Dinner with Family
AN: This is just a little family interaction…before most of them know they are family. Now, I haven't really watched Charmed in a long time so I might be a little fuzzy on the timeline but I'm setting it right before Phoebe has her vision quest. Please excuse if I didn't get the characters' personalities spot on. Like I said, it's been a while since I watched the show. Hope you enjoy.
Disclaimer: I do not own Charmed or any characters associated with the show.
His stomach rumbled hollowly, dragging his attention away from the pile of books before him. With a grimace, Chris reached out to drag the box of poptarts towards him while still trying to translate the Latin text. Eagerly he reached into the box only to grab air.
He looked down with disgust. "Damn." Rising stiffly from the uncomfortable chair he moved to where he hid the rest of his supplies. Empty. With a sigh he closed his eyes and, after wondering briefly how long it had been since he'd eaten and been unable to come up with an answer, listed his options.
Option 1: Buy supplies.
He shook his head; no money.
Option 2: Raid the bar.
Glancing out at the empty club he debated. Sure it would only be some orange slices… actually, now that he thought about it, they wouldn't have any until Abby picked some up just before opening. Fine. So that left him with maraschino cherries.
He sighed. Add that to the fact that Piper would kill him and he really wouldn't want that as his last meal.
Option 3: Raid the manor.
Plenty of supplies there. Of course that option also had the threat of Piper's wrath. But, if he made enough for everyone… Another rumble decided him. It was better than starving and at least he'd get a decent last meal.
With a roll of the eyes and a dark chuckle he orbed to the manor.
The house was quiet as he made his way to the kitchen. He felt the tension in his shoulders drain away. "Good," he breathed.
Pulling the refrigerator door open he smiled. "Jackpot." He began stacking things on the counter: chicken, butter, lemons, fresh herbs, cheese… He stopped when he realized what he was doing. He looked sadly down at the block of gruyere in his hand. "Mom's favorite."
He shook himself out of the past, his past anyways, and went for the hardware he'd need. It was almost five and they'd be home soon.
Quickly and efficiently, he had two pots of water on to boil and a large sauté pan heating. He moved through the recipe as she taught him.
And finally, after many months, Chris felt like he was home.
Piper rushed through the door, Wyatt in her arms. Traffic had been a nightmare and now she was late getting dinner started.
She settled Wyatt in the playpen in the living room. "Okay sweetie. You be good while mommy makes dinner. Okay?" She handed him a toy and couldn't help the smile that spread across her face when he grinned sweetly up at her.
But for how much longer?
She closed her eyes at the pain and pushed the thought down. There was no way she'd let anything happen to her baby.
Piper was halfway to the kitchen when she froze. Something smelled good. Really good. The problem was, neither of her sisters cooked.
She blinked. A cooking demon? Impossible. That was just too strange, even for them. Hearing the front door open she quickly moved to see who it was.
Phoebe smiled at her. "Can't stay for dinner tonight. I really need to work on my column." She took a deep breath. "Smells good though. What is it?"
"I have no idea."
Phoebe stared at her. "How do you have no idea if you cooked it?"
Piper opened her mouth to respond when Paige ran through the door. "Hey. Sorry but I can't stay. There's a sale on and I want to grab a new pair of sneakers." She sniffed the air. "Oooh, yummy."
"I didn't make it."
The younger women blinked at Piper. Knowing they'd want clarification, she continued on. "I was late today and when I came home it already smelled like a five star restaurant."
"So, what," Paige asked. "We're getting attacked by demon chefs?"
"I don't know. But, now that I know neither of you suddenly developed a talent for cooking, you guys are coming with me to check this out." Together they moved through the manor, Piper's hands up in front of her, prepared to blast or freeze if need be. When they rounded the door though, they stopped in surprise.
Chris was moving around the kitchen as if he belonged there. With an expert flick of his wrist, he tossed the contents of the frying pan before setting it down once more on the stove. A single beep sounded and he bent to pull something out of the oven.
"What the hell is going on here?"
Chris jumped and spun around, surprised at their arrival and Piper's loud voice, and the dish slipped out of his hand. A quick motion from her and the pan stopped in midair. Chris met her eyes and breathed a sigh of relief when he saw only confusion and curiosity not anger in her eyes. Calmly, he took hold of the hot dish as she released her hold and placed it down on the counter. He took a deep breath and met her eyes. "I'm making dinner."
They moved into the kitchen and Piper held his gaze as she moved towards him. "Uh huh. But why?"
He opened his mouth to reply when his stomach growled loudly. Flushing red, he ducked his head as she cocked an eyebrow. "I was hungry."
"I heard." She replied dryly as she fought the smile tugging at her mouth.
He shifted from foot to foot, looking more like a little boy caught with his hand in the cookie jar than an experienced White Lighter and Witch. "I didn't have anything at the club and I didn't want to just take something for myself so I thought that I'd make something for everyone."
Twisting his hands he lifted his eyes and she was shocked by the amount of emotion she found there. He was looking, almost pleading, for her approval and she couldn't help but soften slightly towards the young man before her. And he was young. It was difficult to see when he presented such a confident front but as he stood before her now… Piper smiled. "Then we better eat it before it get's cold."
He blinked in surprise then smiled. "Everything's ready; stuffed chicken with angel hair and baby artichokes and fresh biscuits for dinner and macerated berries and ice cream for dessert." With practiced ease, he pulled plates and utensils from the drawer and cabinets and plated the dinner, setting everything down at the table… except for one plate.
Piper looked at it in confusion. "What are you doing?"
Licking his lips nervously, Chris picked up the plate. "I was gonna let you guys eat in peace. You know, take this back to the club or something."
A twinge of something hit Piper in the chest. It just felt so wrong that he was leaving. "Nonsense. You'll eat here." When she saw the surprise on his face she knew that he was going to protest so she sent him her best mother glare (hey, it worked when her sisters were acting childish) and pointed to the table. "Sit."
A small smile touched the corner of his mouth and he took his place at the family table. Once Wyatt was in his highchair they all dug in with delight. Phoebe and Paige praised him with the first bite, but his gaze was on Piper's reaction. She let the taste play over her tongue before taking another piece of chicken. "It's very good."
No matter how he tried, Chris couldn't help the wide smile or the blush from crossing his face. Ducking his head down, he concentrated on twirling some pasta around his fork. "Glad you like it."
Dinner was quite relaxed that night. For a time, the sisters forgot their troubles and just enjoyed each others' company. There was laughter and stories, banter and teasing. Their cares and worries stripped away, for a time, while they reestablished their bond as sisters. And Chris… he was able to enjoy a family dinner once again.
After another bout of laughter, Paige looked over at Chris while she grabbed another biscuit. "Chris these are so good. Where did you learn to cook like this?" A shadow crossed his face and the sisters knew that Paige had hit a sore spot.
He smiled sadly. "My mother taught me to cook. It was something that we always did together." To escape their gazes he began to clear the dinner dishes. Maybe it was the comfortable atmosphere, but the next words slipped from his mouth without thought. "This was her favorite."
Piper came up behind him and took the plate from his hand. "I can see why. It was delicious." After placing it in the sink she gently turned him around and pushed him towards the table. "Sit and relax. You cooked so we'll clean."
After a moment of quiet while the sisters cleaned and Chris was lost in memory, Piper spoke softly. "Grams and I would cook together." Chris looked up at her, though she kept her eyes on the pan she was scrubbing. "We would cook everything together though baking was my favorite."
"Peanut butter cookies." His voice was soft, gentler than they normally heard.
Piper smiled. "That was one of my favorites, too. Prue always wanted chocolate chip and Phoebe always demanded ginger bread."
"Hey!" Phoebe swatted at her playfully with the hand towel. "Ginger bread is awesome." She lifted her chin in the air. "Besides, I asked, I never demanded."
Piper and Paige laughed and even Chris smiled. Phoebe stuck her tongue out before grabbing another dish to dry. "Meanies." But the smile in her voice gave her away.
Still chuckling softly, Piper continued. "Sometimes I would come down at night when I couldn't sleep and Grams would be in the kitchen with a pot on the stove and she would let me help. We would add different herbs and spices, no recipe or anything, just adding what felt right. It was always very calming."
She paused in drying her hands. "You know, now that I think of it, I wonder if it was her way of letting me learn how to make potions?"
Paige smiled while getting out the ice cream and berries. "Sounds like it. Grams is nothing if not crafty."
Phoebe laughed as she placed a stack of bowls on the table. "You could definitely say that again." She gleefully dug into the ice cream Paige brought over. "But let's eat while we do it."
Paige laughed at her. "I don't know how you can eat. I am so full from dinner." But she, too, filled a small bowl and sat happily down. "Mmmm." She said happily. "Chris, you do know your stuff."
Piper handed a small dish to Wyatt who dug in as happily as his aunt Phoebe. She smiled and gently combed his hair back from his forehead. Glancing up she focused on Chris who seemed lost in thought as he moved the ice cream around the bowl with his spoon. He was so young and they had been so harsh with him… Granted he had lied to them and had done some questionable things in pursuit of his goal but hadn't they all at one time or other. The difference was they were never alone. He was.
She imagined that it was her son who came to the past to protect Chris. Wouldn't she want his family to treat Wyatt better? Wouldn't she want them to work with the young man who sacrificed everything to help her son, to help the world? She would. A wave of shame came over her.
Dishing herself some dessert she moved to sit next to him. "Stop playing with your food and eat."
"Yes mo- ma'am." He flushed red. 'She's not mom. Remember that. Not mom.' Looking up he saw Piper and Phoebe watching him. "Sorry."
The rest of dessert was eaten in silence. When the final bite was eaten Piper signaled Phoebe to take Wyatt out. "Come here nephew mine." Phoebe swept him out of the high chair. "Time for you to get a bath. You wanna give me a hand Paige?"
Paige glanced between Piper and Chris then turned and followed Phoebe out. "Sure. Why not?"
Piper shook her head and Chris snorted. "Not very subtle are they?"
Piper laughed and picked up the dessert bowls. "Not particularly, no." She ran water in the dishes while he stood awkwardly behind her. With a deep breath she turned and faced him. "Chris…" She swallowed. "I just want to say 'Thank you' and that I'm sorry."
He looked at her in surprise. "Wha-"
"I know we haven't been the easiest people to work with,' she glared at him when he snorted. "Fine, we've been downright pains in your ass, I'll admit it. For that I am sorry. I know what you're trying to do here, I know what you've given up and I am so grateful for what you've done."
She smiled. "I might not like the constant demon hunts or the how you've gone about some things but I understand that you only have my family's welfare, the world's welfare, in mind." She placed a hand on his arm. "Thank you."
He nodded. It was all he could do with the tears choking him. He cleared his throat. "I've got to… got to…" He made a vague gesture with his hands, signaling towards the door. "You know. Research, demons… Yeah." He turned to leave.
He froze and closed his eyes as the pleasure of her motherly concern washed over him. "I will." He choked out.
"And Chris?" He looked over his shoulder at his mother standing by the sink. She smiled. "You're welcome for dinner anytime."
"Thanks." The words slipped from him in a whisper then he orbed out.
Much later that evening, after leads were followed and demons vanquished, Chris returned to his little room at the back of the club. Waiting for him on his desk was a plate of freshly baked peanut butter cookies. Smiling, he bit into one.
It tasted like home.
AN: Thanks for reading.