Title: The New Family History
Author: tommygirl828 (at) gmail (dot) com
A/N #1: A decent, readable version is only possible because of my friend, Jen. She's a rockin' beta! Angsty Chris muse should also be recognized for he never leaves me alone.
A/N #2: I've gone and created another A/U world. This one set after the season seven finale.
A/N # 3: This is dedicated to all my readers out there who leave comments/feedback. I truly appreciate it. And as always, feedback is always, always, always adored. Enjoy y'all!
Chris knew something was wrong the minute he saw his brother waiting for him on the small college campus. Chris looked around, searching for some sign that his instincts were off, but there was no reasonable explanation for his brother's presence. Chris pushed his bag over his shoulder, excused himself from his classmates, and hurried over to where Wyatt was leaning against his beat-up truck.
"What's going on? Is grandpa okay?" Chris asked.
"I don't know."
Wyatt motioned for him to hop in the truck and said, "He called me at work, told me to pick you up from class, and get back to the house."
Chris exchanged a worried glance with his brother and easily knew what Wyatt was thinking. It was the same thing he was – something had happened, something big. Chris knew his grandfather could be eccentric at times, especially as he had gotten older, but he was never the dramatic type.
Chris sighed. "He's getting older...and you know the doctor keeps warning him about his blood pressure."
"Which he blames on us," Wyatt replied as he pulled out on the road.
"This is serious, Wy."
"We don't know that anything is wrong, Chris. Calm down," Wyatt said. He turned the radio on to emphasize that the conversation was over for now.
Chris rolled his eyes and stared out the window. He knew his brother was as nervous as he was, but God forbid Mr. Big Brother let his guard down for five seconds. Chris knew he meant well though, always wanting to protect him and take care of him, often times trying to fill the void they both had from growing up without their parents.
That was why the idea of something happening to Victor was unimaginable. Their grandfather was all they had left in the world outside of each other, the only link to the family neither of them could really remember. When they were kids, Wyatt would go on about things like witches and demons, though his grandfather brushed that off to an overactive imagination and Chris decided it was another one of Wyatt's attempts at freaking out his baby brother.
It had worked though. Chris grew up having nightmares where he possessed powers, his brother wielded a sword, and they fought battles against legions from the underworld. They had stopped for a few years, but were back again in full force the past year or so. The one time he tried to talk to Wyatt about it, Wyatt had shrugged and suggested that he stop watching horror movies so close to bed.
"It's going to be okay, Chris. I promise."
Chris was pulled out of his thoughts and glanced at his brother. "We can't be sure of that, Wy. He's getting older and..."
"If something is wrong with grandpa, we'll deal with it. We've always got each other, right?"
Chris smiled and said, "Right."
"And I'm not sure there is anything wrong," Wyatt replied. Off the skeptical look Chris' face, he added, "You know Victor. He's the most stubborn old guy alive. He's not going anywhere unless he's promised a good steak and a cigar."
Chris frowned. "I thought he stopped smoking those things."
Wyatt grinned and said, "Yeah, that's what he said, but I've caught him hiding in the bushes with a stogie more than once."
Chris couldn't help but grin at the image of his grandfather hiding in the bushes in front of the manor hoping not to get caught, but filed away the information to admonish him properly later. Chris took a deep breath and said, "Something big's about to happen."
Wyatt nodded and replied, "Yeah, I feel it too, bro."
Wyatt was sharing a story about his latest dating adventure with Chris as the boys opened the door to the manor. Chris looked at his brother and commented, "You have an illness."
"No, what I have is a weakness for redheads with southern accents," Wyatt replied. He nudged Chris in the stomach when they found the first floor empty.
Chris hopped up the stairs with a speed he didn't know he possessed, worried that he would find his grandfather passed out or worse, and called out, "Grandpa? Grandpa, are you here?"
"Chris, I'm in the attic!"
Chris glanced back at Wyatt and asked, "Since when does anyone go in the attic?"
Wyatt shrugged and pointed to where the door was wide open, something it hadn't been for a long time. He touched the door and called out, "Gramps, are you okay up there?"
"Boys, get your asses up here."
The boys hurried up the stairs at their grandfather's surly tone. They knew better than to mess with him when he got that edge to his voice, like he was about to erupt. Chris smacked into Wyatt's back when he stopped abruptly. Chris swatted at him and said, "What the hell is wrong with you? Warn a guy."
Wyatt ruffled Chris' hair and said, "Always were a bit slow, weren't ya?"
Chris rolled his eyes. He pushed past Wyatt. When he did, he saw his grandfather huddled around a book with four people he had never met before. His grandfather used to be quite the social butterfly, entertaining Chris with stories of random encounters with famous people and all the pretty women that he met throughout the years (always adding seriously that "none ever held a candle to your grandmother.") But that all seemed to stop as he had gotten older and Victor had concentrated on raising the boys. Chris glanced back to his brother, who seemed to be wondering the same things he was.
Except Wyatt was always more brash than he was. Wyatt pointed to his grandfather. "What's going on, gramps?"
Chris moved over next to his grandfather. He stared at him, refusing to look at the others who were staring at Chris with glistening eyes, and said, "You had Wyatt pull me out of classes. I have mid-terms coming up and you're the one harping on me that college is not a joke. So what's going on? We thought something happened to you, grandpa."
Victor placed his hand on Chris' shoulder and said, "Sorry boys, I needed both of you home right away."
"Yeah, I got that part," Wyatt commented. He walked over to the others. Chris noticed his brother was put off by the way the strangers were staring at them too. Wyatt smiled weakly in their direction before turning to face Chris and Victor. He asked again, "What's going on?"
Victor cleared his throat, but didn't say anything. Chris sighed and said, "Just spill, grandpa. You're terrible at subtle anyway."
Wyatt snickered and Victor shot him a look before responding, "Boys, there is a lot that I've never told you about how you came to live with me."
Wyatt shook his head and said, "That's in the past, gramps, and let's keep it there."
"Chris, it doesn't change anything, so why dredge it up?"
"Boys, you have a long history that you need to know about."
Wyatt folded his arms and asked, "Why now? And why would it involve four random people we've never met?"
Though Chris was wondering the same thing, he rolled his eyes at his brother's less-than-tactful way of approaching things. Chris snapped, "Jesus, Wy. Were you born socially stunted?"
Wyatt hit Chris on the back of the head and Chris glared at him, swatting his arm in his brother's direction, as Wyatt went on, "Whatever, you know you were wondering the same thing. It's been eighteen years since we came to live with you, gramps, and suddenly you're getting nostalgic on us. I don't buy it."
"Victor, maybe we should—"
The only man in the group had stepped forward, but stopped mid-sentence when Victor shook his head. Victor turned his attention to the four strangers and said, "I've raised these boys and I'll be the one to prepare them for this."
"Prepare us?" both Chris and Wyatt replied.
Victor sighed. He looked at them and said, "There's no easy way to tell you boys this. I know that this is going to shake your faith in everything, including me, and I never wanted that for either of you, but I also knew that this day was going to come eventually."
"Oh Jesus, Chris was right and you're dying," Wyatt commented, noticing the grim look on his grandfather's face.
Chris felt his gut turning, as though someone had taken a rusty fork to his internal organs and began twirling them around like spaghetti, and said, "He's not. This is about them." Chris motioned to the four of them and said, "We know them, don't we?"
Victor nodded, but Wyatt said, "I've never seen them before."
"Wy…" Chris replied.
"Well, I haven't."
"Girls? Leo? It might be easier if you reveal yourselves," Victor said with a sigh.
"Leo..." Wyatt paused. His face contorted with pain and anger. He said, "What the hell is going on?"
The girls snapped their fingers and Chris nearly fell backwards when he met his mother's gaze. At least, he thought it was her. His grandfather used to show him pictures and tell him how much his mother had loved him. Obviously that was a lie if she was somehow standing before him now eighteen years later, eighteen years where both he and his brother thought that the rest of their family was dead.
Chris tried to shake the fog from his mind. He noticed the man who was supposedly his father step toward Wyatt who had an agonized look on his face. Chris blocked him from touching Wyatt and focused on his brother. He said, "Breathe, man. You're scaring me."
"This is bullshit."
"Chris, go downstairs and wait for me in the car," Wyatt demanded.
"Wyatt," Victor and the others said as Chris rolled his eyes and said, "What? No way. I'm not leaving you up here alone and I'm not going anywhere until we get some answers."
Wyatt focused his gaze on Chris and said, "What more do we need to know? Apparently our parents have been alive the past eighteen years, but couldn't be bothered to raise us..."
"It wasn't like that, Wyatt," his mother spoke up. She looked from Wyatt to Chris and added, "I never wanted that to happen, but it couldn't be helped."
Wyatt ignored her and focused his anger on his grandfather, "And then our grandfather helped them cover it up. Always talking about how much they loved us, how proud they would've been of the men we were becoming, and it was all a load of crap."
"I honestly thought that they were dead too for the first few years. Then when Chris was about eight, I started to get letters from your mother. At first, I wasn't sure if they were real or some trick to get you boys out in the open."
"Get us out in the open? What? Are we royalty or something?" Wyatt snapped. He focused on his brother and said, "You can stick around and listen to this garbage if you want, but I'm out of here."
"Wyatt, please give us a chance to—"
Wyatt walked toward the door to the attic and called out, "Chris, are you coming?"
Chris had never felt so torn in his life. His brother was his best friend, one of the two most important people in his life, and he wanted to help his brother as much as he could. But his own curiosity and need to understand why his parents would do something so unlike the versions of him he had heard about from both his grandfather and Wyatt...he didn't know what to do.
Wyatt didn't give him a chance to make the decision either. He slammed the door shut and Chris didn't move as he heard him stomp down each stair and the revving noise of his truck.
Chris shut his eyes and Victor vocalized his own worries, "I hope that boy doesn't drive off and get himself killed." Victor glared at the girls and said, "I told you that this should be done differently, but god forbid you listen to me."
"Dad, this isn't something that could wait any longer. The underworld is aware that they're coming into their powers. They need to get a handle on magic before they find themselves ambushed." Chris noted that the voice belonged to his Aunt Phoebe.
"Powers? Magic?" Chris scoffed and questioned, "Were all of you living in an insane asylum the past two decades?"
Chris shrugged at his grandfather's warning and said, "What? They're talking crazy."
"I don't expect this to be easy for you to accept, honey, but—"
"Don't call me that," Chris snapped. He watched his mother wince. There was a twinge of guilt, but it quickly passed when he reminded himself that he didn't know her at all.
"Okay..." Piper's voice was uneven, further deepening Chris' guilt, and she went on, "It wasn't something that I believed when I found out about my own role in the magical world."
"Powers and destiny? That's your excuse for abandoning us?"
"We didn't abandon you, Chris," his father spoke up. He placed his arm around Piper and tried to explain, "We were always checking up on you boys. I was at the little league game where you pitched a no-hitter."
Chris shut his eyes against his father's words. The idea that his parents were out there, that they could see him, but he couldn't…it was worse than anything he could ever describe feeling. There were times he had felt convinced his parents were with him and his grandfather would say, "Kiddo, the people who love us are never truly gone. They're always with us."
Chris rubbed his hand over his face and replied, "Let me get this straight. So not only do you leave me and Wyatt behind, but then you randomly show up in our lives to satisfy your curiosity?"
"That's not how it was, Chris," his father countered. His father stepped closer to him, but when Chris moved back, he stopped.
Chris said, "So how was it? Couldn't be burdened with pesky kids so you pawned them off on grandpa and then had him tell us you were dead, but loved us more than life itself?"
"We do love you," Piper insisted. She pushed away tears that were falling and said, "I love you so much and you'll never understand how hard it's been not being a part of your life."
"Not as hard as it was for me growing up without a mom, I'm guessing."
Piper sucked in a breath. She surprised Chris when she nodded and replied, "You're probably right. You got a raw deal. Both you and Wyatt did."
Chris didn't know how to respond to that. He stared at her and she went on, "And I am sorrier than you will ever know for you boys and myself because there were things I always—because I am your mother, Christopher, and believe it or not, I wanted to be there for you."
"So why weren't you?"
She smiled at him and said, "I doubt you remember anything that happened before we left—"
"Died," Chris corrected.
She nodded and continued, "You were only a year old and Wyatt was about three...your father and I were so happy because we were finally getting a bit of the normal life we wanted for us and you boys...and then Zankou came after us."
Chris raised his eyebrows, "Zankou?"
"He was rallying the underworld, trying to get rid of the charmed ones, right around the same time the FBI decided to come after us as well."
"Uh-huh," Chris replied. He glanced at his grandfather, wondering if maybe his parents really were crazy. He could forgive his grandfather for trying to keep them from him and Wyatt if that was the case. Like he knew what to say to a bonafide lunatic.
"Chris, you're from a long line of witches. The most powerful of witches. Your aunts and I were the Charmed ones. We had special abilities to better enable us to fight against demons."
Chris sat down on the musty couch that was located in the corner. His eyes wandered over all of them and landed on his grandfather.
Victor sat down next to him and placed his hand on Chris' leg. He said, "They're telling you the truth, son."
"That's not possible. Witches aren't real. At least not the type with magical powers."
"We had hoped to raise you boys with your powers, but when everything went down, we convinced Piper to bind your powers. Then we did a memory spell to make Wyatt forget how powerful he already was," Paige stated.
"Oh great. He's got a big enough head already. Let's not tell him he was powerful at the age of three," Chris commented.
Paige smiled at him and said, "We thought it best not to have you grow up with no one around to explain those things to you."
"Seeing as you were all otherwise occupied with running away," Chris said. As he absorbed Paige's words, he looked up at his mother and replied, "I have powers?"
"That's why we're here. To help the both of you make the transition into your destiny."
Chris stood up and said, "My grandfather taught me that we make our own destiny."
Piper smiled at him and then her father. She sighed and said, "I'm grateful that your grandfather has done such a good job with you boys."
Chris shrugged but admitted, "He used to tell us that he wanted to make up for not being there for you. You'll be happy to know he was uber involved in everything, to the point of making poison cupcakes for my fourth grade class."
"Poison cupcakes?" Piper questioned.
"Obviously, you didn't get your culinary skills from dad," Phoebe added with a laugh.
Victor glared at them and placed his hand on Chris' shoulder, "Let's keep some things between us, kiddo."
Chris took a fortifying breath. It was odd how calm he was considering everything he had ever known was being ripped apart. It was as though a portion of him had expected this. He wasn't even sure what to make of the whole "magical destiny" thing, teetering back and forth between blowing them off as nutjobs and believing it in a way he didn't expect. He met his mother's gaze, her eyes practically boring into his head, and finally said, "I'll go get Wyatt. Gramps, I'll need to borrow your car. I left mine at Amy's house."
"Who's Amy?" Leo asked.
Victor grinned and said in that strange voice adults seemed to get when discussing the love lives of those younger, "Chris' girlfriend. She's very strict with him."
"Well, it's true. She does adore him though, so I think that outweighs the rest of it."
"GRANDPA!" Chris repeated. His face flushed and he wished he could make himself invisible. It was one thing to endure the mocking from his brother and grandfather, but the oh-so-cute expressions on the others' faces was almost too much to handle. He muttered, "I'll be back."
It didn't take Chris long to locate Wyatt's truck. Same place it always was whenever Wyatt wanted to think things through. Same place that Wyatt brought Chris when he was about fourteen and had said, "This is my favorite place in the entire world." Chris cleared his throat as he walked over to the rocks that faced the Golden Gate Bridge and the water. The last thing Chris wanted was for it to look like he was sneaking up on Wyatt considering the mood he was in.
Wyatt turned around and said, "I figured you'd know where to find me. That's why I left without saying anything to you."
Chris smiled and sat down next to him on one of the rocks. He asked, "How are you doing?"
"I'm supposed to ask you that. Me big brother, you little brother," Wyatt countered.
Chris rolled his eyes and replied, "Me? I'm confused and angry and a bit worried that our entire family belongs in straight jackets."
"They kept talking to me about magical powers. How you and I have a magical destiny. I don't know what the hell that means, but they were so serious about it," Chris replied. He stared out at the water and said, "How can the day look so peaceful from here when it's anything but?"
"Magical powers? Is this..." Chris watched as his brother's voice trailed off and he got this weird look on his face. Chris had to kick him to snap him out of his reverie. Wyatt forced his gaze on Chris and said, "I had a pet dragon."
"I don't really know, but it was real, wasn't it? And all those stories I used to tell about witches and demons. They were real. That stuff really happened."
Chris shrugged and responded, "But that stuff's not real." Chris paused and added in a lower voice, "And that's no excuse for leaving us behind."
Wyatt nodded and said, "You're right and it's not. But if...dude, could you imagine the fun we could have with magical powers?" Wyatt pointed to his beat up truck and exclaimed, "Hello brand new Porsche."
Chris stared at his brother and said, "I don't think that's how it works. If it works at all."
"But it could."
"Yeah, and I'll find myself a frog to kiss that turns into a beautiful princess," Chris remarked.
"What would Amy say, dude?"
"She wouldn't have to say anything because it's not possible!" Chris said, his voice rising to an almost scream.
"Stop being so practical."
"Lord knows one of has to be."
Wyatt stood up and said, "We need to get back to the manor. Find out more about these powers of ours."
"And then what, Wy? Share a family cry and hug and everything's forgiven?"
"I don't know if I can go back there."
Wyatt stepped over next to his brother and placed both his hands on Chris' shoulders. He said, "It's you and me, buddy. The rest of the family can go to hell for all I care."
"So why go back?"
"Because powers would be cool."
Chris couldn't help but laugh at his brother. He said, "Fine."
"And then maybe we can turn them into frogs," Wyatt stated, hurrying to his truck.
Chris and Wyatt stood at the threshold of the door to the manor for a few minutes. They exchanged snide comments and dared the other to open the door, but neither seemed able to do it. This had been their home, the one link they had left to their family, but now they both knew that wasn't true. That their parents were alive and back in their lives.
Wyatt finally opened the door and said, "Let's get this over with."
Chris heard laughter coming from the kitchen and frowned. How could anyone be laughing at a time like this? He followed the sounds, Wyatt close behind him, and called out, "Grandpa?"
"We're in here," Victor called out before more laughter.
Chris moved cautiously into the room. Both his mother and father stood up and closed the distance between them. Chris glanced at his brother who looked as uncomfortable as he felt and then focused on his parents. He offered a weak, "Hey."
Piper pointed at him and asked, "Would it be okay if I hugged you?"
Chris didn't know what to do. He had always wished he had a mother to hug him and tell him that everything would be okay, but not like this. His eyes locked on his grandfather's and he saw the silent plea there. Chris never could deny his grandfather anything. He took a deep breath and nodded, unable to vocalize any answer.
He heard his mother fight back a sob as she wrapped her arms around him. He didn't move at first, but his arms had a mind of their own and responded as her fingers stroked his hair. She squeezed him and then finally let go. There were tears in both their eyes, but Chris quickly wiped his away. He wasn't going to let Wyatt see him all weepy.
Piper glanced over at Wyatt, but seemed to realize not to ask Wyatt that quite yet. Instead, she leaned against Leo for support and said, "I'm glad you boys came back."
"What's this about powers?" Wyatt asked.
Chris stared at him and said, "Tact. Look it up."
"Might as well cut to the chase," Wyatt replied. His eyes traveled over every single face and he stopped on his grandfather. He asked, "All those stories I used to tell. That wasn't just a healthy imagination like you said."
"No, son, it wasn't."
"So you lied about everything."
"Wy…" Chris started.
Victor raised his hand and took over his own fight, "Wyatt, as far as I knew your parents were gone and your powers had been removed. I didn't want either of you to feel like you'd been robbed of anything more."
Chris could tell that despite his best efforts, Wyatt was finding it hard to argue his grandfather's logic. Instead Wyatt said, "So I had powers and then they were removed."
"We bound your powers," Leo said.
"Gee, thanks, dad," Wyatt replied. He glanced at Chris and asked, "What do we have to do to get our powers back?"
"We just have to perform a spell on the two of you over the Book of Shadows," Piper answered. She motioned to the attic and said, "It's a simple spell. Painless."
"That's good to know," Chris remarked, not sure he liked the idea of painful spells.
Piper smiled at him and said, "We can do it right now if you boys think you're ready. But it's only the beginning. There is so much you need to be taught, so much we need to prepare you for. Tomorrow morning we'll have to start working together to make sure you're ready when the demons come. And believe me, they'll come."
"Wait a minute," Wyatt moved over next to Chris and concentrated his gaze on his mother. He replied, "Once we get our powers, we have to stay here with you?"
Piper frowned and Leo responded, "You're going to need someone to teach you how to use your powers, Wyatt."
"Chris and I figured out everything else on our own. No need to worry yourselves now," Wyatt responded.
Chris felt his brother's eyes on him, waiting for him to pipe up in agreement, but Chris couldn't do that. Something in his gut was telling him that they needed to do this. Chris turned to face Wyatt and said, "There's no one else to go to with this stuff, Wy. No matter how much we might not like it, we need them right now."
"You can't be serious?"
"Boys, why don't you have them do the spell and then we'll call it a night? Nothing else needs to be done right away. All the other decisions can wait," Victor replied. He joined the boys in a small semi-huddle and said, "I know you're angry with me, but promise me you'll give them a chance. You might not believe them, but I know how hard it was for your mother to leave you."
Chris nodded and Wyatt replied, "That's not playing fair, gramps. You know that we can't say 'no' to you."
Victor smirked, "Is that a fact?"
"Well, most of the time," Wyatt replied. He motioned to their parents and said, "We'll do the spell and see where it goes from there. No promises, right Chris?"
"Right," Chris replied. He noticed his father staring at him and turned away. It was awkward feeling like he was under a microscope. He hurried up the stairs and asked, "Is this why the attic door was always locked?"
Victor nodded and Piper replied, "It was locked when I grew up too. It's where most of the magic is done and where the book of shadows is kept." She placed her hand on his arm and said, "Both you and Wyatt used to sleep in your playpens up there while we would work on potions."
Chris wasn't sure what to say to that. He didn't know his mother well enough to crack a joke or to initiate a random hug. He also didn't want to scream at her that these little tidbits didn't make up for being abandoned. Chris did the only thing he could. He hurried up the stairs. He was the first one in the attic and it gave him a second to do a once-over of the place. It was dusty and filled with cobwebs, but there were also burn marks on the wood and a book that sat on a lectern in the center of the room.
Wyatt joined him and said, "Let's get this over with."
Chris couldn't speak for Wyatt, but he didn't feel any different. His mother explained that it would probably take a few hours for the spell to take affect. Chris glanced at the book and asked, "Can I look at it?"
"Of course, honey—Chris—it's yours as much as it is mine. You're a Halliwell."
Chris flipped through the pages, unsure if he could truly fathom the pages of information on demons and warlocks. He grew up thinking of witches like he did Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny – another part of childhood that one outgrows – but it was all real.
Piper placed her hand on his back and said, "The key to all of this is discretion. The regular world can never know the magical world exists. Aside from never using your powers for personal gain, that is the most important thing to remember."
Chris shot a look at his brother and commented, "Bye, bye Porsche."
"Funny," Wyatt commented. He joined Chris at the book and pointed to a spell. He glanced at his mother and asked, "Do you think Chris and I could do that?"
Piper exchanged looks with her sisters and said, "It doesn't hurt to try."
Wyatt nudged his brother and they both started to read the words of the spell. When they finished, both their eyes danced around the room, but nothing had happened. Then all of a sudden there was a huge booming sound and the attic windows blew out, causing glass to cover the floor.
Chris groaned and Wyatt said, "I don't think that was supposed to happen."
Chris watched as Paige mumbled something under her breath and suddenly everything was back to normal. The windows were fixed and the attic was cleaner than he recalled it being a few minutes ago. Paige caught him staring and said, "I broke a lot of windows when I first came into my powers."
Chris laughed, but immediately hated himself for it. He didn't want to laugh around these people or let them off the hook so easily. He moved away from his mother, stiffening his body to make sure that no one else tried to touch him. He wanted to get out of there. Go to bed where he could hide beneath his covers and not worry about this crap for a few hours.
That was when it happened.
He felt a weird pitter-patter in his stomach and his whole body felt like he had stepped off a Tilt-A-Whirl. Before he could complain, he was in his room. He looked around, unsure what had happened, and checked to make sure that he was all there. He heard Wyatt hollering for him so he shouted, "I'm in my room."
He heard a loud thunder of feet on the stairs and Wyatt burst into the room. He grabbed Chris and hugged him. Chris moaned, "You're cutting off my oxygen, Wy."
Wyatt pulled back and said, "Don't do that again."
"Do what exactly?"
"You turned blue and disappeared."
"He orbed, sweetie. You both have that ability. You used to do it all the time when you were little. It drove me crazy when I was trying to put you down for a nap," Piper explained. She focused on Chris and asked, "How did it feel?"
"Weird. I was just thinking that I wanted to go to bed and next thing I knew I was here," Chris answered. He asked, "Can I orb anywhere?"
"Anywhere," Leo said. He came over to Chris and said, "I was a whitelighter when we had you. That's why the two of you can orb."
Chris grinned, "That's so cool! I've always wanted to see the world and—"
"—And you have to be careful about where you orb to. Like I said before, magic has to remain secret. It's not something the regular world is supposed to be a part of."
Chris nodded. He didn't care. It was still cool. Finally, a bright spot to this horrendous day. He pointed at Wyatt and said, "You should give it a try."
Chris and Wyatt turned their attention to their grandfather when he cleared his throat and replied, "Not tonight, boys. It's been a long day."
"Wyatt, you both have big days tomorrow. Aside from this magic stuff, Chris has class and you've got your internship."
"I'm still expected to work?" Wyatt grumbled. He sighed and said, "Fine. Whatever. Can I orb to my room?" As he said it, he disappeared in a swirl of blue lights. Before Chris could even worry about where his brother had ended up, he heard a thud and Wyatt shouting from the room next to his, "That's awesome!"
The girls laughed and left the room, leaving his grandfather and Leo with him. Leo stepped forward and said, "I hope that someday you can at least understand why we made the choices we did, son." He patted Chris' back and said, "And you're one of the best baseball players I've ever seen."
Chris smiled and threw a look at his grandfather. He said, "At least someone thought pro ball was in my future."
Victor rolled his eyes and replied, "He didn't say that and I doubt he would have complimented you at all if he knew what a huge ego you had already, young man."
"Grandpa…" Chris shook his head and turned to Leo. He shrugged and said, "It doesn't matter anyway. I blew my arm out freshman year of college. No majors for me, I'm afraid. Grandpa told me that those who can't do, report, so that's what I'm planning to do."
"Your Aunt Phoebe worked for a few newspapers through the years," Leo replied. Chris tried not to wither under Leo's appraising glance, but it was over quick enough. Leo smiled and said, "I won't let anything happen to you or your brother, Chris. I promise."
"I'm not sure what your promises are worth to me, Leo," Chris replied.
Leo's smiled remained and he said, "At least you're honest." Leo nodded at Victor and excused himself from the room.
Chris fell back on his bed and asked, "How could you keep this from us, grandpa?"
He felt the bed indent and his grandfather's hand on his leg. His grandfather let out a deep breath and said, "Because I have no idea about any of this magic stuff, Chris. I didn't like your parents' decision, but I assumed they had reasons for it that I didn't understand. The only thing I did know is that your mother would not have allowed herself to be separated from you boys without a damn fine reason."
Chris met his grandfather's gaze and shrugged. He said, "Maybe one day I'll be able to forgive them for what they did."
"I hope so for your sake."
"But we've still got you, right?"
Victor smiled and said, "Of course. I've invested eighteen years in you boys. I'm not going anywhere."
Chris nodded. He still didn't know what to make of any of this. A part of him hoped he would wake up in a few hours and realize it was all a dream. Another part of him knew that this was only the beginning of a long journey.