Title: The New CircleFandoms: Smallville/Secret CircleCharacters: Chloe Sullivan, Whitney Fordman, Greg Arkin, Cassie Blake, Diana Meade, Mikhail Balcoin, Lucas Dunleavy, Faye Chamberlain, Byron Moore...Rating: TDisclaimer: Don't ownSummary: 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!
Stepping off of the private jet had set Chloe off on a whirlwind of motion. There'd been a car waiting on her the moment her feet had touched the ground, the driver standing with a smile and a bow. She'd felt uneasy, yet had given him her luggage and gotten into the back seat, letting him close the door and drive her for a couple of hours in complete silence to only god knew where. He'd then let her off onto a ferry, which had taken her across a large body of water where another driver had been waiting for her, and he'd driven her to another private airstrip where a tiny plane had awaited her and she'd spent three hours in the air until landing somewhere in the mountains after nightfall. Once again, there'd been a car and driver waiting for her as soon as she stepped off of the plane and she was chauffeured to some unknown destination.
She'd checked her phone despite knowing that she didn't have roaming and wouldn't have a signal to call. The girl merely looked at the pictures on the cellular, a small smile on her face as she flipped through pictures of Lucas giving Mikhail a noogie, Diana and Faye arguing over whose turn it was to wash the dishes, and Byron trying his best to make peace while Cassie (whose time it actually was to do the dishes) merely sniggered in the background. There were pictures of Whitney and Greg playing against the other boys. She wasn't sure which video game exactly they were playing but the boys all had extremely intense expressions on their faces and didn't notice the girls making ridiculous expressions behind them.
Chloe brought her hands to her lips to stifle her laugh.
Oh god, she missed her family.
But the next pictures were of Whitney, Lana, Clark, Greg and Pete, reminding Chloe that Whitney was still in trouble and that not all her family had been left safely behind.
She had to do this.
She had to.
Plus, Byron could walk in the sunlight now.
It'd been worth it.
The car stopped, jerking her out of her thoughts. Chloe's eyes widened as she turned off her phone and slipped it into her pocket, grabbing her things as she turned and looked out of the window. What she saw was not what she had expected. Then again, she'd come into this expecting Dracula's castle, so maybe she'd set herself up for disappointment, but the quaint two story house with the white picket fence in the middle of the mountainside was definitely not a place she would have expected to be taken to. It didn't say "Evil Lord of Darkness". Then again, maybe that was the idea.
The driver opened the door, helping her out and took her things, moving towards the house, another man emerging from within. "My Lady! Allow me to be the first to welcome you home!"
Chloe raised an eyebrow, completely baffled.
"My name is Desaad," he announced, taking her left hand and bringing it to his lips, kissing it reverently. "I am your father's most faithful servant."
"He's not my father." Chloe yanked her hand free, holding it to her chest. "My father's name was Gabriel Sullivan and Rao Darksied had him murdered by the woman who gave birth to me. Get your facts straight."
Desaad eyed her before clearing his throat, motioning for her to follow him in the direction of the house, in which the driver had taken her things. "I am sure you will find the house to your liking. It has been fitted with every luxury and comfort one could ask for." He led her through the gate and front garden into the front door, revealing the beautiful interior of the house. "My master wants you to rest before your meeting. You are to pick any room in the house which pleases you the most and claim it as your own."
"I didn't come for a holiday, Mr Desaad." Chloe folded her arms over her chest. "The only reason I'm here is because I was coerced, so if it's the same to you, I'd prefer to see your master right now and skip the whole other part."
Desaad raised an eyebrow before nodding. "As you wish, My Lady." He moved through the house towards what appeared to be a library filled with books on the occult, which would have fascinated Chloe to no end if it wasn't for the fact that she was annoyed, resentful and terrified. The handsome man moved towards a large painting of a tall, imposing, regal looking man with blue-gray eyes. The man was mostly bald except for the sides of his head, which held a mix of light and dark gray hair. He wore a dark colored business suit with a tie, a family emblem behind him. She wondered who this was because it wasn't the man she'd seen at the after party, and yet...
Reaching out his hand, Desaad placed it on the Omega symbol on the wall beside the portrait, the floor beneath them trembling before they began their descent into the darkness below.
Chloe looked around her, eyes wide as she realized they were descending into some sort of underground lair. It wasn't a cave as she'd first expected, instead it seemed like an underground city of some sort, with guards and other workers mulling around, all wearing the Omega insignia on their clothes, denoting them as servants of Darkseid. She descended level upon level as if she were on an elevator. Realizing that they were going deep within the earth, the girl was horribly intimidated. She'd known that Darkseid was powerful and yet never in her wildest nightmares had this sort of power and magnitude of establishment passed through her mind as being possible. Just how deep and wide did this establishment go? How many people worked for him? Exactly where was she? There was no way that she could run; she'd get so lost, it was ridiculous.
"You have a curious expression on your face," Desaad announced, eyeing her.
Chloe took in a deep breath, sending him a sideways look. "I feel like I'm a character in a modern version of Jules Vernes' Journey to the Center of the Earth."
"Ah, and this is but the tip of the iceberg," Desaad replied with a nod, his hands clasped in front of him. "There is so much that the master has to show you, to teach you. His is a fountain of such knowledge."
Chloe wondered if all the other servants were all expert ass kissers or if Desaad was just extra talented.
Finally they made their way to the ground floor, Desaad stepping off first, helping Chloe, before leading her towards the door in the small room the lift had brought them to. "Only a privileged few have access beyond these doors." There was obvious pride in his handsome face as he raised his gaze towards the scan, which read his forehead, his omega symbol becoming momentarily visible before disappearing, the doors opening. "After you."
Chloe eyed him before nodding, following through into the thick darkness, not knowing whether it was a trap or not, but once she stepped through the horrible darkness to the other side, she found it not dark at all, the blonde able to see quite clearly. The room was glorious. The high vaulted ceilings were mosaics depicting wars and rituals, statues and flowering plants decorated the inner sanctum, flowers she'd never seen before blossoming without the presence of sunlight.
There was a library of books in the corner that drew her attention for a moment, and opposite of it, a section for rituals, and while the inquisitive side within Chloe cried for her to look, what truly held her gaze was the large portrait at the far end of the room. The girl found herself blind towards all else as she moved towards it. She didn't even know why she was so fascinated by the portrait of the woman. It wasn't as if the regal, beautiful and kind woman with the happy smile reminded her of anyone, but there was just something about this woman that made Chloe draw closer. Maybe it was the fact that this woman with raven black hair, brown eyes and palest of skin had an obvious place of honor in the room. Her portrait was large, was framed with expensive wood and hung where it would be the first thing whoever walked in the room would see. The portrait itself showed not only the physical beauty of the woman, but the twinkling of her eyes and the ever ready tilt of her lips. It showed the kindness in her face. This was a sweet, wonderful woman.
Some sort of exotic vines and flowers grew along the wall and portrait, a spring of water bubbling beneath, fish of some sort swimming serenely.
Chloe drew as close as she could, hand going to the necklace around her neck, seeing the same very necklace adorning the neck of the woman in the portrait.
Even without that she'd known who this was though.
This was Vika Balcoin, Rao Darkseid's wife; the woman who'd ultimately betrayed and imprisoned him.
"You don't look like her."
Chloe swung around, the man from the portrait in the house standing behind her, wearing another expensive designer suit. "I shouldn't think so."
He eyed her before shaking his head. "I shouldn't either. There's too many generations between you two, still, I don't know whether I'm happy or not you have my family's genes." He tilted his head as he continued his examination of her. "On one hand, I have always loved Vika's dark coloring; the Balcoin contrast of dark hair and eyes on light skin has always been a fascination of mine… And yet, while I will forever love her, I will also forever hate her as well, so if you were to look too much like her…" He let that sentence die as he came to stand before her. "You are finally home, my child."
Chloe fought the urge to tell him what she thought about that, knowing she couldn't really do anything, not when he held so many cards. "So, you have me here. You want to explain to me what's going on with my hand?" She lifted her left palm and showed him the Omega symbol slowly forming there.
Rao's eyes widened and he grinned, reaching out for her hand and turning it palm-up. "I hadn't expected it to be so developed so quickly without any intervention on my part." His blue-grays rose to her before lowering to her palm once more. "The darkness in you must be great."
Chloe yanked her hand back. "Come again?"
"You must know by now that these marks appeared into your hand when your Balcoin magic awoke and you took on the role as Firstborn." Rao eyed her calculatingly. "Taking that into consideration, I believe you can figure out the rest for yourself."
Chloe felt her blood go cold. "You're saying that my Darkseid magic's starting to awaken."
"Why do you think your Hibbins magic is so spectacularly weak it's practically deformed inside you?" Rao wanted to know, stepping forwards. "The reason why you were unable to complete the transformation when you freed the Tentagel boy from the Desolate Existence spell was because the Hibbins magic in you is so diluted, so sparse, it is almost as if it is the magic of some great grandparent and not from your own mother. Magically, for all intents and purposes, Moira Sullivan was John's and my surrogate."
"This takes gay parenting to a whole new level."
He snorted. "You get the mouth from Vika's side of the family, I assure you."
Chloe brought her hand to her head, trying to clear her jumbled thoughts. "Were you the man I met at the after-party in Smallville?"
"I was in a host, a vessel, similar to when we conversed through Whitney," Rao replied, clasping his hands behind his back. "I am not able to travel corporeally as I used to, so until I can regain my full strength, I make do transferring part of my conscious into hosts." His lips twitched. "I hear you have inherited this gift."
"I don't know what you're-" And then Chloe's eyes widened as she realized what he was talking about, the Freaky Friday situation coming back to her like a slap in the face. She'd always wondered how she'd been able to just jump into Faye's body like that, had thought it was a Balcoin Firstborn thing, but it hadn't been a Balcoin thing. It'd been a Darkseid thing! "Oh my god."
"I can teach you to transplant only part of your subconscious into another person without them even realizing," he promised her. "I can teach you to be great. I can show you how to forever keep someone enslaved to you."
Chloe took a step back. "Like Whitney?"
Rao's smile fell. "He's unimportant."
"He's important to me. Very important," Chloe pressed. "Whitney, Pete, Clark and Lana – my family and friends – they're all important to me."
"They're insignificant insects!" Rao snapped, storming towards her.
"No they are not!" she snapped right back, stomping her foot and holding her ground. "They are the only reason I am here right now! They are the only reason I might stay with you! They are the only reason I might willingly stay by your side! That I'd learn whatever you want to tell me. That I'd plaster a smile and try to mean it. That I wouldn't try to escape every day of my life!" She took a step towards him, eyes narrowed. "Do you understand what I'm telling you or do I have to spell it out for you?"
Rao eyed her. "This part of you, the negotiator, you took after my side of the family." He motioned for her to follow him. "It displeases me to admit that your Hand has been fighting me most deplorably since he's discovered my presence in his mind. He rejects my claim on him, and normally this wouldn't be an issue, once I lay claim on someone, my claim is permanent."
"I'm sensing a 'but'." Chloe followed after him, hope filling him.
"There's another's claim that's very strong on him, and he's holding on very strong to that claim in return." Rao sent her a look over his shoulder. "Your claim, a claim which is technically from the House of Darkseid and yet not my claim."
"I'm not following."
Rao sighed, seeming quite displeased. "I can sense my minions, my servants, all the faithful and true. I have a link to each and every one of them. Anyone who has ever been used as a host, I can always find and possess once more should I need to." A muscle jumped in his cheek. "The fixed position that he should be in the map in my mind wavers, falters, even momentarily."
Chloe stared at him in silence, waiting for him to continue, knowing there was more.
"He is marked; he belongs to this House and he will join." Rao eyed her. "I am giving you the choice as to whether he does so under your claim or under mine. Or you can choose to do nothing. The fight of the claims will drain him eventually, it will probably kill him."
Chloe's eyes widened.
"I will take you to where your friends and your half brother are being kept. They are alive, but I will not lie, they have not been treated as treasured guests," Rao told her in total honesty. "I came upon them in France as your brother and the Thoreaux girl were digging into things that they had no business digging into. Though I must admit, I am glad that they did as it brought them to my attention and through them, I found out about you." He drew closer. "This is our deal, Chloe. You will go to your brother, Pete Ross, and you will formally renounce your position as Balcoin Firstborn, naming him as your successor, as he is the Secondborn. You must get him to accept his duty and new position or it will not be valid. You will then accept your position as heiress of the Darkseid clan. Once this is done, your brother and your friends will be taken to the airport and once they have reached Smallville, you will be allowed to speak to them on Skype once while they are with your other friends and family so that you may not only see that I have kept my side of the bargain, but so that you may properly say your goodbyes to the others and explain to them what will happen from now on. You will then stay here with me and train under me, learn all I have to teach you to truly awaken your Darkseid magic."
"And if I don't?" Chloe asked softly.
"Then Whitney will either die or come here and be my slave and I will treat him horribly," Rao promised her. "And I will make the deaths of Pete, Lana and Clark very painful." He gave a little smile. "But you would be allowed to leave here with your life."
"You're too kind," Chloe said monotonously, looking away, taking in a deep breath as she tried not to hyperventilate. "Why?"
"Why do you even need me?" She turned back to face him. "You're obviously some sort of immortal to have lasted this long, so why do you even need a kid around? Voldemort didn't need one. And anyway, you're doing just fine on your own. Plus, you saw what having a Balcoin woman around was like the first time around. No offense or anything, but I heard the abridged version of the story and it didn't really end well for anyone involved. Shouldn't you just, you know, learn from past mistakes and just opt out of a life without Balcoin women altogether? I say, let me take my friends and brother out of here, we all forget the other exists, we say we did and don't, and we all go about our lives. You continue running your evil lair under the ground from Somewhere, Europe, and I try to survive till graduation-and maybe even get a date to prom. How does that sound to you?"
He eyed her as if she were a curious sort of creature he would like to dissect to better understand. "Maybe you did get something from Moira after all because you did not get that propensity to babble from Vika's side of the family or mine." Rao stepped closer, shadows seeming to gather around him. "You will do what I told you to do or I will do what I said I would do. Have I made myself clear or do you want me to emphasize more?"
Chloe gulped, shaking her head. "You were perfectly clear. Any clearer and there'd be pictures."
"Good." He turned. "Come with me."
Faye sat on the roof of the house, trying to drown out the sound of World War III going on down below. The whole house had been in chaos since Chloe's departure; everyone was in an uproar and people were turning on Greg since he was the only one who'd had a clue what Chloe had been thinking. Greg stood firm on the fact that he was following orders and that they should back down. Whitney was in trouble, locked up in the Bleeding Caves with Rao Darkseid of all people hitchhiked onto his soul, and Pete, Lana and Clark (whom no one in the house really gave a crap about) were in danger… Also, Chloe had agreed to meet with this Rao Darkseid guy, who seemed to make John Balcoin look like Dumbledore, in exchange for the information of how to cure Byron, so she really hadn't had a choice in the matter. Also? She couldn't have brought the others along because Balcoins and Luthors were vulnerable to Darkseid's magic.
The witch on the roof had wanted to point out that she was neither a Balcoin nor a Luthor but then she'd realized that she'd been left behind for the very same reason that Greg had been, and why Jake had been called in. Chloe had known that there'd be turmoil following her departure and that they'd need neutral blood around – outside parties to act as referees. Also, Greg and Jake were bosom buddies all of a sudden, seeming to be consorting about things, and that had the others suspicious. Hell, it had Faye suspicious! All she knew was that they were rallying up an army (the Lost Boys on standby for a game plan) and if the would-be generals below would stop pointing fingers at each other, maybe they could get somewhere.
Hearing something, Faye turned her head to see Byron climbing up next to her on the roof, a pale, tormented expression on his face as he slumped down next to her.
"It's my fault," Byron whispered, licking his lips as he stared unseeingly ahead of him. "If it wasn't for me she'd be here."
"Not true." Faye shook her head. "Daddy Darko still has Pete, Clark and Lana. Even if you were the healthiest guy on the block, Chloe wouldn't be here right now." She shrugged. "No use throwing a pity party for yourself. Make better use of your time and get pissed."
Byron sent her a sideways glance before returning his gaze ahead of him. "I am pissed."
"Good. Because I am too." Faye licked her lips. "I haven't even gotten to become an official part of her Circle yet. This dude is going down."
Byron shook his head, chuckling.
Faye grinned, nudging him with her shoulder. "That's the spirit. We're going to find her, and she's going to be okay. You know how I know that?"
"How?" he asked, finally turning his full attention on her with a sigh.
"Simple." Faye turned her gaze on him, completely serious. "She's Voldemort Barbie. There's no other outcome that's even remotely acceptable."
"Oh my god." Chloe rushed towards her friends, horrified to find them chained in a dungeon, dirty and having lost weight from obvious lack of food. The blonde threw her arms around Pete, hugging him tightly, before hugging Clark and then Lana, pulling away when she heard Rao clearing his throat, the girl taking in a deep breath as she took a step back. "How long have you three been in here in these conditions?"
"I don't know," Lana whispered. "What month is it?"
"What are you doing here?" Pete's eyes were wide in horror. "You aren't supposed to be here! Clark said that before he was caught he'd sent you a coded message that told you that you were in danger! That you were to be alert!"
"Coded-?" Chloe frowned.
"I'm so sorry, Chloe." Clark glared past her at Rao. "Don't you touch her! Let her go!"
"We tried, Chloe, we didn't speak for so long," Lana whispered, so pale, so bruised. "But in the end, it hurt so much."
"When he found out I was a Balcoin, but realized I wasn't the Firstborn…" Pete tugged on his magically enhanced chains. "I didn't want you involved. I brought Clark in when Lana was taken. I – I'm so sorry, Chloe. I should have warned you but I thought – I'm so sorry. This is all my fault."
"It's okay. Don't worry." Chloe gave them a small smile. "I'm fine. I promise." Her greens went to Lana and Clark before going to Pete as she drew nearer, kneeling before her brother. "I can get you out of here."
Pete's eyes widened, his dark skin paling. "What have you done?"
Chloe reached out, clasping his freezing hand in hers, rubbing her hand over his, trying to warm it. "I can get the three of you back home. You'll be safe and with family. He swears it."
"It's a lie," Lana assured her. "He'll kill us the minute we're out of these walls."
"No, he won't." Chloe shook his head. "He needs you alive."
"Why would he need us alive?" Clark frowned, drawing closer, so much skinnier since the last she'd seen of him. "What aren't you telling us, Chlo?"
"What have you done?" Pete echoed his previous question, tightening his grip on her hands.
Taking in a deep breath, Chloe stared into her brother's eyes. "I'm trading myself for you."
"Chloe, no!" Lana gasped in horror.
"Don't do this!" Clark shook his head.
Pete shook his head silently, tightening his grip on her hands painfully.
"Listen to me, it's not just to help you," Chloe stared deep into Pete's eyes. "It's to help Whitney and our youngest brother, Byron, too. Byron was really sick and Rao told me how to cure him. And Whitney – he's in trouble and I'll be able to help him as well. But only if I do this."
"No." Pete continued shaking his head. "I'm not leaving you here."
"You have to," she pressed. "I need you to. You're the Secondborn. I need you to be my successor."
"What?" Pete hissed, pulling away in horror. "NO!" His gaze went to the man in fury. "You sick bastard! What are you going to do to her? I won't let you hurt her! You won't kill her! I-!"
"Pete!" Chloe cupped his face, bringing his gaze to her. "I can't really explain it right now, but while you would usually only inherit the rulership of the clan at the death of the Firstborn, I'm not going to die. He's not going to kill me. I'm going to will it to you. I'm going to live. I just won't be the Balcoin Firstborn anymore."
"How is this possible? It shouldn't be possible." Pete frowned.
"It usually isn't." Rao finally spoke from behind her. "The only reason why it is is because she is the only heiress to another Original Clan, whereas the Balcoin Clan has many potential successors."
Lana frowned, confused. "What's he talking about?"
"I can't – it's complicated." Chloe licked her lips. "Pete, I need you to become my successor. I need you to become the head of the Balcoin Clan."
"No." He shook his head.
"You have to do this," Chloe pressed.
"I can't," Pete refused, desperation coloring his voice, his gaze turning towards Lana before returning to Chloe. "I want-"
Chloe hadn't realized what she was doing until the sound of the slap echoed through the cell and her hand stung, Pete's face tilted away from the blow. "I'm sorry, Pete, I shouldn't have hit you, but "I can't" and "I want"… We don't have the luxury of those things anymore. What I want most in this world is to be home with our family, our brothers and sisters, and my Circle." She gulped, licking her lips, fighting the tears. "My father's dead, Pete. Darkseid had my mother murder him in front of me." She ignored Rao's growl, could see the shocked horror on their faces at the news. "They're my family, you're my family, and we were born for this. We were all born for roles we're going to have to fill whether we want to or not. So, Pete, I'm sorry, but you're going to take the Balcoin Clan from me, you're going to lead them, and you're going to protect them, father them, and you're going to put your damnedest into it because at the end of the day, those kids are your family and your responsibility." She cupped his face once more, tears gathering in her eyes as she rested her forehead against his, body trembling as his hands cupped her face. "I need you to protect them for me, Pete. I can't be there for them anymore. I need you to help them. They're so hurt and scared but they pretend they're tough. They cover their terror with anger and they fight a lot but they're just kids that need a home, Pete, they need a family. You need to give it to them. Please, Pete. Please." She broke down. "Please!"
Pete's hands slipped from her face to hold her tight. "I'll do it… For you."
Chloe held on tighter, crying. "Thank you."
Lana and Clark came closer, hugging the girl as well.
Rao watched silently from the doors of the dungeon, everything going according to plan.
Whitney looked up, the symbols on the cave going black.
'The choice is yours.' The voice had returned. 'Use the time that the Caves have taken to readjust now that a new successor has been named, to escape and meet my man outside, or stay within and be trapped once more when it reawakens.'
Whitney sneered. "I'm not going anywhere."
'Fine.' The voice was uninterested before an image flashed before Whitney of Chloe crying in a dungeon, hugging Pete, Lana and Clark, who were chained. 'Stay there then.'
Whitney's eyes widened in horror. "What was that?"
"What the hell did you just show me?"
"Answer me, damn it!"
Another flash, this one of Chloe standing as guards with Omega signs on their uniforms administered some sort of sleeping spell to the three chained and then escorted them out of the dungeon, Chloe turning to look at Whitney before taking in a deep breath. 'Could I please be escorted to wherever I'll be kept from now on? I want to cry in peace.'
"The hell?" Whitney slammed his fist against the wall in utter confusion. "Is that real or are you just messing with my head, trying to get me to leave the safety of this room?" He grabbed fistfuls of his hair, a headache throbbing. "Why would Chloe be with you? She wouldn't. She has no reason to go to you. It's a trap. It has to be some sort of illusion, some sort of mind game of yours. But if it isn't and I don't leave now…"
'Time in ticking… The reawakening of the caves will commence soon…'
Licking his lips, Whitney held his head, before slamming his hand once more into the wall and beginning a mad dash out of the chamber and towards the mouth of the Bleeding Caves.