A/N: I really, really, really apologize for waiting so long between updates. I usually don't like to list excuses, but I just graduated with my bachelor's degree, and my senior year was a mess of thesis writing, overwork, and trying to enjoy campus for the last time. Anyway, I'm back with it now, and the good news is we've reached my most difficult chapters. After this and 18 it's all smooth sailing and I have most of the rest already written. So, I'm not abandoning it, and thank you to everyone who's still interested enough to be reading this! And by the way, my other Charmed fic Repercussions has been recently updated, so if you're not reading it, then check it out!
Bound By Blood
By: Ada C. Eliana
Chapter 17: A Time for Action
This world may have failed you
It doesn't give the reason why
You could have chosen
A different path of life
"Angels" Within Temptation
"Who's involved in this plan, anyway?" Chris asked, following Lena down the hallway towards the Vault.
"Just about everybody who hates Wyatt's empire," Lena responded. "I have witches, demons, water sprites, valkyries, fairies, wood nymphs, and…" Lena paused, unsure if she should continue.
"And?" Chris pressed.
"That's impossible, there's only one Elder left and he's… oh…" Chris trailed off uncomfortably, realizing what Lena was saying.
"He still doesn't really trust me," Lena said. "But he knows that Wyatt is wrong, that Wyatt has to be stopped. And Chris… we need him for this, after Wyatt's taken down, we need an Elder to be able to set everything right again. He's the only one, it has to be him. Trust me, I wish it were somebody else, but it's just not…"
"Whatever Lena, I don't want to talk about it okay," Chris said. "We need a plan to get mom out of Wyatt's hold so we can get her home."
"I've been thinking about that. I have a couple ideas, but they involve giving up our advantage. Wyatt will know that we know the truth about what happened to him when he was little. He'll know that we figured it out, that you know exactly what you have to stop in the past, and I'm not sure it's quite the time to reveal that Ace."
"But does Wyatt really consider Gideon's actions the reason he is who he is today?"
"I think he does. Wyatt knows that he would have turned into a witch like his mother, like you, if it hadn't been for the Elder 'opening his eyes' as it were. Gideon showed him that the paragons of good can be capable of acts of evil. It must have stripped away all of the illusions he had of the greater good and the duty of witches. How could he watch as they sacrificed everything, their time, their lives, to do what the Elders told them, to fight demons and protect the humans, without Gideon always being in the back of his mind, making him doubt all of it?"
"He sure makes a lot more sense now, doesn't he?" Chris asked thoughtfully as Lena pressed her hand against the wall and the Vault quivered to life, the door opening for them.
"Doesn't change what he's done," Lena murmured. "Doesn't change who he turned into. He had free will, he could've become what he should've, he could've been good and loving. Instead he let himself become a monster," she spoke with scathing bitterness.
"There's still good in him, Lena. He just can't find it."
"That's what you believe Chris, and that's fine. But I don't believe it, I just can't anymore, not after everything, not after this past year. The Wyatt I once cared about is gone, all that's left is a monster with his face. But it's worse than that, because he still remembers being that person, he still chose what he became. It would be better if something had taken him over, if he were really gone."
"Yeah well once I get back to the past none of it will have happened, Wyatt will be put right again."
Lena paused, standing with her back to Chris, facing a wall of books she wasn't really looking at. Her body stiffened and Chris knew she was about to say something he did not want to hear. "What if he doesn't change?" she said quietly.
"What do you mean?"
"On some level he chose this, didn't he?" she asked, spinning to face him. "What if no matter what his life is like or how many Elders who are awesome role models he sees he still chooses this?"
"You don't know that."
"You're the one spouting off about destiny and things being thrown off, you should know this better than anyone!" Chris protested, unable to understand why she was contradicting herself now.
"I just… I'm scared Chris, okay. I'm scared that after all of the effort and all of the work and all of the sacrifice, all of it will just be in vain."
"Don't be," Chris said softly, pulling her into a warm embrace, wishing that just holding her would make her feel better, that things could be that simple again. He stroked her dark hair with his right hand, her head pressed against his chest.
"It's becoming so hard to think clearly," she admitted. "Darkness is encroaching from all sides, and I feel like I'm losing myself to it. Cole has been trying to help, but even he can't take it anymore, the evil's too strong, too easy to give in to, and if I don't stop Wyatt soon then I won't ever be able to again."
"Have you tried to 'see' what will happen?" Chris asked, her curls tickling his chin, unconsciously pulling her closer.
"The future is obscured, I can't even see past this moment into the next."
("I tried to see what would happen, but I can't. You will get to the past safely, but anything past that… it's too obscure.")
"That's not anything new," he sighed. The past five years had been filled with shadows and darkness, and prophesizing had never been a more difficult task.
"Please don't hate me when you go back," she cried.
"What are you talking about?"
"I can feel your feelings, I know your thoughts, I know you don't love me like you used to, I know you can barely bring yourself to like me most of the time."
"God Lena, no, that's not how I feel at all," he protested, stepping out of the embrace, grasping her arms with his hands and staring straight into her eyes. "Out of everyone in the whole world, you're the only person who really knows what all of this has been like for me, you're the only one I share that bond with, the only person who I could ever be my real self with. But when I left before, I promised myself that the next time I saw you, everything would be different, you would be different. And now… coming back here, seeing how much worse everything has become… it's just such a failure for me. And sometimes… sometimes when I look at you I just feel like… like I don't know you anymore, but it's a momentary thing, Lena. I just want things to be the way they used to be, I want us to be like we used to be. And I'm scared too, I'm scared all the time. But I do love you, don't doubt that."
"I love you too," she sighed, swiping at the tears on her cheeks. The she smiled and shook her head. "God look at us, you would have thought we wasted all of these dramatic scenes the last time you were leaving for the past."
"The last time I… Oh my God, Lena! The mausoleum!" he shouted suddenly, eyes lighting up. Lena stared at him, then her eyes grew wide.
"The mausoleum! Of course!" She snatched a book from the shelf and then shoved Chris out the door, intent on filling Paige and Phoebe in on this sudden revelation.
"Spirits give off their own energy, and are forever connected to their remains," Lena said quietly, as if in respect for the spirits she spoke of. Phoebe and Paige watched her with rapt attention, wondering how it came to be that they would be tutored by their future daughter/niece, and nephew.
"So, graveyards dampen magic, they hide it," Chris added.
"That's why Cole hid from the other demons in the mausoleum," Phoebe pointed out.
"So we're going to travel to the past from a graveyard?" Paige asked.
"Not just any graveyard," Chris began. "From the Halliwell mausoleum. Where else could we find the last remains of people more powerful?"
"This is so creepy," Paige sighed.
"Maybe, but it's your only chance to get home," Chris pointed out matter-of-factly.
"Yeah well this is all well and good and everything, but we still need to get Piper first," Paige pointed out sullenly. "Any ideas on that front?"
"Wyatt won't give her up easily," Chris sighed. "He'll want a trade, and there's a few things I can think of that he'd maybe want more than Mom."
"If you're thinking of trading yourself for Piper then just forget about it," Paige interrupted. "No one is sacrificing themselves here, we'll find a different way!"
"No offense Paige, but we're running out of time here, we have to get to Mom, we have to get you all back to the past, I'm not seeing a whole hell of a lot of options here," Chris protested.
"I don't care, you are not going to give in to Wyatt, we didn't come here to save you just to leave you with him," Phoebe input angrily.
"Well then tell me what you suggest we do," Chris huffed.
"There… there's a way… I know something Wyatt wants more then Chris…" Lena whispered uncomfortably, staring at the floor before opening her mouth to speak again, eyes staring at anything besides the faces around her.
Wyatt sighed, rubbing a hand over his face as he telekinetically tossed the door to his 'quarters' open. Kaila was waiting for him. Lying on top of the satin sheets on the bed, her red hair spilled out in curls over the pillow cases and her legs peeked out from underneath a sheer negligee, making them appear to go on forever.
"Rough day?" she asked, sliding onto the floor, padding towards him on bare feet.
"Definitely," he responded, allowing her to lead him to the bed, manicured nails red against lily white skin. He stared at her face for a moment, the round cheeks that gave her an innocent look, but the dark green eyes that showed her true self. Kaila could be just as vicious as him, indeed that quality first attracted him to her.
An unremarkable witch, Kaila turned to cowardly tactics, hiding while others fought and then picking off the winner from behind just when they let their guard down. She did not have to worry about vanquishing anymore once she showed Wyatt where her true talents lied. On long nights when all Wyatt could do was ponder on things he would rather forget, her comforting weight and presence always helped lull him to sleep. She was beautiful, the kind of beautiful that caught every man's eye and that caused challenges and rivalries. But no one dared stare at her too long now that she lived with Wyatt, for no one dared defy him.
"You know, I remember my mother being a lot more pleasant than this 2004 woman," Wyatt said as Kaila rubbed the tension out of his shoulders.
"Why keep her here, Wyatt?" she questioned, her voice smooth.
"Curiosity? I want to see what my brother and cousin will cook up for her rescue. I let them think that I plan to 'turn' my baby brother when he's born," Wyatt let out a humorless laugh. "You should've heard the panic in their voices. They're planning something, you just wait and see."
"You should just kill them and be done with it. They've caused such trouble in the past," she sulked.
"Maybe you're right. But I can't kill Lena just yet, and you very well know that," Wyatt pointed out. Kaila was one of the few people in his life who he allowed to speak almost freely with him. It was nice every now and again to know how someone really felt about him.
"You don't need her for that!" she said, disgust heavy in her tone. "Wyatt please, let me do this, I swear to you, I'm capable of it! Please allow me to carry out this most important task for you!"
Wyatt turned to face her, the sheets slippery beneath him. "You know you can't. Lena is the most powerful woman in the world, she is the only one who I would have do this, she is the only person capable of mothering my child."
"But Wyatt! I want to! She doesn't! She hates you, she just pretends to care for you, and she refuses you at every step!" she shouted, tears springing in her eyes.
"You think I don't know that?" Wyatt laughed. "She's stubborn, always has been, it's an unfortunate genetic trait, but even Lena knows when she's run out of options. I want an heir, Kaila. Because you're right, I can't hope that my family will come around, I need to make my own family. I need someone who hasn't already been poisoned against me. Unfortunately dear, I am incredibly powerful, and there's no guarantee that you could carry my child, that the child wouldn't prove too strong for you, wouldn't destroy you and itself."
"But Lena is a stronger witch, that's what it always comes down to, isn't it?" Kaila sputtered. "But Wyatt, dearest, she wasn't always that strong! If only I could find out her secret, discover how she did this, then I could be--!"
"No, you couldn't. Her strength runs in her blood. The parlor tricks she picked up from who-knows-where aren't what really matters. Besides, she's been… difficult… lately. After the baby's born, I don't think I'll be needing her around anymore," Wyatt shrugged. Kaila seemed a bit happier at that suggestion.
"I knew you didn't love her, not like you love me," Kaila said she ran her fingers through his long curls.
Wyatt laughed gruffly at her words. Love? Did he love Kaila? He never really thought about it. Like everything else in his life she was a useful commodity, something that brought him pleasure. But if he tired of her, he could not imagine having second thoughts about disposing of her.
"Do you know what gives whitelighters the power to heal?" he asked her.
"No," she answered honestly, wishing she could see his face, but his back remained to her.
"Love," he said slowly. "Love activates it. I've always hated that aspect of that particular power. But I have some love in me, a tiny bit, and it's reserved for a certain few."
"Who would that be?"
"My mother, and not the detestable woman down the hall, the woman who raised me, who favored me over my brother, the other would be my father. The rest is split between my brother and my cousin. I've given the two of them so many chances."
"You've been more than generous Wyatt," Kaila said, trying to mask her disappointment at not being named in the list of people Wyatt loved.
"If Lena reacts as I expect her to – if she comes to me, offers herself to me, I'll let Piper go. I'll send her and her sisters back to the past through the attic of the Manor, then seal the gateway once and for all."
"What about Chris?"
"I can't expect Lena to make Chris part of the deal, she'd never do that, of course Chris would gladly offer himself in exchange for mommy-dearest, so I'll just have to accept both of their proposals. I win, they lose, simple as that."
"Sounds like you have it all figured out."
"Baby, I – as always – am holding all of the cards."
"Well if you're right – as always – then you should get some rest, so you can foil whatever plans Lena and Chris are working on in the morning," she said with a smile.
He climbed into bed with her, intending to do just that, but as her bare thighs pressed against his legs, Wyatt knew they weren't really going to sleep for quite a while. And Kaila smiled that smile that meant she was ready to give him whatever he desired, and so he took what he wanted.
Her mouth closed just after she opened it. She never explained anything, just stood and turned her back to them, wandering out into the living room. Chris watched her, noticed the tenseness of the muscles in her back and shoulders, the way she stared resolutely ahead and knew whatever Lena was up to he would never approve of. He stood to follow her but then Phoebe's hand was on his arm and she was shaking her head.
"What?" Chris asked impatiently, trying to throw her off.
"She's determined, I can feel it," Phoebe said quietly.
"Yeah well I can see it and trust me when I tell you that a determined Lena is not a good thing." He shook off Phoebe's grip and chased after Lena. Paige and Phoebe exchanged glances before running after their errant relatives.
"It's now or never, isn't it?" Lena whispered fearfully to Cole as she headed for the Grandfather clock in the entranceway of her home.
"Seems like it," Cole responded in her mind. "Piper needs to get back to the past before Wyatt does something crazy, and the way I see it, there's only one way to get her back and him distracted long enough for reinforcements to take over the castle."
"Yeah, you're right. Today's the day, this is it," Lena whispered fearfully, her eyes darkening. Within her mind Cole tried to reassure her, and remind her that she had worked for eight years towards this.
"What are you talking about?" Chris demanded as he caught up with her. The sound of orbs coalescing behind him had Chris spinning around. A moment later, Leo solidified and stared guiltily at his younger son. "What are you doing here?"
"He knows… he knows it's time…" Lena explained vaguely. "You need to go back to 2004, Chris. You have your mission, and I have mine. At least one of us has to succeed."
"You still haven't answered my question, why is Leo here?"
"He's the only Elder left, we'll need him to restore things to the way they should be once it's finished."
"Okay, can everybody stop speaking in riddles, please? I for one would love to know what's going on here," Paige butted in.
"Why tell you when I can show you?" Lena asked, a spark in her eyes that hadn't been there before. She reached the grandfather clock and pushed her hand against the glass. The hands began to spin wildly and then a series of chimes went off, booming throughout the house.
"Stand back," Lena told them. Leo stood awkwardly away from the group as a series of lights shone before them. Where the lights glowed people began to appear – witches, demons, valkyries, water sprites, nymphs, faeries – all other manners of magical beings converged into the entryway. They stared at Lena expectantly.
"Lena what is going on?" Chris hissed.
"We're," she gestured to the crowd, "going to distract Wyatt while you and Aunt Paige and my mom get Aunt Piper back and go to the past."
"And how exactly do you plan to go about doing that?"
"I have it all figured out."
A/N: Okay, little cliffhanger there. I'm a bit nervous about this post, and if anyone's feeling a bit uncomfortable I'd just like you to know that I would never do anything really terrible to my characters, okay? Cool. Let me know what you thought. The next chapter should be up on Friday.
Thanks for reading!