Title: Not So Twice Blessed
Rating: PG-13 (swearing; some violence)
Spoilers/Warnings: Entire series + some of comic season 9
Summary: AU Season 6; Chris is Prue and Cole's son (inspired from reading "The Other Twice Blessed" by JasonMorganfan87 where Chris is Prue and Andy's son).
Starts at 614 "The Legend of Sleepy Halliwell".
Phoebe slipped into the back room at P3 and cornering Chris. "Hey."
He turned and looked at her in question, nervous. "Hey." He stares at her awkwardly, "So, did you come here to kick me out?"
"Uh, no, actually ... I came here to ask you a question."
Shrugging, he asked, "What?"
"I need you to be honest with me. No games. No running away. Just the truth."
"Ok," he agreed.
She took a deep breath, "Are you Wyatt's little brother?"
Completely surprised by the question and the implication, he looked away to consider his answer. Taking a breath himself, he shook his head, "No… but he will be born if I can get Piper and Leo back together in time."
Phoebe shook her head, "I could have sworn… there's something about you that's so familiar…"
"Because I'm your nephew."
"I knew it." Excitedly, she went over to him to take his hand. "We have to tell Paige."
"Paige is not my mother."
"I don't understand." Her mind worked rapidly through the possibilities. "On my future husband's side?"
Chris shook his head.
Phoebe's hand went up to cover her gasp. "That's not possible."
"Believe me, it really, really is."
Piper and Paige followed Phoebe into the manor as she (Phoebe) dragged Chris along and practically pushed him on to the sofa.
Piper looked at her younger sister. "What is going on?"
Phoebe jabbed a finger at Chris. "He's our nephew!"
Piper tilted her head at Paige.
"No! Not Paige's son."
Piper's head jerked in shock.
Paige's brow narrowed into a confused frown. "But that would mean-"
Piper whirled, studying Chris closely, her eyes beginning to fill with tears. "You're Prue's son?"
"That's not possible," Paige looked between her sisters and Chris.
"Why didn't I see it?" Piper whispered in shock, sitting down slowly on chair. "You're just like her."
"He has her eyes," Phoebe stated, sitting on the arm of Piper's chair.
"Is Prue alive? Did we bring her back? How is this possible?" Paige asked urgently, eager for answers and the possibility of meeting the big sister she never had the chance to know.
Chris shook his head, reluctant to give anymore answers. "I can't tell you."
"Please, she's our sister?" Piper looked at him with pleading eyes. "She's been gone for so long… and I understood why she couldn't be called at first… but now?"
He stared into the eyes of his favorite aunt… and he couldn't help but cave. "You have to understand, Mom didn't want to disrupt your lives. You learned to live without her. You didn't need a big sister butting in again; when you were handling things so well on your own…" He trailed off, looking up at them, "and there was the issue with who Dad is."
"What issue?" Phoebe said, "Prue's our sister."
"And your dad must be a Whitelighter," Paige remarked.
He shook his head. "He's not."
"But you're a Whitelighter…" A light bulb went off in Piper's mind. "Prue's a Whitelighter?"
"Since she died," he answered.
"All this time…" Phoebe closed her eyes as a tear dropped.
Piper's voice went raspy from holding back tears herself. "We could've seen her?"
"Whitelighters aren't supposed to interact with their past lives," Chris said softly. "She can't hear your calls."
"Leo!" Piper shouted at the top of her lungs. "Leo!"
The sparkle of orbs announced his prompt arrival. "What's going on?"
Phoebe asked her brother-in-law, "Did you know about Prue?"
At his clueless expression, Piper explained, "That she was a Whitelighter?"
"Did you know?" Paige studied him and shook her head. She knew him well enough to know he wouldn't hide something so big from his wife or her sisters. "You didn't know."
He looked at his wife. "I swear, I didn't know."
Piper gestured to Chris. "Meet your nephew. Prue's son."
"That's impossible." Leo looked at Chris in disbelief.
"You're an Elder," Paige pointed out, "could you, maybe, call her?"
"You can't," Chris stood, "you're changing the timeline. I've already told you too much."
His words were interrupted when a familiar face orbed in. "It's alright, Chris. I'm here."
"Mom," he whispered in awe. She was more beautiful than he remembered. He rushed to her side, engulfing her in a hug. "How did you know?"
Prue returned his embrace. "I felt your pain. I had to come – future son or not."
"Does Dad know?"
"Of course he knows. I'm sure he's no different in the future." Prue leaned back, "He's at home with you, waiting for the all clear." She gave his hand a squeeze, "Now come on, I have some explaining to do and quickly before your Aunt Piper decides to blow something up." She turned to the others, finding it cute that her grown up son wouldn't let go of her hand. "Hi," she waved with her free hand.
"'Hi'? That's all you have to say?" Phoebe shrieked in frustration before attacking her big sister in a hug.
Piper squeezed herself in to the embrace, her arms locking around Prue's neck. "I've missed you so much."
Leo got in his own hug, before they all separated.
Phoebe reached out and took Paige's hand. "Prue, this is our baby sister, Paige."
Paige gave an awkward wave before she felt arms hugging her.
"Thank you for keeping things together," Prue smiled at her. "I have no idea how these two would have made it without you."
"Hey!" Piper and Phoebe said indignantly.
"I had some pretty big shoes to fill," Paige said softly.
"You filled them well. Probably better than I ever was at it."
Piper shook her head. "There's still so much we're still figuring out…"
Gesturing everyone down on to the couches, Prue shook her head. "You guys have been doing fine. The last three years have gone by in a blink of an eye. The Charmed Ones are more powerful than ever and the next generation is on its way to becoming stronger." She placed her hand on Chris's arm, reassuring him again that she was really there. "Now, I have a story to tell… and then it will be your turn to catch me up on what's going on. Mainly why my handsome son has come from the future."
"Chris mentioned that you were a Whitelighter," Leo remarked, "I never took you as one to follow the rules. I'm surprised you never tried to contact us."
She nodded, her grey eyes twinkling, "No, I'm not… but Mom and Grams convinced me to stay away. Not just for your sakes, but for mine as well. I needed time to adapt to the fact that I was no longer alive; that I'd become something other than a witch. I had new responsibilities and I needed to learn to be a Whitelighter. It took awhile to get the hang of things - especially since I had charges to take care of. Time passed and we all got used to me not being around."
Piper said, "Prue, we still needed you."
"You didn't, though," she smiled, "you became the oldest and took charge; Phoebe became the mediator as the new middle sister." She turned toward the baby of the group, "And Paige became the new troublemaker."
"I'm not/wasn't a troublemaker," Paige/Phoebe protested.
Piper rolled her eyes. "Of course not."
"Things were going well with you all, so I decided not to complicate matters… at least not right away," Prue continued. "I focused on my charges; poking my nose in over here every so often to keep track of what's been going on in your lives."
Phoebe grinned, "Of course you did."
"Hey, I'm still your big sister. I had to make sure things were okay." She glanced at Chris, before saying, "Anyway, in my Whitelighter travels, I bumped into an old acquaintance of ours. Things kind of blossomed from there-"
"And Chris came into the picture?" Paige added a bit of innuendo into her words.
"Not right away," Prue explained. "To keep things PG for this one over here-"
"Thanks," Chris smirked, "I really don't need to hear about your and Dad's sex life."
She rolled her eyes, grinning, "We didn't think it was possible for a Whitelighter to get pregnant, but here sits proof that that's entirely not true. Baby Chris is almost one."
"He's around the same age as Wyatt then," Piper pointed out.
"The exact same age," Prue remarked. "They were both born on February 2nd."
Paige's back went straight. "Wait, that means Chris and Wyatt are both twice-blessed?"
"The prophecy…" Piper whispered.
Phoebe looked at Chris, "No offense, but you don't seem anywhere near as powerful as Wyatt."
He shrugged, "I may have been holding back."
Prue's lips flattened, her eyes narrowing at her son. "Regardless, I'm not sure that the prophecy would apply to Chris. Most wouldn't consider him 'blessed' given who his father is."
His head tilted back as he chuckled, "I'm glad things don't change. You and Dad are exactly the same."
"Who is Chris's father?" Leo asked. "You mentioned before that he was an old acquaintance. Someone we know?"
"Yeah, about that," Prue stalled, glancing at Chris, "he's a demon."
Phoebe's eyes widened in shock. "You ended up with a demon?"
Piper's brows lowered suspiciously. "Which demon?"
A portal suddenly opened and a familiar brunette stepped through it. "That would be me."
"Cole?" Paige cried out in dismay, "You ended up with Cole?"
Recognizing the portal, Chris stood up. "Dad, what are you doing here?"
"Just how I remember it." Cole glanced around, taking in his familiar-yet-not surroundings. "Your delightful cousin has decided to come for you – the younger you. There was a vote and I volunteered to be the one to come back." His eyes landed on Prue, "For more than the obvious reason."
Phoebe knew his face well enough to see the emotion he was hiding behind his mask. She glanced between her ex-husband and her sister and knew without a doubt that there was something… destined between the two of them.
Prue studied the familiar face of her lover and stood. "I should check on my Chris and Cole."
Cole couldn't take his eyes off her. "I'll always be your Cole. No matter what time I come from."
Their eyes carried on a silent conversation, before Prue took her leave and orbed out.
"You're from the future too?" Piper said in irritation, "Don't tell me more are coming? We can't keep changing the future."
"No worries, Piper. You haven't managed to change anything yet – nothing worth mentioning, at least," Cole remarked. He watched Chris's shoulders slump in disappointment. "Hey, I warned you before you came back that this wouldn't be easy. If it was, your mother and I would have stopped it."
"I know," he sighed, "I just thought… we've done so much and none of it helped?"
"Something has," Cole stated, "look through your memories. You've gained a few cousins that you didn't have before."
"Melinda?" Piper said in shock. Her hand went to her chest. "My Melinda?" She looked at the pair from the future before glancing at her estranged husband.
"Future consequences," Chris said as an excuse.
"For now, Wyatt has sent someone after you. He's not going to risk hopping time to deal with it himself. He'll lose his foothold on the underworld if he does," Cole explained. "We need to get you and your mother to a new location."
"But no one knew where we were. Not during this time."
"Wyatt's got the benefit of Tempus's skills at his fingertips. He'll find out."
"He died when the Source ordered him to turn back time, when..." Phoebe trailed off.
"When Prue died," Piper finished.
At Piper's and Phoebe's interjections, Cole said grimly, "You have everything about him detailed in the Book. As a Halliwell – even an evil one – Wyatt has full access."
Ignoring the commentary, Chris demanded, "Who is he sending?"
Cole couldn't help glancing at Paige. "Henry."
"He's brainwashed Henry?" Chris said in anger. "He's only nineteen."
"Old enough to make his own choices."
"Damn it!" Chris cursed before orbing out.
Leaving Cole to face the younger – still alive – members of his family. "So? I guess everyone's surprised to see me."
Piper glared at him. "What are you doing here?"
"This is like déjà vu," he said to himself. "It's lovely to see you too, Piper. As you must have gathered by now, the lovely Prue is the mother of my delightful offspring. I've come back after him to prevent your son from destroying more of the world than he already has. Including another future nephew and an undisclosed number of other nephews and nieces that are the next generation of Halliwell witches."
"You expect us to believe all that?" Phoebe sneered angrily.
"You tried to kill me!" Paige reminded.
"Join the club." He crossed his arms. "Need I remind you, that as Belthazor, I tried to kill all of you – on several occasions – I gave that all up to be with Phoebe. In my misguided need to keep Phoebe's love, I tried to destroy Paige, ultimately destroying myself instead. But I learned enough the first time I was vanquished to prevent death from hindering me. Dying twice for you," he said addressing Phoebe, "was enough to teach me not to allow that to happen again. So I moved on. If I remember correctly, it's been more than a year since you last saw me."
"And in that time, you just happened to run into, fall in love and have a child with Prue?" Piper said skeptically.
"Oh, Piper, time in limbo moves much differently than in the real world. Ask your husband, he'll tell you that."
Leo grudging admitted that he was right. "But that doesn't explain you and Prue."
"We bumped into each other here actually. Prue was darling as ever, threatening me to stay away from the family. But over time, we bonded over our mutual need to protect this family." He gestured to all of them. "You are, after all, my family… the only one I had for a long time. Hard habit to break."
"And Chris? I was pretty far into my pregnancy when you were vanquished."
"Demon/Whitelighter pregnancies are much shorter than you'd expect. Cute little tyke wasn't even born properly. Orbed right out of his mother's belly. Raising Chris was a huge learning experience." He shrugged, "His siblings were much easier to handle after."
"Siblings?" Phoebe was beginning to wonder whether she was dreaming or not.
"As young Chris likes to say, 'future consequences'. I will however say this – in the future that Wyatt's created, there are no Charmed Ones," Cole stated softly. "The underworld systematically killed all of you – starting with a Darklighter arrow to Prue. I've lived without her for the past twelve years and the only thing that keeps me going is our children. Seeing her alive now, reminds me why I agreed to Chris's plan to come back to try to fix things." He stood toe-to-toe with Piper, staring her coldly in the eye. "Chris and I are not just here to save Wyatt. We're here to save the whole family."
Piper said helplessly, "What did we do wrong? What happened that could turn my baby boy to evil?"
Cole looked at her in sympathy. He knew what it was like to have doubts as a parent. "If I knew, I would have already stopped it from happening." He looked between the sisters and Leo. "Chris has already changed things – you were more powerful, lasted just that much longer – but ultimately, it still hasn't been enough. The future is still just as bleak as when he first came back."
Paige studied him, "So what do we do?"
"Think smarter. You're aware now. You know there's a threat, because I guarantee you, it won't be just anyone or anything that plants the seed of evil in Wyatt. It will be from something or someone you didn't expect."
They watched him fade out.
Leo studied his wife. "Do you believe him?"
Piper offered a weak chuckle, "How can I not? You saw how he was around Prue. The feelings were too genuine… stronger than I've ever seen from either of them. I know Prue, I've never seen her so happy… even if it is with Cole."
Paige brushed her hand down Phoebe's arm. "How are you?"
She shook her head. "I don't know. How should I feel? My dead evil ex is now my dead sister's lover."
"It's the makings of an excellent soap opera," Piper said dryly.
Paige slumped down on the sofa. "All I know is that we'd better get our butts in gear. As bleak as the future is, it sounds like we all have a lot of children depending on us."
A smile finally reached Paige's lips. "Young Henry, you mean?"
"Melinda," Piper sighed, thinking of that little girl she saw when they went to the future six years ago.
Phoebe glanced at Leo, while comforting Piper. "I'm sure you'll see your little girl."
Future Cole met up with his present self. "Not surprised to see me?"
"No, not after finding out about Chris. Prue told me what she could. So Wyatt turns evil?"
"The Twice-Blessed was too worthy a target for both good and evil. Somewhere along the line, the tug of war between the sides must have gotten to him. He's not truly evil."
"He seeks power."
"Which he has."
"Even as a baby, you know he's powerful. But Chris had the benefit of growing up unknown. The prophecy never said that there would be two."
"Prue was always a good influence."
"And his siblings as well."
Cole quirked an eyebrow, a smirk on his lips. "Siblings?"
"I know. We never considered fatherhood and yet it seems to suit us so well." He pivoted on his foot as he looked out at San Francisco from their location on the Golden Gate Bridge. He became pensive. "Save Wyatt. It's your only hope to save Prue. The children are a blessing, but life without her…"
"It's not something I want to bare."
"Believe me when I say that it's definitely not something you want to bare. You thought the world looked dim when Phoebe's love turned to hate, but when Prue died in my arms…" his voice trailed off. Clearing his throat, he turned back to look at his younger self, "Let's just say the Darklighters had no idea who they were dealing with. Our son knocked me on my ass to remind me that there was still something worth living for; stopped my insane rampage… if only for a short while."
"I guess I have my work cut out for me."
"We do. I've already come back. I might as well see this through."
Getting down to business, present Cole leaned back against a beam. "Wyatt is the Twice-Blessed. Demons were quick to go after him as soon as he was born… rather, before he was born."
"Until Piper pigheadedly went after the Crone."
"But what about the 'Light' side?"
Their minds went racing.
"They would have been more discrete."
"To the point where the sisters might not have noticed an attack."
"Someone they trust; someone they would never believe would cause them harm."
"Someone misguided enough to believe that his actions were for the greater good."
"Greater good," Future Cole repeated. "An Elder."
Baby Chris was yawning, cradled happily in his mother's lap, not aware of the fact that his cousin from the future was only a few feet away, waiting to kidnap him. Prue studied the young man in front of her warily, considering her escape options.
"Aunt Prue, I don't want to hurt you," Henry said softly. "Just give Chris to me and I'll be on my way."
"If I am your aunt and you know me at all, you already know my answer to that request."
"I'm not going to hurt him. He's my cousin; he helped raise me after…"
Grown up Chris suddenly faded in. "Henry, you shouldn't have come."
"You know better than to believe anything Wyatt says. He lied to you." Chris made sure that he stood, blocking his mother. He would protect her at all costs… even if it meant vanquishing his own cousin.
"He didn't. All he's ever wanted is to have you at his side!"
Chris shook his head. "You know I can't do that. I won't join him. Not after what he did."
"Chris, he promised me that he'd fix things."
"Wyatt was the one that destroyed everything. His quest for power got my mother murdered!"
"He said it was the Darklighters-"
"Wyatt set a trap for them; he wanted to get his hands on their arrows to make an antidote to the poison. What he didn't count on was that his sisters and cousins would be at the Manor when he sprung his trap. He was thirteen and thought he was invincible." Chris's voice went raw with the emotion of the recounting. "Wyatt froze; scared out of his mind. You all would have died if Mom hadn't arrived in time. She died protecting us."
"I remember," Henry said softly, tears dropping silently from the corner of his eye, "Uncle Cole arrived and blew up all the Darklighters, but not before Aunt Prue was hit with an arrow."
"He couldn't save her." Chris looked at his mother with glassy eyes. "He couldn't save you. I couldn't save you."
"Chris," Prue reached out for his hand, "you were thirteen. It wasn't your job to save me. It was mine to save you."
"I should have been able to heal you!" Chris shouted, his voice filled with anger and tears. "I'm a damn Whitelighter! I should have been able to heal you." He dropped to a knee beside her. "Dad went crazy and slaughtered every Darklighter he could find. I had to hunt him down and stop him before he got himself killed. The Aunts were comforting the younger kids; Uncle Leo was trying to lecture Wyatt. Everyone was so distracted-"
"What happened?" she asked softly, somehow sensing that her death was only the beginning.
"My mom didn't take your death well," Henry said softly. "She was so afraid of something happening to us too that she became too afraid to leave the house; wouldn't go anywhere near the Manor or let any of us around Wyatt."
"It broke the Charmed Ones."
"Barbas showed up and Mom… she didn't make it." Henry's chin dropped to his chest, fighting the memory away.
"Phoebe summoned Grams down for advice," Chris dropped his head to her knee. "The Halliwells were too powerful, but there were signs of weakness. Phoebe and Piper needed help protecting the family. Everyday felt like we were going to battle. Not the life a child should live. That's what began Wyatt's perverse quest for power. He began to see everything as a weakness. His heart went cold after Piper and Leo died."
"Grams, Uncle Cole and Dad did everything they could to keep us together," Henry whispered.
Chris sniffed, brushing away tears, "Until Wyatt put Melinda in a coma."
"It was an accident," Henry defended weakly.
"Wyatt came for me!" Chris said angrily. "To attain ultimate power over the entire Magic community… When I wouldn't join him, he attacked me. Melinda got hurt trying to protect me."
Prue looked between the pair. "Is Melinda your sister?"
"As good as," Henry said.
"Cousin," Chris explained, "Wyatt's little sister." He gathered himself. "When she got hurt, I jumped time and came back to stop Wyatt from turning. Something happened to him, something that planted the seed of evil."
The teen stared down at his shoes. "He corrupted the Book."
"I know." He stood, turning to stare at his cousin.
Prue's eyes widened in realization. "You cast a spell, didn't you? To protect the family from the corruption of the Book. It's why Phoebe said you didn't seem very powerful…"
"I had to."
"Chris, how much of your magic is tied into the spell?"
Henry looked between his cousin and his aunt. "I don't understand."
"Your cousin cast a spell to prevent the Book from corrupting the rest of the family." Future Cole and Present Cole faded in together. "To prevent the rest of your family from turning evil along with Wyatt."
Henry looked between both of his uncles, marveling that even with twenty-five years difference, they both looked exactly the same. His uncle hadn't aged a day. "Uncle Cole."
Future Cole placed a hand on his shoulder. "Henry. I think it's time for us to go back to our time."
"The magic Wyatt imbued to you is fading. I can see it. It's best we go before you're stuck here."
Present Cole walked over to check on Prue and his young son. "You guys alright?"
She nodded, lifting the still sleeping toddler into her arms so she could stand. "Chris, how much of your magic is tied to the spell?"
"Most of it," he finally admitted. "Only the simple things are working now."
"It's the other reason you came back," she realized, "because you don't have the power to face Wyatt?"
"And it's also why it's taken so long for him to discover the truth behind what happens to Wyatt," Future Cole explained. "Luckily Wyatt doesn't realize it yet. Otherwise he'd come after Chris."
Henry's frown of confusion never left. "But-"
"Our magic and the Book are closely intertwined," Prue explained patiently. "If Wyatt has turned the Book dark, then the Book would have affected all of us through our bond with it and with each other." She remembered well what happened when Dantalion had managed to affect her with evil, turning her and her sisters into warlocks and converting the Book.
Taking his son into his own arms, Present Cole stated, "By the way, we think we've figured out who's responsible for harming Wyatt."
Chris narrowed his eyes at his fathers. "You've only been together for an hour."
"Son, you know the way I think," Future Cole smirked.
Prue rolled her eyes. "There's a reason your father was so good at evil manipulation. And now there are two of them."
Cole used Chris's bib to wipe at the drool seeping from his mouth. "Gideon."
Chris reared back in surprise. "An Elder?"
"There is an extremist group that believes that such a large concentration of magic is an abomination," Prue remarked, "but we've been keeping an eye on them."
"But Gideon isn't part of that group – at least not openly. He advocated on behalf of Leo and Piper being together. He's on Leo's side."
"Just not in this." Prue's mind processed this information. She shook her head in disbelief. "I can't believe it."
"It makes sense," Chris admitted.
"I still can't believe it, which probably means it's true." Prue glanced at both versions of her lovers. "We need to tell my sisters."
"They might not believe us," both Coles remarked.
Chris looked at Henry and his father. "You two should go back. I'll work with Mom and Present Dad on this."
Future Cole considered the situation. "I agree." He looked at his son. "You take care of yourself. I really don't want to have to come back again to save you."
"We'll look out for him," Present Cole smirked at his future self. "We'll send him back to you when he's finished his mission."
He offered one last look, before saying "Oh, you can keep him." Grabbing Henry by the scruff of his neck, he waved his hand and opened a portal. He shoved Henry through, stopping to glance at Prue. "I love you. I hope you know that I'll be waiting for you."
She walked over to him and kissed him deeply. "We'll fix things. I'll be there with you in the future. I promised we'd be together… Forever."
He stared down lovingly at her. "I almost don't want to go."
"Almost." She gave him one last kiss, before pushing him through the portal.
Chris grinned at his parents, watching the gateway to his present close. Clapping his hands together, he announced, "We've got a future to save. Let's get to work!"
615 "I Dream of Phoebe"
Chris orbed into Phoebe's office at The Mirror. "I need your help."
"I have been calling for you all week." She dropped her bag on the couch, before spinning toward him, hands on hips. "Didn't you hear me?"
"For the first couple of days, yeah."
"He put you on mute." Prue orbed in beside her son.
"Prue," Phoebe said in excitement, throwing her arms around her sister. "Just the Whitelighter I was looking for. You need to come by the Manor and visit. We want to meet our nephew."
Chris waved his hand. "Um, standing right here."
Phoebe waved him off. "Baby Chris is much cuter."
Prue laughed softly. "Cole and I are planning on bringing Chris by."
"You can't," Chris argued, "you'll change the future. Wyatt and I don't meet until preschool."
"We'll just keep you two apart," Phoebe shrugged.
Prue placed a hand on Chris's arm. "You've already changed the future. You drew me back into my sisters' lives much earlier than in your past."
"All the more reason to make sure Wyatt and Baby me stay apart."
Prue studied her son. "Have you considered that your meeting might be the answer to saving Wyatt?"
"No," he answered without thinking… and then the light bulb went off. "Do you think it's that easy?"
Phoebe took his arm. "We could find out."
"But what about the other thing," Chris asked his mother.
"I'm sure if we let nature take its course, it will happen without us lifting a finger."
Cole found Prue playing with Baby Chris. "I thought we were meeting at the Manor."
"Change of plans. Phoebe's a genie. I'm not getting involved with that. Genies are tricky, whether or not she's my sister." Prue handed Chris a truck and watch as he steered along the mat in front of him.
His eyebrow rose. "Phoebe's a genie? This I have to see." He faded away and into the Halliwell Manor to find Phoebe in full genie garb. "You really are a genie." He couldn't help but chuckle. "You look ridiculous."
His comments sent Piper on another laughing fit.
Cole turned and greeted the Elder. "Leo. Surprised you joined the dark side."
Chris nudged him hard, trying to get him to shut up.
"Cole, what are you doing here?" Leo said in irritation.
"Visiting," he said briefly. "Prue was planning on stopping by with Chris… the baby. But she mentioned that genies were preventing her from visiting." He waved at Piper. "I thought I would stop by and check. See if it was safe."
"Of course it's safe," Phoebe stated.
Piper shook her head. "I don't know… genie magic is tricky."
"What? I would never do anything to harm my nephew."
"Speaking of nephews," Leo stated. "The Elders have agreed to send Chris back to his time."
"What?" Chris said in dismay. "You can't do that."
"You don't belong here," Leo said adamantly. "You're doing more harm than good."
Cole frowned at this. "Are you saying that because it's true or because you found out he's my son?"
"It's the truth."
Chris scoffed, "Get over yourself." He orbed away.
Cole glanced at Piper and Phoebe, gauging their reaction to the news. "I see. In that case, I think I'll be going now. I'll let Prue know what you think of her son."
"No," Phoebe shouted, "wait."
"Cole, you can't. She won't come back." Piper stepped forward.
He glared at them. "My son risks his life to come back and warn you all that your son is the future evil and you have the gall to throw his assistance back in his face?"
"That's not true," Leo argued.
"Isn't it?" He faced the Elder. "Have you ever tried to successfully change the past without damaging the present? I know I haven't. You know who has? My son. The very person that you're trying to send away." He sneered, "I'm sure your sister will be pleased to hear this."
He faded back to Prue's side.
It was her turn to raise an eyebrow. "You were only gone five minutes. What happened?"
"The dimwitted Elders are planning on sending Chris back." He paced angrily, tossing an energy ball from hand to hand. "You should have let me deal with them."
"Cole, Leo's an Elder now."
"Don't remind me. It was his bright idea."
"What?" she said in surprise.
"You know Chris made a few less than good choices."
She nodded, recalling the incidents where he banished Leo to Valhalla; the demon he brought to scan Wyatt for evil; and his phoenix witch bride. "Leo's holding that against Chris?"
"Said he's done more harm than good." He picked up the toddler, hugging him close. "But you're a smart boy, aren't you? Just like your dad."
Chris faded in behind him. "Thanks for the vote of confidence."
Prue stood and hugged her son. "I'm sorry your uncle is so shortsighted, but it's his son that he's trying to protect."
"Well, he's done such a great job of it," he said sarcastically, returning her hug, "you know, being gone all the time."
She patted his shoulder. "Well, don't think anything of it. Even if the Elders agree to send you back, they can't. At least not for awhile." At their confused looks, she laughed, "Time travel isn't done lightly, especially not by the Elders. They'll need time to prepare."
Cole rolled his eyes. "Stuffy old bastards, at least they're good for something."
Prue smiled, but then sobered. "My concern is whether or not Leo told them who you are," she looked at Chris.
"You think they'll come after me too?" He glanced at young-him.
"Oh, that will be fun," Cole said dryly.
"We need to be cautious." She narrowed her eyes at her lover. "You can't just kill an Elder unpunished."
"Unless we lure him to a place where they can't see," he smirked. "Come on, Chris. Let's plot."
Chris couldn't help but smile. His parents really never changed.
Prue stopped them. "And go make nice with my sisters, please."
Cole frowned. "Do I have to?"
Chris and Cole returned to the Manor to land in the middle of a battle.
"Don't kill the demon," Chris warned him. "We need her."
With a wave of his hand, Cole froze the demon, Jinny in place, before tossing energy balls at her henchmen.
"Where's the bottle?" Chris asked Paige.
They looked around and spotted Richard holding it.
He was about to shimmer away when he was stopped.
Cole looked at him grimly. "Where do you think you're going?"
Trapped, Richard looked at Cole in surprise. "Who are you?"
Paige answered dryly, "My demonic brother-in-law."
"Nice to see you too, Paige. Where's Piper and Leo?"
"Here," Piper got up from behind the couch. She looked around, "Leo?"
Approaching from the dining room, he answered, "Here. I'm fine."
Nodding, Cole drew the bottle to him. "I'll take that." He looked in to see Phoebe standing with her hands on her hips. "Who's your master?"
"Come out. We have a situation to discuss."
As commanded, Phoebe smoked out of the bottle. She glanced around and saw Jinny standing like a statue. "Oh, good, you guys caught her."
Chris crossed his arm, leaning back against the wall. "So what now?"
"Jinny needs to go back into the bottle," Phoebe said.
"And her demon army?" Piper asked.
"Deal with them later?" Paige suggested. "They're pretty run of the mill. Forty or so demons is a piece of cake."
"Do we need to worry that Jinny will unfreeze?" Phoebe looked at Piper.
"She's fine," Cole waved away her concern. "I'm not going to risk a wish to deal with demons. So I'm just going to get Prue over here to un-genie Phoebe."
"That would be so, so great." Phoebe clasped her hands together in thanks.
"Cole," Prue's voice sounded moments before she orbed in, "I take it the genie situation is resolved?"
She pursed her lips, looking around.
"We need your help," he smiled charmingly. "If you could possess dear Jinny over there, you can wish Phoebe free."
"Take the baby," Prue passed Baby Chris over to Cole. Closing her eyes, her astral form appeared in front of her and stepped into Jinny's body. Taking the genie bottle from Cole, she said, "Phoebe, I wish you free." She stepped back out of Jinny's body as the magic of the genie bottle took over and smoke appeared around Phoebe and Jinny.
Phoebe glanced down at her outfit and touched the hair on her head. "Oh, thank god."
Cole quickly picked up the genie bottle and faded away with it.
"Cole, leave the baby," Prue reminded.
"Right," he returned only long enough to pass Chris back to her.
"Wait," Piper tried to stop him, "where is he going with that?"
Prue smiled at her sister. "The fewer that know the better. Genies are dangerous."
"And you don't think Cole with a genie is extremely dangerous?" Paige asked dryly.
Her smile dropped. "Cole isn't any more dangerous than any of you are." Her eyes landed on Leo. "Powers don't dictate good and evil; actions do. You of all people should know that."
"We are thinking of his actions," he said defensively.
She shrugged. "I can't make you believe me. I can't make you trust my judgment. But I'd think that considering Cole came back from the future to save your nephew," she looked at all three sisters, "and your sons," her gaze landed on Piper and Paige, "that would be proof that he wasn't evil."
"Mom, future consequences," Chris reminded her.
Prue smiled at him, taking his arm. "Knowing the future has never hurt us, in fact it's only ever taught us a lesson."
"I don't want to risk changing more than I already have."
"Of course," she nodded. "In that case, we'd better go. I don't have as much self-control regarding the future as you seem to." She looked down at the child in her arms. "And little Chris seems to need a nap after all the excitement." She squeezed his arm. "Come along."
The rest of the Halliwells were left to watch them orb away.
Richard interrupted the retrospection. "Does anyone know what Cole did to me? I can't leave."
Paige sighed. "Come on. I'll take you home."
A knock came at the door just as she orbed him home.
Being closest, Leo answered it. "Uh, Piper, I think it's for you."
She rushed to the door. "Greg? What are you doing here?"
"I'm on break. I thought I'd surprise you," he said awkwardly, looking between Piper and Leo. "Looks like your busy." He backed away quickly and walked away.
Piper took a breath to stop him, but thought better of it. Sighing, she closed the door.
"You're not going after him?" Leo asked, surprised.
"No," she shook her head. "There's so much going on. We all need to take some time to think."
Phoebe hugged her. "We'll figure this out."
"Will we?" Piper said in frustration. "Cole's back and none of us are sure whether or not to trust him. Prue's back, but we've basically alienated her, because we don't trust Cole. Chris, our own nephew, is being sent away and we're not only not stopping it, we instigated it. And my son – my Wyatt – is the reason for all of this."
"We'll fix this," Leo said to try to comfort her.
"How? You heard Cole. Chris has tried so hard to change the future and nothing's different. He's been trying to figure this out for months and he has an advantage – he knows what's going to happen." Piper's hands clasped together. "What do we know? What do we know, other than the fact that the stakes have gotten higher with all of these future children that keep cropping up?"
"Piper, we can't give up."
"I'm not. It's just so frustrating." She closed her eyes, gathering herself. "I want my big sister."
Prue orbed back, alone this time. She said softly, "You jingled?"
Piper and Phoebe were on their feet hugging her.
"Don't go," Piper demanded.
"Yeah, we'll even learn to put up with Cole," Phoebe added, squeezing her tight.
Prue gave them a soft look. "I'm not really going anywhere. Not permanently. You've learned a lot recently. You all need time to think it over."
"But we need you."
She kissed their cheeks. "You don't. You and Paige will figure things out. When you do, I'll be here." With a smile, she gave them another squeeze before orbing out.
Prue found Wyatt at Magic School. Picking him up, she sat down with him in a rocking chair. "How are you, Wyatt?"
He cooed. "An Pu."
"That's right. I'm your Aunt Prue." She kissed his cheek. "How was Magic School today? Did you have a good time with your friends?"
"Fun!" he cheered, before putting his thumb in his mouth.
"That's a good boy." She tickled his chin. "You're a good boy, aren't you?"
He giggled, "Yes."
"Yes, you are. And when the time's right, you and little Chris can spend your days together. You'll be the best of friends." Prue brushed his hair from his eyes. She leaned back in the chair, rhythmically rubbing circles on his back. "Sleep time now."
Chris stood with his dad. "What about Melinda?"
Cole studied his fingernails. "You're sure this is the month?"
"I've been to soothsayers, oracles and fortune tellers – they all say the same thing. Leo and Piper have to screw this month or Melinda will never be born. The future will change."
"Leo becoming an Elder was never supposed to happen."
Chris waved his hand dismissively – a habit he picked up from his father – "That's nothing. He'll clip his wings in the end to be with his family – Elder or not. What's important is Melinda."
"You're close with your cousin," Cole remarked.
"She's like a sister to me. She's the peacekeeper. Things would have been much worse if she hadn't been around."
"She's the linchpin." Cole crossed his arms, leaning back against the beam of the Golden Gate Bridge. "Then I believe we have some work to do."
616 "The Courtship of Wyatt's Father"
The mood of Wyatt's birthday party was ruined when it was interrupted by a Darklighter. Damien dodged Piper's blast and went straight for Wyatt. He orbed out beside the boy and aimed his lethal crossbow at Leo. Firing, he knew he missed when Leo orbed away.
The arrow though flew past Piper and struck Chris in the shoulder.
Cole stepped passed his son and threw an energy ball at the Darklighter, striking him in the shoulder before he orbed away. Ensuring that there was no more danger, Cole pivoted on his heel to check on Chris. "You walked right into that."
He smirked at his father. "Sorry, I've got a few things on my mind."
"Stay focused, kid." Cole waved a hand and dissolved the arrow. "We're nearing the end," he whispered, "Don't check out of the game yet."
Leo came over with Wyatt in his arms. "Let me heal him."
Cole shook his head. "He's fine. His demon blood makes him immune to the Darklighter poison and his Whitelighter side is already healing himself. Just needed to remove the arrow."
"Handy," Paige commented.
"Still hurts like sh-" Chris stopped mid-swear when his eyes landed on Wyatt. "Well, you know." He groaned and stood when the wound sealed. "So, Darklighter."
"He was after you," Cole remarked looking at Leo. "I guess it's not often that Elders roam the physical plane."
Prue orbed in with her hands on her hips. "What were you two thinking?"
Chris ducked behind his father.
Cole raised his hands to placate her. "They're fine."
"My sister and brother-in-law are trapped in the ghostly plane and they're fine?"
"Phoebe and Paige will figure it out," Cole said confidently.
"There's a Darklighter out to kill Leo," she argued.
"Life and death situations will get them…" he trailed off, trying to pick the right word.
"You allowed this to happen so they'd get horny?" she said incredulously.
Chris covered his ears and closed his eyes. "I so did not need to hear you say that about them."
"What?" Prue demanded, "This was your goal all along, wasn't it? Get your aunt and uncle to have sex?"
Chris dropped his forehead against his dad's back. "Please, I beg you, make her stop."
Cole placed his hands over hers on her hips. "Prue, darling, love of my life, your sisters are extremely capable. You know that. They'll figure it out and get Piper and Leo out of the ghostly plane before the Darklighter has any chance of killing them. We'll make sure of it."
Her anger dissipated. "Fine, but if something happens to either of them, your grounded until your twenty-four," she pointed at Chris, before aiming her finger at Cole, "and you, don't even think of coming near me for the next decade or so." She orbed away in a huff.
Chris looked at the spot where his mom had been standing. "She can't do that. Young me had nothing to do with this."
"Please, like you have anything to worry about," Cole growled. "You're a baby. All you have to do is smile and coo and her heart will melt. I'm the one with the problem here." He grabbed Chris's collar. "Come on, we have to keep a closer eye on the situation. Nothing – nothing – can go wrong."
Phoebe and Paige had managed to reverse the portal and return Piper and Leo to the physical plane. Damien was cornered by the sisters, but was sacrificed by the Darklighters to conceal the culprit behind the attack on Leo.
Prue stood watch from the roof opposite the Darklighter that dispatched Damien. When he orbed out, she followed. When she found their lair, she returned to the alley to heal Leo. Once the others were safe, she went back and watched some more.
Cole appeared beside her. "Are you insane?"
"You're feet away from a cavern filled with Darklighters."
"Astral form," she shrugged. "I'm fine. They don't even know I'm here."
He sighed in exasperation. "Discovered anything interesting?"
She nodded her head. "See for yourself."
Gideon stood in the shadows, but he was still distinguishable. "Leo's gone, isn't he? Perhaps not in the way I'd originally intended, but gone nonetheless."
"But wasn't he your friend, too?" the Darklighter said in confusion.
"Yes, he was. We all have to make sacrifices for the greater good."
"I'm evil," he scoffed, "What do I care about the greater good."
Gideon turned on him. "Leo's son is just as much a threat to your kind as he is to mine. We made a mistake in allowing Wyatt to be born, in allowing such a concentration of power to be brought into this world in one being. But now that Leo is gone and the Charmed Ones are unaware, I'm one step closer to being able to correct that mistake… for good."
Cole's eyes narrowed, his fingers twitching to take out the Elder.
"We can't," Prue said softly. "Not yet. There are too many witnesses here."
"Like they would believe the word of a Darklighter."
"We can't risk it. We have to be beyond reproach. No one can suspect that we or our family had anything to do with it."
He gave in. "At least we know for sure now."
"Let's go home. Chris is waiting."
"It's been months since Leo's gone back to the Heavens. Shouldn't we tell Piper that she's pregnant?" Chris asked his parents. "Melinda's in there. She needs to be protected."
"I'm sure she'll figure it out eventually," Prue remarked.
"Unless she's in denial," Cole countered.
She glared at her lover. "She's just getting use to the fact that Leo's not around. She's pregnant, not an idiot. She'll know."
"Fine," Chris huffed. "So have we figured out a way to get rid of Gideon?"
"Underworld," Cole informed. "Only place where they won't be able to see. With all the plotting Gideon's been doing lately, we should be able to find him down there easily enough. The trick is to find him when he's alone."
"Which so far hasn't happened yet." Prue flipped slowly through her copy of the Book. "Do you think we should consider another way?"
"What do you mean?" Chris moved to sit beside her.
"She means a way that doesn't involve killing him." Cole knew the way she thought.
"And it harm none, do what ye will," she whispered the Wiccan Rede that they should all live by.
Chris said petulantly, arms crossed, "We're not technically witches."
"Worse," she said dryly, "we're Whitelighters. We guide witches to do what's right."
"We can't just let him go," Chris argued.
Cole knew better. "Are you suggesting we bide our time and hope Gideon does something that makes us kill him?"
"We have no idea how his machinations will hurt Wyatt."
Prue's finger traced the triquetra on the cover of the Book. The indecision was confusing her. She laughed self-deprecatingly. "I guess this is the same thing that Leo went through – family over calling; which matters most."
Chris frowned darkly. "We know what Leo chose."
She raised lecturing eyes on her son. "Not for long. You said it yourself, he gives it all up; becomes mortal to be with Piper and his family." She raised her hand to cup his face. "I just want to make sure that we don't do anything that we'll later regret. Can you tell me honestly that you're comfortable with the idea of killing an Elder in cold blood?"
His confidence waivered. His chin dropped to his chest in defeat. "So what do we do? Wyatt is still in danger."
Cole wrapped an arm around Prue's shoulders in comfort. "We still have time. We'll figure something out."
618 "Spin City"
Paige stood staring at the cocoon that incased Piper. Curious, she walked toward it and tried to touch it. She was blasted away by an electric field. "Well, there's a force field that works."
Phoebe came back into the living room. "Okay, any luck?"
"I'm on the floor. Does it look like I had any luck?" Paige climbed back to her feet with Phoebe's help. "I've tried orbs, knives, spells, nada."
"God, I hope Piper's okay in there."
"Don't," Paige warned as Phoebe reached out to Piper.
Phoebe quickly retracted her hand. "We need help. Leo?"
"Piper would kill us."
"So she can kill us after he saves her."
Paige pointed a finger into the air when she had a thought. "Prue."
"She's a Whitelighter. She can help." Paige raised her voice and shouted, "Prue!"
The sparkle of orbs announced her arrival. Prue smiled, "You called?"
Phoebe quickly hugged her. "You came."
"Of course I came." Prue laughed at her response. "So what's up?"
"Piper," Paige gestured at the cocoon attached to the wall.
Prue's eyes widened every so slightly. "Spider demon?"
"Is she okay in there?" Phoebe asked anxiously.
"The cocoon is meant for preservation. So she's safe in there. Vanquishing the demon is the only way to get her out of there." Prue studied Piper's figure. "Keep the cocoon out of the demon's hands though. The baby will be at risk too."
"What?" Paige said in shock, looking at Piper with concern.
"Spider demons feed on magic. That's why she went after Piper. She'll have access to Piper's and the baby's magic." Prue looked around. "Do you have the vanquishing potion?"
"You mean that puddle over there?" Paige gestured at the shattered glass on the ground.
"Well, orb it into a fresh bottle. It's still fine." She tilted her head. "There's no way to get Piper to bless a new potion. Got to salvage what you have."
"Right." Paige took the potion bottle Phoebe handed her. "Potion," she gestured and waved the orbs into the container. Pleased, she smiled, "It worked."
"Now, let's find the demon." Phoebe walked quickly over to the table where their scrying tools were laid out.
Prue walked over to the map. "What do you have to scry with?"
"Webbing. Do you think that would work?"
"Won't know until you try."
The sisters were standing around the table and didn't notice when the spider crawl up behind them.
Paige sensed it first. "Spider!" Her hand clutching the vanquishing potion was encased in a cocoon before she could react.
Prue pushed Phoebe away from the next stream of webs, getting caught instead.
Phoebe grabbed bottles of blasting potion off the table and started throwing those at the spider.
Still outnumbered, the spider demon quickly crawled away.
"Damn it!" Paige cursed. She went to Phoebe's side. "Are you okay?"
She nodded, "Fine. Good thing, we have so many potions handy. Prue?" Her eyes widened when she spotted Prue trapped in a cocoon alongside Piper. "Oh, no. Prue?"
"We need to figure out something quick or we'll all end up spider food," Paige commented. "But first," she waved her web covered hands, "little help?"
Cole and Chris stood at one end of the living room, while Leo examined the cocoons.
"Spider demon?" the Elder asked.
Chris rolled his eyes. "Obviously."
"Chris," Cole admonished softly. He approached the cocoons slowly. "I'm assuming force fields?"
"Yeah," Paige replied. "How'd you know?"
"Spider demons are extremely protective of their food sources. Their webs are impenetrable." Cole stopped in front of his lover. "Prue?" He could sense that she was trapped inside; possibly unaware. "Very powerful. Otherwise Prue would be able to astral project." He pivoted on his heal to look at the sisters. "You called us all here. What's the plan?"
"We've already tried scrying for the demon with the webbing. Not personal enough," Phoebe explained. "We need another way to locate her."
Paige waved the potion bottle in her hand. "We have the vanquishing potion. We just need to find her."
Anxious, Chris stopped beside his father, looking at Piper. "Do you think the baby's okay?"
Leo's eyes widened in surprise. "Baby? What baby?"
Glaring at Chris, Paige hit his arm for spilling the news.
Phoebe wrung her hands together. "Uh, spirit realm, six months ago, you and Piper. Leo, she's pregnant."
He said down on the sofa, looking at his wife. "Why didn't she tell me?"
"Honestly," Phoebe said softly, "I think she knows how hard it was for you to leave one son behind. She didn't want to make it any harder."
His eyes dropped to his hands. The internal question that filled his thoughts constantly rung through his mind.
"It's a lot for you, isn't it?" Phoebe sympathized, as Leo chuckled ironically at the understatement. "Well, you have to pull it together, because we need you. Your family needs you."
Taking a deep breath, Leo gathered himself. "Right. You're right."
"Plan?" Cole repeated.
"If I remember correctly," Leo stood, "the spider demon's last victim was a wizard. We can check Magic School and see if there's something there that we can use to scry for him."
"I'll go," Chris volunteered. "Probably best if Gideon doesn't find out you came down to help with this. You stay with Piper."
Leo studied the young man that he had still had reservations about. Nodding, he agreed. "Thanks."
"I have to head back to the club," Paige announced. "The wicked witch has stuck again."
The two half-Whitelighters orbed out at the same time.
Cole looked at the remaining two. "Can you handle it if the demon appears again? I'm going to check with some contacts. See if I can find her lair the old fashion way." At their nods of agreement, he faded out.
Chris returned from Magic School and handed the wizard, Rathmere's wand to Phoebe to attempt scrying. He stopped close to Cole. "It looks like Sigmund might be aware of Gideon's plans."
"How do you know?" Cole was standing guard over the two cocoons.
"I may have let slip that Piper was pregnant."
Cole wasn't sure that was the best idea, but held his judgment for now. "How did they react?"
"As soon as I 'left', Sigmund was by Gideon's side. They didn't seem too happy to discover the news. Believe me, they're working together." Chris rolled a ball of fire in his palm, watching it morph into energy before putting it out when he heard Phoebe and Leo approaching.
"Any luck?" Cole asked.
Leo shook his head. "Maybe there's nothing to find… or maybe it's the wrong wizard."
"Unlikely that more than one extremely powerful wizard goes missing at the same time and no one noticed."
"So what now?" Phoebe waved her arms in defeat. She turned her head suddenly. A new emotion entered the room that hadn't been there before. "Wait, I think the demon's here."
Cole and Chris exchanged looks. Pretty ballsy of the demon. She must be getting hungry.
Chris looked to his father. "Could you…?" he waved his hand to complete his question.
Phoebe glanced in question at her ex.
Shrugging, Cole waved his hand, freezing the entire room. He walked slowly, touching each of their shoulders to unfreeze them. "The demon should be frozen. Let's see if we can find her."
"Windows and vents," Phoebe announced as they searched the room quickly.
"Over here," Leo gestured at the vent in the solarium.
Chris casually tossed the vanquishing potion at the demon.
It smoked and flamed, but the spider was still there, although clearly injured.
"Why didn't it work?" Phoebe demanded.
"Maybe there wasn't enough?" Leo suggested.
"Paige salvaged as much as she could." Phoebe crossed her arms. "Now what?"
Cole threw an energy ball at it.
"There's more smoke," Chris commented.
"What the hell kind of demon is this?" Phoebe demanded.
"Check on Piper and Prue," Cole suggested. "Maybe the force field is weak enough that we can get them out."
Phoebe exchanged looks with Chris, remembering that Paige was thrown across the room last time. "Would you?"
Rolling his eyes, he scoffed, "Fine." Approaching the cocoons, his hand lifted cautiously as he reached out to touch it. "It's there, but it's weaker. Like static electricity."
Cole glanced at Phoebe. "Scorch marks or knife marks?"
"What?" she said in confusion.
"Which would you prefer?"
"I don't know… knife marks?"
At her response, he conjured an athame and whipped it at the spider demon. As the athame landed, the spider demon exploded in a poof of smoke.
"Oh," she said in understanding at the athame embedded in the floorboards. "Definitely knife marks."
He smirked before heading over to Prue and Piper. Chris and Leo were already helping them out of their cocoons.
"Piper, are you okay?" Leo asked, looking at her belly.
"I think so." She pulled off the last of the webbing. "What are you doing here?"
"Right." To avoid an awkward conversation, she turned to Prue. "You too?"
Prue huffed, brushing off the last of the webbing. "I think you need to update the Book. Spider demons are nastier than the entry lets on."
"Tell me about it."
Phoebe squeezed in and hugged them both. "Oh, I'm so glad you guys are ok."
Paige returned from P3 with a shillelagh. "I missed the vanquish? I'm sorry."
Phoebe hugged her too. "You had your own wicked witch to deal with." Glancing over at Piper and Leo, she kept her arm wrapped around Paige's waist. "Why don't you tell me all about it? In the kitchen."
Taking their cues, Chris, Prue and Cole waved and orbed/faded out.
Leaving Piper and Leo to finally have a long overdue conversation.
619 "Crimes and Witch Demeanor"
"Barbas won?" Prue asked Cole.
"Not fully," he said grimly. "Only Phoebe was stripped of her active powers. Paige and Piper are fine."
"The Cleaners reversed everything. He's fine, but he remembers the entire ordeal."
Prue closed her eyes. "He's going to need time."
"You were by his side through it all." He hugged her gently.
"But it was Phoebe's blasé use of magic that got him where he was. In his eyes, magic is the problem. He'll stay away from my sisters. Sheila won't be handling this well either."
"Only Darryl remembers."
"Please, she's his wife. He'll tell her." She sighed, leaning against him. "Make sure Chris knows to be more careful. We won't have any mortal assist anymore. Not for awhile at least."
"Maybe it was a good thing that Phoebe lost her powers then," Cole remarked. "They needed a bit of a wake up call."
She nodded sadly, before adding, "We'll need to make sure that Paige doesn't overwork herself. Without Phoebe's premonitions or Piper, she'll drive herself into full witch mode."
"Piper's at Magic School for her confinement. She's not dead."
She smiled, "Confinement? Your age is starting to show."
"Ha ha," he said dryly, leaning down to kiss her. "I'll go check on Paige. Try to get on her good side."
"You?" she teased, "Just feel lucky that she isn't still trying to vanquish you."
Cole found Paige in the attic of Halliwell Manor. "New demon?"
She was stirring a potion in the cauldron. "No. Potions. I'm just stocking up. Making sure Phoebe has some handy. Just in case."
He studied her. "You sure?"
Throwing him a glare, she said dryly, "Yes, I'm sure."
"Paige, you know it doesn't make you weak to ask for help."
She almost ripped him a new one, but she paused and considered his words. Sighing, she nodded. "I know. It's just…"
"Prue," he said knowingly.
"I got over the whole super-witch thing, but now she's a super-Whitelighter and mother…" She released a breath. "I shouldn't compete, but I guess…"
"She's your older sister and even if you didn't grow up together, you still look up to her."
"It's just a lot to live up to. I mean, come on, she managed to make you good. Something that all the love Phoebe had for you couldn't."
Cole smirked, "Phoebe and I were entirely different than Prue and I." At her questioning look, he raised an eyebrow, "Are we really going to have a heart-to-heart?"
She nodded eagerly. "I just want to know more about my sisters."
Taking a seat on the chaise, he crossed his legs in thought. "Although I'm half-human, my demon mother raised me to ignore the human side in me. Most likely due to the fact that my father wanted to keep me from her when he found out she was a demon."
"He didn't know?"
"Not at first. He found out after she had me. Fast forward to when I was grown: being half-human, I had to prove myself in the demon community – be smarter, more ruthless, more unfeeling. I suppressed anything human about me." He thought back to his assignment. "Almost four years ago – your time – the Triad made me a deal: destroy the Charmed Ones in exchange for my father's soul."
Paige looked at him wide eyed. "They can do that?"
"Soul containers are easy enough to find or conjure," he said absently.
"If you were a demon – and as evil as you were – why would you care about your father's soul?"
"Perhaps I was more human then than even I considered." He nodded at the Book. "You've read the description of me made by your ancestors. 'As sinister as he is intelligent...'" He gestured in the air, "And I'm sure your sisters have added since to the entry, but the point is that most of what made me an effective adversary had nothing to do with the fact that I was a demon."
"Just that you were evil."
"No, I was exactly like you – trying to prove myself. My human heritage put me at a disadvantage in the Underworld, so I made sure to prove that I could hold my own against the full demons. No one acknowledges it, but most higher level demons are part human. They blend better into the human world. Which was why I was chosen to defeat your sisters."
"Because you used their human emotions and dreams to defeat them."
"Very conniving of me," he smirked, quite proud of the head roads he made in defeating the Charmed Ones. "But they were ultimately my downfall as well. Phoebe was so full of innocence and wonder, something I'd never encountered before. She wormed her way into my heart."
"And you turned your back on evil."
"For a time. The problem was that as much as she loved me, she couldn't get past the fact that I was a demon; that there was a dark side to my nature. She focused on my human side."
"You were human," she pointed out.
"And Phoebe loved me."
"Until you became the Source."
"Until I was possessed by the Source," he correct her. "Just as Phoebe couldn't handle the Source's powers in our baby, I couldn't control them either."
Paige was going to argue that fact, but in hindsight, she couldn't dispute what he was saying. Cole became the Source because the Hollow had left the dark powers in Cole. She said solemnly, "And then we vanquished you."
"I don't begrudge that," he remarked matter-of-factly. "The Source is evil incarnate. It needed to be vanquished. There was no other way."
"We never even considered one."
"Why would you? The Source was wearing my face. He sounded like and acted like me. My love for Phoebe became an obsession." He waved away any guilt she could feel. "In your place, I would have vanquished me too." He shook his head, "It was what happened afterward that places a distinction between what I felt for Phoebe and what I feel for Prue."
She tilted her head in question.
"When I came back, as much as I kept coming around, Phoebe never gave me a chance. She was hurt over the Source incident and held a perception of me that she couldn't let go of. The more she pushed me away and told me I was evil, the more obsessed I became with convincing her she was wrong." He glanced back at the Book. "With Prue, it was different. She didn't trust me – there was no reason for her to – but after bumping into each other over and over again, she gave me a chance. She let my actions speak for me… not just my words."
"She accepted you," Paige suddenly understood.
"Demon and all," Cole explained. "That's when I was able to accept myself too. The concept of good and evil was no longer black and white. I learned to trust my own instincts and judgment."
She could read the sincerity in his tone and expression. "I'm glad you found each other."
"I thank the universe everyday for letting me be with Prue. She's everything to me." Cole stood and took her hand. "This is long overdue. I'm sorry, Paige, for killing you in the other dimension. It was never your fault that Phoebe grew to hate me."
"Thank you." Since they were having a moment, out of impulse, she threw her arms around him in a tight hug. "I'm glad you found yourself, Cole. Thank you for making my sister so happy." She gave him another squeeze before stepping back. "And I'm glad you're my brother-in-law again. This time to the right sister."
He gave her a rare smile. "Thank you. And just so you know, you don't need to be a super-witch or a super-Whitelighter to make your sisters proud of you. They already are."
They were interrupted when Phoebe entered the room. She paused by the door, looking curiously at the other two. "What's going on?"
Paige hooked her arm around Cole's. "Just a bonding moment between in-laws."
"Really?" Phoebe drew out the word, skeptical.
"Nothing to worry about, Phoebe," he smirked at his ex-wife. "Paige, if you need any help, you know how to find me." He faded out with a small, mocking salute at his ex.
Phoebe wagged her finger between Paige and where Cole had been standing. "What's going on there?"
"Like I said, some bonding. Face it, Cole's going to be in our lives again if we hope to see Prue or baby Chris. This," she waved in the general area of where she and Cole had stood, "was just a step I needed to let him back into my life."
"You trust him now?"
"No," she said matter-of-factly, "and he understands that… but I'm going to give him a chance. Actions speak and all that."
Phoebe didn't know what to make of this. Paige was the last of her sisters that she'd expected to allow Cole back into their lives. Holding back a biting remark, she said, "That's very mature of you."
"Thanks. Besides, I think we should make the effort. Prue loves him and you can't deny that he loves her." Paige walked back over to the Book. "And he's been helping out."
"He has been," she admitted. She couldn't dispute that. "I'm glad you are getting along with him."
Paige laughed. "What family doesn't have its dramas? Ours just has more than average."
622-623 "It's A Bad, Bad, Bad World"
As Piper's dude date approached, Chris's anxiety rose. "We have to do something. This watching and waiting isn't getting us anyway."
Prue studied her lover's face. "What are you thinking?"
Cole glanced at his family. "I think we need to give Gideon an opportunity to make his move."
"Well, that will be easy enough. Once Piper goes into labor, they'll all be too distracted."
Chris shook his head. "Gideon needs to get Leo and I out of the way."
"And my sisters," Prue added in thought. "Play his game. We'll just make ourselves scarce. If only one of us is with Wyatt, Gideon will feel safe enough to make his move."
As predicted, when Piper went into labor, Leo, Phoebe and Paige went with her to the hospital. Chris volunteered to stay with Wyatt.
"You okay for a bit, Wyatt?" Chris asked his cousin. "I'm just going to head downstairs to grab your lunch." Taking the baby monitor with him, he went down to the kitchen.
As soon as Chris was out of the way, Gideon orbed into the nursery. The Elder watched as Wyatt put his force field up around himself. "That won't protect you for long, my boy. Not for long."
Arms spread, Gideon orbs himself and Wyatt – shield and all – to the attic.
Going quickly to the Halliwell Book of Shadows, Gideon found the spell he was looking for. "Wanton powers in this blade yield; penetrate that which would shield." The athame hovering over the Book glowed gold.
Grabbing the athame, he approached Wyatt. "I'm truly sorry, but this is for the greater good." Thrusting the knife into the shield, the athame absorbed the power of the shield and neutralized it. Blade raised, he prepared to kill the baby…
When the athame suddenly orbed from his grasp and rematerialized in his chest.
Gideon screamed in pain. Withdrawing the athame, he prepared to attack again when Chris burst through the door and waved him across the room.
"Stay away from him!" Chris tossed a potion at Gideon, as he ran to grab Wyatt.
Forced to retreat, Gideon orbed away to re-strategize.
Safe for now, Chris looked over Wyatt to make sure he was okay. "Good job, Wyatt. High-five."
Gideon retreated back to Magic School. In his office, he joined his evil counterpart at the mirror, a portal joining the two parallel worlds.
Healing themselves, they sighed, "At least we're still alive."
"Only because we made it back here in time."
"We still managed to heal ourselves. We can try again, especially now that we can breach Wyatt's shield."
"They know about us now."
"Now's the time to strike," he said adamantly. "We won't get another opportunity."
Leo looked on in disbelief. "Gideon's one of the most powerful Elders. If he wants Wyatt dead, he'll find a way."
"I can't believe it was Gideon all along," Phoebe whispered, her disbelief matching her brother-in-law's.
Paige studied Chris. "You knew, didn't you?"
"We suspected," he admitted.
"Dad… and Mom." Chris winced at their exasperation.
"Why didn't you say anything?" Leo demanded.
Chris studied his absentee uncle. "Without proof, would you have believed me?"
Leo's righteous indignation deflated quickly as he admitted – to himself at least – that he would never have believed it. "Where's Wyatt?"
"With Mom." Chris dropped the baby off before heading to the hospital with the athame. "She'll keep him safe."
"We need to find Gideon," Leo said grimly.
Cole faded in beside them. "I can help with that… but the other Elders won't be too pleased."
Leo frowned, considering. "Let me try to convince them."
Standing on top of the Golden Gate Bridge, Leo opened his senses in an attempt to find Gideon. He sensed the arrival of the other Elder.
"You won't find Gideon that way. We've already tried."
"So you know what he's done?" Leo asked.
Ignoring the question, the Elder spoke, "I am here to remind you of your responsibilities."
"My responsibilities right now are to protect my son."
"How, by taking revenge on one of our own?"
"Gideon stopped being one of us when he went after Wyatt."
"That's not for you to decide. You're but one voice in a chorus, Leo. We can't allow you to take matters into your own hands."
"Yes, and look what he's wrought. He is responsible for the future that we've been trying to prevent. Innocents are hurt – killed – because one Elder acted alone."
Leo responded grimly, "I know what I'm doing."
"Gideon thought he knew what he was doing too. Truth be known, he was not alone in his thinking. There are others who share his fears of Wyatt, that your union with a Charmed One might have created too great a concentration of power."
"Wait, you're on his side?"
"Of course not. What Gideon's done is inexcusable."
"Then let me handle him."
"Please, Leo, your emotions are clouding your better judgment. The fate of the world is more important than one child."
"Not more important than my son."
"They're all your sons and daughters. They're who you should be protecting. That's the greater good. Come… help us find a way to resolve this together."
Shaking his head, Leo said, "I can't. Not until I stop Gideon." He orbed away to join Chris and Cole.
"Well?" Chris asked.
"No," he said simply.
"Trouble in paradise?"
"Let's just say we're not seeing eye to eye." Leo looked at the scrying tools that were out. "Did you find him?"
"Underworld," Cole said simply.
"Makes sense. The other Elders can't find him either."
Chris continued his attempt to scry for the Elder. "What I never understood is why Gideon would turn Wyatt. If he views him as a threat, why turn him into one?"
"I don't think he did intentionally," Leo answered. "I think Gideon tried to kill Wyatt in your past… only just like now, he found out that Wyatt can protect himself. So he probably had to get him away so he could figure out how to do it."
"You mean kidnap him," Chris finally put it together.
"Imagine being taken away from us for weeks, months maybe. Constantly fending off Gideon's attacks."
Chris was silent, considering what his cousin went through. "I never knew."
Cole placed a hand on his shoulder. "We can prevent it. We know enough now."
Prue looked up when she sensed a presence. Glancing at the playpen, she saw Wyatt playing happily with his blocks. "Wyatt, looks like it's time."
She went to pick him up but instead was throw across the room.
"Don't make me sacrifice you both," Gideon's disembodied voice was joined by his body.
Prue stood back up. "How did you find us?"
"Help from a demon," he confessed. "A wonder you decided to hide in the Underworld."
"Elders are limited in their reach," she commented.
"Not all Elders." Gideon turned his back on her to get to Wyatt.
Using her powers, she telekinetically threw him across the room. She rushed to get to Wyatt, when Gideon appeared in front of her, stabbing the athame into her stomach.
Prue collapsed to the ground. "Cole." She didn't have the strength to stop him from taking Wyatt. She could only watch as Gideon picked him up.
Cole stopped midsentence when he felt a pain in his stomach. "Prue," he gasped in agony as he faded out.
He found her lying on the ground. "No, Prue."
Chris managed to grab Leo's arm and follow his father's trail. When he spotted the blood pooling around her prone body, he shouted, "Mom!" Anger heated his blood, as hate filled eyes turned on Gideon.
"It's for the greater good." The Elder was about to orb away, when he found that he couldn't. "What did you do?"
Chris's voice lowered several octaves, "Wyatt, come to me."
Gideon couldn't maintain his hold on the Twice-Blessed.
Cole watched as Leo's healing hands were unable to heal the wound. Dark eyes landed on the Elder. "Gideon's magic won't allow her to heal."
"Cole," Prue whispered, "… Wyatt… Chris…"
He took her hand. "Prue, stay with me."
Chris's eyes went black. "Leo, take Wyatt."
Leo looked between his son and Prue. Indecision plagued him. "Chris-"
"Take him," he ordered.
Complying, Leo grabbed his son and orbed him away.
Chris turned his attention to Gideon.
The Elder backed away. "Let me finish what I started," he said desperately. "Let me save the future… the only way it can be saved."
"You're the reason the future's threatened, Gideon… Not Wyatt."
"No," he shook his head in denial.
Chris glared at him. "Because of what you did to him. I'm about to make sure that you never get the chance again."
"Chris," Gideon said in fear, "what are you going to do?"
"A great evil." He unleashed the full extent of his power on Gideon. The electric storm roasted the Elder.
Prue reached up and cupped Cole's face. "Stop him," she rasped, "…don't let him succumb."
He kissed her palm quickly before standing. He walked up behind Chris and placed a hand on his shoulder. "Chris, that's enough."
His father's soft words and touch got through to him. Chris reigned in his power and stepped back. He watched as Gideon's body collapsed into dust. "Mom?"
"Chris…" she held her hand out to him.
Rushing to her side, Chris collapsed to his knees, taking her hand. "Mom, you're gonna be okay." His hand hovered over her wound, lost. "I promise, we'll fix this."
Cole knelt down on the other side of her. "Prue, Gideon's gone now. We can heal you."
"Try," she whispered, panting through the pain.
"Chris, can you? Or should I call Leo back?"
"Get Leo," Chris said softly, clutching his mom's hand.
"I'll be right back," Cole pressed a kiss to her hand. "I love you."
She struggled to chuckle. "Go. You'll be back in seconds."
He smirked charmingly, masking the fear in his eyes.
In two breaths, Cole was back; Leo orbing in beside him.
Leo crouched and his glowing hands hovered over her wound.
"It's not working," Cole said grimly.
Out of desperation, Chris grabbed Leo's hand and channeled his healing power. He pushed as much of his magic as he could behind it. "Mom," he whispered, a tear dropping from his lashes.
Prue gasped deeply as she felt her wounds heal and disappear. "Chris, I'm okay. You did it." She sat up to hug and comfort her son.
Cole dropped his chin to his chest in relief. He pressed kisses to her hand, wrapping his other arm around his family.
Chris squeezed his mom tightly. "Thank you," he whispered against her shoulder. "Thank you."
"How is Prue?" Phoebe demanded as soon as Leo returned to the hospital.
He nodded, "She's fine. Chris and I managed to heal her."
Paige said in surprise, "Chris?"
"He channeled my power. His magic was needed to heal her." Leo looked through the window. "How is Piper? The baby?"
"There was a complication, but Dr. Roberts was able to help her. She and the baby are fine," Phoebe reassured him.
"Go see her," Paige guided him to the door that separated him from his family.
He nodded eagerly. He gave Wyatt a quick kiss before joining his wife. "Piper?"
"Look what we did?" she smiled ecstatically. "Meet our daughter… Melinda."
"You released the containment spell on the Book, didn't you?" Prue studied her son.
Chris nodded. "It was the only way. I needed my magic to defeat Gideon."
She nodded her understanding. She cupped his face. "I almost lost you there."
"Only for a moment." He touched her wrist. "I almost lost you too."
"You brought me back." She kissed the top of his head. "We're fine now." She hugged him again. "Congratulations. You saved the future."
He hugged her back. "It's time for me to go back."
"I should say goodbye to your sisters."
"Are you forgetting someone?" Cole said from where he stood.
Chris smirked. "Don't think I could ever forget about you." He tilted his head. "Although, you're not much different twenty-five years from now."
"Glad to know," he grinned.
He stood, throwing his arms around his father in a bear hug. "I'm gonna miss you."
"I'll miss you too." Cole hugged him back. "Guess we should head to the Manor; get you back to your time."
The Halliwells gathered in the attic to send off their son and nephew.
"Do you really have to go?" Paige asked.
"Yeah, we were just getting to know you." Phoebe hugged him.
"You'll have tons of time to get to know me," Chris laughed. "And like you said, babies are cuter." He nodded at the younger him playing with Wyatt.
Piper cradled her daughter in her arms. "True, but that doesn't mean we don't like you too."
Chris walked over to her, running his finger gently down Melinda's arm. "Take care of this little girl. She means the world to all of us."
Piper hugged him. "Thank you for coming back."
"No thanks needed."
Leo shook Chris's hand. "No hard feelings?"
Chris snorted in amusement, shaking his head. "Don't worry about it. Bygones."
Prue took his hand, guiding him to the triquetra drawn on the wall. "Be happy."
"Be safe," he kissed her cheek, before glancing over to his father. "You too."
Cole shrugged. "I've been vanquished so many times, safety isn't really a factor anymore."
"See you in the future." With a wave of his hand, a portal opened in front of him. "It was nice spending time with you, Mom. I never had the chance before…"
"I'm sure there are many more moments for us."
"Love you, Mom." Hugging her once more, he stepped back and through the portal; returning to his time.
As the portal closed, Paige glanced around at everyone in the room. "How'd he do that?"
"Yeah, the Elders have been trying for months to send Chris back." Phoebe stood with her hands on her hips.
Piper glanced at Leo, hoping for an answer.
He held his hands up in surrender. "I have no idea."
Prue smiled at their confusion. "Cole?"
The demon went over to the Book.
"Wait," Phoebe stopped him, "you can't-"
Their eyes widened in disbelief when Cole touched the Book.
"Well," Piper said dryly, "if ever we needed proof that Cole was on our side…"
"But he's a demon," Paige remarked in confusion. Demons weren't supposed to be able to touch the Book of Shadows.
Prue smirked, "That's because he family."
Cole found the spell he was looking for and spun the Book around for the sisters to see. "Time travel spell."
"It's been in the book all along," Leo said in awe.
"There are a few things that the Elders don't know about the family," Prue said wryly.
"Mama," Chris shouted enthusiastically. His arms were stretched out for her.
Cole stood and watched as the sisters all congregated around the two boys, cooing and awing to their hearts content.
Everything was right in the world again.