Title: Nightmare

Rating: T to be safe.

Summary: Piper is attacked by the same demon that kills her fifteen years into the future. Chris happens to witness it. From there, the Charmed Ones and Chris embark on a mission to find the demon and save Wyatt. Chris-centric, eventual Revelation.

Setting: Season Six. Set after Prince Charmed, but I messed with the timeline a little. The sisters know about Wyatt turning evil in the future, but they've already gotten back to trusting Chris. They also know about Magic School.

Author's Note: This is my first Charmed story, and it's a long one. I'm currently looking for a beta, but be warned: I've got about a hundred-fifty pages worth of story to read over! I've tried to stick to the mythology as best I can, but since Charmed occasionally broke its own rules, I'm hoping you'll forgive any slip-ups. And without further ado, enjoy the story!

Chapter 1

"There's another world inside of me that you may never see,
There are secrets in this life that I can't hide.
Somewhere in this darkness there's a light that I can't find,
Maybe it's too far away,
Or maybe I'm just blind."

- 3 Doors Down, When I'm Gone

"Piper, have you found that spell yet? If you're up here playing with Wyatt, I swear I'll—Piper!"

The horrific scene that met Chris' eyes when he reached the attic door was one that had haunted him for years, twisting through his nightmares until he jolted awake in bed, screaming for his mother. He froze at the sight, different than he remembered but still the same. The same demon holding her hostage, one of his hands covering her mouth and his body pulled close to trap her lethal arms behind her. The same athame glinting evilly just over her heart.

Chris rushed forward without thought, acting purely on instinct. He'd been too young then. Too young to understand, too young to help, too young to save her. But now he older, stronger, more powerful. He would kill the son of a bitch before he hurt her.

"Ah, ah, ah, Witchlighter," The demon spoke, his voice reminding Chris of death and decay and slimy insects crawling in the dark. A shiver slithered down Chris' spine. "You want to get her killed sooner?"

"Let her go," Chris ordered immediately, and he hated the way his voice shook. He could do this, damnit! He could save her. He had to save her.

Piper hadn't moved or made a sound, but Chris could see her eyes, wide and fearful over the demon's contorted fingers. Her gaze darted to Wyatt, who sat in his playpen at the other side of the room. The infant's protective shield was raised, and Chris wanted to shout at Piper for worrying about Wyatt when she was in danger. So much danger.

"You're not supposed to be here," Chris replied, and again his voice sounded weak. His hands began to quake, and he clenched them into fists to stop the trembling. God, he couldn't watch this all over again. He couldn't—

"Neither are you," The demon grunted. Chris could imagine the smile on his face, even though a shadowed hood and long cloak hid most of his body. Just like before.

Chris had to do something. He had to find a way to stop this situation, he had to.

"You made this happen, Christopher," The demon said, and Chris stared at him uncomprehendingly. "You altered the timeline."

And Chris knew what the demon was going to do a fraction of a second before it happened, and Chris waved his hand erratically, sending the athame in a wide arc across the room. The demon grunted, faltered, and then conjured another one. Chris gestured again, but this time he only managed to shift the athame's projected course. When it finally landed, it dug into Piper's stomach rather than her heart.

Her cry was earsplitting and drawn-out, and hurtled Chris into memories he'd spent eight years trying to forget. The demon released Piper and she fell bonelessly to the floor, dagger still buried in her stomach. Blood spilled out onto the ornate rug beneath her and the demon shimmered away.

Chris moved reflexively, his mind too tangled and ragged to even comprehend what was happening. He dropped to his knees and reached for her, entire body wracked with sobs. The wound was lethal, the knife imbedded deeply into vital organs, but the loss of blood would kill her sooner. She was still breathing, but at a frenzied, unnatural pace, and her eyes were drifting shut. A strange, unsteady feeling spread through Chris's limbs, and when he pulled one hand out from under Piper, he saw that his fingers were vanishing.

Without thinking or planning it, desperate to save his mother from the same fate she'd suffered eight years ago and yet hadn't suffered at all until this moment, he called out to the only person who could possibly help.

"Leo!" His voice cracked and broke, but he shouted louder still. "LEO! For the love of God, get down here! Dad, please!"

Finally, after what felt like hours but was probably only a few seconds, the bluish particles began to appear. Leo materialized, and Chris watched as his father's expression morphed from annoyance to comprehension and finally to horror. Leo jumped forward and rested his hands on the hilt of the dagger, and both Chris and Leo looked away as Leo pulled the weapon free. Piper's eyes flew open and she let out another agony-filled scream, and Chris felt himself start to break at the sound of it.

Leo wasted no time placing his hands above the wound, and a warm, golden glow immediately shone from his hands. For a minute nothing seemed to happen, and Chris couldn't stop the pain and complete panic from overpowering him.

Then the stab wound began to close, the blood ceasing to flow and the damaged tissue rapidly repairing. Chris's hands, still buried beneath Piper's back and trying to support her despite their intangibility, blinked back into existence. It was over in all of two seconds, and then Piper started to move, completely healed and out of danger.

Chris stood up and stumbled away, turning his back on the parents who didn't even know they belonged to him. All of his earlier principles returned, reminding him of future consequences and the things they could never know. But the emotions still raged overpoweringly within him, and he couldn't shut them off.

God, he didn't think he'd ever have to see that again. He didn't think he'd ever have to witness—

"Chris?" Piper's voice broke through his frenzied thoughts, and so did the light, comforting touch on his shoulder. He flinched away from her hand. "Chris, are you alright?"

She sounded concerned, which was just utterly ridiculous. He wasn't the one who'd almost died; he wasn't the one who'd had the dagger slice through his—

"Oh, God," he moaned, burying his head in his hands to hide the tears that slipped down his cheeks. He couldn't do this. He couldn't be here with them after reliving one of the worst moments of his life. It didn't seem to matter that she was alive, that Leo had managed to save her this time. This time.

Because he could still picture the way she'd looked then, her lifeless eyes staring blankly up at him. He'd tried closing them, wanting her to seem as though she was just sleeping. But the taut, fearful expression had been frozen on her face and she hadn't looked peaceful at all. She'd died in a moment of sheer terror, worried that her youngest son, her baby, wouldn't live to see another sunrise.

All his fault.

Leo was speaking now, and Piper was still reaching for him, and Chris suddenly felt desperate to get away. Without a backwards glance at them, he thought of the one place he could find peace and vanished into a mist of swirling blue orbs.

"Chris!" Piper's hand was suddenly reaching for nothing but air, and she let it fell back to her side. She turned to Leo, surprised and distressed.

"What is wrong with him?" She asked, puzzled confusion coating her words.

Leo looked serious and pensive, an expression that wasn't completely out of place on him. It did little to soothe Piper's nerves. "I've never seen him that upset," she declared flatly when he didn't answer. "Ever."

"Well, you were dying," As he said it, the weight of the words seemed to sink into him. His face crumpled and he took a shaky step toward her. "Piper, you… you almost died."

She felt the beginnings of shock and the aftereffects of panic, but she didn't want to concentrate on either. They had no purpose, because she was fine. She'd had close calls before and she would certainly have them again. No use worrying about it now. "But I didn't, so it doesn't matter."

None of the dismayed concern left Leo's expression, but he allowed her to pull away from the subject. "How'd it happen?"

She sighed, deeply. "Chris wanted us to go after some demon; could be a threat to Wyatt, blah, blah, blah. You know how he gets. So while he orbed out to get Phoebe and Paige, I came up here to check the book. He said he was sure there was an entry somewhere."

"And a demon—a different one, I'm assuming—just appeared?" Leo asked, eyebrows furrowed.

"Well, they tend to do that," Piper responded wryly, a small, ironic smile twisting her face. Then she sobered. "I was checking on Wyatt, and I guess I just… wasn't paying enough attention."

Leo looked at her then, using the expression that he only ever sent her way. It seemed to say "I love you" and "I don't know what I'd do if something happened to you" and "I'm so sorry for everything I've put you through" all at once. She wasn't sure how she felt about that look.

"This better be good, because Jason and I have a reservation at six and he spent two hours on the phone getting it, so—" Phoebe had already started speaking before she'd fully materialized, but she broke off once she got a look at Leo and Piper standing grimly in the center of the attic. She probably also noticed the bloodstains on both the carpet and Piper's shirt.

"What happened?" Paige asked immediately, releasing Phoebe's hand and walking over to her eldest sister.

"Good question," Piper commented bluntly. Catching the expressions on both of her sisters' faces and realizing that Leo was still looking at her like that, she burst out, "Would you three stop? I'm fine."

"Is there a reason you wouldn't be?" Phoebe asked, and damn if she didn't sound as grave and anxious as she looked. "Leo?"

Leo unfolded his arms and glanced at Piper, who shot him a very clear warning look. Then he said, voice carefully measured, "Piper was attacked just a few minutes ago. I got here in time, but—"

"What do you mean, you 'got here in time'?" Paige asked, pulling at the tattered fabric that had previously been Piper's favorite shirt. As she continued her examination, Piper could see the conclusions dawning in Paige's mind. With a shaky sigh, Paige let her hands fall away.

"Did you get a good look at this demon, Piper?" Phoebe asked after a long silence, and Piper was grateful that at least one person in the room wasn't going to linger on the fact that she'd almost died.

"No," she replied, absently walking over to pick up Wyatt. He was a little fussy; probably a combination of the tension in the room and the confrontation that had occurred a few minutes earlier. She rocked him gently. "He grabbed me from behind, trapped my hands, and then conjured up the athame. Chris might've seen him though. Hr walked in a second after it happened and—" She broke off, the memories of the brief ordeal filtering through her brain.

"Piper?" Phoebe prompted when Piper didn't continue.

Piper shook her head and stared down at the now-giggling Wyatt. "Chris knew the demon. Or, the demon knew him—or maybe both. They had a conversation before the demon….You know."

She saw some of the concern flicker in Phoebe's eyes at that statement, but it stayed mostly under the surface. "What did they say?"

"Chris said something like 'You aren't supposed to be here,' and then the demon said that Chris wasn't either, and then he mentioned that Chris had altered the timeline…" She frowned in puzzlement. "He must have known that Chris is from the future. But how is that possible?"

Paige made an impatient noise in the back of her throat. "Chris could probably answer that question if he was here. Where did he go?" When the only answers she received were a shrug and a frown, she shook her head and called, "Chris? Chris!"

"I don't think he's going to respond," Leo said unexpectedly, drawn out of his pensive state. "He seemed… upset."

"On the verge of a complete breakdown would be more accurate," Piper corrected darkly, carefully repositioning Wyatt and then glancing at Leo.

"About Piper?" Paige asked, delicate features folding into a confused, almost incredulous expression. They all looked at her, and she added defensively, "What? Don't get me wrong, it scares me to even think about what could have happened if Leo hadn't made it here in time. But Chris hasn't gotten upset over the dangers we've faced before. If anything, he puts us in danger with all these planned demon attacks."

"This was different," Leo said with great certainty, arms folded over his chest. His gaze shifted a little, as if he was staring at something that the rest of them couldn't see. "I think I should go talk to him. I know where he is."

"Are you sure—" Piper stopped when Leo dispersed into a mass of shining blue spheres. "Whose bright idea was that power, anyway?" She demanded of the heavens, raising her hands in frustration.


A/N: Reviews are lovely!