Disclaimer: I shouldn't need to remind you that strikermac and I don't own Charmed or Chris and Wyatt, but I'm doing it anyway. We don't and we're not making any money on this little piece of fiction. We're just entertaining our muse.
Author's Note: Oh, Sarah! Please do share your recipe! I love to cook. I'd love to surprise my husband with a new recipe. I'm glad you can breathe again now that the boys are safe and sound. We can too, because it means now that this Epilogue is posted, we can move on to the next story -- and shift our focus to Episode Two of Destined. To answer your questions, yeah, healing Chris' leg was a long time coming, but don't worry about Wy getting in trouble with the Elders over it. They did decide that the poor kid had been through enough. About time too! Suffering for four months... (Guess you can tell I'm not a huge fan of the Elders, eh?) As for Piper and the boy's clothes… well, I'm sure when she checks their laundry she'll demand to know why those clothes are wrecked, but that hasty jump into the shower when they got home saved their butts. For now.
For those of you who have asked for further elaboration on some things, well, it would ruin it if we just gave you the full and complete story all at once. Expanding further upon the significance of certain things falls into that. So, you'll have to take what's given to you, hypothesize (some of you are making interesting guesses - I won't say whether you're right or not), and enjoy the journey of the stories.
So, now that I've rambled as I seem to have an easy time of doing, I'll share the epilogue with you!
Victor Bennet stood back and watched his grandson move around the kitchen with a smile. The boy was so much like his mother that at times it was scary. The scents of the food that the sixteen-year-old was making were now filling the kitchen. Chris shook the pan and flipped the omelet into the air and caught it again with a small smile over his shoulder at his grandfather.
"Show off," Victor said with a fond smile, "You look tired."
"I feel tired," Chris said. He was indeed exhausted, but he was also incredibly glad to be home.
Leo stepped into the room, having just finished carrying all the bags into the house. He walked over to Victor and shook his hand, "Thanks for staying with the boys Victor."
The old man leaned against the counter again, "Any time."
Piper entered the kitchen next to join her husband and father. She smiled when she saw her son cooking over the stove, but it dipped towards a frown again as she followed his movements. He just looked completely exhausted. She was definitely going to keep them both home from school tomorrow. Wyatt shuffled into the kitchen behind his mother.
"So, what's for lunch?" the blonde asked.
"Grandpa bought breakfast stuff, so I'm making omelets," Chris answered, sliding an omelet onto a plate for his grandfather and setting it to the side.
"Least grandpa's not making them." Wyatt grabbed a handful of grapes and sat on the counter. He was ravenous. Wyatt had no idea how Chris could stand there, making food for everyone else, knowing how hungry he was. You've got more willpower than I do little brother. Chris smiled over his shoulder at Wyatt.
"Hey, I make excellent omelets," Victor defended as he watched Chris chuckle.
"We're going to go carry our stuff upstairs," Piper said. She stepped over and kissed Chris's cheek, "My little executive chef in training."
"I'm going to be a photographer," Chris called after her, smiling as mother and father left the kitchen. She encouraged his culinary skills, but that wasn't where Chris' heart lay. Actually, he was starting to question photography too lately, but then he really didn't know what else he would want to do. He still had time to think about it though. His grades were good enough for him to go into any field he wanted to.
"Yeah, I'll write the articles and you take the pictures," Wyatt said, popping the last of the grapes in his mouth.
Victor looked at Wyatt. "So, your mom says next weekend that the two of you can come over my place. I was thinking that the company has this apartment that I can use any time I want. So, how about the three of orb there and spend the weekend?"
"I'd love to grandpa, but I've got me a date," Wyatt said, raising his eyebrows up and down. With the stressful weekend behind him, the twice-blessed witch was already looking forward to the week ahead. Valentine's Day was exactly one week away next Sunday. Saturday night, he had plans. Wyatt slid off of the counter and walked over to the refrigerator.
Chris didn't look up from the omelet he was just finishing, but he directed a thought to his brother. A date? With the girl that about twenty-something hours ago you weren't thinking about at all? Demon breath. Be sure to floss tonight.
"Ah yes, Andrea." Victor nodded thoughtfully.
Wyatt shot Chris a dark look. He spun his head towards his grandpa, mouth hanging agape in surprise, "How do you know about Andrea?"
"I have my ways," Victor said with a smile.
"Meaning my snotty little brother has been talking about me," Wyatt accused with a look at Chris. I ought to tie you up with dental floss. We're not even going steady!
"Hey, it wasn't me." Chris sneered as he plated Wyatt's omelet and handed it to him.
"It wasn't Chris." Victor smiled at Chris. "It seems Andrea wanted to see you this weekend, but you were asleep."
A grin lit Wyatt's face and Chris rolled his eyes when he saw it. She had come over to see him? Chris made a gagging motion before turning back to finish making the food.
Wyatt closed the refrigerator and his eyes widened. "You didn't tell her that I was grounded did you?"
"As a matter of fact I did," Victor said.
"Oh man!" Wyatt ran his fingers through his damp hair.
"She's pretty, your An-drea..." Victor dragged her name out and Chris smiled.
"An-drea's all he ever talks about these days." Chris dragged her name out as well and Wyatt growled. Chris slid and omelet onto a plate for himself and turned off the stove.
"When you go and get yourself a girlfriend, I'm going to make your life absolutely miserable." Wyatt glared at his younger brother who handed Victor a plate. Wyatt grabbed the jug of milk from the refrigerator and poured himself a glass before he hopped up to sit on the counter again.
"I'll just have to keep my love life private then, won't I?" Chris asked with a grin. "So grandpa, where is this apartment?"
Wyatt spit out the milk he had just taken a drink of and was choking on it while laughing. Chris paled slightly and glared at his brother. Wyatt continued laughing, wiping his mouth with his sleeve.
"What's the joke?" Victor asked, confused.
"He's crazy. It sounds like fun grandpa," Chris said.
Victor took his plate and a cup of coffee out of the kitchen, shaking his head.
As soon as Victor was out of the room Chris threw an apple at Wyatt. "So not funny."
"Hysterical," Wyatt said as the apple disappeared in a flurry of orbs and reappeared in his hand. Wyatt fell off the counter and landed with a thud, still chuckling. "Stockholm."
Piper watched from the doorway of the dining room as her sons walked in to sit at the table with their grandfather. There was a bittersweet smile on her face. They weren't her little boys anymore. They were a heartbeat away from being adults. Leo came up behind her and wrapped his arms around her.
"Look at them Leo. Just yesterday they were little boys. What happened?" Piper asked softly, leaning back against her husband.
Leo rested his chin on her shoulder and said, "They grew up."
"When did that happen? I mean, it seems like they were just little and now..." She sighed heavily. "They don't need us anymore Leo."
"Of course they do," Leo told his wife. The two boys and Victor were enjoying some entertaining conversation by the looks of things, not noticing they had an audience. Wyatt looked like he was on the receiving end of some good-natured teasing from his brother and grandfather. It was a nice little picture.
"No. Since October, have either of them come to you for anything?" Piper asked.
"You mean besides money?"
She smiled, yes, she'd even miss that when her boys were gone, "Yes, besides money."
"No," Leo answered.
Piper's bittersweet smile returned, touched more with sadness as she watched her sons, "They've closed ranks on us Leo."
Leo kissed her cheek, "They're good kids Piper. We did good. Of course they're a bit mischievous. But overall we raised two good kids. If they need us, they'll come to us."
"If you say so." Piper leaned against her husband. They'd never be her little angels again. They were now grown, and all she could do now was watch from the sidelines.
It was so deathly silent as the darklighter known as Sardon rounded the corner that he almost didn't want to continue any further without removing his boots or holding his breath. The only sound that stretched ahead of him for what seemed like miles was the soft crackle of flames from torches that hung upon the rock walls. The flames danced off of moisture upon the rocks, reflecting their orange and amber light and refracting it. No one ventured into this part of the underworld unless they had a very good reason. Only those who had specific tasks here dared to even set foot along these passages.
Sardon had never walked these passages before and now he wished that the task had not been left up to him. He had heard far too often of the fate messengers sent here. Messengers sent to the council had a bad habit of not being seen again if their news was not good. The news he carried, of a failed mission, could not be considered good by even the most optomistic of beings. Sardon was not looking forward to this. Even knowing that Rebecka had been vanquished was not enough of a consolation. He would be joining her in the wasteland soon unless he was granted mercy. The council never granted mercy.
Squaring his shoulders, Sardon continued forward. His footsteps echoed along the empty corridors. It seemed to him that the closer he came to his destination, the colder it became. There was a bone numbing frost in the air, yet his breath did not mist in front of him as he would have expected from the chill. Long stretches were cloaked in darkness between the torches and the further he went, the fewer torches there were.
The last several feet of Sardon's jouney were in pitch dark, until he reached the two torches that lit the massive chamber doors. They were large enough for a small army to ride through, tall, wood and iron things with ornamental carvings. As Sardon stepped into the light it was the carvings that caught his eye. Figures were posed in twisted contortion, their limbs intertangled with chains and vines as they were depicted in tormented anguish. The hair on the back of Sardon's neck rose as he realized that the tortured imagery sculpted into the doors was actually moving. The figures were writhing, lifelike, in agony. He took a step back.
As Sardon contemplated fleeing, two swirls of black orbs formed into a pair of fellow darklighters on either side of the massive entrance.
"They wait," the darklighter on the left said as he nodded to the other. Together they reached for the door's handles and pulled them open to permit Sardon's passage inside. Sardon's mouth went dry at the sound the opening doors made. A plaintive child's cry of misery sounded, died away and was silenced as the doors were fully opened. There was nothing left to do but enter.
Sardon looked at the two darklighters holding the doors and saw no sympathy in their eyes. He had expected none. The interior of the chamber was darker even than the last stretch of hallway he had passed through to arrive at this place. The only light was from torches by the door that he had just entered through. It left the rest of the room obscured by shadow, including the seven imposing figures that were seated at a long table. Sardon drew in a breath and stepped forward into the center of the room.
Behind him, the door slammed shut with an intimidating boom that caused him to flinch. He turned to look over his shoulder and saw who had closed the door. Not the darklighters that had opened them from outside, but rather a pair of demons that most in the underworld avoided. Seven-feet tall, their frames were hidden beneath voluminous black robes. Hoods were drawn up, but they didn't hide the bone-white faces of the two Reapers. Each of them held a long scythe in their ivory hands and the sound of the blades slicing through the air as the pair crossed them in front of the door would have unnerved the most courageous of demons.
Sardon was already unnerved. Seeing them there as guards for the chamber only made matters worse. Other demons avoided them because of their eating habits. They cared not who their victims were. They would take a demon just as soon as they would a mortal and now they were barring his exit from the chamber. He tore his eyes away from the Reapers to look at the seven members of the council.
"You failed," one of the council members stated. It was a voice like icy, chilling notes audible in the two syllables spoken.
Sardon dropped to his knee and bowed his head forward. He could feel the eyes of the council members on him, but the feeling of burning eyes on the back of his head terrified him just as much. He dreaded having to give the answer that he knew he must and the word came out a barely audible whisper, "Yes."
"The heir and the brother still live," another voice, this one female, hissed.
"Yes," Sardon answered without lifting his eyes.
"You understand what that means," a third voice stated rather than questioned.
"You know the consequences of failure," the icy first voice spoke again.
"Someone must pay for failure," yet another of the seven spoke, "Where is she?"
Sardon swallowed, his mouth had long since gone dry, "The older witch vanquished her."
"You have failed us Sardon," the third voice said.
Sardon lifted his eyes in time to see a gesture made by the council member seated at the center. His breath hitched in his throat when he heard the movement behind him from the door and stood up quickly. Not quickly enough as two boney hands latched onto either of the darklighter's arms. He looked wild-eyed at the faces of the Reapers. They were both smiling, bare skulls showing pointed canine teeth as their empty black eye sockets filled him with fear. "NO!"
Sardon struggled as the two drug him towards the doors to exit, screaming the entire time, "Vanquish me! You can't do this! NO! Please!" The doors screamed open again and Sardon was dragged mercilessly from the chambers, his screams echoing down the empty hallways pleading for mercy. The doors slammed shut again, leaving only the council in the flickering torchlight.
"This was our best opportunity. He'll get stronger. They will get stronger."
"There will be other chances."
"There is still time."
An icy cold wind ripped through the council chamber, causing the flames of the torches to flicker. The flames guttered and then were extinguished, plunging the room into complete blackness. The seven figures of the council all drew in audible gasps and fell silent and still. There was not even enough light left in the room from the small sliver beneath the doors to allow one to see their hand in front of their face. All seven held their breath. The only sound the disrupted the stillness was the slight rustle of someone moving through the room. A voice whispered just behind one of the council members, brushing against their neck.
"And the wild regrets and the bloody sweats None knew so well as I: That he who lives more lives than one, More deaths than one shall die," a voice that was as chilling and smooth as silk falling over steel interrupted that silence. Silence hung over the room again as the unsettling quote remained in the air. The voice spoke again and held the rapt attention of the council, "Oscar Wilde."
The seven, seated figures looked into the impenetrable darkness, straining for a glimpse of the figure as they heard the movement of rustling clothing again. Even the thin sliver of light from beneath the door was blocked out now that the speaker was standing in front of the table. He was only a darker, sinister silhouette in a sea of blackness.
"The younger witch must die," the hidden man spoke again, stating it as casually as one might say that it is raining. The seven figures at the table nodded in agreement, not even daring to make so much as a sound. There was movement in the shadows, an imperceptible shift with the eye, but the rustling sound of clothing indicated it. The man's unnerving tone spoke with command, "We must determine our next course of action."
The sun was setting over San Francisco, California. It was setting over a long weekend, painting the sky with lavenders, sapphires, roses, and oranges before finally burning into a brilliant gold and vanishing beneath the horizon. Wyatt Halliwell sat at his desk in his bedroom, looking at his ticket stub from the concert with a frown. His grandfather had left an hour ago.
Chris lay on Wyatt's bed with his hands clasped behind his head, looking up at the stars stuck to the ceiling. Neither one of them was saying anything, nor had they sad anything in the last hour. Both teens were simply trying to absorb and process all that had happened in the last couple of days.
Wyatt's thoughts kept circling back to one thing in particular. Even though they had had a moment of levity and Chris had been teasing him about Andrea and every other girl that he had ever set eyes on, there were a few things that had happened that just weren't going to go away so easily. Wyatt wasn't going to just pretend that some things hadn't happened or hadn't been said. Wyatt was still angry with his brother for his stubborn refusal to accept that he was just as important. Guilt was gnawing at Wyatt.
"Quit feeling guilty, Wy. It's over," Chris said, breaking the silence between them.
"I'm…" Wyatt started, turning around in his desk chair.
"You apologize and I'm out of here."
"Okay, then. There's still some things I want to talk about," the older boy said.
Chris propped himself up on his elbows, "Like what?"
"Why they wanted you dead first," Wyatt said, "I mean, I was with them for most of the time we were there and I obviously wasn't in my right mind. They could've killed me at any time easily, but they seemed more worried about killing you."
"I doubt I'll have another chance to say this, ever, so I'm going to say it now: I'm sure you're just over thinking this Wyatt," Chris said, dropping back onto the bed. He closed his eyes and folded his arms over his chest. "They just saw this as an opportunity to take us both out. Besides. We took care of them."
Wyatt frowned and looked at the ticket stub again, before he tucked it into his desk drawer. "Yeah, you're probably right."
Chris smiled wryly, without opening his eyes, "I usually am."
Wyatt snorted. The fact that Chris thought he didn't matter was still nagging him, but Chris had seemed to file it away for now and it didn't appear to be bothering the younger teen any longer. Wyatt had just resolved to try to prove Chris' importance to him, he knew with as stubborn as his little brother was, it wasn't going to happen over night. "You know, we could be a journalistic team to be reckoned with if you really do decide to go into photography."
"We'll see," Chris said, a yawn cracking his jaw, "Hey, Wy?"
"Did you brush your teeth yet?" Chris asked, cracking his eyes open with a small smile.
"Little brat," Wyatt said with a playful growl. He grabbed a piece of paper from his desk, balled it up and threw it at Chris. Then he got up.
"Where you going?" Chris asked, sitting up.
Wyatt rolled his eyes, "To brush my teeth!"
Chris laughed and settled back on Wyatt's pillow to wait for him to return from taking care of his oral hygiene. He succumbed to another yawn and rolled onto his side, fluffing up the pillow and making himself comfortable. Wyatt would probably wake him up when he got back to tell him to go sleep in his own bed. Chris was out like a light when Wyatt returned. The older boy stood in the doorway and smiled seeing the steady rise and fall of his brother's chest.
Quietly, Wyatt walked over and pulled the covers over his brother, tucking him in. Then without a word, grabbed his sleeping bag from his closet and laid it out on the floor next to his bed and crawled into it. He twitched a finger at the light switch, telekinetically turning it off.
It was only about ten minutes later that Piper and Leo cracked open the door, looking in on their two sons.
Piper smiled, thinking about them sleeping in the same room even after the two of them wanted rooms of their own. The sliver of light that fell into the room from the opened door showed her that Chris was asleep in Wyatt's bed. Her older son was laying on the floor next to him.
Leo smiled, "Your sons."
Piper shook her head and wrapped her arms around him. "No. Our sons." Then she closed the door to the room quietly.
Wyatt cracked his eyes open and propped himself up on an elbow, looking towards the door. He looked up at Chris resting peacefully on the bed and smiled slightly, "Good night."
"Night Wy," Chris mumbled, still mostly asleep.
Author's Note: With that, the second full story of the Pre-Destined series comes to a conclusion. Look for the next episode of the prequel series "Eyes of Light", coming soon. Thank you all so much for reading and thank you even more for all of your inspiring reviews!