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.
"My advice would be to complete your Circles," Zod announced as they emerged from the entrance of the Bleeding Caves into Miller's Field, or, well, Sullivan's Field now she supposed. "If this is going to be a test, you need to go in there strong. You have an advantage no other witch does, you command two Circles, and one does not need military training in strategies to know that if you plan on going into battle, that you should go with all your soldiers. I am surprised that you have not even completed one, much less both of them, especially knowing that you have a war on the horizon."
Chloe sent him a look. "Binding the Circles would permanently bind me to these people. I'm not just going to go grabbing people left right and center just to get the numbers."
"No, that is true," he agreed. "But you already have numbers." He clasped his hands behind his back as he moved. "At least one Circle is nearly complete."
Chloe blinked, sending him a look. "What are you talking about?"
Zod raised an eyebrow. "From what I can tell, the Darkseid in you has claimed the Cyclops, the Prophet, the Bloodbonded, the Sanguine and the Darkling. All you need is one more to complete and bind it. As you are the head of two Circles, I do not think you count as the sixth member anymore so you will have to find another to be the sixth, which is yet another advantage as it will give you extra numbers."
"Wait, you think I don't count as the sixth anymore?" Chloe blinked, surprised at this revelation.
"Now that you are the head of two Circles, no." The Dragon shook his head. "They need to function as two complete, separate Circles, and that couldn't happen if you were the sixth of both of them. I believe, like your father, you are the Seventh. The Matriarch who commands the the two Circles. The single being, conscience, that binds them."
"The Soul." Chloe whispered, remembering the other Balcoin title.
"Yes, exactly." He nodded. "I like that, the Soul."
Chloe took in a deep breath, trying to digest all this, before remembering something else he'd said that had confused her. "What did you mean when you'd mentioned a Darkling earlier?" She'd gotten the references for everyone else, Diana and Greg having finally been able to fill her in on everyone's titles, but this was a new one. "I don't know any Darkling." And then a dark suspicion filled her, the girl's green eyes narrowing. "You're not talking about Byron, are you?"
"Yes, the youngest Balcoin brother." Zod nodded. "The one in which a small amount of Darkseid magic resided. I could feel the connection between the two of you. I believe you siphoned most of it out of him, yes?"
Chloe went pale. "Most? You mean I didn't get it all out of him?"
"You got out what made him ill, but that was a part of him, will always be a part of him, and I believe it is a part of why your Darkseid magic claims him for its Circle," Zod replied as if this really weren't that big a deal. "It is why he could sense that I was not merely a soldier that day when he saw me. It was the hint of Darkseid magic still residing somewhere inside him. Not enough to hurt him, but just enough to give him an edge." The corner of Zod's lip tilted in a crooked smile. "He will be an asset in the future. You'll see."
Chloe frowned slightly, worried now. "Neither Zatanna, Faye, nor Byron are officially a part of my Circle – whether my magic wants them to be or not."
Zod eyed her curiously. "Why do you fight against yourself?"
She bristled. "I don't fight against myself."
"You do," he countered.
"You don't know anything about me." She glared at him.
"I may only have known you for a few days, true, but I am observant." He eyed her with a frown as they continued walking across the expanse of the field, away from the house still under construction. "You would have bought this town from the mortals – a ridiculous idea if I ever heard one – to keep them safe."
"Also to give the witches a stronghold. A purely witch town which I would have owned and thus controlled." Chloe pointed out. "It wasn't all selflessness."
He eyed her, ignoring her previous words. "From what I have heard from those around here, you first fought the idea of joining the local Circle. Thenyou fought the idea of joining a Balcoin Circle. Then you fought the idea of joining a Luthor Circle."
"To be fair, that was all a lie because Lionel Luthor never actually wanted me to be a part of his Circle, or a slave of his Circle-" Chloe frowned. "I still have no idea what he really wanted actually, and that's making me really uncomfortable."
"Then why do you allow him to stay here?" Zod asked a very good question. "You obviously do not trust him. Then why do you allow the man to seek refuge in your walls?"
Chloe took in a deep breath, licking her lips as she eyed him. "I don't know."
"You should tell him to answer your queries, and if he does not, he must leave, and follow through with your threats," Zod replied coldly.
Chloe stopped walking, turning towards Zod. "What did Lionel get from Rao when he went to Apokalips and what else did he do in return other than help Rao escape? John and Janus both did something extra, so what did Lionel do?"
"Nothing," Zod replied.
Chloe let out a little dark laugh. "Don't be ridiculous. He wouldn't go through all of that, risk all that he did, for nothing."
Zod tilted his head slightly as he watched her before taking in a deep breath. "That was the same thing Rao said when Lionel told him that."
Chloe narrowed her eyes.
Zod took in a deep breath. "Lionel insisted that he had nothing to ask of Rao, and from what I could tell, no transaction of any kind occurred between them. In fact, Lionel wished to prove himself to Rao by performing an act for him without receiving anything in return."
Finally! They were getting somewhere!
Chloe drew closer in anticipation. "What act?"
Zod hesitated before he took in a deep breath. "To bring another half Dragon into this world."
Chloe gulped, world shattering, remembering all too late Zod's comment to her in Apokalips about Rao's plans for her, about her not being the only one with Dragon magic on her side. "A Luthor has Darkseid magic in their veins? I have a brother… or sister?"
"No." Zod shook his head. "Rao did not use his own magic again. He used… someone else's." He moved closer to Chloe. "You see, Rao's original plan was for me to cross over and, once you were old enough, for me to wed and bed you. But when I refused his plans, he had to improvise and chose another route."
"So he had this other half Dragon created to, and I quote, 'wed and bed' me?" Chloe made a face. "He's my father. Why is he so invested in my 'wedding and bedding'? That's disturbing."
"Because it is the females who give birth to the darkness, Chloe," Zod responded, as if this should be obvious and she was slow for having to ask. "And as you said, he's your father. Dragons are not like other creatures who'd stoop to incest."
"Okay, now I'm ill." She made a face at the very thought. "I'm still not getting why he needs-" And then it hit, her eyes widening. "He's getting rid of the witches and humans who aren't aligned with him and wants to make this Apokalips 2.1." She reached out and grabbed Zod by his immaculate shirt, yanking the ill-prepared Major closer. "There's no way he could do that! Right?" She was hyperventilating. "I mean, sure, maybe he can pass off these attacks as terrorists – there's no way he can take on the world's government!" That look in Zod's eyes made her ten times more nervous. "No! No! I don't care how insanely powerful we felt him to be – he's just one Dragon! One single target! One immensely powerful Dragon filled with hundreds of thousands of years of accumulated House magics stored in his body… and an army." She gulped.
"And don't forget Alura and Augo." Zod nodded.
Chloe frowned, eyeing Zod in confusion. "Who?"
Zod sighed. "Chloe, Janus gave three Trades, remember? Rao wanted me to be one."
Chloe's eyes went wide in further horror. "There are two other Dragons here?"
"Councilman Zor's wife Alura and his favored pupil, Augo. They left together." Zod nodded, hands clenched behind his back. "Councilman Zor was never a cheerful man, but he's been more sour than usual ever since."
"But that's good." Chloe grinned, still holding Zod's shirt tightly. "Maybe we can use that to our favor. Maybe we can find a way to bring him over if we have to fight them! I'm sure he'll want to fight them if push comes to shove!"
Zod raised an eyebrow down at her. "I am sure he would."
Chloe grinned up brightly at him. "Finally! You're making yourself useful!"
The sound of a car approaching caused Chloe to turn her head in time to see Whitney's truck come flying over the hill, the black truck screeching and sliding to a stop.
Whitney leaned out of the driver's side window, eyeing Chloe and Zod before returning his blues to her. "You need to come to town, now."
Chloe frowned, pulling away from Zod as she moved towards the truck. "What's happened?"
"More people have arrived," Zod answered for Whitney, pulling into the backseat of the truck. "More refugees. There's tension."
Chloe slipped into the front passenger's seat, sending Whitney a look.
"He's right, but what his Dragon-senses haven't picked up on is the fact that they're from Chance Harbor." Whitney switched into reverse and swung them around almost violently before shifting gears and speeding them back towards town. "Diana's dad was taken."
"What?" Chloe's eyes widened. "But he was in an induced catatonia to keep the demons inside of him at bay. Who'd want that?"
"Demons?" Zod asked from the back.
"Shadow-snake-like creatures conjured from hell by witches to give them power." Whitney eyed him through the rearview mirror. "Diana's adopted dad took these demons from a Witch-hunter so he wouldn't have the power to kill them, and they induced catatonia on him so that the demons wouldn't control him and make him kill them." His gaze then went sideways to Chloe. "Then the day after the attack, when they were able to get into contact with us and know that we were alright, soldiers baring Omega signs barged into Chance Harbor, attacked the town, and took him."
"Oh god, Diana's gotta be a wreck," Chloe whispered, leaning hard against her seat.
"Shadow-snake-like-creatures…" Zod mulled on that description, not at all seeming bothered by the speed they were going at on the dirt road.
"Not just that," Whitney tightened his grip on the wheel, "Dawn Chamberlain and Kate Meade are there."
Chloe turned her head to look at Whitney. "Does Cassie know? Is Cassie there?"
"Yes, she knows, and I've left her with Mrs Arkin. For some reason that woman seems to have a soft spot for her." Whitney sent Chloe a look. "I doubt Kate Meade is going to do anything. She's smart enough not to make a move on Cassie, not when she's on your home ground. And Dawn – I left Cassie with Mrs Arkin because I'm hoping Cassie won't make a move while with Mrs Arkin."
"I feel I am missing vital information," Zod announced from the backseat.
"Kate Meade, Diana's adopted grandmother, tried to kill Cassie to "cleanse" the Balcoin out of her." Chloe clenched her fists at the memory of Cassie telling her about the experience of being buried alive and left to die in that casket. "And Dawn Chamberlain, Faye's mother, was involved in Cassie's mother's death."
"Ahhh." He nodded. "I see." His gaze went to Whitney, impressed. "Shrewd thinking on your part."
Whitney blinked, meeting Zod's gaze in the rearview mirror, obviously uncomfortable as he cleared his throat. "Uh, thanks." Shaking his head, Whitney licked his lips, clearing his throat once more as he turned his blues on Chloe. "Jake's grandfather, Melissa, her father, his wife and mother, as well as Adam Conant and his father and other Chance Harbor witches. Elders." He cleared his throat. "Also, Lex and his Circle have arrived as well, along with Patty and her father. They seem to be working together now. His father doesn't seem happy about that."
"Well, Lionel Luthor's happiness is far from my first priority right now." Chloe took in a deep breath, turning to look at Zod before turning back to look at Whitney. "There's another half Dragon."