Title: wintered into wisdom
Disclaimer: not my characters; title from Beowulf
Warnings: based on what I found on the Charmed wiki while researching, this is AU; changed future; post-graduation for Glee
Pairings: Kurt/Puck; canon for Charmed
Point of view: third
Note: I know next to nothing about children. If Beth is acting too-old, just pretend she's precocious
After she took Beth, Shelby Corcoran moved to Florida for sun and surf. About a minute after he realized he could fuckin' teleport, Noah went there. Shelby had sent him emails with updates and pictures, but seeing his baby girl laugh, hearing her – he wiped his eyes and left before anyone noticed his presence.
The next day, he called Shelby to ask if he could visit. She didn't even ask how he'd get to and from Florida, but she said he could.
From then on, Noah teleported to Shelby's house twice a month. He'd spend anywhere from an hour to a day with his daughter. He made sure to be there for her second birthday, and he brought Kurt for the third.
In December of Beth's second year, Noah bound her magic. He had the raw power for it, but Kurt guided him on the intricacies, and they spent an evening guessing what powers the daughter of the Source's son and a mortal might have.
By the time Noah finally met his little girl, Beth was a tiny spitfire, far more trouble than he'd been at her age, he was sure. As time went on, twice a month wasn't doing it anymore, and Shelby was more frazzled each time he visited.
So the Sunday after he met with the Charmed Ones, when Shelby pounced on him and begged him to take his daughter back because she wasn't mother material and never had been, it was a mistake from the beginning, and Beth was crying in the corner, holding her arm like it hurt –
Noah! Kurt yelled from New York.
Noah didn't feel any less furious, but he was in control. "Get the paperwork done," he said, focusing on his baby girl, on keeping his power from flaring out. He could level the neighborhood, and didn't want to – he only wanted Beth safe. Only wanted Shelby's blood on his hands.
Noah, Kurt said again.
As Shelby nodded, falling back a step, Noah ignored her, hurrying to Beth, and he held out his arms. "Hey, baby girl," he said. "How you doin' sweetheart?"
"My arm hurts," she whispered, snuggling against his chest as he scooped her up. "Mommy yelled."
"Yeah," he said, glaring at Shelby.
Do I have to do this the legal way? Noah asked Kurt.
Yes, Noah, Kurt told him. Try, at least. And if anyone gets in the way, then you can magic a fix.
Noah kissed the top of his daughter's head, focusing entirely on her as Shelby ran out of the room.
Beth slept in Noah's arms that night. Noah didn't sleep. Kurt emailed their professors Monday morning and called Noah's boss at the titty bar.
The quickest custody change over in history ensued. Kurt bought dozens of toddler clothes – the cutest outfits, Noah, she'll look adorable – and Noah quit his job. It wasn't like they needed the money; Noah had found the Source's stash his first time in New York. The Halliwells had never touched it. Noah wasn't sure if they even knew about it.
Noah spent the rest of the week with his daughter. He explained that Mommy had to go on an adventure, but Daddy would stay always. He explained that Daddy and Uncle Kurt and Aunt Freddy both could do things – like make toys dance, and lights sparkle, and speak without sound – that other people couldn't, and she couldn't talk about it outside of their home.
Noah stayed with Beth, except for Thursday afternoon when he made up his math test and Kurt took Beth to Central Park.
Thursday night, after Beth fell asleep on the floor in front of the TV – Tangled had been on repeat since they got back from the park – Kurt said, "You can't drop out of school."
"Babe," Noah said. "Beth –"
"You have two classes, two days a week," Kurt interrupted. "Fred can keep her during the single hour our schedules overlap." He reached out to gently grip Noah's chin. "Finish school, for me if not yourself."
Noah sighed. "Fine," he muttered."
Beth adored Fred. She really liked the sparklies. And Fred was just fascinated by Beth.
The Halliwells had agreed to visit their apartment this weekend; Fred told Kurt, while Noah colored with Beth, that all three of them were excited to meet Noah's daughter.
"They can say hello," Kurt ordered, "but then you're taking her for a girls' day out."
Fred nodded. "Okay."
On Saturday, Beth helped Kurt make scrambled eggs and toast while Noah read the next chapter in his physics book. She chattered about how her new home was different from her old one, about Daddy's coloring skills, about Uncle Kurt's pretty drawings and Aunt Freddy's stories, and then asked if Mommy would be home soon.
"Baby girl," Noah said from the table. "Your mommy's away on an adventure, remember?"
He didn't understand, but Shelby hadn't called to ask about Beth even once.
Beth nodded, turning back to Kurt. "Do you know about giant sharks?" she asked.
"No," Kurt said. "Tell me about them."
At noon, the Charmed Ones orbed in. Kurt stood in the kitchen door, Noah in the door leading to the hall, and Beth peeked around Noah's legs.
"I have refreshments," Kurt said, gaining all three's attention. "Please come to the dining room."
With a longing look at Beth, Phoebe followed her sisters. Fred, Noah called. It's that time, dude.
"Remember," he said to Beth, scooping her up. "They're friends. They wanna meet you, and then Aunt Freddy's takin' you to see the giant sharks."
She practically lit up, bouncing in his arms.
"This is Beth," he announced, striding into the kitchen. "Beth, these lovely ladies are Ms. Piper, Ms. Paige, and Ms. Phoebe." Beth waved at them.
Fred walked in behind Noah and he handed Beth off, kissing her cheek. "Be good, baby girl," he said.
"Bye, Daddy!" she said, waving. "Bye, Uncle Kurt!" She looked up at Fred. "Sparklies!"
Fred laughed, orbing out.
"Wow," Piper said. "She's gorgeous." Nodding to Noah, she added, "Beth looks like you."
He chuckled, sprawling on the chair closest to Kurt. "She looks like her mother. Her birth mother," he clarified. She did – Beth had Quinn's blonde hair and delicate features. Her hazel eyes were all Noah's though.
"Something happened," Paige said. "You didn't have custody a week ago."
Noah shrugged. Kurt said, "That's not important. Let's talk about hobbies."
Phoebe spoke up. "Last week, you said you write music and songs?"
Noah nodded. "I taught myself the guitar, too. Me and Kurt were in our school's glee club – we got to Nationals twice." He grinned, stealing one of Kurt's crackers. "Kurt was definitely the best of us. my boy can sing."
Kurt blushed nicely, sending Noah an invisible smack to the shoulder. "Noah's in a part-time general studies curriculum at the moment. Next year, he'll become full-time, focusing on either math or physics. We're not sure yet."
"And you?" Piper asked, sipping her sweet tea.
"I'm in design; I've applied to Tisch. I wait tables part-time." He stood, saying, "My I refill your glasses?"
As Kurt left the room, Noah looked at Phoebe, then her sisters. "Are any of your kids' powers bound?"
"No." Phoebe shook her head. "It complicates things, sometimes, and it leaves us wide open to exposure. But it also keeps them safe. If something happens, they can escape."
"All of them can teleport," Kurt mused, coming back in with four full glasses.
"Except for my son, yes," Paige said. "My daughters and Piper's kids can orb; Phoebe's girls can beam."
Noah chewed on his lip for a moment. Kurt made polite conversation about Magic School while he thought.
Babe? he asked. I wanna unbind her powers. Make playdates with her aunts, the other kids. Is that crazy?
Kurt reached for his hand, squeezed it. That sounds good to me.
"I'm gonna unbind Beth's magic," Noah said suddenly, cutting off Paige's endorsement of Magic School. "And then," he added, "I'd like to set her up with your kids." He paused, looking at each of them. They were all three smiling. "Let her see magic, kids her own age using it. You know?"
Phoebe was crying again.
Kurt said, "The next few weeks will be busy, as the semester winds down. But over the break…"
Piper nodded. "We'll introduce the kids. One more won't overwhelm the nannies."
"Nannies?" Kurt asked.
Paige laughed. "We have dozens. They come and go – various magical beings, a few family friends, the Spirit of Magic School. She'll be safe and entertained, while learning about magic."
"We don't know what her specific powers will be," Kurt admitted.
"Not a problem," Paige said, waving a hand dismissively. "Let's talk about kids now. We can give you advice, if you want."
Noah nodded. Kurt summoned his notebook and prepared to jot stuff down.
An hour passed while they discussed the sons, daughters, and granddaughter of the Charmed Ones. The oldest, Wyatt, they had already met, though it didn't really count. The youngest was Penny, Noah's baby sister.
"Next week," Phoebe said, "let's meet at my condo. The girls and Coop will be there." She looked so hesitant, so hopeful.
Babe? Noah asked.
"All three of us?" Kurt inquired. "Just the two of us? Or Noah?"
"Whichever you prefer," she said. "Coop knows about you, of course. So does Henry."
"How would you introduce Noah to your daughters?" Kurt asked.
"As their older brother, a little boy I'd thought lost," she said, wiping at her eyes. "We'd say the same to their cousins. The only ones who might question it are Wyatt and Chris, and they're almost old enough for the truth."
You and me, Kurt said. Then Fred can come with Beth.
"On Saturday," Kurt proposed, setting his clasped hands on the table in front of him, "Noah and I will teleport to your condo. After a little while, Fred will orb in with Beth."
"Sounds good," Piper said. Paige nodded.
Noah… Kurt said.
Yeah, he replied.
"Phoebe," Kurt began as Paige reached for her sisters' hands. "If you want to wait… we'll tell Beth who you are."
"Who… who I am?" she repeated. "You mean…"
"Her grandmother," Kurt said gently. "We'll unbind her powers tomorrow, most likely; Noah's with her all week, and when he isn't, she's with me or Fred. We're all more than capable if her powers do something – volatile. And then, next week…" He smiled at Phoebe, then pressed a quick kiss to Noah's lips. "She'll meet her family."
"I'll stay," Phoebe said, leaning back in her chair.
Piper patted her shoulder. "Give Beth a hug from me," she said.
"Me, too," Paige added, orbing them out.
Phoebe clutched her glass, staring at her son; Kurt said, "Let's move to the den." Phoebe nodded, eyes wide, tearing up again. Noah wasn't sure what to do: he'd never been good with crying people.
"Phoebe," Kurt said gently. "It'll be alright, I promise. Beth will be so excited – just ask her about giant sharks and she'll talk your ear off."
"Giant sharks?" Phoebe asked with a laugh that sounded more like a sob.
"Yeah," Noah said, guiding her down to the couch. "She's obsessed with megalodons at the moment. Sixty foot Great Whites; they're totally kickass awesome." He winced. "Sorry about the language. I'm trying to be better that since Beth's around all the time."
Phoebe's laugh sounded more sincere, and she leaned forward to wrap her arms around him. "I thought you were dead," she confessed. "The Seer stole you and you burned her up and you were gone. I felt… broken. And free. At the same time. I'm so sorry."
He rubbed her back, looking at Kurt over her head. What do I do? he asked.
Kurt shrugged. I'll meet Fred in the bedroom and check Beth's clothing. If she's not too messy, I'll bring her in to meet her grandmother.
You'll leave me alone with a hysterical woman? Noah demanded, and only half the panic was faked.
Noah, Kurt said, smile full of love. She's your mother. Just talk to her.
"I'm sorry your childhood wasn't happy," Phoebe said. "Your mother didn't… she wasn't around?"
"When she wasn't working, she was watching bad movies about the Holocaust. Her husband left when I was seven, a month before Sarah was born." He shrugged. "Maybe Ruth could've loved the baby I replaced. She sure loves Sarah more than she ever did me."
Phoebe buried her face in his shoulder, trying to muffle her sobs. "It's not that bad," he said. "I mean, yeah, I wondered about you. I dreamed about you, and your sisters, and the Source. But if I never ended up in Lima, I wouldn't have met Kurt. I wouldn't have Beth. So, I figure, I came out better."
"He's amazing," Phoebe said, pulling back to wipe her eyes. Noah really hoped she was done crying. "I'm an empath," she continued. "And Kurt… he is so full of love for you, Noah."
Noah ducked his head. "I know," he muttered.
She snickered, reaching out to squeeze his hand. "Getting my empathy was a fun time."
"I'll bet," he said, and they both looked up when Kurt called, "Beth will be out in a few moments!"
Phoebe met Noah's eyes. "You look so much like your father," she murmured. "I love Coop, I do – but I still miss Cole sometimes."
Noah smiled sadly. "I can't help with that. I'm sorry."
"Daddy!" Beth shrieked, skipping into the room. "Megadons are awesome! Can I get one?"
"Sorry, kiddo," Noah said, as he stood and scooped her up, swirling them around. "Megalodons are extinct, baby girl. I can take you out on the ocean sometime, and look for their kids, the Great Whites."
"You wouldn't," Phoebe said, sounding horrified.
"He so would," Kurt said, setting into the arm chair. "Noah?"
Right. Time to calm down and be responsible.
"Beth," he said, turning so they faced Phoebe, who now stood in front of the couch. "You remember Ms. Phoebe from earlier?"
Beth nodded. "Hi, Ms. Phoebe," she said, arms around Noah's neck.
"Hi, Beth," Phoebe said. And, crap, she was about to start crying again.
"Beth," Noah said. "Ms. Phoebe is my mother. Your grandma."
"Really?" Beth asked, eyes widening as she stared at Phoebe.
"Hi," Phoebe said again, tears on her cheeks. Again. It seemed like all she'd done since she met Noah was cry.
Be nice, Kurt fussed. Imagine you didn't see Beth until she was twenty and then she told you she had a child of her own.
Noah's arms tightened around Beth until she squeaked. "Daddy!"
"Sorry, baby girl," he said. "You wanna talk to Grandma?"
Beth peeked a quick glance at Phoebe, turning shy. She nodded, so Noah set her down, gently squeezing her hand as she clung to him.
"So you like sharks?" Phoebe asked, smiling when Beth climbed onto the loveseat. Noah sat next to her, and Phoebe sank back down on the couch.
Beth nodded enthusiastically. "They're awesome!"
"Will you tell me about them?" Phoebe asked, hands clasped tightly together.
Noah pressed a kiss to the top of Beth's head. She gave Phoebe a long look, then pulled Noah down to whisper, "Daddy? She's your mama?"
"Yeah," he whispered back. "She's a real nice lady."
Beth pulled away and slid out the seat, walking determinedly to Phoebe. She climbed onto the couch next to her and said, "Hi, Granma. I'm Beth."
Phoebe grinned. "Hi, Beth," she said a third time. "I'm your grandma. I'm so glad to meet you."
Beth glanced back at Kurt. He nodded, so she leaned in to hug Phoebe. Phoebe pulled her close and held on tight, wiping her eyes when she finally released Beth.
"Tell me about your sharks," Phoebe said. "I'd love to hear about them."
"Okay!" Beth bounced in place, launching into all the facts she knew.
Kurt moved from his chair to curl up at Noah's side. He dabbed at his eyes with a tissue and murmured, I love our daughter, and I love you.
Babe, Noah said. I keep waitin' for the other shoe to drop. My life can't be this good.
Especially not with the evil in his blood.
Don't think like that, Kurt commanded. Is there evil in Beth's blood?
No! Noah's reaction was so strong Phoebe looked up, a question on her face.
Noah shook his head, so she focused back on Beth.
We're doing good, Kurt said, wrapping his arms around Noah. Us and Beth and Fred. Nothing can touch us. Anything that tries…
Yeah, Noah said. Anything that tries.
He was still the Source's son, the most powerful being in the world. And now the Charmed Ones would help protect his family, too.
"Daddy!" Beth called from Phoebe's lap. "Granma can do stuff, too!"
Noah smiled. "Really, baby girl? What all can she do?"
Beth babbled, Kurt grinned, Phoebe held her granddaughter's hand, and Noah thought, Anything that tries…