Disclaimer: See First Chapter.
Author's Note: Hi everybody! I'm really hoping you all like this chapter… it took me a little while to decide what direction to take it in.
It was a little confusing since, after all, the end of the last chapter practically promised violence! But in the end I went with my instincts and I really hope none of you are disappointed.
The next chapter of this is in the works, but might not be up for a few weeks—sorry. School's back in session, mid-terms are coming, and as most of you know I've started a new story that's running rampant in my brain!
THANK YOU so much for the overwhelming response to "When Family Calls." It's really pushing me to finish the next chapter much faster. I'm trying to work it into installments, instead of just scenes so that the next chapter will end a bit more conclusively then the first.
Anyway! Back to this story—it is winding down, since Chris only has twelve hours and I'd really like your help in tying up loose ends— in other words: ask away! All questions are welcome and I'll do my best to answer them.
THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR ALL YOUR ENCOURAGEMENT!
Piper sighed and turned back to dinner preparations, "You might as well get the first aid kit out, Phoebe."
The younger woman frowned, "Why?"
Piper sighed again, and looked up at her sisters, "Oh come on Phoebes!" she cried, "…we just sent a pissed off Wyatt to meet with a pissed off Chris at a deserted club. What do you think is gonna happen?" She asked.
Phoebe stared at her sister a moment, then nodded and slid off the stool, "I'll get the first aid kit." She stated in a resigned tone.
"Okay, I'm seriously worried, bro." Wyatt stated grimly as he entered the office at P3, "I expected you to be here mixing some drinks or something, not sitting in Mom's office staring at an empty wall."
Chris looked up as his brother spoke. He had been staring at the wall. A wall that had been covered with his demon-hunting notes last time he'd seen it.
He frowned at Wyatt, "I don't want to talk, Wyatt." He stated firmly, hoping his brother would just leave.
"Tough shit," the older man growled as he shut the door behind him, "I want to talk."
Chris glared at him, then transferred his gaze back to the wall, remaining silent.
Wyatt walked towards him and sat down next to him on the desk. He too stared at the wall for a moment before speaking.
"I haven't had an afternoon off in months; could we skip the bullshit and go right to the part where you tell me what's wrong. I wanna play with Becky before dinner." He said wryly, without looking over at Chris.
The room was silent as Chris refused to respond. Silence was his best alternative. He didn't know this Wyatt, didn't know what kind of relationship he had with this Wyatt.
All indications pointed to the fact that it was a close one, a very close— and for that purpose alone Chris was even more determined to remain silent: he wouldn't burden this Wyatt with the sins of a past life.
"I'm talking to you Christopher..." Wyatt stated, the first hints of anger and frustration entering his tone.
Chris continued to stare straight ahead as he answered, "I already told you I'm fine."
Wyatt made a hissing sound as he stood up off the desk and glared at his little brother. Chris looked up and met his brother's blue gaze. "I mean it Wyatt. I'm fine." He repeated.
Wyatt continued to glare, then he frowned, "Yeah, uh-huh, which is why you've been calling me Wyatt all day." He rolled his eyes, "Jeez, Chris it's not like I don't know you like the back of my hand."
With that he headed towards the door and Chris nearly released a sigh of relief -- it was over.
The relief was short-lived.
"Mom made me bring decorations over. Come help me." His brother ordered, and once again Chris found himself obeying almost unconsciously.
He was up and nearly out the door of the office before he realized that Wyatt hadn't asked -- he'd ordered. And that it was his party, so technically he didn't have to help.
Wyatt was already at the counter, one of the boxes in front of him as he pulled things out and placed them on the counter.
"Catch." The older man stated as he simultaneously turned and tossed Chris a large roll of streamers.
Instinctively the younger man reached out and caught it; then stared at the shiny, neon blue roll in his hands.
He looked back up at his brother who was now telekinetically hanging a huge "Happy Birthday Chris!" banner from one end of the club to the other.
"That's personal gain," he hissed, suddenly upset that he had somehow managed to be corralled in the club with his way too nosey big brother and that he had to help decorate.
Wyatt humphed, "You're talking personal gain, Mr. why-walk-when-you-can-orb-why-move-when-you-can-TK?" sarcasm dripped from Wyatt's words, but his concentration still remained on the banner he was holding afloat.
Chris scowled, "I'm not like that." He defended.
Instantly he realized his mistake. And it was a big one. He might not be like that, but the other Chris might very well like orbing everywhere.
The realization that he'd made a mistake was further confirmed by the fact that the banner Wyatt held in the air, abruptly dropped over the entire center floor of the club.
Wyatt turned an incredulous expression on his brother, and Chris knew that he'd reached the limit of his brother's patience.
"Ok, who ARE YOU and WHERE THE HELL IS MY BROTHER!" Wyatt roared, having no idea exactly how close to the truth he was with that single question.
Chris's heart dropped and he froze; every muscle in his body tensing; the roll of streamers dropping to the floor and landing with a thunk.
"I WANT TO KNOW WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON?" Wyatt continued to shout.
Chris swallowed, "Wyatt-"
"AND WHY THE HELL DO YOU KEEP CALLING ME THAT?"
"It's your name," Chris answered tentatively.
Wyatt whirled away from him and Chris watched as the older man heaved in a huge breath and released it a moment later, "Acting weird is one thing, but this, this is off the board." He said, obviously making in an effort stay calm as he turned back to him, "What is goin on with you..."
Chris took a step towards him, hating how upset he was making Wyatt, but he had no choice, "I'm fine-" he began, but Wyatt cut him.
"LIKE HELL YOU ARE!" the older man roared, losing the battle to stay calm. He took a step towards Chris, "YOU DON'T THINK I KNOW YOU'RE LIEING! For Christssake Chris, this is me you're talkin to. I know you; better yet I can sense you! And I demand to know what is going on, right now!"
At the word "demand" all sense of calm vanished from Chris's demeanor. That word brought too many memories to the surface, too much of his temper to the forefront; that word was a declaration of war.
And suddenly he forgot that this wasn't his Wyatt.
"WHO THE HELL DO YOU THINK YOU ARE! You have no right to demand anything of me!" Chris roared back.
Wyatt stared at him in shock for a minute, before tilting his head back and bellowing, "DAD!" at the top of his lungs. "DAD! I NEED YOU NOW!" He continued.
"No don't-" Chris started, but never finished.
Blue orbs filled the club and revealed a pale and worried looking Leo, "What is it? What happened? Who's hurt? Are you hurt?" the man asked almost before he fully materialized, his eyes quickly scanning his sons' forms.
The look on Wyatt's face though, was not hurt it was anger; pure fury, "I want you to tell me what the hell is wrong with Chris." Wyatt demanded.
Leo blinked a little, scanning Wyatt one more time just to double check he fine, then turned and found an upset and slightly guilty-looking Chris standing a few feet away.
Both boys were unhurt.
That was his first thought and he released a long breath, shooting his eldest son a heated glare, "You scared me." He hissed.
Wyatt didn't respond, just waited for his father to answer his question.
"Have you two been arguing?" Leo asked concerned suddenly, he turned back to Chris and approached the young man slowly, "Are you okay, son?" he asked softly, noting the clenched jaw and closed fists.
Chris's eyes met his father's gaze quickly, and he answered with the truth for a change, "No." He said shortly.
Leo whirled on Wyatt, "What happened here?" he asked a trace of accusation in his voice. He couldn't help it, he suddenly felt exceptionally protective of Chris.
This day was supposed to perfect for this boy; this young man who'd given up so much for them. He wasn't supposed to be upset or angry. He was supposed to enjoy the day, in a world he'd set in motion.
Wyatt's mouth actually dropped open, "Are you gonna blame me for this?" he asked incredulously, "He's the one who's lying, Dad."
"Wyatt you need to calm down." Leo stated, "You too Chris." He said a bit more gently.
Wyatt frowned at them suddenly, taking a step towards the pair, "What am I missing here, huh? Is there a particular reason why I'm out of the loop on this one? Have I done something? Is this even magical? I mean goddamit I'm freakin out here! Somebody tell me something!"
"I can see your upset Wy, but you need to take it easy. I know-"
But Wyatt wasn't listening; he turned away from his father abruptly and walked back to the bar. Behind him Leo placed a comforting hand on Chris's shoulder and the younger man released a breath, relaxing a little now that his Dad was here.
He hated this. It was obvious that whatever relationship he had with his brother in this world it was really close. It was obvious that they told each other everything, had no secrets… and it was understandable that Wyatt would be worried by this sudden change in his brother.
Worry that would turn to anger when Chris kept insisting everything was fine, when Chris kept lying. And the anger would morph to fury when Chris yelled back.
He could understand it all. And he wished with all his heart that there was something he could do – anything, to make this easier.
But he couldn't; because no matter what. He wouldn't tell Wyatt. He wouldn't do that to this brother who so obviously adored him.
"Okay, fine." Wyatt's quiet voice broke into the silence. "Don't tell me." The hurt in his voice was evident.
"Wyatt please…" Chris pleaded suddenly, when he sensed his brother's intention to orb out, "Don't be mad, don't be hurt… I just…" he trailed off slowly. There was nothing he could say.
Wyatt's gaze met his and when the older man spoke, his tone was thick with emotion, "Why can't you confide in me?"
Chris shook his head, "It's not like that-"
"Don't you trust me?"
The question came out in a pained, choked voice as if he truly feared the answer; and Chris could do nothing but stare.
He forgot to breathe as he suddenly had the sensation of whirling through time, everything else faded, his thoughts trailed off as he remembered dozens of other times those words had been uttered to him by this man.
… an echo of a lifetime, the question that had kept him blind for so long.
And always, whenever his brother asked it – it had only one answer.
"I trust you." He whispered back, as he always had.
"Then tell me what's wrong." Wyatt insisted, gently this time.
Chris swallowed hard and looked down. A moment later he met his brother's gaze again, "What if I told you that there was nothing wrong. What if I told you that instead of anything being wrong… everything was perfect. Everything was exactly as it should be."
Wyatt hesitated; examining his brother's words, "In that case…" he began slowly, "I would wonder why you've been behaving so oddly. I would wonder why I've seen shadows in your eyes that have never been there before. I'd wonder where that outburst came from. If you told me that everything was as it should be I would wonder why you've been calling me Wyatt all day… when I've always been Wy."
A lump rose in Chris's throat and his mind went blank. He was wholly unprepared for this; to face off with someone like this Wyatt… who knew him so well.
"He's been having flashes of a past life." Leo said suddenly, coming up to stand by Chris. The younger man jumped slightly in surprise and turned his head to stare at his father's profile.
Wyatt didn't notice Chris's reaction, he blinked a little, his mind wrapping around what his father had just said, "Flashes of…? like when Mom and the aunts were trapped in the bodies of their past selves…?" he asked.
Leo shrugged, "Sort of, but not exactly. It has a lot to do with… the dream he had… remember the one he told you about at the precinct."
Wyatt stared at his father a moment, then back at Chris, who was now facing him again, "Okay; flashes of a past life… okay." he said slowly.
Several seconds passed, then he sighed; a weary, resigned sigh, "That's bullshit. And we all know it."
"Oh I'm sure it's part of what's going on; but it's not what's going on. My gut is telling me there's more to this, and my guts' always right." He stated, a touch of arrogance in his voice, "But fine. You win. I'll let this one go." He said simply, "Tell me when you're ready."
Chris stared at his brother a moment; letting the words filter through his brain – Wyatt had backed off. The relief was immense, he sighed gratefully, a smile lighting his face, "Thank god, for a second I thought you were gonna rain on my party-parade." He said as lightly as he could manage.
Instead of smiling though, Wyatt shot Chris a glare, and approached his brother; then gave him a punch in shoulder that sent Chris back a few steps, "And I have the right to demand whatever the hell I want 'cause I'm the best freakin older brother in world…" he hissed, then added, "…brat." for good measure.
Chris smirked a little, and used his TK to pop off three buttons of Wyatt's shirt, "Says who?"
The older man scowled, "Says me. And I'm always right!" he said confidently and suddenly Chris knew—whatever else, it was true – this Wyatt was the best older brother in the world. "And stop that!" he continued, "Mom has a fit when I give her stuff to sew!"
Then he narrowed his eyes a little, and tiny orbs revealed the three buttons appearing in his hands.
"Cut it out, boys." Leo warned.
"Wyatt was using TK to hang the banner." Chris said grinning.
"Snitch." Wyatt hissed.
"You know better than that Wyatt." Leo reprimanded.
"And he wanted me to help," Chris continued, "Me! The birthday boy!"
"Chris yelled at me."
"ENOUGH." Leo said firmly, cutting off Wyatt's rebuttal, "Jeez, it's like your two." He complained, then continued, "Don't yell at each other, don't curst at each other, and don't use TK unless it's to slam a demon against a wall or save someone's life." He said the words in a monotone voice; that clearly meant he'd said them before then added, "Oh and tradition states the birthday-person does not need to help in the setting up process, got it?"
"Yeah, uh-huh, sure." Wyatt said quickly, then almost pouted, "So are you seriously telling me you're gonna make me get a ladder and hang the banner?"
"That's what I'm telling you." Leo said, grinning.
"Where'd you leave Lee?" Chris asked.
Leo's eyes widened, "Oh shit." He growled, "In Italy." And then he orbed out.
Both men laughed, shaking their heads.
"Elders aren't supposed to curse!" Wyatt yelled at the ceiling, his head tilted back. The looked at Chris and grinned, "She probably didn't even realize he'd left… takin pictures at full speed…" he stated as he walked over to the supply cabinet to get the ladder.
"She's gonna be a geologist…" Chris said, parroting his father's words.
"That's the word on the street," Wyatt called from inside the supply cabinet, "Oh gross!" He cried suddenly and jumped out of the closet like he'd been burned, "There are spider webs in there! Huge ones!"
Chris blinked at him a moment, before an irrational laughter grabbed hold of him.
"It's not funny!" Wyatt scowled, "That's stuffs gross! There's one huge enough to trap a small cat! Can you imagine the size of the spiders in there?"
Chris had to lean on the bar counter for support he was laughing so hard. The look on the older man's face was clearly horrified.
"Fine, if you think it's so funny. You go in there and get the ladder out." Wyatt ordered.
Chris continued to laugh for a few more seconds, then nodded, "Fine, I'm not scared of a spider…" he teased when he could finally draw a breath.
With a grin on his face he went into the supply cabinet and noticed the reason for Wyatt's horror immediately. It was sitting there in a corner and looking perfectly harmless. "Yeah, Wy I can see the danger for a grown man to go near that thing…" he felt brave enough to tease.
The ladder he needed to get to was set up against the back wall with several boxes stacked in front of it. In order to get to it he'd have to shift the boxes and pull the ladder out.
"It's obviously a menace to all forms of life at the club…" he continued jokingly, "We should have it removed professionally an' all in case it's extra… sticky…" he continued, grinning as he shoved a few boxes aside.
He felt it before he saw it; the whir of air as something drop in front of him. He looked up into the red, beady eyes of floating dark entity; said entity was slowly extending what appeared to be several thousand long, spindly legs towards his face...
The reaction was instinctive.
He jumped back and yelped, almost tripping in his haste to get out of the closet.
"See somethin harmless, Lil brother...?" Wyatt drawled, a huge grin plastered on his face.
Chris turned his startled gaze to his brother--his suspiciously, pleased-looking brother then back to the inside of the closet.
There was nothing there.
Wyatt had... conjured it?
He turned a glare to his older brother, "That wasn't funny." He hissed.
Wyatt chuckled, "Actually, it was..." he said wryly. Then proceeded to wave his hand and lift the banner into the air again.
He suspended it there for a moment, eyeing his little brother, "Go ahead, call Dad. I'll tell him what you and Bianca really did on that 'demon hunting' trip last month..." he threatened.
Chris eyed his brother right back. He didn't have a clue what Wyatt was talking about, but if he'd kept it from his Dad he'd probably had a good reason.
With a flick of his wrist he flung one end of the banner closer to the wall.
"Good choice, lil brother." Wyatt stated. Chris held up one end, while Wyatt carefully fastened the other. When he felt Wyatt's energy on the end he was holding up he removed his gaze from the banner and stated simply, "That's my contribution."
Wyatt sent him a quick glare, before focusing on the banner again, "You're not serious."
"I'm not helping." Chris added, when actually he didn't mind helping; but figured that the Chris from this world would. In truth he could think of nothing better to do then spend a few hours with this brother all to himself.
"Oh come on, you aren't gonna leave me here, are you! Your only brother! What if a demons attack! Or that spider comes back!"
"I'm leavin," Chris stated, knowing that he wasn't... just liking the fact that Wyatt wanted him to stay.
"Aw, come on Chris-- I need you! I hate settin anything up. Remember, when I tried setting up that barbecue grill and it ended up singing my eyebrows! I'm bad at settin up... and if I blow Mom's club up... she'll make me clean this weekend...! Moving back home means chores again! And I HATE to clean... so..."
Chris had completely lost the train conversation... had lost it from the moment Wyatt had said, I need you...
His mind had flashed with images of that other Wyatt; the angry one, the one choking him, the one yelling furiously, "I don't need you"—and meaning it.
Wyatt's concerned voice broke into his thoughts and he blinked realizing that the banner was hung and that his brother was looking directly into his face trying to get his attention.
"You did it again… the staring-at-me-like-you've-never-seen-me thing…" Wyatt stated.
"Sorry… I was just… thinking…"
"Uh... well, just...things…"
"Oh well, if its justthings…" Wyatt replied sardonically. "Listen, why don't you go catch up on that sleep you missed last night… maybe the flashes'll stop then…"
Chris smiled—Wyatt was worried about him, "I'm fine." He reassured his brother, "And since I'll probably hear you whining and grumbling wherever I am… I think I'll stay and help decorate a little bit."
Wyatt grinned, "Great choice, orb those boxes over here, while I finish unpacking this one."
Chris turned about to do as he was asked—again.
What was up with that?
He glanced at his brother's back… hmmmm, if he was going to help with decorating and follow Wyatt's orders he might as well get some thing out of it…
"So Wy…" he said,'cause apparently he called his brother "Wy" in this world, "What's up with you and Rebecca?"
The older man swiveled around quickly, a scowl on his face, "Must you bring that up…"
Chris chuckled, "Jus wonderin…"
Wyatt huffed, "I'm an insensitive jerk, she says…and the best part is… I have no idea why?"
Chris laughed again.
"It's not funny! I've tried everything!"
"Really? Have you tried the basics…?" he asked. The Basics was something that the Bianca in his world had taught him, for future reference, she'd said, forwhen they were having a fight.
"The basics? There are basics? What basics?" the blonde man asked almost desperately.
Chris rolled his eyes, the guy was so obviously lost—and in love, "You love her. It's your fault. You'll give her time. You'll be there when she needs you." He gave his brother a pointed look, "Basics." He repeated.
Wyatt blinked at him, "I told her to tell me what she wanted me to say."
"You are an insensitive jerk."
Wyatt scowled, "You're no Casanova either!"
"I know better than to say that!" Chris stated.
Wyatt sighed, "I proposed again."
Again. Hmmm, that was interesting. "I'm guessing she said no."
"Did you purposefully bring this up 'cause I was hounding you?" Wyatt asked, resentfully,"'Cause I backed off… so it'd be nice if you did to."
Chris grinned, "I'm just trying to help."
His older brother scowled, "So tell her to marry me already!"
Chris chuckled, "Sounds like you could use a drink, brother… what'll it be…?" He asked as he rounded the bar.
Wyatt's eyebrows shot up, "Are you serious? You know Mom has a fit when we use up her stock."
Chris grinned, "Mom's not here."
Wyatt eyed his brother a moment, then grinned back, "Dude, you're so lucky it's your birthday!" He slid into a stool, "Pour'm brother!"
Chris laughed, and once again—followed Wyatt's order.
Next Chapter: First-aid kits don't work on hang-overs...