Charmed: The New Power Of Three
By Julien Gregg
Chapter Nine:
Guardians Of Destiny

A fire burned in the center of the underground cavern. Arlissa stood in front of her alter, arranging the items she needed to do her magic. The blackened skull of an infant was placed at the head of the inverted pentagram burned into the alter's surface. The chalice made of coal was placed at the base of the pentagram. The scarlet athamae was placed on the left of the pentagram, and the black crystal was placed to the right. Finally, she placed her tome of dark magic in the center of the pentagram.

Thirteen black candles formed a circle on the cavern bed in front of the alter. She lit each one before returning to her alter. Everything was in place for her spell to work. All she needed now was the right words. She searched her book for the spell she needed, and a smile crept over her beautiful face when she found the right one.

"Magic forces black and white, reaching out through space and light, be he far or be he near, bring me the demon Dax here," she cried, and Dax suddenly appeared before her. She smiled at him as he glared back at her.

"What have you done?" Dax demanded, looking around him at the thirteen black candles. "I could kill you from inside this circle." He let fire ball up in his hands as he spoke, but she just continued to smile.

"Such hatred in you, Dax," she said, stepping around her alter to stand in front of the circle of candles. "And you think you're a good witch now."

"I am a good witch now," he snapped. "My brother saved me, Sorceress. Nothing you can do now will change that."

"I am not a sorceress, Dax," she replied, smiling still. "I am but a humble seer who has looked into your future and seen you reunited with your demonic half."

"You speak lies," he cried. "There is no demon left in me. It was vanquished."

"Vanquished?" she scoffed. "Then why did a spell meant for a demon bring you here to me? I foresee much evil in your future, Dax. You've spilled the blood of far too many innocents to lay claim to the craft of a good witch."

She threw back her had and laughed. Dax regarded her suspiciously for a moment. He could throw the fire at her and be done with it so quickly. Why, then was he still standing there holding it in? Icy fear crept over the boiling anger inside of him and the fire in his hands died. He knew then that he was going to die.

* * *

Dean and David sat at the breakfast bar in the kitchen having coffee. Drake and Damon were still upstairs, and Dax wasn't on the couch, so Dean assumed that he'd left for a while. Drake and Aaron had been up late, so he was sure that they were both still sleeping.

"How did you sleep?" Dean asked David as he handed him a cup of coffee.

"Oh, fine," replied David, smiling. "The couch in the sun room is actually pretty comfortable."

"It's hard to believe that this house is so big and only has three bedrooms in it," chuckled Dean.

"You're forgetting the nursery," reminded David.

"That's such a small room, though," said Dean, thinking about the fact that the only access to the small nursery was through his own bedroom. The room was filled with boxes at the moment. When all of his belongings had been shipped from Daytona, he'd stored most of it in the nursery.

"Its big enough for a baby bed and changing table," said David, thinking about Xander and what it would be like to hold him in his arms as a baby knowing the young man he'd grow to become.

"It will be when I get my stuff out of there and put away," replied Dean. "I'm sure I'll have it all set up before Xander is even conceived."

"I found this inside the hutch in the sun room," said David, pointing to the photo album that he'd brought into the kitchen with him. It had the same design on the cover as the Book of Shadows. A large triquetr that lifted off the cover slightly. Dean could feel its edges as he ran his fingers over the album.

"I haven't seen that before," said Dean. "There are so many things in the house that I've never seen. I imagine it will take us years to find everything."

"So much is different now," said David as he and Dean looked through the photo album filled with pictures of Dean's dead relatives, relatives that had been alive before David had been cursed into the book. "When I went with Dax to get paperwork to make me legal, I saw so many changes in the city."

"I can't make that right for you, David," replied Dean. "I'm sorry for that."

"Don't be sorry," David said quickly, taking Dean's hand in both of his on the table. "You did nothing but set me free, Dean. Thanks to you and your cousins, I'm out of the book and alive. I owe you three so much."

"You don't owe us anything, David," replied Dean. "What was done to you was wrong. I know they believed you were a warlock, but it was still wrong. I'm just sorry that you had to wait twenty years for the power of three to set you free."

David thought hard about what he was about to say. He'd promised not to reveal what Sebastian had told him about the future, but that didn't mean that they couldn't discuss what they both already knew. Xander had let it slip that he was Dean's son, and in a way he'd also said that he was David's son. They could discuss that if he was careful not to say too much.

"Do you believe that everything happens for a reason?" he asked, looking into Dean's brown eyes.

"I'd like to believe that," Dean said sadly. "So many bad things have happened in my life, David. I want very badly to believe that there was a great purpose for it all."

"Well I'd like to think that at least part of the reason that I was cursed into that book was so that Xander could be born," David said carefully, watching Dean's eyes for any reaction.

Dean was silent for a moment as he looked back at David. So they'd come to it. He knew that Xander was their son. Damon continued to remind him of that fact every chance he got. That also meant that David had to be his husband in the future. Damon had also reminded him of that as well. He couldn't deny that he was attracted to David, and he was beginning to feel connected to him as well. He only hoped that David was feeling the same thing he was.

"I was wondering when we'd finally get around to discussing our son," he said finally, smiling slightly.

"So you know that we're both his parents," sighed David, sitting back in his chair and letting go of Dean's hand.

"It was obvious from the way he said what he said about you," replied Dean.

"That has to mean that we're together in the future," David said slowly.

"Married, I believe," agreed Dean. "If part of the reason that you were curse was so that I'd be an adult when you were set free so we could love each other, then I think it was a good reason."

"Being cursed into that book for twenty years so that I could meet you as an adult almost makes it seem like it was supposed to happen," said David. "Dean, I have to admit that I think about the implications of what Xander tried so hard not to say all of the time."

"I think about it, too," admitted Dean. "But being married to you in the future isn't the worst thing that could happen in my life, David. I'm actually kind of happy knowing that we'll be together."

David looked at him hard for a second. Could he be saying that he loved him? Was it too much to hope? David wasn't ready to say that he was in love with Dean, but he was feeling something for him. It was something that was so much stronger than mere friendship. When he looked at Dean, a peace fell over him like nothing he'd ever experienced in his life.

"Are you saying . . ." he hesitated. "Are you saying that you love me?"

"I'm saying that I believe I'm beginning to," admitted Dean in a soft voice. He never took his eyes off of David's. "I feel connected to you somehow. Its like when I look at you I feel so . . ."

"Peaceful," David finished for him.

"Exactly," said Dean with a smile.

"So how do you think we get there?" David asked, looking down at the table.

"I think we're off to a very good start," replied Dean. "I don't think we'll have any trouble getting to the future that Xander clued us in on."

Looking into each other's eyes, they leaned across the table. Almost as their lips touched Dean saw a demon shimmer into the kitchen out of the corner of his eye. It all seemed to be happening in slow motion. His lips were only inches away from David's when the first energy ball flew, hitting David in the back and almost flipping him out of his chair.

He shot out of his own chair and raised both hands, kissing his hand and blowing in the direction of the pasty white demon as he raced into the sun room. The demon followed and threw fireballs as it ran. Dean turned to face the demon as he kissed his hand and blew at the demon again. His eyes never left the two bright red horns that seemed to just from the demon's eyes. As the icy wind connected with the demon, its eyes blazed white and twin energy balls darted from them, striking Dean in the chest. The last thing he saw before he shut his eyes was the demon shimmering out of the sun room.

He tried to call for Jason, but he couldn't utter a sound. Moving was impossible. He instinctively knew that his back was broken when he couldn't feel anything below his chest. He could feel his consciousness slipping away from him. He felt like he was dying. He had to call for Jason. He wished his cousins would walk into the room and find him.

He tried to fight unconsciousness, thinking of Xander. He knew that this couldn't be the end for him, because he had seen Xander alive and well. He had to live to father the boy. He focused all of his attention on Xander, hoping to bring him back in time. However, when he opened his eyes he saw three distinct orbs that looked so much like Aaron's. Three men stood in front of him. Dean barely had time to look at them before he felt the wave of their healing poor over him and he was jolted off the floor.

His entire body cried out from the agony of their healing him. He hadn't known that this was what it felt like to be healed. Damon had never said anything about it being painful after Jason had healed him when they'd first received their powers. Why did it hurt so bad? Was he too far gone for healing to save him?

"Xander," he cried out, but it came out in a cracked whisper as his body hit the floor for the second time.

* * *

Damon was just coming into the kitchen when he saw David lying face down on the floor. A bloody hole in his back still crackled with the pulse of the energy ball that had struck him. He raced to his side and felt for a pulse. It was slow and very faint. He froze David to stop him from dying.

"Jason!" he cried, looking at the ceiling. He waited a few seconds to see if he would come. He was about to call for him again, when Jason orbed into the kitchen.

"Damon . . ."

"It's David," said Damon, standing up. "I froze him to stop him from dying before you got here."

Jason collapsed to his knees beside David's frozen form. He put his hands over the gaping wound in his back, and the familiar yellow light enveloped them and spread over the wound. It shrank until there was nothing left of it. Even his shirt was mended where the hole had been.

"Dean," moaned David as he rolled over to look up at Jason.

"You're going to be fine," said Jason, helping him sit up.

"No," he replied. "A demon hit me. Dean was sitting across from me. Is he hurt?"

Damon looked on the other side of the breakfast bar, but Dean wasn't there. He looked at Jason and shook his head as David got to his feet. The three of them walked into the sun room just as Aaron and Drake came in from the other door. They were all shocked to see the three men standing over Dean's unconscious form.

"Wait!" cried Aaron as Damon prepared to freeze them. "They're guardians like me."

Damon looked at the three brown haired men in awe. He had no idea what a guardian was. Had they killed Dean? He surely wasn't getting up from the floor. If they'd healed him, wouldn't he be on his feet already?

"While you were off romancing Drake, Dean nearly died," said one of the guardians. "His white lighter was busy healing David. You were not paying attention."

"Your relationship with Drake Halliwell has distracted you from your assignment," said the second guardian. "You nearly let one of your charges die."

"I came downstairs as soon as I felt him slipping away," Aaron said quickly.

"You should have been paying better attention," said the third guardian. "The charmed ones have a destiny more important than your relationship with Drake. You must never get emotionally involved with a charge."

"Perhaps it was a mistake to assign you to the charmed ones, knowing that you were Drake's lover when you were mortal," said the second.

"I won't slip again," vowed Aaron. "Being their guardian and watching over them, as well as their white lighter is important to me. I know how powerful their destiny is, and I won't fail them again."

"You won't fail them again, because you are going to come back with us," said the first guardian. "You are to be reassigned. We'll send another guardian to look after the charmed ones. A guardian who won't reveal himself."

"Wait," said Drake, grabbing Aaron's hand. "You can't take him away from me again. Not after I just got him back . . ."

"Young man, you have important deeds to carry out in your future," said the second guardian. "Having Aaron in your life will only distract you."

"Let me make myself very clear," said Drake coldly. "If you take Aaron from me, I will give up my powers and leave the charmed destiny behind me. I can always go back to Hawaii and forget that I was ever a witch."

As soon as the words were out of his mouth, he shimmered taking Aaron with him. The others stood looking at the guardians in shock.

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