Disclaimer: I don't own the series Charmed or any of the original characters.
A/N: This is my different chapter! I'm really excited about this chapter, and even though I'm not 100% satisfied with it, I hope you'll like it just as much as I do! After this we'll get back to normal for like 2-3 chapters (knowing myself, possibly more), then there will be a LOT of jumping between the time lines, and then the story will end... Anyway, that's a long way away, and I shouldn't get ahead of myself. For now, enjoy chapter 22!
Wyatt's pacing up and down the basement doesn't help. His mumbling under his breath is also quite destructive, resulting to me shooting a couple of hundred disapproving glares his way, which he misses since his head is downcast. Leaning with my back against the wall, I shut my eyes and rub my temples with my index and middle finger.
"We should tell them."I finally say, causing my big brother to halt.
"Tell them what? We hardly know anything." Wyatt says, not looking at me.
"Tell them that Melinda is missing. It's been two days Wyatt, they'll be pissed that we didn't say anything, and if we keep it to ourselves, I see a lot of yelling in our future."
"I know. You're right." Wyatt shakes his head, and hides his face in his hands. I don't need my powers to understand how guilty he feels; I feel the same way. Melinda and Anwen wouldn't have gone after that Grimlock if it wasn't for our direct orders. "Okay we need a game plan; I'm gonna take Uncle Kyle-"
"Hey, not fair!" I cut him off "Uncle Kyle will be the calmest one to deal with, maybe along with Andy. We're going to split them up."
"Okay..." Wyatt trails off thoughtfully "Okay, I'm gonna take Aunt Prue, and Andy, and you-"
"You gonna leave both Uncle Cole and Aunt Paige to me?" I demand and Wyatt nods vigorously yes "Do you want them to kill me, or something?" Wyatt tilts his head on the side, giving me a patronizing look.
"They'd never hurt you Chris."
"Well they might, when I tell them their favourite niece is missing and we've been keeping it a secret for two days!"
"Your sarcasm doesn't leave you even in the most crucial situations, does it?" Wyatt asks scrunching his nose "Look, we need to do this fast." He says, his face sobering up "Leo might be back any day now, we don't have much time."
"It still doesn't make it fair that I get both Uncle Cole and Aunt Paige." I complain crossing my arms, and fixing him with a glare.
"I can't believe you're afraid of your own family."
"Ugh, isn't family the reason why this basement has turned into the Resistance's HQ?" I deadpan.
"Leo isn't family." Wyatt says shrugging.
There is no reason into fighting with him on this; Wyatt has made up his mind, and nothing will change that. If I didn't know any better I'd assume he was afraid of Uncle Cole, but I did know; the only person that could make my brother feel ashamed for something he did, was the half-demon who had been there for us when our father was nowhere to be found. It's understandable why Wyatt doesn't want to be the bearer of the news to Uncle Cole. Still, it doesn't mean that he won't owe me after this one. I let my head against the wall, my eyes falling shut.
"Anwen's still sleeping?" I ask, and I hear shuffling; Wyatt has picked up his pacing again.
"She was when I orbed into your room. And I can't hear any other noise in the house..." he trails off. I node to myself, opening my eyes.
"Okay, you should go." Wyatt's puzzled look makes me roll my eyes "Go find Aunt Prue, you genius." I remind him.
"Oh yeah, I knew that's what you meant." Wyatt says defensively.
"Aha, yeah okay." Wyatt is about to orb away, but then he stops. His eyes trail over to me, and he bites on his lip.
"Are you going to be okay?" he asks worriedly, and I chuckle lightly.
"Yeah, don't worry Wy, I'll be fine." I say reassuringly. Wyatt scrutinizes me for a second longer, before orbing away.
I run a hand through my hair, messing it up even more. I push against the floor, and slowly stand up, dusting my hands off on my black slacks. I look around the room, bouncing a little on my feet, as I try to find a way to say what I have to say, that won't land me in the hospital. Figuratively speaking of course. But nothing comes to mind; there is no good way of telling them this. So I just have to suck it up and do it already, because Wyatt is right; we don't have much time.
"They are going to kill me." I mutter with a small shake of my head "Um, Uncle Cole? Aunt Paige, it's Chris, I got something to tell you. Oh, Uncle Kyle you too." I add in looking around expectantly "C'mon you guys it's kind of-" I'm cut short when I hear the familiar sound of orbing, and just as Paige and Kyle appear in the room in a swirl of blue and white lights, so does Cole "Urgent." I finish of.
"What happened?" Aunt Paige asks, taking in my serious and somewhat shaken look "Chris." She calls my name when I don't immediately start explaining myself.
"Okay, just...Don't get mad, okay?"
"Chris, you know better than to start a story with 'don't get mad'." Kyle says raising his eyebrows. I lower my head, my bangs falling over my eyes; yeah, I know better.
"Prolonging the news won't make a difference you know." Uncle Cole points out. I let a sigh, and running my hand through my hair again, I look up at them.
"Melinda is missing. Anwen came over the other day, and she said she disappeared after falling in one of Leo's portals." I say in one breath. When you say something no one wants to hear, do it fast, like peeling of a band-aid mom used to say, and I make sure to follow that advice.
"What?" Uncle Kyle is the first one to find his voice. I scrap the floor with my sneaker and avoid looking him in the eye.
"Melinda is mis-"
"No I heard that." He cuts me off "How did that happen? And why are we only finding out now?"
"She and Anwen went after a Grimlock-" I am once again cut off by the sound of jingling. Soon as Wyatt appears in the basement, he runs towards me, hiding behind my back. Feeling confused as hell, I am about to ask what's wrong, but more jingles echo in the dark room.
"She's been missing for two whole days and you only mentioned it now?!" Aunt Prue's voice makes me wince. Uncle Andy has to grab her arm, and physically restrain her from marching towards Wyatt "Ooh, I would so vanquish your ass if you weren't my nephew-"
"Prue, c'mon try to calm down." I hear Uncle Andy whisper in her ear.
"Calm down? Calm down?!" she demands, rounding on her husband "Melinda has been missing, for two days! Do you know what that means? Time moves different in other time lines! It's been only two days here, but it might be weeks, months even where Melinda is!" Aunt Prue takes a deep breath, forcing herself to calm down.
"Okay, I'm sure Chris and Wyatt are very sorry-"
"Why didn't you tell us?" Uncle Cole cut Aunt Paige off, and she makes a small grimace; it's not a secret that Aunt Paige dislikes our usual fights, so we try to keep them to a minimum, but sometimes a fight is unavoidable.
"We're sorry." Wyatt chimes in, still standing behind me "We thought we could handle this on our own, but tonight after we went to sleep, I wanted to check on her, and I couldn't feel her-" I cringe just as Uncle Cole and Aunt Prue simultaneously yell,
"What?!" I throw a look over my shoulder at Wyatt whose face pales.
"What do you mean you couldn't sense her?" Aunt Prue demands. I draw a deep breath and match her gaze.
"We could both sense Melinda, and I guess you all could as well, that's why none of you were alarmed." I say my eyes falling from Aunt Prue, to Aunt Paige, and then to my two Uncles "Her essence was dull, but it was there, which means that she was alive, but she wasn't here. But, as Wyatt said, after we went to bed..." I trail off, my shoulders slumming.
Aunt Prue instantly closes her eyes. She rolls her shoulders, and shakes her arms to unwind. After a couple of seconds she frowns, her eyes snapping open.
"Melinda can't be dead." She says forcefully. The words have me staggering back, colliding on my brother. It's the first time anyone says that out loud, and I can feel my stomach turning as the implications slowly start sinking in.
"No, no, of course she's not dead, she's just..." Aunt Paige can't finish her sentence. She reaches for Uncle Kyle, who puts a protective arm around her waist, pulling her closer to him.
"I don't think she's dead." Wyatt says, stepping next to me. Now that Aunt Prue has somewhat calmed down, he looks more sure of himself "It's weird but..."
"But what?" Uncle Cole prompts when he doesn't continue. Wyatt looks at me, as if looking for some strength, and I pat his back to urge him on.
"Okay, I didn't tell this to Chris because I didn't want him to think I'm crazy, but...If I concentrate I-I have some memories of Mel, memories that I shouldn't have."
"What do you mean, Wyatt?" Uncle Andy asks, frowning.
"Well, I don't know how these memories happened, because they're impossible." It's clear that Wyatt is trying to explain the situation the best way he can, but we still can't understand what he is saying "These memories are from the past, some time before Chris was born...And I can't remember her dying."
Everyone is silent for a long second, contemplating what my brother just told us. I can almost see the cogs turning in Aunt Paige's head, as she tries to work through what is going on. Uncle Cole is frowning, and so is Uncle Kyle, their brows drawn together in a similar manner, which any other time would be comical, but right now it isn't. Aunt Prue looks at Uncle Andy, who gives her a small reassuring smile before leaning forward to drop a kiss on her forehead.
"So, what you are saying is, that Melinda is teleported into the past, when you were a baby?" Uncle Cole surmises.
"Yeah, I think so. And there are also, some other memories..." Wyatt's eyes skip to me.
"Other memories?" Aunt Paige inquires. Wyatt glimpses at me again, and then nods.
"What kind of memories?" this time it's Aunt Prue.
"They have Chris in them, but not-" Wyatt pauses and looks me in the eyes "Not you. It's like...like he's another version of you."
"Okay, what the hell is going in the past?" Aunt Paige snaps. Aunt Prue bites on her lip.
"I don't know, but we're going to find out."
"Are you thinking what I'm thinking?" Aunt Paige questions quirking an eyebrow. Despite her anger, and wariness Aunt Prue manages to smile to her.
"You know it sister." She says with a wink.
"Okay, what's going on?" I question, not liking feeling out of the loop.
"We are going on a rescue mission." Aunt Prue says.
"What? Are you crazy? No, this is too dangerous!" I say, only to get brushed off.
"Oh relax, you worrywart." Aunt Paige says waggling her eyebrows "We're only going to drop in, grab your sister and get out."
"Ah, no dropping in for you." Aunt Prue says, looking at her sister. A scowl appears in Aunt Paige's face.
"Excuse me?" Aunt Prue turns to Uncle Kyle with a look that clearly reads 'should I tell her, or will you?'
"Basic time travel rule, honey; two versions of the same person can't have powers. If you go there, your powers will have to stay behind, and that will be an unnecessary risk." Uncle Kyle explains.
"Exactly. Which means you're out of the question too." Aunt Prue says pointing her finger at me.
"What? But Wyatt and I are the obvious choice-"
"Didn't you hear what your Uncle said?" Aunt Prue cut me off, a smug smile appearing on her face. Unbelievable!
"Okay, so how are we going to do this?" Uncle Cole asks looking at her.
"Whoa, whoa; who said you'll go with her?" Wyatt steps in.
"I'm Melinda's adoptive father."
"She called you that once when she was fourteen."
"I'm her Uncle."
"And I'm her brother!" Wyatt raises his voice.
"Didn't you hear what your Uncle said?" I return the question, looking at my brother. Wyatt gives me a smug smile.
"Please, I think the Twice Blessed prophesied son of a Charmed One will manage to work around the stupid time travel rule." He says, and my mouth falls open, a silly look taking over my face. After a couple of seconds of me just staring at him, I shake my head, cross my arms, and give him one of my usual acerbic looks.
"C'mon, Wyatt, not even you can be that cocky." Wyatt throws his head back, and barks a laugh.
"I'm not, but I had to see your reaction; it's the best thing that happened to me all week." He says, and my sarcastic face turns into a scowl.
"Does it beat sleeping in the same room with An?" I shoot back, and Wyatt's cheeks turn red. From the corner of my eye I can see Aunt Prue trying to hide a smile, while Aunt Paige shakes her head, an amused glint in her eyes.
"Baby 'me' doesn't have all of my powers." Wyatt decides to change the topic "And the ones he has are not fully formed, so my powers should be fine."
"It still doesn't mean you should go back." Uncle Cole says, and Wyatt is quick to glare at him.
"Well then, try to stop me!" he snaps.
"Okay, guys, guys no need to fight." Aunt Paige steps between the two. Wyatt just barely manages to keep his anger in check, and I see how Uncle Coles' left hand twitches; a telltale sign that he's irritated. I grab my brother's arm and pull him backwards, giving his hand a squeeze. After all we all just want the same thing; Melinda to come home safely. It doesn't matter who will bring her back, as long as the mission ends without casualties.
"How are you even planning on going back in the first place?" the words leave my mouth without my consent, and everyone turns to look at me.
"Well, between the four of us, we could probably open a portal that would teleport...whomever, back to the past safely." Uncle Andy says.
"Forget it, it's too risky." Uncle Cole shoots the suggestion down immediately "Your collective power will immediately notify Leo, and we need him away for as long as possible."
"Cole is right." Aunt Paige agrees.
"Okay, than what other option do we have?" Wyatt questions.
"Well...I do have a proposition, but it's risky." I say. Aunt Prue gives me a node, prompting me to go on "You could go over to the Hunting Zone." I say simply.
"No." Wyatt's response is curt and comes way too fast.
"Wyatt, it's the only way-"
"No, it's even riskier than opening a portal."
"Listen to me; this is the only way. If you open the portal, Leo will know instantly. He'll orb here, and once he finds out that Melinda is gone, we don't know what he'll do. I know that the Hunting Zone is dangerous-"
"Those time portals could take us back to the Jurassic era, and then we're stuck there, permanently." Wyatt cuts me off. I don't mean to, but my eyes narrow playfully, and my head cocks on the side.
"The Jurassic era, seriously?"
"Chris this is not funny!" Wyatt yells in my face. I cross my arms, my shoulders tensing as I look at my brother.
"You don't think I know that? You don't think I feel just as guilty as you do Wyatt?" I demand, and he quickly retrieves his gaze "It was a direct order from both of us! Mel and An, went after that Grimlock because we both told them so! Don't you think I regret that just as much as you do?"
"I'm the big brother; I'm supposed to take care of you guys." Wyatt's voice sounds defeated, making me soften ever so slightly.
"Wyatt you do. You've been taking care of us ever since Mom died. And you've done a hell of a job too. But this is not only your fault; it's mine too. So don't blame everything on yourself."
"Chris might be onto something, the Hunting Zone is the best chance we got." Uncle Cole says, and I'm grateful that someone finally broke the tensioned silence that had fallen upon us.
"It's still too risky, and the result is not certain." Aunt Prue admonishes.
"So we sent two teams." I speak up, gathering everyone's attention again "We split our chances."
"And what about the ones who stay behind? How will you guys manage if we all up and leave?" Wyatt wants to know.
"Well not all, Andy has to stay." Aunt Prue says looking at her husband "The Whitelighters are still very apprehensive of organizing against Leo-"
"Can you blame them?" Aunt Paige and I say at the same time. We share a look, and a chuckle before returning our focus to Aunt Prue, who after a small headshake goes on.
"As I was saying; they're still very apprehensive, and some of them are only willing to do it because Andy is involved. So I'm sorry, but you can't come."
"It's okay." Uncle Andy says with a warm smile, his hand coming up to cup the side of her face. Aunt Prue leans into his touch "I trust you to bring our niece back home."
"And I think that I and my neurotic little Whitelighter of a nephew, are capable enough to hold the fort in your absence." Aunt Paige says, giving me a wink. Oh yeah, that we definitely are.
"Prue, whenever you're ready-"
"Actually, Uncle Cole, I think it would be better for you to go with Wyatt." The half-demon I've grown up to call uncle blinks at me "Well, there's a great possibility that when you show up they will try to vanquish you-"
"Nothing they haven't tried before." Uncle Cole says aloofly, giving a snide look to Aunt Paige.
"You were kind of evil, and you did create an alternate universe where I was dead, so you can't hold it against us." Aunt Paige shoots back just as well as she received. Uncle Cole smirks.
"I never said I did."
"I have so many questions right now." I mutter to myself getting a few chuckles, and pointed looks out of them. There are still so many things regarding Uncle Cole that we don't know, and no one seems to be willing to tell us, which is frankly really annoying "But as I was saying; if they do try to vanquish you, Wyatt's shield will protect you and I think that will convince them faster than anything Aunt Prue will tell them."
"I agree with Chris." Wyatt says his hand coming on my shoulder, and I smile to myself.
"I also agree. So that means I'm going with Kyle." Aunt Prue says. "I still have my active powers, and I don't exist in the past, considering I get the time line correct, so we've got nothing to worry about."
"When are we leaving?" Wyatt questions.
"Soon, but not right away; we have to organize this." Aunt Prue says.
"And we can't leave all on the same day; we might attract too much attention on us, and we don't want that."
"Right, Leo's cronies have an on the clock patrol system." Uncle Kyle observes.
"Yeah, with the occasional lunch break." Uncle Andy adds.
"Or witch hunt." Aunt Paige says coldly.
"That's when we strike. We've got to make sure the cost is clear, and it hardly ever is over at the Hunting Zone." Aunt Prue says leaving a sigh, and leaning against Uncle Andy.
"The Zone is deserted when the patrol team gets there." Uncle Cole points out.
"Right, sometime around six on the evening the place is empty, aside from the demons on the patrol squad." I say remembering the schedule I'd seen on Leo's office a couple of weeks ago, which mapped out the patrols' routes and timetables "But you've got to be careful."
"Well the patrol teams are consisted of six demons, we could easily take them down." Uncle Cole shrugs.
"If we can avoid killing them, we should; everyone's powers in the patrol force are linked, if we kill one of them the rest will know. That will defeat the purpose of doing this in secrecy, and it will create a huge problem that I'm not sure we'll be able to clean up." Aunt Prue says and Aunt Paige nodes in agreement.
"Okay people let's wrap this up for tonight." Aunt Paige says clapping her hands. Wyatt and I exchange a doubtful look.
"What?" was all I can come up with.
"You want us to go back to sleep? Our sister is missing!"
"Yes, and she's been missing for two days now, but you had no problem sleeping before she fell off the radar." Aunt Paige says fixing us both with a look we know too well. It is the kind of look she gives us when she wants us to know that we'd already lost the argument.
"Boys, Aunt Paige is right. It's three in the morning, and we all had very tiring days, I think a little bit of sleep will help us all." Aunt Prue says with a gentle voice.
"There's no way to change your mind, is there?" Wyatt's attempt makes both our Aunts chuckle.
"No." Aunt Prue says with a small smile "But I promise you Wyatt, we'll be here first thing in the morning." She says and Wyatt lowers his head, muttering a quick 'okay' under his breath "We'll get your sister back."
Sleeping doesn't sound that bad. I can feel the early signs of headache creeping up one me, making my eyes hurt. And besides who knows when we'd get the privilege of a warm bed and a full night's sleep again once Leo is back? We have to be practical about this, and not allow our feelings to interfere; we have to be on our best game when Leo gets back, or else organizing the heavens and the hell would be in vain.
"We know." I say, and after patting Wyatt's shoulder, I orb to my room. For the first couple of seconds, before my head hits the pillow, the silence is deafening, and the darkness scary. I have a vivid flash of my Mother putting on a great performance as she checked under my bed for monsters, and her radiant smile as she wished me a good night, before I allow the darkness to claim me.
"I think I need a drink." Cole says, his head rolling back, and I couldn't agree more. I rub a hand over my eyes and take a deep breath.
"I think a stop by P3 is mandatory." I mutter, and there are several, incoherent consents of approval around me. Without another word I orb out, and re-materialise in the old club.
There's nothing in here that reminds me of my sister any more. The club has been shut down for almost eight years now, and the signs of decay are more than obvious. It's one of the few places that Leo has kept intact; P3, the Bay Mirror's offices, the church where Paige's parents found her, and ironically enough the Buckland Auction House. One significant place for all four of us. The buildings were kept intact, while the town around us withered, and part by part died, under Leo's rule.
I smile a refuel smile, as I reach for the whiskey bottle behind the bar, and try to imagine how pissed off Leo will be if he ever finds out that one of his little shrines has been turned into a safe-house. We, the funding members of the resistance, have a good sense of dark humour and irony if nothing else and that's why we chose for the HQ to be just under Leo's nose, in the basement where he never ventured. It was that same sense that made us expand the space bellow and over P3 into a safe-house, capable to fit in more than three thousand people. A proud smile covers my features, as I think of the wards Chris has put up to conceal the place from Leo and his demons; all they can see coming close to it is my sister's club, nothing more, nothing less. But in reality it's so much more...
I let my gaze wonder around, as I hear the jingling of the rest of the family orbing in. The club is dark and dusty, with the stools overturned, and the curtain drawn over the stage. Piper would have a fit if she saw the state of her beloved club. A pang of grief shoots through me, as I remember the sister I left behind twenty years ago without my will. Hot tears prickle my eyes, and I try to keep them at bay, reminding myself that I would soon be reunited with both Piper and Phoebe. I would finally be able to hold them in my arms again, and tell them just how much I've missed them. Well, that is if I get the time line correctly.
"Ugh, we need to hire someone to clean up this place." I hear my baby sister say in disdain, and I chuckle as I get sight of her disgusted expression.
I've lost Piper and Phoebe, but I've gained Paige. I've finally got to meet the sister I sacrificed myself for, and I wouldn't change that for the world. Paige and I have many similarities, both in character and in powers. She had my sarcasm and stubbornness, but I guess those are common Halliwell traits. But Paige is also focused and pragmatic, hard on the exterior but a softie on the inside, just like me.
"Should we first take Leo's permission, or should we start the interviews for the job without it?" Cole comments dryly, looking at me expectantly. Grabbing a couple of glasses from underneath the bar, I loudly lay them on the table, and start pouring scotch in it.
"Nah, I don't think he'll mind if we do this on our own." Paige shoots back, and then slips her hand over the glass that was resting in front of her, as I'm about to pour her a shot "None for me, thanks."
"It's only a drink, doctor recommended." I say raising an eyebrow.
"Prue, you know I shouldn't drink." She says pinning those hazel eyes of hers in mine, and I sigh. She's right; she has history with alcohol, and it's wise of her to stay away from it, even after all those years.
"Kyle?" I ask knowing how my brother-in-law usually abstains for moral support to his wife.
"Hit me." He says with a tired groan, slipping on the stool next to Paige, his head falling on to her shoulder. Paige's hand instantly comes to his hair and she starts running her fingers thought it. I turn to look at Andy who shakes his head.
"Ugh, do you happen to have a beer?" he asks, and I chuckle lightly, amazed by how little he's changed through the years.
"I'm sorry, but no." I say putting the bottle back on the bar.
"Well, I can help with that." Paige says with a smirk. She holds her hand out and calls "Beer bottle." A swarm of blue and white particles appear on her hand, and they quickly form into a bear bottle.
"You're a life saviour." Andy comments as she slides the beer towards him, making her smile in embarrassment.
"Yes she is." Kyle agrees, lifting his head to kiss her cheek. I spent another couple of moments, just looking at them revelling at the thought that at least one of my sisters is alive and happy, well relatively, before turning my attention to Cole.
"How are things going down there?" I ask bringing my glass to my mouth. Cole takes a sip, his blue eyes pinning on the liquid inside his glass, a sigh leaving his lips.
"Slowly." He says, his eyes snapping up to mine "Stupid as the demons are, they're not stupid enough to go against Leo. Some of them are completely reluctant, others want a reward if they join." Cole lowers his head and runs a hand through his hair.
"You think you can make them come around?" Andy asks and Cole shakes his glass, causing some of the whiskey to spill out.
"I know I will try, but I can't promise anything." Cole heaves another sigh "Patty might have a better chance with some of them, they seem to be more willing to listen to her."
"Didn't they used to call Patty 'the bratty hafling'?" Paige recalls drawing a hearty laugh out of Cole.
"Oh, I remember that." Kyle chimes in "Phoebe was so pissed."
"She was worse than pissed, she was livid." Cole says, a huge smile spreading across his face "No one was allowed to call her little angel a 'hafling'."
"She had no problem with the 'bratty' part?" I question, and Cole raises an eyebrow.
"Well, she couldn't argue with the truth." He says with a small shrug. I laugh and then take another sip of my drink.
"Where are the girls any way?" I question, and Cole's eyes shoot to the floor "No, you left them alone at the Underworld?"
"Oh please, those three can handle those pour-excuses of demons better than I ever could." Cole said a lazy but proud smile, stretching across his face. I know he sounds aloof, but I'm almost certain he's cast some kind of spell over his three girls just to make sure they'll keep out of trouble. Cole is nothing if not an overprotective father, a fact that Patty hates with a passion.
"Talking about kids, we should probably check in on Paul." Paige says turning to Kyle, who sighs, and gives her a reproving smile.
"Paige we talked about this, Paul is old enough-"
"I'd still like to check on him." Paige cuts him off.
"He won't be happy about it." Kyle says knowingly, but Paige crosses her arms, her lips creating a thin line.
"I don't care." Kyle exhales again, his hand coming to rub his chin. He looks her in the eye for a few silent seconds, and then gives her a nod. Paige turns to me, and with small wave of her fingers, she's gone.
"Okay, explanation time." I said pouring some more whiskey in his glass.
"Safe house nine was attacked today." Kyle says, his blue eyes pinned on his hands.
"What?" I hear my own self question at the same time with Andy and Cole. Kyle grabs his glass in his hand, nodding a slow confirmation. It seems that there was one too many things that I didn't know about.
"We still don't know who gave the order, but we know it didn't come from Leo. I was in heavens with Andy the whole day, and I found out just over an hour before Chris called to tell us about Melinda."
"How bad?" Cole asks and a pained expression crosses Kyle's face.
"We lost the ¼." He says and takes a sip of his scotch, his eyes falling close.
"One fourth." I mutter under my breath "How many is that?"
"The capacity of the safe house was roughly, four thousand people, some alterations had to be made to fit another couple hundreds." Kyle's voice was barely audible, but the silence in the club, made it sound loud and clear.
"So...around one thousand people?" Cole asks and Kyle's shoulders stiffen as he nodes yes. I let a shaky breath; it's bad, but it could've been much worse.
"Yeah, they managed to fight off the attack early on, so the casualties were...controlled."
"And Paul?" Andy questions, and a small smile graces Kyle's face.
"He wanted to stay behind, heal anyone that needs to be healed, and play shrink to those who lost someone."
"You got a good kid, Brody." Cole says, clinking his glass against Kyle's, who smiles again.
"What about Charlie?" I question, and Kyle looks up at me.
"Paige sent her home. She was not happy about it." He says, and then he inclines his glass towards me "Where's Prescott?"
"France." Andy responds instead of me, and Kyle frowns at him "Cassandra said that if no one visited to let her know what's going on she'd orb home to find out on her own. Pres, didn't want to risk it."
"You know, sooner or later you'll have to tell her." Cole says, and I see Andy's hand clenching around his beer "She's already asking about Peter, it's a matter of time she starts asking about Arianna." Kyle lowers his head, bringing his glass to his mouth "And then before you know it she'll start questioning why Uncle Leo is killing people."
I brace myself against the bar, and draw in a breath; Cole's right, Cassandra is young but she's not stupid. She already knows that there's something wrong with her brother. I can feel the tears in my eyes, and my heart constricts, as I think about my boy, but I can't afford to lose it.
Peter is gone, and it hurts to think about it. But not thinking about it only hurts more. We had no time to mourn for him, in this constant battlefield. We barely had the time to bury him, let alone reminisce of the time we had together. Andy put on a brave facade, and I did the same, staying strong for Prescott who allowed himself to break down.
One look at Kyle, and I know that he's thinking of his baby girl. Arianna's death was so sudden, and tragic, it left the rest of us just staring in disbelief. I think Paige is still in denial about it, and I know for a fact that so is Charlie. Paul is the only one who's trying to work through his grief, and he's the only helping Kyle to face the facts.
"You think Melinda is alive?" Andy questions, and I clench onto the bar with both hands, not turning to look at him.
"She has to be." Cole responds, his face grim.
"We shouldn't let ourselves believe otherwise." Kyle speaks up "If not for us, then for Chris and Wyatt's sake."
"Yes, but if she's..." Andy trails off, unable to bring himself to finish the sentence "Then we might actually have a chance against Leo."
"I'd gladly suffer Leo's tyranny and stupidity, if it meant Melinda would be safe."
If I were still the same woman I were when I found out I was a witch, I would've agreed with him in an instant. But I am not. I'd seen too much, I'd been through situations I never thought were possible; I'd died, I'd become a Whitelighter, then a wife and a mother. I met the sister I was never supposed to meet, and I fought a war against my brother-in-law. A war that caused me one son and one niece.
And even though I am fiercely protective of Melinda, and I love her with all my heart, I know that sacrifice is unavoidable. I'd take her place, if I could. But I can't, and it is unfair on so many levels.
The truth though remains; as long as all three of Piper's children are alive, Leo is invincible.
A/N: Okay guys, this is important; if you liked this chapter I would really appreciate it if you'd let me know, because I'm considering to start a new fic, kind of a prequel to this story, and explain what went wrong in Melinda's time line. The story will start with Prue's death, then there will be a chapter where Leo joins the Avatar and the actual story will start around the time the Ultimate Battle took place. We'll find out how Cole came back to life, what happened to Coop, how Paige ended up with Kyle and not Henry, why Prue is back, and of course why Leo became the bad guy. Some questions will be answered in this story, but not all of them. Sooooo if you liked the chapter, and you want all of the questions answered, just let me know in your reviews