|Apr. 25th, 2007 12:38 am Chapter 28 Progress and TRD Outtake (v. 1.0)...|
Sorry for the long wait, but final projects (one including fieldwork, courtesy my education minor) have kept me busy for the past couple of weeks and probably won't let up until late May. I am working on TRD when possible--and am currently 2096 words in--but the chapter is still only about a third of the way done.
On the bright side, the weather has been gorgeous--sunny and warm--and everything is bursting into bloom, which does wonders to elevate my overall mood. Also, just to share another bit of personal happiness, the Department of Veterans' Affairs agreed yesterday (albeit after a decade and a lawsuit) to add the Wiccan pentacle to its list of approved symbols to engrave on veterans' headstones. I'm saying this, by the way, less as a practitioner and more from the perspective that the advancement of religious tolerance contributes to my faith in humanity. (Which may be naive, but I can wait a few years to grow out of my idealism.)
I've managed to find the time to write a short TRD outtake--1107 words--after hearing a number of you state in reviews that you're wondering why Chris isn't a bit more freaked out by Cole's presence. Short answer is that he's hiding his unease, but I found myself wanting to know what he thought (and get a bit more of an ear for his voice) and this ficlet was the result.
Something went wrong.
That’s all he can think, that first night, when he orbs into Mom’s—Piper’s club and settles down in the back room. He’d have sworn they’d cast it right, but it’s obvious they didn’t, not when Phoebe is married and pregnant and the great love of her life isn’t dead.
He’s just glad he managed to stop himself from blurting “You’re alive?” right into Cole Turner’s suspicious face. He’s also glad he remembered Mom’s injunctions never, never to use his powers against a person who annoyed him, no matter how much.
But Gods, was that terse lecture on time travel pushing it! He doesn’t care if the man is a hundred-something years old: with his past, he has no damn right to sit on a moral high horse!
He sighs and thinks back to Aunt Phoebe’s voice, telling him how there’d been a lot in Cole that’d been worth loving—this after he’d found photos of a human in the Book, across from the page marked ‘Belthazor’—and reminds himself that present-day Phoebe looks happy. (Always excepting the demonically induced stress, but still.)
He doesn’t have as many details as he’d like; that story had been told years ago—before Mom had died and Wyatt had turned and the whole world had gone to hell—and he hadn’t had much interest. It had been too long, too twisted and too mushy for his nine- or ten-year-old self to care about.
Why hadn’t he bothered to ask more, later, while there was still time, or even done more research before he’d left? The history books would’ve said something about Phoebe Halliwell’s infamous doomed love affair—Wyatt as he was in Chris’ future liked that story and liked it publicized; had often used his aunt’s brief descent into darkness to justify his own evil acts. “If good and evil could fall in love,” he’d said, “then that proves there isn’t a clear line. That there is no good or evil. Power is all that matters.”
Chris shakes his head, as though to physically dispel the memory of his brother’s voice. “He wasn’t supposed to be a factor here,” he says to himself, fisting his hands in frustration and feeling his nails bite into his palms. “And if even Aunt Phoebe couldn’t always predict him, what am I supposed to do? I don’t even know for sure what the hell he is!”
He has an uncle he never knew. He has a developing cousin who never existed.
He has a pounding headache.
Okay. Okay, he can do this. He just has to get a grip.
Fact One: He will never get the story of what the hell happened to his timeline out of anyone in the manor without full disclosure, which isn’t an option unless he wants fragile control to spin right out of his hands.
Fact Two: He has to get that blocking potion brewed fast, or Phoebe’s empathic radar—radar she’s not supposed to have yet!—will blow his cover and render the issue of voluntary disclosure moot.
Fact Three: As much as he hates to admit it, Cole was right: he’s in deep over his head here. None of the flowcharts he has committed to memory have so much room for error that they can handle a dead man and a baby popping out of the ether and still stand up.
Fact—oh, screw it! He didn’t plan for this and he doesn’t know how to deal with it!
For a single hysterical second, he toys with the idea of orbing back to the manor and spilling his guts to Piper. She may not be Mom yet, but she looks and sounds close enough, and he bets her hugs would be just as comforting.
He’s missed Mom for six years, felt her absence like a hole inside him, and he wants—
No. He can’t afford to sacrifice the future, waste all the risks he’s taken and Bianca’s taken for him. He has to do what he came here to do without making any extraneous waves.
But dammit, he’s only twenty years old! He should be sitting and taking notes in a college lecture hall somewhere, not back in his own past trying to stop his brother from turning into an evil tyrant!
But he is, and how ironic that now and here, when everyone who’ll become his family is alive and well, he feels completely alone.
He wishes Bianca could’ve come back with him—this would be easier to bear if he didn’t have to carry years of ugly history around as a secret. If he could have someone to confide in and use as a sounding board, or even to pat him on the back and reassure him that he does, in fact, have a plan that’s going to work.
But he has to do this alone, because there is no other choice.
No matter how much he wants to go home—home that looks like home, and not that twisted museum Wyatt shows off like a trophy—and throw the burden of the future off his shoulders.
He imagines Mom’s arms around him, Aunt Phoebe’s warm smile, a wisecrack from Aunt Paige. He even thinks of Leo, and the loving concern he showed Piper and little Wyatt in the crib, and wonders if maybe he could spare a little of that for him.
But that’s too much even for a fantasy, because that hope’s been played so often and disappointed so many times that all the color has washed out of it. And he’s glad, in a way, because it reminds him that none of the rest of that idealistic little picture can be real, either.
He remembers Wyatt—not the megalomaniacal dictator, but the brother he loves; the brother he hopes the innocent baby in the manor will grow up to revive.
He allows himself to think of the baby Phoebe is carrying, what it might, if he succeeds, become to his childhood self—someone older than he’ll be but a little younger than Wyatt. A buffer between them, to turn to when his brother gets on his nerves.
A new generation. Maybe a new triad, if it works that way.
If he can do what he came here to do. If he can resist temptation and adapt his plan and get his will-be family to cooperate and actually pull it off…
He just has to move carefully. He knows them—well, most of them—and it shouldn’t be too hard to earn their trust; and then they’ll let him guide them in the directions they need to go.
He knows what he’s doing. He’s not just guessing and hoping for the best.
I haven't posted this on FF.N yet, as I may make changes after Chapter 28 is posted--feel free to leave a comment in any case (because I am just that shameless). By the way, would any of you be interested in seeing my Charmed miscellanea posted here? (It's mostly poetry, though there are some drabbles and ficlets lying around.)
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