Disclaimer:- I do not own Charmed or any of the characters. If I did, I would have had Drew Fuller in it for longer than one season!
AN:- Oh, do not get me started on my lack of updates, but it has been one hell of a year! Anyway, from now on, I am going to try and be a lot better and quicker when it comes to my updating. That's a promise!
PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE
"How many times do I have to say no, Chris," Paige seethed through gritted teeth. "If it helps, I can give it a go in some different languages. French, non. Portuguese, nao. German…."
"Alright, I get the point," Chris droned out, trailing behind Paige as they made their way towards P3. "I may have been a little… enthusiastic lately about you guys demon hunting. But couldn't you guys just…."
"For God's sake, Chris, will you just…." Paige began, trailing off as they entered the club to find the lights were already switched on.
Ever the gentleman he had been brought up to be, Chris stepped in front of Paige as they cautiously made their way down the stairs, prepared for what they might find below. So far, there was no sign of any kind of immediate danger. No one jumping out at them, no broken or misplaced furniture, and no lurking demons. When they reached the bottom of the stairs, they found the cause of the illuminated club.
"Emma?" Chris said, leaving cautious behind as he raced the rest of the way to her. Emma was sat curled against the door to the back room, the room Chris had once slept in.
Her knees were pulled up to her chest her arms wrapped round them, letting Chris see the suspiciously finger like bruises circling each of her arms. The shirt of the pyjamas she was wearing was ripped, one lacy sleeve completely gone and a big tear down the front. There were tears streaming down her cheeks, mascara streaks mixing with her red and swollen cheek, the opposite eye already beginning to blacken.
"Emma, what happened?" Chris asked softly, kneeling at her side. Emma didn't reply, she simply hugged her knees tighter to her body. "Please, Em, babe… you have to talk to me," Chris tried again, gently stroking Emma's hair behind her ear.
This time in response, Emma slowly edged herself closer to Chris, laying her head on his shoulder and her hand on his chest, gripping the fabric of his shirt tightly between her fingers as she began sobbing gently again. Still, she said nothing. Chris looked up at Paige for help, unsure what to do himself. Paige knelt in front of the pair, resting her hand softly against Emma's shoulder.
"Emma, sweetheart, you need to speak to us, tell us what happened," Paige spoke softly, calmly, as if speaking to a young child. "Was it a demon who attacked you?" Emma didn't speak, but she did respond. She shook her head against Chris' shoulder, not lifting her head.
"Was it someone who broke into here, did you walk in on a robber?" Paige asked. Again, Emma shook her head into Chris' body. "So what happened, Emma? Who did this to you?"
And the, Emma spoke for the first time. One single, solitary word, her voice barely above a whisper. One word that had Chris wrapping her up into his arms tighter.
"Shaun, you're… you're hurting me," Emma wept slightly, her hands tugging at his as she tried to pull them away from her hair, to no avail.
"You don't know hurt," Shaun growled at her. Guiding her forcefully by her hair, making Emma cry out in pain, Shaun threw her down onto the couch before he started pacing n front of her.
"Do you know what's really hurtful?" Shaun began to snap out, and Emma felt herself cowering back against the couch in true fear. "What really hurts is having your fiancé, the woman who is supposed to love you unconditionally, bring another man into your home. A man she flaunts in front of you, openly showing him more affection then she ever has shown you."
"Shaun, I've never…."
"Don't lie to me! Shaun screamed into her face, moving faster than Emma thought was physically possible, towering over her with his arms either side of her head. "Whatever is about to come out of your mouth is nothing but a lie!"
"It isn't, I swear, I…."
"I saw you!" Shaun continued to scream. "I woke up last night to find that you weren't there. I come looking for you, and you know what I found. I found you, on this couch, curled in his arms!"
"It's not what you think!" Emma tried to plead with him.
"Not what I think? Not what… how can it be anything else!" Shaun yelled out louder than ever, hauling Emma off of the couch and slamming her against the wall. His fingers dug harshly into her arms, making her wince as they clearly left bruises.
"Me and Chris… we're just… just friends," Emma stammered, hr terror at this situation growing higher. "You know that… Shaun."
"No, I don't know that at all," Shaun hissed at her, his face edging ever closer to hers. "I've told you, Chris feels a lot more than friendship for you… and don't try to tell me he doesn't. I've been watching him while he's here, I've seen the signs clear as day."
"If you think that's the case then… then fine," Emma stuttered. "But I don't…."
"Do not even try and tell me all you feel for him is friendship," Shaun interrupted her. "I've been watching you as well. Since he got here, you've been all glowy in a way I've never seen. Who knew the woman I was marrying was nothing but a filthy, little whore, giving it out to anyone but the man you're marrying, who you say you're in love with."
The word 'whore', and Emma's terror faded into anger very quickly. Even if she thought that things between her and Chris had been changing lately, it wasn't like she did anything about it, like she spent every night wrapped between the sheets with Chris while still in a relationship with Shaun. She wasn't that type of girl, and she was offended that Shaun seemed to think she was.
"You don't know a thing you're talking about," Emma screamed back at Shaun, fighting harder against his hold. "Just because Chris doesn't have the emotional capacity of a turnip, like you, it doesn't mean every little thing we do is somehow seedy. So don't ever call me a whore again. You don't have the right to…."
Emma's sentence was cut off as a powerful burst of pain flowered over her right cheek. Shaun had again moved too quick for Emma to stop him, backhanding her savishly across the face. The blow had hit with such force, her face was forced to the side, her other cheek hitting the wall, hard. The pressure Emma felt against her eye socket told her she would end up with a black eye.
"Don't tell me I don't have the right," Shaun hissed. "You are my fiance, you are mine to do with as I please… and I think you need to start learning that."
Dragging her round the room again, Shaun gripped Emma by the shoulder, throwing her back onto the couch. Emma heard a ripping sound, and she turned her head to see one of her short lacy sleeves missing. Looking down, she saw it lying discarded on the floor.
Emma tried to sit up, but suddenly it wasn't just her on the couch. Shaun jumped up onto the couch with her, her legs pinning her to the couch as he straddled her hips. Her terror firmly back in place, Emma fought against him harder than she had before as his hands pulled at her clothes. She heard another rip, but she didn't care what it was this time. All she wanted was Shaun off of her, but it seemed he was stronger, and more determined. He wasn't budging.
"Shaun… no… please, just… just get off me!" Emma cried out in sheer desperation.
What happened next… Emma didn't know who was more shocked, her or Shaun. Without any extra force from her, Shaun suddenly went flying off of her and across the room, slumping to the floor against the wall, unconscious.
Emma lay still for a moment, catching her shocked, staggering breath before she scrambled off the couch. Grabbing her shoes on her dash out of the door, Emma an. Out of her apartment, down the stairs, out of the building… she didn't really care where she ended up, as long as she was away from here.
Chris pulled the sheets over Emma's sleeping form, tucking it round her body as if he was tucking in a small child for the night. And though she may have been a full grown woman, tonight she was as fragile as a child… and he planned to take care of her.
For a moment, Chris remained sat on the edge of the bed, watching Emma as she slept soundly. She had calmed once Chris had brought her here, as if her body knew she was in a safe place, where no one would dream of ever harming her.
At that thought, Chris gently reached out to touch the evidence of where someone had dared harm her, and more. At his touch, Emma snuggled deeper into the mattress, nuzzling her face into his hand with a soft smile on her lips. In her relaxed state, Emma's mind was content, truly at peace wrapped up in the sheets of his bed.
Knowing that Emma was relaxed, peacefully sleeping now, Chris stood, kissing her forehead before making his way downstairs and into the living room where the sisters were waiting. On orbing in, the first place Chris had gone to was his room with Emma. He had left Paige to explain the situation to Piper and Phoebe.
"How is she?" Phoebe asked the minute she saw Chris enter the room.
"She's alright… I hope," Chris sighed, flopping down onto the nearest chair. "She's sleeping right now."
"Chris, is… we got the story off Paige," Piper began. "And I was just… I mean… Shaun, he hasn't done anything like this to her before, has he?"
"God, I hope not," Paige piped up.
"Emma's a smart girl," Phoebe added. "She wouldn't stand for anything like that, not for so long. She would have come to one of us… like she did now with Chris."
"Phoebe's right, she never would have stood for it," Chris said.
"Yes, but I always thought she was smart enough to steer clear of an abusive guy like Shaun, not get engaged to him," Piper said.
"I don't think he was always like this," Chris stated. "Shaun may not be the nicest guy in the world, I may at times have thought he didn't deserve someone like Emma, but I never for once thought his jealousy would take him this far."
"Jealousy? Jealous of what?" Paige asked.
"Of me and Emma," Chris answered. "No matter how many times Emma tried to tell him otherwise, Shaun had it stuck in his head that there was more than friendship between me and her."
At this admittance, unseen by Chris, the sisters shared a knowing look between them. Because all three of them had seen Chris and Emma when they were together, and they couldn't help but think that maybe Shaun really had been seeing the same thing.
Before anything could be said about this, the group heard a soft thud from above them. Without a second glance back at the sisters, Chris was out of his seat and racing up the stairs before it even occurred to him it might be quicker to orb.
Running into his room, Chris found a pile of blankets writing on the floor. Kneeling beside it, Chris pulled at the blankets until Emma's head popped out looking somewhere between shocked and scared for a moment, before she saw it was Chris.
"Are you OK?" Chris asked, softly touching her shoulder.
"Yeah… I just… a nightmare, I guess," Emma said, trying and failing to hold back tears. "I'm sorry, I didn't…."
"No sorry's, but let's get you off the floor, OK," Chris said, helping to unwrap Emma from within the sheets. Guiding her to sit on the bed, Chris took her by the arms. It was only when Emma winced that he realised he had hold of her over her bruises. "I'm sorry," Chris said, immediately letting her go.
"No sorry's. Your words, remember," Emma said.
Chris laughed softly as he took a seat beside her on the bed. The minute he was down, Emma slid closer into his side, letting her head drop down onto his shoulder. As always, on instinct, Chris' arm went round her.
"Well, when Leo gets back from the Underworld, we'll get him to heal you," Chris told her.
"That's not necessary, Chris," Emma said.
"Yes it is. What's the point of having a Whitelighter healer in the family if you don't use him for times like this."
This time, it was Emma who laughed softly. She pulled her legs up under her on the bed, curling up further into herself and into Chris. And for a moment, that was how they remained, in comfortable silence. It was Emma's small voice that broke the silence.
"He wasn't always like that you know," she said.
"I can't imagine you would stay with him if he was," Chris said, his voice monotone.
"He was a good guy," Emma continued. "I might have once told you I wasn't sure if I should be with him, but I do still think he's at heart a decent man who will make a loving husband to the right girl."
"Emma," Chris spoke her name, trying to keep his voice calm as he pulled back slightly to look at her. "Are you trying to tell me that you're going back to Shaun?"
"Good God, no!" Emma said, truly shocked at the idea.
"Well, thank the Lord for that," Chris said, pulling her back into his side.
"No, someone only does this to me once," Emma said, her voice more adamant now. "All I was getting at was that… maybe I get Shaun's motivation."
"You're saying that you understand why the man who claims to love you decided to take a swipe at your face," Chris said in disbelief.
"OK, when you put it like that…." Emma trailed off. "But… all I'm saying is look at us, Chris. Anyone looking at this right now sees something a lot more intimate than a friendship."
"And… does that bother you?" Chris asked, ready to let her go if she said yes.
"No, it doesn't bother me," Emma stated. "But I do see what an outsider, like a partner, would see."
"Come on, Em. We know we're just…."
"Don't say it, Chris. Just don't say it."
So he didn't. Chris didn't finish that sentence, he just let them fall back into silence. This silence wasn't like before. It wasn't uncomfortable, it was just… different. It was as if the pair curled together on the bed could literally feel things beginning to change between them.
After a moment, Chris heard Emma sigh softly into his neck at the same time her arm seemed to unconsciously wrap itself round his waist. Looking down, he saw that Emma was beginning to fall asleep. Trying not to disturb her, Chris awkwardly manoeuvred them so Emma was lay back comfortably against the pillows. He tried to pull back, but Emma's arm tightened slightly round his waist.
"Stay… please," Emma's voice mumbled sleepily.
For a moment, Chris thought about making some excuse and leaving her to sleep comfortably, alone. But at this moment in time, with her just so uncharacteristically vulnerable, he just couldn't deny this girl anything she asked.
So he lay down beside her, pulling the sheets over them. The minute he was down, Emma pulled herself even closer to Chris, pillowing her head against his chest and snuggling into his side. By now, Chris was simply going with it as he wrapped his arms tightly round her, one thing on his mind as he drifted asleep beside her.
Let the changes come.
AN:- OK, there's the update that has been a long time coming! As always, I crave your reviews. Be as harsh as you like, I can take it! LOL!