You have to fix this
Chapter 1 (of 1)
Summary: Piper has to figure out what it takes to save her relationship with her youngest son, Chris before it's too late.
AN: For those of you who are reading He did it for me, don't worry, I have not forgotten, and a new chapter will be posted within a few days. But after seeing the episode, "Imaginary Friends", I didn't like the way baby Chris got treated—meaning as if he was the imaginary friend...or maybe the imaginary brother. And after this past week's fiasco in "Death Becomes Them", I hated it even more.
Disclaimer—I don't owned Charmed, or any of the characters, I'm just borrowing—not for fun this time, but to blow off steam.
Piper sat in the solarium rocking chair, watching her nearly two year old son amuse himself with the blocks that Leo had bought him. He let out a happy squeal as he stacked one and toppled them over, causing her to crack a small smile. It faded from her features with the heavy sigh she let out at the overwhelming and constant guilt she felt.
Phoebe dropped her purse on the table hearing the action and sat on the wicker chair next to her. "Sweetie, what's wrong?"
Phoebe furrowed her brow, intently staring at her older sister. "Even if I wasn't an empath, I would still be able to sense that's a lie. Piper, I've known you my whole life. I know when something is bothering you." She followed her oldest sister's gaze to the little brown-haired child on the floor. "You miss him, don't you?"
The oldest Charmed One scoffed and pointed to the toddler, "No, he's right there."
"It's ok to miss him, Piper. He was your son. You have the right to feel something."
Exasperation taking hold of her, Piper nearly shouted then lowered her voice. "That's just it, Phoebe. I don't feel anything!"
Phoebe looked shocked at her normally calm and level-headed sister's outburst. "What do you mean, 'you don't feel anything?' What, you mean for Chris?"
Suddenly embarrassed as well as guilty, she admitted, "Well I don't mean anything, I guess. I mean, I love him, I really do. But I just can't seem to—I don't know. Connect with him."
Worriedly, she asked in a small voice, "How long have you felt like this?"
"Next you'll be asking me to lie down on a long black couch. I don't need a psychiatrist, Phoebe."
"I'm sorry. I didn't mean it to sound like that. I just meant that maybe you just need time to get used to the idea of having two magical children."
"He's almost two Phoebe. How long is that gonna' take."
"How long did it take with Wyatt?"
"There was no time. From the moment I found out I was pregnant with him, it just sort of clicked. And then I was in labor for all those hours, and I just kept thinking how much I couldn't wait to meet him. When I finally did, and he opened those baby-blues for the first time, it was like—that's mine. I made that. I felt like his mother, right from the start. It didn't feel like I loved him by default, just because he's mine."
"And you do with Chris," Phoebe stated sadly, all the while staring at the toddler in question.
Nodding reluctantly, Piper breathed a sigh of relief at finally letting out her rampant feelings with someone. "I feel like such a horrible mother. I never felt any of those instant connections with Chris. What's wrong with me?"
"Sometimes it takes time, Piper. You had a C-Section, you weren't in labor for hours like you were with Wyatt. When you woke up, he was just handed to you. And before that, you were under a spell, so you never really got the chance to have a normal pregnancy and birth with Chris. Those facts alone would normally have given you time to form that attachment, just like you did with Wyatt. This is normal."
She threw her hands up and stormed into the kitchen, her middle sister fast on her heels. "It's not normal Phoebe. With Chris, I feel like I'm babysitting someone else's child."
Phoebe pleaded with her. "Go easier on yourself. You love him. You protect him. You'd never let anything happen to him—none of us would. The rest will come in time."
Piper sounded doubtful, "Will it?"
"Of course, honey. Besides, he's not even old enough to remember any of this. You're a wonderful mother to Wyatt, and I don't have any doubts that you will be a wonderful mother to Chris too."
In the midst of their conversation in the kitchen, neither woman noticed the little boy toddle over to the man of the house who awaited him with open arms. He waived his chubby little fingers, giggling gleefully despite the despondent look on his father's face.
A week later, Leo bounced his youngest son around the house on his shoulders, eliciting excited yelps from the young Halliwell. When Piper neared, he barely acknowledged her presence.
"Leo? What's going on? You've barely said two words to me over the past week."
"What's there to say?"
"How about for starters, you tell me why you're acting so distant? I thought you wanted to change how things were going with us? You know, be a family again? I thought things were going well."
Leo avoided her eyes as he spoke, concentrating only on the small child in his arms. "I heard you, Piper."
"You heard me what?"
Leo faced her quickly, his eyes burning with betrayal. "After everything he did for us. He's still our son, Piper. How on earth could you possibly feel nothing for him?"
Unprepared for the flurry of emotions, she backed away slightly. "It's not that I don't feel anything for him. I love Chris, honestly, I do. But I think Phoebe's right. Every single circumstance surrounding his birth was anything but normal. And that's what a mother needs to form a connection with her child. I didn't get that opportunity, so it's just going to take a little time."
"He's two, Piper. You've had two whole years to decide how you feel about him. It's not like you can just give him back."
Piper pleaded with her husband, "and I would never want to."
"You've treated him differently from the moment you first laid eyes on him. Both the adult and the baby. You never celebrated anything about Chris. You were the one who insisted we cancel his first birthday party because he'd never notice. And you swore we'd have two for him this year to make up for it. But we didn't. You gave him a cheesy store bought cake, stuck a candle on it and called it a birthday party."
"He liked that cake." Piper uttered defensively.
"It's not the point. You baked every single one of Wyatt's birthday cakes from scratch, made it very special. But for Chris? No. Have you ever noticed that there are next to no pictures that you took of Chris around this house? Yet there are dozens, possibly even hundreds of photos you took of Wyatt floating around."
Leo shook his head trying to control his anger, "No buts, Piper. I promised Chris that I would be a good father to him this time around, and I intend to do that. But you never had to try. He always adored you Piper. And you treat him like he barely exists. He doesn't deserve that."
Clearly upset, the woman allowed the tears to roll down her cheeks as she aimlessly tried to explain, "I know, I just—I don't know how to make myself feel differently. Don't you think I have tried? Things will get better, they have to."
"Will they? Prove it."
He grabbed her hand and led her upstairs to the attic. Picking up a piece of chalk, he jammed it into her hands leaving her looking dumbfounded. "Go and find out. Because you have to fix this Piper. Before it gets out of hand"
Her hands shaking, Leo had to help her draw the Triquetra on the wall once he sat his youngest son down. Soon after saying the familiar spell to send her to the future, she turned to him and waived slightly.
Appearing in the attic of the future, she laughed softly at seeing the familiar mop of dark tussled hair hanging over the Book of Shadows. Apparently, he hadn't changed a bit. Her certainly looked the same.
Suddenly aware of another presence in the room, he looked up startled.
She fiddled with her hands not quite knowing what to say, so she settled for a simple "Hi." She noted that he made no move to welcome her, and his odd expression seemed to imply that he was unfamiliar with her as he cocked his head to the side warily. "You do know who I am, right?"
Answering for the first time, his tone seemed indifferent. "Of course. What are you doing here?"
Piper chuckled nervously, "What, no 'Hi'?"
"Hi. What are you doing here," he prompted again before studying her strangely for a moment. "And what year are you from?"
Fearing her untimely demise again, she asked hesitantly. "How do you know I'm not your mom from this time. I could have cast a spell or something to make me look young again."
He folded his arms and answered her simply, "Considering that my Mom is dead, that would have to be one hell of a spell."
"CHRIS!" the older man scolded his son. "What have I told you about future consequences?"
The warm smile that Chris sent his father's way did not go unnoticed by his mother. He hadn't reacted at all to her presence since she arrived. And given that she had apparently been dead for several years, he didn't seem at all surprised to see her.
Leo tapped his foot impatiently and looked at his watch, "Chris, don't you have class. In about 10 minutes?"
"Oh, yeah. I've gotta' go." Chris leaned down, giving Piper a very stiff and formal hug, rather than anything that was borne out of warmth and affection. "It was nice to see you again, Mom."
"Bye dad, oh, and don't forget—I'm making lasagna tonight, so don't go filling up on junk food before I get home," he called out as he orbed away.
Leo waited until they were alone before he strolled over and enveloped his wife in his arms, "Hello Piper. It's so good to see you again."
"Well, at least for someone it is. Since he doesn't seem to remember me, I must have died young, huh?"
Leo debated telling her the truth at first. But finally decided to give her answers, especially since she came all that way. "No, it was only a few years ago."
Piper was confused, "Then why—"
Leo cut her off abruptly, deciding that being blunt with her was the only way to shock her into change. "Because you never bonded with him, Piper. When you died, it barely affected him because he never felt like he knew you. You were right here all along, but he never felt like you were a part of his life. When he grieved, it was because he lost his brother, not you."
"What? He's still evil? Wyatt--"
"Is dead. He's not evil, not in this lifetime. He died in the same car accident as you. Chris was devastated over loosing Wyatt. They're like best friends. He couldn't handle it, and we thought he would fall right over the edge. It wasn't until the Elder's brought him back as a full whitelighter did Chris begin to go back to his old self. But you and he were never close. He once told me that he felt second best with you, even when Wyatt wasn't around."
Piper was floored by the news. She took deep breaths, hoping to calm her shallow breathing and allowed her husband to lead her to a bench. She couldn't believe that things had never gotten any better like she had hoped. She had strongly believed that Chris would never even realize what was going through her head at such an early stage in his young life. She never wanted Chris to feel like that. She never wanted to feel like that.
Leo watched her taking in his words and gave her time for it to sink in. "It hurts, doesn't it? Chris loves you, just like you love him. But you never gave it a chance to bond with him when he was little. Those are the most important years in child's life. They have to know that being loved by their parents is more than just a requirement. You know, I should have told you when he was a baby what I saw. But I figured, what right did I have to criticize you when I was out of Wyatt's life for the nearly six months of his life. And I was horrible father to Chris in the old future. So I didn't want to say anything. But now, I will. If only so that you go back and fix this."
"That's what you said to me before I left to come here. 'You have to fix this.'"
"Then I was right. You've always pushed him away, and I think it was because of the preconceived notions you had of him as an adult in your life. He was always so self sufficient, and when he came to us, he didn't need anything. But you have to allow yourself to put that all aside, and learn to love this Chris for who he is. Your youngest son."
"My baby." Piper nodded with tears in her eyes, finally beginning to understand where she was going wrong. She only had to open her mind and heart to the little boy that was her baby.
With a new found joy, she jumped up from her chair, anxious to return home to her family. All of her family.
She wiped her eyes and once again, Leo handed her the chalk. Only this time, she would return home. "Good luck," he called out before she disappeared into the portal.
Awaiting her return, Leo instinctively held out the toddler in his arms to his wife, who finally welcomed him with open arms.
"Was everything ok," Leo asked.
"No." She couldn't keep her eyes from filling with tears as the emotion overwhelmed her. She kissed the locks of dark silky hair just before he threw his tiny head back.
He stared up at her with his sea-green eyes and Piper felt her heart melt with affection. "But it will be."
THE END. Yes, I actually finished something in one chapter:) I think I see a pig flying outside of my window!