Disclaimer – I don't own Charmed, nor am I making any money off this story.
Chapter Twenty-One –
The field went as far and wide as they could see. Standing in its earth made them feel as if they were the only people in the world, and as far as the occupants were concerned, they might as well be.
The field seemed to be a place of serenity. At this moment it was not. Fireballs flew in every direction, never hitting the desired targets, but always coming close. Hands flew in every direction, hands with the intent to kill, always looking to make something explode, never managing to make the desired targets go up in smoke.
It was war, a war that had been coming for a day short of three years, since the day they killed his mother. Over time the anger driving the war had built up. They had killed his uncle, his aunt and his dad. The light side of the war was driven by hate, by revenge. They weren't saving innocents with this war; they were avenging the life that these people had taken from them.
Ducking a fireball, Chris ran to his left where his Aunt Paige was fighting off two attackers. This battle was the diversion. Wyatt was in the underworld with two of his associates from magic school battling the leader. Kill him and the collective would be weakened, enough so to vanquish the others fairly easily.
Chris was just about to telekinetically send one of his aunt's attackers flying when an astral projection forming across the field distracted him.
"Shawn! What the hell are you doing? Get out of here!" Chris yelled desperately across the field.
"No Chris! I want to help," Shawn yelled back defiantly.
"Shawn, get out of here!" This time it was Paige doing the demanding.
For a moment Chris struggled with what to do. On one hand his aunt was in desperate need of assistance, on the other, his brother needed his help. The internal dilemma was brought to an abrupt standstill however, when the demons became aware of Shawn's presence in the battle. Two turned on him and before Chris could do anything an arrow and a fireball were speeding towards Shawn from opposite directions. Chris could only stare as they hurtled towards him. Beside him he heard two explosions. The demons Paige had been wrestling were gone. They both could only stare.
The next thing Chris knew, the two offending demons were hurtling across the field, both exploding to ash when they landed, and a woman stood before an unscathed Shawn, yelling at him at the top of her lungs.
"Get home!" were the final words Chris heard her say to him.
Just as she was about to turn around after Shawn had left, the field began to rumble, the demons began to shake, and dark lights burst out of each of them. From that moment on each and every one of them were vanquished with ease. Wyatt had done it. They had won. They had defeated the force that ruined his family. Chris just hoped his family could be repaired.
He looked around when the people of the light were the only ones left on the field, and caught sight of his Aunt Paige. She was lying on her back in the dirt, looking tired but victorious.
At that sight Chris let out a yelp of happiness. For the first time in three years a true smile, one void of sadness, broke out on his face. And he ran. Ran towards his aunt. He ran through the crowd of other magical beings, towards his last connection to his mother.
"Can I give you a hand up?" Someone had arrived at his aunt only moments before he. It was the woman who saved Shawn. It was his Aunt Prue.
"Yeah thanks," Paige said, bringing her hand up to shield her eyes from the sun. And then she was mute.
For the first time Prue and Paige stood together, looking into the others eyes, hands held in help. Two sisters who had never before met were united. They stood silent and then suddenly, they both fell into the other's embrace, crying.
The next morning Chris was sitting in the attic musing over the events of the past three years. The Book of Shadows was open in his lap and he was leafing through it, staring at pages he had stared at a million times, not really seeing them.
Mostly he was thinking of Wyatt. He was an eighteen-year-old man hardly recognizable as the brother he had been every day of Chris' life up until his fourteenth birthday. For the past three years Chris had held onto the feeble hope that the change would end once the demons had been vanquished. Wyatt hadn't returned home yet, he had gone back to magic school. That act had been enough to diminish those hopes.
His brother had turned into a power hungry maniac with no sense of right or wrong, no sense of good or evil, just the desire to have the world follow his command. The change had happened slowly but it had happened. It started as revenge, as a protective measure. Now the threat was gone, the revenge had been had. He was still gone.
Chris lifted himself from his seat and walked around the shelves that held all the Halliwell heirlooms. He felt himself lucky to be living where he was, at the manor. After his dad had died Paige had moved in with Patience. He and Shawn had moved back almost straight away, but Wyatt had stayed, he did not want to return to his home.
Chris came to a standstill at the end of the shelves and stood staring at the two picture's tacked to it. The pictures were images he would never forget, images of his fifth Christmas. He remembered them been taken. The first one he was in, the second only his mom and dad.
He reached out his hand and gently touched three faces he would never truly touch again. His mother in all her beauty, sleeping soundly in both pictures, content and in love. His dad, exactly the same. And Wyatt, his brother. In the picture that Chris too shared a space, he was young, he was innocent, he was the brother that Chris grew up loving. The man now had become the man Chris grew up fearing, the man he had promised to defeat. There was no semblance left of the family that shared the space in those frames. All had disappeared from the world, even Chris himself was no longer the boy in that frame, he was a man with only one purpose, and that was to defeat the monster that his brother had succumbed to.
It was on this day, his seventeenth birthday, exactly three years since the beginning of it all, that he, once and for all, truly acknowledged that it was his destiny to save his brother. The only way Wyatt could be the savior he was born to be was if Chris saved him from the monster that had taken his soul, and that is what he would devote his life to, saving Wyatt. But for today, for the first time since his mother's death, he would celebrate his birthday, because that is what she would have wanted of him. She always hated herself when she ruined a special day of her son's, so he wouldn't let that happen.
"Chris!" called a voice from a floor below. A moment later Paige entered the room. "I know it's your birthday and everything but can you go help Patty with her assignment. Les just came over grumbling about how he didn't understand anything."
Chris looked up at his aunt and smiled warmly at her. "Yeah no problem, Ryan and Kel aren't due for about an hour anyway. It's still alright we go out isn't it, even after everything that happened?"
"Course it is. You know that cousin of yours is very lucky we have a science wiz in the family; otherwise she'd be completely screwed for this thing. You better go." Paige then lent down and placed a soft kiss on his cheek. "Happy Birthday little man."
"Well you have fun with what your doing, I'm going to talk with the sister you never bothered to mention I had," she said accusingly, turning to walk out of the room.
"Oh come on, how long are you going to hold that one over my head," Chris called after her.
Paige inclined her head and said with a grin, "As long as possible mate, maybe you'll remember this the next time you think of keeping a secret from me."
Over the time since they moved in together Paige and Chris had grown extremely close. They had been brought together through their grief. She had lost her sister's, her husband, her brother-in-law and her whitelighter. Chris couldn't help but feel for her and that caused the two to form a bond that would never be broken. She had become a sort of surrogate mother to him.
Chris arrived at the house next door to his own and walked through the front door. Upon arrival in the living room he found the man who had become his confident over the past three years, his grandpa. He had moved in with Les to help raise the girls after Phoebe passed away.
"Christopher! Here to see Patty are you? Well she's up in her room. You might need to kick the rug rats out before you get any work done though." Chris nodded and turned to leave. "Oh and Chris… Happy Birthday."
Chris entered his cousins' room and instantly saw that his grandfather was right.
"Oi you two," Chris said to Shawn and Prue who were creating havoc in the room, "Get out, we've got work to do."
"Sorry Christopher," said Shawn in a mock admiring tone.
"Yeah sorry your highness, just because you're seventeen now, you think you can boss us little people around," said Prue.
"Get out," said Chris trying to keep a stern face. "When's it due?" he then asked Patty, who was sitting at her desk.
"Tomorrow and dad said I can't leave this room until it's done."
"God Patty, you're going to have to make up all the experiment bits, you should have started this ages ago," said Chris while reading through the assignment sheet.
"Chris if I had a blinkin' time machine I'd be a scientist and I would not be having this problem, so save the damn lectures and help me aye," said Patty, exasperated.
Chris just laughed and sat down beside her. An hour later he had done all he could to help her and left her with an easy hour more of work to do.
The day progressed and Ryan and Kel dragged Chris all over San Francisco. Just as the three were exiting the movie theater Ryan's phone rang.
"Guy's I've got to get home, mom needs me to watch the youngsters," he said referring to his little brother and sister. "You two go have dinner, I'm real sorry to bail out on your B-Day Perry." And then he was gone.
As they were walking down the footpath Chris turned to Kel with the intent of asking her where she wanted to go but was struck silent by her blue eyes boring into his green. His breath hitched in his throat as he took in the girl he had been friends with since his first day of school. She had grown into a beautiful woman. She was tall, almost as tall as him; she had beautiful dark hair that contrasted with an awing effect to her dancing bright eyes. She truly was entrancing. It was a fact he had noticed more and more over the last year.
"Diner… Where do you want to go?" he asked finally finding his voice.
"It's your birthday," she answered with a smile. "Wherever you want to."
"Well this place looks as good as any," said Chris indicating the restaurant they were coming up to.
"Actually I've got a better idea," she stated, taking his arm and leading him further down the street to a take-away place.
"Why do you pretend to let me have a say in these things?" Chris asked exasperated.
Kel just smiled and ordered food for them both before retrieving it and leading him to the park they had gone the night of Wyatt fifteenth birthday.
As they sat on the swinging chair together Chris could only smile as he remembered Kel telling him off for kicking the crap out of the bin like a pro, but his smile faded as he remembered the way his mother had followed the two of them and talked to him after Kel had gone.
As if sensing what was on her friends mind Kel said "You had a wonderful mother Chris, it's okay to remember her today, to mourn her, even if it is your birthday."
"But I promised myself I was going to enjoy today. You know as well as I do that she would've hated to see me not enjoying my birthday."
"You did enjoy today Chris. We had an awesome day. You are allowed a moment of remembrance. She wouldn't have blamed you for that."
Chris nodded while staring at the ground. "She loved you you know. Like you were her own daughter."
"Yeah I know. Piper always told me that if she had had a daughter she would have wanted her to be just like me. And it was weird cause all I ever did was lead her little angel astray," said Kel, her own head bowed in reflection.
"Mom only ever had one problem with you," said Chris, lifting his head to look at Kel, a hint of a smile playing across his lips.
"My coke consumption levels," said Kel with a laugh. "Always said it was going to kill me before any other evil in the world did." Kel lifted her head and looked Chris in the eye. "I haven't touched a drop since she died," she confessed, a tear trailing down her cheek.
"I know," said Chris, moving his hand to wipe away the tear.
"You do?" she hiccupped, lifting her own hand to cover his.
"I know everything I can about you."
With that said Kel let out a moan, removed her hand from his and placed it on the back of his neck, moved her head forward and placed a soft kiss on his lips. In that moment the world seemed to stop. The wind stopped blowing, the trees stopped fluttering and the blinking streetlight stopped blinking. And then the moment was over. Chris pulled back and looked at the girl he had fallen in love with, eyes wide in horror.
"Kel I can't do this, we can't do this." And her eyes, only a moment before, filled with such hope, now reflected only helplessness.
"I knew you were going to say that. I don't know how and I don't know why you are, but I knew you would," she said with a humorless smile. "Come on, let's go back to yours."
"Kel…" said Chris reaching out, trying to stop her.
"Chris don't, just forget it." She bent and picked up there rubbish and moved to place it in the bin, pausing briefly as she did so, looking at the dents she had witnessed Chris make in the bin.
She took off down the street towards his home, knowing he was only a couple of steps behind her.
She heard a heavy sigh, "It's not that I don't like you…" And that was all she needed to hear. Kel whirled on him, fury in her eyes.
"Then what's the problem?" she asked angrily.
"Kel… I come from a very complicated family…" he started but Kel cut him off.
"Chris I know your family. I can handle them, I have been for the past ten years anyway."
"Do you think all those deaths were coincidences?" he asked, his voice radiating anger now too. "Of course they weren't. People who I love leave me, they die, they get killed, or they just run away. Do you think I want that to happen to you?"
"Are you comparing me to your father? For god sake Chris, I think you know me better than that."
"No I'm comparing you to my mother, and all the other's that died. They could defend themselves too. You can't, you don't know anything about it," Chris yelled at her.
"And whose fault is that? You won't let me know anything about it. I've asked a million times. Anyway you can't hide behind that anymore, you told me today that those people got caught. They got the people that took your family. You need a better excuse than that," she yelled back.
"It's not just them, there's more, and you can't protect yourself from them. I can't risk losing you. I can't protect you."
"I could be hit by a bus tomorrow Chris. Anything could happen. You can't focus so much on what could be, just on what is, and what is is that I am in love with you, and don't you try telling me you're not in love with me too because you basically already said it." Breathing deeply Kel quieted her voice and whispered "If you had the choice between the time you had with your mother and losing her, or never knowing her and never having to lose her, what would you choose?"
She didn't wait for an answer. Sometime during their argument they had arrived at the path leading up to the manor and Kel simply turned and walked up that path. She was just reaching out her hand to turn the doorknob when she felt a hand on her arm. The hand pulled her arm and swiftly spun her around. She came face to face with a very determined Chris. He had a fire in his eyes that excited her. He walked two steps forward until her back slammed into the door, creating a loud thud, and his body was pressed up against hers.
"You're persuasive," he stated simply.
"Mmm I know," she said, a smile creeping over her lips.
Chris smiled down at her and hungrily crashed his lips into hers. This kiss was not as soft and sweet as the last, but rather driven by hungry desire. Tongues mingled, necks were suckled and the breathing was heavy. Neither noticed the porch light come on, neither did either of them notice the locks been turned in the door. They did notice however, when the door was pulled open, as both of them fell to the floor, mid kiss, and looked up to hear a loud shout of "SURPRISE" come from the room, before a silent shockwave and then a chaotic sound of wolf-whistling.
Chris lifted his head and saw a banner that read, "Happy 17th Birthday Chris," and looked around to find the room filled with his family and friends.
Red faced he picked himself up from his position on top of Kel and helped her off the ground.
"You could have told me," he whispered in her ear.
"Wouldn't have been much of a surprise then would have it. Besides now we don't have to bother telling everyone, we just did it in one shot." She smiled at him and said, "Find me later," before walking away.
He watched her go until a fist hitting his shoulder brought him around.
"Oi, there'll be plenty of time to stare at your girls ass later Perry. Now come on we have a party to enjoy. Oh by the way you can thank your aunt for your little alone time with Kel today. She thought if I left you two alone the two of you might finally get your act together. The woman's always right," he sighed wistfully. And with that Ryan walked away, leaving Chris shaking his head at his friend.
Chris mingled for a while and as the energy from the surprise wore off people relaxed into the party.
He was just heading towards the drinks table where he could see Kel waiting for him when he saw something that almost sent him hurtling across the room and up the stairs. Instead, though, he held himself together and quickly scanned the room for Shawn. He found him standing near where Paige and Prue were conversing, talking to Patience.
"Shawn, you're coming with me," he said, grabbing the ten year old around the middle.
As he walked away with the boy in his arms he heard a snippet of the conversation between his aunts.
"I just don't understand, why now?" Paige asked.
"Well I've been dead for twenty years, I'm allowed to be seen in San Francisco now," Prue explained for the tenth time, exasperated but smiling all the same.
Chris moved quickly and walked with his brother up the stairs and into his bedroom. He then dropped Shawn on his bed and lunged across the room to where his mom and dad were standing. He wrapped his arms around his mothers' warm, alive body.
"Hey little buddy." He let his dad's voice wash over him and memorized the exact way that he ruffled his hair as he said it.
"Mom…" he moaned into her shoulder, "What are you doing here?"
She pulled back and looked at her son's, "This is a gift to you on your birthday, for all the work you did, vanquishing the demons. We only have five minutes."
Chris embraced his dad and Piper walked across to where Shawn was sitting stoic on Chris' bed.
"Baby?" Piper said, stroking the boy's cheek.
Shawn raised his eyes and looked up into his mothers', "You're just going to leave again," he stated.
"I know, but you're staying and that's what's important." Shawn nodded his head, acknowledging the truth that Chris had spent many nights telling him. Their parents wouldn't have wanted it to be any other way; they just wanted their children to survive.
The boy lifted his arms and wrapped them around his mother's neck before jumping off the bed and running to his father's awaiting embrace.
Everyone in the room felt the absence of Wyatt but none acknowledged it.
"Chris, we've been watching, we know what you believe your destiny is and I just wanted you to know that you're right to a degree," said Piper. "You are the only one who can save your brother and we believe you can do it," she said taking his hand.
"You need to know that the six children of the charmed ones are apart of a prophecy."
"Prophecy? What prophecy?" Chris asked confused.
"Chris we don't have a lot of time, just listen," stated Piper before continuing. "First there is the new generation of The Charmed Ones and that's not you three boys like your Aunt Prue thought, it's the girls, Patty, Prue and Pate." Piper paused for a moment to let this sink in before continuing, worry stretching over her features.
"The part of it that you three boy's come in is the extremes. There will be two of the extremes and one that will balance them, and help them to maintain peace within themselves. Wyatt's extreme is his whitelighter side. You know that he has all the powers of whitelighters and then some. He's a true whitelighter, at least he should be, you're not. You just have some of the powers of a whitelighter. He only has two powers from his witch side and that's telekinesis and the ability to slow down and speed up molecules, which both you and Shawn have anyway."
"Shawn, your powers are only that of your Wicca heritage, you're the other extreme. Chris you have both. You're the balance. You can orb and heal, when you open your heart, but you can't sense, and you have telekinesis, the molecule control and astral projection, but you don't have premonitions and you can't levitate like Shawn can."
"What your mother's basically saying boys, is that Wyatt and Shawn are the extremes mentioned, and you are the balance Chris. You can save your brother. It's your destiny to do it so that you three boys, along with the new generation of Charmed Ones, can protect the world from evil together. That is your ultimate destiny, but how you get there, that's your own path to follow, to invent even," said Owen.
Chris nodded, trying to take all of this information in. He got the general gist of it. He was defiantly going to save Wyatt.
"We have to go now boys," said Piper looking at her sons with a pained expression. "I love you both so much," she said, hugging each of them in turn.
"I love you too little buddy, and you too Shawnie," said Owen, hugging both the boys as well.
"Wait!" exclaimed Shawn suddenly. "You'll never guess what Chris was doing when we opened the door!"
Chris' face turned red at the memory and he looked up into his parents' faces to see them exchanging guilty looks.
"You were watching!" demanded Chris. "That's just disgusting," he exclaimed.
Shawn started laughing and Piper tried to explain, "We just like to check in every now and again."
"Yeah it's not our fault that we caught a very entertaining moment," said Owen before getting slapped on the arm by Piper.
"I do love her like she's my own daughter though," stated Piper, "And Chris… Don't forget to live alright." And a moment later they were gone.
Shawn turned to his brother, a hint of sadness on his face, and said, "We just have to look at it like we got an extra five minutes with our mom and dad Chris." But Chris wasn't listening; instead he was staring at his doorway where Kel stood staring at the place where his mom and dad had been only a moment before.
"Shawn go back downstairs alright," Chris stated. He let the boy out and then grabbed Kel's arm and led her to his bed.
Half-an-hour later Chris and Kel returned to the party, arm in arm, all secrets between them revealed.
As he walked he passed his aunts and heard another snippet of their conversation.
"Isn't it weird, being dead and all?" asked Paige.
"Just have to look at it like this. I would be turning fifty-one this year if I wasn't. Imagine the wrinkles," answered Prue, touching her thirty-year-old forehead with her fingre tips.
Chris looked down at Kel and she looked back at him laughing. "I guess a lot of stuff does make more sense now," she stated simply, and broke out in another fit of laughter. For the rest of the party he didn't even notice the absence of his father or brother, or any of the deceased relatives, he just enjoyed what was, as Kel had taught him to do.
A/N: Well that's another chapter done. Damn long one but I had a lot to put in it. Please review. I love feedback.