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.
Zod could hear the screams and sobs all the way from the entrance of the Caves. The Sanguine had brought in the youngest Balcoin's body into the Bleeding Caves, and as soon as the blonde sister had awoken from her near death and discovered what had happened while she was not conscious the mourning had been thick. Zod did not know how Whitney could stay there with the two female Balcoins as they sobbed over their brother's dead body.
The Dragon sighed and leaned hard against the cave wall. While human life meant nothing to him, he could sympathize with the pain the females were suffering. He too had lost family. His wife and son had been taken from him, and it had taken him longer than he liked to admit to mourn, to put their loss behind him and move ever forwards, as was the Dragon way.
He hadn't been as outwardly stoic as Chloe had when she'd walked passed him to join the others in the trial. She'd been calm and collected, she'd looked the picture of emotionless, and yet her scent had stunk of pain and sorrow. Zod hadn't tried to speak to her. He knew that while he would've tried to offer his condolences, this was not his forte. He would mess it up.
She needed to mourn, and he would show his support in the only way he could, he'd let her do so in solitude. A Dragon mourned alone. The least he could do was give her what she needed.
Adam knew that he was supposed to be concentrating on Pete right now, but Chloe's magic was distracting him. It was turbulent like the sea. He could understand what she was going through. He might've only just be reunited with his family, but he'd lost them too, and knew that the loss of a sibling was one that could never be healed, not truly. One learnt how to get through it, to continue on, but one never forgot and one never stopped feeling the pain and loss. Even though Chloe hadn't known Jordan for very long, Adam knew Chloe, and knew that when she opened her heart, she did it completely.
He wanted to make up some excuse, to say he couldn't do this, not now. She needed time to grieve. She shouldn't have to sit there, on her throne, dressed in a blood-covered black gown, face emotionless except for her eyes. Her magic screamed loudly inside of her in a way that she'd never allow herself to actually do, especially not with the other heads of the Four present.
But Chloe was here, she was willing to do this, and Adam wouldn't make that be in vain.
He turned towards Pete and placed his hand on his head, connecting within seconds.
"I think we're being watched," Pete confessed to Lana as she downed the pain medication he'd gotten for her.
"Don't be silly, no one knows we're here," Lana whimpered as she threw herself in bed, hand on her head. "I'm going to try and sleep a bit." She pulled the covers over her and got comfortable.
Pete smiled at her before he moved to peer out through the blinds at the window, unease still curled within.
Adam watched as the world shattered around them only to be reconstructed to reveal them already in Rao's dungeons. He was shocked at how easy it was to connect with the memories he needed. Maybe he was getting a better control of his power, or maybe it was his urgency to get this over and done with so Chloe could be alone so she could mourn the loss of her youngest brother.
"I don't know any of my other siblings," Pete groaned as he spat out blood. "I told you already, I don't know anything! I especially don't know about this Firstborn!"
"You're lying," Granny Goodness tutted as she circled him. "It's not nice to lie."
"It's not nice to torture people!" Pete snapped at her.
She brought her hands to his body, they lit up with heat.
Pete threw his head back and screamed.
"Are you okay?" Greg then growled in disgust. "Stupid question. I'm sorry. Of course you're not okay."
Diana looked up at him in numbness. They'd stayed behind at the border. Most of the others had left, but she'd stayed, unable to move from the spot in horror, in shock, in denial. She hadn't realized until he'd spoken that Greg had stayed behind with her. "I really didn't know him that good, but he was my brother." Diana hugged herself. "He was so young."
There was clear hesitation on Greg's part before he wrapped an arm around her.
She leaned instinctively into his warmth. "What if Pete is found guilty?"
Greg blinked at the rapid change in question. "He won't be."
"But if he is, four Balcoins will have died tonight." Diana turned her wide, tear-filled eyes on him. "I don't think she could handle that."
Greg had no reassuring words to counter that, instead: "I don't think so either."
Pete looked up in terror, like he always did, when they brought Lana back form a session. They didn't share a cell, but they shared a wall, and were able to whisper encouragements to each other. But more and more lately, Lana was being returned unconscious.
"Lana?" He called as they threw her on her cot and locked her back in, storming out. "Lana?"
She didn't answer.
He closed his eyes and leaned his forehead against the wall. "Please, Lana, please."
"What's with the melodramatic expression?" Lucas leaned against the wall next to her, his hands in his pockets. "You didn't even like the kid."
Cassie stared at the floor. "That could've been me."
"Nah." Lucas shook his head. "We were way off to the side. Plus, we weren't stupid enough to call attention to ourselves when—."
"No." Cassie looked up at him. "I mean Harriet. I could've been Harriet. Hell, a while back I was Harriet." She replayed her last visit to Smallville before moving here. She'd come for Charles Meade's head. She'd been tainted by Rao's machinations and had wanted nothing more than to kill Charles, she'd been more than willing to kill anyone who stood in her way, even her own siblings. "Chloe got through to me. If she hadn't I would've become what Harriet is. I recognized myself in her eyes. She was drunk off of our dark magic, it turns us crazy or worse - look what it did to Byron." She stuttered out a breath. "Our ancestors are known for being ruthless, terrifying, monstrous psychopaths because of the dark magic in our veins."
Lucas eyed her curiously. "So are you relieved or what? You're being annoyingly hard to pin down right now."
"I'm terrified!" Cassie couldn't believe he couldn't read it plainly on her features. "If Chloe hadn't - and it was the night her dad died too!" She ran her fingers through her hair. "We take these things for granted, you know? And yet seeing Harriet scared the crap out of me! If I hadn't met Chloe that would've been me with the Chance Harbor Circle."
"So it is relief," Lucas muttered to himself.
"After getting this I finally have a better handle on my dark magic." Cassie lifted her palm to show the Thunderbird. "But back then? Faye was always so jealous that she wasn't John's daughter because she'd wanted Balcoin dark magic." She sneered. "It's not a gift, it's a curse. Sometimes I wished I didn't have it, and sometimes I couldn't imagine living my life without it."
Lucas eyed her silently.
"What if something had happened to Chloe tonight? What if Harriet was being backed by Rao and hurt her? Or what if she just had so much dark magic she took Chloe by surprise? Or what if Chloe had been merciful? Harriet would've turned on her the second Chloe gave her her back!" Cassie was close to hyperventilating. "What would've happened to us, to all of us, if we weren't a part of her Circles any longer?"
Lucas' expression went grave.
"Exactly." The world ending because there wasn't anyone to stop Rao would suck, but it wasn't the part that scared Cassie. "We'd be all alone again, scattered. We wouldn't stick together. The only reason we do that now, why we work together as a team, as a family, is because of her. Otherwise we'd be Harriet."
Lucas sent her a sidelong glance. "Harriet had no chance against her. Worrying about all these things is a waste of time."
"What about Rao though?" Cassie wanted to know. "He's been silent for far too long. He's got to be planning something. We know he wants her, alive. Who knows what he's about to do?"
Lucas shook his head. "Even if he takes her, even if for any reason she decides to join his cause, we're still her Circles. We're bound." He paused. "Especially you. You're bound by Darkseid magic."
Cassie blinked, not having thought of that before.
Silence fell between them, both worried, both frowning, but for completely different reasons.
They needed to find a way to call for help. Clark said he'd managed to send a coded email to Chloe telling her she was in trouble - shouldn't that make her worry? Pete didn't want her here, didn't want her stepping into a trap, but she was smart - she would figure things out and help yjem.
Except, well, she was going through trials and so much crap right now she mightn't have even read through Clark's email with her usually discerning eye. Clark had told Pete about everything that she'd been going through since he'd left Smallville, and Pete felt like crap. Of course, he hadn't known of any of this when his parents had kidnapped him, and he still hadn't known when he and Lana had escaped on their own - and Chloe hadn't told him anything when he'd finally gotten in contact. And he knew why. She knew he had issues of his own and didn't want him to stop trying to figure out a way of his own problems, to deal with hers.
So how could he now expect that of her? For her to leave her own problems and deal with his?
But they weren't really his problems, were they? They were hers as well. Whoever this psycho was, he wanted Chloe, and while Pete wouldn't let the witch have his sister and friend, he was scared for Lana and Clark. He didn't think they'd be able to hold on much longer. Not without food and water, not without sleep.
"Get up you animals," one of the guards snarled. "We've got a little surprise for you."
Dax-Ur paced his room. While he had not expected the boy to die, he'd known this night would end with Balcoin bloodshed. It had had to be done. Any Balcoin not under Chloe's thumb was a threat, no matter how minimal. They were loose ends which had to be taken care of. And they had been dealt with. Finally.
Now the ones that were usable, were promising, the ones who weren't too far gone and lost to the darkness within were exactly where they needed to be.
Not only that, but the deaths had served another purpose. The witches and the humans no longer had a shred of doubt regarding Chloe's proclamation the other night. She wasn't seen as a teenaged girl with power anymore, but someone to be feared and respected, to be obeyed.
He took in a deep breath and moved to the window. When her youngest brother's magic had entered Chloe she'd been too lost in destroying her sister's boyfriend, in visiting the same pain on her, to even notice the young boy's magic slip into her. But Dax had noticed. He'd been watching, waiting. He'd held his breath, watching the girl destroy her sister and steal her life and magic. And then the other brother had died and his magic had entered her as well, and she'd felt that, she'd been shocked.
Dax had hardly been able to keep his smile off of his face. She was strong enough now, she didn't need to call it any longer. He'd known this could be a possibility, and the proof filled with him glee.
Up until then each death was a point in Rao's favor, no matter who won the battle, but with the darkness Dax had pulled out Chloe -had brought to the forefront - she was so close… Rao Darkseid's magic had made witches, and after the Purge, the great Harvesting, the magic of ever witch who died returned to fuel him, to grant him more and more strength.
Now there were two sources, two Darkseids. Now, Rao wasn't the only one Harvesting… exactly as Dax had planned.
They'd been strung up in the dungeons, all three of them, which was odd because they were usually tortured by themselves.
The door opened and Pete turned to face their torturer, only to be filled with horror. "Chloe?"
"Oh my god." Chloe's voice broke as she raced towards him and flung her arms around him.
They'd changed forms on them before, but Pete knew without a doubt that this was Chloe. His eyes widened at what exactly that meant.
No. NO. NO!
Pete didn't understand what had happened before the trial, but once it was over, and his innocence proven… Chloe smiled at him from her throne, but there was something wrong. She stood and moved towards him, her expression relieved, her voice calm, but her eyes…
"I'm very sorry for what you and Lana had to be subjected to," Chloe told him softly as his shackles fell off. "I hope that one day you can forgive us for our doubt."
What the hell?
Pete reached out and cupped her face. "What happened, Chlo? Did someone die?" Someone had to have died. She had blood all over her.
Her face seemed electrified, and her expression crumbled for a second before she got control once more, that mask on her features. "Jordan was murdered."
Pete hadn't really known the kid, he might've seen him once before being thrown into isolation pending trial, but the news rattled him. "Who did it?"
"Harriet Balcoin," Chloe responded, voice even. "She's dead now."
Pete stared at his friend, his sister, and suddenly felt scared. Not of her, during this whole situation he'd known that she hadn't had any control over the situation, known that she was fighting for him, but for the first time he truly felt fear was looking into her eyes.
"Lana's waiting, I promised her she'd be the first person you'd see once you were free." Chloe took in a deep breath, the Three behind her, talking amongst themselves. "Nell was released earlier but refuses to go home right now, wants to instead make herself useful, so you will have the apartment above the flower shop to yourselves at least for tonight."
Pete opened his mouth but Lana calling his name distracted him. He turned to see his girlfriend crying as she raced to him and threw her hands around him, sobbing.
He held her close and whispered into her hair that he was fine.
Behind her he could see Clark and Melissa, both holding the other, both visibly relieved.
Right then and there Pete realized that no one had been sure of his innocence. It was visible in their utter relief. They'd been scared he'd be unmasked as the traitor. They'd all doubted him. Damn it, that hurt. He hadn't doubted their innocence once.
Chloe stared down at Jordan's cold body. She should've killed Harriet the second she'd stepped out of the barrier. If she hadn't worried so much about playing fair, if she'd just done what she'd gone there to do, he'd be alive right now. Jordan's death was on her hands.
She could still hear Alicia and Sarah crying, the sound tormenting. They'd lost their baby brother because Chloe hadn't been fast enough, hadn't been ruthless enough, hadn't terminated the problem immediately.
"Zatanna," she whispered. "Take the girls to Alicia's room. Make sure they have everything they need."
Zatanna nodded and moved towards the girls, who numbly let themselves be led away.
She turned to Adam. "Can you please go with them? I'd feel better knowing that there's someone in the house with them."
Adam nodded. "Of course." He followed after.
"I'll deal with the funeral preparations," Greg's voice was soft but determined. "Leave it all to me."
"And me," Diana whispered as she joined his side.
Chloe turned to look at them with a smile. "Thank you." She watched them leave before her gaze returned to Jordan. "Faye, the people are going to have questions. Take Byron with you." Chloe didn't want him here with the body. Byron mightn't have been the youngest Balcoin, but he still was, and always would be, her baby brother.
Faye merely grabbed her silent boyfriend's hand and yanked him out.
"Mikhail, Bart." She didn't question why Bart was there. He was always there. She was used to seeing him around. "My scales won't stop burning, and the pain is only getting worse. I didn't mean to take Rudy's magic but it happened anyway, something's happening to me and I don't know what." She turned towards them, knowing her scales were showing. "Find Jor-El, see if he has any answers. This could be a Dragon thing."
Bart and Mikhail exchanged looks before they nodded and took off running to find the Draconian councilman.
"What about us?" Lucas wanted to know as he stepped forwards.
"How can we help?" Cassie asked at the same couldn't look away from Jordan. "I want you patrolling the town, keep a close eye on the Flower shop."
"You think people are going to do something against Pete and Lana?" Cassie asked. "Even though they've been cleared?"
"Tensions are high right now," Chloe responded. "I'd feel better knowing there was someone keeping an eye on that section of town."
Cassie and Lucas were clearly not happy about their protection duty, yet nodded and accepted the chore. Cassie even managed a grim smile. "Anyone tries anything funny, they'll wish they hadn't." With that, she and Lucas left.
The only ones left were Chloe and Whitney.
"How are you?" His voice was soft behind her.
"Alive," she whispered as her hands clutched the edge of the stone table Jordan rested on.
"This wasn't your fault."
She closed her eyes against the lie.
"Chloe, this isn't your fault."
"I have one job here, Whitney. I protect. If I can't do that—!" Her voice broke when he wrapped his arms around her from behind. "Don't. I can't—he's—."
"Let it out," Whitney whispered into her hair, his grip around her tight and warm.
"I don't get to mourn!" She snapped at him and tried to shake free but his grip was unyielding. "Stop it! Whitney! Let go!"
"Let it out," he repeated calmly.
"NO! Stop it!" Chloe fought him and yet couldn't move an inch. "I can't—I won't—no!"
"This isn't your fault."
A sob escaped her lips. "Yes it is!"
"No. It isn't." Whitney's voice was soft yet firm. "You can't protect everyone, you can't save everyone. People die, Chloe. Good people, bad people, everyone. Harriet killed Jordan. She is to blame. You saved Alicia. That's the important part. Alicia didn't die too, but she would've if Harriet had gotten her way."
"I should've saved them both." Chloe stared down at her youngest sibling, guilt consuming her. "I should've realized that he was in danger, I should've acted quickly, I should have—."
"You're not a god! Chloe!" Whitney snapped in her ear. "You're a Dragon, and while they might seem godlike compared to the rest of us, they are not gods. They are finite. You are finite."
Her eyes widened as they filled with tears.
"You did your best. You always do your best, but sometimes, despite that, people get hurt, get killed. Jordan knew Harriet better than you ever could, he knew the danger he was putting himself in when he crossed the barrier, but he did it to help save Alicia. He risked his life to save Alicia."
Tears blinded Chloe and yet she fought them, fought the sob that wanted desperately to slip passed her lips.
"It's not your fault," Whitney's voice broke.
Chloe clutched at the arms he held around her as a tortured sound escaped her lips. She tried to hold it in, to control herself, but once the first sob echoed around the chamber, the sound seemed to break all her resistance. She lost control of herself, of her grief, and closed her eyes as she wailed. As Whitney had been telling her to do, she let go of everything she'd bottled up deep inside.
She didn't know when Whitney had loosened his grip, but she shifted in his hold, clutching his shirt and burying her face in his chest as she sobbed brokenly. His arms were strong and warm, he whispered words she couldn't hear, not over the sound of her own grief.
Chloe clutched Whitney closer, her whole body trembling, the pain in her soul worse than that of her scales.