Title: Journey's End
Summary: Wyatt comes after Chris to finish what he started in 'Chris-crossed'.
The story is placed somewhere after 'A wrong day's journey into right' and before 'It's a bad bad world'. Let's just make a few alterations and say Chris managed to keep his secret from everyone.
Spoilers: Basically season 6
Disclaimer: I don't own anything :( Can't I borrow Chris for a little while?
2. A new Beginning
Hope fades into the world of night.
Through shadows falling out of memory and time.
Don't say: 'We have come now to the end.'
White shores are calling. You and I will meet again
And you'll be here in my arms just sleeping.
Wyatt wanted to scream! All his powers and he wasn't even able to help the one person he had left in this world! What was being twice-blessed good for if he couldn't even save his own brother? Of course, the one damn thing his father hadn't passed on to him was the ability to heal! It was not fair! His brother was slowly dying in his arms because the one power that could save him was out of his reach!
But then, through the haze of panic and confusion, it suddenly dawned on him, that he didn't need to have the power himself. His father was still alive in this time.
"Leo!" he yelled up to the ceiling, dimly aware of another presence entering the room.
"DAD!" Anger was creeping into his voice now. "You get your damn dead ass down here this instance!"
The sound of shopping bags dropping to the floor mixed with the familiar chiming of bright blue orbs that now materialized in front of him and a heartbeat later he could see the never-aging form of his father staring down on his two sons in confusion.
"Wyatt!" He asked incredulously, open-mouthed and wide-eyed.
But before he could form any more questions, his eldest son interrupted him rudely. "Heal now, ask later!"
It was still raining by the time the sisters came back from their little shopping tour. Happily chattering, discarding their dripping cloaks and umbrellas in the entrance hall, none of them noticed that something was dangerously amiss at first.
Hence, two shopping bags in her hands, Piper started towards the living room where they had left Chris about two hours ago. She highly doubted that the young witch-Whitelighter had moved at all since their departure. He was as happy as a drunk in a liquor store if only he could study his Book of Shadows, the older witch thought wryly amused. It surprised her that he didn't know it by heart by now. But she was determined to make him take a break now, because the eldest Halliwell had some purchases she wanted to show him. No excuses allowed this time, 'cause an annoyed, heavily pregnant, hormonal and powerful Charmed One was not something – or rather someone – anybody would want to mess with! And between all of the baby-supplies there were even some clothes for Chris in the bag.
It still surprised Piper sometimes that, after all the distrust and harsh words that had been spoken, they still had managed to grow so close these last few months. But even the ever sceptical eldest sister couldn't misunderstand his almost overprotective demeanour which had only grown worse with her extending belly. And – thanks to her father – Chris had started acting almost human, if still more than a bit neurotic,around her little family. She never did find out what the two men had been talking about or what her father had seen in the boy that very first time they had met that he actually acted civil around a Whitelighter from the beginning. But she had seen the compassionate worried looks her father had thrown the boy and Chris' sudden change in behaviour and had decided it was time to stop interrogating and start trusting, even if only in her father's instincts at first.
The sound of low voices made her falter in her step for a moment. Was Leo here? Arriving at the doorway to the other room the first thing she noticed was the destruction that now ruled the place. Pieces of furniture and shards of glass and porcelain lay scattered all over. What truly made her heart race in panic though, was the sight of the two young men huddled together in the middle of the room. One of them she didn't know. The other was Chris and her heart caught painfully in her throat as she recognized him. His clothing had dark scorch marks everywhere and she could see angry hot burns all over his body. Red raw flesh shone through many particularly nasty wounds and Piper had to fight down a sudden nausea, holding on to her shopping bags as if her life depended on them.
However, what the other man yelled next made her drop them in shellshocked recognition as she brought her hands up over her mouth, her thoughts in utter and profound turmoil.
Upon hearing someone calling for Leo down the hall and seeing Piper drop her bags, the other two women came rushing over to their older sister in concern, little Wyatt on Phoebe's hip. The little they saw from behind Piper was enough to make their blood run cold. Chris lay there unmoving, held tightly by some stranger they didn't know was friend or enemy.
Arriving just in time to see their former Whitelighter orb in front of the two young men in the middle of the awful scene, they finally processed exactly who the blonde stranger had called for.
"Dad?" Paige whispered, her own confusion mirrored in Phoebe's and Leo's faces whereas her eldest sister wore a look of dread and dawning understanding, one of her hands unconsciously moving from her mouth to her wide belly, when their young Whitelighter began to stir under Leo's careful treatment.
Resurfacing from the silent blissfully painfree darkness he had slipped into only moments ago, the first things Chris was aware of were his brother's strong arms around him and the warm soothing glow that slowly spread through his body, chasing away the last memory of agony.
Groaning, he struggled to sit up on his own, reflexively pushing away both his father's and his brother's concerned helpful hands. He swayed slightly at first but managed to keep sitting upright on his knees. With all the attention momentarily focused on him, Chris glanced uncomfortably and with no small amount of uncertainty at Wyatt through the strands of dark hair that kept falling into his eyes. Could it be? He took note of his brother's unfamiliarly calm and composed stature, watching the younger one with slightly confused, remorseful yet somehow happy eyes. Could it be too much to ask for? That it was over? That it was Gideon all along? It sure looked like it. His brother's face didn't show the evil sneer or that twisted parody of a smile Chris had known for so long now, but had a look of quiet serenity. The young half-breed could have laughed at the twist of events fate had thrown their way. Wyatt himself had obviously averted the very doings he had always denied had actually happened.
Emerald eyes locked with his brother's icy blue ones, Chris just barely caught Leo's question.
"Would someone please tell us what the hell is going on here!"
The Elder glanced uncertainly between the two young men still kneeling in front of him, settling his gaze on the one he was familiar with eventually. "Chris?"
"Gideon," Chris replied still a bit shaky, finally taking his eyes off Wyatt. Seeing his father's lack of understanding, he repeated more firmly, impatience and the feeling of betrayal painting his voice dark. "It was Gideon. He wanted to kill him and I... I..."
"You were your usual foolhardy self and jumped in front of me!" His brother continued for him. "God, Chris! What the hell were you thinking!"
"It was what I came here for after all..."
By now, Piper had obviously overcome her initial shock and Chris watched her stepping up to his older brother, her wide eyes. He couldn't surpress the stab of jealousy that shot through him at her reaction.
"Wyatt?" she asked hesitantly, having to reach up to cup his cheek tentatively as he abruptly stood up. "But... I, I don't understand. Chris... He said that you, that you..." She let the sentence trail of in plain confusion and Chris had to wonder, provided that the future truly had been changed, whether Wyatt even still remembered what he had done in his time as a despot. Like Chris did. And that brought back the one question he had always avoided until now. Would they even be able to return to the future if it had been so drastically changed?
"He was right." He heard Wyatt answer after several moments of uneasy silence. Relief surged through him. Relief that it was all for real, that he didn't dream this sudden, unexpected, insanely Disney-like happy ending. Reflief that it wouldn't look like he had lied once again, because Chris didn't think he could bear his mother and aunts changing their opinion on him one more time.
And he felt sudden sympathy towards his older brother at the sound of utter chagrin in his voice, giving Chris a good impression just how much he remembered from the future.
Leo cut the little reunion short though, shaking his head in agitated disbelief. "No! I mean why would Gideon do such a thing?"
For once, Chris didn't rule in his feelings of compassion for his father. This man, this Elder had been Leo's mentor and friend after all.
It had taken him a long time to accept the fact that this man wasn't the father he knew yet. And even though he still had his issues with him, this trip to the past made him learn one thing about Leo: sometimes he was utterly, totally oblivious to the feelings and needs of his family; but he would walk through hell and back if it meant it kept them save. It made not up for all the lost opportunities, all the missed birthdays, not hardly. But it stirred his hope that maybe, just maybe his father truly had cared about him in his own timeline.
"Gideon was afraid of me," he dimly heard Wyatt explain to their family. "Afraid of what I could become, what I had become according to Chris. And to prevent that he wanted to kill... baby me over there. He came here to get Chris out of the way because he knew, Chris wouldn't allow that. I just happened to be here when he arrived and he decided to take advantage of that and destroy my future self as well."
It was over! This realization suddenly struck deep. It was truly over and he had succeeded! Not twice-blessed, not mentioned in some weird prophecy, not powerful enough to fight on his own he had succeeded in this insane suicide mission he had never believed to successfully finish!
Chris couldn't hold in the laughter that welled up in him all of a sudden and threatened to spill over his lips. Helplessly chuckling, he accused Wyatt: "God, Wy! No two minutes around them and you already spill your identity!"
"Yeah, well, Bro," he heard his older brother spill yet another secret identity. "You're the only Halliwell I know that can keep a secret any length of time!"
And still he laughed. He could practically feel the sudden frozen silence of the other occupants of the room and Wyatt's sheepish "Ooops!" and still he couldn't stop laughing. Chris' sides began to hurt and he had trouble breathing but the laughter didn't cease. What was wrong with him?
In an effort to calm down he tried to take deep steady breaths, bending over and shielding his face with his hands, when abruptly the uncontrollable laughter changed into silent tears.
It was over...
Had Leo been confused and partly frightened at learning that his firstborn – who was supposed to be the source of all evil in his timeline – had come back to the past, presumably for the same reason Chris' fianceé Bianca had come, he stood completely shellshocked at Wyatt's almost casual revelation of Chris' true identity.
His son. Chris was his son!
Of course, it all made sense now. Chris' knowledge of the manor, of their family, of their little secrets and their customs, his witch-blood or Whitelighter-blood depending on the perspective. Why it was him of all people that went back to the past, risking literally everything by trying to change the future. Why the Book of Shadows trusted him from the beginning.
Leo's mind went overdrive as it started to point out all the subtle hints that could have given Chris away if only they had taken a closer look. Guilt started to gnaw on his insides. And it didn't help when his mind continued with reminding him how they had treated the boy, replaying all the situations where they had made him feel like an outcast, deliberately or unknowingly, all those mean little remarks that might sting a stranger but could do so much harm on family...
He didn't even want to think about what Chris must have felt like when Piper threw him out of the manor or when he himself had beaten him up right after he had escaped from Valhalla. The man almost visibly cringed at that particular memory. It must have been awful, never knowing if they trusted him today or if they once again found a cause to question his sincerity when all he wanted to do was save his family.
His body was too numb with shock yet to do anything but watch as his firstborn crouched down beside his brother when he realized Chris was indeed crying. Looking at Wyatt pulling the younger boy into a soothing embrace with Chris hiding his face in his brother's shoulder, Leo couldn't blame the boy for breaking down in hysterics. Hell, he was on the verge of a nervous breakdown himself at the moment.
Why hadn't the boy just told them the truth? It would have been so much easier on all of them. Then again, Chris propably had to have been terrified of changing something that would have caused more harm than good. Like jeopardizing his own conception, the Elder realized with a start. Jesus, how had Piper put it at one time? 'This whole family needs a shrink!'
How right she was.
And then Gideon. He couldn't believe his old friend would betray him like that. Planning to murder his son! And almost succeeding in killing another son he didn't even know of at that time. Leo couldn't bear thinking about that right now.
So, deciding to shove every thought of Gideon at the back of his mind for the time being, he rather watched his two sons in amazement.
There was a lot to talk about once everyone had calmed down enough. But for now, the man felt the two siblings needed that time together after everything that had happened. Looking over at the pregnant love of his life, he could see the same smile tugging at her lips that he himself had already given in to.
Hearing those few meaningful words coming from the mouth of her grown up firstborn son, Piper knew she was not nearly as shocked as she propably should have been. She had felt the truth for some time now.
The moment she had learned who sat on her living room floor, desperately holding onto a mortally wounded Chris, his face stained with tears, she knew for sure. The only thing that was missing to confirm her suspicion were the words spoken out loud.
A strong feeling of pride rushed through her at seeing her two boys all grown up, strong and caring and courageous, willing to sacrifice themselves for saving their family. Well, Chris didn't look so strong right now, fiercely clutching his older brother while hiding his tears in the crook of the other one's neck. Though Piper honestly couldn't blame him for that. This last year since he had come back to the past must have been hard on him. Never able to relax, always keeping his guard up so that he wouldn't let something slip accidentally, not being able or refusing to confide in them couldn't have been easy. And now that they had all come through this, alive and well, now that Wyatt was save and actually there to confirm the change that had taken place, all of Chris' pent up emotions must have snapped after all.
Her father knew, Piper suddenly realized. Had known the moment he had seen Chris. And now she had a fairly good idea about what the two of them had talked about.
In hindsight, the Halliwell witch was terribly sorry for all that they – what she – had put the boy through during his year as their Whitelighter. But curiously enough she didn't feel guilt or remorse over her actions. Chris was a Halliwell and most certainly had grown up in the midst of fights against demons and whatever other threats or evil they had had to face. He knew that it was first priority to keep the family save and Piper had done just that. She was sure that Chris understood and would have acted the same if it would have been the other way round.
Observing the other young man who now gently rocked her youngest son in his arms, she could clearly see the guilt on his features. Wyatt. Her beautiful baby boy. She couldn't help but wonder what had happened in their lifes, what Wyatt had done as source of all evil to cause such anguish on his face. Unimaginable relief flooded through her now that she knew he was save, that neither of them would have to live through the hell Gideon had unintentionally created. Not in this timeline. The witch could only hope that, when they had found a way to get them back to the future, neither of them would have to remember what had happened to them.
The baby she carried decided to kick her at that moment and she touched the spot on her belly lovingly and with a smile on her face where she had felt him. She already looked forward to seeing her baby boys grow up into these fine young men who sat in front of her now.
A Halliwell, huh?
Now that was a twist of events, Paige thought wryly. But somehow, this revelation didn't surprise her at all. Not that she had seen this coming although, looking back on things, maybe they should have; there certainly had been clues enough. No, but knowing this family's history, there were pretty few things Paige didn't believe possible anymore. Though Chris had got to be the first Halliwell on a journey back to the past who had managed not to reveal his identity within the very first day.
Not just for that, sudden pride welled up in her. The young man had averted the danger for her small nephew, Chris himself, her new found other nephew was save and sound again and adult Wyatt was not the evil powercrazy tyrant anymore that his brother came here to stop.
She looked over at her middle sister, a bit startled to see a smug grin on Phoebe's lips. The empath still held little Wyatt on her hip, cooing to the young boy and pointing over to where his older self was comforting his little brother. Sensing Paige's eyes on her, she turned around, a happily smiling toddler moving with her and smirked at her sister. 'I knew it!' she formed with her lips.
Oh, there were hours of explanations waiting for them!
Shaking her head ruefully, Paige had to grin.
After the danger was over, Chris' secret had been reveiled and Wyatt's own frantic emotions had calmed down somewhat, the young man finally had time to think about what had happened in the last twenty minutes.
Half an hour ago he had been the evil ruler of the whole frigging world, demon and human alike, not caring about anything but himself and his brother; betraying everything his family, his mother had stood for, fought for and died for; ready to kill his own brother to keep him from dying the way his mother and aunts and father had. How fucked up was that?
The twice-blessed remembered his past life, his past deeds in all clarity and part of him almost wished Gideon had been strong enough to kill him. He couldn't understand why Chris still had faith in him, still cared for him so much so that he came all the way back through time in order to save him, after everything else had failed to make Wyatt see reason.
He hadn't seen reason for a long time. The wayward young man had been so immersed in his power, extending and protecting his dominion with every means possible, that he didn't see what he had become. Or rather not caring what he had become, for Wyatt clearly remembered that he had enjoyed what he had done back in the future. He couldn't imagine what must have happened in his own time when Gideon had managed to take a hold of him to turn him into something so different form what he felt he was now. Now that he had seen and killed the man – one murder he didn't regret – dim memories came back to him. Memories of dark caves and fires and monsters and pain and fear and loneliness. It was not much but it was enough to make him shiver.
The grip around his shoulders tightened and he felt Chris burrying his head deeper into his shoulder. His brother had stopped crying but still refused to let go and Wyatt let him. There was so much they had to work out, so much that stood between them. Like Bianca. And once Chris regained his composure, well...
Wyatt just hoped his baby brother would be able to forgive him in due time. Yes, Chris had risked everything to save him. That didn't mean though he was able to just forget everything that had happened to him because of Wyatt.
Maybe, somewhere down the road there was redemption waiting for him. And with that thought came a startling, yet somehow consoling realization:
Halliwell's Path had him back again.
I'm flattered! 31 reviews for one chapter! WOW! I never thought this story would draw that much attention.
So, there you go, here was the second chapter! Hope I lived up to all of your expectations :)
Actually this was never supposed to be more than a one shot. The only reason I divided it into two chapters was because I wanted to make a distinction between before and after Gideons death.
And yes, I know Paige and Phoebe came short, but I just didn't feel like they would fit in alright.
Thanks to Bunny Dee for pointing out that the song 'Into the West' was by Annie Lennox :)
Some of you perhaps know, that I prefer to reply to reviews per email rather than in the chapters themselves. But since not all of you have email adresses, here the rest of you:
Charmed in brooklyn: Well, you were right about Gideon. And Chris didn't die, so I hope you liked this chapter as well :)
Bunny Dee: You sound like you watch the movie a lot, huh? You were listening to the song before you reached the end of the chapter? Cool ;) Well, hope you liked my ending...
starra: Thanx! I did ;)
Magical princess: Thank you! But this was the end, at least of this story
phoebe turner: Thanks! Soon enough? ;)
Eliza17: ... can you see me back away? ;) Just kidding. Hope you liked how it worked out.
Wonder: Thanks. I think all of your questions were answered in the chapter. I don't really know if Wyatt had the ability to heal in the series, so for the sake of the storyline he doesn't ;)
Someone Special: well, there you go. Glad you liked it so far (the 1. chapter that is)
rizzysnape: You think? Thankx!
pita: Happy now? ;)
darcy101: I'll try. In case you read this, I hope you liked it :)
chauncey: See, I didn't let Chris die, sou can still listen to that absolutely fantastic song! U live in New Zealand! Care to invite me over ?;) No, seriously I would love to see that country, but I will most likely never have the money to actually do that :(
Lady: Well, I did. Hope it u liked how it turned out ;)
KlownKid-131: U did? Wow! And I hope it didn't hurt. Thanks!
So, that's that. And last but not least a huuuuuge THANKS to everyone who reviewed. You don't know how much good reviews do for me!
Love ya all!