In Love and War

by Lady Dawson

Chapter Thirteen: Return of the Father

Leo looked around as the portal opened up twenty years in the past and four women and one young man stepped out. He let out a deep sigh of relief. "Thank the gods, I was starting to get worried," he said, hurrying forward and hugging Piper tightly before looking around at the other two sisters and the witch-Whitelighters. "Did everything get taken care of?"

"So far," Chris admitted. "But Bianca or some other assassins might still be coming back after me." He looked around at the sisters. "So you guys are all right with me hanging around here, right?"

The looks that they gave him were enough of a reply. "Of course we're all right with you hanging around here, who are you kidding?" Phoebe demanded. "Both of you," she added to Jaina, who smiled. "And you, young lady, get off to bed; you look like you're about to fall asleep right here. Oh, you guys are so cute together!"

"You know, Penny was much worse than her," Chris said wryly when Jaina rolled her eyes at Phoebe.

"Like future mother, like future daughter," Jaina agreed under her breath, but the entire room heard her anyway.

"Jaina!" Chris sighed, but Phoebe's eyes went wide at the implications of what Jaina had meant by that and let out a shriek of delight, doing a little dance.

"Oh, come on, Chris, isn't it worth the look on her face?" Jaina wanted to know, smiling at her boyfriend. Toads, it was nice to finally apply that word to the one man that she had always wanted to apply it. This was a day that she would remember for the rest of her life; the day that she found out that the man she loved loved her back.

"No, it's not, Jaya, it's worth my cousin!" Chris retorted, giving her an exasperated look.

Leo was looking confusedly between the two time travellers and the sisters. "Okay, wait, what's going on?" he asked, looking a little lost. Piper looked slightly guilty; they had forgotten to give him the updates on what had happened in the future.

"Well, uh . . ." Piper looked helplessly towards her sister, Chris, and Jaina. "Chris is our son. Wyatt's little brother," she added when Leo's mouth dropped open.

"And I came back not to protect my brother from a demon but to stop a demon from turning him evil," Chris said quietly. There was no point in hiding what the sisters had learned in the future from Leo. They were bound to tell him eventually.

The Elder's mouth opened and closed a few times before he finally closed it, shaking his head as he tried to process the information. Chris took the opportunity to look towards Jaina. "You go and get some sleep," he told her firmly. "I'll wake you in a few hours."

"You can use my room, Jaina," Piper told her kindly.

With a sigh, Jaina surrendered to the inevitable, and left the room, heading to her foster mother's room and climbing onto the bed. She turned on her side, her eyes refusing to stay open any longer as she lay on the pillow and fell into a deep and peaceful sleep, unlike she'd had in a very long time, with dreams of times that were in her past, yet this time's future, taking place. Times before the war, before Wyatt had turned, and before her entire world had shattered.

--

It was days later after Jaina had recovered her strength when she finally orbed to Golden Gate Bridge. Taking a seat onto the cool metal, she closed her eyes, searching for the one man that she needed desperately to talk to. But it wasn't the one that she'd been waiting her whole life for, but rather the one who should've been there for her.

"Dad?" she whispered, the word catching in her throat slightly. "Dad, if you can hear me, I need to talk to you." She waited for him, knowing somehow that he would come this time, even though he'd never even acknowledged her before.

Hearing the sound of orbs, Jaina looked around at the man who'd appeared and got to her feet, facing her father. William Cromwell was looking at her, as if expecting her to say something. But now that the moment had come, she wasn't sure what she wanted to say. She didn't know where to start with him.

"You feeling better?" William said at long last, surveying her. Jaina nodded without speaking. He gave a small nod, looking away towards the water below them. "Good."

"I never thanked you for saving me that day," Jaina blurted out. William glanced at her. "It's just that . . . I'm a little unclear on the why. Why now? Why would you come and help me now, after all this time? You've never even acknowledged me before, Dad. Why didn't you come and see me before, when I was little?" Jaina met her father's blue eyes fiercely, not looking away. There was no doubt in her mind that this was her father from the future, from her own time, not his past version.

William sighed. "Before I answer those questions, Jaina—and yes, I am going to answer them," he added with a smile, "I need you to tell me something first. What did your mother tell you about why I left?"

Jaina shrugged. "Not much," she admitted. "Just that you left the minute that you found out that she was pregnant."

"I suspected as much," William muttered, running his hands through his red hair. He gave her a rueful smile. "Your mother was one of the most disdainful witches that I had ever guided. I never should have left you with her, though it seemed to turn out all right, in the end. I can honestly say that you are one of the bravest and kindest girls that I have ever had the pleasure of encountering, Jaina."

The witch-Whitelighter turned red and looked down. "Well, I learned my manners from Piper," she pointed out.

"That's true," William mused. "From everything that Leo told me about her, she seemed to be quite a woman. Perhaps her future will be changed when you change it."

"I hope so," Jaina said, shivering a little when her mind traipsed back to the Event. She hated thinking about it, even for the smallest of seconds. "For all of our sakes. We need to keep the Charmed Ones alive for our future. It's probably the only way to stop Wyatt, if we can't save him."

"Most likely," William agreed, running his hand through his red hair that was just as auburn as his daughter's. He met Jaina's blue eyes for a moment, before looking over the horizon. "It's beautiful here," he commented, gazing at the city. Jaina looked at it, silently agreeing. "Jaina, my one regret was never raising you. If I could do it over again, then I do everything in my power to stay with you and keep you safe."

"Then why didn't you in this timeline?" Jaina demanded, placing her hands on her hips. She wanted answers, toads take it, and she was going to get them. The Whitelighter had spent over twenty years avoiding her and at the very least, she deserved an explanation! And that was all that she was really asking for.

William took a deep unsteady breath. "Your cousin Patience told me that you often pose as a Darklighter to spy on Wyatt's meetings," he said at last, surveying the girl. Jaina sighed and nodded. "Well, I did the same thing, Jaina. I was one of the few Whitelighters who didn't follow the pacifist path." He sighed. "During one of my espionages, I was discovered. Your mother and I had planend on getting married when I got back from the Underworld. Sometimes those espionages took days and sometimes even weeks.

"When I was found out, the demons kept me prisoner to Barbas and then later Wyatt, when he found out who I was. I think that he hoped that if he needed to, he would hold me hostage against you. It wasn't until about two weeks ago that I finally escaped with your Uncle Coop with some help Patience." Jaina remembered Coop telling her that he had been briefly captured by Wyatt and Patience had rescued him. "When I escaped, I told Patience who I was and she told me about you and what had happened between your mother and you. I assume that after I was captured, she found out that she was pregnant and thus cast you out, angry with me for leaving her with a child on her hands and one whose powers she didn't entirely understand."

Jaina took a deep breath, trying to pull this together in her mind. In some kind of strange way, it made sense. Her mother's hatred of her had begun a long time ago, almost as long as she could remember.

"Why did Wyatt want to keep you in order to hold you hostage?" she said at long last. She surveyed her father.

"Because he knew what the Elders knew," William said softly. "What I know." Jaina shook her head. "We knew that that you and Chris were meant to be together. And that your children would be even more powerful than Wyatt is. He wanted to ensure that you didn't end up together and have his children."

"What?!" Jaina half-shrieked, looking an astonishment at her father. "What are you talking about?"

William laughed. "Your union was long ago prophesied, just as Wyatt's birth was," he explained.

"When the past meets the future,

a union shall be formed.

Between two lovers, two travellers.

Daughter of a pacifist, of a protector of the Innocent.

Born to an indifferent mother, but raised by a sister three.

Son of the second daughter of sisters three.

Be one of two brothers.

And from this union,

three children shall be born,

with power that the universe has never known.

But from one of the two brothers of the second daughter,

one shall be evil, the other one good.

If born to the evil brother,

the children shall be the destruction.

If born to the good brother,

they will be the salvation."

Jaina's mouth was open by the time that he had finished reciting the prophecy. "You mean that Chris and I were supposed to end up together, sooner or later?" she demanded, astonished. "That the Elders knew that we would create the most powerful witches in the universe even more powerful than the sisters?"

"They knew that you were supposed to be the daughter that it referred to, although they weren't sure which brother it was referring to," William admitted. "But one thing was clear: the children would be by the brother that you chose. Wyatt knew this and wanted to make sure that if you did not choose him, then you and Chris would never be together."

All at once, Jaina understood. "Which entered Bianca," she said exasperatedly. William nodded, glancing up towards the heavens. "You're going back to the future now?"

William nodded. "Have to," he admitted. "My past self will become a Whitelighter in a couple of weeks and while you and Chris are supposed to be here, I'm not." He smiled. "Besides, somebody has to help Coop and Patience with the Resistance."

"Good point," Jaina acknowledged. Out of the corner of her eyes, she saw Chris orb onto the bridge and start to walk towards them, but he stopped when he saw William, his jade eyes narrowing slightly as he surveyed the Whitelighter. "Hey, Chris."

"What's going on?" Chris wanted to know, completing his journey and standing beside Jaina. "Who're you?" he asked, giving Jaina's father a searching look.

William only grinned. "I'm her father, young man," he responded. Chris raised his eyebrows and looked towards Jaina, who mouthed I'll explain later at him. "I should be getting back now. You take care of my little girl," he told Chris.

"I always do," Chris told him, shrugging. William nodded and orbed out, leaving the two lovers on the bridge alone. Chris looked towards Jaina. "Your father?"

With a sigh, Jaina relayed the events of what happened after Bianca had attacked to him, finishing with, " . . . and I had to talk to him, Chris. I had to at least thank him for what he did. Plus, I needed to get some answers. Answers I've been waiting my entire life to know."

"Did you get them?"

Jaina nodded. "Yeah, I did," she answered, leaning her hand onto Chris's shoulder. "Chris, he didn't even know about me. Mom never told him. Besides that, he had been captured by demons up until a few weeks ago." She sighed. "Besides, I can't really hold a grudge against him when he risked his own life to save mine."

Chris pulled her into his arms, holding her close. "I should've thanked him, too," he said softly, pressing his forehead against hers. "Every time I think about what happened in the future, it scares me, more than I've ever been scared. I love you so much, Jaya. I don't want to come that close to losing you ever again. If I lost you . . ."

"I know," Jaina whispered, brushing a stand piece of hair out of his face. "I know, Chris. Trust me, I know that I couldn't handle it if I lost you." She rested her head onto his chest, feeling his grip tighten around her. "Toads take it, Christopher," she murmured, "don't you ever be so stubborn again, all right? When you're in trouble, I need to know. You have to let me help."

She felt Chris nod against her. "I'm sorry," he whispered. "I just . . . I thought that I could handle it. Forgive me?"

Jaina smiled, glad that things were back to normal between them. At least, as normal as it could be. "I'll think about it," she teased. Chris laughed.

With a lingering smile around his lips, Chris raised her chin so that she was looking directly at him. And he drew her even closer to him, his lips capturing hers in a long and passionate kiss, one that was more than just a kiss. It was pulling two friends closer together as lovers . . . and as soul mates.

The End!

Guys, thank you so much for the reviews and everything! I'm not sure if I'm going to be doing a sequel to this, but I'm thinking about it. It's either going to be about Chris and Jaina's kids or take place just after their wedding. Tell me what you guys think!

Lady Dawson