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The New Circle 45/? 
10th-Jun-2013 12:12 am
The New Circle (Part 2)
Title: The New Circle
Fandoms: Smallville/Secret Circle
Characters: Chloe Sullivan, Clark Kent, Pete Ross, Lana Lang, Whitney Fordman, Greg Arkin, Nell Potter, John Blackwell, Gabe Sullivan, Lex Luthor, Davis Bloome, Jason Teague, Tess Mercer, Oliver Queen, Patricia Swan...
Rating: T
Disclaimer: Don't own
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.
Wanna thank tenshinrtaiga for betaing!

The festivities had been adjourned, the guests dismissed. Instead, now only those involved, as well as the Balcoin guards, found their way to the throne room. Chloe sat upon her majestic throne on the dais, her siblings sitting in smaller yet grand thrones on lower platforms, ordered by their age. The sixth throne was not in attendance as the sixth brother wasn't, but no one commented or even noticed it.

On one side of the room, thrones for the Luthor heads appeared and on the opposite side thrones for the Thoraeux heads did as well.

"As you were the one to invoke the concilium delibero, Countess, it is only fair that you start us off." Chloe gazed down at them from her throne, a scepter on her lap as she eyed those below. "You can begin by explaining why you've invoked our convocation."

Isobel stood with a flourish, head raised and a smile on her face. "I invoked concilium delibero due to my worry for the magical community as a whole." She sent the Luthor side a little glare before turning to fully eye Chloe. "When news of a proposed marriage between the Balcoin and Luthor family reached my ears, I can not explain the horror that filled my soul at the thought of the danger to the magically community such a venture would create!" She fanned herself with her hand, feigning nerves, when Chloe knew she was coldly calculating her every move, her every word. "The Six have always remained separate, and for good reason. Should one family grow weak the magic that affects us all will grow weak. I fear the thought of what would happen should one of the Six be destroyed!"

"Then you have nothing to fear," Lex drawled, far from impressed with her theatrics. "The Six are strong and will remain that way no matter what little upstart thinks he or she can do to change that."

Annoyance flashed over her orbs yet Isobel kept her gaze on Chloe. "Intermarriage between the Six has always been handled with the utmost care and never taken lightly.Never have individuals so high on the totem poles been even been allowed to consider the notion of marrying another from the Six."

"Are you calling the Luthor and Balcoin clans careless, Isobel?" Chloe refrained from using her title to prove her annoyance despite the evenness of her voice.

Isobel flinched before raising her chin higher. "Of course not, My Lady Chloe, but I fear that the Luthor court is using your youth to their advantage. Surely your father-"

"My father would have cut you down where you stood for such assumptions of ineptitude, Isobel," Chloe interrupted, voice like steel. "Be glad that it is not he whom you stand before."

Isobel gulped before clearing her throat. "I meant no disrespect."

"Of course not. You mean only the best for us all." Chloe's voice was monotone, her facial expressions mute as she continued to eye the older woman. "That is the reason why you have invoked such a sacred thing as the concilium delibero – for the good of all – just as it's supposed to be done."

"Of course," Isobel agreed, nodding.

"I understand your wariness. As you say, marriage between the Six has always been handled with a certain finesse, but it has occurred that siblings with no chance of ruling, or very little chance of it, have been allowed to marry." Chloe eyed the much older woman. "Pete is the fifth of my six siblings; the chances of him ruling as the First arevery unlikely."

"But Miss Luthor is third in succession," Isobel pointed out rightly. "She has a much higher chance than your brother."

Lex snorted. "Believe me, Countess, I do not plan on dying any time soon."

"You never know what should happen in the future, My Lord." Isobel raised an eyebrow. "Unfortunate accidents are known to happen every day."

"I could say the same to you." Lex smirked.

Chloe watched the two of them, able to feel the dislike between them, before tapping her scepter's end on the floor, drawing their attentions back to her. "This convocation isnot to be sullied with underhanded threats of violence. Honor it, the both of you." They looked away from the other, yet were both visibly unhappy. "Let us get to the point of the real reason the concilium delibero was invoked, Countess. It was because, as Prunella has let everyone know, a war is threatening to break out between the Thoreaux clan and that of the Luthors and you, Countess, felt secure that should the Balcoins take a side, it would be yours due to my relationship to your Circle through my mother." She tilted her head to the side as she eyed the woman who was opening and closing her mouth. "But once word of a possible marriage between the Luthor and Balcoin clans emerged, a marriage so prominent, you realized that any little advantage you might have would be obliterated and if you were to stand a chance in this war of your making then you would have to find a way to contest the validity of this marriage."

Isobel opened her mouth.

"The only way you knew that you could do so, since otherwise you'd have no say in the business of the Six, would be to call upon the ancient invocation of concilium deliberowhere we are magically bound to convene with those who are not of the Six and listen to their pressing issues. It can only be called upon for the greater good of the magical community as a whole; it cannot be abused for personal gain and can only be invoked by a witch not of the Six." Chloe trapped her fingers against the armrest. "So you'd have to find a way to make this potential marriage detrimental to the magical community as a whole, which is why you bring up the issue of marriage between the Six when you know the only ones not allowed to marry another within the Six are the heads, or heirs to the heads."

Isobel closed her mouth.

Lex shook his head, smiling ugly at Chloe. "You expected this to happen. We all played into your hands."

Chloe smiled serenely. "How else was I going to get the two of you bound into a convocation where we're physically unable to leave until the issues are completely resolved? I'm one of the Six; I can not invoke concilium delibero. Our siblings do not wish to wed; it is more than obvious and I care too much for the both of them to force them into a loveless union only enforced to cement ties in a war I want nothing to do with." Her gaze was bored as a sigh escaped her lips. "So since I do not have the ability to invoke the concilium delibero, I orchestrated events so that the Countess would."

"You used me," Isobel hissed, color rising up her neck. "How dare you-!"

"I did not put a blade to your neck," Chloe interrupted, cold as ice. "And I am not the one causing the grief." She narrowed her harsh greens on Isobel. "You speak about caring about the magical community, you claim you worry about our shared magic should one of the Six weaken, and yet with your actions, you say otherwise. You are courting war with the Luthor clan and trying to use my connection with your Circle to force the Balcoin clan to turn on another Six – which, if it comes to a true war, could end in the Luthor's clan, destroying them completely."

"Or the Balcoin clan." Lex snorted.

The blonde ignored that, snorting at the very thought. "This is the true threat to the magical community as a whole and we will not be given the ability to leave this throne room until it has been resolved." Chloe tightened her grip on her scepter. "So I would sit down if I were you, Countess. This is going to be a very long convocation."

Isobel clenched her fists at her sides, clearly furious, and yet did as told.

Chloe eyed the two warring clans and smirked as she touched fingers over her chest. "Now, let's officially start at the beginning; to the reason this dispute came about in the first place."

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Lex couldn't keep the smirk from tilting his lips as he watched this girl manipulate and connive with the best of them. He hadn't understand at first, didn't know the rules, but now he had a very good idea of what was going on. He'd heard of the concilium delibero, but it was hardly ever used anymore, the ancient rite last used in the medieval times.

From what he understood of the Trials, they were to prove Chloe's worthiness to be the Soul of the Balcoin family. She'd had different tests so far, all related to her family and magic. There'd been the recalling of the stolen magic within Adam Conant, the control of the magic inside of her when Francis Balcoin's essence had taken over and also the ability to control Francis Balcoin's throne room. The very one this scene was playing out in, although it was much more majestic than it had been in her previous tests.

Now… Now, this was a different sort of test.

Francis Balcoin had lived during the medieval times and he was the one who'd created the Trials for his Firstborns so that no weak and undeserving child would ever take over the leadership of his clan, his family. Chloe had already proven that she had those who would fight for her, had proven that she could handle the magic within her, had shown she could command the room Francis Balcoin once had...

What was being tested now wasn't her body or cohorts or magic.

What was being tested was her mind.

She'd been given a scenario that Francis Balcoin no doubt would have gone through, given the training/information she would have received had she lived in this situation and been raised to take over the clan, and was being left to see how she would handle the situation. It was gauging her intellect, her cunning, her ruthlessness – and her bond to her family. It was why he was in the fantasy as a lover. Not only was Chloe's way of handling the hostile situation between the Luthors and Thoreaux being tested, but also if she'd put her own feelings over her clan's well being.

It was so incredibly, diabolically fascinating.

Especially since she really had no idea this was a test. It was obvious that her mind had been manipulated to believe this lie of an existence (which was why Diana wasn't allowed to get through to her – wasn't allowed to ruin the fantasy) and Chloe was acting like, well, like a snake. It was almost as if he could see that winged serpent outlined behind her as she listened to both the Thoreaux and Luthor side of the argument and their claims.

It was also interesting how it had changed Pete's birth order from Secondborn to a mere fifth in the rank.

For the first time, Lex forgot she was the Firstborn promised to his family's Circle and actually really watched her in action.

She had the potential to be so great.

And what if it was true? The idea that if one of the Six families fell, then the rest of the magical community did?

The Balcoins were nearly extinct, it was true, and the Luthors were slowly only just getting back their previous, glorious strength. Lex could remember when it'd slowly begun to come back, remembered his parents. It'd been many years ago. Probably around sixteen or seventeen years ago. Around the time this girl would have been born. Around the time her siblings would have.

Lex narrowed his eyes.

What if this really was the truth? What if – if the Balcoins fell – then the whole magical community would as well?

There had to be a reason the last remnants had been hidden so preciously.

Had to be a reason for why, when his parents had found out John was still alive, they'd worked with him despite the problems the Luthors and Balcoins had had in the past. The Firstborn child would have been just a bonus his father would have milked out of the deal, out of John's desperation.

Lex eyed Chloe.

What if he did take her?

Was there any sibling strong like this to take over?

Cassie was physically strong, but she was mentally immature.

Diana was the other way around, physically weaker than the others and yet mentally strong.

Pete – He obviously had allegiance to another Circle and wouldn't want leadership of the remnants of the Balcoin Clan, to the rebuilding of it.

This other brother – he seemed lazy as hell!

So far, no matter how Lex saw it, if this was true then Chloe was the only one who truly had a chance at the helm.

Maybe the mystery brother was a different matter.


Lex frowned, shaking his head of those thoughts for now, merely watching Chloe as she finished listening to each side state their case.

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Sitting on her throne, leaning her cheek against her palm, Chloe sighed as she eyed those below her, mulling over both sides and their issues with each other. Annoyance grew within her because this was all extremely petty and yet she knew that she couldn't let her emotions show or it would ruin things by making tempers fly more than they already were. Her greens slid from one side to the other as she deliberated, eyeing the faces of her siblings.

Cassie looked annoyed as hell, tapping her fingers against her armrest and looking like she really just wanted to give everyone a good tongue-lashing, yet was refraining from doing so.

Diana seemed more confused as to how in the world things could have escalated this much given what they knew. She gave both sides the look she'd give their younger siblings when they were being ridiculously obtuse and "bratty".

Pete just kept looking at Lana, who kept looking at him, both seeming to have completely forgotten what was going on and just immersed themselves in each other.

Mikhail was, well, he was sleeping with his eyes open. The bugger.

Chloe sighed, trying to remember why her other brother wasn't in attendance but she had a horrible headache, most probably because of how annoyed she was right now, so she tried not to think so hard on anything that wasn't related to the issue at hand.

She took in a deep breath, deciding it was best to get this over and done with. "So am I to understand that the root of all this problem is because Lachlan Luthor promised you, Countess, that you would marry his son Lionel and yet Lionel went against his father's commands and instead married Lady Lillian, thus – and I quote – "robbing" you of your rightful place in the Luthor Circle?"

"Yes." Isobel nodded. "I kept my silence despite the grave affront to myself, and once Lillian died, I went to Lionel to have him fulfill his father's promise, but he refused to do so and wouldn't even give me a reason as to why he would do such a thing." The Countess narrowed her eyes. "I cannot stand this affront in silence any longer!"

"You have no right to the Luthor name." Lex glared at the Countess.

"Your grandfather-!" she snarled.

"Is long gone!" Lex snapped.

"And was, please accept my apology in advance, a very selfish man." Chloe saw both of them swing their narrowed gazes towards her. "I am sure that when Lachlan Luthor promised you to his son, it was because he could see what I see in you." She knew the best way to handle Isobel and it wasn't with harsh snarls. "You are a very strong and intelligent woman. You're beautiful and more than strong enough to stand next to Lionel Luthor as his wife and bare him children who are not only physically strong, but magically as well."

Lex scowled.

Isobel's lips twitched slightly before curving in a smile as she nodded.

"You have every quality a wife of Luthor should have," Chloe assured her, seeing the older woman slowly lose her fury. "But it's because of all of these importantcharacteristics within you that make being the wife of Lionel Luthor wrong. And I'm sure that that is why he chose not to honor his father's promise and marry you."

Lex raised an eyebrow.

Isobel blinked. "I-I am not sure I follow your reasoning, Lady Chloe."

"You are a natural leader, you were born for leadership. Would you truly have been content being your husband's shadow? Not having any true say in any decision because you are only a part of that Circle through marriage and not blood?" Chloe asked curiously, trying to drive home a point.

Isobel paused.

"You would have been so wasted, and your clan would have suffered greatly at such a tremendous loss. Lachlan Luthor was being terribly selfish by trying to take you from your clan – cruel even." Chloe could see Isobel's eyes widening slightly. "Countess, can you truly imagine your clan under the leadership of Prunella?"

The woman in question bristled.

The Countess went horribly pale. "I had not – I had not considered that."

Lex looked between them before his gaze turned to Chloe and his lips began to twitch.

Chloe ignored him, gaze intent on Isobel. "I am sure this is why Lionel would not marry you. Despite not being of the Six, the Thoreaux have always been an exceptionally strong family with witches of high caliber. To put such a family in jeopardy by taking one of their strongest leaders to date would be a crime against the magical community in whole, and the Thoreaux clan in particular."

"My Lady..." Isobel whispered, a shocked smile on her face. "I am speechless – I never realized the wisdom that resides within you is beyond your years. You saw immediately what was un-seeable in my eyes due to my own feelings of hurt. Had I not allowed emotion to cloud my judgment, I would have discerned the truth as you so easily have. I feel shame at having overlooked that which was so obvious." She curtsied before rising. "I have clearly misunderstood the situation and am humbled that you would go to such lengths to right things for the best of the Thoreaux clan." Isobel turned to Lex. "Please, accept my apologies for such misunderstanding on my part. The Thoreaux will recompense the Luthors for any damage or pains suffered through our misguided actions." She lowered her head in a slight bow. "Let us not part from this room as enemies with a war looming over our heads."

"Your apology and offer of restitution are accepted, as we do not wish a battle with your clan either." Lex nodded, face blank. "The loss of the Thoreaux would greatly affect us all."

Isobel smiled, obviously on a high from all this praise. "As would the loss of any of the Six."

Chloe could feel the magic of the convocation shattering all around them now that the issue had been resolved and she fought letting out a sigh of relief, having expected this to go on for much longer.

The doors opened and Faye, having sensed the magic dropping, appeared with as innocent a smile as she could muster. "We have prepared entertainment in celebration of the peace that has been achieved." She smirked, her single dimple going deep as she walked backwards and out of the way of the revelers as they entered, magic and aerobatic grandeur flashing everywhere.

The clans smiled as they watched the jesters and acrobats.

Isobel smiled, accepting a flower that one of the jesters had summoned and passed to her.

Chloe eyed everyone, smirking. She felt a gaze on her, her greens finding Lex eyeing her with the hint of a smile.

The blonde looked away, licking her lips as she caught Diana's eye and motioned with her chin to Mikhail.

Diana turned her eyes on their brother, sighed as she shook her head, and discreetly tapped his foot with hers.

He jerked, blinking as he came awake. "Is it over?"

Diana just sighed at him.

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Moira didn't know what to feel as she watched the screen.

The girl on them, smirking from her throne as the entertainers did their job to diffuse any lingering hostility that might be left over... She didn't look like the innocent girl Moira always saw her as. She didn't seem like one who needed saving from her nature because she'd given into it a very long time ago. Sure, this wasn't exactly Chloe, but this was her core, this was her spiritual manifestation. This meant that the girl on the throne twirling a scepter as she basked in her manipulative victory was inside of her daughter somewhere.

She was so Balcoin. So terribly Balcoin.

Moira couldn't see any Hibbins in that girl at all.

And that troubled her greatly.

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"I feel like a pawn you moved at will on a chessboard only you can see," a voice declared behind her from the shadows.

Chloe stared out at the night sky on a closed off balcony, the sound of merriment loud behind her. The festivities had moved back to the feast that had been waiting for them once they'd emerged from the throne room.

"And you do not deny it." Lex chuckled darkly as he appeared by her side, leaning against the balcony as well as he stared up at the stars. "Your game was well played."

"I had a skilled master." She continued to stare ahead of her. "Do you remember the many nights we stayed up so we could play chess?"

"Of course." He gazed at his hands. "You were horrible at first and now look at you. You've graduated from the wooden peons to manipulating living human beings in your own life-sized board." He chuckled darkly. "I think I just fell more in love with you."

She hung her head, gulping. "Xan..."

"Stop." His grip on the railing tightened. "Do not call me that. Not now. Not when I know what you are about to tell me."

Chloe's own grip tightened. "Then do not make me have to say it."

They remained side by side, staring at nothing but darkness and holding onto the railing as if their lives depended on it.

"We could still do it," he whispered.

"We could," she agreed. "But we would hate ourselves if we did."

He sighed, not denying it.

Chloe closed her eyes as she slid her hand out and rested it silently on his.

His hand moved so that he was clasping hers tightly.

The two remained like that, not saying a word, not needing to.

They both knew what had to be done, even if they'd both always look back at this moment and wish things had ended differently.

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Lex watched the scene in front of him, feeling so weird and conflicted.

This version of him showed so many different emotions – emotions Lex had never learned to express or understand. He hated seeing himself like that, so openly vulnerable for her to see, and hated the fact that he was jealous of that version of him for having the ability to feel those feelings, much less express them. He felt that this alternate version of him was more complete somehow; that this fake version was somehow more real than he was.

The thought struck him hard.

How could a figment of imagination be capable of more humanity than him?

Highly disturbed, Lex swallowed, throat suddenly dry, and watched as the alternate version of himself and Chloe stood side by side and drew silent comfort from the other while they mourned what could have been.

He didn't look away until she faded away and the screens went black.

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Chloe collapsed onto her knees, bringing her hands to her face as she cried in total darkness. She could smell the musky scent around her and knew immediately that she was in the Balcoin Caves (or the Bleeding Caves as her mother called them) and the blonde knew that what she'd just gone through and felt had been a part of another Trial. She knew. It didn't mean that her heart was catching up as quickly as her mind. No, it was still half in love with Lex and in mourning.

The blonde let herself cry, really cry – ugly cry – feeling safe within these symbol-covered stone walls.

Finally, as soon as her heart finally caught up with her mind, Chloe wiped her face and breathed in and out before summoning light, which lit up the room for her as she stood. She reached into her pocket and pulled out her phone, dialing a number by heart and bringing it to her ear.

"Chloe?" Whitney's voice was worried. "Where are you?"

"Balcoin Caves." She wiped at her eyes, sniffling as her voice wavered. "I want to go home."

"I'm coming for you," he promised, hanging up.

Chloe didn't even move towards the exit of the caves, instead leaning against the walls and sliding down, hugging her knees to her chest as she stared ahead of her in silence.

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Nell woke up in darkness, her head killing her and for a long time she didn't remember where she was or how she'd gotten there.

Finally she realized she was inside her shop, on the ground, almost as if someone had found her outside and had dragged her within before abandoning her.

The woman frowned as she brought her hand to her throbbing head, confused and pissed.

What the hell was going on?

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The Bleeding Caves only granted access to Diana, Whitney and Greg, the others having to wait outside, and for a moment Diana almost waited as well. Things had been awkward between her and Chloe's Circle, apparently they thought she'd betrayed them and she didn't know why. Anyone else would have waited outside for the boys to get Chloe, but Diana was worried. Why hadn't Chloe been waiting outside to meet them?

So she'd pushed away her worry and insecurities, hurrying through the veins of the interconnecting cave tunnels before finally stumbling ahead of the boys into the main cavern. Her dark eyes widened as she saw Chloe slowly rise to her feet, the girl shaky as she began walking towards her.

"Chloe?" Diana whispered, taking a couple of steps towards Chloe as Whitney and Greg finally entered the main cavern.

Chloe reached her, head lowered and hair hanging in her face, hiding her expression. The blonde stood in front of Diana in silence, staring at the floor.

"Are you okay?" Greg made to move forward but Whitney reached out his arm and blocked his way, shaking his head for the brunet to stay.

Diana didn't speak anymore, reaching out and softly brushing the hair out of Chloe's face, seeing the tear stains on her cheeks.

"I'm sick of this," Chloe whispered, her voice trembling. "I'm sick of these Trials, of being played with."

Diana gulped back emotion and reached out, hugging Chloe tightly, not knowing what to say to help.

For a moment there was nothing and then Chloe let out a half sob as she hugged Diana tightly, hiding her face in her hair. "I'm sorry for doubting you. I'm so sorry."

Diana tried to reassure Chloe but she couldn't, the lump in her throat too huge so she just nodded, eyes filling with tears as she held on just as tightly.

-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-v-v-v-v-v-

Clark stepped off of the plane, staring at his palm, highly disturbed.

The winged serpent tattoo on his palm had disappeared.

What did that mean? Were the Trials over maybe? Or had he forfeited his right to the tattoo when he'd left?

"Clark!" Pete's voice jerked him out of his thoughts and he turned to his waving friend and smiled, deciding to call back home and see what was going on as soon as they got to wherever it was they'd be staying.

10th-Jun-2013 07:28 am (UTC)
again you did a wonderful job.... loved it

and..clark is an idiot...;)
11th-Jun-2013 01:40 am (UTC)
Yep, I agree. lol
10th-Jun-2013 09:39 pm (UTC)
oh, my heart is beedling! there's nothing worse on this world than two people in love that can't be together.
I would lose at that part, because I am such a romantic and I would go: screw it! I want love, because anything else just doesn't matter.
And it's not just about Lex, if that was somebody else, I would react the same.
11th-Jun-2013 01:41 am (UTC)
It *is* a terrible fate, to love, and be loved, and yet not be able to be together :*(
10th-Jun-2013 09:47 pm (UTC)
That was amazing!! So sad to see this trial end!! I loved it so!!

Ohh my poor Chloe!! Thank goodness she has Diana, Whitney and Greg!!
I'm guessing that Clark not only forfeited his right to the tattoo but to ever joining Chloe's circle!

And I can't wait for Nell to find out that not only Chloe and Whitney aren't going to joining Lana's circle but that Chloe is the leader of the Balcoin circle!!!

11th-Jun-2013 01:42 am (UTC)
It was fun to write!
Yep, and she needs them.
Nell...let's just say she's going to have a painful awakening to the truth of the matter soon enough....
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