Who I am…
Chapter 15 - EPILOG
Summary: How Chris learned the cunning and duplicitous behavior we saw for over a year. Alternates between the past, unchanged future, and the changed future.
AN: Background in previous story is that something terrible happened to Chris and changed the way he saw things and learned to survive. This is the prequel/sequel to "Do You Really Want to Know", but can stand alone. Spoilers for all of season 6.
Special thanks to Nathy1000000, who both beta'd the final chapters to make it just right, and who encouraged me to write this one in the first place.
And again, thank you to everyone who's read & reviewed & stuck by me in this looonnnnng story:)
Rating: PG-13, T
Disclaimer: I don't own Charmed or any of the characters or get any money from writing this fiction.
Phoebe had stayed with her older sister and her family for the next several weeks. She had wanted to be there for her nephew when the memories invaded his dreams at night. He still broke all of their hearts each and every time he called out for his father and brother, but according to Piper, there had been a significant change in the events.
In the weeks prior to her arrival, each time that Chris awoke, he had no memory of what he had been dreaming about. All he had to go on was a terrifying feeling that made him weary of others until he went back to sleep. He would never let anyone comfort him or ease him back into slumber.
But after finding both in Valhalla that day, many changes found their way into the Halliwell manor. During the night, Wyatt would already be there when he called out for him, gently rousing his brother with a promise that he would take care of him. It was evident from the tears that ran down both of their faces that they knew. Chris' from memory; and Wyatt from Chris' admission. The younger witch had finally opened up, accepting Wyatt as a force of good that would always be there for him, with none of the overtones of the evil overlord he had been in his previous life.
As the memory still plagued his little brother, Wyatt was more determined than ever to help rid him of them. When he wasn't comforting his younger brother from the startling nightmares, he worked tirelessly to find a way. He even consulted with elders on a regular basis, despite his family's wary history with them.
After nearly two months, they had finally found a solution to help him forget. Chris agreed to it readily, but Wyatt refused.
Phoebe still recalled the conversation and Chris' surprised squeak of "Wyatt no!" He had grabbed his arm and pleaded with him. "You don't need to do this, Wy!"
The older brother shook him off gently. "Yes, I do, Chris. Please understand. You once told me that you needed to keep it because it made you who you are. Well I need it to remember who I once was—who I could have been if it wasn't for you. But I swear on my life—I will never be that man again. Remembering will make certain of that."
"But Wyatt, it's too much of a burden."
"No, it's not Chris. I'm just grateful that I don't have any of the actual memories of the old me, only what you've told me. And if I know you at all, I know that you went easy on me and sugar-coated it as much as possible. Am I right?"
Chris avoided his eyes, blushing furiously. Wyatt had been devastated when he learned the basic facts, but it would have destroyed him to learn of the details of all he had done.
Wyatt knew from his little brother's reaction that he was right. He punched his arm playfully to let him know that it was ok. "Don't worry, bro. I'll be fine. At least I don't have to re-live it every time I close my eyes like you do. Do you trust me?"
The brunette looked up sharply, ready to retort back with an incredulous "of course." But he held back, suddenly understanding that his trust issues were larger than any of them could have imagined. And they all stemmed from Wyatt's betrayal in his former life. He would be lying if he answered 'of course' straightawaywhen it was clear he hadn't. Otherwise, the harsh memories wouldn't have broken through to begin with.
It was only recently that Chris began to believe in his brother with complete and utter faith. Only after they both understood the root of the problem. Only after Chris understood that this Wyatt wouldn't fall—because it would simply kill him to do so.
Recognizing the stubborn set of his jaw, Chris finally relented with the knowledge that there was nothing he could do or say to change his brother's mind. He breathed a long sigh before he replied softly, this time with an honest certainty. "I do now."
By the end of August, Chris had no memories of his former life, and everything went back to normal.
Wyatt huffed as he dropped Chris' trunk on the dorm floor. He complained loudly as his brother followed his parents into the room. "Chris, what have you got in there? Lead weights?"
"Just the essentials," the brunette remarked flippantly.
Leo bent down to help him unpack. He nodded appreciatively at the potions, spell journal, crystals, and a host of other wiccan items. His eyes widened comically at the champagne bottled tucked carefully in the bottom.
Piper snatched it out of her husband's hand as her youngest avoided her eyes sheepishly. "I don't think so, mister. You're not old enough to be drinking." She cuffed him on the back of the head before addressing her oldest. "If he gets out of hand, you have my permission to ground him."
"Absolutely," Wyatt answered with a grin, ignoring the sneering look he got from his brother as he mouthed 'momma's boy' at him.
Leo laughed and watched the short burst of sibling irritation flee as quickly as it had come. He waited until his youngest practically bounced with excitement back out to the car before pulling Wyatt aside quietly. "You know, you don't have to room with Chris if you don't want. You'll be on the same campus. That's close enough for your mother and I to know he's ok."
"I know Dad. I don't mind, really. We shared a room most of our lives anyway."
Leo looked on at his son proudly, his wife sharing the sentiment as she brushed his hair behind his ears.
She smiled at him fondly, "You're a good man, Wyatt."
He ducked his head, his cheeks coloring a bright shade of red. "Yeah. Thanks to Chris."
Piper nodded in agreement and held up the confiscated bottle of champagne. Her oldest son took the hint and conjured wine glasses before passing them to his parents to be filled.
All three held up their glasses and needed no prompting for the sentiment as they chorused, "To Chris."
Though as soon as they took a drink, the brunette burst back through the door, bubbling with excitement. He frowned when he saw what they were drinking and scolded mildly. "You didn't tell me I couldn't keep it because you wanted it for yourselves. And Wy's not old enough to drink either," he complained further before discreetly looking around and orbing the glass from his brother's hand.
With a satisfied grin, Chris quickly forgot his momentary irritation as he turned and winked at his brother suggestively. "Hey Wy, I just met our Resident Advisor."
Chris' jaw dropped incredulously. "AND?" He leaned in to whisper conspiratorially. "You never told me about her."
Piper and Leo laughed softly at the completely normal behavior of the hormone driven teen. Its what she'd always wanted for her family – a sense of normalcy in an otherwise hectic lifestyle. It was something she never thought she'd see since they found that her son had carried the weight of the world on his shoulders. But now that all of those memories were literally a thing of the past, she couldn't help the feelings of relief and happiness that he was finally getting to enjoy the life he had helped build. No one was more deserving.
And since he was being so 'normal', she couldn't help her natural motherly instincts that screamed at her to tease him like any other mom. "He's been here for all of 15 minutes, and already he's in love.So what's her name?"
He blushed furiously with a wide, innocent smile while he answered. "Bianca. Bianca Perry."
Piper shared a nervous glance with her husband as both of their sons hurried over to the door and watched some of the other students playing football in the hallway.
Leo tried to reassure her quietly, "It's probably just a coincidence, honey."
She was starting to believe him when they heard a loud voice thundering just outside the door. "Hey! You four clowns! You must be freshmen because you obviously haven't heard the rules yet! NO FOOTBALL IN THE HALLWAY!"
As the tiny woman stalked past him, Wyatt leaned on the door frame and spoke casually. "Hey Bianca."
She stopped suddenly and grinned widely. "Oh, hey Wyatt. Chris. So you two are roommates?"
"For the last 17 years or so, yeah."
"Oh. So this is your little brother?" she asked in surprise, her eyes glancing appreciatively at the younger man, while he was obviously doing the same. The three chatted amiably for a few more minutes before she excused herself to run after a few more unruly freshmen.
As soon as she disappeared from sight, Chris elbowed his sibling. "You didn't tell me you knew her."
Piper stared as him in concern, "Wyatt? I think I knew her mother once. Do you know she's a—"
"Witch? Yeah. But she doesn't. I sensed it the first time I met her last year, but it's very faint. When we went to a haunted house carnival last Halloween, she nearly jumped out of her skin. She's definitely not used to anything supernatural or anything that could be considered – scary – to non-magical people. She thinks she's one of them. Obviously, she wasn't raised as a witch. I'm pretty sure her powers have been bound too."
Leo shrugged. "Piper, sometimes people change. Especially when they have a reason to."
The mother of two shook her head worriedly. "I still want you boys to be careful around her."
Chris put his arm around her soothingly. "Don't worry, mom. I can sense that she's good. Besides, my middle name is Perry, and her last name is Perry. It's not a common name, so us meeting--that just has to be fate. Come on Wy. I need you to help me with the other trunk."
Wyatt's jaw dropped as he eyed the heavy load that gave him muscle spasms before. He couldn't even imagine how much his brother had packed in the second one. "Other trunk?" he whined as he followed him outside.
Leo tried to hide his amusement as Piper glared at him. "Fate huh?" she parroted testily.
"Well Chris probably did a little creative naming when he came here. His real middle name was most likely never even Perry."
"Why? Was the name I gave him so horrible?"
"No, it probably had more to do with Chris wanting to keep some kind of connection to her, especially when and if they ever met again."
Piper thought about it for a moment, finally laughing at her son's ingenuity. "Well, it was fate alright. He just made his own. It's what we Halliwell's are good at."
Leo wrapped his arms around his wife affectionately. "No arguments there."
"Do you think he'll be ok? " she asked worriedly.
He smiled at her warmly before bringing his lips down to meet hers. "I'm sure of it. There's nothing that boy can't do when he puts his mind to it. Chris was and always will be – brave, strong, intelligent, and resourceful. He can't help it. It's who he is."
Thank you so much to everyone who's read & reviewed. Hope you liked it, and the end.