Disclaimer: Ah, the one thing on a fanfic that is most predictable...hah! "Disclaimer"?! More like brutal confession! I DON'T OWN CHARMED! There, ya happy? YOU'D BETTER BE!!

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"Heads up, Chris!" called a boy, throwing a ball in Chris' direction. They were in an alley in the city, playing pass with three more of their friends. "Catch it!"

"Huh? Oh!" Chris saw the ball coming and leapt to catch it just before it went past him. "Right back at you!" he yelled, throwing it back at the boy. The boy threw it to another one of the friends and they continued like this for a good fifteen minutes.

There were five boys there; Chris was about nine and the others were about twelve or thirteen. Their clothes were all ragged and torn but they didn't seem to mind. It was about noon by the time that Chris interrupted what they were doing.

"Okay, guys, it's about time for lunch," he said. "If we don't get back soon then Kerry will get mad." He was referring, of course, to the woman who ran the orphanage that they all lived in. Nice as she was, being late was a pet peeve of hers that no one enjoyed crossing.

"Yeah, you're right," one of the oldest agreed, throwing the ball over to Chris. He caught it and they ran for several blocks or so, past a couple of clubs in San Francisco and to the shelter. They ran in before anybody noticed they were gone and took their seats at the lunch table.

"Where were you?" a girl hissed in Chris' ear.

"Playing catch with the other guys," he whispered back.

The girl, who seemed about twelve as well, rolled her eyes. "One of these days you guys won't—"

"Okay, you guys, is everyone at the table?" asked Kerry, coming in with a plate of sandwiches. Each of the kids hungrily grabbed one and started munching. "While you're eating, I have a special announcement to make."

The kids groaned. They knew what was coming.

"Oh, c'mon! I wouldn't give you guys away to a bad family. These people are coming tomorrow in the morning to just meet a few of you. No big deal. They don't even know if they want to adopt." She took another bowl of crackers and set that on the table, too. "I want you all on best behavior."

"Yes, Kerry," they droned, causing her to grin.

"C'mon, lighten up! It'll be fun!"

Some of the older boys put their hands over their mouths and coughed something that vaguely sounded like "liar, liar" under their breath. The kids laughed, but Kerry put her hands on her hips.

"I'm serious. Make a good impression. These people are very excited."

Chris wasn't disappointed like all of the other kids were, though. He almost was excited too. Every time a family came looking for kids to adopt, there was a possibility that they'd choose him and they could finally get out of this dump. Not that he didn't like it here, it was just...he was ready for a change.

The girl next to him seemed excited as well. So excited that she didn't notice she was tipping her cracker bowl right over Chris' lap—Chris threw his hands out to cover himself but the crackers never fell. He looked up in wonder.

Everything in the room was frozen, like time had just stopped. This had happened before—he was used to it by now. Sometimes he moved things with his hands and other times he'd disappear in blue lights, but these strange things only happened maybe once a month or so. Well, might as well make it handy. He righted the bowl in the girl's hand so it wouldn't tip onto him and patiently waited for the scene to unfreeze.

Maybe a half hour later the scene came back to life. Kerry looked at the clock. "Wow, time flies when you're making big announcements. Oh well. Everyone, there's going to be a rainstorm tonight so I want everybody home by six o'clock. Got it?"

"Got it," they sighed.

Chris hurriedly finished his lunch to go hang out with the other guys, but unfortunately the storm came earlier than predicted. It had started to rain by about one.

"Darn it!" Chris exclaimed, watching the rain through the window. "It's not fair!"

They sat inside playing checkers tournaments and reading the crumpled, faded books from the cabinet. By nine o'clock they were all pretty much bored to tears.

"Bedtime, everyone," Kerry announced. They scrambled up to bed before anybody could protest, eager to end the boredom. She grinned. "Kids..."

Chris felt that he couldn't sleep, though he heard the snores of everybody else in the room. A part of him was happy and a part of him was scared. He'd never been away from the orphanage in all his life; what if tomorrow he was wrenched away from everything he knew? He shook the thought aside. Kerry had said, after all, that she'd find them the right home. Kerry never lied.

And besides, dozens of families had come in here before and overlooked him, going straight for the younger kids. What would be any different about tomorrow? Settled with that thought in mind, he rolled over in bed—and bit back a scream.

There was a man hovering over his bed with light-brown hair and blue-ish eyes. Chris was surprised that he could see his features so well in the dark, but then he remembered that this was one of those weird little tricks he could do, like disappearing and freezing and moving stuff.

"Who are you?" Chris demanded, jumping up bolt right in bed and not bothering to lower his voice. "What do you want?"

"You can see me?!" the man gasped. "Oh, damn...Uh—"

"Chris, what's wrong?" asked one of the boys groggily from the next bed. "Nightmares?"

"No, there's a man in here! Look!"

The boy looked to the side of Chris' bed, where Chris now saw the man backing up into the wall. "There's no one there, Chris. Go back to sleep, it was just a dream."

"How can you not see him? He's right there!" Chris insisted, pointing. He was beginning to panic.

"Are you okay?" the boy asked, concerned, as other children started to stir in their sleep.

Chris looked back but the man had disappeared out of thin air. "Yes, but...but..." Frustrated tears lingered in his eyes for a moment but he brushed them away. "I could swear on my life that I just saw a man standing over my bed."

"It's okay, Chris. It was just a dream. Now go back to sleep before everyone wakes up and gets hostile."

"'Night, Sammy," Chris yawned, trying to believe his friend's reasoning.

"'Night, Chris." Sammy flopped back down onto the pillow and gradually everyone went back to sleep. Chris stared at the ceiling, unable to rest. Who was that man? He was certain there'd been an intruder in the room. Maybe he'd come back. Chris shook in fear at the thought and eventually let his reeling mind lull him to sleep.

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"Chris, get up!" Sammy shook Chris awake. "C'mon, they're coming..."

"Who's coming?" Chris asked. He felt sick to his stomach, like he was dreading something, but he couldn't quite remember what. It wasn't a good feeling at all.

"The family, you bonehead, remember?" Sammy pinched him hard on the shoulder and Chris yelped. "Are you awake now?" Sammy asked impatiently.

"Yeah..." Chris grumbled, gingerly rubbing his arm. He got out of bed and suddenly felt lightheaded. Trying to steady himself, he put a hand on the bed and waited for the weird sensation to pass.

"Are you okay, squirt?" asked Sammy.

"Sure. Just, uh, nervous. You know," he lied.

"Ah, don't sweat it. They'll probably just ignore us and head straight for the toddlers. No big," Sammy assured him, putting a comforting hand on Chris' shoulder. "We'd better get out there, though. Kerry's already made breakfast."

"Right," he agreed vaguely. He threw on a sweater—it was suddenly a lot colder in here than it was last night. Probably because of the storm, he told himself. He walked into the dining room feeling slightly woozy and took a seat next to Sammy.

"Dude, what's with the sweater? Are you TRYING to ward them away from you? It's, like, 80 degrees outside!" Sammy whispered harshly in his ear so the other kids wouldn't hear. (A/N—sorry for those of you that go by Celsius, I dunno that scale very well—this is Fahrenheit. But that's still kinda hot.)

"It's cold," Chris shot back, shivering slightly. He was slightly annoyed that Sammy was bugging him, he was already starting to get a headache...he shivered again.

Sammy was going to say something to him but he stopped, seeing that Kerry had rushed into the room. "You guys, they're here early. You can have breakfast when they leave, but right now you'd better be on your best behavior." She forced a smile. "Sit up straight and...oh, just—don't do anything stupid, okay?" She left the room.

"They're coming," Sammy said nervously, tensing up and trying to look neat. Chris, however, remained slouched in his seat. He felt terrible. "Chris, didn't you hear her? They're—"

"Kids, I'd like you to meet the Halliwells," said Kerry, using a sugary- sweet voice that was the exact opposite of her normally playfully, sporty sound. "They're looking for one of you to adopt, as you all know. They're going to need a tour of the place...any offers?"

Of course, the oldest, a girl, stood and began to lead them out of the room, but they lingered. The family was a man, woman, and a boy a little younger than Sammy. Chris gulped, shuddering. The man looked just like the man from his "dream" last night. What if...?

And the woman. She seemed so familiar. But why? There was something about the brown locks that surrounded her face...or maybe it was her eyes...it was SOMETHING...

But right now was definitely not the time to wonder about it. His head seemed to be spinning. How could he be so nervous? They seemed nice, after all. He'd seen plenty of other creepier people come by. Why was he so shaky now?

Then it hit him. Maybe it wasn't nerves...

"Chris!" Sammy snapped. "The tour. We have to follow the rest of the kids to give them the tour! What's wrong with you?"

"Nothing," Chris said defensively. He jumped up out of his seat and felt really dizzy again, but this time he ignored it. It didn't matter anyway. He just reassured himself again that these people would be gone soon and then he'd never have to deal with them after that. As soon as they were gone he could sit on the couch and rest for a while.

He followed Sammy around d about half of the orphanage before he felt like his feet were cinder-blocks.

"Chris, you don't look so good," said Sammy all of a sudden. "You're kinda pale. Should I go get Kerry?"

"No, I'm fine," Chris insisted, trying to keep up with the pace of the rest of the group. Sammy ignored his response and put a hand to Chris' forehead.

"I'm serious, you're burning up—"

"I said I'M FINE," Chris said angrily, still trying to keep up. The room seemed to spin and he felt like the ground wasn't solid enough under his toes, like it may slip from beneath him. He felt worse and worse by the second, just trying to zone all the noise and activity around him out. Somebody was talking. He knew he should be listening, but...

"We came here looking for a little boy..." the voice droned. Chris couldn't make out many of the words. He felt like he was sinking...and his knees hit the floor.

"Chris!" Sammy exclaimed, kneeling down to help him. "Kerry, there's something wrong with—"

Chris couldn't hear much more. It went completely black.

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A/N—Okay, that was the first chappie. It's not going to be much like my other story...no Bianca this time, and I kind of limited the friends at the orphanage so there wouldn't be many names to remember. Just Sammy and Kerry...they're the only people I'm going to introduce from there. All the others are nameless.

Hope you liked it! R&R!