Hello, boyos and chicas…it is me! Long time no update!

Sorry it's taken me so long to update…I've had uni and writer's block to contend with, and to be honest I was thinking of scrapping this fic altogether. However, I recently took a look at my stats, and noticed that quite a lot of people have looked in on this stroy, and some people even have it as a favourite…and that gave the Stolen part of my brain that was hibernating a swift kick in the backside and screamed in its ear "GET YOUR ASS IN GEAR, SOLDIER, BOO-YAH!" (My fic-related adrenaline-rush muse has taken on a Marine persona lately…)…

Therefore, I am updating. I hope you like this chapter!

-:-

Im SiRiuSly ObSSeSeD (now Sammy girl at heart) - glad u like u! yeah, the spell found Chris…it just had to duke it out with the blocking spell Rebecca put on him, then it everything was fine and dandy…

Night-Owl123 - am updating! glad u like the story!

Good Witch - thank-you! i agree…Chris really is a natural!

charmedtomeetyou - am doing so…hope u like!

battlestarcsi - (blushes and bows) thanks!

starra86 - thank-you so much!

midnite-magic - hm…ur very perceptive! yep, good ol' Barbs is gonna make a special guest appearance…(rubs hands gleefully) hee hee hee

Tmir - i'll let u in on a secret? (looks around guiltily) i was waiting 4 a bout of writer's block! that is how this story got started, after all…but I was also waiting for a break in my exams. anyway, this chappie is here now, i hope u enjoy it!

winterwinds - ur wish is my command! (puts arms together and blinks; chappie uploads) there u go!

kina24 - quiet, you!

Good Witch - yes, i am updating right now! thank-you so much for keeping with this fic, even through the infrequent updates!

Bravehart - thank-you so much for your idea…it's gotten my little brain ticking over…it'll probably be used later in the fic! Thaks for reviewing!

roswell lover11 - thanks, i'll try!

Lils - thanks, I will!


It was late when Chris left the church. It always was. Father Michaels always fussed over him, giving him a three-course meal before ushering him to the small bed in the storeroom off the kitchen. Chris ate the dinner without complaint, but he hated sleeping in an enclosed space. He would wait until after the priest fell asleep, then sneak out through one of the huge, stain-glassed windows.

Chris hurried down the alley, anxious to make it to Perry Street. He was never usually this far away from his home patch, and being in unfamiliar territory always made him uneasy. Tonight, though…tonight…tonight was something else. He wasn't scared - he had never been scared, as far as he could remember - but there was a sense of wrongness about the world around him. It wasn't anything physical, like a scent or a sound, just the feeling that something was, irrevocably, different.

Chris didn't like different. It usually meant trouble.

Trouble for him.

Chris was so absorbed in his thoughts, so focussed on his internal dire predictions of woe - for himself - that he didn't see the figure standing in the middle of the alleyway until it was too late. As it was, he glanced up just in time to see a black-clothed form topped in grey hair blocking his path before he collided with it. The man - he assumed - staggered as he hit him, the momentum from Chris' movement carrying them both forward an extra couple of feet before they came to a halt.

The moment he regained his balance, he jumped backwards, putting distance between himself and the person he had collided with. He was a little surprised, and annoyed at himself…he should have had his mind on where he was going, not on his own doom-saying. As he berated himself, he eyed the man.

He was dressed all in black: black shoes, black trousers, black shirt, black cloak. He had grey hair, slightly wild, and pale skin, as if he had spent too long in the dark. His eyes, when he glanced up at Chris, were a shade brown so dark they were almost black…or maybe they were black, Chris realised, unable to see any colour in the man's eyes. Soulless, he thought.

The man seemed just as startled as he was, then he arched an eyebrow. "Well, well, well, well, look who's out of doors after nightfall," he said, his lifeless eyes looking him over. Chris shrugged.

"Me," he replied shortly. "Obviously." The man smirked, and Chris fought to suppress a shudder. This guy was seriously creepy…

"Obviously…hm, direct. I like that." The man looked him over for a moment, as if looking for something, then gave a faint shrug. "Now, what is it that you fear?" he mused. Chris frowned: what the hell? What kind of game was this? And was the guy actually sniffing the air? He decided that the best way to go was to play along with the guy's little game, and, after considering for a moment, decided to answer truthfully…for once.

"I fear nothing."

The man smiled, and Chris' instincts screamed at him to run, but he gritted his teeth and stood his ground. "Everyone fears something, boy…" the man murmured, passing his left hand near Chris' cheek, a confident expression on his face. He frowned. "Except you," he finished, looking puzzled. Chris arched an eyebrow, then sighed and dodged around the guy.

"Look," he said, turning around and walking backwards so he could keep an eye on the man, "it's been fun, but I've got to go. You know, stuff to steal, people to con, that sort of thing…"

"You're a thief?" the man asked, his dead eyes lighting up. Chris didn't answer, just concentrated on moving away from him. The man didn't seem offended.

"I have a proposition for you, my friend," he told him. As Chris continued to edge away, he added, "A lucrative proposition."

Chris stopped. There it was…that damned word that got him every single time. Lucrative. Alternatively, the term could be profitable, rewarding or gainful, but every time, the result was the same: Chris was hooked. He couldn't help it. Came from a life lived - for the majority - on the streets.

The man seemed to sense it, too. "I'd like you to…procure…something of great value for me. To…liberate it from its present owners."

"And what do I get in return for, uh, liberating this item from its present owners?" he asked. The man tsked him.

"Now now, young man, we can determine payment for this transaction once you have all the details," he replied airily, and Chris relaxed slightly…only slightly, though. "So…what do you say?" the man asked. Chris considered for a moment, then nodded.

"Okay, I'm in…for now."

The man chuckled. "Good enough, good enough. Now, if you'll just follow me…" He turned to go. "The name's…Barbas," he added. Chris frowned.

"'Barbas'?" he echoed. He shook his head. "Now George seems almost normal," he murmured under his breath as he followed the man - Barbas - into the night.

-:-

Wyatt Matthew Halliwell woke up with a start. He stared at the ceiling for a few moments, trying to figure out the reason for his sudden awakening. Coming up with nothing in his mundane life - he'd finished his first Economics assignment for college that day, and he'd managed to retain his job at the bookstore at the Mall, despite his lateness that morning - he cast his senses outwards.

He felt a faint rush of power as his mind seemed to expand to spread out over the Manor. He could see everything…his sister, asleep in the room next door; his parents, in their room at the end of the hall; the study (Oops, left the computer on, he thought guiltily); the kitchen; the sun room; the living room; the stairs; the attic…

Nothing, he realised. Nothing's wrong. Must've just been a bad dream…so why do I feel so jumpy? He cast his senses again, and again came up empty. He glanced at the clock on his wall: the luminous dial declared it to be 11.07 pm.

Now I'm up, I might as well do something, he reasoned. He slid around until he was sitting on the side of the bed, then concentrated. He felt his body become light as air, and he saw the tiny blue and gold spheres gather around him, then there was a brief flash of light and he was sitting on the living room sofa, and his orbs were dissipating.

He held out his hand and the TV remote flew from its place on top of the set and landed in his palm. He was about to turn the TV on when the pile of books stacked haphazardly on the coffee table caught his eye, sending a chill through him. Without even looking, he knew exactly what they were, who had gotten them out, and why, and that knowledge broke his heart.

Slowly, he set down the remote and pulled on of the albums towards him and flipped it open. It contained pictures of his little brother, Chris. Wyatt swallowed hard. He knew it was stupid, to hold onto the memory of his brother, but he couldn't bring himself to let go. He still had memories - albeit extremely vague ones - of his own sibling rivalry with his little brother. He remembered orbing the younger Halliwell from the safety of Magic School and back to the Manor, so he could have his Aunt Paige's attention all to himself.

He knew he shouldn't feel guilty about that - he'd been two years old, for chrissakes! - but he did. He felt guilty for not cherishing every moment with Chris, for hating him for even a millisecond.

Gods, I wish you were still here, Chris, he thought, staring at the pictures. I wish you could find your way home.

-:-

Melissa sighed. "Now, when I imagined the day I turned seventeen, this is exactly what I imagined. Sneaking through the home of one of the most powerful witches in the world, her Elder husband, and their Twice-blessed progeny, who are all more than capable of vanquishing us."

Bianca shot her a glare. "Shut up, Melissa," she growled softly. Melissa didn't take the hint.

"I mean, I get that the blocking potion should protect us from the son's - what's his name, Wyatt? - sensing power…by the way, I absolutely love how you said should and not will without a doubt. But seriously, once we try and take the Book, they're gonna know we're there."

"So we're gonna have to be very quick about this, aren't we?" Bianca replied from between gritted teeth. Melissa rolled her eyes. Bianca continued. "We'll break in, grab the Book, and shimmer out before they even know it's gone."

"That's assuming we can even get a hold on the Book to begin with," Melissa pointed out. "Like I said, it has a history of protecting itself against 'bad' witches…and B, whether you say it or not, we are bad witches."

"It didn't protect itself against the Charmed Ones when they turned evil," Bianca responded.

"Yeah, but that was because they're Halliwells…it's their Book, bound to their family. We're not Halliwells, B. I mean…I hate to say, but I think we're screwed." Melissa watched her older sister closely, and Bianca tried to think of something to rebut her sister's argument…nothing was forthcoming, however.

"We'll just have to cross that birdge when we come to it," she said finally. She felt Melissa's eyes on her for a minute more, then the younger girl glanced away with a sigh.

"We're breaking in at midnight, yes?" she asked.

"Yeah," Bianca replied, glancing at her watch.

Forty-seven minutes to go.

-:-

"You want me to do what?" Chris asked incredulously. Barbas arched an eyebrow at him.

"Surely this isn't too difficult for you?" he asked. Chris glared at him.

"Of course not. From what you've told me, it's actually fairly simple. It's just…a book? You want me to steal a book?"

Barbas arched an eyebrow at the young thief. "Yes. It's a very old, very valuable book, and I've been trying to get my hands on it for years…but the famly won't part with it for love nor money. Therefore, I am hiring you to steal it for me. Unless…" Here he eyed Chris like the young man was very, very low on the evolutionary ladder, "…you are unable to perform the task?"

Barbas and Chris stared at each other for a long minute; finally, Chris sighed.

"Okay, fine. I'll do it. So…when do you want this to go down?" he asked. Barbas' eyes gleamed.

"Midnight."


Phew. Another chapter done. I'm starting to get a vague idea where I'm going with this, but if anyone has any ideas, please tell me…I got a great idea from Bravehart, and it's going to be used in a couple of chapter's time (again, much thanks to Bravehart!). So if there's anything you want to see, people, please tell me, and I'll definitely try to work it in.

Well, that's it for now. Thanks everyone! Please R&R…you know I love it!

luv ShaedowCat xox : )

p.s. eeeeep! Almost forgot...I'm starting a new thing. I'll write the first person to review a ficlet/drabble of their choice within the fandoms of Charmed, Supernatural, Blade, Dark Angel or - in Key of Darkness' case, since she's special! XD - Degrassi or Doctor Who. Just state what you'd prefer in your review.

luv SC xox: )

-:-