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 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.
Lex could feel his magic slowly slipping away little by little, and with it his chance of avenging the deaths of his family. The Luthors mightn't have been the loving sort of bloodkin, but they'd still been his blood, and that meant something to him. 'Family' had obviously meant something to the girl weeping against the phantom (?) of Vika Balcoin as well, and while Lex didn't exactly understand much of what was going on, he understood enough to get that she was at the epicenter of this whole thing.
"Not that this isn't touching," Rao turned towards the witches and Dragons, his gaze on the Dragons. "But I only need John and Pete alive." His gaze went to Byron curiously. "And maybe him."
The crying girl looked up immediately. "What?"
Rao ignored her as he raised his hand towards Byron, hissing words in Draconian, and immediately the change could be seen upon Byron Balcoin as he fell to the ground with a cry. His eyes bled black as his muscles bulged, the veins in his face and arms pulsating as he screamed in pain.
"Byron!" Diana screamed.
"What are you doing to him?" Cassie's eyes widened.
Chloe stood and shook her head, her eyes haunted and then dark and accusing as they turned on John. "You didn't cure him."
"I don't know who you are," John glared at her. "But I don't-."
"Don't start with your bullshit, father!" She snapped.
Lex saw the darkness flash through Rao's eyes as that title passed her lips.
"Mikhail was right, you wouldn't cure him because of how useful he is in this state," Chloe whispered.
Lex saw Diana's eyes widened, as if she recognized those words.
"That's a lie," John snapped as he struggled against the Dragon holding him. "There is no cure for the Balcoin-madness."
Chloe's gaze lowered on Byron as he writhed on the ground in agony, before her orbs rose to John. "There is, and you know it."
Lex's gaze went to John, and in those dark orbs he could see the truth: there was a cure to Byron's condition.
Suddenly Byron stopped screaming. For a moment he was still, almost deathly so, and then he stood and looked straight at them. His eyes had bled black, his veins were visibly darkened against his paled skin, and his features had sharpened.
Rao smirked as he turned to the youngest Balcoin male and then motioned towards Diana with his chin. "Kill her."
Chloe's eyes widened. "No. Byron, no!"
Byron ignored her as he moved towards Diana, who was struggling in vain against the Dragons who held her.
"You've got to fight his control, Byron!" Chloe's eyes were green wells of pure desperation. "Please! You've got to fight it!"
"He can't. He doesn't even want to." Rao smiled as he watched the youngest Balcoin move towards his dark haired sister. "He's mine now."
As if to prove that, the Omega symbol flashed damningly on Byron's forehead.
"Do something!" Chloe turned to Vika. "Whitney…"
Lex frowned, confused.
"I am trying…" Vika whispered, a bead of sweat trailing down the side of her pale face, which was scrunched in pain from the obvious effort she was putting into whatever it was she was trying to do. The witch brought her hand up to her temple as she shook her head before her brown gaze shifted towards Rao. "He has me cut off from the caves, I can't access them or their powers."
"What?" Chloe's eyes widened in horror. "How is that even possible?"
"Because," Rao turned his smile on them, arms folded over his chest. "My magic made all of this possible, made her magic possible, and thus these caves were created thanks to me. She can do nothing against me. The last time she only managed to open a rift while I was caught off-guard and push me through, closing it before I could get through again. Otherwise, she's as powerless as a mortal against me."
Vika lay downcast on the cave floor.
Chloe ignored her plight and instead hurried towards Byron. "Please, Byron, you have to stop this."
He didn't even acknowledge her presence.
Chloe moved to try and stop him physically but her hands went through him.
"You are just a subconscious, Chloe. You're not a ghost." Vika whispered brokenly from the floor. "Your personality, your memories, are ingrained into the caves, that's what you are right now. You're not tangible. You can't interact with them physically. You are like… I believe Moira called it a hologram."
"Then how could I interact with you-touch you?"
"Because she's linked herself to the caves, it's what's kept her so well preserved for a lady of her age." Rao smirked as he went to kneel in front of Vika and grab her chin, forcing her gaze up to meet his. "Was it worth it?"
Lex realized then and there that there was still some feelings between those two, at least on Rao's part, because one couldn't hate someone that much to so enjoy watching the other suffer, if a part of them didn't still care.
"Byron, please!" Chloe was by Byron once more, begging, pleading.
"Byron," Diana stared up into her brother's inky eyes. "By-it's me."
"I know," he whispered before his lips pulled in a smirk.
Diana took in a stuttered breath as her gaze went from Byron to Chloe desperately. "You need to know that there's someone else working in the background here. I don't know who it is, but that person is the one who led you in the other reality to get to the caves, and I think there's a chance to get that other, better reality back."
Lex's eyes widened.
So did Chloe's as she stepped forwards. "What? How? Are you sure?"
"I don't know how I know this-I just feel it," Diana whispered, incredibly calm in the face of death, determination on her every feature. "This person said you were better off with us, so there has to be a way for-."
"Now!" Rao growled.
Byron's hands reached forwards and jerked Diana's head hard at an awkward angle, her neck breaking echoing loudly throughout the cavern moments before her lifeless body hit the ground.
Chloe's eyes widened in blank horror as she stared down at Diana's body.
"I'm going to KILL you!" Cassie screamed at Rao.
Mikhail's whole body shook.
John stared with narrowed eyes at Chloe.
So did Lex.
Could there be a better reality? And could this girl be the key to getting there?
"Adam." Chloe's voice was a mere whisper as she wiped away a lone tear. "Adam Tentagel, I know you can hear me."
John's face was pale, horrified. "How do you know that name?"
Her greens were fierce as they landed on him, and Lex was shocked to see John Balcoin, ever strong and proud, take a couple of steps back in apparent fear. "Silence." She took in a deep breath. "Adam, I know you're still here, and I know that you know what it means that magic is dying." She looked around, as if trying to see someone who wasn't there. "Adam, I'm so sorry, I should have fought, I didn't even think about what would happen to you if I wasn't born. I'm so sorry. I didn't think about you or Byron. Or anyone but myself. I was selfish. I thought about not having to fight in a war that I didn't want to fight in, and lead witches when I'm only seventeen." Another stray tear made its way down her cheek and she brushed it away angrily. "I told myself at the time that the reason I didn't fight when my life was being threatened was because it didn't make any sense. My magic wasn't working, and I was alone with my mother and Vika, it would make no difference if I fought or not, so why fight?" Her face broke as her gaze darted in Pete's and Diana's direction before it hurried away. "I was wrong. I was so wrong!"
"Who are you talking to?" Rao narrowed his eyes.
"She's gone mad," one of the Dragons hissed to the others.
General Zod narrowed his eyes as he began looking around the cavern discreetly.
"I had every reason to fight but I chose not to, I chose the easy way out, I was just filled with self-pity and self-loathing and was looking for a chance to not have to be the one all the responsibility fell upon." Chloe licked her lips. "Zod was fighting for me, he was trying desperately to get inside the cavern they'd trapped me in, to save me. I could have stalled, I could have at least tried to give him time to get to me, but I didn't."
General Zod turned towards her with wide eyes.
"I didn't think about the fact that if I wasn't born Byron mightn't get cured, or you wouldn't be freed from my father's curse." Chloe took in a stuttered breath. "I didn't fight for you, Adam, and I have no rightto ask you to fight for me, but if Diana's right, if there's a chance that we can get back to the other reality somehow, I'll make this right, I promise." She clenched her fists and turned towards Rao, eyes narrowed in fury. "In the other reality, I'll make you wish Pete was your Firstborn you. He's too good a person to do what I'll do to you."
He smiled at her. "Now that is a Firstborn I can be proud of."
Lex narrowed his eyes and wondered why he felt his unease growing, but he didn't have the time to think on it because out of the corner of his eye he could see one of the Dragons' sword being stealthily slipped out of its sheathe by unseen hands. Whoever was doing this was using the distraction of Chloe and Rao's fight to his advantage, and Lex couldn't help but feel that this was "Adam Tentagel's" doing. Lex could remember the name. It was the "Missing Tentagel", one of the greatest mysteries in the magical community, and if Chloe could be trusted, apparently the mystery was somehow connected to John Balcoin and a curse.
"Byron, kill your other sister." Rao's gaze remained on Chloe's face. "Slower, this time."
Cassie struggled against her captors. "You son of a bitch!"
"Don't do this!" Chloe snarled.
Byron sneered as he drew closer, cracking his knuckles.
Suddenly a sword was thrusted through the back of the Dragon holding Mikhail, piercing the humanoid's heart.
Mikhail stumbled away and raised his Balcoin-symbol scarred palm towards his brother. "Fall and stay down."
Confusion flittered over Byron's features as he tripped on air and fell to the ground.
John's eyes widened as he turned to his second eldest son. "You have your mother's Gift. Why didn't you say anything?"
Mikhail didn't answer, face contorting in obvious pain as he kept his palm towards Byron. "Stay down, Byron!"
Lex felt metal touch his hand, the sword being brought to him in the commotion, and he didn't ask questions, merely elbowed himself free and slammed the blade deep into Nam-Ek's throat, staring deep into those confused eyes. "That was for my sister."
He wasn't exactly sure how it happened, but chaos broke out around then, witches and Dragons fighting, but the Dragons credo had alway been "We're Superior" and the witches were losing their magic.
Cassie's scream echoed throughout the cavern, Aethyr's clawed hand sticking right through her body. The second the humanoid yanked her arm out, the blonde's confused and pained blue eyes rolled in the back of her head and she collapsed on the ground.
Byron's body twitched with the force he was using as he fought his brother's magic, the boy rising from the floor as he took a forced step towards Mikhail, and then another.
Mikhail brought a hand to his temple, pain more and more obvious on his face. "Go blind."
Byron's eyes widened as he looked around him but he advanced, although not directly at Mikhail now.
Blood began to run down Mikhail's nostrils.
"Kill him, Mikhail!" John snapped from where he'd been subdued by two Dragons and was being dragged towards where Pete's unconscious form was. "He's Rao's now. He's not your brother anymore. You have to kill him!"
"NO!" Chloe screamed in horror. "He's still your brother!" She hurried over to Mikhail, eyes wide in terror. "And in this state it'll kill you too." She reached out to touch Mikhail's hair, her hand passing through him, her eyes filling in tears. "Please!"
"Do it now! Sacrifices have to be made!" John ordered as Byron stumbled closer and closer. "It's an order!"
Mikhail's gaze went to John, then to Byron, who was nearly upon him, and then his gaze went to Chloe, to her tear-filled, scared eyes. "In this other reality… am I in your Circle or in dads?"
Something strange passed over her face. "John's dead in the other reality."
John's eyes widened at that news.
Mikhail stared at her in confusion. "But I'm not in your Circle?"
She hesitated before she shook her head.
"Why not?" Mikhail whispered softly. "Am I not worthy enough? Even with this Gift?"
Chloe gave an ugly laugh, tears filling her eyes. "It's because of this 'Gift' that I'm terrified of the thought of you in my Circle."
He stared at her in shock. "What?"
"I'm terrified, Mikhail," Chloe whispered, tears in her eyes, "because if you become a part of my Circle I know that you'll start using this magic to help me, despite the fact that I don't want you to. We were attacked, in this other reality, and you wanted to 'prove' yourself to me, so you used this ability, and you hurt yourself trying to 'prove' to me that you were 'worthy' of my Circle." A stray tear fell down her pale cheek as her features twisted, the girl obviously barely keeping from breaking out into a sob. "No Circle is worth you getting hurt over, Mikhail! You're worth a thousand Circles to me, Matriarchal or not. I'm sorry if that meant in the other reality you'd never became a part of my Circle because I subconsciously was too scared you'd die. I'd prefer having you as my brother, and having you forever, than having your Gift for a month." She was barely holding it together as her voice cracked. "I'm so sorry for everything."
Mikhail stared at her, and Lex saw a great awe and fascination on the boy's face that he'd never seen before, a single tear escaping Mikhail's eyes as he turned his gaze on Byron, who was drawing nearer and nearer. "Find a way to bring back this other reality, Sister." He cleared his throat. "I do not remember it, but the fact that I actually used this supposed Gift of mine, which I have always considered a Curse, to try and win your favor instead of hiding it as I have in this reality… I must've loved you dearly." He gave her a little crooked smile. "So give me a chance to join your Circle once we get back, and trust me. And I say "once" because I do what I am about to do having faith in you, and having faith that you'll find a way back... That none of this will have been in vain." And with that he narrowed his eyes on Byron. "Your heart is going to stop beating now."
"NO!" Chloe screamed as she took a step forwards.
Byron grabbed his chest, eyes wide in agony as he screamed out.
Suddenly Mikhail did so as well, mirroring Byron's actions as he fell to the ground the same time his younger brother did.
Lex watched Chloe kneel between both brothers, her hands on the ground next to theirs, staring down into their faces in traumatized horror until they were both gone.
The last thing he saw, before someone ripped off his head, was her screaming in sorrow.