Disclaimer: You know, nothing has changed since the first chapter was written. I still don't own Charmed or the Halliwell brothers. It's so very sad.
Author's Note: It's over… -sniffle- I know. Ya'll are all as sad as I am that this one is actually over. But really, even though this one is over, it's just the beginning. Because finishing this story makes room for me to work on the others.
"You know, this food is really terrible," D.J. Anderson said, from where he was sitting at the foot of Chris Halliwell's hospital bed. He poked at what was supposed to be passing for a meal with Chris's spoon. D.J. had Chris's tray of lunch sitting on his lap as he sat looking up at the television mounting in the corner of the room.
"If it's so terrible, then why have you come in here and eaten it every day for the last two weeks?" Chris asked, shifting uncomfortably in his bed. He pressed the button on the little remote and changed the channel.
"Hey, I was watching that!" D.J. griped, "And I'll have you know that I happen to be testing your food to make sure it's not poisoned and that it's safe for you to eat."
Chris rolled his eyes, but he laughed, "And every day you say the same thing. That it's terrible. When are you going to make good on that promise to bring me some real food?"
"To do that I would have to have money to buy real food, or raid the refrigerator at your house. Besides, you know your brother is going to bring you something. He always does," D.J. answered turning around and reaching for the remote, "Change it back, that was Jennifer Garner and she's totally hot."
"Dee, she's like what? Almost fifty? She's old enough to be your mom!" Chris said, continuing to flip the channels. His right arm was in a sling and he flexed his fingers from the cast that had been set around it. The darn thing was itching again.
"Ah, but when she made this movie that you just so rudely changed while I was watching it, she was in her prime," D.J. said, "So change it back."
Chris relented, changing it back, "How many times have you seen that movie?"
"Elektra? This will make number twenty-three, but who's counting?" D.J. said, sticking the spoon into what the hospital passed for mashed potatoes. The dark-haired boy had the spoon halfway to his mouth before he realized what he was doing. He made a face and turned to pass the tray to Chris, "Here, it's all yours."
"Ugh!" Chris said taking it and wrinkling his nose, "Like I want it after you've slobbered all over my silverware. Sometimes I wonder if you weren't raised by wolves…"
"Humans actually, a very close second," the half-manticore said with a twinkle in his eyes, "God she's hot."
"She's flat chested," Chris said, knowing that would rile his friend up. He glanced towards the door of his room. They had moved him out of the ICU the day after he'd woken up, but here he was, still waiting to be released from the hospital. After making sure that no one was walking by or looking, he floated the tray of food that only D.J. had touched over to the nightstand. "…you probably even liked her in that movie where she was a teenager in an adult's body. Even she showed how lacking she was in that movie."
"Okay A, Yes, I did like her in that movie it was funny - and Chris I swear to God if you laugh at me I'm going to force feed you that cardboard meatloaf - the name of it was 13 Going on 30 and it was a nice throwback to the movie Big from 1988 starring Tom Hanks, only with a woman. And B…"
"I'm waiting…" Chris said with a smile.
"Well, there is no B, because you made me forget it with that bloody little smirk of yours, but now you've made me miss one of the best parts of this movie and I'm very peeved at you," D.J. said looking back towards the TV. He was now standing at the foot of Chris's bed with his arms crossed over his chest and his head craned up to look at the screen.
"You're peeved at me? Are you really going to graduate this year and the best word you can come up with for being angry with me is peeved?" Chris asked.
D.J. held a finger up to his lips, "Shhh…. I'm watching this. I also resent that remark."
"No, you represent that remark and the failures of America's education system," Chris teased the older boy, "Seriously. D. J.… peeved? Couldn't you use something like, oh gee, I don't know vexed, irritated, annoyed, heck, even cross would do… what is peeved supposed to mean? Do you even know what it means? Where the heck did you hear that word? And who did you speak to that actually used it coherently in a sentence so that I can hand them a dictionary?"
"I'm taking pity on you because you're an invalid right now," D.J. said in a monotone, sticking his tongue out at Chris.
"Why? I'm not holding any punches. My arm and leg are broken, not my mouth," Chris smirked. He gestured to the screen, "See, look, there she is again… completely flat chested even with the help of that leather corset. You need to pick another actress to fawn over so the guys at school won't laugh at you. What happened to your obsession with Reese Witherspoon? Angelina Jolie? Heck, what happened to Sarah Michelle Gellar? All still way too old for you, but they're better than Jennifer Garner! Please! Red leather?"
"They were last month," D.J. turned to look at Chris, "She is not flat chested! You're one to talk. You don't even have any experience…"
"Neither do you! I have eyes, D.J."
D.J. ignored him and continued, like Chris hadn't spoken at all, "Besides more than a handful is a wa--aaaand--I'm not going to finish that sentence because mixed company just rolled in." D.J. looked sheepishly towards the door and blushed furiously all the way up to his hairline, "Hi."
"Oh, dinna stop on my account," Alwynne said, her eyebrows raised and her lips twitching in amusement. She was using her hands to move the wheels of her wheelchair, guiding herself into the room, "I'm sure there was a very colorful end to that sentence. Hey guys."
"Don't mind D.J. He was just trying to defend his Hollywood obsession of the week. I kind of wish he would pick someone modern so that I could actually find some inkling of interest, but he insists on picking women that are currently in their late forties or early fifties," Chris said.
Alwynne rolled her chair over next to his bed, "Might I make a recommendation? She's not modern, though."
"Please?" D.J. said, grabbing the wheelchair that was tucked in the corner of the room for Chris and sitting in it. The seventeen-year-old started wheeling back and forth.
"Don't encourage him," Chris said, wrinkling his nose.
"Go with someone a bit more classic. Marilyn Monroe," Alwynne offered.
"Marilyn Monroe," D.J. mused, leaning back so that he was doing a bit of a wheelie, "I'll give that one some thought… the original blonde bombshell…"
"The original blonde bombshell? You're not talking about Wyatt are you?" another familiar voice asked as a pair of knuckles rapped on the door, "I picked up a couple of strays along the way… hope you don't mind C-squared."
D.J. dropped the wheelchair he was playing in back solidly to the ground and raised his eyebrows as Jason Kidd, Jake Garner, and… well, the third person that walked in had the scruffy youth blushing. Dawne Amos. Talk about blonde bombshells. She was even wearing her cheerleading uniform. D.J. rubbed his hands over his hair that was still way too short for his liking. Of course Dawne was looking a Chris though. And flowers? As if there weren't enough of them scattered around Chris's room already.
"Hi Chris," Dawne said, batting her eyelashes at him as she set the flowers on the windowsill.
"Hey guys," Chris said.
Chris shifted and found Alwynne reaching over to fluff up his pillow with a conspiratorial wink. He winkled his nose at her when he saw her eyebrows rising up and down at the girl that had come to pay him a visit.
"Where's Wyatt at?" Jake asked, pulling a chair up to sit in it backwards. He saw the raised eyebrows from Dawne and instead turned the chair around for her to sit in it.
D.J. shrugged, "I haven't seen him since he dropped me off at the front entrance so he could find a parking space." The dark-haired boy checked his watch, "That was at least an thirty minutes ago."
"He probably just got sidetracked talking with Andrea Payton again," Chris said with a smile, avoiding the looks directed at him by Dawne with furious blushes. What she was even doing here he didn't know. She was a senior and the head cheerleader and not exactly the sort that would give him the time of day. Quarterback or not.
"She talks?" Dawne asked, somewhat surprised.
"Complete sentences even," D.J. said, then he winced with the 'insert foot in mouth' moment he had just managed to create for himself. Chris grinned at that, but he did feel a little awkward in the presence of the head cheerleader and two of Wyatt's friends. If D.J. and Alwynne hadn't been there, it probably would have been even more uncomfortable.
"I'm sorry, I don't think we've met," Jake said, extending a hand towards Alwynne, and staving off Dawne's glare towards D.J. over what he had meant by that.
"I'm sorry," Chris said, "Jake, Jason… uh… Dawne… this is Alwynne."
"'Tis nice to meet you," Alwynne said.
Piper Halliwell glanced at her watch; Leo was still at magic school. Wyatt's public school had let out an hour ago, so she guessed that he was at the hospital by now visiting with Chris. The doctor had said that Chris ought to be cleared to leave on Friday and he would finally be at home. Piper had seen the disappointment in his eyes at first, but his forgiveness had come quicker. Her youngest had always been her more independent child, she had known he would be even before he was born, but she had been worried that he would have been influenced by the anger that Wyatt was still clearly feeling for her and Leo. By now she should have known to trust that it would be the other way around and that as usual Chris would help balance his brother out as only he could.
Piper made her way into the attic. Paige had helped clean and restore it to order in the two weeks since Chris had woken from his coma - and the Daughter of Nightmares had been defeated. Wyatt still wasn't talking to Leo, but he had at least started talking to her again. Piper had a suspicion that his forgiveness of her had more to do with Chris's intervention than Wyatt's own decision.
It wasn't entirely true that he wasn't talking to Leo. Wyatt yelled and argued with Leo plenty. It was becoming a nightly occurrence even. Their constant bickering had even gotten to the point two nights ago where Wyatt had rather eventfully blown up the chandelier in the middle of dinner, because Leo had confronted Wyatt about missing his curfew again. He seemed to be doing that more now too. He had waited this long being a next to perfect son to start being a rebellious now. True she wished he would try a little harder with his schoolwork sometimes, but he had never exactly been what she would call a 'rebel' before. Phoebe had tried to give some psycho-babble reason for it and Piper had kindly reminded her that she would 'get hers' an about another year when Melinda started High School.
Piper drew a breath and sighed sadly. She hated that she had let Wyatt down and that in doing so she had let both of her children down. It made her feel like a bit of a failure. She only hoped she could regain some of the ground that had been lost before Wyatt graduated from high school and moved off to college.
Piper fingered the fountain pen that she had in her hand. The Book of Shadows was closed on its stand when Piper first walked into the room. It opened on its own as she crossed towards it and the pages started flipping magically of their own accord. Piper rounded the podium that it sat on and looked to see the very page that she had come up here to look for. Lillith - Daughter of Nightmares. She was going to write Chris's name down for the vanquish. Her baby's first real vanquish on his own.
Uncapping the pen, Piper got ready to put it to the page when she recognized the handwriting on the page opposite. A page that spoke of the World of Dreams. It was Prue's handwriting. The chocolate-eyed woman paused and touched a finger to the page, "Oh, Prue… thank you for helping my boys…" tears sprung up to her eyes and she found herself smiling a watery smile, "…you were there for them when I wasn't listening. I… thank you…"
A gold glimmer of script swept across the bottom of the entry, darkening into freshly inked words, You're welcome.
Wyatt walked in with a small smile on his face and his hands tucked into the pockets of his jeans. In the couple of weeks his brother was at the hospital he had gotten to know Andrea Payton pretty well from constantly bumping into her on the way into the hospital. She always seemed to be walking in the door right when he was, having come to the hospital to visit her father after school just as Wyatt was always coming over to visit Chris. They had become rather quick friends once the ice had been broken.
The muscular blonde raised his eyebrows when he saw the small group gathered around his little brother's bed. He started to back up, looked at the name on the door, "Huh, I wasn't sure I had the right room for a minute there… all these visitors."
"Yeah, well, we wanted to see for ourselves how Chris was doing," Jason said, "All this second hand stuff wasn't cutting it. It's good to see it was nothing permanent."
"We're just sorry to hear he's not going to be able to finish out the football season with us," Jake said, leaning on the back of Dawne's chair, "but we're glad he's going to get better."
"Probably won't see State Championships this year," Jason said with a shrug, "Maybe you can lead next year's team to victory. I'd come back to see that."
Chris smiled, scratching his good hand through his hair, "Don't give up yet. You guy still have a shot. You've won the last two games without me, haven't you?"
"Did someone tell you that? They were supposed to tell you we lost, so you'd feel important," Jake said with a wry grin and a little laugh, "We won, yeah, but it's not really the same without you around. That and Jason can't make the passes half the time."
Jason smacked Jake in the back of the head, causing the other boy to laugh, "Thanks a lot man."
"He'd probably be more upset, but he knows it's true," Dawne said, batting her eyelashes at Chris again. D.J. rolled his eyes and mimed gagging towards Wyatt.
Chris flushed a deeper shade of red and cut his eyes at Alwynne when she covered her mouth to hide her smile. "I may not be able to help you guys this year, but I do plan on playing again next year."
"Does Mom know this?" Wyatt asked.
"I told her this morning. I'll warm her up to it. She didn't take the news well," Chris said, In fact she said I would play sports again 'over her dead body' and a demon showed up. She blew him up and then grumbled at the Elders that it had been a figure of speech.
Wyatt smirked, Sounds like Mom…
"Hey Wy," Chris said, "I'm guessing my food is cold again, huh?"
Wyatt held up the bag with the burger and fries in it that he'd gotten for his brother, "Sorry?"
"Don't worry about it. Even cold, it still beats hospital food," Chris said, smiling at Alwynne as his brother handed him the bag of fast food. "So… how's Aaaaandrea?"
Don't you dare start that again, Wyatt thought at Chris. "She's doing good. They're releasing her Dad today."
"That's good news," Chris said with an innocent smile, digging into the bag. He offered some of the cold fries to Alwynne, still unable to stop blushing at the fact that the head cheerleader was staring at him with her big blue eyes. "Maybe I can actually get a hot meal tomorrow."
D.J. snorted, popping another wheelie in the chair and spinning around in a circle. Alwynne took a couple of fries, looking completely comfortable and amused to be among this new gathering of friends.
"Maybe I won't have to wait an hour for my ride home tomorrow," D.J. said, green eyes twinkling behind his glasses. "Hey Winnie…"
"That's a bloody horrible nickname, makes me think of a chubby yellow bear with a penchant for honey," Alwynne said, making a face.
"Would you rather I called you 'Al'?" D.J. asked, "Race you down the hallway until the nurses catch us again?"
Alwynne stole one last fry from Chris and started wheel away from his bed and to the door. "Aye, last one to the elevator is a Plonker."
"What's a Plonker!?" D.J. asked, wheeling after her, out the door "HEY! No fair getting a head start!"
Wyatt moved to the side to avoid getting his foot rolled over by D.J. and shook his head as the other boy went tearing off down the hallway after Alwynne. She had certainly fit right in like an old friend. He hoped once the social workers finally found her a foster parent that she wouldn't have to move too far away. He had gotten used to her being around these last two weeks and she'd already become good friends with Chris.
Jake glanced at his watch, "As much as I'd like to stay and be the next participant in wheel chair races to get yelled at by some of those nurses… I'd better get home."
"Considering he's my ride, I should probably go too," Jason said, walking over to Chris's bed. He held his fist out to Chris, who held his up so that the older boy could tap his against it, "You get better. I'll try not to show you up too bad."
Jake waved the fist away, "None of that," he bent down and gave Chris a hug, "I've got a new little brother. My family gives hugs… and I know for a fact that your family does, so you're not getting off without one from me. No hard feelings about that stuff your freshmen year, right?"
"What stuff freshmen year?" Chris asked, smiling and patting Jake's back with his good hand. Jake straightened up.
Jake smiled and started out the room after Jason. "Hey, Dawne, coming?"
The cheerleader walked over to Chris and gave him a kiss on the cheek. She winked at him before she followed the two football players out. Chris's face turned fire engine red with a blush that managed to almost make the perfect lipstick mark on his cheek blend in. Wyatt laughed and sat on the edge of the bed, shaking his head. "Way to go little brother…"
"Did she really just do that?" Chris asked, wide-eyed.
Wyatt grabbed a napkin from the bag of food he'd brought and wiped Chris's cheek off to show him, "Yeah, bro. Yeah, she did."
Chris continued blushing furiously, but he laughed, "I could get used to this…"
"If you were anyone else, I think I would worry that you might try to milk this wounded hero thing for all it's worth," Wyatt said, reaching over to muss his brother's hair, "You? I don't think I have to worry about… if anyone is a modest hero, it's you."
"I'm no hero, Wy." Chris said with a chuckle.
"No?" Wyatt said, reaching across his brother to grab the remote, "I think I've got a pretty noble little brother. Hey… look… King Arthur is on."
Chris rolled his eyes and groaned, leaning back on his pillow, "You have got to be kidding me… I'm going to call the nurse and have her disconnect that thing."
"What?" Wyatt asked grinning, "It's educational."
"You're hopeless…" Chris said.
Author's Note: And that's a wrap! Tell me what you think! Read the whole story from beginning to end… I've made a few edits here and there through it. But, in general… I just want reviews. Let me know, show me love! And be sure to look for the next in the Pre-Destined series that I am working on with Jennifer (strikermac) called: When Mom's Away The Demons Will Play.