wildforce71: Clare from PRMF (Clare)
[personal profile] wildforce71
Part five. Still own nothing. Hope you enjoy. :D



Leo stopped dead as he walked through the hall. Paige, in the living room, watched him, frowning.

Leo half turned towards her, gesturing for a pad and pen. Paige scooped them off the table and carried them to him. He nodded an absent thanks, scribbling quickly; Paige leaned over his shoulder to read it.

After a moment he stopped writing, tilting the pad towards her.

“Mean anything to you?”

Paige read the scribbled note: Cantus, demon (language?) vanished years ago not loose but affecting

“Chris told you this?” she asked.

Leo nodded. “He says everyone else - not Radek or Little Chris, but everyone else - can’t communicate any more. There’s some kind of a pendant, Little Chris found it, and he thinks there’s something weird going on.”

“Does he want us?”

Behind Leo, Piper leaned against the door frame, out of his field of vision.

“No. They don’t seem to be infected right now, but he doesn’t want to risk any of us.”

“Why would a demon avoid witches?” Paige asked.

“Doesn’t want to be vanquished? I don’t know. Can you go look in the Book, please?”

“Yeah.” Seeing Piper, she added, “You’re busy, anyway.”

“I’m...Right.”

Paige headed for the stairs, smiling at Piper on the way. Piper came into the living room, walking into Leo’s arms for a hug. Leo wrapped his arms around her, holding on.

“Now, where are our sons?” she asked, letting go.

“Wyatt’s upstairs,” Leo said immediately. Piper smiled faintly...that wasn’t what she meant, and she knew he knew it.

“Chris and Chris are both in the city. Coop is with Little Chris, he’s fine, but Chris...the other Chris is afraid they might be carrying whatever’s affecting the city. He doesn’t want to spread it.”

“But they’re ok?” Piper asked.

“Yeah. Radek and Little Chris weren’t even affected, so they think magical beings are immune right now.”

“That doesn’t make much sense for a demon.”

“Yeah, I know. Paige is looking into it right now.”

He let go of Piper, looking towards the kitchen. “Do you want to tell Phoebe her husband’s in magical quarantine?”

“Nooo. You’re her Whitelighter, that’s your job.”

“You’re her sister,” he pointed out.

“What about my husband?” Phoebe called from the kitchen.

Leo looked beseechingly at Piper, who smiled, patting him on the cheek. “Walk with me,” she called to Phoebe.

“Oh, that sounds bad,” Phoebe muttered, coming to join her.



Little Chris had settled against Coop, not asleep but clearly getting there. Coop was playing idly with his ring, studying the window above them.

Chris stepped into view at the window, waved down at them and motioned for one minute before disappearing again.

“You know, I hope you grow up less intense,” Coop told the child. “He makes me feel lazy.” Little Chris laughed sleepily.

Radek let himself in, glancing over his shoulder as the door locked behind him.

“Hey,” Coop said.

“Hello. How is...”

“Asleep, or close to it. Where’s Ch...Perry?”

“Looking around. He will be back soon.”

“Is that safe?”

“Safer for him than for most. He at least can orb away. He is young, yes?”

Coop coughed, looking down at Little Chris to hide his smile. “He hasn’t been a Whitelighter long, no.”

“Hmm.”

“Has he talked to Leo?”

“Yes, the Charmed Ones are working on it.”

Coop nodded, sliding carefully away from Chris and coming to look over Radek’s shoulder. “So where have you been for the last five years?”

“Here in the City.”

“And the City was...?”

Radek didn’t answer, staring at his pad. Coop leaned against the table, watching him. “Perry and the witches, they’d believe you just weren’t practicing,” he said conversationally. “But I’m a Cupid. We don’t lose our charges.”

“I have no need of a Cupid,” Radek said without looking up.

“You’d be surprised how often I hear that.”

Radek snorted agreement, laying down his pad. “I can’t tell you where we were.”

“Wyatt calls this the Star City. He’s not too far off, is he.”

“If I tell you, if I even say ’that is close’ or ’not so far off’ there is big trouble. For everyone. I am witch by heritage, but I choose loyalty to these people and they have never given me cause to regret it.”

“I understand that,” Coop told him. “But your City has unleashed a demon on us, and we have to deal with that.” Radek inclined his head; Coop nodded slowly.

Chris orbed back in, looking startled. “What’s wrong?” Coop asked in surprise.

Chris crossed to the bed, lightly touching Little Chris’s head. “Nothing. Sorry. What’s...”

The lights went out; the room was plunged into darkness. Little Chris cried out, afraid.

Radek’s hand lit up. It only threw a little light around them, just enough not to bump in to each other.

“He made a light,” Chris murmured, dazed.

“Chris,” Coop said pointedly.

“He’s alright,” Radek said, crossing to the bed where Little Chris was still sitting. The child reached for the light in his hand, sniffling.

Chris shook it off, turning to Coop. “Have you heard from Phoebe?”

“No. What about Leo?”

“Not yet. Can you get the lights back, Radek?”

“No. Power supply needs attention, all the time. I can’t do it alone.”

“Even just in here?” Coop asked.

“Cloak must stay up; that’s most important. That’s all I can do.”

“There’s a time limit on that?” Chris was watching his younger self play with the ball of light.

Radek shrugged, rocking a hand back and forth. “Half a day. Ten hours, perhaps. Not more.”

Chris nodded, running a hand through his hair. “Ok. I’m going to talk to Leo. Here...”

He concentrated, creating a ball of orbs and throwing it into the air. Coop poked at it, looking impressed; Chris glared at him, taking a step back out of the light.




In the Manor attic Leo straightened up, frowning.

“What’s wrong?” Piper asked.

“Power’s gone out on the City. Their cloak goes down in a couple hours, and then this thing will spread.”

“Are...”

“Everyone’s fine. It’s just dark.”

“Lucky Radek’s a photokinetic then, isn’t it?” Phoebe said brightly. Piper smiled despite herself.

“They need to know if we’ve found anything,” Leo said.

“There’s an entry in here on Cantus, but it just says all the stuff we already know. High level demon, language is his playground, he vanished centuries ago. It sounds like no one even met him...whoever wrote this is just repeating something they heard. There’s no picture or anything.”

“So no vanquish?”

“Nothing.”

“Well, he’s an upper level demon, that’s somewhere to start,” Piper said tiredly.

“If he’s an upper level demon, we need some of his flesh for a vanquish potion,” Paige reminded them as she came in.

“He hasn’t manifested yet,” Leo said. “Or if he has, Chris can’t find him.”

“He can’t possibly know who Chris is,” Piper protested.

“He doesn’t need to know who he is, just that he’s powerful.” Paige sat down beside Phoebe, shrugging. “If I were a demon who’d broken out after centuries, I wouldn’t go near someone like him.”

“That’s encouraging, Paige, thanks,” Piper told her.



Chris stepped back into the pool of light. “They think he’s an upper level demon.”

Radek winced. Coop shrugged, clearly not sure what that meant.

“You need the flesh of an upper level demon, or the vanquish won’t work,” Chris explained.

“The demon doesn’t have flesh. He just has...” Coop gestured towards the amulet.

“Yeah, that’s the problem,” Chris agreed. “Can you track movement around the City?”

“The City is locked down,” Radek protested.

“Yeah. But Cantus isn’t in that.” He gestured to the pendant. “And if he’s manifested here, he’s probably not obeying the lockdown. Do the scanners have enough power?”

“I can run scanners, but the cloak will die sooner.”

“Cloak won’t matter if he gets out.”

Radek looked at Coop, who shrugged. “Perry was the Charmed Ones’ Whitelighter for a while. He knows what he’s talking about.”

“A disgraced witch, a Cupid, the Halliwell heir and a Whitelighter. Some team,” Radek muttered to himself.

“Disgraced?” Coop repeated sharply.

Radek waved it off, tapping at his pad.




The girls were scribbling at a notepad, quietly bickering and crossing things out, when the phone rang. Mel cried from somewhere downstairs; Leo headed for the door, tossing the phone to Phoebe as he passed it.

“Hello?”

Piper and Paige looked up at her, frowning.

“Agent Murphy,” Phoebe said pointedly. “How nice of you to finally call back.” She listened for a moment before tilting the phone away. “He says he had to call in every favor he had owed to get the information for us.”

“Does he have it?” Piper asked.

“Yeah.”

“Good.” To Paige, she added, “Go get him.”

Phoebe’s eyes widened and she lifted the phone again. “Agent Murphy, are you alone?...Good. Paige is coming to get you.”

She listened for a moment, stifling a laugh. “He’s delighted.”

“Oh, yeah, it sounds like it, too,” Paige agreed. They could all hear him cursing on the other end of the phone line.

Phoebe hung up and gestured at Paige, who vanished. Leo came back in, carrying Mel and with Wyatt trailing behind him.

“Hi, little man,” Piper said to Wyatt. He came to join her; Leo looked around, frowning.

“Where’s Paige?”

Paige orbed back in with Agent Murphy before anyone could answer. Leo automatically backed up a step to give them room, circling them to join Piper. Wyatt watched curiously.

Agent Murphy looked around, straightening his jacket. He was obviously a little taken aback. “Well, that’s some way to travel.”

“Beats carpooling,” Paige said with a shrug.

“You have something for us?” Piper demanded.

Agent Murphy nodded, offering her a folder. Phoebe intercepted it, scanning through the first couple of sheets.

“The base is under the control of a branch of Homeland called HomeWORLD, but they’re about seven clearance levels above me,” Murphy told them. “That’s everything I was able to get without getting myself arrested.”

“Why is Homeland Security running a military base?” Paige protested.

Murphy spread his hands uncertainly. “What’s going on, anyway?”

Phoebe passed the folder on to Leo, eying Murphy. “One of our kids is on the base, and some of our guys went after him, and now the base is locked down and they can’t get back off.”

“The base locked down early this morning and it’s been out of contact since. Who have you got there?”

“People,” Piper said lightly. Murphy knew who her kids were, and he knew who they’d married, but he’d never known about Chris and she had no intention of telling him.

“They’ll be sending people in, right?” Leo asked.

Murphy nodded. “The last message said there was something infectious in the City. They’re preparing a rescue mission but they have to go in prepared. You haven’t got long to get your people out. They’ll assume anyone who isn’t one of theirs is part of the problem.”




In the Iso room Chris frowned, looking away for a moment. Coop stopped playing with Little Chris, watching him.

“Radek, how long before your guys break back in?” Chris asked.

“Now that power is gone? Not long. We told them to stay away, but with no messages...”

“Can you talk to them?” Coop asked. “Tell ’em to stay away?”

“No authority. Perry, here.”

He tilted the computer pad so Chris could see it. Chris studied it for a moment, nodding. “Right. Coop, stay with Chris?”

“Oh yeah, we’re having loads of fun, huh Chris?”

Radek fiddled with the pad. “I can stay with boy, if you wish to go.” He held up a radio headset.

Chris considered it, looking at Coop. “He can’t affect a Cupid.”

“Or a Whitelighter,” Coop agreed.

“That might not matter, though.” Chris carefully didn’t look at Radek; they hadn’t suggested Chris was anything other than a Whitelighter, and they didn’t want it to occur to him. Anyway, since his younger self hadn’t been affected yet he was pretty sure he’d be alright.

“No, I suppose not,” Coop agreed. “Yeah, sure.” He took the radio from Radek, hooking it awkwardly over his ear.

“You know where we’re going?” Chris asked.

“I’m just following you.”

“Fair enough.”

He orbed out, Coop a heartbeat behind him. Radek studied his screen for a moment before tapping his earpiece.

“Coop? Can you hear me?” He absently lifted a hand as Chris crawled down the bed to sit beside him. “Right. All doors are locked shut; you’ll have to go around them your way. Signal is two sections to the left...your other left, Coop.”



Coop tapped the radio, looking slightly bemused. “Bossy little thing, isn’t he?”

“Hmm. Knows his stuff, though,” Chris said absently. They’d reached another door; this one was frozen half open. Both stopped, eyeing it warily.

“Radek, this one’s half open,” Coop told his radio. Chris edged forward, examining the door, as Coop listened. “He says systems down this far often hiccup. Can you see anything?”

“Nothing to worry about.” He slid through the gap. Coop waited, still listening to the radio; a moment later a low whistle echoed back through, and he ducked through.

“You know this isn’t a Famous Five story, right?” he asked.

“Who?” Chris said absently. Coop laughed, shaking his head. Apparently Enid Blyton would finally lose popularity over the next twenty years.

“Never mind. There’s only you and me here, you don’t need to whistle at me.”

“I wasn’t whistling at you, I was whistling at this.”

He gestured around. Coop followed the gesture and, without meaning to, whistled lowly. They’d come into a large atrium; the ceiling was two stories above their heads with a balcony running around it.

“Ok, I see what you mean,” he admitted. “Pretty impressive.”

His radio beeped and he listened for a moment, catching Chris’ eye and gesturing upwards. Chris looked up, taking a step back in an attempt to see along the balcony. He orbed out, reappearing directly over Coop’s head.

Coop appeared on the balcony opposite him, so that between them they could see the whole length of it. The dim light didn’t help, creating shadows in every doorway and bend.

Coop caught Chris’s attention, gesturing to a doorway halfway down the length of the balcony. It was recessed and in deep shadow, but something was moving in it.

Chris nodded, slipping quietly down the balcony. Coop moved so he could watch him, reporting quietly to Radek through the radio.

Chris lifted a hand, orbs swirling in his palm, and they stared into the suddenly lit up doorway.

John Shepperd glared at them, weapon in hand and pointing firmly at Chris.

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