Title: The New CircleFandoms: Smallville/Secret CircleCharacters: 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: 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!
The party had been a success the night before, mostly because people wanted to get a look at Moira Sullivan after all these years ("She doesn't look like she's aged a day!"), wanted to scope out how Gabe was truly reacting to his Prodigal Wife ("He's such a good man! If I were him, I wouldn't have let her back into the house much less accepted her back like he did!") and were also there to try and figure out more about Diana ("So, has anyone figured out if she's Moira's child or Gabe's? Most probably Moira's, right?"). And then, when news hit that a psycho Coach Arnold burnt down the school, trying to kill Chloe, Principle Kwan and everyone still inside... Well, then there were even more things for the guests to talk about. ("I never liked that man – and poor little Chloe Sullivan! She's been having terrible luck lately!")
Lex and Jason had made brief appearances at the party, mingling with the people of Smallville, and Chloe was relieved that neither of them tried to talk to her. Jason especially was ignoring her and it annoyed the hell out of her given the fact that he'd started everything. But other than a hello to their (reluctant) host's daughter, Lex and Jason completely ignored Chloe the rest of the night as if she didn't have a lunch date with them the next day.
And that was something she grumbled about over and over for the rest of the night to a sympathetic Diana and unsympathetic Whitney. When Clark and Greg had arrived, she'd finally just put it behind her and officially introduced her sister to her friends… and wasn't the least bit surprised at how welcoming the boys were (Greg ridiculously so) because Diana was beautiful, so it'd been expected.
"Men." Chloe rolled her eyes, sitting in front of the computer in Potter's Potts the next morning.
"Boys, you mean." Diana snickered from where she was sitting on the counter, fingers trailing softly over the petals of the carnation in her hand. "None of them are men."
Chloe's lips twitched with dark amusement at that. "Don't let them hear that. Especially Greg."
"He's a fun one." Diana laughed, shaking her long, silky dark haired head. "Can't take him or anything he says seriously, but he's fun."
"So, no romance blossoming?" Chloe teased.
Diana raised an eyebrow at her. "I have terrible luck with men, so no thank you." She sighed, twirling the flower in her hand. "First, the only guy I have ever truly loved; my boyfriend, who I thought was my soulmate, was actually destined in the stars to be with Cassie."
Chloe looked up at that, shocked. "Cassie stole your boyfriend?"
"No." Diana shook her head. "I let him go because his father told me they were destined to be together, and they were – for a time."
"What happened?" Chloe asked curiously.
"Apparently the whole "destined in the stars" thing was a curse and once they actually had sex, it meant that one of the Circle would die – and Jake started dying right after from the curse." Diana frowned, remembering that time. "The only way they found to save his life was to drink a potion that killed their love for each other."
Chloe didn't know what to say because absolutely everyone had gotten the short end of the stick in that situation. "I'm sorry."
"It's fine, water under the bridge." And yet Diana's smile was shaky at best. "I met Grant after that and just clung to the normalcy he offered me... And we both know how that ended."
"Yeah." Chloe nodded, reaching out to place her hand on Diana's knee. "I met you."
Diana's smile grew a little more genuine as she nodded and patted Chloe's hand. "So, obviously Grant wasn't all that bad."
Chloe grinned and would have agreed if the Skype hadn't begun calling out for her. The blonde turned towards the computer, her eyes widening. "Oh my god."
"What?" Diana's smile evaporated immediately.
"It's Pete!" Chloe exclaimed and hurried to accept the Skype call.
"Our brother Pete?" Diana slipped off of the counter and rushed behind Chloe to easily peer over her shoulder at the screen.
Nodding her answer, Chloe smiled brightly when the screen came up to show her childhood best friend... and half brother. "I'm so glad you're okay!"
He smiled at her, relief on his face. "Hey Chlo." His gaze went to Diana in confusion. "Uh, hi."
Chloe licked her lips before clearing her throat. "It's fine, she's – it's a lot to explain, but she's my sister. And a witch."
Pete went still, eyes wide on Diana. "You're a Balcoin too?"
Chloe's eyes widened. "You know."
"You know?" Pete returned his dark gaze to the blonde. "Since when?"
"I only found out everything a couple of days ago," she admitted with a sigh. "My mother's back and she told me a lot." She bit her bottom lip. "She's the white wolf."
"Your mom?" Pete blinked, running his hand over his face. "Jesus. This is just – just when – our lives are like some sort of supernatural television series."
"Tell me about it," Diana muttered.
"How do you know?" Chloe pressed. "And how are you?"
"I'm fine," Pete assured her, leaning hard against the bed frame. "My parents broke down and told me everything after Nell and Lana caught up with us. I did not take it well. The place kinda suffered for it and we had to leave before we could get charged with criminal damage."
Chloe was relieved to know that Lana had found Pete. "What are your plans right now?"
"Here's lunch!" a chirpy voice declared as a door could be heard opening. "Are you talking to Chloe?" The bed bounced and Lana was suddenly there, smiling at Chloe and waving. "Hi, Chlo!"
"Hey Lana." Chloe smiled back at her.
"She knows," Pete offered.
Chloe'd figured. "Lana, meet Diana. She's Pete's and my sister."
Lana's eyes widened. "Hey, Diana."
"Hey." Diana nodded, resting her elbow on Chloe's shoulder. "You guys okay?"
"Yep, but it's sad that we had to get away from our families to be okay." Lana sighed.
Chloe raised an eyebrow. "Say what now?"
"You hadn't told them yet?" Lana asked Pete curiously.
He made a face at her. "I was about to." He turned his eyes on the screen. "Lana and I split from the adults for a while. They – we needed to a break from them and what they think is right and what we should do. So we're having a little... holiday... getting away from it all and escaping for a while." He sighed. "But we didn't want you guys still worried about us, and I – I wanted to – I didn't want you to not know."
Chloe smiled softly as she reached her hand out to the screen.
Pete mimicked her movement, his fingertips angled to mirror her touch.
Lana smiled tenderly at them.
Diana worried her bottom lip.
"How are things over there?" Pete asked, not removing his hand. "Are you okay?"
"Of course I am." Chloe smiled brightly at him. "Everything's the same. Nothing I can't handle." Hearing the door opening, Chloe smiled at Peggy before returning her gaze to the screen. "You two be careful, okay?"
"You too." Pete nodded.
"And tell the others we're okay," Lana declared.
"Will do," Chloe agreed, and waiting for them to end the conversation before logging off of Skype.
"Was that Lana's voice I heard?" Peggy wanted to know as she moved towards the back room.
"Yeah, she was just calling in to see how we were doing." Chloe nodded.
"Good to know they're okay." Peggy smiled before slipping into the back room.
Diana waited until Peggy was in the next room before speaking. "Why didn't you tell him the truth? About all the things that are going on? About the Trials? About the Luthors?"
"Pete's dealing with his own issues right now. I can't just ask him to come here and help me when he has to figure things out for himself." Chloe shrugged. "When he's ready, he's going to come back stronger than he was before and I can't take that away from him. He needs time. So I'll give it to him."
Diana gulped, licking her lips as she turned, pulling away from Chloe and leaning back against the counter. "You two are obviously close. I just – if he had wanted to leave and you knew of it, you're telling me that you wouldn't have tried to stop him? Wouldn't have begged him to stay because he was family and you needed him?"
"Of course not." Chloe snorted at the very thought. "If it's something that he needs, like right now, I'm going to give it to him and let him have what he needs. I'm not that selfish to only think about myself, Diana."
Diana didn't seem to have heard her, her mind obviously on some memory.
Chloe frowned slightly at the taller girl. "You okay?"
"Yeah, just having a bit of reverse Deja Vu."
"Reverse Deja Vu?" Chloe gave a confused little blink.
"Something that should have happened but didn't. Just ignore me." Diana gave her a weak little smile before the sound of a motorcycle could be heard revving at the front of the shop. "He's here already?"
"You sure you're okay doing this for me?" Chloe asked, not wanting the other girl to feel forced into something. "I can do it later on tonight. It's no problem."
"Nah, it'll keep me from being bored." Diana grinned. "Plus, I love planning parties, so this will be fun." She grabbed her bag and went around the counter. "I'll call you if I have any questions, but your list was really detailed and I think I get what you want." She backed away before stopping. "You sure you wanna have lunch with Prince Smarmy and the Glitter Rogue by yourself?"
"I'll be fine," Chloe assured her. "Go, have fun, and boss Greg around for me."
"Fine." Diana nodded, obviously used to being the one who takes care of others in the Circle and not used to not doing so now. "Just be careful, okay?"
"Yes, mom," Chloe joked, trying for some levity.
"Brat." Diana stuck out her tongue at her, laughing as she backed out of the shop and could be heard telling Greg that a gentleman would have come inside and said hello instead of revving the engine like some sort of – something. Chloe didn't catch the last part of the scolding.
Peggy returned, pulling on an apron. "Diana's gone?"
"Greg came to pick her up. They're running some errands for me," Chloe responded.
"He's just going to be the first of a long line of boys, just you wait and see. She's so pretty." Peggy sighed with some envy. "I used to look like her and Lana... before having all my kids... and having my grandmother come to live with us."
Chloe had no idea what to say about that.
"Don't fall in love. Men only give you kids. Not their hearts." Peggy sighed, going behind the counter. "And never ever get married. That's the beginning of the end. My mother taught me that and it's why I've been smart enough never to do so myself."
The door opened and a man in a suit appeared. "Miss Sullivan? Your ride awaits."
Peggy blinked. "Your ride?"
"I, uh, have a lunch thing." Chloe threw her things into her bag before slinging it over her shoulder. "Have a good evening!"
"Good evening?" Peggy snorted, going to the window immediately and staring out through the blinds. "Your ride's a limousine?" Her eyes widened. "Oh my god." She turned to Chloe. "There are only two men rich enough in Smallville to send a limousine and one of them has a daily standing order with us for a ridiculous amount of flowers! I was wondering why and now I know!" There were dollar signs practically ca-chinging in her eyes as she turned to Chloe. "Forget everything I've ever said to you against marriage." She went over to Chloe and grabbed her by her shoulders, giving her a little shake. "Seduce Jason Teague and make him put a HUGE diamond ring on your finger! With sapphires and rubies on top!"
Chloe just stared wide-eyed at Peggy. "I'm just going to have lunch with the two of them; it's not a date."
"Both of them?" Peggy closed her eyes with a little whispery gasp. "Youth is so wonderful." She opened her eyes once more, those dollar signs even more obvious. "You've got choices. Let them fight over you. They might even start a gift giving war and you can only win in that situation." She trembled slightly. "Fur. Prada." Peggy began fanning herself. "And to think, I can one day say that I used to work with Mrs Teague – or Mrs Luthor."
"I don't think that – you see-" Chloe eyed the woman, a little frightened by her intensity. "I haven't even turned seventeen."
"Wonderful! Your butt hasn't started to sag yet." Peggy grinned, giving the stiff girl a tight hug before shoving her towards the driver. "Go get him, girl! Get one of them for the rest of us!"
Chloe wondered if her utter bewilderment and shock was obvious on her face. She thought it might be because the driver looked sorry for her, and yet horribly amused with the whole situation.
She numbly walked to the limousine – which was attracting far too much attention – and slipped in when the driver opened the door for her. This was surreal and she felt uncomfortable the whole silent drive, chewing on her bottom lip and holding her bag to her chest. If Lex's endgame had been to make her uncomfortable and wary, it had worked.
When they finally pulled up to the front of the manor, there was a... butler... waiting outside for her.
"Miss Sullivan." The man took her bag from her. "Please follow me, Mr Luthor is expecting you."
"Only Mr – only Lex?" She cleared her throat, following the man into the house, wanting to yank her bag back from him but figured that would be rude.
"Yes, Mr Teague is out for the day," the butler announced, leading her through the halls of Luthor manor before opening a door to a large library. "Lunch will be served promptly."
Chloe stepped into the library, the door closing behind her, and while she was highly intimidated, the girl was also intrigued. She forgot for a second that she was meeting with Lex, going to the walls (which were built-in shelves for the millions of books) eyes widening in fascination as she realized that they were all books that dealt with the occult. There were hundreds of years' worth of research here at her fingertips and she felt seduced by the thought of all that knowledge so close at hand.
"We have a much more extensive library in our safe house. Most of these are reproductions of the originals, which are safeguarded there."
Chloe twirled around, finding Lex leaning against a desk, body long and lean, still wearing one of his suits but at least this one was slightly more casual than the others she'd seen him in. "You have a safe house."
"Of course." He nodded. "I'll show you it some time, along with the rarer books that I feel will deeply intrigue you."
Chloe gulped, before taking in a deep breath. "You're trying to seduce me."
He raised an eyebrow. "I'm not even close to you."
The blonde's lips twitched. "You're an intellectual, just like I am. You know that for people like us, knowledge and learning more can be just as intoxicating as the carnal."
"The carnal," he echoed, one side of his lips curving in a crooked smile. "You speak like an old woman."
"You dress like an old man," she countered somewhat childishly.
He laughed though, apparently amused with her defiance. "I wondered if you would still come, all things considering."
"Of course I would, now more than ever," she replied, slowly making her way towards him. "If ignorant both of your enemy and yourself, you are certain in every battle to be in peril."
His eyes widened slightly, his smile growing more genuine. "Sun Tzu."
"The Art of War." Chloe reached around him and picked up the book resting on the desk, holding it between them. "So far, it's the only book I've seen here that isn't occult based."
"Some families have the Bible. Mine had this." Lex reached for the book and put it back.
"So I've figured out your game plan concerning me and I think it's the same as mine concerning you," Chloe confided, leaning forwards as she lowered her voice, Lex leaning in closer as well. "The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting."
Lex just stared at her in silence before that smile grew a little, the billionaire shaking his head. "If that's so, we're in an interesting predicament."
"That's one way of putting it." She pulled away, eyeing him. "I'm forced to work alongside you until these Trials are done but once they are, we'll be at odds because you think I belong to you."
"I know you belong to my family's Circle," Lex corrected easily. "The Balcoin Firstborn was pledged to the Luthor's Circle from before her birth, to stand by a Luthor and use any powers or unique gifts in a way that would benefit the Luthor family... and Circle." He reached his arm out for her. "Thing is, there was only one Luthor Circle back in those days."
"Your father's." Chloe raised an eyebrow as she looped her arm around his and let him lead her out towards the balcony which overlooked the gardens below, gardeners working vigorously to return them to their former glory.
"He and his Circle are expecting us to hand you over to them once we've ascertained your identity," Lex revealed as he gazed below. "Thing is, from the emails he's been spying on, he realizes that there are still too many leads for me to be sure who exactly the Firstborn is."
"You don't plan on handing me to your father." Chloe stared up at Lex, somewhat shocked by the manner of intrigue between his father and himself. "You plan on keeping me for yourself."
He stared down before turning his light blues on her and smirked. "For my Circle."
"That's what I meant." She blushed, annoyed with him and herself.
"There was a plan in place to force your allegiance to our Circle once you were found, before our parents could, and my half sister is pushing me to do exactly as we'd planned," he admitted casually, as if he wasn't referring to her enslavement. "But I've been giving this a lot of thought and I believe it would be a mistake to ensure you by force." His lips twisted. "No man likes having a woman pissed off at him... especially not if she's a Balcoin. There are stories about things like that and they never end well for the guy."
Chloe didn't know how to react to that.
"So, I've decided that while my father is still waiting for me to find out who the Firstborn is – I'm going to take the time to prove to you why you should willingly accept the binding to my Circle," he replied smoothly, leading her off of the balcony and back into the room.
"So, should I expect the flaunting of more books in my direction?" She raised an eyebrow, surprisingly enough good-natured despite it all as she let him lead her out of the living room and down the halls, the scent of something delicious in the air.
"Not just books," he promised.
Staring up at him in what she knew was open curiosity, Chloe couldn't help pointing out: "You sent Jason in to kiss me last night."
"To be completely fair, I sent him last night to follow through on his plan to dethrone Coach Arnold, except he got sidetracked and did not do it... but thankfully everything worked out on its own." He eyed her with a smirk. "He did have instructions to use the pixie dust I'd acquired whenever an ideal opportunity arose though, and apparently chose to instead follow through with that mission and not the one I'd assigned him," Lex clarified, a wry smile on his lips. "I have to admit I was surprised. He's usually much more level-headed."
"Well, he had an 'ideal opportunity'," she quipped, trying not to let how much this annoyed her show, and yet she knew it was. "Do you realize just how creepy that was? Ordering someone to kiss someone else?"
"Jason told me something similar. He was uncharacteristically snappy when he came back," Lex acknowledged curiously. "He informed me in no uncertain terms that that was the last time he was going to do anything similar for my research and curiosity's sake."
She didn't know exactly how to take that.
"Ah, lovely." Lex's light blues trained on something, smiling as he opened a door.
Chloe's eyes widened in shocked awe.
It was a green house with all sorts of flowers and vines growing wildly, and in the middle was a table set for two, a single candle lit in the middle, classical music playing softly.
The blonde slipped free from Lex and took a couple of steps into the greenhouse, staring around her at the exotic, beautiful flowers that filled the air with a soft, honey scent. "If you can't convince them, confuse them."
He chuckled softly behind her, closing the door and arriving at her side, his hand on the small of her back as he led her towards the table waiting for them. "Harry S. Truman."
Chloe sent him a little look over her shoulder as she allowed herself to be led to the table, more intrigued than ever.
He really was trying to seduce her.