Disclaimer: Not mine. Belongs to Constance M. Burge, Brad Kern, and Spelling Entertainment

Author's Note: Written for Storydivagirl during the Charmed Santa.

Chris Halliwell crouched down and set three small white roses at the base of the grave. He took a deep, shuddering breath as he reached up to trace the letters etched in the cold gray stone. “Piper Anne Halliwell. Beloved wife, sister, and mother.” He furiously rubbed at his eyes with his other hand, desperately trying to stop the tears from starting again.

He remembered it all too clearly. The ringing of shattered glass as it rained down onto the floor, and the roar of a monster that he had never seen before. Even though he was fourteen, nearly an adult in his mind, his father was already grabbing for him, preparing to orb him and his older brother to magic school.

“We can help!” Chris had protested, struggling against his father’s grip.

“Chris is right. Let us!” Wyatt had argued as well.

However, a loud scream had stopped their objections. Just as the small, blue lights circled him, Chris watched in horror as the large creature hurled his mother across the room before she had the chance to throw up her hands in defense. He didn’t know what happened next; the orbs had completely engulfed him. When they had cleared, Chris found himself staring at the couch sitting in the magic school common room. Leo had let them go, and then orbed away.

He didn’t find out what happened until his father reappeared hours later. He was bruised and battered, and defeat hovered in his soft, blue eyes. He never told them what happened, only that their mother and aunts were dead.

Months passed since that moment, and Chris still couldn’t fathom that his mother was gone. Even though he and Wyatt were currently living with their grandfather, he still sneaked out every day to place flowers on his mother’s grave.

“Chris?” He glanced up to see his older brother walking towards him. “I thought you might be here,” he said when he reached him.

Chris turned his haunted blue eyes back to the grave. “We could’ve helped. We could’ve saved them.”

Wyatt crouched down beside him and rested a hand on his younger brother’s shoulder. “We also could’ve gotten killed in the process.”

“But that demon is still out there, roaming free, and Mom is…” his voice trailed off, not even daring to say the inevitable out loud.

“I know,” Wyatt said softly, nodding. “We aren’t going to let him get away with this. But now is not the time.” Chris looked over at him, noticing the determination in Wyatt’s dark brown eyes. “We’ve got to plan, and we’ve got to be ready,” he continued. “We can’t let him take us by the same surprise. It’s not what Mom, Aunt Phoebe, and Aunt Paige would’ve wanted.”

Chris turned back to the grave. “I guess.”

Wyatt stood up and nodded towards the old, beat-up car sitting in the parking lot. “Come on, Chris, let’s go. We can’t hang on to the past. It’s time to let her go and fix this mess.”

Reluctantly, Chris stood as well, his head hanging. “It just doesn’t seem right to forget her.”

Wyatt patted his brother’s shoulder. “We won’t forget her. We’ll carry on her legacy.”

Chris nodded, and without argument, allowed his brother to lead him away.


© 2004 Crimson Idealist