Disclaimer: These characters do not belong to me.
Author's Note: Hi everyone! NEW STORY! Yipppeee! This is another train of thought that wouldn't leave me alone. I have the next chapter half written and for those interested: I'm tweaking the next chapter of "You did it"
The setting for this story is AU... so listen (or I guess read, hehe) up.
Piperis pregnant. Leo is gone. Paige and Phoebe are living at the Manor. BUT no one knows Chris's identity. Therefore their attitudes have not changed-- they don't like him. He's been kicked out of the Manor, Leo doesn't trust... and all that jazz, hehe.
Because this first chapter is a Chris-revelation one; I wanted to show Chris's relationship with his... uncle.
Anyway, as the storyprogresses we're goingto end up in the unchanged future for a little while.
I hope you like!
So here he was...
In the Manor's Attic.
It probably wasn't the best place for him to be.
Very unhealthy for him if one of the girls should wander in.
But alas, duty called. And he had a nephew to track down. It was too bad the girls hated his guts in this particular year—they could probably make the tracking-a-nephew-down thing a lot easier.
But they did hate his guts, so that option was a closed door... he'd have to do this the hard way; with a heavy sigh, Cole Turner shimmered out of the attic.
The tracking-a-nephew-down thing—wasn't working out that well.
Said nephew was using a particularly strong cloaking potion, blocking out all the natural vibes that came from simply being him, and not leaving any of his demon contacts a place where he could be reached.
He says he'll find me
Had been the standard response in the underworld. If he had a map and something of the kids, he would scry; but he didn't.
He couldn't summon him—not having that particular gift and all.
He sighed, this was 2004. The sisters hated his guts. Piper would blow him up on sight.
Well… not on sight; first she'd stare.
They'd all stare…
Hmmmm, maybe he could use those moments of staring.
… yes… he would use those moments. He had no other choice.
"This was great idea." Phoebe stated gleefully as she opened the Manor front door.
"As are all my ideas." Paige quipped.
Piper snorted, "Yeah, sure…"
The packages they held rustled as they entered the foyer.
"I think we should take shopping trip like this – just the three of us – every month." Phoebe stated, "I mean not only is nice to be together for a day… but it gives me a great excuse to buy stuff! Did you see the shoes I bought. Wait. Let me pull them out…"
"Oh god not again!" Piper cried in mock horror as they neared the kitchen.
"We were there when you bought them." Paige added.
"Right. Right. Okay, but you have to see me wearing them with this outfit that I have in mind… I mean you don't understand it's gonna look so ama-"
The word died abruptly. As did every other thought in the three woman's minds'.
Cole Tuner was sitting at their kitchen table, a coffee mug in his hand.
They were home.
Their chatter was unmistakable. It amazed him to know end how these women could deal with everything that went bump in the night and still find it in themselves to laugh.
Phoebe's voice – light and happy – brought a small smile to his face.
Of course – she hated this guts.
God, 2004 was a miserable year.
Sighing softly he took another sip of the coffee he'd made. They never rearranged cabinets.
He was lowering the cup from his mouth when they walked in carrying multiple bags. Phoebe had been talking.
She wasn't now.
They were staring.
This was his only moment.
He stood calmly; making sure to keep his manner non-threatening.
"I'm not the Cole you know. I'm from the future. So please don't vanquish me as I wouldn't like to make my children orphans."
He'd decided it would be good to mention his kids… buy him more time with the whole shock thing.
Their mouths opened and closed but no sound came out.
"I'm from Chris's future. I need to find him. Urgently. I'm having trouble though. It's why I'm here. I wouldn't have bothered you otherwise, but I really need to find him."
The bags fell to the floor.
"If you could call him for me, I'll be out of your way in a minute."
Still no response.
They were kinda slow in 2004, huh.
"Please. It's urgent." He said again.
"Yo-you know Chris?" Piper choked out, still none of them moved.
"I do. Call him." He said more firmly this time.
Maybe it was his tone, but suddenly they seemed to unfreeze.
"This is freakin unbelievable!" Paige roared. "Are we like NEVER gonna be rid of you!"
He remained silent. This probably wasn't the best time to tell her he was her brother-in-law—again.
"I mean how many times are we gonna hafta vanquish you!" she continued to rant, "And it figures you would know Chris!" she screeched.
"Could you call him now." He stated, wishing this little interview could be over… god 2004 was a miserable year.
"Oh god." Phoebe breathed suddenly, her eyes sliding shut, "This isn't possible." She whispered.
He took sympathy on her. For a moment. Then wished again that this would be over.
"We don't want to see Chris, anymore. You can find him at P3 probably. I haven't' kicked him outa there yet." Piper stated coldly.
"You what?" suddenly he wasn't so cool and composed, suddenly his heart was pounding a little, "You haven't what? Why the hell would you do that?" he hissed.
"There's the Cole we know and love to vanquish." Paige replied. "For a second I thought you were a cheap imitation. Hold on let me see if I remember your particular vanquishing spell…"
He didn't pay her any mind.
"I would do that because he's a pain in the ass who only causes trouble. And since you're from the future, his future. Please do us the favor of getting him the hell away from us."
He stared at them in shock.
There was something wrong here.
These women… family was everything to them. It was the reason they were unbeatable. The single thing that made them more powerful then the most powerful forces of evil—the power of three.
Family was priority.
And even the worst mother in the world, wouldn't refer to their son in this way. And Piper Halliwell, all three sisters in fact, were above your average mother.
"What the hell is wrong with you?" he hissed, his fists clenching, "Chris-"
"Is the cause of every bad thing that's happened to this family for over a year. He endangers my son, lies to us, tricks us, and pretty much does everything possible to make life more difficult for us. He's nothing but trouble." Piper continued.
"The best thing was for us to kick him out of the manor…" Paige added.
"Oh god." He whispered, as sudden understanding kicking in; slowly he rubbed his face and ran his hand through his hair, "Oh god… you don't know… he didn't tell you…" he whispered, forgetting for the moment where he was and the fact that they were listening closely.
"He doesn't tell us anything. Thus our reason for wanting to keep him the hell away from us."
He dropped his hands and glared at them, "Call him." He ordered.
Piper rolled her eyes. Paige humphed. Phoebe remained silent.
He turned his gaze to her, "Phoebe. Call Him." He stated.
She would obey. She didn't know it yet, but she trusted him—instinctively. Always would.
She sighed, "If it'll get you outa here faster; it'll be my pleasure: CHRIS."
He almost chuckled. She never would learn how to give in gracefully.
A moment passed.
Then he began to appear—even his orbs seemed hesitant.
The expression on his face was blank, a mask; but Cole zeroed in on the eyes. If you knew how to read them, Chris's eyes never kept a secret.
"You have a visitor." Piper said sarcastically as she waved a hand towards Cole.
Chris followed the movement; his eyes widened when he saw the man standing there.
"Oh god." He whispered, taking a step closer to his uncle, "What happened? Tell me he doesn't have them? Please! He can't have them!"
Quickly Cole reached the boy and gently placed his hands on either of Chris's shoulders, "He doesn't have them." He stated firmly, "That's not why I'm here."
Chris relaxed a little under the man's touch and warm gaze. It had been a long time since he'd been touched. A long time since someone had looked at him with warmth in their eyes.
"But first:" Cole stated, his dark eyes concerned, "Are you okay?" He asked.
The boy's mask almost faltered, but he held it together. He'd had a lot of practice recently.
"I'm fine." He said quickly.
Cole stared; Chris knew suddenly what was going on, he tried to break eye contact, but it was too late.
"He always is." Piper chirped, "So you have him. Go ahead and take him."
The mask slipped again as the young man winced, his gaze downcast. Cole dropped his hands, "You didn't tell them." He said dully.
Chris remained silent.
The sisters tapped their feet with impatience.
Finally, "No, I didn't." The words were soft.
Chris shrugged, still not looking up, "…didn't know how…" he whispered, "They're so…" he paused searching for the words to describe how these three women had treated him since he'd appeared before them, "… cold, hostile… scary…" he murmured.
Cole's heart turned over.
"Oh Chris…" he whispered, staring at this boy. He'd watched this boy grow up; had seen him looking up at his mother with complete adoration, playing tag with his aunt Paige in the conservatory, hanging on his aunt Phoebe's every word when she spoke to him…
How hurt he must be…
How right he was. The sisters were everything he'd just said when you were an outsider.
"… god, 2004 is a miserable year," he uttered, out loud this time.
A burst of choked, bitter laughter came from Chris, "You have no idea," He muttered.
"You know… this is all great and all. Having our annoying, neurotic whitelighter and the brother-in-law from hell in our kitchen chatting. But if one of you could explain what's goin on it would be great." Paige hissed.
"Or better yet. Just disappear." Piper stated, "Both of you. And don't come back."
Again the mask slipped again, and it took a moment longer for him to put it back in place. Cole shot Piper a glare, but said nothing.
"You should have told them." He said to Chris a moment later.
"Why are you here?" the younger man asked, ignoring his Uncle's words.
Cole gave a mental sigh; the boy had the infamous Halliwell stubbornness, it would do no good to press him.
Still he had to try.
"It was stupid not to." He insisted.
"It was agreed that I would be the one to come." Chris continued, still ignoring his uncle's strain of conversation.
"Yes, on the presumption that you explained-"
"If you're here who's with the kids?" Chris asked, cutting him off.
Cole opened his mouth to respond, but Paige beat him to it.
"Since you two are in our house; why don't you let us in on this lovely conversation."
"Or take it elsewhere." Piper added.
Chris didn't hesitate, "Sounds good. Let's go."
Cole sighed, looking intently at his nephew, "You haven't made much progress." he stated.
Chris glared at him, "How would you know?" he hissed.
"Because without their co-operation, you wouldn't."
"It's like finding the proverbial needle in a haystack." Chris growled.
"You should have told them."
"Tell us now." They were Phoebe's words, soft and curious, and underlined with steel.
Both men shifted to face the sisters then.
"What should he have told us?" Phoebe continued.
"It doesn't matter." Chris stated, his voice cold. Cole turned his head and stared at the boy.
"Like hell it doesn't." He hissed.
Chris turned a furious scowl on his uncle, "It's none of your business! Just leave it alone!"
"Chris they had a right-"
"It was my decision to make!" he yelled.
"One that you told me you'd made in the affirmative. It's why I agreed to all this!" Cole yelled back.
"You agreed because we had no other choice!" Chris cried, "And the LAST thing I need is for you to come back here and lecture me! So STOP IT!"
"Don't push it, kid! I've got every freakin right to lecture you if I feel like!"
Chris practically growled, "I SO do not need this right now. Do me a favor and go to hell!"
And with that, Chris orbed out of the kitchen.
"UGH!" Cole growled.
"Well, you've certainly got a way with him." Paige stated sardonically.
His gaze landed on the three of them. How the hell did they not see their stubborn, pig-headed, impossible-to-reason-with selves in that boy?
"Yeah, well, he's genetically predisposed to be irrational." He muttered. "Where would he go?"
Paige shrugged, "Who knows... when are you going?"
"After I talk to Chris." He said, a feeling of urgency threatening to overwhelm him suddenly. He hadn't come all the way here to have to be thwarted; he had to talk to Chris.
"Well then, what are you waiting for?" Piper asked, "Go talk to him, find him, whatever and then go."
Cole shook his head, "He'll come back here. Me goin to look for him is just a waste of time. Anyway no use talking to him until he's calmed down, otherwise there's just no getting through to him— he gets that from his mother."
"Fascinating." Piper deadpanned.
And he couldn't help it. He grinned. There was a certain amusement in knowing something so big that she didn't know.
The grin faded a moment later though, as Chris's sad, guarded eyes came to mind. That that wasn't amusing at all.
"So since your here, why not tell us where and when you resurrect yourself so we can just vanquish you off the bat."
The request came from Paige— of course.
"As tempting as that is, I'll have to refuse Paige." He said and then went back to the table, sat down, and carefully brought the coffee cup up to his lips again.
They watched him in shocked silence. Quite suddenly realizing that they were still standing in the entryway, their purchases lying at their feet.
Piper quickly bent and picked the bags up. Paige and Phoebe walked over to the table and glared at Cole.
"Please make yourself at home." Phoebe drawled, her words dripping sarcasm.
"You can't just sit there." Paige hissed, "Remember: we don't like you."
He looked up, and grinned again. A very friendly grin, "I kind of remember. But it was a long time ago. Forgive me if I've forgotten just how much you don't like me."
"Allow me to remind you then-" Paige began.
But he waved his hand at her in dismissal, "No need, I won't be here that long." And took another sip of coffee, "We might as well get along for the time I am."
"Oh might we?" Piper asked, bitterly. Then reached out and snatched her coffee cup from his hand, "Let me make something clear to you Cole Turner: we are in no mood whatsoever to deal with you or anything that in anyway revolves around you– whether your from the future, the past, or the present. So get up and get the hell out of my house!"
Cole eyed her a moment, "Wow." He said simply, "I think I just got frostbite."
"Allow me to blow you up; I'm sure that'll take care of it." Piper hissed, her hands poised.
"Don't." He ordered, and the tone of his voice gave her pause. She remembered he'd spoken of kids.
"Why? Because your kids would be orphans?" she asked sarcastically.
"That among other things, yes. But also, because you blowing me up won't kill me, just hurt like hell; and I'd rather not be in pain."
"You know…" Paige began eyeing him oddly, "I don't remember you being this… blasé about stuff…"
Cole shrugged, no need to tell them, that in Wyatt's world you either learned to be blasé or learned how to deal with losing everything you ever valued in life.
"People change." He told them simply. "Now please… go ahead with your routines. I'll just sit here, I won't cause trouble—I promise."
They stared at him.
"I would appreciate the coffee back though."
Piper stared at him a moment longer, then found herself handing him the coffee back.
"Thank you." He said politely.
Then he settled into the chair, ignoring the heat of the stares; conscious of only one thing—it was going to be a long day.
It had been a long day.
The room spun as he orbed into it, probably the not-sleeping thing did that to you. He was exhausted, but that wasn't enough. When he laid down at night, exhaustion didn't chase away the dreams, the words, the hurt…
He sighed and sat down hard on the sofa in the office. It had been a shitty couple of months. They hadn't been the worst—those had been right after Mom had died—but these last two months were definitely giving those two a run for their money.
Bianca was dead.
Wyatt was trying to kill him—for real.
The sisters hated him.
His Mom had kicked him out of the house.
Then Leo too had lost all faith in him.
And now – Uncle Cole was here. That couldn't be good news.
He was so tired.
He'd purposefully been running himself ragged; it made it easier to sleep at night if you just collapsed. It wasn't so good during the day though. During the day it made it a little harder to focus, a little harder to think straight, a little harder to just not throw his arms around his mother and beg her to love him and make everything better.
But he couldn't do that. Not now. They hated him now.
His head snapped up suddenly as he heard a crash come from the bar.
Great, Uncle Cole had probably decided to join him. This would be wonderful; now that the sisters weren't present there was no way he'd be able to stop his uncle from saying what was on his mind.
He sighed as he wearily got up. Better get it over with than to drag it out.
A strange man sprinkling a powder of some sort over the counter of the bar was not what he expected to see.
"Hey, what're you doing here?" He asked.
The man turned quickly –too quickly– and sent an energy ball his way.
"Oh shit." He ducked out of the way, but still felt the edges of it sear his side. As he ducked he waved his hand and sent the man careening into the wall.
An instant later two others appeared. Already throwing energy balls; with one well aimed hand gesture he returned one of the energy balls to its owner— incinerating him and then rolled out of the way of the other.
He groaned as he ducked under some tables – this was so not what he needed!
The room was rapidly filling up with them; what they wanted here, he had no idea. But he had to get them away.
A few sweeps of his hand and they were flying through the air and into walls, but there were too many of them. He had to do more then that if he wanted to survive; and he had to survive – for Wyatt – he had to use his mom's powers.
Rolling out from under the debris he began flicking his wrists at the demons he'd already slammed against walls – promptly they would burst into flames. A small burst of satisfaction filled him at using these powers again; he hadn't allowed himself to use them much since coming here, for fear that it would somehow get back to the sisters.
An energy ball caught him in the shoulder and he whirled in time to destroy its source.
A moment later though he felt an arrow pierce his back and he knew—whatever this had been, it had been well thought out. He cried out in pain as almost instantly he felt the poison spreading.
On the heels of the pain was the anger, the fury that had been bubbling inside him for days, and that seemed to have fixated on one single thought – he didn't need this now…!
With a roar of rage he ignored the burning in his shoulder and spun around to face the Darklighter that had joined the fun. Even before he had completely processed the desire to obliterate every demon in the room, his hands had already extended to release a burst of magical energy that only a Halliwell could produce.
The vibrations caused the combustion of every demon in the club, along with the shattering of every glass, of every bottle of liquor, and the destruction of nearly every table, chair, and booth.
Chris panted for a moment, out of breath, before his knees buckled and he slumped to the floor. Amid the swirls of darkness and pain, just before unconsciousness took over; he was able to picture the expression on Piper's face when she saw her club, and cringed.
"You know, you said you were gonna be no trouble!" Piper accused, as she swerved on her way to stove in order to miss running into Cole.
He stopped his pacing and glanced at her, "He should have been back by now."
Piper shrugged, not bothering to look back at him.
She was so cold. He could practically feel her itching to blow him up. Paige entered the kitchen moments later – holding in her arms the source of all his woes.
A Wyatt he had never seen before. A tiny one, who had his head laid on his aunt's shoulder and a tiny hand fisted around a lock of her hair.
"Look who woke from his nap…" Paige called to Piper.
Piper whirled and a smile lit her face at the sight of the boy; all coldness vanishing instantly and leaving in its place a warm and loving mother.
This Piper he knew – the mother.
"Hi there, buddy, come here and give momma a kiss…" she murmured, reaching out taking the baby from Paige's hold.
When Wyatt was no longer in her arms, Paige whirled on Cole, "Why are you still here?"
"Chris hasn't come back yet." He said softly.
And that in itself was odd. The boy was upset, yeah, but at some point he would have remembered that Cole wanted to talk to him. Chris would have put his anger aside then, he'd want to know what was going on.
"Do either of you know where he could have gone?" he asked, instinctively knowing that he was wasting his breath.
Chris hadn't explained; he'd been secretive and evasive – there was no quicker way to earn the distrust of these women—well, except attacking them, of course; and thus their utter indifference.
"We don't really keep tabs on Chris, Cole. You know, with us not liking him or wanting him around, and all." Paige drawled.
He almost cringed, then reminded himself that she didn't know what she was saying; not really.
"I really need to talk to him." He repeated for what felt like the millionth time today. The sisters though, had made it obvious they couldn't give a rat's ass whether or not he needed to talk to Chris.
They'd spent the majority of the afternoon doing exactly as he'd asked—going about their routine.
He'd gathered by their comments and actions that whatever Chris had done here in the past— he'd already changed the timeline.
At this point in 2004 both Phoebe and Paige were no longer living in the Manor. They would return eventually, but it would be a little over a year later. But it seemed that Chris had somehow altered this because both women were currently living at the Manor after very brief stints out on their own.
And Leo was no where to be seen.
"Yes, Cole. You've said that." Phoebe murmured as she too entered the kitchen. "If you know him so well, why don't you go to his hangouts or home or something—we know nothing about him so we can't help. But it seems logical that he'd gravitate towards what knows."
He stared at her a moment, surprised that she wasn't giving him a sarcastic or cold response, but an actual suggestion.
"He has." He told her simply; seeing no reason to keep Chris's secret. The plan – at least the plan he'd agreed to – had specifically stated that Chris should tell them who he was.
Phoebe frowned at him; he felt Paige pause in what she was doing and give him her attention.
"What do you mean?" Phoebe asked.
"He might be at P3." Piper called over her shoulder as she settled Wyatt in a high chair.
"P3." Cole repeated, nodding slowly, "Okay… would there be people there now?" he asked.
Paige shook her head in answer, "No. It doesn't open till late."
"Okay. I'm going to… go there now." He said looking around; Piper finally shifted and looked at him. "Later—after I've spoken to Chris. I'll need to come back to your attic. It's where I came through."
Piper sighed, "yeah, yeah, whatever; just take Chris with you, will ya…"
Again he felt the chill in the air.
Without another word he shimmered out of their kitchen and into P3.
The scene before him was all too familiar— destruction. The bar was a complete mess; the dance floor littered with glass and wood, liquor dripping from the walls, burns marks on the floor.
And very still Chris lying on the ground.
"Oh shit," he cried, "Chris!"
He went down on his knees by the boy and immediately noticed the arrow in the young man's back.
"Oh god," he whispered as he stared at it, "oh god, no, please no." Gently he touched the side the boy's face, "Chris. Chris, please."
A tiny whimper came from the still the form. That was enough to propel him into action - he was alive.
Instantly he shimmered back to the Manor.
The sisters jumped when the man appeared before them again; this time pale, his eyes wide and his pants stained with blood.
"Call for Leo." He ordered.
They stared at him in surprise. They were all standing together, Piper holding Wyatt, in front of the highchair - apparently staring at something fascinating the boy had done with his food.
He didn't have time to talk or explain or even repeat himself; he reached them in three strides, then shimmered himself and them back to P3.
"He needs to be healed NOW." He hissed at them, immediately kneeling beside Chris again. This time he maneuvered the young man into his arms and carefully set about removing the arrow.
"What the hell happened to my club?" Piper cried, clutching Wyatt tighter as she whirled around in circles, staring at the destruction.
"Looks like a war zone!" Phoebe commented lightly.
Cole looked up at them incredulously, his ability to speak gone for the moment—they were worried about the club?
"CALL FOR LEO!" he yelled at them, letting his voice reverberate on the walls.
They looked at him suddenly, as if they'd forgotten he was there. He watched their gazes drop to Chris—who was quietly dieing in his arms.
Piper sighed; "LEO!" she cried after a moment. Wyatt jumped in her arms and whimpered, she made a gentle shushing sound.
Her call was not answered. Nothing happened.
"He said he was going up there permanently." She told Cole after a moment as if that mattered at the moment.
"GODDAMMIT PIPER! HE'S DYING!" he roared at her; his voice powered by the panic welling up inside him. He could feel the boy's breath's growing fainter and fainter, could feel the warm blood dripping through his fingers.
At this point it wasn't the poison that would kill him, it was blood loss.
Piper blinked a little, then tilted her head back and screamed again, "LEO! I NEED YOU!"
"LEO!" Paige joined in.
"WE NEED HELP!" Phoebe added.
Still nothing; Wyatt began to fuss, but Piper quickly hushed him again.
Her last call was tinged with a tiny edge of panic and a moment later, Leo appeared.
"Blessed Be." He said as he materialized, "Wyatt…!" he cried happily.
"That took you long enough," Piper said, frowning.
His gaze shifted to her and he frowned back, "We agreed that I would stay up-"
"Could you discuss that later and heal now!" Cole growled.
Leo noticed him then, his eyes widening in shock; he opened his mouth to speak.
"He's bleeding to death!" Cole told him before the blonde man had a chance to comment on his presence. He watched as Leo's gaze dropped to Chris.
There wasn't much reaction there; no emotion. But the elder did drop down to his knees and hold out his hands over the boy.
And Cole could see that was exactly what he was thinking - heal the boy and get back to talking to Piper and playing with Wyatt.
If only he knew— that this boy, was his boy.
As the golden glow slowly healed the arrow wound Cole felt his breathing return to normal.
A moment later Leo dropped his hands and Chris was blinking up at Cole owlishly. Leo stood quickly, but Cole didn't move; instead he gently brushed some strands of hair from Chris's face.
"You trying to scare me to death, kid?" he asked jokingly, his gaze still concerned.
Chris's head was spinning and it was still hard to draw a breath; it took him a moment to remember why that was-the energy blast he'd emitted.
He gave his uncle a weak smile as he tried to sit up. The lurching world had other ideas and he remembered suddenly that he'd been exhausted before the energy blast.
"Whoa, hold still for a second, Chris." Cole said softly, holding the boy back from sitting up.
"Yeah, and while he holds still, he can tell me what the hell happened here!" Piper hissed, jostling Wyatt on her hip, "What did you do to my club?"
Cole hissed in warning, but it was too late. The flash of hurt had already crossed Chris's face. He hadn't been able to hide it this time, the raw pain; even the sisters had seen it.
And suddenly all three seemed a little taken aback.
Chris pulled out of Cole's hold a moment later and stood unsteadily. Several times Cole reached out to steady him, but the boy kept pulling away. "I'm fine." He growled.
Cole frowned, "Like hell you are. When was the last time you slept?"
Chris frowned back; leave it to Uncle Cole to pinpoint everything right away. He turned to Piper, "I'm sorry about your club. I'll… I'll fix it." He told her hesitantly.
Piper blinked, the shocked expression of a moment ago fading and being replaced by a glare, "How the hell did this happen?" she yelled at him, "It looks like an explosion went off in here! Do you have idea how much money this is going to take to fix! Look at all the glass on the floor! There's beer on the walls! It's going-"
"Piper! BACK OFF!" Cole roared at her, before she could continue. The woman was quiet almost instantly and they all stared at him in surprise. Wyatt let out a shriek of alarm, his blue eyes filling with tears.
Chris sent his uncle a pointed look, "Don't." he said, leaning back against the wall for support. His head was pounding and the floor wasn't exactly steady. He just wanted to lie down and forget. Unfortunately, when he lied down, he slept, and when he slept he dreamt. and dreaming didn't let him forget.
"Someone has to." Cole hissed, then transferred his gaze to the others. Leo was reaching out to Wyatt, gently holding the boy and pressing soft kisses over the child's face.
Chris shook his head wearily, letting his eyes slide shut a little, "Just let it go." He told his uncle, who looked back to him in time to the boy's weak gesture.
"It's tearing you to shreds." He observed.
The words robbed Chris of the little breath he had, because they were so true—it was, her words were tearing to him shreds. He felt strong fingers cup his jaw suddenly, and brought his gaze up to meet Cole's.
"When was the last time you slept?" Cole asked again.
Chris blinked at him, "I don't remember." He stated truthfully, "All I do is dream."
Cole's hand dropped, and he shook his head, "Come on, you need to lie down."
"Hold up there! Is that it? Don't I get an explanation here? My club is in ruins!"
"She's right! This place is destroyed! How the hell did he do it!"
"There's demon ash everywhere!"
Cole whirled around on them; ready to explain to them how little significance the destruction of the club had when in comparison with a human being, but Chris spoke up first.
His voice tired and weak and nothing like the young man Cole was accustomed to dealing with, "He'll fix it for you, won't you Uncle Cole?" the words were out before he could stop them and then he didn't even have the energy to cringe.
The sisters gasped, Cole looked back at the boy tenderly and then turned towards the destroyed club. He closed his eyes and pictured it as had been, then opened his palms outward and released the magic.
When he re-opened his eyes the club was no worse for wear and the Charmed Ones along with Leo were staring at him mouth agape. He paid them no attention though; instead he turned back to Chris and slipped the young man's arm over his shoulders—supporting most of his weight.
"Where're you staying?" he asked.
"… office…" Chris told him, concentrating all his efforts on not collapsing.
Without a word to any of the sisters or Leo he helped the boy into the office. The sisters exchanged looks before quickly following. Leo released a long sigh, before setting Wyatt on his hip and following them.
They all entered the office in time to see Cole carefully lowering Chris onto the sofa.
"This is where you're sleeping?" Cole was asking the younger man, his tone aghast.
Piper frowned, "Hey, there's nothing wrong with this office! This is a perfectly nice-"
He half turned to face her, a dark look on his face, "Shut up Piper, just— Shut. Up." He virtually growled at her.
"Stop it," Chris warned him, refusing Cole's attempts to lay him down.
Cole stopped and glared down at him, "You should have told them. This is ridiculous!" he snapped, "You're sleeping on a couch!"
"It's not like I haven't done that before," Chris countered, running a shaky hand over his face.
"This is different and you know it, young man." Cole reprimanded, "You shouldn't be living here! I mean for christssake where are you doing laundry; where are you getting your meals!" he finished frustrated.
Jeez, the kid was the son of a chef and he was probably living off cold cereal!
"I manage." He answered softly, firmly.
And Cole sighed - the boy had their stubbornness. Slowly he slumped down onto the sofa next to him, "You shouldn't have to manage." He told him.
Chris said nothing.
"I never would have agreed to this if I'd known Chris. Not like this. I won't have you sacrifice yourself for him."
A bitter chuckled escaped the younger, as he laid his head back, "If only it were that easy."
"Not funny Chris," Cole deadpanned.
"I'm so tired," he murmured, staring up at the ceiling; trying to ignore the spinning room and the sensation that he was floating away somewhere, "It's so completely fruitless, Uncle Cole,"
He didn't let Cole finish though, "And… and I'm running out of time. They don't understand that; and I can't make them- I don't know how to make them understand."
"If you'd told them-"
"I couldn't. And now I can't. They hate me." The words were soft and sad and Cole had had enough.
With ease he reached over and shifted Chris onto his side. The boy said nothing and allowed Cole to lie him down.
"It's my fault too." He continued, softly, having completely forgotten that he had an avid audience of four. "I almost wanted them to distrust me… so I wouldn't blow my cover."
Gently Cole adjusted Chris so that the boy's head was lying on his leg. "I still don't understand why a cover was necessary."
" … she always said… meddling in the past was dangerous… future consequences…" he said vaguely and Cole wasn't really sure which she he was referring to; not that it mattered much- it was one of the sisters, of course.
Cole released a gruff sigh, "I know you can't tell right now, because you're half asleep and I'm not really showing it because you almost died in my arms—but I'm really pissed off at you Christopher."
Chris frowned, his gaze unfocused, "Why?"
"Why? Because you could gotten yourself killed! Because you've run yourself into the ground for this. Because you are my responsibility and I expect to know what's going on with you. And last but not least you lied to me!"
"Only a little bit."
"You and I both know that I'm not the most consistent of guys… I've broken more promises, pacts, confidences, and - hell lets face it - marriage vows then any guy you know Chris. but that promise—I won't break that one. Not when it was the last thing she ever asked of me." The words were soft and firm, and caused Chris's eyes to shoot open.
"No! Don't bring them into this!" He said with a surprising burst of energy as he struggled to sit up.
Cole tried to hold him back the boy just wasn't having it. His eyes were slits and he was obviously having trouble drawing in breaths, but he still managed to glare at his uncle.
"Why not? Christ, you sound just like your father-"
A hissing sound left the boy's mouth and he viciously pulled away from Cole; who frowned at him more intensely.
"It's the truth. He doesn't want them brought into this either. He doesn't-"
"Please." Chris's unexpectedly emotional voice cut off Cole's words, "Please just don't," the boy begged.
Cole stared at him a moment before sighing, "Lie down Chris. After a good nights sleep, a hot meal, and a shower things won't look so hopeless."
Bright tears glistened in the green eyes suddenly, "You sound like her… you did that on purpose," he added wiping at his eyes.
Cole smiled a little, "Maybe. Come on kid, your about to drop anyway."
Chris sighed and slid back down on the sofa. His eyes though, remained on Cole, "Tell me… about the kids…" he asked softly, "The twins…?"
He smiled, couldn't help it, a father's pride in his eyes, "Smart as whips; and gorgeous, just like their mother."
Chris chuckled, allowing himself to relax, focusing on his uncle's deep voice, "Amy?"
"Still keeping us all in line."
"Adam…" the name was a bit slurred as sleep began to finally take over.
Cole groaned dramatically, as he gently smoothed Chris's dark hair, "Oh god Chris, he's just like you and Wyatt at that age—a terror."
Chris chuckled sleepily, his eyes closing, as he slurred the last question, "Wha' 'bout Drew?" he asked.
The reason for this visit.
Drew wasn't doing well at all.
Chris registered the silence to his question, but it was too late. He couldn't get his eyes to open again, couldn't get his body to wake up.
"Shhhhh," Cole whispered when he noticed the boy's struggles, "Get some sleep; I'll be here when you wake up."
Chris calmed and a moment later his breathing evened out.
Cole could feel the heat of their gazes on his back, had felt the shift in their interest when he'd mentioned Wyatt. They wanted to know what was going— and quite honestly he would be happy to tell them.
As soon as he made sure Chris was asleep. For another moment he smoothed the boys' hair. Frowning at how pale he looked, how drained— almost sick. He looked much too weary, too meek; nothing like the boy Cole had met.
"Mister?" the tiny voice had been accompanied by a tugging sensation at the bottom of his pants. He'd looked down into bright, disapproving green eyes.
"You made my Aunt Phoebes cry." The child had stated.
Cole had met the gaze and sighed softly, "yea, I guess I did."
The boy had nodded, "That wasn't very nice." He'd said, then before Cole could respond had delivered a hard kick to his shin; one that had had him hopping up and down on one leg for a several minutes.
"Don't do it again." The boy had warned, before running off.
Cole stood and faced them all now, his gaze seeking out Piper, "If it's okay. I'm just going to sit here with him tonight."
She didn't respond, they all stared at him a moment. It was Leo who spoke the request he was expecting, "We need to talk." He said, bouncing Wyatt to keep him quiet.
Cole nodded slowly, "Lead the way." He said, the eyes he fastened on Leo though, were cold. It was taking every restraint he had to not slam the traitorous Elder into a wall. As a precaution he hadn't let his gaze land on Wyatt for more than three seconds—no telling what emotions might surface looking at the face.
"Did he call you Uncle Cole?" Phoebe hissed, the instant they were out of the office.
"My god, what the hell is that kid! Witch, whitelighter, and demon!" Paige cried.
"How exactly are you here? Aren't you supposed to be dead?" Leo asked, setting Wyatt down on his feet so the boy could toddle around.
"This Cole is from the future, Chris's future," Phoebe informed him, "Apparently he'll resurrect himself in the next couple of decades."
Cole heard the comments, but for the moment paid them little heed. Instead he made sure to leave the door behind him open a crack, so he'd hear if Chris cried out. Then he turned and sought out Paige's sarcastic gaze.
"Chris is my nephew through marriage." He told her.
Her eyes widened, "Marriage?" she parroted, that she hadn't been expecting.
Cole nodded, a hint of amusement in his gaze, "Yes, he's my wife's nephew." He stated calmly.
"Your wife?" Paige continued.
"Yes, my wife." He confirmed, letting the smirk touch his lips.
"Your wife is a witch?" The question came from Phoebe and he shifted his dark gaze to her.
The club was silent for a heartbeat as the two stared at each other. Cole's amusement was no where to be seen when he spoke, "Yes," he whispered almost reverently, "A very beautiful, very powerful witch."
He saw something flicker in her eyes and remembered her telling him once, that since the day she'd met him— she had always thought of him as hers. It made him want to chuckle now, the idea that she believed he'd wed anyone else.
The feeling passed quickly though, as he recalled the young man in the adjacent room.
"Did you tell her you were evil before or after you tricked her into marriage?" Paige taunted.
"If you mean did she know I was half demon when we married—the answer is yes." He stated.
"And she still married you? She's insane, huh?" the red-head continued.
"No," he stated softly, his gaze still on Phoebe, "Just in love."
The air was thick with unspoken thoughts for a moment, before Piper broke the mood with a few tentative words, "Okay, okay... I need to... know what's going on here... you... you mentioned my son in there. Why?"
"And how on earth did you do this?" Leo asked, gesturing to the club at large. His gaze dropping every once in a while to his feet where Wyatt sat playing with the ends of his robe.
"I've always had the power to conjure." He told the blonde man, keeping his tone as neutral as possible.
"Yeah, well how on earth did Chris destroy the club in the first place?" Paige cried, "I mean the place was a disaster!"
Cole shrugged lightly, "He probably did an energy blast. It would explain why he's so exhausted."
Phoebe had been about to ask what it was, but Leo had cut her off. His gaze intent on Cole, "No." He repeated, "Chris can't have that much power— I would have sensed it." He said authoritatively.
Cole bristled, "Don't you think that he'd have learned how to hide things from you by now!" he growled.
Then realized how completely ambiguous that response was to them.
"What's that supposed to mean?"
"What is an energy blast?" Paige asked now.
"It's exactly what is says -- a blast of energy."
"That only being's with a high concentration of power can pull off..." Leo qualified. "If he had that much power I would have sensed it; the other Elders would have sensed it."
Cole said nothing, just stared at this man who was and always would be blind to all other ways of thinking but his own.
"What does this have to do with to do with Wyatt?" Piper insisted, as she bent and scooped the child up. He fussed a little, and Paige made to take him from her sister. Piper nodded and gratefully handed over the boy who loved to play with his Auntie Paige's necklaces.
"He didn't come here to hurt Wyatt, did he?" Paige asked, alarmed as she settled the boy against her.
Cole rolled his eyes in sudden exasperation, "What is wrong with you people. Does that seem logical to you, Paige? That he's been here for over a year, that he has a lot of power, that he wants to hurt Wyatt— and that yet he hasn't! Think! Be rational!"
"We are being rational! All he does is lie to us and manipulate us; he goes out of his way to make us distrust him!" Phoebe cried.
"EXACTLY!" he cried, "When was the last time someone who wanted to hurt you actually went out of his way to get you to distrust him!"
They were all silent.
"I mean it's always the opposite. Personally, I went out of my way to get you to trust me, to like me; not to earn your animosity."
"It doesn't change the facts or the question, Cole." Piper stated, after a moment, "Chris has been nothing but trouble since he appeared here and I want to know why you brought Wyatt up." She persisted.
The same persistence that had gotten Chris here.
He stared at them, "How do you not see it?" he asked quietly, in true wonder.
Phoebe rolled her eyes, "See what?"
"We see you; wish we didn't..." Paige growled.
He sighed in frustration at their blank looks, "... god two-thousand-four-"
"-is a miserable year..." Phoebe finished for him, "Yeah, we heard."
He glared at her, "Yeah well, not only is it miserable, but... you're slow-on-the-uptake, rather irrational, and blind in it – it's a wonder you survive the year at all."
This earned him three scowls.
"What the hell are you talking about?" Paige hissed, jostling the baby in her arms a little.
"What don't we see?" Phoebe asked.
Piper sighed roughly, "What does Wyatt have to do with anything? When Chris was asking about those people you brought Wyatt up, why? And why did you bring him up with Chris?"
He shifted and pinned his gaze on her. Piper had always been very intuitive. It surprised him that she hadn't take one look at Chris and known him.
It had probably surprised Chris too.
"How don't you see it?" He asked softly; Chris was his mother's son—in so many ways.
"Dammit Cole! See WHAT?" she growled at him.
His temper flared, "Leo's eyes framed by your lashes, your hair, your cheekbones, Prue's smile, her powers, Phoebe's eye roll, Paige's sarcasm; the Halliwell pigheadedness and determination and utter devotion to a mission." He listed quickly, his words tinged with anger as his gaze ran over them all, "How do you not see pieces of yourselves in him?"
The last question seemed to echo in the room. The silence expanding and filling every crevice. Four pairs of wide eyes were fastened on him as mind's attempted to process what he'd said.
He glanced at the door— Chris was still sleeping; hopefully he'd sleep through the denial phase that was about to descend on them.
"What?" Piper whispered.
Okay, fine— they needed it spelled out— no problem.
"Chris is your younger son." He stated simply.
The woman went pale and a gasp escaped her lips; a quick glance at the rest of them showed none fared any better.
"But, but... it just..." Piper was shaking her head slowly as she tried to understand.
"Yours and Leo's." Cole continued.
"No. It can't be... it just... it can't..." it was Leo now trying to understand.
"He's Wyatt's little brother." Cole added.
"But he would've told us!" Paige cried, her eyes wide, as she clutched Wyatt a bit tigher.
"I told Chris that Adam was acting like him and Wyatt at that age because that's the truth; the way it always was— him and Wyatt. Wyatt and Chris." His gaze was still on Piper, "Your boys Piper."
The woman whimpered suddenly as her eyes slid shut and a hand came up to cover her face. She leaned back heavily on the wall.
Paige had slumped into a chair, Wyatt on her lap, and Phoebe has slid down to the floor her back against the wall.
"But-but... Piper... she and Leo aren't..." Paige tried her voice faint.
Another whimper came from Piper and Cole watched a light enter Leo's eyes. The blond man turned towards his ex-wife.
"You're pregnant." He stated.
She lifted tear-filled eyes to him, "I didn't know... I didn't know how to tell you... it was so hard for you to leave-to leave Wyatt... I didn't want to make it harder for you." She confessed, quickly.
Leo stared at her a moment, before approaching her; gently he cupped the side of her face with his hand and used his thumb to wipe away at her tears.
"Don't cry," he whispered.
"Oh god, Leo..."
"Wait! Wait a second you are pregnant!" Phoebe cried from the floor.
"When? How? I mean not how, but when? Since when?"
"The astral plane." Piper whispered, but her gaze was still on Leo, who had yet to look away.
"The aster- but that was months ago!" Paige cried, "You'd be like-" her eyes widened, "You're almost four months pregnant!"
"How could you not tell us!" Phoebe accused, standing up, "We just moved back into the manor—what if I'd decided to stay in Japan or Paige had chosen to stay at Richard's?"
"What did you plan on doing with Leo and us out of the house, Wyatt needing to be taken care of, the club having to be run, and a pregnancy?" Paige added.
But Piper still didn't look at them, "I would have managed." She told them, unconsciously echoing Chris's words.
"We're having a baby..." Leo whispered to her.
She nodded slowly, her brown eyes on his, "Yeah we are."
"How are you?" he asked softly, his hand still on her face.
"Okay; everything's fine." She told him.
She nodded again, and bit her lip, "I didn't want to upset you... "
He smiled a little, his gaze intense, "A baby could never upset me Piper..."
"We planned so much with Wyatt... and then this just... happened and I..."
"I love surprises."
A smile touched her lips at that, but then her gaze dropped, "I was so scared you wouldn't be happy; and I was so happy... that I just didn't want to tell you, in case you weren't and that would've made me so sad and I just didn't want that, I wanted it to be..." she shrugged, "… like last time…"
He smiled at her then and let his hand trail down her body to her stomach, "I'm happy." He whispered, resting his hand on the small hump of her stomach.
His head snapped up suddenly and Cole knew it had just hit him.
The man whirled to face him. "No."
"You know it is." Cole responded.
Leo shook his head, but it was a meaningless gesture. "Chris." He whispered, then added, his voice full of painful realization, "Christopher."
"Your father's name." Cole stated.
"What about us, Piper? Were you going to tell us!" Paige cried, as she let Wyatt down in front of her, "Or were you just hoping we wouldn't notice the new baby in Wyatt's nursery!"
Piper turned to her sisters, pulling away from Leo's hold, "It wasn't like that!"
"I tell you when I get a parking ticket!" Paige yelled, "And you can't tell me when you get pregnant!"
"I didn't want to make you feel guilty for leaving! I wanted you to stay with Richard if that's what you wanted!"
Paige scowled, "You know better than that Piper! Demons attack the Manor on a weekly basis—you can't handle that by yourself with two kids! You know family comes first!"
"I just wanted-"
"Hold on! WAIT. One second!" Phoebe cried, her voice suddenly shaky, as her gaze sought out Cole.
She'd finally made the connection.
"You sai- you said that Chris was- that he was your… oh god… you said he was your wife's-"
Cole nodded encouragingly, "That's right Phoebe; go ahead… make the logical connection." He prodded.
She shook her head and swallowed hard, "You and Paige discovered a hidden passion for each other...?" She said faintly.
He released a bark of laughter, "Not likely; try again."
She shook her head, "No… no; I- I wouldn't… it can't… you said he was your wife's nephew; that your wife was a- that she was a witch… but-"
"I said she was very beautiful too." Cole interrupted.
"Oh god," Phoebe whispered.
It was Leo who spoke, his voice firm, "No." He said, "This is a lie. All of it. You're lying."
Cole turned to him, an angry scowl on his face, but before he could say anything, yelling from the other room distracted.
"No. NO. Nooo…"
Before the others even registered the sound, Cole was already at the door. He was sitting on the couch trying to wake Chris up when they all entered the office.
The boy was in the throes of a powerful nightmare.
"No, please… stop him… make him stop… Dad please… make him… STOP…" he muttered, tossing and turning; his breathing erratic and his fists clenched.
"Shhhh, Chris, it's a dream… come on, relax…" Cole tried.
"No… please… not her… no… Dad, stop him… make him… oh god… no…"
"Chris, come on… wake up…"
"NO! WYATT NO! BIANCA!" The last cry was a roar of pain as the boy shot up, his eyes wide and terrified and glazed with horror.
Cole knew instantly what had happened; he'd dreamt of the girls he'd lost. The loves his family had stolen from him.
He was about to put arms around the boy, when suddenly there were blue orbs on the bed. Wyatt appeared beside Chris, his blue eyes fastened on the distressed young man, "K-wiss…" he stated, simply.
Paige was there a moment later, yanking the small boy back into her arms. Cole focused his attention on Chris again.
"Shhhh, kid… its okay… you're safe here…" he comforted, pulling him into an embrace. He knew the sisters and Leo were watching, but he didn't care. "You're going to be okay, Chris… I promise… you will be…" he whispered.
The boy trembled in his arms, still half asleep; the images of his dreams flashing before him.
"He wouldn't stop- him. I be-begged and beg-begged and Dad… Dad let hi-him…" he cried, tears staining his cheeks.
Cole said nothing to that; there was nothing to say. Instead he slowly rocked him back and forth, rubbing soothing circles on his back.
"And now- now Bianca too…" Chris whimpered.
Cole swallowed hard; he too had shed tears over the death of the young Phoenix. She had been a last minute addition to their little war-torn family and they missed her.
"Go back to sleep, buddy," he whispered.
Cole continued to rock and soothe and a few minutes later Chris's breathing was even again. Slowly, gently he laid the boy back down on the couch, a small sigh escaping him as he noted that Chris looked even more tired now. As though the dream had sapped the little energy he'd had left.
Cole had come here for assistance with his own problem, but he couldn't ignore Chris's. The boy needed help.
"Is... is he okay?" Phoebe asked softly, breaking into his thoughts.
"No, he's not." He answered her truthfully, then sighed standing. They were all staring at the sleeping Chris. They were looking for it, searching his face and their memories for the things Cole had mentioned.
And he knew they were going to find it. It was there-- as plain as could be. He was a Halliwell.
"Why was he- I mean he was yelling about… about his father…" Leo said the words hesitantly.
He was itching to slam the man into a wall with a fireball, but knew it would probably be more trouble than it was worth—after all, thanks to time travel, this Leo was completely innocent.
Cole met his gaze, "Yeah." He said simply, "He was."
The room was silent.
"Why?" Leo finally asked.
"NO! NOT ME!" Leo snapped, harshly.
Chris whimpered in his sleep, shifting a little; Cole's gaze went to the young man immediately, then back to Leo.
"Let's take this outside, okay." He ground out.
The others nodded, and he watched as the procession of people filed out of the office.
"Sleep tight, kid, I'll be right back," he whispered to the sleeping young man.
They were all standing in front of the bar again, all waiting to hear him explain things to them. Things they would undoubtedly turn around and refute.
… hmmm, just like all times…
"Okay, okay… um, oh god… Cole… I need you to be serious here…" Piper stated when he'd reached them; her eyes anxious as they fastened on his face, "I need you to be honest and not play games with us… because this is just… I just… are you serious? Is Chris really… is he really my son?" she finished almost hoarsely.
That was the thing about the Charmed Ones, the thing that had always disarmed him. Right when you're about to completely lose your patience with them, when you just can't take it anymore and your about to yell or attack or hell just get away—they turn these big dark eyes on you, eyes the seem to ask for help even if the woman herself never would… and suddenly the patience is back in full force.
"Yes, Piper," he said softly, "Chris is your son."
The words seemed to echo in the silence of the club, before Piper let out a whimper and dropped into one of the stools, her hands covering her face.
"Piper he's li-"
"No, Leo, he's not." Phoebe interrupted the older man. Her gaze was Cole though, her dark eyes intense, "He's not lying." She stated.
Leo shook his head, still refusing to believe, "He has to be… he has to be lying…" his voice was taking on a desperate note now.
"Oh, god…" Piper whispered. Phoebe was at her side then, wrapping the older woman in a hug.
"It's okay sweetie… it'll be okay…" she comforted.
Piper shook her head, "Oh god… Phoebe… it won't… I… I've said… oh god… I kicked him out of his own house…" she cried.
"But you didn't know." Paige comforted, still holding Wyatt who was beginning to look fussy. "He can't blame you… you didn't know… none of us did."
"But Cole's right!" she cried, "I should have. He's my son. I should have known." Piper whimpered, tears beginning to fill her eyes, "He's never going to forgive me… I told him I never wanted to see him again…" she continued.
Cole swallowed hard, his heart going out to Chris. The poor kid wouldn't have been prepared for that… no matter how much he'd prepped and studied, he wouldn't have known how to deal with that kind of rejection from her… from any of them.
"We weren't that great to him either, Piper," Phoebe said softly, "Paige is right… we just didn't know…"
But Piper wasn't listening, the tears were coming faster now as she pictured Chris's face that day in the attic. God… that single expression should have told her!
"He'll never forgive me…" she moaned again.
Cole sighed and was suddenly standing in front of her. He reached out and took her hands in his, ignoring Phoebe's surprised glance.
"Listen to me Piper." He said firmly.
She looked up at him with wet eyes.
"He'll forgive you-"
She shook her head, not letting him finished, "You don't understand, I told him-"
He squeezed her hands to silence her, "No. You don't understand." He cut her off firmly, "He'll forgive you, everything you've done and said… he'll forgive. Not because of who you are, but because of who you'll be—his mother… a very wonderful mother."
She stared up at him in silence, the words sinking in. "Really?" she asked, a touch of hope in her voice, "he's not going to hate me?"
Cole chuckled lightly, dropping her hands, "Nope." He sobered suddenly, "It would be nice though if you could hug him or something… I'm sure logically he knows it wasn't his mother who told him to disappear… but still…" he let the sentence trail.
"I can't believe this…" she whispered hoarsely; her hand dropping to her abdomen, "My baby… is Chris…" she whispered to herself.
"It can't be." Leo denied again and Cole's temper snapped.
"Then just get the hell out of here!" He yelled, "Go back to fuckin Elder land and let Chris grow up in peace!"
Leo bristled, "What the hell is that supposed to mean!"
"It means all you ever do for that boy is cause trouble!"
Leo opened his mouth to yell back, but then Wyatt let out a shrill cry. The baby had been patient enough, but now he demanded attention. Paige jostled him and murmured, but Wyatt continued to wail.
Piper slid off the stool and went to him. The baby calmed somewhat in his mother's arms, but continued to whimper.
"We all need to calm down." Phoebe stated softly.
Cole scowl shifted from Leo to her, "Tell him that; I have better things to do…" he hissed and turned intent on heading back to the office.
Phoebe reached out and grabbed his arm, "Wait, don't-"
She gasped, cutting off her own words and Cole looked down at her hand on his arms—shit.
He should have remembered that.
He felt everyone tense as Phoebe was pulled into the vision—a vision that could be of anything.
A moment later she opened her eyes.
"What did you see?" he asked swiftly.
She looked up at him with wide eyes, then quickly transferred her gaze to Leo.
Cole sighed, that single gesture told him it wasn't good.
"Well? What did you see, Phoebe?" Piper asked.
Her brow furrowed a little and she answered slowly, "It was quick… I just… a flash really…"
"A flash of what?" Piper persisted.
"Leo… he was angry, arguing I think… he- he slammed Cole into a wall…" she finished softly.
"What did Cole do?" Paige asked.
Phoebe shrugged, "I don't know… I just saw that… they were arguing… Leo was angry… then the vision ended."
"What did you do?" Paige asked Cole, pointedly, "What did you do to make Leo slam you in a wall."
Cole sighed, "We were having a difference of opinion that day." He said noncommittally, hoping they'd leave it at that.
Of course they didn't.
"What kind of difference?" Paige asked.
He shrugged, "I told him Wyatt's a murdering bastard—he didn't like that."
The sisters blinked at him.
Leo growled, "I don't believe that."
Cole rolled his eyes, "Not surprising, you haven't believed anything else I've said…"
"And I have no reason to." Leo stated coldly, "None whatsoever, you're a demon; for a long time all you did was cause chaos in this family. And you still haven't told what you're doing here." He finished, then took a step towards, "What are you doing here, Cole?"
The wry question came from the doorway and Cole turned quickly to find Chris leaning against the doorjamb; his green eyes hazy, but open.
"You're supposed to be sleeping," He told the boy as he neared him.
Chris shrugged lightly, "I did sleep… a little… I feel better."
"You still look like shit." Cole muttered darkly.
"I'm really pissed off at you Chris." He repeated, "If you weren't going to do this right, why do it at all…?"
"I am doing this right," Chris hissed, "I can't go around spouting facts about the future… there are consequences to that."
"And you getting sick back here with no one knowing anything about you has no consequences?" Cole shot back.
Chris sighed, "Why don't we go someplace so you can tell me why you're here…"
"I can tell you here."
"I know, but…" his gaze shot back to the group gathered a few feet away, "we should talk in private."
Cole met his gaze, "It doesn't matter. I told them."
Chris sighed, his gaze wavering slightly, "Told them what?" he asked.
He frowned, "What truth?"
Cole groaned, "… maybe it's the water in 2004 that makes everyone kinda slow…"
Chris yawned, keeping his gaze trained on his uncle.
"I told them who you are Chris."
The boy straightened abruptly, "You what?"
"I told them." Cole repeated.
Chris blinked at him, as if not fully comprehending what the words meant; he swallowed hard, "Why-how… what were you thinking…?" he yelled now, his green eyes blazing, "What the hell is wrong with you! I had a plan!"
"Yeah and it really sucked," Cole stated, nonchalantly.
"It wasn't your decision to make!" Chris roared.
"Well, I made it anyway!" Cole yelled back, his eyes blazing, "And you need to back off Christopher, cause I'm really not in the mood!"
"YOU'RE not in the mood!" Chris cried, "What about ME! You think I wanted this! What the hell are you doing here anyway?"
"Don't raise your voice at me, young man! I don't care that you've been bossing your parents and aunts around for months! You can't pull that shit with me!"
"I can't believe YOU TOLD THEM!" Chris cried, running a hand over his face. He had yet to peak at his family again—no wonder they'd looked so shell shocked when he'd glanced at them earlier.
"I had to. I know you. You're going to insist on coming back here; and when you do. I want you treated like what you are, a member of this family. It was the deal I agreed to Chris. I'm only evening thing out again."
Chris frowned, "Come back here? Where am I coming back from?" he asked, suddenly feeling very tired again.
Cole saw it, the wave of weariness that washed over the boy. HE sighed, feeling his anger drain, "You need to get some sleep Chris," he said again, softly.
"I tried…" Chris stated, his gaze falling to the floor, "I'd rather be awake." He added after a moment.
Cole stared at him, then nodded, "Fine. You need to get something to eat, then we'll talk. We should go back to the Manor—all of us." He finished turning and scanning the group gathered by the bar.
"Ye-yeah… good idea…" Phoebe said hesitantly, her gaze on Chris. They were all looking at him.
"No." The subject of their scrutiny stated. "I don't-"
Cole interrupted him, "Funny, did that sound like a question… it wasn't." And with that he grabbed the boy's arm and shimmered out of the club.