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.
Oliver sat in what seemed too much like an interrogation room, ignoring the witches keeping watch over him. He'd been separated from Tess and he didn't like that, but she'd merely shaken her head for him not to fight it when they'd been separated. It was things like that that annoyed him with Tess and with Luthors in general. They were so… so… He wasn't even sure what to call it. Maybe cold? No. That wasn't it. But while Oliver wanted to fight, wanted to stick together, wanted to remind them that there was safety in numbers, Lex and Tess were… arrogant… enough to believe that they were fine enough to be on their own. Tess should know better. She'd been tortured by these people before. So had Oliver. Sure, it didn't seem like it was going to go down that road again but that wasn't the point!
What mattered was that, as a Circle, they were supposed to pull together, to act as one. That was why a Circle had no edges. It was one smooth design with no discernible beginning or ending. But this Circle was breaking apart and fast. First it'd started with Davis and Jason, and yet Oliver was feeling the divide more and more and he didn't know how much longer they'd be able to hold on, especially when he couldn't really feel anyone else holding on other than himself.
The door opened, Patricia stepping into the room, motioning the other witches out.
Oliver watched them go before his eyes turned to Patricia.
She closed the door behind her once the others had left, taking in a deep breath. "Don't give me that look. I'm not going to hurt you."
"I wasn't going to make it that easy this time," he responded easily, remaining seated.
Patricia licked her lips, leaning with her back against the door. "That was a necessary evil, but I tried making it as painless as I could."
He raised his hand, showing the scar that would always be around his reattached finger. "Thanks a lot. You're an angel."
She flinched but didn't look away. "Lex had to die, Oliver. He had to. I knew that none of you would have understood or believed me at the time. I was working on my own. I was trying to stop this whole thingfrom happening before it got too late. But John's dead, Rao's alive, the Houses and Clans have fallen… It's over. All I've done… John's death… was for nothing."
Oliver narrowed his eyes. "What do you mean Lex had to die?"
Patricia eyed him before sighing, looking away. "It doesn't matter."
He stood so fast that the chair flipped backwards onto the ground. "The hell it doesn't." The witch stormed towards her. "What are you talking about? Why would you say something like that? You two were together for years! Why would you-?"
"The only reason I was with Lex was so that I could keep an eye on him," Patricia snapped, not backing down. "You have no idea how dangerous he really is!"
"I know what you're doing." Oliver sneered down at her. "You're scared that Lex is really here to kill you for what you did, so you're trying to turn me against him so you can have an ally." He gave her an ugly smile. "That's not going to happen."
"I came to you because you're not a Luthor," Patricia responded darkly, glaring up at him. "There is no way that it's you."
He frowned, staring down at her in confusion. "What are you talking about?"
"John Balcoin, Janus Le Fay and Lionel Luthor… The three of them let Rao Darkseid, the Seventh, out of his prison. The three of them got something in return for it," Patricia hissed, urgency in her voice. "John was infertile, Oliver. He couldn't have children as a result of all the forbidden arts he'd done. Rao joined his magic with John's, effectively creating Chloe Balcoin."
Oliver's eyes widened, shocked stiff, the blonde staggering back away from Patricia. "That would mean…"
"That's not all." Patricia pushed forwards, voice lowered. "Janus Le Fay was dying of cancer. He sacrificed his sister, her husband, and daughter to save his own life."
Oliver felt a cold chill racing down his spine as his eyes rested on Patricia's face. "What did Lionel want?"
The door opened, Lex and Tess standing there with Mr Swan and the other guards.
Mercy raised an eyebrow. "Patty, long time no see."
Lex eyed Patricia. "What are you doing here?"
Patricia cleared her throat, sending Oliver a little look before turning to face them. "I was informing Oliver that the Five Houses have fallen and the House of Balcoin is the only one that has survived the night intact. That it is your plan for all of us to head there now."
Oliver could tell Lex and Tess the truth, could expose what Patricia had said, but as their eyes turned to him in question he merely nodded and straightened. "Do we know if our parents have made it?"
"If they have, they will be heading towards Smallville as well," Lex declared, eyeing Patricia before turning to Tess. "We need to leave. Now."
Mercy nodded. "I agree."
Oliver felt more and more excluded, the blonde sending a sideways glance towards Patricia, letting her know that their conversation was far from over.
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"Are you sure about this?" The General asked, face impassive.
"Without a doubt. We both felt it." Chloe nodded, gaze going to where Zod leaned in the darkest corner of the room, arms folded over his chest. "I think that the reason Rao killed all those witches – I think last night was a Harvest of some sort, a Reaping." She cast her gaze at the other witches inside of the room with her: all her siblings (Pete had just been let out of the hospital), Whitney, Jake, Adam and AC, Victor, Mr and Mrs Kent, Mr and Mrs Fordman, Lana and Clark, Nell, Julian, Lois, Faye, Lucas, Greg, and Zatanna, who eyed Zod warily. "I – we – we think he's somehow funneling the magic they had into him, for his own use."
"But countless died last night." Mr Kent frowned.
"And at least Four of the Six heads." Victor cleared his throat, eyes haunted. "Our Clans, our Houses are decimated. Ruined. There's no way that we will ever be able to rebuild them to what they used to be."
"He's right," AC announced. "For all we know, Tentagel only has two survivors, Wylt, Luthor and Le Fay both only one."
"Luthor has at least two," Chloe announced.
Julian looked up. "You've heard news of my brother or sister? Or father?"
"No." She shook her head, gaze going to Lucas. "I'm talking about him."
Julian's eyes widened as they went to Lucas. "You're my brother?"
"I was abandoned by the Luthor Clan," Lucas snapped. "I don't acknowledge them as mine!" His glare turned on Chloe. "I belong to the Balcoin House."
"The same goes for me," Zatanna announced more coldly, with far less emotion. "The Le Fay Head left me to either die or live in servitude." Her grays went fiercely to Zod before she took in a deep breath. "I've bound myself, by blood, to the Darkseid House and Clan. Means I belong to that House." Her gaze went to Chloe. "I've been waiting for you to acknowledge the fact, and that I did it all without your permission." She cleared her throat. "I know you know."
Chloe eyed the dark haired woman with a nod. "There hasn't been a moment without some sort of emergency for us to just sit down and talk." Her eyes narrowed on the girl. "But we will."
Zatanna nodded, clearing her throat as she took in a deep breath and turned to the boys. "My point being, Lucas and I might have the blood and magic of a House of the Six in our bodies, but we're tied to Chloe. In my case, the Le Fay bloodline might live on through me, but that House, that Clan, will never rise from its ashes. It's dead. And without the Le Fay House, there will never be a Six ever again."
A cold chill raced through the witches there as the ramifications hit them hard.
"That may be so," a new voice announced, causing the group to turn to see Lionel Luthor enter the room, Genevieve and Faora at his sides. "But that doesn't mean it mightn't live on in a different way."
"Father." Julian took a step towards him, eyes wide. "Where are Mr and Mrs Queen? And Mr Teague?"
Lionel cleared his throat. "They did not make it." He then turned to Chloe. "I am sure you now know everything."
"You'd be surprised how little I ever know." She moved from around the desk, heading towards him. "But I'm sure that you can remedy that."
"Where's Jason?" Genevieve asked Chloe.
"And Davis?" Faora asked as well.
"They're not here. They left before the attack." Chloe could see the worry on the mothers' faces. "I haven't heard from them since, I'm sorry."
"Why would they have left?" Genevieve frowned, a large gash on her cheek. "Lex told them to stay here."
"It isn't like them to disobey orders," Faora agreed, pale and battered. "Did Lex give them new orders?"
Zod narrowed his eyes on the women.
"This isn't important," Lionel snapped at the two before taking in a deep breath, eyeing the people in the room before pausing on Zod. "You."
Zod returned the look. "I wondered whether you'd recognize me. We were both much younger when we met."
"Yes." Lionel nodded, a strange look crossing his face as it went to Chloe before turning back to Zod. "Have you told her?"
Chloe frowned between them. "Told me what?"
Zod eyed the much older looking, haggard human. "She knows what I am, what she is… what he is."
"What do you mean what she is?" Pete frowned from where he sat on the sofa, bandaged and pale, eyes narrowed. "I don't like you talking about her like that. She isn't a thing."
Zod raised an eyebrow, turning his gaze to Chloe. "You mean you haven't told them?"
Chloe looked away.
Whitney frowned, looking between Zod and Chloe in confusion. "Told us what exactly?"
Diana stepped forwards. "What's going on?"
Chloe took in a deep breath, sending Zod a dark look before turning her gaze on the others. "What I'm about to say will not leave this room. Everyone is panicked enough as it is and I do not want to have the people even more scared than they already are. Have I made myself clear?"
Those in the room nodded slowly.
Chloe glared at Zod once more before licking her lips. "Rao isn't human, and by extension, I'm not completely human either."
There was silence, and then…
Faye's eyes widened. "Pause, rewind, and repeat."
"What do you mean not human?" Mikhail wanted to know, pushing away from the wall he'd been leaning against. "How could he not be human? How could that even be possible?"
Byron leaned forwards, eyes narrowed.
Chloe took in a deep breath, licking her lips. "Rao Darkseid wasn't imprisoned in Apokalips by the Six. He was returned there by them."
"Returned?" Greg narrowed his eyes.
"It's his homeland. Those Dragons statues you saw in the courtyard? That's his true form." Chloe's gaze turned to Zod. "It's his true form too."
Everyone's gazes turned to Zod, who merely smirked at their wide-eyed shock.
"It's Rao's magic that created the Six," Chloe began.
"That's ridiculous," Nell snapped, coming forwards. "There's no way that that would be true! It would be written in our book of spells! Countess Isobel Thor-!"
"Be quiet you arrogant, intolerable woman," Lionel hissed, shutting Nell up immediately. "She speaks the truth." Silence fell upon those in the room. "Only the Heads of the Six ever knew the truth. No one as low on the totem pole as your ancestor, or yourself for that matter, would have ever known the truth. It is only due to the extenuating circumstances that you do." He narrowed his eyes. "Know your place and stay there holding your tongue before you make an even bigger fool of yourself."
Nell stumbled backwards, pale, chastised, visibly shaken.
"Rao created the first Witches." Lionel took in a deep breath, getting back to what they'd been discussing previously before Nell's outburst. "It is why our genocide is fueling him now, causing him to grow more and more powerful."
Zod nodded. "He is correct." The Dragon in human form eyed the humans. "The ritual Rao used mixed the blood of the first Six Witches with his own, binding your bloodlines with his. Your Clans are bound to him, and all the strays that shot up afterwards, the offshoots of magics that did not belong to the Six, they too belong to him by merit of that ritual." He took in a deep breath as he eyed the witches before turning his gaze to Chloe. "As the Houses fall, as the Clans crumble, he is reclaiming the power for himself once more. This both gives us an advantage and a disadvantage."
"How so?" the General wanted to know.
"The disadvantage is obviously that with all that magic, he will be even more powerful than he was before, and while Dragons are creatures of immense power, Rao was always one of the strongest of our kind," Zod replied, eyeing them. "The advantage is that a molting depletes one's strength, and as many moltings as his body would be forced to endure to undergo the absorption of the new power would give us time to prepare, to plan and be ready for his next attack."
"And why are you helping fight him?" Lionel wanted to know, eyebrow raised. "As I remember it, the two of you were quite close." He eyed Zod warily. "What could have possibly changed for you to have suddenly decided to go against him? Why would you help us?"
"I don't have to answer to you, human," Zod announced, lips a smirk. "And I am not helping you. To be honest, I don't care what happens to any of the witches in this room. Do you care whether you step on an ant? Or do you continue walking by without even noticing?"
"Why you-" Lois growled.
Julian stopped her, eyes narrowed on Zod. "If you don't care what happens to us, then why are you helping?"
Zod eyed Julian before sighing, gaze going to Chloe. "Because she is not smart enough to leave you all to die. If she were to stand aside, just take her few Circle members and let him have the rest, he would spare her life and the repercussion of her actions would be minimal. She knows this, but instead of doing the smart thing and leaving you to fend for yourselves, she has, for some reason, decided to take him on for a bunch of people who are doomed anyway you see it." He let that sink in before continuing. "As long as she is resolute in the unwise decision to champion your cause against Rao, I have no choice but to offer my aid in this fool's endeavor."
Zatanna stared between them before closing her eyes tightly. "Damn."
"What?" Cassie turned to her.
Zatanna's opened and met Chloe's, the witch obviously knowing what the others did not. "Nothing. It's nothing."
Cassie frowned, the expression on her face betraying that she didn't believe this, but that she knew this wasn't the time to press the issue.
Lana cleared her throat, holding Pete's hand as she gazed at Chloe. "So, what's our next move?"
Chloe eyed the girl. "We wait."
Jake frowned. "For what?"
A knock sounded on the door.
Zod sighed, clearly unhappy. "For that. She was waiting for that."
Chloe sent him a little look before turning her greens on the door. "Come in."
The door opened to show the Mayor, followed by Phil and Ned, as well as Van and the footballers.
"Mr Mayor," Chloe stepped around from behind her desk, "how may I help you?"
"By staying," the Mayor replied earnestly. "After you left, the town had a long meeting and has come to a unanimous accord. No one wants you or your people to leave and they'll welcome any more that come to Smallville with open arms." He cleared his throat. "We're a community used to our routines, but we understand better than any the need for change, and we will embrace these changes, especially the need for the Guard you mentioned earlier."
Chloe raised an eyebrow. "What about the problem earlier with the oath of loyalty?"
The Mayor cleared his throat. "The issues involving that have been settled. The people realize that you will teaching things which will be putting yourselves in danger, to help protect us, and have been brought to understand that you would need some insurance that that information would not later on be used against you."
"Exactly." Chloe nodded.
"In a show of good faith, my son, Hank, and his football buddies have all come to volunteer as candidates. They are young and strong, have worked under your guidance before during the battle and have championed the idea to the rest of the townsfolk." The Mayor motioned to the footballers behind him. "There are more who have professed interest as well, and Phil will run an ad in the Smallville Ledger where people can sign up for the "Neighborhood Watch" program and can submit their applications for your review."
This was well thought out.
"So please," the Mayor pressed forwards, "don't leave Smallville in its time of need. Let humans and witches, for the first time in history, learn to work together for the betterment of each other."
Chloe stared at the man. "The one who attacked us is getting stronger and will attack again. We have a lot to do and very little time to do it." She moved forwards, towards him. "If we're going to to do this, we're going to have to be very serious about it."
He nodded, holding out his hand towards her.
Chloe stared at the Mayor's hand for a moment before placing her hand in his, cementing the deal.