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(Excerpt from Chapter 33)

Chris forced himself to look over at the old family portrait on the wall as a distraction.

Everyone was smiling back at him happily…he missed them all so much.

"Wish you were here, Mom." He whispered…

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Chapter 34- "Destiny"

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Leo could hardly breathe as he stood in the darkened bedroom starring into the warm brown eyes of his deceased wife. She was just as beautiful as he remembered…just as perfect…

There was so much he wanted to do at that very moment. He wanted to profess his love…he wanted to cry in her arms…he wanted to hold her and never let go…

But his body was too numb with shock to even make the slightest movement.

Piper…

Piper was here, in front of him, after all this time alone. It was what he had dreamed of every day for the past six years…what he had wished for more then anything else.

The gentle glow of the moonlight flooded through the bedroom window, illuminating her perfect features as she took a quiet step forward and drew him into an embrace.

"I've missed you." She whispered sadly as she brushed her had across his cheek once again.

He smiled at her soft touch and his heart began to beat rapidly in his chest. She was really here.

It was really her…

"I…I've missed you too." Leo managed to choke out after several more seconds of stunned silence. "So much." He paused and tried to fight back the tears welling in his green eyes. "Am I dreaming?"

Piper smiled again. "No Leo, this isn't a dream…I was summoned almost an hour ago. I don't know exactly why or how…but I felt myself being pulled here...and I've been waiting…calling out to you…hoping you would come."

The elder looked down at her with confusion before placing a gentle kiss atop her dark hair as he had done many times in the past. He had never heard of anyone being summoned from the dead for no explicable reason…someone must have wanted her there…someone must have wished that she would come…

But this was not the time to dwell on such things.

She was here- in his arms- and that was all that mattered right now. There was so much that needed to be said…

"I'm so sorry that I've let you down…" Leo whispered, almost overwhelmed by the comforting feeling of her form pressed against his. "I'm so sorry that I failed our boys…"

The tears were threatening to overflow again.

He was overjoyed to see her …and yet full of grief for the mistakes he had made.

Conflicting thoughts and feelings whirled inside of him; it was almost too much to bear.

"Shhh." She soothed, placing a gentle finger on his lips. "It's not your fault. You're not responsible for what Wyatt has become…and there is still hope that you can save Chris. You just can't give up…not yet…"

"Save him?" Leo choked, his voice barely audible. "How? He's gone Piper…I sent him into danger and he paid the price. Wyatt got him…he's probably no even alive…"

The witch smiled sadly as she gave him another reassuring squeeze. "He's still alive, Leo." She replied reassuringly. "Our little boy is pretty tough when he wants to be. He takes after both of his parents in that respect."

Leo felt relief flood over him as he absorbed her words.

There was still hope.

His son was okay…

Sensing the strong emotion coming off of him, Piper laced her arm around Leo's back and led them slowly over the edge of the bed they had once shared. The two sat in silence for almost a minute, their hands clasped tightly together.

There was so much pain in both of their eyes…

The memories of their time together were so full of worry and grief…but even now…even years after they had been separated for good…the devotion between them kept a small grain of hope alive…

Theirs was an eternal love that not even death had been able to suppress.

And it was this love that had resulted in the one thing that now mattered most…

Chris.

…the boy that represented the goodness that their love had created…

He was what kept them both grounded…as long as there was hope for their youngest son, they could continue on…

"You have to save him Leo." Piper whispered, looking up at the elder tearfully. "You're the only one that can."

The sound of his own heartbeat filled his ears…he was weak…he couldn't…

"How?" he choked, his voice barely audible. "How can I? Wyatt is too powerful…we sent a whole team of witches down to the underworld to free those he had captured- we failed- we can't beat him."

The witch turned away from her husbands defeated gaze and looked out into the dark night sky. She could feel his arm wrapped gently around her back, she revelled in the feeling of his warm body against hers…for a brief moment she felt as if she were back in a time when things were still okay…

When she and Leo had been happy…

When their sons had been safe and good…

She wished that, somehow, things could go back to the way they once had been. She wished that they could have a second chance…

There was so much she wanted to change…so much she wanted to do differently…

But it was too late now. She had been prematurely ripped away form those she loved- and as nice as it was to be back where she belonged, she could not suppress the voice in her head that reminded her that it was going to end. She had to go back…she had to leave them again…

She had to be thankful for the shot time she had…she had been given the chance to lead him down the right path, just as he had led her for so many years…

"Love." She whispered, turning to lock her brown eyes on his green.

Leo looked back in confusion.

"It's what you always told me and my sisters." She continued, her lips forming a sad smile. "Follow your heart, and you will find a way to save him. There is little that is stronger then the love between father and son…use that love, Leo, use it to save our little boy."

"Piper how-"

He began to protest but she cut him off with a deep and passionate kiss.

It had been so long…

But they were finally together as they were meant to be…

Piper smiled again as they drew apart. "I believe in you." She said, taking his hand in hers. "You just can't give up. Find a way…you have to save Chris, and Bianca, and our little grandson. They need you Leo…"

He drew a deep breath, overwhelmed by both his love for her and his newfound determination.

Chris was alive. He could still be rescued.

Leo didn't know how, but he knew that he would not rest until he found a way. Piper's words filled him with a hope that he had not thought possible. He could see in her eyes that their there was hope…and that she truly did believe everything might one day be okay….

"Grandson?" he asked, a sudden grin lighting up his face. "The baby is going to be a boy?"

Piper nodded. "Yes." She replied softly. "A boy with the power of three magical beings. He is the greatest hope for the future…the only chance that good will once again be restored…he may be the only one who can defeat Wyatt…"

Her sentence trailed off and she looked sadly down at the floor. Leo knew it pained her to think of her oldest son as a force of evil…it pained him too…

At times he still didn't believe it…but the destruction and death that encased the city made it hard to deny.

"Help them raise the boy well." The woman continued, her voice muffled by quiet tears. "Help him grow up strong and good." She paused. "And tell him that his grandmother will always love him…tell him hat she wishes more then anything that she could be there to watch him grow…"

Biting back tears of his own, Leo reached out to brush a wet tear from her cheek. "I will, Piper." He whispered. "And I know that he'll be able to feel you watching over him. I feel it…Chris feels it. You never really left us…we love you too much to let you go."

She leaned forwards and buried her face in his strong chest as she let her sobs over come her.

They sat in a long silent embrace, mourning for what they had lost and what they could never have…

Their story had once seemed so epic…forbidden love…the angel and the witch; overcoming everything to be together…

It had been perfect once…but that perfection had shattered into this.

A family broken apart…

Eternal separation…

They had been fools to ever dream of a happily ever after.

"I have to go soon." Piper whispered as she slowly drew back. "I can feel it…"

His heart sank as he clutched firmly onto her hand- he did not want to say good bye again.

It was too soon…

He couldn't let her go…

"It'll be okay." She soothed, planting a light kiss on his tear stained cheek. "You just need to stay strong."

He continued to hold her tight. "You're what kept me strong Piper…I can't continue forever without you…"

"I'm always with you…and I know we'll be together again one day. There are other lifetimes…other chances…" she paused. "Don't give up on us Leo, and don't give up on Chris."

He nodded reluctantly and loosened his hold on her hand as she stood up to walk across the room.

He tried to memorize every detail…he always wanted to remember this moment…

"…and Leo." She began again, her sad eyes looking up into his. "I need you to do one more thing."

"Anything."

She nodded, knowing that he would. "Go to my father." She said. "He doesn't have much time left…you need to give him some peace."

He looked alarmed at the news. "Of course." he replied.

Forcing a weak smile, Piper drew him close once again. "They're calling me back." She whispered. "I love you Leo, don't ever forget that."

"I love you too Piper, and I only wish that you could stay." He replied, savouring the final moments of her presence.

"Me too."

The two lovers came together and their lips met for one last bittersweet kiss.

He felt her fade away in his arms but he could feel her love still strong around him.

"Goodbye." Her gentle voice whispered, as soft a summer's breeze, and the glimmer of white lights told him that she had gone.

"Good bye Piper." He whispered, to the empty room. "I won't fail you again."

And with that, he orbed away, more determined then ever to save what remained of his family…

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Eleven year old Chris crouched outside the kitchen doorway, listening to his parents have a rather heated conversation.

Leo had orbed down a few hours ago for his monthly visit, and overall the evening had gone quite well. He had even eaten dinner with the family…Chris couldn't remember the last time he had stayed long enough to do that…

As much as he hated to admit it…and as much as he still resented the man…it had been nice to have his father around…

For once, things had almost felt normal.

Both Wyatt and Chris had been set to be half an hour ago so that their parents could have some time to catch up on their own…but as he lay in his room Chris had felt the un suppressible urge to orb back downstairs.

He had heard their tense voices in the kitchen…he had heard them say his name…

They were talking about him, and he had to find out why.

"I know school is important Piper." Leo said with a heavy sigh as he took a seat at the kitchen table. "But this is important too."

Chris saw the concern etched on his mothers face as she placed one hand on the counter for support. "I know Leo." She replied heavily. "But can you blame me for wanting to give my son at least some consistency in his life? And I don't think you understand…Chris has been having enough trouble at school…he doesn't need this to complicate matters further."

The boy continued to gaze at his parents in confusion from his hiding spot. He didn't know what they were talking about…he didn't know what it was that was going to make things more complicated…

"Trouble at school?" Leo asked, his green eyes glancing over at his wife. "What do you mean? His grades have been fine."

Piper sighed. "It's not because of his grades…it's because of his classmates. Chris tries not to let me see how much it hurts him…but I know that it does. The other kids make fun of him because he's not a full witch. He doesn't have any friends...and he's only going to be more of an outcast if you send him away for special training."

The elder looked surprised by his wife's words and he opened and closed his mouth several times as he searched for a reply.

Chris rolled his eyes.

It was so typical of Leo to just assume that things were fine…every time he visited he would ask his sons how they were…but he never took the time to truly listen. He would smile serenely, pat them on the head, and tell them he was proud of everything they did…he didn't have a clue what their lives were really like…

"Well," the elder began again as he forced his expression of surprise to one of determination. "He'll just have to toughen up. He needs this Piper- you can't deny that. Magic School is great for potions and spells, but that's only half of who he is…he needs to train his whitelighter powers too, and the only place to do that is 'up there'."

"He's not going to like the idea." Piper stated as she walked over to join Leo at the table. "I know he won't. And besides, Wyatt never had to go up for training, why should Chris?"

Leo drew a deep breath and smiled weakly at his wife. "I think you know the answer to that, Piper." He replied. "Wyatt has never needed training for anything, magic is just second nature to him…Chris needs to learn how to control his powers- and since all but one of his powers come from me, I should be the one to train him. I'm only suggesting one afternoon a week- I'll pick him up after lunch on Tuesday's, and take him 'up there' to practice…I already checked with Paige; Chris' class has free work time on Tuesday afternoons, he won't really be missing anything…and the other elders agree that this is a wise idea." He paused. "You may not want to believe it Piper, but being half elder makes Chris special. He requires special training…and I think that if he works at it, he may be able to take on whitelighter duty one day…"

Chris found himself frozen in panic as he listened to his father's words. His mom was right- if he was forced into this, the teasing at school would only get worse…he didn't even what to think about what his classmates would say when they found out the elders wanted him to go 'up there' for whitelighter lessons…

The mere thought of it made him sick.

He didn't want whitelighter training- he didn't want charges of his own…

He didn't want to be like his father…

"Have you even taken a second to considerer Chris' feelings?" Piper asked, her brown eyes darkening. "You can't just map out his destiny for him like this…he should be able to choose which path he wants to peruse…"

"Sometimes there isn't a choice." The elder cut in before Piper could finish her sentence. "Sometimes people have a calling they have to follow. It's Wyatt's destiny to take up the Halliwell fight against evil, and I think it's Chris' destiny to help protect good witches…as soon as he learns to heal, he'll have full whitelighter capabilities…it's pretty clear which path he is meant to follow."

Piper threw up her hands in frustration, causing an old vase to shatter into thousands of pieces. "You don't know that." She exclaimed, her voice suddenly louder. "Maybe it's Chris destiny to just lead a normal life. He doesn't have a prophecy which had already determined his destiny…he is free to choose what he wants, and you know as well as I do that that's a rare thing in this family. I can't take that away from him."

"He may not have a prophecy, but you can't deny who he is." Leo countered. "Magic is a strong part of him…I'm a strong part of him…He needs this training to hone his powers the best he can…"

Chris found himself shaking in rage as he listen to his fathers words, and before Leo had a chance to finish his sentence the boy jumped out from behind the door, startling both of the adults.

"NO!" he exclaimed, his green eyes flashing with anger.

"Chris, how long..." Piper began to question worriedly, but he did not allowed her to continue.

"I'm not going for whitelighter training!" he shouted angrily at his so called father. "You can't tell me what to do! I'm not a whitelighter. I'm not you!"

His parents exchanged a nervous glance; it was obvious that he had not been meant to overhear their argument.

Piper gave a loud sigh. "We were just having a discussion honey; nothing is being decided right now. You don't have to go if you don't want too."

"Piper," Leo cut in despairingly. "You can't just let him get out of this because of your desire to give the boys a normal life. They're not normal; it's time that you accepted that…"

The woman whipped around to face her husband. "I'm not ready to accept it, Leo." She shot back angrily. "I refuse to stop trying to give them what they deserve."

"What Chris deserves is proper training!" Leo replied, throwing his hands up in exasperation. "I'll teach him to heal; I'll make sure he can control his powers properly…"

"I don't want to!" Chris cried again, his eyes brimming with tears.

He wouldn't do it.

He wouldn't be like his father.

His father was never around…his father cared more about the innocents then he did about his own family.

He didn't want to be like that…

"Chris," Leo tried again "This really is for the best; I know you'll benefit from it."

The boy could hardly control his rage. He could feel the energy building…he could feel his anger rising…

"NO." he shouted, starring straight at the man who had never cared. "You don't know what I need, Leo! You don't know me! You don't know me…"

As the vision faded Chris found himself muttering his last angered lines as he remembered that horrible day…

"You don't know me…"

He had been so upset at the mere thought of going 'up there' to train, and in the end, he and his mother had refused Leo's offer.

They had thought it was for the best.

"You don't know me…"

It had been a mistake; he knew that now. He had never learned to heal, and as his mother lay dying on the living room floor he had been helpless.

If he had taken the lessons, she would still be here today…

Disgusted with himself, he looked down at his shaking hands. The golden glow came so easily now, but it hadn't come then…when he had needed it most.

He had failed.

That was all he had ever done…

Being locked up in this secluded room had given him time to think…he had replayed parts of his past over and over in his head, both with the assistance of Wyatt's memory spell and without.

He knew that he had always been weak…

Useless…

He was like his father…or at least, the Leo he remembered from his childhood…

He had stood by as his brother turned.

He had let the woman he loved slip away.

He had left his own child just as his father had left him…

He didn't know himself; he didn't know what to do…

'Failure.' His tired head screamed as he lay back on his bed. 'Failure…"

It was true, he had failed everyone he had once held dear…

He was sick of it…sick of being himself.

He was a pathetic excuse for a whitelighter, and an even more pathetic excuse for a witch.

And now he was trapped, alone, in this tiny room with no chance for escape…

Wyatt.

The bother that had put him though this hell, all the while claiming that he did it for love.

Wyatt was his only way out.

He didn't want to spend another three hundred years in captivity. He couldn't.

Bianca had already chosen to take Wyatt's side. His precious Bianca had betrayed him. But, he realized that he couldn't really blame her. He was a hopeless failure who had lost what little he had once had. All that remained now was his one final grain of good…maybe; it was time to give that up too. If Bianca had done it why couldn't he? At least they could be together then…at least he would be released from his isolated hell…

His mouth went dry and his heart beat increased as he considered his choices.

He could give into his brother, be released and reunited with his lover and unborn child…or, he could stay here alone for a few centuries and continue to defy Wyatt until he died of old age…

Neither was satisfying, but one was certainly more hopeful then the other.

He silently cursed his father as he continued to stare up at the dim ceiling, his mind swimming with a thousand thoughts. Being part whitelighter had ruined everything. If he were normal, it would be much easier to hold his ground and wait for his body to expire. Sixty more years wouldn't really be so bad…

But he couldn't handle hundreds. He knew that he was too weak. He would give up eventually…and sooner was better then later. At least now, he could be with Bianca.

He hoped his mother would be able to forgive him for what he was about to do…

And his father for that matter. Leo may not have been around when he was growing up, but he knew now that he had cared all along…even when he hadn't showed it.

In retrospect, he knew that he and Wyatt had been lucky to have them both…but he also knew that theirs was a family that was not meant to be. His parents had been too blinded by love to truly consider the consequences of their relationship. Sure, they had been happy for a time, but then Leo had been summoned by the elders and it became apparent that their paths were to different to ever really meet.

But by then it had been too late to reverse the damage that had been done.

They had made the mistake of having children…children that never should have existed.

And now, it was they that had to pay the price.

Wyatt had been consumed by his power, and Chris- always unsure of who he was- could no longer resist.

They were brothers drawn together by a special bond. Because of their parent's determination to break the rules, they were the only two of their kind…

Chris wasn't much of a witch, and as his latest vision had reminded him, he had never wanted to be a whitelighter either…

He was both and neither all at the same time…

He was just like Wyatt…

Sighing and finally giving into his exhausted state, Chris curled up under the thick blankets on his bed.

As much as it still pained him to consider, and as much as his conscience protested, he knew that when Wyatt came back, he would finally be willing to listen…

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A single candle illuminated Wyatt's dark chambers as he sat in solitude; slowly flipping through the pages of the family tome he had recently removed form the manor.

It was soothing to look over the familiar old pages. It brought him back to a simpler time…a time when the world had seemed so clear…

Things weren't clear anymore- they hadn't been for a long time. The only thing he knew for sure was that he sill cared for his little brother; he still wanted him on his side…he also knew the time of judgement was fast approaching…

Soon, he would make Chris choose, and he could only hope that everything went according to plan…

He stopped flipping the pages when a familiar symbol caught his eye. He still hadn't forgotten what he had read on this weathered old page…

'The Phoenix'

He traced his hand slowly over the ornately drawn letters. A part of him didn't want to do it, but he knew that if he was forced to, he would use what he had learned from this entry…

'Lynn Perry-' It read deep black ink 'Chris' first vanquish.'

Chris had killed Bianca's mother, and if Chris refused to fully side with him, he would make sure that they both knew the truth….

He would make his naive little brother realized they were both capable of destruction…

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A/N Yes, I AM alive. I'm really really sorry about the delay. Don't blame me, blame school ;) Well, actually you can blame me too, I had a bit more writers block on this story, but I totally know where I'm headed now…it's just a matter of finding enough time between exams to write it out. I should have another update by about next Friday (hope for the best) and I promise that the big Chris/Bianca reunion scene is coming up (2 more chapters till the BIG climax. Be excited!) Well, I hope you don't hate me…not that I can really blame you…and I hope you're still reading!

Now, about this chapter. Assume that Piper just knows certain things because she can check in on earthly matters whenever she wants. Also, I tried to make it clear that the reason she was summoned was because of Chris' unintentional wish in the last chapter. Sadly she was unable to appear in the underworld, but her spirit did make it to the manor, and, thankfully Leo was there ;) Oh, and the "You don't know me" line is meant to parallel Spin City (when Chris punches Leo and screams "You don't know me")

Next chapter we shall have an update on the Victor situation, final conversations between Chris/Wyatt and Bianca/Wyatt…all leading up to some dramatic action. Muahaha ;)

REVIEW!

Tata,

Leigh

Alyssa T- Yes, I'm so sorry for the wait…but think of it this way, if I hadn't done my real work, then my parents would have confiscated my computer and I would NEVER be able to update again:) That would be worse. Glad you're still reading! The last bit was supposed to be a little strange…I hope you get it now. And Guinevere was King Arthur's wife…that comment was supposed to indicate Wyatt's mild infatuation with Bianca…sorry it was so subtle.

Angry Girl- Yay! So glad you liked it! Lol, I'd rather join Wyatt then waste 300 years too;)

charmedchick4eva- Now you know why Piper is back. So happy you liked the flashback, that was my favourite part, but I was worried people might think it was a bit much. I'm slowly building up to Chris and Bianca's confrontation…it's not too far away…keep reading! Thanks for the review!

ilovedrew88- Glad you liked the flashback too! I'm so relieved. Thanks for reviewing!

Chattypandagurl- Sorry I didn't update as quickly this time, lol…not that your review wasn't inspiring:)

vampiress66613- thanks for reviewing!

Midnight murderer- thanks for the compliment, sorry I didn't 'update soon'

phoebe turner- thanks again;)

Patricia L. Bryans- Ah, good guess, but it wasn't a trap, lol. I figure Leo has been through enouh, he didn't need anymore complications. Thanks for reviewing, hope you don't hate me for taking to long!