A little more about Chris' and the Resistance's past is revealed as Cole explains his return.
At the glares being sent his way Cole couldn't help but burst out laughing. "Sorry, after what Chris said in his debriefing I couldn't help it."
"Were you always this much of a smart ass?" Piper asked, her glare still firmly in place.
Cole finally stopped laughing but still had a grin firmly in place. "You tell me."
"You seem worse."
He shrugged. "I hang around Chris a lot."
"How?" The voice was barely a whisper but may as well have been yelled for the effect it had.
Cole looked over at Phoebe sympathetically. He knew this would be the biggest shock for her. For her he really hadn't been out of her life for a real long time. Hell, it was still hard for him to see her, at least corporeally, and for him it has been over twenty years.
"I really can't tell you everything." He told them. "But I can say that for a long time I was stuck in a sort of cosmic void between life and death. Truthfully I had accepted that I would never get out."
At their sceptical looks he added. "No really. After the first decade or so you figure you're in for the long haul.
"Anyway, about eight years ago Wyatt made his big push for the world. It was seven years ago at a time when the resistance was still slowly forming into what it is today that I come in. They learned quickly that they couldn't just take Wyatt down through force alone. So people began to look for alternative means."
"Alternative means?" Leo questioned.
"Yes, in this case they were trying to trap him, banish him to another plane of existence. Unfortunately when they tested the spell something went wrong and Chris was pulled into the cosmic void."
"Chris?" Paige questioned in disbelief.
"Yep, Chris." Cole grinned as they all had similar reactions on their faces. "I'm sure by now you've noticed a lot comes back to him?"
Not giving them a chance to answer he continued. "So Chris shows up and was actually remarkably calm all this considered. I tried to help him adjust to being able to see the material world but not interact with it. Instead he used it to his advantage.
"See the attempts by the resistance to get him out all failed. So Chris watched and waited for them to try a spell with just the right amount of kick, then he added his own..."
"Thus using power on both planes to amplify each other and open a doorway." Leo finished. He actually looked impressed. "Brilliant."
"And he pulled me out with him."
"Not so brilliant." Paige muttered.
"He mustn't have known what he was risking." Piper commented.
Cole laughed. "Oh he knew. He knows almost as much about my history and me as you do. He felt that the tactical advantage I could bring the resistance outweighed the risks."
Paige shot him a look. "Your powers?"
"Nope, I'm completely human... again. No more powers." Cole told them spreading his arms out as if to emphasize the point before tapping his temple with his index finger. "No, what he wanted was up here."
"Who knows evil better than a former Source?" Leo filled in.
"It was your plan to go back in time wasn't it?" Phoebe asked speaking up since the first time since the beginning of the conversation. He knew what she was really asking though. She was afraid that it was part of a plan to get her back, manipulate her again.
"No that was all Chris."
The strange expression on his face didn't go completely unnoticed. Leo questioned. "You almost seem proud."
"I am. I got to watch him grow up, even if I was immaterial. Kid's had it rough, it's remarkable he's turned out to be as good a man as he is. Then to go into the past and have to face..."
He trailed off but the sisters weren't going to let him off that easy. "And...?"
"I feel sorry for Chris." Cole told them with a sigh, choosing to go with a half truth. "At one point I think just about everyone has thought about the Hitler Baby dilemma. Chris had to live it for six months. Frankly he's probably the only council member, hell the only resistance member, who wouldn't have just killed Wyatt as soon as they had the chance. Instead he's trying to save him. I'm actually quite impressed by that boy."
"Speaking of Chris," Miguel interrupted. "We should probably find him. I assume you'd want him to discuss with them whatever the Council has come up with."
"Probably for the best. Wonder where he stormed off to?" Cole said as he turned to the elder.
"I can't sense him, but with Chris that doesn't mean anything. Home maybe? I know he was anxious to get there."
"No, he wouldn't leave until he's spoken to them." Cole told him thoughtfully until realization hit him. The expression he wore was one that screamed 'how stupid am I for not having thought of this right away'. "The Core Room."
"Makes sense." Miguel agreed. "I'll orb us there."
Cole looked back at the group of shocked and wary people behind them. "No. I think the walk would do everybody some good. Time to sort things out in their heads."
"Alright," Cole said turning back. "Miguel and I think Chris will be in the Core Room. We'll show you the way. If not, well I'm sure the trip will satiate some of your curiosities about this place."
Miguel and Cole were on there way out the Council Chambers door before they realized nobody was following. Cole sighed. "Look, you've all had the basic explanation of the barrier right? If I was evil or had any intentions to hurt somebody I'd have already been booted out of here."
He pointed at Miguel. "Or at least trust him."
Leo moved first to follow the elder who had already resumed walking. One by one the Charmed Ones followed his lead. Phoebe was taking up the rear when Cole matched stride beside her. She scooted away from him slightly, conflicting emotions warring on her features. Again Cole sighed.
"Look, Phoebe, I know you're hurting. Seeing me again has to be opening old wounds. You have to understand that I am not that Cole anymore. I've had twenty years to change. I still love you, I always will, but I accepted a long time ago that I could never be with you. All I ever wanted was for you to be happy. And in the end you were."
With that he walked to the front of the group alongside Miguel and led the way.
Minutes ticked away in uncomfortable silence as they made their way to the Core Room. It probably didn't help things when the entire group crammed into an elevator. The thing with uncomfortable silences is that somebody eventually breaks them. It's just a matter of who cracks first.
"So..." Paige drawled out. "What is this place exactly?"
"This is Resistance HQ." Miguel answered, as Cole seemed to distracted by something to do so. /Must have something on his mind/. He mused.
"It's the big building in the centre of the city. The Council Chambers we just came from was on the top floor some sixty stories up. Right now we're going to the Core Room on sub-level twelve, the lowest floor we have. It's actually the only room down there with the exception of a small hall that wraps around the perimeter."
"What is this Core Room people keep talking about?"
"Essentially it's the power source of the city and the barrier spell." He explained. "Though it is infinitely more complicated than that. In essence it is the barrier."
Before Miguel could explain further the elevator gave a bing sound to signal there arrival as the doors opened. As Miguel exited the elevator and walked a short distance to the door across the hall he shot back to them. "Well see for yourselves."
Neither the sisters nor Leo could hold in the gasp that came to there lips as the door opened. In the middle of the room was a large shimmering ball of mystical energy. The blue and white sphere was nearly fifty feet in diameter and raidiated power as tendrils of electric force danced along its surface. Strangely enough a feeling of pure calm seemed to emanate off it.
"I've never seen anything like this."
"Come on." Miguel told them as he gave a small chuckle at their reactions. They still stared in awe as they followed him down the catwalk leading to the centre of the room, or at least the closest point to it that the energy field would allow.
In the distance they could see someone standing next to the sphere and soon recognized the figure as Chris. As they got closer they could hear him talking to it.
"...hard being back there. The lies. The secrecy. The manipulation. There are times I'm not sure I'm strong enough to handle it. Then I think of the consequences and realized I don't have a choice. I have to be strong enough. For the world. For Bianca. And most importantly for-"
"Chris!" Cole called out cutting the young man off as he caught his attention. As he spoke he motioned towards the group behind him and Miguel. "Did you forget you were supposed to explain some things to our guests?"
"Sorry about that. Just needed a few minutes to clear my head."
Miguel and Cole nodded compassionately. "Understandable."
"We need to talk." Piper broke in as she crossed her arms.
Chris sighed tiredly. "You're right. Not here though." He turned to Miguel. "Orb them to my office please. I'll catch up in a minute."
"Sure." Any protests were cut short as all but Chris disappeared in orb lights.
Chris took a few deep breaths before squaring his shoulders, preparing himself for the inevitable argument.
"I'll talk to you later." Chris said as he turned back to the Core. "Bye Dad."
With that he orbed out.