Charmed: Hollowed Lives

Disclaimer: I don't own charmed, but the WB does.

Summary: AU After Season Five- This is a one shot about the troubles of three travelers, whom battle the Hollow in their own world in order to survive. The Seer foresaw this, the Avaters warned of it, Good and Evil both agreed to forgo its usage, but no one listened. From a world that has been nearly destroyed by the Hollow's insatiable appetite, three travelers roam from realm to realm, plane to plane, collecting the magic that is needed in order to seal the Hollow back in its box, but who are they? And what secret does one of them harbor?

A/N: This will be a collection of Charmed one shots that I have written over the last few years, which are mostly about Cole and Phoebe. Review and tell me what you think!

Chapter 4: Goodbye

Phoebe's eyes darted to him, knowing there was really no right answer to what he had asked. "That's a loaded question," Phoebe sighed, recognizing the fact that either answer would make her look like a dreadful person. "If I say yes, I'm betraying you by saying that you're not my son. If I say no, I'm betraying you because I lost you in this world and I don't seem like I'm grieving, even though losing a child is the worst pain ever imagined."

"I'm not looking for a right answer," Payton whispered, seeing the awkward position that his question put his mother in. However, he wanted to know the answer, not only for his sake, but for his mother's, as well. "I'm just looking for an answer."

"The tonics that the Seer gave me, they twisted your soul and made me think you weren't mine. I felt your power, it was hard to contain, and I just assumed that the power I felt was evil because you had so many demonic abilities—you vanquished a demon that was thought impossible to vanquish! And then the Seer told me that you were always her child, from the moment of conception, which I took literally instead of figuratively as she meant it, just to spare myself the pain from knowing that I lost you, that I failed in protecting you." Phoebe cried out, with a few warm tears running down her cheek as thoughts that she kept hidden inside escaped the darkest recesses of her mind. Payton reached over and rubbed her back, showing her that he didn't blame her, wanting nothing more than to make her feel better. "I hardened my heart to prevent myself from falling apart after Cole died and after I lost you."

"I wasn't looking for a right answer, yet you gave one anyway." Payton murmured, looking off into the night, unwilling to allow his mother to see his tearful eyes. Not having grown up around her, he had always wanted to talk to her about his problems, to know what she thought of him, and this being the first time he had that chance, he wasn't going to pass it up, no matter how hard it would be for him.

"How did you know I said that? That you weren't mine, I mean…?" Phoebe questioned, wiping away her tears with her sleeve. She saw the water accumulating in his eyes, but she did not mention it, knowing that he didn't want her to see his tears.

"I had a vision about it when you rubbed my back before in the ice cream place," He answered, having seen the would-be coronation of the Seer as the Source in its entirety, including what Phoebe had said in the cage. "You weren't all wrong, either—the Source was there when you were carrying me, just my soul was there, as well. My soul was powerless and small at the time, yes, but it was there nonetheless. However, I understand why you said it now, and I forgive you."

"You sure have a lot of visions," Phoebe laughed through her pain, hoping to turn the conversation into something a bit more pleasant. The thought of her son actually being there, underneath and overshadowed by the pit of evil that she felt from the Source was too painful to think about, both then and forever. "You know, my sisters and I are going to have a lot to talk about because of you three."

"Oh?" Payton replied, running his fingers along the cement stairs, feeling the rough patches of rock. He traced the symbol of the triquetra on the cement, the image having been engrained into his mind over the many times he used it in order to create a portal to another world. "Do you think Paige would like me?"

"Why wouldn't she?" She inquired, suspicious that he thought that Paige wouldn't like him because he was the son of Cole Tuner, whom did not get along with her at any point during his life.

"She didn't like my father very much, I don't know." Payton replied with a shrug, not wanting his aunt to dislike him because of what his father had done in this world.

"You're not your father, and she's not so spiteful to lump the two of you together like that." Phoebe responded, knowing that Paige would be able to separate Payton and Cole, regardless of how much Paige had hated Cole. True, Payton did look like Cole an awful lot, but Phoebe knew that Paige would be able to see past the shallow similarities. "You're your own person; a strong, smart, caring person."

"Good, because I like her," Payton said, having always appreciated Paige's spirit and candor when he was growing up. Out of all of the sisters, he had known her the longest, having lived eleven years of his life with her there to help take care of him.

Phoebe cocked an eyebrow, wondering what he thought about her older sister, Piper. "What about Piper?" She asked amusedly, a small smile playing on her face.

"She's okay," Payton joked sarcastically with a laugh, shrugging in mock indifference. Phoebe gave out a laugh as well, enjoying Payton's sense of humor—it was sarcasm without any animosity in it, which made it easy to make her laugh.

Eventually, the pair headed back into the manor, and as they were entering the door, Phoebe's father Victor Bennett came walking out. "Oh, Phoebe, hi," Victor said, kissing his daughter hello on the cheek. "I was just returning Wyatt for the night."

"Hi dad," Phoebe smiled back, having not seen him in a few days. His move back to San Francisco had been a success, as he had fulfilled his promise of being there for Phoebe and her sisters more, so much so in fact that if the girls didn't see him for a couple of days, they often wondered where he was. Even Paige had grown close to Victor, which was amazing as Paige's existence was a living reminder about the failures that Victor had as a husband.

"And who is this, your date?" Victor questioned, looking over to Payton and giving him a once over, wanting to see if he measured up to his standards for his daughter. He understood that Phoebe had been having problems finding the right man, and like any good father would, he wanted to make sure that this one wouldn't hurt her.

"That is the grossest thing I've ever heard." Payton sighed with a slight look of disgust on his face, trying to get that mental image out of his mind.

"What?" Victor asked confusedly, looking at Payton curiously, not understanding what he had said wrong.

"Time travel, dad," Phoebe replied, filling her father in on why it was a gross suggestion. "He's my son."

"…oh," Victor squirmed, understanding his mistake and seeing why Payton would react that way. "It's just that, since he looks like Cole, I figured that was your type. Wait, he does look an awful lot like Cole, doesn't he?"

"He's my father, so I would imagine I would." Payton grinned, a near exact replica of Cole Turner's grin. "Payton Turner, how are you, sir?" Payton asked, reaching out his hand for the older man to shake.

"Have you ever met your grandfather?" Phoebe inquired, not knowing whether her father was still alive and present in his world.

"Once or twice," Payton answered, trying to recall the last time he had seen his grandfather. It had been a long time since he had last seen him, so much so that he didn't really remember if it happened at all and he actually never did meet him. "But it was when I was young, so I only vaguely remember."

"I'm slightly confused," Victor murmured, wondering how Payton was Cole's son when Phoebe had divorced him nearly a year prior and had made no assertions of ever wanting to get back together with him.

"I'll fill you in the next time I see you," Phoebe replied, taking her father's arm and escorting him over to his car.

"I didn't know, I'm sorry," Victor mumbled as he fumbled with his keys, Phoebe shaking her head all the while. "Bye Payton, it was good to meet you." Victor called out in a louder voice, giving a wave to his grandson. "I'll be seeing you."

"Bye now," Payton returned, waving back, watching as Victor got into his car and drove off. When the car was out of sight, he turned his gaze over to Phoebe, who was walking back up to him on the porch. "I'm glad I got to see him."

Once Phoebe had reached the door again, they both entered the house, where they found Matthew and Wyatt waiting for them, each showered and wearing a fresh set of clean clothes. "So I haven't asked you, but what powers do you have?" Paige asked her son conversationally, wondering what abilities he had in comparison to Wyatt.

"I can orb and sense from my whitelighter genes," Matthew replied, listing off his powers with his fingers. Admittedly, he wasn't as powerful as Payton or Wyatt, even without them absorbing more power to fight the Hollow, but regardless of that, he was still a very strong witch, one that was not to be taken lightly in battle. "And I can conjure the elements and telekinetically orb from my witch ones."

"Conjure the elements? You mean like the Enchantress could?" Paige gasped, referencing her previous life as the Enchantress, where she had the power to conjure the classical elements like fire, water, and air. The Enchantress had been exceptionally powerful, but evil, which made her future lives lose that power and forced them to earn their powers back through good deeds and soul growth.

"I have no idea who the Enchantress is, but yes, conjure the elements." Matthew answered with a nod, raising an eyebrow at the mention of the Enchantress but not asking about it. "You know, I can throw fire bolts, I can generate water, and I can release gusts of winds."

"The Enchantress was one of your mother's past lives." Piper informed with a smile, remembering that night with the prince, where they traveled back in time to a kingdom long ago. The young Wyatt giggled as he sat in her lap, staring blankly at his older self, who just continued to smile back, apparently enjoying the surreal experience of meeting his younger self. "She came to the future when your mother first returned to our family way back when; it was quite a night to remember. Anyway, what are fire bolts, like throwing flames or something?"

Before Matthew could respond, the small group all noticed Payton and Phoebe standing at the doorway, and they all immediately knew that it was time for the boys to leave. Wyatt and Matthew got up from the couch and began walking to the stairs, with Payton and their three mothers following closely behind. "Wait," Wyatt whispered, stopping before they reached the stairs, looking down at the floor as if he had just thought of something.

"What is it?" Piper asked, hoping that there wasn't anything wrong. She hoisted baby Wyatt into her left arm, allowing her to use her right hand if she needed to, making sure he was safe and protected in case something was happening.

"I think we should go check," Wyatt said to Payton, looking at his half-demon cousin. While they usually didn't check the sacred land, they had previously knowledge that the Hollow was released in the world they were currently in, which made it all the more prudent to see if it was still in its proper chamber and protected as it should be.

"Right," Payton nodded slowly, seeing the intelligence in doing what Wyatt said. "We'll be back; it'll be a few minutes." He muttered, looking over at his mother and his aunts, each of whom had looks of confusion on their faces.

"Bye," Matthew said, watching as his cousins disappeared—Wyatt in a silhouette of light blue orbs and Payton in a flash of orange flames respectively.

"Where did they go?" Phoebe asked, as Matthew walked back into the living room and resumed his seat on the couch, apparently not seeing the use in standing.

"They went to see if the Hollow is still in its sacred resting place," Matthew answered, leaning back in his seat, knowing it would be a few minutes until they came back.

Phoebe nodded and leaned against the wall, biting her lip as she looked over at Matthew, who was quite handsome. "So Payton tells me you and him are close," Phoebe started, wanting to make some conversation with her nephew before he left.

"Pay?" Matthew smiled, looking over to his aunt that was on the other side of the room. "Yeah, we are; very close actually. Wyatt has Bianca, so Payton and I mainly stick with each other, not really having anyone else."

"Who's Bianca?" Piper questioned, wondering if Wyatt had a girlfriend that she didn't know about. Why wouldn't he tell me about her, she questioned ruefully to herself, visions of an elegant wedding appearing in her mind.

Just then, there was a flash of flames and a flurry of blue orbs in the corner of the room, signifying the reappearance of Payton and Wyatt, their mission seemingly successful. Again, the family marched up the stairs and arrived in the attic not a minute later, where they all saw a large, finished triquetra sketched onto the wall with white chalk. Piper placed baby Wyatt gently down into his attic playpen, before walking back over to the group as a great sadness suddenly stole over her, knowing that she would miss this version of her son.

"Do we need to say a spell or anything?" Piper questioned her son, wondering if they needed to do anything to help. "Do we need the book?"

"No, not at all," Matthew shook his head in the negative, answering in place of Wyatt. "It's Payton's spell; he's the one that always does it."

"You invented it?" Phoebe inquired with a smile, admiring the fact that her son had inherited her spell-creating ability. I guess he really is the brains, she thought to herself, impressed with his skill and smarts in magic.

"Yes," Payton nodded in the affirmative, having worked on the spell throughout many sleepless nights, while he continually tried to figure out a plan to defeat the Hollow. "All you have to do is think of a place in your mind, draw a portal, and your magic will do the work. I use the triquetra because it's a magical symbol in and of itself, which enhances and focuses the spell even more than the rhymes do. Listen to it so you can put it in your book, it might come in handy one day, you never know. You just need to switch a few words around to suit your needs, whatever they may be at the time."

"Will do," Phoebe agreed, knowing that it was always good to have a powerful spell at the ready just in case, especially one that could allow them to travel through both time and space.

Payton scanned Wyatt and Matthew, making sure they were both ready to depart, that each of them was prepared for the travel. At their nods, he looked towards the wall and closed his eyes, concentrating on where they needed to go: their home on top of Mount Olympus firmly pictured in his mind. "Hear these words, hear the rhyme, heed the hope within my mind; send us forward to where we'll find our rightful place in space and time." Payton chanted, thrusting his hands forward at the triquetra drawn on the wall as if using Piper's powers to slow down molecules.

Immediately, a blue portal in the shape of the triquetra opened, showing a whirling tunnel that would lead them back to their own timeline. As the men made their way over to their respective mothers to say their goodbyes, they each took out a golden pendant from their pockets and placed it around their neck, the key to being able to enter Mount Olympus once they arrived—it was warded and protected from entry except for those holding the pendant. "Good bye, mom," Payton said, moving away from Phoebe after giving her a long, emotional hug. "For what it's worth, you would have made a wonderful mother for me. I had a great time tonight."

"Good luck with your battle, I'm positive you'll win and find that happiness that you deserve," Phoebe whispered, kissing his cheek and enveloping him in one last hug, not wanting to let him go. "I'm sorry for everything again."

"You have no reason to be sorry," Payton assured her, having spoken with her about everything that had made him dread coming into the timeline in the first place. "One day things will work out for you, and whatever children you do have with that man, they will be lucky to have you as a mother."

"You're sweet," Phoebe smiled, a tear coming down her cheek, surprised by how close she felt with her son in just a few short hours together. There was so much that she wanted to know, wanted to talk to him about that she didn't even know if he stayed there for a week that she'd have enough time to get to it all. "Remember, just be yourself like I said and you'll do fine."

"I will, I promise. I'll be seeing you, mom," Payton said quietly one last time, walking over to the portal and standing a few feet from it. "Good bye everyone, it was nice seeing you Aunt Piper, Aunt Paige," Payton waved, before stepping into the blue portal and disappearing from view, presumably returning to his own timeline.

"Will we see each other again?" Paige questioned her own son, wondering if he would ever come to visit her again. Truthfully, while she wasn't previously dreading motherhood, she knew that it was quickly approaching as she aged, and after meeting Matthew for herself, she was more excited about it than ever before.

"If we beat the Hollow, yes, we'll come back and say hello, if you want." Matthew replied, looking forward to the day that they could return to tell their parents the good news in that they were successful.

"When you beat the Hollow, you mean," Paige corrected, not wanting to think about Matthew or Wyatt or Payton losing their battle against the Hollow, which would mean they lost their lives, as well. "When you beat the Hollow, you will come back and say hello."

"Yes," Matthew nodded, noticing his slip of the tongue, not having meant to be so negative with what he said. "Yes, when we beat the Hollow." He smiled, before giving her a final hug and saying, "Bye! See you soon Aunt Piper and Aunt Phoebe." After giving one last look to his mother and his aunts, he turned and jumped into the portal, disappearing from sight instantly.

Wyatt hugged his mom and made his way over to the portal, before stopping and thinking about something, a pensive expression on his face. "I take it he didn't want to do this on his own," Wyatt murmured, closing his eyes and sensing out into the Void, searching for someone that he knew all too well. "Perhaps that's why he wanted to stay by himself in the hopes of being able to talk to him. I guess I owe him for going against his wishes and telling you who he really was."

"What are you talking about?" Phoebe asked, knowing that her son was the person about whom Wyatt was talking, but not knowing exactly why. What did he mean by 'owe him'? What did Wyatt plan on doing?

"If we teach you anything by telling you about our miserable lives, please, forgive and forget. Everyone deserves a second chance, including him." Wyatt answered, waving his hand through the air and looking off to an empty spot on the attic floor, drawing the attention of all of the sisters. "Goodbye mom, I love you. Tell dad I say hello. Aunt Paige, Aunt Phoebe, be safe." He said, before walking forward into the portal, but not so far that he disappeared like the other two. "And make sure you get a new whitelighter!" Wyatt's voice came as he took another few steps and disappeared, sounding as if he was right there in the attic.

As soon as Wyatt fully stepped through the portal, it closed behind him and vanished, preventing anyone from traveling like the three boys had done. Immediately after the portal's closing, as if by magic, a being started to appear in a swirl of wind at the exact spot at which Wyatt had stared just seconds before. First came feet, and then legs, before finally a torso, which was that of a tall man. In a matter of moments, the magic was complete and the being appeared in his entirety, allowing the sisters to see exactly who he was.

"Cole?" Phoebe whispered, looking over at the confused ex-demon, who seemed to not understand how he got there. The man turned his attention to the voice, and was shocked to meet the gaze of his former wife, a person that he never dreamed of seeing ever again.

A/N: This story is now complete. I may write a follow up eventually, but this was the story I wanted to tell: a group of young adults, fighting for what they know is right, finally get a break from that fight for a short while. Thank you for reading.