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.
Life in Smallville had always been centered on Main Street, had been for two hundred years, so it made sense that this happened there.
Chloe had spent the better part of the morning locked in debate with the major players of Smallville, including not just the Mayor (representing the Smallville government), Phil and Ned (representing what they were calling "The Official Story"), the General (representing the military presence the government had sent in to find out what had happened – not realizing that the unit they'd sent in consisted of and was lead by witches), Nell (representing the shop owners), Mrs Kent (representing the witches of Smallville), and Deputy Gary Watts (representing the mortals of Smallville). The blonde had spent part of the morning trying to get used to the fact that this surreal experience was even happening, the girl sitting behind the desk behind closed doors and listening to each of those congregated say their piece. That had then lead to an hours-long debate that had escalated to shouts and arguments between the others more than once, but they'd managed to get things back to civility and, while Chloe couldn't exactly say that she was happy with what the outcome of that meeting had been, she had had to accept it.
They'd given their story to the press, the General had reported back to Washington DC, and once the vultures and the country's eyes were turned from them, the town gathered around Main Street, where generation after generation had used the same bank, gas station, and library. Everything was damaged and in desperate need of repairs but Washington DC had promised to send back relief, promised that Smallville would return greater than it had once been.
But that wasn't the announcement that was being made, that wasn't the reason the town was gathered in droves on Main Street.
No, the Mayor stood on the platform that had been erected in the midst of the rubble and spoke to them about the danger ahead and conveyed Chloe's offer to buy their property at their value before they'd been damaged, but in exchange they'd have to undergo a "wiping" to remove the knowledge of witchcraft from their memories. Chloe had been told that no one wanted to leave, that people were too scared, but she'd wanted the offer to be made nonetheless. She wanted to give them the chance, wanted to give the people the opportunity to move with their families and have enough money to start a new life somewhere far away.
If to secure that for those families meant she was left with the ownership of a whole damned town, well… that was a bonus.
The thing was though, that most of these people had family-owned farms and acres of cornfields that had been in their families for generations and they wouldn't just give that up. Also, the Mayor had been right, the people were scared.
In fact, they were terrified.
"Craters, Mayor! Craters!" Miss Sweet Corn announced, for some reason wearing her sash and crown as if this was the annual Harvest Festival or something. "You know a place that doesn't have a crater? Smallville! That's where!"
The crowd around agreed.
"So are you saying that there is no one who wishes to take Miss Sullivan up on her offer?" the Mayor clarified before turning his gaze to her when all he got were snarls and ugly looks from the populace. "Now onto the next order of business, this event has brought a situation close to each and every one of us to light. There isn't one of us in this crowd tonight who isn't related to, married to, or friends with a..." He cleared his throat and turned towards Chloe. "Is it politically correct to say 'witch'? Or is that an offensive term?"
Her eyes widened a second, not seeing why it would be considered offensive. "I don't mind it."
He cleared his throat and returned to the mic. "...A person of magical inclination."
In the crowd, Faye rolled her eyes.
"This is closer to home than we ever knew: they are a part of our community, always have been. We've heard the old wives' tales but dismissed them as superstitious folk stories." The Mayor cleared his throat. "We know better now." He loosened his tie slightly before continuing. "Miss Sullivan has informed me that should we stay, there will be much danger to us and that we will have to adhere to many changes if we wish to even have a semblance of security. We have lived for hundreds of years in the same routine, but if we choose to stay here, our lives will forever be changed."
There was silence, the gravity of the situation hitting the crowd harder than before.
The Mayor cleared his throat. "More wi- ...More of the magically inclined will be making Smallville their home. They're refugees but won't be depending on the State, they are able to financially provide for themselves."
"So what are they coming here for?" one of the farmers wanted to know.
"Are you dumb, Earl?" Another farmer rolled his eyes. "It's the same reason we ain't budging. The girl. She's the only one strong enough to keep whoever is behind this at bay."
Chloe felt highly uncomfortable with all this attention on her and she knew it was showing. She really wasn't all that. These people thought she was way more powerful than she was. If Rao Darkseid were to come at her straight on, there was no way that she'd be able to face him, to stand on equal ground much less defeat him.
"Let 'er talk, Mayor!" someone yelled from the back.
Chloe really didn't want to talk!
"Yeah!" someone else yelled. "We want to hear the girl!"
The Mayor cleared his throat before turning, stepping away from the mic, motioning Chloe forwards.
Chloe took in a deep breath, wanting to be anywhere but here as she stepped forwards and stared at the large crowd gathered to hear her. "First of all, I want to say that I'm sorry for the loss you have all suffered. Everyone lost people they loved last night." She thought about the people they had lost, so many Lost Boys had died defending the town, Trent the last casualty. She also thought about Lucy and the other students at Ravensboro. "But sadly, I can only promise you that things are only going to get worse. I can't give you reasons for why the man who is doing this does what he does. I can say that this isn't the first time he's done it though, and he was stopped the first time." But by much more powerful people, but these people needed hope, so she gave it to them. "Still, if we're going to make this work, things are going to have to change, as a community."
"What sort of changes?" someone from the back yelled.
"I don't do no sacrifices to Satan!" someone else cried out.
"Most of this town are god-fearing Christians," a family from the front announced. "We're people with morals."
"We have just as much morals as you do," Tina Greer's mother countered, hands on her daughter's shoulders. "Just because we are witches does not make us Satan worshippers."
"Here's a newsflash for you hoity-toity churchgoers," one of the refugees announced. "Most of us don't actually believe Satan exists. He's as real as Santa Claus to the vast majority of us."
There were murmurs at that.
"We're getting side tracked! I personally don't give a damn where people stick their crucifixes or pentagrams!" the first guy yelled. "What I want to know is what sort of changes should we be expecting!"
"Well, for starters," Chloe cleared her throat, fighting the fear she'd always had in front of audiences, "I would like each family to know the basics of how to protect themselves, both with sigils and other ways. You don't have to be a witch to protect your shops, your homes. Many of you out there know Jake Armstrong from the other night. I would like to put him in charge of handpicking and training a unit of young men and women, mortal men and women, in the art of witch-fighting." She eyed the crowd. "But those who express interest in being selected for this group have to do so knowing that if they are chosen to be a part of the elite group Jake will head up, they will be sworn in my service as a measure of protection for our kind."
She opened her mouth to say something when she noticed someone in the crowd, her eyes widening as she lost her train of thought.
It was him.
What – how – what – What was he doing here?
"So what, we're to become your new slaves?" someone shouted from the crowd, jerking her gaze from him.
Chloe turned towards the voice. "No, but for what you'd be taught, we'd need express loyalty."
"And our word isn't good enough for you?" someone else snapped. "Is that what you're saying?"
Chloe found the guy in the crowd and turned her greens on him, voice cold. "That's exactly what I'm saying."
A hush fell over the crowd.
Chloe shook her head, stepping away from the platform. "If this is too much for you, I get it. This isn't your fight." She brushed her hands together. "We'll make this easy for you. We'll leave and you can keep Smallville. If we're gone, you mightn't get attacked anyway. You'll all most probably be alright."
The crowd spoke as one, too many talking at once, their words incomprehensible.
Chloe ignored them, stepping off of the platform and walking away, her group sending her looks as they joined her.
"Please," The Mayor called behind her, hurrying to catch up. "Don't go! The people are just scared! You have to be patient with them."
"I don't have to be anything, Mr Mayor." Chloe continued walking, feeling like an utter bitch for playing that card. "I am ridiculously wealthy and so are many of the people who are here as refugees. We can easily find somewhere else where we can build a proper defense without this sort of problem." She gave him a little smile. "And it'll be better this way anyway. Civilian casualty will be lowered drastically if we can find a more isolated place."
"But what about the people of Smallville?" The Mayor begged.
"Chloe, you can't really-" Mrs Kent tried.
Chloe shook her head, warning the woman not to question her authority in front of the others, before pushing past the people. "I need to be alone for a while. I have a lot on my mind right now." With that, she sent a look over her shoulder, gaze connecting with that man's blues, before motioning with her head for him to follow. Her gaze went to the witches. "I'll meet you all back at the house. I have to do something."
Whitney stepped forwards. "You sure you don't want someone going with you?" His gaze went to the unsettled crowd. "I don't know if right now is the best time for you to be wandering around by yourself."
"I'll be fine," she promised, already stepping away. "Go."
Whitney eyed her, clearly worried.
Greg gave him a little push from behind. "You heard her. Come on, move it."
Smiling at Greg, Chloe turned, ignoring the voices calling for her as she slipped away through the rubble, hearing the crowd of mortals turn on each other, arguing loudly as the witches parted from them.
She moved through the buildings, through the ruins, finally finding herself trespassing inside of the Talon, not having entered there in a very long time. Nostalgia filled her as she looked around the building, remembering the days she'd trained in here, how magic had been such a new thing to her. Life had been so much easier back then. She'd still been a Sullivan, trying to figure out if she wanted to take her mother's place in the Thoreaux Circle, and annoyed every single time Nell Potter managed to make Lana sound like the Power Child of Awesome and everyone else as her lucky subjects.
Chloe bent down and picked up a picture frame from the ground, the glass broken but the picture inside intact. The picture was the only one they'd ever taken as a "Circle". Lana stood in the middle, beaming in a pink dress. Whitney, Pete and Clark all looked picture perfect as well, standing tall as they smiled at the camera. Greg and Chloe on the other hand didn't. They weren't smiling and they weren't even looking at the camera. Greg was showing Chloe his black fingernails and Chloe was pointing out that one of the nails were chipped, to which Greg was staring in horror. It was the one and only time Greg experimented with nail polish.
A soft chuckle escaped her lips as Chloe put the picture frame back up on the wall and looked around the place. It had been so long since she'd been here and so much had changed.
"You have no actual plans on abandoning those humans to their own devices," a voice declared behind her. "If you did, you would have done so already."
Chloe took in a deep breath as she turned towards him. "How are you even here? I'm not even going to touch on the why yet. I thought Royals couldn't come here unless there was a trade." Her eyes widened. "Did Rao-?"
He shook his head. "Unless the Gatekeeper opens the gate, a Royal can't move through the dimensions without a trade."
"Oh." She took in a deep breath, relieved that Rao wasn't behind this, but disturbed that apparently he was here on official business. "I'm not going back."
"How astute." He tilted his head.
She raised an eyebrow. "Why else would Councilman Seyg authorize a Gatekeeper to let you through?"
"The Gatekeeper. We only have one," he corrected, hands clasped behind his back. "And it's true that this is why I have been sent here, but to be honest, I have no intention of taking you back with me to Apokalips."
This surprised Chloe considering the Major seemed like a real stickler for rules and obeying them. "How come?"
"To be perfectly frank, you've proven that you can get out of there without the need for permission or a key and if I do this, I will only be starting a routine of having to stop everything I do to come and chase after you." He raised his eyebrow as he began to pace. "Contrary to what everyone seems to think, I have more important things to do." He cleared his throat, turning to face her. "I also have a proposition which I believe to be mutually beneficial."
She eyed him curiously. "Go on, I'm listening."
"Have you spoken to the Zatara girl as yet? Has she explained to you what we are?" he asked.
"I haven't exactly had a moment to sit down." She frowned. "Unless you haven't realized it, we're in the middle of a war with Rao and everyone seems to think I'm some sort of Messiah, which I'm not." She closed her eyes tightly. "Let's be honest, I stand no chance against him."
"Maybe not alone," he declared cunningly. "But if I were to help you..."
Chloe's eyes widened. "You're offering to help me?"
"I said it was mutually beneficial, did I not?" He raised an eyebrow, his back ridiculously straight.
Chloe was too grateful to glare at him, the girl coming closer. "You would help me against Rao? Despite the fact that you two were buddies?"
He nodded silently.
Her eyes narrowed. "Makes me wonder exactly what part of this is beneficial for you." The girl moved closer. "What did you mean earlier when you asked if Zatanna had explained what we were?" Her greens narrowed further. "What are we and what does it have to do with anything?"
His gaze went around the room before resting on the back room. The Major left her, stalking towards the room, opening the door and entering. "Come here."
Chloe frowned at the order, biting her tongue to keep from telling him to say "please", merely doing as he said. She didn't know exactly what was in the back room that he wanted to show her that could explain anything. It wasn't like this was Apokalips; this was the Talon. She was about to say that when she noticed that he held the hand mirror in his hand and she paused, wondering if they were going to be doing some sort of mirror magic.
Curiosity kept her silent as she joined his side, eyeing the mirror.
He reached behind her and yanked up her shirt so that the hem was up to the undersides of her breasts, the girl giving a yelp of shock.
"PERVERT!" She slapped at him.
"Just look." He positioned the mirror so she could peer, no matter how awkwardly, at her back.
Chloe glared at him but did as told nonetheless, the blonde twisting slightly to get a good look, her scowl melting into confusion as her eyes widened. "What the hell?"
He sighed, letting go of her shirt and putting the mirror back. "The male of the species is not supposed to tell the female of the species about these sorts of things. Her mother is."
"Yes, well, she's dead so that's not going to happen any time soon. Also, even if she were alive, my mother's a wolf." Chloe glared at him, freaked out. "So you're going to have to put aside that ancient Dragon tradition and tell me why the hell I have some weird ass tribal Z at the small of my back and scales down my spine!"
"It's the same reason why I have this," he responded, eyebrow raised, undoing the buckle of his black slacks and revealing the V of pale skin. Exquisitely designed silver scales trailed down from his naval towards the design of a winged serpent within a heptagon, which was dark against his smooth, pale skin and was positioned low on that V, almost at the intersection, right above his...
Chloe's eyes widened, fixed on the symbol before raising to his blues as he buckled his pants once more, all business. "So..." She cleared her throat. "Your symbol is a tribal Z."
"It represents the House of Zod, of which I am the last living heir," he replied with a nod. "Much like yourself should Rao die."
Chloe gulped, processing the fact that they were branded with each other's symbols. "Are we Dragon-married?"
She took in a deep breath. "Is this binding?"
He nodded once more, obviously not a man of many words if he didn't have to be.
"How is that even possible?" Chloe wanted to know with a groan, unsure of how she managed to get herself into these sorts of situations. "I don't remember exchanging any vows with you or anything!"
"It does not work that way for our kind. We do not have much choice." He cleared his throat. "I have had just as much say in the matter as you have."
Well, that made a girl feel desired.
"When you entered Apokalips, we connected immediately. My magic hunted and marked yours, showing intent to claim a fertile female, and you accepted by producing a harbinger whilst with me, showing an instinctive desire and acceptance that cannot be faked. Once that harbinger escaped your lips, it was sealed." He sighed. "We're bound to produce an heir."
"Wait, bound to produce an heir? I thought you said we were married?" Chloe blushed. "This sounds different somehow."
He eyed her thoughtfully, stalking towards her before resting a hand on her flat stomach. "One day, you will grow big with my child."
Chloe's eyes widened, her chest rising and falling erratically, her heart racing, her voice breathless. "Says who?"
"The Council desire for me to bring you back to Apokalips and finish the ceremony," he informed her, ignoring her previous question. "They want me to fill your body endlessly with my seed and not to leave your side until you are with child."
Chloe licked her lips. "A kid is not in my plans right now."
"Nor in mine." He nodded, surprising her. "It is why I have a proposition for you."
"I'm listening." She cleared her throat. "Zod, is it?"
He nodded. "You know as well as I do that I would be a great ally in your fight with Rao."
"Yes." She waited for him to continue.
"I also know from watching your world that the powerful witches have been forced by the Elders to marry the men of the Elders' choosing, for both procreation and other reasons." Zod began to pace, hands clutched behind his back. "I was married once before. I had a wife and a child. They are both dead now."
Chloe's eyes widened, shocked. "I am sorry."
He nodded. "My proposition is this: I will help you win this war against Rao, and in return you will agree to not fight this marriage as it is beneficial to the both of us. You will not be forced by the Elders to marry someone of their choosing and I will not be constantly nagged by the Council to continue my bloodline." He continued to pace. "I will not come to you now. You are still too much of a hatchling for me to try and breed you."
She blinked at that one. "You didn't think me a 'hatchling' back in Apokalips."
He ignored her, continuing with his "mutually beneficial" proposition. "In two years time, I will come back, and in that time, we will conceive our first child together."
"Our first child together?" She blushed, eyes wide. "You're expecting me to have more than one?"
"Of course. Our lines have to live through means that we need to have more than one being bearing our genetic makeup," Zod declared as if this should be obvious. "At least one more. Three children would be optimal but two would be acceptable."
This was all so clinical. "You sure know how to stir up a female's drive to procreate."
He stopped pacing, turning to eye her curiously. "Is this you expressing a desire to be wooed?"
She snorted, folding her arms over her chest. "No."
He raised an eyebrow. "It sounded that way."
"It sounded wrong then," she snapped. "And anyway, I'm not going to have a kid, much less three, with you and then have a huge custody issue!"
He faced her completely. "Explain."
She licked her lips. "Well, you're the father, or you will be the father." This was so odd! "You'd want them back with you and no way in hell would I-"
"That is where you are wrong." He stopped her immediately. "I would visit them frequently here, in this dimension, to not only strengthen the fatherly bond that I would wish to have with my hatchlings, but to help teach them about their Dragon magic. I do not wish for them to be raised in Apokalips under the thumb of the Council."
She was shocked, more shocked than she could have thought possible. "I don't believe you."
"You are calling me a liar." He narrowed his eyes at her.
"Yes." She nodded. "You're a soldier, you follow orders, and your orders are to take me back to that hellhole and knock me up and have your babies there. Why would you disobey so spectacularly?"
"I have my reasons," he responded vaguely, chin raised, hands clasped behind his back.
"That isn't a good enough answer for me, especially not to have kids with you – married or not!" Chloe snapped at him. "I want a divorce!"
Zod merely eyed her oddly, obviously confused.
Her eyes widened, horror sending goosebumps down her spine. "We can get divorced, right?"
"What is this divorce?" he wanted to know.
"It's when you tell your magic I don't want to have this guy's baby, make someone else do it," she replied, storming up towards him, on the verge of a hysterical breakdown.
He eyed her before shaking his head. "No, that isn't possible."
"Screw that!" She stabbed her finger into his black silk shirt. "Screw you!"
He eyed her. "It is in moments like these in which you show that you still need to mature."
Her mouth fell open. "Did you just insinuate that I am immature?"
He tilted his head to the side. "I didn't insinuate."
She let out a little half-squeak, half-growl, fighting the desire to hurt him. "I will never have your child. Never. So you can just go back to whatever hole you crawled out of." She turned around and went to storm out.
"And then you say you're not immature."
She let out another little squeak and twirled around, hands out in front of her, visibly fighting the urge to claw at him. "Are you trying to piss me off?"
"No." He shook his head, hands in his pants pockets, looking the picture of calm, frazzling her even more. "But I wouldn't want you mothering my children when you are obviously still in the process of growing up yourself."
Chloe closed her eyes, telling herself that she couldn't kill him even if she really wanted to. He was way too powerful for her, especially now when her power was hibernating. "Not. Going. To. Happen." She felt his approach, eyes flying open, her breath leaving her in a gasp as she stepped back into the wall, tilting her head up to gaze up into his eyes. "W-what are you doing?"
Zod merely stared down at her, palms resting on the wall on either side of her head. "What drives your actions?"
She blinked, surprised by the question. "What?"
"Humor me." He tilted his head to the side as he observed her. "Why are you willing to stay here and risk it all for these witches, for these mortals? Why turn your back on Rao? Why? When you know that you're not strong enough to fight him? Why stand up to him at all?"
Chloe stared up at him, taking in a deep breath, all her anger and insult from before melting away. "Because if I don't, who will?"
He eyed her in silence before cupping the side of her face with his hand, trailing his fingers slowly down her jaw, down her neck and her throat.
Chloe gulped, her chest rising and falling erratically with her breaths as she stared up at him, refusing to look away as, around them, shadows began to dance in the rubble. "If this is some sort of seduction technique, it isn't working on me. I'm not really that attracted to you." Of course, she couldn't tell the fact that her scales had appeared on her cheekbones, betraying her lies to him, the girl distracted by the way her back throbbed slightly.
He didn't say anything, merely tilted the corner of his lips crookedly as the symbol low on his V throbbed in response.
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The Dragon roared, the magic integrating into its being, altering it. When Rao had given the Original Six their powers all those years ago, he'd tied their magics to him. As their magics had grown, as their clans had grown, they hadn't understood what it truly meant. Now, he was reaping the long awaited reward, that magic he'd given the Original Six having accumulated vastly through the Clans.
It was time it all returned to him though, and while it pained like hell, once he was done absorbing all of that power, there was nothing that would be able to stop him.