Disclaimer: In no way do I own either Harry Potter or Charmed.
Originally Posted: 1 June 2009
Edited/Reposted: 28 November 2009
San Francisco, Halliwell Manor
Piper rubbed her temples, "Chris, were you absolutely sure that that demon was the important one? The one that turned Wyatt evil?"
The neurotic half-whitelighter paced and dragged a hand through his hair agitatedly, "Of course I'm not sure! How the hell am I supposed to know what goes on inside my future evil brother's head? All I know is that they had the power to change his personality – Good to Evil. That could be fairly helpful in converting a supposed future paragon of goodly virtue into the future devil spawn he turned out to be, huh?"
Piper rolled her eyes. "All I know is that we can't go around killing every demon that has powers that deal with changing personalities – that's pretty standard the way demons go – ya know, pillage, plunder, slaughter innocents and all that jazz."
Chris raised an eyebrow and stared at his mother, "…Since when do you say 'all that jazz'?! Are you alright, or am I going to have to get the Book of Shadows out to exorcise a demon?"
Piper rolled her eyes and strode into the kitchen, intent on cooking a proper meal for once.
"Shut up. I'm pregnant, not taken over by sarcastic demons. Now get out because I want to cook without having to worry about a demon springing us out of revenge for one of his buddies you offed in your apparent mission to rid the world of them – I'm telling you, we've been doing this for a very long time and they just aren't ever going to be gone, nor will they suddenly stop killing and take up knitting – it's in their nature. So you've got babysitting duty with your supposed future evil brother while I do this."
Chris sighed dramatically and eyed his future older brother, who was currently drooling on his toy blocks in the living room. "Fine. But you really should be taking this more seriously, Piper. I mean, it's your son who gets turned evil."
Piper ignored the jab at her mothering abilities – they had been through this argument enough times that they could probably repeat the other's points and reverse it, still coming out with exactly the same lines.
She grinned at the clean kitchen – it had been practically forever since she had been able to cook without interruption, and she was looking forward to it.
She was reaching for the fridge when… "PIPER! CHRIS! We've got a problem!"
Piper groaned. This was just not her day. Without turning around, she said dully, "So what's the problem?"
Phoebe barrelled into the house frantically and stopped roughly halfway between Piper and Chris, and the look on her face caught their attention far more effectively than the fairly standard shout that usually meant demon troubles. "I had a vision, and not a good one."
Phoebe dumped her handbag on the table and took a deep breath, apparently to centre herself. "We have to call Paige – we've got a nasty demon to hunt. I'm pretty sure he's an Upper level. He's got this group that kidnapped a lot of kids from over the world. The thing is, they're all children of ages five to fourteen. He's got them in the Underworld, and none of the kids look like they're totally ok."
Piper gaped and a hand went to her mouth in horror – to have your child kidnapped, and by demons? A parent's worst nightmare.
Chris was carrying Wyatt awkwardly in his arms and his eyes narrowed after he heard about Phoebe's vision. "I think I heard something about that, but I don't think it came to your attention before." He frowned pensively before his eyes widened, "You have to save those kids."
Phoebe blinked at the vehemence in his tone, "Is there something we should know about that happens to those kids?"
Chris blinked and seemed to come back to the present, "No. As long as you get them back to their parents, you don't have to worry about them."
Chris turned around abruptly and made for the stairs to the attic, still carrying his older brother.
Piper and Phoebe exchanged looks before making for the stairs. There was obviously something about this particular demonic plot that struck a chord with Chris.
And they wanted to find out what.
When they reached the attic it was to find Chris rifling through the Book of Shadows, having put Wyatt in the playpen.
They saw him stop and stare at a particular page, noticing that his shoulders tensed as he did so.
Phoebe shot a look over her shoulder at Piper before striding over to look at the page. "The Commander? Not exactly a very demonic name. Usually they're at least partially original."
It was very telling that Chris didn't crack a grin at the poor joke.
Piper looked over the page to see the demon. He was definitely an Upper Level, and it seemed he had a fair amount of sway in the underworld. She read, "The Commander generally takes magical children from their parents that have a large potential and raise them to be demons, perverting them until they become his perfect 'troops'. It is highly specialised and he twists their minds so they cannot do anything against him. He had had his powers bound, but if he manages to get a witch or wizard to release them, he requires to Power of Three to be vanquished for good."
She frowned at the page in contemplation, "Sounds like a nasty bastard. Taking little kids and turning them into hit-demons."
Chris looked drawn and Phoebe decided to call him on it, "It looks like you knew him in the future...?"
Chris sighed and rubbed his temples before saying reluctantly, "Yeah. Wyatt 'hired' the nasty sonovabitch and his 'troops' to act as his bodyguards – we've never seen any demons as good as they were. We really have to get these kids away from him; they deserve more then becoming his slaves and Good really can't afford to have enemies as effective as they were."
Phoebe knew that he wasn't telling the whole truth, but let it drop. From the way he looked, those kids had become more than just evil Wyatt's 'bodyguards', but it was probably better to leave it alone.
Piper was still frowning at the description though. "Hey, what do you think it means about a witch or wizard releasing him? We all know witches are Good, but wouldn't wizards be more likely to leach his powers? Chris, do you know anything about this?"
Chris blinked and looked at his mother blankly. A grin appeared on his face soon after and he smirked, striding out of arms reach of Piper as he did so. "You don't know?" He asked incredulously.
Piper crossed her arms defensively and scowled at her future son, raising her brow questioningly, "Of course I don't know! What did you think, I was omnipotent and knew everything?! Hell, leave the all-knowing to those stupid Elders! So just get off the humour and get on with the explanation-giving already!"
Chris, still sporting a small grin, said, "Sorry, it's just you always seem to know everything under the earth and on it about magic, so when I manage to find something that you don't know about it's surprising is all. Especially when you were the one to introduce me to the first one I met."
He paused, taking in the two blank expressions with a type of childish-like joy that you didn't normally see in the usually stoic and brooding half-whitelighter. He shook his head and schooled his face into something more professional and said, in a tone that made it clear he was quoting something he had heard, "Ahem. There are magic users that have a different type of magic to us – our magic is linked to the Earth and the Scales of Balance, which makes it more potent and also more fraught with consequences – which is why we temper our magic use and are not allowed to use it for personal gain, but we also have specific active powers, which they do not… generally."
He paused for a second to let them assimilate that information before continuing, "The other type of human magic users have their own magical cores, (instead of drawing from the earth and our ancestry, like we do) which they can manipulate with the use of a wand – although it's possible to train themselves to use magic without the wand, which only acts as a magical conduit. They have their own communities which they hide from non-magical people. They have their own laws and Ministries that police the populations. The last thing that may be useful is that there are two types of magic – Light and Dark – which are in a struggle that mirrors Good and Evil in our world. The thing about that is that the Ministries generally classify spells under 'dark' that actually aren't and only because of the high power needed or the effects the spells could have which would help them to hide from the law."
Phoebe and Piper were staring at him in abject shock. Piper spluttered out, "How in the hell could there be another community of magical people and we not know about it?! That's just insane!"
Phoebe snorted and waved her hand around, "Yeah, talk about 'embracing the cliché!' God, I thought it was bad enough way back when – you know, when I rode a broom on All Hallows Eve! Wand-waving Wizards! Huh, I'll believe it when I see it."
Chris was grinning to himself, "You riding a broom? That's a new one, Phoebs. But actually, these magicals have turned broomstick riding into a sport. They call it 'Quidditch', though I haven't seen a game, what with leading the rebellion against Wyatt."
They were staring at Chris like he was insane at this further admission. The sound of someone clearing their throat came from the doorway, causing them to spin around as one to see Paige who was looking like she had been there for the explanation. "Well hello to you too." She said sarcastically before raising a questioning eyebrow, "So why did we have to learn about wizards and witches who apparently have a secret community and embrace clichés? Was there a general point to this, or was Chris just feeling like handing out fun-facts?"
Piper, Phoebe and Chris stared at each other for a moment blankly before Piper clicked her fingers, "Oh yeah. Basically, Phoebe had a vision of a nasty demon that was kidnapping kids to raise as his demonic army, and said demon had had his powers bound but apparently they were un-bound by one of those wand-wizards. Er… anything else to add?" She glanced over at Chris and Phoebe, questioning.
Chris nodded soberly, "Yeah, most of the kids he took last time were future 'wand-wizards', though some were good witches."
Piper looked over at Wyatt before sighing, "Well, we best be going a-vanquishing then, huh? Maybe we can get this done in time for dinner…?"
Chris nodded, "I think I know where his lair/training facility is – as long as you guys are ok, this should be pretty much open and shut."
The three sisters exchanged glances and nodded – the sooner this creepy kidnapping demon was out of the game, the better they would feel.
So they planned.
Aiden was thrown roughly on the ground and, after getting over the odd feeling of vertigo that was the result of the 'sparkle travel' as she had named it for herself, she was able to examine where she was.
It was immediately obvious that they had moved far away from the forest that she had been in moments before. The blackness showed her it looked like a cave, with torches for light. She only knew that because the darkness crackled like a flame on top of the torches – she thought she was getting better at interpreting the different 'feelings' of the black.
She also noticed that she wasn't alone.
There was a collection of children in the cavern – she counted thirteen, including herself, and there were tall 'evil' feeling people stalking near the walls of the cavern. She guessed that the kids couldn't see their guards, mainly because the group seemed to have been talking amongst themselves before she had been abruptly transported in.
The man that had forced her to this place sneered at the children and threw her into them. She was grateful that the oldest of them – four fourteen year olds – caught her before gently setting her on her feet. He drawled, "Didn't I tell you to shut up?! You snivelling brats had better be quiet unless you want to attract the… displeasure of the Commander. I'll tell you now that you bloody-well don't wanna find out what he'd do to you if that happened! I'll be back later." And he disappeared with a crackle of sparkles in Aiden's 'vision'.
The very tall (for her) kids around her all looked at her once the immediate threat had left. She was obviously the youngest there – the second youngest was about nine, Aiden estimated, so he was still almost double her age. She felt extremely self-conscious and shuffled her feet, turning her sightless eyes to the ground.
"Who are you?" The tallest by asked, the sharp question contrasting with his soft tone.
She didn't bother turning her head, seeing as it wouldn't make any difference. "A-Aiden."
She was intimidated by the fact that she was about half the size of the smallest of the boys, not to mention that she just realised she was the only girl.
The tall boy knelt down to her eye level and softly grasped out for her chin. He forced it up so that she looked into his eyes, and the blackness let her 'see' that the boy gasped and stumbled back from looking in her sightless eyes.
This unusual reaction, of course, prompted the others to crowd in to get a look. She could see all of them shudder and flinch back. She felt sad, "Do… do they look that bad?" She asked in a small, hesitant voice.
She 'saw' the first boy move up to her, looking at her eyes. She could see he looked horrified, probably disgusted as well, and she felt a tear slip down her cheek as she dropped her head. The boy caught her chin and pulled it up, wiping the tear away. His voice was rough as he asked, "What happened to you?"
Aiden's arms wrapped around herself in an unconscious effort to become smaller, to present less of a target. The blackness told her that there was only one watcher, and she could speak quietly without him hearing. She whispered, "The Bad Man. He did something, and now I only see black. There was… pain. A lot of that."
The boy was still horrified. He asked, "Are you… blind?"
The girl couldn't hold in the sob as she repeated quietly, "I can only see the black."
The boy dropped to the ground and folded his legs, pulling Aiden down into a reassuring hug as he whispered, "Shhh, it's okay. Everything will be okay. My parents will look for us – there's gotta be magic that will find us and save us from these demons – whitelighters can find people that are linked to their charges, and my mom's got one."
Aiden's brows furrowed and she asked softly, "Magic?"
The other boys had crouched down around the two, some even sitting around them, obviously responding to age-old instincts of protecting someone who was obviously more vulnerable than you were. Aiden saw the boy that was running his fingers through her hair calmingly share a look with another older boy before glancing down at her hair.
He said, "Yes, magic. Don't you know about it? I'd have thought you'd know – you've certainly got enough of it."
Aiden was so startled that, through habit, her head raised to seek out the boy's eyes before she realised it would make just about no difference seeing as she could only see the black where his eyes were. She noticed that he seemed to flinch as her sightless eyes stared through his but repeated softly, "Magic's real?"
The boy that was now behind her head stared at her in blatant shock. The oldest boy nodded, but Aiden guessed that he had remembered she couldn't see and quickly added verbally, "Yes, of course. How else do you think you got here? Walking?"
Aiden allowed her head to drop, and she noticed the boy that was comforting her relaxed. She couldn't help but ask hesitantly, "What do my eyes look like? You're afraid of them."
The last part that probably should have been a question was stated and the boy seemed to flinch. He answered, though, "They're… they are black. Where they should be a colour – your iris – it's black. It's… kind of like… looking into a void. It's probably what you see. It's… unsettling that they are flat, as well."
Aiden frowned and bit her lip, putting her face in her hands. "They were green." She said simply.
He didn't say anything, just ran a hand through her hair.
After a while of quiet, she broke it by asking, "Who are you?"
The boy's eyes had been drifting shut, but at the question he seemed to jolt awake. Aiden guessed he looked around at the others and realised that most of them were asleep before leaning in to whisper, "I'm Jason."
She nodded before closing her eyes.
It was about time she got to sleep after the emotional rollercoaster she had been on for the last week or more. And somehow, she felt as though she was old. Older than the boys in the room – she drew comfort from Jason, but she could see how scared they were, how this was an entirely new and terrifying experience for them. Hell, she even thought most of them was scared of the dark – she had been shoved and locked into a cupboard for most of her short life; she knew what it was like to be held captive and be denied the essentials to living.
It was sad that she was so, but she knew that she would survive – she had to survive, if only to experience the other side of life – the good. There was no way she would not see it, if only to prove to herself that she had not suffered for no reason.
That was what she told herself, promised herself, every time; she would survive, if only to spite those who wanted to stop her.
Certainly nothing near typical for a five year-old.
But this was a five year-old with the mentality of someone closer to thirty, or at least twenty-five. Such were the results of accidental magic, when one willed themselves to understand why something happened; willed themself to find a way to get through an impossible situation.
Aiden was self-sufficient; she had been cooking for the Dursleys for a whole year, including buying their foods at the supermarket. She had also been doing all the housework – she knew how to wash the dishes, put her clothes in the washing machine, sort blacks from colours and hang them up… hell, she even knew how to budget and make sure that food wasn't inadvertently poisoned while preparing.
She just lacked the knowledge that came from attending school for close on thirteen years or more, depending if you went on to university.
As she was now, she'd managed to forge the Dursley's signatures to get her a pass into an accelerated program in the school that put her knowledge as that of a fourth year and still rising at an alarming rate. Having nothing to do but housework, studying, punishments and running away from Dudley and his gang would have that effect on a lot of people's education – she saw it as the sooner she finished it, the sooner she could get away from them.
It was the huge thing of losing her sight that had really knocked her back into acting her physical age because losing such a precious sense as sight would be crushing to anybody of any age.
She was just thankful that she could interpret the blackness as the 'real world' – otherwise she would be totally lost. Aiden guessed that the blackness helped her because of this 'magic' that Jason had told her about; it would also explain how she had been able to slip through those locked doors and walls to get out of her prison.
Aiden's flat black eyes slid closed, although it didn't make a difference in what she could 'see'.
She felt herself drifting off to sleep.
Piper drummed her fingers against the table. "Are you ready yet?"
Paige was just arriving in the room and she rolled her eyes, "Yes, Piper. Now, are you going to call Leo to look after Wyatt? Because I think Chris wants to come."
Piper frowned and glanced into the adjacent room to see that Chris was practically twitching from nervous tension. She then sighed, "Leo?"
Orbs manifested in front of her to revel Leo. He glanced around, "Going demon hunting?"
Piper jumped to her feet, "Yup. I need you to look after Wyatt for about an hour. Chris says this guy hasn't built up a base of support at the moment so he's vulnerable. It's the best chance we've got, and besides; Phoebe had a vision."
At this point Phoebe barrelled into the room, stopping at Paige's side. She handed around some potions that would work well for the lesser demons and put a hand on her shoulder. "Okay, we ready to go? Cos I've got this thing later…"
Piper rolled her eyes but rested a hand on Paige's other shoulder, "Let's go. I wanna cook dinner later."
Chris jumped to his feet, "Ok, follow me." And he orbed out.
Paige quickly followed, and Leo was left with Wyatt.
They arrived in a cavern that was lit with the obligatory 'creepy torches' that were flickering and adding to the general ambience that indicated they were probably in the underworld.
Phoebe grimaced, "Ok, I think I take back what I said about demons and originality. They have none when it comes to décor."
Piper rolled her eyes and cleared her throat, "HEY! BIG AND UGLY! COME ON OUT, WE'VE GOT A BONE TO PICK WITH YOU!"
Chris stared at Piper in disbelief, "You really think that's the best way to find this guy?"
Demons started spilling out of a door off the cabin and Piper started exploding them while Paige and Phoebe threw potions.
"It worked, didn't it?"
Chris just pursed his lips.
In short order the grunts were down and they saw a tall and visibly muscled guy walk out from a different door. He seemed surprised but he conjured up and energy ball and threw it at their group.
They scattered and Piper tried to blow him up. He flew back, but didn't explode. "Er, I think this is big and ugly…"
Phoebe unfolded the paper and they gathered together before chanting the obligatory Power of Three spell to vanquish him.
He combusted in screams of pain.
Paige stared at the scorch mark and said, "Huh. That was actually pretty easy and anti-climactic considering…"
Piper glanced at her out of the corner of her eyes and said, "I guess so. Oh well, let's just get the kids back to their families, yeah?"
Chris glanced around at the numerous doors, "Er… any idea which one they might be in?"
The three witches froze and glanced around, noticing that there would probably be about thirty doors in the cavern. They all groaned.
"Looks like I spoke too soon about the 'easy' part." Paige scowled.
Piper glared at her before stalking over to a door and blowing it up, looking inside. "Ya think?"
Aiden didn't know what woke her up at first, but after she became more aware of what the blackness was telling her, she sprang to her feet.
The sudden movement disrupted Jason, who she could 'see' rubbed his eyes before glancing around and spotting her running to the door.
She didn't know that he was surprised that she'd even attempt to move, considering she couldn't see, but he quickly disregarded it – it could be just because she was a naïve child, right? Didn't she even consider what could happen if she hit a wall? He got up and ran after her either way, his voice managing to rouse most of the other boys, "Aiden! You shouldn't go running off! Merlin's balls, you can't even see!"
Aiden didn't listen because she knew something they didn't.
She didn't pay attention to the shocked expression of Jason and the others that were coherent enough to watch her 'slide' through the piece of stone that she knew ran closest to where those four people were looking for them on the other side.
The first thing she did was drop to the floor to avoid the burst of violent sparkles that one of the women shot at her, and she could only be happy that the woman had shot too high to hit her in either case, obviously expecting someone taller.
"STOP!" Another of the women grabbed the first's hands and yanked them away from Aiden as the five year-old dropped to the ground to present a smaller target.
The four people stared at the child on the ground in shock, mainly because they had no idea where she had come from.
It was silent for a few moments, but this was broken when Aiden realised that chances of another attack were small – just like she got the creeping feeling of evil from those men who had brought her here, she got the feeling of 'good' or light from them – these people wouldn't harm her.
Aiden straightened up though kept her gaze trained on the ground, "H...have you come to save us from the bad men?" She asked in a small voice.
The woman who had shot the angry sparkles twitched and moved forward, reaching out.
Aiden swiftly sidestepped the woman, ducking under her reaching arms and moving to place herself against the cavern wall, misunderstanding the movement.
The woman froze and said, in a calming voice, "Shh, it's ok honey, we're the good guys. Those bad people aren't gonna hurt you ever again, ok?" The woman stepped towards the small girl more slowly, telegraphing the movement to not scare the small girl. "What's your name, honey?"
The girl flinched back from the contact at first, but stood still anyway and allowed the woman to wrap her arms around her in a comforting gesture. "I'm Aiden."
Aiden 'saw' the woman smile. "Well, I'm happy to meet you Aiden. I'm Piper, and behind me are my sisters, Paige and Phoebe, and that funny looking guy is called Chris."
Aiden 'saw' the people wave when Piper named them, and she couldn't help but allow her tense form to relax just a little bit into the hug – this was really the first she had experienced since her parents had died and she was way too young to remember that.
Piper moved back from the hug to stare Aiden in the eyes although the poor lighting hid the truth to the little girl's condition. "Aiden, do you know where the other children are?"
Aiden nodded and stumbled out of the awkward (for her) embrace. "They're in there." And she pointed at the clean stretch of wall behind her.
The adults were obviously puzzled. Piper expressed it, "Er… are you sure?"
Aiden nodded, "Yup. Come on!" And she span around and walked straight through the wall, much to the surprise of the witches in the cavern.
Chris moved forward and put a hand on the wall. "It's solid."
Paige frowned at the wall, "Well, we may as well check it out, huh? Grab on, I'll orb us in."
They orbed through the wall to be greeted by a confusing array of noise that seemed to centre around the small girl they had just met.
The tallest boy was saying, "What were you thinking? You could have gotten lost!"
Another boy cut over with a mutter, "I want to know how she walked through the wall…"
The chattering continued there was only a few looking at them in wonder.
Phoebe whistled to get everyone's attention, "OK! What do you all say we get ya home, huh?"
The grins on the kid's faces made the last forty minutes looking through doors for them entirely worth it.
Meh, well I hope this lives up to peoples expectations, but I guess I'll see, huh? It might be a while till I update this again. – Skyflyte12
Meh, well I hope this lives up to peoples expectations, but I guess I'll see, huh? It might be a while till I update this again. – Skyflyte12