Disclaimer: I don't own Charmed.
A/N: Ok, this story's sort of like a companion story to my other Charmed stories, but you don't have to have read them to understand this. All you need to know is that this is in the unchanged future, all of Chris's family is dead (apart from Wyatt who's evil), Chris is about 15, and living on the streets. Also, Chris had more powers than he did in the show, but he's still not as powerful as Wyatt.
The Silent City
Christopher Halliwell, the youngest son of the eldest Charmed One, and little brother of the Source of all evil was standing at the highest point of the famous Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, looking out over the city.
Once upon a time, it had been a spectacular view, and one that Chris had often come up here to see. At any time of the day or night, whenever he needed some time to himself, or just some time away from his family, this was where he came.
When he was much younger, back when the city was busy and full of life, from this bridge you could see it all. You could see the skyscrapers, the roads full of cars with people going places, and the people themselves, hurrying about their everyday lives. No one had had any idea about how much all that would change in just a few short years. No one that is, except Wyatt, Chris's so-called brother who had caused this.
Now, the city was practically a wasteland, and it's population only a fraction of what it'd been previously. Some of the buildings still stood, but none of them were completely unscathed, except for the Halliwell Manor. That, Wyatt had kept preserved as a sick kind of Museum, which Chris shuddered to think about.
Looking around at the destruction, Chris noted that it was only a matter of time before the bridge itself was destroyed. That was part of the reason he was up here today anyway, to have one last look at the city he'd grown up in before it became completely unrecognisable as anything except a scrapheap.
But that wasn't the only reason he was up there…
As if right on cue, the young witchlighter doubled over as another gut-wrenching stab of pain tore through him. Tears welled up in his eyes as the warring weight of emotions took their toll. Pain, misery, fear, grief, horror, anger, panic, anguish, terror… they and more all coursed around his head. But Chris bit back the cry of pain that had made it's way up his throat. He knew what this was. These weren't his emotions. These were the emotions of the innocents of the city.
To an onlooker, the city of San Francisco would appear empty and silent, devoid of any life apart from demons. But Chris now knew differently. He knew that if you scratched just below the surface, more people than you'd have thought still inhabited the city. And all of them were desperately trying to survive the hellish conditions.
He'd always known there were other people still in the city. He'd seen a few, but he'd heard more through one of his powers, his acute hearing. Back then it's been bad enough, but even with that, he'd had no idea that there were quite this many people left.
But now, not only could feel them, he could hear them. And he wasn't sure which was worse. Besides the empathy, his newfound telepathy as well as his already acute hearing meant that this empty and 'silent' city was the loudest it'd ever been.
Chris cursed to himself. Why had he received these powers now? His whole family, everyone was gone. He was on his own, living on the streets. He didn't have anyone to help him learn how to control new powers… and they were driving him crazy! The emotions by themselves were practically ripping him apart, but to make it worse, his head was full of the city's inner thoughts. He could hear screaming, sobbing, grieving, crying, wailing and praying, all of the voices overlapping each other. And they were giving him one hell of a migraine.
He hated hearing all of these innocent people suffering when there was nothing he could do about it. What was he supposed to do to help? Chris knew that that was what his powers were supposed to be for, for protecting innocents from demons and other evil things, and he also knew that he really hadn't been doing that lately. But what could he do? The whole world was going to hell, what good could one single solitary witchlighter do?
There was one thing he knew for sure though. If he didn't figure out how to control his newest 'gifts' sooner rather than later then he wouldn't survive for much longer. You always had to be on alert if you wanted to live in this day and age. And Chris didn't see how he could do that if he constantly had several thousand or so people screaming in his head for every second of every day.
The youngest Halliwell stood completely still, and closed his eyes. The wind flapped his coat around him, and blew his hair off his face, but Chris took no notice. He focussed inside himself, looking for an 'inner peace' as his father would have said.
Eventually, he found that he could put a barrier up around his mind, or one that was good enough for the moment anyway. It mostly blocked out the sounds and feelings for the time being. It hadn't been as hard as he'd thought it'd be, but Chris supposed that he'd had practice at doing similar things. He was constantly having to block himself from Wyatt's radar, and while he was younger, he'd had to block his emotions from his Aunt Phoebe, who'd been an Empath, and verging on telepathic when she'd died. It wasn't that different from that, the difference being that then he was blocking thoughts in, rather than out. It would take a lot of practice before it was perfect, but it was definitely a start.
While he was thinking about his new powers and his family, a thought suddenly occurred to Chris. Wyatt was evil now, and every day he was killing, torturing, maiming, and generally doing everything against what their mother had taught them. It occurred to him that even if nothing he did really amounted to much, that someone should be trying to help the remaining innocents of the city. They didn't deserve anything that was happening to them. Chris also really hoped that Mom was watching, it might show her that he had been listening to what she's been saying for all those years.
But it wasn't just that, the young witchlighter couldn't, and wouldn't let the Halliwell family legacy lie in ruins because of his brother's actions. People had to know that good magic still existed, and that the last true Halliwell was still doing what his family had done for generations: protect the innocent. The Halliwell's couldn't be remembered for the Tyrant who'd destroyed the balance between good and evil, and ultimately, the world.
Chris temporarily let down the barrier he'd just figured out how to create. He closed his eyes and focussed on trying to differentiate between the voices in his head, trying to separate them from each other. Finally, managing to pick one out from the others, he sensed for their location, and then orbed there.
Once he'd completely materialised, Chris found himself in what was probably once quite a nice apartment. Now, it was damp and dirty, with the rain leaking through the partially destroyed roof, and the wallpaper peeling off the walls.
In the dry corner of the room sat a young woman. She was dirty, bedraggled and probably in no more than her late twenties… and she was hugging a small child to her.
Chris walked slowly towards them and said gently, "Hello? I'm—I'm here to help."
The woman didn't say anything, she just rocked back and forth slightly. Chris could see some blood on her shirt, so he asked, "What happened?"
Again, the woman didn't say anything. But the little girl the woman had been holding wriggled out of her mother's arms and turned to Chris.
After staring at Chris for a second, and obviously deciding that he wasn't going to hurt her, she answered his question, "A bad man hurt my daddy. But me and mummy ran very fast and got away," she explained. Then she turned to her mother and said, "I miss daddy… when is he coming back?"
At this, the woman's eyes filled with more tears, and Chris understood. Her husband had given his life so that she could escape with their daughter… but even so, she hadn't escaped unscathed…
"Will you let me see your arm?" Chris asked hesitantly.
Wordlessly, the woman held out her arm. Quickly and efficiently, Chris ripped several strips off his shirt and tied them in a makeshift bandage around her arm. The wound wasn't bleeding heavily, so provided it didn't get infected, it would be fine.
Hesitating only for a second, Chris reached into his deep coat pocket and gave the woman the last of his food. It was only a tin of beans, but it would help.
Standing up again, the young witchlighter realised with dismay that there was nothing else he could do for the woman. He didn't have anything else he could give her, he didn't have anywhere safe she could go… it was all up to her now.
As he was about to leave, the woman turned her tear stained face to the dark haired boy standing above her, "What do I do now?" she asked, her voice breaking, "How do I go on without him?"
"You do it for your daughter," Chris replied, not knowing if his advice would do the woman an ounce of good, "You have to survive, for her."
Then he orbed away.
The woman and her daughter watched the swirling white lights disappear through the ceiling. Until the change had come, they hadn't known of the existence of magic. And even then, they'd only known that black magic, and evil, existed. But now, to know that there were beings of light, like this boy, out there too… It filled the woman with renewed hope that one day everything would be ok again. She would do as the boy had said. She would survive for the sake of her daughter.
Tugging at her mother's tattered sleeve, the little girl asked in a voice full of wonder, "Mama, was he an Angel?"
The little girl's mother looked at her newly bandaged arm, and the tin in her hand, Then she hugged her daughter a little tighter, and whispered, "Yes sweetie, I think he was."
Next, Chris orbed to a place that was emanating huge amounts of fear. There, he found he had no time to think at all. A demon had thrown an energy ball, and he'd just orbed into it's path! Thankfully he had quick reflexes, and flicked the attack back to it's owner with his telekinesis, vanquishing him.
In the seconds this bought him, Chris assessed the situation. Behind him were two men and two children, a girl and a boy. The girl looking slightly older than the boy, and they were both older than the little girl Chris had just seen, but they were still a little younger than he was. None of them seemed at all hurt so far, so Chris supposed that they must be witches of some kind.
Unfortunately, in front of him, were two more demons, and after seeing what had happened to the other of their number, they had evidently decided not to make the same mistake. Instead, they both drew out two long, very sharp-looking swords from scabbards at their waists. And this was part of Chris's weakness… his powers weren't really designed for close combat, but even less so when his attackers had swords!
The witchlighter managed to evade their almost lightening fast attacks most of the time, mainly using his phasing and invisibility. But before they were both vanquished, they did manage to slice him a couple of times. Not fatally so, but enough for it to hurt like hell. His shirt was now ripped across his abdomen, and blood from his wound was soaking into it. His other wound was down the right side of his face, from his forehead down over his eye, and down his cheek. He knew that blood was getting all in his hair and was dripping on his coat, but it didn't pay it any attention… more people were calling.
He dropped the sword he was now holding and said, "You're safe now." Then he made to leave.
"Wait!" called the man he presumed was the father of the two sandy-haired children, "Why did you do this for us?" he asked.
"Because I'm a Halliwell," Chris replied, and orbed out.
Throughout the rest of the day, Chris continued to answer the calls for help. But when evening came, and it started to get dark, he orbed back up to the bridge. From there he could see the red sun setting on the horizon, making the sky glow. It would've been a beautiful scene, were it not for the smoke pouring from one of the many burning buildings in the city.
But despite this, and his current injuries, Chris was in relatively good spirits for once. He had a reason to not give up, to keep going. In the past, he'd considered committing suicide several times, that way he wouldn't have to suffer in this world anymore, and he could see his family again. But now he'd found something to live for. And he also knew why he received his new powers of empathy and telepathy.
For months, the innocents of the city had all been calling for help… and now, against all the odds, they had someone who could hear them. Chris knew that he was the only one who could help them. He alone could still hear the cries of pain and fear from the innocent, their voices calling out for salvation.
And well—while Chris couldn't give them that, he was no saviour of the world, the young witchlighter could give them hope. Hope that there was still some good left in the world. Hope that they weren't completely alone. Hope that maybe someday the wrongs of this world would be righted.
Hope you liked that! I know it was very… meh, well, I don't really have a word to describe it… but I hope you liked it anyway!
Anyone who has read my other Charmed stories, I did change a couple of things from them to this one, so the story would work. I just made it ok for Chris to orb all over the city, and that Wyatt wouldn't sense him! Hope that's ok!