Author: Erika (firedrake88yahoo.com)
Summary: Chris doesn't actually hate Leo and after overhearing a conversation between his parents he decides that maybe he came back to the past to save more than just Wyatt.
Time Frame: Takes place after "A Wrong Day's Journey Into Right" and before "Witch Wars."
Spoilers: For "A Wrong Day's Journey Into Right" and for the episode where Chris and Victor talk (don't remember the name.) If you don't know who Chris really is, beware. Of course, if that's the case, the summary to this story might have ruined things for you anyway. To be on the safe side I would recommend having watched all of the sixth season up until "Witch Wars."
Category: H/C, angst, POV (Chris), non-slash, AU for "the event," (see note 2).
Disclaimers: Charmed and all its characters belong to Aaron Spelling and whatever his company is called. I'm making no money from this and it is written for entertainment purposes only.
Feedback: Both positive feedback and constructive criticism are greatly appreciated and will be cherished!
Archive: Are there even any Charmed archives?
Note: (1) I, like others, would like to see some more development of the relationship between Chris and Leo. Since we don't know for sure whether Chris will be back next season, I've decided to take matters into my own hands and write what I'd like to have seen happen between them. (2) I know that Chris tells Victor that he doesn't want to get close to Piper because eventually he's gonna have to go back to a future where she's been killed and that what I've described in this story for "the event" can't be true but I decided to write it this way anyway.
I slammed the book shut in frustration, resisting the urge to hurl it across the room. Nothing! There hadn't been anything in there that would help me figure out what might turn Wyatt. Just like there hadn't been anything in any of the other hundred books I had spent the last few days looking through.
This was such a waste of time! There were just too many books in the Magic School library for me to look through. I had told Gideon that but he had insisted and then mom had agreed that maybe the Book of Shadows didn't have the answer. So here I was, in the library, going from book to book and hoping to stumble upon something that would help me save my brother.
Sighing tiredly, I picked up another book and flipped to the first page. I had been at this for nearly three days straight. I needed to rest but I just didn't have the time. My birthday was approaching way too quickly and if I didn't have this figured out before then it would be too late. I couldn't believe I was so close to running out of time. I had thought I had given myself more than enough time to figure out what turned Wyatt, prevent it from happening, and then return to the future. Now it looked like I'd fail. I would fail and the world I had grown up in would stay the same. Wyatt would still be evil and mom would still die. So would Paige and Phoebe and just about everyone else I had ever cared about.
My heart hammered painfully against my chest whenever I thought about it. I couldn't let it happen again! I couldn't lose my family again. I couldn't. I had to save Wyatt. I had to save the future. I just had to hold on. I had to hold on to the hope that somehow, someway, I'd be able to figure it out in time. I hadn't come all the way back to the past to give up now. I hadn't come all the way back to the past to fail.
Yawning, I began to skim through the first chapter of the book I had picked up. Maybe, just maybe, there'd be something useful in here.
"Chris, I have some stuff I need to do at P3 so Paige is gonna take you to your dentist appointment," mom told me as we climbed the stairs to the second floor of the manor. "Is that all right, sweetie?"
"That's fine mom," I answered, "Will you be back for dinner?" Wyatt only behaved well when mom was around and I knew that Paige had a class to teach tonight at Magic School. If mom didn't make it back that would mean it'd be just the two of us for dinner and I knew he'd spend the entire time tormenting me with energy balls and the like. Wyatt always showed his evil side when no one else was around.
Once I had called dad down and tried to explain to him how Wyatt wasn't good, how he always used his superior powers to inflict pain on me, but he hadn't listened. Wyatt was smart enough to only use powers that would hurt me but wouldn't leave any physical evidence of it. Dad had thought I was lying. Now he hardly ever came when I called. I didn't want to go to mom about it because I knew it would only worry her and she already had enough to deal with, especially since Phoebe had been killed.
Mom smiled, "Of course I will. I spent the entire morning cooking for your birthday and I want to actually be around to celebrate it with you."
I breathed a sigh of relief. "Good."
"Paige," Piper called as we passed her room, "Chris' appointment is at four o'clock. Do you remember where the dentist's office is or do you need me to give you directions?"
Paige didn't answer.
"Paige?" Piper tried again and but received no response from my aunt. "That's strange," she said to me, "Paige should be back from her morning classes by now. Maybe Gideon kept her late for some reason."
I wanted to believe mom but something, a sick feeling in my heart, told me it wasn't true. Something was wrong. I just knew it. It was like a chill that started in my chest and then ran down my back, making me feel cold all over. Suddenly, my heart started to pound and my throat tightened. I had felt the same uneasy feeling on the day that aunt Phoebe had been killed…
Falling out of step behind mom, I turned back and ran into Paige's room. At first, everything seemed normal. There was a pile of dirty clothes in the open closet and random makeup supplies scattered around on the desk. I could even see my present – a large box wrapped in "Happy Birthday!" paper – on her bed. It wasn't until I noticed her purse, lying on the floor at the foot of the bed, that I saw it. An athame, dripping blood unto the carpet…
Forcing myself to move, I walked around to the other side of the bed. Oh God. Oh God no. My heart stopped. Tears blurred my vision. The horrible paralyzing pain of gut wrenching fear flooded my system. No. Not Paige. Not her. Mom and I couldn't lose Paige too. We had already lost Phoebe, we couldn't…we couldn't…
"Paige…" I whispered as droplets of water slid down my cheeks. "Oh, Paige…" I had never seen her like this. I had seen her hurt before, but not like this… She looked so small and helpless, just crumpled across the floor… Her skin was pale, deathly pale. Dark crimson stained the back and front of her favorite tank top. She had been run through with an athame. Several times.
"Mom!" I screamed gruffly, backing away from my aunt's body. "MOM!!"
"Chris?" Mom came running into Paige's room. "Chris, what is–?" The words died in her throat when she saw Paige. "No!" She screamed, pulling me aside and falling to her knees beside her sister, the only one she had left. "Paige!" she started shaking her frantically. "PAIGE!"
Numbly, I watched as my mom fumbled to check Paige's pulse. I wanted to tell her to stop, wanted to scream at her that it was too late, that Paige was gone, but I knew it'd be futile. Mom wouldn't believe it until dad's hands glowed gold and nothing happened, wouldn't believe it until he said that he couldn't heal the dead. Just like with Phoebe.
Tears streamed down mom's face as she begged Paige to hold on, told her everything would be fine, that Leo would heal her and she'd be all right. "Le–" She started to call for my dad but then stopped short. "Wyatt!" She barked, "Heal your aunt now!"
Turning, I saw that Wyatt was standing at the entrance to Paige's room, a strange glitter in his eyes. Moving forward quickly he brushed past me and knelt next to mom on the floor. He didn't, however, extend his hands. He just sort of smiled and looked at Paige's bloodied body and mom's frantic face.
"Wyatt!" Piper yelled at him, "What are you doing? Heal her!"
"Of course, mom," he said gently, finally reaching forward. Something wasn't right though… He was only holding one of his hands over her. Why…? I took half a step forward but by the time I realized what he was doing, it was too late. Too late to save my mom. Too late to save my world from falling apart. Too late to do anything but watch as he conjured an energy ball in his other hand. Watch as he sent it flying at my surprised and horrified mom.
The glowing blue swirling ball of light hit mom squarely in the chest and sent her flying back against the wall, where she landed with a muffled shout.
"Mom!" I screamed, leaping forward to help her. I hadn't made it more than two feet when Wyatt waved his hand towards me and I felt myself being lifted off the ground and sent careening back into the desk.
The impact of my body against the hard wood sent waves of agony through me and pumped the air out of my lungs. As I gasped for breath and struggled to fight off the bout of dizziness that had claimed me, I watched Wyatt advance on my defenseless mother.
"Wyatt?" She whispered weakly, "Why?"
"Because there is no good or evil, mom," he answered smoothly, "Only power. I have Phoebe's and Paige's and now I want yours."
"Y-You killed them!" she gasped agonizingly, pain and disbelief etched across her face. "You killed them both!"
"That's right. And now I'm going to kill you." He smiled sadly, "I'm sorry mom, but it's the only way."
Then, with a flick of his wrist he telekinetically plunged the athame straight into her heart. Mom let out a sobbing gasp as her body convulsed around the blade. For a few endless moments the only sound that filled the room was that of her panting inhalations. Then everything went quiet as her head slumped forward and her eyes glazed over and lost their focus.
"NO!!" I screamed, leaping to my feet and running past Wyatt. "Mom!" I pulled her limp body into my arms and caressed the tangled locks of her hair. "Mom, please," I pleaded, "Please don't leave me... I need you. I need you. Please." My throat choked around the tears that burned at my eyes. My breath was coming in short, wheezing gasps and my chest was throbbing with pain. Everything felt cold. I had never known such utter terror and grief. "Mom…" The word came out on a broken whisper of air.
No! No, no, no, no… Mom couldn't die! She couldn't die and leave me here! What was I supposed to do without her? I loved her so much. She was my entire world. She couldn't be…gone. I couldn't do this without her! I couldn't…couldn't keep going.
Oh God, mom, please…
"Dad!" I shouted hysterically, holding my mom's motionless form against me, "Dad!" And I continued to call for him. Even though she was dead, I continued to scream out to him until my voice went hoarse and all I could do was sob. Sob and cling to my mom's cold body as exhaustion claimed me and I fell into a fitful sleep.
My dad never came.
I woke up suddenly, panting and drenched in sweat, my heart beating wildly. Just like every other time I had fallen asleep recently. I couldn't stop having the nightmares, couldn't stop the memories from invading my sleep. It was one of the reasons why I was so tired. Not only did I barely have time to rest but when I did it was hardly a reenergizing experience.
I couldn't help it though. The nightmares were brought on by my fear that I wouldn't be able to save Wyatt. The more I worried and stressed about the impending deadline, the fiercer the nightmares became. I had to get over this. If I didn't I'd be so exhausted that I'd drive myself crazy trying to concentrate.
"Chris?" Leo interrupted my thoughts by suddenly running into the library.
"What is it?" I asked tiredly, not bothering to look at him.
"I heard you calling for me," he explained, "I thought…I thought you might be in trouble so I came to–"
I let out a harsh bark of laughter as bitter anger surged within me. "Why even bother?" I snapped. "Why even bother to come to me now when you're never there in the future?"
Leo didn't say anything. After a few moments of uncomfortable silence, I finally lifted my gaze from the book I had accidentally fallen asleep reading. To my surprise, Leo wasn't watching me. His eyes were closed and his face was contorted. He…He looked like he was about to…cry.
Swallowing, I bit my bottom lip. Why had I said that? I had promised myself to try and be nice to Leo. After all, despite the fact that he had picked being an Elder over being a father, he still hadn't done all that much wrong yet. He was here, wasn't he? He was here to help the girls and I save Wyatt. He obviously loved Wyatt and somewhat cared about me. He had broken me out of jail and wanted things to be better between us. That had to count for something.
It was hard though. Hard not to let my memories of what Leo did in the future cloud my treatment of him in the present. Every time I looked at him I felt angry. Angry because he hadn't been a father to me. Angry because he had always made me doubt his love. Angry because he had never been there for me, even after mom was killed.
Leo sighed and rubbed his fingers over his closed eyes. He looked so struck down and defeated and I suddenly hated that I had done this to him. He hadn't done any of the things I was mad at him for, not yet anyway. And he had so much on his mind right now. He was already worried about Piper and Wyatt and…most importantly, he was my dad. Even if he didn't love me, even if I meant nothing to him, he was still my dad and I didn't want to make things worse for him.
Shaking my head, I wondered what I could say to him. "Leo, I–"
Leo held up a hand and I fell silent. "Chris," he spoke almost too quietly for me to understand, "If you need someone to talk to about the nightmares you've been having or about…anything, I'm here." He paused and looked directly into my eyes. "Whether you believe it or not, I'm here. You're my son and I love you."
Slowly, he turned and started walking out of the library. When he had almost reached the door he stopped and said, "I won't give up on us." A few moments later, he was gone and I was left staring after him.
For a minute I didn't know what to think. Had…had my dad just said that he…loved me? My dad…loved me? Was it possible? Did he really mean it? Or was it just some way to patch things up between us so we could at least pretend to be father and son?
"You're my son and I love you."
God, I wanted that to be true so badly. I needed it to be true. In all my life, until now, Leo had never said that he loved me. He had never been there for me, had never even said that he was there for me. And now…now he was telling me that he loved me and that he was here for me. After everything I had done, after all the manipulation and all the times I had lied to him and the girls, he had still said he loved me.
"You're my son and I love you."
I wanted to believe it. He had never been there for me. He had found ways to be there for mom and Wyatt but never for me. And I resented him so much for that but…but that didn't change the fact that all my life I had always wanted a father. Every year, on every birthday, I would wish for him to be a part of my life. Maybe now it would finally come true.
This Leo was so different from the one I had grown up knowing, or rather, not knowing. This Leo was torn between his family and being an Elder. This Leo wanted to be closer to me. This Leo was trying at least. Trying. It was more than I ever remembered my dad doing. What happened? How could the man I knew now – the one who so clearly adored Wyatt and had just told me that he loved me – how could he turn into the Leo in my future? How could this Leo and the one I remembered be so different?
If Leo had started off like this, something must have happened to change him. And he probably hadn't changed over night. That meant that maybe…maybe he had loved me when I was little. Maybe, at some point, he had been there for me. Maybe I had just forgotten, or replaced all the good memories with all the horrible ones from the rest of my life.
There was only one way to find out. I would have to cast a spell. A spell that would tell me if my dad had ever loved me and if he had, what had made him stop.
Some cherished, some forgotten
Some haunting with a ferocity not to be mistaken
By the flickering of this candle
And the burning of these words Let me see what was lost so long ago."
Quietly completing the chant, I folded up the small piece of paper where I had written 'dad and me' and held it over the candle until it caught fire. Then I let go and waited to see if anything would happen.
I didn't have to wait for long.
A few seconds after the last of the paper turned to ashes, I was transported to another place and time. Suddenly, I was no longer at Magic School. Instead, I was at home, at the manor. It was dark but I recognized my room, which was slightly different than what I remembered. For one thing, instead of my bed a crib now stood in the corner near the closet.
I froze. I was inside the crib! Well, not me, but a baby me. A me that couldn't have been more than two or three years old. It didn't take me long to figure out why. I wasn't reliving this memory, I was watching it.
Baby Chris shifted fretfully in his sleep before waking up and starting to cry. Loudly. Something told me that this wasn't because he was hungry or anything like that. In fact, he sounded scared and slightly panicked.
'Wonderful,' I thought dryly, 'I was having bad dreams even before I had anything bad to dream about.'
It didn't take long – only a couple of minutes – for mom to come rushing in. "Chris," she soothed, "It's okay Chris, it's okay. Mommy's here." Immediately, she swooped baby Chris into her arms and held him close to her. Rocking him back and forth and whispering gently into his ear she tried her best to calm him but nothing worked. No matter what she did or what she said, baby Chris continued to cry and cry.
After a while it became clear that baby Chris was trying to say something. At first it was unintelligible due to how hard he was crying but after a few attempts I understood. "Daddy!" He was calling out to Leo.
No sooner had baby Chris uttered the word than bright blue and white light announced the arrival of Leo. Once he finished orbing in he stepped close to Piper and took baby Chris from her.
"Hey little guy," he whispered in affectionate tones, "Daddy's here. I'm here," he repeated gently, "I'm here and I've got you. I have you and you're safe. Don't cry. Don't cry, I'm here. You're safe. I won't let anything happen to you."
Wrapping his chubby arms around Leo's neck, baby Chris stopped crying and settled into Leo's embrace. As soon as silence descended over the manor the scene before me faded away and I was left sitting, alone, in the library at Magic School.
Sighing, I felt disappointment well in my heart. That was it? That was all the spell had shown me? One time when I was little Leo had actually come when I had called for him. So what? What was that in the face of all the times when I had needed him and he had never been there?
What a waste of time. The spell hadn't shown me anything about how or why Leo had gone from being a loving father for Wyatt to someone who couldn't be moved to do anything for his second, less powerful, son.
I shook my head. I needed to get back to the reason I was here: to save Wyatt. Halfheartedly, I picked up the pile of books I had finished looking through and took them to the main desk of the library so that they could be re-shelved. I was about to return to my table when I caught sight of mom and Leo, sitting by themselves in one of the library's many side rooms.
"It's just so hard," Leo was saying, "I want so badly to be close to Chris but he won't even talk to me." He let his head slump forward until he was resting it on his hands. "I just don't understand how this could happen. I don't understand how I could have been there for you and Wyatt but not for Chris. I…I don't understand how I could have abandoned one of my sons."
"I wish I knew what to tell you, Leo," mom answered, sounding sympathetic. "I have no idea what you did or didn't do to make Chris feel this way. You know he doesn't talk about the future." She reached out and placed a hand on Leo's arm, "You just have to give it time."
Leo sighed. "I know. It just…hurts to know that he…hates me. I love him, Piper. I wish that he could see that."
I closed my eyes and took a step back so that they wouldn't see me standing in the doorway. Leo looked so tormented and sounded so sincere. It was clear to see that the way I was treating him hurt. Suddenly it was also clear that he meant what he said. He loved me. He really did.
Shaken, I stopped eavesdropping on my parents and started remembering, really remembering what the spell had shown me.
I had been having a nightmare, a horrible nightmare about demons attacking and I had woken up alone and so terribly frightened. God, I could remember being so scared as I cried and cried and waited for someone to come. But when mom had come it hadn't been enough. She had held onto me but no matter how tenderly she had hugged me or how many times she had assured me that everything was all right, she hadn't been able to soothe my fear.
So I had called out to my dad. And he had come. Immediately. He had come and held me. I could remember that he had wrapped his arms around me so tightly that I felt like nothing would ever get to me, nothing would ever hurt me there. And while he was holding me he had said over and over again that I was safe, that he had me, that he wouldn't let anything happen to me. Even when I had quieted down, he hadn't let go. He had just kept me there, close to his heart. Eventually, I had fallen asleep feeling warm, feeling safe and loved.
Overwhelmed by a sudden rush of emotion, I closed my eyes. Oh, God. He had loved me. He really had. Before all the rejection and angry words, he had loved me. He had loved me when I was little and he loved me now. Tears stung at my eyes. For the first time in my life I knew that my father loved me instead of just hoping that he did.
It didn't change the past. It didn't change how angry and resentful and hurt I was that Leo had abandoned me but…it did make it easier. It did open up the possibility of forgiveness. Someday. Now, though, I had to take the first step. Things between Leo and I would never change if I focused only on saving Wyatt. I would never have a father if I didn't try and make amends. To do that I had to focus on saving my family, my entire family, and that included Leo and me.
Nodding once, I concentrated and orbed myself out of Magic School and up onto the Golden Gate bridge. "Dad, I need to talk to you," I called out, feeling suddenly very nervous. "Please come."
Moments later, Leo orbed in and met my gaze. His eyes were pained and…hopeful. "Chris," he acknowledged mildly.
My heart skipped a beat. This was it. I couldn't back down or brush him away anymore. I had to tell him how I felt. Taking a deep breath, I tried to calm my nerves and speak steadily. "I can't pretend that everything is okay between us," I started. "I…I'm so angry with you. You were never there for me. There were so many times in my life when I needed you but you never came. Never in my entire life have I felt like I had father."
Leo closed his eyes and shook his head but didn't say anything. When he opened his eyes and looked at me again I could see the tears that glistened in them.
Smiling a little in reassurance, I placed a gentle hand on his shoulder. "I can't forget all that but maybe…maybe I can start to forgive you." I paused and took another steadying breath. "I don't hate you," I told him. "You're my dad and I love you."
I stayed up there on the bridge with him just long enough to see the joy in his eyes, to see the hesitant smile split across his face, and then I orbed out. I didn't want dad to thank me or apologize. I didn't want him to pull me into a hug or promise that he would do better this time around. It was too soon for that. After all these years of feeling so bitter towards him, I was just starting to let go of my anger. I wasn't ready to take such a big step.
Today, I had only realized that perhaps I could eventually forgive my father. All things considered, it wasn't much but…it was something.
So, you may be wondering why I said my version of "the event" can't be true. It's because Chris says that when he goes back to the future (presumably after saving Wyatt), Piper's not gonna be there. If saving Wyatt saved Piper (as is the case in this story) then (if he succeeded) he would be going back to a future where, unless nothing else happened, his mom would still be around.
Also, I know that when Chris first shows up he says that Paige was killed by the Titans. I, however, considering stuff he said later on in the season (for example, that he always went to Paige for money), am inclined to believe that he was lying. That is why I have that Phoebe dies before Paige and Piper do.
Anyway, I hope you enjoyed my story! =)