Disclaimer: I don't own Charmed. I don't own my brain (borrowed it only). I don't own the computer I'm typing on (bodily threw my cousin off her own computer so I could update). I don't own anything, okay!
A/N: SO, SO, SO sorry it took so long to update. I really was thinking about it (and future chapters) everyday that I wasn't updating. But I'll blame it on technical difficulties and just give you the story, now…
"Who are we?" repeated Piper hotly, and suddenly a wave of nausea hit her as two and two added up for the first time in her consciousness. Her eyes went wide… her mouth came open. No longer mentally present in the room, but instead in a form of shock, she murmured, "… We're his family."
A look like a scowl crossed over Odin's face. "You can't be. They are all accounted for."
"They are," said a new voice, and the future version of Leo entered the room, his face cold and impassive.
For a moment there was silence on Piper's end. She was still just trying to deal with the fact that she was her neurotic whitelighter's mother. She couldn't understand it. She knew she was his mother, but she also knew that she would never, EVER hurt any child intentionally. She would never do any of the things his mother had done to him. It was just… impossible. She admitted her insecurities about being a failure of a mother, especially after Wyatt had conjured that dragon right underneath her nose, but she knew that she would never hit… either… of her sons. She wasn't that bad of a mom, no matter what insecurities she had.
Her head was spinning. It just couldn't be possible. There had to be a mistake. She just… she couldn't… she would never hurt her son. But why, then…? She didn't even know how to finish the thought.
The Leo of the past was staring at her. He had heard her realization, and she knew without looking at him that he had felt it was true. She also knew he didn't understand it any more than she did herself, even as he came to stand by her side.
Paige startled backwards, suppressing a scream. Chris' eyes… they had changed. Before when it had been hard to look him in the eye… now was lethal. They had been permanently scarred with the horrible onslaught of emotion, but now that had magnified, one hundred fold.
When she looked into them… she felt like her mind was screaming and breaking. She couldn't handle it. There were too many horrors hidden beneath his eyes, now. It was just too much. Without realizing it, there were tears streaming down her cheeks. Her breathing was short and ragged. She felt as though she had looked into the eyes of Agony himself, and it was starting to break her from the inside out. She was sobbing, and she didn't know what was happening to her. She doubted Chris even knew. But she did know what she felt. She felt that she was dying.
The 'adult' Chris considered his dilemma for the hundredth time. He had never liked going head to head with his oldest brother, first of all, but it was even less enjoyable when that brother took him out of his nice, safe time bubble and back into their own time and world, where the atmosphere always depressed him, the food was dry and tasted horrible, and his brother had his demon followers torture him. It just wasn't, for some reason, Chris' idea of a good time.
But that was what had happened. Chris hadn't been in the mood to go all 'powerful bad ass' at a crucial point of the ever climaxing argument between himself and Wyatt, and he paid for it by allowing himself to be knocked unconscious by some spell or another from Wyatt… or, more accurately, the Source.
Eh, he thought without much emotion. Not that this was at all surprising. Wyatt… the Source… usually didn't take kindly being compared to an orangutan in a pink and yellow polka dotted tutu. He had known that even before he had made the comment, actually and surprisingly. He just hadn't been able to help himself… the opening for such a smart ass comment had been too perfect…
He had quite a time trying to hide the smile that wanted so badly to escape onto his lips. Smiling down in the Source's dungeons normally had more of a detrimental consequence when the demons standing guard beside him were taken into consideration.
He hastily tried to depress himself to make the desire to display amusement vanish. It wasn't hard. All he had to do was look around himself at the very small, leaky stone cell he was presently being contained in. He knew there were uncommonly powerful enchantments woven all around this particular cubical to prevent his escaping, or use of magic. The four demons that were standing on every side of him in the already cramped space had their eyes glued specifically on him, watching him with unnecessary scrutiny. The didn't even look as he threw his shoe through the bars of the cell; their eyes never left him.
Chris suspected Wyatt, who knew he couldn't stand being stared at for long periods of time, had given the demons those orders exactly, just to freak him out. Chris couldn't say it wasn't working.
He sighed theatrically as he considered his situation, again. He was trapped in an unnervingly impenetrable cell in his own time with not one soul who knew he was there. Wyatt would be coming any moment now to torture him to death, resurrect him, and torture him all over again until Chris went insane (again). There were no Resistance members left to find him and rescue him like there had always been before when he was separated from his FU team… And he was now missing a shoe.
Things couldn't be looking worse. Or so he thought.
Suddenly he heard the sound of… hoof beats. There was something trotting in his direction. Chris glanced up at his guards that were even worse than Devon (the bodyguard at the Resistance base) had been, to see if they'd heard anything. Of course, he couldn't tell because they never looked away from him. The one on his right made a growling sound and Chris rolled his eyes, looking away again. Apparently that particular demon didn't like being watched any more that Chris himself did.
He supposed he just had to wait and find out what it was… but he didn't have to wait for long. Right as the thought crossed his mind, the thing appeared right outside his cell and stopped. Chris' mouth fell open. "Cheese?"
The winged camel with a degree in psychology raised a cloven hoof and smacked the boy upside the head through the cell bars. The demon behind Chris chuckled, earning himself a fireball from the demon on his left. The fireball happy demon proceeded to hurtle one at the camel, but it merely went through it without harm. The camel rolled his eyes. "Oh please," he scoffed in his high intellect Irish accent. "If I could be killed, that kid you're currently responsible for guarding would have done it years ago."
With that said, the camel named Cheese walked straight through the bars into the already high occupancy cell. "Now, my demonic little fellows, I've always had a professional interest in the art of raising demonic children. I've only seen one demon that was a mother, and one that was a proud father, and he turned out to not even be a demon at all. Who raises the child? What about you, sir? What was your childhood like? And you-- do you have any children--? Hey! Where do you think you're going?" the camel demanded suddenly as the demons made a run for the cell barred door. When they found they were really locked in, they shared a look and threw their own energy and fire balls at themselves, vanquishing themselves in a heartbeat. Cheese looked confused and hurt.
Chris chuckled as he got to his feet. "Come on, you're smart… for some reason… you should know by now that people don't like talking about their childhood. Now, how do I get out of here?"
"What? Oh… just take a hold of my hair-- gently, please! We're not gorillas-- and walk with me through these bars. Bianca made sure they were safe for my brand of intangibility."
"You're brand?" repeated Chris, slightly affronted. He followed the winged camel through the bars, though.
"Yes, the kind that you don't have. My brand," Cheese 'clarified.' Chris rolled his eyes. This was so not the day to be arguing with a winged camel… Whoa, he thought absently. That sounded weird…
"So how are we going to get out of here? We're at the base, aren't we? There should be more security around here besides the personal guards."
The camel gave him a look, tilting his bifocals down as he did so. "Has being stuck in the past made you stupid or something? Of course we're at the base, and of course there will be more security around here soon."
"Or just me," came a new voice as they turned a corner and came face to face with a nineteen year old Damien Halliwell.
The teen hadn't changed significantly in two years; same long dark curls, same piercing grey eyes, same style of black trench coats that brushed the ground. This particular leather coat looked like it had pockets big enough to fit a body in… Chris made a mental note not to count that possibility out quite yet.
Chris sighed heavily. He was really not in the mood to deal with two brothers in one day… "Damien. What's up?"
"Ceiling-- well… floor actually, seeing as we're underground," came the annoying, short response. "Please tell me you're not really talking to that winged camel."
"Sorry, can't do that," Chris snapped, just as abrupt. "So are you planning to get out of the way, or am I going to have to make you?"
Damien smiled, his eyes impassive. He stepped to the side and held out a hand as though to say 'after you.'
Chris eyed him suspiciously. He didn't move, besides to cross his arms. "Bored or plotting?"
"Ah… more bored than planning anything, really. It's rather dull without you here shaking things up. Which reminds me: What the hell were you thinking, going to the past? Do you have a death wish? Wyatt was furious! He freaking turned the planet upside down looking for you, and when he realized what'd happened he blew up the rest of Africa! Some of my favorite girlfriends were in Africa, damn you!"
Chris stared at him. That last part seemed rather strangely worded… but anyway… "That's really not my problem. We evacuated the civilians out of Africa last year when all those volcanoes started going haywire. He only had his own people to kill there."
Damien crossed his arms, his usual nonchalant attitude… different. Changed. Chris watched him, suddenly not feeling as certain as he normally was around this brother. He had an insistent nagging feeling in the back of his mind that something wasn't right.
There was silence. After a length, however, Damien was the one who broke it, his expression not easy. "Come on, Christopher, let's get you out of here… You don't belong in this base."
He took Chris, who had been shocked into silence, by the arm and pulled him the rest of the way down the hall before Chris finally was able to react. "Wait, wait. Hold it. You want to help me? Why? What's in it for you?"
Damien looked mildly surprised, but had sense to release Chris' arm before he had his own broken for what would probably be the thirtieth time. "Uh… nothing really. You're just no fun unless you have room to fight. I like to see you struggle, but it's not the same when I know you have no chance of winning. Kind of takes the fun out of it, wouldn't you say? Now watch out for that second stair-- it disappears sometimes," he added as they started up the damp wooden stairs leading to the first exit level.
Chris still couldn't stop staring at him, but jumped from the first stair to the third-- and fell back to the ground face first. Damien burst out laughing. "Okay, I lied, I lied," he gasped between peels of laughter. "The third stair disappears--!" After a second he let the laughter die down, and wiped a tear from his eye theatrically. "Jeez, that never gets old…"
Chris raised himself up on his elbows enough to glare at him. Fine, maybe he was telling the truth. That was definitely the Damien attitude he knew. Therefore, he knew he could trust him for the most part when it came to helping him get out of this place. He might not be unscathed, but hey, nothing was without its price.
Paige felt that she was dying, and Phoebe sensed it, even through Chris' pain. Short of breath, struggling to stay conscious through the agony, Phoebe knew that this was what had changed his eyes. This was when he had been forced to start glamouring them blue to get rid of the 'coma inducing effect.' But they had been perfectly safe from it when he wore his sunglasses… and it was the only thing her sister could try, so… "Paige, call for sunglasses!" she forced her voice out, but it wasn't more than a rugged whisper. No one heard her.
She tried again to call out, but when she felt the tidal wave of pain break forth from Piper and Leo combined, that was it. Her vision blackened slowly, starting from the edges and moving in…
Chris was completely overwhelmed. Something, he knew, was wrong with his eyes again, judging by yet another person's horrified expression, but who was this girl, exactly? Why was she here when… oh God, he thought, feeling the pain starting to cripple him again. This wasn't happening… Free Style wasn't… his soul wasn't… and he thought it had been too much before…
His eyes weren't working properly… it was dim… blurred… or maybe that was just the tears and pain. Maybe he was just about to pass out… but no. Life was too cruel to let him out that easily. He couldn't lose consciousness, even if he tried, no matter how much he wanted it.
That knowledge devastated him even further. He had lost the last remaining thing he shared with his twin… he had lost the last piece of his soul that could be shared with her… with anyone… and yet he couldn't even pass out for a few hours. Not even minutes.
The sobs started coming harder. He hated life. He hated it more than he had ever hated anything before in his life. Why couldn't it just give him a break, just once? Why did it love to watch him fighting for his sanity, his life, his soul, every second of his waking life? Why did it force him to dream about that waking life, even in his sleeping state? It was cruel beyond words. It was cruel beyond feelings. It was just cruel…
And then it didn't matter. It was life, and it would be staying for more than a little while longer, so… of course he cared. Of course it hurt and he threw inward tantrums every moment he was forced to endure more minutes of it, but it didn't matter.
With a sigh, the tears slowed to a stop. It didn't matter. Not now. Not when there was still someone hurt who he'd have to help. The self pity could wait, he thought with frightening indifference. And wiping the trail of tears from his face, he held out his hand and a pair of completely black sunglasses appeared in it. With only a slight chilled shudder, he slid them on so he couldn't hurt anyone with his emotions… At the time, he had no idea that he would still be forced to wear sunglasses years in the future, even after he learned to glamour the pain away… therein turning them blue as the only compromised result. Even his eighteen year old self hadn't figured out how to get the natural color back when glamouring…
In clear sight of the Elders, he leaned forward and healed the young woman, who had lost consciousness seconds ago.
But the Elders weren't watching. Something else was happening beyond his range of vision, something that was occupying all their attention. He looked back down to the girl, and for a split second could have sworn he'd seen her image flicker into… but no. It was just the strange blonde girl Prue had introduced to him and the others as Naomi. But… no.
Her eyelids fluttered and he took his hands back, watching her carefully as she tried to sit up. If she couldn't sit up… well, then she didn't need to. If she was that bad off, she needed to lie down. If she could… then she would on her own. And he wasn't eager to get close to her anymore than he already had, when he healed her.
At length, she was sitting up and looked over to him, eyes clouded over slightly. "Chris…" she groaned softly, and rubbed her head, which was obviously aching. "What… happened…? Are you… are you okay?"
Chris was taken aback once again by this woman. Her immediate concern over someone she didn't know (or so he thought) was enough to throw him off for a while. Somehow, though, he managed to say in a small, wavering voice, "Yeah… I'll… I'll live."
She groaned and looked at him again, eyes cleared over and alert now. She had suddenly remembered hearing Piper's revelation… but that wasn't so surprising once she thought about it. It was surprising, though, when she also took into account that she… or one of her sisters… had abused him. That… that just didn't seem… possible. She knew Piper definitely had more anger management problems than most people, and she was far more angry than herself and Phoebe, but even Piper wouldn't hurt a kid. Wyatt's happiness was proof of that…
She shook her head as though to clear it. That did the job, for the most part, and she struggled to her feet. Chris had zoned out completely after uttering his meager response, and for a moment she could but simply look down at him, her mind starting to run away with her again. She could see, now that she tried, that he definitely had the Halliwell looks. She had often flipped through the family photo albums, familiarizing herself with their ascendants and, though she probably would never admit it, trying to find something of herself in each of them. It was easy to find (Prue,) Piper, and Phoebe in their foremothers, but it was mostly frustrating because she couldn't find herself.
Now she saw the shape of his eyes were Piper and Patty's; he had Prue's curving lips, Penny's strong but smooth chin, the nonnegotiable Halliwell cheek bones… everything but his eye color she could recognize… She'd never seen anyone, period, with eyes that shade of green… and now they were hidden behind completely black sunglasses. It was rather depressing.
"Come on," she said softly, holding out her hand. "Let's get out of here. There's no reason to stay…"
Towards the end of the sentence, her eyes strayed to the prostrate body of the young, deceased wolf cub. The blood that had seeped from the wound onto the pale, yielding floor was covered beneath the extended feathers… the majestic ebony wings hanging limply over its body; the tips had curled around it, finishing the scene off like a blanket of gleaming dark light over the outline of soft innocence. The innocence that had been slaughtered for punishment's namesake…
Chris' eyes had wandered there, too, behind the glasses, and didn't move for some time. Then, gradually he tilted his head to see Paige better. He didn't speak.
Paige would have started to feel uncomfortable, not knowing exactly what he was looking for, or even at, but she didn't have time. The sudden outbreak of irate screaming and sounds of a fight broke her thoughts from it almost instantly. "What the…?" she muttered, snapping her attention to where it was coming from. And that just happened to be where she'd last seen Piper and Leo.
"YOU SON OF A ----!" came a voice Paige recognized as Piper's through the other muffled noises of chaos. But it was in a tone she'd never heard Piper use before… Paige had never heard her that angry the entire time they had known each other. It was enough to scare the youngest Charmed One's face white. It continued, barely distinguishable through the sounds of a violent fray going on.
"HOW COULD YOU DO THAT TO YOUR OWN SON! WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU? YOU FREAKING BASTARD! DON'T YOU EVEN COME NEAR HIM, DO YOU HEAR ME? EVER AGAIN!"
Paige completely forgot about her newfound nephew and sprinted the length of the room, struggled through the mass of Elders that were trying get near enough to Piper to placate her, and fell bodily on the floor when she finally managed to break through. She lifted her head first, pulling herself up on her elbows, to see Piper looking more homicidally enraged than she'd ever seen her. There were furious blotches of red and white across her face, he eyes were almost literally on fire. And she was taking on… Leo, kicking, punching, and blowing up every chance and thing she could.
But… there was Leo, too, standing beside her and looking beside himself with rage. His face was contorting with ire as his blue grey eyes bore into his future self's face whenever it appeared over the wrath of Piper. He made no move whatsoever to stop his wife from beating the ever living hell out of his future version, but on the contrary, looked as if he might join her at any moment.
Paige scrambled to her feet hastily and tried to pry her sister off the now bloody and bruised Leo. She didn't care about her own sudden feelings of hatred toward the man, but knew that repeatedly killing the man would do nobody any good, no matter how much better it made them feel. "No, Piper, come on. This is not the answer. Come ON! Get off him! That's it-- that's it. Come on, now," she coaxed as soon as Piper had paused for breath. She cautiously pulled her older sister a safe distance away, trying her best not to make it so sudden that Piper would rebel and go back after him. It worked.
Piper, panting for breath, still looking dangerous and in the mood for ass-kicking, allowed herself to be hauled away. "Yeah, that's right; you know you just got your butt kicked," she said loudly, and turned on the spot, looking for something. "Yeah, now where's my future self? She needs a good stomping, too--"
"Piper!" scolded Paige, also grabbing Leo's shoulder and steering him to a distance. "You're… um… dead… Remember?"
"Oh yeah," realization hit Piper, but seemingly not too hard. "Chris killed me didn't he? Well good riddance. I deserved whatever I got if I ever… ever did that to… to my…" her voice trailed off and she suddenly seemed to deflate. Anger was no longer her mask… she couldn't use it as an excuse… She burst into tears, sobbing into a shocked and confused Paige's shoulder. "Paige… I did that to Chris… I… my son, Paige. I did all of those… those horrible things… to my son… Chris is my… my son… Oh, God, Paige…"
A/N: Thanks for all of the wonderful reviews! Really need comments to lay my insecurities about this chapter at rest, okay? Please? AND, before I forget, how many people have NEVER seen an episode of the TV show: Supernatural? I'm thinking about doing a minor flick with Sam and Dean, but it will all depend. This isn't a crossover story, really.
Anyway, I updated on Alex's birthday! You can't beat that, J.H.! And if you try to so much as say you can do better… don't go to sleep tonight.