Disclaimer: I don't own Charmed, or any of its characters… I just wish I did.
Author's Note: This story is actually growing from a seed sparked in conversation with the "other half of my brain" strikermac. I can't claim the original idea, it's hers, so, we'll call this story a collaborated effort between the two halves of our unified brain. This story takes place a few months after Chris's recovery in my other "teenage years" story A Handful of Stones. Chris is 16 and Wyatt is 18.
Piper Halliwell sat silently in the desk chair in her eldest son's room with her arms crossed over her chest and a far too calm expression on her face. The alarm clock next to the teenager's rumpled bed read 2:35 am. The door to the room creaked and Piper looked up, ready to lay into her sons only to discover that it was her husband, Leo.
"Your sons," Piper stated placidly.
"I'm sure they are fine Piper," Leo said, stepping further into the room. The man raised an eyebrow when he saw the pillows that had been tucked under the covers with the obvious intention of making it appear someone was laying in the bed.
"I'm glad you're sure," Piper sniped softly, "They could be lying dead in the underworld for all we know. You know those three use it as their own personal playground."
Piper looked at her watch, "Five more minutes and I call Paige."
Just then a swirl of blue and white lights appeared right next to the bed, forming into the figures of two teenage boys. Wyatt was slumped heavily against Chris, completely passed out and the younger brother was the only thing holding him up.
"Christopher Perry and Wyatt Matthew Halliwell, it is a school night," Piper said in a low and dangerous voice when she heard the jingle of orbs, "Do you have any idea what time it is?"
Chris sucked in a breath through his teeth when he saw his parents in the room and winced. "Mom!"
"Is he hurt?" Piper demanded with a flash of worry when she saw the state that her eldest son was in. She leapt to her feet and crossed the room towards her sons. Leo moved from the doorway right behind her.
"Not really," Chris said, looking sheepishly at his parents and back to Wyatt.
Piper's eyes narrowed suspiciously and she leaned towards them. The strong scent of alcohol met her nostrils and her eyes went wide in anger. "He's drunk! Where were you?"
"There was a band playing at this bar we wanted to see. They only check I.D.'s at the door, so…"
"Orb him to the bed and go to your room. Now," Piper said with a note of finality. Chris hastily orbed his brother into the bed and bolted past his parents to his own room. Piper turned to look at Leo, her lips compressed into a thin line. One of Wyatt's arms hung over the side of the bed, but he didn't seem to care as he started to snore softly.
"Your sons," she repeated to Leo.
The next afternoon, after a long morning with his head pounding while he had to endure his Friday classes, Wyatt was laying on his bed in his room. They had both been grounded. Piper had sentenced them both to their rooms. "Grounded until further notice." He knew he wasn't supposed to be, but Wyatt was on his phone talking to his best friend when the jingle of orbs caught his attention. He lifted his eyebrows and looked towards his little brother standing there holding something in his hands.
"I gotta go, see you tomorrow," Wyatt said into the receiver, sitting up and dropping the phone back into the cradle. He asked Chris, "Did you get them?"
Chris's face split into a wide beaming grin of happiness as he triumphantly held up three tickets. "I got them. Front row, center stage."
Wyatt laughed and got off of his bed, "D.J. said you'd never get them."
"Just don't ask how I got them. I mean, I bought them and all, but had to do some fast-talking with these pretty little Swedish girls to get them. By the way, we have dates for the concert," Chris said, with a fiery blush creeping suddenly into his cheeks.
"Christopher Perry Halliwell!" Piper's voice bellowed. Chris's blush vanished and color drained from his face.
"Your jacket," Chris threw it at Wyatt and hid the tickets in Wyatt's desk. He quickly sat down in the chair and spun it around to face the door, plastering an innocent smile on his face. Wyatt caught his jacket just as the door flew open.
"Where are you supposed to be?" Piper asked from the doorway.
"My room," Chris said.
"And where are you?" Piper asked.
"Wyatt's room," Chris answered, then the sixteen-year-old smoothly added, "But technically this used to be my room too, so technically I'm still in my room." He was trying to charm her and both he and Wyatt knew that he had failed miserably. Wyatt smiled while their mother glared.
"You come home drunk and think this little game is funny," Piper said.
"I wasn't drunk mom, I was the designated orber," Chris delivered in complete seriousness. Wyatt had no idea how his little brother could keep a straight face while he said that. Wyatt certainly couldn't have done it. Then again Wyatt couldn't stop the snorting snicker that culminated into him bursting into outright laughter just hearing his brother say it.
"To your room, now," Piper snapped. Clearly their mother didn't find it quite so amusing.
Chris smiled and hurried out of the room, while Wyatt was still trying to stifle his amusement at his brother's sarcastic comment.
Once he was out, Piper rounded on Wyatt, "You think that it's funny that you came home drunk? What if something happened to Chris?"
Wyatt's mother knew which nerve to strike at and Wyatt stood up. Even with his grand advantage in height, his mother still managed somehow to make it seem like it was her looking down at him. Still, Wyatt protested defensively. He would never let something happen to his little brother if he could help it. "I was looking after him mom."
"You were drunk!!!" Piper bellowed, causing Wyatt to sit back on his bed and cringe.
"Wyatt!!!" Chris screamed in a desperately shrill cry from the room next door.
Wyatt's cringe turned into a grimace as he felt the sharp pain in his stomach sear agonizingly through him. The only thing was that it wasn't his pain he was feeling. He leapt to his feet and brushed past his still outraged, but now startled mother, and ran from the room in time to see the Darklighter shooting a second arrow. This one sunk into Chris's ribs. Wyatt's heart sank when he saw his brother crumple to the floor and he very nearly followed him with the waves of pain radiating through their link. Eyes narrowing, Wyatt lifted his hands, ready to dispatch the Darklighter.
His mother beat him to the punch. Piper brushed past Wyatt, putting herself between her son and the Darklighter protectively. She flung her hands out and blew the demon into dust. Immediately she dropped next to her youngest son and rolled him over so she could pull the arrows out. "Heal him quick."
His mother didn't even have to say it, Wyatt dropped down next to his brother, his hands going out to be held over the two wounds. He waited, holding his breath for the healing glow to come. He only let the breath out once the golden light appeared and Chris's injuries began knitting themselves back together. The color finally returned to Chris's cheeks and the dark-haired teen groaned softly.
"You okay, bro?" Wyatt asked.
Chris's eyes fluttered open and he slowly sat up with Wyatt's help, "He was waiting for me."
Piper shook her head, "Oh, no. I will not have them coming into your rooms to kill you. The alarms are going back up." She stood up and walked towards the door to leave the room.
"Mom, we're a little old for demon alarms, that's for babies," Chris said to his mother's back. She didn't stop, just walked out of the room and headed towards the attic to get the box of crystals. Once Piper got an idea into her head there was no talking her out of it if she didn't want to be talked out of it. At least Chris and Wyatt had both gotten it honest. Chris looked at Wyatt, lowering his voice, "You been to the underworld recently?"
Wyatt shook his head, also keeping his voice lowered, "No, you?"
"Huh-uh," Chris said, "So why did they attack here? I thought they learned their lesson after the last time."
"Looks like we need to check this out and soon," Wyatt said. He climbed to his feet and offered Chris a hand.
"After the concert?" Chris asked with a small grin as he took Wyatt's hand.
"After the concert," Wyatt agreed, "Let's just hope you being turned into a pin cushion doesn't make Mom change her plans… otherwise, there won't be any concert."
"Hello!" Victor called into the Manor as he walked into the front door. He smiled as he saw the suitcases waiting in the foyer and walked around them. He was about to spend the weekend with his two teenaged grandsons and had been looking forward to it since his eldest daughter had called to see if he could stay with them. Keep an eye on them. It wasn't like they needed a baby sitter any longer, but Victor still enjoyed the time with them. "I'm here! Where is everyone?"
Piper walked into the foyer with a box of crystals in her hand, "The boys are in their rooms where they are supposed to stay. They're both grounded."
"Grounded?" Victor asked, following his eldest daughter as she placed the crystals one by one strategically around the house.
"Yes. Grounded. Apparently, they decided to orb themselves into a nightclub last night to hear a band and so that Wyatt could get drunk," Piper said, to which Victor raised his eyebrows, fighting down a smile so that Piper wouldn't see. Piper continued as she finished placing the last crystal, "They are under strict orders to stay in their rooms except for meals. No phone. No friends. No television. No stereo. No leaving the house. When I say their rooms, I mean their separate rooms, Dad. That's part of their punishment."
"What's with the crystals?" Victor asked, "Don't you think that's taking the house arrest thing a bit too far?"
"Demonic alarm system," Piper told him, "Chris was attacked in his bedroom an hour ago."
She was moving into the kitchen now and Victor followed her. She busied herself pulling several vials out and arranging them on the counter, "I have half a mind to cancel this trip and postpone the opening of the new restaurant so that Leo and I can stay here… LEO!" She shouted up to the ceiling, and then went right back to talking to her father, "He's stalling because he doesn't want to get on a plane again. Last time there was terrible turbulence and he gripped the armrests with a death grip the entire flight. All right, I've got potions here in case of demon attacks. If you need more Chris can make them. He can leave his room for that if it becomes necessary. Do not let Wyatt try to make potions, no matter how much he begs. He nearly blew up the Manor the last time, so all of his potion making attempts must be strictly supervised until further notice. LEO!"
"I'm coming!" his voice called from upstairs.
Victor winced when she shouted again, but ended it in eyeing the potions dubiously and trying to take in all of her instructions. He heard footsteps moving upstairs and coming down the stairs along with the thumps of something heavy.
"What did you put in this one? Lead?" Victor heard Leo's voice call from the other room.
Piper wasn't finished giving her instructions. She handed victor a notepad with several phone numbers on it, "This is the number for the hotel we'll be staying at in New York. This one is for the restaurant where we'll be most of the time we're there. This one is my cell phone in case you can't reach us at either. Phoebe and Paige can help out if you need them, you know their numbers or you can just yell for Paige…"
Victor interrupted her, resting his hands on her shoulders and smiled at her, "It'll be fine honey. You and Leo catch your plane. I've got the boys covered."
"You call for Paige if anything goes wrong and send her to get me immediately," Piper said, "I left a casserole in the fridge with instructions for reheating it."
"Piper, as much as I don't want to fly, if we don't leave soon, we're going to miss our plane!" Leo called from the other room.
"Go," Victor said, hugging his daughter, "You don't want to miss your flight. I love you."
"Love you too, thanks Dad," Piper said. She cast a worried glance upstairs, then sighed and walked out of the kitchen to help Leo load up the car so they could leave. Victor looked at the potions on the counter once she had stepped out of the room and picked one up, examining it in the light. He made a face.
Author's Note: Not really going to be updating this story until after I'm finished with Handful of Stones and The Crucible, but strikermac and I are working on it in the background. :) This is just to give you guys a sneak preview and a taste of what's to come!