Disclaimer: I do not own Charmed.
Author's Note: Hi everyone! This is another one-shot deal. Chris-based, of course...
It's something along the lines of what I wish we could have seen at the end of "The Legend..."
I tried to keep my dramatic instincts at a minimum... I tend to let them get wild sometimes. Anyway, I hope you like.
P.S. Most of the dialogue in the first scene is directly from the show.
The music was deafening, and Chris hurried through the crowd to get to his room, a.k.a. the office of P3. He's about to release a sigh as he enters the room when Phoebe slips….
"Hey," she said softly, her eyes fastening onto his face.
He remained silent. Slowly, she moved to shut the door.
After a moment, he returned her greeting cautiously, "Hey." Phoebe didn't respond and Chris didn't know where to fasten his gaze.
He could feel the woman's stare focused on him, but was reluctant to meet it. After a moment though, he looked up at her awkwardly, "So… did you come here to kick me out?" he muttered.
After all, what other reason could there be? The entire family hated his guts after today… they didn't know, couldn't understand… that he was getting desperate. Time was running out, he had to save Wyatt… he had to… there was nothing to go back to if he didn't…
"Uh, no, actually… I came here to ask you a question…"
Chris stared at her a moment; a question, not an accusation… that's a welcome difference.
He shrugged, "What?"
As soon as the word left his mouth he knew there was more to this question then met the eye. Her gaze suddenly seemed to sharpen and he felt himself tense.
"I need you to be honest with me," Phoebe said steadily, "No games. No running away. Just the truth." She said firmly, and Chris's mouth went dry.
Could he do that? Could he answer a question with the truth? It had been so long since he'd done so. So long since he'd let the lies rest and simply spoken truth.
The truth was he was running out of time…
The truth was he was sick of this game, of these lies...
Truth was that being honest suddenly didn't sound as hard as it had when he'd first arrived.
He nodded slightly, accepting her conditions, "Okay…"
Phoebe took a deep breath, and once again he got the feeling that there was more to this than a question.
"Are you Wyatt's little brother?"
The question knocked the air out of his lungs, suddenly drawing a breath was an effort; he'd been right—there'd been more to the question, than just a question.
Looking at her he knew that he hadn't kept the surprise from flickering across his face.
The room seemed smaller, the air in it too muggy, the music outside very dim. Suddenly nothing existed but Phoebe's pointed hazel eyes, waiting to hear the answer to her question…
He looked away, unable to maintain that gaze.
He heard her voice, her conditions… he was tired of playing the game…
No running away.
He had no where to run. Time was running out…
Just the truth.
Was he Wyatt's little brother…
He turned to face her again, "Only if I can get Piper and Leo back together in time…"
Phoebe nodded simply, a moment later though she turned away from him. He heard her take a deep breath; saw her run a hand through her short hair.
She whirled around to face him so suddenly that he jumped back a little. "You're telling the truth."
It wasn't a question, but Chris answered anyway. He swallowed hard, "Ye- yeah…" he hated himself for the stutter in his voice. But he couldn't stop it.
He didn't know what to do. He'd just blown his secret… he'd just confessed and to the one person in the family who was incapable of keeping a secret.
And her lack of reaction was making him feel very vulnerable. To have her studying him, judging his place in the family…
It made him feel just as bad as when they were accusing him of something.
"If that was all… it's been a long day…" he said to her coldly, the meaning clear: get out.
Phoebe blinked a little, the fierce light in her eyes fading as she nodded slowly. She'd gotten what she came from—the truth, there was nothing more to do.
He opened the door for her.
And without another word, Phoebe walked through it.
The door closed softly behind her and she was left facing the raucous laughter and yelling of P3 patrons. She felt numb to it, the music reaching her as though through a fog and the dimness giving her a surreal feeling…
Chris was her nephew…
She should be more shocked, more aghast, more angry… she feel something intense; some emotion—happiness, fury, confusion… something…
She took a deep breath and closed her eyes… searching inside her for a feeling, an emotion… pushing away the numbness.
But she didn't find anything intense-- instead all she found was this overwhelming sense of "rightness."
Everything just clicked somehow…
Chris was her nephew.
Wyatt's baby brother…
Her vision came to her suddenly; big solemn green eyes, a mop of dark curls, the tugging of her sleeve, a plaintive voice...
… Aunt Phoebe…
Her heart constricted and her hands clenched.
…need your help…
Her eyes opened slowly, her nephew...
Determinedly she turned around and without bothering to knock, went back inside the room.
He closed the door softly, and stared at it a moment.
Well, that was that.
Within the hour everyone would know—Phoebe couldn't keep a secret.
He moved over to his cot and let himself plop down onto it. He should feel something. Some type of relief or happiness that the secret was out. Anger at her reaction or frustration that she'd had nothing more to say.
But there was nothing… only a feeling of numbness.
He stared down at his hands, not really seeing them.
Finally, after all this time, someone knew his secret. Finally someone knew who he was, knew his identity…
It should be better, should make him feel better, safer, more secure… instead… instead he felt more alone then before.
Phoebe knew… and she'd left.
Before he'd had had the luxury of believing that if his family knew then he wouldn't be alone… but now… now even that was gone.
Now he was just alone.
She knew he was her nephew… and she'd just… left.
He closed his eyes tight against the swell of emotion that was rising through him; against the burst of memories that was assaulting him.
She'd always had time for him. His Dad was always busy saving the world, his Mom busy trying to reign in Wyatt and his powers, Aunt Paige always trying to save one of her students… but Aunt Phoebes… no matter what was going on— his Aunt Phoebes always had the time…
He clenched his hands into fists as he fought to push the memories away… fought to make himself not care… so what if she hadn't cared, so what if she'd just wanted to confirm her suspicions and nothing… it didn't matter…
His breaths became ragged as he concentrated his efforts on keeping the emotions at bay.
He didn't hear the door open or the soft footsteps of the woman who walked into the room.
Phoebe's heart went out to him—he was sitting there— so still, so determined, so strong…. so young…
...need your help…
She knelt in front of him, and he jumped— startled at her presence. Before he had a chance to speak or even react, she reached out and gently took his clenched fists in her hands.
Slowly she worked his hands open, using her own. Then she looked up into his eyes.
Beautiful green eyes.
Leo's eyes framed by Piper's lashes…
"At least we know one thing for sure…" she began softly, giving him a wry smile, "You definitely didn't inherit your secret-keeping ability from me."
Surprise flashed across his face again, but even the surprise couldn't hide the hurt Phoebe read in his gaze—she'd hurt him.
"I'm sorry Chris," she said softly, her voice warm with tenderness, "I didn't mean to take it so… impersonally… I just…"
"-were surprised. I know." He said, interrupting her coldly, but she noticed he didn't pull his hands away, "It must be a shock."
"Not an unwelcome one though," she told him quickly, "It fits… you fit." She said softly and felt somehow, that she'd said the right thing.
Something shifted in his gaze, some of the hurt faded…
"Everyone else will think so too." She added softly.
He went rigid in front of her, "No."
"Chris," she began, but he shook his head.
"No… please… they can't know…"
"Chris, it isn't right. Piper and Leo should know-"
His hands shifted and suddenly he was holding hers not the other way around. He squeezed her hands and stood, pulling her up with him.
"Please, Phoebe..." he said softly, earnestly.
A lump rose in her throat, "Aunt…" she whispered to him.
One side of his mouth rose a little, "I don't want them to know yet… not unless it's as a last resort…"
Phoebe remained silent. And suddenly she found herself looking into the same big solemn green eyes of her vision.
"Please, Aunt Phoebe… I need your help…will you keep this secret for me…?"
Tears rose to her eyes when she heard him use her title, a watery smile touched her lips, "Yeah, Chris," she answered him softly, "I'll help you…"
He nodded slowly, without tearing his gaze from hers, "You always did…" he whispered.
And that was her undoing, she couldn't stop herself; the tears spilled onto her cheeks and she reached out and wrapped her arms around his neck.
"And always will... it's what family is for..." she murmured.
Chris returned the embrace… almost too eagerly. It had been so long since he'd had a hug… since he'd been in someone's arms…
Phoebe's arms tightened around him almost if she'd read his thoughts; Chris let his eyes slide shut for a moment, relishing the feeling of comfort, of family she offered...
Maybe he wasn't so alone after all.