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"Okay, I want the whole story and I want it now." Phoebe said coldly as she entered the kitchen several hours later.
The three adult occupants of the room looked up at her with startled expressions, little Wyatt stopped banging on the table.
Her tone cut through air like a bucket of cold water.
They'd just finished putting away all the dishes after spending the better part of the day preparing and consuming food --pastas, cookies, salads, biscuits, pizza-- all had been attempted, tasted, and acted upon accordingly.
That had been the fun part.
Clean up had been the drag.
But well worth the delectable creations Piper had whipped up. They were all in a good mood and had avoided any and all talk of the future. Chris' headache had diminished and Paige and Piper were almost giddy.
None had been expecting the harshness of her tone nor the grim set of mouth.
Phoebe was furious.
Obviously she'd worked her way into a huff through out the day and they cringed at the thought of what that meant.
Chris inwardly sighed, this wouldn't be good. On the bright side he had half the forgetting spell written in his mind.
"What whole story?" he asked playing it clueless.
She growled, showing her lack of appreciation for his question. Dropping her bag onto the counter she stood in front of him.
"Everything, from the day you were born to the day you traveled back here."
Chris cocked his head to the side, "oh. and here I thought you'd only be interested in the parts Uncle Cole was in."
Everyone tensed. Cole was not a welcome subject in their family - not now, not ever.
"Would you please STOP calling him that..." Phoebe said, exasperation coloring her voice.
"What, uncle?" he asked sweetly.
Her glare answered his question.
He shrugged, in that adorable Chris way that made you want to strangle him.
"sure." he said smiling and taking a cookie from the plate in front of him, then added, "...but that's what he was... my favorite Uncle actually."
Phoebe shook her head, "would you listen to this kid...." she said looking at her sisters; both stared back --mute.
What could they say?
Turning her attention back to her nephew, she continued with emphasis, "the man's a demon a --DE-MON -- he can't be your uncle."
He sighed, "this is gonna take a while, so we might as well get comfortable." and with that he got up and walked out, a cookie in hand.
"you know what Piper, for you abstinence might be the way to go..." Phoebe stated as she got up and followed her future nephew.
"What?" Piper said scowling.
"We all know Phoebe's gonna be crazy about him." Then smirking she added, "this promises to be good."
Piper wasn't nearly as gleeful, "why this is amusing to you is beyond me."
Paige smiled, "you heard him, he didn't know me. There's nothing he can tell me that's gonna rock my boat."
Piper made a face at her before also leaving the room.
Paige just grinned.
"Ok we're waiting." Phoebe said. Glaring at him once the sisters were seated with her.
Chris, sighed, "Look I know this is upsetting for you but you don't have to get all bitchy on me. It's not like did any of this, its just what happened." he paused, "or will happen."
"would've happened." Piper corrected.
"Could still happen." he said. Obviously ready to get in a debate about it.
Phoebe sighed, rolled her eyes ,and leaned forward, "You know what, just tell me where I meet him again and I'll be sure not go there that day." she said simply.
Chris met her gaze, and leaned forward in an imitation of her, Paige couldn't help the smile that touched her lips as she watched --he must've been a pain as a kid--
"You meet him again at the paper." he told Phoebe as simply as she'd asked.
"What!?" reverberated three times around the room.
He smirked, leaning back so that he looked at them all, "your not gonna like it..."he taunted.
"CHRIS!" Phoebe growled and made a motion towards him. Piper laid a hand on her arm. Not that Phoebe would really hurt him --but just in case.
"Now is probably not the best time for games Chris." Piper said sternly.
His grin died a little, "Ok, ok, you know half his lineage is human."
"yeees..." Phoebe said carefully. Her eyes alert as they studied his still slightly amused face.
"well..." he said, "...humans have families."
"True...." she said warily.
Chris was silent a moment then just spit it out, "He's Jason's cousin."
He jumped, the word was screamed so loud.
"He's Jason's cousin and Jason brings him into the office cause Unc --" he pauses, "Cole wants to invest in something."
"DEMONS DON'T INVEST!!!"
"He wasn't a demon, he was normal. They gave him a second chance."
"Who the Hell would do that!!!" Phoebe nearly screeched as she jumped up.
"...and why?" Paige continued, her voice deadly serious all of sudden.
Piper just watched. Her mind running in a million different directions.
He didn't want to do this, to tell them about his life, his world, she could sense that, sense a reluctance in him. Why he was doing it was beyond her but she was rather pleased, would be even more pleased when the topic of discussion moved away from Cole Turner. This was interesting and all but she wanted to know about different things --about his life, how he grew up, how they got along in the future --about what was so horrendous that he'd come here...
But Phoebe could have her time first.
"The powers that rule the universe, of course, and what do you mean why, the guy was royally screwed you hafta see that. I mean come on...." Chris entreated.
They stared at him silently, their expressions blank.
"Seriously, you have to realize... I mean come on..." still they said nothing. Just looked at him, he groaned, "I'm no good at this, this is Andre's story, I don't know how to tell it."
"Chris..." Phoebe said, as she took a deep breath, "...try to remember we have absolutely no idea what your talking about. What is obvious to you is a fuckin revelation to us, so if you could start again and be clear I'd appreciate it." she finished tightly, frustration radiating off her.
He nodded, still looking a little put out, "look, remember when you guys were given that choice, before Wyatt was born, to erase your years as witches, to be normal and have a normal life"
They nodded. All eyes on him.
"The gift was also offered to Cole. Because of his fight." he said softly.
"what fight?" Piper asked.
"His fight to be good." he said patronizingly.
When he got nothing in return but disbelieving glares he continued, "...he tried. Hard. Harder than any demon ever had. He wanted to be good. It was out of pure spite that evil wouldn't let him go. So they offered him a chance. His life minus the magic. They offered him the option of remembering his life as a demon, he accepted it..." he paused a moment then looking directly at Phoebe added, softly, "...he said he didn't want to forget you." She met his gaze but stayed silent. After a moment he continued, "So he kept all his memories, although some --the really old ones seemed like a dream. He'd have new ones, too though. Ones of a life being raised by his human family."
"And in that life..." Phoebe said her voice full of dread.
"Jason is his cousin." Chris repeated, firmly.
Phoebe just stared at him a moment before beginning to pace, her hands fluttering in front of her, eyes filling with tears.
"OH MY GOD, Oh My God, oh my god, ohmygod, ohmygod...." she said frantically, "that's just not possible...it can't be...I can't...I'm not...." she stopped and faced Chris, "I'm not in love with him."
Chris met her gaze, "okay." he said simply.
"Really I'm not, I don't have any feelings for him... at all."
"Which is why your four seconds away from bursting into tears." Chris said a little curtly. His head was starting to ache again. And he didn't like this having to argue over something that was fact, thing.
She said nothing. Just looked at him with this look of utter helplessness.
Begging him to tell her something different, to fix something that in his eyes didn't need fixing.
It irritated the hell out of him.
"Look...." he said standing. "Your asking me to explain things to you as I know them, something useless, since you yourself pointed out that we've changed the future. In my timeline Phoebe and Cole are married, he advocates for children, she writes Ask Phoebe, they have three kids and are disgustingly affectionate with one another. They're in love and went through hell, literally, to get there. If you don't like it, fine, but don't get angry about it or blame me. It's just the way it is. So you need to deal with it and stop acting like the fucking world is collapsing around you." with that he walked out.
Phoebe couldn't help it. It might have been the way he said it, it might have what he'd said, might have been from lack of sleep and nutrition-- which she'd suffered from since yesterday-- what ever it was... she promptly burst into tears. Burying her face in her hands.
It can't be true, It can't be true, It can't be true...
"Oh Phoebes, come on, don't..." Paige said gently as she went to get her, leading her back to sofa. Glaring at Chris' back.
"Chris...." Piper called but he didn't heed her, just headed for the stairs.
Phoebe cried and Paige comforted her, as best she could anyway. Piper went and made her some tea, hoping it would relax her enough for sleep --something she obviously didn't get enough of the night before.
After she slept she'd be calmer, easier to talk to.
"Hey," Piper said softly as she approached her dark-haired son a few hours later. "What's up?"
Chris was up in the attic, just sitting. He'd been about to orb to the bridge when he'd remembered his mothers warning and decided to play it safe. His head still hurt anyway.
He chuckled slightly at her greeting, "After what I did, all you can say is what's up?" he asked wryly.
Piper sat beside him. "Since Wyatt isn't actually talking yet, I don't have much practice with this sort of thing. What should I say?"
"Well Christopher, are you pleased with what you've accomplished today?" he said, softly mimicking her future self.
Piper smiled, "Do I actually say that?" she asked incredulously. It sounded so stuck up.
He shrugged, not meeting her eyes, not wanting to get into it --wanting nothing more than to get into it.
She sighed when he said nothing, "Well, are you?" she asked.
He was silent a moment then said softly, "I owe her an apology. I didn't mean to be so..."
"Cruel." Piper provided.
He smirked, "yeah, thanks."
"Well you were and you're right, you do. She's asleep now, I don't think she slept at all last night."
Chris said nothing.
"It's hard for her Chris, it's hard for all three of us --to imagine Cole in our lives again. He caused a lot pain and chaos. He almost destroyed the power of three."
Still he was silent.
"There was a time we hated him." she continued. Planning to continue until she got a response from him. Trying to make him understand that they had a reason to despise him.
"He always takes your side. It drives aunt Phoebes crazy." Chris offered suddenly, softly.
"Yeah, in an argument, he always sides with you. He says you're the rational one of the two."
Piper smirked, "I suppose he did have his more intelligent moments." she conceded.
They were silent a while. Both lost in there thoughts.
"So you gonna tell me why?" Piper said softly.
Chris didn't even pretend to not know what she was talking about. The image of her bloodied body flashed before him, as he said, "wasn't planning to, no."
"Chris, I can handle it. You can tell me why you came back here. How else can I avoid it if you don't tell me."
"It's already been avoided." he answered.
"You're infuriating, you know that." she said growling as she stood.
He smiled, looking up at her, "So I've been told."
"You go ahead, I'll be right there."
She looked at him a moment before nodding and leaving the room.
He had the spell written, in his mind at least. It would erase their memories of the past 24 hours. He just had to wait until it was exactly 24 hours since they'd found out. Unfortunately, that would be later tonight --much later tonight.
Which meant he had to survive the rest of the evening. An evening for which the prologue would be an apology to a pissed off aunt, followed by what would most likely be HOURS of incessant questioning which might include tears, throw in little yelling, a healthy dose of denial and that should be his evening --if things went well.
Might as well get this show on the road, he thought wryly.
"Glad you could join us." Paige said brightly when he entered the living room.
He nodded, walked directly to Phoebe and said in a rather petulant tone, "I'm sorry I shouldn't have said those things..." he couldn't leave it at that though, in a stubborn tone he added, "...even if they are true, I should've been nicer about it."
Phoebe looked up startled at his abrupt apology, then she smirked, "don't beat around the bush do you?" she said.
"Have a seat. As I'm sure you could've guessed your the topic of conversation." she added.
He sighed and sat across from her. Facing all three of them.
Piper grinned, "You don't have to look like your facing the gallows. How do you feel."
"Fine" he lied. He was getting sick of being asked that every hour.
Piper knew he was lying but didn't pursue it. Instead she nodded and said smiling gently, "Chris, we were just discussing the idea of you moving in."
"Yeah this is your house." Paige added, "By the way which is your room?"
"Uh... the one across the hall from you." he said absentmindedly, answering Paige. Then looking at Piper continued, "I don't think that's such a good idea. It's not necessary, I'm comfortable at P3."
"That's Prue's room." Phoebe said.
Swinging his gaze to his Aunt Phoebes Chris replied, frowning a little, "Prue doesn't - " abruptly he cut himself off. It was too late though.
"Prue doesn't what Chris?" Phoebe asked him, her eyes narrowing.
"You spoke in the present tense," Piper continued, "Is there a Prue in your future Chris?"
He sighed, it didn't matter anyway, they'd forget, "Yes and no." he said.
"Care to elaborate?" Paige said her eyebrows arched.
"Geez, it's like pulling teeth." Piper grumbled. Glaring at her son.
"Prue is a cousin of mine. She doesn't live here though." he said, avoiding any gazes.
"A cousin of yours?" Phoebe said, "I thought you said my daughters were Payton and Andre."
Everyone was silent.
"Chris since your father is an angel and has no family we're hard-pressed to figure out where this cousin came from." Piper said to him, slightly exasperated.
"Prue is..." he paused looking a little nervous. "Just remember that I did what I had to do..."
"Chris" Piper said warningly.
"She's Paige's daughter."
Again everyone was silent.
Then Paige stood, her face a bit paler than usual. "That's not possible. You said the Titans killed me. You said when you first showed up that history showed I'd been killed that day. You said yesterday that the Titans rose and that was *poof* for the power of three. You..."
"I lied." Chris said simply.
"WHAT" This was Piper. Angry.
"You lied!" Phoebe growled. "About something like that!"
"I had to. I needed to gain your trust quickly. I thought telling you I'd saved her life would do that. How was I supposed to know you were so ungrateful." He muttered at the end.
Paige was still standing her eyes large, "so I didn't die that day. The power of three didn't disappear."
"No, you didn't die but yes, the power of three disappeared. The titans didn't kill you. They captured you. You served them."
"I what? I gave up the power of three..." she asked aghast that she would abandon everything she'd become.
He met her eyes, "It was for us. You protected us. It's how we lived for so long in peace, they never thought to look right under their noses. They thought they'd captured a regular whitelighter and then you proved to have better uses... so they used you."
"And I let them."
"You did it for us." Chris said gently. His eyes still on her.
Paige plopped back down, "I have a daughter...."
He nodded, "Prue, but we don't see her much. Or you. That's what I meant when I said that I only knew you through stories and pictures."
Paige was silent, remembering her cocky words to Piper earlier that Chris could say nothing to rock her boat.
"Whose her father." she asked quietly.
"I don't know. And that's the truth." he added quickly.
"It all better be the truth, mister." Piper warned.
"You've been lying about everything, haven't you?" Phoebe said angrily. "Is Chris even your real name!!" she yelled standing. "I mean how do we know you haven't made all this up, how do we know that you weren't' just some neighborhood orphan who decided to travel back in time and steal Wyatt's family!? You could be anyone and we wouldn't know it...."
"Phoebe breathing might be a good idea." Piper said smiling, smirking against her will. Somehow she knew it was true. He wasn't making any of it up. And said as much to her sister.
"We don't know that for sure..."
"Sure we do, he's not blocking himself, you can sense it." she said.
Phoebe continued to glare at him and rolled his eyes, a gesture learned from her.
"And you want me to move in here..." he asked incredulously. Then reached into his pocket, pulled out his wallet, and retrieved a small paper.
"Here's proof." he said and tossed it on the coffee table. He didn't get up to leave though. Why bother, they'd just follow him when they saw the picture, not to mention he was saving his strength for tonight's spell.
Tentatively Phoebe reached out and took the paper. It was a little worn and very soft.
There were eleven people in the photo --all smiling.
"It's the one and only picture I have of the whole family." Chris said softly as the sisters studied it.
Piper was at the center, Paige to her left, Phoebe to her right.
Behind them stood three men -- Leo, Cole, Victor. Wyatt about thirteen or fourteen to his fathers left.
In front was an array of beautiful children. Chris and his twin, a gorgeous dark-haired girl who carried the Warren's high cheekbones, stood side by side in front of Piper. A twin to each side, and Paige's little girl obviously the youngest stood in front of them.
All were wearing holiday colors and bright smiles.
"We look so happy." Phoebe said a little breathless. Her eyes darting back and forth between her smile and Cole's arm wrapped possessively around her waist from behind.
"That day we were." he said softly. "Are we finished with the interrogation?'
Six dark eyes riveted on him. Paige was the first to speak. "This is all a lot to take in. Why don't we all just... I don't know take a break... establish guidelines... watch a movie...." she smiled brilliantly, "...the tension is killing me here."
Chris smiled at her and Piper caught her breath, "you have Prue's smile." she said before she could stop herself.
He nodded, "and her powers."
Phoebe handed the picture back, watching as he took it almost reverently, "Is there anything else we should know about your future. Our possible future."
He shrugged. When a thought came to him. Grinning he said, slyly, "I have things to do. Places to be and people I'm supposed to meet with. But apparently I've been put under house arrest. Something I'm sure Piper is won't waver on."
She shook her head, "Absolutely not. I want you here until I can think straight."
He nodded, proving his point, "But I'd rather not. So I've got a deal for you. This all started with three questions. I'll let you each ask a question, one which I'll answer directly and if your each satisfied with the answer I get to leave and come back later tonight."
There was more to it than that. This they each knew. It was too easy. He was offering them insight into the future he'd thus far been tightlipped about. Easy insight. All they had to do was ask.
"What's in it for you." Paige asked.
"The satisfaction of pleasing by beloved mother and aunts." he said smiling sweetly.
"And if we're not satisfied?" Piper asked.
"Then I wont' go. I'll stay here until you say I can leave."
"Can you give us a minute." Phoebe asked.
"All the time you need." he answered leaning back.
"I don't like it." she said once they'd moved to the foyer.
"Mean either but.... you gotta admit it's kinda tempting." Paige said.
"There's a catch. And with Chris it's probably a big one. I say we stick with what we got." Phoebe insisted.
"Oh come on Phoebes, I'm so curious and what's the harm. The Titans have been defeated most of what he'll tell us won't happen anyway. It'll be interesting to know how things could've been."
"I dunno, Paige..."
"I want to do it.' Piper interrupted. She's been silent, now she spoke firmly, "I need to do it. I need to know. For us, it's just what could've been but for him its what was and I need to know."
They were silent a moment before Phoebe turned and marched into the living room.
"Ok kid, you got a deal."
Chris smiled wide. Showing he'd never doubted that he did. "Wonderful. Bring it on."