See, I promised the next chapter this week and I bet you didn't believe me, some people are too cynical for their own good. It was either this or pack for my holidays.
Hurray, lots of lovely reviews and Ligia Elena is back too, hurray squared. Seriously, thank you everyone that took the time to comment, I appreciate it. For some reason occasionally I get all pathetic and annoying. I decide the story is absolutely awful, that I can't write for toffee and I try to run away, then I get a kind review and I have another go, without the reviews I probably wouldn't have made it past part one. So more fool you for encouraging me.
Oh just one more thing then I'll shut up. In the last part I accidently deleted a line of dialogue between Graden and Leo, it would have told you that although the elders think they have the vanquishing potion they don't, Tiathon does.
Chris orbed in determined. His eyes, red rimmed, darted through the figures around him, searching in desperation for Wyatt. The periphery of his mind noted the tension in the room, but Chris remained oblivious, what did he care about the petty concerns of others, his father was dead, Leo was dead and Wyatt could stop that, what else could possibley matter?
Then he saw him, magnificent and invincible and for a moment Chris felt relief, the familiar sensation from childhood of knowing that Wyatt could make everything right. For the first time his befuddled brain registered the elders, why were they here? Did they know about Leo? Had they come for Wyatt's help too? He tried to listen to what his brother was saying.
"...your weak position. Why would my terms to you be different than anyone else. The posi.."
Wyatt broke off as a vial hurtled towards him from the crowd of elders, as he looked at it the bottle exploded, splattering the elders at the front of the group. Wyatt laughed with genuine amusement. "Was that really it? Your best attempt? Even for elders that was pathetic."
The group looked at each other in dismay, their one chance blown and realising that this really was the end with one accord they attacked in earnest. Confused, and torn between fighting for his brother or for good, Chris dithered, watching as Wyatt's bodyguard hurled himself before a lightning streak, aimed at Wyatt. His ash remains fluttered gently to the ground. But it wasn't a safe place for bystanders and before Chris could picked his side he found himself smashed to the floor, hit by a flung elder. "OW!" Pissed off, he put his hand to his temple to wipe away the blood, and for a moment he lay there just trying to work out what the hell was going on.
The din was deafening, explosions, loud thuds, screams and above it all the sound of Wyatt laughing manically. Chris looked around, to see his brother stood defiantly in the centre of the room, lightning and energy balls bouncing off him ricocheting back out to vanquishing their casters. Wyatt himself was throwing elders in all directions and as the room became strewn with their unconscious bodies the survivors began to quickly orb out.
It was then that Chris saw Tiathon, stood at the back of Wyatt, the vanquishing potion in his hand. Chris scrambled to his feet screaming. "WYATT BEHIND YOU!" and Wyatt saw Chris for the first time, in what seemed like slow motion he smile at his brother then turned to see the vial spinning towards him. Wyatt raised his hand and Tiathon exploded in a blast of fire, but still the vial span towards Wyatt. He could have orbed it away, blown it up, turned it into a flock of seagulls, hell he could even have stood to one side and let it pass, but he did none of these things, the potion hit him with an almighty bang and Wyatt crumpled to the floor.
Chris just stood there, transfixed by the prostrate form on the floor. In all his life Wyatt had never suffered so much as a scratch, and now this, it was just....well wrong. He had felt ambivalent, but not any more. He needed Wyatt to be OK, not to save Leo but because he was his big brother, the brother he'd played orb and seek with, the brother who'd looked after him when his Mom died, the brother who had sometimes switched powers with him. That was it! Chris could do that now, and suddenly alive, praying he wasn't too late Chris was by Wyatt's side, chanting the well known spell.
"What's mine is yours, what's yours is mine, let our powers cross the line,
I offer up this gift to share, switch our powers through the air."
Nothing happened. Wyatt opened his eyes, his breath slow and heavy. "Hey little man, still trying to save me?"
Chris forced a smile. "You bet, it's nothing personal but Mom made me promise when she died."
Wyatt started to laugh. "You too huh, she's one sneaky witch. I can't wait to haunt her for a change. Do you think I'll be allowed to see her in the other place?" His laugh became a cough racking his suddenly fragile looking body.
Chris tried the spell again, still nothing. Wyatt must be blocking it, for the first time Chris thought about how Wyatt had almost invited the potion.
"Wy listen to me, you've got to let me in so we can swap powers, I need to heal you."
Wyatt turned his head away. "No. I don't want anymore. Its just too hard. You can't believe how lonely it is, I've had enough Chris." He paused for a second. "Do you think Leo knows? I wish he'd have come."
Chris hesitated, should he lie? No, he couldn't let Wyatt think Leo didn't care. "He would if he could believe me. Wyatt he's, he's dead."
Chris looked around at the dead and unconscious elders around him and finally figuring out what must have happened up there. "The elders killed him, he was trying to protect you."
This brought a smile to Wyatt's face. "Really? Bastards I should have killed them all."
Chris saw an opening. "That's why you need to let me in, if I can heal you, you can heal Dad, we can save him together."
Wyatt looked at him and said sadly. "I can't. The potion took away my powers, think about it Chris, it had too otherwise I would have healed myself."
"Oh!" Momentarily defeated Chris could think of nothing else to say.
Wyatt's head slumped back as though the effort of talking was draining him. His voice was lower now, almost a whisper. "I've missed you little man. I'm glad you're here, I don't feel so hated."
Tears were falling freely from Chris now. "Hey for someone so hated you've got a lot of people trying to save you, willing to die for you and not just family."
Wyatt looked towards the pile of dust. "He was a nice kid, half manticore, apparently we played together as babies."
Chris looked at the mound then back to Wyatt who was beginning to rambling. "He thought I was some kind of saviour, making the world a better place for the misfits."
His eyes were glassy and he said in a panicky voice "Chris! Are you still there?"
"Not going anywhere bro" Chris took his brother's hand squeezing it tightly.
Reassured Wyatt kept talking. "The Alliance, my alliance, it's not evil, I'm proud of it, maybe not how I made it but it's a good thing. You've worked with Demons, they are not all bad."
Chris wiped the tears from his face. "No, no they're not."
Wyatt smiled. "I wish you'd been with me, maybe we could have done it right."
"We still can" No this couldn't be it, he had to be able to do something, maybe Piper could help, maybe the power of three, maybe another elder, he looked at the corpses, perhaps not.
"You'd have done that, joined me?" Wyatt gripped his brother's hand, surprised.
"Sure Wyatt, we can do it together" He looked down at his brothers wane face, and felt helpless, even if there were someone left to help, it was too late.
Wyatt looked eager. "No more killing, a proper alliance with willing parties."
"Sounds like a good plan" Chris's voice was breaking.
Wyatt smiled faintly. "Your just lying to me because I'm dying."
"No, you and me, the Charmed 2."
Wyatt sighed and relaxed at last. Chris felt his hand go limp.
"No! not again, please God not again."
He put his hand to his brother's face and gently closed his eyes.
Chris crouched with his head in his hands, feeling numb, lonelier than he had ever been in his life. In his mind he saw all of the times he had been estranged from his family, all those years, those stupid, wasted years. He would give anything to have some of that time now; he just wanted them back so much it hurt. He needed to go find Bianca but somehow he couldn't leave his brother, knowing that when he did Wyatt and Leo would be dead for real.
He thought about Piper. Did she know already, was she disappointed in him? If he hadn't argued with her, if he'd gone to look for Leo earlier, maybe things would have been different. He could have saved them.
Through the corner of his eye he thought he saw a movement in Wyatts chest, there it was again. It looked like, it looked like, no it couldn't be, he woul..."...YOU SICK BASTARD!"
Wyatt started to laugh. "Guess that means I'm busted" He stood up, the glamour spell lifted and his very healthy self grinned at Chris "Hey you were the one who wanted to take back all the wasted years, now's your chance."
"You listened to my thoughts, you..." The rest of what he said disappeared as he ran at Wyatt punching. Wyatt dodged then grabbed Chris from behind pinning down his arms, furious Chris struggled like a mad man until he heard Wyatt say almost in a whisper. "I really did miss you little man" and feeling suddenly overcome by the emotions he had been through Chris just slumped in his brother's arms, too weary to fight anymore.
Eventually Wyatt released him and Chris just stared, unable to comprehend such cruelty. "Why"
Wyatt muttered something, then seeing Chris hadn't heard angrily repeated himself. "I just wanted to know if you'd be sad."
Chris's mouth dropped and he started to laugh, Wyatt bristled, then after a moment joined him and it was some time before either could talk.
Wiping the tears from his eyes Chris eventually managed to ask, "So, how did you manage to survive the potion."
Wyatt rolled his eyes. "Are you serious, you really think I'd leave a spell, with written instructions, pictures even, saying how to kill me in the book"
"You defiled the book!" It seemed a sacrilege to Chris.
"Didn't you get the memo, I was evil." Wyatt walked over to the pile of Mark.
Chris watched him curious. "Can you heal him?"
"Yes but its tricky, I'll need to restore his body first, not sure how but I'll work it out." Wyatt orbed the bits into a container and without looking at Chris said "So, about our partnership, or don't you keep death bed promises anymore?"
"You didn't die"
"That's not the point, I might have done. How about it, I meant what I said, come and save me." He grinned. "It's your raison d'etra."
Chris was taken aback. "I didn't think that...well...its just...you can't be serious?"
"Never more so. I meant what I said it could be different. We could make it as different as you like."
Chris gaped, not sure what to say. Now he'd got his brother back he didn't want to lose him, but the Alliance was everything he had been fighting for years, his friends had died to resist it. To join now would be a betrayal too far. Suddenly remembering that his brother could read his thoughts Chris looked up to see Wyatt watching him.
"I see. I can't change what's happened Chris, however much I might want to, neither of us can, even if we go back in time. " Wyatt smiled gravely. "You of all people should know that. The only choice we have is to live in the past rehashing everything that's happened or we try and move on make things better."
It made sense and he believed him, the Alliance could be a force for good for everyone but still, he thought of Tom and Clara who'd died by Wyatt's orders, then Bianca who'd been saved. He needed to get away, to think things through. "I...."
"...need to get away and think things through, I know" Wyatt sighed. "Just don't take too long". He became more business like. "Now, where exactly is Dad?"
Wyatt looked around him furious. "But it's my plan."
"I know honey and we are all grateful for the thought." Prue coughed her own dissent pointedly but Piper ignored her, continuing. "It's just we don't think it's right, it's not what we want."
"No one minded when I resurrected Mark and Chris." Why did they always have to make everything so difficult?
Piper, seeing his frustration, sighed, this was even harder than she thought it would be. "That was different, they were too young to die. Its just, we've had our time."
"Mom you're not old". He looked at her thoughtfully, then round at his Aunts, was that it, their problem? "I could maybe bring you back younger."
Phoebe looked interested. "Really?" then off her sister's looks "What, I was just asking."
Wyatt turned to Leo for support "You too Dad, surely you don't agree with this?"
Leo smiled at Piper. "Definitely."
Wyatt sat down crestfallen. "It was my plan, I just wanted to make it up to you"
Piper sat next to him and took her son's hand. "I'm so sorry Baby, forgive me."
He looked at her dully. "What for?"
For making you think that my life was so crap. It wasn't. Magic didn't ruin my life, it hurt me sometimes, a lot, and maybe I bitched about it from time to time" she glared at the rest of the group who wisely stayed silent. "but it's who I am and I wouldn't have had a different life even if I could."
He looked at her sceptically. "What even when Prue died, or dad left?"
"Well maybe not then, but bad things happen to everyone, magical or not. Losing the people I loved was hard, but magic brought me everything in my life that I've ever valued, it was never a curse Wyatt and I'm sorry I let you think it was."
Wyatt couldn't believe her. "I don't buy that. You'd have been happy without it and the fighting, happy with us, all of us"
But I wouldn't have had you. You don't understand, I only met your Dad through magic and without him there would be no you, do you think I would change that for a second. As for my sisters, before we were witches Prue and Phoebe couldn't be together in the same room and I doubt we'd have met Paige even if she existed".
Paige interrupted "Well that's me definitely supporting the magic version of your life."
Piper carried on. "I wouldn't have even had the businesses with out the confidence I got from being a witch, you have no idea how timid I was."
Her son looked at her in amazement, the thought of his Mom being timid was inconceivable.
She reached out and smoothed a loose strand of hair from his face. "I might not have always shown it but my life was blessed in so many ways. How many women get to be loved by an angel who is willing to become mortal for her, or to spend their lives making the world a better place, or have two such amazing sons. My life was wonderful, but now its over and we" She put her hand out to Leo who took it. "have a different existence that will be just as good.
She turned back to her son. "Let it go Wyatt, let me go and make your own wonderful life.."
Finally accepting the truth of what she said but seeing his dreams in tatters he just felt lost and empty. "I don't want to be on my own anymore."
She smiled at him tenderly. "Baby, you'll never be alone, you know that. If you need me, us, any of us, we will be there, always, I promise even if it's just to talk."
"Great, I can hang around with dead people, do you know how sad that sounds?"
"Don't I count then?" Chris had come in unnoticed.
Wyatt looked at him sulkily. "I thought you didn't want to know me."
"Yeah, well I thought you weren't that dim, guess we were both wrong and I'm not sure that's such a good start to a partnership."
Wyatt looked a bit more enthusiastic. "So who changed your mind?"
Chris glanced around at his family. "Pretty much just about everybody, that's some fan club you've got there Wy. Apparently, its not where you've come from but where you're going that counts."
Seeing the look in Wyatt's eyes he knew he'd made the right decision, but he couldn't stop himself from adding. " But just so you know, I won't be answering to you."
Wyatt raised an eyebrow. "Thats just as well the shock would kill me." That bodyguard was definitely due a raise.
Chris stretched out his hand. "So, partners?"
Wyatt took it. "Oh no, so much better than that, family". And he grinned, happy at last.
Ok, finally finished, hope it wasn't a disappointment or cop out, pretty much everybody died one way or another, I think I might have been overcompensating for last time. Unfortunately this means that apart from my vacation I have nothing stopping me going back to Elucidating Leo and that one is really hard story. I'd sort of hoped everyone had just forgotten about it but Wickedwms you are my conscience.