Death lurking within
Chapter 1 – Unforgettable night
A/N: so here I am starting a new story, but I had it in my head for quite a while now I think it needs to be written down, since I've finished Frustrated, so enjoy.
Time: Parts in 2014: unchanged future. Parts in the past: two weeks after Prince Charmed
Disclaimer: No I do not own Charmed and probably never will.
- had the weird feeling t Prologue -
Both the Halliwell boys heard their mother's desperate scream. They were lying inside their beds in their shared room. They could hear the battle noises from upstairs. Piper always ordered them to stay away when they were fighting demons, because she would handle them. She didn't want to put her babies in danger.
But they both knew that their mom calling for their father meant it was something serious. And they also knew that Leo wouldn't come. Because he never did.
"Can't we do something?", ten year old Chris asked his older brother. He didn't want his mother to handle this alone, even if she had the support of her sisters. He was always scared that someday the three of them would not be enough to fend off one of the attacking demons. He was always scared that he would lose her.
"Mom said we should stay out of it", Wyatt replied. He didn't like that rule either and would also have preferred to do something about this demon thing, but he had confidence in their mother that she and her sisters could handle it.
Before they could decide on doing something or not there was a loud bang in the attic and everything went quiet.
Both of them held their breath for a minute, anxious to hear what had happened. But then they heard familiar footsteps on the stairs leading to the floor were the bedrooms were. First one pair of shoes… then another one… and another one.
Both of them let out a sigh of relief. Their aunts and mother were unharmed, so it apparently hadn't been that big a fight.
Their mother opened the door and smiled at the boys who were staring at her with questioning looks.
"It's ok, we got rid of them, no problem", she reassured her boys. "Now go to sleep, you don't need to worry about it anymore."
Both her children always wanted to help out when there were demon attacks, but she didn't let them because she was afraid they would get hurt. But they always noticed when there was a demon in the house and they would not go to sleep before they weren't entirely certain the demon was gone. She wondered whether other parents had the same problems getting their kids to sleep.
They said "Ok, goodnight mom", at right the same time, as if they were one and Piper decided she could go downstairs to help her sister clean their clothes of the demon's remnants. She closed the door with a smile and left.
Wyatt looked at Chris who was lying on his bed on the opposite side of the room. "What kind of demon do you think it was?", he asked curiously. He was not tired at all and he figured his brother wasn't either.
Chris rolled to face his sibling and said, "It must've been more than one. I'd say two, from the noises they made"
Wyatt raised his eyebrow impressed. Chris always heard these kind of details. And he knew every demon from the book of shadow seemingly, even though in reality he only knew the most common ones.
"So, what do you think they wanted?", Wyatt asked his younger brother.
"I'd say the usual, you know, kill all of us, get our powers, whatever", Chris shrugged. He was pretty bored by the demons that all wanted the same thing. Couldn't they be more creative in their threats so it became more interesting fighting them?
Wyatt nodded in agreement, also bored by the stupidity of the demons. Didn't they realize none of them stood any chance against the Halliwells?
Chris was just going to make a comment about that topic when something distracted him. A demon shimmered in behind him. Chris turned around but before he could do anything, he was hit by a red light emanating of the demon's hands.
Wyatt stared at the demon in shock, and tried to think of what to do. It was not routine having a demon shimmer in their bedroom. With a quick thought he formed an energy ball in his left hand and threw it at the demon, who was vanquished instantly.
He let out his breath in a hiss. He was barely able to control this new power of his, but it seemed to have worked this time without any complications.
He turned around to make a comment about how cool his new power was to Chris, when he saw Chris shaking with a greenish color on his skin.
"Mom!", he shouted and rushed to his brother's bed. Chris let out a soft moan and stared at the ceiling with unfocused eyes. "Chris?", Wyatt asked warily, but he didn't react to his older sibling's presence at all. But he seemed to be in pain.
The door flew open and Piper entered. "What happened?", she asked and looked around sacredly.
"A demon attacked, I vanquished him but he hit Chris with some kind of light and now he doesn't react to me anymore", Wyatt explained breathlessly. Piper pushed him aside and got to Chris' side. She touched his skin which was cold and sweaty. She immediately knew it was really bad.
"Paige", she called and her younger sister immediately orbed in. "Get him to magic school, fast", Piper commanded and Paige took the young boy's hand and orbed out. Piper knew it was useless to call for Leo since he wouldn't come anyway, but the elders that were living at magic school nowadays would definitely help. At least she hoped so, but they had never let her down so far. Wyatt took her hand and orbed the two of them after Paige.
They had to wait.
For a really long time.
Piper was pacing anxiously in front of the room where the Elders had taken Chris to heal him from whatever there was to heal. But healing never took that long. She glanced at her watch. It had been three hours.
Healing was a matter that usually took ten seconds at the most. It had never taken nearly as long and with every passing minute Piper was more scared that it could be something very serious. She tried to calm herself by thinking, if he was dead, they would've already come out and told us. And besides, he wasn't dead when we brought him here, he was just in pain. But nothing she thought could really erase that terrible nagging feeling that her little boy could not return to her at the end of the day.
"What the hell is taking them so long?", she asked for what seemed to be the hundredth time. Paige just looked at her and sighed.
The first few times she had tried to soothe her sister by telling her everything was going to be ok, but she had gone over to just shrugging by now.
She looked over at her nephew who looked devastated. Wyatt had told him that he had vanquished the demon but had apparently been too late, since the demon had succeeded in hurting Chris, whatever way he had done it. Ever since then Wyatt hadn't spoken a word and Paige had the feeling he was blaming himself.
To ease his tension she decided to reply to Piper's question now. "Maybe he needs to rest and they just don't want us to disturb him, so they keep us out", she suggested hopefully.
"No, if he needed to rest they wouldn't be in there anymore", Piper said and looked over to the blue painted doors in whose front they all had waited for the previous three hours. She didn't like the hospital part of Magic School. The entire school was painted in warm and friendly colors, but the hospital part was painted all in white and blue which Piper didn't like. But that was probably because it was the hospital part which always gave her a bad feeling. Maybe she wouldn't object to the décor if it wasn't for the fact it was used here.
"They could've orbed out", Paige supposed. She didn't actually believe in what she said, but she felt obliged to be optimistic. Sometimes she hat not thinking positive was somehow triggering bad events happening to her family.
"But they would've informed us. They wouldn't leave us hanging like that", Piper argued. She was shaking a little and was doing worse in covering up her fear by the minute.
Paige almost rolled her eyes at her. She wanted Wyatt not to give up his hope and Piper was not at all helping. But in reality she could understand Piper's fears very well. She herself was worried enough about her nephew and she could only imagine what Piper was going through as his mother.
Phoebe would probably be better at calming Piper down, but she was away at the moment to get some coffee for her and her sisters. Wyatt wasn't allowed to have coffee, so Phoebe would be getting a coke for him.
But then finally the door opened and one of the female elders of whom Piper believed her name was Amanda exited the room.
Piper immediately rushed over to her. "Is he ok? Why did it take so long? It's nothing serious, now is it?", she asked hopefully.
But the look on Amanda's face was telling her otherwise. "Piper", she hesitantly said, "Maybe you'd better sit down"
This was scaring Piper even more. With a look of fear on her face she complied and sat on one of the chairs that were standing in front of the door.
"Well", the elder started who was by now sitting next to the worried mother. "We did everything we could, but…"
"But what?", Piper asked with a terrified look in her eyes. This was sounding really bad. "He's not… is he?", she demanded in fear. She felt unable to pronounce the horrible word that would be the completion to her sentence.
"No… but it's not good", the elder said slowly.
"Well, what is it?", Piper asked, sick of the way the elder was prolonging the conversation. She needed to know whether her baby was fine, and she wanted to know fast.
"Your son has been infected with an incurable disease", the woman told Piper. She was really not happy about being the one to tell the mother. She felt so sorry for all of them.
"You… you mean, incurable for normal people, but you're elders, I mean…", Piper started with desperation evident in her voice.
"No. Completely incurable. And I'm afraid it will one day kill him", the elder stated with a sad look in her eyes.
And Piper could just stare at her in disbelief.
777777777777777777777777Book of Shadows entry
A kind of demons who are very rarely seen and don't possess many offensive powers.
They can however infect humans with one of the three only magical diseases known to be incurable. The only way to stop the disease's progression is to kill the victim.
The disease can take over 8 years to reach its final stage, possibly even longer, even if there are no documented cases in which it has taken longer so far.
The demons can sense when one of their victims is in the final stage of the disease. They wait for their victims to die and then feed off of them.
Piper's eyes were fixed at the page of the book for what seemed to be hours.
"You're not serious…", she said and looked up to Amanda who wore a sympathetic look on her face.
"He can't have been… no he can't be infected by one of these creatures", Piper concluded even though she knew she was wrong. He had been infected, there was no other possibility. It explained why it had taken the Elders so long and the picture next to the writing matched Wyatt's description of the attacker.
But Piper refused to believe that this was true. She couldn't wrap her mind around the fact that her son would be killed by this. That magic would kill him, no matter what anyone did.
"I'm really sorry, Piper", the Elder said honestly.
The brunette witch could feel the tears welling up in her eyes. She looked through the open door and saw her youngest child lying there, sleeping. He didn't look as if he had some serious illness, only a little pale but apart from that sleeping peacefully.
"How… how long does he have?", she asked between her sobs. She wasn't able to turn her eyes away from her little angel.
"We managed to slower the progression. He should have about 15 years until the final stage", Amanda explained. She knew that speaking of the "final stage" was silly, since the thing that was really fifteen years away was the end. But she didn't have the heart to say that out loud. The way Piper was looking at her child made it impossible for the elder to say such harsh things.
"Fifteen years…", Piper repeated quietly. Such a short time. She couldn't imagine loosing him then. How could she be able to handle it? What would it be like for him to live with the certainty that he would never be older than 25? Her poor little angel. This was not fair.
He would never have the opportunity to have a family or children, there were so many things he was doomed never to experience. And just because of one stupid demon…
It was absolutely not fair.
It was raining. Chris knew that, without even looking out of the window. How fitting, he thought sarcastically while he slammed the cupboard he had just cleared out shut. He turned to check whether he had left any of his items in the small room he had lived in for the past few months and was somewhat happy but also sad that he had done a good job in cleaning it out.
He let himself fall on the couch which was now completely empty whereas it had been full of papers and books just half an hour ago.
He was thrown into a coughing fit that hurt in his lungs and seemed as if it didn't ever want to end. As soon as it stopped he looked at his hand which he had used to cover his mouth with. His mood sank considerably when he saw it to be covered in blood.
So he hadn't misjudged the symptoms. It was true. He wiped his hand clean on its jeans, where the stain was barely visible since it was a very dark shade of blue. It was not like he would have a lot of days left to care about his attire.
He had always known the day would come. After he had been told about his infection he had read every book about the disease he could find, some of which told about the disease's symptoms in very delicate detail. And none of them were pretty. He had been particularly interested in the final stage. He wanted to be prepared when the day came.
His mom had wanted him not to read about this horrible things, she wanted to protect him from the knowledge of what was to come, but she hadn't succeeded. He had needed to know.
Over the years he had experienced a lot of the symptoms and gone through the various stages. He had learnt that the symptoms differed from victim to victim and there were many very different of them. The one he had experienced most often was the loss of his sight. One time he had been blind for over two weeks and it had really scared him. Seeing was an important sense for him, and not being able to do that was very unsettling. And he hadn't even known whether he would be able to do so ever again, but he occasionally lost his sight for short periods of time afterwards. He had learnt to handle it somehow. At least he had his whitelighter senses to enhance his perception of his environment. He couldn't imagine what other blind people were going through, since they usually knew their vision would never return.
He wasn't sure whether he would be blind again during the last stage, but it was not like it really mattered anymore anyway. It had begun. He didn't exactly know how long he still had. It could be anything between a week and a day, but not longer.
He wasn't really afraid of dieing itself. He knew exactly how it would happen and he knew it would be painful, very painful, but that was not a big problem to him. But the idea that he would not be able to see the next day, that he wouldn't be able to talk to the sisters ever again, that he wouldn't see baby Wyatt sitting in his playpen or people laughing on the street, hell he would have even liked having Leo bitching at him, if it only meant he would be living that day.
But there was no hope. He sighed. There was one thing that was even worse for him than not seeing the next day. The scent of failure. He didn't have the chance to save Wyatt anymore. He had tried, but he hadn't managed and now it was too late. When he had traveled to the past he had known that the enchantment the elders had cast to slower the progression would wear off and he would not have the chance to return to the future, but he hadn't cared. If only he managed to save Wyatt it didn't matter what sacrifices he had to make. But now his time had run out and he hadn't done it.
Through all the fights he had had with various demons or even his brother he had realized something. He only had one essential enemy, and that was a merciless and cruel one.
It hadn't given him the chance to complete his mission and now it was killing him. He even had the feeling that somewhere, hidden in the shadows there was some incarnation of time, laughing its ass off because it had managed to bring him down.
His thoughts were distracted by the familiar sound of someone orbing in. Before the person had entirely materialized Chris quickly wiped his mouth clean of the blood that had to have been left there from his coughing before.
He looked up to be met by the gaze of his father. Great, he thought sarcastically. Hadn't he thought some minutes ago he would've liked Leo's bitching? Well now he regretted that thought. It had probably given him bad karma.
"What do you want?", he asked in his usual cocky way, in the hope Leo wouldn't notice how pale the young whitelighter was now.
"Why did you tell the sisters to look for a new whitelighter?", Leo asked impatiently.
Chris groaned on the inside. Just what he needed in his state, another one of Leo's interrogations.
"Because they're the Charmed Ones and it is essential that they have a whitelighter around to guide them", he said stubbornly, even though he knew that was not what Leo wanted to know.
"They have you", Leo said while his eyes seemed to be going right through Chris.
"Not anymore", Chris simply said.
"And why not? What happened to saving Wyatt from 'turning'?", Leo said while he tried to make clear in his voice that he did not believe that Wyatt would turn.
"Things changed", Chris replied cryptically. He was not going to tell Leo the truth no matter what. Even if he wanted to, what would he say? Well, Dad I've been infected with a deadly disease and am probably going to die tomorrow? It didn't sound very persuasive.
"Oh so you got a fax from the future saying that Wyatt is alright again and you can go home?", Leo asked in an unfriendly tone. In any other situation Chris would now have been amazed by that statement since he had never really believed Leo would manage to say something that sarcastic.
Instead he just rolled his eyes. "No I didn't. It's not you concern anyway. I need to leave, end of story"
"So suddenly you don't care about your 'oh so important' mission anymore? Looks like you weren't that serious about it after all", Leo mocked. It wasn't understandable for him how the boy was acting. At first he was doing anything to get his mission accomplished and now he just gave up? That sounded very suspicious.
"Oh just drop it", Chris said tiredly. He didn't want to argue now.
"Not until I know what you are up to"
Chris looked him straight in the eye and said coldly, "Do you realize there are things between heaven and earth that have nothing to do with you? It's not always about you, or your family, and not everything I do is something that you need to care about"
Leo still didn't believe the young whitelighter, but he heard Piper calling. He had agreed to baby-sit this afternoon and he was not going to let her down. And he wanted to be with his son just once.
"This is not over", he said pointedly to Chris and orbed out.
Chris just looked at the spot where the elder had just been standing and said, "In a few days it will be." He was fully aware of the fact that Leo couldn't hear him and he was happy about it.
Suddenly he felt a different presence in the room. And he remembered something he had almost forgotten. These demons sense when one of their victims is in the final state…
And he could feel them coming.
To be continued. Please review!
Oh, and one question, since the description of various not very pretty symptoms of the disease might get pretty graphical do you think it's ok to leave the rating at T?