wildforce71: Takeru smiling. Sort of. A bit. (Default)
[personal profile] wildforce71
Chapter three. I still own nothing except the glowing sense of pride I get when someone reviews. :D





Leo orbed back in to the living room. Paige and Chris were waiting for him.

“Where are the others?” he asked, glancing around.

“We made them go to bed. What’s going on?”

“Your witch is called Radek,” he told Chris. He frowned, thinking, but it didn’t mean anything.

“Radek. That’s, what, Russian?” Paige asked.

“Czech, I think. He’s a born witch, he had a Whitelighter who was killed during the Titan’s attack, and he stopped practicing after that. But he recognized Chris and Wyatt.”

“Wyatt’s Crown Prince of the magical community, of course he recognized him,” Chris said, mostly joking. “Where is Mini Me?”

“Playing hide and seek with them. He’s somewhere in the city, but they can’t get near him.”

“Leo, we have to go get him,” Paige protested.

“He’s fine,” Chris assured her. “Hide and seek is the one thing I could beat Wyatt at, even without orbing. He’ll stop when he’s tired, or bored.”

“Yeah, but until he stops, Radek can’t bring him home,” Leo pointed out.

Chris shrugged again. Paige swatted at him, grimacing. “Can you pretend to be concerned, please?”

“He’s obviously alright, or I wouldn’t be, remember? And it didn’t traumatize me, or anything.”

“Any idea why he’s not coming home?” Leo asked quietly.

Chris shook his head reluctantly. “No. I don’t know.”

“I might,” Paige said suddenly. “Piper told you--him—not to orb.”

“He already orbed there.”

“Maybe he thinks he’ll be in less trouble if he doesn’t orb again? His orbing’s not very accurate, anyway; he keeps getting lost.”

“Really? I don’t remember that. But then how is he avoiding their soldiers, if he’s not orbing?” Chris sat back, rubbing his head.

“Still bothering you?” Paige asked sympathetically.

“Yeah, a little.”

“What happened?” Leo asked, moving to heal him.

Chris waved him off. “That won’t help, Paige tried.”

“Chris tried a memory spell,” Paige told him. “Turns out, remembering things that haven’t happened yet? Not a good idea.”

“It didn’t work,” Chris clarified.

“Go get some rest,” Paige told him.

“Yeah, but what about...”

“’Yeah but’ you’re the one who keeps telling us he’s fine. If you wake up traumatized we’ll know he’s not.”

“It’ll be too late by then,” Chris pointed out, but he headed upstairs anyway.

Leo dropped into his chair, head in his hands. Paige rubbed his shoulder sympathetically. “We’ll get there,” she promised him.





John, Lorne, Rodney and Woolsey gathered in Woolsey’s office the next morning.

“Besides that one machine, he hasn’t done anything,” Lorne reported. “He’s just running the men around. Ronon’s started taking it as a personal insult...he’s stalking the kid.”

“Have we determined what the machine does?” Woolsey asked.

“Not yet,” Rodney admitted. “It’s doing something, but the instruction manual doesn’t exist, so...”

“Business as usual,” John agreed. “It does look like it was activated through proximity; Chris didn’t actually do anything except walk near it.”

“Which will be very comforting if it turns out it’s dangerous...he’ll have destroyed us by accident instead of on purpose.”

Woolsey looked up, alarmed. “Is that...”

“No. Not likely,” John assured him.

“Can we lock down the City?”

“Tried it. The doors open for him.”

“Without the ATA?”

“He does have telekinesis, right?” Lorne asked.

“On a sealed door?” Rodney protested.

“Apparently.”

“Alright.” Woolsey pushed to his feet. “Find out where he is, get every man in there. I want him found.”

“Right.”

John lingered in the doorway, letting the other two leave and closing the door. Lorne glanced back before heading off.

“Something on your mind, Colonel?” Woolsey asked.

“Radek,” John admitted reluctantly.

“What about him?”

John sat down, leaning forward. “He says that he knows who Chris is.”

“I see.”

“He also says he can’t tell us, and if we don’t let him take Chris away pretty soon we’ll be sorry.”

“Radek said this?”

“Well, not in so many words, but...”

“Why can’t he tell us?”

“He’s in some kind of group with Chris’s parents, and he can’t give them up to us. He keeps telling me the City’s not in danger unless we refuse to let Chris go.”

“And the other child? The brother?”

“Genuinely his brother, apparently. Radek doesn’t think we’ll see any more of them, not until it’s too late.”

“And has he given you any indication how late is too late?”

John frowned, sitting back. “You’re buying this?”

“Is Radek in the habit of lying to you?” Woolsey asked.

“No, but...”

“How long?” he repeated.

“He didn’t say. I got the impression we didn’t have much time, though. We really should track the kid down.”

“Hmm. Ask Radek to come in here, please.”

“Right.”

John headed out. Woolsey sat back, thinking carefully.




Radek was on his computer, talking on his headset, when John came in. “...and three sections down. Yes? Alright.” He clicked the headset off, laying it aside.

“Still hiding?”

“More men in that sector than whole rest of City, Ronon hunting him down, and still we cannot find him.”

“Can you find him?” John asked.

Radek looked up, frowning. “I’ve been looking for fourteen hours.”

“No. I mean, can you find him.”

Radek caught the change in tone and looked up. John gestured vaguely; Radek shook his head firmly. “No. Chris doesn’t know me.”

“You sure?”

“If I thought I could find him I’d have gone when he went missing. Chris will not trust me any more than any of you.”

Both looked up at a noise at the door. Chris stood there, watching them. He was dirty and tired looking, but he didn’t seem to have hurt himself.

“Hey there, Chris,” John said, as casually as he could. “What’cha doing?”

“Where’s Wyatt?” Chris asked.

“Wyatt’s at home, Chris, with your mama and papa,” Radek told him.

“If you wanna tell us where home is, we can call ’em,” John added.

Chris studied him, scrubbing at his eye. Out of John’s line of sight, Radek let his hand lit up again. Chris grinned, skirting John to stand beside him.

“Won’t trust you, huh?” John said pointedly.

“Because he thinks I’m here to take him home,” Radek said.

“Right now you’re here to take him to the infirmary, got it?”

“I wanna go home!” Chris protested.

Ronon appeared in the doorway, glaring at them. John waved him down and turned back to Radek.

“Very soon, Chris, home very soon,” Radek promised. “First, we make sure you haven’t hurt yourself, alright?”

“My daddy would make me better,” Chris told him.

“Hmm, but we must be sure. Come, it won’t be long.”

“You come too?”

“Yes. I will come too.”

“Woolsey wants to see you,” John told him. “When you have time.”

Radek smiled tightly, leading Chris out. Ronon took two steps back to let them pass and then followed them.

Rodney passed them in the doorway, twisting to look over his shoulder at them. “Hey, was that...”

“Yeah, the kid. He seems to like Radek.” He tapped his radio. “Lorne, stand down, we found the kid. And get some extra security to the infirmary.”

“Yessir.”

Rodney logged onto his computer, flicking rapidly between files. “The machine he started up has gone dormant again.”

“Figure it out yet?”

“It’s not Scalextric, it actually takes effort.”

“That explains that, then.”

“Oh...” He pulled a pendant on a long chain from a pocket, tossing it to John. “This was sitting on top of the machine when it powered down.”

“You checked it out, right?” John asked turning it over in his hands.

“It’s not going to hurt you. I checked it, Carson checked it...it’s fine.”

“It came from an Ancient machine, turned on by a child with powers,” he said patiently.

“He didn’t turn it on with his powers.”

“Rodney...” John tossed the pendant up in the air, catching it easily. “It’s carved,” he noted.

“Yeah, we noticed that. Throw it over to the Culture Center, maybe they can figure it out.”

“Good idea.” He pocketed it and headed out, leaving Rodney to work at the computer.




Radek was sitting by a bed in the infirmary when the sun rose the next morning. Chris was fast asleep on it, one hand tucked under his head.

Jennifer came up, checking his chart absently. “Finally asleep?” she asked softly.

“Hmm. Twenty hours in he finally decides he’s tired. Children this age should take naps, no?”

“You can’t really tie them to a schedule. He really likes you.”

“He has very bad taste.”

“Mmm, I don’t think so.”

Radek scowled, looking away.

“Where are you from, little guy?” Jennifer murmured. “Is someone waiting for you?”

Radek shifted uncomfortably but didn’t answer. Jennifer glanced at him but didn’t ask, focusing on the chart, and a moment later Woolsey came around the curtain, pausing when he saw them.

“Ah, Dr Zelenka.”

“Ssssh!” Jennifer hissed.

Woolsey grimaced, raising his hands apologetically. “Busy?”

“Chris screams every time Radek tries to leave,” she told him. “If you want to talk to him, you’ll have to do it here.”

Woolsey stared at her until she took the hint and left, hanging the chart back on the end of the bed as she went. Radek picked it up and studied it, trying to avoid looking at Woolsey.

“You know what I’m going to say, Dr Zelenka.”

“Yes, you are going to say, ’He can get through our shield, Radek, he might be dangerous, Radek, give him up for good of City, Radek.’”

“Something to that effect, yes.”

Radek lowered the chart. “Suppose for a moment I take him home. And I tell his parents, We found him. They will say, Where did you find him? What kind of place? Why does he talk about a place that sounds like nowhere on Earth?”

Woolsey nodded reluctantly. “I suppose I see your point. I still can’t just let you take him, though. We know nothing about him.”

“He is human, and an American citizen. And if you keep him here much longer, his family will come for him, and you will not be able to stop them.”

“How long?”

“Until they come? Perhaps another day. If that. More likely, before noon today...he will be here one full day by then, and they do not let their children go.”

Woolsey nodded, turning away. Radek frowned; he thought Woolsey had muttered, “I know,” under his breath, but he must have been mistaken. He looked at Chris; the child was awake and he blinked sleepily, checking Radek was still there before falling asleep again.



Chris was flipping idly through the Book of Shadows, not really reading it, taking comfort in the pages he knew so well. Piper came in carrying Melinda; she checked slightly on seeing him before pacing slowly forwards to join him. “Well, that’s déjà vu,” she murmured.

Chris laughed softly, making room for her at the podium. “Just trying to think. Hey, Mellie.”

Piper looked over his shoulder. The Book was open on the page they’d filled in after defeating Christy and the Triad, listing everything that had happened to them in the eight years before that.

“This helps you think?” she asked, rereading her own entry.

“The Book does,” Chris agreed. “Wyatt’s better at making up spells cold, but he can’t find anything in here. Book research is my job.”

“So when you were back here, and you spent all that time up here...”

Chris shrugged. “I haven’t found anything useful, though.”

“Hey, your witch is going to bring him home, right?”

Chris eyed her. “You’re very calm.” He didn’t say “All of a sudden” but she heard it anyway. Smiling, she passed Mel to him and closed the Book firmly.

“Can you get the phone, please?”

Chris glanced around; the phone was on a table near the door. He gestured and it flew into his hand.

“Thank you,” Piper said, taking it from him and wandering towards the couch as she dialed.

Chris jogged Mel lightly, watching her carefully. “Who are you calling?”

She waved him to silence. “Agent Murphy, please. Yes, I’ll hold. No, no message.”

Phoebe appeared, grinning at Mel and moving to tickle her. She glanced at Piper, frowning. “Who’s she talking to?”

“Agent Murphy,” Chris told her. “He’s Homeland Security, right? He’s retired by 2026, I never met him.”

“Yeah, he helped us out after we died.”

“Which time?” Chris asked innocently.

Phoebe swatted at him, grinning. Chris grinned, fending her off with Mel.

Piper sat up suddenly. “Agent Murphy? Piper Halliwell. We need some help.”

Phoebe and Chris quieted, watching her. Coop appeared; he was about to speak when Phoebe shushed him, so he pulled her into a kiss instead. Chris absently made a face. Coop pulled away from Phoebe, grinning and patting Chris on the shoulder.

Absently Chris noted that Coop was taking his sudden reappearance very calmly. Living with a Charmed One obviously prepared you for oddities like your nephew coming back from the future on a semi-regular basis.

“It’s about whatever you’re hiding in the Bay,” Piper told the phone. “He says he doesn’t know anything,” she added to them. “My son’s missing, Agent Murphy. I suggest you talk to whoever you need to and find out what’s out there.”

Coop started to say something; Phoebe elbowed him in the ribs, and he grimaced, stepping away from her.

“How do we know that’s where he is,” Piper repeated. “How do you think we know?”

“Ok, that’s enough.” Phoebe took the phone from Piper, who swatted angrily at her. Chris quickly stepped forward, offering Mel back to her.

“Sorry, Agent Murphy, she’s a little upset right now,” Phoebe said to the phone. “We know it’s a military base; that’s the only reason we haven’t gone in after him, but we will if you don’t help us.” She listened for a moment, smiling. “Half an hour is fine. Thank you.”

She tossed the phone onto the couch. “He’ll call us back.”

“What’s going on?” Coop asked warily.

“Mini me is missing,” Chris told him.

“And you didn’t tell me?” Coop said to Phoebe.

“You were busy.”

“Not too busy for this! Piper, is there anything I can do?”

“You know anything about the base out in the Bay?” Piper asked.

“Uh...”

“Then no, you can’t help.”

She left the attic before he could answer. Phoebe winced, patting him on the shoulder. “She’s mad at everyone right now. Don’t worry about it.”

“Yeah, so I see,” Coop agreed. Looping his arm through Phoebe’s, he led her over to the door. “Why is Chris here?” he asked softly. “I mean...” He gestured towards Chris, who was flicking idly through the Book again.

“Slight error in a summoning spell. We asked for Chris, just didn’t specify which one.”

Coop winced, glancing at Chris again. Phoebe swatted at his arm. “He doesn’t really remember this, but he says Mini Him is fine. And there’s a witch in the base who’s looking out for him.”

“A witch? Really?” Coop said in surprise.

Phoebe nodded, heading down the stairs, and he followed her. In the living room Paige was conked out on the couch; Phoebe glanced at her before answering Coop.

“Well, a lapsed witch,” she said quietly. “He says his Whitelighter died when the Titans attacked and he stopped practicing.”

“A lot of witches did,” Coop agreed. “It took the Elders a long time to track everyone back down, but I thought they had. Every witch should have a Whitelighter by now.”

Phoebe draped a blanket over Paige, only half listening to Coop. “If he stopped practicing, maybe he just didn’t show up. He knew enough to call Leo.”

“Leo’s pretty famous in the community, Phoebe. Anyone on either side could call him.”

“Everyone thinks Radek is evil! Chris doesn’t remember being hurt at all, he remembers that Radek helped him.”

“Radek,” Coop repeated thoughtfully.

“Yeah, why?”

“It’s familiar.”

“You think you, uh...helped him?” She tapped his ring.

“No, I don’t think I did, but...I’m gonna go see if I can chase it down, ok?”

“Hmm. Come back soon.”

She reached up to kiss him, leaning against him. He returned the kiss for a minute before gently pushing her back.

“Call Henry,” he said over her shoulder, “he’s worried about you.”

Phoebe twisted to follow his look and found Paige up on her elbows, clearly just woken up. When she looked around again Coop was gone.

“Wassat Coop?” Paige asked, still half asleep.

Phoebe sat beside her. “Yeah. He just came to check in.”

“Should call ’Enry,” she mumbled, trying to push away the blanket. Phoebe stopped her, tucking it back up over her shoulder.

“Go back to sleep, sweetie. I’ll call him for you.”

“Really? Wha time izit?”

“Eleven.”

“He’s at t’office. ’Anks Phoe...”

She drifted off again before she was done talking. Phoebe tucked the blanket in again, getting up and heading for the kitchen. Piper was feeding Mel, and Wyatt was coloring at the table.

“Where’s the phone?” Phoebe asked.

“On the counter. What’s up?”

“Just calling Henry for Paige. She crashed out before she could do it.”

She picked up the phone, dialing. Piper kept feeding Mel, half listening to the conversation.

“Henry? It’s Phoebe.”

“Come on, sweetie, eat up,” Piper encouraged Mel.

“No, she’s here, she’s fine,” Phoebe said. “Yeah, we’re having a little emergency.”

“’Little’?” Piper repeated indignantly. Phoebe waved irritably at her, turning her back. Piper scowled, turning back to the kids.

“No, I don’t think you can help, but we’ll let you know. Paige is asleep right now, but she’s fine. Ok. Bye.” She hung up the phone, coming to join Wyatt at the table.

“A ’little’ problem?” Piper said again.

“Oh come on, Piper, what was I supposed to do? Get him over here so he can hang around in the living room? Henry definitely has no contacts who can help us right now.”

Chris came in, pausing as he sensed the tension. “Um...Wyatt, can you come help me for a few minutes?”

“Got something?” Phoebe asked.

“Not sure. That’s why I need Wyatt. Mom, you want me to take Mel?”

“Were you this helpful the last time?” Piper asked suspiciously.

“He was older. Maybe I’ll grow out of it.” He took Mel from her, grinning, and he and Wyatt left the room.

“Why does he remember what an alternate, older version of himself did?” Phoebe asked thoughtfully.

“Why do we care?” Piper asked.

“Yeah, good point,” she admitted, helping Piper to clear up.

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