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The Ashes of a Rising Phoenix

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Disclaimer: I don't own Charmed.

 

                                                            Chapter One

                                                    Agate: Discovery and Truth

"How'd you find out what I was planning?" The demand echoed in Wyatt's aching head as he forced himself back to consciousness.

"What?" He mumbled, cracking open his eyes. The first thing he saw was the magic-formed white bars of a crystal cage. The second was Annie.

Slowly, his memories came back. Going through the portal and coming out in 2003, finding Annie, not his Annie but an Annie from a dark, evil-dominated timeline. And then,

"Did you push me in front of a bus?" He asked incredulously, sitting up carefully to avoid banging the bars and being electrocuted.

Annie glared at him. "You say it as if pushing you in front of a bus is the worst thing either of us has ever done to try and kill each other," she spat viciously, her gaze matching her tone.

Wyatt had never seen his sister look at anyone like that, a mixture of terror and loathing in her olive-coloured eyes. Eyes that were hard and dark from years of pain and grief.

He didn't like it, his baby sister should never look so frightened of anyone, especially not him. Wyatt's most important purpose in life was to keep his sister safe, his parents had ingrained that in him since before her birth. Still, this was not the sister who was constantly humming country songs or painting.

This wasn't the same sister who mothered all of their cousins and studied medicine because she hated not being able to heal. The one who'd inherited their mom's clean freak tendencies and their Aunt Prue's personality.

This was a warhardened version, who only saw an enemy when she looked at him.

"How did you learn my plan?" Annie repeated, a hard tone in her voice. Wyatt doubted this Annie had sung in years, if ever. He frowned, feeling a surge of guilt at the stab of fear that flashed across through their bond before swiftly being suppressed.

"Mom and the aunts told me," he said and his frown deepened at the bewilderment and hurt that came from her over their bond.

She shook her head in denial. "You're lying," she accused. "M, m, she wouldn't come if you called for her. Besides, the realms were shut off ages ago, you can't've summoned her or the Aunts. Who did you capture?"

Wyatt blinked in surprise at that statement but pressed on, determined to convince her. Seeing as Annie was one of the most stubborn in a family of immovable people, it wasn't going to be easy, he knew.

"I didn't capture anyone, I swear. Your plan worked, okay? You saved me. I'm good!"

Annie scoffed and shook her head. "Oh, I'm not stupid Wyatt! I only arrived yesterday, I haven't even met the sisters yet, let alone changed anything. How did you find out?" Her voice rose to a shout as she began to cross into hysteria.

"Look through our bond," Wyatt pleaded, the idea popping into his head. "You know that we can't lie through-"

"Our bond's been broken for years," Annie spat back at him. "And like hell am I gonna give you the chance to mess with my head by looking through your sick, twisted, mind!"

Wyatt opened his mouth to try and convince her again but she abruptly recoiled from him, scrambling away and rushing out of sight. Wyatt groaned and buried his head in his hands. This wasn't what was supposed to happen. Annie was supposed to listen, she was supposed to let him save her.


 

Anna fled the warehouse on foot because she didn't have the concentration to orb. Panic and fear were overtaking her exhausted mind, and sparks were flying from her fingertips even as the ground beneath her seemed to shudder from the force of her emotions. She slipped into an empty alley and struggled to calm herself, or at least to regain control of her more temperamental powers.

A choked laugh escaped her as she realized that Wyatt had been the cause of her losing control of her powers last time as well. The laugh changed to a sob and she buried her head in her knees. A few objects whirled furiously through the air around her.

Niko was dead, at least, she hoped he was. Anna knew all too well that death was by far the better alternative to captivity by Wyatt's forces.

Time travel was strange though, who knew how long it took for him to break and give her up. And it had to have been him, no one else knew the exact date and location that she was aiming for. The others in the council knew was that she was going back in time to erase the timeline and everyone else just knew she was going on a long-term mission. She'd kept it quiet to protect the safety of her mission.

Tears welled up in her eyes and she struggled to push them back as the image of Niko fighting off the guards the last time she'd seen him played out on her eyelids.

She sighed and pulled her hands through her brunette hair. Everything in her wanted desperately to be selfish for once and flee into hiding. Wyatt could escape the cage and the hasty wards that she'd thrown up but it would take days. Days that Anna could use to disappear from the earth.

But Anna didn't have the right to abandon the world to the non-existent mercies of a tyrant from the future. And, selfishly, she was desperate to find out what Wyatt had done to make Niko betray her. He wouldn't have done it willingly, she genuinely believed that. But Wyatt had ways to make everyone break, especially with Barbas on his side as his Chief Torturer.

She would have to go back and confront him, but, she inhaled, not yet. She ran her hands through her hair again, hid the evidence of her breakdown under a glamour and disappeared in a swirl of orbs.


 

If he wasn't so worried that Annie would come back and have a heart attack at finding him missing, Wyatt would've tried to attack the crystals and go after her. Instead, he sat and contemplated his current state.

Being hit by a bus should leave more than just a few bumps and bruises, unless he'd been healed. And there was a strange taste of petrol in his mouth too.

Carefully he rubbed his fingers over his chest and lifted them to sniff at. Dismay rose in him when he took in the scents. Was Anna using Alchemy? Surely not, the Charmed Ones had mentioned that this version of Annie relied a lot on demonic contacts but no one said that she actually used demonic magic.

Maybe it wasn't Alchemy, he considered. Maybe it was some sort of healing potion. They weren't used often due to Whitelighters and because they had long-term effects but they existed. Still, at least Wyatt was here now. He could put a stop to any use of Alchemy or potions that caused long-term damage. Anna's mind was obviously fragile enough without adding physical problems to her stress load as well.

Thoughts of Annie's fragility turned his mind from her magic-use to the stuff she'd been snapping at him earlier.

"As if pushing you in front of a bus is the worst thing either of us has ever done to try and kill each other." "Our bond's been broken for years."

Both of those sentences were horrifying to him. Annie was his sister, his only sibling and best friend. Thoughts of harming her, let alone trying to kill her had never even crossed his mind. And breaking their bond? He had nurtured that awareness of his baby sister since before her birth, how could any version of him, even an evil one, ever consider damaging it? And if she was telling the truth, why could he still feel it? Was he just feeling the Annie from his timeline?

Abruptly, Annie appeared in a swirl of blue orbs. She flung a brown paper bag at him. "Eat," she instructed him curtly.

"What is it?" Wyatt asked, picking up the bag. She shot him an irritated look that he suspected was going to be a frequent occurrence in the near future.

"Food," she snapped sarcastically. "Terribly sorry if it's not up to your standards, Your Majesty."

Wyatt sighed as he opened the bag to see some McDonald's fries and chicken nuggets. He grimaced slightly. Growing up on Piper Halliwell's cooking made you develop an aversion to fast food. His stomach grumbled and he reached to grab a few fries, deciding against being picky.

"Did you have something?"

Annie shot him a familiar look and Wyatt frowned. Typically it took more than asking if she'd eaten to have Annie looking at him like she doubted his sanity.

She shook her head and started to pace. "Why did you come back personally?" She demanded. "I'd never expected that. Sending a bunch of assassins, yes. But coming back yourself? What insurance do you have? I swear, Wyatt, if you got Pamela-"

"I don't have insurance," Wyatt shuddered at the thought of any of the family being used for that. Especially Pamela, jeeze, she was only twelve!

Annie snorted in disbelief and Wyatt sighed, changing tactics. "How long 'til the Titans then?" He asked. Annie paused to give him an expressionless stare that couldn't quite keep the curiosity from her green gaze. "They said that's when you came swooping in like some fairytale heroine or something."

Annie snorted. "I'm a lot of things but we both know I'm no heroine Wyatt," she answered, voice ragged. "How did you know that I was planning to approach them during the Titan attack?"

"Because they told me that's when you did," Wyatt said. Frustration at Annie's adamant refusal to believe him started to rise and he stubbornly pressed it back down again. "When are we anyway?"

She eyed him warily for a minute before replying. "January 23rd. You'll be born in ten days."

Wyatt couldn't help the grin that split his face. "That's so weird, you know?" He said rhetorically. "I mean, I haven't even been born yet and still, I'm right here."

Annie chuckled before getting angry, upset at the rapport that had sprung up between them after years of being enemies. "Stop that!"

"Stop what?"

"You can't just act like you haven't aren't Emperor Wyatt!"

Wyatt looked solemnly at her for a moment before saying steadily, "I am not Emperor Wyatt."

"Stop it! Just stop with the damn head games! I hate them! What do you want?" She'd gone back to hysteria and it was genuinely worrying Wyatt how off-balance this version of his sister was.

He sighed unhappily. He couldn't help it. It was literally hurting him to see Annie so exhausted and broken. He hadn't had time to really take in the details of her appearance earlier but now he did.

Anna's hair was thin and tangled, cut in a harsh chin-length bob that was badly knotted. If any of the women in his family had seen it they would've had fits. Her lips were torn from being chewed on and her knuckles were had healing scratches on them, her nails badly chipped.

Her eyes were sunken with deep black shadows underneath them and her ragged, dirty clothes did nothing to hide the fact that she wasn't just slim, but dangerously thin. He could see certain hints in her facial structure that she'd had various bones broken and they'd healed incorrectly.

And through their bond, (which was far more delicate than ever before but certainly not broken) he could sense her emotions. He closed his eyes and reached along their link into his sister's mind. It was full of shadows and rapidly shifting emotions, the only constants being a bone deep exhaustion and the heavy weight of grief and fear.

"Stay out of my head!"

The Twice-Blessed's eyes snapped open as Anna surged over to the cage, her crooked fingers curling around one of the crystals.


 

One inch. That was all she had move it. Heck, even a centimeter would work. Wyatt wouldn't be able to mess with her mind if he was incapacitated by pain. But her useless fingers wouldn't budge.

"You're nothing like him," Nico had once insisted to her, after she asked him if he ever worried that she would become like her brother. At times like this, Anna hated how right he was.

She could slaughter and torture enemies. Had and would kill both allies and innocents for the sake of the 'Greater Good'. But she couldn't bring herself to hurt Wyatt when he was powerless.

"Well?" She challenged bitterly, resignedly letting go of the crystal. "Where's the comment on how weak and pathetic I am? Go on, you know want to."

"Annie," Wyatt's voice and expression was gentle as he called her a name no one had used for her since Victor died from cancer when she was fourteen. "You're not weak. You're the strongest person I know."

Anna forced down the tears that threatened. "Why are you doing this to me?" She pleaded. "What's the point of playing this stupid head game? Haven't you tortured me enough?"

He looked genuinely anguished, something Anna had never seen on his face before. "How can I convince you?" He murmured with eyes that looked too hazel and caring to belong to the man with cold blue eyes who'd laughed as she'd screamed in agony under Isax's cruel touch.

He brightened slightly as an idea came to him. "Do we look alike?" At least he seemed to realize how absurd the question was because he quickly continued. "I know we're technically the same person but there must be differences."

Anna sighed and rubbed her temples, squashing the hope that flickered briefly in her as she properly took in the details of his appearance.

"You cut your hair," she finally pointed out and Wyatt flashed a bright grin.

"I can't stand long hair, always gets in the way. And you know Mom's opinion of guys with long hair, they're hooligans."

Anna flinched slightly, wishing that he wouldn't be so cavalier about mentioning their dead mother before she forced herself to continue with her study.

"Your clothes are strange," she sighed. "I've haven't seen you in anything other than black since we were kids."

"Black makes you look like a demon," Wyatt answered brightly. That stubborn trace of hope started to rise again and Anna cursed her fatigue as she tried to think.

"Let me see your collarbone," she commanded. Wyatt looked confused as he pulled his blue shirt down to reveal bare skin. Anna glared at it to hide her uncertainty. The scar was gone.

The closest she'd ever come to actually killing her elder brother was when she had stabbed him with a poisoned scythe. Anna had been seventeen at the time, Wyatt had been nineteen. He'd survived but been left with a permanent scar to remember the encounter. In return for the injury she'd given him, Wyatt had destroyed a town in France with over seven thousand people inside.

"How'd you get rid of the scar?" She demanded and Wyatt shrugged.

"The only scar I've ever had is from when I got my appendix removed when I was six."

Anna stared at him for a long minute. Then her bad judgement must've taken advantage of her tiredness because she found herself reaching out to grab and remove the nearest crystal, dissolving the cage. It took all her strength no to flee as Wyatt stood up and stretched.

"So what did I mess up?" She asked coldly, making Wyatt frown.

"What do you mean? You didn't mess anything up," he refuted.

She arched an eyebrow. "If you're good, then I succeeded at my main goal," she conceded, emphasizing the 'if'. "But something has to have gone wrong because otherwise you wouldn't be here."

"Annie, you didn't mess anything up," he insisted. "You died."

Anna frowned at him. "That still doesn't explain why you're here," she stated flatly, indifferent to his announcement. Life hadn't exactly been good to her. She couldn't really bring herself to be upset at a premature death, it would happen eventually anyway.

"Doesn't it?" Wyatt challenged, looking pained as Anna shook her head. "Your body, combined for lack of another word, with my Annie two days ago, the equivalent day to when you died in our timeline. Along with all of your scars and the injuries that killed you. We had to put you under a stasis spell to keep you from dying."

Chapter Text

Chapter Two 

The Pentacle: Earth, Air, Fire, Water and Aether

November 13th , 2027. Changed Future

The entire Halliwell-Wyatt-Turner-Matthews-Mitchell clan had gathered in Piper's restaurant, Charmed, to celebrate Annie's twenty-third birthday. The med student herself had a fondly exasperated look on her face as she mediated yet another argument between Junior and Hazel about the latter's clothes.

"It's not acceptable to show  that much skin in public!" Junior insisted for the third time. "Annie tell her!"

"Mom doesn't have a problem with it so I don't see why you should," Kat snapped back. "I'm twenty not twelve, I can wear what I like. Besides, you're my  younger  brother, not my older. Who do you think you are, telling me what to wear?"

"Okay guys, calm down," Anna waved her hands. "Let's avoid any more furniture becoming casualties, alright? Mom'll kill us."

Annie's fiancé, Niko Phoenix, was huddled in a corner to avoid drawing attention to himself. The fact that Anna, the Halliwell family's princess, was in a relationship with someone born to a coven of assassins with demonic powers was the cause of much unhappiness in the family. Then again, Annie being in a relationship full stop had always caused consternation in her fiercely protective family.

Cole had gone over to chat with the man. Despite the (unknown to any of the new generation) history between them, he rather liked Niko.

And, unlike the sisters and Leo,  Cole  knew that OtherAnna had continued to wear the necklace with her engagement ring under her shirt after returning from the future. If OtherAnna had loved him enough to let him into her fiercely guarded heart, and their Anna loved him enough to secretly date him for three years, then he had to be worth knowing. And Cole would rather put up with a disliked relative than lose his favourite niece.

Henry Senior was talking with Victor, the sisters were all sorting out the cake in the kitchen, Leo was again trying (against his better judgement) to convince Wyatt not to vanquish Niko, Phay and Sage were talking about their shared history class' latest assignment, (Phay was studying to be a lawyer like her father while Tam was going to be a journalist) and Phoebe's younger daughters, Primrose and Pamela were whispering and giggling about something. All of them were completely oblivious as to the disaster that was about to happen.

Leo glanced over at his daughter with a sad smile. Twenty-three. Everything had come full circle now. Not only was Anna twenty-three years old today, but it was also twenty-three years to the day that his brilliant, determined, battlescared twenty-three-year-old daughter from the original timeline had died.

He was so proud of her, but he still desperately wished that OtherAnna had survived. She'd deserved to see the changes that she'd made, deserved to live out the last days of her life old and happy instead of young and frightened. His Anna was wonderful and he wouldn't trade her for anything, but she deserved to know what a hero she was.

"Dad," Wyatt interrupted his thoughts. "Are you okay?"

Leo blinked and turned back to his firstborn, nodding. "Of course I am," he reassured him. "I just can't believe that Anna's not a little girl anymore."

"I know," Wyatt agreed. "Must be hard, you and Mom and everyone have always been more protective of Annie than the rest of us."

Leo looked guilty. They hadn't told the kids about the other timeline. They'd figured it was all or nothing so, not wanting to reveal that Wyatt had been evil in another world, they'd gone with nothing. But after all her Otherself had gone through, and OtherAnna's death, Annie had been protected to point of being smothered by her family. "It's just-" he began to excuse himself, unsure how he'd explain it but Wyatt shook his head.

"Hey, I'm not complaining," he insisted. "I've always preferred it that way, I want Annie safe too. Just saying, ya know?"

Leo shifted uncomfortably but was saved from having to answer by Piper coming out with a large cake made from Anna's favourite flavour, red velvet with buttercream icing, in her hands.

The family gathered around the table, Annie laughing as she listened to the out-of-tune song. As she drew in a breath to blow out the '2' and '3' candles, she let it out abruptly with a shocked gasp.

The world seemed to slow down for Leo as he saw a bloodstain begin to form on Anna's white dress with pink flowers and he watched with the world roaring in his ears as she collapsed on the ground clutching her stomach. Loud cracks were heard as her bones broke and healed, rapidly and mostly incorrectly and new but old scars appeared on her arms and her legs and back. Injuries that his Anna had never received but OtherAnna had.

The sight of Wyatt and Paige bending over Anna with glowing hands on the floor of Charmed merged with the memory of bending over OtherAnna in the attic. His own were hands glowing as Gideon vanished with his son and his daughter begged him to leave her to die and save her brother instead.

"Power of Three spell!" Cole's voice cut through the white noise in his ears. "We need to put her in stasis. Now!"

The three Charmed Ones, all of them white with terror and recognition, clasped their hands.

"Time is running low,

The bleeding will not slow,

So with this quick rhyme,

We freeze this witch in time!"

Just as the spell ordered, Anna suddenly stopped bleeding, breathing or moving. She was frozen literally seconds from death.

"What the hell?" Wyatt spat. He was shaking and staring in horror at his bloodstained hands. "When I get the demon who did this-"

"You can't get him," Leo interrupted dully, everyone turning to look at him. "I killed him twenty-three years ago."


 

January 26th , 2003. Abandoned Warehouse in San Francisco

It was disconcerting, Anna could mentally admit, to be living with Wyatt. Especially a good version of Wyatt that was strangely protective of her. Anna hadn't had anybody try to protect her since she was twelve when the Charmed Ones died. Wyatt had never tried to protect her, only hurt her.

Right now, this weird protective streak was getting in the way of her mission. "Wyatt," she gritted out. "I," at his pointed look she rolled her eyes and corrected herself. Some battles weren't worth fighting after all. That had been one of the first things that Danielle had taught her.

"We need the Valkyries as allies for the plan to work. So, we need to gain their respect. Therefore, I will have to fight to do so."

"Why do you need to be the one to fight?" Wyatt demanded. "Why not me? How do you even know that you'll win if you aren't allowed to use your powers? You're so tiny, they might break you in half and I don't think I can heal you if that happens. And Valkyries can't be trusted, they kidnapped Dad you know."

Anna smirked. "Did they? So at least now I know that something I do tomorrow will gain their respect."

Wyatt shot her an appalled look as she went on.

"And as for the other part, not only was I trained by Valkyries in how to fight, both with and without powers, but it's also not the first time I've fought without powers. And this time my opponents won't actually be trying to kill each other."

Wyatt sighed in frustration and raked a hand through his hair. "Why do we even need all these allies and elaborate plots and stuff? We know that Gideon's the source of my turning. All we have to do is take him out of the picture and voila, the future is saved." He waved his hands for emphasis.

Anna sighed and looked down at the boiling potion in front of her.

"There's more to this than me just wanting not to waste my plans you know," she stated finally, giving the purple liquid another stir with her spoon.

"Everything that I would have done if you hadn't come back created your timeline. By you being here, and me not dying, another new timeline will most likely be created. And I don't know what it'll be like."

Wyatt stared in horror at her. "I, wha-, how-" he leapt to his feet. "I need to go think," he decided. "I'll go get lunch." He paused and turned back to her. Anna sighed slightly, pausing as she began to set up the cauldron and waited impatiently.

"I just thought of something," Wyatt frowned. "Where's the money you've been using for our food? And how much do we have, because we probably need to be careful with it if we're gonna be here for a year."

Anna felt her expression tighten as she shrugged and looked back down at her cauldron. "I've been," she faltered. "I haven't been paying, okay," she admitted grumpily.

Wyatt uncomprehendingly at her, "What do you mean?"

"I've just been orbing food directly out of the restaurants," Anna snapped, suspecting her cheeks had flushed. It was infuriating how difficult it was to keep control around Wyatt.

"I don't have any money and the Resistance sure as hell couldn't spare any."

"Oh," Wyatt said quietly. "Uhm, okay. So we need money then. I'll sort that out, get a job or something. And we can go shopping later so we can have a proper meal before we head to Valhalla. That is, if you can cook, 'cause I burn toast." He flashed a boyish grin at Anna's curt nod before orbing away.


 

"Stop touching my belly!" The sound of the familiar voice had both Halliwells freezing in shock. Anna had gone so pale that Wyatt was worried she would faint from shock. She grabbed him and pulled him over to another aisle, out of risk of being spotted as they heard Phoebe's voice reply.

"I just want to feel my itty bitty niece!"

"Phoebe!"

"Why did we come to this store?" Anna hissed furiously, casting a furtive look in the direction of the voices. Wyatt grimaced, he'd chosen this store because it was familiar and reassuring. The one where their family had always shopped for food when they were growing up. In hindsight, they should've avoided it at all costs.

"We need to leave," Anna sighed, casting a forlorn look at their half-full cart. Wyatt shook his head.

"No," he answered. "We just," he paused and ran his hand over his face and it instantly changed. His hair darkened to a burnished gold and the curls straightened out. Green leaked into his eye until they were hazel, without any blue. His facial features all subtly changed and he grew two inches. He went to glamour Anna but she slapped his hand away.

"I can do it," she grumbled, before waving her own hand over herself. Her hair lengthened and thickened, and her eyes turned grey. Her cheeks filled out until she was simply slim, not malnourished. Her crooked nose, cheekbones and other incorrectly healed bones all fixed themselves too. Wyatt carefully didn't let the fact that they no longer looked related, let alone like siblings bother him.

"Go get some bread," Anna ordered. "I'll get the produce and we'll head straight away. And don't speak to either of them!" She hurried away with the cart in tow. Wyatt stood stock still for a minute before he hurried off in the direction of the bakery aisle.

He'd just grabbed a random loaf and was beginning to think that they might escape with encountering their family when he turned and spotted a very young, very irritated Piper Halliwell. Complete with basket and swollen belly.

'That's me in there,' Wyatt thought, staring in shock at his young mother's large stomach.

"It's not going to bite!"

"Huh?" Wyatt managed to croak out, realizing that he was both blocking the bread and staring at (to her) a stranger. He scrambled out of way and shoved the loaf he held into Piper's hands. "Bread?" He asked her, voice high pitched.

Without a doubt, Anna was going to murder him. It was only a question of whether or not she would wait until there were no witnesses left or not. They couldn't exactly persecute her after all and Anna didn't need magic to kill. No exposure risk.

"Thanks," Piper said dryly, accepting the loaf. "You're looking at it like the baby's going to leap out and attack you or something."

Wyatt grimaced. "Oh, now all I can think about is that movie with the aliens."
Piper raised an eyebrow and he elaborated.

"You know the one," he babbled. "The aliens burst out and latch on to your fac-I'll shut up now."

"Me and my 'little alien' thank you," Piper answered, patting her belly. "Are you always this bad around pregnant women?"

"Uh, not sure actually," Wyatt frowned thoughtfully. "When my cousin was pregnant, I said she didn't look that different. She threw a book at my head for calling her fat and cried for three hours in my aunt's arms. I still don't understand why she thought I was saying that."

The book in question was the Book of Shadows and Prue had been looking through it for a cure to the demonic pregnancy she'd been cursed with. Anna had then grabbed the Book herself and tried to 'whack some cells into Wyatt's brainless head'. He hoped the abrupt pang of homesickness that he felt didn't show on his expression.

"Wy-arren, what are you doing bothering this poor woman?" Anna's (as usual for this version of his sister) irritated voice came from behind. Wyatt quickly turned to see her coming up. You'd never guess from the look in her eyes that she was seeing her long-dead mother for the first time since she was twelve. Wyatt, however, could sense the turmoil and raw grief that she felt through their tattered link. As well as the murderous thoughts she was contemplating toward him.

"It's okay," Piper smiled reassuringly at her. "Better someone be scared of my stomach than try to touch it."

"They seriously ask to touch it?" Wyatt yelped, appalled at the very thought.

Piper quickly went back to looking annoyed. "They don't even ask," she snapped grumpily. "They just come up and cop a feel."

"But that's space invasion," Wyatt cried, dismay at the thought of his mother being touched without permission.

"That's what I said!"

"I hate to be rude," Anna cut in with a tense smile. "But Warren and I have to go. We've to drop our groceries at home before the party tonight, remember Brother Dear?"

Wyatt winced, because no version of Anna ever called him 'Brother Dear' unless she was seriously pissed off at him, and nodded. "Uh, yeah. I remember." He grabbed a fresh pan of bread and reached out a hand to shake Piper's, ignoring the sudden urge to fall into her arms and beg her to make everything okay again.

After he'd let go, Anna too shook hands with their soon-to-be-mother. Wyatt was fairly certain that Piper didn't notice how she suddenly stiffened and went pale half-way through.

"Nice to meet you," Anna said quickly, letting go. "I hope everything goes well with your baby."

Piper smiled back as she thanked them and they rushed off.

"What happened back there?" Wyatt demanded as soon as they re-materialized inside their warehouse. "You looked like you were going to faint or something. Are you sick?"

Anna cast him a disbelieving look, as if thinking that her looking sick might mean that she was actually ill was completely ridiculous.

"Of course I'm not sick," she snapped. "The baby, it recognized me."

"What?"

"You, him, the unborn child inside our mother!" She snapped. "He touched my mind. He was," she shook her head helplessly, at a loss as to how to explain what had happened.

"Can you sense me through our bond now?" Wyatt asked eagerly. Anna frowned for a moment in concentration before shaking her head with a hint of disappointment in her once-again olive eyes.

Wyatt sighed but nodded. They emptied the food into the warehouse's old kitchen silently, both of them lost in thought. After a quick meal of sandwiches that would've made Piper throw a fit at her children claiming as dinner, they went to bed. Neither of them considered the possible consequences of Anna's momentary contact with her unborn brother.

Chapter Text

Chapter Three

Heliotrope: The Healing Stone

 

April 12 th , 2022. Unchanged Future

Seventeen-year-old Annette Perry (not Halliwell anymore, tainted as the name was by all of Wyatt's sins,) had a blank look on her face as she waited silently for her signal.

"Today the Empire will strike a great blow against the terrorists who claim to be 'freedom fighters'!" The voice of Nathaniel Pratt echoed loudly through the execution square, once Times Square in New York. "For today, one of their leaders, Danielle Jackson will burn!"

The loud cheers made Anna mentally damn them all. Of course, what could she expect? They were all either genuine supporters of Wy- the Emperor, or too terrified for themselves and their families to risk not being supportive. She still hated it though. Danielle had been an Air Force officer for over thirty years, and pretty much founded the Resistance. She was a hero and the people she'd spent her life fighting for were cheering her death.

Pratt turned on his heel and stalked over to Danielle. The forty-nine-year-old woman was badly beaten. Too injured to even stand but she still managed to lift her chin and look the (official) Head of the Hunters in the eye defiantly.

"Any last words,  General  Jackson?" His voice was mocking as he emphasized the title she'd held as a member of both the Air Force and the Resistance.

Danielle looked seriously at him as she nodded. "Yes," she croaked, her voice hoarse from screaming whilst being tortured for information on the Resistance. Anna was certain she'd kept their secrets but they'd changed all of their protocols anyway. Danielle would've been furious if they hadn't.

"Thank God that my husband is dead," Danielle said, voice full of steel despite all she'd been through. "It would've been worse than any torture you could do, for him to have seen our country, our  planet , reduced to this mockery of civilisation." Then she flicked her gaze up to where Anna was hidden in the treetops.

"Anna NOW!"

Anna stuck out her hands, determination filling her even as she saw the guards' eyes widen in realization and Isax, (the  true  head of the Hunters) slit Danielle's exposed throat.

"Fire, fire, burning bright," she began the first of several chants. "Set this place of evil alight!"

The fire spread quickly around the square. Thanks to her wards, activated by her second chant, everyone was trapped. Her rebels (both invisible and visible) began to swarm out of their hiding places.

"Unseen, unheard, not a whisper, not a word," Anna strode from her hiding place after casting her cloaking spell. It was more reliable than her newly manifested cloaking power.

Every so often, she paused to slam her feet on the ground, opening chasms where the demons promptly fell. She held her right index and middle fingers to her lips in a 'V' shape, blowing gusts of ice and wind at her foes. Fire streamed from her palms, engulfing 'Peace Keepers' in white-hot flames.

Her soldiers grabbed and evacuated as many innocents as they could and Anna was just in time to send a warlock flying away from a child whimpering (but not crying, even toddlers knew better after three years of Wyatt's rule) beside his mother's body. A girl Anna recognized as a former classmate of her dead twin cousins grabbed the boy and hurried off toward the Resistance's heavily guarded portal.

Anna continued on toward her objective, her speed increasing until she was flat-out running.

"ISAX!" She reached out with her telekinesis to prevent the demonic torturer fleeing. He paused and turned to look at her with a malicious grin.

"My dear Annette," he cooed mockingly. Anna felt herself tense despite herself as she skidded to a halt in front of him. She held her hands up loosely in preparation for the coming fight.

"How I've missed our times together," he continued with an evil grin. "Your screams, they were always  so  lovely. And it was so enjoyable, coming up with different ways to break you."

"But I didn't," she cut him off, wary of falling into his verbal trap. "I never did give up the Resistance, did I? And I know no one ever figured out how I was able to escape. How did His Majesty take it when you told him that I was missing from the cells?"

She looked pointedly at his missing hand and the vicious burn scars on his face. Wyatt was brutal, Isax had been lucky he was only the messenger. The entire guard shift of that week had been publicly burned to unsuccessfully try and ease Wyatt's fury.

The demon scowled bitterly at her. "You will never beat him," he spat at her. "You couldn't before he became the Source, you certainly can't now."

Anna lifted her chin in an echo of Danielle's earlier defiance. "We'll see," she declared, raising her hands. "Right now, though. I'm going to kill you." Without pausing to let him gather himself his defenses, she hit him with everything she could.

She screamed out every vanquishing spell that came to her head, attacked him with the full force of her powers. She ignored all of the energy balls that he tossed at her and when he was finally too injured to summon another, she grabbed her knife and stalked to him.

He glared bitterly at her. "You," he rasped out weakly. "will never...defeat him...You will...faaiill."

He choked off as Anna plunged her dagger into his heart and the youngest Halliwell watched numbly as he burst into flames. 'That wasn't for me," she thought. 'It was for Phay, and Danielle, and everyone you've tortured and murdered you goddamn son of a bitch.'

A sense of danger interrupted her musings and she looked quickly up. "C'mon!" She yelled to the remaining Resistance forces. "He's coming! Run!" She waited until all the other survivors were through the portal and black orbs signalled the arrival of her brother to flee through herself. The portal closed as Wyatt formed in the square. He was just in time to see her brunette hair disappear through the triquetra.

An energy ball skimmed her head, singeing her hair as the portal sealed over, leaving a burnt impression of the Warren line's symbol on the side of the building.


 

Valhalla, January 27th , 2003

Okay, so Wyatt hadn't needed to be worried about his little sister's hand-to-hand abilities. Even as he watched, she backflipped over her fourth opponent, taking advantage of the opportunity to grab the Valkyrie, Kara's, neck. She pulled and there was a loud crack as the woman 'died'. Of course, as she was a Valkyrie, she woke up a minute later.

"Very well," Freya stood from her throne, her hips swaying as she did so. The warriors were all wearing calculating looks as they studied Anna. Anna herself had a poker face as the queen approached.

"I believe your claim of being a time traveller who was trained by my people," Freya decided. "Kara is my second-in-command, she has not been defeated in centuries. Never by an outsider. And there are many similarities in the fighting style you use to the one we use."

Anna bowed her head respectfully to the queen. "My enemy sent many assassins to kill me," she explained emotionlessly.

Wyatt shifted in discomfort at the thought of his OtherSelf trying, directly or otherwise, to kill their sister. He froze when everyone's gazes darted to him briefly. Anna's eyes shot daggers at him before returning her attention to the queen.

"At the beginning of the war, the Valkyries granted me shelter in Valhalla in exchange for bolstering your wards. I was treated like one of your sisters, and you named me as your successor as you died from the wounds he gave you."

There was a ripple of shocked gasps as Anna said this, Wyatt was one of them, he could admit. Freya, despite not gasping, also looked shocked.

"Impossible," she proclaimed. "Valkyries are immortal."

Pain flickered in Anna's eyes as her lips twisted bitterly. "I wish that were true," she said sincerely. "But in the year 2019, a poison is created specifically for Valkyries. There is no antidote. I wish I brought better news."

Freya's eyes were dark as she studied the witch. "Come," she ordered. "You must tell me all that you can, in privacy."

Relief flickered across Anna's face as she nodded.

"Your escort may come," Freya offered but Anna shook her head before Wyatt could even blink.

"Thank you but no," she replied firmly. "He can remain here." Wyatt frowned.

"Anna," he sent at her telepathically. "Come on, we're in this together."

She tensed her jaw but gave in. "On second thought, he'll come." Freya nodded and turned. The Halliwell siblings followed, Wyatt rushing in case Anna changed her mind again.

"This Source," Freya began when they were all seated in a private room. Kara leaned against the wall with narrowed eyes. "You plan to kill him?"

Wyatt stiffened and Anna pursed her lips. "If I must," she said evenly. "But currently, he is only a baby, not yet infected by evil. Killing him would be murder. But, if I cannot prevent his turning, then I won't risk it. I'll kill him."

Wyatt cast her a look from the corner of his eye, but nothing indicated that she was anything less than completely serious about her statement. He stiffened his jaw and went back to focusing on the conversation, not the disturbing thought of Anna killing him to save the world.

"What help can we give you?" Freya asked. Anna smiled mischievously.

"How long can you hold an Elder do you think?"


 

Warehouse, January 27th, 2003

"Hold still," Wyatt ordered in exasperation as Anna squirmed. "You aren't usually this movy."

She paused to stare at him, he quickly grabbed her shoulder, hands glowing.

"Movy?" She demanded incredulously. "Did you seriously just say movy? I don't think that's an actual word, unless by movie you mean a film, which makes no sense at all."

He didn't answer, distracted by the injuries he felt. "Anna, you're a mess," he frowned. "You've had some of these since way before Valhalla. Why didn't you come to me? I would have healed you."

Anna shrugged, wearing a bored expression. "I'm not used to having access to healers anymore," she explained offhandedly. "I didn't think of it."

Wyatt stiffened looking briefly away while the glow continued to work before a thought occurred to him and he decided now was as good a time as any to bring it up.

"Have you been using healing potions?" He blurted out. Anna stared at him in surprise and bemusement.

"Well yes, of course I have," she stated, a tone of 'This is so obvious Wyatt, why don't you get it?' In her voice. "The Elders and Whitelighters are all either dead or enslaved in my future. If we didn't use potions, we'd be dead from fucking cholera, never mind our injuries."

Dismay filled the older sibling as he finished healing her. "Anna, healing potions are dangerous," he insisted. "They're addictive, damage your sleeping and eating habits, and they don't do anything to replenish your blood loss. It-"

"You don't think I don't know that," Anna snapped. She stood and crossed her arms.

Wyatt wondered how they were ever going to get away keeping their identities secret for any amount of time, when Anna was pretty much a clone of Piper with a mixture of Prue and Paige's personalities.

"I had no choice!" Anna went on, Wyatt feeling the air tingling as her temper continued to rise. "Lord Wyatt, slaughtered and enslaved all the people with healing abilities! Doctors can only do so much without equipment and medicine. Especially when you're living in crappy safehouses with a couple thousand other people! I did my best!"

Wyatt flung his shield up just in time to protect them both from several filled potions vials. Anna jumped backward and clenched her eyes shut, forcing herself to calm down as Wyatt watched her with anxious eyes.

When he judged her settled enough, he began his defence. "It's not that I'm trying to criticise you or your actions, Annie," he told her firmly, looking her straight in the eyes. "You're my baby sister, I love you more than anything. I want you to be safe, and I want to help you. Please Anna, just let me help you."

Anna exhaled tiredly and nodded, re-crossing her arms. "Fine," she muttered. "I need to work on the plan, adjust it for the two of us, and the stuff I know about Gideon. I haven't had a chance to do so yet. There's a bunch of demons that I want to vanquish too."

Wyatt nodded, grinning tentatively. This felt a lot like a breakthrough and he was desperate for one of those.

Chapter Text

 Disclaimer: I don't own Charmed.

Chapter Four

The Triple Moon: Maiden, Mother and Crone

Warehouse, January 30th , 2004

"Have you decided on an alias yet?" Anna asked without lifting her gaze from the rattle she was engraving with protection symbols. The box it was going to be put in was already finished.

"Remember, it can't be obviously linked to either the Warren line or the Wyatt family."

Wyatt nodded, rolling his eyes discreetly. "Yes, I know. You've only said so about fifty times," he muttered. This time Anna did look up, fixing him with an irritated look.

"This is important Wyatt," she snapped and he sighed.

"How about William Perry?" He suggested. Anna tilted her head thoughtfully.

"William for Melinda Warren's husband, is it?" She asked, making Wyatt blink. Of course, Anna had always loved to study their heritage, both sides. It shouldn't have surprised him that she'd memorized their family tree.

"Sure," he shrugged. Truthfully, he'd just picked out a random, common name that started with W.

"Alright," Anna agreed. "William's common enough that no one should suspect anything. Do you want to be Will or William?"

"Will," Wyatt said hurriedly. "William's too formal. Where'd Perry come from by the way?"

Anna shrugged, "I saw a peregrine falcon the day I was trying to come up with a new surname," she explained offhandedly before turning the conversation back to him. "And your middle name and birthday?" She pressed. "Did you think of those?"

Wyatt frowned. "No," he admitted. "I didn't think I needed to." Anna sighed, putting aside the rattle.

"We need to make these aliases airtight, Wyatt," she insisted, leaning toward him. "No one can suspect who we are."

"Why not?" He wasn't whining, he insisted stubbornly to himself. "Wouldn't it be easier if we just told them who we really were. We don't have to say I turned evil or anything, but they'd trust us more if they knew who we were."

"True," Anna acknowledged. "I remember how suspicious they were of strangers offering to help. Goddess knows I'm the same way. But," she hesitated. "Did Mom or Aunt Phoebe ever tell you about the time they went to the future with Aunt Prue?"

Wyatt nodded, frowning in confusion. "Yeah, Aunt Prue was alive, they don't know what happened to Aunt Paige and Uncle Cole, they only had one daughter named Melinda instead of us and the cousins and magic had been exposed by Aunt Phoebe, leading to the witch hunts. Why?"

"The only they did to prevent it was swear not to use their powers to punish the guilty," Anna pointed out to him. "And think how much just that changed.

Mom and Leo had you and me instead of a daughter named Melinda, Aunt Prue's dead, Mom and Leo got divorced earlier. So much changed, just because they knew the future. If we tell them who we are, not only do we risk erasing everyone in our generation of the family except you, but we also cast a shadow over ourselves."

"Think about it," she added at his confused frown. "They'll have met our adult selves, so they'll have expectations of how we should act and be. They won't do it consciously, but subconsciously, they'll expect us to be a certain way. Do you really want to grow up dealing with that?"

Wyatt thought back to his childhood. He remembered times when their adult family members would be shocked by Annie showing interest in things like art or music. Or how they'd sigh and say how they'd always known she'd be neurotic after she acted obsessively about something.

It had, he knew, caused his sister a lot of strain, trying to live up to these unknown expectations.

"No," he admitted. "But they'll probably find out eventually, they did in my timeline."

"If that happens, we'll deal with it when it comes up," Anna said firmly. "But let's try and put it off for as long as possible, agreed?"

"Agreed," Wyatt sighed. Anna smiled and bent back over the toy while Wyatt contemplated different possibilities for his middle name and birthday.

"How about James as a middle name?" He suggested after a moment. "And the 31st of July as my birthday."

Anna looked up at him with narrowed eyes. "Is that from Harry Potter?"

"Maayybe," Wyatt dragged out and Annie huffed.

"It's fine, I suppose," she grumbled. She lifted up the rattle. "Gift's done." Wyatt's eyes widened as he stared at the delicately crafted toy.

"Oh, I remember that!" He exclaimed. "It got used by all of us because it's got a bunch of really strong protection symbols and purifying spells on it."

"I know," Anna answered dryly. "I just finished engraving them." She passed it to him to examine.

"This is amazing Annie," Wyatt breathed. Anna shrugged, a hint of a blush rising on her cheeks.

"It wasn't that hard," she murmured. "And it'll be worth it in the long run. I'll cloak myself and drop it to the manor this evening."

Wyatt nodded slowly, passing her the rattle back. "I've been thinking," he announced.

"That's dangerous, don't hurt yourself," Anna shot back immediately, the snarky words falling off her tongue without a thought.

"Oh haha," Wyatt retorted.

It was slightly impressive how much their relationship had improved in the past few days.

"Very funny. No, I'm serious Anna. How're we gonna keep them from taking one look at us and realizing who we are. You're practically a skinny duplicate of Mom, and everyone always says how much I look like Dad. Combined with our personalities, well our family isn't dumb, ya know."

Anna grimaced, a flash of guilt going over her eyes. "I know," she muttered. "I have a plan for that."

Wyatt's eyes narrowed immediately. He'd quickly noticed that Anna got that particular expression when she had something she knew was morally wrong in mind.

"What sort of plan?" He demanded suspiciously. Anna sighed and met his eyes reluctantly.

"A spell," she admitted.

"Anna!" Wyatt jumped up.

"Just a small one," Anna insisted, rising to her feet to meet his gaze better. "So that they'll dismiss any resemblance between us and the family. It won't stop them putting the pieces together, it'll just make them overlook certain things."

"We can't-"

"You know I wouldn't hurt them," there was a note in Anna's voice that made him turn and look at her. Her eyes had a pleading look that made his protests crumble like they were made of ashes.

"Fine," he sighed. "But we both triple-check the spell, and it doesn't stop them putting everything together completely. Alright? It's the only way I'll agree to this."

Anna's shoulders relaxed as she nodded quickly. They fell into silence, not an awkward one, but not really comfortable either.

Anna went to the kitchenette to begin fixing them a stir-fry for dinner, while Wyatt studied the rattle intently. He wondered if his family knew that Anna had made it. Probably not, or it would've gone into the box in Piper and Leo's room where all of this Anna's things had been placed after her death.

"Anna," he said abruptly, his sister glancing over her shoulder at him.

"What?"

"Let's go to Magic School."

She blinked at him in bewilderment at the random suggestion. "Magic School? Why would we go there?"

"To see if Gideon's already started his plan," Wyatt pressed. A thoughtful expression crossed his face. "I haven't been born yet but I did loads of stuff from the womb. Mom told us stories about what we did before we were born. I gave her my shield and healed us and swapped her and Dad's powers once. And you gave Mom orbing and boosted her freezing power. And we can look for the mirror too."

Anna pursed her lips, turning back to stir the beef and vegetables, shaking on some soy sauce. "I guess," she finally said. "We can go tonight, cloak ourselves. But, actually, that reminds me. We're staying in here from the first to the third, okay? I don't want to risk being attacked without magic."

Wyatt grimaced and nodded. "Kay. We can borrow some books from the library too," he added with a smirk as he caught a flash of delight cross Anna's face. She'd always loved to read and write. It was actually a surprise that she'd chosen a degree in medicine over English, but then, she was completely dedicated to saving lives, so maybe it wasn't as unexpected as they'd thought.


Halliwell Manor, January 30 th , 2003

Piper sighed and rubbed her forehead in exhaustion. She couldn't wait for her pregnancy to be over, it was absolutely exhausting. She entered the bedroom, one hand resting gently on her stomach and rubbing circles on it.

A glint of something caught her eye from the nursery and she hurried over to it, sighing as she spotted yet another wrapped gift for her unborn baby. 'At least it isn't another golden goose this time,' she thought as she picked up the wrapped package.

She wandered back over to her bed and sat down. "LEO! PAIGE! PHOEBE! COLE! THERE'S ANOTHER PRESENT FOR THE BABY! COME AND SEE IT!" She yelled. The tingling sound of orbs combined with the thudding of running feet heralded the arrival of her family.

"Please tell me it's not another goose," Paige groaned as she materialized. "I don't know what we're gonna do with the others."

"Sell them," Cole suggested. "They're really valuable in the magical market. We'd never have any more financial worries for the rest of our lives."

Phoebe pushed his shoulder lightly as Piper huffed.

"Hello people," she snapped, waving the present. "I haven't opened it yet."

"Well why not do that now," Leo proposed and she promptly gave him a scathing look.

"What do you think I was going to do with it?" She bit out. Her pain was his fault, she thought grumpily. Why couldn't he be the one to carry their child. Piper didn't do anything to deserve this!

Leo winced and smiled apologetically at her. She huffed again and went to work unwrapping the gift. Her eyes widened immediately at the sight of it.

"Wow, mama," Paige whistled. "That is one fancy box. Are those real gems?"

"Can I?" Cole held out his hand, accepting the box from Piper. "This is oak. It's one of the most sacred trees. It carries the energy of kingship and wise rule, personal sovereignty, authority, power, protection, sealing or opening doors, endurance, and invocation of wisdom, fertility, and abundance. And these stones," he paused to examine them carefully.

"There's turquoise, for increasing the baby's wisdom and intuition, tiger's eye entwined with amethyst and hematite to filter out negativity, opal, which'll absorb and enhance her magic. Jasper to ground and centre her, more hematite which will reject negative influences, it won't stop demons completely but it will weaken them.

The carnelian will help shield her from attacks, and the amber will both protect her and strengthen her increase her clarity and confidence. Is there a card? We should thank them for their generosity."

Piper shook her head, eyes wide and filled with tears. She'd known the meaning of the different stones and the wood already but Cole saying it seemed to make it real in her mind. Someone had to put a lot of effort into this.

"That's so kind," she sniffled, wiping her eyes with the back of her hand. He carefully passed the box back and she opened it, gasping at the inside.

"What?" Her sisters both asked in unison, equally overwhelmed by the generous gift.

"There's a rattle too," Piper sniffled. "It's made of birch with two bands of gold for purification. And it's got protection symbols and symbols to ward off evil influence engraved on it." She pulled it out to show them.

The family was so busy gasping and admiring the two presents, they didn't even suspect the presence of Anna, cloaked in corner with a longing look in her eye as she watched her beloved mother. Sighing, she disappeared. They would definitely keep the box and that was all that mattered. Not her own selfish desire to be hugged by Piper again. That was completely useless.

She reformed in the corner of Magic School's library, grimacing as she looked around the school. As the younger sister of the Twice-Blessed Heir to Excalibur and only daughter of Piper Halliwell and Leo Wyatt, an Elder, Anna's life as a student of Magic School had been miserable.

Some people had tried to become her friend so they could meet the Charmed Ones and Wyatt. Everyone else had either bullied or ostracized her.

Piper had given up when Anna was seven and had fled the school in tears for the fourth time in a month. Over Leo's protests, who had insisted that Piper was being unfair to Wyatt by giving in to her daughter's tearful pleas to not have to attend Magic School, Anna had been transferred to the local elementary instead. The memory of the argument overtook her as she began slipping through the stacks in search of Wyatt.


Halliwell Manor, 13th  March, 2012 (unchanged future)

Annie peaked around the doorway at the scene in the kitchen. The adults were all too distracted by the argument to notice her spying.

"She's being overdramatic, Piper!" Leo snapped. "Wyatt loves Magic School, he's excelling there. Isn't he Paige?"

Paige pursed her lips, nodding reluctantly. "He's doing very well in his classes," the teacher admitted. "But," she continued before Leo could use her words against her sister and niece's cause. "Annie  isn't.  She's lonely and miserable and misses half her classes because she orbs to Piper or Victor after a bully says something to her. Magic School might be the best for Wyatt, but it's not a good fit for Annie."

"You see," Piper exclaimed triumphantly. "Wyatt and Annie are different people. And, honestly, I'm tempted to withdraw Wyatt from Magic School as well. I agreed for him to attend because he was having trouble controlling his powers in public, but he's got them under control now and all the special treatment they give him there is making him arrogant."

"He's eight years old," Leo scoffed. "And he loves the School. I can't believe how much you favour Annie, Piper. It's ridiculous. Do you just love her more because she's a girl?"

The sisters let out shocked gasps and Cole and Henry stared incredulously at their ex-brother-in-law.

"How dare you!" Piper snarled furiously. She raised her hands and blew up the Elder, doing it twice more as he began to reform. "How dare  you  of all people accuse  me  of loving one of my children more than the other! You, who spends every weekend with Wyatt, but has come to  three  of Annie's birthdays for a total of  fifteen  minutes altogether! Who the hell do you think you are?"

Leo glared angrily at her as he finally reformed. "I'm their  father !" he snapped. "I love them both, and I always try to do what's best for them both. But Wyatt needs us more. He's got a lot of responsibilities and Annie's got none. Wy-"

Piper blew him up again. "My god, I can't even listen to this," she spat. "Wyatt's future responsibilities are exactly why he needs to be treated like a regular little boy, not a god! The special treatment he gets from you and the rest of the magical community is making him into a bully!"

Leo shook his head, frustration evident on his face. "Annie's just trying to get attention by saying that stuff," he insisted and the little girl felt tears well up in her eyes as she silently shook her own head in denial. Phoebe suddenly stiffened and turned.

"Annie," she called. "Come here please, little angel." The other adults turned to the door as well, dismay on their faces as Annie slowly entered the kitchen. The little girl swallowed and then suddenly dashed to her mother, burying her head in Piper's skirt.

Piper sighed, running a hand over her crying child's brown braid. "Leave Leo," she ordered, cutting off his attempt to scold the girl for eavesdropping. "We're done talking about this, and Annie is done going to Magic School. Go. Oh, and Leo."

He paused as he began to orb away, an angry look in his eyes. Piper met his gaze steadily. "Wyatt's spending the weekend with Annie and I," she told him firmly. "Don't come down if you know what's good for you."

He clenched his jaw and orbed away. The others left, Paige promising to organize Annie's transfer to the mortal school nearest to P3, as Piper slid to her knees and pulled her child into a proper hug.

"'m not lying," Annie whimpered. "'m  not,  I swear."

Piper sighed, closing her eyes as she rocked the girl. "I know Peanut," she murmured. "I know you're not lying. I love you so much Baby."

"Love you too, Mommy."

Chapter Text

 Disclaimer: I don't own Charmed.


Chapter Five

Rosemary: For Healing and Protection

April 30th, 2022 (unchanged future)

This was, quite possibly, the Resistance's most audacious plan yet. For the past four years, since Wyatt's takeover, Magic School had served as his prison. It was one of the most fortified places on the planet, with only his palace more protected.

And today, the Resistance intended to seize control of it. They weren't stupid of course. They didn't plan to keep control of the building. They just wanted to hold it long enough to rescue the prisoners. It would strike a hard blow against the Empire. The hardest yet in fact.

Anna stepped back from the Triskelion symbol that would become their portal.

"Are you sure he can be trusted?" Sato Akemi (Sato being her surname), the leader of the Asian resistance cell, asked. Her single brown eye, (the left having been gorged out in a fight with Damien, the half-Manticore whom the Charmed Ones had saved as a baby,) was hard and suspicious.

Anna nodded. "Aaron Herrick had no idea that he was a warlock until he was in college," she answered firmly. "The Charmed Ones helped him and kept a careful watch on him. Wyatt killed his wife, Alysha, who was pregnant, and his adoptive parents died in the Fall of Washington. He's as loyal to the Resistance as anyone."

"He passed all the tests," Aiden Fitzpatrick, the Irish rebel leader, added. "Including a truth spell. Actually, 'e's the one who suggested we use truth spells and telepaths together to ensure loyalty. Before that, we were just using spells. I trust him."

Akemi pursed her lips but nodded in acceptance. Anna sighed and ran a hand over her short brown bob.

"Has the advance team arrived yet?" She asked, trying to disguise her exhaustion. It said a lot about the state of today's world that she was the overall head of a worldwide rebel movement at the age of seventeen.

Billie nodded. She wasn't really there of course, none of the other leaders were. They were only using spells to make themselves astral project to the main base in Valhalla. Still, the sight of her surrogate aunt was reassuring.

"They're waiting," Billie confirmed.

"Okay," Anna murmured. "Thank you everyone, for your support in helping develop the plan and in sending soldiers for the mission itself. Gods protect you."

The councillors bowed their heads, murmuring their own blessings before cancelling their projections, until only Billie was left. The blonde moved closer, placing a hand on Anna's shoulder.

"How are you Hun?" She asked.

Anna shrugged. If it were anyone else who had asked her, she'd have denied any problems outright. As it was, she'd known Billie all her life. She trusted her, which was more than Anna would even say for Niko, whom she'd been involved with for over a year.

"Same as ever," Anna answered briefly. "How is she?"

For her own safety, eleven-year-old Pamela Astrid Halliwell-Turner, youngest and only living child of Phoebe and Cole Halliwell-Turner, was now known to everyone as Ella Peyton Bennet, an orphan rescued from Magic School's sacking by Billie. Given the fact that Pamela hadn't even been seven when the world had gone to hell, Anna doubted even she knew she was anything other than Billie Jenkins' adopted daughter.

Billie smiled sympathetically at her. "She's doing well," the older witch answered. Her face turned serious. "She manifested another power yesterday."

Anna went pale, worry springing up. Having more than two powers, unless it was an advancement of the current one, was reserved for only members of the main Warren line, or hybrids. Having another power could seriously endanger Ella.

"What?" She began to ask, Billie interrupting.

"Levitation," she stated briefly with a grimace. Anna groaned in dismay. Up to now, Ella had only shown regular Telekinesis, a common power. She'd hoped that any other powers were young cousin developed would be advancements of that.

"Does anyone else know?" She worried. Billie's head shake was little comfort.

"I warned her to keep quiet about it," the elder witch assured her. "She's clever, she knows that secrets are safety. She won't use it unless it's a matter of life or death."

Anna nodded briefly, accepting Billie's word. She couldn't say anything for Ella's personality after all. She hadn't seen the girl in years. Not since she'd given her to Billie to protect and raise.

She glanced at the clock and clenched her jaw. "It's time."


 January 31 st , 2003

Anna refused to let the memories of the last time she'd set foot in Magic School rise. Once she'd dealt with Gideon, it would never have happened, so there was no point in thinking of it. She focused on the matter at hand, instead.

"I doubt we'll find anything," she sighed, gazing around Gideon's study. "He may not have even started planning anything yet. And it would be stupid of him to leave any evidence around."

Wyatt frowned looking around the office. "We should still try," he argued. "We might not get another chance."

Anna exhaled but nodded. It was more important to take advantage of her opportunity than it was to escape her PTSD. "Okay," she agreed. "We need to hurry though, I've gotta feeling we don't have long. There's a spell the Resistance uses to search places quickly."

She paused to run through it mentally, not wanting to risk messing it up, before saying the chant. "Secrets in this room concealed, By my spell, all are now revealed."

A curtain waved as if hit by a sudden breeze, and Anna hurried to it, ripping it open as Wyatt hurried up behind her. She bit back a yelp of horror at the terrifying sight in the glass. The evil world was dark and decorated with stereotypical weapons and skulls and chains and the like. But those cliches weren't what frightened her.

The evil versions of herself and her brother were.

Evil Wyatt looked just like the one she'd grown up with. Long curls loose around his shoulders, a cold expression in his ice-blue eyes, dressed completely in black. Her own counterpart was even more horrifying, a scene straight from Anna's worst nightmares.

Her brunette hair was in a spiky bob, with crimson tips. While Anna rarely touched make up, hating the memories it brought up of playing dress up with Piper as a child, her evil-self wore thick black eyeliner, with black lipstick and heavy purple eyeshadow.

Anna vaguely remembered Piper telling her to always make her make up seem natural, it was prettier. Evidently her counterpart disagreed.

Anna only wore jewellery for the sake of the stones' energy. She had a pair of studs made from quartz and selenite to amplify her magic and clear her mind, with agate to fight off depression. They were shaped like eyes of Horus for protection.

On her neck was a necklace looped two inches from her neck to keep it from tangling with anything. It had amber for protection, clarity and confidence, amethyst to sharpen her intuition and mind, and carnelian for magical shielding.

There was a bracelet made with hematite for protection, jasper for good luck and fortune and turquoise to give her wisdom and increase her intuition. Finally, she had her engagement ring, which was an opal, to both balance her emotions, and absorb and strengthen her magic. All of them had been carefully made to work well with each other, magically and aesthetically. For the sake of blending in, they were all painted various colours to go with each other.

Evil Anna had the same gems, but they were painted black to fit in. Her earrings consisted of a chain on her left ear, and four sharp looking studs. Her necklace was a black choker and she had a chain-like bracelet wrapped around her wrist. Her engagement ring was punkish too, instead of delicate like Anna's.

Anna had a simple witch's knot tattooed on her right hip for protection, and when she and her evil counterpart both shifted, she caught a glimpse of the same tattoo inverted on Evil Anna's left hip. Curious how simply swapping sides and inverting it made Evil Anna's tattoo dangerous. The regular Witch's Knot Anna bore would simply ward off harmful magic and influences. The inverted one would reflect the spells back at their caster.

Finally, while Anna was dressed in a lilac, lace up top she'd bought from Salvation Army using the money Wyatt had gotten, and a pair of faded blue jeans, Evil Anna was, to put it frankly, dressed like a slut.

Evil must've had some sort of dress code or something, because they all dressed like gothic strippers. Evil Anna was wearing an off-the-shoulder black crop top, that was made of semi-transparent lace, just to show off more of her. Her skirt was made of black leather and barely came down to her mid-thigh, with a rope-styled dark brown belt from which a lethal looking knife hung. Unlike Anna, dressed in the same old runners she'd had for going on three years now, which were held together by her sewing skills, Evil Anna wore a pair of knee high black leather boots.

Anna could feel herself getting depressed just looking at the mirror.

"So," she and her evil self spoke in unison, exchanging wary looks as they went on. "He's already in contact with his evil/good self. The portal's probably influencing him. Explains a lot actually."

"What do you mean?" Both Wyatts demanded together, promptly glaring at each other.

The Annas rolled their eyes in exasperation, forcing their mutual terror at the Wyatt they opposed to remain hidden. "Having contact with his parallel self will be damaging to his morality," they explained testily. "Turning him evil/good. Short periods wouldn't really have affected him, but prolonged contact would. He has to have had this for a few months at least by now by the looks of the mirror."

The Wyatts began to reply, but a sound from the corridor had the Annas quickly grabbing her brother and slamming the curtain closed again, using her powers to cloak them both as she did so. Cloaking had quickly become one of her favourite powers since it manifested when she was a teenager.

Gideon came gliding in, wearing a serious expression as he spoke to the Elders following him.

"I'm simply concerned," Gideon insisted. "The Warren line strengthens with each generation. The Charmed Ones were predicted to be the most powerful good witches of all time. There are no such guarantees for their children. We-"

"Have discussed this before," a woman that Anna recognized as Sandra, one of the few Elders she liked, cut him off. "A child is an innocent Gideon, what do you want to do? How you an even think that an infant could be a threat to the balance? It's not the thoughts of a Good being."

"I must agree with Sandra, Gideon," another man, who Anna knew was Zola, added his own opinion. "We have no reason to believe the baby could be dangerous. They will be the child of a Charmed One and a Whitelighter, two beings of pure good."

"But the prophecy says nothing about the child's allegiance!" Gideon exclaimed. "It was summoning the dead and swapping its parents' powers before she was showing! Warren witches have turned evil before. We-"

"Have no reason to fear a child!" Sandra was beginning to lose her temper. "You were in favour of Leo and Piper's marriage Gideon, or have you forgotten that? Surely you realized, knowing Leo and knowing the Halliwell's reverence for family, that they would desire children."

Gideon opened his mouth to speak but the other two shook their heads.

"This discussion is over Gideon," Zola insisted firmly. "Leave it be. Now, we are going back to the heavens to prepare for magic stopping. I recommend you focus on preparing the school." With that, they orbed away, leaving Gideon with a frustrated look on his face.

The corrupt Elder stormed to the curtain, pulling it harshly aside to see his evil counterpart and the chessboard.

"They simply won't listen!" He snarled, his counterpart nodded, pursing his lips.

"It's frustrating," he agreed. "But we will simply have to deal with the problem ourselves."

"But how?" Good Gideon growled. "The child hasn't even been born yet and it's forcefield is already strong enough to prevent its mother from even getting bruised after being thrown by demons. It will only grow stronger after its birth."

Evil Gideon nodded, stroking his slick goatee. "We can't do anything to prevent the birth now," he decided. "It's too late for that unfortunately. And no doubt the Charmed Ones will be vigilant in the coming few months. Demons will be climbing out of the woodwork to get to the child. No. Our best bet is to wait for them to become arrogant. In a few months, they'll have lowered their guard. That's when we will strike."

Gideon nodded, a troubled expression on his face. "What of any other children they have?"

Evil Gideon looked coldly at his counterpart. "It's unlikely that Piper Halliwell would have another successful pregnancy after the difficulties she had getting pregnant once," he pointed out. "And it would hardly be surprising given her current trouble if she miscarried or went into premature labour and had a stillborn baby. Both of which can be arranged via poison. If only we could have done so this time around.

Phoebe Halliwell is married to a former demon," he continued. "If her children have any sign of demonic lineage, they will have to be eliminated also. As for Paige, she has yet to get seriously involved with anyone romantically. And most of her relationships have been mortal. She's the youngest too, so her children probably wouldn't be as powerful as Piper and Leo's. On the other hand, she is a hybrid as well. We'll have to wait and see for her."

Gideon nodded solemnly. You would never think they were discussing multiple counts of infanticide, Anna thought in disgust.

"Very well," Gideon sighed. "I suppose we should go and prepare the school for Imbolc. No doubt the children will be very unsettled. Surely we shouldn't need more of a sign of this child's danger than all of magic stopping!" This counterpart nodded grimly, bowing their heads to each other respectfully before covering the mirror and turning on their heels to stride from the room.

Anna slowly released her brother's arm, letting the cloak disappear as she registered all she heard.

Wyatt's face was pale and his hands trembled slightly as he went back to the curtain to reveal their counterparts again.

"So," the Annas spoke together. "Now we know for sure that he's already a threat. And dangerously imbalanced too."

The Wyatts nodded, jaws tense. "What happened to him in your timeline?" They asked. "Did he go after you and the cousins or what?"

The Annas exhaled heavily, Anna letting her evil self answer.

"In October 2004, Mom was attacked by something invisible, which we now know is Gideon. She went into premature labour with me, while you were taken. Aunt Phoebe and Leo took her to the hospital, while Aunt Paige and Uncle Cole went to search the Underworld for you. They found you, but only after about a month. In hindsight, Mom being attacked was probably to kill me as well as to get to you."

"Hang on," the Wyatts interrupted. "You were born in November, two days early, not a month. And Gideon took me then, while you and Dad and the aunts were all in the evil world. He attacked Uncle Cole and took me. Then everyone was under the spell except you and Dad so he was able to kill you." His voice shook slightly as he mentioned her death.

"We were on our guards," Anna offered, her counterpart nodding in agreement. "In your timeline, we all knew there was a threat, and Gideon wouldn't have been able to take on all of us together. In mine, it's like Gideon said. They let their guards down, and Mom was having trouble with her pregnancy. I don't have a forcefield so he was able to get to you earlier.

No one ever knew what happened to Gideon in my timeline. Everyone assumed that a Darklighter got to him somehow. Aunt Paige took over the school after that of course."

The Wyatts nodded slowly. "So he was killed before he could get through my forcefield," Good Wyatt theorised. "And I spent who knows how long orbing around the Underworld looking for someone who didn't want to kill me."

The Annas whistled softly. "No wonder you went psycho," Good Anna muttered. She glanced at the clock, frowning as she realized that it was ten minutes to midnight.

"We need to go," she decided. "Magic goes down tomorrow. I want to put up some non-magical traps around the warehouse before that." She gave one last nod to their evil selves before pulling the curtain closed and they both disappeared in a swirl of blue orbs.

Chapter Text

Chapter Six

Thyme: Healing, Love, Psychic Knowledge

December 13 th , 2013 (changed future)

"Mom, what happened with the Titans?"

Piper had to use her power to stop the dinner plate she was drying from falling to the floor at her son's random question.

"What do you mean Honey?" She asked after swallowing. Like anything to do with 2003 and 2004, the Titans made her think of OtherAnna. Her sweet, brave daughter who had been murdered. Anna had arrived during the Titan mess.

Piper's stomach clenched as Wyatt casually told her they were learning about it in Magic School's history class, oblivious to his mother's grief.

"Well," Piper began, sitting down beside her eldest. "It started when Aunt Paige began having nightmares. There was a bad heatwave, and she was convinced that everything was connected. She and Aunt Phoebe went looking for answers and learned that a demon had set several beings called Titans loose.

The Titans killed several Whitelighters and your dad made us into goddesses to fight them. Eventually, we defeated them. That's it really."

"But," Wyatt began, disappointed at the lack of details.

"I said that's it!" Piper snapped.

Wyatt's eyes widened in shock. Piper rarely raised her voice at either of her children or nieces and nephew, and now that he was looking closer, Wyatt realized her brown eyes were shining with tears.

"Okay Mommy," he murmured. Obviously there was something more about the Titans that was upsetting Piper but Wyatt would leave it be. He and Annie were of the firm belief that there was no worse crime than intentionally upsetting the Halliwell matriarch after all.

Piper inhaled shakily, giving him a tight hug.

"I love you Baby," she whispered in his ear, the boy nodding and echoing the words back at her.

Piper pulled away and headed upstairs. She stuck her head into Annie's bedroom, where her youngest was happily painting away using the new art set Paige had given her for her birthday. The girl turned at the sound of her door open, a happy beam breaking out at the sight of her mother.

Piper strode over, tugging the girl into a hug.

"Are you okay, Mommy?" The newly-turned nine-year-old asked, embracing her mother.

"Now that I've had a hug from my best girl I am," Piper replied and Annie smiled happily at her, her green gaze void of the pain her OtherSelf had suffered.

"Wanna play Sylvanians with me?" The child offered sweetly. Piper nodded and slipped to her knees to be on her daughter's level, revelling in the reassuring presence of her  living  daughter.


May 7th, 2003

The next few months had seemed to go by in a flurry of preparations. Starting in early April, the two siblings had taken turns watching their family and establishing how their current routine worked. Anna frequently returned from her shifts full of fury at the lack of care for safety shown by the sisters. Because she hated to blame Piper for anything, she tended to accuse Leo of neglecting his responsibilities as a Whitelighter, which, to be fair, was true.

As the sisters' Whitelighter, he should have been sending them on regular demon hunts to keep the balance tipped to Good. He even did it with his other charges until going on 'paternity leave'. Instead, he let the sisters pretend they were normal, only going on hunts when absolutely necessary. Usually in response to an attack. The only time that they actively went demon hunting in the three months that they watched their family was to ensure Wyatt's Wiccaning couldn't be ruined.

It was a surprise to the siblings, as both timelines had Piper Halliwell raising her children to believe that their responsibilities as good witches came first no matter what. This young Piper however, seemed far more negative and resentful of her destiny than the woman who had raised them.

It was also a shock to Wyatt to see how fragile his parents' relationship was right after his birth. He had no memory of them ever being anything less than head-over-heels for each other and none of the adults had ever spoken of Piper and Leo's relationship troubles. Anna, however, had grown up overhearing vicious arguments between the two on the rare occasion that Leo was around. Those fights had almost always ended with Piper near or in tears after blowing up her ex, so Anna simply blamed their father for everything.

When they weren't following their family, they were hunting down various demons on Anna's list while Wyatt worked on convincing his sister to be less obsessive.

"Anna, I get that you're desperate okay? And I understand why. I'm not exactly eager to become a genocidal maniac either, you know? But if you barge in and start trying to control our family, what do you think will happen?"

"It was different when you didn't know who was after me, but we know who turns me now. Don't give him the satisfaction of running your life Annie."

"Which would you prefer? To watch our family vanquish demons, or to do it yourself?"

Reluctantly, the Halliwell girl had given in to her brother and agreed to only send their family after demons that needed the Power of Three or at least once a month. She'd pointed out that as their Whitelighters they would have a responsibility to send them on vanquishes. Unlike Leo, Anna was unwilling to let them skate by without fulfilling their duties as good witches. They'd also decided that Wyatt would be the 'liaison' between the time travellers and the sisters.

It was a sore fact that Wyatt knew the sisters better than her. Wyatt had never been without them after all, while Anna had buried them all at twelve. Anna had never gotten to know them as anything other than perfect parental figures while Wyatt knew them as people. Wyatt suspected that she was more shaken up then she would admit by seeing them as regular people with flaws.

On top of that, while Wyatt had grown up as normally as he could with demon attacks on a regular basis, Annie had grown up in a broken household with an abusive brother. She'd been orphaned (because Leo hadn't ever been her dad in anything but name) at twelve, when she'd also essentially become a parent to six kids and been a war leader since she was fourteen. Her social skills were, to be blunt, awful. Without the bond of family to make them view her personality fondly, all she would do is cause difficulties, a fact Anna herself had pointed out.

On Anna's own suggestion, they'd decided to say that the reason for her fanaticism with demon killing was witnessing her best friend and best friend's family be slaughtered, before being tortured by the same demons. Wyatt hated the fact that he suspected it wasn't a lie. They'd be telling their family a lot of false truths in the coming year, that Anna was tortured wasn't one of them.

Currently, Anna was at P3 under glamours, watching their mother and aunts again. She had cast a spell to let her hear the three women despite being on opposite sides of the room.

While Phoebe was simply chatting casually with someone who seemed like a regular guy, and Piper was running the bar, Paige's conversation was genuinely interesting to Anna.

"Then I graduated from Stanford law in '98," the guy was explaining, but anyone could tell that Paige was distracted and not listening. Her next sentence confirmed her lack of attention and made Anna snort softly in amusement.

"Harvard law. Hm, that's impressive. So do you want to give to a charity, or what?"

"I said Stanford, not Harvard."

Paige leaned in with a serious look. "Let me ask you something. Have you been having any kind of end of the world, fire and brimstone, doomsday kind of dreams lately?" The guy promptly leaned away from her at the question, and Anna couldn't really blame him for it. Paige was acting weird.

"Wait a minute," the guy raised his hands with a nervous chuckle to fend her off. "Is this some sort of religious charity?"

Paige blinked like she was completely taken off-guard by his question. "Huh?"

Phoebe came walking up to them giving her sister a lethal look.

"No, it's not," she declared in a forcibly bright voice. "It's for children."

"Right," scoffed the guy. "Yeah. Hey, to each his own, but I'm not into the whole fire and brimstone thing." He walked and Phoebe threw her hands up in the air in exasperation.

"Paige, you're supposed to be flirting with the bachelors, not frightening them."

"I'm sorry, I guess I'm just a little off," the youngest sister admitted, looking apologetic.

Phoebe placed her hands on her hips, a stern look on her face. "Well, my husband's going on a month-long business trip to Hong Kong next week, I'm thoroughly depressed. But I still managed to sign up six people and you have..." She trailed off as Paige handed her her clipboard with a grumpy look.

"I have none people."

"None people!" Phoebe exclaimed, she cast her sister a look of both concern and frustration. "Paige, I know you've been in a bad mood but this is getting a little crazy."

Paige crossed her arms sulkily. "What? I've barely slept all week. I keep having these strange dreams about ancient wars and weird magic. All very disturbing."

"Do you think they mean something?" Phoebe asked in a hushed tone and Paige shrugged.

"I don't know. It could be hormones. More likely, it could be my subconscious trying to tell me something."

Anna decided that was her signal to leave and she stood, not bothering to leave a tip. Hey, she was going to inherit it after all.


May 8 th , 2003

"The heatwave's definitely here," the Twice-Blessed groaned the next morning, waving his hand in front of his face.

Anna, dressed in only a thin white tank top and drawstring shorts, shot him an irritated look for interrupting her reading. He wished she wouldn't be so uncovered, not because of modesty, but because of all her scars. It was agony to see the evidence of her suffering and know that nothing he did would get rid of her pain.

She was going over the true story of the Titans' first defeat, double-checking to ensure she had all the information they would need for the coming attack to work out the way she had planned it to.

"Really?" She snapped. "I hadn't noticed. And it could be worse anyway," she added, making Wyatt shoot her a disbelieving look.

"How could it possibly be worse?" He grumbled. "I'm literally baking, Annie. Baking!"

"One of the Resistance bases is hidden in a volcano," she revealed with a smirk. "Now, that's hot."

"An active volcano?" Wyatt demanded. "You're completely insane," he added at her grin, making her roll her green eyes.

"Whatever," she sighed. "Now, we need to focus on the matter at hand. Let's go over the plan again, okay?"

Wyatt huffed, pushing himself into a sitting position. "Fine," he muttered. "It's not like we haven't been over the plan about sixty million times in past week alone or anything." He trailed off at the withering glare she sent his way.

"We orb in just after Au- after Paige turns to stone," Anna began briskly, tucking her hair behind her ear. It had grown over the past few months, now reaching to brush her shoulders.

"We introduce ourselves as Will and Anna Perry, from the future. We don't volunteer any information about the future, got it?" She glared sternly at Wyatt, having learnt over the past three months how lackadaisical he was about protecting their secrets.

Wyatt grimaced but nodded. He didn't like the thought of lying, especially not to their mother of all people. And what if Piper saw right through them? What then? Still, Anna's worry about the third, unknown timeline had him bowing to her superior knowledge.

"Now," Anna went on. "We're going to tell them that we're Whitelighters, and say that Paige would have died if not for our interference. That broke the Power of Three, and let the Titans take over-"

"Can I make a suggestion?" Wyatt asked carefully.

Anna narrowed her eyes, looking suspiciously at him. Wyatt had never before dared to try and mess with 'The Plan'. Anna had been working on it for over two years now, carefully going over last little detail. His arrival had forced her to adjust it already, so for the sake of her not killing him, Wyatt had avoided changing it as much as he could. One thing that both Annas had in common was their obsession with keeping their plans in tact after all. 

"You were just going to say that a demon got to me, right?" He confirmed, Anna nodded without widening her eyes from their narrow stare. "Well, not saying what they did to me is just going to make them suspicious of us. After all, we're pretending not to be family, so we have no reason to come back from the future, just to save some kid we don't have a connection to from an attack that won't even be fatal. You'd be suspicious too."

Of course, Anna was suspicious that shopkeepers were really upper-level demons sent from her future to kill them so that wasn't saying much. Still, Anna had grudgingly acknowledged his statement, and he took it as permission to continue.

"So, I was thinking. Instead of refusing to tell them anything at all, we say an upper-level demon stole my powers, and my future ones too. Then he used them, and his other powers, to become the new Source and take over. He was too powerful to defeat because the Power of Three was gone, and he hid his identity so we were sent back to stop him rising to power completely. And we won't have to admit to lying about Paige either. We have to give them some information if we want them to cooperate."

Anna was silent for a bit as she contemplated that. "We should say that the Titans were eventually defeated again, but too late for Paige as well," she decided. "It'll make our lie less fragmented. If they can't trust us to tell the truth, it'll make things harder. Everyone's all about honesty at this time."

"So, you agree with me?" Wyatt asked hopefully, Anna nodding reluctantly.

"Yes," she sighed. "It's a good idea," she admitted reluctantly. Wyatt grinned and Anna quickly turned back to the plan.

"We have to wait for a few months, until Mom is pregnant with me at least, and then we can go after Gideon."

"Why do we have to wait until Mom's pregnant again?" Wyatt asked sheepishly, making Anna roll her eyes at his lack of time travel knowledge.

"Because," she explained impatiently. "If we don't make sure that she's pregnant with me, we risk her not getting pregnant at all or with someone else. Remember, you were supposed to be a girl named Melinda and I wasn't supposed to be born at all."

Grimacing, Wyatt nodded.

"Besides," Anna added. "By then, he'll definitely be far enough into his plan that we'll be able to find evidence. We'll give it to the Elders, they'll recycle his soul, and we can go to our new timeline."

"What happens to us in that timeline?" Wyatt asked curiously. The question had been nagging at him for a while. Anna grimaced and shrugged, her nose wrinkling slightly.

"Basically, we'll merge together," she explained. "They'll get all of our memories and scars, and Time should compensate for the change."

Wyatt bit his lip nervously as Anna gave a smile that she tried to infuse with confidence.

"This'll work," she half-said, half-begged.

"It has to," Wyatt solemnly responded.


May 11 th , 2003

"Don't look into her eyes!" Anna exclaimed as she orbed between Phoebe and the murderous Titan. Wyatt started grabbing potions and tossing them at Meta. They didn't harm her, but they did disrupt her attempt to steal Paige's orbing power.

The Titan shot them a bitter look before disappearing.

"Are you alright?" Wyatt asked as he quickly helped the two women up and Phoebe let out a gasp of horror at the sight of her petrified sister.

"Oh my god!" She shrieked. "Paige!" She rushed to her baby sister, patting her delicately as Anna tried to reassure her.

"Don't worry," Anna urged the middle Charmed sister. "She's okay." Phoebe gave her an incredulous look and Wyatt waved his hand across his neck. Anna made a face. "Okay, so she's not alright," the witchlighter conceded. "But she's not dead, I swear."

"Are you sure?" Phoebe moaned, continuing to pat her sister in what Anna guessed was an attempt to comfort her. Why Phoebe wanted to comfort a stone was beyond Anna but maybe it was one of those 'didn't grow up in a warzone' things. Or maybe Phoebe was just weird, that was another strong possibility too.

"Yeah, she's alive," Wyatt jumped in. "Just petrified. Happens a lot. Really puts you off museums, though. Knowing those statues are just people from ancient times who got on the wrong side of the Titans or the gorgons."

"Who are you two?" Phoebe demanded, abruptly realizing that she didn't know her rescuers. Anna blinked as if she'd forgotten that they had yet to introduce themselves.

"Oh, sorry about that," Wyatt chuckled. His smile was so infectious that Phoebe had to give a small one in return despite her wariness.

"I'm Anna Perry," the girl hastily cut in, sure that if she didn't, Wyatt would say their real names instead of their aliases, ruining everything. "This is my brother Will. We're from the future."

Phoebe's eyebrows shot up in disbelief at the end of her statement but before she could continue the interrogation, Piper walked in.

In hindsight, it was probably lucky that they'd spoken to Piper in the grocery store, otherwise the sight of her up close for the first time in three months for Wyatt, and nine years for Anna would've knocked the air out of them both. As it was, only years of keeping her emotions under tight regulation kept Anna's tears at bay. Phoebe and Paige were hard enough, Piper was just pure agony. Not even Isax had dared to use Piper while torturing her.

"Oh my god!" Piper was exclaiming. "Please tell me that's just a really good likeness of Paige!"

Phoebe shook her head, going back to patting her sister's statue. "No, it's Paige," she confirmed miserably, making Piper groan in horror.

"A Titan turned her to stone," Anna chimed in after regaining her composure. Wyatt quickly scanned her, his shoulders relaxing slightly as he saw that she seemed to be okay.

The sisters turned their attention back to the others, eyes narrowing in suspicion.

"Who are you?" Piper demanded, hands raising slightly. "How'd you get in here? We have wards! And how'd the Titan get in too?"

"That's Anna and Will Perry," Phoebe answered the first question, a hint of mocking in her voice. "They're from the future."

"Yeah, but just like twenty years or so," Wyatt added before his sister could say anything else to increase the sisters' suspicion.

"Uh-huh," Piper said sceptically. "Friends or foes?"

"Not so sure yet," Phoebe answered curtly, making annoyance flash across Anna's face.

"What do you mean?" Anna demanded. "We saved Paige, didn't we?"

"Oh, you call that saving, do you?" Phoebe snapped back, pointing at her stone sister with one hand while the other went to her hip.

"Alright, let's all just calm down," Wyatt cut in. "Everyone's rightfully stressed, but Piper, Phoebe, I swear we just want to help. If the Titans aren't stopped, preferably sooner rather than later, they'll do a lot of damage. If we hadn't orbed in here-"

He was interrupted by Piper. "Did you say orb? You're Whitelighters? Both of you?"

Anna sighed to regain control of her temper. "Look, where I come from, history shows Paige didn't get turned into stone on this day... she died. And with her death the power of three died too, allowing Titans to create a world you don't wanna see, trust me. We're here to alter history. To help you save the future."

The haunted look in her eyes was enough to make the sisters begin to relax slightly. "Who sent you?" Phoebe asked.

"The Elders," Wyatt claimed before Anna could refuse to tell them anything outright. "But we can't say much else. If we do, it could change the future in ways we don't want."

"Who's we?" Piper's eyes narrowed again. Wyatt and Anna exchanged quick looks before Anna continued hesitantly.

"All I gotta say is, is that if we hadn't got here when we did, Paige would have been the third Whitelighter victim."

"Wait, third?" Phoebe demanded sharply. "I thought only one was missing?"

"Not anymore," Wyatt's grim expression was in sharp contrast to his usual cheerful one.

Piper started to yell at the ceiling. "Leo! Leo!" Leo quickly orbed in looking flustered.

"Honey, I'm sorry I missed counselling but..." He began to excuse himself, making Anna look down to hide an eyeroll while Piper cut him off.

"Forget that, we've got bigger problems."

"What happened?" Leo asked worriedly

"Forget that too," Piper snapped. "How many Whitelighters are missing?"

"What?" Leo's voice was full of bewilderment.

"How many?" Piper repeated.

"Uh, two," Leo blinked. "That's what the Elders just called me for."

"Believe us now?" Anna asked, hiding her smugness at Leo obviously being in trouble with his wife. He would be leaving her in the next few days to become an Elder, with or without their interference, so Anna's opinion was the more pissed Piper was, the less she would hurt at him going.

"Who're they?" Leo asked after registering the two strangers in his wife's attic. Abruptly, they heard a crash coming from downstairs.

"What was that?" Phoebe demanded, just as Cole's voice came floating up to them from the ground level.

"Phoebe! Piper! Paige! Little help down here!" Everyone save for the two from the future went rushing out of the room, leaving the time travellers alone with Paige's statue.

"Well," Wyatt clapped his hands. "I think that went well, don't you?" The look he received from Anna could have frozen dragon fire.

Chapter Text

Disclaimer: I don't own Charmed.

Chapter Seven

Amber: Protection and Strength

Anna exhaled as she finally took the opportunity to look around the room where she'd once spent hours at a time, being taught the duties of a Warren witch by Piper and her aunts, or watching the Charmed Ones plan out their vanquishes. When she'd arrived in the past, she had orbed out before even opening her eyes, having been able to sense Phoebe and Cole downstairs and not wanting to risk being discovered.

Now, she was seeing it as a well-used room, instead of the final stop in the Halliwell Memorial Museum tour, for the first time in years. It was frustratingly hard to suppress her emotions at the sight and Wyatt, placing a hand on her shoulder and giving her a worried look, only made it worse. She resisted the urge to attack him, suppressing her sudden, fierce anger at the fact that he dared to look at her with an expression of loving concern so like Piper's it did nothing but fuel her grief.

"Don't," she snapped at him, pulling away from his offered care and heading to the petrified Charmed One to examine her. She cocked her head, trying to probe Paige's thoughts and finding nothing but a disturbing blankness. Unsurprisingly, it felt the same as if she'd attempted to read the mind of a rock. She closed her eyes for a second, ignoring Wyatt's shifting and when she re-opened them, they were glowing with a faint light and everything was surrounded by colour.

"What do you see?" Wyatt asked impatiently, shifting back and forth nervously.

It briefly occurred to Anna that he was probably struggling too. He was in an unfamiliar time, with a girl who wore his sister's face but was hard and cold, and she was fairly sure that he had gotten quieter over the past few months. The scar on her left hip from Excalibur slicing through her tingled and any sympathy she had begun to dredge up for him disappeared.

"Her aura's being smothered," Anna finally responded after a moment, breaking out of her thoughts. It was always hard to think when she was looking at auras. Uncle Cole had once jokingly compared it to smoking pot and her mother had threatened to blast him for trying to corrupt her baby.

"What do you mean, smothered?" Wyatt asked, wrinkling his nose and Anna sighed slightly. She wasn't used to explaining, well, anything. It was exhausting, trying to figure out how to break down something that seemed so obvious to her into something that Wyatt would get.

"Paige's aura is naturally an orangey colour," she explained slowly. "Warm, friendly, artsy and fun. It radiates a lot of strength, what with the amount of power she has. At the moment, though, it's streaked with a grey colour. It's like they're in a deadlock, the orange keeping the grey from taking over and the grey dampening the range and strength of the orange. I can't explain it any better."

Wyatt waved her off, bouncing on the soles of his feet. "No, I got you," he assured her. "you should probably turn that off," he added. "Someone'll probably be up soon to check and see what we're doing. You don't want to get caught all glowy-eyed."

Her eyes went up to the ceiling as she prayed to a goddess she no longer believed in for patience. "Glowy-eyed?"

He nodded, still bouncing, she noted. Before she could form a scathing sentence, she heard hurried footsteps on the stairs and quickly shut her eyes to turn off her aura-sight. She opened them and moved to flip through the Book with Wyatt leaning as casually as he could against the lectern as Piper rushed in, eyes narrowed in suspicion.

The expression reminded Anna of whenever her mother would get suspicious of whether or not one of her children had done something against the rules. Only, of course, the Piper who raised her would never have that expression of distrust on her face when speaking to her kids. Suspicion, yes. Distrust, never.

"What are you doing?" Piper demanded in hostile voice as she spotted the two at her family's most important object.

"What does it look like I'm doing?" Anna scoffed. "I'm trying to find a way to free stone-cold Paige over here."

"Step away," Piper ordered, eyes narrowing.

Anna rolled her eyes as she responded. "Please, like I haven't looked in this before." Wyatt shot her a warning look as she continued, deflecting from her slip. "By the way, you should update your goblins entry. It'll come in handy someday."

"Goblins?" Piper blinked in surprise and they both nodded, Wyatt casting her a boyish grin.

"Yeah, trust me. It's gonna get ugly. Look, obviously you don't trust me, but I touched the book, right? And the book thinks I'm good. Shouldn't you?"

"Well, maybe you found a way around that," the eldest Charmed sister challenged.

"Piper, please," Wyatt begged. "We're just trying to help."

"Well, then if that's true," Piper refused to back down an inch. "Why don't you tell me how to vanquish the Titans?"

Wyatt turned to his sister, letting the cleverest of the two siblings take over. "Except you can't vanquish them," she corrected, popping her cheek, a habit she'd stopped after turning eleven.

Piper nodded, like she'd expected that answer. "You mean, not without the Power of Three."

"Maybe not even with that," Anna told her grimly, Piper looking stunned at the thought of her family's sacred Power failing.

"The only way the Elders could stop them three thousand years ago was by infusing some mortals with a hell of a lot of power. Way more than even you guys have."

"So they can do that again," Piper shrugged, making her future children both shake their heads.

"Not after what happened last time," Anna corrected her young mother. "When the mortals trapped the Titans, the power went to their heads. They declared themselves gods and forced the world to worship them. The Elders swore they would never allow that to happen again."

Piper held up a hand, making Wyatt grin at her fondly while a pain hit Anna in her heart. It was such a Piper thing to do.

"Hang on a second, I'm having a ninth grade flashback. You're talking about the Greek gods, Zeus, Athena, Aphrodite? They were mortals?"

Anna nodded in confirmation, flipping her ponytail over her shoulder. "Mythology left that part out," she drawled. "Not the only inaccuracy by the way."

"No kidding," Wyatt chimed in. "You know Medusa-" he was cut off by Phoebe entering with a dwarf and a leprechaun trailing at her heels.

"Phoebe, what are you doing?" Piper looked and sounded exasperated. "You're supposed to be-"

Phoebe waved her off. "I know, I know. But Cole's keeping an eye on everyone and I thought they could help us free Paige. After all, a leprechaun's luck has helped us before."

She patted the dwarf on the shoulder and Wyatt sniggered slightly, the chuckle turning into a hiss when Anna stamped quickly on his foot.

"He's the leprechaun, I'm one of the seven dwarves," the dwarf growled grumpily at her. "Try to keep it straight, will you?"

"Sorry," Phoebe winced as Finnegan walked over to the statue.

"It's gonna take a lot more than just me luck to free this one," he predicted. "We're gonna need some pixie dust too."

"I'll get a fairy," the dwarf offered, heading for the door. "Left my axe downstairs anyway."

"Okay, so where are we?" Phoebe turned to her non-petrified sister and the time travellers.

"Screwed," Piper retorted quickly. "Possibly. One thing I'm still not clear about. If the Titans are roaming around, why are they killing Whitelighters?"

The siblings exchanged dark looks as Anna answered. "Because they need their orbing power."

Piper blinked in confusion and dawning realization. "Their orbing power? What on earth would they wanna do with... oh my god. Leo!" She raced out of the attic leaving two solemn witchlighters and one confused witch.

"Wh-What'd I miss?" Phoebe stammered. "What did she just figure out?"

"Nothing good," Anna sighed, eyes going to the floor as Wyatt clenched his jaw and looked away.


"I know it seems like she doesn't care," Wyatt interrupted the discussion between the Charmed Ones and Cole. The two turned to look at them, Piper stepping forward intimidatingly.

"My sister was turned to stone and my husband's been out of contact for five hours now. Your sister is completely indifferent! Does she have a heart of ice or something?"

Wyatt was the most relaxed of the Halliwell family, but that didn't mean he had no temper. He had the same temper that every Halliwell had, and it flared to life at his mother claiming that Annette, of all people, was heartless.

"How dare you!" He spat, eyes darkening in rage. Despite herself, Piper stepped back. "My sister's a soldier, you don't know anything about what she's been through! Excuse her for being more concerned with the lives of the billions of innocents who are at risk than whether or not your immortal husband is here to comfort you or not! God, the woman I knew was never so selfish!"

"The woman you knew?" Cole cut in, scanning the blonde with narrow eyes. "How do you know them?"

The two sisters were glancing away guiltily. They both knew that they had a responsibility and they weren't living up to it.

"It doesn't matter right now," Piper interjected. "Will's right, we're not acting like the Charmed Ones. We need to fix Paige and figure out a plan to stop the Titans."

Phoebe nodded and Wyatt relaxed into a grin.

"I'm gonna go check on Wyatt while you two and Will try and figure out how to free Paige," the Halliwell matriarch ordered, her family nodding.

Wyatt briefly thought about how weird it was that his mother was going to check on him when he was right there but put the thought aside, turning to study the still-petrified youngest Charmed One.


Anna grimaced as she appeared in the Heavens. The sight of the bodies didn't bother her, not after all this time, but the white colour stung her eyes.

Leo was sitting beside an Elder Anna obviously didn't know. She discreetly rolled her eyes at the sight of his grief. 'Because of course,' she scoffed mentally. 'When you lose someone crying fixes it.' Crying had never helped her, heck usually it made things worse because of the headache you ended up with. Like most people in her timeline, Anna scorned tears nowadays, deeming them an inconvenience.

She moved forward and caught Leo's attention, his head jerking up. Rage flashed across his tearstained face and it took all her self-control not to take him down when he lunged for her. Instead, she allowed him to grab her and shove her against a nearby pillar, hands locked around her neck.

"Why?" He yelled at her, squeezing her throat. "Why did you let this happen?"

'Some pacifist,' she thought sneeringly, grasping his wrists.

"Easy," she snapped. "Easy!"

"Why!" Leo repeated an enraged look in his eye.

"Because this had to happen!" Anna exclaimed. "It had to happen so you could do what has to be done."

Leo released her, stepping away from the young woman. "What are you talking about? They're all dead. Gone."

Anna shook her head in rebuttal. "No. Not all of them. Some of the Elders escaped back to earth but it won't be long before the Titans hunt them down too. But you can still stop them. You can still defeat the Titans."

"How?" Leo asked helplessly, making his future daughter lift her chin and stare challengingly at him.

"I think you know how." Her voice was steady as she bored holes in his head.

Leo shook his head. "It's too dangerous. The Elders forbid it."

Anna nodded in acknowledgement. "True. But then again, the Elders aren't around to stop you now, are they? That's right, Leo. This is what it's all about. This is why they had to die so you could do something they'd never do. To save a future for your family, for your son."

If anything could make him act this early, instead of waiting another week in which another three hundred of the four hundred and sixty surviving Elders, and thousands of innocents would die, it would be the thought of Wyatt. And Anna definitely didn't resent the fact that the thought of her wouldn't have done the same for him in her time. Nope, she certainly didn't.

"This is crazy."

Anna shrugged indifferently. "Maybe, but it's our only chance. Like it or not, you've been put in this situation for a reason, Leo. We both have."

Leo looked suspiciously at her. "Says you. How do I know you're not trying to manipulate the situation for your own future? Just the way you've manipulated everything else."

"You don't. But what choice do you really have? There's certainly no future unless you do something."

"I don't know," Leo muttered anxiously. "Even if I were to believe you, even if I were willing, I couldn't. I'm no Elder."

Anna nearly told him that he better start acting like one. Wyatt's pleading face appeared in her vision and she sighed.

"If you don't do this now. If you decide to wait," she warned him. "Then the Elders will be hunted down almost to extinction, and billions of innocents will suffer. All because you were too afraid to break the rules again. So you better decide soon." She orbed away, leaving him to contemplate her dark prediction on his own in the dead-lined halls.

Hey, Anna never claimed to be a comforting sort of person. That was good Wyatt.


 "Now!" Phoebe called, throwing the potion in her hand. Finnegan held out his gold nugget, hitting the statue with good luck. "Hit it!" The dwarf hit the statue with his pick and the stone crumbled and freed Paige. She was blinking, obviously confused at the sudden change in companions.

"Honey, hi!" Phoebe squealed as she hugged her sister. "Oh, I'm so happy to see you. Are you okay?"

"Yeah," Cole agreed. "Glad to see that you're looking okay."

Paige looked around in disorientation. "What happened? Where's the Titan? What the hell are these guys doing here?"

"Long story," Phoebe pulled her towards the door as Wyatt and Cole muttered their thanks to the magical creatures. "I'll tell you on the way."

Wyatt and Cole wandered down to the living room, overhearing Piper confessing that she didn't think Leo was coming back as they arrived at the door.

"Don't think like that," Wyatt blurted out, drawing the sisters' attention. "I mean," he inhaled. "Leo loves you, and you guys have a kid together. He doesn't seem like the kind of guy to just abandon that. Just be positive, change doesn't have to be bad, you know."

Piper straightened, nodding and giving him a weak smile. "You're right," she murmured. "We've fought so hard to have our family, he won't just give that up without a fight."

The dwarf strutted in, axe over his shoulder. "Sorry to interrupt," he announced. "But we're leaving now."

"What? Why, where are you going?" Cole interrogated, eyes narrowing in bemusement. The Halliwell Manor was one of the most protected places on Earth, with the Charmed Ones there. Why would the creatures leave that safety?

"Didn't you hear the distress call?" The dwarf returned seriously. "The surviving Elders have all been flushed out. We're going to protect them. The Elf'll stay here to watch the kid while you battle the Titans. Ciao." He hurried off leaving three upset sisters, one unhappy former demon, and an anxious Twice-Blessed who had just become the focus of their attention.

"What did he mean distress call?"


 "Leo!" Piper's voice echoed through the Heavens as Leo exited an elaborate pair of doors with an urn clutched carefully in his arms.

"Piper," he muttered, moving as if to orb away, only for Anna to stop him with a sharp shake of her head.

"No, Leo," she insisted firmly. "Leave her be. Will, Cole and her sisters are with her. You need to do this."

"But she needs me!" Leo protested even as he reluctantly acknowledged that Anna was right. She fixed him with a firm look.

"Not as much as the rest of the world needs you," Anna said flatly. "You need to stay here and coordinate with the rest of the Elders."

"Does your brother know your plan?" Leo asked. Anna exhaled and nodded.

"Yes," she said.

"You should go and warn them anyway," Leo decided. Anna raised an eyebrow at that. She didn't approve of wasting resources.

"I was going to set up some wards for the Elders," she told him. "And then I thought I'd draw the Titans' attention. You can coordinate easier if they're busy chasing me."

Leo blinked slightly before frowning slightly in concern. "You'd be in a lot of danger."

Anna gave a bitter smile. "I'm a soldier," she told him bluntly. "Being a Whitelighter hasn't changed that for me. I'm used to being hunted, I'll be fine." She added a "Good luck," as an afterthought.


 Despite her plans, Anna went to the Manor first. She was greeted by Piper with a sharp, "Where's Leo?"

Anna couldn't help the hint of eagerness in her olive-coloured eyes as she watched the three sisters. "He's Up There where he's safe." She would have added a "For now," but Wyatt hastily stopped her through their fragile mental link. She turned to her youngest aunt. "Paige, hi."

"Hi," blinked the redhead.

"Forget that," Piper snapped. "What's going on? Your brother keeps saying you'll explain." Anna shot Wyatt an irritated look and he shrugged sheepishly at her.

"What is this about us supposedly battling the Titans?" Phoebe interjected, her husband crossing his arms to try and intimidate the young woman. Anna, who had been raised by the Charmed Ones and faced down the most-powerful Source ever on a regular basis, didn't blink.

"You're about to find out," Anna's lips stretched into a smirk.

"What's that supposed to mean?" Paige asked sharply.

A tornado of light began to swirl around the girls. It disappeared and revealed them wearing outfits from ancient Greece. Phoebe's hair had turned extremely long and blonde hair, making Cole yelp in shock. Paige was holding onto a trident.

"That's what that means," Anna announced, gesturing grandly at them.

"What happened?" Paige gasped. "What are we?"

"You're gods," Anna declared, growing solemn.


 

Nov 13th, 2027 (Changed Future)

They had hurried back to the Manor en masse after Anna's collapse and Leo's shocking announcement. Anna was still in stasis, her head resting in Niko's lap as Piper sat beside them, stroking her daughter's dark hair. Phoebe and Cole took on the responsibility of explaining what had happened in 2003 and 2004, explaining OtherAnna's trip to the past.

Wyatt looked shattered at the revelation that his sister had died to him keep him from turning evil once, and now might do so again.

"Why now?" Niko asked hoarsely, drawing attention from the Halliwells. "Why is it affecting her now?"

"Anna is the same age right down to the hour that she died," Cole finally stated, stumbling over the word 'died'. "Her, body," he forced out the word. "Disappeared. We never knew where to. I guess it went back to the equivalent age and date for her new self, and merged with her. The wounds she has were all scars on OtherAnna's body. Her tattoos and stuff have all appeared too." 

Wyatt flinched at that. "What do we do now?" He demanded.

He wasn't used to feeling like this, feeling  helpless . The closest was when Annie burst her appendix when she was six and they couldn't heal her because it wasn't magic-related. But this was worse because this could  actually  be lethal. His worry and distress worsened when the adults all exchanged despairing looks.

"There's no cure for a cursed athame," Cole explained, anguish in his face as he stared at his pale niece. "And Anna's already very weak from the other injuries she got. I don't know what we could do to help her."

"We can't just let her die!" Niko half-shouted. He made as if to stand but Anna's weight stopped him. "We have to do something," he begged. "Aren't you supposed to be the most powerful witches in the world?"

"He's right," Piper said. "I'm not going to just stand back and let my baby die!"

Her eyes blazed in determination as she stood and made her way to the Book of Shadows, evidently with a spell in mind. She flipped through the pages furiously, barely avoiding ripping some of them and ignoring her family's questions as she did so. She stopped on a page, staring down at it.

"This is it," she said, soft enough to be called a whisper.

"This is what?" Leo demanded, desperation in his voice and face as he looked at his wife.

"The spell Anna used to go back in time and keep her powers."

A ripple of shock ran through the room as her two sisters hastened over to see the spell for themselves. Paige looked up and nodded.

"So what are you suggesting we do?" Wyatt asked.

"If we can't heal the injuries," Piper stubbornly declared. "Then we'll just prevent them happening in the first place." She went on, seeing the confusion in her family's eyes, though Cole had a look of dawning understanding in his own blue eyes.

"We go back in time and stop Anna from," she faltered, unable to speak of the terrible event even years after OtherAnna had been killed. "We save her from Gideon," she corrected herself. "We can heal the other injuries that she got, it was only the, athame, that was the problem. We save her from that, we save her now too."

"It could work," Leo murmured, strain on his face. He couldn't keep his eyes off his daughter, his head turning to check on her every few moments.

"Except that we can't all go," Phoebe grimly pointed out. "It would disstablize the world, all of that power outside of its' proper time. And it would overstretch the Power of Three as well."

"Then I'll go," Wyatt didn't even consider it, simply stepping forward to volunteer. Everyone gave him sharp looks, Piper beginning to shake her head in refusal.

"It makes sense," he pressed. "My baby self won't be anywhere near magical majority. I can go and stay until the younger me is twenty-one without any problems. Please Mom, you know it's the only way to save her."

She dropped her gaze to her statue-like daughter. They'd worried constantly over Wyatt when Anna was in the past, but they had never been so concerned about their obviously capable adult daughter.

Learning her compassionate, battle-scarred daughter was dead without ever getting the chance to see the bright future she had created had shattered Piper's heart. Annie had been nearly four months old before Piper would even take her out of the house for anything save doctor's appointments. It was another month before Piper would even leave her alone with her sisters or brother-in-law.

And she'd never really managed to let go of her habit of being overprotective of Annie, despite said girl's fiercely independent streak.

"Promise me that you'll be safe," Piper begged her son, meeting his desperate hazel-blue eyes. "I can't lose either of you."

"I swear Mom. I swear I'll come back with Anna safe and healthy in tow."

Chapter Text

Disclaimer: I don't own Charmed

When Baby Wyatt is in the scene, or it's the sisters'/Cole/Leo's perspective, Adult Wyatt will be called Will.

Chapter Eight

Diamond: Intuition and Astral Travel

May 12 th , 2003

"You expect us to beat the Titans dressed like this?" Piper scoffed derisively, gesturing at her clothes. "Maybe at a costume party."

"That's not a costume," Anna answered without missing a beat.

Wyatt was mildly amazed at how well she was hiding her feelings. He was amazed how well he was doing too actually. He suspected it would've gone a lot worse if Anna hadn't spent the past three months drilling him on keeping a blank expression and lying. As well as giving him long lectures on the dangers of time travel and how they could cause someone to be erased from time if they weren't extremely careful.

"That represents your new position and power," Anna continued to explain as her brother got lost in his thoughts.

"Power?" Paige asked eagerly. "Power's good. I like power." She paused to think for a moment while Wyatt, Cole and Piper shot her bewildered looks. Phoebe was draped over her husband, nibbling at his ear. "Why do I like power?"

"Because you're the goddess of war," Anna told her matter-of-factly, though her calmness wasn't quite able to cover her anxiety at the two younger Charmed Ones' actions.

"Ahh," Paige drawled. "Well, I guess that explains the pitch fork."

Anna jumped sideways to avoid the deadly weapon, Wyatt quickly grabbing his sister's arm and pulling her further away from the sharp points.

"It's not a pitch fork, it's a trident. Be careful, that's a formidable weapon."

"Right on," Paige cheered, jabbing her trident. "Who wants to fight?"

"I'm a lover, not a fighter," Phoebe's voice was dreamy as she laid her head on Cole's shoulder, walking her fingers over his chest and making him swallow. Wyatt was too traumatized by his aunts' actions to speak, he could only stare in horror at the sight.

"You're the goddess of love," Anna announced and Piper nodded sarcastically.

"Naturally," the eldest Charmed witch scoffed. "Well, then that must make me the goddess of sanity because I find this ridiculous."

"Actually, Leo gave you dominion over the earth and all its natural elements," Anna told her.

"Wait a minute, you're saying that Leo did this to us?" Piper's tone was sharp to hide her panic at the witchlighter's words.

"Cole, Baby," Phoebe cooed. "Let's go to our bedroom. There's so much I want to do to you right now." Cole choked at her words while Anna went on talking, ignoring Phoebe.

"As you can see, all of you have drives and urges based on your powers. Don't let them distract you, alright? Stay focused, focused on the Titans."

"Hold it, hun," Piper waved her hands. "I don't know what kind of game you're running here, but Leo is not in the god-making business."

"How old are you, anyway?" Phoebe asked Wyatt, scanning him appreciatively. He stared at her in horror, whimpering slightly. He would need decades of therapy to recover from this.

"The Elders forbid it," Piper stubbornly insisted. "And if anything, Leo is a company man."

"The Elders did forbid it," Anna agreed, voice hard. "And guess what, they're dead. Most of them anyway. Leo's in charge up there now and he's taken a huge risk that you three won't lose your humanity like the ancient Greeks... Whoa!" She cut herself off when Paige stuck her trident into her shirt and lifted her up into the air.

"You killed the Elders," Paige accused. "You could've prevented it. I say we kill her, and then her brother too."

"Let go of my sister!" Wyatt's voice was furious and Piper felt a jolt of guilt.

She knew that look he had in his eye. She wore it every time Phoebe or Paige was in danger. She forced herself to let go of her anger at the time traveller. "My sister's a soldier!" She remembered Will's words. "You have no idea what she's been through!" They were both in their early, maybe mid-twenties at most, far too young to have died. They were trying to save the world, not ruin her already-rocky marriage.

Anna orbed off the top of the trident, reforming on the opposite side of the room, Wyatt quickly joining her.

"I told you," Anna's voice held a hint of breathlessness. "Stay focused. In my future, all the Elders were killed. The world was ripped apart from the damage, the balance tipped to evil. That's why I came back. To convince Leo give you the power so this would never have to happen again."

Phoebe and Paige ignored her, Paige pointing her trident at the piano. "Hey, guys, watch this."

A bolt of lightning flew out of it and hit the piano, promptly breaking it into pieces.

"Put that thing down," Piper snapped. "You're gonna hurt someone."

Paige grinned bloodthirstily. "I certainly hope so. Do you know the kind of damage this thing could do?"

"A lot," Anna suggested wryly. She scowled at her elder brother putting himself between her and the crazed witches. Cole muttered a curse, unable to think of anything else to say.

"Paige, make love, not, you know," Phoebe dreamily advised. "There's no door love can't open, no wall love can't climb, not hurdle love can't..." She paused to think of a word. "Hurdle."

"This is the worst battle strategy in history," Cole said dryly. "The girls can't fight the Titans like this." Piper in agreement, a stressed-out expression on her face.

Phoebe snapped her fingers in realization. "Ooh, that reminds me. I'm late for the bachelor auction. I'm gonna go pick up a guy or two, or twelve."

She clapped her hands and a pink misty heart appeared. A pink swirl of mist surrounded her and she disappeared from the room.

"Phoebe?" Cole called his wife's name frantically.

"Ooh, that's a good idea," Paige declared cheerfully. "I'm gonna go get in some target practice with some demons. Watch out Titans." She disappeared in a flash of lightning.

"Damn," Wyatt said weakly after she disappeared. "That's not good." Anna cast him an irritated look.

"Really?" She hissed at him. "We've got two over-powered witches running around, and the Titans! No one said anything about this!"

Wyatt bit his lip looking at his two remaining parental-figures.

Cole glanced back, and blinked as it suddenly hit him as well how young they both looked. Young and scared and overwhelmed and trying desperately to hide it. He softened, feeling bad for the two. They were obviously frantic and struggling to hold up under their responsibility. Even Paige had been older when she learnt that she was a Charmed One. They were too young to be dealing with this, saving the world was the sisters' responsibility, not these two people barely out of their teen years. They were college age for crying out loud!

"Okay," he sighed. "I'll go get Phoebe. Piper can you take Paige? Will and Anna can take care of Wyatt with the Elf-nanny."

Anna cut in quickly, looking terrified at the thought of being entrusted with a small child. "I was gonna distract the Titans," she said hastily. "Lead 'em away so that the girls could practise and gain control and the Elders could stay hidden. Will can watch your baby."

"What?" Will yelped. "That's a terrible idea! What if I drop it?"

"Drop it and the goddess of earth'll probably kill you," Anna promptly replied. "Bye," she added orbing away before they could stop her.

Will huffed. "Damn it Annie," he grumbled. Piper found herself smiling slightly. It was funny how obviously frightened the two Whitelighters were of a three-month-old child.

"Don't worry," she assured him. "Wyatt's sleeping and the Elf-nanny'll do most of the work. Just orb him to safety if there's an attack while we're gone."

Will swallowed and nodded.

"By the way," Piper added. "What did she mean by the goddess of earth? Is that what Leo made me into?"

Will nodded again. "Uhm, yeah," he said, raking a hand through his blonde curls nervously. "Your job is to provide balance. It's why you're the only one who hasn't lost yourself to the sudden power upgrade and stuff. Uh, Anna'd probably know more than me. Goddess, I hope she's okay. It's justlike her to run off and put herself in danger."

The other two studied him for a minute, making him flash back to his childhood.

"You said she was a soldier?" Cole asked, Wyatt's eyes darkened as he nodded stiffly.

"Was it very bad for her?" Piper asked. Wyatt swallowed and shrugged.

"She doesn't like to talk about it," he admitted. "Honestly, I'm kind of scared to press. She's a great person though," he added earnestly. "The most compassionate and determined person I've ever met. She's just," he faltered for a second before finishing lamely. "Neurotic."

Piper smiled sadly, her brown eyes flicking to a photo of Prue on the mantlepiece. "Sounds like Prue." She stepped back, looking at Cole. "Okay, let's go," she decided. "We need to hurry up and finish off the Titans."

He nodded and she grasped his hand, disappearing in a whirl of leaves.

Upstairs, the baby version of him started to wail and Wyatt grimaced as a shiver ran up his spine at the cries.


 

September 19 th , 2021 (Unchanged Future)

Anna bit her lip to keep from groaning in pain as Niko half-dragged, half-carried her down the steps into the hidden basement room. It was nearly four years since the start of war, but to Anna, it seemed like the fighting had started millennia ago, and she'd fought every minute of it.

"Alright," Brittany Reynolds, one of the first innocents ever saved by the Charmed Ones, and now a resistance-helper, whispered. "The medical supplies are over there. I'll send the alert to my contact. They'll send someone to smuggle you to a safehouse soon."

Niko nodded, placing Anna down on the old couch and heading for the first-aid kit. Granted, it was a Resistance first-aid kit, meaning it had regular stuff from pre-war times, and other stuff. Potions, herbal remedies and other things were stuffed in the bag. Brittany quickly headed back to the stairs, wary of Hunters coming for a search and finding her missing. Anna lay still, too exhausted to move after the recent fight.

"Okay," Niko muttered from beside her. It seemed to take all her strength to turn her head to look at him. He was pulling out various supplies.

Bandages, a bowl of water with a cloth hanging off it, a small vial of what Anna recognized as a potion designed to cleanse poison from the system, a bottle of oxycontin. He shook out a single pill and pressed it to her lips for her to dry swallow. She coughed slightly and he massaged her throat to help her.

Her lack of protests as he tended to her was proof of how bad the damage was. She only groaned softly when he pressed the cloth with the potion on it to her cut side and twitched slightly when he began to pull a threaded needle through the injury. Finally, over two hours had passed and Anna had regained some of her coherency.

"Thanks," she sighed, passing a hand over her sweaty forehead. Niko nodded crisply. She appreciated it. Nowadays, people who wasted time or words quickly made her lose her patience. She liked how professional Niko was.

"It'll probably be at least two days until we can leave," Niko informed her, a grim set to his jaw. Anna closed her eyes, cursing mentally as she made a mental map of how this could affect their respective duties.

Niko was at the most risk, if he missed a report, he would come under suspicion and Wyatt was not one to accept excuses.

"You go," she ordered. "I'll hang on here until an escort can get me."

He scoffed and turned to look firmly at her. Something seemed to twist in her stomach at the look in his caramel-coloured eyes.

"You can't seriously think that I'll leave you, Anna," he said and she looked away.

"Don't," she breathed. He raised an eyebrow at her and she sighed, pressing the heels of her palms into her eyes.

"Don't look at me like that," she hated how pleading she sounded.

The most powerful good witch alive, the second most powerful person in the world. And she was reduced to begging by a man who looked at her like  she  needed protecting, instead of  being  the protector. How had this gone from two reluctant allies having occasional sex to her heart stopping in fear when she thought of him being in danger?

"Not gonna happen," he promised her huskily.

"If this gets out-"

"I'm already dead," he cut her off. "I'm a spy for the Resistance, this doesn't change much." True enough, it would only result in a more gruesome death. Still.

He pressed his lips to hers. "Whatever happens, Annette Prudence Halliwell," he breathed. "You were worth it to me."


 

May 12 th , 2003

Piper was going mad. Paige was pouting over losing her 'followers', the Elf-nanny had just taken her baby and Future-Boy was covering his ears, eyes closed firmly. She rapped his shoulder and he jolted, snapping his eyes open and sighing in relief.

"Piper, thank god!" He exclaimed. "I've been scarred for life! Please, please, please, make her stop!" He waved at the room where Phoebe was being attended to by a bunch of men, including a dazed looking Cole.

"Damn it," Piper muttered, she wondered why he wasn't being affected by Phoebe's magic. Maybe he was gay or something. She pursed her lips and nodded. "Okay, your sister, she knows about this thing, right?" Will nodded uncertainly.

"More than me anyway," he answered anxiously. "Anna's the brains and I'm the brawn. Except she doesn't really need my brawn either. Clever enough to take care of herself, really. Just has a habit of putting herself in danger if it gets her what she wants to know."

"Okay, great," Piper cut off his nervous rambling. "Can you get her and send her here while you distract the Titans for a while? She might be able to help us come up with a plan."

"I came up with a plan," Paige sulked. "Before you got rid of my followers." Piper fixed her baby sister with a stern look.

"You're not allowed followers," she told her firmly. Paige pouted like a child who was being refused a toy that they wanted. Piper refused to back down. "Phoebe's losing her followers too," she added.

"I'll go get Anna," Will interjected. He cast another disturbed look at the sitting room, shuddered, and orbed away. Piper felt herself smile briefly at his discomfort before heading into the living room try and corral her sister.

"What the heck is this?" Anna demanded, stalking in a little while later with a frustrated expression.

Piper glanced at her. The more time she spent with the Whitelighters, the more convinced she was they hadn't been Whitelighters long. Piper wondered why they'd been chosen to time travel instead of someone the Halliwells knew. Or at least someone with more experience. That led her down a dark train of thought though so she put it away.

"Goddesses gone wild," Anna went on. "Seriously, you guys are stronger than this! Control yourselves! What would happen if a Titan attacked right now?"

"I've got it, thanks Anna, now calm down," Piper snapped. She raised her arms and the men all disappeared in a swirl of leaves while Cole blinked and shook himself, regaining his sense.

"Ugh," he groaned while Phoebe huffed and crossed her arms in disappointment.

"Oh, thank the goddess," Anna sighed. "That's better."

"Time for a reality check," Piper told her sisters sternly. "Leo didn't give us these powers so we could form armies or love cults. The ancient Greeks indulged in their whims that way and look what they became."

"Petty, evil, vindictive," Anna muttered.

"Very helpful," Cole told her dryly as Piper gave her an annoyed look.

"Thanks, I've got it," she hissed. "Now... hi! Can you two get it under control?"

"Reason and judgement are the qualities of a leader," Paige quoted, lifting a finger. "Tacitus, 100 A.D." Cole stared at her with a horrified expression, switching it to Phoebe when she started talking.

"Love will keep us together," the middle sister told them dreamily. "Captain and Tennille. 1970s." Anna grimaced, sparing a moment to hope that neither useless optimism nor hippie stupidity were contagious as she rubbed her temples irritably.

"Fascinating," Piper answered dryly. "Now, can we figure out a way to beat the Titans, 'cause I for one would like my family back. Soon."

A jingle rang out, making them all look around, Anna cocking her head to listen better.

"Is that a jingle?" Phoebe wondered.

"There are no Elders up there," Paige pointed out. "Who's jingling?"

"It's Leo," Anna explained, wearing a distant look as she interpreted the noise.

"Leo can jingle?" Piper asked, worry creasing her brow at the time traveller's nod.

"Yep. He says an Elder's under attack. Like it or not, it's time to face the Titans."


 

Egypt, May 13th, 2003

As the Charmed Ones and Cole went off to fight the Titans, Anna orbed to her brother's side. She appeared with her arms crossed and her lips pursed.

"You were supposed to keep the Titans distracted," she scolded. Her gaze fell to his singed shirt and she sighed, moving closer and orbing some supplies from their hideout to tend to them.

"Thanks," Wyatt muttered, letting out a grunt of pain as she began to clean the wound.

"Our lives would be much easier if you could heal yourself," She huffed. "Don't be such a baby," she added as he groaned. "It's not that bad. You'll be fine."

"I don't like doing this," he admitted abruptly. He hissed sharply as Anna started smoothing a salve over his burn. Her jaw was tight.

"It's not fair to Mom and Dad, putting them through this," he insisted. "And what about you? What if they don't conceive you?"

Anna sighed, beginning to bandage the burn. She was neither used to, nor did she like to, give out information. Being a war leader who was betrayed on a regular basis had made her secretive. Giving information to Wyatt was even more against the grain.

"In my timeline, he left after the Titans, and didn't come back until your first birthday," she finally explained, keeping her gaze focused on his shoulder. "After that, he'd come around every so often to take you Up There for training."

Her voice was monotone but Wyatt could see the bitterness in her as she spoke. He couldn't imagine how Leo, always a loving and involved husband and father, would ever act that way to his family.

"By sending him to Valhalla, he'll be suspicious of us," Anna continued, finishing of his bandage and helping him into a newly-conjured shirt, identical to the destroyed one. "And he'll stick around. That'll put them on their guards and hopefully help Mom be happier."

Wyatt blinked in surprise but before he could drill her for more information, they both sensed the Titans' nearby presence.

With the ease of someone who had spent the best part of ten years as a fugitive, Anna grabbed Wyatt and snapped out a spell. "Danger is coming, danger is near, take us to safety, away from here!" They disappeared seconds before Demetrius, wearing an angry scowl, arrived. they left no orb trail for him to follow, and he screamed in rage, destroying his surroundings in a fit of fury.


 

May 13th, 2003

"Leo?" Phoebe asked hopefully. Her face fell at the sight of the two newcomers.

"Oh, it's just you," Paige said, disappointed and annoyed by their arrival.

While Anna, well-used to people disliking her presence simply rolled her eyes, hurt flashed across Wyatt's face. Phoebe felt a surge of guilt. Briefly, the arrogance she'd received from the powers was overcome by her natural compassion and she smiled apologetically at them, trying to make amends.

"Sorry," she apologized. They all, including Paige, shot her surprised looks. "We don't mean it like that. We're just worried about Leo. He's family, you know? We'd hate for anything to happen to him."

Anna wore a guarded look as she nodded in acceptance. "Don't worry about it," she stated with a shrug. "The Elders are all taken care of now. Where's Piper and Cole?"

"Piper's upstairs with the baby," Phoebe explained. "Cole's checking with some of contacts to see how the Underworld's taking the Titans' release."

"How's figuring out a plan going?" Wyatt asked hopefully. His face fell at the negative responses from the sisters.

"Not good," Paige announced gloomily. "Every battle strategy I come up with ends in a failure."

Anna frowned, shifting her weight and planting her hands on her hips as she considered. "That doesn't make sense," she argued. "There has to be some solution. What have you tried?"

Piper came down, the baby in her arms. To everyone's (especially Anna's) shock, as soon as she entered the room, Wyatt orbed into Anna's arms. Said witchlighter hastily scrambled to get a grip on him, pulling him to her chest and holding him tensely.

"Uh, why did the kid suddenly orb to you?" Will asked slowly, staring at his sister. Anna adjusted the child grimly, glancing down at him briefly.

"I don't know," she stated flatly. Noticing Piper's narrow eyes she repeated herself. "I really don't! I'm not a baby person!"

"You seem fine," Paige observed the way Anna held Wyatt as if it was natural. Anna shrugged awkwardly.

"I know how to take care of them," she acknowledged. "I just amn't good with them."

"Well Wyatt seems to like you anyway," Phoebe pointed out. Anna hummed uncomfortably, moving her neck to avoid Wyatt grabbing her hair.

"I'll get Leo for you," she abruptly announced, passing Wyatt to Paige before disappearing.

"Weird," Paige said bluntly. The others shot her exasperated looks.


 

Anna orbed to a deserted part of Alaska. She barely had time to turn around before the Titans arrived, arrogant sneers on their faces.

"Well, what do we have here?" Cronus asked mockingly. "A lost little Whitelighter, all alone."

Anna gave a cocky smirk, raising her hands. "You're a long way from Greece, Your Psychoticness," she replied with the cockiness that made Niko flinch and groan about suicidal Warrens.

The Titan's face darkened. "Maybe we'll have a little fun before we kill you," he suggested coldly. Anna laughed outright at that.

"You won't be the first," she told him bitterly, shoving away the dark memories brought to the forefront of her mind by his words. Then she smirked, slamming the heels of her palms together. A jet of lightning arched out of her palms, slamming into Cronus' chest and pushing him back. She was undeterred by the lack of any other reaction to her best offense save anger, simply preparing another attack.

"What are you?" Demetrius snarled, batting away the electricity like it was an irritating bug.

"Wouldn't you like to know?" Anna laughed gleefully at them.

Adrenaline surged through her veins as she raised her right index and middle fingers to her mouth in a 'V' shape. A gust of ice, sharp as knives, flew from her lips. Again they countered it, and this time Anna had to swiftly move to avoid being vaporized by her enemies. The landscape began being ripped apart as they continued their battle.

Anna was no fool, of course. She knew perfectly well that if they really started trying to kill her she'd have no chance. That was why, when she recognized the signs of genuine anger, instead of irritation, beginning to show, she orbed away, rematerializing in an Underworld cavern. Unsurprisingly, they found her a moment later, starting their game of cat and mouse.


 

She cursed when, almost five hours after gaining the attention of the Titans, she sensed Piper's call. Casting a frantic look around her, she dissolved into orbs and reappeared in the Manor's conservatory.

"What the heck?" She snapped. "You'll lead the Titans right here!"

The three sisters all nodded.

"That's the idea," Paige firmly agreed. "Get out of the way."

Looking at them, Anna realized a change. They'd declared themselves gods. She hastily rushed to the side of the room, where Wyatt, Leo and Cole were already pressed to the wall.

"Are you okay?" Wyatt asked worriedly, reaching out with a glowing hand. Anna bat it away.

"I'm fine," she snapped, eyes fixed on the sisters. The Titans appeared in a gust of wind. They promptly glared at Anna.

"As soon as we've defeated the gods," Cronus warned her coldly, a burn on his cheek. "You are going to pay."

"You look way better with your face like that," she swiftly retorted, making her brother groan in despair at her lack of self-preservation.

"Hey!" Piper called his attention, her eyes cold. "It's not nice to piss off mother nature."

With that, the three began attacking their enemies. Paige flung lightning from her trident as Phoebe attacked them physically. They herded the two close together, right in front of Piper she raised her arms, making the ground tremble and split open. The two Titans fell, yelling furiously, into the chasm as it sealed back over.

"Good work," Leo stepped forward. Anna felt unease stir in her stomach as she studied Piper's stony expression. "You controlled your powers and defeated the Titans. Now it's time to give it back."

Piper simply stared at him for a moment longer before disappearing in a swirl of leaves. Anna and Cole both swore in unison.


 

"How do you feel?" Leo asked as the power left Paige's body and returned to the urn in his hands.

"Uh, free," Paige sighed. She turned to Phoebe who was scrying for Piper over a map. Cole was holding Wyatt while the two time travellers stood beside each other. With their matching stances and frowns of concern, there could be no doubt that they were siblings despite their different colouring.

"Anything on Piper?"

Phoebe shook her head, a grim set to her mouth. "No, I still can't get a read."

"Just keep trying," Anna urged. "She's not thinking straight. If we don't find her soon, someone could get hurt."

Paige huffed, unable to deny the point. "Okay, even if we do find her, how are we gonna get her back? She's on this major power trip. She destroyed the Titans, not even the Greek gods could do that."

"We've just gotta hope she has some humanity still left inside," Wyatt's voice was grim as he pulled his sister to his side. She leaned against him, privately relieved to give him some of her weight.

"If anyone can come back from this, it's Piper," Leo said as he stood. "I've gotta go now. If you need me Anna and Will know how to get in touch."

The Halliwells gave him confused looks while Anna looked away to hide the flash of anger and contempt in her expression. Wyatt looked down at the ground, distress rising in him as his beliefs about his father's character was shattered.

"Where are you going?"

"The Elders have returned to the heavens and they're calling for me," Leo explained as he orbed out, leaving his family stunned.

"Did he just bail on us? Is that what he did?" Phoebe's voice was furious and hurt.

"I'm sure he'll be back as soon as he can," Cole claimed, unable to hide his doubt even as he spoke.

"Uh, what about, you know, helping us find his wife?" Paige was incredulous.

"He's trusting in you to do that," Anna tried to act like she thought Leo was a good person and not a pathetic deadbeat coward. "You need to find Piper and talk her down before she sets up shop somewhere and throws the world into chaos. Then it'll be too late for her.

Phoebe turned to glare at her. "Okay, maybe you missed the part about Piper being Leo's wife."

Wyatt interrupted before his sister's lack of social skills could make the already tense situation worse.

"Okay, let's all calm down, okay? We get why you're upset, but Leo's destiny is to become an Elder and help them get through this. He'll be back, I'm sure."

He ignored Anna mental jab of disbelief and disapproval, accompanied by a mental equivalent to a snort.

"Okay, in your world, being an Elder may be cool but in our world it pretty much sucks. Leo is our brother-in-law..." Cole wrapped an arm around Phoebe's shoulder to soothe her distress as she spoke.

"And our Whitelighter..." Paige chimed in.

"And our friend."

"And we don't want to lose him," Paige finished.

"It's not their fault this happened," Cole pointed out softly. "Leo accepted the position. They didn't force him to."

Before either of the sisters could reply to that, a branch hit the window, making Phoebe scream in surprise. "What is going on with this storm?"

Paige's eyes widened in sudden understanding. "Piper. Piper's what's up with this storm."

"What do you mean?" Phoebe asked while the others gave various curses and groans as they realized what she was getting at.

"Remember when the Titans were first released, the major weather shifts, and the earthquake," Paige impatiently explained.

"Yeah," Phoebe nodded.

"When you have power over the earth like the Titans did, it's bound to suffer your emotional baggage," Paige pointed out.

Phoebe continued excitedly, picking up Paige's train of thought. "And like Leo says, our power comes from our emotions. Okay, okay. So if you're a god and you're angry and you're taking it out on the city, where would you go?"

"Somewhere high where I could enjoy the damage I'm inflicting," Paige finished off with a grim look.

Chapter Text

Disclaimer: I don't own Charmed

Chapter Nine

The Ankh: Eternal Life

May 14 th , 2003

Anna and Wyatt sat in silence on the front steps of the Manor, the sun beating down on them. There was a sudden tinkle of orbs and Leo formed before them, with a frown on his face. Wyatt tensed, but Anna simply cocked her head and raised an eyebrow in her signature expression of indifference.

"So, the Elders decide what to do with us yet?" She asked calmly, looking only mildly interested in the answer. Leo narrowed his eyes at her. Wyatt would have been hardpressed to understand how no one had noticed the resemblance between them, but he already knew about Anna's spell.

"Well you've been the subject of heated discussion," Leo replied coolly. "One thing we all agreed upon was that you can't return to the future."

"I'm not even sure what the future is anymore," Wyatt told him honestly. It was true. How had Anna and Wyatt arriving during the Titans effected things? Was his sister, the one he'd grown up with, still held in stasis? What had changed?

"So what did they decide?" Anna pushed. Leo's frown deepened, a sure sign that he wasn't happy about what he was about to say.

"The Elders voted to make the two of you the Halliwells' new Whitelighters."

Wyatt felt his breath leave him in whoosh, as months of planning finally began coming together. Anna looked shocked, but Wyatt could sense flickers of satisfaction coming through their bond.

"They did?" Her voice was filled with amazement, as if she couldn't believe it. Wyatt knew differently. Things were going just as she wanted them too. Wyatt really didn't like the thought of what was coming next, however.

Leo nodded curtly, still looking at them with suspicion-filled eyes. "As a reward for helping with the Titans," he told them. "But then somehow I figured that you already knew that. You know, I can't stop thinking about what Piper said and wondering if this wasn't wasn't part of your plan all along."

Wyatt tried to hide how he stiffened, even as Anna simply stared at the Elder emotionlessly. As if their own father wasn't practically accusing them of being evil, in tone if not words at least.

Leo began backing away, his gaze fixed on them. "Take good care of them, you two," he warned. "Don't forget, I'll be watching over you."

He orbed away, and as he did so, Anna did something Wyatt had only seen her do once or twice. She reached out and waved her hand, causing the orbs to explode into nothing. Wyatt felt as if his insides were being squeezed tightly as Anna glanced around for witnesses.

"Are you sure he's going to be okay?" Wyatt asked as Anna pushed herself to her feet. He caught her rolling her eyes, the way this Anna often did when he showed emotions, but she then proceeded to give him an awkward pat on the shoulder.

"He'll be fine," she stated simply. "He's an Elder, remember? No Darklighter will ever get into Valhalla. Now, let's get inside and tell the girls the news." She turned and sauntered inside the house, indifferent to the fact that they had just kidnapped their own father.


June 6 th , 2003

Anna rubbed her temples, trying to fight off her migraine. They were frequent problems for her, the consequences of everything she had done to increase her own strength. In an ideal world, or even just one where not all her family had been slaughtered, she wouldn't have needed any of it. In her world, however, she was the last Warren witch save a twelve-year-old Pamela left after Wyatt was disowned by the matriarchs and she had certain tasks that required more strength than she could naturally access.

Rituals, tattooing various symbols on herself, crystals or gems. If it wasn't classed as evil, and it could increase her power pool, she did it. And she paid for her greed with migraines, nosebleeds, food difficulties, insomnia and a dozen other problems. She was kinda surprised that Wyatt hadn't put it together yet. He thought her sleep trouble was simply due to stress, and part of it was. But most of it came from the feel of her powers thrumming under her skin, feeling as if they were going to burst out of her. Or consume her, which, frankly, Anna thought was worse.

She sighed and shook her head, ignoring the dizziness that came over her at the motion with practiced ease. Instead she forced herself to read the words swimming on the page again. Once she was sure that the information was right, she orbed to the Underworld.

From past experience, Anna knew if she didn't release some of the excess energy burning within her, she would get steadily, and quickly, sick. She arrived in the lair of the Craegar demons. They were low-level, but vicious and there were a lot of them. They would do.

She began with a gust of air, stretching out her arms with her fingers straight and loosely separated, sending a dozen of them into the wall with the impact making them explode. Without pausing, she then lifted her elbows in to 90 degree angles, twisting them. Craegar demons were partly aquatic, so in their lair, Anna had the ability to use all of the elements.

Water rose from the lake, copying her movements. Concentrating, Anna turned it into a dozen, tightly packed balls. All the while, she avoided the energy balls being flung at her. When she suddenly pointed at the cluster of demons tossing fireballs at her, the liquid went racing to them. Anna let out a wild laugh as each ball caused one of her opponents to disappear.

After that, Anna turned and spotting several demons attempting to flee, quickly conjured a barrier of fire across the entrance. Then, to counteract her use of pyrokinesis, she lifted her fingers to her lips and blew hard. A gust of icy wind flew out of her mouth, forming into sharp icicles and stabbing each of the remaining demons. Then, Anna lowered her hand, chest heaving from the exertion. She checked her watch. The entire clan had taken only five minutes for her to vanquish. She sighed in disappointment. She wished it could've been longer, she had wanted a distraction.

Despite having known for several months now that Gideon was her enemy, Anna still didn't know what to do about it. She certainly wasn't about to go around trying to steal a Darklighter bow, after all. She wasn't that crazy or suicidal, no matter what Niko said. And Anna refused to rely on Leo of all people. She knew he was too filled with bitterness, even if he denied it, to be a true pacifist. But killing his mentor of several decades? Leo didn't have the stomach for that. Anna couldn't really believe that her death was what pushed him to do so in Wyatt's timeline. It was probably Wyatt's kidnapping, and an accident at that. Leo didn't care enough about anyone to murder one of his precious Elders for them. Not even for his children, Anna was sure about that.

And Gideon wasn't her only worry. Anna was in a constant state of stress at how lax the sisters were about their security. It could be worse, Anna acknowledged that. But that fact didn't stop her from flinching every time that she saw Baby Wyatt left alone in the conservatory.

And then there was Piper's strange attitude. Anna's frown deepened as she continued to stare unseeingly at the stone wall opposite. Anna was absolutely positive that it was some sort of spell. No one was that cheerful, especially after their husband abandoned them to raise their child alone. And Anna remembered Piper as a sad, but grimly determined woman, who was devoted to her children. Not this strangely cheerful woman who simply laughed when her baby orbed to a stranger's arms. A gust of air left her lips, forming a cloud of ice that quickly dissolved in the heat of the Underworld.

She was, she could admit to herself. Exhausted. It was hard, keeping up the illusion of being the sisters' Whitelighter, instead of their child. Not to mention, part of her was still terrified of Wyatt. She could barely keep herself from lashing out every time he grabbed or shoulder or brushed against her mind.

"Anna!" She heard Phoebe's panicked voice echo though her mind. "Will! Hurry, one of you! Now!"

Recognizing the frantic tone in the middle sister's voice, Anna dissolved hastily in a flurry of blue orbs. She reappeared in the Manor hallway, where Phoebe was fluttering around in a panic. 'Will' was already there, looking concerned.

"Finally!" The middle Charmed sister exclaimed. "I think I have a new power!"

Anna blinked and cocked her head, even as the tension in her shoulders released slightly. "What power?" She asked, though she could guess. She had thought Phoebe was still a few months away from developing empathy.

"Empathy," Cole answered, stepping in from the kitchen and frowning. Phoebe groaned clutching her head.

"Okay, this isn't working," she announced. "Too many emotions, to many people. We need, like, a boundary line or something. Stay over there!"

Anna raised an eyebrow dryly. "That's not gonna work," she informed her. "But there are techniques to let you control empathy and telepathy. Obviously they take time to master, but there are potions as well for in the meantime."

"Good idea," Cole agreed. "I should've thought of giving them those before, it'll come in handy I'm sure."

"Explain," Phoebe ordered. Cole quickly summarized the mind-protection potion, that prevented you being read by empaths or telepaths.

"It won't help with anyone who hasn't drunk one," he began to conclude. "But at least you'll be okay inside the house."

"And there won't be murder and massacre between you and your sisters," Will added with a cheerful grin. "Anna and I can ask around up there to find you a teacher. I'm sure we'll find someone quickly."

Phoebe nodded with a relieved look on her face. It turned into a frown as she studied Anna. "You," Phoebe said, pointing at her. "Are seriously stressed out. Ever heard of rest and relaxation?"

Anna arched an eyebrow. "No," she answered flatly. "Anyway, I'll go orb Up There and see about finding someone to teach you control." She orbed away without letting them say anything else.


July 13 th , 2003

"Something is seriously wrong with her!" Phoebe exclaimed, watching anxiously as Wyatt healed Paige's injured shoulder.

"Definitely," Cole agreed.

"She feels really sad," Phoebe told them. "But she's acting really happy. And now it's affecting her powers too."

"I swear, I think Leo did something to her before he left," Paige insisted, rolling her now-healed arm. Wyatt frowned.

"You think that he spelled his own wife?" He asked. Anna looked like she wanted to say something, but she bit her tongue instead.

"Well she's obviously under some kind of spell," Paige pointed out.

"You know what?" Phoebe decided abruptly. "I think it's time that we orbed him down here and asked him."

Both time travelers stiffened at that, exchanging glances.

"I don't think that's possible," Anna said reluctantly after a moment.

"Well, then make it possible," Phoebe demanded. "Look, even if he doesn't care about Piper as his wife, as an Elder he at the very least should care about what happened to her powers."

"Look," Wyatt sighed. "We didn't tell you because we didn't want to worry you but… Leo's missing."

"What?" Phoebe gasped.

"Missing? How long?" Paige asked at the same time.

"Any suspects?" Cole demanded with a look of worry. "Whatever kidnaps an Elder has to be powerful and up to no good."

"Since the last time you saw him," Anna said simply. "And no. They just think it's a demon. No idea which though."

"I'm sorry," Will added solemnly.


July 14 th , 2003

"We can't try and stop them from finding Leo," Will insisted to Anna. She looked mutinous.

"Oh he's fine," she hissed. "He's on an island full of beautiful women, isn't that every man's dream? They should be focused on fixing Piper, before Gideon takes advantage to try and kill the baby."

As if he sensed her talking about him, Wyatt orbed to her arms. She huffed but adjusted him to be more comfortable. After two months, she was used to the baby coming to her at random times and sending strings of babyish thoughts through their bond.

"If D-" Anna's lethal look cut him off and he corrected himself. "If Leo put a spell on her, than he's probably the only one who can remove it."

Anna clenched her fists in frustration. "Damn Leo," she breathed. "He always messes things up." She huffed. "Fine," she muttered. "I guess by now he'll be suspicious enough that they'll keep their guards up. I'll go warn the Valkyries, you go to the Elders. Ask for any information and we can start helping the sisters find him. Damn that man."

She orbed away, leaving her elder brother wondering what had happened in her timeline to make her so resentful of their father.

Several hours later, she was huffing as she watched her young aunts scry for Leo.

"If you haven't found him like that yet," she told them. "You're not going to. You should try and break the spell on Piper instead. Then work on finding Leo."

"She's right," Paige sighed. Phoebe nodded.

"I know," she agreed. "But if Leo did do something to block Piper's pain, how to we unblock it without him?"

Paige's eyes began to sparkle as she straightened up. "A magical laxative!"

Phoebe wrinkled her nose while Anna looked wary.

"Eww," Phoebe said.

Paige waved her off. "But think about it," she urged them, leaning forward. "If we can write a spell to help her remember her pain, I don't know, it could even help us find Leo."

"Spells related to the mind are dangerous," Anna pointed out tensely.

"Well we have to try something," Paige insisted, full of confidence in her own abilities. "Don't worry so much Anna. We've been doing this a lot longer than you, we know what we're doing."

Anna bit back a bitter laugh.

"Piper's home!" Anna hollered up to Paige several hours later as she adjusted her grip on the bassinet Piper had given her to carry. She wore a look of distaste that covered an ache in her heart. There was a reason that Anna avoided the nursery wing of the Resistance safehouses.


May 16 th , 2021 (Unchanged Future)

Anna should have considered this, but despite her maturity, there were some basic things that had simply slipped through the cracks in her education after her mother and aunts' deaths.

"You're sure?" She asked. Ava gave a sympathetic smile. Four years ago, Ava would've considered this good news. Now, she gave the young Warren witch an apology.

"I'm so sorry, Anna."

Anna simply gave the gypsy a curt nod, trying to think. Should she tell Niko? It was his too, after all. But Anna already knew what she was going to, no, what she  had  to do.

"Can you get rid of it?" She asked, trying to distance herself from the situation. Ava gave her a calculating look, but nodded.

"Yes," she answered. "But this isn't something that you can do on a limb, Annette. You-"

"I'm not bringing a child into this world, Ava," Anna cut her off, stone-faced. "What kind of life would that be? Running from one safehouse to next before they could walk. Assassins trying to kill her for simply being born? And Wyatt. I don't want to think about what he'd do if he found out I had a child. And Warren witches get stronger each generation. How strong would my baby be? Especially with Phoenix genes. And that's all assuming that I would carry the pregnancy to term. I can't do this Ava. It's not fair to anyone."

Ava sighed. She wanted to hug the teen- no, the young woman. Anna was too aged by her life to justify her being called a teenager. She nodded in understanding instead of the embrace that she knew would be unwelcomed.

"At least tell Niko first," she implored the headstrong Halliwell. Anna closed her eyes and agreed resignedly.

"Alright," she said. After Ava left the room, Anna placed a hand on her stomach, closing her eyes to keep from letting her tears escape.


July 14 th , 2003

"Who's baby is that?" Paige's voice broke Anna from her memories. She huffed and hefted the bassinet more securely as she headed into the living room.

"Ask her," she jerked her head at the overly happy Piper and left, overhearing Paige questioning her sister as she left. She settled down the baby and stared at her for a moment. What had happened to this baby in Anna's future? Had she, like so many others, died in the initial take-over? Or had she survived to either submit to Wyatt's tyrannical rule, or joined the Resistance, protected by Anna's wards? What would Anna's daughter have been like?

Anna stiffened at the last question, shoving it away.

"Look Wyatt!" Piper cooed to her son after entering. "Look who's here. Another friend for you to play with."

Anna spotted a piece of paper in Paige's hand. "Is that the spell?" She asked lowly, desperate for the irritating cheerfulness to end.

"Yeah," Paige answered.

"And she can stay as long as she likes," Piper continued as she put the baby in the playpen, not listening to her sister and Whitelighter.

"Cast it," Anna half-begged, ignoring the warning bells screeching in her mind. They would face the consequences later, right now, Piper chipperness was driving her mad. Anna was selfish enough to prioritize her own mental health over her mother's (fake) happiness. Damn Leo.

Paige chanted the spell, and Anna discovered that Piper's memories were gone instead of fixed. She argued for several seconds with Paige before Piper nearly blew up the babies, causing Anna's attention to focus on getting her away from the small beings instead. Cole entered the room, covered in soot from the Underworld, to this scene.

He raised his eyebrows in surprise. "Uh, what happened? Demon?"

"Paige erased Piper's memory," Anna snapped, bouncing one of the crying babies up and down in an attempt to calm her down. Given Anna's own distressed state, it wasn't working.

"You what?" Cole demanded furiously. "What the hell Paige? What were you thinking, casting a spell on Piper's mind? It's way to complex and delicate a thing to tolerate spells! Personal gain or not, you never cast spells on someone's mind! Not unless you have special training."

Paige's eyes shimmered with tears, as Phoebe walked in. She spotted her upset baby sister and instantly went to embrace her.

"What's wrong?"

They explained the newest problem, making Phoebe bite her lip worriedly.

"Well yelling isn't going to help," she sighed. "What did you find out Cole? Are you okay?"

He nodded, a frown still on his face. "I'm fine. And as for what I found out, nothing."

"Nothing?" Phoebe's tone was full of dismay.

"Whatever took Leo either wasn't a demon, or isn't boasting. Not typical for evil, so I'm guessing it wasn't demonic."

Paige snapped her fingers. "Ohh! That reminds me. I had an idea for how to find Leo. Where's Will?"

Anna shrugged. "He went to check with the Elders." As if they had summoned him, Will orbed him. He gave a helpless shrug.

"The Elders have nothing," he sighed. "How's Piper? Did you lift the spell yet?" Paige winced and Anna pressed a hand to her face as Cole explained the newest problem. Will wore a panicked expression as he listened.

"That's bad," he said lamely. Anna shot him a dark look.

"Ya think?" She bit out. "Paige, what's your idea then?"

Paige brightened, opening her mouth to explain. "We scry using Wyatt!" She exclaimed. "I mean, nothing's more important to Leo than him, right?"

Anna was tempted to sneer and explain how little Leo cared for his family, or anything save the damn Elders, but managed to suppress the urge. Instead, she stayed silent as Paige set up the world map, picked up her nephew, and started scrying. The crystal pointed to the middle of the Indian Ocean.

"We found him!" Paige cried.

"It's pointing to the middle of the Indian Ocean," Anna pointed out cynically. "Where are you gonna go? I'm fairly sure that Atlantis was in Greece."

"There must be something there," Paige insisted.

"She feels really strongly about this Anna," Phoebe supported her sister. Anna threw her hands up in exasperation.

"Oh fine," she huffed. "I hope Paige knows how to orb while drowning."


The girls returned several hours later, and revealed what had happened in Valhalla.

"Are you okay?" Will asked in concern. Anna was kept from ripping into their aunts only by him and the baby Wyatt she was once again holding.

The dog barked and Anna gave it a lethal look.

"I thought that you were taking them back," Paige frowned. Anna grimaced at her.

"I tried, the owners weren't there," she huffed. "Anyway, we put Piper in her bedroom. We were hoping it might jog her memory. Nothing so far though."

Cole raked a hand through his hair, letting out a tired sigh. "Okay, I think that we all need a few hours sleep, then deal-"

"Oh! Oh!" Paige squealed. "Here it is. "Valkyries. A powerful race of demigoddesses who scout the battle grounds for dying warriors."

"Then take their souls to Valhalla where they prepare them for the final world battle," Phoebe read over her sister's shoulder.

"Valkyries?" Cole blinked in surprise. "That doesn't make sense. Valkyries are good, they wouldn't kidnap an Elder."

"How did they even get Leo?" Phoebe wondered with a deep frown. "He's not a dying warrior, he's an Elder."

Will shifted anxiously while Anna let out a frustrated huff.

"Look, why don't you guys concentrate on helping Piper and we'll go fill in the Elders and see what they wanna do," Anna suggested, mentally warning her brother to stop looking so guilty as she noticed Cole giving him a frown of bemusement.

"But Anna, we don't have time for that," Phoebe refuted. "We have to go back for Leo now."

"Why? It doesn't sound like he's in any sort of trouble."

"He's only stuck in a cage," Paige scoffed.

"They tried to kill us when we tried to save him," Phoebe added.

"My point exactly," Anna insisted. "It's too dangerous, you're not going back."

"Wait, let me get this straight," Phoebe's voice was full of outrage. "Are you telling me that you'd rather just let Leo rot there? Is that what you're saying?"

"Of course not," Will inserted himself into the conversation beofre his socially inept sister could further worsen the situation. "But as your whitelighters, we're supposed to protect you. We just think that you guys should have the full Power of Three before taking on the Valkyries."

The sisters softened but held their ground. "He needs our help."

"Not to mention, he may be the only way we have to save Piper," Cole pointed out mildly, making Anna sigh and give in.

"You can't orb into Valhalla undetected," she informed them, flicking a lose lock of hair behind her shoulder. "The only way to get there safely is with a Valkyries pendant. But that still won't get you close enough to Leo. He's too well guarded now."

"How do you know all this?" Paige asked, full of intrigue.

"I've crossed paths with Valkyries before," Anna replied crisply. "In the future. Anyway, I can get you the pendants but the only way to get close to Leo is by proving to the Valkyries you're one of them."

Cole gave her a sharp look. His eyes were narrow as he considered her words, wondering what a Whitelighter would have to do with the Valkyries. Especially as Will was remaining silent on the whole thing.

"How are we supposed to do that?"

Anna shrugged indifferently, shifting Wyatt in her arms to adjust his weight. "Easy. Just arrive with a warrior's soul."

Paige rolled her eyes. "Oh! Easy."

"Where are we supposed to find a warrior's soul?" Phoebe huffed in irritation. Anna shrugged again.

"Beats me." She gave Wyatt to Cole and orbed away.


She reappeared in Valhalla, her jaw tightly clenched. Her first instinct was to just find a few Valkyries and kill them, they would just wake up in a few hours anyway. But she had evidently been softened by Wyatt and her time in the past, because she was going to the Queen instead.

"Freya," she bowed to the Queen, who hooked an eyebrow at her.

"Annette," she greeted the time traveler. "We foiled an attempt to retrieve the Elder this afternoon."

"I know," Anna sighed, looking at the queen. "There'll be another attempt soon enough. I need you to give me three amulets, and to let the next attempt succeed."

Freya didn't push for details, simply studying Anna silently. Anna raised her chin in automatic defiance.

"You spin a dangerous, intricate web, Annette," the Valkyrie finally warned. Anna gave a bitter smile in reply.

"I know," she agreed. "But the world depends on it not breaking. May I have the amulets?"

Freya nodded, three leather necklaces appearing in her hand. She gave them to the Halliwell, who bowed again before orbing away.

The sisters and Cole were gone, with Wyatt watching his infant self and mother when she returned.

"You're back!" He exclaimed in relief. His smile faltered at the sight of the pendants she clutched. "How'd you get-?"

"I got them off Freya," she replied curtly, ignoring the relief in his eyes at her words. "Where're the others?"

"Off to borrow Uncle Darryl's soul," he replied. He frowned thoughtfully. "They kinda seem to take Uncle Darryl for granted right now, don't'cha think? It's one thing to ask for him to cover a bit of magic, but borrowing his soul seems really taking advantage of their friendship."

"Well, that's the Warren line for you," Anna mumbled, heading for the living room. "Selfish."


When the girls and Cole orbed in, Anna was placing a pendant around Piper's neck while Will watched worriedly from the sidelines.

"Just remember everything I told you and you'll be fine, okay?"

"Okay, we got the... Oh my god, what did you do to Piper?" Phoebe shrilly demanded at the sight of her Valkyrie sister. Anna turned to look at them as Will nervously shifted at the outraged tone his aunt had.

"I turned her into a Valkyrie," Anna explained calmly. "And convinced her she's one too. Actually, it wasn't that hard really, considering the fact that her mind is basically a blank."

"Clever," Cole nodded approvingly. "Now the girls'll have the Power of Three when they're in Valhalla, and Piper won't be completely vulnerable."

The sisters' eyes lit with understanding at Cole's statement.

"Well, if Piper ever gets her memory back, she's gonna kill you," Phoebe commented. Anna looked genuinely bewildered at that.

"Why?"

"Because she hates wearing those costumes as much as we do," Phoebe smirked, placing her hands on her hips.

Paige nodded. "Mm-hmm."

"Yeah, well, in that case, you're gonna kill me too," Anna drawled as she held out two more Valkyrie necklaces.

Chapter Text

 

 

 

Disclaimer: I don't own Charmed.

Chapter Ten

Air: Yellow

New Years' Day, 2019. Unchanged Future

Anna gasped as she collapsed to her knees in the clearing. Pamela was in her arms, sobbing hysterically, and no wonder. Wyatt had just slaughtered their family, exposed magic, declared himself Ruler of Everything and massacred Magic School. All in one night.  'So much for Savior of Good Magic'  she thought wildly.

She stiffened, her Enhanced Senses warning her that there were people nearby. She scrambled to her feet, pressing Pamela to her side with one hand while the other raised in preparation to defend them both. As she scanned her surroundings, she realized with a jolt of dismay that she had no idea where they'd appeared. It was some sort of tropical jungle by the looks of it, and Anna could feel the magic in the air. She prayed she was surrounded by Good beings, not demons. Anna could barely stand, let alone fight off another attack.

Several women stepped from the trees. They were dressed in leather, and armed with various weapons. Anna caught a glimpse of one of their necklaces and gasped in recognition, lowering her hand slightly.

"You're Valkyries," she realized, keeping one hand pressed tightly in between Pamela's shoulder blades, pressing her cousin's face into her side.

One of the women, with a wild head of dark hair, stepped forward. Part of Anna was amazed at how light she was on her feet.

"I am Kara, second-in-command of the Valkyries," she declared bluntly. "Who are you, and how did you get here? I warn you, we have been under semi-constant attack for several hours now. It would be best not to anger us more than we are already."

Anna hesitated for a moment before deciding that the truth was her best option. "I'm Annette Halliwell, matriarch of the Warren line." Two years had passed, and it still hurt to claim the title that once belonged to Piper.

"I arrived here after fleeing Wyatt Halliwell's attack. He has attacked Magic School. He's exposed magic to the mortals as well. And he said he was going after the Elders. Please, can you try and warn them? Oh! This is my cousin, Pamela."

Kara studied her carefully, and Anna resisted the urge to shift anxiously. "Where are the rest of your family?" Kara's voice was gentle, evidently knowing the answer.

Anna felt her eyes burn with tears, remembering the chaotic attack, and pleading desperately for her cousins to be spared. She'd barely managed to yank a hand out of her bonds and grab Pamela to orb away before she was killed too. That same wrist was still bleeding from the rope, Anna absently realized.

Kara nodded, despite Anna not speaking. "We'll take them to Freya." She decided, turning on her heel. Anna picked Pamela up and settled her on her hip. She didn't exactly have much options after all.


The Manor: July 15 th , 2003.

Anna stared down contemplatively at the empty crib. She felt Wyatt slip into the room, tension radiating from him.

"Would you stop me?" She asked him. "If I decided to kill the baby. Would you stop me?"

He stared at her, thinking of the hints he'd learned about her timeline. Thinking about the pain and exhaustion she had in her eyes constantly, and the scars on her body. He shook his head.

"No," he told her flatly. "After everything he did to you, if you decided to take the easy option and kill the baby, I'd probably help you."

Anna nodded slowly, still staring down at the crib for another few minutes before she heard noise from the living room. She spun on her heel, heading for the doorway.

"They're back," she announced redundantly. "C'mon."

"It's about time," she said, sauntering into the room with her brother at her heels. "We were starting to get wor... Where's Piper?"

"You bitch!" Leo yelled furiously. He punched her in the face and pushed her against the wall. "Why'd you do it?"

Wyatt was frozen in shock. A part of him shattered as he watched his father, a man he had always considered the best of humanity, attack his sister.

"Do what?" Anna coughed out, her head spinning from the blow. 'Worst pacifist ever,' she grumbled mentally. Anna hated everyone with the name Wyatt. Leo threw her across the room, snapping the others out of their shocked states.

"Anna!" Wyatt called, rushing to his sister's side and shielding her.

"Leo, stop it!" Paige demanded.

"What the fuck are you doing?" Cole snarled, stepping between the still enraged Elder and his target. "You're attacking an innocent Whitelighter! And a girl at that!"

"Leo, enough!" Phoebe added, staring in disbelief at her brother-in-law. "This isn't you."

"What the hell is the matter with you?" Wyatt turned from his now-healed sister. It took everything in him to keep from unleashing the wrath of the Twice-Blessed on his father. If this was the man that Anna knew growing up, no wonder she hated him.

"What kind of Elder just attacks a girl for no reason?" Wyatt continued, hoping that everyone saw his contempt and disgust. He ignored the exasperation Anna sent his way as he prevented her from moving into Leo's view.

"What is wrong with you?" Paige hissed at him. She stared at Leo, wondering what the heck could justify randomly attacking a girl. "You been playing Gladiator too long?"

Leo stubbornly suppressed the discomfort he felt, glaring at the Whitelighters. "You didn't tell them did you?"

Phoebe frowned, glancing between them. "Tell us what?"

"That they was the last one to see me," Leo spat. "Right afterwards I was mysteriously trapped in Valhalla."

"I was with her when we last saw you," Wyatt snapped at him. "But you didn't attack me."

"Oh, so what, that makes me responsible?" Anna scoffed at the same time. God she hated how Leo got under her skin so much. "Is that what you're saying?"

"Okay, why would Anna do that?"

"Why else?" Leo scoffed. "To get rid of me."

"That doesn't make sense," Paige denied.

"Doesn't it?" Leo argued. "She manipulated things so I could become an Elder. Forced me out of the house, didn't she?"

"So you could save the world," Anna drawled.

"And I was helping her," Wyatt added, still furious and hurt at Leo's actions. "But again, you assaulted the five foot six girl instead of the six foot man! Does attacking young women make you feel better about yourself or something?"

"Alright, Leo, I know how upset you are," Phoebe took on the roll of mediator. "And by know, I mean I literally know. I'm an empath now. But you're way off base here. Anna has been the model Whitelighter since you've been gone. She's done nothing but good."

"Better than you, actually," Cole inserted. Leo looked angrily at him. "Because she's been making them obey the rules, which is frankly, making our lives go smoother."

"She's the reason we were able to rescue you," Phoebe insisted. Leo crossed his eyes, still glaring at Anna. She raised an eyebrow at him, wondering if he thought he was intimidating. Maybe to someone who hadn't lived her life he was. But Anna was almost amused by his angry look. It reminded her of a spoilt child, not an angry Elder.

"You're welcome," Anna muttered snarkily.

"Where'd you get the pendants?" Leo demanded accusingly making his family begin to lose their tempers at the continued verbal assault on Anna.

"Leo!"

"Alright. Alright," Leo gave in. "I'll let it go for now. So where's Wyatt? Can I see him?"

"No, you can't, he's staying with Sheila until we can figure out how to rescue Piper," Paige informed her brother-in-law.

"Which is gonna be hard because she doesn't want to be saved," Phoebe sighed.

"Well, if we're gonna save her, it's gonna have to be as witches, not as Valkyries," Paige declared. They both pulled off their Valkyrie necklaces and returned to their normal selves.

"Book of Shadows?" She suggested

Phoebe nodded. "Got it." They all left, leaving the two time travellers behind. Wyatt turned quickly to his sister, who's lips were tightly pursed.

"Well, at least he's suspicious," she muttered. "But if he's fixating on me, he'll leave things open for Gideon to sneak through. Damn man can't do anything right."

Wyatt cast her an incredulous look. "That's your chief concern? Seriously Annie, you need to work on your priorities. Our father just attacked you! I don't get why he insisted on blaming you, not me or both of us."

Anna shrugged, "He's a misogynist," she stated simply. She elaborated when Wyatt began shaking his head in denial. "He is, he's just not that obvious about it. But he's still from the 1940s, and a lot of those beliefs only recently started getting disproved. I bet you've never seen him interact with a gay man, or a lesbian woman, have you? He's not as bad as some, but he definitely looks down on them. So, because I'm a female, I'm more likely to be at fault then you are. Plus, he barely interacted with you, but he spent several hours with me and I don't make good impressions on people."

She was very matter-of-fact about everything, as Anna didn't believe in making a fuss about anything save her quest to stop Wyatt's turning. Given the results of his turn, she felt entitled to be dramatic about that. Of course, Anna wasn't actually willing to admit that that she was biased against her father because of her childhood.

Anna had convinced herself that only the worst was true of Leo when her mother, aunts and uncles died. In her view, if Leo had come when called, Piper would've survived, and Wyatt would've then stayed good. Therefore, Leo was ultimately to blame for all of Anna's suffering. Her judgment was hardly the best when it came to her family, but Wyatt was too distressed by the stress of everything to consider that his sister might be giving opinions formed from the point of view of a grieving, hurt child instead of a young woman without an emotional connection to the problem.

So, Wyatt then failed to consider that Leo might be struggling. He could only see that Leo hadn't bothered to fight to stay with their family, and then attacked his own daughter, whether he knew who she was or not, without cause. A part of Wyatt's ability was badly damaged by Leo's actions, and Leo himself had no idea that he had just permanently broken his son's ability to completely trust him.

"Let's go upstairs and find out what happened to Piper," Wyatt suggested in a subdued tone. In the back of his mind, he was grateful Anna had used her telepathy to ensure that he wouldn't admit their secret. Otherwise, he would never have been able to keep up the pretence.

Anna nodded and they hurried up to the attic where the others were looking over the Book of Shadows.

"What were you doing?" Leo asked suspiciously.

Cole's temper began to fray and he jumped to their defence. He felt strangely paternal towards the two, and had his suspicions on why these two, of all the future people, would be sent back.

But he knew the rules of time travelling perfectly well, and they kept him from speaking to anyone regarding his thoughts. That didn't mean he would tolerate Leo's actions. Actually, his suspicions made him more determined to defend the other two, least irreparable harm be done to the family's bond.

"For the love of the Goddess Leo!" He snapped. "Didn't you just agree to leave it be? Obviously Will was checking to make sure his sister was okay after being assaulted! Now can we please focus on Piper, instead of your anger issues?"

Leo looked indignant, but Anna quickly spoke before another argument could start.

"Yeah, seriously, what happened to Piper? Is she hurt?"

Phoebe quickly how Piper had regained her memories, and broken Leo's spell, while they were in Valhalla. She then explained how Piper had turned into a Valkyrie in her distress and anger. Anna bit her lip, mentally cursing Leo to Hell for what he'd done to her mother.

"Well, can we use Wyatt to bring her back? Piper's a dedicated mother, she would never willingly abandon her child," Anna pointed out. She popped her cheek, annoyed with her old habit having resurfaced.

The sisters exchanged doubtful looks at the suggestion. "I get what you're saying," Paige began slowly, wearing a frown. "But I don't like the thought of bringing Wyatt to Valhalla. The Valkyries might hurt him."

"I won't allow my son to be placed in danger," Leo chimed up.

No one save Wyatt noticed both Cole and Anna casting him matching looks of disapproval. No one at all mentioned their thoughts, which were all of how Leo how left both his wife and son without a thought for them or their safety several months before. It was, after all, the reason they were all in their current mess.

"The Valkyries are good," Anna insisted. "Whatever reason they had for kidnapping an Elder, you can't claim they were genuinely dangerous to you. You can only be killed by Darklighters after all, and you look perfectly healthy to me."

Leo's eyes flashed angrily at the young woman, who easily held her ground, but Cole nodded, taking her side. Phoebe gave Leo an apologetic look, but gripped her husband's arm in a show of support. Paige stayed quiet, and it was obvious that Will sided with his sister.

"Maybe if Paige fixes the spell she cast, we can bring her back to us," Phoebe suggested. Cole nodded thoughtfully as he agreed with his wife.

"Piper needs to believe she's a Valkyrie because it's too painful for her to be herself," he explained. "Being a Valkyrie helps take the hurt away."

"Makes sense," Wyatt finally spoke. "Valkyries have to serve the greater good so they're always in control. And they don't have to deal with pain or loss. Piper doesn't have to suffer if she's a Valkyrie."

"Well, that's why we have to make Piper believe she's Piper again," Phoebe pressed. "Because if we don't get her back mentally, it won't matter if we get her back physically."

"Okay, but Piper wasn't exactly being Piper before the memory spell either," Paige pointed out.

"What do you mean?" Leo frowned in confusion at his sister-in-law. She grimaced at him, waving her hand slightly.

"Well, that little magical whammy you performed on her kind of, um, backfired."

"Yeah," Phoebe agreed. "You see, after you left, Piper was really..."

"Chipper," Paige offered. "Yeah. Incessantly, increasingly, annoyingly chipper."

"I was on the verge of trying to convince Phoebe to move out so I wouldn't have to keep dealing with it," Cole said dryly. He grimaced in memory of Piper's unnatural happiness. It was wrong for anybody to act like that, especially the often grumpy Piper Halliwell.

Leo sighed as he spoke. "I was supposed to make her feel less pain, I guess with me not around to pull it back bit by bit, she got happier and happier."

"Uh, no, psychotically chipper," Paige corrected.

Anna clapped sarcastically, "Way to go," she huffed, earning a stern look from Phoebe.

"Anna," she warned.

"What?" Anna demanded defensively. Wyatt gave his sister an equally exasperated look, and yet again Cole felt something inside twinge in familiarity at the actions.

"Uh, I think the spell's finished," Paige announced, holding a piece of paper up in the air as the doorbell rang. Oscar, the remaining dog Paige was watching barked and ran in.

"Oh, great," she grumbled, glaring at the animal. Leo blinked in surprise at the sight. Piper didn't particularly like animals, but maybe the spell had gotten her to allow it?

"You got a dog?" He wondered. Paige grimaced again and shook her head in denial.

"No, I got a career."

"Sore subject, don't ask," Anna advised as Oscar barked again, making Paige huff and start for the attic door.

"Alright, I'm coming." Phoebe followed at her heels, but Cole stayed with the others. If his theory was correct, he was going to defend his possible niece and nephew as fiercely as he defended his wife.

They waited in silence for several moments before Phoebe called for Will and Anna to come quickly. They orbed, Anna taking Cole, as someone was obviously in need of healing.

"Oh by the goddess, Darryl!" Anna exclaimed, a hand going to her mouth. It reminded Cole of Phoebe. Wyatt hastily went to the detective's side, his hands starting to glow as Paige explained what Darryl had told them about the attack on him.

"Why didn't you call me for help?" Leo asked Phoebe lowly. She glanced briefly at him before returning her attention to the two men.

"You're not our Whitelighter anymore, Leo. Will and Anna are."

His jaw clenched at the reminder and he turned to Darryl. "Feeling better?"

Darryl nodded. "Yeah. It's good to have you back by the way."

"Thanks for helping me get back," Leo answered. Noticing his sister about to make the situation worse with a snarky remark, Wyatt quickly stopped her from speaking. She shot him an irritated look, but stayed quiet.

"How long after we left did the warriors show up?" Phoebe asked and Darryl was quiet for a moment to work out the answer.

"Not long," he decided. "Maybe a couple of seconds."

"They must have followed us from Valhalla," Phoebe concluded grimly and Paige scowled, crossing her arms.

"Great. That means they're after us now."

"Except they didn't hang out long enough to ask me where to find you," Darryl disagreed. "Granted I was looking through swollen eyes but they just seem lost and confused."

"So what, they just took off?" Anna raised an eyebrow. That didn't fit with her extensive knowledge of the warriors. "There must be something wrong with those warriors. They're only supposed to fight evil beings during Ragnarok."

"We should have never put you in that situation," Phoebe told her loyal friend, stricken with guilt. "We should've come up with another way."

Darryl waved her off with a gently reassuring smile as Cole squeezed his wife's shoulder. "Forget it. You know, it worked."

"Yeah, for you maybe. What about the next poor guy that runs into those warriors?" Anna pointed out. "They're trained killers."

"Yeah, but like you said, they only kill evil," Paige argued.

"He's not evil though," Will pointed out. "Anna's right. There's something wrong with those warriors."

"Will is right," Leo added. "Not everything is black and white in this world. Warriors can't always tell the difference between good and evil."

"What do we do?" Phoebe worried.

"Well, we need to find them fast," Leo stated and Anna hid an eyeroll at the stating of the obvious.

"That shouldn't be too hard, they're gonna stand out. Even to San Francisco," Darryl commented and Leo nodded grimly.

"Which is why we need to move fast. If they're exposed, so are the Valkyries."

"You're awfully forgiving considering everything they put you through."

"They still have a noble purpose to perform. Keeping their secret is key to them fulfilling it. Besides, it's not the Valkyries fault that I ended up there." He glanced over at Anna and Will.

"Which bring us back to the warriors," Cole pointed out, right before Anna could.

"And let's not forget about Piper," Phoebe added grimly.

"Maybe we should split up," Leo suggested. He turned to Darryl. "You should go to the police station. They're gonna show up on the radar screen in a big way."

"You know what, the officer's paging me anyway."

"Alright, make sure you're the first cop on the scene, we might need you to buy us some time," Leo instructed. The detective nodded.

"Okay."

"Thanks," Will called as Darryl left. The cop gave the younger man a warm smile. The Halliwells rarely thanked him for his work covering for them, but Anna and Will had done so regularly since their arrival. Their mother had raised them well for sure.

"I've got a suggestion," Cole began, making everyone turn to him. "If they go after evil beings and can't tell the difference properly, I'd probably be a tempting target."

"No!" Phoebe snapped. Anna nodded in agreement, her green eyes wide with concern.

"I'm not letting you put yourself in danger Cole," Phoebe insisted. "I'll go to the newspaper while you head to the office. We can keep an ear out for the warriors as well. Darryl might get called to another case after all."

"Good idea," Leo agreed, trying to take charge of the situation. "Paige..."

"I should take Oscar home before I get fired," she declared, rising to her feet.

"You're kidding, right?" Leo protested.

She shook her head. "No, I promised the temp agency I'd have him back in the morning and, huh, it's the morning. Listen, before you say anything, you've been gone, some things have changed and one of those things is that I am determined no more than ever to have a life separate from being a witch."

"Fine. But now?"

Paige: nodded. "Yeah. I've already done the reversal spell, can't do it without Piper and we don't know how to get her, so, I'm just an orb away if you need help." With that, she left.

"Paige," Leo called.

"Let her go," Phoebe ordered. "It might seem silly to you but it's important to her, I know. Now, we have to come up with another plan to get Piper out of Valhalla."

"She's right," Leo agreed. He grabbed Anna's arm. "Let's go." He orbed away and Will looked panicked.

"I know that he's your family, Phoebe," he told his young aunt. "But if he hurts my sister again, I'll be as much of a pacifist to him as he's being to her."

"And we won't blame you for defending your baby sister," Cole replied. "Phoebe would do the same as you for Piper or Paige."

She nodded her eyes going to floor as she wrestled with her torn feelings. On one hand, she'd known and loved Leo for years. On the other, she quite liked Anna, despite her hard exterior. And she couldn't support Leo hurting any innocent person, especially a young woman who'd suffered a number of unknown traumas. Plus, Leo had hurt Piper, and that was something Phoebe could never consider tolerating.


Valhalla: July 15th, 2003

"Come on, in here," Leo snapped, dragging Anna by the arm.

"Easy," Anna hissed back at him. She was only going willingly because she was determined not to blow her and Wyatt's cover.

"Who goes there?" A warrior barked as they marched in.

"What's the matter?" Leo challenged the other man. "Don't you recognise me?"

"Leo," the warrior stated, obviously surprised. "But we heard that the witches had broken you out."

"Disinformation. Enemy's favourite tactic, don't fall for it again."

The warrior nodded, looking apologetic. "Right, sorry. It's just that everyone's a little on edge, especially since the alert's been sounded again."

"I know," Leo nodded. "I caught the intruder. Where's Freyja? She'll want to question her."

Anna was silently thankful that the warriors hadn't seen her face on their previous trips to the future. Freyja had kept the knowledge of her and Wyatt limited to her and a few trusted members of the Valkyries.

"She's not here," the warrior informed the Elder. "She went after the warriors in the city."

"And the new Valkyrie, where's she?"

"They took her with them."

"Alright, then I'll have to question her myself," he decided, grabbing her other arm and tossing her roughly onto the cage floor. "Alone."

Leo entered the cage as the warriors left. He shut the door and picked up two swords.

"What are you doing?" Anna tried to sound scared instead of annoyed. "Leo, what's going on?"

"I am gonna get the truth out of you one way or another," Leo snarled at her. "No one else around here to help you this time. No orbing, no way out. Just you and me."

He threw the sword at Anna's feet. She stared at him in disbelief. Was he actually insane? Goddess, she hated him. She put an anxious expression on her face and reminded herself that she was supposed to a pacifistic Whitelighter, not a dangerous witchlighter.

"You're joking, right?" She laughed nervously. "I mean, shouldn't we be getting back to fill in the others and find Piper?"

"I already lost Piper. Pick it up."

Anna crossed her arms and raised her chin. She imagined an angry Emperor Wyatt to give her eyes a hint of fear. "You know, this isn't funny anymore. This isn't very Elder-like either."

"Being trapped here for over a month and fighting for my life has changed me a lot. Pick it up," he repeated stonily.

She hid a sneer at his dramatics. At no point had Leo been in genuine danger. He had no concept of what it felt like to suffer, really suffer. "Forget it," Anna refused stubbornly.

Leo kicked a shield at her and she caught it automatically. Leo then lunged at her and she let herself fall to the ground to maintain her pretence. "I didn't do it," she insisted, trying to get up, only for Leo to knock her sword out of her hand.

She was inwardly disgusted at his technique. If she wasn't acting like a defenceless Whitelighter, she could've killed him a dozen times over already. He was obviously letting his anger affect his fighting abilities. Freyja would never allow one of her warriors, temporary or not, to leave so many openings in their defence.

"You can't kill me, I'm a Whitelighter."

"No? Then why are you sweating? I'm gonna find out the truth. I'm gonna find out who did this to me, I promise," Leo vowed. He removed the weapon from Anna's throat and stepped away, glaring darkly at her. "Right now we're gonna go catch up with the others and have a little chat with the Elders."

Chapter Text

Disclaimer: I don't own Charmed.

Chapter Eleven

Strength Tarot Card: Mind over Matter

The Manor: July 14 th , 2003

"There's gotta be a way to get Piper out of there," Phoebe insisted once they were all gathered in the conservatory and the sisters had explained the latest developments. "I know it."

"Well, unfortunately the reversal spell as you so kindly pointed out, didn't exactly help Piper remember who she was," Paige reminded them.

"Maybe she does remember, she's just too changed to care at the moment," Cole suggested. The others nodded thoughtfully at that.

"What do the Elders think?" Phoebe asked, making Anna speak up.

"They think it had to be a demon who stuck Leo in Valhalla."

"But they're not sure," Leo interrupted. Wyatt gave his father a cold look, wrapping a protective arm around his sister and pulling her close. For once, she simply accepted it, too tired and stressed over her mother to protest.

"Still, it's their leading theory," Wyatt insisted.

"Guys, this is about Piper," Paige admonished them.

"Actually, the Elders believe that your new power is key to helping save Piper," Leo commented. Phoebe frowned.

"My new power? How do they figure? I've barely stopped channelling people's emotions, and Piper's been taking a potion to keep me from reading her."

"But you felt her in Valhalla," Cole pointed out. "Maybe changing into a Valkyrie sped up her body's absorption of the potion."

"That's right," Leo agreed. "There's a reason you received it. They... We believe it's to help save Piper. So what exactly did you feel the last time from her?"

She shrugged, frowning as she thought. "Not much."

"You said you felt something familiar, little things," Paige prompted.

"Well, I mean, obviously I felt pain... and desire... to help," Phoebe said slowly, sounding hesitant.

"Well, she helped Darryl and that wasn't with her Valkyrie powers that was with her Charmed powers," Paige pointed out.

Anna pulled away from Wyatt, though she stayed by his side. "The witch within her must still be alive."

"And that's how you're gonna reach her," Leo declared.

"Yeah, but how?" Phoebe fussed. "I mean, just because I can feel some glimmer of Piper's feelings doesn't mean she can. She's completely cut off from them."

Anna's eyes lit up with an idea. "Wait-wait-wait, hold it. Isn't there a spell in the book that allows somebody to feel what you feel? Which in this case will be Piper feeling what you're feeling Piper should be feeling. Did that make sense?"

"Um, frighteningly it did," Paige nodded. "What about that spell we used for that innocent last year. Remember, she didn't believe the warlock only wanted her powers so we wrote a spell to let her feel what he was feeling. I could reword it for Piper."

"Actually, that's worth a shot."

"But you still have to get close to her to try it and that's not going to be easy," Cole sighed. He hated when his wife was in danger, but at least the Elders had made him a witch, so he wasn't completely useless when there was a problem like that time when he was just a useless mortal.

"Yeah, especially with Piper's powers," Paige grimaced. She remembered back when Piper had turned into a Fury. Paige had genuinely feared she would be attacked by her sister, who, at time wasn't very loving.

"Maybe I could orb you," Leo suggested.

"You're the reason she's like this Leo," Cole snapped at his (former?) brother-in-law. "You need to stay away from her."

"Well, then the question is how do we get close enough to her without her kicking our butts?" Paige asked, twirling a lock of red hair.

Phoebe suddenly beamed as she figured out a solution. "I can use my empathy to counteract hers."

"How?" Wyatt asked, crinkling his eyebrow.

"Well, I haven't done it before," Phoebe began. "But I think that I can channel her powers and then use them against her."

"Phoebe, that's dangerous," Cole objected. "What if you can't control them? You guys or Piper could get hurt. And I know some empaths can reflect others emotions back as lightning bolts, but I've never heard of someone actually using empathy to channel someone else's powers."

"None of them were Charmed Ones though," Will reasoned. "I bet if anyone could do it, Phoebe could."

Anna also nodded, along with Paige and Leo. Cole grimaced, and gave in to the inevitability of his wife again being in danger. They all split for their different tasks.

The sisters and Cole went to rewrite the spell, Leo headed back 'Up There' to speak with the other Elders again, and Wyatt pulled his sister into the kitchen for a private talk.

"Are you okay?" He asked her anxiously. She nodded, calm as cucumber, or whatever the saying was.

"What'd Leo do?"

Anna shrugged lightly, tilting her head. "Attacked me with a sword. For an Elder, he's very violent. We need to be careful though. He's positive that I'm the one who sent him to Valhalla, and he's determined to prove it. I'm not sure why he's fixated on me, and seems to be indifferent to you though. That's kinda weird."

"He attacked you with a sword?" Wyatt's voice rose and she shot him a sharp look.

"Shush! And yes." She paused, staring at his stricken look.

She reminded herself that this Wyatt had never really suffered through anything worse than losing an innocent, and probably considered Leo perfect before all this. After all, the one thing Leo cared about other than the Elders was Wyatt. Wyatt took the blocking potion, but Anna knew how to read people without using her own empathy. He was distraught.

She awkwardly reached out, patting his shoulder carefully. "It's okay," she promised, remembering how Uncle Cole would comfort her by hugging her, patting her back and saying everything was alright. She wasn't about to go so far as to embrace Wyatt, but she could do the other stuff.

"It's not," he muttered. "The sooner we've dealt with Gideon, the better."


The Manor: July 15th, 2003

Anna carefully picked up the glass shards, placing them in the bin beside her. She'd sent her upset brother on a demon hunt once Piper had returned, and Phoebe and Cole had headed off on a date. Paige walked in, dressed up in a purple dress and holding a clutch handbag. Anna glanced at her as she continued to clear up the mess.

"Hey, Anna," Paige greeted her youngest Whitelighter. "What are you doing?"

"Wow, you look amazing," Anna told her aunt sincerely.

"Thank you. Um, leave it, I'll help you clean it up tomorrow."

Anna waved her off. "It's okay, I don't mind. It's the least I can do."

"What do you mean, the least you can do?" Paige frowned.

Anna looked down. "You know, for fighting with Leo."

"He attacked you, that wasn't your fault!" Paige objected. "Actually, I want to apologize for not doing more to stop him. He shouldn't have done that."

Anna gave a bitter smile to her young aunt. "Yeah, I know, like I said, it's cool."

Paige. "Well, if you're sure you want to clean it up yourself. I'm off to see Oscar."

"Whoa, wait," Anna called. "Oscar the dog?"

"Yeah, he's having a bit of a tough time adjusting," Paige explained. Anna stared at her in alarm and wondered whether or not to call Piper or Phoebe. "I don't really want him roaming the streets by himself. Especially since I am the one who rescued him. You know, I was having trouble with the whole idea of that temp agency thing. But I'm kind of digging it now, it's alright."

"Wait, wait, about Oscar," Anna tried.

"Bye," Paige chirruped as she left.

"He's a dog," Anna stated blankly as the door shut. "A dog."


Abandoned Pakistani warehouse: May 6 th , 2023

Anna looked coldly at Emily, letting none of her emotions touch her face. It had been beyond agonizing to know that Emily was walking around, safe and alive, after what she had done.

"What does Wyatt want, Emily?" Anna gritted out.

Emily rocked back and forth on her heels with a wild, desperate look in her eyes, and part of Anna felt mildly concerned for the psychic's mental wellbeing.

"He didn't send me," the older girl whispered. "I came myself. I need your help."

Anna stared at her in disbelief, rage beginning to rise inside. " You  need  my  help? You have the goddessdamned nerve to ask me for  help , after everything you've done?"

Emily flinched, looking away. "I didn't want to kill them," she whimpered. "But I thought, if I stayed by Wyatt's side, I could bring him back to Good. But I can't take this anymore. Please Anna, have mercy."

Disgust contorted Anna's face as replied. "You murdered innocents, what part of that deserves mercy? You killed Sarah!"

Anna felt her heart clench as she remembered her sweet friend. Sarah had been so compassionate, so gentle and strong. And Emily had killed her, before she'd ever had the chance to reach her potential. Before she'd even turned fourteen. Just the thought of Sarah's broken body, lying motionless in a pool of blood, steeled Anna's heart against Emily's pleas.

"I'm pregnant," Emily told her brokenly. Anna froze in shock. "And Wyatt-. Melinda's prophecy says Warren witches grow stronger with every generation. You and Wyatt are stronger than your mother was and she was the Eldest Charmed One. What if this baby is even stronger than him? I'm afraid that Wyatt will kill my baby. Please Anna, mercy."

"I have no reason to trust that this isn't an elaborate attempt of Wyatt's to insert a spy into the Resistance," Anna stayed strong. "Why should I help the Source's favourite whore?"

"Read me, then," Emily suggested. "If that's what it takes, I don't care. Please."

Anna clenched her jaw, debating inwardly before nodding curtly. "If this is a trap, Emily-"

"I know," the psychic cut her off. "It isn't."

Anna locked eyes with the other woman.

Unlike Wyatt, Anna's talents were mostly passive. While Wyatt had what seemed like a never-ending string of destructive active powers, Anna's only active powers were Element Conjuring (though she was the only witch since the Evil Enchantress, Paige's past life, who could manipulate them all) and telekinesis, in all its' forms. All her other powers were connected to the mind, and mostly useless for battle.

She scanned Emily's thoughts for several minutes before withdrawing from the foreign mind.

"Fine," she decided abruptly. "But you'll be given a power stripping potion. You'll be confined to your room, under 24/7 guard. And you'll give us everything you know about Wyatt's plans, defences, everything. Otherwise we'll turn you over as a traitor."

Emily nodded. Anna chewed the inside of her lip as she offered her hand.  'Damn you Wyatt Halliwell,'  she cursed him.  'Damn you to the deepest darkest depths of Purgatory for eternity.'

Chapter Text

Disclaimer: I don't own Charmed.

Chapter Twelve

Red: Strength, Protection, Good Luck, Vitality, Desire

P3 Backroom: July 29 th , 2003

Something was wrong. Anna paced in agitation, rubbing her temples as she fought the headache pounding inside her skull. She was forgetting something, something important. At least she'd sent away the woman Leo had wanted her to take as a charge. Natalie was nice and all, but she deserved a Whitelighter who could heal, and who wasn't too busy being responsible for.

For what? What was Anna responsible for? Why had she risked everything to come back in time. It made no sense. Anna had been tasked with something very important, important enough to make her risk her own existence by time travelling to before her birth, but she didn't know what. And all her memories since her arrival in 2003 seemed foggy, like a puzzle with the key pieces missing. There was only one explanation.

"Someone tampered with my head," she snarled. "I'll skin them and shove their corpses into Purgatory!"

'Temper Annie,' a man's voice, familiar yet not, whispered in her mind. 'You need to calm down. All this tension you have isn't good for you.'

She scowled but reluctantly acknowledged that her mental voice was right. She needed to focus on remembering what she had forgotten. That meant she needed to speak to the sisters.

Concentrating on the Manor, Anna orbed to the attic.


The Manor: July 29th, 2003

"You two, huh?" Cole asked with a raised eyebrow as the 'Whitelighter' appeared in a swirl of orbs in front of them.

"What?" Anna blinked.

"You can't remember anything about yesterday either?" Paige clarified. "I forgot promising to help a coworker deal with our douchebag of a boss and I've got a coffee stain on my shirt that I don't remember getting. Phoebe apparently started a riot at work, which she has also forgotten, Cole doesn't remember running out of court in the middle of an important case for some reason and Piper keeps hearing babies. What about you?"

"Um, I forgot why I came back in time," Anna answered slowly, as she crinkled her brow. Piper kept hearing babies? Why did that feel so important. "I know that it's important though, and if I don't remember what I need to change, something terrible is going to happen because I won't be able to stop it and-"

"Calm down Anna," Cole ordered, grasping her shoulders as her distress overpowered the potion and made Phoebe wince.

"Yeah, honey," the empath said soothingly. "We know that we've forgotten something, all we need to do is remember it."

"How?"

"I think somebody is messing with us," Paige told her.

"Making us forget something that happened yesterday," Phoebe agreed. "Probably some demonic plot. After all, if we can't remember the problem, we can't exactly fix it, now can we?"

"But these all seem like such random moments to forget," Piper pointed out. "Where's the connection?"

"It must have something to do with what I came back to change," Anna insisted. "Because I can't remember anything that's happened since I came back properly. We need to figure out what happened yesterday."

"Well, that's why we wrote a spell to fill in the blanks," Paige waved a piece of paper in the air.

"We know you might be reluctant because of what happened last time we cast a spell on your memory," Phoebe said to Piper, just as Anna opened her mouth to remind them of that exact incident. Piper, however, shook her head.

"No, you're right, let's do it."

"Really?" Phoebe asked her sister in surprise.

"Something's going on," the elder woman shrugged. "The only thing we don't know is what. Cole, Anna, are you alright with this? You can wait outside if you're not."

"No," Anna refused the offer immediately. "I'll do it."

"Me too," Cole added. He grasped Phoebe's hand to be affected by the spell, whilst Piper took Anna's hand. The young woman felt a pang at the touch. Goddess, she missed her mother.

"Alright, here we go," Paige announced. "Moments lost make witches wonder, warlocks plot or demons plunder, if this is not a prank, help us to fill in the blanks."

The world seemed to bend, and suddenly everything had changed slightly.

Paige's coffee stain was gone, Phoebe no longer had a bandage on her head, it was raining, and Anna, Piper and Cole were dressed differently. Cole was obviously ready for court, while Anna was wearing a purple pirate-style shirt and jeans and her hair was in a ponytail, instead of the black trousers, green blouse and braid she'd been dressed in a moment before.

"It's raining," Piper pointed out, frowning at the window.

"And your band-aid's gone," Paige added, looking at Phoebe.

"And you're wearing that blouse," she replied.

"Except for I've got no coffee stain," Paige mused, pulling her top out slightly to look at it better.

"Piper, Anna and I are dressed differently too," Cole muttered, frowning heavily. Anna was pale and she pressed a hand to her forehead as memories of Wyatt suddenly returned in a rush. She didn't dare to say anything, as she realized what had happened and didn't want them to connect Wyatt with 'Will'.

Suddenly, they all heard a baby calling for attention from the conservatory. Piper's eyes widened in shock as her own memories were restored.

"Oh my god!" She exclaimed, running out of the attic. They dashed after her.

They entered the conservatory in time to watch as Piper picked Wyatt out of his playpen. She turned to face them, resting her son on her hip.

"I remember now. I'm a mom."

"Today is yesterday," Phoebe declared a few minutes later, tossing a newspaper on the table.

"Well, the spell didn't return our memories, it just rewound the day," Paige sighed.

"Technically it did return them," Cole corrected. "We didn't remember Wyatt, and now we do. And this means we're on our guard now. We can protect him better. I think his shield has been making us cocky."

"Yeah, but why send us back a day?"

"Why else? To help us remember what somebody obviously wants us to forget."

"Okay, but how could I have possibly forgotten about Wyatt?" Piper demanded. She had never felt so awful in her life. Wyatt was her son. What kind of mother let her son be kidnapped and her memory of him erased. "What could have happened to make that happen?"

"Piper, it's not just you, we were all made to forget about him," Phoebe tried to comfort her sister.

"And a whole bunch of other things," Paige added.

"But I'm his mother, it's my job to protect him and I failed."

"Don't be ridiculous, you did not fail," Paige scoffed.

"They're right Piper," Anna snapped out of her thoughts to do her duty as a Whitelighter. "Believe me, I know bad parents, you're a fantastic mom. It takes a lot of strength and love to cope with everything you deal with, but you do.

Wyatt's going to be an amazing person when he grows up, and he'll owe that to you. And you didn't forget him, not really. I mean, Paige said that you were hearing a baby crying. You knew that Wyatt needed you. It's gonna be okay, I promise. We'll protect him."

The sisters blinked at Anna in surprise. Usually, Will was the one with the inspiring speeches, while Anna was more, 'suck it up, Buttercup.' But that speech had genuine

ly helped Piper, who sat up and adjusted her fussy child. She smiled warmly at the younger woman.

"Thanks Anna. I appreciate it."

"Good work," Cole muttered softly to his probable niece as the sisters turned their attention to making up a plan for protecting Wyatt. She flashed him a quick, uncertain smile before turning to the girls.

Paige clapped her hands together brightly as she spoke. "Okay, guys, we're kind of against the clock right now, maybe we should just take it in the other room."

"I think that's a good idea," Phoebe agreed as they all rose to their feet.

"Okay, bud, here we go," Piper crooned to her son as she put him back in his playpen. She picked up an old teddy bear and waved it at him. "Hey, lookie, how about this? You like this guy? Hello. No? Pheebs, a little help here."

"We hate that toy," Phoebe stated. "It's yucky and crusty and gross."

Piper huffed in frustration, feeling a bit of her earlier stress beginning to rise again. "Okay, then what does he want?"

Phoebe turned to point at the TV. "That."

"Yeah, see, I am a failure."

"No, you're not. We just happen to have more pressing concerns right now than the media's influence. Okay?"

"Besides," Cole added. "Watching Bob the Builder isn't exactly gonna kill him."

Anna frowned slightly. Piper had rarely let her or Wyatt watch TV growing up. Aunt Phoebe said it was because she was worried it would give them ideas that would lead to them conjuring magical animals to play with. Anna still didn't understand where that fear came from, but Piper obviously hadn't developed it yet, because she huffed and grabbed the remote as the others made their way to the sitting room for the mini-war council.

"Okay, we remember everything that happened before today, right?" Paige clarified. They all nodded. "Anna, you remember that you and Will came back to keep a demon stealing Wyatt's powers don't you?"

Anna nodded. Luckily, the sisters were too focused on Wyatt to realize that Will had also disappeared which was a relief. Although, she felt very guilty about forgetting him herself. She was also uncomfortably aware that letting Wyatt be taken again, and stopping the sisters from realizing he was gone, would solve her problems completely.

Then, she reminded herself firmly of Gideon saying they would go after all the Charmed Children, meaning her cousins were in danger of being killed or turned as well. No, she had to save him, not let him be erased. Besides, what if a demon had taken him to be raised evil? Things would be just as bad as before then.

"And we know we're not gonna remember everything unless we do something about it, right?" Paige continued, snapping Anna from her circular thoughts.

"So whatever made us forget Wyatt is going to happen next," Cole mused thoughtfully, stroking his chin. "We need to repeat today to figure out what happened to him."

"Yeah, but if we're not careful, where it leads will be right back where we started, without Wyatt," Piper pointed out, stress creasing her forehead. Anna felt a pang at her mother's worried look. It was, unfortunately, a familiar one.

"Except we know something is going to happen to him, so all we have to do is look for clues, keep our eyes open and stop it," Paige insisted.

"Are you sure it'll be that simple?" Anna asked lowly. "We didn't notice any clues the first time round after all, what if we don't put them together this time either?"

"And how are we supposed to know what's important and what's not?" Phoebe added.

"It's all important because it's all connected to Wyatt. So we just have to see what the connection is."

"What does me running out of a case I've been working on for weeks have to do with Wyatt?" Cole asked sceptically. "Speaking of, it's an important case. I'm defending a woman pro bono who's about to be evicted. She deserves better than to be on the streets with three kids."

"And what, you're just supposed to go to your temp job and wait for coffee to be spilt on you?" Piper added. Paige nodded, grimacing.

"Yeah, exactly. Cole, you can fix it tomorrow, today we have to save Wyatt." She turned to Phoebe. "Now you, you have go to go to work and..."

"Start a riot and get a cut on my head and lose my job?" Phoebe said in fake-cheery voice. "No thank you."

"You have to, it's the only way to save Wyatt."

"Oi," Phoebe pouted. As much as she loved her job, she loved her nephew more.

"I can stay here with Piper and Wyatt," Anna offered. "If something attacks, I'll orb them to safety."

They flashed her appreciative grins. Then Paige suddenly frowned.

"Hey, where's Will?"

Anna shrugged as casually as she could. "Leo assigned us another charge," she explained indifferently. "Will's with her."

They heard a sudden bang from the conservatory, and rushed to it. The door was open, letting in the rain, and the TV had changed from a baby's channel to a show with dragons on it.

"It must have been the wind," Cole said warily.

"But they were locked," Piper protested.

"Could be a clue, let's remember it," Phoebe ordered.

Paige turned to Piper and Anna. "Are you two sure that you'll be okay here by yourselves?" She asked as Cole pulled the doors shut and re-locked them.

"Do we have a choice?" Piper replied dryly.

"I'll keep the safe," Anna insisted. "I swear, I'd die for any of you." They were slightly shocked and worried at her fervent tone, but smiled at her.

"We know," Phoebe answered. "We trust you."

"Call us if anything weird happens," Paige added.

They nodded before separating to go to their various workplaces.


The Manor: July 28 th , 2003

Anna and Piper were both bent over the Book of Shadows, searching for a way to protect Wyatt, when the baby started to fuss. Unsurprisingly, Piper rose instantly to go and soothe him.

"Oh, Wyatt, sweetie, come on, mommy's gotta find something to make sure nothing happens to you. Here, look-look-look." Anna watched as Piper picked up the old bear. Wyatt continued his sobs. A tingling sensation in her neck had Anna rising to her feet to move nearer to her charges.

"Right, you hate this," Piper huffed as she put down the bear and raked a hand through her long brunette tresses. "You hate this. Okay. I'm sorry," she said as she picked him up. "Did I forget how to be a mommy too?" Anna gasped and reached out to grab Piper's arm as she saw them start to orb out.

"Wyatt, what are you doing? Wyatt!"


Presidio Tunnel: July 28th, 2003

"Did he just orb us?" Anna exclaimed. Her insecurity reared its' head, saying that Anna would never have been capable of doing something like that at his age.

"Yeah, he did," Piper confirmed, glancing down at her son. "Wyatt, you're making Mommy very nervous. What are we doing here? What is it?"

Piper's phone suddenly began to ring and she handed the baby to Anna to hold while she answered it. "What's up?"

"Where are you?" Paige asked urgently. "Where's Anna?"

"Where are we?" Piper's tone was full of false cheer. "We're standing outside of the Presidio tunnel where your nephew just orbed us."

"What did you just say?" Paige exclaimed disbelievingly. She hung up and orbed to them with Cole and Phoebe. All of them were blatantly worried about something.

"He did what?" Cole asked incredulously. "That's frighteningly impressive. He's only five months old after all."

"Are you out of your mind?" Piper berated her youngest sister, ignoring him. "Aren't you afraid of exposure?"

"It's a little late for that," Cole told them grimly. Anna and Piper frowned at him.

"What do you mean? What are you talking about?"

Suddenly, they heard a roar and a car came screeching out of the tunnel on fire. Anna yelped, resisting the instinctive urge to go and fight the flames with her hydrokinesis. Speaking of which, she could feel her powers beginning to spark again. She would need to go hunting soon.

"I think she's talking about that," Phoebe commented, pointing at the car.

A dragon flew out of the tunnel and breathed out a jet fire. The girls and Cole ducked. Anna, shoving away memories of Wyatt's 'Air Force' made up of various flying magical creatures, mostly his precious dragons, grabbed onto her young family and orbed them to safety. She finally understood what had happened.


Camelot, formerly San Francisco: December 19th, 2021 (Unchanged Future)

Anna kept her head down as she made her way out of the San Francisco Arboretum after meeting with Niko. She was disguised, of course, but it was best not to risk angering any 'Peacekeepers' by daring to catch their eyes. Especially so close to the anniversary celebrations, though Anna could see nothing worth celebrating about the brutal destruction of society.

A tuft of hair, dyed blonde and made curly by being wound around several sticks overnight, fell into her face. With her hair, clothes and grey eye contacts, she looked almost completely different. No glamours needed. The disguise was completed with her ID tag, dangling from her neck and declaring her to be the twenty-three-year-old mortal Thea Perry. No one would visually connect her with Resistance Leader Annette 'Athena' Halliwell.

A sudden sense of danger made her stiffen, and she glanced warily around. Wyatt insisted on screens being placed all over the place to allow him to spread his propaganda. The one on the current street had just gone from announcing that anyone who cooperated with the Resistance would be given to Nathaniel Pratt and his Witch Hunters for 're-educating' to a picture of Excalibur impaling a triquetra made of dark purple flames.

Wyatt's symbol. He was making an announcement, which could only mean something terrible was happening. With inward reluctance, Anna copied the actions of the few people desperate or stupid enough to be outside two hours before curfew, and fell to her knees. The screen changed again, this time showing Wyatt standing in a strange room. It was surrounded by a dark void, with a single square of white to stand on. He had a cold grin playing on his lips, and Anna knew she wasn't the only one who shivered in fear at the sight.

Her unease increased as she spotted the street exits being blocked by some low-level Keepers, and two probes hovering in the air.

"Hello, my loyal subjects,"  Wyatt cried with uncharacteristic cheerfulness, jumping to his feet and stroking the sword dangling from his side.  "What a day, what a day. Oh, of course, my apologies. None of you realize what's so special about today, do you? Well, nevermind. That's what I'm here to tell you. You see, today is the anniversary of the day that I killed the Tribunal and the Cleaners. If I had not done so, we wouldn't have been able to unite magic and mortal beings! So, I have decided to celebrate. First, I'll show you what happened that day."

He waved his hand at the middle of the floor and a projection leaped out of it. It showed Wyatt at the young age of fifteen with several of his 'Generals', just days before his multi-pronged attack on Magic School, the Elders, all the magical beings and the mortal governments. Anna shuddered. At the same as Wyatt was murdering the Tribunal, she'd been wrapping Christmas presents for her cousins and grandfather. She still struggled to believe it, even after three years.

On screen, Young Wyatt laughed cruelly, calling for the Tribunal to appear. They did so, outrage on their faces.

"How dare you summon the Tribunal for your own petty amusement, witch?" Thrask spat. Anna winced.

Young Wyatt gave an icy smile and the watching audience shuddered in fear. They were all well aware of what happened when he gave that particular expression.

"I have come to offer you a choice," Wyatt declared, striding forward. "The time has come for me to ascend to my birthright as Ruler of Magic. I intend to join both worlds together. The Tribunal's time is over. So, now I offer you a chance. Join me, pledge to me your fealty and use your powers for my cause." He paused to look each of the Tribunal in the eyes. They themselves looked outraged at the offer as he finished. "Or die."

"How dare you?" Crill boomed. "The Tribunal is subject to no one's authority. Leave now or suffer the consequences of your arrogance!"

Anna flinched, not daring to look away from the brutality she knew was coming.

Young Wyatt's cold smile disappeared. His expression went icy. "I see. I had hoped that you would see reason, but clearly not." His hand shot out and he twisted it in a sharp circle. The Tribunal's heads disappeared and the four men reappeared in front of him.

"You dare," Aramis began, now furious. He was suddenly cut off as Wyatt's 'Chief' Darklighter, Rennek held an arrow to his throat. Another Darklighter, Salek, also held his own poisonous arrow to Adair's neck. Isax chuckled cruelly as he put a sword to Thrask's back, and Barbas casually pressed an athame to Crill's throat.

Wyatt smirked and jerked his hand again, this time summoning two men Anna assumed were the Cleaners. Before they could do anything, Damien, the half-manticore the Charmed Ones once saved, now Wyatt's most loyal and trusted advisor, and Emily Richards, Wyatt's favourite girl, held their poison-coated swords to the two men.

"Now, let me think, let me think," Wyatt mused. He paced up down as he did so. "Who to kill first? You understand, I want these deaths to be special, not just a typical wave the hand, bang they're dead, you know? You four deserve special deaths after your centuries of dedicated work for magic. So, what to do, what to do?"

"You don't have the power to kill us," Thrask spat arrogantly. "We are protected by Destiny itself!"

Wyatt laughed coldly at the declaration. "Oh, I promise you Thrask my friend. Even the Angels of Destiny will bow to me soon enough!"

He spun on his heel, nodding crisply. He unhooked Excalibur from his belt and headed over to where the Cleaners stood silently. Without ceremony, he beheaded them both. The Tribunal cried out, the two Elder representatives jerking as if they go and heal the two dead beings, while the demons looked stunned, with fear creeping into their expressions at the sight. Wyatt turned back to them, stepping forward and shrugging as Damien and Emily quietly followed him.

Anna felt a surge of bitterness at the sight of them. Damien had always followed Wyatt's lead, taking great joy in watching the chaos they created. And as for Emily, well. She'd been in love with Wyatt for years and everyone knew it. Never mind that he wouldn't blink before killing her if she had powers that he wanted.

"You four deserve significant deaths," Wyatt told them offhandedly. "But I don't care about the Cleaners. Now, I've decided what I'm going to do. I'm going to kill you in alphabetical order, I'm sure my OCD sister would find that appropriate, (Anna flinched again), and I have a couple of new powers that I want to test. Each of you will have the honour of being the first ones to die by them."

"You will never win Halliwell," Adair declared bitterly as Wyatt stood in front of him, lifting a hand. "You'll be defeated, and magic will be saved."

Wyatt laughed without amusement. "I'm sure you think so," he replied before clenching his hand into a fist.

A jet of blue light shot from his hand hitting Adair straight in the heart. The Elder's face sagged in shock and he let out one last gasp of pain, before his knees gave out. Salek stepped away from the man indifferently, ignoring the body that slumped to the floor. The other members of the Tribunal let out yells of anger and fear at the sight of it.

Aramis lifted his chin defiantly as Wyatt turned to him. "That was Lazer Bolts, in case you mistook it for Light Darts," Wyatt explained boredly. "People often do. Now, Aramis. Do you have anything to say before you die?"

"You're a fool Halliwell," Aramis told him grimly. "A fool. You have no idea what you're doing, and no one will ever stand back and let your take-over succeed. All you're doing is uniting the world against you."

Wyatt's expression darkened and he raised his hand, clenching his fist. Anna winced again as she recognized the familiar gesture. Goddess knew he'd used it on her enough to know it with a single glance. Aramis choked, his hands going to grip at the position of his heart. Rennek released him, stepping back to let the old Elder slump to floor. Anna heard someone nearby whimper softly in fear at the sight.

The other two died quickly, making threats and bribes as they died from an Energy Ball and a jet of fire each. The projection shut down right after they watched Thrask burst into flames and Emperor Wyatt stepped into the centre of the screen again. He had a cold smile playing on his lips.

"To celebrate the end of the Tribunal's tyranny, I have decided to gift my loyal lieutenants, who aided me in their destruction, with a 'Free-For-All Rebel Hunt'. The dragons will also be released to help in the search. Enjoy." The screen went as everyone stood frozen for several seconds before scrambling to their feet as the air turned shimmery from the arrival of more low-level demons.

Anna knew there was no way to escape the city, not with a Hunt going on, so the seventeen-year-old witchlighter chose to stand her ground instead. She flipped back her hood and raised her hands, waving them and sending the probes roughly into various buildings. The screams of the surrounding mortals increased as they realized their danger. She was after all, obviously a rebel witch, and therefore a target. Everyone near her was in deathly danger.

She used her pyrokinesis to create a barrier, letting the terrified innocents escape, before turning her complete attention to the Keepers. She did fine for a few minutes, dealing easily with the lower-level demons who were attacking her. Then she heard the familiar roar, and felt her heart sink.

She telekinetically crushed the hearts of the remaining two Keepers, before spinning on her heel, crouching in a defensive stance as she took in the approaching creature. As she'd feared, it was a dragon. Thankfully, when Anna reached out with her Clairaudience, she knew it was riderless. She reassured herself that she could handle that. She was Piper Halliwell's only daughter after all.

She reached out with her empathy, wondering if she could somehow make the dragon fall asleep, but instantly recoiled from the savage mind. No, there was no calming that beast. It was far too primitive, and wanted nothing but bloodshed. To prove her point, the dragon blew a jet of fire at her.

Anna countered by using the nearby lake to create a barrier of water between her and the flames, causing them to dissolve in mid-air. Then she blew the strongest jet of cryokinesis she could at the beast. Unfortunately, it only seemed to make him angrier. The battle lasted several minutes, with Anna's hair being badly singed, and her gaining several third-degree burns. The dragon earned a damaged wing, lost an ear, and became even more enraged then she believed possible.

When Damien shimmered in, a look of vicious anticipation on his face, Anna knew that she had no choice left. She was too wounded to continue the fight, let alone with another, fresh, opponent. Desperately hoping that the Goddess would be merciful to her for once, Anna flung her emergency transportation potion on the ground. As she was enveloped by smoke, she silently prayed that wherever she ended up wouldn't have any enemies around. She raised her hands in preparation to defend herself, because she was certain it would.

Chapter Text

Disclaimer: I don't own Charmed. Bit with Paige explaining the Cleaners is taken directly from Charmed wiki.

Chapter Thirteen

Pink: Love, Harmony, Friendship, Reconciliation

The Manor: April 13 th , 2011 (Changed Future)

" The Cleaners  are a race of magical neutral beings that were empowered by  the Tribunal  with the eternal task of protecting magic from exposure," Paige lectured her attentive nephew. Wyatt had a report on the Cleaners due the next day and he'd asked her for help. "Existing beyond time and space, the sole purpose of their existence is to ensure that mortals never became aware of the existence of the magical world, whatever the cost."

"Did you ever meet them Aunt Paige?" Wyatt asked curiously. Paige grimaced and nodded.

"Unfortunately kiddo, yeah. We did."

"What happened?" He pressed, blue eyes bright with curiosity. She smirked, tapping his nose gently.

"Well the first time was actually your fault," she told him teasingly. Wyatt huffed, looking offended at the unjustified, (in his mind), accusation.

"What do you mean it was my fault?" He whined. Paige settled back into the kitchen chair as she began her explanation. At least this particular story didn't involve OtherAnna. Almost seven years later, and she still couldn't think of her lost niece without pain and fear surging in her breast. Paige dreaded what would happen when Annie turned twenty-three. They still didn't know if it would affect her in any way.

"Well, you were about five months old at the time and apparently you wanted a playmate," she explained cheerfully, wrapping an arm around him and pulling him close to her side.

"Unfortunately, your conjuration decided that it was time to manifest itself, and it did so in quite a spectacular way. You see, you somehow managed to change the TV show Piper put on for you from a baby channel to one about dragons. We were in the other room, and came running in when we heard a crash from the conservatory. We'd left you there to watch TV while we worked on our current problem."


The Manor: July 28 th , 2003

"The Cleaners are a group of neutral beings," Anna explained to the sisters. Cole, of course, already knew about them. "Their duty is to keep magic a secret by any means necessary. When Wyatt summoned the dragon originally, they must have taken him to prevent him exposing magic again. They took our memories to keep us from searching for him too."

"If they're supposed to keep magic from being exposed, why didn't they interfere when Prue died, before Tempus reversed time?" Phoebe's voice was low and full of hurt, as was typical when it came to her lost eldest sister.

Anna shrugged helplessly as Cole tugged his wife to his side. Phoebe laid her head on his shoulder, eyes slightly glassy.

"I dunno," Anna admitted. "Maybe because you already had a plan to fix it? I'm sorry, I really can't tell you."

"Those bastards!" Piper snarled, cradling her son protectively. "I'll vanquish them all, I swear I will!"

"You can't," Cole informed her grimly. "They're protected from both good and evil magic by a group called the Tribunal. We need to figure out another way."

"Well we have to do something about the dragon first," Paige insisted. "It's running around the city endangering innocents in case you haven't noticed!"

Cole's attempt to reply was cut off by an unfamiliar voice that had the Halliwells spinning around with their hands raised defensively. (Anna quickly put hers back down again, but not quickly enough to keep Cole from noticing and adding it to his mental list of reasons to believe the 'Perrys' weren't who they claimed to be.)

"Perhaps we can help," the first Cleaner offered in a mild tone.

"Who are you?" Phoebe countered aggressively, wanting to confirm their mutual suspicions.

"We're known as the Cleaners," he answered. "And we're here to help."

"You were the ones who were going to take Wyatt," Piper accused. Rage filled her voice and expression as she placed her son in his playpen, raising her hands in preparation to blast him.

"Well, we won't have to if you can eliminate the exposure risk," the Cleaner said reasonably. Anna winced slightly, feeling a faint trace of pity for the neutral being. He really shouldn't court the Eldest Charmed Sister's temper that way. She supposed he deserved it for being so foolish as to threaten Piper's beloved child.

"Exposure?" Piper shrieked furiously. "You're here to take my son away you son of a bitch!" She attacked, trying to blow him up. Disturbingly, he proved Cole's earlier words right when he just caught the blast in his hand and crushed it into nothing.

"I understand your anger, now you need to understand our position," the Cleaner told her coolly. "We're a neutral party. We exist only to protect magic, to that end your son has become a, problem."

Phoebe grasped Piper, pulling her away and pushing down her hand before she could try and attack him again. "Easy."

"However," the Cleaner continued. "Based upon your past success in covering up your own magic, we've decided to give you a chance."

"One chance only," the second Cleaner warned.

"To take care of the problem yourselves before it gets out of hand," the first Cleaner finished.

"And if we can't?" Paige challenged him.

"Then we'll take care of the problem for you," he responded simply.

"You can't make us forget everything."

"There may be some distance echoes that remain, maybe a sense of deja vu here and there, but like most people you'll just pass it off as absent mindedness and move on."

"Well, we're not like most people."

"It won't matter. Clean it up."

"Or we will," the second Cleaner finished the threat before they both disappeared.

"At least now we know what happened," Paige sighed. "Too bad we just won't remember any of it."

"I think we have the upper hand on this one, don't we?" Phoebe disagreed. "I mean, we know we're recalling the same day, they obviously don't."

"Well, none of this is gonna help unless we figure out how to eliminate Wyatt's dragon, "the youngest Charmed One huffed as she crossed her arms. Piper suddenly turned on her heel and started to head for the stairs.

"Piper," Phoebe called, stepping after her. Piper waved her off.

"Go to the book, work on the dragon, do not take your eyes off Wyatt," she ordered over her shoulder.

"Where are you going?"

"To call a higher power."

When Piper walked into the attic, a bleak expression on her face, Phoebe was working on a vanquishing potion, Paige was flipping through the Book of Shadows, and Anna and Cole were quietly hashing out what they knew about the Cleaners, trying to figure out how to stop them taking Wyatt if they couldn't vanquish the dragon.

"What did Leo say?" Anna asked when her mother entered. Piper's worried look was mixed with hurt as she glanced at her youngest Whitelighter.

"He said he can't help," she revealed bitterly. "We have to sort this by ourselves."

"Wyatt is his son," Phoebe exclaimed incredulously. Paige echoed her expression, and Cole's scowl deepened. Wyatt fussed in his playpen, and Anna swiftly picked him up. He instantly relaxed.

"I know," Piper retorted. "Apparently the rules matter more to him then our child's existence."

"We'll protect him Piper," Anna assured her quietly. "We've just got to make a plan."

"Right," Piper responded curtly. "Anything on the dragon?"

"No, dragons predate the book," Paige sighed. "One thing I do know is that we're gonna have to get a tooth, scale, some piece of him in order to make the vanquishing potion to even work."

"Yeah, we're just kind of winging it, making the most powerful potion that we can." As she finished her sentence, Phoebe suddenly gasped and doubled over in pain.

"Phoebe!" Cole and Paige cried, rushing to her side. None of them noticed Anna sway and grasp the side of the playpen as she too was suddenly hit by the terror and pain of dozens of people at once. Fortunately for her cover, she was familiar with the feeling and able to quickly mask her distress. She stepped closer, fixing a look of concern on her face as she looked at her young aunt.

"What happened?" Piper pressed. "Are you alright?"

"I am but someone's not," Phoebe told them, straightening up shakily with help from her husband and sister. "Actually, a bunch of people aren't."

"People? Like people out there people?" Piper waved at the window and Phoebe nodded uncertainly.

"I don't know. All I know is I've never felt such pain and fear before in my life."

"The dragon?" Paige guessed.

A look of determination replaced Piper's worry and she turned to take Wyatt from Anna's embrace.

"Grab the potion," she ordered. "Wyatt, sweetie, come on. Remember your friend mister dragon? What do you say we find the dragon?"

The scene was shocking to the sisters when they orbed in. People were running away in fear and as they made their way toward the dragon's 'nest', they passed what seemed like dozens of burning cars.

"It's like a warzone," Phoebe breathed with wide eyes. Too distracted by the danger they were in, Anna slipped again.

"I've seen worse."

They all cast her sharp looks, but knew that now wasn't the time to press her for information. Besides, although Leo advocated distrusting the time travellers because of their silence, Cole had gone over the dangers of revealing future information carefully. Anna and Will were perfectly willing to talk about their likes and dislikes, but they kept tight-lipped about their time and given Cole's horror stories of paradoxes and time loops, they had mutually decided to go with it. None of them wanted to accidentally erase a future niece or nephew after all.

Finally, they stopped in front of a large pile of cars and other items off the street. The dragon's tail was poking out of the pile.

"Oh, god, it looks like it made a nest. Let's hope it's not laying any eggs."

Anna cringed at the thought, tenser than a bowstring. "Don't jinx it," she plead. Cole, seeing the genuine fear hidden in Anna's eyes, laid a protective arm over her slim shoulders.

"Do you think you can steal a scale for the potion?" Piper asked her youngest sister.

"Uh, I'll try," Paige said nervously as she raised her hand. "Scale!" A scale orbed off the dragon's tail. They all flinched as the dragon roared in fury. "I think I woke it up."

"Oh, no, I think you pissed it off," Phoebe corrected her tensely.

The dragon roared again as it stood on top of the pile.

"Okay, if you're sensing any fear, it would be mine overwhelming the potion. I think we should go."

"Wait," Piper refused. She passed Wyatt to Phoebe and braced herself. Anna's eyes widened in alarm as she wondered if Piper was planning to try and blow up the creature.

"Piper-" she began at the same as Phoebe asked what they were waiting for.

"Wyatt," Piper answered. "I don't have time to explain. Just make sure he sees me." She then ran forward before anyone could stop her. Cole's iron grip prevented Anna from rushing after her.

"Don't Anna! She's got a plan! Paige, be ready to orb her away if you need to," he ordered, keeping a tight grip on Anna to prevent her orbing Piper to safety.

"Piper, come back!" Paige called after her sister. Piper ignored her.

"Come on, you fire breathing lizard!" She taunted the dragon, who flew up into the air. "Come and get me!"

"Piper, are you nuts?" Paige yelled frantically. She braced herself to orb her sister to safety, but decided to wait until the last possible second to do so.

"Stay there!" Piper snapped back at her family.

"We have to stop her!" Paige insisted to the others.

"Just wait," Cole instructed his sister-in-law, still not releasing Anna.

Phoebe nodded in agreement with her husband, adjusting Wyatt so he could see his mother better. "I think I know what she's doing."

"Come on, Wyatt, don't let mommy down," Anna's Enhanced Senses let her hear Piper's soft plea. She managed to relax a tiny amount, despite her ingrained fear of dragons, as she finally understood what Piper's plan. Worst case scenario, Anna trusted her reflexes enough to believe that she would be quick enough to get Piper to safety in time.

The dragon flew down towards Piper. He opened his mouth and fire started to billow out of it. It had almost reached her, and Anna was moving to orb Piper out of the way, when Wyatt raised his arm and the dragon suddenly exploded into a million orb lights. Piper was yanked backwards at the same time and the dragon disappeared into nothing.

"Piper," Paige sighed in relief as she embraced her sister while Piper took Wyatt from Phoebe.

"I'm okay," Piper reassured her fussing sisters. "I'm okay." She looked down at Wyatt with a huge grin. "Hi, little man, you did it! I knew you could do it. Good job."

"Okay, I'm confused," Paige stated. "What just happened?"

"That was the greatest power there is," Phoebe smiled. "The mother and child bond. Especially when that child is Wyatt."

Anna bit back the surge of hurt and bitterness she felt at the unintentional prod at her insecurity issues.

"So you're saying he vanquished the dragon and you knew he was gonna do it," Paige's tone was rightfully sceptically.

"Well, I was hoping he wouldn't want anything bad to happen to me," Piper laughed, shifting Wyatt to a better position on her hip.

"Okay, well, that solved that problem." Paige waved around at the destruction surrounding them. "Now what do we do with this mess?"

Phoebe shrugged calmly. "We'll figure it out."

Without warning, the Cleaners appeared. The family tensed.

"No, actually, you won't," the first Cleaner corrected her.

"Wait, we did what you asked, we got rid of the dragon!" Piper protested.

"But not the exposure risk," he countered indifferently.

"The boy," his companion said expectantly.

"No, you can't!" Paige snarled. She and Anna lost no time. They each grabbed a family member and orbed away, reappearing in the Manor entrance hall.

"We don't have much time, they're gonna follow us," Paige declared urgently.

"How are we supposed to stop them?" Phoebe wondered in a panic.

"Well, we have to think of something, we can't just let them take Wyatt," Piper cried. Magical lights appeared in the room and Paige rushed forward, putting herself between Piper and the coming trouble. Anna and Cole joined her, protecting the others.

"Uh, incoming." The Cleaners appeared in the room.

"I will not lose him," Piper snarled.

The first Cleaner waved his hand and Wyatt disappeared, reappearing in the second Cleaner arms.

"No!"

The first Cleaner waved his arm again and they were all pushed backwards.

"Don't worry, you won't remember any of this anyway," he told them calmly. He waved his arm for the third time and all of Wyatt's things vanished. The Cleaners disappeared.

Piper pushed herself up. "Do you remember?" Anna nodded.

"Yes," Cole agreed.

"Absolutely everything," Phoebe sighed.

"The spell must have worked," Paige murmured.

"But not for Wyatt," Piper's voice was filled with despair. "He's gone."


"Ugh, nothing, I can't find the Cleaners anywhere," Paige snapped half-an-hour later as she slammed the scrying crystal down on the table.

"Well, they have to exist somewhere, don't they?" Phoebe protested.

"Not necessarily," Cole disagreed. "Not on our plane, not even in our time."

"Maybe we should just summon them," Phoebe suggested.

"And then what?"

Paige shrugged. "I don't know. Maybe we should call Leo again."

Piper finally turned away from the window, her arms crossed. "I don't think he can help any more than he already has."

"How did he help last time?" Anna asked doubtfully. Leo being helpful was a very foreign notion to her.

"By reminding me that I can do this," Piper explained simply. She fell quiet again for a minute before walking closer, a thoughtful look growing on her face. "You know, maybe we're going about this all wrong. Maybe instead of trying to stop them, we should be trying to get them to stop us."

"You lost me," Phoebe said blankly.

"Oh, that's good," Anna cried at the same time. "That's really good. I should've thought of that. It's so obvious."

Piper cast her Whitelighter a fond look. "Well, when magic is exposed, it's their job to clean it up, right?"

"Yeah, so?" Phoebe frowned.

"So why can't we expose our magic and force them to deal with us."

"Yeah, but if we do that, what's to stop them from erasing us?" Phoebe asked warily.

Piper shrugged with a grim smile. "They wouldn't dare. So let's give them something to clean up."


Cole and Anna had stayed behind while the sisters went to expose themselves on live television. After all, while the Charmed Ones were (hopefully) immune to being erased, the same couldn't be said for Cole and Anna. They didn't have any prophecies about them after all.

So, instead they watched their family, Anna chewing on her lip worriedly.

"I need to talk to you and Will about something," Cole said, glancing at the younger woman. She blinked, casting him a bemused look.

"Is everything okay?"

"Fine, as far as I know," he answered mildly. She shifted uncomfortably at his intense look. It reminded her vividly of being a young girl, and how Cole would fix his daughters, nieces and nephews with a similar look whenever he was suspicious about them doing something against the family rules. Unsurprisingly, he'd worn it almost constantly when looking at Wyatt.

The girls orbed back in, backs lined with tension.

"Hmm, not so bad, you should get out more often," Paige commented to lighten the mood. Anna cracked a tiny smile.

The Cleaners appeared. For once, they showed their emotions, outrage on their faces and in their voices.

"What do you think you're doing?" The first Cleaner snapped at the family. "Are you out of your minds?"

"Oh, hey, hi," Piper greeted them with false cheer. "Did you see our little magic act?"

"How is it you still have your memory?" The second Cleaner demanded.

"Oh, I think we still have a few surprises that you don't know about," Phoebe clapped.

"Yeah, and if you don't return our nephew, you might find out about just a few more," Paige threatened them.

"This is pointless," the first Cleaner retorted. "Whatever you do, we'll simply erase."

"Or we'll erase you," the second added threateningly. Anna and Cole both tensed slightly, more familiar than the sisters were with the dangers of crossing the Cleaners and the Tribunal.

"You can't," Piper corrected him with a cold smirk. "Not if you're truly, neutral, that is. 'Cause you see, if you get rid of us, you'll tip the balance of power from good to evil and now that's hardly being neutral, now is it? You will give me my son back or I swear to you the only thing you'll be doing for the next fifty years is cleaning up after us."

The Cleaners exchanged glances before the first spoke again. "If we do return him, how do you know you'll be able to control him?"

"I'm his mother. If anybody can, I can."

'True' Anna mused silently to herself. Her timeline's version of Wyatt had always been cruel, playing 'pranks' that often crossed the line, and intimidating everyone into doing his bidding out of his schoolmates, but it was only after their mother's death that Wyatt had actually gotten out of control. And in the Will's timeline, where Piper was alive, he was fine. Better than fine, he was good even. Piper could keep everything together.

The Cleaner snapped his fingers and Wyatt reappeared in his playpen. Piper rushed over, snatching him up and hugging him close to her.

"Everything is as it was. We've erased all evidence of your son's magic. We'll leave him in your care."

"For now," the second Cleaner added ominously.

Phoebe scrambled forward to intercept them before they could leave, holding up a finger. "Oh, wait, one more thing, please, if you could just do me a little teensy-weensy little favour and erase that whole riot I caused at the office. You know, 'cause I don't wanna lose my job. That would really suck. Might throw off that balance thing because I'd be distracted, you know."

The first Cleaner raised an eyebrow before he closed his eyes for a moment. "It's done. Good luck. Because believe me, you're going to need it."

Phoebe spun around to snatch Wyatt off of Piper as soon as the Cleaners disappeared.

"Are you okay?" She cooed excitedly at her nephew. "I'm so happy to see you!"

"Don't smash him," Piper laughed as Phoebe covered Wyatt in kisses, hugging him tightly.

"I'm just so happy to see you. I can't help it, this is just very exciting. He's back, we're back!"

"Coffee stain and all," Paige added ruefully, gesturing down at her top.

"Yeah, what are you gonna do about your job? Are you gonna keep it?"

Paige nodded. "Yeah, I think I will just so I can see what happens next. Cole, what're you going to do about your case?"

He shrugged, keeping a careful eye on Anna, standing quietly to the side.

"I'll sort it. Judge Ruthers is a good friend of mine, and you know," he shrugged with a grin. "I don't think my boss will mind."

The sisters chuckled at that. After all, Cole was the sole partner of Turner's Attorneys. He'd opened the firm shortly before their battle with the Seer/Source, and took on many pro bono cases. He'd gained fame as the best pro bono lawyer in California.


Wyatt and Anna Halliwell's Warehouse: July 29 th , 2003

Anna kept her eyes fixed on the small mirror resting on the side-table as she brushed hair. The mirror did double duty for her, with Anna making copious use of it for both keeping herself looking like a normal young woman from the early 21st century who actually cared about her appearance, and for her Catoptromancy. She tensed as Wyatt orbed in with an air of relief around him.

"Good news!" He announced cheerfully. "I convinced Leo that we shouldn't take another charge. But he's definitely getting more suspicious. He'll probably try again."

"And we'll refuse the charge again," Anna answered as she set down the brush and began to pull her hair into a tight braid. "We're meeting Cole at the office. He wants to talk to us about something."

"Okay," Wyatt nodded as she turned to face him. A surge of guilt hit her as she looked him in the eye and she looked to the side, pretending to check for any mislaid items. Wyatt frowned in concern. Both Anna and Annie, (as he had mentally separated them into), shared the same telltale signs of guilt, although it was harder to tell that Anna was feeling guilty than it was to tell Annie was feeling guilty.

"What is it?"

She darted a look at him before lifting her chin stubbornly. "Nothing. Let's go talk to Cole." She orbed away before he could press her for information. Wyatt's shoulders slumped in resignation before he followed her, though he appeared in a man's stall, not a woman's like his sister.

They made their way to Cole's office, entering and sitting quietly as he spoke to Darryl on the phone about a case.

"Okay, thanks Darryl," Cole began to wrap up the call. "I appreciate it. Give my best to Sheila and the boys, kay? Bye." He set down the phone and turned his attention to the two witchlighters.

"What's going on Cole?" Anna finally asked. "Why'd you want to talk to us without the girls?"

Cole gave a grim smile. "Don't you mean Uncle Cole?" The two time travellers turned whiter than sheets.

Chapter Text

Disclaimer: I don't own Charmed. BTW Wyatt will think of the sister he grew up with as Annie and the time traveller as Anna to distinguish them.

Chapter Fourteen

Crow: Survival and Resourcefulness

August 10 th , 2003: The Heavens

The worst part of pretending to be a Whitelighter, at least in Anna's opinion, was the weekly Whitelighter meetings. They were full of Elders rambling on about Greater Good, the Balance and spouting various feel good phrases. Anna hated the meetings with a passion, and had genuinely gotten sick with disgust a few times. It amazed her that Wyatt actuallyenjoyed them. He liked chatting to the other Whitelighters as well.

Anna flipped her ponytail back over her shoulder as she listened to Sandra. Of all the Elders, Sandra, Zola and Kevin were the only ones she liked. That had a lot to do with them being the only Elders to refuse to remain in the Heavens when they were sealed off. Instead those three, along with a few of braver remaining Whitelighters had abandoned the Upper Regions and gone to aid the Resistance. They were truly Good, in Anna's opinion.

The sound of orbs drew her back out of her thoughts, and Anna blinked, realizing that the meeting had ended without her noticing. Wyatt was walking up to her. He wore a relaxed smile, with tension lining his spine and jaw.

Truthfully, most people wouldn't notice the subtle signs of distress, but Anna was an expert at reading people, even if she struggled with the social norms of this non-war-torn era. With their bond, fragmented though it was, reading Wyatt was as easy as reading a kids' book.

"Ready to go?" Wyatt asked cheerfully. Again, Anna hid a wince at the fakeness of it. How did no one notice? She nodded casually, pushing off the column she had been leaning against.

"Yeah, let's go." They orbed away, rematerializing in the condo Cole was making them stay in. Truthfully, Anna had only put up a token protest before agreeing to move. She didn't enjoy living in an unprotected and damp warehouse after all. She was just used to it.

"What's wrong?" She demanded immediately. "You're all tense."

Wyatt ran a hand through his blonde curls, worry now openly shining on his face. "Word's going 'round Up There that Leo's got a lead on who sent him to Valhalla."

"Fuck," Anna swore. "Did you hear who he suspected?"

Wyatt shook his head grimly. "Danny didn't know," he told her. "What are we gonna do?"

Anna chewed her lip as she thought. She wandered over to the cauldron and started to prepare the ingredients for a vanquishing potion for a clan she planned to target on her next hunt. Wyatt stayed silent, recognizing the actions. Both Annie and Anna used cooking/potion making as a way to sort through her thoughts. But unlike Annie, if Anna was interrupted whilst deep in thought, he was actually at risk of serious injury.

Anna evenly chopped the sage as she considered what to do. Leo had no way to prove that they were involved in his kidnapping, she was almost sure about that. And yet. Wyatt wasn't the most subtle of witches, as proven by Cole suspecting them within a month, and confronting them within three.

He wasn't used to black ops, which was exactly what sending Leo to Valhalla had been. It was entirely conceivable that he'd left evidence of their actions behind. Besides that, there was the possibility of one of the Warriors or Valkyries telling him something.

"We'll have to just ask him," she finally decided. "Make it seem like we're curious. After all, he's been very open about his accusations. It's natural that we'd be interested in his investigation. Just remember." She turned to bore into him with her eyes. "We aren't guilty." She emphasized each word firmly. Wyatt inhaled deeply, giving a firm nod.

"Now?"

"When I'm done with my potion. Then we'll go look for him."


August 10 th , 2003: P3

They orbed into their mother's bar to find Piper with Phoebe and Cole. They all had mildly concerned looks on their faces and Cole was rubbing his chin seriously. Anna and Wyatt recognized those expressions from a million instances during their childhoods, and instantly went on alert, Leo going to the back of their minds.

"What's wrong?" Anna asked for the second time that day. The three turned to look at the two new arrivals. Cole smiled automatically at his niece and nephew. His attempt to reassure them failed, as they both recognized it as his 'don't-scare-the-kids' expression.

"It's probably nothing," Piper said calmly. "But when I went into the attic this morning, I found the Book of Shadows on the floor. None of us left it there of course. We're worried a demon was trying to steal it."

The two frowned and Anna popped her lip absently. Realizing that she'd once again slipped into the old habit, she shoved her hands in the pockets of her worn-out old denim jeans.

"I think that I vaguely remember a story that started like that in the future," she mused frowning at the wall opposite.

"Me too," Wyatt agreed. "I can't remember the details, but someone's definitely after the book."

"What else is new?" Phoebe groused, throwing her hands in the air. "I can't believe this! At least our date is tomorrow night. We should count our blessings we got through Paige and your birthdays, Piper."

"You should take this seriously," Anna warned. "I'm pretty sure that this time they actually get it."

"But we get it back," Cole pointed out logically. "Otherwise you'd be a lot more frantic about this." Anna made a face but nodded grudgingly at that.

"At least warn Paige," Wyatt coaxed to ease his sister's stress. He did get why Anna found their casualness in regards to demon attacks so distressing, even if he didn't feel the same way. After all, Anna was the one who saw the Charmed Ones be defeated, not Wyatt. Naturally she found the thought of them getting cocky upsetting.

"Where is Paige anyway?" Anna asked, as she finally registered the lack of sarcastic redheads in the room.

"She's at her new temp job," Phoebe answered brightly. Anna blinked in disbelief.

"She's still on that kick?"

Piper gave her a scolding look that forced her to hide her nervous shifting. "It's not a kick, Anna. It's her quest for happiness outside of magic."

"Yeah, but it's a temp job," Anna protested, trailing after her young mother. "Who finds happiness on a temp job?"

"She'll get over it soon," Cole said confidently. "She just needs to find something that suits her. Personally, I think that she should go back to being a Social Worker. She really enjoyed it, and it let her connect with her Whitelighter half by helping people. Plus, she loves kids."

Wyatt grunted as Anna's elbow hit his stomach right before he started to blurt out about Paige becoming Headmistress of Magic School. "Oomph!"

"Will?" Piper frowned at him. "Are you okay?"

"Yeah, I just stubbed my toe," he lied, feeling the now familiar guilt twist his stomach at yet again lying to his mother. She eyed him doubtfully, but nodded and went back to sorting through some glasses at the bar.

A jab of homesickness had him crossing his arms defensively. His mother in his time would never have believed him, nor would she have let it go so easily. He wasn't sure which option was more upsetting.

"What are you guys doing here anyway?" Phoebe suddenly asked. She flushed in embarrassment at Cole's chiding look. "No offense, just-"

"It's fine," Anna waved her off. She and Wyatt exchanged quick glances before she continued. "We were wondering if you knew where Leo was."

"Leo?" Piper's face was shocked. "Why the heck would you two be looking for Leo? You guys hate each other."

"There's a rumour going around Up There that he's got a lead on who sent him to Valhalla," Wyatt explained briskly. "If you see him, let us know. Okay?"

"Got it," Cole agreed. The siblings flashed matching grins at him before dissolving into orbs and disappearing.


July 15 th , 2019: The Underworld (Unchanged Future)

"I thought you were dead Phae," Anna begged. "I was injured and I was trying to save Pamela! You were lying in a pool of blood after being stabbed through your stomach! I swear I thought you were dead! I would never have left you otherwise!"

Phaedra Charlotte Halliwell-Turner, eldest child of Phoebe and Cole, had changed. She was only thirteen, almost fourteen, but was dressed in the revealing black leather outfit Wyatt had all his female followers wear. At least she had a black trench coat to cover her body a bit. Wyatt had  some  care for his only loyal family. She was armed with a long steel athame, a ruby inserted into the hilt. Her blue eyes, once full of innocence and cheer, were cold as ice and utterly merciless.

Wyatt had taken Phae and turned her into a shell of her former self.

"It doesn't matter that you thought I was dead," Phae answered coldly. "You went against the family code. You betrayed Wyatt and I by helping ward the Resistance. Oh yes," she added at Anna's look. "We recognized your wards on that safe house we raided last month. I can't believe you could do this to your own brother."

Anna felt her temper flare at that. " betrayed you and Wyatt?  Me ? Says the one going around killing innocents and tainting our family legacy! I bet you can't even touch the Book anymore!" She smirked at the expression that flashed briefly through her cousin's ice-blue eyes.

Phae scowled. Anna thought it had to be her signature expression now adays.

" I'm  tainting the family legacy?" Phae hissed. "How dare you?! We would have the peaceful life our family always wanted if not for you helping those terrorists!"

"Terrorists?" Anna scoffed back. "How are we terrorists by fighting to stop demons? The same thing our family spent their lives doing since Melinda Warren? Why are you helping Wyatt? He's never cared about anyone in the family, ever! Why did you choose  him ?"

"Because he's right Anna," Phae seriously replied. "He's  right . I mean, we fought demons but my dad was born a demon. Your father is an Elder, but he's the one who suggested sealing off the Heavens. Wyatt's right, and we could have peace if you would just  stop ." For once she just sounded like a scared, desperate little girl instead of Wyatt's cold-hearted favourite assassin.

Anna's eyes fluttered briefly closed before she reopened them. Her eyes drifted to the body of her fellow Resistance scout, a Valhallan warrior named Derek.

"You killed him," she stated. Phae gave a cold smirk and Anna felt bile rise in her throat.

"How could you Phae?" She whispered. "Why are you doing this? Your parents-"

"Are dead!" Phae shrieked. "They died because of their precious cause! If they hadn't been so goddamned obsessed with protecting people who didn't know or care about them, they'd still be alive!"

"Do you hear yourself?" Anna yelled back in frustration.

"You're letting grief rule you!" Anna went on furiously. "Our parents weren't killed protecting innocents, they were killed because they were too powerful and the Underworld wanted them dead! And you're working with the ones who killed them!"

She jabbed an accusing finger at the younger Warren. Phae's eyes flashed angrily, and Anna was caught off guard by the sudden attack she launched. Despite everything that had happened in the past few months, some part of Anna had believed that even Wyatt and Phae would hold true to at least some of the Halliwell's philosophies. You  never  used your powers against family.

The blast of fire that hit her straight in the stomach and sent her flying corrected her assumption firmly. She slammed into the wall and her Levitation kicked in as she sent herself flying upwards out of the way of a second hit. She landed and stared in shock at her cousin. Her hands were raised to defend herself, but she couldn't bring herself to launch a return attack.

"You attacked me!"

There was no regret on Phae's face as she nodded. In fact, Anna thought that she looked a bit pleased. Anna's heat froze in her chest as Phae began to power up an energy ball instead of replying with words.

Training kicked in and Anna deflected the ball with her telekinesis. Working on autopilot, she used her telekinesis to send it back at her. She sank into a blank state as she kept blocking and returning Phae's attacks in ways that she knew would be non-lethal. Despite the circumstances, Anna would never try and kill her cousin or brother. That meant not using her newly gained Psychic Reflection or Aerokinesis.

But she still knew that she had to end the fight, and frankly she was desperate to do so. She wanted to get away from this nightmare of a demon impersonating her sweet cousin. She flung Phae back into a wall and began to concentrate intensely. She activated her latest psychic advancement of Clairaudience and used her telepathy to direct it at her younger cousin.

Kara had spent a lot of time with her and Juliana O'Farrell, the three of them working on coming up with creative ways to combine her powers and use them.

Phae screamed in pain, clutching her head as she was suddenly bombarded by all the sounds within the surrounding five hundred miles. She crumpled to her knees, tears leaking from her eyes at the pain and Anna took advantage to grab Derek's body and hefted him up with a grunt. Phae let out another sob and she faltered as she was about to orb away.

She gazed at Phae, feeling torn. But when the younger girl managed to lift her head to look back at her, there was nothing but hatred in her eyes. In that moment, Phae died in Anna's mind, replaced by Phaedra, Lieutenant of Emperor Wyatt.


August 10 th , 2003: The Underworld

It was almost disturbing, how indifferent Anna was to killing. She showed nothing but cool contempt as she fought with her targets. Well they were victims really, from the way she systematically cut through one Mercury demon after another. Since they were upper-levels best dealt with by the Power of Three, it was also quite of impressive.

Cole studied his unborn-yet-still-in-her-twenties niece as he watched her fight. She clearly didn't need help, choking one demon to death while using Cryokinesis to freeze another into an ice statue. She then flung yet another demon into said statue, vanquishing them both.

She stood panting, her only injury a burn from an energy ball on her left arm. It had to hurt, but Anna had simply fought through the impact without even seeming to notice it. It didn't say good things about her timeline.

"Where's your brother?" Cole finally asked. "He seems a bit protective of you. I'm surprised that he lets you go demon hunting alone."

Anna spun, green eyes flashing in anger. She looked so much like Prue, Cole genuinely couldn't believe none of the others had put two and two together yet. Then again, Anna had cast a good spell, Cole was just trained to see through such things.

"No one lets me do anything!" Anna snarled. "Especially not Wyatt!"

Cole raised an eyebrow at the blatant fury in her voice. "Come to my office," he ordered. "I want you to go over everything with me again."

"Why should I?" She demanded mutinously. "I'm twenty-one not one. You don't get to tell me what to do."

Cole sighed slightly, raking a hand through his hair. He knew the signs. Now that Anna didn't have to pretend to see him as a charge, at least in private, she could let her true feelings out. From what Wyatt had said, at the very least Piper had been killed in Anna's timeline.

According to Victor, Anna had been twelve at the time. Without the Power of Three, and with all the demons seeking revenge against the Charmed Ones and Belthazor, Paige, Phoebe and Cole wouldn't have lasted long. That was if they hadn't died at the same time as Piper.

Seeing as she had implied to Victor that he was dead too, and she had a bad relationship with Leo in her timeline, Anna would have been left alone with a brother turning to evil. The Warren matriarch, seeing as the title of family head was passed through the female line. Which meant she would've had to guard the Nexus and be the primary defence against the demonic attacks.

And she probably had cousins to care for as well. Cole and Phoebe had discussed kids a few times already, but agreed to wait a little longer, until they felt more prepared for the responsibility. And Paige wanted to be a mother too. It was a lot of pressure and Anna would've been raised with a mentality that demon attacks were easily, if inconveniently dealt with. That was the way the girls were attacking lately anyway.

Cole wouldn't be surprised if Anna felt that he and the Charmed Ones had abandoned her by dying. She'd been so young. She was still so young. Too young to be responsible for saving the world.

"I know that you don't have to do what I tell you to," he told her softly. "But I'm asking you to please come to my office and go over everything with me again."

Anna lifted her chin a fraction but eventually nodded. "Fine," she agreed curtly. She orbed away. Cole took another deep breath, determined to break through the barrier his niece had put around herself for protection, before he used his Elder-given Fading ability to transport himself to his office.


August 10 th , 2003: Cole Turner's Office

Cole Faded back into his office. He was sincerely thankful to the Elders for giving him his Pyrokinesis and Fading as a reward for helping defeat the Source twice. While he had willingly given up his demonic powers for Phoebe's sake, being useless had been agonizing for him. As had having to either drive or get Leo or Paige to orb him places.

Anna was leaning against the window, a shadowed expression on her face as she stared out over the city. Turner's Attorneys were a small firm, but Cole had a lot of money both from his father, who'd been quite rich, and from his century of life. He had a nice view of the Golden Gate Bridge. She stiffened as he appeared in the room.

"Anna," Cole sighed, walking up beside her and resting a hand on her shoulder. She didn't respond. "We're all dead in your timeline aren't we?"

"I can't tell you ha," she answered flatly. "Anything my brother or I reveal about our times create the risk of making it worse. Wyatt's timeline has already been erased by his coming back to save me and telling me who the enemy is."

"Wyatt told me already that in his timeline you admitted to Victor that Piper died and you hinted he had problems from his smoking. I'm a clever man, Anna. Without the most powerful sister, and the with the Power of Three gone, the rest of us wouldn't have lasted long. You don't have to say what happened, but we are dead aren't we?"

It was subtle, but she definitely nodded a bit. Cole exhaled heavily before continuing. "I'm sorry," he told her. "We never wanted to leave our kids without us."

"You won't this time apparently," she replied in a monotone. "That is if Wyatt hasn't screwed things up again. He should've left things the way they were. My life isn't worth it."

"To the world you may be one person," Cole answered. "But to one person you are the world."

She turned to face him, arms crossed protectively in front of her chest. "I thought you wanted me to go back over everything with you again."

"Just let me go over this," he responded, though the both knew it was merely an excuse he'd used to make her talk to him. "You come from a world where Wyatt is kidnapped right before your birth. The trauma and other small instances over his childhood turned him evil. Your mother, aunts (his voice shook slightly at the thought of Phoebe dying) and I are all dead. Wyatt is the Source, magic is exposed and Good is on the verge of losing completely. Correct?"

"Pretty much," Anna nodded. "But Good isn't losing, it's lost. There's only a few safe havens left that we hide in but they won't last much longer."

"Okay," Cole muttered before he continued with his review of the information Wyatt had given him against Anna's protests. "Because of all of this, you decided to come back in time and stop Wyatt's turn. Your brother is from the new timeline that you created.

And he came back because in his timeline you were killed saving him. Those wounds appeared on your other-self at the equivalent age. Wyatt came back to save you. And it was all the fault of an Elder named Gideon who feared the power Wyatt has. And several months ago, you snuck into Magic School to spy on him and overheard him plotting the deaths of all the children of the Charmed Ones with an evil him from a parallel world. Am I missing anything?"

Anna shook her head. "No, that's about everything," she said flatly.

"Okay," Cole blew some air out in an exhale. "What I want to know is this: If we went to the future today, which future would we be in?"

"Mine," Anna answered certainly. She explained quickly. "Wyatt is good right now because his younger self is good. But we haven't done anything that could have stopped Gideon from attacking, meaning he still would have successfully kidnapped Wyatt in November '04. That would lead to him turning evil. People from both Wyatt and I's respective futures could come back to this time, until Gideon's stopped, only my future is accessible."

Cole nodded slowly as Anna's face took on the distant look of a Whitelighter being summoned by one of their charges. She blinked, refocusing on him.

"Wyatt's calling me," she explained. "I have to go."

"Alright," Cole agreed. "Anna," he called right before she disappeared. She paused to give him a curious look.

"I love you kiddo. And I'm damn proud of you as well."

Anna went pale before orbing away. Cole didn't blame her, but he wasn't going to stop pushing her into accepting that she wasn't alone anymore. Not ever again if Cole had his way about it.

Chapter Text

Disclaimer: I don't own Charmed. I'm back at last! With a new computer but so be it. I have a request for all my readers. Send in suggestions of future scenes (dark or changed) for me to put into coming chapters. The only thing off limits is the Event. That's being reserved for Hyde School Reunion. Thanks! R&R!

Chapter Fifteen

Hawk: Courage and Defence

August 10 th , 2003: 1328 Prescott Street

Across the street from Halliwell Manor, the three Stillman sisters were preparing their biggest con ever. If it worked, they would rise from their current status of bottom of the Underworld to most feared witches in the world. They had already cast the identity theft spell, now all they had to do was see was if it worked.

"Hey girls what's up?" Will asked, materializing in the room where he'd sensed his mother and aunts calling him. He frowned when he spotted the strange clothes on his family. It definitely wasn't their typical style, especially not Piper, who usually dressed the most conservatively seeing as she was a mother.

"Hey angel," Paige purred. She sauntered up to him, and propped her elbow on his shoulder. Seeing as he was a full head and shoulders above her, it didn't really work out. He felt a trill of horror at her tone. It was the voice she used when she was flirting with someone.

"Paige, did you just call me angel?" He demanded, utterly panicked as he hastily stepped away from her. "Since when do you call me angel?"

She called her children 'little angels', or 'little devils' if they were being brats. But never had she called him angel. Especially not in this time. Especially not in that tone.

"Yes I did," she smirked, eyeing him like he was a piece of meat. He hid a whimper, wishing for his sister to come and save him from his flirty aunt.

"Okay," he choked out. "What are you doing over here?"

"Oh," Phoebe stuttered. "Well, we were just, um..."

"Solving a murder," Piper cut in coolly. "Evil has been here, probably spying on us." She pulled a sharp dagger out of the body of a salesman lying behind the three sisters and handed it to him. He frowned, studying it. There was a symbol on it, but he didn't recognize it. Anna would probably know about it.

"This could be connected to whoever's after the Book of Shadows," he mused.

"Could be," Piper nodded. She pointed at the hilt of the weapon. "See that symbol carved into the handle? We think that represents the astral plane."

Wyatt frowned doubtfully at that suggestion. "I don't know. The astral plane's a realm of spirit and energy. It's not like they manufacture athames there."

"All the more reason you should orb over and investigate," Phoebe insisted with a saccharine smile that sent shivers up his spine.

"You want me to orb to the astral plane?"

"Immediately," Phoebe declared. "And don't come back until you find out where that knife came from."

"Can I have a kiss goodbye?" Paige cooed. Wyatt's eyes widened in utter horror.

"No!" he cried, orbing out without noticing the smug smiles that grew on their faces.


August 10 th , 2003:  Wyatt and Anna Halliwell's Condo

Despite the sisters' orders, Wyatt didn't go to the astral plane to search for the owner of the athame. He went to his flat instead, and promptly called for his sister.

"Anna!"

She arrived a few moments later, traces of demon hunting lingering around her. The smell of vanquished demons distracted him from his task.

"Were you hunting alone?"

She gave him an emotionless look as she headed for her room, pulling off her burnt black top as she did so. He flinched and looked away from the scars revealed by her actions. He didn't want to know that they were there, and he definitely didn't want to know or wonder about how she had ended up with them.

"Why'd you call me?" She hollered from her room as she changed. "I was with Cole!"

Wyatt swallowed, wishing briefly that his mother was there to fix up the trust problems between them, before he yelled back at her.

"Mom and the aunts found a body in the house across the street from the Manor! They think that something evil was spying on them and they found a dagger with a symbol on it! I was hoping you'd recognize it!"

Anna came back of her room, dressed in jeans and a navy top with grey embroidery across the bust. She reached up to pull her hair into a fresh ponytail as she walked out.

"Pass it over," she ordered. "Did any of them say anything else?"

"Uh," Wyatt ran a hand through his hair. "That's the freaky thing. Aunt Paige was flirting with me."

Anna stopped examining the athame to stare incredulously at her elder brother. "Seriously?" She demanded disbelievingly. "Paige was flirting with you? Are you sure?"

"She called me angel," Wyatt replied painfully. "They were all acting kinda weird actually."

"What do you mean?"

"I'm not sure," Wyatt admitted. He frowned at his shoes as he ran through the encounter again. "They thought the athame was from the astral plane."

Anna hooked an eyebrow at that. "The astral plane," she repeated flatly. "Not likely. I think this symbol represents a dark coven. But if they're acting off, they may be under a spell." She paused and pursed her lips in thought for a moment before nodding decisively. "You go and warn Cole something's off with the sisters, I'll go speak to them, see if I can get anything off them."

She orbed away without awaiting a reply, and Wyatt heaved a tired sigh. He really missed his mom's ability to fix all familial problems. Goddess knew Wyatt was at a loss as to how to help Anna either with her grief and trauma or with her mission.

He orbed to his uncle. Maybe Cole would have a suggestion for what to do with Anna. And the sisters of course. Wyatt never wanted to deal with the horror of his aunt flirting with him again.


August 10 th , 2003: The Manor

Anna waited on the couch with a neutral expression as she rolled the athame between her palms. She had decided to confront the sisters about the weapon to see if Wyatt was right about something being off. It definitely wasn't from the astral plane at least.

The three blondes entered and Anna felt a surge of confusion at the hair colour. How was it that the sisters had ended up blonde when the last blondes in the Warren line was Aviva Warren back in the 1800s. At most if there had been a recent blonde in the Bennet or Wilder families maybe one of them would've become a blonde. But genetics dictated that the sisters be brunette like their parents. She shrugged mentally. Maybe she was wrong, after all she had stopped attending school at fourteen and science had never been her thing. For all she knew it was completely right for the women to be blonde.

"I'm on to you guys," she declared, rising from the couch. She hid her suspicion at the immediate panic that flashed briefly over their faces, and the way Piper held her hands behind her back like Anna would if she was hiding an athame there in preparation to stab someone.

"This athame isn't from the astral

plane," she continued, taking note of their relaxing at her words. "You just sent Will on a wild goose chase to avoid going on that demon hunt I mentioned earlier, didn't you?"

"Busted," Phoebe pouted.

"Guilty," Paige giggled.

"You figured us out Anna," Piper sighed. Anna's keen eyes caught a glimpse of light before Piper's arms dropped to hang beside her sides. "We're just really tired today, you know? Can't we go demon hunting tomorrow instead?"

If there was an actual hunt they needed to go on, Anna would never have let them out of it. As it was, Anna needed to figure out who had put the sisters under a spell, what exactly it had done, why, and how to remove it. So she scowled and nodded in feigned reluctance to Piper's plea.

"Fine," she huffed. "But we're going tomorrow for sure. I mean it!" She orbed away to Magic School to research.

"That was close," Mabel muttered. "Come on. We need to get the Book to steal their powers."

Margo yanked the legendary Book out from under the couch and hurriedly began to flip through it.

"Hurry, hurry," Mitzy urged. "Before they get home."

"This is it," Mabel exclaimed, pointing at a page. "That's what we want!" At that moment, the real Halliwell sisters orbed in, all of them looking pissed.


13 th  March, 2005: The Manor: Changed Future

Piper rocked the crib containing her four-month-old daughter gently with one of her hands, a pain pulsing in her heart.

Already, Baby Annie was sharing features with her adult self. Her eyes were starting to change from new born blue to Leo's green, her head was covered in a thin layer of brunette hair and her gummy smile was an innocent version of OtherAnna's rarely  seen,  genuine smile.

"Piper, honey, are you okay?" Paige stuck her head around the door. Piper didn't look away from the dozing child.

"No," she replied lowly. "I'm never going to be okay again. Not really."

Losing Anna was worse than losing Prue, an indescribable agony that re-surged at random times and sent Piper rushing to her child to check that she was breathing.

"Oh honey," Paige sighed entering the closet-turned-nursery. "We didn't lose her," the youngest Charmed One murmured, wrapping an arm around her sister. "Not really. She's still here."

"What happens to a soul that dies before their birth?" Piper wondered in reply. "What if she remembers what happened? I don't want her to be forced to remember that timeline. She doesn't deserve to go through that. And if she doesn't go back in time what happens? Does the timeline reset to what it was? And what if-" she faltered, unable to voice her fear that Anna's death had cursed her younger self to die at twenty-three.

"Oh Piper," Paige pulled her elder sister into a hug. "Don't think that. We won't let anything happen to Annie, you know that."

"But we died in Anna's timeline," Piper reminded her. "Or at least, I did, and then without the Power of Three." She trailed off with a miserable air. "I just want my children to be safe," she choked out. "Why so that so hard?"

"I don't know," Paige admitted. "But we'll keep them safe. No matter what, we won't let Annie or Wyatt be harmed. I swear Piper."

"I hope you're right."


August 10 th , 2003: Motel

"Okay, okay," Phoebe repeated as she placed a bag of stuff on a dressing table while Piper and Paige sat on the bed. "Let's see what we got here. Let's see."

She pulled up Piper's pant leg and winced at the bloody sight. "You all right?"

"Yeah," Piper grimaced, determined to keep a brave face on for her sisters' sakes.

"You sure?" Phoebe asked worriedly.

"Yeah."

"Ohh!" Phoebe moaned as Paige finished wiping the blood away. "It's bad! It's really, really bad!"

"Okay, just do what you can," Piper ordered. "We have to get back to the manor fast for Wyatt."

"They're not gonna hurt Wyatt," Phoebe assured her sister as she began wrapping Piper's leg. "They won't risk exposure, not while we're still alive."

"How are we gonna stay alive?" Paige asked pessimistically. "How are we gonna fight without our powers?"

"At least you can still orb," Phoebe sighed, running a hand through her short locks.

"I wish you could orb to Leo," Piper groaned. "I'd give anything for one of his unwanted visits right... ow!"

"Piper, we really should get you to the doctor," Phoebe fussed.

"No," Piper shook her head firmly.

"Why?"

"The same reason we paid cash for this room. Because without picture IDs we've got no credit cards, we got nothing. It's like we don't exist."

"Everyone in the world thinks we're these trashy blondes," Paige groaned. "I do have to hand it to them though, they've taken identity theft to a whole new level."

"What about Anna and Will?" Piper suggested. "What if we get them in the same room with the blonde ones so we can prove to them they're fakes."

"How?" Paige frowned. "They can't hear our call. Going into the manor right now would be suicide."

"Wait a minute!"Phoebe cried. "I have an idea. Maybe we can find some magical creatures to help us. Like fairies or muses. What do you think?"

"We won't be able to see them, we're not witches anymore," Piper pointed out.

"You're not, you can't see them," Paige acknowledged with a smirk. "But I'm still half Whitelighter and I actually happen to know where a couple of handy dandy gremlins like to hang out."

"You mean, the fruit packer killing variety?" Piper raised a skeptical eyebrow.

Phoebe waved her hands wildly. "No-no-no-no. This could actually work. Gremlins are fast, right? They can move between realms, they could actually help us find Anna and Will."

"What if they say no?"

"Well, if they say no then I'll just have to threaten their little butts with my vanquishing gel," Paige declared, pulling out said gel from her pocket.

"Okay, Paige, you orb to the plant and find those gremlins," Phoebe ordered. "Anna and Will have got to be back to the manor by midnight. Piper, you stay here where you're safe."

"Where are you going?" Piper demanded sharply.

"I am going to hand out a personal invitation," Phoebe smirked as she headed for the door.


August 10 th , 2003: 3 rd  Cousin Restaurant

Cole hid his frown as he surveyed his wife. Wyatt was right that she was acting strangely. Ever since picking her up for dinner she'd been acting off, but he couldn't for the life of him put his finger on it.

She gasped as she withdrew the diamond necklace he'd bought her from its' case. "Hey, now! Who'd you knock off for this?"

"Nothing but the best for the love of my life," Cole answered. He raised his eyebrow at Phoebe's rude and uncharacteristic question of "how many carats are these?"

"Let's keep that between me and my account, huh?"

She gave him a smouldering look that wasn't as affecting as usual.

"Wow, you just earned yourself a bit fat thank you," she told him before dropping a napkin on the floor. "Oops, better get that."

She ducked under the table.

"Phoebe what are you-Woah! Phoebe!"

'She is definitely under a spell,' he thought woozily.

"Phoebe come up please, we're in public," he hissed. She crawled out from under the table, wearing an oddly unattractive pout. "What's up with you Phoebe?"

"If you hadn't interrupted me, maybe you would've found out," she huffed grumpily in reply.

A woman, who seemed strangely familiar, stalked up to the table determinedly.

"Uh, who are you?" Cole frowned at her.

"She's nobody, baby," Phoebe cooed. "Let me take care of this." She stood up and faced the woman. "Listen, sweetie..." She was cut off by a sudden punch to the nose. Cole caught the jerk that indicated a premonition.

"Who the hell are you?" He snapped, rising to his feet. "What the heck was that for?"

"I'm so sorry, I thought she was someone else!" The woman exclaimed right before she rushed out of the restaurant, leaving everyone stunned.


August 10 th , 2003: Anna and Will's Apartment

"Well they're definitely under some sort of spell," Wyatt mused. "We just have to figure out what, break it, and voila! Everything'll be back to normal and I'll never have to suffer through Paige flirting with me again."

"Hmm," Anna mumbled, frowning deeply. "There's something else that I can't put my finger on. "

"Well-"

There was a sudden series of angry squealing from the corner and the two siblings quickly spun, Anna raising her hands in preparation to blast the threat. At the sight of the two jumping gremlins, she lowered them slightly.

"Damn pests," she huffed, walking over to them and squatting beside them.

"What's up little dudes?" Wyatt asked cheerfully, squatting beside her.

The gremlins started babbling quickly and Anna patted the air to try and settle them.

"Hey, hey! Calm down," she snapped. "What's this about Paige and the manor?"


August 10 th , 2003: The Manor

"You wouldn't happen to know any gremlins, would you?" Anna asked after she and Wyatt had orbed into the Manor.

"Uh, it's about time," a redhaired woman, who seemed oddly familiar, groaned.

"Anna, Will, thank god!" Another woman, this one brunette, cried. She pointed urgently at the blondes opposite her. "Look at them, look at them, they're impostors. They stole..."

"Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, slow down," Anna insisted, waving her hands in a calming gesture. "Who are you?"

"They're witches," Piper claimed. "They're the ones that killed that guy across the street."

"No, she's lying," the final woman, who had an injured leg by the looks of it. "Remember this morning when you said something was gonna happen to the book? Well, this is it. It's happening now."

"Ugh, enough of this," Phoebe groaned. "Piper, blast them."

Anna held up a hand in a 'wait' gesture. "How do you know what I said to Piper?"

"Because she is Piper!" The redhead insisted. "And I'm Paige and this is Phoebe. And they cast an identity spell to make the entire world think they're us."

Anna exchanged a quick look with her brother. This was a troubling situation that could cause their family dying/being erased from existence if they sided with the wrong sisters.

'Follow my lead' she ordered telepathically. He gave a slight nod before they both turned back to the showdown.

"That's ridiculous," 'Paige' huffed. "Everyone knows the Charmed Ones are blonde." She tugged a lock of hair as proof of her words.

Wyatt felt a surge of sympathy for the maybe-imposter. That glare the possible-Paige sent her could've scorched metal.

"If you're Piper, then show me your powers, blast me," 'Piper' challenged.

Possible-Piper sent her a vicious glare. "I can't," she gritted out. "You stole them."

"Okay, so we stole your identities and your powers. Wow, we must be good." She fixed a hand on her hip and the time travellers just barely heard her mutter under her breath. "Definitely worth more than a paragraph."

"Oh, yeah," 'Paige' nodded dumbly. Oddly enough, it was the ditzy expression she wore that settled Anna on the brunette/redhead's side. No way would the aunt she knew ever act like that.

"It's time to take care of you witches and your delusions," fake-Piper announced, steeping forward and raising her hands threateningly.

"Wait! Wait!" Paige cried. "I can prove that we're telling the truth. I can still orb, I'm half Whitelighter."

"Okay, go for it," Wyatt agreed, giving Anna time to think of a plan. Paige screwed up her fists and tensed but failed to disappear.

Anna was genuinely sickened by how stupid fake-Paige showed herself to be by whispering "What do you think of my anti-orb spell?"

"Go ahead, Piper, blast away," Anna told their imposter-mother.

'Anna-'

'Trust me. I know what I'm doing. Just say exactly what I tell you to, when I tell you to.'

The window shattered as it was hit by fake-Piper's misaimed blast.

"She missed, Anna, Will, when have you ever known Piper to miss?" Phoebe urgently pointed out.

"Even I'm entitled to a bad day," fake-Piper whined.

"Come on, try again," fake-Paige urged.

Fake-Piper raised her hands and again mis-aimed. As she dodged the shards that had once been a potted plant Anna wondered briefly why her family continued to put breakables in one of the most-attacked rooms in the Manor.

"Uh, guys, a little help here."

Anna quickly caught Piper's eye and gave a wink, hoping she realized that she had a plan. The eldest Charmed One raised an eyebrow and Anna jerked her chin toward the ceiling. Piper nodded and grabbed both her sisters, dragging them out of the room. Then Anna went to work enacting her plan.


The Attic

The two Whitelighters orbed into the attic and, following his sister's mental instructions, Wyatt headed over to fake-Phoebe and kissed her. "You did it. Nice work, babe." Bile rose in his throat as he spoke. She might not be his real aunt, but the spell made him feel like she was.

"This is not fair!" Fake-Paige whined, stamping a foot. "First, I get ripped off in the power department, then you bag the bartender, and the hubby lays diamonds on you. That Whitelighter belongs to me. You're already married, it's not fair!"

"Ow, my head," fake-Phoebe complained, touching her temples. "You know, you really need to learn to control your emotions. I can't help it if Will chose me."

"Did you sleep with him?" Fake-Paige demanded.

"No."

"Yeah, I caught them in bed together," Anna quickly inserted.

"You did what?" fake-Piper shrieked. "I gave you a direct order, that Whitelighter was off limits."

"You know what?" Fake-Phoebe snapped. "I am sick and tired of your orders. We both are."

"Stay out of my feelings," fake-Paige snapped.

"Oh, are those your feelings?" fake-Piper scoffed.

"Hell yes those are my feelings. You boss us around like we're idiots."

"What?" Fake-Phoebe gasped. "She thinks we are idiots."

"I didn't say that."

"Yeah, but I bet she felt it," Wyatt echoed the words Anna was giving him mentally. He was going to need years of therapy after this. "My little empath feels everything."

"He's right," fake-Phoebe snapped. "You despise us."

Anna glanced quickly over at the book as the triquetra on the front glowed. Almost there.

"In fact, until I became an empath I never realised how much you truly hate us."

"You know what?" Wyatt grabbed fake-Phoebe's arm. "Come on, baby, let's go, who needs them?"

"Oh, you're not going anywhere" fake-Piper strode forward. "We've got to stick together or our plan falls apart."

How stupid could you get? Anna wondered mentally. She had basically just admitted to being an imposter given what had happened downstairs.

"See?" Fake-Paige huffed. "There you go, bossing again."

"Mm-hm."

"Just let the little chippy run off if that's what she wants," fake-Paige continued. Fake-Phoebe glared furiously at her.

"Don't call me a chippy," she snarled, pushing her sister.

"Don't push me!"

"Just shut up!" Fake-Piper pushed them both and the triquetra on the book split apart. Piper, Phoebe and Paige unfroze.

"You should be able to handle these women now," Anna told them cheerfully.

Smirking the three sisters headed for their respective doubles. Piper and Paige wasted no time before knocking their imposters out with hard punches.

"Not the nose, please," Phoebe's imposter begged.

"I think you have something that's mine," Phoebe held out a hand expectantly.

"Sure," the woman chirruped. She took off the necklace and handed it to Phoebe. "It's yours. Anything you want."

"Thank you," Phoebe smiled before copying her sisters and punching the woman in the nose.

Paige turned to her Whitelighters. "I take it this was all your doing."

"Hey, you're the one who got us here," Anna shrugged.

"How did you know they weren't us?" Piper asked curiously, tilting her head. Anna snorted.

"Please, did you hear those idiots? If they were actually you, I'd've lost all my brain cells months ago." She flipped through the Book and turned it toward them. "Let's reverse the magic now so you can call Darryl and get Wyatt back from Leo."

"Powers of the witches rise, course unseen across the skies, come to us who call you near, come to us and settle here." As they finished speaking, white magical lights rose out of the blonde sisters and settled into Piper, Phoebe and Paige.


August 11th, 2003: The Manor

"Thanks," Leo was saying as Anna sauntered into the conservatory casually.

"Leo, can I talk to you for a second?"

"See ya, buddy," Leo told Wyatt, pecking him on the head before following Anna into the foyer.

"There's a rumour floating around up there that you've got a lead on whoever scattered your orbs," Anna stated, turning to face him with her hands in her pockets.

Leo smirked, causing her irritation to surge. She pressed it down so he wouldn't notice. Not that Leo noticed anything, damn man that he was. "Yeah, I know, I floated it."

"Why?" She hooked an eyebrow and tilted her head.

"To draw out the guilty party."

"Did it work?"

Leo shrugged. "You tell me. So far you're the only one to come forward with any questions."

Anna hid an eyeroll. Of course she was interested, she was being accused of it! Leo was a moron. Thank the goddess for Piper's genes. "It's an interesting experiment. When you find out who did it, let me know."

"Oh, I already know who did it, Anna," Leo replied calmly. "And when I get enough proof to expose them, you'll be the first one to know."

He orbed away and she rolled her eyes. As if Leo Wyatt could intimidate a Halliwell woman. Moron.

Chapter Text

Disclaimer: I don't own Charmed.

Chapter Sixteen

Selene: Greek Goddess of the Moon

Main Resistance Base, Valhalla: December 18 th , 2022

"We can't go on like this," Anna whispered suddenly. She turned on her side to stare at Niko, who looked solemnly back at her.

"We're fighting a guerilla war that we lost before it ever started. Sienna-" she stopped speaking, exhaling heavily instead. Sienna Bennet née Beckham was the latest (personal) casualty in the war. Only two days before she had been killed when she'd infiltrated the main Witch Hunter base and burnt it to the ground. Her last breath had been spent killing Emily Fisk in revenge for her husband Archer's execution two weeks before.

"We can't go on like this," she repeated exhaustedly. "We're outnumbered, out-maneuvered. I don't know how much longer we can hold out, but it won't be long."

"Are you saying you think we should surrender?" Niko had a carefully even expression on his face, but she knew him well enough to know he didn't believe that she thought they should do anything of the sort. He was just prodding her into speaking.

"When my moth, mother, was teaching me to cook, I burnt a lot at the start," Anna said slowly, trying to organize her scrambled thoughts. Her mind had been going crazy since she heard the words "if I could go back in time and change all of this" from a soldier in the cafeteria earlier that day.

"And sometimes it was awful. Black all over and through. So she would toss it and we'd start over. She would say 'Sometimes the food's too ruined to save. You have to dump it and start over from the beginning.' If I went back in time-"

"To kill him?" Niko interrupted. He propped himself up and stared deeply into her eyes. "I don't know if you have it in you to kill a child Anna."

"It's our only option."


The Halliwells' Warehouse: August 24th, 2003

Anna flung the knife and smirked in satisfaction as it flew through the air before landing directly in the centre of her makeshift target. Of course, Anna had received instruction from the best of the best in both the magical and mortal worlds. Her being the best was a given.

'Not that it's ever enough' the dark part of her self-esteem whispered in her ear. Her pleased expression faded away into a frown. 'You're never good enough to save them,' the voice continued. 'It's been months, and you're still at a loss as to figure out how to deal with Gideon. No wonder the Rebellion could never get in a position to win the war with youleading it.'

"God damn it!" Anna snapped. A jet of fire flew from her hand and destroyed the target, leaving her panting and cursing everything she could think of. Mostly Wyatt and Leo. Speaking of her useless sperm-donor. Anna felt her temper worsen as she recalled why exactly she was in the broken-down old building, damaging handmade targets in the first place.

He was following her and Wyatt. And he was doing so badly at that. For the sake of her IQ, Anna desperately hoped that he was being so obvious about it because he thought it would intimidate them or something. Not that someone like Leo Wyatt could ever intimidate her, but he was arrogant enough to think he could. Anna knew where Wyatt got his flaws from, and it wasn't Piper.

Still, doing crap at being a subtle stalker or not, Leo was a problem that needed to be dealt with. She couldn't stalk Gideon, or go demon hunting with the damn Elder hovering over her shoulder. Unfortunately, Anna's go-to method of dealing with people following her couldn't be used in this case. As much as she hated it, Anna was in fact Leo's daughter. Biologically anyway. If she killed him before her conception, it could cause a paradox. That would be, messy to put it delicately.

She sighed and raked a hand threw her brunette hair. What to do, what to do? "Anna!" Piper's voice interrupted her musing and Anna blinked. From the tone, Piper was irritated, not panicked and/or injured, so Anna took a moment to cast a glamour over herself before orbing to the Manor.

"We need more of the blocking potion," M-. No, Piper, always Piper the charge, never Mom, Anna corrected herself. "It's worn off and if we don't get more soon, Paige and I are gonna kill Phoebe. Painfully."

Anna blinked in bemusement and nodded quickly. "Uhm, okay. I'll go and see what I can do," she answered warily. "By the way, if anyone sees Leo, I need to speak to him about something." With that, she orbed away again.


The Underworld, August 24th, 2003

It probably said more about her morality then she wanted it to that she was more comfortable mingling with demons than with Whitelighters, but in Anna's defence, if you didn't expect demons to betray you, you deserved to die for being such an idiot.

She stalked into the Alchemist's Underworld hovel with a look designed to intimidate crafted to her face. She sensed Leo's arrival, evidently having decided to abandon following Wyatt around Magic School's library now that she was doing something he no doubt considered suspicious.

Well, if he was so against her going to the Underworld, he could tell Piper and Paige why they had to put up with their sister reading their emotions. Anna would bring popcorn and laugh at the sight of his evisceration.

"You again," the Alchemist grunted. "What'd'ya want?"

Anna hid the unease she felt at the realization that the Alchemist had memorized her features. This wasn't the 2020's, no one cared about a woman of her description looking for certain potions. No one cared about her period. (She conveniently didn't let herself think about her elder/alternate brother or her uncle and their constant worry over her. Anna could handle herself. It was the reason she was the sole survivor of the Warren line in her time.)

"More of the blocking potion," she demanded. She could feel Leo's disapproval and suspicion radiating from him and it took all her self-control to keep from turning around and punching him. Bastard.

"All sold out I'm afraid," the Alchemist shrugged indifferently. "Good for me, bad for you."

Anna gritted her teeth. No one in her time would've dared to cross her like this. Anna was better than Wyatt but she'd still raked up a death-count in the thousands. Best of two bad options. "Well, how long will it take you to make more?"

"The potion you desire is pricey for a reason," he informed her. "The main ingredient is quite rare and hard to come by. What secret are you so eager to hide?"

'I'm the daughter of Piper Halliwell and Leo Wyatt, I came back to 2003 to prevent my elder brother becoming the Source of all Evil, I amn't a real Whitelighter, the Headmaster of Magic School is plotting to kill an infant. Take your goddessdamned pick you damn demon.'

"Just tell me how long," she ordered instead of listing off one of her many secrets.

"Hard to say," he mused. "Six weeks or months. Demonic suppliers are notoriously unreliable."

"Well, I can't wait, alright," Anna snapped. "I need it now." She stepped forward, hoping to crowd the old man. On first glance, Anna didn't look intimidating. That was very, very misleading. No one in her time was foolish enough to think they could get past her in any way. Anna was mildly comparable to the devil, despite her genetics.

"The impatience of youth," the Alchemist hummed. "Then again it takes a young heart to brave grave danger."

Anna rolled her eyes in contempt. "Spare me the Morpheus speech, old man. What are you saying?"

She shifted as she felt Leo's interest increase at the man's reply.

"Swamp Land is where you'll find the Kotochul egg your potion requires. Now you understand the difficulty."

Anna bit back a vicious curse, heavily tempted to hit the neutral being. Kotochuls were reptilian birds that lived in Asia. They weren't even close to the level of most of the things Anna had fought but there were always a group of them, and their danger level tripled whenever it came to protecting their eggs. Still, if Anna didn't get this potion soon, she would be short an aunt and three cousins. And if she hit him, she'd be giving Leo more ammunition against her.

"Fine," she huffed. "I'll get you your damn egg. Just make sure you're ready by the time I get back." She turned and stalked out of the cave, not bothering to react to the feeling of Leo dropping his cloak as she exited. Moron probably did this on purpose out of spite for her.

(Again she ignored the fact that doing something like that was very much an Anna Halliwell thing, not a Leo Wyatt thing. Leo was too much of a goody-two-shoes to act so petulantly. Might make the Elders feel disapproving towards him.)


The Manor: August 24th, 2003

While Anna was off wallowing in misery, cursing their father and searching for Kotochul eggs, and Wyatt and Cole were secretly stalking Gideon, Phoebe was helping Piper prepare for a date.

"Good," Phoebe nodded, putting down the make-up brush. "Alright, take a look."

Piper looks at herself in a handheld mirror. "Yeah, okay, think newly single mum, not two-bit hooker."

Phoebe handed her some tissues.

"Okay, we try again." Phoebe's voice was preppy as Piper wiped off the lipstick.

"You're a little distracted," the elder sister noted, making Phoebe shrug.

"I'm having a very hard time concentrating without the blocking potion," she explained. "And it's just too hard to keep my shields up constantly. I feel like I'm going crazy."

"You?" Piper scoffed, offending her sister.

"Well, you try having PMS for three sisters every month," she retorted. "It's a good thing neither of you are having sex, I'd be feeling that too."

"Yeah, okay, so let's skip the vamp red," Piper grimaced.

"You know, if I can't ignore the bloating and the cramping and the mood swings, how am I supposed to ignore the fact that my sister is scared to death?"

"Phoebe." Piper's voice took on 'the Tone' used by all Warren matriarch's who were trying to corral their family members. It had been frequently used by both Prue and Grams, but even now it was sometimes still a knife to the heart to remember that Piper was now the eldest, not Prue.

Phoebe raised her arms in a gesture of surrender. "Right, okay, I'm just gonna mind my own business."

"All we have to do is respect what Paige wants," Piper insisted. "And clearly what she wants is not our help."

"You know, she thinks that's what she wants but I know what she really wants, and what she really wants is our help."

Piper threw up her hands in exasperation. "That's it, I'm staying home," she declared.

"What? Why?"

"To make sure that you leave Paige alone," Piper told, jumping off the counter.

"Piper, no, you have to go out, you need to go out," Phoebe protested, following as Piper headed out into the hallway.

"And this is not me channelling, this is just me talking. Trust me, as soon as you get back on the dating horse, the easier it will be."

"No, I know, you're right, you're absolutely right," Piper sighed. "It's just the truth is I'm a little scared. I mean, I was married to an angel for crying out loud, who is gonna compare to that?"

"I know but Piper, but you also dated a demon, a warlock and a ghost, you know, that's what you should be scared of," Phoebe pointed out, earning herself an annoyed look.

"Super pep talk, sis," Piper said sarcastically just before the doorbell rang.

"You look beautiful," Phoebe told her earnestly.

"Mm." Piper headed for the stairs, tension lining her back.

"Hey," Piper's date, Seth, greeted her with a grin.

"Hi," she smiled back, feeling strained.

"Wow, you look great," Seth marvelled. Then he fumbled, realizing how he sounded. "I-I'm not surprised, that's just that you normally..."

"Oh, yeah, no bottle, no binky," Piper softened.

"No spit up," Seth added.

"Yeah."

"Pssst," Phoebe hissed from behind the door.

"So you ready?" Seth asked. "Wanna go?"

"Psst," Phoebe hissed again. "He likes you, I can tell."

"One second," Piper held up a finger. She turned to whisper to Phoebe. "Leave Paige alone, I mean it."

"I will. I will."

"Okay," Piper sighed, grabbing her bag.

"Have fun, have fun, I will leave Paige alone," Phoebe swore. "I can't, I can't," she stated apologetically as she shut the door. She ran through the limited list of available magic-aware babysitters and settled on Wyatt's favourite. (Though the feeling didn't seem to be mutual.) "Anna!"

Anna orbed in with a scowl and dust on her shirt.

"Yeah," she hooked an eyebrow.

"Hey, I need you to watch Wyatt for me." Phoebe blurted out. Anna went pale in horror. So far she had held him and babysat him with her brother or others. But on her own? Hell no.

"What?" She demanded furiously, shaking her head. "No, no way."

"What's wrong?" Phoebe asked. "Why are you worried?"

"What's wrong?" Anna repeated with a scoff. "What's wrong is I don't do babies. One and under crowd, not my thing. Leo, however." Leo orbed in as she mentioned him. "Great with kids, especially his own." She nearly laughed at the blatant lie. Leo was terrible with kids, especially his own. She shook away the memories and turned to Leo. "You're not following me are you?"

"Why?" Leo answered "Should I be?"

"Oh, there's a lot of love in this room," Phoebe hummed anxiously. "Okay, so, um, there's a bottle in the fridge if Wyatt wakes up and the diaper rash cream, only if he needs it, okay? We've gotta keep that butt moist." Anna grimaced in horror as Phoebe rushed off to the kitchen.

"Did you get that?" Anna asked Leo with a bright smirk right before she orbed out.

Leo ran after Phoebe. "Phoebe, Phoebe, wait-wait-wait!" He called. "I can't do this right now, I gotta follow... up on some things."

"Well, I have to check on Paige and make sure she's alright," Phoebe replied apologetically.

"Where's Piper?"

Phoebe gave him a guilty look as she answered. "Piper is... she's kinda, uh... Piper's on a date."

"Oh." Leo wilted slightly.

"I'm so sorry, you're hurting. I'm here for you, I just can't be here for you right now. I'm gonna be in there for you though... checking on Paige."

Chapter Text

Disclaimer: I don't own Charmed.

Chapter Seventeen

Hecate: Greek Goddess of Magic

Magic School: August 24 th , 2003

Wyatt followed Gideon silently, his presence hidden by a spell that Anna said the Resistance had used for stealth missions before the Empire figured out to counter it. Sometimes it felt like his sister's life was straight out of a fictional movie. Anna mentioning the Empire always made Wyatt think of Star Wars, but he didn't dare to say that aloud to her. She would definitely consider it a kill-worthy excuse. Even Annie got annoyed when he started talking about Star Wars, and Anna's temper was way shorter than Annie's.

Cole pushed his arm slightly, giving him a look. With the way the spell worked, only those using it could see each other, though they couldn't hear each other. Everyone else would stare straight through you. Certainly, Gideon hadn't noticed them following him for the past day. But nothing had happened.

He had been trotting around Magic School doing various administrative tasks for hours, the only break in the autonomy coming when Gideon had to undo a mis-cast spell. And Wyatt wasn't a psychic, but he had good instincts. They weren't going to get anything on Gideon today. He told his uncle that telepathically and Cole nodded in agreement with him. Wyatt reached over, grabbed Cole by the arm and they orbed away unnoticed by the mad Elder they had been following.


Asian swamp: August 24 th , 2003

Anna cursed and snarled as she leaned to the left to dodge a spike. Kotochuls had two main defences.

The first was its' ability to shoot poisoned spikes at attackers from their tails. The poison itself was only slightly less painful than Darklighter poison, but it wasn't lethal. Despite that fact however, if the spike hit you in the right place, it could still kill.

Anything could kill you really. Anna had killed a lower-level demon with a paperclip once. She still didn't fully remember how she'd done it though. She'd had a pretty bad concussion at the time from the explosion she'd been in just prior.

Anna skirted forward toward the swamp, eyes darting around in search of more spikes, her Enhanced Senses turned up as far as she dared to give her an extra edge. Kotochuls' second defence was their super speed. They could run the length of Manhattan in six-minutes. But they had to stay near their territories or they would risk harm to their nests.

Anna had fought faster beings with less limitations so she wasn't too concerned. That being said, confidence could easily turn to arrogance, and arrogance got you killed in Anna's experience. She had to be careful to keep herself without so much confidence in her skills that she became cocky, without falling into being insecure in them either. Insecurity was even worse than arrogance. Insecurity had always been a problem for her though.

A noise alerted her in time to duck beneath another spike, and she used the sounds of the shifting leaves and her own knowledge of their habits to predict where the Kotochul would flee to next. She orbed there and landed on its' back, hastily moving so she was kneeling between its' shoulder blades. She leaned over to stare into one of its' massive electric blue eyes.

"Sleep!" She commanded it, reinforcing the order with all of her mental strength, causing the large reptilian beast to collapse into a light doze. She didn't have the ability to put him in a deeper rest, unfortunately.

Mind manipulation was similar enough to Jedi mind tricks that Anna sometimes wondered if George Lucas had been a secret witch, but unlike the Jedi, Anna very nearly collapsed from the use of it. It took a lot of mental strength, and it relied on the Manipulator having power willpower and raw energy than their victim.

Anna didn't like using it. To her forcing someone to change their minds, or obey her orders without the ability to refuse, always felt awfully immoral. Like slavery really. But she often had very little choice in the situation. She wiped a trickle of blood that crawled out of her left nostril and orbed to the nest that the adult Kotochul had been guarding.

A smirk crossed her features as she took in the five eggs lying vulnerably in the centre of the nest. Her smile faded as the mother reptile snuffled, reminding her that these things were part of a nearly extinct species that she was now endangering further for her own purposes. Guilt made her throat clog up as she reached out and picked up an egg, hugging it to her chest.

"I'm sorry," she apologized softly. The mother woke up and started snarling as it realized she held one of its' precious eggs to her chest. "I'm sorry," she repeated, as the mother braced itself to leap at her and claw her to shreds. Usually she would have taken a second egg rather than risk having to go through the whole song-and-dance a second time, but she couldn't bring herself to do so this time.

Instead, she concentrated on the Alchemist's lair and orbed away right before the mother Kotochul pounced on her.


Restaurant, August 24 th , 2003

While his sister organized the potion for their charges, Wyatt went to find Piper and hopefully prevent Paige inflicting a painful death on Phoebe. He orbed into the restaurant and looked around for a moment before spying his mother at a table with an unfamiliar man. He hurried over to her.

"Piper," he called. She turned to him, surprise lighting her face.

"What are you doing here?" She asked in puzzlement.

"Excuse me a second," The Guy as Wyatt labelled him leaned in to get their attention. "Who's this?"

Wyatt, who had come to horrifying realization that The Guy was on a date with his mother, channelled his sister in the hopes of scaring The Guy off. No man was worthy of his mother, and there was Anna's birth to be considered after all.

"Me? I'm from the future."

"What?" The Moron, as Wyatt had re-named him, stared blankly at him.

Piper shot him a flustered smile. "Excuse us." She grabbed him and they walked across the room to the corner. "Are you crazy?"

"You're not serious about that guy are you?" Wyatt asked her worriedly. "He's seems like a chump. You can do better than someone like him."

Piper sputtered for a bit. "Well, uh... You know what, that is none of your business. Where have you been? We called you earlier and you didn't come."

"I was busy with something," he hedged before quickly changing the subject. "Look, you better get home before your sisters kill each other."

"What?" Piper frowned. "Why? What happened?" She gasped in sudden understanding. "Oh, no, Phoebe?"

Wyatt nodded, grimacing in remembrance of just how furious Paige was.

Piper groaned and muttered something about getting her coat.

"Well, it's a good thing I did get involved because obviously there's a war going on over there!" Phoebe was exclaiming when they orbed into the Manor.

"I can handle it," Paige snapped back.

"Oh, really?" Phoebe scoffed back. Wyatt shifted uncomfortably, finding some parallels between various arguments he'd had with both versions of his sister over her ability to take care of herself. Granted, the ones with Anna tended to involve her losing her temper and hitting him either physically or with her powers before storming off. Hopefully Piper would be able to prevent it getting that bad in this case.

As if she'd heard his thoughts, Piper let out a sharp whistle, drawing her sisters' attention.

"Hi, hey," she greeted in a fakely cheerful voice. "What is this about a war?"

"Ask Miss Buttinsky over there," Paige gestured to Phoebe. "She was with the Callaways when they killed Richard's dad."

"Paige, I'm telling you they didn't kill anyone," Phoebe protested.

"I was there!"

"Yeah, so was I!"

As if to compound the situation, Leo walked down to a few stairs at that moment.

"Hey, can you guys keep it down?" He asked, leaning over the bannister. "I just got Wyatt to sleep."

"What are you doing here?" Piper demanded as he finished walking down the stairs.

"Okay, in the living room, in the living room, let's go, let's go." The three sisters made their way into the living room, Wyatt and Leo following them.

Once in the living room, the sisters renewed their argument, Paige accusing the Calloways of attacking the Montanas and Phoebe defending them. Piper played devil's advocate until they all decided that a third party had probably preformed both of the earlier attacks and that the two families would come to the Manor for peace talks.

Wyatt didn't remember this story from his childhood, but he somehow doubted that it would go smoothly. Things never did for the Halliwells.


The Manor, 31 st  October, 2010 (Changed Future)

Piper smiled at her children as they grinned cheerfully at the camera in Leo's hands. Annie was dressed (as usual) like a witch. She seemed to find it amusing to paint her face green and wear black in the stereotype version of their people.

Wyatt meanwhile was dressed as Han Solo from Star Wars, which he was going through a phase of being obsessed with. At least Piper hoped it was only a phase.

He already had all the movies, a dozen comics and multiple books. His room was covered in Star Wars posters and memorabilia. Annie had very little patience for his enthusiastic regard for the series, and even less for listening to his long lectures on why Han Solo or Yoda or Obi-Wan Kenobi or Luke Skywalker (he couldn't seem to choose between them) was the best character in the franchise and why Anakin Skywalker didn't deserve to be considered a hero.

"Say cheese!" Phoebe instructed happily. "Oh I can't believe how big you guys are!" The pregnant woman hiccuped, her eyes going misty as she sniffled.

The two kids (the girls and Junior were all playing in the sitting room) rolled their eyes after glancing at each other.

"And Annie looks so like," Phoebe started.

"Like who?" Wyatt asked curiously, Annie also looking interested. Panic welled in Piper's stomach, but she'd improved at lying over the years, so she forced a sad smile and came up with a different, though no less true, answer to what Phoebe had meant.

"Like Aunt Prue honey," she said. "Annie looks a lot like Aunt Prue as a child."

Somehow, them believing her made her feel worse. Her beautiful, brave daughter from the dark future hadn't deserved to be forgotten. But they couldn't tell Wyatt what he had become in another timeline, so once again Anna was shunted aside for her brother's sake. Sometimes Piper made herself feel sick.

She was broken out of her self-loathing thoughts by Annie's arms being wrapped around her slim waist. She sighed and pulled her daughter closer, savouring the feeling of her in her arms. At least she could protect this version of her child. The embrace never lasted long enough.


The Manor, August 25 th , 2003

The next day, after Olivia's ghost had been dealt with, Anna orbed into the attic with her mother and Aunt Paige to find Phoebe looking like she was on the verge of a breakdown. Cole, unfortunately, was at court for a case he was representing.

"Hi!" Piper greeted her sister brightly.

Phoebe spun around. "You know, people lock doors for a reason," she said sullenly.

Paige shrugged indifferently "Yes, well, I figure if you can use your powers to intrude on my life, then I can use mine to intrude on yours."

"Come on, Phoebe," Piper sighed. "None of us like this new power of yours anymore than you do, but it's pointless to isolate yourself. We'll have the potion soon anyway."

"Well, we don't have it now, and if I can't read you, I can't hurt you."

"Well, how about instead of trying to control your power, maybe you try to, I didn't know, control yourself?" Paige snarked.

"Because, Paige, I can't. And I can sense how annoyed you are right now and that's hurting me."

"Well, what's annoying me if I've discovered I have this magical destiny and I can't trust you to leave me alone for me to follow it."

"What do you think I'm trying to do up here?"

Piper clapped her hands together loudly. "Okay, let's look at the bright side. We settled a family feud, we set free a tortured soul, maybe your new power and Paige's new solo path away from the sisterhood, is some kind of synergy, that it's all working together in some kind of divine way."

"Nah."

Anna recognized the perfect opportunity for her to make her father suffer a bit. "I don't get it. Leo didn't give you the empath blocking potion? I gave it to him to give to you guys."

"What?" Piper barked. "Leo! Where is it?"

"Give me, give me, give me," Phoebe demanded eagerly. "Faster."

"Come on, come on, come on," Piper added.

"They're really anxious to take their next dose of potion," Anna informed him, a smirk playing on her lips.

Leo shot her an irritated look. "Yeah, only I think you should wait to take it. Phoebe was given her power for a reason."

"Forget that," Piper scoffed in dismissal.

Leo sighed and handed her the potion. She drank some of it and then passed it to Paige who finished.

"Nothing, nada, zilch!" Phoebe squealed in relief.

"Yes!" Paige punched the air.

"Hallelujah!" Piper cheered.

"Well, I have to go finish a game of pinochle with grandma Callaway," Paige announced.

"Maybe you'll run into Richard," Phoebe smirked.

"I'm sorry?"

"That was a sister thing, not an empath thing. Come on." They left the room.

Piper followed them when Wyatt's cries started up, and Anna relaxed.

"Looks like we're one big happy family again," she drawled.

"You're not family," Leo scoffed, leaving the room.

"I'm more family than you are," she breathed under her breath, unsuccessfully trying to convince herself that his comment hadn't hit the mark.

Chapter Text

Disclaimer: I don't own Charmed.

Chapter Eighteen

Witch's Knot: Protection Symbol

The Manor: September 13 th , 2003

"Anna! Will!" Piper's urgent call cut through the siblings' loud argument.

"This isn't over," Anna warned her brother before they both disappeared into orbs and reformed in the living room.

Anna realized who they were dealing with immediately.

Gith was a Darklighter who had discovered how to create pocket alternate universes and trap people within them. He could also use them to teleport himself. He was the only one who had ever managed to get through her wards, and she would have hated just for that, even if he hadn't killed seventy Resistance soldiers, and another hundred civilians, when he got in. It had taken her weeks to hunt him down and kill him.

She could, with time, re-create the array she had entrapped him in in her timeline, but not without several hard to find supplies, and a warding circle. And not without blowing her and Wyatt's cover as regular Whitelighters.

"Piper, we need to go!" She called to her young mother, who was currently clinging onto the doorframe for dear life as Gith's dark, swirling vortex tried to suck her in.

"Not without Wyatt!" Piper yelled back. "He's in the nursery!"

"I'll get the baby, you grab Piper!" She ordered Wyatt, who's nose twitched at her authoritarian manner before nodding. They both orbed in unison, Anna rematerializing in the nursery just long enough to snatch up her infant brother and sense for her elder brother and mother. Upon feeling them in P3's backroom, she orbed away again to meet them, the baby gurgling contentedly in her arms.


P3, September 13 th , 2003

"Are you alright Piper?" Anna asked after handing the baby off to their mother with a sigh of relief. Babies were not her thing. In any way.

"I'm fine," Piper shrugged off her youngest Whitelighter's concern. "Just annoyed about the clock. Seriously, half our paychecks combined go into fixing that damn thing."

"Why don't you put it somewhere else then?" Will suggested helpfully. "Or stop fixing it."

"Because," was Piper's vague reply. "Do either of you know what kind of demon that was? And what was with the whole swirling portal it was trying to trap me in?"

"I think," Anna began after a moment of hesitation. "That it was a Darklighter named Gith. He," she paused again. "Maybe I should wait until your sisters are with us. This'll need the Power of Three."

"Okay," Piper sighed. She checked her watch. "Paige is working as a magician's assistant, and Phoebe is still covering the TV show. Hang on."

She grabbed the nearby remote and turned it on. Phoebe was shown chatting about a book called 'The Five Minute Orgasm'. Piper was too distracted to notice the sick look on Will's face, or how Anna looked briefly horrified before she smoothed it over.

"Where's Cole again?" Anna asked. "I know he's on a business trip, but I can't remember where."

"He's in Hong Kong helping a client expand their business," Piper explained absently, distracted by Wyatt gnawing on her shoulder. "Oh, is someone hungry?" she cooed down at him. "It's okay, Mommy'll feed you now."

"Right," Will averted his eyes uncomfortably. "You do that, Anna and I can go get your sisters so we can hunt down the demon."

"Great, thanks," she nodded, sitting down on the couch and unzipping the emergency baby bag she kept in the backroom.

The two siblings quickly slipped out, grimacing. Anyone who doubted their relation only needed to see them making the same facial expression and their doubts would be swiftly laid to rest.

"I'll get Paige, you go get Phoebe," Anna ordered.

"I'm not one of your soldiers you know," he reminded her, a hint of resentment lacing his tone. Anna's jaw tensed.

"I never said you were," she replied tightly.

"Well then maybe you could stop treating me like one?" he suggested. She cast him a sharp glare.

"If I could trust you to make the right decisions, then I wouldn't have to," she told him, eyes glinting icily. "But I don't, so I will."

She orbed away before he could reply. He stood there glaring at the spot where she had disappeared before noise from the backroom snapped him out of his angry thoughts and caused him to orb away to the bathroom of Phoebe's talk show's building.


The Manor: September 16 th , 2003

"Okey-dokey," Piper clapped her hands together briskly. "So, we need to get this demon sorted quickly. I have guests coming over, and I don't want to have to freeze the room for a vanquish again. There's always someone who asks awkward questions that I don't know how to answer. Anna, you said you recognized the demon? Is he in the Book?"

Anna shook her head. "No. But the most important thing is the vortexes that he creates. You should be aware that these vortexes suck their victims into pocket realms of alternate realities."

"Alternate realities?" Paige blinked in surprise. "Like the one where I died before meeting Piper and Phoebe and Phoebe and Cole became Rulers of Evil?"

"Sort of," Anna chewed her lip as she decided how to explain it. "They're created by a Darklighter named Gith, and they're based on the victims' fantasies and desires."

"A Darklighter?" Paige cried in alarm at the same as Phoebe asked: "Fantasies? What do you mean by that?"

Will shifted in the background, frowning unhappily at the floor. How very typical of Anna, refusing to share information with him. Never mind that he could help. Never mind that the whole reason he came back was to help. Anna wanted to do everything herself. Hell, if not for her worry over affecting the timeline too much, she probably would try and kill Gideon herself, without a word to anyone. Will was fed up of it.

"Basically, he takes your deepest desires and turns them into your deepest nightmares," Anna explained slowly. "And eventually they kill you. And because he travels through portals, he's almost impossible to catch. You can bet that he'll come back for you guys though. You know what demons are like. They need to kill you guys to satisfy their pride."

"Damn," Piper sighed. "And we have no way to find him yet."

"We'll need to come up with a ward or something to trap him long enough to kill him," Paige mused. She stood up and headed over to the Book, orbing several of their books on ward-crafting and spell-creation to herself. "I'll do that first, then we can work on tracking him down and vanquishing him tomorrow."

"Sounds good to me," Phoebe agreed brightly. "Meanwhile, I love all you guys so much but I've gotta run. Staff meeting at the Mirror, I'll be late if I don't go now."

"Go," Piper urged her on with a wave. "Go. We'll be fine."

After quickly hugging her sisters and kissing her napping nephew's forehead, Phoebe was orbed away by Will while Anna headed over to her youngest aunt to casually offer her help in creating the array they would need in order to trap the demon. At least they were making a plan for the demon, instead of just dismissing it as they had several times since her arrival in 2003.

Piper went downstairs, pausing in dismay at the wreckage in the conservatory.

"It's for the sake of preventing magical exposure!" She called up at the ceiling before glancing around guiltily. "Let the object of objection become but a dream, as I cause the scene to become unseen."

"Remember Wyatt," she added to her son. "Personal gain is very bad, and you should never use it. Okay?"

He gurgled cheerfully in reply, making her smile lovingly down at him. "That's my boy."


Abandoned Resistance Base: September 13 th , 2021

Anna seriously hoped that the day wasn't a bad omen. Friday the 13 th . Unlucky Friday. It didn't make her feel particularly confident about her plan working out. She glanced around, checking everyone was in position.

Rafe was waiting in the corner across from her at the northern point. The Windwalker was the second most power aerokinetic the Resistance had, just a little less than Anna was with her own aerokinesis. She knew that he had met the Charmed Ones in 2002 when he was 22, and supposedly he had been a rather flirty elementary teacher. But times had changed and they all changed with them, and Anna had no memory of ever seeing the now forty-one-year-old witch smile.

He had been in charge of the safehouse destroyed by Gith's attack. He was among the fourteen who had survived. Three, including Rafe, had survived because they were away on a supply raid. Anna had been wary to allow him to join the team who had been chosen to vanquish Gith, but she also knew if she didn't grant him the chance to get vengeance, he would probably run off and get killed taking on the Darklighter alone.

Between them on the right, at the eastern point of the array, was Kate Carrigan. Anna had met her at age seven when Piper had enrolled her in Knox Academy after she left Magic School. They had quickly bonded over being witch-whitelighter hybrids. Then Kate had introduced her to Sienna Brackwood and the Bennet siblings, and that was that. They were her most trusted friends in the world, her  coven . Kate was also blessed with healing, and was therefore one of the most important memories of the Resistance, given they had less than ten healers.

Anna herself stood on the southern point, while another witch, Tyler Michaels' wife, Jessalyn, was in the western position. Jessalyn was an illusionist, capable of making a blind man see if she wanted to.

"Everybody ready?" Anna asked softly. "Once I activate the spell, he'll be pulled here through his portal. We won't have long before he breaks free. As soon as he does, we need to say the binding spell. Does everyone remember it? We need him to be captured, not killed. We need his info on portals." Of course, they all knew this already, but Anna was an admitted control freak.

They all nodded. "Okay," she sighed. "Let's do this." She lifted her arms, aiming towards the centre of the square.

"Through time and space, I call you from another place. Come to me Gith, Darklighter of the Vortex. Come to me here, come to me, I call you near!" It was an edited version of a summoning spell she remembered being written in the Book of Shadows, but tailored for summoning her current target and also because she hadn't actually learned the Book off by heart despite her family's teasing when she was a child.

The air shimmered and a hole split the air. Gith, the demon responsible for making the Resistance members feel unsafe in their homes yet again after so long of only feeling safe in the various bases. Anna's hatred welled up in her throat as she took him in for the first time. The four soldiers opened their mouths to chant in unison.


The Manor: September 13 th , 2003

"Oh, look," Piper cried to Wyatt just after Leo orbed in. "Daddy's here!"

"We need to talk," Leo told her, walking up to her.

"No, you need to orb," Piper dismissed him, handing over a bag and a bottle. "There are diapers in the bag. Here. Wyatt is very excited to spend the afternoon with you."

Wyatt sneezed, drawing his parents' attention.

"Was that a sneeze?" Leo asked in a baby voice, reaching for the child. "Are you feeling alright, buddy? Daddy will heal you up right away and then take care of mummy's hand."

"No, no, no, no!" Piper stopped him, waving her hands furiously. "No magic, really. He has a common cold and babies need to develop immunities."

"Not when his father's a miracle worker," Leo pointed out.

Piper gave him a stern look. "No, really, if I'm gonna lead any kind of a normal life, there will be no healing for any of us."

"So you just want him to suffer?" Leo demanded in outrage.

"Oh, don't be so dramatic," Piper scoffed. "If he had a serious illness, I would be the first one to call you, but he doesn't. So in the mean time, just watch him and fret like a normal person. Now go."

Leo hesitated, a guilty look coming over his expression. "Well, that's... I can't take Wyatt today."

"You can't take Wyatt?" She cried furiously. "What do you mean? You asked to take Wyatt. You know, father son bonding."

"Yeah, that was until I found out about this." Leo held up a Valkyrie pendant as he spoke. "Do you know where Anna got it?"

"A swap meet?" Piper shrugged indifferently.

"She killed for it," Leo declared. "The Valkyrie who owned this pendant was murdered."

"Leo, this is not cool, I have people coming here in ten minutes."

"Anna and Will aren't who they say they are, Piper. I know they're the ones who banished me to Valhalla and this proves it."

"You know what, Leo?" Piper asked him, eyes glinting bitterly at her ex. "Nothing will ever change with you. You will always find a way to make your job more important than your family."

"Taking care of my family is my job, Piper," Leo replied hardly. "And right now I need to find out what the Perrys are up to."

Chapter Text

Disclaimer: I don't own Charmed. Enjoy, thanks to everyone who reviewed, followed or faved this story, they make my day.

Chapter Nineteen

The Triquetra: Maiden, Mother and Crone

Gith's Cave: September 13 th , 2003

Gith smirked as he looked down at the reflection in the stone pool. The scene was split in four, each showing a different scene.

One was showing Piper Halliwell, putting her infant son in his crib. Beside it Paige Matthews was working as a magician's assistant. Below on the left, Phoebe Halliwell was having her make-up done while chatting with a friend. Finally, 'Anna Perry', the mysterious Whitelighter who had showed up several months ago was at a park, wearing a wistful expression and playing with a ring.

Perry would be a problem, Gith knew. She had shown that she knew a great deal about him. No doubt she would put two and two together and realize too early that she was in a realm created by him. With her ability to orb, she could escape before he got a chance to get her magic.

So he would have to add a bit more power to her reality. It would make the others more fragile, but from the scent he got of her own magical strength, just the 'Whitelighter' alone would last him for months. Her brother was even stronger than her of course, but he was too strong.

Gith wouldn't be able to hold Will and the Charmed Ones and Anna, nor would he be able to hold just Will and the Charmed Ones. And if he had gone that route, Anna would almost definitely be able to figure out how to vanquish him. And judging from her recent actions, she didn't have the same 'pacifistic' beliefs as her fellow Whitelighters. If she really was a Whitelighter.

"Your desires will kill you," he murmured with a sinister smile. "Enjoy, my dear witches. Your magic will taste so sweet, I know."

He waved his hand over the pool, and the four womens' worlds rippled as they were shifted into the pocket realities he had created for them.


Annette Halliwell's Pocket Reality: September 13 th , '2027'

Anna felt as if something had changed. It was like she had suddenly changed places, but when she looked around, everything seemed the same to her eyes.

"Mommy, Mommy!" A familiar voice called, attracting her attention. Anna turned around and bent, opening her arms in time for the dark-haired five-year-old that hurtled into her arms.

"Hello, my little angel," she cooed, pressing a kiss to her daughter's head.

"Hello my less-little angel," an adult voice called from the doorway of the kitchen. She glanced up, smiling in return to her husband's smirk.

"Hey, Babe," she murmured. Then his words registered in her head and she raised an eyebrow at him. "Less-little angel?" she scoffed. "How cheesy can you be?"

"Very," he grinned. "Any chance I'm gonna get a greeting from my beautiful wife?"

She threw back her head to laugh before she rose to her feet, picking up Victoria and heading over to him after settling the child on her hip. For some reason, both Victoria and Niko's lips felt unreal.

It almost seemed as if everything, her old-style farm house in the country, her regular, peaceful life, and most importantly, her family, were all nothing but a dream.

Anna's smile faltered at the strange thought, and Niko gave her a worried look.

"Everything okay, Babe?" He asked her.

She shook away her melancholy thoughts and smiled back at him.

"Of course, it is!" She replied cheerfully. "I'm here with my two favourite people! What would be wrong? Oh, by the way, my brother called. He, Mom and Grandpa are calling over for dinner at seven."

"Oh, that's gonna be fun," Niko muttered, making Anna laugh at his tone.

Her feelings of unreality were nothing but tiredness. This, Niko and Victoria and their peaceful life together, were real. They had to be, because Anna couldn't allow herself to consider them to be nothing more a beautiful dream.


San Francisco General: January 22 nd , 2015 (Unchanged Future)

Anna grimaced, shifting slightly. She had never had to have a cast before because any injuries were immediately healed by Paige or (sometimes) Wyatt and so far she wasn't enjoying the experience. It was bulky, itchy, and the crutches were going to give her hands blisters, she just knew it.

She huffed, banging her head back against the headrest of the Emergency Room trolley she was laying on, earning herself a reproving look from Mrs. Bennet.

"Anna, honey, I know you're bored," she scolded her gently. "But giving yourself a concussion will only make it worse. They won't discharge you then."

"I don't get why we couldn't have called a Whitelighter to heal me," Anna grumbled back quietly. Of course, she'd already complained about this several dozen times it seemed, but Mrs. Bennet had the patience of a saint it appeared, and she simply smiled gently as she answered the same way she had the last few times Anna had whined about being forced to go the hospital.

"Because over a dozen mortals, most of whom you know by sight at least, if not by name, all saw you fall. And Dr. Kingston diagnosed a broken leg where they could hear. If you didn't go and get a cast put on, there would be a lot of awkward questions for your family to answer. Would you really want to put your mother under that stress?"

Mrs. Bennet knew just what to say to make Anna shrink in guilt. Of  course , she didn't want to add to Piper's troubles. Her mother had enough to worry about, what with Wyatt getting into more and more trouble with each passing day, Leo harassing her about sending him to Magic School full time, and the current financial troubles they were going through.

"No," Anna mumbled, playing with a fraying thread on her blanket. "Do you know when Grandpa will be here?"

"He should be here in a few minutes dear," the woman smiled back, patting her unhurt knee. As if to prove her words, the curtain was pulled back to reveal Victor Bennet.

The man had gotten progressively worse health-wise in the past few years, his hair was almost completely gone and he was thin, needing a cane to help him walk, but he was still the cheerful man who doted on his grandchildren and spoiled them to bits. In his spare hand, he clutched a plastic bag.

"Hey there Baby Angel," he smiled at his oldest granddaughter. "I'm sorry that I took so long to get here. I had to wait for Cole to come over to get the girls."

"It's alright," she grinned back at him. Save for her mother, Grandpa was her favourite relative. A thought popped into her head and she pushed herself up as straight as she could. "You didn't call Mom, did you?" She asked him anxiously.

Victor pursed his lips, while Mrs. Bennet quietly excused herself from the curtained-off little cubicle. "I haven't told her yet, she didn't answer the phone when I rang," he admitted. "But-"

"You can't tell her!" Anna interrupted. "You know she'll make Aunt Paige orb her straight home, and they've been looking forward to this trip to the spa for months! It'll be ruined if she finds out about this!"

He gave her a stern look. "Anna, you're far more important to your mother than having a weekend off," he insisted.

"I know that," Anna agreed. "That's why you can't tell her. She's been so tired lately. Please Grandpa, it's only two more days. Give her those. She can go back to being Super Mom-Businesswoman-Witch on Monday. She needs a break. She deserves a break. Please?"

Victor hesitated, but seeing Anna's pleading look, and thinking of his daughter's drawn expression recently, and how relieved she had been to get a few days off with her sisters, sealed his decision.

"Alright, but she's going to be furious when she realizes what happened," he agreed with an unhappy sigh.

Anna gave a bright smile. "Don't worry Grandpa," she said happily. "I'll tell her I cast a spell to keep anyone from telling her. That'll take the heat off of you."

Victor gave a laugh at his (secretly favourite) granddaughter's declaration. Knowing Anna, she was being completely serious too.


The Manor: September 13 th , 2003

It hadn't taken Wyatt long to realize what had happened. He had felt Anna's presence become muffled in his head, and when he checked on his other family, he could only feel Leo. Combining that with the recent demonic attack, and Anna's lecture on Gith's abilities, Wyatt had put two and two together and gotten four.

He didn't understand why Anna had also been sent to a pocket realm, or why he hadn't been, but he decided it didn't really matter. Instead of wasting energy worrying about any of that, he got his younger self (Mini-Me as he called him in his head), took him to the attic and went to work preparing a vanquishing potion for Gith. That was when Leo turned up.

"We need to talk," Leo announced after he orbed in. "Where's your sister?"

Wyatt tensed, but continued to stir the potion. Ever since 'The Valhalla Incident' as he had labelled it mentally, he had done his best to avoid the man. Leo had always been his hero, a steady rock of goodness. Wyatt had spent his life attempting to emulate the man. Being back in time had shattered his rose-coloured glasses, and he was actually resentful of how Leo had stolen his role model from him.

"Sorry, busy, can't talk right now," he answered curtly, not looking at the Elder.

"Oh, yeah, we're talking right now," Leo corrected him. He held out a Valkyrie pendant. "Does this look familiar? Your sister killed a Good being for it."

Wyatt scowled, bottling the potion. "You have no proof that either of us did anything wrong," he gritted out.

"Your sister killed a Valkyrie," Leo snapped out harshly. "Maybe you helped. Whitelighters don't kill, or did you not read the manual?"

"But it's alright for an Elder?" Wyatt sneered back. "You have as much Valkyrie blood on your hands too as your accusing us of having. Except the difference is you actually killed the woman. We didn't kill anyone."

"I was fighting to protect the sisters," Leo answered coldly, ignoring the last part of Wyatt's statement. "You went out, hunted a Valkyrie to steal her magic."

"Goddess, you act like this paragon of goodness," Wyatt spat resentfully. "Not the violent hypocrite you really are."

"Face it, Wyatt, I got you both this time," Leo insisted. "This is enough to get both of your Whitelighter statuses stripped and your souls sent back down to earth for recycling."

Wyatt squared his shoulders, channelling his sister and facing the man. "You do what you have to do."

"I already did," Leo replied coldly. "I arranged a hearing with the Elders tonight. I expect this to be your and Anna's last day as Whitelighters."

"You might be right," Wyatt nodded. "But right now, I'm still a Whitelighter, and I have somewhere to be so that I can do my job."

"Why are you making a vanquishing potion?"

"To help the sisters."

"Why aren't they making it?"

"Because."

"Because what?"

"Because they're not able to at the moment."

"I can't sense them," Leo frowned suspiciously.

"Don't worry, I've got it," Wyatt gave a sharp smile. Just because he was the cheerful one of the siblings, didn't mean he wasn't just as much Piper's son as Anna was her daughter. She had raised both of her children to be capable of facing down any enemy with a rock-hard expression and a spine made of steel.

"You know, Will, if I can't sense them it means they're not in this world," Leo explained, eyes narrowed at the other man.

"I said I've got it," Wyatt repeated, heading for the door.

"Where are you going?" Leo demanded, stopping him.

"To bring them back," Wyatt explained curtly.

"Until I find out what's going on, I'm not gonna let you out of my sight," Leo snapped.

"Fine, follow me if you can," Wyatt shrugged. With that, he orbed away, smirking when he reappeared in the Underworld. Leo couldn't follow him now.


Annette Halliwell's Pocket Reality: September 13 th , '2027'

Anna let out a yelp of shock as she felt the ground start to shake beneath her.

"Earthquake!" She and Niko exclaimed together, eyes meeting. Piper tumbled to the floor along with Wyatt, and Victor banged his head against the countertop as he fell while he returned to the table from getting a fresh glass of water. Victoria shrieked as she was knocked off her booster seat to land hard on the kitchen floor.

"Tori!" Anna cried. She somehow managed to scramble to her feet and snatch up her now crying child despite the still-heaving floor.

"We need to get outside!" Niko yelled as the antique shelf containing the fancy plates given to them for their wedding day by Anna's mother fell. He jumped out of the way of a plate that would likely have broken over his head otherwise.

Anna just nodded, too busy trying to cover Victoria from the flying debris to try and speak.

"C'mon!" he called again. He lunged around the table to grab her hand, and they scrambled to the doorway. As they reached it, Anna felt a sharp pain in the back of her neck, and she fell down. Her vision turned black, the last sound she heard being Niko's voice calling her name desperately.


The Manor: September 13 th , 2003

"Anna," Piper greeted her Whitelighter as she and Will entered the nursery where Piper and Leo had just put their son down. "Can I ask you something please?"

"Sure," Anna shrugged. "What is it?"

Piper hesitated, moving closer to the younger woman. "Your reality," she began, noticing the other woman stiffen, her face closing over. "Those people, were they?"

"My fiancé and the child I would have had if I hadn't gone the abortion route," Anna cut her off. Piper could see a faint sheen of tears in the green eyes. Leo started, his eyes widening in surprise at the revelation. Will looked away and down at the floor. "I left Niko behind when I came back here. That's it. Case closed."

"I'm sorry," Piper replied. She didn't push anymore, seeing the traces of a broken heart in Anna's eyes that she was trying to hide. Anna gave a tense nod, turning to Leo.

"So," she began. "It's almost time for our hearing with the Elders. We thought we'd give you the pleasure of taking us in personally."

Leo hesitated for a moment before taking the Valkyrie pendant out of his pocket. "Yeah, well, maybe I'll just give you this instead."

"I don't understand," Anna answered slowly, taking it and looking back at him.

"What?" Will muttered under his breath, a hint of hope rising that the man he'd grown up admiring really did exist after all.

"Neither do I," Leo admitted. "Just take it before I change my mind." With that, he left the room. A small smile grew on the Perrys' faces as they looked at each other. Their earlier argument was (temporarily at least), laid to rest.

Chapter Text

Disclaimer: I don't own Charmed. This chapter is entirely centred on Anna and Leo's trip to the Cretaceous period. The events of Soul Survivor are pretty much the same save for a few tweaks caused by the presence of Cole and Wyatt, but nothing worth mentioning.

Chapter Twenty

Hemlock: Poison

San Francisco: October 6 th , 2003

Anna leaned into the portal, attempting to see through it to the other side without actually having to go in, despite knowing the futility of the gesture. Sighing, she gave in and carefully touched it after muttering a quick cloaking spell, stepping out the other side into the Roman Empire.

She scowled as she watched the Romans, who were evidently celebrating some sort of battle they had won. This was definitely not her time, nor was it even Wyatt's timeline, not that she had expected to see that. It didn't exist now that the events that caused it had changed so much.

But the thought of seeing her own time and remembering why she was putting herself through all this torture, going so far as to partner with a good version of the person she both feared and hated most in the world, had formed upon finding the portal, and it hadn't gone away. If she could just figure out how to control it.

Her thoughts were cut off when the portal suddenly spiked as an Elder (Leo, she growled mentally, cursing his name and existence to Purgatory with everyone else who'd ever annoyed her) manipulated the portal and she only just had time to release her cloaking spell (terrifying several revellers in the process) before she was unceremoniously yanked back to 2003.

She felt a smug sense of satisfaction as she fell out of the wall through a portal and landed heavily on Leo.

"Leo, what are you doing here?" She bit out, glaring down at him.

"Get off of me," Leo snapped as he pushed her off.

"Are you following me again?" Anna asked as they stood up. "I thought we were past these issues." She patted her crown braid to check if her hair was still tucked away. In a fight, hair-pulling could be a serious threat, and she wasn't bothered to take the time to cut it lately.

"What is that?" Leo demanded, pointing at the section of the wall that the portal was.

"That?" Anna widened her eyes in mock innocence. She shrugged casually. "Nothing."

"No?" He narrowed his eyes before grabbing her arm and shoving her head in the portal.

It had changed to the English Medieval period now. In the few seconds she was there someone shoved a knight's helmet on her head before Leo yanked her back out again.

"What the hell?" He snapped, glaring at her.

She smirked and lifted up the face guard, feeling viciously satisfied that he was so annoyed. Selfish, mother's-heart-and-promise-breaking bastard.

"Long story," she told him casually, taking off the helmet and throwing it into the portal.

"What is that?" Leo demanded again. "A time portal? Is that what that is? What are you using that for?"

"I don't have to answer that," Anna replied smugly, just to irritate him more.

"I thought you said you had nothing to hide," Leo narrowed his eyes more, making himself look like some sort of Japanese anime character with lines for eyes.

"I don't have to answer that either," Anna smiled brightly.

"Wanna bet?" Leo hissed before grabbing her roughly and dragging them both into the hidden portal.

They reappeared on a large and rocky mountain. Leo and Anna fell out of it and rolled down the rough surface. Finally, they stopped rolling and got up.

"Where are we?" Leo snapped, anger covering his face.

"How the hell should I know?" Anna bit out, now furious and worried. "That's what I was trying to tell you, I don't know how to control it."

"Yeah."

They both jumped as they heard a roar and Anna quickly looked behind herself. Her eyes widened in panic and she promptly ran off. Leo looked around and spotted a large Tyrannosaurus Rex heading straight for them. He ran off too.

"Come on," Anna urged a few minutes of frantic running later. "Let's go."

They had finally gotten to the top of the mountain and ran around a large rock.

The dinosaur roars, and the two of them hid in a space under a large rock. The dinosaur looked around for them for a while before giving up and walking away.

Worry clouded her thoughts and in a fit of panic she spat out what was possibly her stupidest statement ever. "I don't understand, why can't we orb?" Her attempts to orb to somewhere without dinosaurs, such as the Underworld and the Heavens, had all ended in failures.

"Prehistoric," Leo replied grimly. He looked around with a careful eye and Anna was briefly reminded that he too had been a soldier once upon a time. "Magic won't be around until there's people around to use it."

"Perfect," Anna scoffed bitterly, genuinely horrified as she pictured the thought of having to rely on Wyatt and Cole to change the future.

Other people couldn't be trusted not to screw things up without her strict supervision. And what if Wyatt decided that he liked the thought of having dominion over everything in existence and decided to let himself be kidnapped? She had to get back!

"We'll just hang out for the next million years or so, no problem."

"More like sixty-five million," Leo corrected her. "It's the cretaceous period."

"Man, you are old," she retorted without missing a beat as she scanned their surroundings. Anna had stopped going to school in sixth grade. Her education had more holes than a block of Swiss cheese. "I think he's gone. He looks gone. Do you think he's gone?"

"No," Leo replied flatly.

"Neither do I," she agreed glumly. They began continuing to walk along the mountain.

"The sooner we get back to our time, the less we'll have to worry about," Leo said.

Anna rolled her eyes at the obviousness of the statement. "Yeah, that's gonna be a problem," she informed him matter-of-factly.

"What do you mean?"

"I mean, you just don't create time portals out of thin air, it's not like that." She rolled her eyes, it was very obvious which side of the family her intelligence came from anyway.

"Well, you coming back from the future originally seemed like an exact science," Leo pointed out in a dry tone of voice.

"That was a spell, alright?" She snapped back. "A one-way door. It only goes backward in time, not forward."

"So, what, you're creating portals to get back to the future, is that it?" Leo asked suspiciously. Anna gritted her teeth to keep from screaming in frustration at him. "Why?"

"To see if it changed, okay?" She hissed at him, fed up at his constant persecution of her. It was as bad as the Witch Hunters, for Goddess' sake! "To see if we stopped the demon who was after Wyatt. What? You still don't believe me?"

"All I care about right now is getting back home," Leo answered curtly. And that said everything really.

"Well, all you gotta do is find the portal that dumped us here," she informed him with a vicious smile and a matching tone of voice as she waved at the sandy plains surrounding them. "Good luck. Watch out for the dinosaurs."

"You'd like that, wouldn't you?" He accused her. She rolled her eyes in exasperation. "Get rid of me once and for all?"

"You were the one who sent us back to Jurassic Park, alright?" She retorted, silently acknowledging that if not for her own conception, she wouldn't be too bothered by his premature death. "Not me."

"Wouldn't be the first time you tried to get rid of me," he grumbled, reminding her of a pouting child. She scoffed and threw her hands up in the air, suppressing the sparks that tried to fly out of her fingertips and making a mental note to go and relieve some of her pent-up energy soon. If she wasn't eaten by a dinosaur or didn't fade out of existence because Leo was, of course.

"Think what you want, but just remember this. If we don't find a way back, Wyatt's screwed. If you don't believe me, believe that."

She locked eyes with him and held his gaze, knowing that the hardness from a life of grief and running was glinting bitterly in her eyes. He looked away first.


The Manor: October 13 th , 2014 (Unchanged Future)

Anna didn't know why she was so disappointed. Of course, Leo promising for months that he would come for her tenth birthday meant nothing. He had never kept his promises before after all. Why would he do so now? That didn't stop her face from falling when the note appeared on the table in a shimmer of orbs during breakfast.

"That son of a bitch," Wyatt muttered angrily. Piper didn't reprimand him, too concerned with going to Anna's side to comfort her as the newly-turned ten-year-old plucked the note off the table with a stiff upper lip.

"Dear Anna," she read dully. "I'm so sorry, Princess, but I can't come today. I have an important meeting with the Elders, and you'll probably be asleep by the time I'm done. I promise that I'll come over tomorrow and we'll spend the whole together, just the two of us. How does that sound? We'll do whatever you want and you can pick out a present for yourself. Love, Dad."

She put the note down on the table, clenching her trembling jaw tightly and knowing already from prior experience that he wouldn't be coming tomorrow either.

"Oh, Baby," Piper murmured sadly. "I'm so sorry sweetheart. But he's coming for the whole day tomorrow, at least."

"No, he's not," she sniffed, trying to suppress the tears. Wyatt had come to her side, and was silently clenching and releasing his fists, anger glinting in his hazel eyes.

"He never comes!" She cried, losing her battle with her tears. "I HATE him!"

She orbed away, sobbing out her frustration and anger raggedly. Why was Wyatt good enough to be treated as Leo's child, and she wasn't? What had she done to make him so indifferent to her existence?


Unknown Location: Sixty-five million years B.C

"This looks familiar, doesn't it?" Anna asked in an overly-bright tone as they walked past yet another pile of sandy rocks.

"Yeah," Leo nodded flatly.

"Maybe we should split up, find the portal faster," Anna suggested, wanting to escape from her father's judging presence. As if it was her fault that they were stuck in the dinosaur era.

Always judging her. Always considering her not good enough, when everything was all his fault! His fault Wyatt had been kidnapped by his psychotic friend, his fault Piper had bled out in Anna's arms because he'd refused to come when she'd called and stopped Wyatt from doing so as well. All of it was his fault. Not Anna's.

Leo caught her arm as she made to walk on. "Wait, if one of us gets caught, the other one needs to keep going. For Wyatt's sake."

"Oh, you believe me about it now?" Anna challenged, raising her eyebrows at him.

"No," he answered her flatly. "I just wanted to let you know what's going to happen if you get caught."

Anna's hand went through the rock she rested it on for balance as she turned to snap back at him again. "Found it!" She cried triumphantly.

The dinosaur roared and Leo turned around. He slipped on some loose rocks and slid down the hill.

"Leo!" She called, swearing and glancing longingly at the portal. Despite her own personal preferences, if Leo didn't get back to her time, Anna's existence would come to a very ignominious end. The dinosaur appeared behind him as Anna ran over to Leo and helped him to his feet.

"Come on, come on, go, go!" She urged him frantically, dragging him toward the portal while the dinosaur snapped threateningly at them. They jumped through the portal just in time to avoid becoming dinosaur chow.

A dizzying portal ride later and they both tumbled out of the portal onto a grassy meadow where they rolled along the ground for a moment.

"You okay?" She asked, glancing at him. He nodded, an unidentifiable look in his eyes.

"Thanks for not listening to me."

"Any time," she muttered.

That was when the soldiers surrounded them with shot guns aimed at them. More alarmingly to Anna, the guns were pointed at her. That was Leo's fault too.

"You boys Yankees?"

She scowled, offended at being called a boy while the soldiers grabbed them and pulled them to their feet. This was a really, really bad day for her. On par with a decent day in her time, that's how bad it was. And an indicator of how crap her life was in her time.


P3: October 3rd, 2003

"Uck, look at that pig," Phoebe was saying as Leo and Anna walked up to where she and Piper were sitting. "And I don't mean literally, at least not anymore." She turned slightly and spotted them. "Hey, look who it is. Where you two been?"

"Long story," Leo groaned.

"We just got a little lost, that's all and took some time to find our way back," Anna explained to them vaguely.

"So, uh, what'd we miss?" Leo added, making Phoebe laugh.

"You lay into them, I have a date," Piper declared, setting down her glass and standing up.

"A date, really?" Phoebe raised an eyebrow at her sister. "Does he know about Wyatt?"

Piper shook her head firmly. "No, and he's not going to any time soon. At least not until after the honeymoon." With that, she walked away briskly.

"Whoa, what'd we really miss?" Leo asked again.

Phoebe smirked. "All I'm saying is that it is very handy having two Whitelighters instead of just one. Means that one is always available when they're needed." Then she copied her sister and walked away.

Anna shrugged, making a mental note to interrogate Wyatt later before turning to Leo, forcing herself to bury her feelings of resentment to try and capitalize on this as a way to get Leo to ease of her.

"Come on, I'll buy you a drink," she offered.

"Whitelighters don't have any money," Leo pointed out.

"It was a gesture," she hid her frustration with years of skill.

He gave her a half grin. "Two cold ones, Billy.

"You got it, Leo," the bartender nodded back at them as they sat on Piper and Phoebe's abandoned stools.

"It's on me." Leo gave her the friendliest look he'd given her since her arrival. Actually, probably the friendliest he had looked at her since before Piper's death in her timeline. She smiled back, for once not feeling tense in his presence. Maybe they were actually making progress with getting along with each other.

Chapter Text

Disclaimer: I don't own Charmed. Ok, this is starting to go more AU now. For the sake of the plot, Chris-Crossed is occurring earlier, and both Niko is about to get a shock. Wink, wink. And I know Bianca attacked Chris at P3, but Anna and Wyatt live in a condo not there, so the attack is occurring somewhere else. Oh, and BTW: Cole and Phoebe live in their Season 4 penthouse (which is not bought by Source of All Evil money) but they're mostly at the Manor anyway.

Chapter Twenty-One

Purple: Spiritual Strength

The Manor: November 7 th , 2003

"Hey, what's up?" Wyatt greeted the sisters as casually as he could, as he and Anna entered the living room where the sisters were talking about how much time Paige was spending with Richard lately.

It was always weird for him, to listen to his mother and aunts (who were practically his mothers as well, seeing as the Halliwells had raised their children communally for generations) talking about dating and such. It was also, he figured, part of the reason he was so effed up. He had overheard their conversations as an infant and been traumatized by the over-exposure to his family's sex lives.

Anna, standing quietly beside him with her hands in her back pockets and an unfocused look in her eyes that signalled she was mentally plotting out a demon hunt instead of paying attention to their family, seemed to take it in stride. At least outwardly, but Wyatt could sense her mental horror every time they stumbled into one of those discussions through the mental link that they shared.

"Oh, we're just chatting," Phoebe smiled warmly at them. "How're you guys? We haven't seen you much this week."

"We've been following a lead on something," Anna explained vaguely. "There's this group hanging 'round in the Underworld. The Order is the only thing that they call themselves as far as I can tell, but they seem disturbingly interested in Wyatt."

"What?" Piper demanded sharply, putting down her glass and half-rising to her feet. "Are they-?" She began to ask, but was cut off by the 'Perrys' shaking their heads.

"They don't seem like much of a threat," Wyatt assured. "But we've been gathering information on them for you guys, so that you can go after them as soon as we know what they want with him. We came to look at the Book to see if there's anything there about it."

"Go right ahead," Paige waved at them. "It's in the attic, same as always."

"Great," Anna murmured, she turned to head upstairs, pausing to raise an eyebrow at her brother. "You coming?"

"In a sec," he agreed. She shrugged and continued to the attic.

"Will, is everything okay?" Piper asked him worriedly.

Although she'd initially been hesitant to trust the two time travellers, now she felt rather maternal to them both, and she did her best to act on those feelings, though Anna always looked a bit like a hunted deer whenever someone tried to look after her. The girl's actions always made Piper curse her parents, who had clearly been awful to her while spoiling her brother. There was no other explanation for why Will would be a (mostly) well-adjusted young man, while his sister was like a spooked rabbit whenever it came to doing normal things.

Paige had theorized that Anna might have been adopted from an abusive family, explaining the many differences in both of the Perrys' personalities, or that they were half-siblings. Either way, Anna was obviously the victim of some heavy and long-lasting trauma, and it made Piper's motherly instincts throw a fit whenever signs of it popped up. She couldn't understand how Leo didn't see it.

"Everything's fine," Will nodded. "It's just that Anna's birthday is in, like a week on the thirteenth. And I know that she won't want a fuss made about it or anything, but I was hoping that you could make a dinner or something, Piper? She loves meatballs, and she hasn't had them in ages. Not since we arrived anyway."

"Oh, my god, I had no idea!" Phoebe squealed. "I can't believe that we didn't ask what your birthdays are!"

"Of course I'll cook," Piper agreed. "Just tell me the specific date, and is there anything else she'd like to have? What's her favourite cake-" A loud crash came from the attic, along with Anna's voice suddenly yelling. Wyatt nearly doubled over from the wave of anger and betrayal that came from his sister at the same time.

"Anna!" He cried, pausing long enough to grab Piper (who was closest to him) by the arm and orb upstairs, Paige grabbing Phoebe and copying him a second later.


A few minutes earlier, Anna had entered the attic with thoughts of the mysterious Order running through her head.

She was fairly sure that the Charmed Ones of her own timeline had encountered (and subsequently defeated) them at some point, because the name was definitely familiar. Wyatt also claimed to recognize the name, but neither of them could remember any details of what they wanted. As a result, they had decided to check the Book and then ask Cole for any information on them, and if that fell through, they would go and search the library at Magic School before getting the sisters to vanquish the group.

She froze in shock, all thoughts of demons disappearing at the sight of the man leaning against the wall, unquestionably waiting for her.

Niko Phoenix, the love of her life was not in 2027, where he should have been, but here in 2003. His caramel-dyed hair that fell in long waves to his shoulders when they were loose were pulled back into a ponytail. He was dressed in a gothic brocaded vest and black bondage jeans that clung to his legs tightly with black combat boots. A long silver dagger with a ruby in the hilt hung from his belt. The male version of a Source's Assassin's uniform.

"N-Niko," she stammered uncharacteristically, her shock making her sloppy, as her fiancé walked up to her in a seductive manner. "What-? How did you-?"

"Shh," he murmured, resting a finger against her lips to silence her. "We'll talk about that later. But for now-"

Instinct kicked in as his expression turned into the cold look he wore during any battle or assassination, giving her just a split-second of fore-warning. Just long enough for her to dive to the side, knocking over the table she stood next to in the process, so that his glowing hand went through her shoulder instead of her heart.

She shrieked, back arching in agony at the pain. Ironically, it would have (physically) hurt less if he had gotten her heart as her magic wouldn't have been dragged out in such a brutal manner. But it would have also rendered her completely incapable of fighting back, unlike this position.

Using her right arm, she groped for an athame that she had seen fall to the floor, gripping it and striking blindly, catching him in the side of his free arm just as her brother and mother appeared in a swirl of blue and white orbs.

With all he had been through, the shallow knife cut alone would never have distracted him from his task, nor would the raw hurt twisting his lover's face at his betrayal as she struggled against him. But the shocking sight of someone who looked so like, and yet so different to the Source he served caused him to freeze in shock long enough for Piper to blow him into a swirl of dark ashes that swiftly flew out of the open window.

Anna moaned in pain, curling in on herself as the others arrived, scanning the room for more threats as Will raced to his sister's side.

"Anna, are you ok?" Piper demanded worriedly, hurrying after him to her younger Whitelighter's side.

"I, I think so," she replied breathlessly, batting away Wyatt's attempt to heal her. "I'm fine," she repeated.

"What happened?" Paige asked anxiously, scanning the younger woman for injuries despite Anna's words.

"Yeah, who was she?" Phoebe agreed, brow crinkled in concern.

Wyatt had been to focused on his sister to register who had been attacking her, but he still felt the lie through their bond as Anna answered in a soft voice. "I don't know."


"Is that the mark?" Paige asked, pointing out her newest suggestion in the Book.

Piper glanced at it briefly before shaking her head. "No, it looked more like a bird."

"A bird," Paige repeated flatly. "So, what? You're saying that maybe the Audubon society sent the demon after us?"

"Just keep looking," Piper sighed in response. Cole, who had been frowning at his niece, stiffened and looked over.

"Look up the Phoenix clan," he instructed. "They have a bird shaped birthmark asa symbol."

Wyatt stiffened at the suggestion, his eyes widening in realization. He pushed at the barrier Anna had put up, trying to speak to her, though he was sensible enough (after many, many lectures on 'future consequences') not to speak his concerns aloud. She ignored him stubbornly, continuing to pace across the room.

"Phoenix clan," Paige nodded, beginning to flick more purposely through the Book now she had a better idea of what to look for.

"Guys, I'm telling you I'm fine, don't sweat it," Anna insisted. "There's no reason to fuss about this." It was a blatant lie, and only served to further convince the rest of the group that Anna was aware of who her attacker was, and probably why he'd attacked her in the first place.

"A Phoenix?" Leo said doubtfully. "That doesn't make sense. Are you sure that he wasn't a Darklighter?"

Piper nodded firmly. "I'm sure," she said. "No bow, for one thing."

"Got it," Paige declared before reading the entry aloud. "Descended from the Witch Trials with

vengeance in their hearts, the Phoenix are a

family of assassin witches who are very elite,

very powerful and who are born with the

distinctive birthmark of the Phoenix,

symbolizing their rise from Salem's ashes.

They have no allegiances other than to their

own vengeance and they will seek out and kill

any bounty they're hired to hunt down."

"So, they'll be back," Cole concluded grimly. "I've dealt with Phoenixes before, they're not people to cross. And they won't give up."

"What would they want with Anna though?" Leo wondered with a frown. He turned to look suspiciously at Anna, who had a strained expression on her face. "You know, how did he get that close to you, anyway, if you didn't even know who he was?"

Anna gave a shrug, her face going tight for a second out of pain. "He caught me by surprise," she said, basically the only truth she had said since the meeting began. She shifted her weight, causing the floorboard to squeak. "We really oughta fix that, you know."

"Come on, Anna," Leo pressed. "Why are the Phoenixes after you?"

"Has it crossed your mind that maybe he wasn't actually after me?" Anna snapped. "Maybe they're really going after the sisters, and wanted to get their Whitelighters out of the way first."

Wyatt glowered silently at his sister but said nothing, while Paige agreed with her hesitantly. "It kind of makes sense."

"Finally!" Anna cried, throwing her hands up and giving a subtle wince at the movement, only Cole and Wyatt noticing it. "Somebody's listening. Now, if you'll excuse me, I've got some work to take care of."

She stalked out, hearing Leo turn to start interrogating Wyatt even before she reached the staircase. She hastened to the upstairs bathroom and bent over the sink, shaking, as soon as the door closed with a thought.

She sucked in several unsteady breaths, fighting back tears of rage and betrayal. She cursed herself for being such a foolish child. If she'd had any sense at all, she would have kept their original arrangement of 'allies with benefits'. Instead, she had succumbed to his declarations of love and his insistence that she could trust him. She had believed his lies.

She reached up and pulled down her left sleeve and reveal her shoulder. The green blouse was unstained, but Anna knew past experience that you didn't fight a Phoenix and escape without injury.

A ragged breath escaped her in a whoosh at the ugly sight. It was a raw red wound, exactly the size of the fist he had shoved in her. The sides rose slightly, like a layer of skin had been peeled back to show the first layer beneath it. Pain was pulsing from it irregularly, preventing her from getting her equilibrium back and being able to block it.

Something, beyond the obvious, was definitely wrong with the injury. It wasn't supposed to feel so sore and exhausting once the Phoenix was finished. That was probably the problem then. Niko hadn't finished the job and Anna still had access to her magic.

She bit her lip and covered it back up. Then slowly, she pulled out the second of her necklaces. The other was shown to the world, but this one she kept under her shirt. The ring dangling from it had rested beside her heart, and Anna felt a surge of bitter rage. 'At least rage was better than hurt,' she thought darkly to herself, as she lifted the ring to stare at it.

The memory of him giving it to her overcame her as she did so, stealing her away from 2003 back to her home time, in the Source-ruled world of 2027.


Camelot (formerly San Francisco): December 16 th , 2027

Anna ducked to avoid the energy ball aimed at her throat, and returned the attack with her newest electrokinetic trick. She compressed a strike of lightning into a pulsing blue ball and sent it flying at him. He combusted with a loud shriek and Anna felt another energy ball hit her shoulder at the same time.

She spun, raising her hand to send a jet of fire at her attacker, but was beaten by Niko's knife. It flew through the air, hitting the Hunter in the neck before being enveloped in a black cloud and returning to her boyfriend's hand.

"You're getting slow," he taunted her with a grin, turning to take on another two Hunters. Somehow, they'd been discovered by at least two full patrols, or else the demons had started growing a brain and called for back-up.

Either way, Anna had been forced to toss up a quick ward to keep any of them escaping to inform Wyatt of Niko's treachery and her presence in the capital. But the lack of time had resulted in them also being stuck inside the barrier. So now they were fighting. Of course, they were also winning, with only six of the original thirty opponents still alive.

"Oh please," she called back as she grabbed a human Hunter, snapped his neck and used him as a shield while sending ice-knives at the other two. "I could beat all these morons on my own," she continued. " You're  slowing me down, Firebird."

"How about I keep doing that for the rest of our lives?" He called back, jabbing the demon in the stomach so he only had one enemy left, though this one was rather quick and agile, putting up a good fight.

"Sounds like a short life," she retorted after a pause to choke the demon that had shimmered to behind her back with her telekinesis.

"Marry me," he answered as they both finished off their final enemies. Anna froze just after releasing a jet of fire, turning to stare at him and ignoring the demon's shrieks of pain as he burned to death.

"What did you just say?"

Niko gave her a grin, dressed in regular blue-jeans and a red shirt that was now stained with blood. He got down on one knee, and Anna found herself pressing a hand to her mouth, fighting back the tears that were welling up in her eyes.

"Anna,  I love you ," he told her softly and carefully. 'Love' was not a word said lightly anymore. This was only the fourth time he had said it to her. "I meant it when I said that whatever suffering I'll go through will be worth it if you'll love me back. Marry me, and remember why you're doing this thing."

"Y, yes," she stammered, putting out her hand. "Yes, I'll marry you.  I love you too ." She said the words delicately. This was the second time she had said the words outright to him. Her number of dead loved ones hovered constantly in the back of her mind, warning her of the consequences caused by her love.

He grinned, putting the ring (made of black-gold with an aquamarine gem in the style of a rose and stem. And, she could just about see a faint bird shape carved into the gem to link it to the Phoenixes. It was very  Anna , to those who knew her properly. A dark angel, Niko called her with a smile full of a tenderness shown only to her.)

She kissed him passionately as they sank down onto the bench in 'their spot', the place they had first met and then continued to meet in. The place they had been enemies, wary allies, lovers. And now engaged.

A buzzing noise had them breaking apart, gripping their respective knives and scanning the area urgently.

"What was that?" Niko demanded as they did so, just as a probe came flying up and began scanning his face. "Anna!" He cried urgently, and unnecessarily, as she was already flinging it into a nearby pillar with her telekinesis.

"Are you alright?" She asked frantically, looking him over. Logically, she knew that the probes were not actually dangerous. It was what they signalled that was the danger. That didn't do anything to erase the fear she associated with them.

"I'm fine," Niko said, pale-faced from the close call. "I don't think it had time to transmit."

Anna stood, rage boiling in and sparks flying from her clenched fists. "I cannot believe that he's sending probes after us now!" She snarled. It was a ridiculous statement, as Wyatt had been sending probes to find her for years, but her frustration at the interruption to their celebration was mixing with her anxiety over the coming mission to make her irrational and they both knew it.

"I'm gonna kill that sonovabitch!"

"No, no you're not," Niko hastily grabbed her hands, ignoring the sting of electricity with practised ease. He stared firmly at her, forcing her to listen. "You're gonna stick to the plan," he insisted.

He was no psychic, but Niko knew, without a doubt, that if Anna killed her infant brother, she would save the future and destroy herself. As much as she denied it, claiming to loathe him (which was true) Anna still loved her brother. Killing him as an innocent baby would be her breaking point.

"But he knows," she hissed at him. The panic at what she was about to do flickered in her beautiful green eyes. Niko shook his head.

"No, if he knew, he wouldn't have sent the probe," Niko pointed out. He let out a deep breath. "You have to do this Angel. You have to stop all this."

Anna bit her lip and nodded. She met his eyes and leaned in to kiss him again. They both tried to forget the thought that this could be the last time they ever saw each other. The ring on Anna's finger would never be joined by a wedding one and they both knew it.


"It was Niko, wasn't it?" Wyatt's voice, grim and full of barely contained fury, jolted Anna out of her flashback. She met his gaze in the mirror, her own full of agony.

"If it was," she replied slowly, as good as confirming his guess. "Do you honestly think that he isn't here on Lord Wyatt's orders to bring me to be executed?"

Chapter Text

Disclaimer: I don't own Charmed. (BTW: I know the way she's described in the flashback isn't what our society would call beautiful, but Niko and Anna are from a very different world, and have different views.)

Chapter Twenty-Two

Gold: Mental Strength

San Francisco Arboretum:  November 7 th , 2003

Niko shimmered into the little corner of the San Francisco Arboretum that he and Anna had named 'their spot'. He struggled to repress his shaking as he sat down and buried his face in his hands. It had been so long since he'd seen her last, and the sight of her as she'd entered the Manor attic was fixed to his eyelids.

Her brunette hair had grown longer, instead of being just long enough to be pulled back into a plait, it was several inches longer and put into a pair of Dutch braided ponytails.

When she left, she had temporary blonde dye in her hair and grey contacts on, as her face was known all over the world as the Resistance Leader. She had worn their time's required fashion for a female her age, consisting of a denim miniskirt that showed off her bum and legs, and a tight off-the-shoulder dark green crop-top.

He'd known she hated it, being quite insecure about herself despite the mask that she wore, but Wyatt set the fashions, as he set everything else, and dressing the way she wanted to would have drawn attention to them. Not to mention those who didn't follow the dress code were immediately classed as rebels and arrested. Such was the life of those who lived under the reign of the Source of All Evil.

Today however, she had been dressed in the closest she could get to her own stylein 2003. A pair of navy skinny jeans with a silver belt slung casually through the loops, and a purple (she loved purples, blues and greens) v-necked top that clung to her body with ¾ length sleeves. She finished it all off with her (charmed) jewellery and a pair of old velcro sneakers that had once been a sort of shimmery blue-green but had faded over the years of battle and traipsing around Valhalla and the Underworld. She wore nothing that could get snagged on something or be used against her in a fight, like laces.

Of course, her face was bare of any make-up. Niko doubted that she even knew how to apply the stuff in the first place.

She was still the most beautiful thing that he had ever seen. Just as she always did.


Beijing Alley: January 3 rd , 2020

Niko had been tracking the Resistance Leader for several month now. Whoever they were, they were slippery, and good at fighting. Niko was one of seventeen currently assigned to the mission, and the Leader, known by their, presumably they were a woman, alias of Athena. The goddess of war. Niko smirked at the thought of it.

But now, he had caught up to The Target, and he had them pinned in an alley in Beijing. His plan had hinged on The Target's habit of confronting her stalkers to eliminate them. Having long since realized that The Target was an expert at spells and wards, he had gone to a great deal of trouble to get his hands on a rare object, nicknamed the trapping stone, to help in his mission.

By activating it, she would lose her ability to use magic in any way, shape or form. She would be forced to rely on any non-magical skills or weapons that she had and he was confident that he would be able to subdue her. He was a Phoenix after all, and Phoenixes were the best. The 'alive' part of his orders was inconvenient, but who was he to defy the Ruler of the World?

But if he accidentally killed her or failed, and the Emperor found out though... Niko swallowed at the thought. The worst of it, of course, was that he wouldn't be the only one to be 'punished' for the failure.

Wyatt Halliwell knew very well that most people prized their families and loved ones' lives above their own, even if he didn't, and whole families were wiped out for one member breathing too loudly near him. He would make Niko watch his family (though none of the other active assassins, they were too valuable for that) be tortured to death before doing so to him.

It wouldn't come to that though, he insisted to himself mentally. Niko was the best, and once her magic was neutralized by the stone, she would be stuck without magic. He, on the other hand, would still have his shimmering, apportation and energy balls. The Target would be at his mercy.

He saw The Target, turn to face him and felt a moment of surprise. She was, at most sixteen, and a small sixteen at that. Her short dark-brown, almost black hair was dirty and pulled into a tight braid. Sensible, the way it was done would stop anyone being able to use it against her in a fight. She wore a pair of battered old jeans and a frayed knitted dark green shirt with bloodstains on them. They both hung off her. Not surprising given how malnourished she was. A bloody cut stretched across the left side of her face, barely avoiding damaging her eyes. It looked shallow enough to avoid scarring though.

But it was her eyes that really drew him in. They were far too old for her face, and full of emotions, a rarity in these days, when everyone hid their thoughts with neutrality or fake happiness. Athena's eyes, the same shade of green as a piece of jade, were haunted by grief, unsurprisingly. Who's weren't nowadays, save for the demons and the Source. But there was determination there too. And a look that he didn't recognize. Something that drew him in. A spark of something that he didn't understand, but he wanted to.

He had never seen someone so beautiful, despite her appearance.

"So, are we gonna do this, or are you just gonna keep checking me out?" Athena drawled sarcastically with a smirk.

He blinked and snapped back into the assassin mindset that his mother and clan had hammered into him. "We're doing this," he nodded sharply. "If you surrender, you might get a quick death," he offered graciously. Bullshit of course, Wyatt would torture her to insanity, then publicly burn her as a message to those who dared to oppose him. But he felt obliged to make the offer anyway. He didn't want this woman (not a girl, despite her age. She was too experienced to be called a girl.) to die.

She laughed and waved a hand, forcing him to dodge the large piece of brick sent spinning at his head. He countered with an energy ball that she flung aside casually before, to his shock, sending a gust of air at him. People with multiple powers were rare. Athena was definitely related to the Warren line somehow, but he was too focused to be able to reach the conclusion that hovered just out of reach.

The fight itself felt more like a friendly spar, the two of them trading sarcastic, innuendo-laced quips as they tried to kill each other in an oddly playful way. He almost forgot about the stone hidden in his pocket.

Then Athena suddenly stiffened, her eyes briefly flicking towards the alleyway entrance as she moved to avoid a stab from his knife. Instead of catching her in the shoulder, restricting her telekinetic abilities, it only grazed the side of her arm. She looked back at him with a tense smile.

"Sorry, hun," she drawled. "But I got things to do and people to see. This has been fun though. Bye."

She kicked, and he was so bemused by her sudden attitude change, that she managed to land it straight in his stomach. It was stronger than it should have been, and he recognized her boots as the same enchanted ones worn by the Valkyries moments too late. His ribs cracked under the pressure and he flew through the air and got impaled by a piece of debris. It hurt more than he would have expected it to.

Athena swore, and he wondered absently why. Then he wondered if Wyatt was going to kill his family for failing, despite him dying in the attempt. His mother would be so disappointed in him for doing so. Athena's face swam into focus above him.

She looked strained, glancing up and back at him repeatedly, indecision warring in his eyes.

"You're good," he complimented her weakly. "What's your name?"

"Didn't Wyatt tell you?"

He shook his head in reply. "Didn't even...say your powers...other than spells..."

"He doesn't even know all my powers," she muttered. A crash sounded nearby, and she clenched her jaw, looking tense. "Why'd you join him?"

"No...choice," he gasped. "Kill...whole clan...if don't.."

She sighed, a bitter twist to her mouth. "Yeah, that sounds about right," she muttered. Another clang made her nod, and he saw her make her decision.

"Are you...an angel?" he mumbled. He was definitely dying. Angels as beautiful as her didn't look at murdering demon-powered witches like him. This was some sort of hallucination.

Athena scoffed and grabbed hold of him. "This is gonna hurt," she warned. "And no, I'm not an angel. I'm only half." she glanced down, winking at him. "I'm Annette Halliwell, nice to meet you Phoenix."

"Niko," he croaked back. Annette Halliwell. At least he was killed by a superior foe. That was something. Hah, Wyatt's own (supposedly dead in the Fall of Magic School) sister was leading the resistance against him. That seemed ridiculously funny for some reason. Then the world went blue and white and Niko screamed at the sudden pain in his stomach as he orbed away.


San Francisco Arboretum:  November 7 th , 2003

Niko swallowed, hurt pounding at him as he remembered that day. The most important day of his life. The day Anna had shown him mercy, and saved his life. And now, years later in the past, he was trying to bring her back to deliver her to her worst enemy. Wyatt had sworn he wouldn't hurt her, but Niko knew it was a lie. He had held out for months, but the torture, and threats of sending other assassins back, ones who wouldn't have any inclination to spare Anna, had broken him. At least this way they had a chance of surviving.

His thoughts drifted to the blonde man who had appeared with Anna's mother. He looked terrifyingly like Wyatt, but so different at the same time. It was the softness, Niko decided.

He hadn't met anyone so gentle seeming in a long time. People weren't soft in his time. In his time, children didn't play or cry outside their homes, like he could see them doing here. Even toddlers knew better than to draw attention to themselves, if their parents let them outside the house in the first place.

People didn't smile or laugh, not genuinely anyway. No one stopped for casual chats, or even left their houses if they could avoid it. And no one ever called out "Anna!" in that tone of voice, full of concern and love and protectiveness. Not even Niko dared to imply that the person everyone Good was pinning their hopes on could be vulnerable by doing so where people could hear.

It couldn't be Wyatt. Wyatt would never rush to Anna's side to heal her. He was usually the reason that she needed healing in the first place. And the hair was too short, the eyes too soft, the clothes not black.

Maybe it was Leo? Niko had never met the asshole of an Elder, nor had he seen a picture of the man, but supposedly Wyatt inherited his father's looks. But instinct told Niko that was still wrong. Instinct insisted that Wyatt had been the one at the house, instinct said something strange was going on. Instinct urged him to talk to Anna.


Halliwell Condo:  November 7 th , 2003

Anna glared back at her brother, who was pacing the floor of their apartment furiously. It took a ridiculous amount of effort to do so, like the time she had appendicitis when she was six. Something was definitely wrong with her.

"What the hell is going on Anna?" He demanded. "I know it was Niko who attacked you in the attic. No wonder Mom and Dad always hated him so much, he's gone back in time and is trying to kill you!"

"Says the reason I die at twenty-three," she shot back, going right for jugular as she'd been taught to do in a fight. He froze, looking as if he had just been slapped, and she softened the tiniest amount. Not that Anna's version of softened and everyone else's (from this timeline/Wyatt's timeline) were remotely alike. But she was becoming more 'non-war veteran' over time.

"Look, it was a Phoenix who attacked me, and they looked like Niko," she admitted. Lying was a delicate art, and one she had mastered over the years. Her renegade fiancé trying to kill her was her problem, no one else's. No way was she telling anyone about it.

"It caught me off-guard," she continued, reluctant to acknowledge her slip-up but never one to ignore her screw ups. "But it wasn't him, okay? I swear, it must be some look-a-like cousin from this time, that's the only logical explanation. We haven't exactly been making friends in this time, you know. Oddly enough, the Underworld doesn't seem to be fond of the Charmed Ones' Whitelighters getting them to actively go demon hunting."

Wyatt hesitated, studying Anna's face to see if she was telling the truth or not. If it was Annie that he was talking to, he would be fine. He could read her like a book through their bond. But Anna was different, she had years of experience keeping her emotions out of her expressions and she still hadn't opened their bond more than a fraction. Only enough to communicate when necessary. Otherwise, she was locked up tighter than Fort Knox.

But she looked genuine right now, so he reluctantly nodded.

"Well, if it's not Niko, then the Phoenixes are still gunning for either you, us, or us and the sisters. Either way, we need to figure out how to get them to back off."

"Thank you, Captain Obvious," she snarked. No one would ever doubt her relation to Paige if they weren't under a spell to do so. "Why don't you go and speak to the sisters and Cole about that, I need to lie down."

"You're admitting you need to rest?" Wyatt asked, tracking her as she headed for the door to her bedroom. "Now I know that something's seriously wrong."

"Turns out assassins trying to suck out your powers is tiring, who knew right?" she retorted without missing a beat before orbing away.

Wyatt bit his lip hard enough to make it bleed, before nodding to himself. He orbed away, rematerializing in Phoebe and Cole's condo. Phoebe, he knew from sensing, was asleep, but Cole was wide awake and he looked up at his arrival.

"I know who attacked Anna," he admitted. "I really need your help with this. I don't know what to do."


San Francisco Arboretum:  November 7 th , 2003

At the same time as Wyatt was going to Cole for help, Anna was also sneaking out. She gathered up all the scraps of energy she could manage (most of it provided by a potion used by the Resistance) and orbed to where she knew he would be.

She barely made it, and almost fell onto the bench.

"You really shouldn't try to orb anymore, you know," Niko said casually, stepping out from behind a pillar. "It could kill you."

Chapter Text

Disclaimer: I don't own Charmed.

Chapter Twenty-Three

White: Physical Goals

San Francisco Arboretum:  November 7th, 2003

"Is that what you want?" Anna asked, staring back at him with a blank expression to hide the agony she felt. The betrayal hurt far worse than the physical pain she could feel coursing through her body.

Niko snorted, stepping nearer to her and crossing his arms. To mortals, hands raised were a sign of harmlessness and surrender. To a witch, arms unable to move was safer. Anna didn't relax though, knowing from experience how deadly he was, and knowing she wouldn't win a fight with an alley cat in her current condition.

"If that's I wanted, you'd already be dead," Niko announced cockily. Anna raised an eyebrow at his declaration, inclining her head slightly.

"You caught me off-guard," she admitted. "It won't happen again."

"I don't need to catch you off-guard," Niko lied.

Anna snorted. They both knew that in a proper fight, at full health, Anna would win, hands down. She was more powerful, had training from multiple different experts in various fighting styles, and she never fought fairly. Niko had learned the hard way that beating her in a proper fight was out of the question.

She tensed as he dropped his arms to his sides, crouching beside the bench. A mockery of the day he'd proposed. She felt her engagement ring burn against her chest.

"How'd you know where to find me?" she asked softly, glancing away despite knowing how foolish it was to look away from an enemy. Part of her still couldn't accept that he was an enemy.

He shrugged, studying her intently with his whiskey-coloured eyes. "Same reason that you knew I'd be waiting for you here," he answered. "This is still our spot, isn't it?"

She gave a bitter laugh, meeting his gaze for half-a-second before looking at his hands, resting on the bench and ground respectively, instead.

"No," she replied curtly, any hint of her pain hidden beneath her stony-tone. "This is what we hoped it would be. This is what we were trying to preserve for our future. Do you remember?" 'Did any of it matter to you at all?' she added mentally.

Niko clenched his jaw, a flicker of regret at the sorrow he saw hidden under her mask of coldness, the mask only he had ever managed to see behind, in his eyes. "We were naive to think we could change anything, to stop him."

"You don't believe that," she half-begged, half-stated. She looked away again when she couldn't see any doubt in his eyes. "Or at least you didn't."

"Well, I do now," he answered her harshly.

"What happened to you, Niko?" she asked. "How did he turn you back?"

Niko's expression faltered, confirming Anna's fear that he had been tortured. Considering how tough he was, it had no doubt been beyond comprehension, and probably involving far more mental torture than physical. Pain would never break a Phoenix.

"That's not important," he said smoothly, rising back to his feet. "What is important is that I was interrupted in stripping you of your powers. And if I don't finish what I started, you'll die soon. Think of it as an infection, and I'm the only one with the antidote." He gave a sly, almost cruel smile. Anna couldn't see any of the man she loved in the man in front of her.

"Here or there, I'm dead anyway," she stated flatly.

"He promised he wouldn't hurt you," Niko declared, a hint of a plea hidden in his voice.

"And you believed him?" Anna scoffed. Niko swallowed and paced in a tight circle.

"Who was that guy?" He demanded suddenly. Anna widened her eyes in an overly-innocent way.

"Guy?" she repeated, cocking her head with a smirk that she knew drove him crazy in multiple ways. "What guy?"

He glared at her in frustration. "You know damn well what guy!" he spat.

"What?" she cooed at him teasingly. "Afraid I replaced you with someone less," she paused to scan her eyes over him with a vicious smirk. "Demonic?"

He inhaled sharply while her own expression grew smug. Niko's 'demon-flavoured' heritage was a sore spot for him. That she, the only person who had always defended him to the Resistance members who wanted to kill him for his heritage, would use it against him... It showed how far they'd come from the two soldiers who had dared to fall in love with each other in the middle of a never-ending parade of battle.

"Who?" he repeated stubbornly.

She stood and crossed her arms, the blood draining from her face at the same time. "Who did it look like?"

"Impossible," he insisted. "What the hell is going on?"

"Apparently, we weren't such fools, after all," she drawled, eyes glinting bitterly. "In fact, I did save Wyatt, just got killed in the attempt. Fast-forward twenty-three years and my counterpart gets those same wounds. So, non-Source Wyatt comes back to save me."

She leaned in, close enough that her breath ghosted across his lips. "Don't worry, Firebird," her voice had a note of fake-care in it. "I could never replace you."

With that, she orbed away. Niko's hands shot out too late to grab her, and he nearly overbalanced when he went through her, cursing. He hit the bench with the sides of his fists, Anna's words running through his mind. Knowing Anna, she could very possibly have come up with a lie to confuse him, so his first course of action was to see if she was lying or not. If she wasn't. Well if she wasn't, then his whole plan required an intensive review.


The Manor: November 7th, 2003

"So," Piper's stern look had Wyatt shifting anxiously.

He hadn't been a bad child, so to speak, but he had frequently had magic-related accidents as a child, and Piper was now giving him the same look she had given him whenever he did something he wasn't supposed to do. He really wished that Cole hadn't dragged him here when Phoebe had called to alert them that they'd discovered the assassin was from the future.

"What you're saying is," Piper continued. "That Anna's fiancé is the one trying to kill her?"

He nodded, eyes fixed on his clasped hands as he flashed back to when he had explained the couch being burned to his mother when he was twelve. "Yeah," he mumbled. "But, uh, I don't think he's trying to outright kill her per se. Just, bring her back to-ugh, gah!" He grasped his throat as it suddenly seemed to close over, preventing him continuing with his sentence.

"Will, are you alright?" Cole pounded his back.

"Sp, spell," he choked out. "To stop from revealing the future."

"Wh-" Paige began, but she was interrupted by a thud as Anna orbed into the hallway, falling unconscious on the floor as she materialized. They rushed over, calling her name while Cole hastily scooped her up and carried her over to the couch. Will knelt beside her and ripped open the blue button up blouse that she had changed into before going to meet Niko. He froze when he did so.

"Oh my god, what is that?" Phoebe cried, covering her mouth in horror at the sight of the gruesome circular wound in the centre of Anna's chest.

"I don't know," Leo replied, bent over her with his doctor's expression on his face.

"It doesn't matter," Piper dismissed it. "One of you guys just heal her."

Seeing that Will was still frozen, Leo leaned over and started to heal the unconscious young woman.

"Why didn't she tell us about that?" Paige wondered. She frowned at Will. "I take it that you didn't know about it either."

"No," he answered, voice cracking.

"What's the problem?" Piper finally burst out at her ex. "Why isn't it healing?" She hated that she was wondering if he was letting his dislike of the Whitelighter get in the way of helping Anna.

Leo shrugged, brow crinkled in concern and confusion. "She's not healing. Something's draining her powers and blocking mine. It's like a virus."

"A virus named Niko," Piper scoffed, placing a hand on one of her hips.

"You think he did this?"

"It's gotta be," Piper nodded.

"That goddessdamned sonovabitch," Will snarled suddenly. "I knew she was being stupid by trusting him! I'll kill that bastard for doing this to her!"

"Calm down, honey," Paige flapped her hands at him in a calming motion. "We get why you're upset, but we need to find out why he would come back from the future just to kill or attack his fiancé."

"Well, somebody had to have sent him, he's a hired gun." They all noticed the slight flinch Will gave at her words, but knew that he couldn't say anything. Though once this particular crisis was over, Piper fully intended to get answers about this spell that kept Will from revealing any future information, and whether or not Anna was also under it.

"Well, we have to find her to save him," Phoebe declared. She flinched, sensing Anna's strong hurt and the betrayal that she felt from Niko. "Oh, honey," she murmured, eyes shimmering as she stroked Anna's hair. "She's so betrayed," she told her family. Piper sighed, before she and Paige headed for the kitchen after saying that they would make a potion to use against Niko if needed.

Anna moved restlessly in her sleep as they hurried to the next room. "Niko," she groaned. "Niko."


Halliwell Manor Memorial: December 16th, 2027

They were tense for the whole walk from the park through the pristine streets that hid the horrors of Wyatt's world, until they arrived at the Halliwell Memorial Museum. Anna hid her fury at the desecration of her family home behind a mask of excitement as she clung to Niko's hand and they joined the crowd waiting to enter.

"Alright everyone!" A dark-haired woman in a crisp blue suit called. "The guards will just check your IDs, then we can go inside."

Anna let just the correct amount of fear leak into her expression, avoiding the demon's gaze submissively as he checked her ID. She let her shoulders slump when he grunted and moved along to the next person in line, who copied her mannerisms exactly.

Everyone knew the exact amount of obedience you needed to show to satisfy the 'Peacekeepers' (Anna always hated the Hunger Games. Wyatt had probably chosen the name to spite her.) without annoying them. And if she didn't show any fear or nervousness, it would only make herself seem suspicious. And she really was relieved that her fake ID and her simple, mortal, disguise had passed muster.

She accepted her backpack back, thankful that the obviously bored warlock hadn't noticed the fake bottom, and slung it over her shoulder. She and Niko clasped hands, his thumb rubbing over her ring, and headed over to join the tour group waiting outside the entrance tent.

It took everything in her not to attack the guard who forced them to stop so he could feel her up under the guise of performing a random search. Unfortunately, in this day and age, demons going so far as to rape young girls in broad daylight in the middle of the street while their parents watched helplessly, happened often enough to be called a daily event.

She stayed silent and cooperative, eyes locked with her fiancé as the demon squeezed her breast roughly. Niko's jaw clenched, and he pulled her closed when the demon let her go with a slap to the butt.

"Are you ok?" he whispered into her hair, pressing his lips to the top of her head. She gave a sharp nod, reminded herself of the importance of not drawing any attention, and pulled him over to the group.

"Everyone, please follow me," the mortal tour guide called peppily, wearing a fake smile as she eyed the cold-faced demons standing either side of the Manor entrance. "We'll start in the Manor foyer, the entrance hall."

The group obediently followed her into the hallway. Anna bit back her anger as she saw old costumes, costumes her mother and aunts always hated to wear, set up behind red-velvet ropes. Wyatt had turned their family's ancestral home into a joke and a tourist trap.

"Welcome to the Halliwell memorial museum," the guide began when they were gathered around her at the living room entrance. Anna and Niko stood at the back of the group where they could stay unnoticed.

"A tribute to magic and of course, the Charmed Ones. Please remember there is no digi-capturing, no holographing and most certainly no magic allowed while inside the museum. That's a big one."

She gave a fake laugh as a pair of probes flew into the room and began to scan everyone's faces. "Don't worry about those probes, folks, they're merely scanning for witches. Now, as we pass through the foyer, note the family portraits hanging on the walls."

The group continued to walk through the house, with the two rebels at the back. The probes flew up and began scanning them, but Anna reached up, as if to tuck a lose piece of hair out of the way, and discreetly flicked her fingers in their direction. The probes turned away and flew over to the corner to scan a pair of mannequins instead.

"Nicely done," Niko whispered to her, squeezing her arm lightly.

"Around here you'll notice just a few of the many mythological creatures the legendary sisters transformed into in their demon fighting hey-day," the guide said, waving at the mannequins. "Actually, the Charmed Ones were responsible for well over a thousand demon vanquishes before they were finally vanquished themselves. Now, the time is twenty-five years ago. Imagine yourselves standing here on this floor when the Charmed Ones were reborn."

A holograph appeared in the centre of the room of Piper, Phoebe and Paige. Piper and Paige touched, and a bright light shone down from the chandelier.

Holographic-Paige looked terrified. "Okay, what was that?"

"I think that means you're supposed to be here," Holographic-Leo told her seriously.

A second later, Shax burst through the door and knocked the girls down. The watching crowd gasped and screamed in surprise as the tour guide turned off the holograph with a small chuckle.

"Scares them every time," she commented cheerfully. "Okay, let's head over to the kitchen where many of the sisters' classic potions were brewed. Some of which are available from purchase in the gift shop on the way out."

They all moved into the kitchen, Anna and Niko standing by the table, exchanging quick looks.

"Of course, the attic was the preferred spot for potion making," she continued. "Principally because that's where they kept the famed Book of Shadows. Which is where we're headed next. A little background on the manor itself, it was actually..."

Everyone leaves the kitchen except for Anna and Niko, who waited tensely, facing the table. A guard shimmered in.

"Hey, you two," he barked roughly. "Move along."

"Wait for it," Niko breathed as the guard moved closer to them and a dagger materialized in his hand.

"Are you deaf?" the guard snarled. "I said..." He was cut off by Niko stabbing him in the stomach and vanquishing him. The two walked over to the basement door, indifferent to the vanquish that had just taken place.

They hurried down the steps, Niko checking the room was empty before letting his knife disappear while Anna sat down on the steps.

"What's wrong, Angel?" He asked her, seeing the distress she was showing openly for once.

"This was my home," she muttered. "And he's made it into a fucking laughing stock."

"Hey," Niko crouched beside her, lifting her chin with two fingers. "That's not gonna happen," he reminded her. "None of this is ever gonna happen, once you've saved him." 

She nodded, shoulders straightening before meeting his gaze with a seductive smile. "So," she murmured slyly, leaning in. "What now?"

He grinned at her. "Now, we say goodbye." He tugged his red button-up shirt off and let it fall to the floor in a heap, joined by the rest of his and her clothes a few moments later.

Chapter Text

Disclaimer: I don't own Charmed. An extra-long chapter, to wind up Chris-Crossed! With an unexpected twist at the end!

Chapter Twenty-Four

Silver: Healing

The Manor: November 7 th , 2003

It was a mark of how foolish the people of this time were, that Niko was able to enter the Manor so easily. The wards they had were pathetically easy for him to slip through and a whispered spell let him sneak down to eavesdrop on the Halliwells. Of them all, only Anna's Uncle Cole seemed to notice that anything was amiss, and even he didn't realize that the threat they were discussing was standing behind them invisibly.

Niko felt his throat close over when he spotted Anna, her face flushed in fever while she tossed and turned on the couch. The strange Good Wyatt, hovered anxiously beside her, while another man who had to be Anna's despised father, Leo, sat beside her, bathing her forehead with a damp cloth. He could hear the Charmed Ones whispering to each other in the kitchen.

"-on't understand why she's like this," 'Wyatt' was saying to his uncle when Niko carefully entered the room. "It didn't say anything about this in the Book!"

"I think it's because he didn't finish taking her powers," Cole explained heavily. "He left traces of his magic in her, and it's trying to drain the rest of her magic. But she's fighting back, and it's killing her."

Yes, Niko acknowledged his words. It was killing her. The whole reason that he had done this was for, so Anna dying was not an option. He needed to take her, and finish taking her powers. Then they would return home, and hopefully not be killed by the enraged Source.

He frowned for a moment, trying to think of a way to deal with the large group of powerful opponents. As long as he could get the witches out of the picture for a few moments, he could easily overpower Leo, grab his fiancée and get them both somewhere warded against scrying so he could finish taking her powers and bring her home.

A plan formed as the Charmed Ones entered, Piper holding a vial and saying they would use it to threaten him, and he opened his mouth. Thankfully, the spell to keep him hidden from them stopped them from realizing that he was there and casting a spell.

"Spirits of the night, hear my call," he chanted the familiar spell, yet another of Anna's many inventions. Of course, his spells weren't as strong as hers were so he had to put all of his strength into it. "Make my enemies' lashes, heavy fall. Put them safely to sleep, so that they will fall into dreams so deep."

A yawn broke through Phoebe's half-spoken sentence, and he watched smugly as the group all began to succumb to their sudden exhaustion, ignoring the tiredness he too felt.

"Sp, spell...," Cole choked out before his eyes lost the battle and flapped closed. The sisters were resisting, but he could tell that they were too tired to do anything. Leo was snoring into the couch while Wyatt was shaking his head in an attempt to fight off the effects of the spell that were pulling at him.

Finally, Niko saw that they were as weak as he was going to get them, given his own average magical ability compared to the Halliwells' legendary, and he began shuffling quietly towards the bed.

He paused as he passed by the Other Wyatt. On instinct, he pulled a potion from one of his pockets and poured down the Twice-Blessed's throat. Now, Wyatt would be kept asleep for longer than the rest, if Niko was lucky.

He turned to the sofa and softly, he scooped Anna up, her family too lost in their dozing to notice or stop him, and shimmered away.


The Manor: November 7 th , 2003

They waited until nine, an hour after the curfew bell had rung, to leave the basement. Luck was on their side for once, and they only encountered one guard on the way to the attic, who they dealt with easily and quietly.

"What should I tell them?" Anna wondered softly as Niko pushed open the attic door. She had come up to this room countless times before, but this was the first time it felt as if she was an intruder.

"Don't tell them anything," Niko instructed her patiently, ignoring the fact they had gone over this a thousand times already. "Just stick to your cover story. The less they know about the future, the better."

"But what if they find out who I really am?" Anna worried. "I don't think I can handle that." If they tried to be the family she remembered... No, Anna was self-aware enough to know she wasn't a particularly stable person, mentally. She would probably loose what little remnants of sanity she had left if Piper tried to be her mother.

"They won't," Niko cupped her face and spoke reassuringly. "Not as long as you can pass yourself off as their Whitelighter. Look, just remember, protect baby Wyatt and you protect the Charmed Ones. Keep them alive for our future."

Anna let out a bitter laugh, thinking of how trouble had always seemed to follow the Warren line. They were hard to deal with for a  good  Whitelighter, and Anna was the most pathetic excuse for a Whitelighter there was.

"Great," she scoffed sarcastically as she pulled away to pace in a tight circle. "No pressure there."

Niko followed her with a concerned face. "Anna," he said seriously. "You know you're the only one who can do this. You're the only one who can save us."

He was repeating words she had been hearing for years. Anna was the Last Halliwell, the Last Hope. She wished, goddess, Anna wasn't even sure what it was that she wanted.

"If I make it back."

Niko gave a cheeky smile, pulling the hand wearing her new engagement ring up so that she could see it. "Baby, you have to make it back," he insisted. "If you wanna marry me."

She smiled, leaning in so that they could exchange a deep kiss.

She swallowed, smoothing her clothes when they had pulled away from each other. "You really know how to motivate a girl, you know that?"

They smirked at each other and walked over to the holographic Book of Shadows. Now, their roles seemed to have reversed, and Niko was the anxious one.

"You sure you can summon the real book?" he asked her, trying to hide his worry.

She nodded tensely, jaw clenched. "Yeah."

"Away from him?" He pressed. She nodded again.

"Yeah," she repeated. "But we won't have much time once it gets here. His demons will be all over us."

Niko shrugged the warning off. "I won't need much time. Just long enough to send you back to them."

He strode confidently over to a wall and started drawing on it with chalk.

He stepped away when it was done, a drawn expression on his face as he announced, "It's time."

"I don't wanna go," Anna gasped, despair threatening to overwhelm her. She had lost so much already, and now she was about to lose what little she had left. "I don't wanna leave you."

Niko hurried over to her. He pressed one hand to her cheek in a tender action that they would never have done if anyone could see, and lifted her hand so that she could see her ring again.

"Hey, look at it, Angel. This will remind you of why we're doing this, what's waiting for you here."

They hugged, a bit of desperation leaking into it as they squeezed each other tightly.

"Just make sure you take care of the guards, okay?" She urged, despite knowing that he knew all of this already. "Then get out of here. Because if he finds you, if he knows you betrayed him, he'll kill you."

Niko gave her a confident smile as he replied. "Don't worry," he told her. "I can take care of myself."

They linked hands and walked over to the hologram of the Book of Shadows, where Anna let go to pull a piece of paper out of her pocket. She had memorized it, and taken it with her, not wanting to risk a single mistake. After casting one last nervous look at her fiancé, she read the chant in a steady voice that hid her terror and anticipation.

"I call upon the ancient power, to help us in this darkest hour, let the book return to this place, claim refuge in its rightful space. It worked!" she cried at the sight of the Book of Shadows appearing on its' old stand.

Niko held up his knife and fell into a fighting stance, preparing for the coming attack. "The spell, find the spell!" he urged her, glancing around.

Anna flipped frantically through the book until she finally found the spell she needed. Who among her ancestors had written it and why was a mystery to her, but she hoped they had done it right.

"Hear these words, hear the rhyme, heed the hope within my mind, send me back to where I'll find, what I wish in place and time."

A portal opened where Niko had drawn the triquetra. A second later, a uniformed demon shimmered in behind Niko and grabbed him.

"Niko!" Anna cried, starting towards him. Normally, he would've been fine and she knew it. But she could sense the horde of enemies rushing toward them, and Niko wouldn't be able to fight them off by himself.

He flipped the demon over his shoulder and jabbed at him with his knife, pausing long enough to yell at her. "Go! Go!"

Anna hesitated for half-a-second later longer, before turning and forcing herself to walk into the portal. The last thing she heard as she was engulfed by a tunnel of white was the sound of her fiancé fighting for his life.


Lynn and Niko's Apartment: November 7 th , 2003

Anna groaned as Niko withdrew his hand from her chest.

"Just let me finish what I started," he murmured to her. "You'll feel better soon, I promise. That's it. Easy does it. Slow breaths."

He hid his nerves at the barely contained fury in Anna's face as she sat up, shoving him away from her in the process. "What'd you do to me?"

"I just saved your life," Niko snapped back. Unfortunately, the both of them had bad tempers, and were more inclined to attack than to defend. There was a heavy risk of damage to his mother's apartment. Just because Anna no longer had her active powers, didn't mean she wasn't still a threat.

"By taking away my powers?" Anna retorted incredulously.

Niko ignored her, walking over to a wall and pulling off a picture frame. He stayed silent as he started drawing on the wall with chalk.

"How are you gonna bring me back, anyway?" Anna huffed, crossing her arms as she felt subtly for the knife she kept on her arm. Unsurprisingly, he had taken it. And from the lack of weight against her ankles and lower-back, her other weapons too. "That spell's a one-way door. It only goes backwards in time." She herself had figured that she was going on a suicide mission anyway, so having a way to return was unnecessary.

"He created a new spell because of you," Niko replied curtly. "One that works both ways."

"I'm touched," Anna sneered mockingly.

"You should be," Niko snapped. "He's gone to a lot of trouble to get you back."

"Yeah, I see that."

"You know, you don't have to believe me, Anna, but this really is for the best."

"Oh, really?" Anna raised an eyebrow at him. "How's that?"

"Because this is your only chance to live," Niko snapped.

He felt his conviction, which had been wavering since learning about the Other Wyatt, steel. He remembered the cold promise in Lord Wyatt's eyes when he warned about what would happen if Niko didn't return Anna to him. Whether Other Wyatt was here to help Anna or not, their future still existed, and Anna was his everything. He would protect her, even if it made her hate him with every fibre of her being.

"If I fail, he'll just keep sending more assassins back and all they'll have to bring home is a body."

Anna's eyes glinted with the same cold look as her brother's had as she replied. "Doesn't matter. There's nothing left in the future anymore, anyway."

She slammed the engagement ring on the table. The sound had an echo of finality to it as she leaned back and crossed her arms. Niko stared at it for a moment, his jaw clenching and his heart breaking, before turning back to the wall and the half-drawn triquetra on it.


Back at the Manor, the family had all, save Will, woken from their enchanted slumbers.

"It was Niko," Cole declared grimly. "He used a spell to put us to sleep and took Anna."

"Damn it," Piper groaned, raking a hand through her hair. She paused, frowning at the still-unconscious form of her eldest Whitelighter. "Why isn't Will awake yet?"

"Maybe it was stronger on him," Cole suggested. Truthfully, he suspected that Niko had probably cast an extra spell onto his nephew, in deference to the fact that he was even more powerful than the sisters were.

"Well, we can sort that out later," Paige sighed. "We need to prioritise, and Anna is the one who's life is in danger."

"What I don't understand," Leo huffed. "Is why did someone from the future send Niko after Anna, and not Will as well? What was the point of that?"

The sisters exchanged looks, shrugging.

"Doesn't matter," Cole insisted. "Anna's in danger, we need to save her. Quickly."

"Cole's right," Phoebe agreed. "We need to hurry, we don't know how long it'll take for them to be ready to return to the future, and if they get there, Anna's screwed."


"You really expect me to jump into this thing like before?" Anna stood and gestured at the now-finished triquetra drawing.

"Not without a fight, no," her now ex-fiancé replied icily.

"How can you be so cold?" Anna blurted out, her hurt finally slipping past her rigidly-maintained mask of indifference. "How can you just stand there and pretend like we never meant anything to each other?"

"I don't have a choice." Guilt flashed over Niko's face as he glanced away.

Anna seized on his momentary weakness to press her case. "Niko, please don't do this. Don't give up on everything that we fought for," she implored. "The Wyatt here is proof that I can do this!"

"And that you'll die in the process," he replied, voice raw. His shoulders straightened as he fixed himself on his course. "I'm not giving up, Anna," he told her. "I'm just hoping we can find another way."

They both knew it was the same thing. It had taken years of fighting and planning to get them to this point. Going back was the same as giving up.

"Ready?" Niko asked.

Anna tensed, hand twitching toward a shard of glass on the table as she calculated whether or not she could grab it and stab her fiancé before he stopped her. The odds were not in her favour, not the least because she knew from experience that she didn't have it in her to kill someone she loved, upper hand or not.

At that moment, the Charmed Ones orbed in.

"Hey, future guy!" Piper called as she threw a potion towards the assassin.

But despite how good the Charmed Ones were, Niko was better.

He countered her attack by throwing a dagger that smashed the bottle in mid-air while he shimmered out. Piper flung up her hands just in time to freeze the dagger, but Niko shimmered back in beside her, grabbed the dagger and held it against her throat. The room froze in a standstill. Anna was the only one reasonably confident that Piper's life was not actually in danger, but that didn't mean Niko wouldn't use other methods to take her out of the equation.

"You were saying?" Niko gave a cool smirk, while the sisters were blatantly stunned by his quick movements. They had no idea that a Resistance or Imperial soldier from the 2020's would consider it a weak attack. Mainly because he couldn't actually kill Piper if he wanted Anna to exist, so he had to be careful not to do anything lethal.

"Wow, he is good," Phoebe muttered, looking impressed. Ignoring her sister, Paige started to move towards Piper, who was standing rigidly still.

Niko pulled the athame closer to Piper's neck. "Uh-uh," he warned. "I can kill her in half the time it takes you to even think about it."

"Yeah, well we still have enough potion to vanquish you," Paige blustered.

"Maybe," Niko acknowledged, wondering if they thought he actually feared dying. Dying was easy, living was the hard thing. "But then you really will have to hope the power of two will do. Won't you, Paige? Now put the vials down slowly."

Anna, realizing that while she was fairly certain that Niko wouldn't kill Piper, it didn't mean her aunts had the same protection, spoke up. "Niko, don't," she ordered. "Let her go and I promise I'll go with you."

"Anna, what are you doing?" Paige hissed at her youngest Whitelighter, who ignored her.

Anna kept her gaze fixed on Niko. "If you kill her, there won't be a future for either one of us to go back to and you know it."

"What are you talking about?" Phoebe asked, frowning deeply at the vague comment.

"You'll see if you live long enough," Niko answered darkly. He released Piper and joined Anna, the two of them beginning to head for the portal.

"Piper, freeze them!" Paige cried, wide-eyed at the turn of events.

Piper made to freeze the two, but they continued moving. She faltered in confusion.

"Uh, okay, I get why he didn't freeze but why didn't she freeze?" she wondered.

Phoebe shook her head in confusion. "I don't- Unless she's a..."

"I'm a witch too," Anna confirmed quietly. "That's right, Will and I both are. Part witch, part Whitelighter. Just like you, Paige."

"You lied to us?" she demanded, a surge of betrayal storming through her, though she knew that it would disappear quickly.

"I had to," Anna insisted. Niko had an irritated expression as he watched the family drama, conscious of the Emperor's time-limit. "It was the only way I could get you to trust me."

"Trust you?" Phoebe spat, momentarily too angry to be her usual kind self. She felt a surge of guilt at the hurt look that briefly flashed over Anna's face before it went blank.

"Never mind," Anna shrugged indifferently. "It doesn't matter anyway."

"So that's it?" Piper demanded, furious that her Whitelighter, her friend if Anna would dare to acknowledge it, wasn't bothering to fight. "You're just gonna leave? What about your brother?"

"I don't have a choice," Anna bit back furiously. "He stripped my powers." She gave them a meaningful look as she finished. "Looks like Leo's gonna have to fix that floorboard without me. Let's go."

Niko waved his arm and a portal sprang to life. A feeling of dark foreboding rose in Phoebe as they watched their Whitelighter square her shoulders and march into the swirling white light. It seemed as if she were a prisoner walking to a guillotine.

The two stepped out into the dark, museum parody of the attic, greeted by a dozen demons. The two soldiers stared coldly at the uniformed demons, Niko rubbing his thumb over the hilt of his blade.

"Welcome home, Anna," a voice, filled with menace, came from behind the demons. Niko tensed up, swallowing convulsively at the sound.

The demons parted to reveal a man standing in the dark. He moved into light, reminding everyone in the room of a predator hunting down its' prey.

Ignoring the dangerous position that she was in, Anna glared back at her elder brother. "Hello, Wyatt."


"Okay, how were you and Anna planning on getting back to the future, then?" Paige asked Will, who had been woken by Cole while they were confronting Niko and Anna.

Will was obviously frantic with fear for his sister, but any attempt to tell them who she was facing had resulted in him choking violently on the words. They were trying a new tactic, tried and true. Figure out how to get to the future, and then 'run in without any plan and hope for the best', as Anna had sarcastically labelled it.

"There's a potion," he explained anxiously. "But I don't know the recipe, and it would take too long to make anyway, we need something else. The Power of Three would work, wouldn't it?"

"Not without help from the Elders," Leo shook his head. "And we don't have a date, either."

"I'm surprised you're not saying we should let her be murdered!" Will spat, anger and fear removing his ability to hold his tongue, which was tenuous in the best of times.

Leo took a deep breath before replying. "Despite all your secrets, I still believe that you came back to protect Wyatt and that is enough for me to want to save her."

"The question is, how?" Cole asked, before anything else could be said.

Leo began pacing and stepped on the squeaky floorboard.

Piper's eyes widened in realisation. "Leo."

"What?" he asked.

"Fix the floorboard," Phoebe quoted, confusing the men.

"What does-?" Will began, before Paige cut him off.

"Maybe she was trying to tell us something," Paige suggested, leaning in.

"Who, what?" Leo repeated.

"Maybe," Piper agreed, ignoring her ex. "Maybe that's where Niko was taking her. To the attic in the future."

Will's eyes lit up. "That makes sense," he informed them. "The-argh. It makes sense."

"But that would still be loose in the future, wouldn't it?" Cole stroked his jaw thoughtfully, picking up on the sisters' forming plan.

"Yeah, unless we fixed it," Paige nodded.

"Or used it to send her something, something that she needed," Piper continued.

"Like what?" Phoebe asked.

Paige gave a triumphant smile. "Her powers."


The Manor: November 7th, 2026

Wyatt walked towards them and glanced at Niko. The assassin gave subtle nod, and Wyatt waved indifferently at the guards.

"They're no threat to me," he said. The demons accepted the unspoken command and shimmered out.

Wyatt turned on his heel, the vulnerable position of his back a glaring signal that he thought his sister too weak to fight him. Anna felt the familiar feelings of bitterness surge at the knowledge that he was right. This Wyatt was much more familiar than the one she had spent the last few months living with. Damn him.

"Et tu, Anna?" Wyatt drawled, rubbing his thumb and index finger together. "Of all the people to betray me."

"I'm not the traitor here, Wyatt," she spat. "If anything, you betrayed me."

He scoffed, turning to face her. "How did I betray you, Little Sister?" He asked mockingly. On anyone else, his expression might have seemed amused. Anna knew better, though.

"You turned evil," she answered fearlessly, ignoring the worry she could sense radiating so strongly from Niko it broke through his shields. "Turned against everything that our family stood for, for four centuries!"

Wyatt rolled his eyes, and Anna knew what was coming. "That's always been your problem, Anna," he sighed. "Stuck in the old good versus evil morass. I'm so past that. It's all about power, it's as simple as that."

"And whoever has the most power wins, is that it?" She challenged, wondering how, even with the whole kidnapping thing, Wyatt could have turned out so differently after two similar childhoods.

He nodded sharply. "That's it. That's why I keep this museum intact. To remind everyone the power from which I was born and that which I possess."

Anna felt her temper fray dangerously at the reminder of how he had desecrated their family home and she stalked forward furiously. "Too bad the rest of the city isn't faring as well as your little shrine here!" she spat, thinking of the homeless, the terrified inhabitants and the damage from various battles that filled Wyatt's supposed utopia.

He rolled his eyes and changed the subject. "You know if anyone else tried what you tried, I'd kill them on the spot. But you... I've forgiven Niko, I can forgive you too. If you promise never cross me again."

Anna lifted her chin defiantly and met his eyes determinedly. "I think you know me better than that."

Wyatt's expression darkened and he turned on Niko, standing silently in the background. "I thought you said you could talk some sense into her!"

"Leave him out of this!" Anna cried, fear rising for her lover and hoping that she could attract the Source's attention.

Wyatt raised his arm and Anna started to choke as he cut off her breath telekinetically.

"Pardon me?" he said, malice lining his voice, before he flicked his hand and sent her flying across the room into a table, the impact breaking several of her ribs.

Niko ran forward. "You promised you wouldn't hurt her!" he yelled.

Wyatt sneered at him. "You promised you'd turn her. It's like I turned you, or at least I thought I had."

Niko cast the Source a bitter glare before he ran over to kneel next to Anna, who was struggling to rise from the floor. The loss of her active powers had weakened her high resistance, so her injuries affected her more than they usually would have.

"Anna, please," he begged softly. "I didn't bring you here to die."

She cast him a cocky grin. "Don't worry, I know what I'm doing." she looked back at their opponent as he stepped on the squeaky floorboard. "I think," she added under her breath.

She rose to her feet and ran towards Wyatt only for the Emperor to grab her and throw her carelessly across the room.

"Have you lost your mind?" Wyatt demanded disbelievingly before levitating his into the air. "I don't need you."

He created an energy ball and raised it while Anna struggled against her invisible bonds, choking. Wearing an anguished look, Niko ran to Wyatt and shoved his arm into his back. Anna dropped to the floor roughly.

"Whatever you're gonna do, do it fast!" Niko yelled, his strain obvious. "I can't hold him for long."

Not bothering to reply, Anna raced over to the squeaky floorboard and pulled it up, splinters entering her fingers as she scrambled to get out the spell.

"Powers of witches rise, come to me across the skies, return my magic, give me back, all those taken from the attack," she chanted, making a blue light wash over her.

Wyatt kicked back, sending Niko through the air to land on a broken table leg.

"No!" Anna shrieked. She sent a blast of lightning at her brother and he went soaring from the force of it, falling unconscious against the wall while she rushed to Nik's side, tears welling in her eyes.

"Niko," she moaned in grief. "No, no, no, no."

"Haven't we been here before?" Niko gasped out weakly, giving her a weak smile. Her returning one was weak and teary.

"Maybe we will be again," she stroked his face in an uncharacteristic display of softness.

"Maybe," Niko agreed weakly.

Anna leaned forward to bury her head in his chest. "No," she moaned.

Niko reached over and handed her something. She sniffled and slipped on the engagement ring.

"Always yes," she whispered to him, eyes sparkling with pain.

"Hurry," he urged her. "Go and take the spell so he can't send anyone else. Go."

Hating herself, Anna stood and ran over to the Book of Shadows while Wyatt got up, a look on his face that usually proceeded a mass-murder.

She hurried to chant the spell, ducking energy balls as she did so. "Hear these words, hear the rhyme, heed the hope within my mind. Send me back to where I'll find, what I wish in place and time."

The portal opened and Anna ran to it. Instinct took over, and she orbed Niko to her arms as she flung herself into the swirling vortex.

She fell out in the 2003 attic, instantly registering its' occupants.

"Heal him!" She shrieked madly at the good Wyatt. "This is all your fault! Heal him or I swear I'll kill you!"

The past people (save Cole) were obviously confused by her words, but Wyatt reluctantly hurried over and stuck his glowing hands over Niko's unconscious form.

"Please," she moaned. "Please not him too. Please."

Chapter Text

Disclaimer: I don't own Charmed. Glad everyone was so excited by the survival of Niko, I was planning it for ages, but I didn't want to hint.

Chapter Twenty-Five

Beltane: May Day

Halliwell Memorial Museum: November 8 th , 2026

Wyatt stood in the remains of the attic, destroyed from the siblings' fight and his subsequent hours' long fit of fury, and glared furiously at the wall where his thrice-damned sister and her treacherous fiancé or lover or whatever he was, had vanished through.

Anyone who dared to be in his presence at that moment would doubtlessly have either fled like the hounds of hell were on their heels, or died at his hand. A thought made his eyes narrow, and he summoned his most trusted lieutenant, Damien, with a twist of his wrist.

The half-manticore shimmered in, going to his knees and bowing his head submissively immediately.

"Write this down," Wyatt ordered coldly. The hybrid grabbed a torn piece of paper from the floor and a pen from his pocket and started scribbling, though Wyatt hadn't bothered to wait for him to be ready before continuing.

"Here my words, here my cry," Wyatt chanted, recalling his sister's frantic spell-casting and the spell he had cast to send the traitor assassin after her. "Heed the hope within my mind. Send me back to where I'll find, what I wish in place and time."

"What I wish in place and time," Damien muttered, finishing his writing and lowering the pen. He kept his face inclined towards the floor as he offered the page to his liege, Wyatt snatching it from the lieutenant without a word.

His hazel eyes were icy as he studied the words on the paper. A smirk curled his lips, making the servant (because Damien had long since realized that being Wyatt's 'most trusted' lieutenant only meant he was the servant most-likely to be in range when the Source lost his temper), shiver in fear.

"My sister," Wyatt informed the half-manticore coolly as he paced in a circle around the kneeling man. "Took the time travel spell written in the Book when she ran away like the coward she is."

He sneered in blatant contempt as he spoke. Like always, Anna had chosen to run away at the first opportunity rather than staying to fight him to the death. Cowardice, and perhaps a bit of buried sentiment. Piper Halliwell had instilled her family's values deeply in her daughter.

Good, not evil. Never use magic for personal gain, only for protecting yourself, innocents and family. Only saving an innocent was more important than family, and never use your powers against those you called family and loved.

It had never quite stuck in Wyatt's mind, but Anna had always been the picture-perfect Warren witch when they were children. His lips twisted in a sneer as he thought. Piper had doted on her daughter, delighted to have a little girl to play dress up and bake with (Anna had been quite a girly-girl as a child, before their mother's death had destroyed her love for such things and made her the Matriarch of the Warren Line at twelve-years-old). Relieved to have a child who was naturally Good, and never put a toe out of line.

No doubt Anna was secretly relieved that their mother hadn't lived to see her son become someone she would consider, or Anna become a hardened soldier as likely to slit her ally's throat as to save their life.

"She was always Mom's favourite," he grumbled resentfully to himself. He had almost forgotten Damien was in the room, and the half-demon wasn't about to remind him. Wyatt smirked, remembering his fledgling plan.

"Ah, but she didn't consider that I heard the spell, now did she?" he chuckled to himself with a sinister glee. "Her guard will be down now. But, clearly, I can't rely on anyone to do the job properly. I'd like to know what hold she has over those damn rebels, I could use it myself."

Said 'hold' was that Anna, while a cold and calculating leader, still inspired her followers to believe in her. She treated them well, and they all knew she would give everything she had to save them. Even if it meant killing her own brother. Sadistic and cruel as he was, they were still family and it wasn't easy for a person to contemplate killing their own blood.

But they had believed in her ever since she was fourteen and the Takeover happened. She had protected them, never faltering throughout all the hard years of vicious war. Even now, almost a decade later, they still trusted that the young witchlighter would manage to save them from the Source who tyrannized them. Even if she literally changed the world in the process.

Wyatt, however, killed anyone who breathed too loudly around him when he was in a (frequent) bad mood, and often broke the promises he had made to gain his support from various demons and witches when he was getting ready to perform his coup. When viewed objectively, it was obvious why Wyatt's servants and soldiers regularly tried to kill him, and Anna's regularly and willingly sacrificed themselves to save her from her murderous brother.

"Damien!" Wyatt barked abruptly, braking out of his thoughts.

"Yes, my lord?" Damien asked, still keeping his head angled down.

Who knew how Wyatt would react if he managed to anger him? On one hand, Anna and Niko had escaped his wrath. On the other, Wyatt seemed to have a plan to deal with his rebellious sister.

"Summon my councillors," Wyatt ordered.

The group of demons he called 'councillors' were actually just a bunch of high-ranking minions that had managed to stay in their positions for the majority of Wyatt's reign. Klea, Damien himself, and Barbas. They managed everything the Emperor didn't want to deal with.

Klea was the 'administrator' of the Empire, dealing with all the bureaucratic things (much to her disgust). Really, however, she simply oversaw a bunch of mortal slaves doing the work for her.

Barbas was made responsible for the Witch Hunters after Anna killed Izax and the 'public face' of the Hunters, a mortal named Nathaniel Pratt. He spent his time happily hunting down 'criminals', as in everyone who annoyed a demon in general, accused them of witchcraft and conspiring with the Resistance and torturing them until they broke. Then he burned them.

Damien was basically Wyatt's personal assistant and guard. He spent his days (and often his nights) at the ruler's side, attending to his every demand. Like this one.

Damien shimmered away, knowing better than to show any of his resentment to the Emperor. He had no desire to become as ash spot on the wall, thanks very much.

Wyatt turned back to the wall when his servant had disappeared. Several scorch marks had destroyed the triquetra Anna had used to make a portal to let her and Niko make their escape. A fresh one would be made and then. Then he would show his sister why she should have accepted his offer of forgiveness when he gave it.


The Manor: November 7 th , 2003

Piper peeked around the door at the living room couch. While it was again being used as a sickbed, this time, instead of Anna lying prone on it, Niko was the one fighting against death.

She ran her brown eyes over Anna, taking in her features.

Her brunette hair, usually tightly braided, was hanging lose around her face, and her chin was resting on top of her hand, gaze fixed on her fiancé's still form. Cole had managed to cajole her into showering and changing into fresh clothes. She wore a spliced navy lace-up blouse and a pair of denim skinny jeans. Her usual style, save for the fact that her feet were bare. Piper had never seen Anna without shoes and socks on before, and the faint scars criss-crossing the younger women's feet told her why.

Piper felt her eyes blur with tears as she took in the deep shadows under Anna's eyes. Her stare was vacant, but full of horrors.

Brunette, green-eyes, twenty-one years old from a little over twenty years in the future, independent, clever, stubborn, a mixture of Paige's sarcasm and Prue's personality and a Whitelighter-witch hybrid. An elder brother with blonde hair, hazel eyes, Patty's smile and Phoebe's personality.

She didn't know why she hadn't seen it before. They were so familiar with the house and the family. Anna was so like her lost elder sister that it almost hurt to look at her. Why kind of mother was she, that she hadn't recognized her children when they were standing right in front of her?

Cole had known, Piper knew. She saw it in his eyes, and the way he been the two siblings' fiercest advocate. She remembered the looks he had given Leo every time the Elder had gone on one of his paranoid rants regarding Wi-Wyatt and Anna. And that cryptic comment he had made to Leo several months ago about regretting it if he didn't let go of his grudge against the two.

Cole had known, and she hadn't. What kind of mother was she, that she hadn't recognized her children when they were literally standing right in front of her? Maybe she could be excused for not knowing who Anna was, as she had never expected to have another baby after her difficulties with getting pregnant with Wyatt, but she should have known her son when she saw him.

Tears of self-hatred filled Piper's eyes, and she blinked them back stubbornly. It wasn't about her, she reminded herself sharply. It was about her son, who had been thinner and more solemn with every passing day. It was about her daughter, who had gone through some terrible trauma before even returning, and who was sitting beside the form of her comatose fiancé who had stolen her powers and dragged her back to the future to face some deadly enemy yesterday.

Piper was a mother before anything else, and as a mother she needed to put her children first, always. Taking a deep breath to steel herself, she stepped into the sitting room and walked over to her unborn daughter as calmly as she could, trying to keep her feelings from showing in her eyes. As much as she wanted to, Anna was obviously stressed enough.

Adding this, when her daughter already worried so much over damaging the timeline, would only worsen Anna's distress. Piper would wait until Niko had woken before she confronted her children.

She held out the plate of peanut butter cookies to the young woman. Anna raised her face from her hands, giving a grimace at her.

"Piper," she greeted her dully.

"Hey, honey," Piper cooed, unable to keep from being a little maternal toward her miserable child. "I made you some cookies."

"Thanks," Anna answered unenthusiastically, taking a cookie from the plate and lowering it.

Piper sighed and placed the plate down beside the witchlighter before sitting down on Anna's other side. She turned her gaze back to the prone form lying on the couch. As Niko had some demonic heritage in him, he couldn't be healed completely by Wyatt. He wasn't about to die anymore, but his face was pale and his breathing slightly ragged.

"He's a good man," Anna declared suddenly. She turned to look desperately at Piper, as if she could drill a hole in her mother's skull and force the belief that the assassin was good into her.

"He really is," Anna continued with an imploring tone in her voice. "He's just an idiot. Stupid man was dumb enough to think saving my life was worse the cost of the world."

Piper bit her lip slightly, reaching out to pull the now teary girl to her. She didn't think that she could ever bring herself to fully trust Niko. After all, he had attacked her daughter. But, Piper could understand deciding to sacrifice the world for the sake of saving Anna. She would do the same for Anna or Wyatt without a second thought, after all.

She stroked Anna's dark hair, revelling slightly in how even Anna's voice seemed to remind her of Prue a bit now. In hindsight, Anna could very well be the firstborn Charmed Sister reborn. Even her neurosis had Prue written all over it. Prue had also gotten tunnel vision whenever she was focused on something, and had driven Piper and Phoebe half-crazy trying to calm her down.

"It doesn't sound like he's a stupid man to me," Piper murmured softly, continuing to run her hand through her youngest child's gentle waves. "It just sounds like he's a man, deeply in love with a beautiful young woman he wants to grow old with. I think I could probably like him, actually."

Anna let out a sob, and that sob turned into several. Piper just kept stroking her hair and rocking her gently. At least she was able to give her comfort now, even if she hadn't been there to support her during the rest of Anna's troubles since she had come back to 2003. She was there now, and that would have to be enough.


Beckham Cottage: May 1 st , 2014

"Are we sure about this?" Archer asked, looking around and meeting everyone's eyes. The other children, all dressed in pajamas, like him, nodded or voiced their determination to go forward with the plan.

"Then are we ready?" Anna asked, taking over from her friend. She had been flustered when they all agreed she should be the leader of their little coven, but she had agreed despite that. "Okay, let's start then. Before Nana Beckham wakes up."

She picked up the athame carefully, and slit open a cut across her hand, wincing as she did so.

"I, Annette Prudence Halliwell, heiress to the Warren Witch Line, so swear to be forever loyal to Archer Bennet, Declan Bennet, Ethan Bennet, Sarah Bennet, Sienna Beckham and Jenna Cunningham," she carefully recited the memorized chant. I promise to guard their lives and secrets as if they are. To treat them as if they are my blood and to never cause them harm. This I swear by the power of my blood. So I say, so mote it be."

After she had finished, she took her hand away from the silver bowl that her blood had been dripping into, passing the athame to Archer as she did so.

He took it with a confident smile, and Anna felt a feeling of contentedness she had never experienced before rise in her as she glanced around herself at her coven. This place, with these people. This was where she could be herself. This place was where she was meant to be.

Chapter Text

Disclaimer: I don't own Charmed. Someone asked if my stories are on Wattpad. No, I don't have a Wattpad account, I'm sorry if that's a problem for anyone. Btw, the series mentioned, the Old Kingdom/Abhorsen series by Garth Nix, is really good and I recommend it to everyone. Sabriel is the first, then Lirael, then Abhorsen and Goldenhand is last. There's a prequel which isn't that great called Clariel, and several novellas as well.

Chapter Twenty-Six

Amazonite: For Releasing Grief

The Manor: November 9th, 2003

When Anna was nine, she was given the boxset of a series called the Old Kingdom by her grandfather for her birthday present. Anna had been a voracious reader, and after hearing a friend of Victor's describe the plot, he had thought that she would enjoy it.

He had been right. While probably a bit too mature for a girl her age, and though incorrectly portrayed magic usually irritated her (she had refused to read more than the first book of Harry Potter, despite its' popularity), she had been entranced by Garth Nix's books. The stories had all held contained a gritty, realistic air, at least they were realistic to someone who knew that monsters under the bed really did exist. Unlike most children's books, none of the Abhorsen series shied away from acknowledging that pain and death were a part of life. In fact, they preached about accepting loss and death, not shying away out of fear.

The saying Nix had made up and was so important to the books, 'does the walker choose the path, or the path the walker?', had stuck with Anna.

Like the title characters of the series, Sabriel and Lirael, Anna had been the inheritor of responsibilities she didn't want or feel ready for. Like them, she had decided to accept them anyway, because someone had to do it, and if Anna didn't take action, billions would suffer for her selfishness. Like them, death had become as familiar to her as the palm of her hand.

And like them, Anna had been lucky enough to find a man who accepted her completely. One who understood that her duty came first and foremost to her, and one who helped to anchor her and keep her head above the water when it felt as if she was drowning in an ocean of the blood spilled by her brother.

One who was lying silently on her mother's couch, having made the 'ultimate sacrifice' for her to live.

She reached out and traced his pale jaw. His usually tanned skin was a ghostly white. His eyelashes fluttered rapidly and his chest rose and fell too quickly to be the result of a natural sleep.

She sighed exhaustedly, scrubbing at the side of her face grimly.

Piper had stayed with her for most of the night, comforting her like her mom had when she was sick as a child, until she had been forced to go to attend to Baby Wyatt's loud crying for attention.

Leo had orbed away soon after their return, called by the Elders to yet another meeting. At any other time, Anna probably would have sneered contemptuously at how quickly he left his supposedly beloved family to attend to the Elders' wants, but right then she was too relieved not to be forced to put up with him as well as everything else she could have orbed him back to the Heavens herself.

Paige, Phoebe and Cole were all off at work, and Anna didn't know where the good version of her brother was. She didn't want to know either. If she did, her tightly controlled temper would probably snap like a fraying thread, and she would kill him.

Noticing a lock of her fiancé's hair had fallen and was now covering his eye, she reached out again to sweep it out of the way. As she pulled back, his eyelids flickered open, freezing her in place. It felt as if she would wake from a dream if she dared to move.

Niko's whiskey coloured eyes darted rapidly around the room, as hers' did whenever she first opened them or entered a different room (or any area, really. Truthfully, open spaces were the worst. Impossible to see everything).

When the Phoenix had established he was not, as he had no doubt expected upon realizing that he was still alive, being held captive in Wyatt's dungeons, he began attempting to lever himself up. She sighed and rolled her eyes, but stood to help him sit up straight. Like pretty much everyone in the Resistance, Niko was an awful patient, and never waited until he was fully healed to leave the hospital and return to working. Trying to subdue him would only mean that he would be outside of her supervision when his weakness overtook him and he fainted or whatever.

"What'd you do, Anna?" he asked. His voice was even, and resigned. Apparently he had accepted that his lover wouldn't let him get away with upsetting her in so simple a manner as dying to save her life. No, Anna had chosen to make him live, and suffer the never-ending problems that came hand-in-hand with being alive.

"I saved your life, you ungrateful son of a bitch," she snapped at him. Now that it was established that he was going to be fine, her temper rose.

Niko rolled his eyes, recognizing what was coming. Knowing that he would only stroke her rage if he dared to say anything, he elected to remain silent and ride out the furious tirade Anna used to cover her hurt and fear.

"What the fuck were you thinking, you goddessdamned selfish asshole?" She snarled, squeezing her fists to try and stop the sparks of fire and lightning darting around her fingers. "Trying to take the Source of All Evil's powers? Are you completely fucking insane or just plain suicidal?"

He didn't say anything in reply and she didn't give him the chance. She rose to her feet and began pacing furiously, clenching and unclenching her hands. Only a select few would be able to see the pain in her eyes. Only a handful of people knew the Leader of the Resistance well enough to see the tears of pain and fear shimmering in her haunted green eyes.

"I mean, you've done some stupid stuff over the years, Niko," she continued. "But seriously, trying to take one Him? What were you thinking? Why didn't you leave fighting him to me?"

He literally bit his tongue to keep from defending himself or worsening her anger by reminding her that she had been without magic at the time. Anna had dark memories filled with suffering about being separated from her powers. She considered powerlessness, and by extension vulnerability, to be the same as pain and death.

Losing her powers brought her memories of being caught by the Hunters to the forefront and the pain of being tortured. And for her, anything linked to the Witch Hunters made her remember her and her coven's shared pain as they felt Archer burn.

Finally, she stopped her rant, turning to glare at him. Her tears were so subtle that anyone who didn't know her well might think that they were nothing more the reflection of the light.

"You aren't allowed to do that," she croaked at him, jabbing a finger at him. It shook violently in the air, like she had arthritis. "You aren't allowed to die for me! It's not fair, why do people keep sacrificing themselves for me? I'm not worth it, I'm not! But people, good fucking people keep fucking dying so I won't and you can't do that! Mom, Sarah, Brian Michaels, Jordan Lu-"

He cut her off by standing and covering her mouth with his, holding her roughly just above the neck. He would never touch her actual neck, not after the time Declan had been forced by a spell to choke her and she had stabbed him, killing one of her best friends and coven-mate. But it was just above, stopping her from moving away from his rough kiss.

Once her wild tension had eased slightly, he pulled away and rested his forehead against hers. The tears had finally broken free and spilled down her thin cheeks in tiny rivers. They were so close that he could see the flecks of blue in the eyes that seemed to be pure green when looked at from a distance.

"Yes I can die for you," he whispered insistently. "Because yes you are worth it. You're worth the world to me, Angel. You were worth the world to your mother as well. Sarah, everyone who died for you. They all believed in you. I believe in you."

"I'm going insane," she breathed to him. There was a shattered look in her eyes. Niko had known for almost as long as he had known Anna that she was on the verge of breaking. Now, he feared that being in the past, surrounded by strangers who wore the faces of her lost family, she had finally broken.

"Then I'll go with you," he promised. She let out a watery laugh, a hint of hysteria still lacing it as she pulled away and rubbed away her tear streaks impatiently.

"Anna," Niko met her gaze seriously. She grimaced, evidently knowing what he was going to say. "What is Wyatt doing here? And why is he-?" he paused, unable to actually say the words.

She exhaled heavily, shoulders slumping and casting a quick look at the door to ensure they weren't being eavesdropped on.

"Okay," she agreed. "I'll tell you what I know. Let's sit down."

Neither of them had noticed Piper, who had arrived at the door just in time to hear that she died saving her youngest child. Face paler than a ghost's, the eldest Charmed One raced back upstairs to her bedroom to have her own breakdown. But, unlike her daughter, Piper didn't have anyone to comfort her as she grieved at the thought of not seeing her children grow. And as she grieved for her baby's innocence, lost the moment Future Piper's eyes went blank.


The Manor: October 27th, 2016

Anna scoffed and lit the note (not even a proper letter or a card, just a simple post-it saying he was sorry and he'd see her tomorrow instead. Bastard, failed excuse for a parent.) on fire with her newly-developed pyrokinesis.

"I'm sorry, Peanut," Piper sighed, an unhappy twist to her mouth.

"I don't care," Anna claimed, shrugging with false bravado. Truthfully, she did care, but it was more because Leo was the perfect father to Wyatt, but couldn't even spare two minutes to apologize to her in person on her birthday. Why was Wyatt the perfect child, and she the failure?

Piper obviously saw right through her daughter, but she said nothing, not wanting to worsen the mood. "Want to lick the bowl?" she offered instead, a mischievous smile on her face. "Just because it's your birthday."

Anna grinned, bouncing forward and accepting the bowl, the remnants of the red velvet cake covering the sides intermittently. That was the moment that all hell broke loose.

In later years, Anna would never quite remember everything. She remembered the loud clang of the metal bowl falling to the floor when Piper grabbed her and dragged her to the ground, just in time to avoid an energy ball that would have hit her right in the centre of her back.

She remembered Piper shoving her under the table after they realized that Anna's orbing wasn't working. "Stay here and stay quiet!" Piper ordered her, brown eyes grim. Only minutes had passed since she had offered the bowl to her daughter, but already the kitchen contained at least twenty demons.

"I can help," Anna protested.

"No!" Piper snapped. "If you're involved, I'll be distracted protecting you," she reasoned. Anna bit her lip and gave a reluctant nod. Piper smiled and gave her a brief kiss on the forehead before leaping up to face the invading force.

Anna didn't remember the majority of the fight, though she knew she spent the whole time pleading for her Aunt Paige, her brother, even Leo, to come and help them. But the only clear part was the end of the battle.

Somehow, the table she had been cowering under was blown away, forcing Anna to fight for her life against a numerically, if not strategically superior foe. Piper turned just in time to see an energy ball being thrown toward her daughter's unprotected back, and reacted like every mother who's child was in danger would.

She flung herself between the deadly projectile and her daughter, knocking Anna roughly to the floor just as the blue electricity hit her straight in the side of her chest. The demons took advantage of her stumbling to fling another dozen at her, the majority of which hit their target and made her collapse on top of a shrieking Anna.

The demons, knowing their objective had been achieved, let out malicious laughs and shimmered away, while Anna scrambled out and turned her mother over.

"Mom!" she cried, eyes wide with horror. "Oh, goddess, no! Mom, Mom please! Wyatt! Aunt Paige! Dad! Someone, anyone, please!"

"No one...coming," Piper panted. "Ward...blocking orbs!"

"No, no, no," Anna sobbed hysterically. "Oh, goddess. Heal, heal, why can't I heal? Mom, please don't do this! Please don't leave me!"

"'m sorry," Piper gasped.

"No, don't be sorry, just stay," the young girl wept. "Please!"

"I love...you!"

Chapter Text

Disclaimer: I don't own Charmed. Glad everyone enjoys this story so much.

Chapter Twenty-Seven

Buffalo: Life and Sacred Abundance

The Manor: November 9th, 2003

Piper spent about an hour sobbing quietly into her pillow before Baby Wyatt's wails roused her and she went to soothe him and feed him his lunch.

When he was finished, she put together a plate of sandwiches and headed into the sitting room with an overly-bright smile on her face.

"Hi guys," she chirruped as the two young lovers jumped away from each other hastily. She carefully pretended not to notice Anna's red-rimmed eyes. "Lunch?"

"Uh, great, thanks," Anna murmured. Piper had always been concerned about her lack of weight, but now, looking at her as Piper's very much alive daughter, instead of a Whitelighter only able to die from a Darklighter arrow, it was horrifying.

"Great," Piper repeated, keeping her beam fixed to her face as she handed the plate over to Niko, who eyed her like she was a poisonous snake.

"No hard feelings, right?" he asked as he accepted the platter. He elaborated when she raised her eyebrow. "You know, about the whole, holding a knife to your throat thing. It wasn't personal, just business."

Piper felt her smile turn cold. Of course, she realized now that he hadn't actually been planning to kill her. He couldn't, considering Anna had yet to be conceived. Still, she didn't appreciate having weapons held to her jugular.

"Of course," she agreed, a sharp edge in her voice. To Niko's credit, he had enough familiarity with Warrens to wince and fall silent, in order to avoid a fit of Halliwell proportions, something that put entire cities at risk in his time.

Satisfied he had got the message, Piper turned to Anna and crossed her arms over her chest. "So," she said. "I think we need to have a meeting about certain things that have come to light in the past few days, don't you?"

Anna wilted slightly, evidently having hoped to escape without being interrogated by the Charmed Ones.

"I suppose so," she muttered in reluctant agreement. "When?"

"After the others are finished with work, and we'll all need dinner, so after that," Piper said decisively. "Eat up, you're both too thin." With that, she spun on her heel and headed for the staircase, as she could hear Wyatt in his crib and beginning to cry for attention again.

"Well that's another thing to look forward to," Anna grumbled, crossing her own arms and letting her mind begin to run through different lies and ways to deflect from any information she didn't want her mother and aunts to learn.

"Have you thought," Niko began carefully, knowing she would be less than pleased by his suggestion. "About just telling them so that you can deal with Gideon? Things are, different, from what we expected them to be, after all."

The look she gave him was so cold, it could have frozen the sun.


Turner's Attorneys: November 9th, 2003

Wyatt sat in his uncle's office at Turner's Attorneys, feeling very sorry for himself. He had known things would be difficult when he went back in time, but this was worse than he could have ever expected. Wyatt was a happy, social person by nature, and all the secrets, lack of parental and sibling support, as well as his ever-increasing knowledge of just how awful his other-self had been, were wearing him down.

Cole glanced at the young man, momentarily distracted form his papers by Wyatt's heaving sigh. "What's wrong, kiddo?" he asked, lifting an eyebrow. Wyatt gave him a miserable look.

"I really want all of this to be over," he sighed. "I want," he faltered, feeling guilty. The whole reason Anna was the way she was, was because of what he (or rather, his other, evil self) had done. Both to Anna herself, and to the world around her. Saying that he wanted his sister, sarcastic with a dark, biting sense of humour, but sweet and always steadfastly on his side, seemed like a shameful way to repay her for dying to save him.

Cole pushed away from his desk and scooted over to Wyatt's side. "You know, angry and cold as she is, Anna really does love you, Wyatt," he insisted softly. "Dearly."

Wyatt gave a strained laugh. "Have you seen the way she looks at me when Mom and the others aren't around? She hates me!"

"No," Cole shook his head firmly in denial. "Well, yes, she does hate you," he admitted, correcting himself. "But that isn't all that she feels. She loves you too. There's a thin line, and Anna is standing on it one-legged."

Wyatt gave him an incredulous look of disbelief. Anna probably wanted to gut him with that knife she was inordinately fond of.

"I mean it," Cole insisted. "Your Other-Self caused Anna a lot of hurt, and years of pain and fear don't go away without working at it. But she is trusting you, trusting all of us, more and more each day. And anyway," he added. "If she didn't love you, if she hadn't had the slightest amount of hope in your redemption from the moment Other-You turned evil, she would have killed you, or bound your powers straight away. She wouldn't have put the world at risk by not dealing with you as soon as she came back in time if she didn't love you."

Wyatt looked away, chewing on his lip. It was hard to believe that Anna did anything other than tolerate him at best, with her seemingly constant scorn. It somehow brought to mind how Annie was always in his shadow, because he was amiable and had 'flashier' powers than her. There had often been a stoic look in her eye, as she watched him be fawned over from the sidelines.

The constant glumness that had been accompanying him for the past few months, made him think of that. And it made him feel worse, because he had often teased Annie about how he stood out, while she blended into the background.

If this was even close to how she felt, Wyatt wanted to go up to his mother and warn her not to let it happen, because his baby sister didn't deserve to hurt.


Wyatt's Prison (former Magic School): April 13th, 2020 (unchanged future)

Anna hung limply from the chains keeping her arms suspended above her head. After at least three weeks of holding them up, it was now purely the strength of the chains that kept her upright. Pain was flowing freely through her body and she was littered in injuries.

The wards on the building, a legacy of its' days as a school of magic for young magic users, prevented any of the prisoners from dying as long as their bodies remained on the grounds, so Izax and his men could torture her as much as they wanted, unhindered by the fragilities of the human body. And if necessary, all the injuries could be healed by one of the Whitelighters kept as captives for that exact purpose. Because of her 'importance', Izax herself was in charge of 'interrogating' her, and when he wasn't around, Barbas was.

For once, however, she was alone. Blood was leaking sluggishly from the latest of her wounds, and they stung from the salt Izax had poured into them. But she hadn't broken yet. Three weeks of torture, and she still hadn't said a word of what they wanted to know.

Locations, names, ward schemes and their weaknesses. All of it was kept hidden in her mind, hidden from any telepathic invasions by various rituals she had undergone along with every other member of the Resistance.

What the Empire had yet to realize, was that even if Anna wanted to, she couldn't speak a word of treason to her cause. Any time thoughts of giving in crossed her mind, the Ritual of Secrecy kicked in and made the knowledge disappear from her mind.

Anna suspected that if not for that vital failsafe, she would have traded everything she knew for execution by the third day. A Warren witch she may be, but she was also a sixteen-year-old girl, and nothing, not even the Resistance's training, had prepared her for the agonizing torture the demons had been visiting on her since she sacrificed herself to let the others escape being captured by the Witch Hunter patrol with her.

She knew the chances of her surviving this were zero. The only thing that she had going in her favour was that Wyatt seemed to want her to switch sides for some reason. He had been coming in to 'visit' her at irregular times, often watching her be tortured either physically or mentally before offering to let her have her freedom back, if she swore her allegiance to him and gave up all her information on the Resistance.

So far, she had managed to hold true to her convictions and refuse his offers, and she expected that if she continued to do so, Wyatt would lose his patience and decide to just kill her. Like he had killed Grandpa, Junior, the twins and Prim. Their family.

She let out a weak sigh, that quickly changed to a cough, blood flying from her lips. The Resistance had a spy working as a guard in the prison. Aaron Herrick, a warlock who the Charmed Ones had helped when his powers first activated. Despite his heritage, he was very much Good. And since his witch wife, Alysha, and his mortal adoptive family had all died in Wyatt's attack, he loathed the Empire with a passion.

But, he was stationed in the lower levels, his warlock heritage working against him in terms of rising up the Empire's ranks. Anna thought it was bitterly funny. After all, warlocks were witches who turned evil and stole others' powers. Like Wyatt had done, and still did. Yet they were still considered secondary citizens in the world of evil.

Her thoughts were interrupted by a creak as the door was pushed open. Despite herself, Anna flinched, tensing up in expectation of Izax or Barbas entering the room. It had only been two or three hours since her last 'session', if her internal clock was right, but the demons came irregularly. Anna had to admit, it was a good technique. It kept her from being able to predict when and what was going to happen next, therefore preventing her from preparing herself mentally for it.

But it wasn't either of her tormentors who strode into the room. No, it was Phaedra, a look of cold arrogance on her face and a hand resting on her black leather-clad hip. She sneered disdainfully at Anna's dirt and gore-streaked appearance, and Anna somehow managed to summon up enough strength to spit a glob of dark crimson blood at her cousin's feet.

Phaedra scoffed and waved at the uniformed demon who had entered a few steps behind her. "Get her down," the fourteen-year-old lieutenant ordered curtly.

"Why?" He demanded bravely.

She sneered at him with a look in her eyes that would've stopped a lion in its' tracks. "How dare you question me?" she hissed furiously at him. "Do you know who I am? Obey my orders this instant, or I'll have you removed from your duties and replaced by someone competent,  permanently. " That was basically Phaedra's way of threatening to kill him. Seeing as she was the only relative who had sided with Wyatt and was subsequently doted on by him, she would easily get away with it too.

The Executioner demon tensed and gave a deep bow, before going and releasing Anna's chains from the wall. Her legs, not having supported her body for weeks, and having been badly beaten multiple times, promptly gave out, and she fell face forward onto the cold stone floor. A second later, Phaedra grabbed her roughly by the upper-arm and yanked her up.

Anna didn't resist, but she didn't try and walk either as her cousin pulled her roughly through the long halls of Wyatt's prison.

She was in a daze, but quickly snapped out of it when she was dragged into an empty room. One with a triquetra drawn on the wall in white chalk. Phaedra set her down, far more gently than she had been treating Anna up until then, and quickly closed, locked and warded the room.

"What's going on, Fay?" Anna croaked out through torn lips, unintentionally calling the other girl by the nickname she had stopped using over two years ago. Fay faltered in the midst of rummaging around in a bag before continuing.

"I'm getting you out of here," she replied curtly. She pulled out a bottle containing a potion Anna recognized as a highly-prized healing potion. She knew that particular potion was very strong, accelerating healing by several weeks, but it had heavy drawbacks. You got a few hours of a health and energy boost (depending on the state you were in) before abruptly collapsing into a coma. Many had died in those comas. Anna had drunk it twice before already, though the ingredients were very rare and difficult to get.

"Why?" she asked, her voice weak and hoarse from screaming.

Phaedra faltered again, and Anna was surprised to see that her eyes shimmering with tears, and her hands were shaking violently.

"It wasn't supposed to be like this," she whispered. "I just wanted our family to be safe. I wanted us to be able to live our lives without being constantly tormented by duties we inherited by an accident of birth. I wanted our children not to have to worry if we would be coming home from our weekly vanquishes or not, like we did about our parents. I never wanted any of this."

She waved around, silently saying that everything that was happening was not what she wanted. "You, him letting those monsters do," she waved at Anna's battered form. "All of this. It's the last straw. I couldn't leave you there."

"Fay," Anna groaned. Her love for Fay, buried but still there, flared up again. "Will you come with me?" She asked, rather than saying it was alright. Nothing was alright, and nothing ever would be. Not after everything that had happened.

Fay shook her head. Her dark hair was bobbed, Anna absently noted.

"No," Fay answered. "I can't. You know that."

If she could have, Anna would've bitten her lip. Instead she simply inclined her head in acknowledgement. The Resistance would be eager for a chance to kill the favourite of Lord Wyatt. Phaedra wouldn't last a day.

"I have to try to make it right," Fay continued. "But I'm sending you home first."

As if the universe was conspiring to prevent them from settling any unfinished business, the wards flared red in warning, signalling that someone was trying to break through.

"Hurry!" Fay hissed. She tossed Anna the potion before she rushed over to the triquetra and began to open a portal.

Anna wrapped her fingers around the vial and drank it in one gulp. She groaned in pain as her body's healing functions were forced into overdrive. Her injuries were serious enough that she was still badly wounded when it finished and she stood to make her way to the now-glowing portal.

"You'll die," she murmured, pain and grief lacing her words.

Fay raised her chin defiantly. For the first time in years, Anna saw her cousin in the young woman in front of her.

"Then I'll die like a Warren, bringing as many of demons as I can down with me," she replied stoically.

Anna leaned forward and gave her a soft embrace. "I love you, Ladybug," she whispered in Fay's ear.

"I love you too Peanut," Fay whispered back, before pulling away, her expression hardening again. "Now go," she ordered. "Quickly. I'll hold them off." As she spoke, the wards collapsed and a large group of demons came pouring into the room. Fay shoved Anna through the portal, and the elder girl turned her head to see what was happening as the blue and white light engulfed her.

The last thing she saw was her younger cousin facing down three dozen demons with a fearless, determined gaze, and balls of fire in each of her upraised hands.


The Manor: November 9th, 2003

"So, what do you want to know then?" Anna asked reluctantly when everyone had arrived for the meeting.

"How about when you two were planning on admitting that you're my children," Piper replied in a low, even tone of voice.

Chapter Text

Disclaimer: I don't own Charmed.

Chapter Twenty-Eight

Beaver: Builder and Protector

The Manor: November 9 th , 2003

Anna was frozen in place, staring at Piper in wide-eyed shock. Wyatt's mouth was opening and closing in disbelief. Niko let out a resigned sigh and bent his head backwards so he could stare at the ceiling and mentally blame the Elders for this. Anna was going to flip when she got over the shock.

Leo had surged to his feet and was choking out half-sentences. Paige was muttering "Oh boy, oh boy," repeatedly under her breath.

Phoebe was staring intently at the two siblings, seeing things she had never noticed before in her features. Now she was looking at them properly, Anna looked so like Piper, with Prue's personality and Paige's sarcasm it felt like a slap in the face. She could even see her cheekbones in Anna's face. The younger of the two witchlighters was a Halliwell all over. The only thing she had gotten from Leo was her Whitelighter powers. On the other hand, Wyatt was the opposite. A replica of Leo with Piper's jaw and ears, just like his baby self was. How had she not seen?

Cole was the only one who wasn't stunned by Piper's words. He had realized as soon as Anna's heritage as a half-Whitelighter came to light, the sisters would begin putting things together. Spell or not, there was no power on earth that could keep the Halliwells separated permanently. Especially not when it came to Piper Halliwell and her children.

"So?" Piper raised an eyebrow at her daughter, unintentionally evoking memories of when they were children and Piper caught them practising magic or preforming some other mischief without permission.

"When were you planning on telling me? Before or after Anna ceased to exist? Because, in case you two haven't realized, Leo and I aren't together anymore so how exactly were you planning to ensure Anna's existence?"

"What led you to the conclusion that we're your children?" Anna demanded, though she wasn't nearly as calm and collected as she usually was. Her badly-hidden panic was practically a screamed confession on its' own.

Piper had taken her by surprise, and Anna hadn't planned for this eventuality, despite Wyatt having mentioned that the sisters and Leo had found out who she was in his timeline. Forewarned is forearmed, and Anna had assumed the spell would keep her and her brother's identities hidden for a while longer.

She was bristling, and as a result she had resorted to her favourite tactic when feeling threatened. Offense. Niko hid a wince, recognizing the signs of an 'Impending Halliwell Meltdown'. Also known as: 'Run For Your Freakin' Lives Before You're Killed in the Crossfire.'

"You must be joking, Anna," Piper replied sharply. "At first I could dismiss the similarities because I thought you guys were full Whitelighters, but you can't possibly believe that I'm too stupid to realize the truth when it's staring me right in the face!"

Her voice became increasingly passionate as she went on, losing the calm 'always in control' tone she had adopted over years of demon fighting and being the eldest and leader of the family. The same one Anna had taken up after the Event.

"Wyatt looks just like Leo, but he has a personality so like Phoebe's I'm not surprised you resorted to using a spell to keep the truth from us! And you, God Anna, I don't see a bit of your father in you.

You look just like me, but you have so much of Prue's personality I almost have to wonder if you're her reborn! Not to mention Phoebe's cheekbones and smile, and Paige's sarcastic streak! God, how I didn't see it before, I will never understand!"

Anna opened her mouth to speak, her mind scrambling for something she could say to try and refute Piper's claims, but Wyatt spoke first. Her mouth slammed closed and she gave him a vicious glare as she felt the spell she had put on him shatter. Wyatt was so powerful, the only reason it had worked at all was because he didn't fight it. Now, however, the jig was up as far as he was concerned, and so he pulled it apart as easily as if it were made of crepe paper. It was an insult to her abilities as a spell-caster, her power as a Warren witch.

"You're right, Mom," he breathed. "I'm Wyatt. Anna's my baby sister by a year and six months."

"Damn it," Anna swore, preventing any replies from their mother. "And damn you!" she jabbed a finger at her brother. "Now everything's ruined! Goddessdamnit Wyatt, why do you always insist on screwing up everything in my life? Arghh!"

It was rare for Anna's temper to boil over. She kept herself rigidly in check most of the time. But whenever she hit her limit, she could easily rival her brother in the destruction she left behind.

Taking that into account, Niko darted a look around the attic, judged it incapable of containing an angry and upset Annette Halliwell, jumped to his feet, grabbed his fiancée by the upper arm, and shimmered them both down to the Underworld so Anna could work out her frustration.

Piper's brown eyes flashed furiously at the two's flight and she threw her hands in the air. Everyone instinctively ducked to avoid being blasted into a million pieces, making Piper huff and roll her eyes at what she perceived as melodramatic reactions.

"Alright, fine," Piper growled. She turned to her son, who gained a 'deer in the headlights' look when he suddenly became the focus of his mother's attention.

"Wyatt Matthew Halliwell," she snapped, crossing her arms over her chest and giving her nervous-looking son a threatening look. (Her 'I'm the mother' threatening look used for when her children were being disobedient, not the coldly vicious look used for threatening anything or anyone evil that her children inherited and that sent centuries old demons running for cover.)

"Start talking right now, young man!" Piper demanded. "No more of this 'future consequences' stuff. I want to know what happened to my daughter to give her PTSD and insomnia and god knows what else. And I want to know what this threat you guys have mentioned actually did, because you quite obviously have your powers."

"I can't just go around telling you everything," Wyatt protested half-heartedly and weakly. "I could end up erasing someone from existence, or have things happen differently or worse than before."

"I don't care about anyone else!" Piper declared. "I care about you, and I care about Anna. You two are my priority, and I want to know what happened to my daughter!"

Wyatt swallowed, but he had never been good at keeping secrets, especially not from his mother. He flicked his eyes around the room at the past versions of his family. Paige and Phoebe were still studying him intently, and Leo had sunk onto Aunt Pearl's couch and buried his head in his hands despairingly.

No doubt the Elder was going over his actions in the past few months with a new eye and severely regretting them now.

Cole gave him a tiny nod of encouragement when he met his gaze, and then Wyatt returned to his mother. She was younger than in his time, and while there was pain in her eyes, it was not as bad as the pain in the mother he had grown up with. The source of that pain, Wyatt had realized during the past few months, was knowing of Anna's suffering in another life, and the heartbreak of both losing a child, and not knowing what would happen to Annie because of her OtherSelf's fate.

And even now, at twenty-five-years-old, Wyatt still hadn't quite lost his childish belief that Mommy could make anything better, like she had when he was a child.

Wyatt made his decision. And he opened his mouth to let everything he had been bottling up over the past few months come pouring out like water from a jug.


Niko Perry's Apartment: April 19th, 2025 (changed future)

It had been two years since Niko had met Annette Halliwell, and a year and a half since their tentative 'alliance' had become a romantic relationship. Despite that, however, they continued to keep it a secret. Niko's family had told him of the time the Halliwell sisters had randomly attacked their clan for no apparent reason, and Anna's family not only seemed determined to treat her like a helpless child with no powers, but had also lectured her  many  times on how very not trustworthy the Phoenix Assassin Clan was.

Neither group would take well to their relationship being revealed, and so they were waiting as long as they could to announce it.

"What do you want to watch?" Niko asked his girlfriend as they relaxed on the couch in his apartment. The TV was turned on, showing the menu and they scanned it.

"How about the Prince of Egypt?" he suggested. "You love Disney."

Anna stiffened. "No," she shook her head firmly, her lose brunette locks whipping her cheeks. "Not that movie. I hate it."

"Why?" Niko asked curiously.

Anna loved Disney movies. She knew pretty much all of them off by heart. It was a source of never-ending amusement for him, watching her mouth the words to the various scripts and sing along with the songs. She claimed that she preferred children's movies because you were never stressed by them. She had enough stress in her everyday life, what with going to college for her business degree, helping her mother run P3 and Charmed, fighting demons and helping her cousins with whatever problems they had. What was different about the Prince of Egypt?

"Is it because it's based off of a Bible story?" Niko asked doubtfully. That didn't sound right. Anna had been raised firmly Wiccan, but she respected other peoples' beliefs. Her disliking a movie because it wasn't aligned with her faith didn't suit her character.

"No," Anna repeated. She sighed and shook her head, running a hand through her dark locks. Her hair reached a little past her shoulders, but Niko rarely saw it down. She claimed that the only way to have short hair and fight demons was if it was a crop-cut, which she hated. Long hair could be pulled back, and so the Halliwell girls kept their hair long and tied back, instructed on minor things like that by their experienced parents.

"I don't know why," Anna admitted. "But I always feel like, goddess, I don't know how to describe it. Like it hits too close to home, I guess."

Niko raised an eyebrow at that, giving her a bemused look. "It hits too close to home?" he echoed her. "How? It's a story about two siblings being enemies with each other. You're not exactly at war with your brother. He's overprotective, but you never fight with him. Not like that at least."

"I know," she huffed. "It doesn't make sense. But every time I watch that movie, it touches something in me. Like I have this deep, instinctual fear that one day I'll have to fight against Wyatt."

Niko was about to ask for more details, but he saw the distressed look in Anna's beautiful green eyes. They looked haunted for a moment, as if an aged war veteran had temporarily possessed her, before returning to normal. She was still blatantly upset though.

"Fine," he shrugged. "Not the Prince of Egypt then. How about Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone? You can complain for the next two hours about how crap and inaccurate their interpretation and portrayal of magic is. You love doing that."

She shoved at his shoulder, laughing. There was still a strained note in her voice, but at least that upsetting look of terror and foreshadowing was slipping away.

They settled in to watch Harry Potter and, as Niko had predicted she would, Anna spent the entire film criticizing the magical inaccuracies and scoffing. By the time it ended and they went their separate ways (Niko to bed and Anna home to the Manor. At twenty-years-old, her family was still ridiculously overprotective of her. Wyatt had insisted on going to the same college as her, and Piper had guilted her into continuing to live at the Manor. Niko wondered if they even realized that they were driving a wedge between themselves and Anna.) he had almost completely forgotten the tidbit she had revealed about her secret fears.

He would recall it two years later, holding his unconscious and bloody fiancée in his arms. And he would start to hate Wyatt Halliwell.


The Underworld: November 9th/10th, 2003

With a loud 'BOOM', the Scavenger Demon went flying backwards into the demon club's wall. Anna advanced on him, rolling the electricity in her hands into a ball as she did so. She had already vanquished over half, and Niko had taken care of several others.

Now, however, Niko stood back, leaning against the opposite wall and keeping an eye out for any other incoming enemies. When Anna got tunnel vision, she thought of nothing save for the destruction of her target goal. In this case, her target was untouchable, as she would never even consider raising a hand to her mother, who was the current source of her frustration. So, instead she was attempting to kill all the demons she could, in order to relieve her ever-present anger.

Another explosion drew his attention, and he saw that the force of Anna's 'lightning ball' had destroyed the majority of the wall along with the Scavenger. And they were now exposed to most of the Demonic Market.

Niko glanced at Anna, seeing a disturbingly bloodthirsty grin grow on her face as she raised her hands in preparation to attack, and sighed heavily. He conjured two athames and fell into an attacking pose. This was going to be a long night.

Chapter Text

Disclaimer: I don't own Charmed.

Chapter Twenty-Nine

Cauldron: Divine Inspiration

The Manor: November 10 th , 2003

Piper stared blankly down at the Book of Shadows. It was open to the page on the Elders, but she wasn't taking any of the words in. Her vision was blurry from the tears she was struggling to restrain as she ran over everything Wyatt had admitted to them earlier that day.

"Anna and I are from different timelines. She came back and died completing her mission, and then Annie, that is, the Anna in my timeline, suddenly got the same injuries that killed this version of her. We put her under a stasis spell and I went back to stop her from dying."

"In Anna's timeline, I was kidnapped as a baby and turned evil from the trauma. Pretty much everyone in the family is dead in her timeline, and she's in charge of a worldwide rebellion."

"She hates me, and I don't even blame her for it."

"Mom, fix it, please. I don't know what to do."

That last one almost made Piper feel worst of everything her son had said to her. Almost. But what he'd told her about what had happened to Anna was definitely the worst revelation of the whole day. What she had been through. God, Anna was only, what? Twenty, twenty-one?

Piper suddenly remembered that, right before Niko had attacked and her life had spun out of control, Wyatt had been asking them to do something for Anna's birthday, because it was coming up soon. When had he said it was? About a week or two, right? Piper would have a baby daughter twelve months from now.

Either way, the facts didn't change. Anna was a kid, younger than Phoebe or Paige had been when they got their powers, and she was responsible for leading a war against her own brother. And she blamed herself for Piper's death.

It was wrong for her to do so, of course. Piper was Anna's mother. It was her right and her duty to sacrifice her life to save either of her children. She had known since the moment she learned of her pregnancy with Wyatt that she would do so for him without batting an eyelash. Now she knew who Anna was to her, the same feelings extended to her as well. The only regret Piper could ever feel about dying for one of her children was that she wouldn't be able to see them grow up into the amazing people (and witches) that they would be.

But Survivor's Guilt was a tricky thing, one all of the Charmed Ones had wrestled with at various times. She knew it wouldn't be that easy to convince Anna it was right that if one of them had to die that day, it was better off being Piper. From the sounds of it, Anna was nearly drowning under guilt and fear and trauma.

This wasn't like with Baby Wyatt banging his wrist against the table, when a kiss from her and some cooing to distract him had fixed everything. Her children were in front of her, grown and hurting, and Mommy kisses couldn't fix that.

What was she going to do?

"Piper," Leo's voice was hoarse, and her head snapped up from the Book. Concern filled her at the sight of him. He looked awful.

His eyes were red-rimmed, and held an exhausted, world-weary look in them. The corners of his mouth were downturned, and his usually Army-straight shoulders were slumped as if he had finally been defeated by life's never-ending curveballs. Piper wondered, if she looked in a mirror, would she look as bad, or worse than he did.

"Are you alright?" she asked lamely.

She chided herself a second after the words left her mouth for asking such a stupid question. Of course, Leo wasn't alright. How could he be, knowing that his mentor for decades was planning to kill his son, and his unborn/adult daughter hated him? Hell, even Piper had been very unhappy with his borderline cruelty and continuous stalking of Wyatt and Anna in the past few months and she was in love with him. But now, looking at him and recalling Paige and Phoebe telling her how Leo had thrown Anna into the living room wall, she itched to blow him into a million pieces.

And she was less than impressed to learn that it had taken his daughter time travelling back twenty years and stating outright to his face that she hated him to get her children's father to start putting his family above his work.

Leo gave a half-hearted shrug, his lips turned downward at the corners. "I don't understand how any of this could have happened," he admitted hoarsely. "Where did it all go wrong, Piper?"

'It all started going wrong when you decided your Whitelighter duties were more important than your family,' she thought resentfully. 'When you chose to obey Their summons instead of trying to fix our marriage. When you decided to leave Wyatt and I, and tried to blame it all on fate.'

She didn't say any of the thoughts that floated through her mind, though. She simply shrugged, glancing back down at the Book. "I think it's been wrong a lot longer than any of us have wanted to admit," she said, without looking at him. 'Since Prue died at least. God, why did she have to leave me? Prue, I need you.'

Piper could no longer say that she wished she had died instead of Prue, because if she had died that day, her children would never have existed, and that was an alternate universe that she couldn't bear to think about. But she still longed for her sister's steadfast support and unyielding strength and advice. Prue had always been there when she needed her.

Leo swallowed, giving a nod and looking down at his shoes. "I never meant for this to happen, Piper," he insisted, with a pleading tone. "I don't understand how Gideon could do this! Maybe he's under a spell or something. I mean, he fought for our marriage. Why would he be against our children?"

"Not just our children, remember?" she snapped, her temper flaring at Leo having the audacity to actually try and defend the man who wanted to kill her sweet baby boy. "He's planning on killing any child me and my sisters have! God, how can you defend him, when both our son and Cole have told us what they overheard him planning?"

He gave her a pleading expression. "He's my closest friend, Piper," he begged. "He taught me everything I know about the Wiccan world and being a Whitelighter. I-"

"No!" Piper's badly restrained temper finally snapped. She lifted a hand to silence him. "Stop," she continued. "Just, stop Leo. I can't listen to this. God! Leo, you have been stalking, harassing and just generally making our children's lives miserable for months! And, are you worrying over that? Are you at all concerned about our missing daughter and her mental health after spending years, literally years, Leo, being the most wanted fugitive in a warzone? No! No, you're worried about the fucking bastard who wants to kill our children!"

"Piper-"

"Don't Piper me!" she cried, flicking her hands to make him explode into orbs. "Get out," she ordered dully when he reformed. Her arms hung limply at her sides and there was a raw look in her brown eyes that shattered Leo's heart. "Just get out."

He cast her one last look filled with pain and misery before orbing back to the Heavens.

"And, for god's sake," she added as he disappeared. "Don't tell anyone about Wyatt and Anna and what we found out today. Just don't."

"Piper," Phoebe said sympathetically from the doorway where she and Paige had been huddled in the landing. They had arrived just in time to overhear their sister's rant, and now they entered with their arms wide to offer comfort. Piper hated to be vulnerable, she always had, even as a young girl. But right then, with Wyatt's plea of "Mom, fix this please", and Anna's haunted gaze and Leo's justifications floating around her mind, she sank willingly into their embrace, her chest heaving from the tears streaking down her face.


The Manor: July 31 st , 2022

"I'm not a child, Mom!" Anna yelled at her mother.

Piper's jaw was tense, and her spine was rigid. The Warren matriarch had made up her mind and she was determined not to let it be changed. Leo stood beside her, his arms crossed and a frown on his face. Paige's lips were pursed, and Phoebe looked grim. Wyatt was also across the table from her, a rare scowl on his face.

On Anna's side were her grandfather (Anna was Victor's undisputed favourite grandchild, and she always had been.) and both of her uncles. Her aunts were occasionally sending sharp glares at their respective husbands, while Henry and Cole barely batted their eyelids at it. She couldn't express how utterly grateful she was to them for refusing to bend to their wives' wishes, instead choosing to support her in her dreams.

She forced herself to take a deep breath and clenched her fists. Her nails dug into her palms as she met her mother's eyes as calmly as she could. If she let her temper rule her, she would lose the argument. And Anna was determined not to lose this fight. Of course, Piper was the one she needed to convince. If Piper gave her permission, the others would all back down as well.

"Mom," she said, in as reasonable a voice as she could muster. "I'm eighteen years old, not eight. I'm the second strongest witch in the family, and I know how to fight, with or without magic. All I want to do is go to college, like a normal eighteen-year-old."

She emphasized the word 'normal', knowing how much Piper and her sisters had always wanted their children to grow up like regular mortals, instead of Halliwell witches. Indeed, Piper's brown eyes flickered at the word, but she was otherwise unmoved by the plea. Anna continued.

"It's such a good school Mom. Seriously, a scholarship to an Ivy League school. I can't get better than that Mom. Princeton-"

"Is in New Jersey, and therefore unacceptable," Piper cut in. "You would be too far away from the family, and the Manor. No. I won't agree to this Anna. You got Golden Gate, you're going to Golden Gate. That's it."

Leo, Wyatt, and the aunts stayed quiet beside her, an intimidating array of silent support.

"Piper, you're being unreasonable, honey," Victor cut in. "This is a once in a life time opportunity for Anna. What the scholarship doesn't cover, her college fund does, and she can easily orb home if needs be. Think about how good this will be for her, honey. The chances in life it'll bring her! She-"

"Is going to run the club and the restaurant after me," Piper cut in. "And be a Whitelighter at the same time. She doesn't need a fancy Ivy League degree for that."

"What if that's not the only thing that I want to do with my life?" Anna asked softly. Her family, save for Victor and Cole, who gave her supportive looks, all stared at her in surprise. Even Henry, who'd been firmly on her side since the start of the latest Halliwell family drama, didn't know that Anna wasn't intending to study business at university and then go straight into working for her mother, juggling Whitelighter duties on the side.

She met her mother's eyes determinedly, lifting her chin. "I want a  life , Mom," she declared. "I want a life where I'm able to be  me . Not a ghost, who's name I don't even know."

All of her elders, including the three on her side, suddenly looked stricken.

"Yeah, I put it together," she snapped. "Someone you guys loved, died. I remind you of them, physically or attitude wise, or maybe both. But you can't keep forcing me to be someone I'm not, Mom. I want to travel, I want to be able to make my own decisions, not accept the ones you make for me! I don't want to be a Whitelighter, I hate doing that stuff, and I always have. And, you know what?"

She lifted her chin. Her family was all obviously stunned. None of them, not even Phoebe with her empathy, had ever realized how much she was keeping inside herself.

"I don't need your permission," she declared. "I'm eighteen. I'm an adult, with a full savings account, and a brain. I can go wherever and do whatever I like."

"Don't you dare," Piper cried, voice going shrill. "Anna, don't you dare!"

Anna ignored her, orbing away. She held back her tears until she arrived at Niko's apartment.

"Anna?" he jumped to his feet in surprise. His surprise quickly turned to worry, and he reached out for her. "Angel, are you okay?"

Chapter Text

Disclaimer: I don't own Charmed.

Chapter Thirty

Athame: Making Choices

The Underworld: 24 th , November

Niko was beginning to get pissed off with his fiancée. Anna had always been the type of person who confronted her problems head first and kicked their asses (save for when it came to talking about her feelings, grieving, or fighting her brother. But that was all different, and Niko got it.). This time, however, she was avoiding her current problem like it was the plague.

It had been two weeks since Piper had confronted the time travellers about their identities, and the Leader of the Resistance had been dodging the rest of the Halliwells ever since. She had gone so far as to cast a spell to block the sisters' attempts to summon her magically, and was physically avoiding the regular search parties the family undertook down to the Underworld.

Her birthday had passed unremarkably, as it usually did. The only thing relevant to people in their timeline when it came to birthdays was that it meant you had lasted another year without being killed by Lord Wyatt's forces.

All of this meant, of course, that they had been stuck sleeping in various caverns in the Underworld for the past fortnight, and eating food scavenged from bins. While this was pretty much the same as in their own time, knowing that there was another (non-treacherous) option available was causing Niko to become more and more fed up. Finally, while they were searching the lair of a dark priestess that they had just killed for anything useful, he lost his patience.

"Anna," he said, drawing her attention from the power-stealing athame she had found. "This is ridiculous."

"I know," she agreed. "What the hell is wrong with the demonic population? They do know that there are more colours on the spectrum then just red and black right? They should use pink. That would be scary. Red and black are just plain cliché."

The corners of Niko's lips twitched, before he regained his serious expression. He could see from the look in Anna's eyes that she knew exactly what he had been referring to, and hoped to distract him from his thought process.

She knew what he wanted to discuss, but she wasn't about to make it easy on him. Anna put down the athame and sauntered over to him, swaying her hips and cocking her head to the side. Her lowered her eyelids slightly, and put on a smirk that always drove him crazy. When she stopped in front of him, with only a few inches between them, she wrapped her arms around his neck.

"Hey Firebird," she purred seductively. "You know, there's a huge California King in the bedroom. Seems like a shame to just let it go to waste, don't you think?"

Another man would probably have succumbed to Anna's tricks. Heck, many a fool had fallen for her intense green eyes and mysterious half-smirk, silently promising so many things if they would just do this one thing for her. But Niko was not one of those men. At least, he wasn't anymore, though he had been, once upon a time. But over the years, he had built up a strong defence against Anna's secret smile and soul-sucking gaze.

He gripped her hips and pulled her closer, his mouth centimetres from hers.

"Anna, you can't keep avoiding this conversation," he breathed, before pulling away from her. Anna scowled, crossing her arms and glaring bitterly at him. He could see her changing her tactics, going from distraction to offense, as easily as if she had flicked a switch.

"It's none of your damn business, Perry!" she spat at him, eyes flashing. "I don't need their help, anyway. Hell, are you actually implying that we need Wyatt fucking Halliwell to deal with Gideon? I'm powerful, I can kill the goddessdamned Elder myself!"

He rolled his eyes, letting out a sarcastic laugh. "Oh, is that what this is about?" he asked snidely. "Your little inferiority complex towards your brother? Wow, Anna, I'm impressed. The fate of the world's at stake, but you, you're more concerned with proving that you can do it all on your own than with actually stopping the apocalypse. Good for you, I'm impressed."

"How dare you!" she cried, eyes blazing with fury. "You damn hypocrite! You were willing to sacrifice our mission, purely for your own happiness, and yet you have the nerve to judge me?"

"At least I don't put on a mask and act like I don't care more for the two of us than the world," he shot back. "You're the one who pretends to care, but really all you want is to prove that you're just as good, if not better, than your brother!"

Several pieces of furniture flew around the room, smashing into the walls. Anna and Niko stood there, chests heaving and glaring at each other. Suddenly, they moved closer, pulling each other in, and their lips smashed together viciously.

This was how it went for them. Neither of them were tender, gentle people, and their relationship reflected that. While they both had their breakdowns, and the other was always a steady rock to comfort them when it happened, most of the time, this was it. Fighting viciously, both of them going right for the jugular. Then it turned to lust, and after they never spoke about it again.

Later, they were lying together, entangled on the couch, their clothes strewn over the room. Both of them were covered in bruises, Anna's hair was matted slightly with blood from where he had roughly slammed her against the hard, stone wall, and Niko's chin was bloody from Anna biting his lower lip savagely amidst a rough kiss.

"You know that you can't avoid them forever," Niko finally interrupted the silence they had fallen into after ending.

Anna stiffened, turning her head away. "I'm not avoiding them," she claimed coolly. If he didn't know her so well and hadn't been with her for the past two weeks, he might even have believed her.

"Yes," he countered quietly. "You are."

"I can't be a daughter," she replied. When she looked back at him, he could see a faint glimmer of tears in her haunted eyes. He ran his thumb over her cheekbone, sharp from her lack of weight.

"You don't have to be," he insisted.

"I will," she replied, voice cracking. "You don't know them, Niko. They have an image in their minds, of what a proper Halliwell should be. Me, a liar, a seductress, a traitor who used my powers against a member of the family, evil or not. That's the exact opposite of who they expect their children to be. I don't want to change myself, to suit their needs and ideals. And, by going back, that's what I'd be agreeing to do. For their sakes, I would have to change myself into some woman you wouldn't recognize."

He shook his head, leaning in to cover her mouth with his. She responded slower than usual, and it was a gentle, reassuring kiss, very unlike the bruising ones they had exchanged earlier.

"Don't be what everyone else needs for once," he urged. He didn't let her speak, when she opened her mouth to reply. "Seriously. Don't do what will help your family be more comfortable. Do what'll help you be more comfortable. You always put others first, and I'm not saying that's a bad thing. But for once, put yourself first."

"What if I don't know how to put myself first?" she whispered. He didn't know how to reply to that, so he simply kissed her again, hoping that his love and support would come through in it.


Camelot: 3rd, December 2019

It was hardly the first time that Anna had snuck into San Francisco since the world had fallen under her elder brother's control. Or rather, the first time that she had snuck into Camelot,  because that was what Wyatt had re-named his new capital.

It was so utterly stupid and typical of Wyatt, who had lorded his status as the reincarnation of King Arthur over everyone's heads for his entire life, that Anna had burst out into a fit of hysterical laughing when she first heard about it.

Because the probes tracked all magic used in the capital, she couldn't risk orbing to her destination. Instead, she was creeping through the alleyways carefully. She held an athame tightly in her right hand, while her left was raised in preparation to use her powers at a second's notice. She had already come across three demons and vanquished them, and was currently making her way back to the sewer portal the Resistance used to smuggle their agents into the capital. A backpack was slung over her shoulder, containing the potions ingredients she had risked her life to get from Brendan Rowe, one of the Resistance's warlock spies.

She walked around a corner, straight into a group of half-a-dozen Darklighters. Her heart fell as they all stared at each other in surprise for a moment before regaining their senses. They raised their arms, their bows and crossbows appearing in them. Desperately, Anna flung her arm across her in a straight line, sending the arrows that would have otherwise riddled her torso flying into the nearby shop window, shattering the cracked glass loudly.

She deflected another round of arrows a second later, growling in dismay and unaware of the probe that had scanned the side of her face.

She slammed her wrists together, palms splayed out like she was making her shadow into a butterfly. A bolt of lightning arched out of her hands. As it raced forward, it split into three, taking out half of her enemies. Before the remainder of the group could recover from the loud crack that had accompanied the lightning and the sudden loss of their comrades, Anna raced forward.

She didn't have the strength to summon another bolt of lightning so soon after the first, so she used her knife instead.

Her first teachers in physical combat had been her Aunt Phoebe and Uncle Cole, and now she regularly sparred with Valkyries, the acknowledged best fighters in this and any other world or dimension. One sharp thrust had her knife buried in the nearest demon's neck, making him burst into flames, and she spun on her heel to face the next opponent that came after her. She was just in time to send another arrow to clatter harmlessly against the wall, and she darted in under his guard.

Darklighters had wickedly good aim, but in general were crap hand-to-hand fighters. Anna thrust her palm up into his nose, breaking it. Before he could recover his balance, she slit his throat with ruthless efficiency.

That left her with only one enemy left to vanquish. This Darklighter had obviously learned from his companions' death, because he was keeping out of her reach, eyeing her warily and holding his crossbow while he looked carefully for an opening that he could use against her.

She kept him in her sights as they circled each other. They were both so intent on the other, neither of them had noticed the black orbs that had materialized into a tall young man several minutes into the fight.

Anna made the first move. She began to dart in towards him, as if intending to take him on with her knife like his two comrades. Her gamble paid off, and the Darklighter was too busy dodging to notice the sharp piece of glass she sent flying through his stomach with her telekinesis. She stood in the centre of the street, panting slightly as the adrenaline began to drain from her body.

The sound of clapping sent her hackles right back up, and she spun toward the noise, raising her hand and athame again. She faltered in terrified shock at the sight that met her eyes.

Wyatt had disappeared only hours after their mother, aunts' and uncles' joint funeral, and she hadn't seen him for two years. The next time she saw him, he attacked Magic School and slaughtered most of their remaining family, save for Pam and Anna herself.

That had been almost a year ago, and since then Anna had pointedly avoided watching the broadcasts he made, spouting propaganda about his precious empire. Her green eyes darted over him now, looking at how he had changed in the past eleven months.

His hair had grown another few inches, and instead of being in the middle of his neck they brushed just above his shoulders. He wore a tightly-fitted black t-shirt, and a pair of black skinny jeans and dress shoes. He had a very athletic form, and his hazel eyes were colder than the ice Junior had used to create. Before Wyatt had killed him.

"What are you doing here?" She loathed her voice for coming out so small and afraid sounding. She knew if she spared a look into the reflection of the glass nearby, she would seem like a frightened little girl, not one of the Leaders of the Resistance.

Wyatt gave a cold smile, sending shivers of terror racing up her spine. She tightened her grip on her athame, though she knew that it would be no help against her brother.

"An older brother can't pay a visit to his baby sister?" His tone was filled with mockery, and if she weren't so paralyzed by fear, Anna would have been infuriated by it.

"Not when they're on opposite sides of a war," she replied, a hint of boldness creeping into her tone. The sound of it made annoyance flash through Wyatt's icy gaze. He had always preferred it when people were submissive to him, save for their mother.

"Do we need to be?" he wondered, catching the younger sibling off-guard.

"W, what?" she stammered in surprise, cursing herself mentally for letting him see her confusion when she knew that he would take advantage of it.

Wyatt had earned himself a disturbing fondness for playing mind games with his victims before killing them. General Danielle Jackson, the highest remaining member of the US' former military and Anna's mentor, had warned everyone not to let him engage them in conversation if they were unfortunate enough to meet him. He would twist them into so many, and such complicated, knots that they would find themselves confessing everything they knew about the budding rebellion without realizing it. Then he would kill them.

As expected, Wyatt smirked. Up until then, he had been pacing back and forth, his shoes and the hems of his trousers staying oddly clean, but now he stopped and turned to look her in the eye.

"Think about it Anna," he breathed, a mad light in his eyes. "We could rule the world, together! Just the two of us, like it was always meant to be! After all," a sly look entered his dark hazel orbs. "Isn't that what Mom would want?"

Maybe if he hadn't mentioned Piper, Anna might have fallen for it. Certainly, the thought of returning to her childhood home, of no longer being on the run and constantly afraid, was a seductive one. But he had, and Anna couldn't bear the thought of tainting her sainted mother's memory by claiming that she would ever support any of this.

"No," she replied softly, but strongly.

Wyatt paused, his smug grin faltering. "No?" he repeated disbelievingly. "What do you mean no? No what?"

"No to everything," she whispered back. She summoned up all of her remaining strength and once again slammed her wrists together. The lightning arched out again, hitting Wyatt in the chest and sending him flying. As her brother was thrown through the air, Anna orbed away.

Tears fell down her face, and she knew that she had just thrown away her last chance at reconciling with her evil brother.

Chapter Text

Disclaimer: I don't own Charmed.

Chapter Thirty-One

Excalibur: The Maker of Kings

Camelot Alleyway: November 10 th , 2027

His sister needed the help of the Nexus to travel back in time. But she was weaker than him, both due to him being the firstborn and due to her allegiance to 'Good'. It held her back, and always had.

Wyatt, however, did not have the same fear of his own powers as Anna, and as such was even stronger than he would have been if he too was blinded by the delusions of Good and Evil that had tainted his family's thoughts. Even Phaedra, who had agreed with him, had fallen back under their parents' foolish beliefs at the end of her short life. And of course, like it did for everyone in the family, it had gotten her killed.

Wyatt stood, tapping a foot irritably and taking sadistic pleasure in the fear radiating from the half-manticore drawing the triquetra on the wall. Wyatt had decided to come out in a random location in San Francisco, as he didn't want to alert his sister or her treacherous lover to his arrival. Anna had used up the last of his mercy, and now he was determined to have his vengeance against her. She had defied and humiliated him for the last time.

Finally, Damien stood back and bowed lowly to the emperor, the triquetra finished.

"I will return soon," he told his lieutenant coldly. "Ensure that, if I am gone for some time, no one is aware of my absence. Eliminate any who discover I am gone."

"Yes, my lord," Damien agreed submissively. Wyatt nodded, and stepped closer to the alley wall.

"Hear my words, hear my cry," he drawled. "Heed the hope within my mind. Send me back to where I'll find, what I wish in space and time."

The triquetra lit up, but unlike his sister's portal, which was the same white and blue as her Whitelighter's orbs, this one was black and purple, like a Darklighter's orb. Like his orbs.

With pausing, Emperor Wyatt Halliwell, strode into the portal, and into the past, without looking back.


The Manor: November 26 th , 2003

When Piper entered the attic that day, groggy from tossing and turning during her nightmare-stricken sleep, she found Anna, Cole and Niko, standing around the lectern that held the Book of Shadows, like the two time travellers had never disappeared.

"Anna!" she gasped, drawing their attention. She wanted to fling her arms around her daughter, but Cole caught her eye and shook his head firmly. He silently warned her not to do it. If she did, she would only push Anna away.

"Hello Piper," Anna nodded stiffly, a wary look in her eyes. Piper could see Niko brushing his hand against her, in faint gesture of comfort.

She had never hated her name so much before. Was it so bad to want her daughter to call her Mom? Even just the once? Still, Piper reminded herself, as she had multiple times over the past two weeks, just how hard it had been to see and interact with her mother and grandmother, when she, Phoebe and Prue had gone back to the 70s. She had to give Anna time, she told herself again. She had to prove to her that Piper wouldn't leave her. Not this time.

"Are you guys hungry?" she asked, as brightly as she could. "I can make you something, if you are."

"That's okay, Ms. Halliwell," Niko told her. "We're good. We were actually about to go and get you and the others. We need to plan what we're going to do about Gideon."

Piper's expression darkened at the mention of the man who wanted to kill her children, and she gave a crisp nod. "My sisters are eating breakfast downstairs," she informed them. "But we all have the day off. Wyatt is out for a walk, but I can call him now."

"Good, you do that," Anna agreed, giving a sharp nod. She began to say something else, but Niko nudged her slightly. They exchanged quick looks, and Anna huffed, giving an irritated nod.

"We can talk after your sisters are finished eating," she continued.

"We should call for Leo, too," Cole reminded them. Both mother and daughter's expressions soured at the mention of Leo. Anna hated her father for both his actions (and his lack of actions) in her past, while Piper was still furious with him. The Halliwells were a lot of things, but they weren't very good at letting go of their resentment and grudges.

Still, Leo not only knew Gideon and his habits best (though clearly not well, seeing as he hadn't had a clue that the other man was planning to kill his son), but he was also very knowledgeable in his own right, but he was also Wyatt's father. He had a right to be part of the discussion.

"I suppose," Anna grumbled.

"Okay," Piper sighed, running a hand through her dark locks. "I'll just, go and get the others, then." She cast one more longing look over her shoulder at her daughter before heading to the door of the attic.

She hurried to the kitchen, where she promptly told her sisters who was in the attic.

"Oh, thank god she's okay," Phoebe breathed, pressing a hand to her chest. They had all been distraught with worry for their MIA daughter/niece, and it was a huge weight off of their chests that she was back home, safe and sound.

"Yeah," Paige, who had been in process of doing the dishes (for once), said. "W-AAGGH!"

She shrieked loudly and yanked her hands from the water, where the small figure of a woman had just appeared. A swirl of orbs heralded the arrival of Anna, Cole and Niko with her, and everyone fell into defensive stances.

"Help me," the water woman begged. "Please!"

"It is not Excalibur," Piper insisted stubbornly as she crossed her arms over her chest.

"Uh, yes, it is," Paige countered, just as determinedly.

The subject of the sisters' debate was impaled in a large rock, just short of being called a boulder, in the centre of the conservatory. Anna and Niko were pale-faced, staring at it like it was about to come alive and murder them all. Wyatt looked uncomfortable, his hands shoved deep in his pockets, while Cole and Leo both had matching looks of awe on their faces.

"We need to get rid of this thing," Anna declared abruptly. "Before the house is invaded by the entire magical world, wanting to be named Ruler of Magic."

"Yeah, but all you have to do is pull it out," Wyatt pointed out, sounding distracted. "Then, voila, everyone knows that you're Queen."

"Me?" Anna's voice went shrill and Niko also looked stunned by the other man's words.

"So, my nephew is the most powerful witch ever, and my niece is Queen of Magic," Paige mumbled. "Seriously Piper, what do you drink when you're pregnant?"

Piper, who was incredibly alarmed as she pictured the various demons and other evil beings who would seek to kill and/or kidnap her 'royal' child, shot her sister a dark look. As far as the eldest Charmed One was concerned, this was a disaster.

"What'd'you mean I have to pull it out?" Anna shrieked. "I amn't the reincarnation of King fucking Arthur!"

Wyatt shot her a stunned look. "You seriously didn't know?" he asked.

"I never touched the damn thing!" she snarled. "Mom always said it would turn me evil because it belonged to, three guesses who, you!"

"Me?" he repeated, looking shocked. "No, I'm Merlin's reincarnation, you're Arthur's."

Piper buried her head in her hands, and Leo looked a mixture of shocked and gleeful.

Anna opened her mouth to deny it again, but Niko stopped her.

"It does make sense, Angel," he pointed out. She glared at him bitterly.

"Oh, who's side are you on?" she spat. He didn't back down, keeping his gaze locked with her.

"You're a natural leader, Anna, and you know it," he insisted. "Everyone in the empire followed Him because they were forced to (the others stiffened), but the Resistance chose you to lead it because they trusted you. Even the people who don't like you, still followed you."

She huffed, crossing her arms and casting a dark look at the sword sticking out of the rock.

"You might as well try," Niko pressed her, in a soft tone.

She scowled but stomped over to the rock. "Fine, but I'm telling you, it won't come out," she insisted as she grasped the hilt. She tugged it, and stumbled back as the sword came out smoothly. A golden light surrounded her in a halo, and an invisible wind blew back her hair. Golden filigree appeared and settled along the blade, making it go from oddly plain (given it was the Maker of Kings), to elaborate and beautiful.

"You were saying?" Niko asked dryly, when the glow and wind had disappeared, leaving Anna standing there with a pale face.


The Manor: November 26 th , 2003

Anna didn't like it. The last thing she had expected when Piper had called her was to see  Excalibur  of all things. That thrice-damned sword was the main feature in most of her nightmares, reliving the many deaths it had bestowed in the hands of her murderous brother.

She should have anticipated that it would happen eventually, as she knew that the sword had come into the Charmed Ones' (and more specifically, into Piper's) possession some time before her birth. But she hadn't, and it took all of her strength to keep her composure at the sight of the long line of creatures attempting to pull it out.

She and Piper both stood, scowling as they watched the line move forward. Cole was on Piper's other side, his blue eyes narrow as he to watched the line's progress.

Everything in Anna urged for her to orb the damn thing to the bottom of an ocean somewhere, to be lost forever. But, she knew better. The sword held too much importance, and her getting rid of it would change the future in who knows what ways.

Leo orbed back in, worsening Anna's mood, with her two young aunts.

"Oh, I was afraid that this would happen," Paige winced, as Phoebe went over to kiss her husband in greeting.

Piper cast her youngest sister an irritated look. "And you didn't think to mention it?" she hissed.

"And they won't leave?" Phoebe asked hastily, preventing an argument from breaking out between the other Charmed Ones. Piper shook her head, her scowl deepening.

"Oh, no, no. More show up every minute."

"But no bad guys yet, right?" Paige asked.

"Not yet," Cole confirmed. "But they'll show up eventually. Excalibur will grant a lot of power, magical and political, to its' wielder. And the only thing Evil cares about is getting more power."

"So, we need to get this thing out of here," Piper pressed pointedly, clapping her hands together.

"Hey, the Lady of the Lake gave Excalibur to the Charmed Ones," Leo raised his hands defensively. "I'm not gonna mess with that."

"Well, you might not be willing, but I am," Anna snapped, stalking over to the rock, having reached her limit when Leo had opened his mouth. Truthfully, she'd prefer to be as far away as possible from the thing, but at least if she got rid of it, it wouldn't be in the Manor any longer. Locking away pointed mental reminders of the dangers of tampering with time (especially before your birth, as proven by her imminent non-conception), she reluctantly grasped the hilt.

She tugged at it just slightly, intent on orbing it away from the Manor, and stumbled. At her touch, the weapon had slid, as easily as if it were greased with butter, out of the stone. A golden light surrounded her in a halo, and an invisible wind blew back her hair. Golden filigree appeared and settled along the blade, making it go from oddly plain (given it was the Maker of Kings), to elaborate and beautiful.

Everyone, including Anna, gasped in shock, before the creatures, as well as Cole, all bowed deeply to her.

"Hail the Queen," someone said reverently.

Anna shook her head, uncharacteristically stammering from her shock. "N, no. No, it's not possible. It belongs to-Mo-No!" She stared around herself, taking in the awed looks, the creatures surrounding her and bowing in silent pledges of allegiance, and orbed away.

Chapter Text

Disclaimer: I don't own Charmed. Only about three or four chapters left, folks! I intend to focus purely on this until it's done. Those who've read Wisdom's Memories might recognize the conversation between Piper and Leo. But, they're both my stories, so *shrugs*. Dark Future Halliwells are Emperor Wyatt and Anna. Changed Future Halliwells are Wyatt and Annie.

Chapter Thirty-Two

Brown Smoky Quartz: Endurance

The Underworld: November 26 th , 2003

It was a shock. One moment, he was pacing around the edge of a large cavern in the Underworld, pondering the best way to retrieve his sister. The next, Excalibur disappeared from its' sheath at his side.

Emperor Wyatt's ice-blue eyes widened in a rare display of shock, before his expression quickly turned to fury. He held out his hand, calling out firmly "Excalibur!" but the sword did not appear, and ever-present well of rage in the Emperor's chest bubbled. He tried again to summon the sword, and again it did not come. That was when he lost his fragile control.

He had conscripted several demons to his service, as soon as he arrived, and they became the victims of his fury. He held out a hand, choking one to death with telekinesis, before aiming his fist at the second and squeezing tightly. The demon cried out in pain as his blood was boiled, before he burst into flames. The third demon made to run, but a neatly placed energy ball hit him in the spine, and he too joined his friends as scorch marks.

Emperor Wyatt stood there for minute, his rage only increased as it dawned on him that he no longer had any servants to attend on him.

He slammed a hand against the cavern wall. "ANNA!" he bellowed angrily. "I'M GONNA KILL YOU FOR THIS!"

As he hit the wall for a second time, a vision overtook his senses. The ability to have premonitions was just another power that Emperor Wyatt had stolen over the years. He had several Seers who spent their days searching the future for him, but he didn't trust them. Certainly not enough to rely solely on them for something as critical to his regime as this.

His sister was cleverer than he wanted to admit, and a psychic herself. Emperor Wyatt needed to be able to predict her movements, in order to prevent her successfully defeating him. And, he could grudgingly acknowledge, if only to himself, if anyone could defeat him, Annette could. She was powerful, and a genius, though her beliefs in the delusions of Good and Evil, as well as the phrase 'power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely', held her back from ever fully reaching her potential.

And so, Emperor Wyatt had taken the power to See the future from a random witch whose name he didn't know, and made full use of it to stop his sister's plans coming to fruition. Even with premonitions, however, he had not expected her time travel. After all of their mother and aunts' lectures on the dangers of such things, the Emperor was completely shocked that his 'goodie-goodie' baby sister had resorted to such a reckless and dangerous plan.

The vision took over all of his senses, sweeping him away from the Underworld cavern, and into the Library of Magic School.

He scanned his surroundings, taking in the antique wall clock saying that it was half-past seven, in the evening from the dark windows, and the small calendar on Miss Donovan's desk. The librarian herself was not present, but there was a man, in black robes. Something about him made the emperor feel afraid and helpless. And angry. So very, very angry.

He was staring down the Charmed Ones, Anna, her fiancé, Cole and Leo, all of whom were glaring darkly at him. And, there was someone else as well.

It was Wyatt, but not him at the same time. Despite the shades of grey that visions always came in, the emperor could tell that his doppelganger's clothes were too light to be black. His hair was short, brushing his ears, instead of reaching his shoulders, like the emperor's. And there was just something about him that was different.

It was his anger, Emperor Wyatt suddenly realized. For as long as he could remember, he had had a large, unshrinking knot of anger living inside of his chest. But the strange, Good, for lack of another word, version of him, didn't have that. Oh, in the vision he was obviously furious. But it was clearly not his default state, as it was for the emperor.

As Piper raised her hands to blow the Halliwells' enemy to a million pieces, and The Enemy also raised his hands to counter-attack, the vision ended, returning Emperor Wyatt to the cavern.

He paused for a moment, confused and angry. Then, he smirked. It was a cruel smirk, one that would send shivers down the spine of any who saw it. He knew where Anna and her lover would be, and he knew when they would be there. This was perfect. The cold laugh he let out would have sent anyone from his time who heard it running in fear for their lives at the man's insanity.


The Manor: November 26 th , 2003

Leo wanted, more than anything, to take advantage of the debate over Excalibur's ownership, and blame the sword for his son's fall to evil. But, he had not been completely idle over the days' revelations. Instead, he had been meditating.

He had come to a lot of realizations, the easiest of which was that he had been a bad husband and a bad father. He had blamed Anna, Wyatt and Destiny, for him leaving to become an Elder. But now, he understood that was all merely excuses that he used to avoid the guilt he felt over abandoning his wife and son.

Leo could have refused the responsibility of becoming an Elder, he could have fought the others to stay with his family. But he hadn't.

And, when he had started to regret making the decision to leave Piper and Wyatt, he had refused to accept the blame for it. Instead, he had focused all the anger and shame he felt on the two time travellers, channelling his bitterness at them. He had attacked his own daughter, an inexcusable action whether they shared blood or not. He knew that he had to try and make up for what he had done, and he had put a start to it that morning.

"Piper," he called, seeing her hard at work scrubbing dishes. A pang stung his chest as she straightened and turned to face him.

The last two weeks had taken their toll on her. Her hair was pulled into a messy bun, and she looked pale. Her beautiful brown eyes had deep purple shadows under them, and there was an uncharacteristically fragile air around her, like the slightest thing would send her into tears.

"Yes, Leo?" she sighed, running the back of a rubber-glove covered hand over her forehead and leaving a trail of bubbles behind it. "What is it?"

"I need to talk to you," he told her seriously. "Do you have a minute?"

"Well, the house is falling to pieces, and Anna is ignoring my existence, so yeah, sure. Why not?" She flashed a bitter smile that quickly disappeared once again before they both headed into the dining room and sat down.

Leo reached out, grabbing his ex-wife's hands in his own. It hurt to see the surprise that flashed in her eyes at the action.

"I made a mistake Piper," he admitted. "I made a major decision without considering the consequences of it, or speaking to you about it. And then, when I didn't like how it turned out, I lashed out and blamed an innocent for it. I threw myself into trying to prove that Anna and Wyatt had an agenda, because I didn't want to admit that I was the one who ruined our marriage." He paused and swallowed. Piper said nothing, her expression neutral as she stared at him.

"I'm sorry Piper," he said. "I'm sorry that I left, and I'm that I tried to pretend it wasn't my decision. I'm sorry that I influenced you and your sisters against our daughter, and I'm sorry that there was a version of me who was so self-centred and cold that his daughter stopped calling him 'dad' by the time she was nine." That had been a hard blow from Wyatt, as hard as learning that Anna's death had driven him away from his family on a quest for vengeance, until he had finally fallen from grace.

"But I swear to you Piper," he continued, his tone going firm. "I'm not going to pull that type of bullshit anymore."

Her eyes widened in surprise at his uncharacteristic swearing, while Leo carried on with his speech.

"I'm going to leave the Elders and the Whitelighters, and I'm going to work hard to be there, and to be a father that our children can be proud of. I'm going to work hard to be a man you can be proud of, too. For you to be able to forgive me."

She pulled her hands away, crossing her arms under her chest and keeping her expression blank as she looked down at the table. "And what if I can't forgive you?" she asked softly, not looking up. "What if it was all just too much to be forgiven for?"

"Then I'll still stick around," he replied hoarsely. When she peeked up through her eyelashes, she saw his eyes were shimmering with tears. "Whether we're together or not, I will always be there for the kids, and I'll always love you. I'll always be there to support you. I promise Piper."

"I want to believe you," she said. "I really do, but I don't know if I can. I don't trust you anymore, Leo. You really hurt me. All those years of fighting for the right to be with each other, I mean Leo, you were the one who never thought of giving up, the one who suggested that we try for a baby. And then, you just left. I just don't know if I can bring myself to let you in again. And I don't know if I can trust you not to break our kids' hearts, either. I just don't know."

"I understand," he murmured. Tears were trickling from his eyes as he leaned in to touch her forehead with his own. "I'm sorry Piper," he told her with a pained expression on his face. "I really am. I should never have left."

Her tears spilled over at that. She had tried not to blame him for leaving. She had told herself that it was Destiny, the 'Perrys' and the Elders who had taken her husband and the father of her children from her family. But, in the end, the facts didn't change. Leo was the one to make the final decision not to fight for their family. They had been fighting for months before the Titans attacked, and Leo was the one who chose to leave.

"I'm sorry," he repeated, as he gathered her into a hug. "I'm sorry."


Magic School: December 31 st , 2018

Anna carefully counted heads, ignoring the sounds of the crowd surrounding her. The twins, Henry (not Junior anymore, as painful a fact as it was), Pam and Primrose were all there.

"Where's Fay?" Anna asked, frowning. The frown deepened when her cousins all simply shrugged or denied knowledge of the last Halliwell's whereabouts.

Over the past few months, Anna had watched with an ever-increasing worry as Fay pulled away more and more from the family. But, there had been little that the Warren matriarch could do to help. She was overwhelmed with study, caring for her other five cousins, helping Victor, who had recently been diagnosed with lung cancer and whose health worsened daily, as well as fending off any demons who attacked the family. Fay's rebelliousness had been low on Anna's list of priorities, harsh as it seemed.

The young teenager sighed, feeling closer to four hundred than forty, and gave a resigned nod. "Okay," she said. "You guys can stay awake until the countdown is over, and then you have to go straight to bed, alright guys?"

"Okay." "Yes Anna." "I know, you've already said that like, a million times," were the various replies that she received, and Anna gave a quick thumbs up.

"Good," she said cheerfully. "I'll just be over there, talking to Sienna and Sarah, kay? Call me if you need me."

They all nodded, and she headed over to her waiting friends.

"Ready for 2019 to start, mi amiga?" Sarah asked brightly. She was chirrupy today, a rare state for any of their coven, since the Charmed Ones' deaths had come, only two months after the Bennets' and Beckhams' losses.

"Oh, definitely," Anna agreed dryly. "Another year of pretty much the exact same things. I can't wait." Another year without Mom, she added solemnly in her mind.

"You, my friend, need to relax," Sienna insisted. She shoved a red plastic cup into Anna's hand, and the fourteen-year-old's mouth dropped in shock at the smell wafting from it.

"Is this alcohol?" she demanded in shock. "Where the hell did you get alcohol from?"

"Archer," Sienna replied. Sarah and Anna's expressions turned sly.

"Ohh, Archer gave it to you," Sarah said, in a sing-song voice. Sienna flushed as red as her hair. "And, are you gonna give him something in return?"

"Shut up, Sarah!" Sienna hissed, looking embarrassed and glancing around herself nervously. "Someone could hear you! It's not like that!"

"Riiight," Anna dragged the word out, showcasing her scepticism at the claim. "Methinks that the lady doth protest too much."

Sienna glared, but right then Miss Donovan called for attention.

"It's time for the countdown!" The Librarian carolled. "All together now, everyone!"

"Five!" Everybody shouted in unison. Anna hastened back to her cousins, noticing Sienna creeping up beside Archer, a determined look mingling with her bright red cheeks.

"Four! Three! Two! On-!"

As they called out the last number, there was a loud explosion. It was followed by the loud ringing of alarms. Alarms designed by Anna's late Aunt Paige for one reason, and one reason only. To warn the residents and students of Magic School that there were evil beings in the building.

A second later a series of shimmers signalled the appearance of a dozen demons. But the worst sight of all came last. A large column of fire erupted on the stage beside Miss Donovan. When it died down, Wyatt stood in its' place, Fay at his side.

A hoarse, "Wyatt?" fell from Anna's mouth. Her hands fell to hang limply at her sides and she stared in horror at her brother. It was the first time since their mother's funeral that she had seen him, and he was shoving Excalibur through Miss Donovan's chest.

He pulled the sword out and turned to smirk at her. It was a cruel grin, and it didn't reach his emotionless eyes.

"Hello, Annette," he drawled. "Surprised to see me?" Then he glanced beside him to a demon waiting submissively for his orders. "Kill them all."

Chapter Text

 

 

 

Disclaimer: I don't own Charmed.

Chapter Thirty-Three

Eye of Horus: Protection

Her newly revealed destiny hovered at the back of Anna's mind, even as she bent over the Book of Shadows. The sword, sheathed in its' boulder once again, seemed to glare at her, as she struggled to ignore it, and the pressures that it brought with her. Cole, Niko, Wyatt and the aunts were all gone to the Underworld, hunting down the demons who'd attacked in search of the Maker of Kings. Personally, Anna was half-inclined to just hand the damn thing over to them and be done with it. She certainly didn't want it, or any of the stresses that ownership of it brought.

Excalibur. Of all the jokes life had played on her, this one really took the cake. Anna gave up her attempt at studying the Book as a bad job and buried her head in her hands to think instead.

'Queen Arthur' she thought scornfully. The fact that she had been a man in her past life wasn't actually that surprising. After all, to evolve and grow, spirits needed to see many different perspectives, so it made since that they changed genders in various lives. But the Once and Future King of all people. The Angels of Destiny couldn't possibly have made a worse choice.

What was Anna, but the Halliwells' biggest failure? After all, she had done to stop the world's destruction. That day, so long ago in the future, there had been a moment when Anna had held a dagger to Wyatt's throat. A single second where she could have slit his throat, and stopped the subsequent years of turmoil and war from ever happening.

But she had frozen, and the entire world had suffered from her inability to do what she needed to do. She had never gained the upper-hand in a battle against Wyatt, after that. Not until she pulled a Hail Mary and flung herself back in time in a desperate attempt to stop her family's mistakes from ever occurring.

"Well, what if I don't want to be the goddessdamned queen of the magical world?" Anna muttered sullenly, glaring up at the ceiling and directing her words to the Angels of Destiny. "What about that, huh?"

Of course, Anna's wants had never been high on anyone save her mother and grandfather's list of priorities, so she would be seriously shocked if the Guardians of Fate cared about them either.

But her, the queen of the magical world. It was horrifyingly possible, though surreal, and she was infuriated to realize the thought of it made her feel like a frightened little girl. Anna was no stranger to being a leader, but it wasn't something that she was fond of. She had been looking forward to a new life with Niko. One without the pressures of leadership weighing on her shoulders.

"Anna," Piper called from the attic doorway, making the stressed out possible-queen's head snap up and around, cracking loudly in the process. "Ow, I hate when that happens," Piper sympathized with a hesitant smile as she walked into the room, Leo following quietly after her.

"I'm fine," Anna replied curtly, going back to her book. She frowned and glanced up again. "Where's Baby Wyatt?"

"He's downstairs having a nap," Leo answered, he lifted a hand, showing the baby monitor in it, and gave it a tentative shake so that she could see it.

Anna relaxed, nodding and looking away again. The two parents exchanged quick looks, nodding to fortify themselves for the conversation ahead of them.

"Anna," Piper said firmly to draw her daughter's attention. "We need to talk. No more putting this off."

"What's there to talk about, Piper?" Anna asked coolly. "I don't have anything to say to you. To either of you, actually. I'm here to do a job, not have any family reunions."

"You're angry with us," Piper answered, meeting her gaze firmly. "And we want to apologize."

Anna faltered in the middle of opening her mouth to sling a sharp retort at her young mother. "Apologize?" she repeated dumbly, wondering if she had just slipped into an alternate universe by accident. Piper Halliwell didn't apologize. And Leo certainly didn't.

"Yes," he spoke up. He looked at her with a solemn gaze, heavy with knowledge. "We failed you, Anna. In your timeline, and in ours. The only thing that we can do is apologize, and promise that we'll do better this time."

He felt silent again, and they both looked at her expectantly, waiting for her reply. Anna was quiet for several minutes, emotions warring for dominance inside her breast. Finally, she settled on the familiar feeling of anger. It was far easier for her to deal with then any of the others, at any rate.

"You're sorry," she finally said, in a flat tone. "You failed me, and the world in a million different worlds. Billions died because of it. But you'll do better this time. Are you fucking kidding me?"

They opened their mouths, but she didn't give them a chance to say anything, barrelling on furiously.

"My whole damn life was ruined because of you two being too caught up in yourselves and your normal," she spat the word like it was a curse word. "Lives! But hey, everything's alright now, cause you're gonna do better this time! Doing better isn't going to change the memories in my head! Why the fuck should I forgive either of you for abandoning me to try and stop the apocalypse by myself?

I had to take care of the cousins at twelve, I had to take care of Grandpa after he got cancer when I was thirteen. I had to raise an army as a fucking teenager! I had to fight my own goddessdamned brother to the brink of death goddess knows how many times! And it never would've happened if you hadn't left me! It was all your fault! Ihate you, I hateyou, Ihateyou!"

She was dismayed to realize, as she sucked in desperate breaths, that tears were streaming down her face and she had somehow ended up on her knees, pounding the floor with the side of her hands like some sort of madwoman.

Her parents kneeled down next to her, Piper wrapping an arm around her and pulling her head into the crook of her mother's neck, despite Anna's resistance.

She wasn't sure how long it lasted, but when she finally pulled away from her mother, Piper's neck and the top of her sleeve were wet from the years of tears that Anna had held in. Somehow, she felt lighter. Maybe there was something to that old claim of tears releasing pain after all.


Cuppa Joe Café: September 18 th , 2022 (changed timeline)

One of the Halliwells' defining traits was their stubbornness. Another was their pride. It took a great deal of strength for them to swallow their ego, admit they were wrong about something, and apologize for their words and actions.

For Piper Halliwell, who may have been a timid, shy peacemaker in her child-and-early-adulthood, but who had developed into a strong, headstrong witch with a triple dose of the family stubbornness, it was even harder. In fact, most of the time, it fell to the person she was arguing with to make amends, whether they were in the right or not. But, if she had a trait stronger than her pride, it was her love for her children.

Therefore, when almost two months passed without any contact from her stubborn daughter, Piper slowly came to the realization that if she wanted to keep any semblance of a relationship with her youngest child, she would have to make a major sacrifice.

Piper would have to let go of her pride, and acknowledge that, much as she hated to admit it, Annie was no longer a child. She was an eighteen-year-old, clever young woman. She was old enough to make her own decisions, and mistakes.

That was why, after several days of unsuccessfully scrying for, summoning, and contacting each of Annie's coven-mates, she was standing in a café, looking around for her daughter.

Her daughter had a loyal, tight-knit group of friends, and they had refused to tell her where Annie had been staying for the past two months since she had stormed out of the Manor. And, although she knew for a fact that Annie was still in contact with her grandfather and uncles, they all denied knowledge of Annie's location. Anna had stopped coming to work at P3, having sent in her resignation the day after the fight.

But Victor, eager to help his daughter and granddaughter reconcile their differences, had agreed to arrange a meeting between the two Halliwell women. Piper suspected that a public place had been chosen so that the two witches would be unable to use their powers in fits of temper. Not that she would ever use her powers against her daughter, even in the deepest midst of her rage.

But  around  her? Yes, that was a distinct possibility, and they really couldn't afford to fix the clock again. Their insurance company  loathed  them with the same intensity the Halliwells had for the Source of All Evil.

Her keen brown eyes caught sight of Annie. Her daughter was seated in the corner, her back to the wall and just beside the entrance to the bathroom. It was the most defensible position in the café, and Piper knew that there was a back exit at the end of the hallway containing the bathrooms.

Annie had probably chosen it for the sake of getting a small semblance of privacy, but it was the exact place Anna would have chosen. Not for privacy, but for the sake of having the whole room in her line of sight, and having a convenient exit available if she couldn't orb for some reason.

Every day, Annie became more like her lost counterpart, but thankfully far less war-hardened and haunted. It broke Piper's heart, bringing back memories of her Other-Daughter. And her pain.

"She looked kind of peaceful," Paige had said just after admitting what Gideon had done, trying to comfort her, though nothing could ease the agony of losing a child. "Like she didn't have to worry anymore, ya know?"

Paige had wanted to help, but she had unintentionally made it worse. Anna had suffered so badly, death had come as a relief to her. Piper had promised herself that Annie wouldn't go through remotely the same pain.

Originally, she had even intended to keep Annie away from magic entirely. But then Leo had convinced her that was foolish. Annie was a strong witch, in a family of strong witches, not to mention the heir to Excalibur. If they didn't teach her to control her magic, she would be defenceless against the constant threats that attacked the family. She would be left out of the family, and come to resent them for it. And it would be as hard for her to deal with everything, once destiny inevitably caught up to her, as it had been for Piper and her sisters.

She had protected her instead, keeping her close and coddling her. With each birthday bringing them closer to the twenty-third one that Anna had died on, she attempted to draw her baby closer into her protective embrace. Annie, meanwhile, grew ever more dissatisfied, her independence growing, as well as her awareness that neither her brother nor her cousins were shielded so much.

Really, Piper thought ruefully to herself. She shouldn't have been so surprised at Annie's outburst. That had always been Annie, and Anna's, way of dealing with her emotions. She stored them up, hoarding them as carefully as if they were buried treasure. She kept quiet, gathering a list of grievances. And then, when the chest in her mind that she buried her feelings in was too full to stay shut, she converted all the stored-up feelings into anger (an emotion she found much easier to deal with than any other) and then she unleashed them all in a storm of rage.

It had happened during Anna's trip to the past, when Leo had pushed her over the edge, and she had given him a beating that would have killed, or at least hospitalized, a mortal, and it had happened when Annie finally got fed up of her family holding her back.

Piper noticed that Anna's eyes were fixed on her, and the Warren matriarch inhaled deeply, gathering her courage. Trying to fix her relationship with her daughter was a hell of a lot harder than fighting a demon, but Piper walked over to the table anyway.

Anna stood when Piper arrived, a wary look on her face. "Mom," she greeted her finally.

"Anna," Piper gave an uncertain smile. "Can I sit down?"

Anna gave a jerky shrug. "Of course," she nodded.

She waited until Piper was seated before signalling the waitress over and sitting back down again. Piper sighed again, and met Anna's tense eyes.

"Honey," she said, reaching out to clasp Anna's hand. "We need to talk."

Chapter Text

Disclaimer: I don't own Charmed. Here it is folks, the one you've all been waiting for. The Final Showdown. I hope it lives up to expectations. Next is the epilogue/finale! :-(

Chapter Thirty-Three

Laurel Crown: Victory

The Manor: November 28 th , 2003

The Charmed Ones had never been good at being cautious. Unlike Anna, who had always held back, researched everything she could about her enemy, and carefully planned out every little detail along with making back-up plans, and back-up plans for her back-up plans. Niko and Cole both favoured caution and being prepared as well, whilst Wyatt was so powerful he rarely needed a plan beyond 'rush in headfirst and blow every enemy into a million tiny atoms'. Any time that he did need a plan, or something particular, Annie/Anna took care of it for him, making snarky remarks in the process. Leo simply stood back, letting his strong-willed wife and her ever-confident sisters take the lead.

That was why, after much 'debating' (a.k.a arguing and blowing things up with their powers in fits of frustration) the family decided on a compromise. Instead of waiting for months, as Anna had intended to do, or simply going straight after him, as soon as she had finished taking care of her daughter, which was Piper's preference, they had decided to wait a week. One week, before they would ambush Gideon in Magic School, and eliminate the threat he posed to their family, and by default, to the world, forever.

The afternoon after Anna's breakdown, Victor arrived for a visit on Piper's request. Wyatt had made an off-hand mention of how close her father and daughter were, and Anna had yet to fully forgive Leo, though she had relaxed enough to acknowledge Piper as her mother. Never did the title of 'Mom' sound sweeter to Piper's ears than when Anna had first let it slip.

"So," Victor said, carefully observing his granddaughter. After her initial, delighted greeting, Anna had withdrawn into herself, and was now intent on twisting her charm bracelet around her wrist repeatedly. "We're close, in your time?"

"We were," Anna nodded, not noticing her tense, though Victor did. "In my timeline, I got shoved to the background a lot. You were always there for me, whenever I needed to talk to someone, or just needed to get away from magic."

"That means a lot," Victor said sincerely. Anna looked up, meeting his gaze. "It's no secret that I wasn't the best father. That I make up for it with my grandkids is, a huge relief."

"You were always amazing," she assured him. She glanced at his cigar case, resting on the table, took a deep breath, and added a careful. "You might wanna quit smoking that stuff. To avoid any future problems, you know?"

Victor's eyes widened in alarm. "Thanks for the tip," he said hastily, tossing the case in the trash immediately. Then he turned back to his granddaughter. "So, what's wrong with you and Leo?" he asked bluntly, guessing (correctly) that Anna was not one to beat around the bush. Her jaw tightened, a scowl forming automatically at Leo's name.

"Nothing's wrong," she insisted stubbornly. "He spent my childhood thinking I wasn't good enough, that is, if he remembered that I existed at all. And, he didn't believe me when I said that something wrong with Wyatt, right up until his precious Golden Boy killed him. And then, he stalked the two of us once we arrived. Now, he finds out we're his kids and he feels all bad about it. Hypocritical much? I mean, it was fine to harass and follow us when we were 'intruders', but once we share blood, it's a cardinal sin? Goddess, he's so full of double standards!"

Her chest was heaving when she finished her rant, and Victor suspected that she had been holding her feelings about Leo inside for a long time.

"Maybe he'll do better this time," he suggested quietly. He didn't push Anna to forgive her father, because she simply couldn't. She wasn't ready for that. Not yet, at any rate, and he wasn't going to try and guilt her into it, for Leo's sake. Leo was a father, so he ought to understand why Victor was putting Anna's mental health first.

"I'll believe it when I see it," Anna replied, a bitter look in her eyes. Victor decided to leave it at that, and turned his attention to the far more agreeable pastime of learning about his new granddaughter's personality. She was so like Paige in wit, and Prue in personality, that he nearly split himself laughing at her snarky and lightning-fast retorts.


Magic School: 2 nd , December 2003

Finally, the day arrived. Leo, knowing the protocol of Magic School, had somehow managed to arrange for all the students and faculty, save Gideon, to be evacuated from the school. They had agreed that Sigmund, Gideon's fellow conspirator/minion, was of no real consequence, and they could deal with him later.

Amidst the chaos of everybody fleeing the school, nobody noticed the group that discreetly orbed into an empty classroom. The family waited there, tension making them anxious and fluttery, until Leo signalled that all the students were gone. Then, they hastened to the Library, all grim and ready to destroy the threat to their family. Unsurprisingly, Piper and Anna, the people most affected by the events, were in the lead.

Gideon was in the Library, a worried look on his face. It quickly went cool, as he took in the people who had entered, and the murderous expressions that they all wore.

"So," he said quietly, an almost sorrowful look in his eyes. "Is this what is has come to, Leo? Seven decades of friendship, and now, here you are, intent on my death. Why, Leo, why have you betrayed me?"

"Because you want to kill my son!" Leo snarled back, a paternal urge to protect raging fiercely in his blue eyes. "And, I am not the traitor here, Gideon. That's you, for plotting to murder an infant! Have you no shame? How did you ever become a Whitelighter, let alone an Elder? I trusted you, and you plot to kill my son!"

Gideon's expression darkened again. "I am doing what must be done!" he insisted adamantly. "I am protecting the Balance! The Grand Design never meant for such a powerful being to be born! I-"

"I am bored of this," another voice drawled. Anna and Niko both froze, horror dawning in their eyes as they spun in unison to stare, terrified, at the figure that had just emerged from the shadowy corner of the room. Emperor Wyatt looked contemptuously at the younger versions of his dead family, ignoring the shock and revulsion on their faces. He steadfastly pretended that the way his mother recoiled in disgust at the sight of her evil son didn't hurt.

"Anna," he said plainly. "This ends now. You have gone too far."

Anna raised her hands and shifted into a fighting stance, her momentary shock replaced by the same grim determination that she always wore when facing down her evil brother.

"You've said that before," she scoffed. "And, yet. Here I am, still walking and talking and planning your downfall. My Lord," she added the last part mockingly, and he glared icily back at her.

"You see!" Gideon cried wildly, as it suddenly dawned on him who the 'Perrys' were. "You see the danger that they are!"

"Oh shut up," Emperor Wyatt snapped impatiently. He waved a hand, and the Elder was sent flying headfirst into the wall, unconscious.

The Halliwells all (save Anna and Niko, who didn't move their gazes from the emperor) cast quick glances at him, before returning to the current, greater, threat.

"Get away from your sister!" Piper demanded, brown eyes blazing as she raised her hands. He sneered mockingly at her.

"What are you gonna do, mom?" he asked. "Kill me in order to protect my sister? I always knew that Anna was your favourite."

"It's a thought," Piper smirked. "And I don't have a favourite. It just so happens that Anna never turned against everything our family stands for, and has stood for since Melinda Warren's time, centuries ago."

"You always said spanking was barbaric," Emperor Wyatt drawled, ignoring the second part of her statement.

Piper threw out her hands and sent him flying across the room.

"Ouch," he complained, standing. "That hurt. Seriously never had you pegged as the type of mother who'd hit your kids."

"What's the matter, Brother Dear?" Anna asked scornfully. "Can't take what you dish out? Too fucking bad." She slammed her wrists together, sending a bolt of lightning at him.

His shield shot up, absorbing the blow and protecting him. It deflected back at her, and she jumped out of the way just in time to avoid it hitting her heart. He gave her a coldly superior look.

"Do you really think that you can beat me, Anna?" he scoffed. "You're not so foolish. You've always been to wary of your own powers to actually use them to the extent you could, even after all those rituals you did to force their advancement. Face the facts, Anna. You're weak, and you've always been weak."

"No," everyone turned, surprised at the interruption. Emperor Wyatt had taken no notice of his duplicate, too confident in himself to wonder about it, and since the Source's arrival, everybody had been too distracted to notice the Good Wyatt, standing in the background.

Now, however, he stepped forward, taking the centre and facing down his Evil Counterpart. By silent agreement, the rest stepped back to let the two Twice-Blesseds battle out their differing philosophies, though they remained ready to fight.

The Emperor eyed his doppelganger coldly as they circled each other. "Who are you?" he demanded, a hint of frustration leaking into his tone.

Wyatt gave a bleak smile. "I'm you," he admitted. "However much I want to deny it. One different decision and we'd be swapping positions. But right now, I'm putting an end to you and your tyranny. I hope you're ready to die."

Emperor Wyatt sneered, hiding his brief flash of uncertainty. "I am the most powerful witch of all time," he boasted. "Not even if the entire Warren Line united against me could I be defeated!"

"You're an arrogant son of a bitch," Wyatt snorted back.

"Wyatt! Language!" Piper reprimanded him automatically, despite the circumstances. No child of hers was going to be going around swearing like a sailor. She had been letting Anna slide because of everything that she had been through over the past few years, but once Gideon was dead, all the bets were off. Wyatt got no passes for not acting like the gentleman she expected him to be.

"Sorry, Mom," he called over his shoulder. The Emperor took advantage of that brief moment of distraction to fling an energy ball at his opponent's unprotected back, but Wyatt's shield shot up to protect him.

"Don't take your eyes off of him!" Anna snapped. "Asshole fights dirty."

"Thanks for the tip!" Wyatt called back, as he returned with an Energy Wave. Emperor Wyatt brushed it aside, and squeezed his hand closed, attempting to crush Wyatt's throat.

Wyatt choked for a second, but Anna intervened. Filled with a sudden desperation, she flung a jet of fire at the Emperor. It took him by surprise, and he staggered, yelling in surprise and clutching his shoulder. Anna scrambled over to Wyatt's side, standing beside him and keeping a careful eye on her evil brother.

Piper bit her nails as she watched the scene, Phoebe and Paige keeping her back for the moment. They all understood, instinctively, that this was Anna and Wyatt's battle to fight, not the Charmed Ones. That didn't make it any easier for them to stand back.

Emperor Wyatt lowered his hand, shifting his burned shoulder. "Double-crossing bitch," he spat venomously. Anna stared coldly back.

"Like I said last time," she replied, going frighteningly calm. "You're the one who betrayed our family. Not me."

For whatever reason, this time it actually seemed to hit him. His face flickered, something that might have been regret flashing over it, before suddenly he flung a Lazer Bolt at his sister. She twisted, the bolt grazing her back as Wyatt returned with his own jet of fire.

On and on it went, the three opponents doing their level best to kill each other, while their family helplessly watched. At some point, Anna managed to fling up a ward, preventing any stray attacks escaping the circle they fought in, and stopping any the family from giving any aid to their children.

Even with both Wyatt and Anna against him, Emperor Wyatt was powerful. He used everything he could, took any slight advantage. But Anna was experienced in fighting against him, and together, the siblings prevailed.

Eventually, they stood over the Emperor, panting and injured. A distraction from Anna had allowed Wyatt to use Power Negation on the evil Halliwell. It wouldn't last long, but it gave them enough time to end him.

The emperor glared bitterly at them as Wyatt raised his hand, an Energy Wave forming.

"Wait!" Anna said abruptly.

The Emperor sneered. "I knew that you could never let me die," he scoffed. "Weak."

She gave him an icy look, and raised her hand. "Excalibur!" she called, the sword appearing. The Emperor's eyes widened in shock. He opened his mouth to speak, but Anna was quicker.

"This," she declared. "Is for everything, and everyone, that has suffered at your hands." And, in a flash of silver, she swung. The decapitated head rolled only a moment, before it faded away, along with the body of the worst Source of All Evil the world had ever seen.

Somehow, the silence seemed to echo throughout the room.

Chapter Text

Disclaimer: I don't own Charmed. Okay, a short epilogue, but I hope it lives up to expectations.

Epilogue

Olive Branch: Peace

The Manor: December 31 st , 2028

"Honey," Piper's voice trembled with tears and she clasped her hands together in front of her mouth as she gazed at her daughter's reflection in the full-length mirror. "You look so beautiful."

Anna gave her a distracted smile, before returning her eyes to the mirror as well, smoothing down her dress nervously. "It doesn't seem like me," she said anxiously, biting her lip.

True, Anna rarely bothered to be 'girly', so to speak. She preferred practicality, and drove her cousins mad when she turned up to parties in a fancy top, clean jeans and a bit of lip-gloss. But she looked amazing, and right, today.

Her dress was a floor-length princess-style ball gown with cap sleeves made of lace. It had a delicate sweetheart neckline, and the bodice had several small beads sewn into it, in intricate fleur-de-lis patterns. The light caught on the beads, making them sparkle just the right amount for it to be called pretty, not ostentatious. In fact, the whole dress managed it.

Anna's hair was curled, and in an elegant, half-up and half-down style. Two silver leaf-shaped hairclips, studded with diamonds, held the updo in place. Her make-up was light, and natural, and very Anna. For once, she didn't look haunted by a life that had never happened, as she had been since her, Wyatt and Niko's memories all returned a year ago.

Her something old was Melinda Warren's blessing cup, also used by Piper and Leo at their own wedding. Her something new was her dress, and she had borrowed a garter from her friend and coven-mate, Sienna. Her necklace and earrings were made of blue sapphires, signalling wisdom, faithfulness, sincerity and good fortune.

"Alright," Piper sniffed. "So you're dressed, your make-up and your hair are both done. You have something old, borrowed, blue and new. Do you have a penny in your shoe?"

Anna nodded, and Piper tried to think of anything she had forgotten. The Halliwells had become quite superstitious over their years of practicing the craft, and she didn't want to risk anything ruining her precious daughter's special day.

"My veil," Anna said softly. She glanced over at the veil, handed down from her mother, left to lie in wait over the back of the chair.

"Right!" Piper snapped her fingers, hurrying over to grab the veil before returning to carefully attach it to Anna's hair without ruining the updo.

She paused for another moment afterwards, having a flash of déja vu to her own wedding day. Patty and she had stood in this same position, in this same room, staring at Piper in the mirror. Now, over two decades later, she stood in her mother's shoes.

"I can't believe this is actually happening," Anna admitted softly, her voice cracking and her green eyes shimmering with tears.

"I know," Piper acknowledged, letting out a shaky breath. "When did you change from the baby girl who orbed herself to my arms in public, to this beautiful, mature, young woman, who's about to get married?"

Anna gave a wavering smile. "Don't ask me," she attempted to joke. She suddenly turned, pulling Piper into a hug, angling herself so as not to ruin her make-up. "Thank you, Mom," she whispered. "For everything. Then and now."

"Always, Peanut," the mother whispered back. "I could never have done anything different."

Someone knocked on the door, and they separated.

"Come in, Dad!" Anna called. The door opened and Leo, dressed in a black tux with a sad smile on his face, stepped. He caught his breath, an awed look on his face as he approached his shyly-smiling daughter.

"Annie," he used her childhood name. "You look, so beautiful. Just like your mother."

She gave a watery laugh. "Thank you, Daddy." They ignored her using the childish name for the first time in years. "Is it time to go?" she asked nervously.

Leo's smile grew pained, and he gave a quick nod. "Yeah," he confirmed. "It's time."

"Okay," she exhaled. She ran her hands over her skirt, darted a quick look around her childhood room, and nodded. "Okay," she repeated, her voice going more confident. "I'm ready."

The two extended their arms, she grabbed them, and the three of them orbed away from the Halliwell Manor.


San Francisco Arboretum: December 31 st , 2028

It had made perfect sense to Anna and Niko. The San Francisco Arboretum had been 'Their Spot' in three lifetimes, after all. It was here that they would secretly meet to exchange information, and have their brief trysts in the Dark Timeline. It was where they had most often been found hanging out together in Wyatt's Timeline, according to him, and it was where they had played together as children in this one. Where they had shared their first kiss when Anna was fifteen. And in every life, Niko had gone down on one knee and asked Anna for her hand in marriage at that bench. Where else could they possibly get married?

An arch had been set up, shielded from ruination by spells. It was made of dark green leaves, with zinnias (symbolizing lasting affection, daily remembrance and also "thoughts of friends) twisted into it. Several rows of white-cloth covered seats had been set up, though it was a small wedding. Anna's family made up most of the guest list, along with Niko's mother, and their coven-mates.

Niko stood at the front with Penny, summoned from the Afterlife along with Patty and Prue to act as High Priestess at her great-granddaughter's wedding. He tensed anxiously as Piper scurried in and hurried to her seat in the front row, turning to look at the entrance.

The music started, and the flower girl came in. Tori had a look of intense concentration on her face as she carefully walked down the aisle, picking up handfuls of zinnia petals and tossing them on the white carpet as she made her way to the front.

The young girl beamed up at her father when she reached the front, and Niko grinned back. He ducked down to give her a quick peck on the forehead. "Good work, Princess," he whispered to her softly, making her already-broad grin grow. He could see the empty space where her front tooth should be. "Go sit with Grams for the ceremony, okay? Mommy and I will see you after."

"'Kay, Daddy!" she chirruped brightly, turning to skip over to Piper. "Did you see me, Grams?" she asked loudly. "I did it, I did it!"

"I did see you," Piper replied, smiling back at her. "You did wonderfully, darling."

Niko smiled again, turning his attention back to the entrance. Piper and Leo, who were more traditional then most people realized, had been furious when their then seventeen-year-old daughter announced that she was pregnant. Anna had even ended up staying with her grandfather (refusing Niko's offer on the grounds of not wanting to make things even worse than they already were) for two months. But, as was inevitable with the Halliwell family, they had eventually reconciled after a demon attack had nearly made Anna miscarry. And Victoria Phoenix Halliwell was too sweet and adorable to be disliked. After their memories returned, Tori had become even more precious to them, knowing they had killed her to spare her a life of suffering in another lifetime.

Finally, the bridal music started up, and Anna entered, one arm interlinked with her father's, and the other clutching her bouquet, silver bells mixed with flowers to ward off evil.

Niko met her eyes through the white film of her veil, an awed expression on his face as he stared lovingly at the beautiful sight. He could only ever recall being this happy when Tori was born.

"We are gathered here today," Penny began. "To unite two souls as one.

Do you, Nikolaus Alexander Perry and you, Annette Prudence Halliwell,

join us here of your own free will

to acknowledge the eternal bond

shared by both of you?"

"I do," they replied in unison.

They turned to each other, joined hands and began to recite the vows that they had prepared for that moment.

"Niko," Anna started. "I have always known that soulmates exist. And the moment we met, I knew that you were mine. I pledge to always be at your side, to fight beside you, and to love you, as long as we both shall live."

Brief, but neither of them were the type to express their feelings publicly to each other. That was for the privacy of their home and bedroom.

"Anna," he replied, meeting her gaze steadily. "I have seen you at your best, and at your worst. I know you, the real you, and you are the most amazing person, I could ever have been granted the privilege to know. I pledge to always be at your side, to fight beside you, and to love you, as long as we both shall live."

"Here before witnesses Annette Prudence Halliwell and Nikolaus Alexander Perry have sworn their vows to each other," Penny went on. "With this cord I bind them to those vows."

She waved her hand, the red satin ribbon entwining itself around their wrists. They met each other's eyes and began to chant.

"Heart to thee,

Body to thee,

Always and forever,

So mote it be."

"So mote it be," the audience echoed.

"You may kiss the bride," Penny added with a warm smile.