AN: So, I don't know who is more shocked that this update is sitting here right now, you or me. I've just checked the date, and the last chapter was posted four years ago... All I can say to that is, HOLY SHIT. Time flies like hell, it really doesn't feel so long ago. I can only apologise - I've had countless PMs from fans of this fic or the others, either begging me to continue or just wondering if I was even still alive. Well I am, and although I didn't reply to every message, I did read them all and each one would each give me a little spark of interest in writing again.
Then, just last month I received a message sent through the website I set up for my fanfiction. It was from a girl saying she was new to my stories, had fallen in love and was nearly heartbroken at the last update date. She hoped I hadn't given up. Four years later, and there was still someone new taking enjoyment out of something I'd written. So, Lauren, if you're reading this, you inspired me to open up those folders again and I thank you for that.
Once I started writing, I had the joy of a sudden epiphany on how to approach the rest of this story, and I'm pretty certain on how I'm going to wrap it into a dramatic conclusion when the time comes.
So hopefully there's still someone out there reading this, and if there is I hope you enjoy it. It's good to be back!
Chris' eyes snapped open and it took a few moments for them to adjust in the darkness of the room. As they became accustomed to the din, he wondered for a few moments what it was that had awoken him so suddenly... and he groaned as he felt another sharp kick to his kidney.
He wearily pushed himself into a sitting position and rubbed his swollen stomach with one hand, the other trying to rub the sleep out of his prickling, exhausted eyes. The baby inside of him kicked him three more times in fairly quick succession and his head hung to the side as he waited for his son's temper tantrum to pass.
Chris felt a shift in the mattress as Wyatt awoke and sat up. "Whatsamatter?" he asked through a wide yawn that showed off his molars, scratching a hand through his blonde locks.
"Baby's kicking." Chris mumbled in reply and he too yawned, covering his mouth with the back of his hand. His eyes watered from exhaustion and he wished the little guy would take it easy so he could get some sleep. The baby always seemed to take great joy in booting his mommy's insides in the middle of the night.
As Chris let his heavy eyelids close for a few seconds, he felt Wyatt place his hand upon his stomach.
"I can't feel anything." He said after a few moments, sounding disappointed. Without opening his eyes, Chris took hold of Wyatt's hand and shifted it over and around near his left side. He held his hands on top of Wyatt's and a second later the baby kicked against them. Without even looking, Chris could feel the warmth of Wyatt's wide smile.
"That's so awesome." Wyatt uttered and he gently rubbed Chris' stomach.
"Doesn't feel so awesome when he's kick boxing my organs." Chris grumbled but he stroked Wyatt's hand lovingly nonetheless.
Wyatt smiled and kissed Chris' neck. "He's just making sure you don't forget he's there." He joked.
Chris snorted at the comment. "Like I could; I'm a freakin' whale."
"A gorgeous, (Wyatt kissed his neck again) sexy (kiss) whale (kiss)." He chuckled as Chris punched his arm and then looped his arms around the brunette's waist, kissing the side of his head.
"You're an ass." Chris mumbled half-heartedly, leaning against him, snuggled against the blonde's broad chest.
"I know." Wyatt agreed with a grin, holding his little brother close. He began stroking his hair and as the minutes passed, Wyatt noticed Chris' breathing had become even. He held him a moment longer then ever so gently lowered him back into a lying position on the bed. Chris mumbled something in his sleep but didn't wake up, and Wyatt tucked the covers around him, pressing a kiss against his forehead. He lay down next to him and spooned with him, holding him close like before, until he too fell back into a deep sleep.
Unbeknownst to them, a transparent figure was watching them from the shadows. Waiting.
Paige coughed as she walked into the kitchen, waving her hand in front of her face and screwing up her nose at the smoke billowing from the oven door.
"What's going on?" She called to her older sister, wandering closer whilst pinching her nose against the smell of burnt food.
Phoebe sighed, placing what look like a crispy piece of charcoal on to a cooling tray on the marble island with a clatter. She closed the oven door and pulled the oven mitts off her hands, tossing them on to the bunker.
"I was trying to bake something for the boys, as a peace offering." She explained dejectedly to a bemused Paige who merely raised one of her dark eyebrows.
"Uh huh, bake what exactly?" She asked, eyeing the disastrous attempt.
"A cake! It's a cake, ok?!" Phoebe exclaimed, plonking herself down on to one of the barstools and placing her head in her hands. "At least it was supposed to be..." she muttered.
Paige suppressed the urge to laugh and tried to comfort her sister, wandering over and putting one arm around her shoulders, the other rubbing her upper arm gently.
"Well...put loads of frosting on it and it might taste edible..." She suggested feebly, glancing once again at the supposed cake.
Phoebe lifted her head out of her hands and glowered at her before placing her forehead on the marble surface.
"Ok, so the cake is a touchy subject..." Paige muttered to herself. She prodded Phoebe's shoulder with a manicured fingernail. "Maybe we could trick Piper into baking one?"
"Baking what?" Piper asked absently as she walked into the kitchen, reading a page of accounts about P3. Both of her sisters quickly glanced nervously at each other before looking back at her. Piper sniffed the air and spotted the severely burnt cake on the cooling tray. She frowned then looked to her sisters for an explanation with raised eyebrows and the hint of a grin.
"Phoebe was...trying to bake a cake for you!"Paige blurted and gave Piper what was hopefully a carefree smile.
Piper seemed taken aback. "For me? Why?"
Paige, unsure of what to say, nudged Phoebe hard in the side. Phoebe jerked with a slight hiss and forced a smile on to her face.
"Uh well, I was just practising for your birthday." She tried to explain, giving Paige a swift kick to the shin in retaliation outside of Piper's line of vision. Paige tried to hide her grunt of pain and winced.
"But my birthday is months away..." Piper trailed off with an even bigger frown than before.
"Exactly, and she needs all the practise she can get!" Paige gestured wildly at the cake. "I mean just look at the state of that thing! You don't want to be eating that on your birthday do you?"
She gave Piper a smile, ignoring Phoebe's glare of death. Piper looked at the cake and there was a pause as she tried to think of something tactful to say as to not offend her sister.
"Well... I'm sure it'll be great if you keep going at it." She answered tactfully, before heading to the fridge. Phoebe glared at Paige once more, shaking her head at her. She turned to her older sister who emerged from the fridge with a pitcher of orange squash in one hand.
"Piper," she nudged Paige in the ribs as Paige tried to silence her. Piper looked at her as she poured the squash into a glass tumbler. "The cake isn't for you."
"Don't!" Paige hissed in warning, hitting Phoebe in the arm. Phoebe hit her back, muttering a rushed "I have to!"
"What's going on?" Piper asked with a frown, looking back and forth between her two sisters.
There was a pause as Phoebe tried to form the words. She knew they were going to get lynched for it, but saw no point in lying to her sister. It achieved nothing.
"Phoebe..." Paige whined in a hushed tone, obviously having the same thoughts of lynching and maiming at the hands of Piper.
"It's for Wyatt and Chris." Phoebe said quickly over the top of her. She continued on in a garbled rush; "We know you're going to get mad but we went to see them, but we already told you before that we didn't have any issues with them, and you know, they're our nephews and we miss them," she rambled on as Piper placed the pitcher back in the fridge, her facial expression passive. "And I just thought it'd be nice to bake something for them even though it went kind of wrong, but that doesn't mean we're against you and Leo because, you know, we're not-
"They prefer cookies. Chocolate chip." Piper cut over the top of her before taking a gulp of juice from a glass. "Or caramel." She added, and she walked past them out of the kitchen, gulping down another mouthful of juice as she went, eyes glued once more to the page of accounts.
Her sisters were left in stunned silence and they slowly turned their heads to stare at each other.
"Ok, where was the yelling?" Paige asked, bewildered, breaking the silence.
"And the screaming?" Phoebe added slowly.
"And the blowing crap up?"
They stared at each other for another few moments.
"Maybe she's coming round?..." Phoebe suggested weakly.
Paige frowned, chewing her bottom lip thoughtfully. "Nah, I doubt it. But whatever's going on, that was weird."
"No, her damning them to hell and wishing they were dead was weird. She sounded more like Piper just then than she has done in weeks." Phoebe pointed out.
Paige nodded in agreement. "You're right. But why all of a sudden?"
"No idea." Her sister replied with a shrug. "But maybe if we talk to her we can find out."
Paige pulled a face. "Do we have to?"
"Paige, she's our sister! Talking to her isn't going to kill you!"
"Oh really?" Paige raised her eyebrows. "One wrong sentence and I'll look like your cake!"
Phoebe ground her teeth together but decided to rise above the insult. "We're going to talk to her. We don't know what's going on, what if there's been some spell cast on her?"
Paige frowned thoughtfully. "You really think magic is involved?"
"I don't know... But whatever it is, we're sure as hell going to find out."
Wyatt was leaving him again. Another day, another job interview, and this meant Chris would be left in the apartment by himself. Normally this wouldn't bother him but...
More demons had attacked him, since the first time. And like before, they arrived in groups of 3 and four, one group after the other, until the panic rose and he barely managed to escape with his life at the last moment.
Generally speaking, Chris was not afraid of demons. But this was different – somehow the Source knew about the baby and was trying his hardest to make sure it didn't see the light of day. It was a two for one deal: he could take out the son of a Charmed One and the Twice Blessed's prodigy in one go, with the right resources. So far Chris had managed to fight them off, with the occasional aid of the baby's uncontrollable powers, but he was left wondering how long that would last...
With a kiss and a nervous smile, Wyatt bid him goodbye and orbed out of the apartment, straightening his tie as he went. Chris kept the fake smile on his face until every trace of blue orb were gone, then let out a weary sigh before jumping into action. He hurried into the kitchenette and drew a large knife from the chopping block, gripping it tightly in his right hand as he headed back into the living room. He hunkered himself in a corner so that he could see everything around him, and waited.
The minutes ticked by, but he didn't dare move. The tell tale signs of pins-and-needles started in his legs but he kept still, eyes darting around the room for any hint of supernatural activity.
A shimmer of air. Chris snapped into a standing position and threw the knife with sharp, quick precision. The blade spun through the air and embedded itself in the neck of the demon that appeared, vanquishing him before he'd even had the chance to react.
Chris ran to the left as more shimmers appeared, withdrawing a glass vial of generic vanquishing potion that he'd made secretly earlier in the day out of his pocket. He flung the potion and it smashed at the feet of the two demons that appeared. They screamed as they burst into flames and were vanquished.
Unaware he had been holding his breath, Chris let out a gasp of air and took a step back, muscles rigid in preparation for the next demons to appear.
"Aren't you getting bored of this game? I know I would be." A smooth voice said behind him.
Chris spun around and stumbled back, raising his hands in anticipation of attack. In front of him stood a tall man with short black hair and stubble, dressed smartly in black, neatly pressed trousers, dress shoes, white shirt with the top buttons undone and an open black suit jacket. His eyes were a piercing blue and seemed to bore right into Chris' very soul as he gazed into them.
"Who...who are you?" Chris asked hesitantly, straightening his back slightly but still remaining defensive. This man's whole being screamed intelligence and sophistication, but nevertheless there was an air of corruption surrounding him. A feeling of apprehension grew in him and he kept his hands up, just in case.
"My name is Malphas." The man smiled, showing a perfect row of pearly whites. He kept his hands clasped casually behind his back and Chris wondered if he was hiding an athame back there.
"You're a demon." Chris stated, eyes locked with the piercing blue. A shiver was sent down his spine at the intensity of it but he just couldn't look away. There was something about him... But he wasn't sure what.
"That's right. One of the Source's right hand men actually. He's been very... interested in you."
"Interested in killing me you mean."
"Well, yes." Malphas smiled again, this time in amusement. "You and your brother have caused quite a stir, underground and topside it seems."
Chris remained silent and his eyes darted around the room for a second before landing back on Malphas. No other demons had shimmered in yet, but he was sure they would at any moment.
"Don't worry, I'll make sure no-one else bothers us."
Chris narrowed his eyes suspiciously. "Why? You want to kill me, why not get reinforcements?"
"Trust me, if I wanted to kill you there would be no need for some lackies at my back. But on the contrary, I don't want to kill you. The Source does."
"But you just said-
Malphas smirked in amusement, cutting him off. "Our ideas of loyalty and allegiances are very different to yours. Everyone in the underworld is out for themselves, no exceptions. A demon will only bow down to the Source as long as he is too weak to defy him."
"And you're not?"
"No, I'm not." Malphas replied without a beat, and without even thinking about it Chris believed him. The power seemed to radiate off of this demon...
"So if you don't want to kill me, what do you want?" Chris dared to question, though he continued before Malphas could answer. "Let me guess, you plan to kidnap my baby when he's born and raise him as your own evil spawn?"
Malphas chuckled at the question. "What makes you say that?"
"Demons were always trying to take Wyatt when he was little. They wanted to manipulate him into using his powers for their own evil shit."
"A good plan in theory I suppose." Malphas admitted thoughtfully. "But clearly it didn't work. So no, I don't plan on kidnapping your offspring."
He started to walk casually and slowly around the room, looking around in mild interest. Chris followed him with his eyes.
"The Source wants you and your brother out of the picture. Especially your brother in fact – he really isn't a big fan of him. He's had the plan in operation for nearly a year now." He picked up a framed photograph of Wyatt on his second birthday, face covered in chocolate cake, which had been sitting on the coffee table and glanced over it.
"What plan?" Chris asked with a frown. He lowered his hands as it seemed clear that Malphas wasn't going to attack him.
"You didn't think killing you was it did you?" Malphas asked. "Cute picture." He remarked candidly, placing the photograph back on the table. He focused his attention back on Chris, walking closer to him. "No, that's just part of it. He wants to completely tear your family apart so that he can then swoop in and finish off the Halliwell line once and for all. Your family is like a really bad itch that you can't reach –aggravating, incessant, and won't disappear until you scratch it. Or in other words, slaughter you all."
The hair on the back of Chris' neck stood on end at his words, but he refused to let his nervous energy show. He shifted on his feet and straightened his shoulders, trying to ignore the sensation of his mouth going dry.
"S-so how did he plan on doing that?"
"All you need to know at the moment is that I can guarantee your safety." Came the demon's unexpected response. Thrown for a loop, Chris blinked and then frowned in confusion.
"Why would you want to protect me?"
"We'll continue this conversation another time. Your grandfather is coming." Malphas stepped close to him, well within the boundaries of personal space. His piercing eyes bore into Chris' and Chris gazed back, transfixed, as Malphas leaned in close so that their faces were barely an inch apart. "Till next time, Chris."
Chris shivered at the feeling of his warm breath against his own lips and stood frozen to watch Malphas shimmer out, just as he heard the sound of a key in the lock of the front door and it being pushed open. His grandfather stumbled in, arms laden with heavy bags of groceries.
"Hey bud." He grunted, staggering through to the kitchenette, oblivious to Chris' confused and troubled state.
"Hi." Chris muttered, staring at the spot that Malphas had just left. What the hell just happened?
When Wyatt arrived home an hour later, the instance with Malphas was on the tip of Chris' tongue. But one look at Wyatt's joyful expression and the words died in his throat. The interview had gone well he garbled, the employer giving the impression that he would receive a phone call offering the job in the next week. He embraced Chris tightly, then bent and kissed his stomach. Things were looking up, he said, they would be alright, he said. Chris just couldn't bring himself to shatter his happiness right now.
'I'll let him just be happy tonight. I'll tell him tomorrow.' He decided. After all they'd been through, Wyatt deserved that at least.
So he listened to Wyatt natter on about the job and about how one day they would be able to afford their own place and raise their son together, away from all the negativity and shitty drama. And just for a moment, Chris melted into the comfort of that daydream, safe in Wyatt's arms, just the three of them.
But no matter how hard he tried to forget, the danger looming over the horizon was already beginning to haunt his every thought. Every time he thought of Malphas it set a ball of unease coiling in his stomach and made him feel ill.
He claimed to be more powerful than the Source and for some reason, Chris believed it. There was just something about the demon that he couldn't place…it was as if the power dripped from him like water.
Whoever he was, he wanted to protect Chris from the Source and his demons. But what could he, an upper level demon, stand to gain?
It just didn't make any sense…
AN: So there you are! Not as long as previous chapters, but it's something right? Now, I'm not going to sit here and make promises about speedy updates in the future, but I'm hoping that with my new ideas buzzing around it won't be so difficult to find inspiration. Thank you so much for reading!