. She tried her best not to think about the deeper meaning of what she had dreamed, the fact that, if it was true, someone had intentionally tried to kill the other girl. One would think that after everything that had happened throughout the past year she would be able to handle that thought, but the truth was she couldn't. It was one thing to deal with witch hunters and demons, or one's ruthless biological father trying to use her and her sister to kill their friends, but this... Somehow the thought of one of them becoming the target of a seemingly random act of violence was much worse than all the dangers that came with being a witch. Perhaps because it was something so unexpected, the kind of thing you saw and read in the news, but which you never thought would happen to yourself or someone you knew, especially in a fairly small town like Chance Harbor. And, because the thought of Faye having been intentionally hurt felt just too troubling at this point, she willed her thoughts to remain on the question of how she had even been able to dream this, to tap into Faye's memory of what had happened to her.

Upon waking up Dawn found herself alone, but admittedly didn't really think on it. At least not for the time being, as almost instantly the concern for Faye rose again within her. After she had sat up in bed she lifted a hand and briefly ran her fingers through her hair, trying to untangle it at least a little. Letting her hand sink she briefly closed her eyes, a little sigh escaping her.

A moment later she eventually got up. She headed over to the dresser and closet to select a change of clothes before making her way into the ensuite bathroom. After she had gotten dressed she stepped towards the sink, briefly glancing at her reflection, noting the dark shadows beneath her eyes, before washing her face with cold water, the chilly temperature somewhat helping against the lingering feeling of exhaustion. She dried her face then opened the cabinet over the sink, getting a bottle of tylenol and taking one of the pills, hoping it might help against the ceaseless pounding in her head...

Making her way downstairs and towards the kitchen only a few minutes later, Dawn was greeted by the scent of strong, fresh coffee wafting through the open door of the kitchen. As she entered the room a few moments later she found Charles sitting at the kitchen table, a cup standing in front of him, a faint trace of steam rising from the hot beverage within it.

When she came in Charles looked up, smiling lightly at her. He then rose up to his feet, getting a second cup and filling it with coffee, before returning to the kitchen table, where he set the cup down in front of Dawn, who had in the meantime sat down across from where he'd been sitting. As he moved to sit back down he momentarily studied Dawn's face, frowning ever so slightly in concern upon noticing the dark shadows under her eyes, the exhaustion on her face. "Are you okay, Dawn?" Of course, it was a stupid and rather unnecessary question, after all, how could she be okay given the circumstances, the fact that her daughter was in a coma?

At the question Dawn looked at him and nodded, telling him, "Just tired, and worried. I will be alright, though." as she spoke she smiled weakly at him. She then lifted her cup taking a sip of the steaming black coffee, absentmindedly reaching one hand up to her head and rubbing slightly at the side of her skull.

"Listen Dawn, about last night... It doesn't have to mean anything." Charles told her after they had been silent for a few long moments, looking at her as he spoke, "Maybe last night was simply something we both needed after everything that's happened." he suggested thoughtfully. God knew, they had both been through a lot in recent months! Personally, he was still trying to come to terms with killing Amelia and Nick, with discovering that Diana was actually John Blackwell's daughter, and the entire ordeal with Eben and the demons. Even with the demons being suppressed by his mother's spell he had still felt their influence while they had been inside his body, and, if he was honest with himself, the whole experience still haunted him. And he knew that regardless of her seemingly indifferent attitude about her actions, Dawn probably still struggled with killing Henry, with almost getting killed by Lucy, John Blackwell almost killing all of them and now Faye's accident... The last thing he wanted to do right now was to give Dawn the impression that he expected this to be more than it really was. After all, he knew she was well aware that he'd had feelings for her ever since high school. He also knew that Dawn had never reciprocated those feelings. There was little reason for that to have changed. And no matter what, he valued the friendship they had built recently too much as to be willing to sacrifice it for something he rationally knew would never be.

Dawn took a moment to reply, "You're right, it doesn't have to." she said, meeting his eyes as she added, "But maybe I want it to mean something." There was a faint trace of vulnerability in her voice as she made that admission. "I don't know what exactly it might mean, or just how or what exactly I feel... There's just so much on my mind right now." she told him thoughtfully, her eyes remaining on his face the whole time, "But I care about you, Charles." Despite all the confusion coursing through her right now with everything that had happened recently and what had happened to Faye, at least she knew that much. She had come to truly care about Charles in recent months. If she was to be honest with herself, it was something she hadn't expected to happen. Up to very recently she had always thought of Charles as barely more than a pawn, and admittedly she had pretty much used the knowledge of him having feelings for her to her advantage. However, after he had saved her from Lucy's attempt to kill her, using one of the crystals to bring her back, her perspective on him had begun to change. She knew he could've simply left her for dead rather than saving her life, and after her actions in the days leading up to that evening - after their conversation earlier on that same day, he would've had every reason, if not actually every right, to do so. Which was exactly why she appreciated his help so much; because it had been so unexpected. Just like when he had saved her from Abaddon when the demon had been possessing Nick. Of course, following their disagreements regarding the use of the crystal they had and his mother, they had also been brought back together when Blackwell had returned and they had realized he was using their children, just like he had used them and their friends years before. Yet it had only been after they had gone after the hunters to save Faye and her friends - after Charles had been willing to sacrifice himself by drawing the demons out of Eben to save the children, and she had been faced with the possibility of having lost him that she actually realized how much he had come to mean to her... She didn't regret what had happened between them. But she simply wasn't sure just what exactly she felt, not with everything else that was going on. And she didn't want to lead him on in any way, because another fact was that she was aware of how Charles felt about her. It wouldn't be fair of her to make him think that she knew with certainty just what she herself felt, or what she wanted the past night to mean. Given her previous actions she simply owed it to him to be honest this time around. It was the only right thing to do.

At Dawn's unexpected admission a trace of a smile fleeted across his face and he reached a hand over the table, gently taking hold of one of her hands. When she had finished he assured her, "We'll take things slow, figure out what we want." while he was speaking he lightly brushed his thumb over the back of her hand.

Dawn relaxed ever so slightly at his words, relieved that he seemed to understand, and a trace of a smile appeared on her own face. She briefly glanced down at their joined hands, before looking back up at him, giving a little nod as she replied, "That sounds good." as she spoke she slightly moved her own hand so she could interlace their fingers.

They sat in silence for a while, before Charles spoke again, offering, "Would you like me to drive you to the hospital?"

"I'd appreciate that." Dawn replied at his words, in part already due to the fact that her own car was still parked at the hospital. And, although she would rather not admit it, she also wasn't too sure she was in any state to drive at this point.

She had just taken another sip from her coffee when the sound of car doors opening and closing could be heard from outside, and a moment later the door bell rang. Letting out a low sigh Dawn rose to her feet to open. She figured it was likely someone from the police.

Charles looked up, standing and walking after Dawn so that he could support her if needed. "And now comes this..." he spoke lowly, shaking slightly his head with a trace of annoyance and disapproval showing upon his face, "They should learn to wait."

Dawn briefly glanced back at Charles as she heard him follow after her. She didn't say anything in response to his words, although her expression indicated that she agreed with what he had said. As she reached the door she suppressed another sigh, then opened it. Out on the porch stood two men, both wearing suits, the only indication that they were with the police were the only partially concealed police badges on their belts.

The older one of them showed his ID to her, introducing himself, "Mrs Chamberlain? I'm Detective Birkhoff, and this is Detective Carter. We're investigating your daughter's accident."

Dawn frowned slightly at the introduction, not really in any mood to answer questions right now. However, taking a breath she stated, "Please, come in." After all, the sooner she got this over with, the sooner she would be able to go see Faye.

"Thanks." Detective Birkhoff responded. As Dawn stepped aside the two cops walked into the house. Stopping after a few steps Birkhoff assured, "We will keep this as brief as possible."

Dawn merely nodded at this, gesturing towards the living room.

Charles's brows rose ever so slightly when he saw the officers come into the house. He looked at Dawn before heading into the living room as well. She would need the support, he knew that much. And right now he wasn't going to leave her alone. Diana would be alright for now, spending time with Melissa at the other girl's house, so he could be there for Dawn when she needed it the most.

The two detectives followed Dawn and Charles into the living room. Upon entering the room Dawn said, "Please, have a seat." She herself sat down in one of the armchairs, while Charles went to stand near Dawn.

After the two cops had sat down as well there was a brief moment of silence as the two detectives contemplated how to proceed. Both of them were aware that the situation was in all probability already quite stressful and troubling as it was for the blonde woman in front of them. The news they had certainly won't make this any easier. Eventually the older one of them spoke up, "Mrs Chamberlain, there is no easy way to say this, but, based on our findings so far, there are strong indications that someone might have deliberately caused your daughter's accident." he told her, his tone gentle yet professional, a slight frown on his face. After a brief pause he added, "In addition, according to the doctor treating her, some of her injuries may have been inflicted on her after the crash, rather than having been caused by it."

Charles tensed visibly at that, standing behind Dawn and placing a hand on her shoulder to comfort her at the news, while Dawn herself notably paled, tensing up as well, her eyes slightly widening with shock. "Do you have any leads on the matter at hand?" he questioned in Dawn's place, his tone sharp but not unkind. He knew Dawn would have trouble taking this in, and if it was in fact true, there was trouble brewing in Chance Harbor - again, which meant the kids could all be in danger.

At Charles's question Birkhoff gave a slight shake of his head, "Unfortunately nothing concrete at this point." He looked back at Dawn, inquiring, "Does your daughter have any enemies?"

"She's seventeen, of course not." Dawn replied, slightly irritated, "Certainly not anyone who would run her off the road." She supposed that answer was true enough...

Neither of the detectives seemed to take her tone personal, instead Birkhoff gave a slight nod, and wanted to know, "And you? Can you think of anyone who might want to harm you or your daughter?"

Dawn gave a slight shake of her head. "No."

Meanwhile Charles ran things through his mind, witch hunters, the Balcoin siblings ... Numerous people could have a reason to want the kids from the circle dead. Knowingly or not they had enemies everywhere in this town, and beyond the town as well. But of course they couldn't exactly tell the cops about that. He gave Dawn's shoulder a reassuring squeeze, letting her know he was still there.

Dawn briefly glanced at Charles, before focusing back on the cops.

After a minute or so of silent contemplation Birkhoff inquired, "Your daughter was on the way back into town when it happened. Did she visit anyone?"

"No." Dawn replied, "She had driven up to the family lake house, where her grandfather had lived. Up at Lake Pine. He passed away last year. Faye wanted to look for some of his books."

The two detectives exchanged a look then the older one asked, "That would have been Henry Chamberlain?" when Dawn nodded he went on, "He died of a heart attack last fall, yet his body was found buried in the lake behind his house. Your daughter and some friends found him, correct?"

At the question Dawn had to hold back a heavy sigh. Of course this had to come back to haunt her... She still couldn't quite fathom why on earth Charles had thought it to be a good idea to hide Henry's body by throwing him into the lake. Granted it probably had made sense to him at the time, and perhaps she herself would have had the same idea in his place, as the lake was just behind the house and under normal circumstances the body might have never been discovered, or at least not for years, as it had been weighted down. Neither Charles, nor she herself, could have possibly anticipated that Henry's residual magic would end up leading Faye and Cassie out to the lake and the body hidden within it. That development had been highly unfortunate, especially as the whole point of Charles moving the body had been to keep the children - or more specifically Faye, from finding him, but once it had happened nothing could have been done about it anymore and it made little point to dwell on it now.

Shaking herself out of her thoughts she told the police officers in a fairly clipped tone, "Yes, that's right." she frowned as she continued, "However, I don't see how that would have anything to do with what happened to my daughter the other night. Henry died almost a year ago." As she spoke she felt a wave of irritation coursing through her, not just because she knew for a fact that Henry's death and the subsequent hiding of his body had nothing to do with Faye and her accident, but also because the two cops would know as well as she did that there had been a full investigation into the matter. Which had of course yielded no real results, other than raising the question why someone would hide the body of someone who had died of natural causes.

Again the two cops seemed unfazed by the faint, yet nonetheless noticeable, twinge of irritation in Dawn's voice. They remained silent for a brief few moments, then the younger detective inquired, "Aside from you, who knew that your daughter was driving up to the lake house?"

Dawn frowned at the question. She knew they were just doing their job, that they had to ask these questions, but it didn't change that she was starting to lose her patience. If someone was after Faye, or any of the children from the circle, it likely had to do with their witch heritage, and if that was the case this would be something better left to take care of by them. Not the police. And aside from that she wanted to go to the hospital to make sure that Faye was in fact going to be okay - and safe. However, she knew that the easiest and quickest way to get the cops to leave was to just answer their questions. Otherwise they would just end up coming back, probably sooner than later, with more questions, which was among the last things she needed right about now.

"Faye probably told her best friend, Melissa Glaser. She was going to visit her on the way back. She might have also told her boyfriend, Jake Armstrong." Dawn eventually told them, frowning as she added, "I'm not sure who else could have known. Faye decided fairly spontaneously to go. Although, I guess, someone could have followed her to the lake house. And before you ask; no, neither Jake nor Melissa would've had any reason to want to hurt her."

Charles watched the two detectives with a slight frown while Dawn was speaking. When Dawn had finished he spoke again, not missing the exasperation in her expression and within her voice, "Are you nearly done? We were just going to head to the hospital when you arrived. I'm sure, if there's nothing else you have to ask, perhaps you could go along with finding who did this to Faye?" he said rather stiffly, knowing full well that this was no longer a problem for the police to deal with.

Birkhoff nodded, "Yes. Of course." as he spoke he already got to his feet, as did his colleague. "Until we find those responsible there will be a guard posted at the hospital. As a precaution." He then reached into the pocket of his jacket, taking out his card and giving it to Dawn, "If you can think of anything, or notice anything suspicious, just call."

Dawn merely gave a nod at that as she accepted the business card, getting up as well.

Charles looked at them, nodding. "I'll walk you to the door. Dawn, why don't you go and get your things? We'll head to the hospital afterwards?" he suggested, walking the officers to the door and opening it for them. "Thank you. I hope you find who did this." he said, knowing that the children might very well be already forming the same conclusions as the cops had at this moment. And that, if they did, they would undoubtedly also already be considering what to do about it. Granted, as a lawyer he generally didn't condone people trying to take the law into their own hands in any way. But in this instance there wasn't really anything the authorities could do.

Meanwhile, after giving a nod at Charles's suggestion, Dawn went to get her things while he walked the cops to the door. By the time she had retrieved her purse and put on a jacket the cops were gone and a few moments later she and Charles got into his car to head to the hospital.

Almost at the same time that Dawn received a visit from the cops two other detectives had arrived at the Blake household to speak once more with Cassie about how she and Adam had found Faye, wanting to know whether they had seen or otherwise noticed anything suspicious. One of them was the female officer from the hospital, Officer Davies. The other cop was a man, a detective who gave his name as Trudeau. When they arrived Cassie almost breathed a sigh of relief, glad that she had gone through with calling Adam after she had finished her breakfast. Even though they weren't together romantically anymore she had no doubt that his presence would go a long way to help her through this conversation, and the fact that he was already there would save time - which meant she won't have to be alone with the cops to wait for him. In addition it also saved the police officers the time and effort of having to send someone over to Adam's place as they would have needed to if he weren't with her.

Throughout the cops' visit Cassie had been able to feel the pinpricks of her dark magic rising to the surface ever so slightly. She had pushed it down though. There was no need for her defenses to rise, unless they brought up how the two of them had gotten Faye out of the car on their own. Of course, if push came to shove they could just claim it had been the adrenaline rush, the fear for their friend. After all, there were cases of mothers exhibiting almost miraculous amounts of strength in the face of a threat to their child. Surely the same principle could be applied to friends... However, the longer the cops had stayed the harder it had become to remain in control of her magic, the darkness, and there had been a point, when the cops had asked them whether they could think of anyone who could have an interest in hurting Faye - and therefore confirming what deep down she had already known after her nightmare, that she had almost lost it. She knew the only reason that she hadn't been overpowered by the dark magic swirling within her had been Adam's presence, his support, the comfort both those things gave her. But it had been such a struggle, proving so much harder than ever before. No doubt it was because of just how much she had used to save Faye. Yet even so, she had no regrets about saving the other girl. It had been the only way, after all...

Once the cops had finally left Cassie had shrunk in on herself, sighing heavily as she pulled her legs toward herself and lifted her hands to run through her hair and over her face in exasperation.

Their conversation with the two detectives had left both teens even more unsettled than they had been before, and shortly after the cops had left they called Melissa and Jake, asking them to come over so they could discuss what the police had told Cassie and Adam. The others had to know. All of it.

Jake was the first to arrive as he lived right next door, while Melissa and Diana arrived shortly thereafter. All three of them expressed concern for Cassie, obviously able to tell that she was barely keeping herself together. However, she shrugged it off, after all, they had far more important, more serious things to focus on. And, because she didn't want to dwell too much on the state she was in, Cassie swiftly recounted to them what the cops had told her and Adam while the dark haired boy occasionally added something to the blond's account.

When she finished Cassie remained silent for a long moment her brows knitting into a deep frown as she considered just how exactly to tell them about her nightmare. So far she hadn't even told Adam, even though he had been at her place for quite a while before the police had shown up to talk with them. The truth was, she didn't want to talk about it more than necessary, because talking about the nightmare also meant thinking about it. Eventually she sighed deeply, heavily, figuring she should just tell them as simply as possible. Get it over with... And taking a breath she acknowledged, "However, to be honest, I wasn't surprised by what they said, that it wasn't really an accident. Deep down I already knew that." while speaking she wrapped her arms around her knees, looking from one member of her circle to the other, wanting to see their reactions to her revelation, "I dreamed about it. About Faye's presumed accident... as if I somehow had tapped into her memories." trailing off she sighed deeply, seemingly becoming even smaller under the weight of her words.

Diana involuntarily tensed with shock at what Cassie told them, her eyes widening ever so slightly. She had already been on edge when she and Melissa had arrived, her tension increasing with every passing minute as Cassie and Adam had told her and the others about the visit from the cops. She took a breath, trying to compose herself, yet her voice still sounded unsteady as she muttered, "I had a dream about what happened, too." her eyes locked on her half-sister's face, "It didn't feel like a dream, more as if it were a memory. My memories, though, not Faye's. As if I was Faye... I could tell I was being chased and then I saw the other car. How the driver intentionally crashed it into Faye's. And I could feel it, all of it..." at that point Diana stopped, unable to suppress a shudder, still horrorified by the dream, especially now that she knew that it really hadn't been an accident, just like her nightmare had implied - and that she hadn't been the only one to have that dream.

"Wait, you had the exact same dream as I did?" Cassie remarked, clearly startled and admittedly confused. Because the way Diana described her dream it sounded precisely like that was the case. Frowning slightly she turned to look at the others and asked, "Did anyone else dream about it?"

Jake, Melissa and Adam each shook their heads no, their faces showing varying degrees of startled confusion. Melissa who had been looking at Diana, already a frown on her face as she realized this must have been the reason why she had been so spooked since earlier, now turned to look at the others, inquiring, "What does this mean, though?"

"I don't know..." Cassie acknowledged after a moment of silence, running her hand once more over her face, "At first I thought I had the dream because I used my magic to keep Faye alive. But now... I mean, it wouldn't explain why Diana had the same dream, after all." Falling silent the blonde de facto leader of the circle let out a low sigh, wondering what this might mean, how this was possible. When Diana had announced that she'd had the same dream she had been relieved, glad that she apparently wasn't the only one. Because it had raised the possibility that maybe it had to do with the circle, that maybe even though they were no longer bound to one another as a circle they were still connected and this connection allowed them to tap into Faye's memories so they could help her. It had been a comforting thought. Now on the other hand it was unsettling her. If it had really had to do with them being connected to one another even though they were now unbound, they would undoubtedly all had the dream. But they hadn't. Only she herself and Diana had. Which raised another, far more troubling possibility, and based on the tense, agitated expression upon Diana's face the same thought was on her half-sister's mind as well. What if they'd had that dream because of their dark magic? And even worse, what if it had been their dark siblings, after all, who had done this to Faye?

"What are we going to do?" Melissa questioned after they had all been silent for quite a while as they each tried to process the revelations of this meeting.

"We'll find who did this to Faye." this came in a dark, dangerous tone from Jake, who had so far been standing a little ways away from the others, leaning against the wall, his arms crossed casually in front of his chest. Now, however, he had stepped closer to the others, his arms at his sides, hands curled up into tight, angry fists while his whole body was rigid with the rage coursing through him in the face of someone having hurt Faye intentionally.

At Jake's angry response Diana gave a slight shake of her head. "We will look for whoever it was." she said before the blonde boy could protest in any way. She looked at the others as she spoke, her eyes stopping for a moment on Jake, "But first we ought to make sure that Faye will be safe until we found that person. Clearly, this wasn't just a random attack. Someone wants Faye dead. Which means they might try again, considering that she survived. We can't leave her at the hospital with only the police as protection. Especially if this has to do with us being witches."

The other four teenagers nodded their agreement, including Jake even though he was still looking ready to tear the culprit limb from limb.

"Diana is right, we can't trust the police to keep Faye safe." Cassie pointed out, "Any ideas?" she asked the others. She was still getting used to being the one in charge of the circle's activities. And, no matter how powerful she might be, there also was the fact that she was, after all, still new to being a witch and she assumed the others would likely be more knowlegable in this regard.

There was a brief moment of silence as each one of them contemplated possibilities, eventually Melissa suggested, "For starters, we could cast a protective spell on her hospital room and Faye herself to keep threats away from her."

Cassie nodded at what the shorter girl said, as did Diana. Adam also gave a nod in agreement, while Jake didn't really show much of a reaction, although Cassie still believed that he agreed. After all, she knew how much Jake actually cared about Faye. Undoubtedly he wanted just as much to keep her safe as he wanted revenge. But he still was Jake, and it made sense he would be more comfortable with displaying his anger and vengefulness than his concern.

After a moment Adam spoke up, a frown on his face as he pointed out, "We should probably also try to find out how Cassie and Diana were able to access Faye's memory of what happened in their dream."

If she was honest Cassie would have rather not dwelled any further on this whole thing with the dream. She'd rather not think about the possible implications of this. But ultimately she knew that, unfortunately, Adam was right. It would be wise to try getting to the bottom of this matter, probably rather sooner than later, too. After all, when had dodging these things ever done her or any of them any good? Never. And aside from that, at least then she would know for sure and won't have to worry anymore about what it could mean. Which was why she simply gave another nod rather than trying to dismiss the idea.

A few moments later they got to work. Cassie, Diana and Jake each started looking through their respective family gremoires, while Melissa and Adam began to look through the vast collection of books on magic and witchcraft they had acquired since they had first started to discover that they were witches. Originally most of those books had, along with all their other supplies for practicing, been kept at the abandoned house so each one of them could have easily access to them. However, now almost all their things from the house were at Cassie's place. Following the showdown with Blackwell and the hunters, and knowing that Blackwell's other children were on the way to Chance Harbor they had unanimously agreed to stop using the abandoned house as meeting place. After all, it used to be Blackwell's home, which meant the half-siblings of Cassie and Diana would likely know about it. And in the face of the recent events, Blackwell's attempt to use the crystal skull to kill every last good witch in town, neither of them was all that comfortable with the idea of continuing to go there. Who knew what traps Blackwell might have ended up setting for them before his demise? And given the secluded location of the property it would be easy for anyone - random stranger and vicious enemy alike, to sneak around there, which could have serious repercussions for them. Besides, ultimately the only reason they had been using the abandoned house as meeting place after they had started practicing and experimenting with their powers, had been because they all knew their parents and grandparents wouldn't want them to use magic, the fact that given the Elders' previous actions after the boatyard fire it would be likely that, if they found out, they would in fact take away their powers like they had done with their parents. But now they didn't have to hide from their families anymore, in fact Charles, Dawn and even Kate were actively helping them. Even Jake's grandfather had helped them, warning them of what was to come. And the other members of their families silently tolerated their use of magic - as long as they did so responsibly and kept their secret from the outsiders. They had chosen to move their meetings to Cassie's because, as she lived there alone, the chance of someone disturbing them there was much lower than at the home of any of the other members of the circle. And deep down Cassie believed her grandmother would approve of the decision.

Down at the old, abandoned boatyard the roar of an approaching motorbike disrupted the haunting silence that evening, its driver revving the engine a little as they neared their destination.

At the sound the tall young man sitting on the dock by the water looked up from the dark liquid that continued to rise and swirl below at his mere will. 'There she is... About time.' he thought, listening to the engine's sound getting louder, closer. He had already wondered what was keeping her, as it wasn't her style to be late. Just then his full lips curved up into a smug smirk, giving his handsome face with its sharp cheekbones an almost arrogant appearance, as he drawled darkly, "You know you will never be quite sneaky enough. I will always know you're there before you get within ten feet of me." While speaking he shook his head ever so slightly in amusement, letting the water sink back down into its place, before he eventually rose casually to his feet and slowly, almost lazily, turned to face his approaching siblings.

His name was Daxton, Daxton Blackwell, and he was the eldest of the Balcoin children. Their leader. He was also the most powerful. The one their father had trusted the most. Enough so that he had shared the details of his true plans with him and had entrusted him with the mission to gather his siblings and continue their family legacy should their father fail. To follow him to Chance Harbor with the others and form the dark circle their father had envisioned, dreamed of all his life as had his forefathers. And he had every intention to succeed where they had failed.

Once he had fully turned, his gaze settled on his siblings, who had stopped in a semi-circle a few steps away from him when he had risen to his feet. For a moment his unbelievably light colored hazel eyes, which almost looked golden in the faint light of the stars and moon above yet always held such a cold darkness that served to send chills down the spine of even the bravest outsider, remained upon the twins, Chase and Shawn, before coming to rest upon the small girl with the fair blonde hair, Scarlett. She was the youngest of them, in fact the youngest of all of John Blackwell's children. Yet she was the strongest of the three dark witches in front of him, the one he trusted the most and knew he could count on to get things done no matter what. His little sister was beautiful, with a slender built and, even with the black spike-like stud piercing in her right eyebrow, the almost racy skin tight clothes and the deep burgundy streaks in her long blonde hair, the delicate features of her pretty face made her look deceivingly innocent. Which was precisely what had doomed her original circle to extinction. They had never anticipated what was coming until they had already been fated to inevitably perish in the flames, burning alive. As he and Scarlett had been watching on, listening to their screams, the crackling of the flames consuming the walls and the people enclosed by them, he had felt a sense of pride in his little sister, a dark admiration and fascination. She hadn't hesitated for an instant, she had done what had to be done without second thoughts, without complaint. She had shown neither mercy to the people who had claimed to be her friends, her family, yet would have only held her back, would have held her down - who would have never truly appreciated her for who she really was, nor any remorse for turning on them and wiping them out with a mere wave of her hand, a mere thought. Yes, in that moment, seeing the pleasant smile playing on her lips, the reflection of the flames dancing in her eyes, he had been proud to call her his sister and he was absolutely certain that their father would be just as proud of Scarlett.

After a brief moment of silence Daxton spoke again, "Company is coming. Be nice or you'll regret it."

"Of course, Brother Dearest. When can we play?" Scarlett inquired, having given one brief nod in acknowledgement to her brother's instructions. A wicked little smile graced her face while she spoke. She already knew her target, her task, and she was prepared to go seek him out and do exactly as planned. As a matter of fact she was looking forward to it, eager to get started. Within her palm was a small flame, dancing along her fingers yet leaving no marks upon her pale white skin as they caressed it.

Meanwhile Chase held back a scoff, rolling his eyes as he commented dryly, "Yeah, Daxton, we get it. Your girl is joining us, Brother. Understood." As he finished he turned to look at his ever silent twin standing by his side and, tilting his head as he swiftly signed back to him, he added, "Shawn is wondering whether he is needed to welcome her or not?" He knew that while his twin brother barely ever spoke a word, Shawn was just as committed to their cause and prepared to do whatever necessary as he himself, Scarlett and Daxton were.

At the question Daxton frowned ever so slightly, then waved a hand, giving his permission for them to leave as he announced decidedly, "Viper, Darkyn, you may leave. Prepare for your missions if you must. Crow... you stay." he said, now using their nicknames as he generally did, "I want you to meet Fang. She can be useful to all of us. You'd do well to remember this." the last part was again clearly addressed to all three of them, and he eyed them sternly even though Shawn and Chase had already turned to leave the dock.

The two Balcoins left behind didn't speak for the time being as they waited for their visitor to arrive. Before long they could see the approaching Kawasaki Ninja motorbike coming towards them.

Upon reaching her destination the slender driver stopped, cutting the engine. Pulling the key out of the ignition she got off the bike, and taking off her helmet she shook out her long, pitch black hair. She then ran the fingers of her right hand through it to get it back into form, while studying briefly her surroundings. A moment later she started to head into the direction of where Daxton was waiting with a young blonde girl, whom she assumed was his sister Scarlett.

"Sorry, I know, I'm late." the raven haired girl said as she reached the two Balcoins, "I had to take a detour. Someone crashed their car the other night just a few minutes out and the road was still closed so they could clean up the mess."

Daxton smirked ever so slightly at her announcement, "How unfortunate for the poor driver." he commented, his tone clearly by far more gleeful than sympathetic. Still smirking he than introduced the two girls, "Fang, this is my sister, Crow. Crow, Fang." he looked at his sister as he reiterated, "Do play nice, or you will regret it."

At the warning Scarlett sighed lowly, considering it rather unnecessary of her brother to repeat his warning as she was certain he'd know she had gotten it the first time, however, she nonetheless gave a nod in acknowlegdement before turning her attention to the other girl, "Pleasure." she said a little stiffly, slightly wary at the thought of someone who wasn't a part of their family to be involved in their plans. And admittedly she wasn't entirely sure she was quite ready yet to share her brother with anyone else. Yet she was well aware that the fact that Daxton had allowed this girl to join them here made quite clear that she was of notable importance to him and that obviously he also trusted her a great deal, which was why she would, at least for the time being, in fact play nice.

Fang gave a slight nod, replying casually, "Likewise, Crow."

"Viper and Darkyn are off doing their own thing, preparing for what Hades has planned." Scarlett filled her in, using Daxton's nickname. She added, "Do remember not to use our real names if you see us out in town. We pride ourselves on anonymity here, until our plans are ready to come to fruition." Seeing the other girl nod she then turned to glance at Daxton, telling him, "I'm going now, to do my part of the plan." With that she was off, not bothering to wait for Daxton to say anything.

As his sister walked away Daxton lifted his right hand, which Fang took without hesitation. "My other two sisters are here in town. Soon enough they will be amongst us. It is inevitable." he stated matter-of-factly. He then remained silent for a few moments, frowning ever so slightly as he glanced at their joined hands, thinking about their relationship. He and Fang - or rather, Lia as she was actually called, had met roughly two years ago when he had been in New York City. They had connected over dark magic and had hit it off, even though she wasn't an actual witch. Of course, the fact that she was quite beautiful and shared similar ambitions as he did himself, hadn't hurt things one bit. After their initial encounter they had stayed in touch and over time they had developed a friends-with-benefits sort of relationship. In fact he had been the one to give her the nickname Fang. She had ended up helping him when his father had contacted him and had first tasked him with finding his siblings.

"Tell me, Fang, do you ever desire this to be more than it is?" he questioned eventually, breaking the silence that had formed after Scarlett's departure, studying Lia's face, "Because you know, I can't afford to have people emotionally attached to me, not right now." he spoke the words in an almost warning tone as he looked at the female at his side. Though she was human he had let her into their little group, mainly because her mind could be affected more with his siblings' magic. In addition she was a gifted voodoo practitioner, even though her abilities were of course nothing compared to the powers of an actual witch. And, while he resented the notion of forming any kind of attachment to outsiders, there nonetheless was a tiny part of him that in fact cared about her.

Lia frowned at his question. "Actually, I don't." she told him after only a brief moment of consideration, "I mean, being with you is fun and all, but things are better left the way they are." And frankly she just wasn't one for serious relationships or getting overly attached to people.

"Good." Daxton replied, smirking slightly. "That's good to know, Fang. I can't have casualties in the line of duty." he said, looking around for a moment before pulling her towards the abandoned boat they were using as a home. "We're staying here until we find a more suitable place. For now it's sleeping wherever you can find a place to do so." he explained while leading her inside and nodding towards the vast amounts of blankets and pillows thrown about the abandoned boat.

Following him inside Lia studied their surroundings, frowning momentarily in thought as she listened to what he said. When he had finished she nodded in acknowledgement, then asked, "Is this the boatyard where the fire happened?" She remembered Daxton telling her about the boatyard fire when he had told her about his father's orders to come to Chance Harbor and form a circle with his siblings.

As he laid down on one of the makeshift beds, Daxton nodded towards her as he confirmed darkly, "Yes, the exact place. We found it fitting enough, considering our lineage. And in addition we can be certain to not be disturbed here."

"Certainly." Lia agreed on both counts, it was a more than suitable place for the four Balcoins. Even she could feel the dark energy of this place... Though in a way it could be expected, after all, people had died a violent and painful death there.

A dark chuckle escaped past Daxton's lips as he looked over at Lia for a moment's time, knowing she was able to sense all the dark energy as well. He then said decidedly, "But enough talk. It is time to rest and tomorrow plans will be set in motion." as he finished he held an arm out towards her, a silent invitation for her to lay with him while the night faded into morning.

When Lia came to settle down by his side Daxton closed his eyes, slipping one arm around her slender frame as he thought about his plans coming to fruition before long. "Soon... If Crow and the twins do their part, everything will fall into place soon." he grumbled darkly, a calculating smile on his lips as he allowed sleep to claim him for the day.

Yes, soon enough, this town would know of them, and soon enough they would have the siblings needed to create their dark circle. Nothing would be able to stop them from achieving their goals...

Author's Notes: As always, I hope you enjoyed reading, and I'd be happy to hear your thoughts on how you like the story so far. I'm still working on the next chapter, though I'm hoping to finish it soon. However, I am rather focused on other stories right now, and overall I'm not entirely sure whether there is still any real interest in this story, so I might end up putting this on the backburner for the time being...