Disclaimer: Don't anything apart from the plot and Lindsey
Chapter Ten – Circling.
"I was just doing my job" he said gruffly before he orbed away. Lindsey smiled to herself at his exit. He might say he was only doing his job but his expression said something else. It seemed like her and the man she loved might actually end up being friends after all.
Chris orbed into the alley behind Triquetra and couldn't help flinching slightly as he looked around. His eyes locked onto the place where that asshole of a demon had had Lindsey up against the wall with his hand around her throat. If he gotten there even a minute later… He shuddered. He didn't want to think about that. Lindsey was alive and the demon was dead and that was all that mattered. And he had a job to do as quickly as possible. He wasn't going to leave Lindsey alone any longer then he had to.
He ventured further into the alley, heading over to the bin at the back. As he did, he couldn't help thinking that it was lucky no one else had gotten attacked back here. The place was so dark. He told himself that first thing the next morning he was going to see about getting security lights set up. No one else was going to be nearly strangled to death on his watch again.
No they just get stabbed in the stomach he thought with a silent curse as he crouched down in front of the body that had led to Lindsey getting attacked, turned it over and instantly saw how it was killed. No, not it. Her. The body was clearly female. He squinted down at her for a second and then cocked his head in confusion. That didn't look like a knife wound… he quickly conjured up a ball of orbs so he could see the cause of death more clearly. His eyes widened as he figured out what he was seeing. This girl hadn't been stabbed in the stomach. No knife could ever possibly do this to her. No knife could ever rip out someone's womb, leaving only a bloody, ragged, baby fist sized hole behind it.
Chris sighed as he looked down at the poor girl. Well at least now he knew why Lindsey had been attacked. She must have stumbled upon the demon dumping his victim. Because there was no way this wasn't a supernatural killing. No human could ever have done that. He stood back up and, hoping that Wyatt had gotten the identities of the four missing witches from the Elders, he called out his brother's name. Wyatt orbed in a second later.
"Hey. Did you find it?" Wyatt asked. Chris nodded.
"Yeah. She was right where Lindsey said she'd be" he said, gesturing behind him. Wyatt crouched down beside the body and echoed Chris's earlier sigh.
"Well at least we've found out what happened to our first missing witch" he murmured as he surveyed the scene. Chris raised his eyebrow in question.
"She's one of the missing?" he asked and Wyatt nodded.
"The first one. Her name is Eileen Scimmer. She's is, or was, a witch practitioner and didn't have any true magical powers. She and the boy she's been with since she was fourteen got married two months ago. They were trying for a baby. She was only 22 years old" he said sadly. Chris cringed, shook his head and rested his hand on his brothers' shoulder.
"We can't save every innocent Wyatt" he said quietly and Wyatt stood up and turned to face him with a frustrated grimace.
"I know, but it's hard when the innocent was truly that. Innocent. She had her whole life ahead of her Chris. She was in the process of starting her own family and now that's never going to happen. She'll never go home to her husband again and she'll never hold her baby in her arms. She'll never even have the chance to get pregnant in the first place."
Chris watched his brother closely as the Twice Blessed rubbed his face with his hands tiredly. He frowned in concern when he saw the shadows haunting his eyes.
"She isn't Lydia, Wyatt" he said in a soft voice and watched as his older brother froze and then his shoulders sagged.
"I know she isn't Chris. But the situations are similar and I can't help but compare them" he said bleakly. Chris frowned again at the tone. He raised his eyebrow.
"Oh? Did Lydia have a secret husband that we didn't know about?" he asked, trying to lighten the mood. He hated seeing his brother this way. The death of his childhood and high school sweetheart had torn Wyatt apart and even though it had happened many years ago, it still sat heavy on his heart. Wyatt smiled softly and shook his head.
"No of course she didn't. But if she had lived we could have been just like them. Married young and starting a family." Chris drew his brows together in annoyance.
"So could a lot of people Wyatt! Her situation is pretty common. Hell, one of our own cousins is leading a very similar lifestyle" he said, referring to their cousin Kat Mitchell, Paige and Henry's daughter and Tamora's twin, who was engaged and living with her fiancé. She was also trying for a baby, though her parents and the rest of the family didn't know that. Only Chris knew that at the moment.
"You need to stop taking the death of every young female innocent personally. We caught and vanquished the warlocks who killed Lydia and getting depressed every time we come across something that reminds you of her death is not at all healthy and definitely isn't the way she would have wanted you to live your life. It was eight years ago Wyatt. Don't you think it's about time you started moving on?"
Wyatt stared at him, stupefied, for a second before his blue eyes began to heat with temper. He folded his arms and glared at his brother.
"Just shut the hell up Chris! You have no idea what you're talking about! I loved her. She meant everything to me. She was sweet and brave and innocent and then evil came along and corrupted and destroyed that! Just like it's done here. And if I have to work night and day to stop that from happening to another innocent young girl, then I will! So stop sticking your nose in where is doesn't belong and leave me the hell alone!" he snarled before he orbed away.
Chris closed his eyes and sighed. He hadn't meant to upset his brother. He just really wanted to get through to him that his life hadn't ended when Lydia's had. There should be more to it then teaching at Magic School and hunting down evil with a single minded focus. But instead he'd just made him angry. He turned to look at the victim once more.
"Well I guess I'll be the one telling Darryl that you're here" he murmured to himself. With one last look, he orbed away to do exactly that, trusting that the recently appointed police Captain and long-time friend will take care of the sadly deceased young witch and quietly get rid of any and all supernatural evidence.
After informing Darryl about the body, Chris zipped in to explain to his frantic bar manager why Lindsey had never come back to work (she had taken ill and had needed to go home instantly. It was surprising how often his staff swallowed that cock-and-bull story). As he was leaving the restaurant, he felt a slight tingle of warning. Deciding that this meant that he'd left Lindsey alone for far too long, he orbed straight back to the Manor and into a scene of chaos. His parents, Wyatt and Lindsey were all there and his mother was doing her best to calm down a very angry, and by the look and smell of it, very drunk Bianca. Wyatt was standing in front of Lindsey protectively, who was glaring over his shoulder at the phoenix with a couple of bloody, painful looking scratches scoring her cheek, and his father holding onto Bianca's arm tightly, as if he was restraining her. The instant Chris orbed in, Bianca jerked out of Leo's hold and threw herself at him, sobbing loudly. He grabbed her tightly as she barrelled into him. It was either that or end up on the floor with her on top of him.
"Chris Chris please, I'm sorry I'm sorry, I didn't mean to, it meant nothing, please it's all her fault, I love you please please" she blubbered against his chest. Chris screwed his nose up at the strong smell of whiskey that seemed to have sunk into her pores. He jerked her back and stared at her, for the first time taking note that even though she was making a lot of noise and tears were dripping down her cheeks, there was no sadness of heartbreak in her eyes. If anything, under the fog of alcohol, they looked calculating. He gently pushed her back and away from him and narrowed his eyes at her.
"What are you doing here Bianca?" he asked in a suspicious tone. His eyes flicked to Lindsey and her most recent wounds before going back to his ex-fiancée. Bianca sniffed, wiped her cheeks and then sidled up to him, fluttered her eyelashes and ran her fingernail down his arm seductively. Chris frowned and stepped back from her.
"You know that you're the only one for me Chris" she murmured and Chris raised his eyebrow in disbelief.
"It didn't look like that earlier this evening" he said and Bianca pouted.
"That wasn't my fault. I was lonely and he seduced me" she said and across the room, Lindsey snorted. Bianca spun around, swayed and steadied herself and then glared hatefully at the younger woman.
"Shut up! This is your fault! All your fault! He'd still be with me if it wasn't for you!" she hissed. Lindsey snorted again and crossed her arms.
"How is you sleeping with someone else and Chris catching you in the act my fault?" she asked. She then cringed slightly as the other occupants of the room gasped. Her eyes met Chris's apologetically. Chris sighed and shrugged. They had to find out eventually.
"Oh Chris honey, I'm so sorry, that would have been terrible to witness" Piper said to her son sympathetically. Wyatt stepped over to his brother and put a hand on his shoulder, his anger at him from earlier forgotten. Chris smiled at them both in thanks. Everyone was so caught up in this little development that they forgot about Bianca until she growled and, with her path cleared, threw herself at Lindsey.
Both Chris and Wyatt lunged forward to grab her but couldn't reach her in time. Leo was too far away as well and seeing that, Lindsey braced herself and stepped forward to meet her determinedly. The expected collision didn't happen though, as suddenly Bianca froze in mid-air. Chris's mouth fell open and he swung around to stare at his mother, who was slowly lowering her hands.
"Okay, didn't expect that to work" she murmured as she looked back at Chris. He blinked at her before he turned to stare at the frozen phoenix in disbelief. Wyatt frowned and looked at his mother curiously.
"Then why did you try it?" he asked and Piper shrugged.
"Just a hunch" she said and then sighed.
"Please tell me you've broken up with her" Leo said as he to, eyed the statue in the middle of the room. Chris nodded.
"I did as soon as I caught her" he murmured. He sighed. He had suspected that Bianca had been dipping into the dark side of things but he hadn't wanted to believe it. But now he no choice as this clearly confirmed it. Bianca wasn't good anymore. Because good witches don't freeze. He scowled, stepped over to her and put his hands on her frozen shoulders firmly.
"Unfreeze her" he told his mother. Piper looked at him silently for a second before she raised her hands and did as her son said. Bianca's forward movement started again, but instead of reaching her intended target, she found herself stopped suddenly by the man she claimed to love. She blinked in surprise for a couple of seconds before, realising what must have happened, she shrieked and started struggling in Chris's hold. Chris just held her tighter.
"Bianca stop it. Stop it! What happened between us isn't Lindsey's fault" he said as he shook her gently.
"Yes it is! We were happy before she showed up!" Bianca cried and Chris shook his head.
"No we weren't. Our breakup was inevitable. Catching you the way I did was just the final nail in the coffin. So you need to go now. I'll be over tomorrow to get my stuff and after that I think it would be best if we didn't see each other again."
Bianca stopped struggling as Chris's words broke through her haze of anger. She stared at him in disbelief and her eyes widened as she read the resolve in his eyes. Expecting that she wasn't going to get any further tonight, she stepped back. She looked at Lindsey, who had between watching everything unfold with disbelieving eyes, her furious gaze shooting venom.
"Watch your back little girl. We wouldn't want you to have another… accident now would we?" she hissed. Chris jolted at her words and stepped towards her again but before he could reach her, she shimmered out of the room.
Lindsey glowered at the floor as once again, Wyatt had to heal her. God damn Bianca. She'd just been sitting there, minding her own business, waiting for the brothers to get back and explain what 'missing witches' they were talking about, when the phoenix had appeared out of nowhere and assaulted her. And that crazy bitch had very long fingernails. They'd been grappling on the floor with Bianca trying her best to peel Lindsey's face off when Piper and Leo had come home. Lindsey was thankful they had. It was the second time she'd been taken by surprise and needed to be rescued that night and it proved that she needed to work on her reflexes. She didn't want it to happen again.
She looked up and smiled her thanks when Wyatt's glowing hand moved away from her cheek, thinking that he was finished. Her smile turned back into a frown when it just moved down to her neck.
"How about we get rid of these at the same time" he said with a smile and Lindsey blinked in surprise. She'd forgotten about her neck and it seems so had Wyatt if he was just healing them now.
"You should have done that when you healed her shoulder" Chris muttered and Lindsey's gaze was drawn to him. He was staring at her with a frown on his face.
"My shoulder was a bit more important at the time" Lindsey said and Chris frowned even more.
"Yeah, but the bruises look worse" he muttered and Wyatt looked at him in amusement as he stepped back from Lindsey's newly healed throat.
"Okay does someone want to explain what happened to Lindsey's shoulder and why it and her neck needed to be healed in the first place?" Piper asked and the three younger witches turned to look at the matriarch. Lindsey shrugged.
"I got attacked by a demon in the alley behind Triquetra" she said. Piper gasped and was by her side in an instant.
"What?! Are you okay?" she asked and Lindsey smiled and nodded.
"I'm fine now Piper. He took me by surprise and managed to catch me in the shoulder with a fireball. I fought back but the wound was pretty bad and it distracted me. The demon managed to get right up next to me and get his hand round my throat. Luckily Chris sensed that I was in trouble and came and saved the day."
Piper frowned and turned to her youngest son. "How did you sense her?" she asked. Chris grimaced.
"I'm her Whitelighter" he muttered and Piper's mouth fell open before she began to chuckle quietly.
"Of course you are" she murmured before turning back to Lindsey. "So was it a random attack?" she asked and Chris shook his head. Lindsey looked at him in surprise.
"No not really. Lindsey was taken by surprise because she found the body that the demon had just dumped there. It was the body of one of the missing witches" he said and Piper grimaced and sighed.
"Okay you need to explain that. What missing witches?" Lindsey asked.
"Four witches have gone missing over the past week. Until tonight, no one had any idea what had happened to them. The body you found was the first one taken" Wyatt explained. Lindsey's eyes widened in surprise.
"So the demon that attacked Lindsey may have been the demon that killed our witch? Why didn't you capture him instead of vanquishing him?" Leo asked Chris. He looked away guiltily.
"I, ah, didn't think of that. I was sort of… angry at the time" he mumbled. Wyatt folded his arms and grinned while both Leo and Piper exchanged a glance and then smiled softly as well.
"It doesn't matter that we didn't capture him. I remember what he looked like so we can look him up in the Book" Lindsey said and Chris threw her a grateful glance. She smiled at him in return and he blinked and looked away. She was frowning at his reaction when Piper grabbed her hand and pulled her to her feet.
"Well what are we waiting for?" she asked as she pulled Lindsey up the stairs behind her.
"There. That's him. Well maybe not exactly him but he looked a lot like that" Lindsey said as she slapped her hand onto the Book to stop Piper from flipping pages. Chris, Wyatt and Leo came over to look as well as Piper read out the page.
"'Baynock Demons. Lower level demons whose main goal is to advance themselves in Underworld society until they are at the top. They've tried and failed many times over the years and their leader, known only as Jonus, has sworn never to stop trying. They are easily vanquished by active powers, are not considered a threat and are distinguishable by their red eyes, similar to those of The Kevmay but without the same destructive qualities.' Well if it is them then they shouldn't be too hard to defeat."
"It's them. That demon's eyes looked exactly like that" Lindsey said as she tapped the drawing of the human looking male with blazing red eyes on the page.
"So why are they kidnapping witches?" Wyatt asked. Chris frowned at him.
"Our dead witch had her womb removed. And you said Wyatt that she was trying for a baby. Do you think maybe the Baynock Demons stole the Vessel as well? That they might be trying to do something with a magical soul?" Wyatt's eyes widened.
"That would make sense. But why would they want a magical soul for? We really need to find the other witches to confirm this" he said and Chris nodded. Lindsey looked between the two before she held up her hands.
"Hold on a minute. What the hell is a Vessel?" she asked in frustration.
"A Vessel is a magical instrument that the Elders used to carry souls down to earth in. They've been retired now and I thought they'd been locked away. You didn't tell us one had been stolen" Leo answered as he looked at his sons questionably.
"Honestly, I forgot. It didn't really seem important. It does now though" Wyatt said with his own frown.
"Well there's nothing you can do about it tonight. No Wyatt, it's too late to go looking now" Piper said when it looked like her oldest was going to protest. "Both Chris and Lindsey have had a hard day and it's still Lindsey's birthday. How about we invite everyone over for a little celebration? Get everyone's mind off there problems."
As Leo supported his wife and the Halliwell brothers eventually gave in, Lindsey smiled to herself. Trust Piper to still try her best to make sure everyone still had a normal life. And a birthday celebration was as normal as you could get.
The impromptu party was a lot of fun. Phoebe, Paige, Tammy, PJ and Melinda all fussed over Lindsey when they found out what had happened, which got annoying after a while, but apart from that, it was a rather enjoyable evening. The only dark spot – nor maybe more awkward then anything – was when Leo gave Lindsey his birthday present. She didn't want to accept it, she didn't want anything from him, but she couldn't refuse. She reluctantly opened the gift and pulled out the string bag. She looked at him curiously before pulling open the bag and emptying it into her hand. A dozen or so small shiny stones fell out, the yellow/gold colour running through them sparkling under the lights. She blinked when she saw them. They were very striking.
"They're called Tiger Eyes. They help support balance and harmony and can help ward off anxiety and fear. They can also help install courage, strength of will and self-confidence. I, ah, thought you might appreciate them at the moment" Leo said softly. Lindsey stared down at them blankly before she looked up at him and then away again.
"Ah, thanks. They're… beautiful." She turned to Piper. "I think I'll call it a night if you don't mind" she told her and at her unwilling nod, she got up and looked at her flatmates.
"Give me a ride home?" she asked and Chris looked between her and his father in confusion as Melinda nodded. Leo's shoulders were slumped. As the other three went to get their stuff and Lindsey went to wait in the foyer for them, Chris followed.
"What's going on with you and my dad?" he asked her and she turned to him in surprise.
"Nothing" she said and Chris snorted.
"Bullshit. You're angry at him for some reason and I want to know why. As far as I can tell, he hasn't done anything to deserve such an unenthusiastic and insulting reaction to his birthday present."
Lindsey's mouth fell open before she narrowed in in annoyance and glared at him.
"I don't have any idea what you're talking about Chris and even if I did, I don't really think it's any of your business" she said. Chris was about to reply when the other three arrived. Lindsey glared at him again before taking Melinda's arm.
"Goodnight Chris" she said pointedly before they orbed away.
Lindsey sighed as she settled onto her bed. God it had been a long day. She pulled out the Tiger Eye stones and rubbed her thumb over them. They really were beautiful. And they were something she would have loved to get from Leo before he abandoned his son. She sighed again and reached over to put them on her bedside table. She froze in surprise when she saw the small gift box sitting on it.
Picking it up, she looked at it curiously. Where did this come from? Deciding that the only way she was going to find that out was by opening it, she lifted the lid. And gasped.
Sitting inside was a gorgeous dark purple amethyst and silver bracelet. Most of the amethyst was shaped as beads but a couple had been made into flower shapes and the colour of them matched her eyes exactly. Lindsey stared at the bracelet and swallowed hard. Who would give her such a beautiful, elegant piece of jewellery? She took it out with shaking fingers and only then noticed the note that was under it. She lifted out the small piece of paper and opened it, her eyes widening as she read the single, simple line it contained.
Happy Birthday – Chris.