Hi! I've decided to try writing a full-length fic (it's been quite awhile since I've written anything but oneshots for the site) but before you start reading I'd like to mention a few things:
1) If you take the time to read and review this I'd be especially grateful.
2) I know how much people despise "Mary Sue" characters. I will try my absoloute hardest not to write Teagan's mother as one (I don't think I could if I tried. Mary Sues just have this sickly-sweet quality... it makes you want to scream when you read about them).
3) I believe some disclaimers are in order; I'm only going to say this once: Charmed does not belong to me. I'm not making any profit from this story, I'm just dabbling around in the Charmedverse for awhile. Teagan Rose and any other characters that you do not recognize are mine. If you want to use them, just ask.
4) I'm using a style of writing that I don't usually attempt because I'm not very good with tenses. I've tried my best to keep it all in one tense but I apologize if there are any errors that I didn't catch.
5) I probably forgot something (I tend to do that a lot) and if I remember what it is, I'll just post it with the next chapter!
At first when the child appears in their attic in a long white dress with purple flowers, they are stunned. She arrives with the assistance of a gleaming, blue portal that is now gaping at the back of their attic wall; but the most astounding thing about this little girl (who can't be more than five) is the fact that she resembles their son. Not enough for them to faint or anything, but enough for them to notice and clearly mark the similarities. Her dark brown hair (just like their son's) is down to her shoulders and she is smiling nervously, even as she looks at them with innocent determination in her bright green eyes. They are the same shape and colour as Chris's and for a moment, the middle-aged couple is transfixed by her. Finally, Piper, the matriarch of the Halliwell household finds her voice.
"Who are you?!" The little girl shrinks at Piper's slightly pitchy demand, Leo looks as if he might step forward to comfort her but he holds his ground. Who knows what service this child may require?
"My name is Teagan Rose Halliwell." She states. "I'm your granddaughter." She sticks out a tiny hand to shake (what a formal gesture!); Piper and Leo are at a loss for words.
"Excuse me, you're our what?" Piper tries not to scream, tries to be rational about this whole thing. Her wide brown eyes dart about the attic, taking in every piece of clutter- from the old baby blankets that once swaddled her now-teenaged children to the prom dress that her sister Prue once wore, even though she'd never made it to the actual event- but she wasn't really seeing anything. Well, she did see the little girl still holding out her hand- Teagan's her name. Wait. Piper freezes, if this really is her granddaughter, then why doesn't her name start with a p? All of the girls in the family had names beginning with that initial, it was simply tradition. Ignoring what she sees (a tiny face that looked just like that of her youngest son when he was so small); Piper forces her voice to work and manages to keep a steady gaze on Teagan.
"Why doesn't your name start with a p?" She asks and Teagan sighs.
"How should I know?" Teagan plants her hands on her hips and raises her head, half-defiant, half-curious. Leo still hasn't said anything useful but he's probably still dumb-struck. "Mommy named me Teagan because it's her favourite name for girls."
"If you were part of this family, your name would start with a p."
"Piper!" Leo admonishes; he did find it very odd that the family tradition could be broken with a name like Teagan but it wasn't an improbable happening. After all, their sons did not carry names with that initial (though Chris's middle name is Perry) and their youngest niece's name did not start with a p.
"What? It's a reasonable question." Piper defends, crossing her arms over her chest and whipping around to glare at her husband. Even in her mid-forties, Piper is as brusque as ever.
"She's just a kid."
"So?" Piper deflects this observation before the truth of his words, accompanied by guilt, can set in. "Every girl in our family has a name that starts with p."
"That isn't true. Davina's doesn't." Piper scowls at being contradicted but this is proof she cannot deny; Phoebe flouted family tradition by picking that name for her youngest. But that wasn't a big deal because it wasn't a cardinal sin to break tradition and Piper knew this; she was only trying to test this young girl out.
"I wouldn't know anything about family tra… tradition?" Teagan frowns and tilts her head at Leo, the more receptive of her two greeters, to see if she pronounced the word correctly. He nods kindly at her and she smiles.
"Why wouldn't you?" Piper wants to know, like a greyhound on the scent of a wounded animal. "If you're a Halliwell you'd know all about us."
"Piper, she's young. Don't interrogate her like an adult."
"She could be a spy."
"From where?" Leo is exasperated with his wife's unrelenting crabbiness- what's her problem today?
"The future." Teagan pronounces future like 'footure' and her slip up makes Leo smile; Piper attempts to hold hers back. "But I'm not a spy, and I don't know about your family traditions 'cause my dad doesn't know about me."
Any questions Piper had thought up are gone at this piece of information; she gasps and Leo adopts a worried expression.
"I'm not supposed to be here," Teagan goes on, her voice dropping lower as she looks at the dusty attic floor. "I'm supposed to be over at the neighbour's while Mommy's at work but I snuck back home to use magic."
"If you don't know about the Halliwells, then how would you know about magic?" Piper stammers. She looks at the clock, it is only ten in the morning and she is relieved to know that her sons are both on an all-day field trip with the rugby team.
"My mommy's a witch, too." Teagan's youthful face screws up in confusion, as if she wonders what else her mother could be.
"A witch assassin?" Leo voices his wife's thoughts before she has the chance. Wyatt (their older son) doesn't have a girlfriend at the moment, but Chris is seeing a demonic witch assassin named Bianca. Though they'd met Bianca in the past, Chris's parents still feel perturbed when she is around- she is older and more experienced, and the deeper Chris falls into love with her the more chance he has of being corrupted- but this is no time to dwell on Chris's love-life. They are waiting on their granddaughter to give them a proper answer (wow. That sounds strange- they're granddaughter).
"A what?" Teagan answers with a question of her own but this is all they can expect from a child of her age; she has the worldliness of a newborn fawn that has barely begun to peep around her mother's legs for a glimpse of the outside world. Albeit, it was pretty brave (and reckless) to come to the future by herself. She is starting to seem more like kin to them by the minute but they mustn't be too certain. All of a sudden, the loud noise of a gurgling stomach halts the conversation; both adults look at Teagan who flashes them another wide smile (it's different than Chris's) and flushes, patting her stomach.
"Oops," she says. "Guess I shoulda eaten breakfast."
"Why didn't you?" Piper asks, in spite of her apprehensions she is a firm believer that children should have three square meals a day and then some if they're still hungry.
"My stepbrothers stole my cereal," Teagan admits, tears prick at the backs of her eyelids when she thinks of the older, rowdier boys she is supposed to consider her new "family". "They hate me but they act all nice to Mommy. She had to go into work early this morning for a meeting so it was Lawrence's job to take care of me. But he doesn't do too well of a job, he just watches TV during breakfast."
"Lawrence?" Piper arches an eyebrow.
"Mommy's new husband. He's supposed to be like a new dad for me, but I don't really like him. He has bad table manners and he's not funny."
Piper and Leo exchange a glance; if Teagan is lying she is going through an awful lot of trouble to do so. And she looks almost like a carbon copy of Chris….
"Why don't we go get you some food?" Leo suggests then, holding out his hand to guide the child through the attic and down the steps. "And you can tell us more while you're eating!"
"Okay," Teagan accepts his hand without hesitation- the willingness to trust is a sure sign that she has not yet before faced a demon attack- "oh, but I can't tell you much about the future." Her bright expression turns solemn. "I don't wanna change it too much!" Piper snorts and covers a laugh with her hand- this was a phrase she'd heard too often in the past. Teagan gives her an inquisitive look but Piper is quick to trot on ahead of them, intent on fixing the girl a proper meal. Grandchild or not she was young, she needed nutrients.
Teagan seemed awed just by the front hallway, the kitchen itself brought wonder into her malachite orbs and her mouth fell open a fraction. "Wow. Is this where Daddy lives? My real one?"
Piper, who is standing by the stove making pancakes, phrases her next question with careful diplomacy, her voice neutral: "Who is your dad, Teagan?"
"I don't know his first name," Teagan admits as Leo hoists her into a kitchen chair with the natural ease of a father who has raised three children (Wyatt, Chris, and of course, Melinda, who would rather not admit that she once relied on her parents for anything). "Mommy doesn't like to talk about him. I only know his last name 'cause my grandma mentioned it once and I was eavesdropping when I was supposed to be sleeping. I've got a picture of him though. Wanna see? It'll prove I'm related to you." She implores and Leo smiles. It's refreshing to see a kid so young and carefree in his house. Well, maybe not carefree as she came on a mission to find her real father, but she was still as naïve as any other kid her age might be.
"I'd like to see that very much." Leo wants some evidence that will affirm his relation to this adorable little girl and Teagan fishes around in the pocket of her dress for said photograph. She makes a great show of handing it to Leo. He wants to wait for Piper to examine the picture with him but his eyes will not obey his wishes and they stray to the photograph. The first thing he notices is, of course, the male in the picture and he cannot stop his eyes from popping out of his head, or his heartbeat from quickening. The male in the picture has mussed dark brown hair and bright green eyes- he is wearing a Zoo York hoodie with jeans- he looks just like the Chris who had come to the past in order to save his brother from turning evil. He is the man Piper and Leo's son will physically become in this altered, better future where Wyatt is not a malevolent dictator and Chris is not his number one enemy. This is the future where they are brothers and best friends who still manage to grate on each other's nerves; this is the future where they are both do-gooders.
But, Leo looks over at the little girl who has her face propped up in both hands, how many people still suffer?
Leo studies the picture more intently and realizes that the soft, blithe gleam in his son's eyes indicate that the young man is in love (either that or he is on drugs). Leo's attention is inadvertently drawn to the young woman that Chris has his arm around, a petite girl about his age with light brown hair pulled back into a ponytail. She is also dressed in casual clothes- an oversized band t-shirt that the Chris of the present has in his closet now, and pyjama pants- they are both sitting on a brown leather couch. If Leo is not mistaken, that is the couch that Piper's father Victor just bought a week ago to put into his living room! Leo scrutinizes the girl more thoroughly; she's pale with wide hazel eyes that are hidden behind glasses, the extent of her smile takes up her whole face and lights up the picture. The retired elder is sure that he has seen that big, enchanting smile somewhere before…
Piper sets a plate of pancakes, a fork, and some napkins in front of Teagan who thanks her profusely and then launches right into saying her prayers (this earns raised eyebrows from Piper and Leo but they reserve comment), as predicted Teagan gets maple syrup all over her face and hands within minutes.
"I brought a picture of my mommy and dad together." Teagan tells Piper conversationally, "wanna see it?"
"Mhmm." Piper scuttles around to Leo's shoulder but she is not as placid when she realizes that it is indeed Chris who is looking back at her in the photograph. "Oh my God! Christopher!" She does not know how she feels about this; she looks over at Teagan. Why would Chris leave the child and her mother? The girl Chris is with doesn't seem like such a horrible witch (no pun intended)…
"Christopher? Who's that?"
"My son." Piper mumbles distractedly.
"Is that my dad?"
"Uh, Teagan, we might have to summon your mom…" Leo starts, his head is spinning and time is moving too quickly and he wishes he could think clearly right then.
"You can't!" Teagan's eyes grow wide and she looks terrified.
"Why not?" Piper is concerned now, why should she be so visibly afraid of her mother?
"I'm not allowed to use magic!" Teagan frets, "Lawrence and his numbskull sons don't know anything about it. Mommy wouldn't be very happy if she had to come home from work to get me from the past… Lawrence doesn't work 'cause he's a…" she paused. "A deadbeat. Or at least that's what Mrs. Rowan says."
"Mrs. Rowan?" Piper can't even begin to recognize the name.
"The neighbour that babysits me." Teagan clarifies. "She doesn't like Lawrence or Kyle or Darren at all."
"Kyle and Darren?"
"My step-brothers." Teagan makes a face, "Kyle is twelve and extremely mean. Darren is ten and he's okay sometimes, but if his brother tells him to be a jerk to me then he will be."
"I see. So, your mother's the only one who works in the house-"
"We live in a townhouse." Teagan pipes up, "it's all we can afford. Mommy keeps putting money in her bank account but Lawrence takes it out to buy stuff. She gets mad at him but she doesn't say anything 'cause he'll yell at her if she does."
Piper looks absolutely horrified that this woman's savings are being leached away by a "deadbeat" as her granddaughter so kindly put it. To top it off, Lawrence sounds like a verbally abusive pig (but she couldn't be too hasty with those assumptions). Tossing aside her inhibitions, she goes over to Teagan and hugs her. The girl stiffens, surprised at first but it only takes her seconds to melt into Piper's warm embrace.
"So are you my grandma?" She asks as Piper pulls away to really look at her. She has the same beaming smile as the unidentified girl in the picture but her face shape and nose and dark hair are all Chris's.
"I'm almost a hundred percent sure." Piper agrees and then smiles; there is no denying the relation. "Teagan." She has to get used to the name- it is not one she's heard often but she guesses that it will grow on her. Teagan's grin threatens to split her entire face and her eyes are alight with happiness.
"Awesome! So what do I call you guys? You look too young to be grandparents."
"We are too young to be grandparents." Piper admits in a wry tone, "but that's right now. This is the past, you see."
"You can call us Mr. and Mrs. Wyatt for now." Leo tells her and, seeing that she has finished with her food, he helps wipe the last of the syrup from her face and lifts her down from the chair. "How about you come watch some cartoons in the parlour?" He suggests.
"The parlour?" Teagan reiterates.
"Yes, I'll show you the way." Leo extends his hand again and Teagan grasps it. "Thanks, Mr. Wyatt!" Leo gets her set up watching an old Spongebob Squarepants rerun on Nickelodeon and soon enough, she is absorbed by the null storyline of the absurd sea-sponge and his friends. Leo manages to sneak away; he and Piper converge at the entrance to the parlour.
"Mr. and Mrs. Wyatt?" Piper questions acerbically, she is confused and slightly pouty. Why would Leo of all people have his own family address him as such?
Leo smiles reassuringly and hugs his wife closer to him. "Nobody knows about her yet. If the kids come home and there's a kid in our house calling us 'grams and grandpa', they're bound to unleash a torrent of questions. They're like you that way." He finishes teasingly with a tender glint in his eye for the woman that he will love for all his days.
"Very funny," Piper puts a hand on his chest and drops her head on his shoulder with an exhausted sigh, as if the events of the day- it was supposed to be her day off from managing the restaurant- were too much for her to handle. Leo wraps a steadying arm around her back and kisses her hair.
"She looks just like Chris, you know. Even if she goes around calling us Mr. and Mrs. Wyatt- which I'm not happy about- they're going to know that something's not right." Piper points out softly. "Besides, now that we know about her we have to do some investigative research."
"Investigative research?" Leo doesn't get what she means. "Why would we? She's our granddaughter; she came from the future, that's that."
"No, Leo," Piper declines, rolling her eyes. "There's more to Teagan's story than that… like who's her mother and why the hell doesn't Chris know about her?" The conversation is whispered so as not to alert Teagan. "Something's not right, and we're going to find out what."
"Piper, the only way we'd know for sure is to either go to the future or get Teagan to tell us."
"She's a kid, Leo! She obviously doesn't know much about her mother's relationship with Chris… she didn't even know his first name. She was so desperate she had to eavesdrop on a conversation with her grandma! And what if our last name was Johnson or something? She would've gone to the wrong family!"
"Johnson?" Leo has to laugh at the generic last name; generic would never fit the Charmed Ones.
"Oh hush you."
"Why's Teagan's mom so averse to her knowing about him?"
"Who knows? Maybe she was the product of a one-night stand."
"Fat chance. Did you see the same picture that I did?"
"Fine." Piper knows she can't win with that. "Is it wrong that I'm starting to dislike Teagan's mom right now?" She wonders rhetorically; she already knows the logical answer her pacifist husband will supply.
"We don't even know the woman. Whatever reasons she had for keeping Teagan a secret were probably justified in her own mind… but she does look sort of familiar."
"You got that too, huh?" Piper is glad that she wasn't the only one who vaguely recognized the female in the photo. "Jeez, how crazy would it be if we already know her?"
"Stranger things have happened." Leo chuckles.
"Don't remind me," Piper scowls playfully, "but at least the mother's not Bianca."
"Chris and Bianca were engaged at one point in time…" Leo points out contemplatively.
"No, they were engaged in another time." Piper refutes stubbornly, she will never see what her son sees in that conniving demon. She will never understand the nature of their relationship- she does not want to see beyond what she sees now. And right now, she sees a granddaughter with a mother who is not Bianca (thank goodness!).
"Fine, stubborn old girl." Leo flashes a charming smile and Piper almost buckles at the knees. He is so damn erogenous, even after all these years! She allows a suggestive giggle to escape her lips, twisting around in his arms.
"Um, excuse me, Mr. and Mrs. Wyatt?" Teagan is now standing before them, peering up at them anxiously. "Where's your bathroom? I hafta use the toilet."
"Right this way!" Piper breaks out of the sultry contact and leads Teagan to the bathroom where she waits outside the door until the little one is finished with her business and has washed her hands. Teagan is captivated by Spongebob upon returning to the parlour and Leo is still there waiting. He has apparently reached a conclusion.
"Teagan can't stay here," he observes in a hushed whisper.
"I know." Piper acquiesces, "but it's not like we can just send her back to her own time with a note, asking her mother for answers."
"Her mom's going to notice that she's gone."
"Definitely. And if she's a good mother, she'll panic like there's no tomorrow."
"I'm sure she is. I'm pretty sure that the deadbeat had no part in raising her. Whatever Teagan learned, she learned from her mother." At this their eyes rove over to Teagan, giggling madly at Squidward Tentacles.
"Who can watch her?" Piper and Leo try to come up with an easy answer to that question. They have so few reliable contacts; each and every person they come up with is close with the family- maybe too close.
"Billie?" Leo offers the candidacy of Billie Bricker (nee, Jenkins) a woman who had betrayed the Halliwells in the past. Despite her duplicity towards the family, she'd remained loyal and true to them after the "final battle". Phoebe, Paige, their respective families and Leo had all forgiven her for her mistake. Piper had not. The look she shoots him is one that could probably make Teagan cry.
"Fine, that's a no." Leo scratches the back of his neck in thought. "Erm, Paige?"
"She works during the day and so does Henry. Who would be home to take care of her?" Piper deduces the one significant flaw with that suggestion.
Piper snorts. "Phoebe can't keep a secret to save her life!" This is true; any secret that is told to the middle sister will eventually end up in the open somehow, and Teagan is too explosive a bombshell to ask Phoebe to hold her tongue over. There is no way she could manage something like that without caving in. And all three of Phoebe's daughters had inherited the "blabber-mouth" gene so they won't be of any help.
Leo is adamant about this, though. "That's true but Piper, think about it. Phoebe can stay home for Teagan because she's able to write her advice column wherever she wants." This is true, Phoebe is a widely-known advice columnist, thanks to her fame and credibility, her boss Elise can not deny her the privilege of working from home. "And I'm sure Phoebe could hold this secret in long enough for us to get this 'investigative research' done… she'd do it for her great-niece. She'd do it for Chris."
Piper bites the tip of her tongue, absorbing all of these facts. "It's a good idea," she finally, slowly concedes. "But if Phoebe tells…"
"Then we're screwed."
"Right. Should I call them?"
"Better call Paige and Henry too." Leo adds. "We might as well have everyone meet her now… she can go home with your sister and Coop before the kids get back from school."
Piper nods. "Let Teagan know we're having people over so she's not overwhelmed when she sees them." Husband and wife separate to work on their individual tasks; they know not much of the child watching cartoons in their house but they are almost certain that she is their kin and she needs their help. And help her they will.
Okay, how was it? Awful? Good? Horribly boring? Please send me some feedback by clicking on that review button. You know you want to -smiles hopefully-.