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Fic: Homecoming (Pandora’s Return)

Title: Homecoming (Pandora’s Return)
Authors: sensethevisions and cantgetnorelief
Rating: All Ages (Hi, six-year-old!) Plenty-o'-schmoop warning in effect, though.
Characters: Phoebe Halliwell, Samuel Anders, Pandora Halliwell, with mentions of Belthazor/Cole Turner, Aziraphale, James Wilson, and Aly and Josh's kids.
Summary/Disclaimer: Pandora's first night back at home, after visiting her AU parents in Fandom. With apologies to demonbelthazor for killing you off!

Six Years Post Fandom High -- San Francisco

Pandora was all tucked in her bed back in her own bedroom. She was all safe and snuggled in and Mommy and Daddy had believed everything she had told them. They could tell she was very tired, so they kissed her goodnight and told her that she could wait and tell them everything tomorrow. She turned over on her side and looked at the framed picture of her with Mommy and Daddy. She remembered the day she helped Mommy make the frame and how happy Daddy's eyes had gotten when she demanded that they had a new picture for her nightstand. Then, she turned her eyes a little to see the new frame Mommy had placed next to it tonight. That frame held the picture that had been taken in Fandom. In it was her younger Mommy and Daddy, Uncle Cole and her. When Mommy had seen that picture, her eyes had widened and then had filled with tears.

"It's okay, Mommy," Pandora had told her seriously. "Uncle Cole loves you both very much and he wants you to know that all he wants is for the two of you to be happy."

Mommy and Daddy had held her for a very long time and Pandora had been very glad she was back home—even though she did miss other Mommy and Daddy and Uncle Cole.

She rolled over on her back and folded her hands under her head. She was happy to be home but ...

... she couldn't sleep.

The bed was too empty.

She had spent the last few nights sleeping between Mommy and Daddy. She missed that and wanted to be with her real Mommy and Daddy like that tonight.

Worrying her bottom lip, Pandora got out of bed and left her bedroom. She tip-toed down the hall to Mommy and Daddy's room. The door was left open a crack, so she knew it was okay for her to open it.

She crept into their room, and then climbed up onto their bed. She looked at Daddy as he opened his eyes.

"Can I stay with you guys tonight, Daddy?"

"You're not having bad dreams, are you, sweetheart?" Daddy asked as he sat up a little way. "Is everything okay?"

Pandora noticed that he was already scooting over to make room for her, though. "I missed you," she said, and crawled under the covers to snuggle between them. "I like sleeping with you and Mommy, like I did with the other you."

"You liked that, huh?" Daddy asked, stroking her hair.

"Lots." Pandora nodded. "Other you and other Mommy didn't snuggle as much as you do, though."

Daddy's voice was a little sad, and he was talking slowly, like he did when he was trying to be careful about his words. "That's because the other us probably weren't ... they probably didn't realize ... yet ... how much they love each other."

"But I thought you and Mommy have always loved each other," she said softly in confusion, in case Mommy was sleeping.

Daddy hugged her for a minute before he said anything. "Your Mommy and I have always loved each other, yes," he answered finally. "But we didn't actually realize that right away. And maybe the other us hasn't realized it yet." He had that little catch in his voice like there was something else he wasn't saying, though.

"Daddy? What's wrong?" She felt Mommy move closer to them, and place her head against Daddy's arm. "Why do you sound so sad?"

"It's hard to explain, sweetheart," Daddy said hesitantly. "I'm just thinking about how your Uncle Cole is still alive there, and I'm sorry you only got to know him for a couple of days."

She heard Mommy make a soft sound and she worried that she was going to start crying. "Don't cry, Mommy. Other Daddy and Uncle Cole love other you very much and promised me they would take care of other you." She looked at Daddy. "I stopped Joanie from shooting Uncle Cole and other you."

"That's my girl," Daddy told her, grinning and ruffling her hair just the same way he always did—just like younger Daddy had done, too. "So protective of us ... bet Uncle Cole was proud of you for that."

He glanced at Mommy, looking slightly sad, then looked back at Pandora and tried his best to smile. "You've always taken it really seriously, trying to keep us safe. Just like he did. I always thought he would have been proud of you for it, anyway."

Pandora smiled. "Of course I do, Daddy. You're Mommy and Daddy. I'm a Halliwell. I have to keep the people I love safe and protected." She wrinkled her nose. "I wasn't very nice to Uncle Cole when I first met him. I didn't like him and he shouldn't have been in bed with other you and other Mommy."

The look on Daddy's face when she said that was sad and funny at the same time. "Oh, honey, you didn't say that to him, did you?"

Pandora was quiet as she thought about the best way to answer Daddy's question.

"You did, didn't you?" Mommy asked from behind her.

"Yes, Mommy, I did. Later I told him that I loved him and he promised me that he would take care of other you and other Daddy for me."

She could feel Daddy reaching over her to take hold of Mommy's hand. "I wish you could have told him how much we miss him, honey," he said in his shaky voice. "You really love him, then, huh?"

"Yes," Pandora said, nodding firmly. "I think ... Daddy, I think he knows. I told him how sad you and Mommy get sometimes when his name comes up and how there are days that Mommy gets extra sad. He really didn't like the idea of you guys being sad about him ... especially Mommy."

"Can't imagine he would," Daddy replied. "Gods, I really do miss him ... do you think he liked you too, kiddo?"

"He called me his girl and said I saved him," She nodded proudly. "Then he told me to tell you that it was okay with him if you guys gave me a brother."

"He said—" Daddy made a choked sound in his throat and hugged her tightly, not saying anything for a while.

Mommy held them both and Pandora could tell that Mommy was crying because she heard her make that sighing sound that she did when she was crying but didn't want anyone to know. "I may have told them that he's not alive here ... "

That was when Daddy started sniffling like he always did when he finally gave up on trying not to cry. "When he said ... when he told you it was okay with him, sweetheart, do you remember exactly what he said?"

She screwed up her nose as she thought very hard. "He said, 'You tell your mom and dad that you want a little brother, and that I say it's okay. I want them to be happy.' Then right before I went back through the vortex thingy he said 'Make sure they know that I know and I'm glad they're happy together.'"

Daddy let out a long sigh, and Pandora thought for a moment that something was wrong because his entire body shuddered when he did. "Gods," he said, more to Mommy than to her, "I always wondered how he would have felt about it. I never thought we'd actually know."

She felt Mommy's hand on her head and then Mommy snuggled closer to the two of them. "I always wondered too, but I always had the belief that he would prefer we were happy together than either alone or... with anyone else but each other." She swallowed. "I'm glad we know for sure now." She sighed. "It had to be quite the shock for all of them to find out how different things were here. It couldn't have been easy for them ... him ... us ... I guess ... to find out that he had died."

Pandora shook her head. "It made Uncle Cole go all quiet and sad in class, and then other Daddy went and hugged him to try and make him feel better, so I went and hugged him too to help. I don't understand why the other you got so sad when I told them my birthday, though."

Mommy's voice was soft when she started speaking again. "Sweetheart, your birthday wasn't that long after your Uncle Cole died."

Pandora was sure she understood. "Ohhhhhhh ... they were sad that he had to miss it!"

Mommy smiled at her and nodded. "Yes, sweetheart. They were very sad that Uncle Cole had to miss it."

"He won't miss it there," Pandora said, putting a hand on Mommy's cheek. "I made him promise to be extra careful and not get hurt. And Daddy said that he and other Mommy would take extra good care of him too."

Mommy leaned into her hand and smiled a little, even as a tear splashed onto her hand. "No, he won't miss it there."

Pandora frowned at the splash of wetness. "Mommy, you're crying. Why are you sad?"

Mommy looked at Daddy and then looked back. "I am just sad that you didn't get to know him better, but also really happy that you met him and then were brought back to us."

Daddy ran his fingertip down her nose, and then kissed her on the cheek. "But at least the other me made you cupcakes, huh, kiddo?"

Pandora giggled. "He did. They were just as good as yours are. Daddy's cupcakes are the best anywhere."

Mommy grinned. "I think your Daddy makes the best cupcakes, too."

"Stop it," Daddy said teasingly. "You're making me blush."

Pandora reached up and tugged on his hair. "It's dark anyway, Daddy!"

Mommy was smiling, which as far as Pandora was concerned was a very good thing. Her eyes still looked sad, but she was smiling and that was always important.

"So, you here to sleep, or you here to talk, kiddo?" asked Daddy, ruffling her hair again.

"I couldn't sleep," Pandora admitted. "It was lonely in my bed."

Mommy cuddled her close. "I'm glad you came in tonight, sweetheart."

"So am I," added Daddy. "We missed you."

"I missed you guys, too, Daddy." She snuggled in between Mommy and Daddy and pulled them closer.

Daddy cuddled up so he could wrap his arms around both Mommy and Pandora. "So you slept in the bed with the other us, huh? Guess the dorms weren't exactly fitted out for kids your age."

Pandora was doing her best to keep her eyes open. Since she was so happily right there with Mommy and Daddy, it was now obvious that she was sleepy. "Uh huh. Slept right there with other you. I didn't want to let them out of my sight, but there were times I had to since other Mommy and other Daddy weren't in any classes together. Hey ... why didn't you guys have any classes together?"

"Because your Mommy's a much better student than I am," Daddy said immediately. "Or was at the time, anyway. She took tougher classes than I did."

"He's fibbing." Mommy laughed softly. "I was taking classes to help with my magic and hunting demons," she explained. "That and I was an assistant to Uncle James and Uncle Aziraphale when they were teaching." She shook her head. "Your Daddy took classes that were too complicated and intelligent for me to understand."

"Yeah, classes in how to play with shiny high-tech toys and what Earth music and movies are like," Daddy replied, amused. "Point is, kiddo, we took different classes because we were good at different things."

"You're both very good at being my Mommy and Daddy."

"And you're a very good—and sleepy—flatterer," Daddy said.

"I love you, Daddy. I love you, Mommy."

"I love you, too, Pandora," Mommy said as she nuzzled her hair.

"Love you, my little linebacker," Daddy said, cuddling up closer with her and Mommy. "Now get some sleep, huh? It's a school night for you."

Pandora smiled and snuggled happily with Mommy and Daddy. She finally let her eyes close so she could sleep.

Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
demonbelthazor
Apr. 23rd, 2007 04:30 am (UTC)
*wibbles*
athletic_witch
Apr. 23rd, 2007 09:29 am (UTC)
*snuggles Uncle Cole*

Tell me a story?
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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