Author's Note: This has spoilers for the episodes 'Long Day's Journey', and 'Witch Wars'. Written March 2008.
Disclaimer: I do not own any of these characters, and I am not making any money from these stories.
Warning: Disciplinary spanking of an adult by a parent - dubious consent. Disciplinary spanking of an adult by a romantic partner - dubious consent.
Home Again Chapter 4
Chris was busy tracking a demon in the underworld, when he heard Phoebe call his name. He wanted to ignore it, knowing that if he lost sight of this demon he would be almost impossible to find again, but also knowing that ignoring the call wouldn't go over well with his aunts or his parents. It had been a month and a half since the Spider Demon incident, and a month and a half of Leo being with Chris almost every minute of the day. Chris had been forced to modify his usual behavior to match Leo's guidelines or suffer the consequences if he didn't. Chris had finally convinced Leo to let him do some jobs on his own just three days ago, and he really didn't want that to change, so he sighed and orbed home.
He found Paige, Phoebe, and Leo all in the attic together. He said, "Yeah?"
Phoebe handed over a metal throwing star and said, "You know the demon we've been trying to find?"
"The one who's been killing other demons?"
Phoebe nodded, "We took this from a couple of lower level demons, and we are eighty percent sure they were working for him. We thought maybe you could find out who it belonged to so we can find out who they were working for."
Chris looked at the star and nodded. "Sure I'll tell you what I find out."
Chris started to orb, but stopped when Leo said, "Chris."
"No going after the demon, just gathering information."
Chris gave his father a look of annoyance and said with a good dose of attitude, "Yeah Leo, I got it. Can I go?"
Leo didn't look pleased but nodded. Chris orbed. Phoebe turned to Leo and said with a smile, "Ever notice he calls you Leo when he's irritated, but he calls you Dad when he's hurt or needs something?"
Leo was still looking at the spot Chris had left and said, "It's hard to miss."
Phoebe could tell it was more of a sensitive topic then she had realized and looked over at Paige. She said, "You look tired sweetie, why don't you rest for a while. Leo, Chris and I can handle it."
Paige shook her head, "No, I shouldn't
Phoebe put a hand on her younger sister's shoulder and gently pushed her towards the door as she said, "With Piper at magic school and me without my powers, you've been doing all the hard work for over a month now. Go lie down for a while. I'll let you know if something comes up."
Paige finally nodded and said, "Okay."
Paige went to her room, shut the door behind her, and looked around guiltily for a few seconds. Then she set up some candles, did a spell, and her very own Mr. Right appeared in front of her. She smiled at him, and he smiled back. He held out his hand, and when she put her hand in his he led her to the bed.
# # #
Chris orbed back into the attic half an hour after he left. He found Leo and Phoebe still working on theories as to who the mystery demon was. Leo asked Chris, "Did you find something?"
"The star belonged to a group of demon assassins who call themselves 'The Demon Atrix'. They aren't all that good at their jobs, but they will work for anyone who has enough money."
Phoebe said, "Well I guess that's not very helpful then."
Chris shook his head, "That's not all. I found out that they've recently been turning down jobs. No one is sure who they're working for now, but they're all working for one demon, and the rumor is that they have vanquishing potions for the Charmed Ones."
Phoebe shook her head and said, "What? That doesn't make any sense at all. We're not demons, we can't be vanquished."
Leo said, "Well that's not entirely true Phoebe. Witches can be sent to the same hell as the demons we vanquish. The difference is that it's not your body that goes there, just your soul. Demons don't have souls, so their bodies go there when we vanquish them."
Phoebe looked at Leo and said, "So we would be dead then?"
Leo nodded. Phoebe turned to Chris and said, "Okay, let's not let that happen."
Chris said, "The only way it could be possible is if there was a demon close to us. They would need personal knowledge about each of you, and they would have to have something of yours to make the potion with. I just don't see how it could be true."
Leo said, "Or someone close enough to read our minds."
Chris looked at Phoebe and said, "Maybe you and Paige should go to magic school with mom while Leo and I find out who's doing this."
Phoebe shook her head, "No way. Leo, you go tell Piper what's going on, and have her stay there. Chris, you and I are gonna wake up Paige so the three of us can go to the underworld and find out what's going on."
Chris looked at Leo to see if he was okay with the plan. Leo nodded and said, "You three be careful." before orbing to Piper.
# # #
Paige slowly woke up from her nap, and looked into Mr. Right's face. She smiled, "Morning."
"Afternoon really, and you look much more rested now then you did two days ago."
Paige sat up and sighed, "I guess I should get back to work."
Mr. Right waved his hand and a bed tray with a variety of lunch items on it appeared. He said, "First you eat. If you don't take care of yourself, you won't be any good for your sisters."
Paige gave him a look. "You can do magic?"
"I can do everything you want me to do. You made me to fill your every neglected need Paige, and you gave me all the same memories you have so that I know instinctually what you need, even when you aren't willing to admit it to yourself. And right now you need someone to make sure you don't run yourself into the ground from lack of sleep and food."
Paige wasn't sure she liked all of that, but her stomach growled in agreement. Mr. Right smiled at the noise, and Paige reluctantly said, "I guess I should eat."
Mr. Right said, "Good."
Paige held up half of a sandwich said, "You want some?"
He sat on the bed next to her and shook his head; "I don't need to eat. I'm not real. But I can eat if you'd like company."
Paige nodded so he took the sandwich from her and took a bite.
When they were almost done eating there was a knock on her door. Paige gestured for Mr. Right to get down behind the bed and he took the tray with him. Once he was out of sight Paige said, "Yeah?"
Phoebe opened the door a crack and said, "Sorry to wake you up, but Chris and I could use your help."
"I'll be there in a second."
Once Phoebe left, Mr. Right stood up and gave Paige a kiss. He said, "I'll be waiting for you."
# # #
Chris, Phoebe, and Paige spent the next half an hour in the underworld, finding the hideout for the Demon Atrix's. They were able to hid behind a large bolder and see the demons coming and going. After ten minutes of watching Chris said, "We haven't seen the leader yet, but I don't think we can risk going in there until we know more about them, and get some kind of vanquish."
Phoebe said, "I agree, but how can we get more information if we don't go in there."
Chris looked at the demons that were all petite blondes dressed in black. He smiled at her and said, "Well I have an idea, but I don't know if you'll like it."
"Let's hear it."
"You go in undercover as one of them."
Phoebe looked insulted; "I don't look anything like those demons."
"Put on a blond wig and some tight fitting black clothes and you will."
Phoebe glared at him and then back at one of the demons that just came out. Paige smiled and said, "He does have a point Phoebe. You would fit in. You're tiny, pretty, and when you were a genie I thought you looked good as a blond."
Phoebe directed her glare at Paige and said, "What about you?"
Paige said, "I'm a lot taller then all of the demons we've seen. That might be coincidence, or it might be that they are just smaller then average."
Phoebe crossed her arms, "Are you calling me short?"
Paige smiled, "If the shoe fits."
Chris held up his hands and said, "No time to argue. You two go get Phoebe something that will let her blend while I keep an eye out."
Paige took Phoebe's hand and orbed them back to the manor. Chris watched for another three minutes, and saw a dark haired male come out of the entrance with a Demon Atrix holding onto his arm. She said, "Why a Porsche?"
"Because they are her favorite."
"But you'll be in the underworld."
"Not for long."
They orbed together. Chris looked at the spot they left for a few seconds thinking it was odd to see a demon who orbed with blue lights. Usually demons orbed with black specks or they shimmered in and out. He muttered to himself, "A witch gone bad?"
He orbed after them, and hid behind some bushes to see the two of them go to a car dealership to buy a car. The male got into a Porsche with the sales person looking on and after turning it on, the male said, "I'll take it."
The sales person babbled on about paperwork, and the Demon Atrix who was standing by the car said, "No, we'll just take it."
The Demon Atrix put up her hand and shoved the guy ten feet through the air. The male yelled out, "No!"
Then he waved his arm and said, "Porsche."
One of the Porsche's that was sitting in the lot moved so that the sales man landed in the back seat and wouldn't get hurt. The male turned to the Demon Atrix and said, "How many times do I have to tell you we don't kill innocents?!"
The Demon Atrix didn't look very repentant but said she was sorry anyway.
Chris decided to come out of hiding. He walked up to the two of them and said, "A demon not hurting innocents? There's a new one."
The male looked at Chris and said with surprise and some anger, "You!"
A throwing star appeared in the male's hand and before Chris could react the male tossed it. But just as Chris was going to orb to avoid it, he realized it hadn't been thrown at him. He heard the Demon Atrix who was standing behind him yell as she burst into flames. Chris looked back at the male with confusion, and the male said, "Are you supposed to be going after me on your own?"
Chris was completely confused by this. "What??!"
"She could have hurt you! Get your ass home."
Chris couldn't understand what was going on. The male put the car in gear and drove off. Chris looked around, picked up the throwing star that was on the ground where the Demon Atrix used to be, and then got in the Porsche that was closest to him. The key wasn't in it, but Chris waved his hand and turned it on magically. He sped off after the male. They went a few blocks breaking speed limits until the male saw Chris in his rear view mirror. The male cursed, pulled the Porsche to a stop, and orbed away. Chris was pulling over too, but then saw flashing lights in his rear view mirror. He said, "Great."
A few seconds later as the cop was getting out of his car, the salesman from the car dealership came running down the street out of breath and said, "Stop him! He's trying to steal the car!"
Chris shook his head and said, "Unbelievable."
The cop quickly put Chris under arrest, and became even more suspicious when he discovered that Chris had zero ID. Chris kept his mouth shut, and hoped that Darryl was working at the station today.
# # #
It didn't take long for Phoebe and Paige to make Phoebe look like one of the Demon Atrix, but when they orbed back to the underworld and didn't see Chris, they were confused. They waited for a few minutes and then orbed back home. They scryed for Chris, and found him downtown. Paige said, "What the hell is he doing downtown?"
Phoebe looked closely at the map and said, "Isn't that the jail?"
Paige said, "Maybe he's talking to Darryl about something."
"That must be it. Let's wait for him."
They waited for half an hour and then Phoebe said, "Maybe there's something wrong."
Suddenly Chris orbed in. Phoebe said, "There you are, where have you been."
Chris cringed; thinking this wouldn't go over well and said, "In jail?"
Phoebe and Paige both yelled, "What??!!"
Chris held his hands up and said, "Let me explain."
Phoebe and Paige exchanged a look but then let him talk. "I saw what I thought was a male demon with one of the Demon Atrix's, but then when he orbed it was blue, so I think he's a witch. Then I
Paige interrupted, "A witch hanging out with demon assassins?"
"Yeah, I know it doesn't seem right, but I followed them out of the underworld and they
Phoebe interrupted, "You followed them? You know your dad
Chris raised his voice, "Let me finish here!"
Phoebe and Paige exchanged another look, and Phoebe crossed her arms in obvious disapproval of what Chris was telling them. "So I followed them topside and they went to a car dealership of all places. The guy was going to steal a Porsche, and when the dealer went to stop him, the Demon Atrix tried to hurt him, but the guy saved him. I heard him saying that he had told her more than once that they didn't hurt innocents."
Chris could see the surprise in their faces and said, "I know, but that's not even the strangest part, when I confronted him, he
Phoebe tossed her hands in the air and said, "You confronted him!!?"
Chris crossed his own arms defensively and said, "He just said he didn't hurt innocents! I thought it would be safe, and as it turns out I was right."
Chris held up the throwing star and said, "Not only did he not hurt me, he actually killed the Demon Atrix saying it was because she might hurt me. It was really odd. He seemed to know me."
Paige said, "And how did you get put in jail?"
Chris looked away and mumbled, "Oh yeah. The guy kind of stole a car, and I kind of took one too to chase him. He orbed away at the last minute, but I got caught by the police, and they arrested me for trying to steal a car."
Phoebe called, "Leo!"
Chris shook his head no and said, "We don't need to tell him
Leo appeared and said, "Tell me what?"
Chris glared at Phoebe and muttered, "Thanks a lot."
Phoebe crossed her arms again and said, "Tell your dad the story."
Paige took this opportunity to say, "I need to go check on something. I'll be back in a few minutes."
Chris recounted the whole story for Leo who didn't interrupt until the whole story was done. Leo said, "How did you get out of jail?"
Chris said, "I saw Darryl in the hallway and asked him to cover for me."
Leo nodded and said, "You shouldn't have gone after the guy by yourself, but you kept yourself hidden until you heard that he didn't hurt innocents. I think that's fairly reasonable. Next time you call me first though. You got it?"
Chris looked down and nodded. "Okay Dad."
"As for stealing the car, it was in the line of duty, so I'm not upset about the fact of you taking it, but I'm not sure what you planned to accomplish. Racing through public streets isn't really safe for bystanders, and what were you planning to if you did catch him?"
Chris shrugged, "I'm not sure. Talk to him I guess."
Leo looked over at Phoebe and said, "What are you wearing?"
Phoebe waved him off and said to Chris, "Do you think he went back to his hideout?"
Chris held up the throwing star and said, "Let's scry for him and find out."
They scryed for the demon, and the throwing star landed on the map right where the manor was. Chris looked up at Leo and said, "The guy is here."
Phoebe looked at Leo and said, "Paige."
The three of them ran to Paige's room and Leo was first to burst through the door. They were all stunned to see Paige kissing some half dressed man on her bed. Phoebe said, "Paige?"
Chris pointed at the guy and said, "That's him! That's the demon or witch or whatever he is."
Paige shook her head "He can't be. He's not even real, he's my Mr. Right."
Phoebe said, "Mr. Right? As in you conjured this guy to be your own personal
. Sex toy?"
Paige said, "No! It's more like a
Phoebe made a noise of disgust and left the room. Leo said, "Maybe the two of you should compose yourselves and come downstairs to talk about this."
Leo and Chris followed Phoebe, and a few seconds later Paige and Mr. Right came down as well. Phoebe was in a huff and said, "I can't believe you Paige. About a month ago I lost my powers because of misusing them, and I've told you time and time again about personal gain. What the hell were you thinking?"
Paige got mad too and said, "Yeah, that's right! You did lose your powers, and I've been doing double or even triple the work around here, so excuse me if I needed a break!"
Chris held up his hand and said, "Wait a minute, I think you guys are forgetting that we have more pressing issues here. This Mr. Right is the same guy who drove off in that Porsche today. Do you remember me?"
Mr. Right shook his head, "Sorry Chris, I've been here in the house all day. I wasn't the person you saw."
Chris asked, "How do you know my name."
Mr. Right put a hand on Paige's shoulder and said, "I know everything Paige knows to better anticipate her needs and
Phoebe held up a hand and said, "Stop there. We get the whole icky picture."
Chris turned to Leo and said, "This other guy knew me too. He even knew I shouldn't be going after him alone and told me to go home"
Leo nodded and thought about it for a second. He looked at Paige and said, "Could be two halves of the same Mr. Right."
Paige shook her head, "How can there be two halves?"
Leo expounded, "Because you created Mr. Right for your own personal gain, there is most likely going to be a consequence. If you put all your good thoughts into this one, then every time he appeared it's highly likely a 'Mr. Wrong' appeared somewhere else at the same time. This Mr. Wrong would also know everything you know, but he would be focusing on all your negative energy instead of your positive energy."
Paige shook her head. "I am so sick and tired of all this personal gain crap. We give and give to magic, and it never gives back."
Mr. Right rubbed Paige's back and said, "But you know they are right. No matter how much you don't like it, you knew it was wrong when you created me, and you knew there was a chance for things to go wrong."
Paige looked hurt and said, "I thought you were on my side."
"I am, but you know it's true."
Paige sighed and said, "Okay, okay. You're right."
Phoebe said, "So then can we just reverse the spell? Get rid of Mr. Right, and Mr. Wrong goes away too."
Mr. Right said apologetically, "My time isn't up until midnight. Tell then I'm pretty much indestructible."
Chris sighed and said, "Great. So what do you suppose this Mr. Wrong wants to do?"
Leo said, "Get Paige to give in to her darker side."
At that point the doorbell rang. Phoebe answered it and found Darryl on the other side. He held up a warrant and said, "I have a warrant for the arrest of Christopher Halliwell."
Phoebe said, "What?"
Darryl and some other police came into the house and put some handcuffs on Chris while Chris looked irritated and said, "Dad?"
Leo leaned in to Darryl and said, "What's going on here? I thought you were covering for Chris."
Darryl glared at Leo and said, "He stole a car Leo. I told you guys I wasn't going to help you anymore. Chris asked me to help. I never agreed."
Chris looked a little worried and said to Leo, "I thought he would! He didn't say he wouldn't!"
Leo put a hand on Chris' shoulder and said, "It's okay son, you go on with Darryl and don't say anything to anyone. We'll figure this out."
Chris nodded and went with Darryl. Once they were gone Leo looked at Phoebe and Paige and said, "I've got to go tell Piper what's going on, or she's gonna kill me. You two brain storm and think of a way to vanquish Mr. Wrong."
# # #
Leo went to see Piper and had her sit down to tell her what had been going on. Piper sat there stunned for a few seconds and said, "I have to go home."
Leo held her hand and said, "No, it's still safer for both you and Wyatt to stay here. I'll take care of it."
Piper looked at him and asked, "How?"
Leo said, "I need you to do a spell for me. Chris needs some identification, so that he can get out of jail. Can you create a drivers license and social security card for him?"
Piper thought about it for a second. "I think so."
"But if he stole a car, I don't see how that's gonna help get him out."
Leo held up a little bag of powder and said, "The car salesman is going to forget what he saw along with anyone else who might have been a witness."
Piper looked a little surprised and Leo shrugged. "He's my son. I'm not going to let him spend time in prison when he didn't do anything morally wrong."
Piper gave Leo a knowing smile and said, "He stole a car."
Leo smiled too. "He borrowed it."
"You're a big softy."
Leo couldn't disagree and said, "I can't help it. I hate the thought of him there in the cell alone and afraid."
Piper nodded. "You're a good father."
Leo lost his smile and looked over at Wyatt who was in the playpen. "I hope to be this time around."
Piper put a hand on his face and made him look at her. "You will be. Go deal with the car salesman, and I'll have the identification ready for Chris when you come back."
Leo couldn't help himself and leaned down to kiss her once before he orbed away.
# # #
Half an hour later Leo had the car salesman at the police station talking with Darryl. Since the salesman had both the cars back, and couldn't remember anyone taking them, Darryl couldn't hold Chris for stealing the car, but he looked at Leo and said, "I'm holding him for resisting arrest and for breaking out of prison."
Leo pleaded, "Darryl, you have kids, you know Chris is my son. Please."
Darryl glared and said, "No Leo. After the last time I helped you I promised myself, and I promised my wife there would be no more, and I meant what I said."
Leo nodded and said, "Alright Darryl."
Darryl looked down obviously feeling bad about all of it, and turned around to look out his window. While his back was turned Leo put a small pinch of white powder and put it on Darryl's head. Darryl turned around and said, "What were we talking about Leo?"
"You said since the car salesman can't remember Chris stealing a car, that you were going to have to let him out."
Darryl nodded and said, "That's right, I'll let him out as soon as I get done with the paperwork. I'm really sorry I had to be the bad guy on this one Leo, but you understand that I have a commitment to my family right?"
Leo looked down feeling bad about it and said, "Yes I understand better then you know. Do you think I could see Chris?"
Darryl showed him to the back and then went to fill out paperwork. Leo held onto the bars and saw Chris sitting on the bottom bunk of a cell looking worn out. Leo said, "Chris?"
Chris got up and walked over to the bars. "Hey Dad."
Leo looked around to make sure no one could hear and told Chris what had happened. Chris said with disbelief, "You really used the dust on Darryl?"
Leo reached out for Chris with a hand through the bars, and Chris stepped up so Leo could put a hand on his shoulder. Leo said, "I'd do anything to protect you Chris. I love you."
Chris blushed slightly and looked away. He said, "Thanks Dad."
Leo patted his shoulder and said, "You gonna be okay here for a little bit? I need to go help your aunts."
Chris nodded. "Sure."
# # #
As Leo walked out of the police station he heard Phoebe in his head calling for him. He walked around the side of the building and orbed. Phoebe was in an ally on the other side of town, and when Leo got there Phoebe said, "We've got a problem."
Leo looked around. "Where's Paige."
"With Mr. Wrong."
Leo held out his hand and orbed both him and Phoebe back to the manor. Mr. Right was waiting there in the attic. He said with worry, "Where's Paige?"
Phoebe said, "We tried the vanquishing potion that we made with your blood, but it didn't work. He said something about it wasn't time yet. Then all he did was touch Paige and look her in the eye, and she went with him! She didn't even turn around when I yelled at her. Is she under some kind of spell do you think?"
Mr. Right shook his head. "Paige has a dark side. Darker then any of you suspect. She hates having to hide her magic. And the both of us have enough pheromones to kill a small elephant, so I'm sure she is just enamored with him right now."
Phoebe flopped onto a couch and said, "Great."
Leo looked at Mr. Right and said, "Got any suggestions?"
Mr. Right smiled and said, "Actually I've been thinking about that since you've been gone. What if we made him real?"
Leo and Phoebe looked at each other. Mr. Right said, "Well actually make me real, and then he would be real as a result because we are as Leo said two sides of the same person."
Leo said, "If he was real, we could kill him. It could work."
Phoebe worked on the potion for the next hour, and then tried it out on Mr. Right. She said, "Did it work?"
He nodded and said, "Yes. I can feel. I can smell. It's all different now."
Leo looked at Phoebe and said, "Let's get Piper and the two of you can go kill Mr. Wrong and get Paige back."
Phoebe nodded and Leo looked at Mr. Right and said, "You'd better start thinking about a name, and what you want to do with this life you've been given. You know you can't stay with Paige because
He held a hand up, "I know. Personal gain."
Leo nodded and then orbed him and Phoebe to magic school. Phoebe, Piper, and Leo all orbed to the underworld leaving Wyatt in the school's daycare. They quickly found Paige and Mr. Wrong talking about all the things they wanted to do when they were free to use magic out in the open with no fear of personal gain. Piper cleared her throat and they saw her. Piper said, "Paige, I don't know what you think you're doing, but you need to come home with us. Using your magic in the open is never going to be okay with me, Phoebe, Leo, or Mom and Grams."
Paige glared at her and said, "I hate you acting like you're my mom or something! I never even got to know Mom or Grams, so why should I care what they think! I love my magic, and I want to be able to use it when I want for what I want. To hell with the rest of you."
Phoebe tried, "Sweetie, this isn't you talking, it's Mr. Wrong's pheromones."
Paige orbed a small rock towards Phoebe's head. "Don't tell me it isn't me! You don't know how I feel! Always so bossy, and you're only a few years older then me!"
Leo said, "Talking isn't getting anywhere."
Paige turned on him and said, "And you! Always telling us what we should be doing, while you sit back and do nothing on your own. No wonder your children turn out all wrong!"
Piper yelled "Hey! That's enough."
Piper flicked her hands at Mr. Wrong and he exploded all over the floor. Paige stood there for a second with her mouth open, and then a feeling washed over her, and she realized she had been under Mr. Wrong's influence. She looked over at Piper, Phoebe, and Leo and said, "Oh God. I'm so sorry."
Paige put a hand over her mouth and started to cry. Piper went and gave her a hug and said, "It's gonna be okay. Let's go home."
Paige nodded and orbed Piper home while Leo orbed Phoebe home.
# # #
Later that night, Chris came home to lots of hugs and reassurances that he was safe. He took Piper home and then came home himself to help Leo set up Mr. Right with a new life. After Leo spent some time with Mr. Right talking about what would happen to him now that he was basically a new witch and a new person, he told Mr. Right to say good bye to Paige. Paige was sitting by herself in the living room thinking about what had happened. Mr. Right came in and Paige stood up. They smiled at each other and Paige said, "So are you all set?"
"I think so."
"Don't be nervous. Leo will take good care of you."
"I know, remember."
Paige smiled. "Did you pick out a name yet?"
"If you don't mind I thought I'd use Vincent."
Paige nodded, "My first boyfriend. That's a lovely name."
"I wish I could stay with you."
Paige took a few steps and hugged him. "I wish you could too, but after these past few days, we can't risk anymore problems coming from personal gain, and I think having the perfect man for me that I created would fall under that heading."
Vincent knew the goodbye would be hard for Paige, and let her go. He said, "Let's tell Leo I'm ready."
They walked together to the kitchen but stopped in the entryway when they heard Chris and Leo talking. Leo said, "I don't even see why you're bringing this up. You're not in trouble for anything that you did today."
"I'm bringing it up, because I'm trying to get you to see how ridiculous the whole thing is. I'm twenty-two, and she's twenty-five. She's not even three whole years older then me. She has spent weeks using magic for her own personal gain. She lied to all of us repeatedly about taking 'naps'. She manipulated us into believing she was fine with the way things were when she obviously needed help. And still you all trust her to be an adult and see the error of her way without a spanking. All I'm saying is it's kind of hypocritical. If you're not going to come down on her for doing the same exact things, then you shouldn't come down on me either."
"It's not exactly the same Chris, I'm not her father."
Chris rolled his eyes and said, "Right, so the real reason you spank me isn't because you're trying to make me a better person like you said, it's just because you feel you have the right as my biological father to order me around."
Leo was losing his patients. "Chris it's not like that and you know it."
"Then what's it like?!"
Leo sighed and tried to put it into words. Before he could come up with something Vincent made Chris and Leo aware of their presence by clearing his throat. Leo and Chris turned to see them and Chris turned red as he asked, "How long were you standing there?"
Vincent looked down at Paige who was bright red and said, "Long enough."
Chris cursed under his breath. Vincent said, "Leo, could I talk to you in private for a second."
Leo nodded and the two of them walked out of the room for a few seconds. Chris and Paige shared a very uncomfortable silence for two minutes before Leo and Vincent came back. Vincent walked over to Paige and nodded at Leo. Leo held out his hand and blue specks came out of Paige's chest and into Leo's hand. Chris looked back and forth between Leo and Paige and said, "What's going on?"
Paige looked shocked herself and said, "Leo?"
Vincent took Paige's hand and said, "Can I talk to you upstairs for a few minutes?"
Paige shook her head and tried to take a step back, but Vincent held her tight. He said, "I know you Paige. You made me to fill your every neglected need remember? Come upstairs with me. You know it's the right thing to do, even if you don't want to."
Paige looked over at Leo for a second and then looked back at Vincent. She looked back down and gave a slight nod as she followed him up the stairs.
Chris stood there in shock shaking his head. When Paige and Vincent were out of eyesight he said, "This is not what I meant Dad, and you know it. The point I was trying to make is that you shouldn't spank me, not that someone should spank Paige. We're both adults!"
Leo put a hand on Chris' shoulder and said, "I know Chris, and I'm sorry but it was Paige's decision, not mine."
Chris orbed away, not wanting to be anywhere near what was going to happen, even if he couldn't get away from sensing her pain as her whitelighter no matter how far away he got. He was on top of the Golden Gate Bridge when he sensed her pain, and his whole body tensed up thinking it was all wrong. Then he heard Leo's voice behind him. "Hey Chris, how about I buy you a beer over at P3 and we can see how the place is doing."
Chris turned around and looked closely at his father. Leo had never offered to buy him a beer before. He asked, "Is this your way of proving you know I'm an adult?"
Leo smiled, "You got me. How about it? The noise will help. We'll take Vincent to his new place tomorrow morning."
Chris was having trouble blocking out Paige's emotional turmoil and pain. He nodded and said, "Okay."
# # #
Paige followed Vincent up the stairs thinking the whole way that she should put up more of a protest. She thought she should complain loudly and tell him to screw off, but she found herself following meekly, because in the end she knew she had messed up. He took them to her room where they had spent many pleasant evenings together, and shut the door behind them. He led them to the bed and had her sit down beside him. He gently brushed the hair out of her face and said, "Let's get it over with, and then I'll spend one last night with you."
She nodded at the floor. He said, "Hey look at me."
She did. He said, "We both know what you did was wrong, and you feel guilty about it. But it was just a mistake, not the end of the world, and not something that can't be forgiven."
A tear slid down her face, and she whispered, "That's what my Dad would say to me when I was in trouble."
Vincent smiled knowingly and nodded. He pulled her over his lap and started swatting the seat of her pants. The first swat took Paige by surprise and she said, "Hey! Ow! Not so hard!"
Vincent kept swatting just as hard and kept quiet, knowing nothing he said at that point was going to register much. And he knew that while she might hate what he was doing, that she wouldn't really be able to forgive herself if he didn't punish her enough.
Paige was feeling bad when it started, but when it really started to hurt, she struggled to get away, but found Vincent was much stronger then she was. She yelled out, "I made you damn it! You stop! I hate you!"
Vincent ignored her, knowing it's what she would say, and paused long enough to pull down her pants. She gave an undignified screech and yelled, "Knock it off God damn it!"
Vincent started spanking harder, and within a few seconds she was crying and instead of demanding he stop she was telling him she was sorry and begging him to stop. He stopped and paused for a second for her to focus on what he was saying. He said, "Are you going to have any more issues with personal gain?"
Paige broke down into more sobs and shook her head no. Vincent said, "You'd better not."
He gave her ten more hard swats and then stopped for good. He picked her up, and put her on her side lying on the bed. He lay next to her and put his arms around her and let her cry. After a few minutes he murmured that he loved her, and she was forgiven over and over again until she fell asleep.
# # #
Two weeks later
Chris was in the attic looking up a demon in the book of shadows when suddenly a portal opened up on the wall. Chris took a few steps back and watched with growing horror as Wyatt and four of his demon followers walked trough the portal. Before Chris could get over the shock of seeing his brother, Wyatt put up his hand and Chris' airway was cut off. Chris held his hand up to his throat trying to breathe while Wyatt laughed and said, "Did you really think I wouldn't find a way to get back to you little brother? I mean maybe if you'd been quick about it, but you've been in the past for over a year now with nothing to show for your efforts."
Wyatt shook his head as Chris fell to his knees with dizziness. Wyatt said, "You know I've never thought much of your magical abilities. You're a mediocre witch at best. But you're pretty good at manipulation, so I actually expected you to be more of a threat. My mistake."
Chris woke up sweating and sucking in air. He sat up in bed and looked around the room wildly for a few seconds and put a hand up to his throat but found it felt normal. Once he realized it had been a nightmare he was able to calm himself down pretty fast. He took some deep breaths and said to himself, "Just a nightmare. Wyatt hasn't found a way back here."
Chris looked at the clock, which read three AM. He sighed, got out of bed, and headed to the bathroom to wash his face and get a drink of water. Once he had a drink, he looked at himself in the mirror and thought, 'The nightmares are getting worse the closer it gets. Only one month left. Wyatt's right, I've been here for a year and have nothing to show for it other then a demon body count. I'm still no closer to finding out what happened to Wyatt. Or what will happen to him.'
Chris splashed some cold water on his face and dried it off. He headed back to bed and lay down, but couldn't go back to sleep. Instead he found his mind wandering. He rolled over in his bed again and wondered what kind of reaction he would get if he just went to Leo and told him that they only had a month left to save Wyatt. He groaned and thought, 'You know what his reaction will be. That's why you don't want to tell him.' He tossed and turned for the next hour before finally falling asleep.
Well before he was ready for it, the sun came through Chris' window. He pulled the covers over his head and rolled away from the sun. As he was about to drift off again he heard his mother's voice in his head calling him. "Chris? Chris, are you awake? We need to have a family meeting."
Closing his eyes tighter Chris pretended he hadn't heard. A minute later there was a knock on his door. Giving up, Chris pulled the covers off his head and said, "Yeah?"
Paige opened his door and said, "Get up. Family meeting at magic school in fifteen minutes."
"Okay, okay I'm up."
Paige shut the door and went to get herself ready. Chris looked at the clock. He'd had three hours of sleep.
A hurried fifteen minutes later Chris arrived to see the whole family was seated around a table at magic school. Smiling Piper said, "Morning sleepy head."
Scowling Chris gave her a curt, "Morning." And sat down next to Phoebe. Before anyone else could comment Gideon arrived.
"Thank you all for coming so quickly, I'm in desperate need of your help. Last night one of our teachers was murdered."
Leo said, "I'm so sorry. Who was it?"
There was a moment of silence and then Gideon continued, "Five witches have been killed in the past two weeks, all stabbed in the heart. We aren't sure who is killing them, or why, but we are sure that it isn't random. All of the witches that were killed have some ties to this school. Two were former students, two have children who currently attend classes, and the most recent murder was Ginny. We hadn't put it all together until last night. We need the Charmed One's to concentrate all their energy into finding out who is doing this before there is a panic."
Paige said, "Of course. We'll do everything we can."
Phoebe asked, "Do you have any other information on the murders?"
Gideon set some files on the table and said, "This is everything I have collected so far."
Paige, Phoebe, Piper, and Leo all took a file and started looking through them. Feeling tired and frustrated Chris said, "We don't have time for this."
Looking both surprised and disappointed Piper said; "We'll make time."
"Let the school deal with their own issues. We have enough of our own."
Leo's tone was chastising as he said, "Chris."
Standing and raising his voice Chris said, "No. I'm telling you guys, we don't have time for this. We only have one month left! We all need to concentrate on who is out to get Wyatt, because if we don't most of the witches on the planet are going to get killed anyway!"
The room was silent for a few seconds and then Leo said, "What do you mean we only have a month left?"
Looking around the room at the upset faces of his family, Chris found he just couldn't tell them the truth. He looked down and said, "Well I figure I'll be born in a month, and I don't think two of me can exist in the same time. That means we have a month."
Leo stood and walked around the table so he could put a hand on Chris' shoulder. "Even if you leave before we figure out what happens to Wyatt, we're all still going to be vigilant about protecting him, and watching for any signs of a change. We won't let it happen this time Chris."
Chris couldn't keep eye contact with his father, and looked at the table as he nodded. Leo patted his shoulder and said, "Someone killing witches takes priority for the next few days until we find the killer and put a stop to it."
"Okay." Chris mumbled.
Gideon smiled and said, "Thank you all. I'll bring any new news to your attention immediately. For now I need to go make arrangements for Ginny's classes."
Once Gideon was gone, everyone looked at the files Gideon had given them about the recent deaths. Chris decided he'd better get his mind focused on this as best he could, because the quicker they solved this, the quicker they could get back to doing what was important saving Wyatt. He studied the files and listened to his family around him bouncing ideas off each other about who could be doing the killing. As he was reading he remembered being undercover in a demon bar a few days ago, and overhearing some demons talking about killing witches.
Interrupting the conversation around him Chris raised his voice to be heard and said, "Hey I just remembered something. Three days ago when I was looking for that shape-shifter, I was in a demon bar, and I over heard a group of them talking about killing witches."
Paige said with irritation, "And you're just telling us this now?!"
Irritated himself, Chris answered, "It's not like they were talking about specific witches! They were talking in general. Now that I think about it, I've heard a few different demons over the past three weeks talking about the fact that so many demons have gone missing or been found dead lately. Killing the witches could be retaliation. Especially witches involved in a school that teaches magic."
Phoebe gave Chris an annoyed look and said, "I have to agree with Paige. You should have told us about this as soon as you heard it. Maybe we could have prevented some of these deaths if we'd known."
Not having the best day to begin with Chris said, "Well maybe if you hadn't lost your powers by misusing them, you could have had a premonition about this and we could have prevented some deaths!"
Before Phoebe or Paige could retaliate, Leo spoke sharply, "Chris."
Cringing at the tone Chris turned to Leo. With his lecture face firmly in place, Leo started in. "Both your aunts are right. If you hear rumors like that you need to let us know. We've talked about trying to work as part of a team instead of working on your own. And I know we've gone over the fact that keeping important information from your family is the same thing as lying."
Leo saw Chris shaking his head and continued, "I know you weren't keeping it from us intentionally, it just hadn't occurred to you to tell us until now, but that's part of the problem Chris. If one of us had heard a rumor like that, it wouldn't have occurred to us not to tell the rest of the family. It's a different mindset, and it's something you need to work on."
Embarrassed to be getting lectured in front of everyone, Chris wanted it over and said, "Okay, I'll work on it."
Pleased, Leo said, "Good. Now think back is there anything else you remember that could help us with this case? Anything else you haven't told us?"
Chris knew Leo was talking about the case, but couldn't help but think yes there was something else he hadn't told them. He looked away and said, "There were no specific threats towards witches in the conversations I overheard. Just demons lamenting the fact that so many of their own were being killed lately, and a general consensus that something should be done about it."
Phoebe said, "Well you have killed more demons in the past year then we usually do. I guess we should have anticipated some kind of retaliation. Now the question is, what should we do?"
"I'll go undercover in the underworld, find out who it is, and kill them." Chris said as if it were a mater of fact and not up for debate.
Piper said, "No you won't!" and at the same time Leo said, "It's too dangerous to do on your own Chris."
Rolling his eyes Chris said, "Oh brother. It's no more dangerous today then it was yesterday."
"They're killing witches Chris!" Piper said.
Raising his voice as well Chris said, "They try to kill witches every day Mom! Look, if it will make you happier, I'll just go find out who it is, and come home with the information so we can all go after him."
Looking displeased but speaking calmly Leo said, "Chris, yelling at your mom isn't okay."
Chris blushed and muttered to the table, "Well, it was the truth."
"Chris." Leo's tone was warning enough.
Clenching his jaw, and not sounding particularly apologetic, Chris said, "Sorry Mom."
Leo sighed, "We'll go to the underworld together to get information."
Chris opened his mouth to protest, but Leo held up a hand and said, "I know, you don't think I make a believable demon. I'll be invisible and blend with the walls where I can keep an eye on you without interfering."
Obviously displeased with this idea, but doubting he had any choice in the matter, Chris ground out, "Fine."
Piper said, "Good. I'll question the people here at the school about the deaths and see if we can find any more similarities between the victims."
Phoebe looked at her watch. "I need to go to work, but call me if you need me to come home."
Paige said, "I'll take Phoebe to work, and then I'll look through the Book of Shadows. See if I can find anything on a demon who stabs the heart."
"Meet back here at lunch time?" Leo asked.
Everyone agreed, and soon Chris and Leo were in the underworld with Chris disguised as a demon, and Leo blended into the wall.
# # #
Chris wandered for a while trying to listen in on conversations without being obvious about it. A couple of hours later he heard what he had been waiting for. It was the third bar he had tried out, and he could tell the atmosphere was different in this one. No one was playing pool, and the main room was mostly empty. Chris got a beer and walked back towards the back room where he could hear voices. He found the scene that greeted him disturbing.
There was an average looking man standing on a table near the back of the room talking. The back room was stuffed to capacity with a large variety of demons, and they were all listening to the man with rapt attention. As Chris listened in, he felt the hair on the back of his neck stand up.
"So tell me citizens of the underworld, are we going to sit around and take it, or are we going to do something about it?"
A few demons muttered they should do something about it, and even more nodded in agreement. The man continued, "How many of our brothers and sisters have to die before we stand up and say no more? How many of our children and parents have to suffer before we take up arms against the enemy?"
He looked into the audience and pointed to a vampire, "You sir. How many have you lost this year?"
The vampire said, "Four of my brothers."
The man nodded solemnly and pointed to a female shape shifter, "And you my sister. How many have you lost this year?"
The man made a fist and smashed it against the palm of his other hand. "We can not allow this to go on! The witches are living among the humans, while we are relegated to the underworld. The witches are allowed to hold jobs and buy houses. The witches are all living in homes with their families, not scrounging for food in the cold underworld. Do they have to worry that someone will come kill them in the night while they sleep?"
More then one shouts of 'No!' could be heard from the audience. "Do they have to live in fear that someone will find out what they are and hunt them down along with everyone they love?"
"No!" More demons joined in.
The man on the table took a deep breath and looked to his right. Chris had been so caught up with listening to the man, he hadn't noticed that there was a young woman sitting in a chair right beside the table, and she was facing the audience as well. The man held out his hand to her. She stood, took his hand, and let him help her up on the table with him. He looked out at the crowd, making eye contact with as many as possible before speaking, "My brothers, we must take action, and the action that we take must be organized. If you join us, I promise to avenge each and every one of you for the wrongs that were committed against your families."
Cheers went up around the room. One of the demons that hadn't cheered said, "What is this action that you plan to take?"
"Well sir, I'm glad you asked me that. A little less then a year ago, my brother was killed. Cut down in cold blood, just for being a demon. He wasn't hurting anyone, but it didn't matter. I made him a promise that day as I held him and watched his eyes go dim. I promised to kill the son of a bitch responsible for his death."
"But how could I do that? I'm a low level demon, and the witch who killed my brother
well let's just say there would be no contest if we got in a fight. So I spent every spare minute of my time for the next six months doing research."
The man turned to the woman standing next to him on the table and said, "That's when I met my lovely Bonnie. Her whole family was wiped out in one night. She's the only survivor of the massacre, and she wanted revenge the same as me. The day I met her, I decided to go by the name Clyde. Why you may ask? Because the day I met her, was the day we discovered how to win the war. We steal."
There were murmurs of uncertainty throughout the room. Clyde held up his hand, and looked at a glass of water that was across the room. The glass moved through the air and landed in Clyde's hand. There were a few gasps from the audience. Clyde took a sip and said, "Now ask yourselves how could a low level demon like myself do that?"
He paused a second for affect and then said, "I can do it, because it's a power that I stole from a witch."
There were murmurs of surprise and some disbelief. One demon called out, "That's impossible. How can you steal powers?"
Clyde looked at Bonnie. She held up her hand and a fireball appeared on top of it, which she flung at the wall beside them, and burned a whole through to the other side. Clyde kissed her cheek in approval. He turned to the audience and held his hands up in the air. "You may not understand how it's possible, but let me assure you it is possible. If you can find it in yourselves to have faith, if you can believe that we can do what we say, if you join us, and if you're loyal, we will have our revenge. Bonnie and I are getting stronger with every power we steal. Soon there won't be a witch strong enough to stop us."
Someone in the room called out, "What about the Charmed Ones?"
The room grew silent as Clyde glared in the general direction that question had come from. He said with malice, "What about them. Let them come! I have stolen the power from three witches already, and Bonnie has the power of two. After tonight she'll have another. Soon, even the Charmed One's won't be able to stop us, and once that happens, we'll get the witch with the ultimate power."
There were whispers in the room, but Chris distinctly heard the name 'Wyatt.' Chris looked in the general direction he knew Leo was standing, and hoped he would stay hidden no matter how hard it must be for him after hearing that. Bonnie said, "Those of you who want to join us, come introduce yourselves."
Both Bonnie and Clyde got down off the table, and were immediately surrounded by demons eager to join the cause. Chris discreetly walked into the bathroom, and looked around to make sure he was alone before he said, "Leo?"
Leo appeared, and Chris could tell he was disturbed by what he had heard as well. Chris said urgently, "I have to go talk to them. Get in their good graces, so I can find out who they're going to kill before they do it. We have to find out how they are getting power from these witches before they kill them, and we have to stop them before they get more."
Leo said somewhat dazed, "They're after Wyatt's power." He had heard Chris tell him hundreds of times that a demon was after Wyatt, but it hadn't seemed as real to him as it did today.
Chris put a hand on Leo's shoulder and said, "Not yet. That's why we have to stop them now."
Leo still seemed lost in his own thoughts. Chris said, "Dad?"
Shaking his head to snap himself out if it, Leo said, "We don't know what powers they have. What if they are able to sense that you're a witch."
Sounding grim, Chris said, "Then you'll have to heal me. We can't miss this opportunity to meet them. If we do, it may be too late not only for Wyatt, but also for the rest of us. Stay close, and stay out of sight unless I'm near death."
Leo didn't like it, but he had to agree that this was the best opportunity to meet them, and chances were slim that they would be able to sense who Chris really was. "Okay."
Chris turned to leave, but Leo turned him back around and pulled him into a quick hug. Needing the comfort as much as Leo, Chris hugged him back tightly. Once Leo let go, he faded into the wall again. Chris went back out, and saw that Clyde and Bonnie were still surrounded by many demons, so he got in line to meet them.
Ten minutes later he was shaking hands with both of them, and promising his allegiance to them. Bonnie asked him the same thing they asked every demon so far. "What kind of demon are you?"
Chris changed his appearance from an older man to a young woman and said, "I'm a shape shifter."
Bonnie's eyes seemed to light up, and she looked over at Clyde with a huge grin. Clyde put a hand on Chris' shoulder and said, "You my brother, will be indispensable in our movement. What's your name?"
"Well if you're Bonnie, and you're Clyde, maybe you should call me Buck."
Clyde and Bonnie shared a look. Clyde said, "Clyde's brother. You know your history."
Chris was glad Wyatt had been obsessed with the outlaws in his early teens, because otherwise he wouldn't have known. "What good demon doesn't know the story of the most misunderstood 'criminals' in history. They were just trying to survive. In a time when the government was all-powerful, and the rich were getting fat while the common man starved. Interesting how rich rhymes with witch isn't it?"
Clyde nodded and squeezed Chris' shoulder in a friendly gesture before letting go. He said, "Buck it is. Why don't you come back to our house with us after we're done here."
Chris changed his appearance back to the old man and said, "It will be my pleasure brother."
# # #
Three hours later Chris was at a small blocked off area of the underworld where Bonnie and Clyde had made a little 'house' for themselves. Chris and ten other demons who had been in the crowd had come back with them. Once they got there, Clyde pulled Chris aside and showed him some of the research he had done. He had information and pictures on at least fifty witches. Chris looked through them, and found information on all of his family members, including himself and Wyatt.
Clyde looked through the photos and picked one out. Chris didn't recognize the witch. Clyde said, "Bonnie is going after this one today. She has the power to become invisible. With a shape shifter on our side that won't be as important as it was yesterday, but it could still be useful."
Chris nodded and read up on the witch, trying to memorize everything he could about her as quickly as possible. She was the mother of a student at magic school, and her name was Beth. He handed the folder back to Clyde and said, "How can I help?"
Clyde opened the folder and got out another picture of a younger man. He handed it to Chris and said, "You can help us get close while her guard is down. This is a picture of her fiancé. You go to her looking like this, and tell her Bonnie is someone who needs her help. Then once Bonnie is in the house, she can make her move."
"And what is her move exactly?"
"You'll see. Wouldn't want to ruin the surprise."
Chris shrugged as if it meant nothing to him one way or another. "When do we go?"
Clyde looked at his watch. "The witch should be home in about half an hour."
"Where does the fiancé work? If I'm going to do a good job of shifting into him, I'll need more then a picture. I need to see them move."
Waving at one of his followers, Clyde said, "This here is Furlow. He's a darklighter, so he can orb. He'll take you."
Chris nodded and stood still while Furlow put a hand on his shoulder to orb them. Once they were in front of the building, Chris pretended to be a little wobbly and said, "Wow, I could never get used to moving around like that."
Furlow said, "It gets better with time. The guy works in there, on the third floor."
Chris nodded. "Come back and get me in half an hour?"
As soon as Furlow was gone, Chris called out, "Leo?"
Leo orbed in next to Chris. They looked at each other and both orbed to magic school together.
# # #
Ten minutes later the whole family and Gideon were sitting around the conference table, with Leo holding Wyatt close, and Chris explaining what was going on. When he was done everyone was silent for a few seconds. Then Phoebe said, "So this is it then. This is what turns Wyatt evil? They try to get his powers, but can't, and instead make him join forces with them?"
Chris shook his head. "Can't be. This is all because of me. It's something that I've changed with my presence here in the past. Because I killed so many demons, they are going to retaliate. I mean it's a serious threat to Wyatt, and to all the other witches, but it's not what turned him evil."
Gideon who had sat silently by up to this point stepped in. "Let's not be hasty with that assumption Chris. This could very well be what happened in the past. It may have just moved the timeframe up. You said a witch killed Clyde's brother, but that doesn't mean he was killed by you. And if he was killed by someone else, this could have all happened before."
Because Chris knew that there was only a month left, he seriously doubted that these could be the demons that had made Wyatt evil. Without him there killing so many demons, Bonnie and Clyde wouldn't have had the support of so many demons. But Chris couldn't exactly blurt out that he'd been hiding this fact from his family for the past year, so instead he said, "But he also said Bonnie's family was all killed. That can't be a coincidence. It has to be because of me."
Scoffing, Gideon said, "You're not the only witch out there killing demons. Do you remember either one of these demons?"
"No, but that
Gideon cut him off, "Then don't assume. Assumptions can be dangerous. You've been here looking for what turned Wyatt evil, so don't assume anything until you've done your research."
Nodding Leo said, "I agree. But first things first, what are we going to do right now?"
Glad to get back on track for the here and now, Chris said, "I'll go in looking like Beth's fiancé, and then when I see Bonnie about to make her move, I'll stop her."
Piper frowned, "She can throw fireballs Chris. That's not a good plan."
"Then give me another."
The room was quiet for a few seconds. Chris said, "I'll have surprise on my side. As soon as I see what Bonnie does to steal Beth's power, I'll try to kill her quickly, and orb Beth and myself to safety. We can decide what else to do after that."
No one answered for a few seconds. Chris said, "We're running out of time. I still have to get a look at the fiancé to do a good impression, and I only have ten minutes left before that darklighter comes to orb me back."
Piper and Leo looked at each other. Leo said, "I can't stay invisible and orb at the same time. I can't follow them, but I can wait for them at Beth's house. We have the address."
Piper looked at Chris and gave him a shaky, "Okay."
"I'll be as careful as I can Mom. Don't worry."
Leo put a hand over hers and said, "Once Chris attacks, I'll join in. With the two of us working together, we should be able to kill Bonnie."
Everyone in the room stared at Leo. Gideon said, "What are you saying Leo?"
Leo looked at him. "I'm saying I'll kill anyone who comes after my kids."
Shaking his head no Gideon said, "You can't. You're an Elder. It wouldn't be right."
"Watch me." Leo said it with such conviction, that no one in the room doubted him.
Sounding appalled Gideon said, "That would be a gross misuse of power. You'd be banished."
Phoebe whispered to Paige, "Power? What power?"
Paige whispered back, "How should I know?"
Leo stood and stared Gideon down and said fiercely, "I will not sit by and watch someone hurt my children. Not while there is still breath left in me."
Everyone was silent while Gideon and Leo faced off for a few seconds. Chris eventually said, "I need to go, or I won't be in time."
Piper said, "Be careful."
Leo turned to Chris. "I'll be waiting for you at Beth's house."
Chris nodded and orbed away.
# # #
Leo stood blended into the wall at Beth's house anxiously waiting. Beth had been home for a good half an hour, and there was still no sign of Chris. Just when Leo thought that maybe he should go start searching the underworld, he heard the doorbell ring. Beth answered and saw her fiancé on the other side. She was about to reach up and kiss him when she saw a woman standing beside him, and a man behind them both. She opened the door wide and said, "Jason?"
Chris walked in along with Bonnie and Furlow. He said, "These people need our help."
Beth shut the door behind them, and without preamble Bonnie took a knife out of her back pocket, and tried to stab Beth. Beth was too stunned to react, and would have been stabbed in the heart if not for Chris' quick reaction. He grabbed Bonnie's arm and said, "What are you doing? I thought you wanted her power, not to kill her."
Upon hearing this Beth disappeared. Bonnie shrieked, "You idiot! The knife is how I get her power. Now we'll never find her."
Furlow got out his loaded crossbow and aimed it at Chris.
Purposely ignoring this, Chris looked at the knife and said, "How does that get her power?"
Bonnie yanked her arm out of Chris' hand and muttered, "Clyde and his surprises." She said to Chris, "I stab the witch's heart, and the knife acts like a conductor. The power goes from her to me though the knife. Now help me find her!"
Having the information Chris needed, he used his telekinesis to yank the knife out of Bonnie's hand and transfer it to his own. He tried to stab her with it, but she ducked and it missed her. She had a fireball ready as she came up and tossed it at him. At the same time Furlow shot an arrow at him too. Chris orbed away just in time to avoid both. Leo appeared from out of the wall and raised one hand towards Bonnie, and the other towards Furlow, but before he could do anything Chris orbed back into the living room in between Bonnie and Leo. Chris used his telekinesis to fling Bonnie hard against the nearest wall, and turned to stab Furlow, but he orbed to avoid the slash. Bonnie slumped down to the floor with the breath knocked out of her, unable to move for a few seconds.
Chris was coming at her with the knife, but before he could get to her, Furlow appeared in front of him and kicked him in the stomach. Chris was tossed back a few feet and Leo said, "Stay out of the way."
Furlow reached out for Bonnie's hand, but before he could touch her, a vial appeared out of thin air, landed on Bonnie, and she went up in flames screaming for a second before she disappeared. Furlow yelled in rage, "You'll all pay for this!" before disappearing in a cloud of black specks as he orbed.
Chris looked in the general direction the vial had come from and said, "Vanquishing potion?"
A voice said, "Yes."
Chris got up off the floor, changed into his real appearance and said, "Thanks. I'm Chris, the whitelighter for the Charmed One's. They heard you were in trouble, and sent me to check on you."
Beth appeared in front of him. He felt rather then saw Leo behind him. "And this is Leo. He's an Elder, and he's here to help you as well. I'm afraid you're still in danger. They will be back."
Leo said, "It would be best if you came with us, so we can protect you until we catch the leader of this group."
Beth nodded and said, "Let me just call Jason to warn him, and then I'll come."
Chris showed Leo the knife. Leo looked it over and said, "I don't recognize it."
"We should try the Book of Shadows. Maybe we should drop Beth off at magic school first? She should be safe there."
Leo thought about that for a minute. "But everyone they have targeted so far has a connection to magic school. Maybe it's better to keep her at the mansion. No one will know that she's there. Clyde doesn't know who you really are."
Beth was back and said, "What about my son? Is he safe at school?"
"He should be, because he's not the target, you are. But either way I'll go up there and check on him while I warn everyone about what happened. Chris, you take Beth home and work with Paige to find out about the knife."
# # #
Half an hour later Chris, Beth, and Paige had found a picture of the knife in the Book of Shadows. Paige read, "It's called an Athame. It's used exactly like Bonnie said it was used."
"The question is how did they get their hands on it?"
"I have no idea. It says the last time anyone saw one was over a hundred years ago."
Beth said, "If it's not too much trouble, I'd like to call Jason, and let him know I'm safe."
Chris said, "Sure, you can use the kitchen phone. I'll take you."
Flipping another page in the book, Paige said, "I'm gonna see what else I can find."
Before Chris and Beth could even make it down the stairs, Clyde and Furlow appeared in a cloud of dark specks on the stairway in front of them. Furlow shot Chris with a darklighter arrow. Chris felt sharp pain in his right shoulder, but still tried to reach Beth before Clyde did. But Clyde was closer, and Beth was stabbed through the heart before Chris even took one step. Chris stumbled and fell on the arrow driving it further into his shoulder, and he yelled out in pain. He looked up and saw the knife in Clyde's hand glowing red for a second, before Beth slumped down dead on the stairs. Furlow took aim again, but Clyde stopped him. "No. Save this one for later."
Furlow and Clyde disappeared in a speck of dark lights as Paige hurried down the stairs towards Chris. "Chris!? Chris!!"
She turned him over and saw the darklighter arrow sticking out of him. She looked over at Beth, and could tell by the unnatural twist of her neck that she was dead. Paige wished for the millionth time that she could heal, but it was of no use. She looked up and called, "Leo!"
She looked at Chris and said, "It's gonna be okay. Leo will heal you."
The pain was overpowering as it radiated from his shoulder and surged throughout his entire body. Chris nodded and said, "Pull the arrow out. The poison is getting in my system."
Paige grabbed the arrow near the wound and closed her eyes before giving a hard yank. Chris screamed in pain, and then after catching his breath he said, "Thanks."
They waited for Leo while Paige held a hand over the wound to try and stop the blood loss. She said, "How did they find us?"
"I don't know."
# # #
Piper, Leo, and Gideon were all talking about Clyde when they heard a loud commotion in the hallway. All three went to take a look and had trouble believing what they were seeing. There in front of them were over twenty demons, all trying to kill as many witches as possible. Piper raised her hands and blew up the first one she saw, and Leo turned to Gideon as he said, "Keep an eye on Wyatt please."
Leo went to the first fallen body he could find and put his hands over the teen to heal him, but then felt Chris' pain. He knew Chris had been injured, and he heard Paige call for him, but there were kids being terrorized in font of him. He could tell from sensing Chris that he still had a few minutes before the wound was fatal, but the kids in front of him couldn't say the same. Leo healed the child in front of him, while his wife killed demon after demon with her powers. Other witches in the school joined Piper, and in a short amount of time the demons were out numbered.
Leo healed the five children that were the most seriously injured, before he said to Piper, "Chris needs me."
Piper flicked her hands at the last demon and watched him explode. "Go. We'll be fine for a few minuets."
# # #
Paige looked around helplessly as Chris writhed in pain. She held her hands over the wound and tried without success to heal it. She called again, "LEO!!"
When he didn't immediately show up, Chris knew something was wrong at the school. He said with a grimace of pain, "Go help at school."
Close to tears, Paige said, "I'm not leaving you!"
Chris could feel the arrow taking it's toll. He waited a few minutes, but when Leo still hadn't shown up, Chris said, "Paige?"
Paige had trouble hearing him, because his voice was strained with pain. She leaned her ear down to his mouth and said, "What Chris honey?"
Chris had always known that his mission could very well end in his death. The only thing he wanted to make sure of was that his death wasn't in vain. He wanted to make sure his family all worked together to stop the horrific future he had come from. He whispered, "Only one month left. Wyatt's turned before I'm born."
With those words Chris passed out from the pain. Paige yelled, "Chris?! Chris you stay with me now! LEO!!"
Leo appeared in the nick of time, and held a hand over the entrance wound. Paige had tears running down her face as she said, "What took you so long?"
"Demons attacking magic school. Kids to heal."
She looked down at her own useless hands and said with dismay, "Why can't I heal?"
Leo kept his concentration on Chris, and on healing, but he said, "It will come with time Paige."
Paige gestured to Chris and said, "Time? Chris was almost out of time!"
Leo didn't respond, and concentrated on the task at hand. A few seconds later Chris opened his eyes. "Dad?"
"Lie still Chris."
"I know. Lie still, I'm fixing it."
A good two minutes later Chris was back to normal. Leo stopped healing and put a hand on Chris' face, just needing the contact after coming so close to losing him. He said, "I have more kids to heal at magic school."
Understanding, Chris said, "Go. I'm fine."
Leo orbed while Chris sat up and was immediately hugged by his aunt. Chris was somewhat surprised and patted her back a couple of times. "I'm fine. It's okay."
After Paige had a few seconds to calm down she let herself get angry about what Chris had divulged. She let him go but kept one hand on his shoulder, "One month left?"
Chris blushed and looked away. "Yeah."
Shaking her head Paige said, "Why didn't you tell us?"
Chris shrugged and found himself unable to answer. Paige looked down at Beth's body. She said, "Okay, we'll talk about it later. Right now, we need to orb her back home, call Jason and her son, and find out how the hell Clyde knew where we were."
Happy to prolong that discussion Chris added, "And where the hell he got not only one, but two Athame's."
"So he can be invisible now?"
Chris nodded. Then he waved a hand in Beth's direction, and orbed her body back to her own house. He said, "I'll go tell Jason and bring him to magic school. You tell her son, and take Beth's Athame to Gideon. Maybe he'll know where they got them."
# # #
A few minutes later the whole family was at magic school. Jason and Beth's son were comforting each other as best they could. Gideon, who had no new information on the Athame, was trying to keep his teachers and students calm. And the Halliwell's were all in a conference room trying to figure out what had happened. Paige told everyone how Chris had been shot, and almost died, but didn't mention that he had told her there was only one month left to save Wyatt, for which Chris was grateful. He found himself hugged by both his parents, and then a few seconds later by Phoebe. When Phoebe pulled away from him, she exclaimed, "Ow!"
He gave her a confused look. "What?"
She held up her hand, and he could see a dot of blood on the third finger of her right hand. "You have something sharp on your shirt."
Frowning, Chris turned to try and look at as much of his back as he could. Phoebe walked behind him and looked closely at his back. By the neck of his shirt, right under his hair she found what had poked her finger. It was a black piece of metal about the size of a marble but square with sharp edges. "What's this?"
Chris held out his hand, and Phoebe put a little black piece of metal in Chris' hand. He examined it and said, "I'm not sure."
Leo held out his hand for it, and Chris gave it to him. A few seconds later he said, "It's a locator chip."
Paige said, "That's how they knew where you were!"
"But when did they put it on me?"
Everyone thought that over, and then Paige said, "It must have been right before they sent you to Beth's house. Did anyone touch you before you left with Bonnie?"
Nodding slowly Chris said, "Yeah, Clyde patted me on the back right before we left."
Leo closed his hand around the chip, and some white sparks came out from in between the fingers of his fisted hand for a second. When he opened his hand the chip was gone.
Piper said, "Now we know how it happened, but that still leaves us with what are we going to do about it?"
"Clyde had quite a few followers, and he's pissed about Bonnie." Chris said.
Paige looked at him; "It'll be tough to get to him if it's just the two of us trying to vanquish him."
Piper said, "Why just the two of you. I'll come."
Shaking his head Chris said, "Clyde is after Wyatt. Out of all of us, you're the most powerful and the most likely to be able to save him if something happens. You need to stay and protect him."
Leo said, "I agree."
Phoebe piped in, "What about me?"
There was a small silence and then Paige said, "Honey, you don't have any powers right now."
"Well Clyde was stealing them with this right?" Phoebe picked up the Athame, which Paige had set on the conference table.
Phoebe said with enthusiasm, "Is there any way to get rid of the powers once you steal them? I mean if I went down there, and stole some demon powers long enough to join in the fight, could I get rid of them again once we were done?"
Smiling Paige said, "That's a pretty good idea, but to get rid of them you'd have to get stabbed."
Phoebe shrugged, "Leo could heal me right after
. But what about my powers?"
Leo said, "Since they're not active right now, there's nothing for the Athame to take from you."
Chris looked at Leo and said, "She is the best of the three at hand to hand combat."
Nodding Leo said, "Okay Phoebe. You get the knife, and as soon as you get some powers, you use them to kill Clyde. Paige, Chris, and I will be there to back you up, and make sure you have a clear shot at him."
Phoebe asked, "Okay, but how am I going to see him if he can turn invisible?"
Piper picked up Wyatt who was starting to get cranky in his stroller and said, "What about a spell to see heat?"
"We wouldn't even need a spell for that, we could just go to a sporting goods store and get some goggles." Chris added.
Piper got out some paper and started writing. "That would be expensive. Let's see what I can come up with."
Chris decided not to mention that he hadn't planned to buy them.
# # #
Clyde was gathering his followers, and working them into a frenzy. Paige, Chris, Leo and Phoebe almost went unnoticed when the orbed into Clyde's 'house'. Clyde was yelling to be heard by everyone, "We must strike now, before they can gather their forces! We must get the child, take his power, and make it our own!"
While several demons cheered Phoebe yelled, "Hey!"
The demons around her turned to look. She stabbed the closest one and then turned to look at Clyde, "Our forces are already here."
A fireball appeared in her hand and she tossed it in Clyde's direction. To everyone else in the room Clyde disappeared before the fireball could reach him, but Phoebe could clearly see where he was from the heat he was giving off.
The demons started to attack. Leo waved his hand and orbed demons out of the room two at a time, to get them out of their way. Chris used his telekinesis to fling demons out of Phoebe's way, so she could get closer to the front of the room where he assumed Clyde still was. Phoebe tossed fireballs or stabbed every demon that came close to her as she made her way to the front of the room. Paige looked for weapons in the crowd of demons and called the weapons to her before they could be used, starting with all the darklighter's crossbows.
Phoebe saw Clyde trying to escape out a side door. While his back was to her, she flung a fireball at him. She heard the satisfying sound of him screaming as he went up in flames and disappeared entirely, heat and all. She started flinging as many fireballs as she could produce in every direction, to kill as many demons as she could before they escaped.
Two minutes after the fight started it was over. When there were five demons left alive with no way to escape, Phoebe went up to them and said, "You tell everyone in the underworld, this is what happens when you threaten our family, especially our babies. The next time we hear even a hint of someone coming for us, we're going to exterminate you. Do you understand."
There were nods from the demons. Phoebe said, "Get out."
She moved aside so they could leave, and as they were walking out the door, she killed two more of them. Once the other three were gone she turned to her family and said, "Ready to go home?"
Leo held out his hand to her, so he could orb her, but she shook her head and said, "No thanks, I've got it covered."
Phoebe shimmered out, and Paige said, "Wow. I wonder how many powers she has?"
Leo said, "Too many. We need to get them out of her quick. The demon powers have already started to feed on her darker thoughts. We need to remove them."
With a hint of a smile Chris said, "I'd be happy to stab her."
Smiling Leo said, "Sorry, then the powers would just transfer to you. Do either of you see the Athame that Clyde was using? We need to find it before another demon does."
Paige went up to the front of the room and found it on the floor. "Here it is."
Leo said, "Good. Grab it and let's go home and take care of Phoebe."
Chris, Paige, and Leo all orbed to the mansion and found Phoebe pacing around the living room with a maniacal grin on her face. Once she saw them she said, "Was that the coolest thing or what? Did you see me kicking ass?! Man what a rush! I want to do that every night!"
Leo held out his hand and said mildly, "Can I see that knife Phoebe?"
She handed it over, "Sure. Did you see the way they all ran from me like scared little
Leo felt bad for stabbing her without warning, but in her current state, she might have fought him. She looked up at him with shock in her face as she felt the power drain from her. He yanked the Athame out, and caught her with one arm before she could fall to the ground. He kneeled down still holding her, set the Athame on the ground beside them, put a hand over her heart where he had stabbed her, and healed her before she could die.
Once she was back to normal she looked at Leo who was still holding her and accused, "You stabbed me."
Helping her stand up Leo said, "Sorry about that. I'm the only one here who isn't a witch or a demon."
"So where did the powers go?" Chris asked.
Leo held up the Athame. "Still in here. We'll need to do a spell to release the powers safely."
Paige held hers up and said, "Then what do we do with them?"
Leo said, "It would probably be best to give them to Gideon for safe keeping. Let's go tell Piper and Gideon that it's over."
Holding out his hand to Phoebe, Leo smiled. Phoebe put her hand in his and let him orb her to magic school. Chris and Paige orbed as well. Gideon, Piper, and Wyatt were all in the conference room waiting for them.
# # #
Once Phoebe had described the whole thing to Piper and Gideon, Gideon said, "Then it's over."
"What's over?" Piper asked.
"The threat to Wyatt." Gideon turned to Chris and continued, "You came back to save Wyatt from turning evil, and now you've succeeded."
Shaking his head Chris said, "We can't be sure that this was what had turned him."
Gideon stood as he spoke, "Let's look at the facts. We know Wyatt was turned early in life. Sometime before Chris can remember, so it has to be before Chris turned three. And we
Paige cleared her throat loudly to interrupt. Gideon looked at her to see what she wanted to say. Paige looked at Chris and said, "Are you going to tell them or am I?"
Chris felt as though he couldn't breath in that moment. Looking around the room quickly he stammered, "Tell them?
Tell them what?"
Looking slightly disappointed Paige said, "Wyatt is turned evil before Chris is born."
The room was in an uproar with several people talking at once. Paige held up her hand and yelled, "Hey! Give me a second to explain."
Everyone quieted down. Chris crossed his arms defensively and found his feet interesting while Paige said, "When Chris was shot with the darklighter arrow, we didn't think Leo was going to make it in time. With what would have been Chris' dying breath, he told me Wyatt is turned before Chris is born."
Chris could feel the eyes on him, even if he wasn't looking back. After a few minutes of silence, Piper said, "Chris, is this true?"
Keeping his head down he said, "Yes."
There was an uncomfortable silence for a minute, and then Gideon continued, "That just proves my point. Clyde was after Wyatt, and if Chris hadn't been here, he very well might have succeeded in taking him. What if we hadn't been vigilant about watching Wyatt's every move? What if we hadn't known ahead of time what Clyde had been up to? Piper and Wyatt wouldn't have been living here, and would have been more vulnerable to attack."
Piper said, "But how could Clyde have gotten to Wyatt? Even if Clyde had a bunch of powers, Wyatt still has his protective bubble."
Gideon had an answer, "Yes, but that fact has most likely become common knowledge in the underworld, and they will be trying to find ways to break it. And as we know, Wyatt didn't die or lose his powers, which was Clyde's goal. But maybe in the process of trying to remove the bubble and take Wyatt's powers, Clyde turned him evil instead."
Having gotten over his initial embarrassment, Chris joined the conversation, "No, this can't be what turned Wyatt, because the whole reason Clyde had so many demons rallying around him, was because I've killed so many demons since being here."
Phoebe joined in, "That's not necessarily true Chris. The underworld tries to rise up every couple of years, and it's been a while. And anytime one person starts the movement; there are always demons willing to join in. I guess the real question is what set Clyde off."
Leo said, "When we first saw him, he said his brother had been killed, just for being a demon. That was why he started looking for a way to take powers."
Chris added, "And that's how he met Bonnie too. Her whole family had been killed. So we need to find out who killed them. If it was me, then this was a reaction to me being here, and not what originally turned Wyatt."
Thinking that over, Gideon nodded, "You're right. We'll need to investigate. But for now I need to see to my students and teachers, and let them know that this crisis is over. See what you can find and we'll meet here again tomorrow morning to discuss it further."
Gideon left and Phoebe said, "I need to finish up a few things at work, and it's getting late."
Paige said, "I'll take you back, and then I can go to the underworld and look through Clyde's house before any of the demons decide it's safe to go back. See if I can find anything that will help us find out who his brother was, or who Bonnie's family was."
Chris nodded, "That's a good idea. I'll meet you there."
Leo put a hand on Chris' shoulder and said to Paige, "We'll meet you there a little later."
With his stomach churning and his face turning pink Chris thought about the implications of that comment and waited for his aunts to leave. Paige nodded in understanding, held out her hand for Phoebe, and orbed the two of them away.
Once they were gone the room was silent for a few seconds. Piper and Leo shared a look, but Chris kept his eyes on the ground waiting. Piper broke the silence, "Why didn't you tell us Chris?"
That was a complicated thing to answer, so Chris shrugged as if he didn't know instead of answering. Leo was already upset that Chris had kept things from them again, and then to have him shrug, as if the question wasn't a serious one, was too much. He let go of Chris' shoulder and gave him a swat. "Answer your mother."
Chris turned slightly to get his butt out of harms way and backed up a few steps. "That's why!"
Piper glared, "What do you mean 'that's why'? You owe us an explanation."
Chris looked off into the distance, thinking about how to start. He saw Leo start to move towards him out of the corner of his eye and started talking; "When I first got here I was hiding everything from you. Then when you found out I was your son; I didn't trust you enough to tell you. I wasn't sure if giving you that information would backfire and make thing worse somehow."
There was a pause and Leo said, "We've been working on trust and working together over the past two months. In all that time it didn't occur to you to tell us?"
And I trust you more now then I have since I was a little kid
"So why didn't you tell us?" Piper asked again.
"Over the past two weeks I've been thinking about it a lot. I've wanted to tell you
but if I told you then you'd know that I had kept something important from you, which Dad says is the same as a lie, and I was worried that he'd
I was worried about his reaction."
Piper and Leo gave each other a slightly confused look. Leo looked back at Chris and asked, "You were worried that I'd spank you?"
Cringing at the word, Chris nodded and said, "I know, it's stupid
. And not a good reason to keep something from you
. I'm sorry."
Leo couldn't help but feel guilty. He hated spanking Chris, and if spanking him had made Chris somehow afraid of him, then it had been a bad plan from the start. Shaking his head Leo walked up to Chris, who swallowed hard. Leo pulled Chris into a hug and said, "No, I'm the one who's sorry."
Not expecting this reaction, Chris pulled away to see Leo's face. "You're sorry? What are you sorry about?"
Leo put both his hands on Chris' shoulders and looked in his eyes. "First off, let me tell you that if you'd come to me and told me about this at any time over the past two months, I would not have spanked you. I would have been happy that you were trusting me, and that would have been the end of it. Do you believe me?"
Feeling both embarrassed and nervous, Chris cursed himself for having kept it to himself instead of confessing. He said quietly, "Yes."
Leo continued, "And I'm sorry that by spanking you in the first place, I've made you afraid to come to me. So from this point on, there will be no more spanking."
Chris was so shocked that he didn't quite know what to say. After a pause he said, "Really?"
Pulling Chris into a hug Leo said, "I never want you to be afraid of me Chris. And I never want you to worry that you can't come and tell me something. I'm not saying there won't be some kind of punishment, but if spanking is so traumatic for you that you've kept this from us, then it's wrong for me to do it."
Chris hugged Leo back and whispered, "Thanks Dad."
Patting Chris' back a few times, Leo let him go and looked over at Piper to get her reaction. She waited for Chris to look at her and said, "I won't promise not to swat you in the moment if you're really out of line, but I'll try hard not to."
Chris said, "Thanks Mom." and took a deep breath to try and calm himself down. He thought his anxiety over the whole thing should be gone now, but he found his stomach was still churning, and he still felt jumpy.
Piper walked over and gave Chris a hug as well. She said, "We love you Chris."
He hugged her back and said, "I love you guys too."
Piper let him go and looked at Leo. Leo said, "I guess we should go meet Paige and search Clyde's house."
Chris not quite believing that was the end of it said, "Now? I mean there's nothing else you want to say before we go?"
Leo put a hand on Chris' shoulder again and said, "I'm not going to punish you for being afraid to come to me if that's what you're getting at Chris. I think worrying over it so much for the past few weeks was punishment enough."
Chris thought he should be elated with this news, and couldn't understand why what he felt most was nervous uncertainty. Frowning Chris said, "Oh. Okay."
Leo looked at Piper and said, "We'll see you later tonight for dinner once we're done investigating."
"Okay. Be careful."
# # #
Gideon stepped into his office after having calmed the students and teachers as much as possible, and letting them know the immediate threat was over. He walked over to a curtain, which was against one wall, and pulled it back to expose a mirror. He looked in the mirror and saw an image of himself, but the reflected image was slightly different. Gideon looked at himself and said, "We need to make sure the evidence leads the Charmed ones to believe this was the threat to Wyatt."
Reflected Gideon had stood still while Gideon spoke, and now he responded, "I concur. We'll need to plant evidence."
Gideon nodded and said, "It has to be a demon that Piper, Paige, or Phoebe killed. And it has to be in the correct time frame."
Reflected Gideon said, "Lucky for us Leo confides in us, and tells us who they have been after lately."
Gideon asked, "What if they find evidence that Chris was the one who killed Clyde's brother?"
Both Gideon's got out a packet of white powder at the same time and held it up. Reflected Gideon said, "We must move quickly before they find something. White powder isn't always successful on a half whitelighter half witch."
Gideon thought about it for a second, and soon he said, "We'll need a distraction. Something to get everyone at the school for fifteen minutes. That should be enough time to plant the evidence."
Both Gideon's held up their hands and soon a photo of a demon Paige had killed about six months ago appeared. They both said, "Talk to you soon." and pulled the curtain back in place.
# # #
Gideon found Piper and Wyatt in the conference room. Wyatt was playing quietly in his playpen, and Piper was looking through some old books that talked about the origin of Athames. Positioning himself so that Piper would have to look away from Wyatt to speak with him, Gideon said, "How is it coming?"
Turning her body to see him Piper said, "I haven't found anything new yet."
Gideon looked down at the book and said, "Have you tried looking up power draining devices instead of Athames?"
Piper flipped through the pages of the book for a few minutes, and while she wasn't looking, Gideon waved his hand and orbed Wyatt to his nursery in the mansion. Wyatt looked around and found a plate with some cookies and a sippy cup of milk on the floor. He toddled over, sat down, and started to eat.
As soon as Gideon orbed Wyatt away he said, "Piper!"
Startled she looked up at him. "What?!"
Gideon pointed to the empty playpen. Piper stood as quickly as her eight-month pregnant body would let her, and walked towards the empty playpen. She yelled with panic, "Wyatt?!"
Wyatt heard his mother, but he knew she wouldn't let him keep all the cookies to himself, and stayed where he was while he ate. Piper looked around frantically, "Wyatt?!"
Gideon said, "Call Leo. I'll go check the daycare to see if he orbed there."
Piper yelled, "Leo!" as Gideon orbed away.
Gideon orbed to the mansion, and smiled at Wyatt. He said, "Hello Wyatt, are they good cookies?"
Wyatt smiled back and said, "Ookie."
Gideon walked over and picked up a cookie in one hand, and held it out to Wyatt. Wyatt already had a cookie in each hand, and just watched Gideon. Gideon asked, "Want to come with me? I'll hold this one for you."
Wyatt got up and walked over to Gideon. Gideon did a good job of suppressing his shudder as he picked the toddler up, and even managed another smile for him. He orbed himself and Wyatt to the underworld close to Clyde's house, hoping that Leo was already at Piper's side and trying to sense Wyatt.
# # #
Leo and Chris showed up at Clyde's house and saw that Paige was already going through the wreckage. She looked surprised to see them so soon, but just said, "I just started, but I haven't found anything yet."
They searched for the next five minutes. Then Leo heard Piper's frantic yell for him. He said, "Piper needs us." and all three of them orbed back to magic school.
Piper started in before they had finished materializing in front of her. "Wyatt was in his playpen, and then two seconds later he was just gone. He never orbs without me unless something's wrong! I've called him but he won't come. I don't know where he is!"
Paige looked stricken and said, "Oh no."
Chris closed his eyes and tried to sense his brother, and Leo did the same after putting an arm around Piper to comfort her. A few seconds later Chris and Leo looked at each other with worry. Leo said, "We can't sense him."
Piper pushed away from Leo. "What! But
Leo called out, "Wyatt! Come to Daddy Wyatt!"
Paige called out, "Wyatt honey, come orb to us!"
Chris closed his eyes and tried to sense him again. He said, "Dad?"
Leo looked over at Chris. "From as early as I can remember Wyatt was able to block everyone from sensing him, but I don't have any memories from before Wyatt is about four. I wouldn't think he could do it yet but
Piper shook her head, "But why? Why would he want to? It doesn't make sense."
Chris thought for a second and said, "Or he could be in the underworld. We wouldn't be able to sense him very well there, and he's so young he wouldn't be able to hear us call very well either."
Piper was near tears, "What should we do?"
Gideon orbed in with Wyatt in his arms. Piper rushed to them and took Wyatt out of Gideon's arms. Piper hugged Wyatt close and did start to cry as she said, "Wyatt sweetie, you're okay. I was so worried."
Leo wrapped his arms around both Piper and Wyatt and they stayed like that for a few seconds. Chris turned to Gideon and asked, "What happened?"
Gideon said, "I looked for him in the daycare center here, but didn't find him. Then I decided to try your house. He was in the kitchen, getting some of these." Gideon held up a cookie. "It took some convincing to get him to come home."
Leo let go of Piper and looked at Wyatt. Wyatt had cookie crumbs on his face, a whole cookie in one hand, and a half eaten cookie in the other. Wyatt smiled at Leo and said, "Da da." Piper and Leo shared a concerned look.
Gideon wanting to make a hasty exit before anyone could ask him questions said, "I'm sorry I have to go, but I'm late to teach a class."
Piper said, "Thank you so much for finding him Gideon."
Leo added his thanks as well and Gideon left.
Paige walked over and kissed Wyatt on the head, happy to have him back safely. Knowing that Piper would need time to calm down after that shock, and knowing that Leo and Chris would be the best people to help Piper calm down, Paige said, "I'm going to keep searching Clyde's house. I'll let you all know if I find anything."
Leo said, "Thanks Paige. We'll be there in a little while."
Once Paige was gone Piper turned to Leo and asked him, "Do you think Wyatt can block us already?"
Running a hand through his hair in frustration Leo said, "I just don't know."
Piper looked at Chris who shrugged, "I don't know either, and if he is, he might be too young to realize what he's actually doing."
Turning to Wyatt Piper asked, "Did you hear mommy call you?"
Wyatt nodded while smiling and held up his cookie. "Ookie."
Piper was putting things together in her head. She turned to Leo and said with some disbelief, "He orbed home to get cookies, ignored us when we called, and then blocked us so we couldn't sense him."
Piper didn't wait for Leo's response to that. She walked over and sat Wyatt down on a nearby chair, and took both cookies out of his hands. Wyatt frowned and said, "Mine."
With a frown of her own Piper said, "Wyatt Halliwell, you don't orb home without mommy, and you don't get cookies for yourself. You come back to us when we call you, and you don't block us when we're trying to find you. You can stay right there for a minute, because you're in time out."
Wyatt just looked confused for a second, having no idea what a time out was or what his mother was talking about. Then he focused on what was important to him and orbed the cookies out of Piper's hands and back to his own. "Mine."
Piper just looked at Wyatt for a second, not quite believing what he had just done. Leo walked up to Wyatt, took the cookies back out of his hands and said firmly, "No."
Wyatt looked at Leo for a second and then burst into tears. Wyatt looked over at Piper through his tears and held his hands up to her, wanting to be picked up. Though she found it extremely difficult, Piper crossed her arms and said quietly, "No Wyatt. You stay there for a minute. Orbing home by yourself is not okay."
Wyatt cried harder and called out, "Mama." a few times through his tears.
Ten seconds later Piper couldn't take it anymore and scooped him up into a tight hug and said, "Okay, no more time out."
Leo threw the cookies away while Piper tried to calm Wyatt down. Wyatt was disconsolate for a few minutes, while Piper held him, rubbed his back, and murmured soothing comments to him.
Chris, who had watched the exchange between his parents and brother, found his emotions in an uproar. During his childhood Wyatt had always been seen as the good child. Chris had never once seen Wyatt in trouble, because he had perfected hiding his evil tendencies at an early age. Even when Wyatt finally showed his evil side at 16, Chris never saw Wyatt in trouble, because his parents were busy trying to cure him, not grounding him and telling him he'd been bad. Chris had always been the one in trouble, usually for 'lying', which meant he was actually being honest about things Wyatt had done. When he was very young he'd been put in time out for that multiple times, and as he got older he'd been grounded for it as well. He didn't stop getting into trouble until he learned to perfect his lying skills.
So as Chris stood and watched his parents tell Wyatt no and put him in a time out, Chris was immediately empathetic to Wyatt and felt sorry for him, especially since his parents were assuming they knew what had happened instead of knowing it for a fact. But then at the same time Chris felt some satisfaction in seeing them upset with something Wyatt had done instead of something he had done.
But mostly Chris was unexpectedly jealous. He shook his head once, trying to deny it to himself, but couldn't. Because of his powers, Wyatt had been the center of attention for the family even before he turned evil, but once Chris was sent to live with his Grandfather he'd felt practically invisible to his father and aunts. And in the here and now Chris felt that way again as he watched Leo take Wyatt from Piper to give him some comfort. And even though logically he knew his jealousy was irrational, he just couldn't watch his parents with Wyatt anymore right then. He muttered, "I'm gonna go help Paige." and orbed to Clyde's house to help look for clues.
# # #
Paige saw Chris orb in and said, "That was fast." while looking for Leo.
Chris said, "Mom and Dad are still busy. I'm here to help you."
Giving him a smile Paige said, "Great. I'm just finishing up here in the bedroom, and then the only room left to search will be the bathroom."
Chris felt somewhat better knowing he could help, and seeing that Paige was glad to see him. "I'll go look in the bathroom then."
A few minutes later Paige called to Chris. Chris came out of the bathroom and saw Paige had pulled a small cardboard box out from under the bed. In it she had found some photos, and she recognized both Clyde and the demon she had killed a few months ago who was obviously his brother. She held the pictures up to Chris and said, "Looks like I'm the one who set Clyde off. I remember this demon. I vanquished him."
Looking at the pictures Chris said, "Wow
. I guess Gideon was right."
Paige put a hand on Chris' shoulder and said, "That's a good thing right? That means this was what turned Wyatt evil the first time."
Chris looked at Paige and said with wonder in his voice, "That's right, it does."
Smiling at each other, they hugged in excitement and then Paige said, "We have to tell Piper and Leo!"
Chris' smile faltered as he let Paige go. He said, "Let's give them a little more time, and see if we can find anything else here before we head back to magic school."
Nodding Paige said, "Good idea."
Ten minutes later Chris and Paige had finished searching the house, and hadn't found anything else of use. They were wondering if they should go to magic school or back to the mansion when Leo orbed in. Paige held up the photo and said, "Look what we found."
# # #
That night everyone including Gideon had a celebratory dinner at the mansion. They had gone over what they had found, and they were all convinced that this was what had originally turned Wyatt evil. Once the meal started Gideon said, "Now that you've succeeded in your mission, we'll need to work on a way to get you home safely."
The fork stopped half way to Chris' mouth. He lowered it as he realized Gideon was right. Piper said, "We have a month before little you is born. That will give us plenty of time to come up with a spell to get you back to the future."
Chris looked somewhat worried, "But what future will it be?"
Leo was sitting next to Chris. He put a hand on his shoulder and said, "A better one."
Paige said, "And since you don't have to be so focused on hunting, and saving Wyatt, you can actually relax a little and spend some quality time with all of us."
Chris wasn't even sure how to do that, let alone how to respond to it. He nodded and put some food in his mouth. Then he swallowed and changed the subject. He looked over at his mom and said, "Now that the threat is over, Mom and Wyatt can move back home."
Leo and Piper looked at each other. She said, "Yeah, I guess we can."
Leo knew they needed to talk about what that meant for them. Leo had been sleeping in their old bed while Piper was away, but with her coming home he wasn't sure if he should move to the couch or stay in the bed. Turning slightly pink and giving Piper an unsure smile, Leo said, "We can move you two back home tomorrow."
Wanting to change the subject, Leo saw that Wyatt was done eating and went to pick him up. He playfully gave him a small tickle and said, "That means you get to come home too."
Wyatt laughed and clapped his hands. Piper said, "I was thinking about what happened with Wyatt today. Maybe tonight we should all stay here and practice having Wyatt orb to us when we call him. We could each go to a separate room, and then take turns calling him. I want to make it automatic for him to come to us when we call."
Leo smiled at her. "That's a great idea Piper. We'll do it as soon as everyone is done eating."
Leo sat down with Wyatt on his lap so he could finish some more of his food. Wyatt was content to stay where he was until the meal was over.
No one noticed that Chris wasn't eating much, and was actually just moving the food around on his plate. He was lost in his own thoughts and couldn't take the time to eat. What would he do with free time? He didn't know how to just be part of the family without some kind of mission to go on. And the thought of going back to his own time was terrifying because of the uncertainty of what awaited him there.
Chris looked at Wyatt sitting on Leo's lap, and at Piper who was on the other side of Leo who was looking at Wyatt with love while she smoothed his hair down around his ear. He suddenly pictured a future where Wyatt was good instead of evil, but was still the center of the entire family with Chris as the loved but shoved aside little brother. Chris couldn't watch them fawning over Wyatt anymore. He pushed his food away and said, "I'm done. I'll take Wyatt into the living room to play for a while until you're ready to have him practice orbing."
Smiling Leo handed Wyatt over to Chris and said, "Thanks."
Chris carried Wyatt into the living room and got out some of his toys. He set Wyatt down in the middle of the toys expecting him to play, so he could continue to picture various awful futures in peace. Wyatt had other ideas and pulled at Chris' pant leg, "Iis."
Chris looked down and said with annoyance, "What?"
Wyatt held up a toy car and made the sound, "Rumm rumm."
Sighing Chris said, "You want me to play cars?"
Wyatt put the car in Chris' hand. Chris gave in and sat on the floor with his legs crossed. He moved the car around on the floor and made car noises for Wyatt. Wyatt climbed into Chris' lap and pushed another car on the floor next to his. Chris looked down at Wyatt who looked up at him with a smile. Chris couldn't help but smile back. He said, "You know what Wyatt?"
Wyatt looked at him waiting to hear what he would say, and Chris could tell from his expression that Wyatt not only trusted him but loved him too. Chris shook his head and wondered if that trust was misguided. "If you stay as sweet as you are right now, maybe the future won't be so bad to go back to
Chris looked away and said, "
and if the whole family is happy and still together and alive
then that's what's important. It shouldn't matter to me that you'll still be the center of attention."
Impatient with the talking, Wyatt put his hand over Chris' hand and made the car move. "Okay, okay, I'll play."
Ten minutes later the rest of the family came in along with Gideon. Leo said, "Thanks for all the help Gideon. We appreciate your friendship."
Gideon said, "I'll be there tomorrow to help you move Piper back home, and as soon as we get Chris back to his own time, we really should discuss you resuming your duties as an Elder."
Leo nodded, knowing it was something he had to think about and decide on. Gideon orbed away.
"Are you all ready to help Wyatt practice orbing?" Piper asked.
Piper, Leo, Chris, Phoebe, and Paige all went into separate rooms, and then in one-minute intervals they took turns calling to Wyatt. Wyatt orbed with encouragement from whichever adult he was with. After fifteen minutes they called it a night.
Piper and Leo both told Wyatt what a good boy he had been and Leo orbed Piper and Wyatt back to magic school for the night. They put him to bed together, and then walked out to the living room. There was an uncomfortable silence until Leo said, "Chris and I will be here first thing in the morning to help you move."
After another pause Leo said, "Piper
"I think we need to talk about us."
Piper went to sit on the couch and gestured to the spot next to her. Leo sat down as well, but wasn't sure where to start. Piper said, "You've been sleeping in our bed since I've been here."
Nodding Leo said, "True, but if you don't want me to stay, I can just sleep on
Piper put her hand over Leo's mouth to stop him. She leaned in and gave him a kiss. He was surprised, but very quickly leaned in and kissed her back. A few minutes later they broke apart, both breathless from the kiss. He said, "I'm still an Elder."
Piper shook her head. "I don't care right now. If we only have until Chris is back in his own time, then so be it. I'll take what I can get. You're still my husband, and I'm still in love with you."
"I'm still in love with you too."
After a few minutes of kissing Leo looked down at the couch and said with a smile, "I think this couch pulls out into a bed
if you're interested."
Piper looked down at her belly. "I'm huge. How could you be interested?"
He kissed her belly and said, "You're carrying our baby. I think you're beautiful."
Smiling Piper said, "You're either a very smooth liar, or you actually mean that."
"You know I mean it."
She pushed herself to standing with a little help from Leo. He looked unsure of what she was doing so she said, "Well, what are you waiting for? Let's see the bed."
# # #
Chris watched Leo, Piper, and Wyatt orb back to magic school and was jealous again. He was annoyed with himself and decided he needed a distraction. He went to look for one of his aunts. He found Phoebe in the kitchen. "Hey Phoebe?"
"I'm going out to P3 for a while to see the band."
Chris orbed and was soon at the club his mom owned. He ordered a beer and sat down at a small table by himself. He took a sip of the beer, set it down, and sat staring at the people around him for the next three hours without actually noticing any of them. He spent his time thinking about the past, the present, and the future, and wondering what changes he had caused in his own timeline. He also thought a lot about his relationship with his brother and with his parents, and the more he thought about that, the more he wanted to drink. Six beers later Chris decided he needed to talk to Leo.
He stumbled into the bathroom, and made sure it was empty before he orbed home to his room. Once he was there, he kicked off his shoes and sat down on his bed. He quietly called, "Dad."
Leo woke instantly and knew Chris wanted him. He looked at Piper who was asleep in his arms on the sofa bed. He kissed the top of her head and said, "Piper?"
She woke up and said, "What's wrong?"
"Nothing. But Chris needs me, so I'm going to go talk to him."
Piper nodded and said, "I'll go sleep in the bedroom with Wyatt for the rest of the night. I'll see you in the morning."
He gave her a kiss on the lips and said, "And I'll see you tomorrow night as well."
He got out of bed, gathered his clothes from off the floor, put them on, and orbed to Chris' room. Chris looked up at Leo and said, "Were you asleep?"
"Yeah. What did you need
" Leo wrinkled his nose at the smell in the bedroom and said, "
have you been drinking?"
"Yeah. A lot."
"I have to tell you something."
Leo sat down on the bed next to Chris and said, "Okay."
After waiting a few seconds Leo said, "What did you lie about?"
"I'm not afraid of you spanking me. That's not why I didn't tell you there was only one month left. I let myself believe that, but it's not true."
Not sure if he should be relieved or angry Leo asked, "Okay, then why didn't you tell me?"
"I've been thinking about that all night. I wondered if I was just afraid to put my full trust in you, but I don't think that's it. Then I wondered if it was because it was the last big secret I had, and then once it was out, we would be on level playing ground which could be scary. But I don't think that's it either. I think the truth is I wanted you to find out."
Leo couldn't understand that. "But why?"
With some tears in his eyes Chris said, "Because I'm going back soon, and I don't know what future I'm going back to. I know what you were like in the future I came from, and I don't want things to be like that anymore. And because I know what you're like now, maybe a part of me wanted you to prove that you cared one more time before I left. Maybe I wanted to be the center of attention for a little while even if it was negative attention. I don't want to be in the background anymore. I don't want to be invisible to you again. Do you think that makes me selfish?"
Feeling tears welling up in his own eyes, Leo pulled Chris into a tight hug and said, "No Chris. I don't think it makes you selfish. And I promise you that you'll never be invisible to me, especially now that you've told me that was how you felt before."
Hugging Leo tightly Chris said, "I am selfish. I've been jealous of my two-year-old brother all day instead of being happy that he's not going to turn evil. I should be happy that I'm going back to a future that will be better for everyone, not worrying over my place in it."
Leo pulled away and put his hands on the sides of Chris' face so he could look at him. He wiped a couple of tears off Chris' face with his thumbs and said, "It's not selfish to worry about your own future, and it's not selfish of you to be jealous of Wyatt. After the life you had it's only natural for you to feel both things. Don't beat yourself up about having normal human feelings Chris."
Giving Leo a small shrug Chris said, "I can't help it."
Leo put an arm around Chris' shoulders and thought about it for a few minutes. Then he said, "You know what I think?"
Chris shook his head and Leo continued. "I think I'm going to break my promise."
Leo felt Chris' body tense up at those words, but he kept talking anyway. "When you told me you were scared to come to me because I'd spank you, I was horrified that I'd made you afraid of me, and more then a little relieved that I wouldn't have to do it again. But now I see that deciding not to spank you anymore was the wrong thing to do, because you're wallowing in guilt and worrying that I don't love you."
Shaking his head Chris said, "No, I know you love me."
"But you're worried I won't twenty two years from now."
Looking at his lap Chris said, "Well
Twenty two years is a long time. Who knows what will happen between now and then."
Leo used the arm that was wrapped around Chris' shoulders to push him somewhat gently over his lap as he said, "Twenty two years isn't that long. It's gone in the blink of an eye, and I know I'll still love you."
Chris didn't resist knowing he had asked for this, but that didn't make it easy to take. He shook his head, wanting to deny it, and said, "Dad
Leo started spanking, but didn't put that much force behind the blows. Chris remained silent after an initial grunt with the first swat. After twenty swats Leo pulled Chris back up and sat him down beside him. Seeing the confused look that Chris was giving him, Leo said, "That was just to prove that I love you, and to help you sleep. We'll talk about your lying and your guilt tomorrow after your hangover is gone. Though I'd bet money that you won't be as amiable about the whole thing once that buzz you've got going is gone."
Getting defensive Chris said, "I'm not drunk."
Leo patted Chris' back and stood up. "You're not falling down drunk, but your not entirely sober either. Go to sleep son. We have a busy day tomorrow moving your mom and Wyatt back home."
Chris didn't bother taking his clothes off and just lay down on his bed the way he was. He asked, "What are you going to do about Mom moving back in?"
"I've spent most of the night thinking about my marriage and my status as an Elder."
Surprised, Chris turned his face to see Leo and said with some nervous anxiety, "You wouldn't even be an Elder if it weren't for me. I tricked you into that to get you out of the way while I worked on manipulating mom and my aunts. If it weren't for my being here, you'd still be with mom."
Leo leaned down and squeezed Chris' shoulder; "Mom and I worked things out. When she moves back in, I'm staying."
"Really? Well that's
that's great. I'm happy for you
for all of us. But what about being an Elder? I mean doesn't that cross ethical boundaries?"
"Yes. That's why I've been thinking about quitting. Once you're safe in your own timeline, I'm going to ask the council to make me a whitelighter again. I think I'll do more good down here with my family then I will up there overseeing thousands of people. But maybe that makes me the selfish one."
Sitting up and pulling Leo down into a tight hug, Chris said, "Then I'm glad you're selfish, because we all need you here at home."
Tearing up at the love he felt from Chris, Leo sat back down on the bed and hugged Chris back, waiting for him to pull away first. After a few seconds Chris whispered, "I love you, and I don't want things to be bad between us when I go back."
Leo could feel Chris' shuddering breath, and could tell he was crying. Leo held Chris tight. He knew it was fear of the unknown that was making Chris cry, and that there was nothing he could say to make that fear go away, but had to try anyway. "I know son. I don't want things to be bad between us ever again, and I'm going to do everything I can to make sure it doesn't happen."
Ten minutes later Leo realized Chris was close to falling asleep in his embrace. Leo eased Chris back down onto the pillow and said, "Good night."
Chris got comfortable and mumbled, "Night."
# # #
The next morning Chris woke up and put a hand to his head while he groaned. He looked out his window and could tell it was mid morning. He had a slight hang over, and remembered going to P3 for a few beers. His head hurt, and his mouth was dry, but his stomach wasn't rebelling. He rarely drank, and usually regretted it when he did. He got up with a wince at the sharp pain in his head. He got some clean clothes and walked down the hall to the bathroom. He peed, took some painkillers with a large glass of water, and got undressed. He stepped into the shower and washed his hair. As he was rinsing he thought about the night before. The memories of his conversation with Leo came rushing back to him, and he froze in place for a second. Then he quickly got out of the shower, and looked at his dripping reflection in the mirror. He thought, 'I didn't really tell Dad what I think I did
After going over the conversation in his head a second time, Chris winced for a whole new reason and put his head in his hands. "You idiot! What were you thinking?!"
He glared at himself and grit his teeth as he said, "No more alcohol Chris, it makes you stupid."
Shaking his head at his own mistake, Chris got a towel and dried off while trying to formulate a good temporary insanity plea to give to Leo. He wrapped the towel around his waist and shaved while trying to come up with some kind of excuse to convince Leo not to spank him. Soon he was dressed and ready for the day. His headache was gone, and before he left the sanctuary of the bathroom he looked at himself one more time and said, "You're screwed and you have no one to blame but yourself."
# # #
Leo had woken up early and went to see Piper at magic school, knowing Wyatt would have her up early too. As they ate a quick breakfast, Leo told her about his talk with Chris the night before. Piper had trouble believing it at first, but after a few minutes to think it over she said, "So what are you going to do?"
"Well I'm going to let him sleep in while we move you two home, and then this afternoon I'm going to give him the spanking he asked for; even if he's protesting at the time."
Sighing and already regretting that it had to happen, Piper nodded in agreement and started to pick up the dishes. Leo went home and wished Phoebe a good day as she headed out to work. Paige was in the kitchen, and after telling her they were going to let Chris sleep, they headed to magic school to help Piper move.
Leo, Piper, Gideon, and Paige all spent the early morning moving Piper's things back to the mansion. Because all of the movers besides Piper could orb, it only took a couple of hours to move everything. Once it was done, Leo shook Gideon's hand and thanked him before he left. Soon after, Paige said she would go to the grocery store to stock up now that Piper and Wyatt were home.
Piper was giving Wyatt a snack in the kitchen, and Leo was hanging out with them, when Chris nervously walked in. Piper said, "Good morning Chris sweetie. I made some blueberry muffins. They're still warm if you want one."
Chris avoided eye contact with Leo and smiled at his mother. "I could smell them all the way upstairs. It's nice to have you home."
He went and got himself a muffin and some coffee and sat down to eat. Once he had eaten a couple of bites he darted his eyes up to Leo, and saw him scrutinizing him. Chris swallowed hard and looked back at his mom who was also scrutinizing him. He looked back at his plate and tried to keep his voice normal as he asked, "Are you already done moving back? Why didn't you guys wake me up?"
He took another bite as Piper said; "We are done moving, and Dad thought you could use the extra sleep."
Choking down his bite, Chris took a few swallows of coffee and said, "Oh
Thanks, but it would have been okay to wake me up. I could have helped with the move. Just because I had a few beers, that doesn't mean I should get any special consideration. In fact, it doesn't mean anything should change at all."
Leo knew where Chris was going with this line of reasoning, and his tone clearly said he wasn't buying it when he said, "Chris."
Somewhat panicked Chris' speech came out in a rush, "Things I may have said or done last night shouldn't be taken seriously. I had too much to drink to be thinking clearly. I was talking nonsense. We should really just forget about the whole thing."
Leo went to the table and sat down across from Chris. "We aren't going to forget about it, and I am going to take it seriously."
Looking up from his plate Chris met Leo's eyes and shook his head slightly. Leo said, "When you're done eating I want you to go to your room and wait for me."
Chris felt his face heat up and he orbed back to his room without taking another bite. Piper and Leo looked at each other. She put a hand on his shoulder and said, "You're doing the right thing. I wasn't sure before, but I am now."
He nodded and said, "Thanks, but I don't think that makes it any easier."
He stood while Piper started cleaning up Wyatt from his snack. Needing a few minutes to get himself prepared, Leo walked to Chris' bedroom instead of orbing. The door was open and he could see Chris pacing around his room. Leo knocked on the open door before walking in, and closing the door behind him.
Chris stopped pacing and gave his dad a forlorn look. Leo sat down on the edge of Chris' bed. "Come here."
Shaking his head Chris pleaded, "No, can't we just talk about it? I was drunk."
"Which helped you let your guard down. Now come here."
Chris backed up a step and shook his head again.
Standing, Leo walked over to Chris and pulled him back to the bed. Chris didn't struggle much but complained, "Daaaad, could we please not do this?"
Leo sat down and undid Chris' pants, which quickly fell to his ankles, before pulling him over his lap. Leo gave Chris twenty hard swats on top of his boxers before responding. "We are going to do this, because you lied to me. You told us that Wyatt was turned sometime before you were three, when in reality you knew that he was turned before you were born. That was vital information that we needed to be able to make the right decisions, and you kept it from us."
Leo pulled the boxers down to mid thigh. Chris lay his head down on the crook of his arm, stared at the comforter in front of him, and wished he were somewhere else. Leo gave him four swats and then added, "That is what you did isn't it?"
Unable to deny it Chris said, "Yes."
Leo nodded and wrapped an arm around Chris' middle to keep him in place before bringing his hand down hard on the center of Chris' unprotected rear. Not ready for the pain Chris yelped an 'Ow!' while Leo's hand kept a steady rain of swats coming down. After a full minute of steady swats, Chris was trying to wiggle away from Leo. When he was unable to get away he yelled, "Ow! Ow!! Ow!! Okay Dad, you've made your point! Ouch! I'm sorry okay? Please stop!"
Without stopping Leo answered, "Then after we found out about it, you lied about why you lied."
Not able to take it anymore without crying, Chris yelled, "That wasn't intentional!" and put a hand back to cover his butt.
Leo took Chris' wrist in his hand, pulled it to the center of his lower back to keep it out of the way, and started spanking again. He said, "Maybe. Maybe not. But my guess is that if you don't get spanked for it, you'll feel guilty about it either way."
Chris' wiggling got more frantic for a few seconds, and when the pain continued he got angry. With some tears falling down his cheeks he yelled, "So you believe the shit I tell you when I'm drunk, but not the things I tell you when I'm sober?! You're mentally deficient Leo!"
Leo swatted Chris harder and aimed for his sit spots because of the language and the attitude. Chris yelped with each swat and instantly regretted his words. After eight of the harder swats Leo paused to say, "It's not just what you said Chris, it's how you said it. I want to make sure you believe me when I tell you that I'm listening not only to your words, but also to the things you don't say. I need you to know that I'm paying close attention to you, and I always will be."
With conflicting emotions Chris said tearfully, "This isn't the kind of attention I wanted."
"What you want isn't always the same as what you need." Leo started swatting again and said, "Every time you lie to me this is where we're going to end up. Do you understand me?"
Chris' body jerked from the fresh pain and he yelled out, "Yes I understand! Please stop! I won't lie anymore! Dad please!"
After a couple more swats Leo did stop. He let go of Chris' wrist, patted his back, and pulled the boxers back up to let him know it was over. Chris wasn't crying hard, but Leo was sure his point had been made. He heard a few sniffs and saw Chris wiping at his face a couple of times before pushing to stand up.
Chris leaned down, untangled his pants from around his ankles, and pulled them back into place. Leo stood up and pulled Chris into a hug. Leo said, "Are you going to be able to forgive yourself and let go of some guilt?"
Still a little angry about the whole thing, Chris let himself be hugged, but didn't hug Leo back. Chris thought about it for a second and said, "I can forgive myself for not telling you about Wyatt, but I don't think I'll ever forgive myself for getting drunk and spilling my guts to you."
Chuckling, Leo let Chris go and said, "Live and learn son. I think most people have regretted drinking too much at one time or another. I know I have."
Chris said with surprise, "You?"
"Sure. During World War II, my buddies and went out and did some pretty stupid things with the aid of some alcohol."
Chris nodded in understanding and said, "Right. Sometimes I forget how old you are, and that you used to be human. I have trouble imagining you in wartime."
"It seems like a lifetime ago."
Interested in what Leo might have done in the past with his war buddies, Chris asked, "So what kinds of things did you do that you regretted?"
Leo put an arm around Chris' shoulders and headed them towards the bedroom door. "Those would be inappropriate stories to tell my kids."
"I'm an adult. I think I can handle it."
"I'll tell you what. If you still want to know when you're forty, then I'll tell you."
"Oh brother." Chris rolled his eyes.
Leo opened the bedroom door and they walked out. "For now, why don't you come downstairs, eat your breakfast without the thoughts of last night hanging over your head, and then just spend the day with us. No demon fighting; no whitelighter duties; just spending time with me, your mom, and Wyatt."
"Shouldn't we be looking into how to send me back to my time."
"Plenty of time to start that tomorrow. Today we're taking the day off."
Chris wasn't sure if that was a good idea, but Leo sounded like he'd already made up his mind. "Okay."
They started down the stairs and Leo said, "We could go to the zoo."
Chris thought about telling his father that he was too old to get excited about going to the zoo, but that would be a lie, and he'd had enough negative attention to last him a long time. Going on a family outing with just the four of them honestly did sound exciting to Chris, who hadn't been to the zoo since he was twelve. And it was an outing that didn't involve much sitting since they would most likely orb there and home. "That sounds nice."
They made it to the kitchen where Wyatt was playing with some pans, and Piper was doing the dishes. Leo said, "Hey Piper, what do you say to spending the day at the zoo with our sons?"
Piper looked at Chris to see if he was okay. He gave her a half smile with a blush at the scrutiny. Piper could tell he was better then he had been before going upstairs, and turned to give her husband a glare as she said, "Your idea of a good time is having your eight months pregnant wife walking for hours on end while pushing a stroller? And let's not mention trying to keep my toddler, who won't stay in the stroller for long, from orbing over the fences to get up close and personal with the animals?"
Chris felt a little bad for having not considered this, and was about to tell her they could do something else when Leo did something Chris found surprising. Leo went and wrapped his arms around Piper and kissed the frown off her lips. He said, "You'll love it and you know it."
Smiling a little at how well Leo knew her, Piper gave him an exaggerated put upon sigh and said; "Okay, but you'll have to buy me an ice cream cone."
Chris watched as they kissed one more time and realized this was familiar. This was what things had been like between his parents when he had been little; he had just forgotten. He closed his eyes for a second. He was almost afraid to think it, but was unable to stop himself from sending up a silent prayer that the future he went back to would see his parents alive, happy, and together.
He felt someone touch his arm. He looked down to see Piper looking up at him with concern. "Are you okay?"
With a genuine smile Chris said, "I want to see the lions first."
Smiling back Piper said, "Lions it is then, but you need to eat some more of your breakfast first while I pack Wyatt a diaper bag."
Piper headed out of the kitchen, while Chris picked up the muffin he had left on the table. He stood by the counter to finish eating, and Leo stood next to him to keep him company while Wyatt continued to play on the floor. Both Leo and Chris wished that the contented feeling they were experiencing could last forever.
(Feedback makes me happy.)