Title: The New Circle
Fandoms: Smallville/Secret Circle
Characters: Chloe Sullivan, Whitney Fordman, Major Dru-Zod, Greg Arkin, Cassie Blake, Diana Meade, Mikhail Balcoin, Lucas Dunleavy, Faye Chamberlain/Byron Moore, Adam Knight, Zatanna Zatara, Bart Allen, Clark Kent, Pete Ross, Jor-El, Vika Balcoin, Van McNulty...
Disclaimer: 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.
"They're called dornhounds," Chloe whispered as she glanced out of the window at the panther-like creatures aimlessly walking the streets of Smallville. "Or, well, their Apokalips version is called that anyway."
"Dornhounds," Vika Balcoin repeated the name softly as she too glanced out of the window. She'd been shocked when Chloe had sought her out, especially alone, but she'd been relieved. She knew that she didn't matter in this world anymore, that her say meant nothing, but with every glimpse of the girl she'd managed to get she'd grown more and more worried. Maybe it was guilt that she'd planned, with Chloe's mother, to kill her. Maybe it was the fact that she'd gone against her family, had slain her own family, trying to stop something she'd never actually had the power to. All Vika knew was that she'd done so much wrong, and she was desperate to finally do something right - to actually help. "And they materialized on their own? Without you visualizing them?"
"I've never seen anything like them in my life, not even when I was over there," Chloe responded with a shake of her head. "I didn't do this on purpose."
"You are not creating the foliage on purpose either," Vika muttered softly to herself as she went to sit down. Everything the blonde had told her swirled in her head dizzily. "Whitney's theory is that you're a vessel for certain Apokalips lifeforms?" When Chloe nodded Vika frowned. "It would seem believable considering what has been happening." She sighed and looked at the young Balcoin and Darkseid Matriarch, at her husband's daughter, at the girl who held Vika's daughter's essence inside of her. Her eyes widened. Maybe that was it! Maybe that was the reason why Vika had been unable to keep from worrying about her! Magic was essence - magic was what made Chloe Rao's daughter, and now she contained Trista's magic, her life. If Rao's magic made Chloe his daughter, Trista's magic ( a mixture of Rao's and Vika's) made Chloe Vika's daughter in a sense as well!
She was blown by this revelation, shocked. Should the magic community discover that Chloe housed Trista's magic, they'd see Vika just as much of a mother as Moira had been - just as they'd viewed Rao just as much a father as John Balcoin. The woman was weakened by this revelation as emotion clogged her throat. She had a daughter.
"I don't know." Chloe returned to sit in front of her. "It's why I came to see you."
Vika looked up at her and frowned darker. She couldn't think about herself - couldn't let these new thoughts distract her. She was not important. This poor child was. She had so much responsibility. So much on her tiny shoulders. "You do not seem to have slept in a year."
"I feel that way," Chloe admitted. "At least the Bleeding Caves proved that none of the kids were marked by my father. That's one less thing to worry about."
Vika observed her and fought the urge to touch her shoulder. "When is your brother's trial?"
Visibly uncomfortable with the change in topic, Chloe glanced away. "Each glimpse tires Adam out, it'll probably be a couple of days before he's strong enough to perform Pete's trial."
"He's your Doppelganger," Vika declared. "You could easily recharge him." When Chloe looked away once moew she nodded in understanding. "You're not certain of your brother's innocence."
"I gave into that torture, Vika. I wouldn't blame him if he did too." Chloe clenched her hands on her knees. "I don't care if he did."
Vika's heart went out to the child. During the time she'd reintegrated herself into this world she'd learnt quite a lot about what the people around her thought of Chloe.
The humans were afraid of her, and yet they were more afraid of being without her. Many had turned to Dabbling to see if they could protect themselves on their own, and the scent of Dabbler reeked this place, but it'd been dwindling the last couple of weeks. Vika had planned on talking to Chloe about the Dabbler situation yet had instead turned to Martha Kent. The woman was strong and smart and held the respect of people. She was also loyal to Chloe and understood that Vika felt Chloe already had too much on her hands. If they could stop the problem before it actually became a problem, it would give the blonde one less thing to worry about at night. It helped that the members of the VI were working on the humans as well. Sure, she knew that their undying loyalty to Chloe unnerved many, but it also intrigued others. More and more, Vika was hearing positive things from the humans, and the Dabbling was lessening drastically.
The witches thought Chloe was their savior, and they were the ones Vika was most annoyed with. They rallied behind Chloe, using her like a shield. They were terrified, they understood how quickly and easily they'd been brought down. Most of the witches in the community weren't from Smallville, they'd been refugees who'd had to run from Rao's persecution and public executions. They knew that very few could manage to live outside of Smallville. They knew that Chloe's barriers were the only thing keeping the town from becoming the craters that so many of the others towns and cities had become. They were the most faithful, yes, but they were also the most fanatic. One way or the other, Vika felt they needed to be kept a closer eye on. She realized she wasn't the only one who felt that way though. Greg Arkin had spies within the various groups of witches who reported to him. She'd been both shocked and impressed when she'd accidentally overheard one of those spies informing the Cyclops of a certain coven's movements.
Lastly, the dragons weren't that many, but you didn't need many dragons to have a problem, and so far there were three. She trusted none. One was apparently the one Rao had wanted for Chloe. The other was the Gatekeeper. And the other? Dax-Ur? She wasn't sure what he was, but he wasn't what he appeared. There were layers upon layers of intrigue with that one, and she didn't trust one of them. But then she had to admit, Major Dru-Zod had shown something in that cave. When she'd been about to plunge that dagger in Chloe's heart, Vika had seen the way the cave walls had trembled under the assault. He'd no doubt hurt himself tremendously trying to get to her, to protect Chloe, and because of that and that alone she couldn't view him in the same light she did the others.
"I'm enthralling Nell Potter." Chloe finally broke the silence, a deeply disturbed expression on her face.
Ah. So that was the woman's punishment for her behavior. "I am surprised the Four were so lenient on her."
"She was right, I suppose." Chloe shrugged. "I can use her, just not the way she was."
Spoken like a true Darkseid. Vika chuckled softly as she shook her head. "You sound like your father."
Chloe looked up, stricken.
"I did not mean that in a bad way, I apologize." Vika could've slapped herself, of course the girl would've taken it the wrong way! "You did not know Rao how he used to be. He was - he is a stranger now. Or maybe the man I fell in love with never truly existed." She sighed. "I do not think I will ever know."
Chloe licked her lips. "What's it like? Mating with a dragon?"
The question caught Vika by surprise and she flushed. In her days women would never speak of such things, and yet times had changed, and she realized that the girl had none but herself to ask these questions to. "It feels wild, feral, like one has been captured by a vicious monster."
Chloe's eyes widened. "That sounds horrible."
Vika laughed softly and shook her head. "On the contrary. I quite enjoyed my marriage bed." She observed the thoughtful way Chloe took that in. "Are you considering the Major, then? Or the Half-breed?"
Chloe flushed and gazed down at her hands. "No, I just—Dru-Zod is always going on and on and on about our future children. It's hard to hear that all the time and notwonder how exactly those children would come about." She looked at Vika plaintively. "It's not like I don't want to have children someday." Her expression turned wry. "Although, I guess my brothers and sisters are my kids right now."
She might've been joking, but Vika thought it was quite true. The girl was barely a woman herself, and yet she had so many of her siblings to mother while at the same time keep a whole town alive. "While this is not something that women in my time would say to each other, let me tell you something that should be told." She waited until Chloe had moved in closer, as if sensing that this was something that shouldn't be said too loud. "When one is in a position such as yourself, in which you have nothing but problems and stress and difficulty piling on every side, and you feel so tight you could explode…" she gazed into the blonde's green eyes. "Times are different now than they were when I ruled. It is not a sin to seek release."
Chloe stared at her in utter confusion, and then she went scarlet. "I—I don't—I haven't—I wouldn't—I have a family—I—!" She covered her face and groaned, her shoulders slumped. "There's no one I can 'seek release' with who it wouldn't become complicated with."
Vika leaned forwards and waited for her to continue.
Chloe took in a deep breath. "If I - with Zod - he'd basically think I'm saying yeah, let's mate and have six hundred tadpoles - or whatever." She groaned. "Whitney… I'm not sure how much this Sanguine thing is affecting him. What if it's just because I'm his soul? I can't do that to him." She let out a groan. "Jason is kind of the same thing. He and I were made to procreate with each other so we'll never be able to trust that what we feel. We'll never be able to be with each other because of it. We'd never be happy. We'd always doubt." She hesitated. "And Lex… I don't know." She leaned back and hugged her chest. "My enthrallment doesn't work on him, and his life-draining ability doesn't work on me either. And we don't love each other so it wouldn't be complicated… but I don't trust him enough to sleep with him."
"What about the Vigilante Initiative? You could trust them, and they are all highly attractive," Vika pointed out, somewhat embarrassed at this conversation and yet pushing herself because the girl needed this. It was plain to see that if something didn't happen soon, Chloe would have a nervous break down. She was just experiencing far too much stress with no way of truly relieving it.
"Again, there's the issue of consent," Chloe muttered. "Anyone whose mind I've gone into - they're off the table."
Vika cleared her throat, highly embarrassed. "Then what about one of the females of your Circle? There is the Chamberlain girl and your Bloodbound."
Chloe went scarlet red. "Faye?" She snickered. "Nononononono. And again, consent, when it comes to Zatanna. And… I like guys."
Vika nodded, knowing her own face was scarlet yet trying to work through it. "What of the head of the VI?"
Chloe's eyes widened. "Jake?"
She nodded. "He is handsome."
Chloe eyed the woman thoughtfully. "Yeah, and nice. When I switched with Faye he knew right away and treated me great." She sighed and leaned back in the chair. "But he's not my type."
"What is your type, then?" Vika found this whole conversation fascinating.
"I—I don't—I don't know." Chloe sighed and shook her head. "Lex's brain. Zod's voice. Whitney's…Whitney. I don't know."
Vika smiled at the younger girl. "If you could choose one of them without any sort of issue, without problems of consent, or trust, or declarations of matehood… Who would you choose for your wedding bed?"
And at that moment, Chloe looked up at her with the expression of a lost and vulnerable child. "I don't know." She let out a deep breath, voice wavering. "Zod's a great choice. I mean, he's strong, he's fit, and that whole feral monster thing you just mentioned has really intrigued me. He's culturally awkward and kind of adorable despite the fact that he's a total asshole most of the time. He fought for me when—he nearly brought the cave wall down and there's no way I'll ever forget that." She jumped up from her seat. "But Whitney and I have been Whitney and I for so long. We're—before the Circle was a Circle, it was a Line. And that line? It was us." She licked her lips. "He awoke my magic. He left Nell's Circle because of how she treated me. He was the first person to ever swear loyalty to me, and he's the first person I ever swore loyalty to." She laughed shakily. "He was there when I didn't have anyone. He's been there for so long I don't know what I'd do if he wasn't around any longer." She collapsed onto the chair once more, voice trembling. "I don't think I've ever talked about this with anyone." She rubbed at her eyes, unable to look at Vika. "I don't even know why I'm telling you."
Vika finally let herself reach over and grab Chloe's hand, squeezing it tightly, seeing how desperately the girl was trying to keep from crying.
Chloe tried to smile but it was watery.
"You didn't mention Alexander Luthor." When she saw Chloe's confusion, Vika explained. "When I asked you who you would pick if you didn't have any issues to deal with, you still never mentioned him."
Chloe nodded slowly as she licked her lips. "Yeah… I hadn't realized that."
"It's probably for the best," Vika declared. "Dragons are territorial, and the Major has marked a claim on you. I do not know what he would do if another male touched you."
Chloe groaned and leaned further in her seat. "Stupid Zod."
Vika chuckled. "Dragons are a complicated breed."
"I don't get them." Chloe looked up. "Zod and Jason were at each other's throats all the time, but Zod and Whitney? They're having this whole epic bromance and are totally ganging up on me! Zod can smell things, he knows I don't have platonic feelings for Whitney. So why isn't he at Whitney's throat?"
Vika eyed her silently for a moment. "Because, Whitney Fordman is your Sanguine. That is a very rare and highly respected position for Dragons. Sanguines are seen as part of the Dragon they are bonded to, their soul is a Dragon. I know you worry about consent, and in many of the cases you mention it makes sense, but not in the Sanguine's case. A Sanguine can only be born when a Dragon and a non-Dragon form a bond so great, they are one. He couldn't be your Sanguine if he didn't want it."
Chloe bit her bottom lip, a soft blush tinting her cheeks. "So you're saying Zod wouldn't mind if I slept with Whitney because he's my Sanguine?"
Vika felt herself going bright red. "I am sure he would not be happy unless he were also partaking." And then she realized what she'd just said and went purple in mortification.
Chloe was bright red as well. "That… uh…" She just remained red and stayed there, seated in silence.
Vika decided they both needed tea, and with that she escaped to the kitchen.
"She said what?" The Sanguine looked like he was about to faint.
Zod thought it both highly amusing and confusing. When Whitney had come to him with news that Chloe had gone to see Vika Balcoin, he'd realized that the boy was worried about her being alone with the woman who had once killed her. He'd scoffed at the thought of the hag being able to do anything to Chloe now, but had agreed to go along and keep an ear open for the conversation 'in case Chloe needed help'. He hadn't believed she would, but he'd been curious as to what the blonde could want with the Balcoin hag. As he'd recounted to Whitney the conversation word by word, he'd grown somewhat distracted and highly amused by the way the Sanguine had gone from slightly pink to completely puce. "I said that Rao's mate has suggested she rut with both of us."
The Sanguine's eyes were wide, his heart raced, and there was a hint of fear in his scent. "WHAT?"
Zod didn't quite understand the reaction. "Why are you so horrified? I can smell things. I know that you are ready to rut as well."
The Sanguine glared at him. "Do not smell me!"
He raised an eyebrow. "It is unintentional. But when she is around your scent spikes too strongly to block out."
"Oh gods, kill me now." Whitney covered his face with his hands. He seemed embarrassed. "I will not talk about this with you!"
"Who else is more appropriate than I?" Zod wanted to know. He'd never get mortals and their embarrassment over the most trivial and basic of things, such as reproduction, or rutting. "We are the two she cannot decide between."
Whitney glared at him. "How are you not bothered by this? You're the one who keeps going about saying 'my mate' this and 'my female' that and 'the mother of my future hatchlings' blah blah blah! How are you not bothered by this?"
Ah. He understood the Sanguine's issue now. He, of course, was not a Dragon and did not understand many things. As such, Zod was benevolent and took pity. "She is not my wife, Sanguine. We both know that I am Melded to her, not Married." He wondered how to express this in a way that the Sanguine would understand. "Melding was made so that in times of a shortage males would not kill each other due to their territorial natures and could… share." He hesitated. "Have you ever heard of a breeding ball?"
"Stop talking!" Whitney's voice squeaked as he threw his hands in the air and began to storm away. "I don't want to hear this!"
"It is the best way to ensure that the female's eggs are fertilized by multiple parties and her hatchlings further more than one important bloodline at risk of extinction."
Whitney suddenly froze, and all of his embarrassment disappeared into dread as he turned towards Zod. "What did you just say?"
Zod tilted his head to the side. The Sanguine was sharp, not just for a human. While Zod had at first accepted him due to his connection with Chloe, he'd grown to see that this witch with a Dragon's soul could see things that they themselves did not. He was incredibly intuitive. "Which part caused this reaction? The part where I agree we should rut her, or the part regarding the breeding ball?" He made a face. "Because to be honest, the breeding ball only works while you are in full Dragon form, and while I know that as Sanguine your form is fluid, I do not think that—."
"Coats, Basqat and Zor…" Whitney's eyes narrowed. "Dax-Ur mentioned their bloodlines. He said they were all strong and pure."
Zod's eyes widened as the Sanguine's words resonated in him with chilling sense. "Zor-El was the one who Melded us… against Rao's wishes. He destroyed the monogamous Marriage bond with the Half-breed before it could be cemented."
Whitney's eyes widened. "Rao plans for a future in which his bloodline is the only one that rules the earth…"
Zod felt coldness enter him as the truth sunk in. "But the others have a different plan."
"I knew you two were not as dumb as you look," a voice declared, shocking Zod as Dax-Ur emerged from the darkness. How had the Dragon snuck up on them?
"You knew?" The Sanguine glared at him. "And you didn't warn us?"
"I would not have been believed," Dax-Ur replied coolly. "You had to realize it on your own. And I knew that out of all those here, you two would be the ones to figure it out."
"Zor-El is planning a mutiny." Zod narrowed his eyes. "We can use that to our advantage."
"Wait," Whitney cleared his throat. "Does this have to do with why he tried to touch Chloe last night? Why he risked losing his arm?"
Dax-Ur raised an eyebrow. "He is the one who infused the Orb within her. Who knows what else he has done to the girl?"
Silence fell upon Zod and Whitney as they exchanged looks before turning their gazes towards the house, where Chloe and Vika Balcoin sipped tea in embarrassed silence.
Alicia stared at her reflection, unable to believe that the scarring was to a minimum. She'd been assured that all traces of her burnt face would be gone within a couple of days and the skin would be smooth once more. Whitney Fordman, along with the Bleeding Caves, were working wonders on her.
She gazed down at the scale in her hand and sighed, remembering Chloe yanking it off of her own face to give her so she could go through the barrier without getting hurt. She wanted to use it. After the attack the barrier had been on alert. No one could get close to it without someone knowing, and she needed to leave, needed to go see her other siblings.
They had to understand how great it was here. They didn't have to live the way they were living! Harriet had to understand that it wasn't giving up - it was going home. They had family here. Sure, most weren't that welcoming, but Alicia had expected that. They were Balcoins after all. She also had a feeling that if they just stuck it out long enough the others would ease up. She was sure of it. Plus, both Jordan and herself had helped the other night, which she knew meant a lot in her siblings' eyes. One day they'd realize they could trust them, and things would be better.
But even if the other siblings never trusted them fully life here in Smallville was better than out there with Harriet in charge.
Tightening her grip on the scale, Alicia closed her eyes, and with an explosion of green, teleported outside of Smallville.
"How is she?" Melissa asked as she curled deeper into Clark's arms.
"Not good," he sighed as he rested his chin on the crown of her head and pulled her in tighter. "She blames herself and her aunt for everything that's happening. If Pete—I don't know what she'll do."
"But you don't think he actually did it, do you?" Melissa pulled away enough to peer into his face in shock. "I mean, he's her brother."
"I don't know," Clark admitted. "I don't want to think he did. But Lana's right. We were tortured way passed the breaking point."
It hurt her to see him like that. Melissa reached out and pressed a kiss to his cheek. "I'm sure it's not him, Clark. I'm sure they'll find out he's innocent and they'll let him go."
Clark was silent.
She frowned. "What's with that look?"
"I don't want it to be Pete," Clark whispered, expression haunted. "But if it wasn't him… who told Rao?"
"Why are you pouting?" Faye wanted to know as she lay in Byron's bed, half atop his chest. "I don't like you all pouty."
He smiled down at her, if only because she was one of his very few reasons to smile. "That's not what you told me last night."
She gasped in mock scandal as she slapped his chest. "Since when have you gotten so—?"
"Since you," he replied.
Faye chuckled. "I am a good teacher."
He nodded in agreement.
She smiled, single dimple deep, as she trailed her finger against his clavicle. "Stop hedging. Why were you pouting?"
He sighed and stared at her for a moment. "I heard Jordan telling Alicia that when he went to warn Chloe last night, Zod and Whitney were in the bedroom with her."
Faye snorted. "Baby, your sister is not caught in the middle of a hot threesome. She's be way less stressed if she were."
"You sure?" He knew his voice sounded like a whine but couldn't help it.
She laughed at him, having no pity whatsoever. "I'm sure. But even if Voldemort Barbie was banging Major DoucheDragon and Jock Boy, it would be none of your business."
He pouted. "She's my sister."
Faye merely laughed, and it made Byron pout deeper.
Deputy Gary Watts sent the message to Whitney. He hoped that the boy got it before the Town Council acted. Chloe Darkseid-Balcoin needed to know that there was a traitor within the VI.