Title: Shades of Blue
Summary: The sisters never really trusted Chris. Then they caught him letting a demon into Wyatt's room and kicked him out of P3. No one's seen him since. Until now.
Disclaimer: If I owned Charmed, Chris wouldn't have died. Chris died, therefore I don't own Charmed. That's got to be some kind of math proof.
A/N: The recipe is for Hoisin chicken in lettuce leaves. I'm not sure if it's good, because I'm a vegetarian, but it certainly sounds prestigious.
"There are five types of lettuce," Phoebe announced into her cell phone as she pushed her grocery cart along the produce section. "Which should I buy?"
"Well what does the recipe say?" Paige asked reasonably.
Phoebe checked the internet printout she was carrying around in her pocket. "It says lettuce," she read.
"Hmm." Paige thought about it for a minute, trying to figure out what would be the best solution. "What's the best tasting lettuce?'
Phoebe rolled her eyes, though she knew her younger sister couldn't see it. "I have no idea," she replied. "I didn't even know there was more than one."
"Then buy the cheapest?" she suggested.
Phoebe thought it over. "Works for me," she decided, saying good bye to Paige and putting her cell phone back in her purse. She quickly scoured the shelf, placing the least expensive head of lettuce in her court. She checked the recipe again, and realized she had only one more thing to buy before she could do some personal shopping and go home.
"Why are there no scallions here?" she wondered aloud as she walked up and down the seafood aisle she had decided the scallions were in.
"Maybe because they're onions," Paige said as she suddenly appeared behind Phoebe.
Phoebe gasped and nearly jumped a foot in the air. "When did you get here?" she asked.
"A minute ago," Paige answered. "I you-know-whated out behind the building. Piper's been giving me the third degree about my plans for tonight; you know, the whole I don't want a party' kick? So I decided to come see how your shopping was going."
Phoebe pushed her cart back to the produce section and Paige placed a bag of scallions in it. "Anything else?" she asked.
"Just some crap for me," she said. "I'll be home in a little while."
"Then I guess I'll go brave mommy dearest," Paige said, heading toward the exit to orb home.
Phoebe was walking down the skin hair/hair care aisle when her nose was suddenly hit with a monstrous tickle. Not expecting it, she didn't have time to move to cover her mouth as she sneezed loudly and openly at the floor. "ACHOO!" Several other women in the aisle blessed her, and she blushed and smiled her gratitude.
Figuring the highly scented shampoos the aisle was filled with were bothering her, she quickly hurried out of the isle. She had barely gotten away from the shampoos when a crippling pain erupted behind her eyes and she pressed her hand to her forehead and groaned, sinking to the floor as the store spun around her.
"Are you alright?" Vaguely, she heard a man's voice calling to her through the fog of agony she was suddenly in. Strong hands helped her up from the floor and to an employee ladder to sit down on a few meters away.
Slowly, the pain eased and her vision cleared, allowing her to see an older man, about fifty or so, kneeling in front of her and staring at her with concern etched on his kind face.
"I'm all right," she assured the man, standing up. He tried to get her to sit back down, make sure she was ok, but she waved his worries off with her hand. "Really, I'm fine," she repeated. "I'm sure it was jut stress from work catching up with me or something." He still looked doubtful, so she tried a stab at humor. "But I'll still buy out the painkiller section. Maybe an overdose will erase any memory of this ever happening." The man laughed and patted her on the arm, leaving her then to continue his shopping.
Even though she had been joking, Phoebe still entered the pharmaceuticals aisle, which ironically enough she had been right next to when she got her surprise migraine, to get a bottle of aspirin in case it happened again. She was reading the labels of the seemingly hundreds of little white bottles trying to find one that said aspirin on it, when she heard two sneezes to her left. "Hetchoo! Etchoo!"
"G'bless you," she said absent-mindedly as she continued to search the shelves.
"Thanks," said a male voice, presumably the sneezer. Phoebe was so intent on finding her aspirin so she could go home, it took her a minute to process that she recognized the voice.
The brown-haired whitelighter looked up at her with a surprised expression on his face. Apparently he hadn't recognized her voice either. "Phoebe? What are you doing here?"
"Looking for aspirin," she told him shortly. It was a public store of course, but she wasn't sure how she felt about seeing Chris there. Wordlessly, he reached in front of her, causing Phoebe to jump back involuntarily, and plucked a white bottle from the sea of identical white bottles and handed it to her.
"What's up with the gloves?" she asked curiously. He had a black glove, like the ones people wear in the winter, on one hand, and the other was sticking out of his pocket, which looked especially odd considering he was wearing T-shirt. "Not going all Michael Jackson on us, are you?"
He shook his head. "It's March. Not a crime to wear gloves when it's cold out."
"But just one?"
"Yes," he defended, "one. I have one cold hand, do you have a problem with that?"
"Whatever," Phoebe said. She checked the label of the bottle he had handed her. It said Bayer Extra Strength Aspirin. "Thank you," she said, surprised that he had helped her after all she and her sisters had said to him, but he was gone and didn't hear her thank him.
Phoebe shopped around for a few more minutes, finding a sale on her favorite shade of lipstick in the make-up aisle, before pushing her cart over to the do it your self checkout. She finished scanning her items, slid her credit card through the card reader, and grabbed her bags.
She caught a look at the clock above the door as she walked out, and realized she was supposed to be home in three minutes, because she'd told Piper she would watch Wyatt so she could go to P3. Piper was under the impression that Paige was going to work today too, which wasn't true because she and Paige were going to cook piper's birthday dinner, but keeping up appearances was vital when it came to trying to trick the eldest Halliwell. That meant she really had to make it home.
Phoebe began walking faster in hopes of getting to her car faster, but her heel got caught in a crack in the Pavement. She just managed to keep her balance, but her groceries crashed to the ground. She sighed in frustration, and tried to take a step forward. As it turned out, her foot was stuck, and she stumbled again.
"Need a hand?" a voice asked behind her. This time she easily recognized it as Chris, and she could almost hear him rolling his eyes, though when she turned to look at him he wore his usual unreadable expression.
"It would be very much appreciated," Phoebe admitted. Chris put his two bags on the ground and hoisted her out of the concrete. "Thanks," she said gratefully as they got down on the ground to collect her spilt groceries. "That's twice in one day you've saved my but," she told him. "You know, in the non-literal way."
She gathered her mass of bags and walked at a much more conservative pace to her car. After unceremoniously dumping the bags in the trunk, she backed out of her parking spot and drove toward the road. Out of the rearview mirror, she saw Chris pick up his brown paper bags and begin walking in the opposite direction. She briefly wondered why he didn't just orb, but didn't have time to dwell on it.
"Sorry I'm late," Phoebe called as she entered the manor through the front door. After kicking off her pumps and nudging the into a corner, se carried her mass of groceries into the kitchen and dropped them on the table. "Is Piper at P3 yet?" she asked.
Paige, who was sitting at the kitchen table flipping through the want ads, shook her head. "She decided not to go. Found it to be quite a coincidence when I did too."
"Are you serious?" Phoebe gasped. "We have to hide this stuff." the two sisters began stuffing the assorted ingredients for Piper's birthday dinner, and anything else that happened to be in the bag, into the back of the refrigerator bag by bag. By the time Piper entered the kitchen, there was only one bag left, which she eyed warily.
"What did you buy?" she asked suspiciously, bouncing Wyatt on her hip.
"Just some stuff," Phoebe answered nonchalantly.
Piper raised her eyebrows. "Like party stuff?" she pried.
"Of course not," Phoebe lied. "It's just-" She looked at Paige for little help, but the phone rang and Paige went to answer it. Piper grabbed the bag with her free hand and dumped it out. "Orange juice and a ski mask," she finished, after seeing what was on the bag.
"Why would you buy a ski mask?" Piper questioned.
"You know, I have no idea," Phoebe replied honestly. Piper looked like she was going to ask some more questions, but Paige came back in the room then, holding her hand over the mouthpiece f the cordless phone.
"Chris is on the phone," she announced in a shocked voice.
"Why the hell would he call?" Piper demanded.
"Chris has a phone?" Phoebe asked at the same time.
"He says he ran into Phoebe at the grocery store earlier. That true?"
"Yeah," Phoebe confirmed. "What's that have to do with anything?"
"He has a can of water chestnuts and a box of tampons, and wants to know if we have a thing of orange juice and a ski mask we didn't buy."
"We do," Piper said.
"We do," Paige said into the phone. She listened for a minute, then covered the mouthpiece again. "We can't go to the park and switch items, can we?"
"Absolutely not," Piper told her. "Tell him to orb his ass over here and grab his crap."
"Orb over and get it," Paige repeated into the phone. She listened some more, then said "OK, bye."
"Well?" Phoebe prodded.
"He has some stuff to do but he'll be over soon," Paige answered. "But in the meantime, I have a proposition."
"What's that?" Piper asked.
"You and Wyatt should go to that Mommy and Me special they have down at the aerobics club. Phoebe and I'll be here when Chris gets here."
Piper was hesitant to go, but after a few convincing words from her younger sisters, she bundled up her toddler and went to the aerobic club.
There wasn't much they could do without the water chestnuts, so Phoebe and Paige just sorted trough the stuff they had shoved in the fridge, placing the food on the counter and the aspirin in the cupboard.
About half an hour later, the doorbell rang. Phoebe pulled the large glass door open to reveal Chris, now wearing both gloves. Phoebe handed him the bag she had accidentally taken, and he gave her hers in return. No words were exchanged, and Chris turned to go.
"Oh my God!" Paige exclaimed as she entered the foyer right before Chris began to leave. They both looked at her to see what was the matter.
"What's wrong?" Chris asked, a bit peeved. He had planned on coming and going in less then a minute, but the whitelighter in him wouldn't let him leave if something was wrong.
"Your eyes," she said.
"What about my eyes?"
"They turned blue."