Thanks to chattypandagurl for letting me know about the site's requirement about not posting A/N's separately!
As usual, I can never seem to keep my babbles to actual short 'notes'. All the usual formalities are taken care of here. I've also included a short teaser for those of you who wish to scroll immediately to the start of the story. Think of it as the prologue. Chapter 1 should be posted shortly so you don't feel too chipped.A. Summary
A/U No Fate Story #3: Fresh from their journey to the future, Leo and the Charmed Ones seek to ensure that they have, indeed, changed Wyatt's and Chris' destinies. Meanwhile, in the future, Chris can't understand why fate hasn't changed. If you haven't read No Fate this story may not make sense.B. Characters
Main Characters: Chris, Piper, Phoebe, Paige, Leo and Les, as glimpsed from my No Fate universe.
Secondary characters: Other characters from my stories such as Darryl, DJ, Michael, Ben, Zach, etc may make an appearance as well. However, their roles are fairly minor so I don't think it really matters all that much.C. Story Rating & Other Particulars
Rating: R, as I'd like to continue in the vein of using strong language, the concept of war and violence, etc, so consider yourselves forewarned.
Genre: No freaking idea! Err…Action/Adventure/Angst? No…I know! Sci-fi. Or…Fantasy. Yeah…Fantasy. Oh screw it. Let's just agree that it's a Charmed fanfic, okay?
Formatting: Telepathic thoughts will be bracketed by colons and in italics - :for example:
All other formatting (e.g. emphasis, etc) will just be italicised.D. A Note About Updating
I will update as quickly as possible; however, that being said, I have always liked longer chapters with fewer updates rather than shorter chapters with frequent updates.E. What about a continuation of Providence?
A couple of people have asked about another Chris and Bianca story, picking up where Providence ended. I promise to think about it. I think it will depend if I can think of a good storyline and whether there is an audience out there for it.F. Special Note for Redundant readers…
This story was originally posted in the fall of 2004 under the title, Redundant. At the time, I remember writing the last chapter or so in a haze of writer's block and, giving up, ended it rather abruptly.
After much thought and consideration of the feedback I received, and my own rather ambivalent feelings about this story, I decided that I would revisit this story in hopes of creating a better product. However, I quickly realized that the concept of time looping was too much for my feeble mind to grasp and the resulting revision began to take a life of its own.
So what does this mean? Well, I know some people liked the idea of fate repeating itself and hoped that I would do a 'sequel' to Redundant but, as much as I tried, it doesn't seem to take. I ended up re-thinking the story completely and while the first couple of chapters will take elements from the original version, the storyline will quickly detour to resemble something more along the vein of Providence.
This story assumes that the original version of Redundant never happened.
I mentioned in the first version of Redundant that the story pretty much picks up from where No Fate left off. The same still holds true here. I mentioned at the end of Providence that I wasn't sure which storylines will stay and which will change. I had a really hard time cutting stuff out but finally decided to be brutal about it. Hopefully the change in direction will be worth it.
I know some of you will still prefer the original version. If that is the case and you still would like the original version available to you on fanfiction(dot)net, leave me a note in the review section. If there appears to be enough of you, I'll post the original version back up again as an alternative take. All I ask is you read the revision before you let me know.
And to illustrate just how much I think the change in direction will be, I've decided to rename the fic – The End of All Things is the current working title, though that may change as the story progresses.
Thanks to everyone (you know who you are!) who has been following the progress of the No Fate universe.
Okay, I think that FINALLY takes care of everything,
The End of All Things
With the defeat of Wyatt Halliwell and his demons, it appeared that mankind had weathered what was thought, at the time, their darkest hour. The battle for survival, where pain, misery and death had once ruled supreme was now to be relegated to the history books. The time had come for a new future, one filled with hope, joy and peace. How were we to know it was merely the calm before the storm?
– Chronicles of The Charmed Ones, Vol. CCXXX
Somewhere in New York State, circa 2027…
Using his hand to shade his eyes as he squinted into the direction of the crane operator, DJ gestured, giving the man the okay. Sweat poured down his face, the hot sun pounding down from above, the dry heat of the desert making the air thick and uncomfortable. Concentrating, DJ cupped his hands around his mouth, shouting, "That's it…careful…good, good. You're almost there…"
Slowly, the crane operator lowered the heavy equipment into place. A crowd of construction workers and others had gathered to watch the momentous occasion. With the generator in place, it would be the first step of many on the way to rebuilding civilization back to the level it had been before the war with Wyatt.
Looking down at his watch, DJ grimaced at the time. It was already past two in the afternoon and he had to get going. This was but one of many towns that he would be visiting over the next month, making sure that the innocents returning to their homes had as many of the basic supplies they needed that the Resistance could spare. All over the country, Chris had deployed as many of the Resistance scout teams to coordinate the logistics of moving everyone upworld – telepaths assigned to every team kept the undertaking running as smoothly as possible.
Glancing to his left, DJ caught the eye of his team's 'telepath', pointing at his watch. Shrugging his shoulder nonchalantly, Les simply rubbed his face wearily. Unused to the heat, he had to admit he almost missed the sterile but cold, steel structure of the underground complex that most of the Resistance had called home for years. In fact, most of those associated with the Resistance were still 'housed' there. Sighing to himself, he wished he was some place else. He knew most of the innocents were anxious to pick up their life from where it had left off, braving the 'world up there', and preferring to make their own way but secretly he felt they were being foolhardy. Though the war with Wyatt had ended some months ago, magic had still been exposed and demons were still creating havoc, albeit not with the same success as when the twice-blessed had backed them. Still, small skirmishes broke out across the country and elsewhere, forcing the Resistance from disbanding.
But as Chris and Darryl had firmly reminded him, this wasn't a police state. If people wanted to leave the safety of the compound prematurely, then it was up to the Resistance to make the transition as safely as possible.
DJ walked over to one of the construction workers, "Unfortunately we have to get going. There's another town about 100 miles down the road that are waiting for a generator as well. Think you can handle hooking it up on your own?"
The older gentleman, the construction supervisor, nodded reluctantly, "I'd prefer if you guys stuck around, but, yeah, I think we should be okay. What about the rest of the supplies we asked for? It's been going on three weeks since we requested them."
DJ sighed, "I know. We're doing the best we can." Clapping the older gentleman on the shoulder comradely, DJ looked at his watch again, "I really need to get our team going. I'll try to get someone to come out and check in with you in a few days to see how you're doing."
The crowd, which had moved off the perimeter to listen in on the conversation concerning their welfare, didn't like what they heard. "What are you trying to say?" a voice shouted from the crowd. "You're just going to leave?"
"Look," DJ emphasized, "we'll get you those supplies as soon as possible, but you have to understand we have cities all across the country that need as much help as you do. Until the factories come back on line, supplies are scarce, and we're going to need to ration everyone's supplies."
"What gives you the right to determine how much we need? Don't we, as the town, know what supplies we require to survive?"
"Of course, but we have orders coming in all around the country. Our telepaths are relaying the messages back to central command and they determine how to distribute the supplies as fairly as possible," DJ explained calmly.
"I heard that New York City got three power generators before anyone else. Why do they get three while the rest of us have to suffer without any electricity for another day?" The man turned back to face the crowd, "Am I right?" Shouts of agreement rang out, and the crowd began to jostle forward, raising their fists angrily.
Coming forward to his friend's aid, Les quickly interjected, "We're trying to distribute everything out as fairly and as quickly as possible. You have to understand that the more densely populated areas are going to be priorities…"
"Who gave you the right to make those decisions? Who said you get to decide who's a priority or not?" The man, his face bright red either from the sun or from anger, Les wasn't sure which, pointed at one of the kids standing nearby. "Tell him that he's not as high a priority as some kid in the city just because there's more of them there."
Les' face softened, "We're working as quickly as we can…"
"Well maybe that's not good enough!" Shouts of agreement sounded loudly in the air.
Trying to calm the crowd down, Les pleaded, "Listen to me!
Turning back to the crowd, the red-faced man snorted, "Why should we listen to him? If you ask me, it's the people of this town, it's the people of this country that should decide!"
"Hey, look," DJ interrupted calmly, stepping between the agitator and Les. "We're all in this together, okay?"
"No one asked you for your opinion, back-stabber!"
"What the hell are you talking about?" DJ sputtered angrily, his temper beginning to rise. "Are you kidding me?"
"Demons…witches…magic," the man spat in disgust. He pointed his finger accusingly at Les, "We're in this predicament because of you selfish bastards in the first place. You made your war ours!"
DJ's mouth dropped open in sheer disbelief at the incredible display of ignorance. Was this man insane?
"And you! You're no better! Helping these…these freaks!" The man swung his finger from Les to pointing at DJ. "If you aren't with us, then you're against us," the man continued to incite the crowd, feeding off the energy of the crowd and furthering the mob mentality. He looked over his shoulder at his supporters, yelling accusingly at the Resistance members, "Don't you get it yet? We don't need you and we certainly don't want you here! Go home!"
The crowd began to jeer and jostle, chanting, "Go home! Go home! Go home!"
Astonished at the lack of gratitude, DJ began to stride forward, ready to physically knock some sense into the misguided populace, when he felt himself held back. Turning slowly, he met Les' eyes. Les shook his head sadly, as if to say, there's nothing more we can do here.
Knowing it was the right thing to do, but still angry, DJ gave Les a curt nod in agreement. Reining in his anger, DJ turned his back on the crowd and silently followed his fellow Resistance members to the waiting trucks and jeeps. The small team of Resistance members silently loaded their equipment into the vehicles as the crowd watched them belligerently. Settling himself beside Les, DJ reached behind, pulling the shoulder belt down and strapped himself in. Giving the crowd one last look of disgust, DJ focused his attention on the road ahead as the vehicles began to pull away, the shouts and jeers of the mob still ringing in his ears.What the hell?
Soft mist carpeted the ground. Stifling a yawn, Chris looked down at his watch. 6 AM. Way too early to be awake, let alone to be on a stakeout in some god-forsaken town.
Though the war had effectively ended, magic had still been exposed and demons were still pillaging the earth. The demons, now having tasted the freedom of the mortal realm, were reluctant to return to the underworld. And so, while the threat was not as great when Wyatt had led them as a cohesive force of evil, pockets of demons sprang up here and there, forcing the Resistance to continue in an effort to curb the demonic activity.
Hence, the stakeout.
The town, really a collection of deserted, half destroyed ramshackles lining a dirt road, probably would have been known before the war as one of those 'quaint' touristy towns city-yuppies would name drop when discussing their summer vacations at the water cooler. Now, if anything, it resembled a ghost town from the movies Chris used to watch as a kid. Any minute now he expected dried out tumbleweed to roll across the landscape like the opening scene in a bad western.
A slight tap on his shoulder caused Chris to glance to his right at his friend. Gesturing silently, Michael indicated he was going to go around back. Nodding his agreement, and stifling another yawn, Chris watched as Michael backed away slowly from the decrepit shed they were hiding behind to circle around.
Shivering slightly in the crisp, cool air of the early morning, Chris turned up the collar of his jacket, hoping to gain a little warmth and keep the dampness out. Suppressing the urge to yawn yet again, Chris hunkered down into his position to patiently wait.
A sharp crack caught his attention.
Cautiously peering around the corner from his hiding place, he made eye contact with Michael who had now situated himself on the opposite side of the road behind a deserted corner store. Michael shook his head, indicating that while he had heard the sound, it certainly had not been him that had made it.
Which meant they were no longer alone.
Shifting slightly, Chris felt his every nerve ending come alive; his eyes darted from building to demolished building, searching for the slightest sign of movement.
If something doesn't happen soon, I'm going to be a mess…, Chris grimaced, noticing his antsy and jittery behaviour. Bloody demons – why can't they just get on with it already?
As if in response to his mental question, a couple of demons suddenly burst into the open from one of the nearby buildings. Snarling at each other, they emerged slowly from the doorway, engaged in a heated conversation.
Just our luck…, Chris groaned to himself, trackers. Thank God the things are too stupid and too alpha male to remain in large packs or we'd be screwed.
Trackers were demons left over from the war with Wyatt. Standing well over six feet tall, their bodies a muddy brown with piercing yellow eyes, the creatures were resistant to direct magic, making them damn near impossible to kill.
Chris looked over at Michael, his eyebrow raised in question as if to ask – You up to the task?
His friend nodded grimly, bringing his crossbow into Chris' view. Gesturing silently with his hand, Chris indicated to Michael to take aim. Holding up three fingers, Chris waited for Michael to take aim before lining up his own shot. Once again glancing over at Michael, he held his breath as he began to fold his fingers in countdown.
Barrelling towards their targets, the arrows shot forward, literally whistling in the wind. Luck was with them; with a soft thud, Michael's arrow buried itself in the only vulnerable area of the demon, its throat. Chris' arrow, unfortunately, bounced off the shoulder plate of the other.
As its companion fell to the ground dead, the one remaining tracker jerked out of its surprised stupor, quickly dropping into a defensive position. Holding his breath, Chris could see the tracker's yellow eyes darting around as it searched for its enemies, its ears twitching. Suddenly, the demon's eyes alit on Chris' form, slightly hidden and still crouched behind the shed. Letting out a ferocious roar, the demon rushed towards him, snarling and drooling like a rabid animal.Crap!
Back-pedaling, Chris quickly reached behind to grab another arrow out of his quiver, trying to reload as swiftly as possible. The demon, less than a hundred feet away, continued to rush towards him. Letting loose the arrow, he swore as the arrow bounced uselessly off the demon's arm as it effectively blocked Chris' second shot.
Out of the corner of his eye, Chris could see Michael scrambling out from behind his hiding position, yelling at him to run. His friend dropped to one knee, taking a second shot. Chris knew there was no way the arrow would penetrate the hide-covered back of the demon but hoped Michael's attempt would divert its attention.
No such luck.
The demon ignored Michael's attempt, not even acknowledging the assault from behind, its entire being focused on Chris with deadly intent. Cursing again, Chris again attempted to reload his crossbow.
"Chris – run!"
He fumbled, dropping the arrow before he could load it properly.Fuck!
The tracker howled with victory, leaping into the air in a graceful arc to pounce on its prey, its demon yellow eyes filled with vicious hunger.
Knowing he couldn't outrun the tracker and that there wasn't enough time to load another arrow, Chris's green eyes widened as he saw the demon close the last few feet between them. Time seemed to slow as the tracker practically flew through the air towards him, its large drooling mouth opening to reveal its sharp, blackened teeth.
The demon's eyes narrowed with glee.
Chris could practically smell its foul breath.Shit!
He clenched his hand and using his telekinesis, he shoved with all his might.
The demon dropped to the ground with a thud!
"Holy shit!" Michael gasped, skidding to a halt in front of Chris as he looked down at the body of the demon in stunned surprise.
Chris' crossbow was buried in the throat of the demon.
His heartbeat slowing to normal, Chris reached down, pushing the demon over with his foot to inspect the damage. He sighed, glancing up at the still shell-shocked Michael.
"There goes another perfectly good crossbow."
To be continued…