The Charmed Ones end up in the future and meet an interesting little girl.
The light receded after a moment to reveal the group exactly where they had been before. Unconsciously the sisters and Leo looked around. Something seemed... off. A groan from below them quickly drew their attention before they could figure it out though.
"Could you get off me now!"
As one they looked down to and were slightly surprised at what they saw. For one thing Chris wasn't in pain or convulsing anymore. In fact he looked fairly annoyed. Might have had something to do with Paige and Phoebe still holding his shoulders down and Piper and Leo with their hands on his chest where the strange disc had been moments before.
Yep, that was probably it.
All of their hands shot away from him as he steeled them with a glare. Mumbling apologies they tried to help him to his feet. He stubbornly brushed them off and stood up, seemingly uninjured by what had just happened.
"Something's different." He stated simply when he was finally on his feet.
"Phew!" Paige exclaimed. "I was worried it was just me for a second there. Any idea what it is?"
Chris didn't respond as he took in his surroundings. They watched him in confusion as something seemed to click in his mind, then disturbed as his eyes went wide and face ash white. The group of them all knew how guarded Chris kept his emotions and to see him suddenly show a look of horror caused them all to have a sinking feeling in the pit of their stomachs. What could possibly freak their cocky, overly confident, neurotic whitelight this much? Whatever it was they knew one thing; it was bad.
"We have to get out of here." He told them sternly. "Now!"
Piper looked at him like he'd grown another head. "No. We should do like we usually do with strange occurrences and go to the attic. Look in the book. See if we can find out what that thing was and what is going on.
Chris shook his head. "The book isn't there. Now come on. There isn't much time."
"Why wouldn't it be there Chris?" Phoebe asked. "This is our home."
"Not anymore." He replied as he started for the door. "This is my time."
"What!" He wasn't sure who that came from but he was positive who spoke next.
"Whatever." Paige said disbelievingly. It still felt like home after all. "I'll just orb upstairs for a little peek just in case."
"NO!" Chris yelled as raced back across the room and grabbed her arm in an attempt to stop her orbing. It startled her enough that it actually worked. "Not in here!"
With that said Chris all but dragged Paige towards and then out the front door. The others stared in confused disbelief for a second before following angrily, not happy at the way the young man was handling their sister. Finally Paige ripped her arm free in the front yard and turned, face red, on the whitelighter.
"Chris! Stop it!" She yelled. "We are not in the future!"
"Really? Then look at that!" Chris yelled back and threw his arm back in the general direction of the manor. They all followed its path to see a large sign in what used to be the garden.
"The Wyatt Halliwell Museum of Mystical Heritage." Leo read aloud in disbelief.
Chris snorted and spoke much calmer than before. "Kind of arrogant naming it after himself considering he's only one member of the family. A very small part of the heritage all things considered."
"He turned our home into a museum!" Piper was astonished.
"Wyatt wants everyone to know the power from which he was born."
It was spoken with such solemnity that they couldn't help but turn all their gazes onto him. But he didn't notice or at least didn't seem to care. Chris seemed to be lost in his thoughts as he looked at the manor- museum. It was a look lined with bitterness and hurt.
Suddenly he just shook his head and turned away. "We need to go. They'll be here soon."
"Who?" Phoebe asked.
"And why couldn't we have just orbed from the manor?" Leo added.
Paige looked sharply at him from where she was rubbing her arm. "Yeah, why not!"
"Well if you wanted to be fried by the magical backlash from the security system you can always go back."
Paige blinked at the snarky reply. "No. I'm good thanks."
Chris wasn't listening to her though. His gaze was locked on something else. "Too late."
"What the hell are those?" Piper asked as she followed his line of sight to find a trio of mechanical... things... floating down the street. Rather quickly at that.
Before any of them could react one of them got close enough to them to activate. From the lens on the front a beam of light shone out, scanning Chris from head to toe. Piper reacted on instinct, throwing her hands up and flicking her fingers at the offending machinery. Instead of blowing up she only succeeded in sending it end over end backwards a few meters.
"Oh, that's not good."
"Shit!" Chris exclaimed as he telekinetically sent the other two into neighbouring houses. "The bridge! Now!"
Leo nodded and placed a hand on Piper even as she was trying to blow up another one of the flying things. They disappeared in blue and white orbs with Paige following with Phoebe just a heartbeat behind.
Satisfied that the girls and Leo were safe Chris cursed. He was scanned. That means Wyatt knows he was back. At least none of the others were scanned. Thank god for small miracles.
Chris shook those thoughts off as he slammed two of the mechanical menaces together and orbed to the bridge himself. As Chris materialized he didn't even bother to acknowledge their looks of horror. "Those were Wyatt's probes. Pains in the ass if you aren't used to fighting them."
None of them paid any attention though.
"My god!" Piper whispered in shock.
Leo looked down. "How could the elders- how could we let-?"
Paige just stared in shocked silence.
"What happened?" Phoebe asked softly, not able to take her eyes of the destruction. "What happened to the city?"
Before them laid San Francisco, but not as they knew it. There was no power except for off in the distance towards the area where the manor is. The only light elsewhere came from the open flames that engulfed whole buildings. Those that were still standing didn't fair much better. For the most part they were dilapidated and looked ready to fall apart with a strong wind.
"Wyatt happened." Chris told them offering no further explanation on the subject as he crossed his arms over his chest. "I'd prepare yourselves if I were you."
Almost before the last word came off his lips they suddenly felt their stomachs lurch as they dropped. Dropped down, through the bridge, through the bay below it and the rock and sand beneath that. Finally they materialized in some sort of cavern lit by lanterns attached to the cave walls.
"I think I'm going to be sick." Phoebe said as she dropped to her knees, Piper doing the same close behind her.
Paige and Leo managed to remain standing. Their ability to orb gave them more of a tolerance for other transportation methods. They too still looked a little green and were a little unsteady on their feet though.
Chris just shrugged and walked through the large circular cavern. It was lined with dozens of openings leading down many different paths. Probably to confuse trespassers. "It takes some getting used to. Let's keep going."
After a moment to collect themselves they followed him down the path he'd taken. After about fifteen minutes of walking they were able to see a light, fifteen minutes more and they were able to reach it. As they exited the cave they found themselves on a plateau and gasped at what it overlooked.
A city. Large, clean, pristine and beautiful. A great contrast to the ruined heap they had seen not long ago. The setting sun only seemed to add to the magnificence of this place.
"Wait a minute." Paige said as she stared in awe. "I thought we were underground?"
"We are." Chris told her as he took a step forward and actually smiled at the sight before him. "It's an artificial geofront. An underground habitat. This is New Avalon, the stronghold of the resistance. We have bases all over the world, and even on other planes, but this one is different. It was built large enough so that we could abandon our other bases and evacuate everybody here if necessary."
He closed his eyes as he concentrated on extending his senses. "It's a little over a tenth full now. It wasn't even that when I left. We must have lost a few already."
"Aren't you worried that Wyatt will find it?" Phoebe asked.
"Oh he knows where it is." Chris told them with a bitter laugh. "He just can't get past the defences "
"What defences? I didn't notice anything." Leo commented curiously.
"Try and use your powers."
Indulging him Leo tried to orb only to be surprised when he couldn't. "I can't!"
In turn each of the sisters tried only to find themselves in a similar situation. Piper turned to Chris. "What's going on here?"
"The magic protecting this place is self evolving. It actually learns from every attempt Wyatt makes to break through and adapts to compensate. Everything he throws at it only makes it stronger." He explained. It won't let anyone that could hurt the resistance or innocents in and teleports anyone who changes sides out. Thus eliminating the threat of Wyatt doing a mind control spell and activating a sleeper when they got inside."
"Self evolving spell? Is that even possible?" Paige asked curiosity peeked.
"It's the first time it's been done and it wasn't easy. But when you have a few hundred magical beings performing the same spell it has a bit of punch to it."
"That still doesn't explain the loss of powers." Piper piped in.
"Well the barrier obviously trusted you enough to let you in, it's probably just blocking your magic to be on the safe side. It does that with people it's not used too. You'll get it back eventually."
"You talk about it like it's alive." Phoebe commented.
"It is." Chris told them not bothering to explain further as they saw somebody orb in a few feet away. He was glad for the interruption. One thing he really didn't want to do was explain to the Charmed Ones the truth about the barrier. They definitely wouldn't like it.
"Miguel." Chris greeted the newcomer. "'Bout time."
The short grey haired man just smiled. "I sensed the time portal when the elder came out and have been preparing for your arrival since. I just thought I would give you some time to explain a few things before getting down to business."
Turning to where Leo and the sisters stood and his smile widened. "It's good to see you again Leo."
"You know this guy?" Piper asked.
"Yes, that's Miguel. He's an elder."
"Indeed I am." He said before turning back to Chris. "The Council is waiting for you. I've taken the liberty of preparing lodgings for Leo and the Charmed Ones."
"Thanks." Chris said as he immediately orbed away. He knew they weren't going to like not being able to do anything, and was happy to avoid the coming explosion. Especially Hurricane Piper.
Miguel caught the grin on his face as Chris left and cringed. He always hated that grin. Nothing good followed it.
"What!" He found out just what the grin was about at Piper's exclamation. He'd forgotten what Leo's wife could be like. "We're going to this council with Chris! Right now! We're going to figure out just what the hell is goi-"
Piper never got the chance to finish her sentence. Now Miguel used to be a man of great patience. So much so that it even annoyed the other elders and that's saying something. But nobody in the world was left unchanged these last eight years. Miguel was no exception.
With a wave of his hands Leo and the sisters disappeared in swirls of blue and white lights. He sighed as he rubbed his temples. Before following them he muttered. "Oh blessed quiet."
"What do you think you're doing?" Piper fumed as the elder orb into the hall of the building he sent them to.
Miguel just ignored her as he tossed two sets of keys to the group. "Piper and Leo have the apartment on the left, Paige and Phoebe the one on the right."
"I asked you a question."
"I heard you." Miguel said as calmly as he could, but as he spoke his next words he began to get more and more agitated. "Keep in mind that you are guests in our home. Start acting like it. We have ways of doing things here that you don't know and can't help with at the moment. You are going to wait for Chris to come back with a plan of action and if you don't like it you can kiss my blessed ass!"
"Are elders allowed to swear?" Phoebe whispered to Leo as Miguel took several deep and calming breaths. Leo just shot her an annoyed look.
"I suppose we have no choice but to stay here?" Paige asked testily.
After a couple more breaths their guide responded. "No, you're free to explore the city as you like. You won't be able to get into any of the restricted areas though."
With that he turned and began walking down the hall towards the stairwell. "There is actually a park not to far from here. It's nice; I'm heading there myself. Just try to relax and wait for Chris. He'll come up with something."
"Like we should really trust Chris of all people."
Miguel stopped dead and turned back to glare at the group. He didn't care which one it came from. "I'd be careful about what you say about Chris around here. He's well respected."
They literally took a step back from the intensity of the look the elder was sending their way. "Most of us here wouldn't be alive if it weren't for him. Before him the resistance was just a bunch of scattered cells. Cells that he organized into one cohesive alliance. Our Council members leads us with equal power and he is the only one who has ever been offered the position of Council Chairman, effectively making him the leader of the resistance. He turned it down. Twelve times."
Miguel turned his back on the group. "To us, Chris is our hope."
With that he orbed out to his favourite place in the park to meditate. He was planning on taking a nice calming walk their but now decided he was in much more urgent need of the relaxation and clarity he received there.
For a few long moments they just stared in shock where he disappeared. It was Phoebe who finally voiced what they were all thinking.
The park really was beautiful. The city itself just seemed so peaceful. Deceivingly so considering what they saw up above. It had been a unanimous decision to come here. Not just because the walk could help to clear their heads either. No, they needed to find Miguel. Needed to apologize.
He was right. They really didn't know anything about this time or place. Or Chris.
Problem was that they had been wondering the park for the last half an hour and still hadn't found him. They finally decided to stop and rest for a bit on a couple of benches beside a large fountain that had several angel statues in it.
"It really is beautiful here." Phoebe commented.
The others nodded their assent but never had the chance to comment as a shrill cry rang out. Looking a little ways down the path they saw a little girl, no older than four or five, on the ground crying. Practically as one they got up and ran to her.
"Are you okay sweety?" Piper asked soothingly as she knelt down and helped the dark haired little girl into a sitting position. She didn't say anything but she did stop crying, even if she did still sniffle a little.
In response to Piper's question she just held out her arm to show the scrape on her elbow she got when she fell. On instinct Leo raised his hands to heal only to lower them a moment later when he realized he couldn't. Paige, however, was much more prepared as she pulled a band-aid out of her pocket.
"You carry band-aids around?" Phoebe asked incredulously.
"With how often we get hurt it pays to be prepared. You should see my purse." Was all Paige said as she knelt next to the girl and applied the bandage. "There you go, all better. My name is Paige by the way."
The little girl wiped the remaining tears out of her beautiful green eyes. "My mommy says not to talk to strangers."
Piper laughed. "Your mommy is absolutely right."
"A little young for a tattoo aren't you?" Phoebe asked gesturing to the red bird on the little girl's right wrist.
"It's a birmar."
"Birthmark." Piper corrected automatically.
"S'what I said."
That got a laugh from the adults. They stopped when they saw a woman further down the path. She saying something. Calling. They couldn't hear though. Apparently the little girl could as her head perked up before she disappeared in the familiar white orbs only rather than traveling upwards a little before disappearing like normal they remained in place and shimmered away.
The girl reappeared down the path next to the woman, who was now close enough for them to hear as she engulfed the little girl in a hug.
"Oh, thank god!" She exclaimed. "You know you shouldn't orb out on me like that."
"Don't want to go to bed." The little girl said stubbornly.
The mother laughed. "I'll read you a story first alright?"
"Sleeping beauty?" Came the hopeful little voice.
"It's not fair." Paige commented as she watched the two walk away.
Leo looked at her curiously. "What isn't?"
"A four year old is trusted with her powers and we're not."
"You know," Phoebe commented after a moment. "That is kind of insulting."
Suddenly there was an orb-shimmer in front of them and the little girl reappeared.
"Mommy says it's okay. My name is Piper Hope Halliwell."
With that she was gone again, completely unaware of the stunned looks from the bombshell she'd just dropped.