5-0 had been working a case for weeks. Men were kidnapping homeless teenage boys and selling them to traffickers. Nahele had been one of them and Steve hadn’t stopped beating himself up once he realized that he had failed the teenager so badly.
The case had been hell from the start. Every suspect they had gotten to speak had been shot or killed. There had been a bomb planted in Steve’s house and the only person home had been Junior, though Eddie had thankfully warned him in time. Danny’s car had been rammed into an electric pole, though thankfully he hadn't had the kids like he was supposed to.
After too many financial searches and stakeouts and too many days of being one step behind, Steve and 5-0 finally felt they had enough evidence and enough of a lead to take down the jackasses who were hunting kids.
The building was in Downtown Honolulu. A former warehouse, it was now marketed as a four-story co-working space. That was just for the books, though. Traffickers were operating a slave ring out of the building: hosting auctions, conducting medical trials, caging them, whatever they wanted to do, while they waited to unload their cargo.
5-0 was going to take the lead from SWAT to Steve’s great consternation. Steve and Danny, who was thankfully uninjured, were going through the front. Lou and Junior were going through the back door. Tani and several HPD officers had taken the side doors. SWAT would go in first. 5-0 and HPD would flank them.
SWAT barged in using stun grenades and smoke bombs to clear the space out. Steve shot at any traffickers he saw, but his only priority was getting to the kids and getting to Nahele. A heat map had shown that the boys were kept in the basement, which meant he needed to get down there and find out how to get them out. If all else failed, he would shoot the locks. He was separated from the team though and distracted by his anxieties, not something that would have happened seven years years ago, so he didn’t see a lone guard come up behind him. He felt bullets tear through his abdomen and collapsed to his knees as blood pooled underneath him. He knew that something vital had been hit.
Steve wanted to work his phone out of his pocket and call for help, but both hands were attempting to put pressure on the bleeding holes in his body. Steve felt consciousness flicker and his eyes began to slide closed as his heart slowed down.
He knew this was the end and he prayed for it to be gentle.
Above him he heard a bell chime and he wondered where it came from. He felt his body grow warm and his skin begin to restitch and he realized that he must be dead, a thought he must have said aloud.
“You’re not dead Dad. I won’t let you die. I cannot heal you all the way, I need you to hold on until Danno gets here, until an ambulance gets here. He’s on his way. I’ll stay with you.” Steve’s half-closed eyes could make out shaggy hair, green eyes, dirty clothes, bony wrists. Whoever this boy was he must have been in his 20s. And his hands were glowing. And he had called Steve “dad.”
Steve’s eyes slipped shut again. This boy, this young man who thought Steve was his dad, had healed the wounds in his body, but Steve had lost pints of blood and he knew he must have a concussion from collapsing. It would make more sense than angels who could half-heal and called him dad.
“Stay with me Dad. It sounds like Danny is on his way down,” The boy yelled in the direction of the stairs. “Help, Steve is hurt, help!” Finally, the boy looked back at Steve as what must have been Danny’s footsteps moved closer to him. “I’m sorry I have to go Dad. I love you. I'll see you.”
Steve finally worked up the breath to speak. “Your…name…what’s your name?”
The young man looked at Steve, a heartbroken expression on his face, as he stepped back. “Chris. Chris Perry. After Grandpa’s grandfathers. It’s what Grandpa wanted you to name your son. But, ” the boy paused as the footsteps got closer, “I’ve not been born yet technically. You’ll meet me in 25 years Dad. I’ll miss you. I love you. Take care of yourself. Stay alive.”
The bell chimed again and Steve watched as the young man disappeared into a ball of blue lights, the likes of which Steve had never imagined before and now would never stop imagining. He shook his head in disbelief, joy overtaking his battered and exhausted body. He thought to himself. “I have a son.”
Steve came to in what he assumed was a hospital. It was dark and he wondered what had happened. Aside from being exhausted and an aching abdomen and back, he felt okay.
He wasn’t sure what had happened. He could hear Danny shifting in his sleep next to him, Steve’s hand in Danny’s. Steve looked in Danny’s direction and squeezed Danny’s hand. His eyes flickered shut and then opened, and flickered close again. It felt like he was swimming through syrup, struggling to stay awake and aware. All of a sudden, out of the corner of his eye, he saw something blue and felt a distant chime.
He jerked up, “Chris,” he yelled, as memory came flooding back. But it was too much for his exhausted body and he felt unconsciousness pull him near. “Chris, don’t go.”
“Buddy, there’s nobody named Chris here. Steve, look at me, there’s a nurse on their way. Come on, focus on my hand. Who is Chris?”
Steve squeezed his eyes closed. “Help me up Danny, I...I need to get out of here. You don’t understand, I have to go. I have to find him.” Steve was attempting to disconnect the leads connected to his body and he didn’t see the nurse come up to him until he felt the sedative get injected into his neck. His eyes swam shut.
“He’s still asking for whoever this Chris is, but our team has been over the crime scene several times and hasn’t found any evidence there that somebody named Chris was there. We’re hoping to get access to the security cameras, but we don’t know where this Chris could have come from or gone, unless he’s one of the kids, one of the traffickers, or...” Danny trailed off.
“Detective Williams, your friend is still in pain. Something has happened to him that we don’t understand. But he seems to have a guardian angel looking out for him. To you, I’m going to prescribe patience. He’s still in pain and confused. Once he’s stronger and more rested, he’ll explain what happened. For now, your steady presence is enough.”
“Thank you Nurse Emma. I’m just worried about him. Steve isn’t one for imagining things and none of us know how we got a hole in his body and then ungot the same hole.”
“Neither do we, but whatever it is, be grateful for small miracles. From the amount of blood he lost and how fast he seemed to lose it, I don’t think he would have made it to the hospital if he had kept bleeding. You would be prepping for a funeral now instead of thinking of all the questions you cannot answer.”
Danny nodded. “This is such a mess.” He felt the nurse’s warm hand leave his shoulder and he stepped back to his chair.
“Whatever happened to you babe, I’m here, but you got to rest up, you have to explain, because this,” Danny’s arm spread wide, “this doesn’t make any sense.”
Just a reminder that Steve isn’t thinking clearly here. He was mortally wounded and then not. He learned he had a son. And he learned about magic/the supernatural all at once. He’s acting on energy, not even instinct. And he’s still concussed.
The next morning Steve made his escape. By the time Danny had finished some phone calls with the team in the lobby and made it back to the room, Steve had left, hailed a taxi, and made his way home.
He asked the taxi to wait for him up the street and quietly he crept up to his house. He knew the team didn’t believe him, the doctors didn’t, nobody did. As he came to that morning he had heard the doctors and Danny discuss his mental state and the hallucinations they thought he was having. A psychological evaluation had been scheduled, without his consent, for later that day.
He grabbed his emergency carry-on
with cash, his real and forged IDs, a laptop and charger, an internet hotspot, money, a change of clothes, a baseball cap, his spare wallet, a spare badge, a notebook and pen, a couple burner phones, and a granola bar, and left the back door just as Danny pulled into the driveway. He left his gun. He could get a new untraceable one where he was going and he didn’t want it to slow him down through airport security.
Steve made it to the taxi, knowing Danny would know he had been there and that Danny had just missed him.
In the car he hurriedly bought a plane ticket. Chris’ shirt had a Golden Gate Bridge motif in the upper right corner . The words “Fisherman’s Wharf” were written underneath it. A tourist shirt, but still a first clue. Steve booked a ticket to San Francisco. Now to get in the air, without anyone seeing him or cameras catching him.
Steve used the notebook to write down anything else he remembered. Chris looked like his grandfather, though his hair was darker. He had Mary’s eyes. He was tall and too thin. But the two things that stuck out most were the look in Chris’ eyes and the tattoo on his wrist.
Steve had seen that look. It had been in his eyes in the days and months after his father died and in his eyes whenever he fought. His son was a warrior, a soldier, he knew this.
Chris also had a tattoo on the inside of his wrist: a trinity knot, a triquetra. Steve sketched it. It had been a simple design, less ornate than some he found in an online search. And it had been recent if the still-pink skin was a sign.
Past security and with the plane about to board, Steve called Mary and let her know he was okay, but had to figure something out. He promised to be in touch soon, but that he wouldn’t have a phone, and told her he loved her and would be in touch as he would likely need her help. Steve called Joe from the same burner and let him know that he had a thing to do and would be in touch, but that Steve might need his help at one point. He dumped the phone at the opposite side of the terminal and then hoofed it to his gate, boarding right as the doors opened.
Steve had bought a first-class ticket. For one, it was the only thing available. Two, his body still ached and his head pounded from his hospital getaway. And three, if he had to defend himself he wanted the extra legroom. Thankfully first class wasn’t sold out and he had the row to himself.
The flight was uneventful. Steve slept most of the time and, just before the pilot shut off the WiFi, Steve opened his computer in incognito mood and found a decent hotel. He used an alias’ credit card to book a room and, as he began to turn off the laptop, he saw an email notification from Danny.
Without pausing Steve opened it.
I don’t know what happened, and I don’t know where you’re going, but please let me know your OK. I held everybody off of searching for you. I know your emergency bag is missing so I don’t expect to see you anytime soon. Remember you’re injured still, your body still needs to rest, your mind still needs to rest, your brain is bruised.
But still, I’m sorry for not taking you seriously. We got our hands on the security video at the warehouse. I have attached the pertinent clips to this email. There’s no audio, but it’s quite clear that somebody appears and then disappears. I couldn’t believe it when I saw it and, whoever he is, I owe him a massive thank you for saving your life.
When you were sleeping in the hospital you kept calling out for somebody named Chris, you kept calling him son. I don’t know what you learned Steve, but we are here, the team is here, I am here.
Go find your family and then come back to us. Don’t leave this family behind. Please email me occasionally just so I know your safe. And tell your son that Danno owes him a thank you for saving your life.
PS: I’ve attached some photos of the team, the kids, and myself, just so you don’t forget you already have people who love you.
PPS: Remember I love you, you neanderthal.”
Once Steve had checked into his hotel, a small Hampton Inn near the pier, he sat down to map out a plan. He couldn’t approach this in his normal SEAL-ways. His son...his son would know how he operated, he was sure. He still had to be strategic, but he suspected this would be more of a research-heavy investigation, than the kind of tracking he was used to or preferred. At least for now. He wasn’t sure what he would do when he found his boy.
That thought kept giving Steve pause. He had a son and he was struck by a fit of terror. He didn’t know how to be a dad. His son was in his 20s, but hadn’t been born yet. Which meant magic, which meant time travel. Steve wasn’t sure what world he was walking into, but he knew that his son was in 2017, and that plus the terror and exhaustion in his eyes, meant that his son was in danger. Steve couldn’t protect Chris from magic, but he would learn if he had to. Magic, being a father, whatever he had to do he would to.
The first thing Steve did was find out the names of any of the local tattoo artists and parlors. He focused on any that were located near occult stores and figured he would widen his search from there. At the tattoo stores he would look for somebody who had tattooed his son and at the occult stores, he would figure out everything he could on time travel, magic, the triquetra, healing hands, whatever.
He used the video that Danny had sent him to get a clear shot of Chris’ face and he emailed it to himself to print on the hotel printer in the morning. He also emailed Danny back to let him know that he was okay and asked if the video had been seen by anyone outside the team. Danny emailed back almost immediately to let him know that the video had mysteriously been scrubbed and only Danny and Steve had watched it. Steve was grateful. He didn’t know what Chris was, or even who he was, but keeping that video out of people’s hands was one small way he could protect his son.
As much as Steve wanted to get started, it was late. Between his hospital escape, flight, grabbing a rental, getting checked in and organized at the hotel, and the time change, it was already well past dark outside. Instead he grabbed a room service menu and placed a quick order for later that evening and ran across the road to Target to grab some clean clothes and a few bottles of water. A good night’s rest, a shower, some more planning, that was the right thing to do. He could get started early and hopefully cross of all of the first tattoo parlors and occult stores from his list.
In bed, hours later, Steve couldn’t help tossing and turning. The things he had seen and learned over the last few days kept running through his head. He had spent time researching time travel and he was scared he might take an action that might keep Chris from happening. But, at the same time, he wondered, maybe he would only meet Chris’ mother and they would only conceive Chris if he did this. And what of his relationship with Danny?
Chris had called Danny, “Danno,” which was a name Danny always tried to save for his kids. Had he helped to raise Chris? Did Chris have any of his mother’s features? Was Chris back in the future? Was this a wild goose chase?
He fell into a fitful sleep, dreaming of blue lights and green eyes and Danny’s arms and a face he didn’t know yet.
The next morning Steve started his work early. Without stopping to grab anything but coffee and the printed photo of Chris, he made his way to his rental and began with the closest address.
There was nothing at the tattoo parlor, but he picked up some texts at the occult ship on time travel and introductions to Wicca that he thought might help.
It went much the same the rest of the day. At night, he wondered if Chris had been born with magic, if he learned it along the way, if his mother taught him, if Steve learned and taught him? Was he a guardian angel? Surely, magical healing powers and the capacity to disappear couldn’t be taught, at least not without genetic capacity?
Was Chris a witch? Were witches real? That was one of the things he had learned. The Trinity Knot was a symbol of the phases of womanhood. Women Wicca practitioners often revered it. Steve decided to spend time looking for covens in order to track the symbol once he finished with the tattoo parlors. Before he went to bed, he emailed Danny to let him know he was okay.
The next three weeks continued the same. Steve would wake up early to follow a possible lead. He felt like he was biting at something and getting closer, but he also seemed to just be spinning in circles. In many ways it was like trying to investigate blindfolded, unable to speak a foreign language, working in a foreign land. He would walk the streets of San Francisco until night time and then finally head back to the hotel. He would grab a meal then, often forgetting to eat until then, and then email Danny, plan his next day, and go to bed.
He was feeling hopeless and helpless. He wasn’t sleeping, he has lost weight, he was worried for his newfound son, and confused.
Steve had also started tracking strange attacks across the city. But he couldn’t understand any of the evidence he collected and his badge wasn’t worth much in California. He was starting to wonder if he was on the right track, if he had imagined the whole thing, if Chris was even still around.
One night, 22 days after he arrived to San Francisco, Steve couldn’t sleep and gave up on trying, He decided to go for a run by the pier while it was still dark out.
Across the City, Phoebe Halliwell woke up with a gasp. Her visions didn’t normally show up in dreams, but she knew this man she envisioned was in danger and she rushed to tell her sisters.
“He was by the pier I think. It was dark. It...I couldn’t tell what kind of demon it was, but it was drowning him. I don’t think we have time for more research, I think he’s being attacked now.”
Piper and Paige nodded. Let me just ask Chris to watch Wyatt. “Chris,” she shouted. As soon as he orbed in, she thrust Wyatt at him. “Watch the baby for me. Phoebe had a premonition.”
“What kind of demon?”
“Water demon of some sort. It’s a man. He was being drowned, he was hurt bad.” Phoebe took Paige’s hand and Paige laid her hand on Piper’s shoulder as they disappeared.
Chris looked at where his mother and aunts, not that they knew this, had disappeared. He smiled and thanked the universe. His father was right on schedule.
It was dark at the pier, the sun just rising over the horizon behind San Francisco when the three Halliwell sisters appeared in a flurry of blue lights. The peaceful morning was broken though, by the distant sounds of a struggle.
“Well, we’re cutting it close,” Paige quipped.
The sisters rushed closer to the water. The man Phoebe had dreamt of was struggling to escape a demon of some sort, but the creature kept pushing him underwater and had an arm wrapped tight around his throat. Whoever the man was, he was putting up a valiant fight, but he clearly was injured and wouldn’t be able to fight much longer. Piper wasn’t in a position to blow it up, fearful that the man would be injured or drown.
“Paige, I’ll freeze them both, you orb then here, and then I’ll blow it up. Phoebe, call Leo.” At that, Piper threw her hands in the air, freezing both the man and the demon, still choking the man and holding his head underwater.
Paige orbed the man to the pier, but once he re-appeared closer to them, it was obvious that his injuries were more severe than the distance had let on. He was still as he rematerialized and Phoebe couldn’t tell if he was breathing.
“Leo!” she yelled again.
Piper, meanwhile, attempted to blow the demon up, but it kept reforming.
“You won’t want to kill me witch. I have its energy and if I die, it dies.”
The demon disappeared at the same moment that Leo finally appeared.
“Leo, heal, now!”
The new-elder kneeled down and blue light washed out from his hands over the man. The bruises around his neck, as well as his concussion, broken arm and leg, and shattered ribs healed, but aside from waking up to cough up water and blood, the man didn’t move.
“I cannot heal him more. Something’s stopping me. The more I try and heal him, the weaker his heart gets.”
“The demon said that it had his energy. That if we killed it, it would kill him,” Piper said, her voice taut with exhaustion and anxiety.
“I also want to know who he is. Phoebe’s premonitions have never come in a dream before. Somebody wanted us to save him,” Paige added.
“I think,” Leo said. “We should get him back to the manor, get him situated, and figure out who he is, what this demon was, and why somebody wanted you to save him,” Leo indicated the man before him.
“Leo orb him to my bedroom,” Piper said. “Let’s keep him comfortable.”
The sisters nodded and grabbed hands as Leo placed his hand on the man’s shoulder. They orbed away quickly.
Once they got to the manor, Piper began directing her sisters and Leo.
“Paige, can you look through the book and figure out who the demon is? Phoebe, we need to figure out why your vision was different. We don’t want this to be a trap.”
Both sisters nodded and Paige orbed them to the attic.
“Leo,” she felt the man’s pulse. “His heart is beating even weaker and he’s having trouble breathing. Is there anything you can do?”
“Not as a whitelighter, but if I can find an unused ventilator or nasal canula and a heart rate monitor and maybe an IV with some liquids, I think I can get him comfortable and stable for now. Right now, rest may be the only option for him. It seems whenever we do more magic to him - healing him, orbing him - it drains more of his energy and weakens him further.”
“You do that. I’m going to make him soup and try and figure out who he is.”
Suddenly Chris’ appeared. He was pale. He thrust Wyatt at Piper and fell to his knees by the bed, clutching the man’s right hand.
“What...what happened to him? Leo why aren’t you healing him? Do you hate me so much that you would let him die?
Piper, what happened? This wasn’t supposed to happen.”
“What are you talking about Chris? Do you know who he is?”
“You don’t know,” Chris shook his head clear. “His name is Lieutenant Commander Steve McGarrett. He’s a US Navy Seal and a cop. He runs the Governor of Hawaii’s Major Crimes Taskforce, Five-0. He’s a fucking hero. And he’s my dad or, at least, he will be. What happened to him?” Chris demanded.
Piper was gentle when she answered. The man, Steve she corrected to herself, was quite clearly dying and Chris obviously loved his father, if the anxiety shining out of his eyes was any clue. It was the first real sign of emotion, outside of contempt and anger and frustration, that she had seen from the young man since he arrived in their lives.
“Phoebe has a vision while sleeping. The one we called you about to watch Wyatt while we went to see what was up. When we got there, a demon had him in the water. The man, Steve, your father, was fighting back hard, but the demon was strangling him and drowning him. We managed to orb your father to us, but he was injured. Several broken bones. Bruises. Shattered ribs. He must have put up quite the fight before we got there. But when Leo tried healing him, Commander McGarrett didn’t wake up. We tried Chris, but the more we even use magic around him, the more it seems to weaken his heart.”
Chris sucked in a breath.
“That’s how he died. It was an energy demon that sucked the life out of him. It took six months for him to die, but it beat him up from day one. He has radiation poisoning from disarming a nuclear bomb and a donor liver from his partner Danny, but it seemed that his body couldn’t hold back cancer and tumors all over his body and transplant failure when he sometimes didn’t even have the energy to get out of bed for days at a time. We didn’t have any options though. In my time, we didn’t have many white lighters anymore and hospitals were pretty defunct too and there weren’t any still standing in San Francisco. We couldn’t even find the demon that killed him, let alone figure out how to save him. And, it was like you said, the more magic we tried on him, the weaker he got. Eventually it was just about letting him die in peace.”
Piper looked at Leo and placed a soothing hand on Chris shoulder. “Chris, we’re going to do our best to save him. Leo’s going to go find some medical equipment we can use to take the strain off of his body and I’ll nursemaid him for as long as I have to. We don’t let innocents die Chris, not if we can help it. And we have the Book, we have the elders, we have white lighters, and hospitals, we will do everything in our power to save him.”
Chris nodded. “We need to figure out why the demon has gone after him now. Dad would have mentioned it to me if something similar had happened to him before I was born.”
Piper squeezed his shoulder. “We’ll save him Chris. We promise.”
“I’m going to stay with him, if that’s okay. If...when he wake up, he’ll have questions I’m sure. Plus, I need to know what’s he doing on San Francisco. I need to make sure he’s okay.”
“Sounds good Chris. I’m going to go find anything I can use to help stabilize him. Piper had mentioned making him soup. Paige and Phoebe are with the Book,” Leo orbed out, shaken and anxious.
Piper stood up. “Make yourself at home here Chris. As somebody whose mom died young, I know what you’re going through. Take the second change to be with your dad. I’ll bring dinner up when it is ready and we can try and get him to eat.” Piper walked out the door, when Chris spoke up.
“Thank you Piper. I know I’m a nuisance to have around, but my dad, he’s a good person and he doesn’t deserve to suffer like this.”
“It’s okay Chris. We’ll figure it out.”
Chris looked at his father, pale in bed and face tight in pain. He had developed a fever as he fought off the energy-stealing demon’s hold on him. His dad was already so much sicker now than he had been the first time around. Chris wondered about how much time his dad really had left. He looked down again and startled. Steve’s eyes were blinking open.
“Ch...Chris,” Steve coughed and his eyes flickered closed. “You’re, you’re he...” Steve trailed off and became quiet, but for wet, ragged breathing.
“I’m here dad. I’m here. I’m going to figure this out okay.” Half-expecting a response he looked down, but his dad was unconscious again, his pulse thready under Chris’ fingers.
A few hours later Piper entered the room with a gentle knock. She hadn’t heard a peep from Chris or Steve so she assumed all was well.
She paused as she entered. Steve was half-asleep, propped up on a few pillows, and obviously feverish. Chris had placed wet towels all over him and was rubbing his father’s knuckles as he spoke quietly to his father whose eyes were open, but hazy and dull.
Piper adjusted the tray. “Hey Chris, Commander McGarrett. I brought dinner for you both.”
She laid the tray on the dresser. “Chris, there’s some pasta for you here. Eat up, while I help your dad.”
Chris paused. “It’s okay Chris. Eat. I got him.”
“Commander McGarrett, my name is Piper Halliwell. My sisters and I tried to save you this morning. Did Chris explain what happened?”
Steve nodded weakly. “Thank you for saving my life.” Steve coughed and then groaned as a wave of pain raced through him.
“We’re not giving up Commander. We’ll make sure you live to raise your boy.”
Despite his exhaustion, a wide smile bloomed on Steve’s face at the mention of his son.
“I’m going to help you sit up a little more so you can eat,” said Piper as she adjusted Steve’s pillows. “It’s just some broth and mashed potatoes and water for now.”
Steve coughed quietly. “I’m not...” he trailed off.
“You have to eat Commander. You have to hold on while we figure out what happened to you. You’re a dad now. Your son is counting on you,” Piper gently lectured.
She laid the tray over Steve’s lap. Steve grabbed the spoon, but his hands shook too much.
“If you like you can start with the broth. It’s in a cup. I brought a straw.”
Steve nodded as Piper held it up for him.
After a few sips, he pulled back and rested his head. “I’m done. Thank you.”
“I’ll leave the food on the night table for you, ok. Just yell if you need help.”
“Chris,” Steve called, a bit stronger from the little food he had. “I need to call Danny. Also, I have things at a hotel by the pier. Can you help me there?”
“No need dad. What hotel? What room number?”
Steve relayed the information and within minutes Chris had left and come back.
“I’m glad you’re still a clean freak dad. That made packing up real easy.”
Steve smiled. “Somethings didn’t change right?”
He thumbed the phone he had picked up from a local store and dialed Danny.
Almost immediately Danny started yelling.
“I have been trying to reach you all day Steven. Where the hell have you been? First you run out on us on a goose chase and then you stop letting me know you’re alive, when you and I both know, more than a few people would rather you not be. What happened? And why are you breathing funny?”
“Hey Danny. I’m sorry...I found Chris. It might be easier to explain everything in person, though. Can you get a flight out here?”
Chris interrupted. “I got it Dad. Can I speak please?”
“Hi Danno. Or I guess you might prefer if I call you Danny. If you’re available, I can have you here in minutes?”
“You’re Steve’s kid? Or will be, at least?”
“Yeah. I know it’s hard to explain.”
“That’s alright. I’ll see you in a few minutes kid. I saw your disappearing trick last month. Thank you for saving his life Chris; that was a close one.”
“Yeah, of course. I’m trying my best to make sure he lives to a ripe old age. I’ll be there soon, yeah?”
“Let me grab a bag. Ask Steve if he needs anything from his house.”
Chris relayed the question and the answer as Piper moved around the room tidying it up, taking Steve’s temperature, and feeding him Tylenol.
“See you in a few sir.”
“For you kid, it’s Danno.”
Chris smiled, hung up the phone, and laid it down on the table next to his dad.
“Danny said he would ask Junior to keep watching Eddie. Gracie says hi and Charlie misses Uncle Steve. I forgot he used to call you that.”
“Thanks kiddo. I appreciate you running around for me.”
“Of course dad. That’s the joy of having a whitelighter in the family,” said Chris as he orbed out.
Steve sighed as he rested back, clearly exhausted again. “Does that ever get old?”
“It probably shouldn’t have, but I’ve seen amazing things in the past six years. I mean, for one thing, your son is a time traveler. That’s got to be something else.”
“I think I might still be in shock. I never thought I would have kids. I guess, if things don’t get better now, I still won’t. But between learning I have a son and he’s 23 and also learning about magic and witches and whitelighters and demons, this month has had a steep learning curve.”
“Well, you’re handling it very well.”
“To be frank, I don’t have the energy to handle it differently. Piper, I got to ask, how bad is it? Chris seemed scared to say too much.”
“Steve, it’s not...it’s not good. For whatever reason this demon wants you. We still don’t know why, but my sisters and my ex-husband are trying to figure it out. Leo was a World War II medic so he’s able to help us out with keeping you...alive, but without being able to either use magic on you or kill this demon, we’re pretty stuck. As for Chris, well his two favorite words since we met him are ‘future consequences.’”
“So, what’s you’re saying is I can die any day now, so I should take the time to show and tell the people I love them that I do. And I should get my affairs in order.”
“No! I’m saying we’re not going to let you die, but it’s going to take an all-hands-on-deck approach.”
Steve pondered that for a moment, as Piper brought a few of his things closer. She saw a photo of the triquetra and asked Steve about it.
“Chris has a tattoo on his wrist of it. I started looking for him by visiting tattoo parlors and occult shops for someone who had given him the tattoo. It looked fresh. I...I didn’t think I would see him again after he healed me, but I had to look .”
“What do you mean he healed you? Chris isn’t a full whitelighter, not like Leo. He’s never been able to heal. I guess we know why now too. Only full whitelighters, after death, can heal. Chris is part-mortal and part-witch, so he cannot heal.”
“I promise you Miss Halliwell. He did. I couldn’t believe it myself,” Steve showed her some of the screenshots from the security video he had saved. Piper was shocked to see Chris heal, when he had never even tried with the sisters.
Chris and Danny orbed in, Danny slightly green from the experience of orbing.
The second both men reformed, Danny zeroed in on Steve.
“What the hell happened Steven?”
Piper settled into a chair, sure she would be needed to explain at one point. Chris also settled in, sitting cross legged on the floor in front of the night stand, one eyes on his dad’s weary face and the other on Danny’s furious face.
“I’m not 100% sure Danny. I...”
“Start at the beginning Steven. With you running away.”
“I’m a grown ass man Danny. I didn’t run away.”
Danny spread his arms as if to say “whatever, continue.”
“I wasn’t in a good place last month. I never thought I would have kids and, suddenly, I’m shot and I’m dying and then I’m not and it’s because I have a son. A son who can heal. Chris told me that I wouldn’t see him for some years, but I couldn’t let the opportunity go. I figured he would be in San Francisco because of the shirt he had been wearing and I wanted to track down his tattoo, since it seemed new. I didn’t know how to explain it Danny, I just had to find him. You know how much I’ve wanted to be a dad and I just never thought it would happen.” Steve laid his head back, exhausted.
Piper spoke up. “You okay Steve?”
“Just a headache.”
Piper laid her hand down on his forehead, “Your fever’s back up. Get some rest. I’ll get your friend settled in. Chris let’s leave your dad alone so he can rest. I’ll leave Wyatt’s baby monitor here and we can use the crystals to keep him safe.”
Chris nodded. It was surreal having three of his four parents in the room, even if Leo had never stepped up to the plate and Piper didn’t know she was his mom yet.
Chris turned toward his dad and quietly spoke. “Dad, I’m going to get a few things for you. It looks like Piper brought you some of your things too. Do you want anything? Need anything? I’ll grab you some more water.”
“I’m okay kiddo, just tired. My head is pounding though, if you can shut the shades that would be appreciated?”
“Of course. Chris used his telekinesis to lower the shades.
“That’s new,” Steve whispered.
“When you wake up Dad, I’ll answer more questions. But before you fall asleep there’s one thing you should know. Dad, I can be anywhere in the world and all you have to do is call my name and I’ll hear you. If I’m okay, I will come right away. There’s no need to shout or anything, I promise. I won’t hear you Up There or in the underworld, but if I’m here and can hear you, I’ll come.”
Steve nodded, shut his eyes, and fell asleep. His face was pale and strained and the nerves in his forehead were pounding quite clearly.
Piper stepped back into the room. Chris hadn’t even seen her leave. She laid the crystals around the bed, and the water and Wyatt’s baby monitor on the night stand.
“I’ll put his food in the fridge, so we can keep it fresh. Let’s go downstairs Chris, Detective...,” Piper inclined her head at Danny’s badge.
“It’s Detective Danny Williams. Nice to meet you Miss...”
“Nice to meet you Piper. I still don’t know what happened to Steve.”
“I know, my sisters and I are still trying to figure it out. Let’s do downstairs. I’ll get dinner on the table and we can answer your questions.”
Piper spoke to the ceiling, softening her voice for the sleeping man in the bed.
“Paige, bring Phoebe and the book and meet us in the kitchen for dinner. We have guests.”
Piper, Chris, and Danny made their way to the kitchen and met Phoebe alongside Paige who had orbed them both down. They gathered around the kitchen island, Phoebe clutching the book and Paige pouring ice tea for them all. Piper always kept the fridge well-stocked. In Paige’s mind, Piper’s cooking was one of the best things about having sisters.
“Paige, Phoebe, this is Detective Danny Williams, Steve’s partner.”
“Detective Williams, this is Paige and Phoebe,” Piper introduced. “And my ex-husband Leo,” she added as Leo appeared.
“I’m going to start dinner while we update you and figure out our next steps.”
Everyone settled at the kitchen table as Piper hustled around. Chris fingered the baby monitor, one ear on his father upstairs and the one on the conversation.
“Where’s Wyatt?” He asked suddenly.
“I took him to magic school. We thought it might be safer there, just in case,” Leo answered.
“What happened to Steve? Why can’t he just be healed again? Why is he so sick?” Danny demanded.
“I tried healing him this morning, but it was as if his body had a magical allergic reaction. It healed a few broken bones and bruises, but it weakened his heart.”
Danny turned to Chris, “Can you try?”
Leo scoffed. “Chris can’t heal.”
“Given he saved Steve’s life a month ago, I think you’re wrong.” Danny was quick to Steve’s son’s defense. Danny didn’t quite know who he was to Chris yet, though he had an inkling, but regardless, Chris had saved Steve’s life, Danny considered him - to use the Hawaiian term - ohana.
“I’ve only ever been able to heal my immediate family. But I’m not strong enough as a whitelighter to finish the job. Dad was still exhausted and concussed last month, even though I was able to heal the bullet wounds. Dad’s so weak right now, though, I’m afraid that anything I do might make it worse. I told Piper and Leo earlier, this is how dad died in my time. It took six months and we couldn’t do anything. Right now though, he’s already so much weaker than he was the first time around. I’m scared for him.”
Danny reached out and laid his hand on Chris’ shoulder. “We’ll figure it out kid. I’m not letting your dad die. What happened this morning?”
Phoebe spoke up. “I have visions. Not usually in my dreams, but I dreamt that Steve was being attacked this morning. We got to the pier where he was being attacked and got him away from the demon, but he was badly injured.”
“Dad said it happened during his run this morning. He’s been having trouble sleeping.”
“Yeah, that’s been for a while now. We just learned he has radiation poisoning. And it’s been exhausting trying to find meds he can take that don’t make him feel worse and that won’t cause a transplant rejection.”
Chris rattled off a few meds. “That’s what he eventually takes. It keeps the nausea at bay and most of the other physical side effects, but he does need to take anti-depressants and anxiety meds with them and he has trouble keeping an appetite.” He turned to Paige and Phoebe. “What did you learn?”
“Nothing on why I dreamt my vision and there’s not much in the book on the demon. It’s just an Energy-Stealing Demon. It attacks good men, usually to steal their energy and then use that energy for other purposes, while killing them slowly, one at a time. It ties its own life force to its captive, so killing it would also kill anyone it’s connected to. There is a way to disconnect Steve from the demon, but it takes time.”
“What is it?” Danny and Chris asked at the same time.
“Basically, it’s a potion. It takes one week to make though and it has to be administered on a new moon, which is nine nights from now. It requires the people that love him most basically bathe him in the potion. Or, at least, cover him in it like lotion. It also requires a drop each of their blood. It’s a very intimate procedure, but it doesn’t just heal what he’s experiencing now, it severs the bond between Steve and the demon, allowing us to kill the demon which will only require a Power of Three spell. It’s stable magic, so it shouldn’t weaken him further, but there’s no guarantees,” Paige explained.
“Is that the only way?” Chris asked. “It’s just, dad is weak already. I don’t want to see him get worse.”
Phoebe shook her head. “I’m sorry Chris. We’ll keep looking, if you like.”
Chris shook his head and looked at Danny. “What do you think Pop?”
“I think that the sisters should work on this potion and you and I should spend the week loving your dad, just in case kiddo. And next week when this thing is ready, you and I and Gracie and Charlie and Aunt Mary and Joanie and Nahele, we will make him see how much people love him when we save his ass and then we’ll kick his ass for scaring us so much.”
Chris gave a teary smile. “Okay, that’s...that’s a plan.”
Danny looked back at Chris. “Pop, huh?”
Chris blushed and toed the tile. Danny ruffled his hair and kissed the crown of his head.
“Your dad and I are really going to enjoy having you around. I cannot wait for your siblings to meet you.”
On the other side of the table, the Charmed Ones and Leo were amazed to see Chris so open to the affection that his father laid on him and to see him open up so easily.
Chris absently wondered if they would act like Steve and Danno were, instantly trusting and accepting, if they knew Chris was family to them too. Danny and Steve had always been good men and Piper had been proud to carry Steve’s child as his biological mother, as a gift for both men and Chris had even called her mom. It was an act of selflessness he didn’t think this Piper was capable of. Even Leo, as a child, he still saw as family, a stepfather of sorts, but the Leo he knew and this one were eons apart. But magic didn’t stop at the family’s line and with a last name. In the same way that Paige’s magic had followed her, Chris’ Halliwell blood followed him and it had created a weird, familial mishmash.
It was a mishmash he was okay with. His dad had worked hard to build himself a family he could count on, made up of family and friends and lost souls and even ex-cons like Kamekona and Sang-Min. He had adopted Nahele and they had fostered so many kids when Chris was growing up. Chris had picked up the same habit, adopting family members as he went in the same way that his brothers and sister and Pop learned to do. It was a dividing line between him and his mom and aunts, who always fell for outsiders who would scorn them and who would create lines made up of lies and distance between those who would love them.
It had struck him as odd and then terrifying to come back in time and realize for the first time, as an adult, that he was not welcome in the Halliwell Home, despite being a Halliwell-by-magic and blood, and who wouldn’t be welcome until the sisters saw him again in 25 years. He had begun to understand just how amazing his father’s capacity to love and widen his family was, when he saw the opposite happen so easily.
Chris had waited less-than-patiently for the day his father got shot, desperate to stop him from entering the building but knowing that it had to happen and, days before, orbing an unconscious Danny from the accident he had been about to be in and then right back into the car as he woke up. He hadn’t wanted to see his fathers hurt, but he missed his dad and felt a desperate homesickness to hear him say Chris’ name or look him in the eyes.
Suddenly Chris spoke up, unaware that the sisters and Danny had been trying to get his attention for several minutes.
“What I ned to know is why is this demon going after Dad now? And why is he so much worse off this time around? The last time, the demon had him for days before we found him and it took weeks to get him to this point.”
Paige shook her head. “You don’t remember hearing anything from your dad?”
“I’m sure he never mentioned it, but...”
“But what kid?” Danny asked.
“Those last few months, with the tumors and the pain and exhaustion, his memory wasn’t great. Both you and Dad didn’t grow up around magic, but you knew how to recognize it and you knew how basic potions and rituals for defense at home. Because I was always a target, the whole family was. It always surprised me that dad got caught by the demon in the first place. He was always such a good tracker at work and he went on-and-on as we grew up to make sure we never left the house without a partner and that we watched out for each other. I always thought him leaving the house alone for just a walk was odd, because even when he went swimming, you and one of us kids or even the grandkids would watch him from the beach if we weren’t swimming with him. In my time, it wasn’t safe to be alone. Demons were in power and the elders - the head whitelighters basically -“ Chris added for Danny’s benefit, “were even more useless than they are now. Hawaii had it better than California, but you and dad still tried to keep us all under-the-radar.”
“Is your dad dying why you came back in time?” Piper asked as she laid down dinner and Phoebe set the table.
“Dad and Pop and I, and the rest of our Ohana,” Chris smiled sadly. “It’s been a long time since I got to say that word. Anyways, the Resistance against demons was basically us and a few other magical beings and some fellow cops and Dad’s SEAL-buddies. We always joked that Grandma and Grandpa - your parents Pop - were in charge though. Grandma was great at cooking for a hundred, though there was never that many of us, and grandpa was an expert at babysitting the kids. Us and uncle Junior and Aunt Tani’s kids and Uncle Lou’s grandkids and Sarah and all of us. There was a lot of cousins. Kamekona adopts 3 kids in a few years. Flippa and his wife have 3 themselves.”
“It sounds like things didn’t suck all the time, but you’re ignoring the question,” Danny pushed.
“It didn’t suck but that’s not why I came back, even though I wanted to. You don’t understand Piper and Paige and Phoebe, there was never a moment in my life I wasn’t loved. Dad and Pop adopted everyone and our house was always full-to-bursting. Eventually, Piper, you helped them magically add on spare rooms for the number of people living at home.” Chris’ statement surprised Piper as she had never stopped to think she knew Chris growing up.
“But that’s not why I came back. I was one of the few witches in the resistance, but I didn’t lead it. I was still one of the ‘kids’ even at 23. Hell Gracie was a kid and she’s 39 now and has kids of her own. I put together a plan and I brought it to my dads and uncles and aunts and grandparents. We knew the approximate time and place that this great evil had been transformed, but we didn’t how how or why. I wanted to go back in time and figure it out and stop The Event from occurring before it could happen, but Dad and Pop refused to consider it. I kept doing research but I stopped asking. It wasn’t something I wanted do without their blessing. But then you died in a demon attack Pop and then dad died a few days later and Nahele got hurt protecting his kids and Charlie went missing and came back different and I was stuck. I didn’t know what to do. When a letter showed up. Literally, it showed up in front of me. It was hard. We were all grieving. I tried to call you and dad’s spirits back from the dead. You didn’t show up, maybe you weren’t allowed to yet or couldn’t because you weren’t magical, but a letter did. Th envelope said I should go and that you
loved me, but it said I couldn’t read the letter until it was time, whatever that means.”
Chris waved his hand and the envelope appeared on the table. Danny grabbed it gently. It had obviously been folded and refolded over-and-over again and was crumbling at the edges.
“I think it’s time kid,” as the letter slid out of the envelope.
Chris looked at the loose paper in shock. He hadn’t expected that and he wondered what his late fathers had to say.
Danny read it once quietly and then began to read it aloud.
You were one of our miracle babies. And you’re still creating miracles everywhere you go, not just with your magic which is spectacular but with your big heart and the courage you carry with you. We’ve learned so much from you and we are honored to call you our son.
We know you kept planning for your visit to 2017, but didn’t go because of us. We hope you took our advice and finally went. If not, Chris, it’s time. Go. We’ve done our best, from the Great Beyond as your great grandmother called it, to set you up for success. Yes, we’ve messed with the timeline for personal gain, but it’s for the best. We think we know how to change things for the future to give us a fighting chance and we think there’s information we have now that you need in the past and that people like the Halliwells need to help us win this fight.
Next time you call, we’ll be there.
Stay safe and healthy; we love you.
Dad and Pop”
Danny laid the letter down, as Chris jumped up.
“We need to go. Upstairs now. I think they’re saying I can summon them now. I think I can talk to them and figure out what they changed. I can see them again.”
Danny looked at Chris. “You want to summon the spirits of our dead future selves to the past to figure out what they did in the future to change the past?” he asked. “That’s never going to get old. Is it safe kid? Specifically, is it safe for you?”
Chris nodded. “Yeah, it’s not generally a dangerous spell at all. Piper, can I use the attic please?”
Piper nodded. “Yes. I’m assuming no dinner for you then?”
Chris stopped. The ways in which his mother had kept trying to feed him today kept knocking him back. It was as if Future Piper was living in younger Piper’s body. It was the first time since he had arrived in the past that he found himself seeing his mother in Piper.
“Can you save it for me Piper please? I’ll eat with Dad later on. I need to see if I can call then.”
Piper nodded, but Danny stopped him before he orbed out. “A. I’m going with you and B. you have to promise me you’ll remember to eat.”
Chris nodded and took his dad’s wrist, orbing then to the Halliwell attic.
Quickly, he started gathering white candles, laying them in a large circle in the center of the attic.
Standing by the book, he chanted.
“Hear these words. Hear my cries. Spirits from the other side. Come to me, I summon thee. Cross now the Great Divide.”
At first nothing happened, when suddenly white balls of light began to appear and then form. Less than a minute later, Danny was staring at his future 65-year old self and his future 65-year old husband-to-be.
Chris dropped the book back on the podium as his hands shook. Past Danny laid a hand on his shoulder.
Future Steve and Future Danny stepped forward. “Hey kid,” Steve spoke, his voice echoey and both their skin translucent but growing more solid as they stepped out of the circle. Danny added, “we missed you.”
Chris stepped towards his dads as they embraced him with a tight hug, Steve kissing his forehead and Danny pulling him down to look him in the eye.
“I’m glad you figured it out kid. We need to talk to you, we need to talk to your fathers from this time, we need to talk to the Halliwells. We don’t have much time,” Danny spoke urgently.
Steve spoke up next. “I can sense my past self. He’s here?”
Danny finally spoke up. “Piper Halliwell’s room. He’s sick, but it sounds like you had something to do with that?” There was a tone close to reproach in his voice for his future self and future husband, not understanding why trying to kill Steve sooner in life would solve all their problems, as he assumed was their doing.
Steve nodded. “We did Danny, but we promise we have a plan. Time works differently over there and we’ve had a lot of time to figure out a way forward that keeps our family safe and healthy and happy.”
Past Danny nodded. “I still don’t know what happens in the future that’s so bad, aside from the demon thing, but I’ll forgive you as long as you promise Steve isn’t suffering for no reason.”
Steve was about to answer, when Past Danny spoke again. “And to be frank Steve, I want to hear from me that you’re not suffering needlessly, because I’ve never trusted your sense of self.”
Steve grinned as Future Danny spoke. “I promise you it’s not needless, but we still need to act quickly.”
Piper and her sisters had followed Chris and his father upstairs. She spoke up, causing Chris to jump, though Danny had already recognize their presence. “Let’s go to Steve then. Past Steve. Between the the proposed potion and whatever you worked out, maybe we can stop Steve from dying and keep whatever evil future that’s happened from happening that you two and Chris seem so scared of.”
Steve shook his head grimly. “That’s the plan.” They all marched downstairs, Steve commenting that he missed his twice-daily workouts and even walking and both Dannies replying with a loving-but-sarcastic “Neanderthal.”
Steve kept his hand on Chris’ shoulder while Past Danny and Future Danny flanked then in front.
Once they got the room, Past Danny stopped before they entered the room, the door cracked open and Steve sleeping fitfully. Piper and Phoebe had orbed down with Paige. The Book was on the dresser as Piper took Steve’s temperature.
“I need you both to know that Steve, my Steve, this Steve,” Past Danny waved his hand at the room, “is dying. You need to keep that in mind as you think about this. He’s sick. Real sick. His heart is giving out on him and that’s on you both.”
Future Danny looked himself in eye.
“I promise you, and me I guess,” he jokingly added though Past Danny did not even stop to grimace let alone grin, “that this wasn’t just a tactical decision. This was the only option. We want to stop this evil now, but if not we need to make sure that we have backup plans in place. Steve being attacked now, killing this demon now, it helps us do both.”
Past Danny nodded. “As long as you understand that I’m not okay with Steve suffering more than he’s already had to.”
This time Future Steve spoke up. “Thank you Danny. You know there’s nothing I wouldn’t do for my family, but I want you to know that the one thing I wanted most of all was to live for them. My sacrifice then was only about making sure I get to live a long life with them.”
Chris has moved to sit by his father. “Dad’s awake,” he told his other fathers. “Hey Dad. You ok? Can I get you something? Piper brought up some applesauce. Can I help you eat a bit? You need to eat.”
Steve nodded, too exhausted to speak, but he took the few small spoonfuls Chris fed him, before he couldn't swallow any longer. He turned his head slowly and jerked and then moaned when it aggravated his growing headache when he saw not only Danny, but the future versions of himself and his future husband.
“Hey Steve,” Danny’s hands spread open. “We’re sorry to have done this to you.”
“You’re going to need to explain quickly, because Dad’s fading, and I think you need to do it in the bathroom. Piper, his fever is up again. I’m going to put him in the tub and run some cool water. He’s burning up.”
Piper nodded and hustled around grabbing a leftover pair of Leo’s clothes for Steve.
“Pop, can you help me lift him. I don’t want to orb him and make it worse.”
As Chris and Past Danny lifted Steve, who groaned at the motion and swiftly went pale and then green, Future Danny spoke.
“He’s a lot worse off then he should be. This isn’t right.”
“What were you expecting?” Chris ordered. He had proof now that his dad was dying and an inkling that Future Steve had made the decision to sacrifice himself without telling anyone.
“This demon is a pawn. It’s a distraction from whatever turns...” Danny said.
“They don’t know.”
This time Steve spoke up and he was furious. “What do you mean they don’t know?”
Paige chose that moment to mock Chris. “Ooh, Chrissie is in trouble.”
Future Steve and Danny turned to her simultaneously, Steve’s face was rageful and Paige took an unconscious step back at what was clearly a very angry former soldier and overprotective father, dead though he was.
“Chris, what do you mean they don’t know?” Danny this time.
Chris looked between both versions of his fathers. Past Steve was awake, his eyes blinking tiredly, but now that he was in the cool water and his fever had started to diminish, he was more aware than he had been all day and his face was etched with curiosity and confusion. Both his future fathers still looked furious, angrier than any time he had stuck out of the house, nearly as angry as the one time and last time Leo had laid a hand on him. Past Danny was concerned, running his hands through his hair, his eyes flickering between Chris and Past Steve.
“I’ll tell them if you insist, but let me explain first. In private.”
Future Steve responded, his eyes drilling into Chris. “Do it Chris. And then explain yourself.”
Chris took a second to form a bubble of air in his hand, an extension of his telekinesis that he had used with his siblings for fun and mischief growing up. He threw his hand up, the bubble expanded and covered him and his fathers. Then he flicked his finger and closed the door.
Paige, Phoebe, Piper, and Leo who had rejoined them with Wyatt could no longer hear or see a thing.
“Let me start at the beginning. Dad. Pop,” Chris inclines his head and waved his hand at his past fathers. “I’m your son. You raised me. You were at my first baseball game. You taught me how to fix cars. You learned magic so you could teach me. You protected me. I was the youngest of four and, by the time I came along, you were mostly retired. But my biological mom is Piper. Dad is my biological dad. She carried a baby to term for you both as a gift I think for saving her and Wyatt’s life from a crazy mortal stalker. I’m not sure all the details and I never got a straight answer, anyways. I wasn’t supposed to be...have magic, but I was born as the same mortal-witch-whitelighter as Wyatt, even though I’m genetically Steve’s and not Leo’s. I always knew Piper was my biological mom. You raised me to consider her a mom, Leo a stepfather of sorts. The sisters were other aunts. Our family was always a mishmash and this was no different.”
“That makes sense kiddo, but you’re skipping something important,” Past Danny spoke.
Chris looked at him. “You’re always so good at that.”
“Even if you haven’t even been conceived yet, you’re still our son. And by the way, it’s not a surprise your biologically Piper’s. I don’t know if you noticed, but you’ve got her face. And you’re the same mix of magic and mortal that she said Wyatt was. I don’t know why they haven’t figured it out, but we did.”
Past Steve nodded, still sitting fully dressed in the running tub of cool water.
“I’m dying Chris and I figured it out. I don’t know how they missed it.”
“Please don’t say that Dad.”
“Chris,” Future Steve spoke up. It was one word, but he knew his dad was losing patience.
“The great evil I came back to stop is Wyatt. Something gets to him when he’s young and it traumatizes him. By the time he turned 16, a year after Piper died, he was evil and ruling hell. He may not look it, but he’s the most powerful magical being alive.”
Past Steve spoke up this time as Past Danny helped him out of the tub and dried him off before helping into clothes he had brought to the bathroom with them for Steve.
“Why is he so powerful and not you? You’re both nonmagical and witches and whitelighters right? And you’re both biologically from a powerful line of witches? What’s the difference?”
Chris paused. “Neither of you raised me to be all-powerful, dad. You raised me to be a brother and a son and a nephew and a cousin and to climb trees and to surf and to know how to cook all of Grandma’s recipes and to help you take care of the garden and to babysit my younger cousins and to play board games at family night. You trained me to use my powers in service of people, but it was more important to you that I could do research, be strategic, think critically, speak many languages, volunteer, step into someone else’s shoes, have fun. Magic was always a part of me, but it was never, ever all of me, not even most of me. It’s why I said earlier I have magic and not that I am magic. That’s not how you raised me. With Wyatt, things were different. He always knew, I know, that he was all-powerful. Magic died for a day, the day he was born. There are literal prophecies about him. Wyatt was raised to be a warrior. I...I was raised to be your son,” Chris paused. He had thought a lot about this.
“I don’t mean to judge the sisters, but I think the trauma plus the pressure of becoming a great witch twisted something in Wyatt.”
“The sisters don’t know any of this?” Past Danny clarified.
“No. I came back and I meant to tell them, but they were so argumentative and so distrusting. Leo beat me up the first time he saw me, I mean. I didn’t know how to tell them. I guess I kinda thought they would figure out who I am. It’s not like I hid my familiarity with the house or the book or the manor or them. They just didn’t notice. And Wyatt is the center of their world. How was I supposed to tell them that he grows up to murder and rape and he control demons and enslaves witches? It’s impossible to imagine now. I didn’t know how to tell them.”
The older men all nodded and looked to Future Steve.
“We need to tell them about Wyatt. We can avoid telling them other details, but we won’t lie if it comes up,” Future Steve decided. Future Danny agreed, “we wanted them to know kid, because we wanted you to have family watching your back. I can understand not knowing how to speak to them, though. And I’ll be having a word with Leo myself.”
Chris nodded. He would do what his fathers deemed best and he appreciated their protective natures, especially after months without it.
“Yes, sir. I think we should open the door now and let the sisters hear what’s going on. Dad’s tired and needs to be back in bed and we need to know what you both did and why Dad is so much worse off this time.”
His fathers agreed and Chris took down the sound barrier and gently helped his father stand up. Past Danny took Steve under his other arm and they moved slowly towards the bed.
Danny and Chris helped Steve lay down. Chris took his father’s temperature again much to the amusement of the tired new dad.
“Your fever is still down, thankfully.”
“I always figured when I became a dad, I would be taking care of my baby. But, I guess thinks work differently here, because my baby is taking care of me.”
Chris smiled at him, beyond grateful to have all the versions of his dad around him and overjoyed to see the love both his younger fathers had for him instantaneously. He wondered if Piper would have felt the same and, as he thought about what he was about to share, he knew he was throwing any chance of that out the window.
Piper wouldn’t forgive him for telling her about Wyatt. She wouldn’t believe him. And she would never forgive him.
Steve, as per what would become his usual, immediately sensed something wrong with his new son and he had a guess as to what it was.
“Chris, look at me, we’re here. We’re not leaving. We will figure it out. I’m proud, we’re proud, to call you our son. We just need to get past this, so our family can move forward. The rest will fall into place.” Steve spoke quietly, Danny nodding next to him. “And you need to know, we will always stand by you and in front of you.”
Even though they bickered throughout every day of their marriage, Chris had never met two people more in sync with each other and who would work as hard as they did to create family and a good life for that family despite the chaotic and violent world around them.
Chris nodded and squeezed his dads hand and turned around.
The future versions of his fathers leaned on the wall to his right. Steve was still on the bed, Danny beside him and, yes, just in front of him. Piper and her sisters had sat on Piper’s small couch and Leo was standing behind them with Wyatt in Paige’s arms.
“When I was 14, my world changed. A great evil began to amass power. We always know that when demons organize, they get more dangerous. This time, they weren’t just organized, they were ruled. And when they came to take over our world, they won. I mean governments were still there, but they were fundamentally useless. People were scared and they struck out against anything magical they could find. Witches had fought, but with even mortal beings hating them, it didn’t help. Most witches were killed, whether by demon or burned at the stake by mortals. Dozens were magically enslaved to demons, raped and force to bear their children,” Chris paused and thought of Bianca.
“Most of the elders were dead. Most of the whitelighters who weren’t slaughtered took the magical creatures they could find and hid alongside them in Magic School, which was permanently locked away. They built their own little civilization there and left us all to die.”
Phoebe spoke up, her voice strained, and Chris realized his emotions must have been strong enough behind the emotion-masking potion he had taken for her to still feel them.
“Chris, what about...?”
“Piper, you died the year I turned 14, a demon attacked the manor while you were alone. Paige and Leo, you joined the whitelighters at Magic School to teach and heal. Phoebe, you stayed to help. You need to understand, even with the power of three we didn’t have the power to take this creature on, though we tried everything in our power to replicate it. We didn’t have ultimate power and this evil did and we were doomed from day 1. “
“Keeping in mind,” Danny added. “Chris was just a kid while this was going on. Most of the rest of the Resistance was mortal. The magical community saw what happened to Piper and the whitelighters and elders and just threw up their hands and ran away. They left thousands of people to die. Not just of demons, but because they were hungry, sick, destitute. You looked at a kid like Chris and the rest of us and, and said not my problem.”
Steve jumped in, “Even though it was. It wasn’t just your problem, in many ways it was your fault. We learned what the Great Evil was when Chris was 16. Wyatt kept trying to pressure his best friend Chris to join at his right-hand man, but Chris refused.” Steve was furious again, this time at the women and elder in front of him.
“No,” Piper choked out, but Chris and his fathers could seem the steam billowing, “no. Not Wyatt. Never Wyatt.”
Piper raised her hand as if to blow them all up. Chris raised his hand just as quickly and threw up a shield, invisible though it was, and orbed his fathers and Steve’s belongings to a safe location while also quickly tearing the page out of the book that would save his father’s life.
He orbed out of the room just as Piper’s frustration blew and every bit of glass in the room exploded into shards.
And while Chris may have just saved his life and his younger fathers’ lived from Piper’s wrath, as soon as Chris materialized he realized that it had taken its toll on his dad, who was struggling to holding his hand to his heart, beaded sweat rolling down his face, and hands shaking as he struggled to breath.
Chris waited with Future Steve as both Pops settled Steve and helped him to calm his breathing.
“Where are we Chris?” The hotel Dad was staying at, but a new room. I figured with Dad and Pop here, and I was hoping to spend time with them and I wasn’t sure if we would need a backup plan if things at the Manor fell through, so I upgraded dad’s room just in case.”
“Good thinking Kid.”
“Here’s what I don’t understand Dad,” Chris turned to Steve, “this isn’t how it happened last time. Yes, you got weaker, but we tried lots of magic and none of it impacted you like this, because the demon couldn’t feed on any magical energy from you. It tired you, yes, but it didn’t weaken you or speed up the dying process. But this, dad shouldn’t get weaker when we do magic on him, because he’s mortal,” Chris trailed off... “Dad, you didn’t. Please tell me you didn’t.”
“It’s not permanent kid. We suspected the sisters would react this way, so we alongside Future Piper put a few backup plans in place, as we watched things unfold down here. I might have taken an extra solo step too. Things to guarantee us a chance to save your future and to guarantee that you got born and became ours. Most of it you don’t need to worry about, but yes your Dad temporarily has powers,” Steve answered.
“But the demon doesn’t feed on magical beings? What kind of powers? How?”
“And why just Steve and not me?” Future Danny asked.
Chris turned to him, “you didn’t know about this?”
“I knew about the backup plans we did together, but not this.” Danny was pissed.
“They are not active powers Chris. But you know we did spell work with you as a kid, it’s just an extra kick as we move forward. It’s going to help us beat this demon as it overloads on energy. You still need to work on the potion, however, because your dad will need healing and, as you can tell, we’re on an accelerated schedule. The demon is addicted to my energy, but he doesn’t realize he’s feeding on magical energy. The more he takes in, the more he wants, the faster it kills the demon, but the trade off is it weakens your dad.”
“What about me Steve?” Past Danny asked.
“No, not you too. I didn’t want to risk you. If something happens to me, you needed to be there.”
Future Danny was still angry. “I think Steve deserved to make this choice himself. What if it went wrong? It could still go wrong!”
Steve spoke up from the bed where he had been listening. “I did make the choice.”
“Future you making the choice for you Steve is not you making it. I know you have the self-preservation instincts of a gnat, but this makes you a target. This not only can get you killed, it is killing you.”
“It wasn’t future me who made the choice. I did. I got a letter last week in my hotel room from Steve; it literally just appeared. I didn’t believe it, but then Steve showed up and he was me, and he told me that I could save a whole lot of people if I did this now. So I said yes.”
“This demon Chris,” Future Steve added, his voice now apologetic, aware that he had betrayed his family’s trust, “isn’t just a pawn, it turns out it was one of Wyatt’s most important soldiers. Wyatt used it to build his power, by allowing the demon to drain energy on his behalf and then taking most of the energy for himself, which allowed him to become even more powerful in exchange for allowing the demon to live. If we cannot figure out what turned Wyatt now, we need to be able to stop him then. Additionally, giving your dad the capacity to help you in spell work and potions - stable magic - will give you a fighting chance to take on some bigger demons, including whatever it is that turned Wyatt.”
“Chris, all of those reasons matter, but most of all, if having this power allows me to protect you better, than that’s all that matters. I made the decision before I found you again, because I believed you would be in my life again and I knew I would need to protect you then. I didn’t make the decision blindly, but I would have made the decision no matter what, because you’re my son.”
“Lastly, Chris. Your dad has Aunt Prue’s magical core. I have Aunt Piper’s. That’s three people with Halliwell magic.”
Future Danny breathed out. “Our own Power of Three, that’s all we need.”
The other Danny looked between all of them.
“Let me get this straight. Future Steve went behind future me’s back to give Past Steve and himself magical powers, borrowed from dead Charmed Ones, in order to fight the current Charmed Ones so their son and nephew doesn’t grow up to be a magical maniac from Hell, as well as very powerful, murdering demons. But in order to do that we have to not kill Past Steve and instead kill this demon, despite only having one half-witch; a mortal; a dead guy with some magic; one dead guy with no magic; and a half-dead guy with some magic, no experience in using magic, and a death wish,” Danny shook his head and Chris was sure his father felt the same whiplash he did, “it’s been such a long day.
The five men were quiet for a moment when Chris’ stomach grumbled unhappily.
Steve cracked a grin. “Danny’s right. It’s been a long day. Let’s order food. Sleep. Or at least younger me and Danny need to rest, as do you Chris. Personally, I’m looking forward to resting in a bed again and some pizza and beer. We’ll put together a plan early in the morning and get started from there.”
The next morning Steve was not well. He had a piercing headache and he wasn’t able to keep anything down.
A still-angry Danny had yelled at the other Steve in the bathroom. “What good is some extra magic if the guy cannot keep his eyes open, because his brain is being stabbed with a fucking ice pick and someone’s wringing his heart out like a mop?”
Danny had walked out of the room and stared at Steve for a moment, before grabbing the list of occult stores he had found in Steve’s possessions.
“Steve, Chris and I are going to go get some supplies. Stay and rest. That’s the most important thing you need to do right now.”
The men had relaxed over a short dinner last night and then Chris and his younger fathers had fallen asleep, while the older men watched TV late into the evening. They had woken up early, Steve’s fever higher but not debilitatingly so, and had breakfast. Then Steve had gotten considerably sicker.
He had lost consciousness at the table and, when he woke up again, he had a headache so bad he couldn’t open his eyes and his heart rate was all over the place: up and down; speeding at one point; and to Chris’ and Danny’s mutual horror, Steve had grunted that it felt like his heart kept skipping beats and he couldn’t catch his breath. He had thrown up his breakfast and had again fainted, this time in the bathroom, from the pain of that. It had taken several minutes to wake him up, which worried Chris, both Dannies, and even the other Steve.
Future Steve had made the decision to stay with his younger self. If Steve lost conscious again, aside from Chris, it would be easiest for him to watch Steve’s back and, if/when Steve was awake, they could discuss the magic they both now had and Future Steve could help the younger Steve practice.
Future Danny and Chris were going to go pick up potion supplies and a few crystals Chris thought they might need.
The younger Danny had said he was about to run an errand, but he wouldn’t say where. Chris, in his worry over his dying father, didn’t think twice, but Future Danny had pulled his younger self to the side.
“The sisters aren’t good at listening, not right now while they’re so young. If you’re going to get them to listen, because I do believe we’ll need their help, give them this and tell them it has the proof they need,” Danny handed Danny a small glass vial filled with a wispy liquid. “And be careful. They are very powerful witches. Piper’s power to explode or freeze people can come out of nowhere. You’ll likely see Paige’s power coming. She can telekinetically orb things. Phoebe is an empath and a kickass martial artist. Don’t underestimate any of them.”
Past Danny nodded his head, he understood that his older self was letting him know that he might need to defend himself if his self-assigned mission to get them to listen failed.
“Watch out for Chris, please.” And then Danny turned to the older Steve, “call me if anything happens to him while I’m gone.”
Danny headed out the door, ready to borrow Steve’s rental (he had spent far too long on the phone that morning before breakfast getting him added to the lease agreement). Once he got in the car, he took a minute to call Rachel and got her voice mail.
“Hi Rachel, it’s me. I’m still in California. Steve is in a bad place, but he wants to see the kids. I was hoping we could talk about them coming out for a few days, just in case. I’m going to fly Nahele out too and Steve’s sister and niece.”
Then he programmed his GPS for the Halliwell Manor. Chris has let him know that the women could also be found at Piper’s club or at work. After a mental check-in, he had let Danny know only Paige was at home and it would be best to deal with them separately, if possible.
Paige answered the door seconds after Danny’s first knock.
“Hi Ms. Halliwell, I was hoping to speak with you for a minute. Last night didn’t go well but I think we all still need to talk.”
“Where’s your partner? And your son?”
“Chris and my future self are grabbing potion ingredients,” he stumbled over the sentence, still uncomfortable with everything he was experiencing. “My Steve is at the hotel, he’s in bad shape - a migraine and he’s passed out a couple time today. His future self is watching out for him while he’s unconscious. Do you have a moment now?”
Paige nodded. “Piper will be back soon, so why don’t we go grab a bite? I can orb us somewhere, if you like.”
Danny nodded. “A bite sounds great, but why don’t we drive? Orbing makes me nauseous to be frank.”
Paige smiled, “that’s fine.”
At a local diner, they made small talk until they ordered and then, as if a switch had been flicked, the mood grew serious.
“Paige, I’m new to everything that’s happening here. None of this was anything I had any sense of, one month ago. And most of this would have seemed made up to me yesterday morning. I can’t talk with any authority on what Chris was saying last night. But I’m a dad, I’ve got two kids in Hawaii, plus Steve has a sorta foster son that that I help out with, and I guess I have Chris now, so I guess what I’m trying to say is I understand why your sister reacted yesterday the way she did. If I had the capacity to do the same, I likely would have.” Danny paused for a moment and looked out the window.
“I’m a cop, too, and I’ve seen a lot of people die over the last ten years, people I never had any chance to save. People who were dead long before I knew they existed, but as much as I hate Hawaii and miss New Jersey, Hawaii is my home now. I promised myself when my ex-wife moved my daughter there and, again, when I learned that Charlie was my son, that I would protect Hawaii because it was their home. I’m still getting used to the idea that Chris is my son. Overjoyed, yes. Confused at the time travel of it all, yes. Scared and nervous, yes. But also overjoyed. And it doesn’t matter that’s he’s an adult who hasn’t technically been born yet, he’s my kid. And he’s going to grow up in a world that needs protecting and it’s my job, as his dad, to do that. I know Steve feels the same. It’s why he’s at the hotel, literally dying, trying to learn how to use the magic that your older sisters - from our time - lent to him to use. Which, by the way, isn’t a sentence that I ever thought I would think, let alone say.”
Paige’s face had gone from neutrality to confusion. “What do you mean my older sisters have lent him magic?”
“I’m not sure I fully understand what’s going on, but from what I can gather, your older sister Piper from my time, as well as a Prue, are both dead and spirits. They lent their magical cores to the Steves, to help give Chris a fighting chance. But the demon who injured Steve doesn’t know it and it’s basically going weaken them demon, but it also kills Steve faster. Again, this isn’t my area of expertise, half of these ideas still sound made-up to me, but I also believe what I see and I’ve seen a lot over the last two days, not to mention Steve dying and then not dying last month.”
“Did Steve say why they gave him their powers to borrow?” Paige asked cautiously. She knew that if her suspicious were right, Piper would have a meltdown.
“They said it would allow for ‘The Power of Three’ to be used. I’m assuming that’s an important number in magic?”
“It is, but the only Power of Three I know if my sisters and I. It was a prophecy passed down via the Halliwell line,” Paige paused and took a deep breath. “Is Chris a Halliwell? Did Piper use her magic on her son last night? Did Phoebe and I treat our nephew that badly while he’s been here?”
“Paige, I wasn’t supposed to share Chris’ secret, though we promised not to lie if it came up, but I’m still learning the language and lay of the land here and I screwed up. I would appreciate it if you kept that between us. I think Chris deserves to explain what’s happened.”
Paige nodded. “I will, because I think Chris needs to see us respecting him and loving him before my sisters learn he’s family, which by the way, how is he family?”
“According to Chris, Piper carried a baby to term for Steve and I, though she is Chris’ biological mom. From what I understand though, Chris wasn’t supposed to have magic or at least not as much as he does have, but even though he’s biologically Piper and Steve’s, he’s got the same background as Wyatt - mortal, magic, whitelighter. I don’t know how the math worked out here, but I think if Piper paid attention she would see it. Chris has got her eyes and your magic.”
Paige was silent for a minute as they drank their coffee and finished their sandwiches.
“I think I owe Chris some pretty massive apologies. I’ve not treated him well, at all, and it’s not right that only as soon as I learn he’s family that I’m going to treat him better, but I promise you I will.”
Danny inclined his head to Paige. “The best thing you can do for him right now is help us get this potion done, because there won’t be a Chris if Steve dies. And the other thing you can do is get your sisters on the same page. Chris needs to tell them, but it would be a lot easier for him if he didn’t believe his biological mom and aunts hated him. And thank you.”
“No, thank you. I appreciate the wake-up call,” Paige responded sadly.
“Well, I hope my conversations with your sisters go just as well.”
“We should talk to Phoebe first. She’s at the office. We can go there now if you like. We will need to orb as her boss is less patient with visitors these days.”
Danny nodded. “Understandable. Lunch is on me, please,” as the server dropped the bill off at the table.
“Thank you. Unfortunately, witchery doesn’t pay and I’m just temping right now. I used to be a social worker, but I burnt out. Plus with all of this, I needed something more flexible.”
“I can definitely see you as a social worker or a teacher,” Danny paused to gather this thoughts. “Hopefully my conversation with Phoebe will go as well as ours did. I wasn’t sure if this would be worth the effort. I didn’t want to leave Steve while he’s this sick, but Chris needs his whole family around him and so I needed to prioritize my father hat today, instead of my fiancé hat.”
Paige gently steered Danny behind the restaurant and, when the coast was clear, she orbed then to The Bay Mirror.
Phoebe jumped at the sudden presence of her sister and Danny and she hurriedly closed and locked the door.
“What the hell Paige and what the hell are you doing here Detective Williams?”
“Ms. Halliwell, I came to speak with you about last night. I’m sorry for how it went down. And I’m sorry to search you out today. Believe me, Steve is bad-off today, I would rather be making sure he doesn’t die, but my son needed this so I’m here, even if he doesn’t know that.”
“Phoebs, hear him out. You’re an empath, you know he’s telling the truth.”
Phoebe nodded. “You’re really worried about all this.”
“I’m always worried about everything, but this is worse to be honest,” Danny thought about the vial in his pocket. “My future self gave me proof, but I don’t know what it is. He said you would know what to do with this,” said Danny handing over the small glass vial.
Phoebe gently took the vial from Danny and was instantaneously hit with a powerful vision.
“A young boy that she didn’t recognize, with green eyes, “Aunt Phoebe, when will my daddies be here? Aunt Phoebe, I miss my daddies and Gracie and my brothers? Aunt Phoebe, I love you.” And then, “I love you too Christopher.”
Phoebe turned stunned eyes to Danny. “No, he cannot be.”
“What just happened?” Danny questioned urgently.
“That’s one of Phoebe’s visions. She touched the vial and it seems the universe let her in on Chris’ little secret too.”
“Yeah. Danny accidentally slipped it to me. It turns out Steve is dying so quickly because he’s been intentionally infected with Charmed magic, as has his future self. Future Piper’s ghost as well as Prue basically loaned them their magical cores. It’s meant to do a few things, but mostly give Chris The Power of Three to take on his big bad. The vials got answers, but mostly, yeah, we have a nephew. He’s Steve and Danny’s kid, but biologically Steve and Piper’s,” said Paige.
“We’re not sure where he got his whitelighter blood. Piper didn’t raise him - she was basically a surrogate, but Chris loves her and he was raised to call her mom and Steve has never been one to keep people out. He’s got this bad habit of finding people and then never letting go. I guess, eventually, Piper and you two become part of that Ohana,” Danny added.
Phoebe nodded. “We have a lot of apologizing to do.”
“I don’t know Chris we’ll enough to say this for sure, but if he’s anything like Steve or myself, he won’t care for an apology, he would probably rather you just help save Steve and help him do whatever he came back here to-do.”
Both sisters looked at each other. “Chris!” Paige called. Danny startled as Chris as Future Danny orbed in, having still not really realized that he could just call Chris to him.
“Pops. Paige. Phoebe. What’s up?”
“We talked with your dad and we’ve decided we believe you. We’re going to help. I’ll help you with the potion for your dad and Phoebe will help you with trying to find what turned Wyatt.”
Chris looked suspiciously between them and then turned to younger Danny confused.
“Believe it, Chris. We had a couple talks today. I wasn’t willing to let you go through this alone. Neither of us were. This is too big for one person, powerful though you are and brave as hell too, and a bunch of worried dads.”
Chris was quiet for a moment. “Thanks Pops, both of you.” Another pause. “Phoebe, Paige, thank you. I could use your help and I appreciate it.”
Both sisters nodded. “Whatever we can do Chris,” Phoebe responded.
“Can I ask, what about Piper?”
“Phoebe and I will talk to her Chris. No promises, but if anything she needs to know we’re committed to helping you.”
Chris nodded and was about to speak when he hears his father call. “Dad’s in trouble.” Chris grabbed both of his fathers’s wrists and orbed out, Paige following with Phoebe in tow.