Disclaimer: I don't own Charmed, or any of its characters… I just wish I did.
Author's Note: Since some of ya'll enjoyed my one-shot "For the Birds" so much, I decided to expand upon it and turn it into a full blown story… combining it with another idea of mine. If you've read my one-shot, you'll see it appear again in this story, but not in this chapter. So, since my muse has once again pounded me in the back of the head, you, my faithful readers get to receive another story to entertain you!
Things you probably need to know: Wyatt is seventeen and a Senior, Chris is fifteen (nearly 16) and a Sophomore. Phoebe and Coop's eldest daughter is Melinda at 13, they have two other daughters. Paige and Henry's oldest child 'Henry Jr.' was adopted, they also have twin girls - so Wyatt and Chris are the only 'Halliwell boys' so to speak. Piper and Leo did not have any other children beyond Wyatt and Chris.
Don't worry, I'm still working on my Destined: The Charmed Sons series, "The Crucible" is still being written on… I've just hit a tiny bump. It'll work itself out. With that note, please R&R!
"I don't understand this game," Phoebe Halliwell said out loud. Her husband Coop on her left chuckled in a 'don't look at me' manner. He wasn't going to be explaining the finer points of football to her. On Phoebe's other side was Henry, Paige's husband. In fact her family was taking up the majority of an entire row on the bleachers in the High School football stadium. Only the youngest of the Halliwell clan (that being the youngest two children belonging to her and Coop and all three of Paige and Henry's own children) were with their usual babysitter. Phoebe's eldest daughter Melinda sat on the other side of Coop, more interested in flirting with the cute, but decidedly older High School boy behind her. Phoebe felt more than a little hypocritical at wanting to prevent her thirteen-year-old offspring from hitting on an older man, so she elbowed Coop to do it. Leave it to the Cupid to deal with. Brilliant plan, really. "Would someone care to explain what just happened?"
Going down the line of the bleachers, Paige sat next to her husband and on her other side was Piper. The eldest of the three sisters had the most Homecoming spirit. It just screamed my children are on the field playing! Her husband, Leo, sitting next to her was no better. The Soccer Mom-slash-PTA Dad duo, were both conspicuously dressed in vibrant red, white and black, the school colors. For all of Phoebe's lack of understanding of the rules, this was an incredibly fun family outing. Phoebe and Piper had both gone to this school in their younger years and now; Phoebe's two favorite nephews were both attending AND were rather impressive football stars. Or, at least so Phoebe had heard. It was nearly impossible to tell which player was which to her, and she didn't understand the rules. Clearly stated by her aforementioned phrase.
The only player down on that field that she was confident at recognizing was the younger of Piper's two offspring: Chris. The fifteen year old was decidedly smaller than the other players. But then, he was also two years younger than most of them. Phoebe had to smile proudly at that. Still, compared to some of the hulking giants on the other team that looked like they wanted to eat her nephew for lunch, Chris was easy to pick out. Wyatt? Not so easy. She knew as well as her sisters did that Chris would hit his growth spurt eventually. He'd at least make it to six-foot-one, instead of the five-foot-seven he was now. They also knew, that he would always be more slender and smaller framed thanks to the visit of his future self sixteen years prior. He was growing up right before their eyes into that neurotic young man, only with a much happier past - and a mother that hadn't died when he'd turned fourteen.
"That was first and ten," Henry spoke up, jarring Phoebe from her thoughts. She had almost forgotten that she had asked for help at understanding the game. Henry was laughing a bit, with a twinkle in his eyes as he tried to start explaining it to Phoebe in terms the advice-columnist might understand. "…what that means is that…"
"Oh, Henry, don't waste your breath trying to explain it to her, there's no use," Piper said with a laugh, "It's a good thing that you've had only girls Phoebe, you'd never have survived Sports 101. Henry, we've tried to explain it to her before, she asks every game. All she needs to know is that when we have the ball, her nephews are down there on the field playing. Chris throws it to his teammates, and sometimes Wyatt is the one that catches it and runs it towards those little upright 'H' things that are called goal posts, and some times other members of the team catch it and do the same thing. We score, the boys go off the field to wait 'til the next time we have the ball." The eldest Halliwell sister said all of this with a beaming smile and in a patient voice that was directed at Phoebe as if directed at a child being taught her 'ABC's.
Phoebe stuck her tongue out at the older woman in a completely childish gesture, finding that she just couldn't help herself where Piper was concerned. It was Piper's two children out there playing. Phoebe's nephews, Chris and Wyatt, were both starting players on their high school football team. Ignoring Piper's advice, much to Phoebe's triumph and Paige's amusement, Henry continued to try to elaborate on Piper's watered down explanation. Most of it went right over Phoebe's head, but she did try to listen and soak up some of the information Paige's husband was trying to pass on to her. Henry gave a bit more explanation of quarterbacks and wide receivers since those were the positions Chris and Wyatt played. He also pointed out the reason why the other team was trying so hard to turn Phoebe's young nephew into a smear on the field.
Chris was the only sophomore on the Varsity team, and as was previously pointed out - obviously younger and smaller than the juniors and seniors that made up the rest of it. That, by no means, discounted him as a player. In fact, the very reason that Christopher Perry Halliwell was on the Varsity team at all was because he was a very good player. Nearly every pass he threw was golden and hit its mark with surprising accuracy. He didn't have to be as big or strong as the other players, he just had to find his target and throw. Well, and hope that the rest of his team would block properly for him so that he could do that. Henry explained that since Chris had made every pass hit its mark so far this game it had to be making the other team really want to take the young quarterback out of the game.
Phoebe nodded, having only understood half of what Henry had explained about the penalties, plays, possessions, downs, scoring, etc. She had gotten some useful information out of the lecture. In the mean time, they had scored again, the other team had had their shot, had scored, and once more their team was back in possession of the ball. "So, that's a good thing," Phoebe stated more than asked.
Henry laughed, "Yeah, Phoebe, it's a good thing. If you get confused, just check the scoreboard, we're winning."
"We're winning largely in part to my nephews!" Paige chirped brightly.
"Hey, lady, those are our sons," Piper said with a possessively prideful note and a beaming smile to her husband. Speaking of her sons, Piper let out a regular sports-mom cheer as she watched her baby boy throw yet another flawless pass, resulting in yet another touchdown… originating from the other team's thirty yard line.
Phoebe had to laugh, but she couldn't resist giving her own jubilant yell. The excitement was contagious, especially for an Empath. Phoebe watched as the offensive players trotted back to the sidelines to let the defense take over. Number 18, which was Wyatt Phoebe knew after being reminded, was walking off with Chris. She watched the particularly manly brotherly exchange of clanking their helmets together before she saw both grabbing their water bottles. Wyatt had glanced towards the stands and Phoebe waved, even though she doubted he could make her out in the crowd. With Wyatt and his Twice-Blessed powers though, one never could tell. Even if he didn't notice, it was the thought that counted.
"I am going to get some snacks," Paige suddenly declared, standing.
"It's almost Halftime," Piper said, looking up.
"All the more reason to go to the concession stand now," Paige replied, "beat the Halftime rush, who's with me?"
"Me!" Phoebe's daughter said, bounding to her feet and climbing over everyone to cheerfully join her aunt. Phoebe stood up too, disentangling her hands from her husband's. She wasn't about to let her thirteen-year-old daughter go running around with all of these much older high school boys outside of her range of vision. That she would be with Paige was hardly a comfort. Getting married and having children had mellowed Phoebe out a lot, but it hadn't made her forget what she had been like at that age!
"I'm with you," Phoebe said. "We'll come back with snacks for everyone so you don't have to leave your seat." Phoebe winked at Piper, knowing her elder sister wasn't about to leave her watch over her sons. Phoebe looked one last time towards the field, grinning, she couldn't have been any prouder if they were her own children, even not understanding the game at all.
"They should auction your arm on eBay, Halliwell," Jason Kidd said blandly to Chris from the bench. Jason was the second string quarterback. He was a senior, Wyatt's age, and not too happy about having lost his starting position to a sophomore five inches shorter than him and half his size. The only thing that salvaged their tenuous relationship was the fact that Chris was winning them games and it meant Jason stood a chance to see Regionals and potentially a State Championship in his last year of High School.
"Nice arm Chris," Kyle Shoemaker said, rolling his eyes at Jason's insincere comment, "Really. Keep this up and we're gonna kill 'em."
Chris just shrugged his shoulders nonchalantly, and refrained from comment. He accepted both the snide remark and the genuine compliment with the same casual demeanor as always. He was just playing the game, enjoying himself and a little slice of being a "normal" teenager. Normal was not a word that was regularly used to describe Chris Halliwell, even by his peers. "Nerd" more frequently replaced "normal" in those circumstances. Not that he cared a whit… or at least, not that he allowed anyone else to see that he cared a whit about what they thought. It was a paradox.
The whole "being popular" thing came so easy for his golden-boy big brother, but Chris found himself either struggling to live up to the name Wyatt had already created, or being stupendously ignored as the annoying little brother. …unless he was helping them win a football game. That only upped the ante in small increments. Where he had gotten the reputation of "goody-two-shoes" among his peers Chris had no idea. He was the risk-taker of the two brothers and the one who didn't always do things by the book. Wyatt was the more-straight laced, and if Chris was being brutally honest with himself, boring brother, yet as if by some strange mythical force Wyatt faced none of the social stigmas for being smart that Chris endured.
Actually, it wasn't so mythical. Chris knew better than anyone that magic had nothing to do with any of it. Wyatt just didn't make straight A's. Chris knew his brother could. He just didn't try or didn't care. If the cost of being popular meant lowering his GPA and not getting into the schools that he was already looking to go to, to hell with popularity. Chris was leaving California when he graduated. He just hadn't figured out how he was going to pull that one off with his parents. He'd come up with a plan eventually; Chris Halliwell always came up with a plan.
With Wyatt around, at least the hostility towards him would be kept to a minimum and some of the players that resented Chris being moved up to varsity would just stick to sarcastic comments. Chris could handle sarcasm. He was the king of sarcasm. If his Aunt Paige hadn't already laid claim to the title of Sarcasm's Creator, he would take that too. It still annoyed him though that his high school existence, for whatever reason, required his big brother's protection to be even slightly socially accepted. It was as much a nuisance as Wyatt thinking that Chris needed his constant protection in the magical world because he didn't have as many powers. That was a thing that couldn't have been farther from the truth.
Chris Halliwell was five-foot-seven, about one hundred fifty pounds soaking wet, while big brother Wyatt was six-foot-two with broad shoulders and a strong solid build. Where Chris was a touch shy, hiding behind sarcasm, and reserved, Wyatt was Mr. Popular, Student Body President, blah blah blah… With an older brother like Wyatt it would be impossible for anyone not to develop an inferiority complex.
There were some things, however, that Chris simply excelled at and Wyatt just didn't. It made an interesting dynamic to their relationship. Wyatt was a damn powerful witch, probably the most powerful in the history of magic - second only to the Power of Three - but he didn't have the same ingenuity that Chris did. Chris had more ways of using his telekinesis than Wyatt had powers (well, maybe). Chris was the expert spell caster, able to think on his feet and come up with spells (that worked!) off the top of his head. Chris was also excellent at making potions.
Every potion he had seen Wyatt make thus far had simply blown up in his big brother's face, a fact that Chris teased Wyatt relentlessly about. It was a little brother's duty to cut the big brother down a few notches. After all, Wyatt did the same with his constant nagging. They looked out for each other, Chris just wished Wyatt weren't quite so smothering all the time. It was an excellent reason to move away to college to prove that he could work independently.
Another of the offensive players came up and slapped Chris on the back, which sent the smaller boy staggering forward a step. Chris's green eyes lifted to look up at the bald black boy, built like a small house. The left offensive tackle flashed Chris a grin. He was holding his helmet in his other hand. Alfred "Fred" Lamont was a junior and one of the few real friends Chris felt that he had on the football team anymore, aside from Wyatt, of course. "Ignore them. They're just jealous, particularly Scruffy warming the bench there," Fred quipped.
Chris grinned; shrugging his shoulders again, "I could explain to them how it works. It's all physics really."
"That's my little brother, the science geek," Wyatt said as he came over to stand with them, "We want to keep them awake for the rest of the game Chris, so we continue to win." Eyes on the game, Wyatt frowned. It was a close game, brutally close, in fact. The other team was already approaching their goal again. Wyatt nodded his head absently towards Jason and Jake, two of his friends on the team that were standing nearby awaiting their call to the field again, "If you're not careful Mr. Wizard will outline exactly what obsessive calculations go through his head every time he throws a pass."
"You can put a football uniform on you and call you a quarterback," Jake Garner said with a grin at Chris, "but you're still a neurotic little nerd. Too smart for your own good."
"Whatever, just be glad they decided to move him up to varsity a year early," Jason remarked, "We actually stand a chance at making it to Regionals. It would be the first time in ten years. If calculating the air-speed velocity of a laden swallow makes C-squared happy and keeps him landing every pass, I say let him be as nerdy as he wants."
Wyatt grinned and Chris was forced to endure another helmet tapping from his big brother. Chris's green eyes rolled upwards at the ridiculousness of the ritual, but he couldn't help smiling too. They were as flawless a team off the field as they were on it. Nobody messed with one Halliwell without answering to the other. Not that anyone in his or her right mind would mess with Wyatt. Wyatt looked out for Chris and vice versa and both of them looked out for innocents… but tonight? Tonight was about being teenage football players trying to win another game. "It is about air-speed velocity though and the proper angle and rotation…" Chris started.
Wyatt interrupted him, saving him from descending further down the rungs of the social ladder. "Well, that was enlightening, anyone ever tell you that you're too smart for your own good little brother?"
"Every day, Wy," Chris said, "You tell me that every day. Not jealous are you? If you need to borrow some brain cells some time, just let me know. I'll give you a family discount." Fred laughed, as did the others near enough to hear.
Those without their helmets on shoved them quickly into place and they all started jogging out to the field when the coach barked 'Offence!' Chris was just a bit behind them, moving over to the coach to get the plays that he would relay to the team in the huddle. The huddle broke and the team made their way to their positions.
Wyatt was walking backwards so that he could flash his little brother a thumbs up, to which Chris responded with a gesture that was not only rude, but would have had their mother putting him over her knee. Never mind that he was nearly sixteen and considered himself too old for that sort of punishment. The play was called and Chris waited, anticipating the snap. He'd look for Wyatt or Carter to be open first, then to Jake. That was the intent. Whoever was the most open would find the ball being calculatedly thrown to them.
The leather touched Chris's palms, breaking the frozen field into hostile motion. Chris jogged back, searching alertly for an opening. From behind the bars of his helmet Chris's sage eyes picked out his older brother wide open and moving. It was second nature, more or less, to him now to calculate the distance. Chris rotated for the pass, leaving that critical blind spot that would leave him open to a sack if Fred hadn't blocked like he was supposed to. Chris tapped the ball once with his left hand, and then pulled his right arm back to send the football spiraling from the tips of his fingers.
Chris grinned as the ball twisted through the air, and it sailed right into Wyatt's waiting arms. That was all Chris needed to see. Wyatt was running for the goal full tilt and no one was going to stop the elder Halliwell. Chris gave out a mental 'whoop' as he saw Wyatt pass across the goal line and he relaxed. The play was over. They had scored again and would go into the second half winning. The Halftime buzzer rang…
…and Chris felt something slam into him from behind like a freight train. It knocked the wind painfully from his lungs, took his feet clean out from under him. He heard and felt a nasty snap that his startled brain couldn't quite register from where as he struck the ground hard. Maybe it had been more than one snap, all he knew was that pain was searing through him before his head slammed into the ground hard. The blood was rushing in his ears like a roar as he got one good view of the night sky behind the stadium lights. Idly Chris wondered what had happened to his helmet before numbing blackness swallowed him.
Author's Note: The comment Wyatt makes about "Mr. Wizard" is referencing Mr. Wizard's World, an American TV show that played on the network Nickelodeon from the early 1980's 'til 1990, when they began airing reruns until 2000. It was the longest running show on Nickelodeon. I kind of miss it, but then, I was a bit of a science geek myself.
"…the air-speed velocity of a laden swallow," is a partial quote from the movie Monty Python: and the Quest for the Holy Grail.
And to shamelessly ask again, since we're at the bottom of this chapter: Please Read and Review! You'll make my day, seriously. Thanks Zeria for the correction between 'running backs' and 'wide receivers'.
Oh, yeah, and sorry about the terribly cruel cliffhanger. I just can't help myself! I'll try not to leave you hanging too long. But you know, if you hit that little button down there and write me a nice review… I may make it sooner rather than later!