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!Even if the others were trying to call them on their cellular, it wasn't as if they were at the mouth of the cave; they were going deeper and deeper, there was no signal here. It got hotter and hotter, both Chloe and Whitney pulling off their jackets and wrapping them around their hips as they continued on until they finally made it to the right entrance, the two sharing looks.
"You can stay here," Chloe offered.
"What? And miss out on the reunion with my good old pals?" Whitney asked with a little smile.
Chloe chuckled, shaking her head, and stepped forwards into the room, into the darkness, Whitney at her side as they stood within the pitch black room.
"No one home?" Whitney asked curiously.
Chloe looked around her. "Oh, they're here all right. I can feel thousands of eyes on us."
"That's got to be creepy." Whitney made a face.
All around them, eyes started to appear, glowing in the darkness.
"Firstborn and Hand," a bodiless voice declared, "we welcome you."
"Um, thanks." Chloe cleared her throat, awkward considering how unpleasant things had been the last time she'd been here. "I'm here because I need to understand why my being a female is such a big deal when it comes to Rao Darkseid being free."
Loud murmurs echoed all around them; hisses, shrieks, claws scratching against stone.
Whitney frowned, looking around him, alert.
"SILENCE!" the male voice, the dominant one, yelled, the others hushing as one, dying down to silence. "Rao Darkseid is free? Who was responsible for this?"
Chloe let out a sarcastic little laugh. "John Balcoin."
The murmurs rose once more.
"Impossible," the voice declared. "Powerful or not, John couldn't have done something like that on his own."
"He didn't." Whitney shook his head. "Lionel Luthor and Janus Le Fay helped him."
The murmurs turned to cries.
"SILENCE, YOU COWARDS!" the voice hissed as a man, the one from before, appeared, standing tall, turning towards Chloe. "Is this true? Does Rao Darkseid truly walk this world again?"
"Are there wars? Famines? Sicknesses without cures?" the man pressed.
Chloe and Whitney shared a little look before nodding.
"This is my fault." The man turned his gaze on them. "It is I who started this, it was because of my greed and weakness that he was able to get the foot hold, to start what would end in this, in now."
Chloe frowned, stepping forwards. "What are you talking about?"
The man chuckled darkly. "You haven't realized who I am yet, have you?"
Chloe's eyes widened. "You couldn't be."
"Unfortunately, I am." He sighed, raising his chin. "I am Francis Balcoin. It is my magic that runs through your body – literally." He eyed her. "I see you've found the crystal they used to steal my magic and ingested it for yourself. Very gutsy move; my magic should have killed you given the amount of time it's been in you and the fact that it has pure, unfiltered darkness in it. I'm curious as to why it didn't kill you, but given the fact that I sense John's magic in you, too, I'm guess you're just a sponge." His lips twisted. "A living crystal."
Chloe's eyes narrowed slightly at that wording. "Why is it such a big deal that I am a girl?"
"Especially since female Firstborns are supposed to be stronger?" Whitney reminded, stepping forwards.
Francis Balcoin, or at least his spirit, eyed them before letting in a deep breath. "It would not be a problem had it not been for the fact that, as a young man, I hadn't been the strongest of witches. And we allknow how Balcoins view weakness."
"You weren't strong?" Whitney sneered, disbelieving. "Come on. You don't really expect us to believe that, do you? You were the one who created the Firstborn Trials! You were the one who felt that, if you were weak, you shouldn't live! You-!"
"Have you heard of a Napoleon complex? I might have had a variant of that," Francis admitted sourly before sighing. "That doesn't matter. What does matter is that I realized a way to change the game completely, to reinvent the Balcoin family name, which had fallen to the depths over the centuries. I could change everything. I could bring us back to our glory."
Chloe felt a cold chill race down her spine. "You really did make a deal with Rao Darkseid."
"Yes, I did." Francis Balcoin nodded. "I did not have the alliances John did. Darkseid knew I alone couldn't release him, and yet I could promise him something he wanted in exchange for something I truly wanted."
"Dark magic." Chloe's voice was soft. "Our dark magic came from Rao Darkseid."
Whitney's eyes widened.
Francis nodded. "In a way you could say that, yes. He crafted the shadows, the darkness, in the realm he'd been trapped in, and created a power source for us, but it was far more than that. It's far darker than you understand. Rao Darkseid had powers that were always beyond our comprehension. Only together and through deception were the Original Six able to imprison him, knowing they couldn't defeat him." He eyed the girl. "It is not for me to say the extent of what happened, except what you need to know. It is through my pact with Rao Darkseid that the Balcoins developed their dark magic, and it is why they are all vulnerable to him and his attacks. To his possession."
"Possession?" Chloe's eyes widened in horror.
"He has the ability to possess those whose hearts have been touched by darkness, making them his minions. They bare his symbol, invisible to most," Francis Balcoin declared. "Once they have been touched by him, they are under his control; most of the time, they don't even realize that what they are doing is being dictated by his will and not theirs."
Chloe brought her hand to her forehead.
Whitney narrowed his blues on Francis Balcoin. "What did you promise Rao Darkseid in return for your dark magic? If you couldn't free him, and you weren't powerful, what could you offer him in return?"
Francis took in a deep breath. "What he'd been denied."
Chloe's stomach rolled at the familiar wording.
"I promised him that once he was free, he could have a Balcoin girl of his choosing." Francis stared firmly at Chloe. "Vika Balcoin had been expecting child when she'd turned on her husband, and during the battle, she'd lost that child, which would have been a girl. I promised Rao Darkseid another Balcoin girl, and knowing his taste for Balcoin Firstborns, I suppose he plans on claiming you."
Chloe bent to her knees, sick to her stomach.
"Why did John go to Darkseid?" Francis Balcoin wanted to know.
Whitney eyed Chloe, who was still bent on her knees, before his blues went to Francis. "He'd become infertile due to constant use of the forbidden arts."
If a spirit could have paled, Francis would have, those eyes turning on Chloe as he took a step backwards. "I understand now, why you're able to house my magic in your body without dying, why the pure darkness that left me sick in bed for weeks seems to be so at ease in your veins."
Hand curled around her stomach, Chloe looked up at him, feeling so ill, foreboding rushing through her veins.
"When we sensed you freeing the Tentagel boy, I had wondered why the Hibbins magic inside you was so crippled, but it makes sense now," Francis Balcoin announced. "When Rao Darkseid's magic entered John's system, it became one with him for the time of the conception, was the dominant magic involved, and it only disappeared after the conception was brought about."
"You're saying she has Darkseid magic in her," Whitney whispered.
"I'm saying, young man," Francis Balcoin raised an eyebrow, "that magically, this girl is the daughter of John Balcoin and Rao Darkseid; the Hibbins in her is so crippled and weak, it is, for all intents and purposes, nonexistent."