BANNER BY THE TALENTED maple86Title: 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 own any original material used in the television series or artwork, they belong to their respective creators. I have merely tweaked them for my story.Summary: 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.
Chloe left Jason in the living room and went to find Faye and Byron to let them know that they were ready to leave, the blonde hearing voices in the basement and following them down below. The door was half ajar and she was about to push it open when she caught part of the conversation, the blonde hesitating on the other side of the door, hand inches from the wood.
"So, when do you want to tell her?" Byron asked, clearing his throat. "Because I think we should do it soon."
"Tell her what?" Faye wanted to know. "That we're holding hands now?"
"We're doing more than just holding hands."
"Byron Moore." Faye's voice was teasing. "You're blushing!"
"I'm not blushing," he mumbled, sounding like he was seriously blushing.
Faye chuckled, the sound fond. "What am I going to do with you, Mr Moore?"
"This whole hugging me thing is just a ploy to make me do whatever you want me to do, isn't it?" Byron sounded grumpy.
There was the sound of a kiss. "Now what would ever give you that idea?"
"My uncle told me I'd be unable to handle you." And yet Byron sounded far less grumpy now than he had a second ago. "That you'd have me wrapped around your pinky before I could even blink."
"Your uncle is a shrewd man," Faye replied, apparently not at all insulted by this evaluation of her character. "But what he doesn't seem to get is that you don't 'handle' a girl like me, I do all the handling." There was a soft chuckle. "Not that I've heard any complaints from you so far about my 'handling'."
Byron gave an embarrassed little chuckle. "Nope. Not going to hear any complaints from me."
Chloe blushed scarlet as she pushed the door open, finding Faye straddling her baby brother on the bed. "Uh, sorry to interrupt, but if I had to hear any more of that I'd be traumatized."
Both Faye and Byron went red as they pulled away from each other with dark blushes and hisses, each hurrying to opposite sides of the bed.
"Uhm." Byron cleared his throat. "That isn't what it, uh, looks like."
"Unless it looks like I was taking advantage of your baby bro." Faye nibbled on her bottom lip. "'Cause then it would be what it looked like."
Byron frowned at Faye. "I could be the one taking advantage of you, you know."
Faye snorted. "Yeah… I doubt that."
He narrowed his eyes at her. "And why's that?"
She raised her eyebrow and opened her mouth before closing it. "We won't discuss all the ways I've been leading you astray in front of our Mama Bear."
"Yes, please don't." Chloe would be grateful for those details to be kept to them, the girl staring between Faye and Byron. "So, you two?"
Byron cleared his throat as he nodded. "Should I, uh, be asking you for permission or something? Because I haven't ever dated someone before and in some of the movies I've watched, the guy asks the girl's guardians for permission to date her."
"We're dating?" Faye's eyes widened.
"We're not?" Byron's did as well before he frowned. "You don't want to or something?"
"It's not that, it's just that we've never actually, uh, said we were." Faye pulled a dark strand behind her ear awkwardly. "In my experience, guys get nervous when girls put labels."
"I like labels," Byron replied rapidly before clearing his throat and trying for a more casual approach. "I mean, uhm, I wouldn't mind it if you wouldn't mind it."
"I wouldn't mind it." Faye gazed away.
Chloe looked between them, biting down on her bottom lip in amusement. "Well, now that we all know neither of you would mind dating, I now give both of you my blessing to date the other, and now pronounce you in a relationship." She smirked at them, knowing this would be quite the interesting relationship and she would have to keep an eye on it. "Now, if you two would kindly join us, we're about to go to the Bleeding Caves."
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By the time Chloe and the others arrived in the Bleeding Caves, Lucas had arrived as well. Cassie didn't know what to think about Jason being the halfling Dragon, but she could see that the news had hit Chloe hard, especially since the blonde couldn't perform the spell that would reveal whether or not the Dragon was under Darkseid's power. The Wisdom of the Ages hadn't appeared to Chloe when she'd called and wouldn't appear for anyone else either. Cassie believed it had something to do with their displeasure at Chloe's momentary lack of magic coupled with the fact that Diana and Greg had apparently insulted the Wisdoms when they'd been there earlier. Either way, Jason's test of fidelity would have to wait.
That added tension to a group that was already tense. There was especially tension between Jason and Zod, and Cassie couldn't help but wonder if it was a Dragon thing.
The group consisted of Chloe, Whitney, Zod, Jason, Adam, Greg, Cassie, Zatanna, Faye, Byron, Mikhail, Lucas and Diana. They'd stood under the Balcoin Symbol in the main chamber and while Chloe herself mightn't be able to use any magic, the caves had tapped into her need and sent the group to the Crystal Caves the girl had told them about.
The place was beautiful, the power immense, leaving Cassie in awe as she gazed around her.
"John!" Chloe yelled as she stepped forwards. "Where are you?"
Suddenly, something flickered in front of her before John appeared in full form, fully manifested before the Firstborn. "It has been a while."
Cassie had known she'd see him, knew that he was only an Echo, and still it was a shock to see the man she'd killed, her father, standing there. A hand came down on her shoulder and caused her to jump.
Greg frowned as he looked down at her, eyes narrowed, voice low. "Are you okay?"
Cassie licked her lips and nodded, voice lowered as well. "Yeah. It's just a really big shock to see him again after everything that happened."
"I can imagine." His gaze turned towards where Chloe and John Balcoin's Echo were speaking.
Chloe moved towards the Echo. "Can anyone else other than me perform the spell to reveal someone's hidden affiliations?"
The Echo eyed the group before turning his gaze to her. "You don't trust a member of the group or the group as a whole?"
She merely raised her chin. "I want someone to go through the testing and I can't perform the spell myself because I can't use my magic."
The Echo frowned at that but didn't question. "Name your Circle to me."
Chloe blinked, obviously surprised by that. "Uhm, most of them haven't been officially inducted into the Circle, but, um, Faye Chamberlain-"
"No." the Echo shook his head. "Name your Circle."
Cassie didn't understand.
Chloe must have because her eyes widened. "Darkseid Circle: Sanguine, Prophet, Cyclops and, uh, Bloodbound?" She took in a deep breath. "Balcoin Circle: Gemini, Hand, and Eye of Ra."
Oh. That was what he'd meant.
The Echo weighed his options before he turned to eye the group. "Who is the Gemini?"
Adam stepped forwards and raised his hand a little as he cleared his throat. "That would be me."
"Your magic is one with hers," the Echo declared. "You are the only one who could perform the spell other than her."
Adam nodded as he turned to Chloe. "What's the spell?"
"Aperio abscondita vinculum," Chloe responded.
Taking in a deep breath, Adam moved towards Jason and outstretched his hand with the Gemini symbol on it. "Aperio abscondita vinculum."
Light exploded from Jason's forehead, rapidly forming the circle with a dot in the middle that she'd seen previously, before it merged into a differently symbol, a more complex one with three interconnected diamonds and a circle.
Cassie frowned as she stepped closer, trying to get a closer look.
The light disappeared rapidly, as did the symbol.
"What – what was that?" Lucas asked, breaking the silence. "Neither of those symbols were an Omega."
"The first was the Teague symbol." Chloe eyed Jason in confusion. "I don't know what the second one was though."
Zod let out a dark sigh. "It was the symbol of the House of Ur. It is the family his Dragon magic belongs to."
Whitney nodded his agreement. "You have the same symbol on your back, Chlo. It's right next to Zod's."
"What?" Chloe asked, eyes widened, hand going to her back.
"So, this is a good thing." Faye looked between them. "Means we got another Dragon who's on our side. Glass is half full for once."
Chloe didn't seem able to look at Jason though, the girl instead turning to the Echo. "What do you know about the Stones of Power?"
Cassie could see the Echo pause as it eyed her sister.
"John Balcoin was searching for them," the Echo finally announced after a moment. "He'd found references to them in a letter Vika Balcoin wrote, in which she spoke of their immense powers and how they were tied to Rao's plan somehow."
Mikhail's eyes widened as he stepped forwards. "Tied in how?"
"John did not know, but if they were important, he wanted them before Rao could get them back." The Echo turned his gaze towards Mikhail.
"Get them back?" Zatanna blinked.
The Echo turned to her. "According to Vika's letter, she had stolen them from her husband and hidden them away where he could not get them."
"Where?" Adam pressed.
"The letter did not specify where," the Echo admitted. "But in it, Vika swore to sacrifice everything to right the wrong she'd committed by letting Rao Darkseid free into this world, no matter what it took or how dark a crevice she had to dig to hid it in to make sure that he would never be able to find it, even if by some 'accursed chance' Rao managed to make it back to this dimension." The Echo paused. "She noted that 'even should he find their resting place, my desire will eternally keep him from them'."
Cassie wondered what about that wording nagged at the corner of her mind.
"The Genesis Caves…" Chloe's voice whispered.
Cassie looked up in surprise.
"John Balcoin came to the same conclusion," the Echo agreed. "He believed that Vika Balcoin hid the Stones of Power somewhere within the Genesis Caves and before her death, willed the Caves to prevent anyone from taking them. It was another reason why he wished to unite the Balcoins into a Circle. Once that was done, he wanted to head for the Genesis Caves and retrieve the Stones of Power for himself."
"If that's so, then he must have had a general idea of where the Genesis Caves were." Greg narrowed his eyes on the Echo, arms folded over his chest.
"He did not have to discover the location of the caves as he found someone who already had." The Echo turned his gaze on Chloe. "Your mother has known the location of the Genesis Caves for years. She has been there multiple times in the past during her obsessive foray into the Balcoin history. John could never discover the exact location himself, but he knew that, when the time was right, he could use her knowledge to his benefit and… convince… her to show him where the entrance to the Genesis Caves is located."
Cassie shook her head, unable to believe it. "So she really does always know more than she's telling, huh?"
"I guess I'm finally going to meet your mom." Byron turned to Chloe.
Chloe took in a deep breath, a muscle ticking in her cheek. "Yeah, you'll get to meet mommy dearest."
Cassie felt really bad for Chloe in that moment. Having had an amazing relationship with her own mother, she couldn't imagine having this sort of relationship. It seemed so twisted and manipulative. It seemed wrong. She felt sorry that her oldest sister would never know what a real mother/daughter relationship would be like. It really didn't seem fair.
But Chloe was tougher than nails, the girl already giving them a smile and motioning them forwards. "Come on, it's time to visit the Kents."