Disclaimer: "Angel", along with all related characters and concepts, was created by Joss Whedon and Co., so they don't belong to me, while "Charmed" characters and concepts belong to Constance M Burge. Anyway, enjoy
Feedback: As always, I'd appreciate it
The Love of a Vampire
Angel knew that this current approach wasn't entirely Paige's choice, given everything that Chris had said about the goddess powers influencing her actions, but he was currently torn between being impressed at the amount of allies she'd managed to gather and being disturbed at the cold efficiency of her progress.
"Paige," he said, looking uncertainly at her as he stood under a tree while she faced her assembled demonic forces, gathered from the underworld in a disturbingly short amount of time, "are you sure-?"
"We have to work on this, Angel," Paige said, before she turned her attention back to the demons standing before her. "OK, come on, hit me with your best shot."
On that cue, a demon hurled an energy ball at Paige, who casually caught it in her hand and dispelled it with a simple flick of her wrist.
"Give me one firm spot on wish to stand and I will move the earth," she said with a grin, before she pointed her trident at the demon in question and vanquished him with a blast of lightning
"Archimedes said that. Great warrior. And he didn't even have a trident. OK, on your knees. Kiss the hand of the Paige."
"'The Paige'?" Angel repeated, even as the demons followed her instructions. "What are you-?"
"Trying to weed out the weak from the strong here, Angel," Paige said, looking impatiently at him for a moment before she turned back to the demons with a satisfied smirk. "Besides… being a goddess does have its perks…"
Angel was saved from responding to that statement when leaves suddenly whirled up from the ground and Piper appeared, looking at her sister in exasperation.
"Paige," she said firmly, "what are you doing?"
"How'd you find me?" Paige asked.
"Apparently, one of my powers is to look out for you," the eldest Halliwell explained, before she glanced over at Angel. "Talking of which, you're OK over there, right?"
"Yeah, the shade's thick enough, and none of these guys want to actually attack me…" Angel said, awkwardly indicating the demons gathered before them.
"Hey," Paige said, looking indignantly at Piper. "Y'know, I may be a goddess now, but I'm still going to keep an eye on my consort's safety-"
"By sticking him in front of an army of demons?" Piper countered, waving an arm at the assembled group. "What are you even thinking here?"
"I was thinking that it was better to fight the Titans with the army of demons you just mentioned-" Paige began, before Piper waved her hand in frustration and the ground shook.
"Out!" she repeated firmly, prompting the demons to exchange anxious glances before they shimmered away.
"Hey!" Paige said. "I was just starting to enjoy being a general-"
"You can't be a general; you can't have soldiers or followers, and I'm only tolerating the 'consort' bit because Angel was here before you got the rest," Piper said firmly, as she walked over to place a hand on Angel's arm. "Come on, we need to get back home and find Phoebe."
"There you are!" Doyle said, looking at Piper, Paige and Angel in relief as they reappeared in the middle of the manor's entrance hall. "What took you so long?"
"Certain people decided it was more important to assemble their own army than help us deal with the problem in front of us," Piper said, indicating Paige in frustration.
"We were-!" Paige began.
"Not getting anywhere," Angel interjected- the demon army had been a dangerous ploy from the beginning, even if he hadn't felt comfortable confronting Paige about it given her current mood- before he looked uncertainly at Doyle. "So… how's things?"
"What d'you think?" Doyle said in frustration. "I get to P3, and Phoebe's got all the bachelors at that auction biddin' on her, and then she ended up… well, here."
"And that's a problem?" Angel asked, walking over to look in the other room before he stepped back, unsure if he was more disturbed at the number of men around Phoebe or how they seemed to be fawning over her so willingly. "Yeah, that's… not normal."
"Oh my God…" Piper groaned as she glanced into the room herself.
"You do get that it's just their new powers making things… complicated, right?" Angel asked Doyle, stuck for anything else to do at this point other than reassure his friend as Piper stormed into the other room to talk to Phoebe.
"I get it, but that doesn't mean I like it," Doyle noted, shaking his head in frustration as he heard Phoebe calmly responding to Piper's frustrated questions. "Worst part o' it is that some part o' me would like to be with the rest of those sods; thinkin' Dad's side o' the family is the only reason I'm not fawning over her myself…"
"Correct," Chris noted, nodding in approval of Doyle's assessment. "To be perfectly blunt, demon worship doesn't generate quite the same kind of… energy as human worship, particularly not for the type of goddess that Phoebe's become. You're human enough to qualify as human in most spiritual matters- according to some of the people I've spoken to, anyway- but this is one of the greyer areas."
"Hey, I had demons following me-"
"You had demons fearing you and obeying you because there was a bigger threat to deal with; it's not the same thing," Angel pointed out at Paige, before he looked back at Chris. "Look, we've got them all in one place; can we just focus on finding the Titans and getting everything back to normal?"
"If we can get her to focus, maybe," Chris said, indicating the room where Piper and Phoebe were still arguing, just before a sudden gust of wind filled the interior of the house, followed by the assorted men running out the door.
"Some followers have no staying power," Paige mused, as Piper and Phoebe walked into the room to join them.
"Why did you have to do that?" Phoebe asked, actually pouting as she looked at Piper. "Serving me was making them all so happy…"
"You need to focus," Chris said firmly. "What would happen if the Titans attacked right now?"
"He may be getting on my nerves, but he does have a point," Piper pointed out. "Leo did not give us this power so we could form armies or love cults; the ancient Greeks indulged in their whims that way and look what they became."
"Petty, evil, vindictive-" Chris began impatiently.
"We get it," Angel glared over at the time-traveller. "You had to know that this would be a risk; can you just focus on giving us time to get it together rather than complaining that we're taking a while?"
"Reason and judgement are the qualities of a leader," Paige said suddenly. "Tacitus, 100 A.D."
"Love will keep us together. Captain and Tennille, 1970s," Phoebe added.
"Fascinating," Piper said dismissively. "Now, can we figure out a way to beat the Titans, 'cause I for one would like my family back, soon."
"Talkin' o' which, is there anything else we should know about this whole 'goddess' thing?" Doyle asked, indicating the three sisters. "I mean, they're packing the right oomph, but I've seen enough to know magic isn't that simple…"
"Point," Piper said, nodding at Doyle before she looked at Chris. "Is there anything else we should know about these powers before we try and fight the Titans?"
"Uh…" Chris said, suddenly looking far less confident than he had before as he looked at the three sisters.
"You don't know?" Angel said, looking at the young man in exasperation. "You travelled through time to help us and you don't even know what you're doing?"
"I convinced Leo to give you the power of the gods-!" Chris began.
"And then you don't know anything about how they can use that power against the Titans and complain because they're not acting at their peak 'just' because Leo's missing," Angel glared at Chris in frustration. "You need to realise that the Charmed Ones work because they act as a unit; you can't just give them an upgrade and hope that will be enough to make a difference. Maybe Leo plays a vital part in that dynamic, but we all have our roles to play here; you can't just come in here to order us around and ask us to accept you as a substitute."
"You need to see the bigger picture-!"
"And you need to see that there is no bigger picture without our family," Piper said, glaring firmly at Chris. "I get that you probably had a crap life in your timeline, but you can't blame us for that!"
"I just want you to get it right this time!" Chris countered. "You need to use the Power of Three. You need to use your power as gods. You need to save the world from going to Hell!"
"Which means they need to be gods," Wesley suddenly said as he walked down from the attic.
"Pardon?" Doyle asked, looking at Wesley in confusion. "I thought they already were gods?"
"In terms of power, yes, but as we all know, magic such as this has its own set of rules," Wesley explained, before he looked solemnly at the three Halliwells. "I was doing some research on the original gods and their battle with the Titans, and… well, in a nutshell, you aren't going to win any fight with the Titans as things stand because you haven't declared yourselves as gods; you're still holding back out of fear of what you could become, and thus restricting your access to your powers. I appreciate that fear, of course, but you have to remember; Leo chose you three for this for a reason; unlike last time, you were selected based on personal knowledge rather than… heroic reputations or anything like that."
"Exactly!" Doyle said, grinning enthusiastically at Phoebe. "Pheeb, you overcame a dark wedding an' the darkest love ever because of your love for your sisters; you're perfect for this goddess of love gig once you dial down the harem!"
"I… never thought of it that way," Phoebe mused as she looked down at herself.
"You need to," Angel said, before he turned to Paige. "And Paige, I've spent the past couple of years helping you train to fight demons, but you've never let the power you gained consume you into becoming something you're not."
"Precisely," Wesley said, as he looked over at Piper. "And as for Piper… well, as far as Leo's concerned, she's proven herself to be the ideal mother by any standard, correct?"
"Not exactly a ringing endorsement for a fight-" Piper began.
"Why not?" Wesley countered. "Like any good mother, you'll go to any lengths to protect your child; the fact that you're the Earth goddess just means that you're essentially the 'mother' for the whole planet, but all that really means is an adjustment of scale."
"Right…" Piper said, nodding awkwardly at Wesley's praise even as she and her sisters looked thoughtfully at each other. "It's… something to think about, right?"
"Less thinking, more doing; we've still got to-" Chris began.
"Wait," Piper said, holding up a hand as she glared at Chris before she looked back at Phoebe and Paige. "If we do this, we need to go in knowing what to expect; no matter the temptation, we can't let our instincts control us."
"Right," Paige said firmly. "Surgical strike; get in, kick some ass, and get out when they're down. Agreed?"
"Agreed," Phoebe said resolutely.
"OK," Piper said, closing her eyes and raising her head for a moment before she looked sharply back at her sisters. "Got them."
With that command, the three sisters vanished in a swirl of energy, closely followed by Chris orbing after them, leaving Angel, Wesley and Doyle to look uncertainly at each other.
"Always sucks when you can't cut the mustard in a fight, huh?" Doyle noted.
"To say the least," Angel said, shrugging in frustration.
"Do you think they can do it?" Wesley asked, suddenly looking apprehensively at the other two men. "I really was mostly guessing about the reasons for the limits on their abilities…"
"Wes," Angel smiled reassuringly at his new ally, "in the time since you've been here, you haven't been wrong about something yet; you've given us what you found so far, and we just have to have faith that it will be enough."
Despite his positive words, Angel had to make an effort to conceal his apprehension at the thought of what they were waiting for; if the sisters couldn't stop the Titans now, things were going to get really unpleasant…
The fear almost didn't even have time to build before the sisters reappeared once again, Piper panting as though she'd just run a marathon but otherwise unharmed.
"Uh… should we be worried?" Doyle asked, looking uncertainly at Phoebe.
"'Worried'?" Phoebe repeated with a grin. "Not only had those silly Titans already killed one of their own before we even got there, but once Piper started thinking about those things killing Wyatt, well…"
"It was over before we could even do anything," Paige practically pouted as she leaned on her trident. "I mean, we appreciated your pep talk, but once Piper really let rip on those guys, she'd dropped them into a massive fissure before Phoebe and I even needed to do anything."
"Ah," Angel said, looking at Piper in surprise, suddenly unsure how to feel about this news. "Uh… good job?"
"Thanks," Piper said, looking around the room in an impatient manner. "So where's Leo in all this?"
"First things first," Chris said, holding up an urn as he looked between the three sisters. "It's time to relinquish those powers."
"Fine," Paige said, sighing in relief as a golden light when from her into the urn as Chris opened the lid, leaving her restored to her usual appearance as she glanced down at herself. "Glad that's over with."
"Tell me about it," Phoebe confirmed, after Chris had repeated the action and her attire and hair had returned to normal. "I mean, those guys fawning over me was nice at first, but all the time?"
"Yeah, yeah, the problems of power, we get it," Piper said, as her own powers were returned to the urn before she looked resolutely at Chris. "OK, we've got that out of the way; what about Leo?"
"I'm here," the familiar voice of their Whitelighter said, only for all six of the group to be surprised when they turned around and saw Leo wearing robes that they'd only ever seen being worn by Elders in the past, looking at them with an almost sheepish expression.
"Leo," Piper said, with a warning tone to her voice, "that better not mean what I think it means…"
"It does," Leo said, looking awkwardly down at his new attire. "Believe me, I wasn't expecting it either, but-"
"Hold on a minute; Leo's an Elder?" Doyle repeated incredulously. "How'd that happen?"
"A reward for his role in saving the other Elders and the world in general," Chris explained, shrugging as he looked at the group. "Hey, you all actually performed far better than anyone expected; they had to give you something."
"And that 'gift' was to take Leo away from his family?" Piper practically spat as she glared at Chris.
"The world needs sources of good to protect it," Chris explained. "Can you think of a greater source of good than Leo?"
"But… OK, when you put it like that, we just sound petty an' stubborn…" Doyle said, shaking his head in frustration. "Y'know, it was a lot easier when I didn't have anyone to care about…"
"Doyle," Leo said, glaring firmly at the Brachen demon before he turned to look at his wife. "Piper, you have to understand, if I had a choice, I'd choose you every time, but they need me up there to help restore order, and I could have only achieved this strength thanks to everything I've been blessed with because of our love. I don't want to leave you, Piper, but our love lifted me up so high that this was the only possible result. This was never my destiny, but I'm here because of you… and, even if I wish I could stay, I can't. Not after all this."
"I can't just give up…" Piper said, starting to tear up as she looked at her husband. "I don't know how…"
Exchanging uncomfortable glances with each other, Paige, Angel, Phoebe, Doyle and Wesley quickly backed out of the room, Wesley taking a last quick glance at one corner of the room to confirm that Chris had left as well.
Even if they all understood that Leo was being called up for a great magical purpose, that didn't make it any easier for them to say goodbye to their friend and brother…
Standing in the hall after healing Piper of her emotional pain, Leo wished that he could be as certain of his promotion to Elder as he had been when he'd been 'promoted' to the position of the Charmed Ones' Whitelighter. The first position had been a great honour, but it still hadn't really changed much of his life apart from giving him a new focus; the revelation that he was now an Elder had changed so much, and unlike last time, he wasn't entirely sure what he was meant to do with himself now…
He'd do his best to keep an eye on Wyatt in particular, but he'd also have to learn how to keep his distance from Piper to make the transition easier on her in particular. As much as he hated to acknowledge it, she'd have a right to move on after he left, particularly with him working to ease her pain at his loss, and he couldn't expect her to do that if he constantly showed up whenever he wanted.
Still, he was leaving them at a good point in their lives, all things considered. All three of the sisters had fulfilling careers outside of their lives as witches, Phoebe and Paige had some very… interesting relationships that were able to contribute and teach them how to explore other ways of doing things, and even Angel, Doyle and Wesley had come to be friends over time, even if he wasn't officially assigned to them.
"Hey," Chris said, orbing in beside Leo to look critically at him. "Taking in the sights one last time?"
"I'll come back," Leo said, deciding not to elaborate on that statement as he looked at the mysterious time-travelling Whitelighter. "Anyway, the Elders have voted on your fate; considering that your timeline no longer exists, and in light of your role in recent events, it's been decided to make you the Charmed Ones' new Whitelighter."
"They did?" Chris said, with what could have been honest surprise.
"Somehow, I figured you knew that," Leo said, looking at Chris in an appraising manner. "You know, I have to wonder how much of this was your plan…"
"I'm just here to save the world," Chris said, looking defensively at Leo before he narrowed his eyes thoughtfully. "And speaking of preparing for the future, is it really a good idea to have a vampire-?"
"Don't," Leo said, looking firmly at Chris. "I respect your help in this battle, but Angel has been there for us for the last two years, and the only reason he reverted back to Angelus was because of extraordinary circumstances that we've taken every precaution to prevent happening again. He's helped Paige grow as a witch, he's given us all new ideas about facing threats we could never have imagined, and we've all grown because of what he's had to offer us; you do not get to come here and criticise what Angel is because you don't like it, no matter how helpful you've been."
"Sure," Chris said, nodding slightly at Leo in acknowledgement.
"Don't forget," Leo said, looking resolutely at the younger man. "I'll be watching over you as well."
With that said, he closed his eyes and orbed away…
As Leo departed, Chris waved his hand to cast the necessary spell to send Leo where he needed to be; the knowledge he'd receive as an Elder could be useful later, but he needed more training in combat before he assumed that role, just in case things didn't turn out like he was planning.
As methods of infiltrating your family's past went, separating your parents might be an extreme option, but taking on the role of the family Whitelighter was the only option he had if he wanted to keep an eye on Wyatt without attracting attention. So long as Leo kept an eye on his son- something that he had never had any trouble doing when it came to Wyatt, in Chris's experience- it should be all right in the end.
The only problem he had to worry about now was the trouble of seeing Angelus's face every day and not orbing him into the sunlight before he could kill Paige…
AN: Well, that's the second part of this series done; next up, we move into Season Six, as Chris's plans for the future are complicated by several other unexpected additions…
I can't offer you a specific time frame for when the next story will start, but I can assure you that more changes will be made as the two series come together in far greater depth.