Author's note: this takes place before Chris-crossed and it's my first fanfic ever, so please bear with me :)

Disclaimer: I don't own Charmed... or Chris... or Phoebe... or Barbas... or this keyboard I'm typing on--- hold on, I do own this keyboard , nevermind. Just start reading.


Prologue

Chris sat alone in the Halliwell attic taking a short break from the strenuous demon hunting and collecting his thoughts. Just a few days ago, he and the sisters had had a nasty run in with Barbas, the demon of fear. Barbas has summoned them all, revealed what each of their worst fear was, and locked them in a playhouse version of the manor where they each had to face that fear in turn.

Chris hugged his legs to him, resting his chin on his knees as he stared into space, remembering what had happened to him and his "charges". He felt weak. Piper, Phoebe, and Paige had all overcome their worst fears, but he had been the only one holding them back with his ridiculous phobia. No-- not ridiculous, he thought, slightly frustrated with himself, they only think that because they don't know the reason behind it. He had never meant for them to find out about that fear because he knew all the questions that would arise. Questions he had only answered for a few souls; questions that hurt to answer.

He sighed as he elicited his close call with keeping the fact that he was indeed part witch a secret. When that fear had been thrown at him he had accidentally used one of his powers - intangibility - and fallen through a wall without leaving a mark. He had hastily lied that there must have been a portal, still shaking from the encounter with his worst fear. Seeing as they had no reason not to, the sisters had believed that little fabrication.

"Hey," said a voice from the doorway. The young whitelighter looked up to see the middle sister, Phoebe, standing there looking concerned. Chris hastily threw aside his fatigue and jumped up from the war-battered couch.

"Hey, what is it?" He asked in his best I'm-an-extremely-good-whitelighter voice. Phoebe, however, ignored that and went to sit down on the couch he had just gotten up from and looked at him with that same concern.

"Chris…" she began, pulling him to sit down beside her. "I think I know why you're afraid of fish."

The boy's heart sank. Oh. That. "Phoebe, this isn't the ti---"

"You drowned, didn't you?" she spoke over him. "Whitelighters died-- I never thought about how you did, but that's it, isn't it?"

"Phoebe ---"

"Chris, just tell me! I can help you," the woman pleaded forcefully.

"If that was all there was to it, don't you think I'd be over it by now?" Chris snapped, unable to stop himself. "Leo doesn't freak out every time he sees an army tent, does he?"

"So you were murdered," Phoebe concluded. "Who did it? Why?"

Furious, Chris tried to orb out but Phoebe grabbed him and pulled him back, a little trick her younger sister had taught her. This time her chocolate colored eyes were soft, imploring.

"Please, Chris, I want to understand. Please."

Though the boy was wearing black sunglasses they both know their eyes were locked, and Chris couldn't help but feel the need to comply. At last he sighed, breaking their gazes.

"When I was five… my parents drown me."

It wasn't a lie… not exactly. When he was five Piper and Leo had tried to strip his powers and drown him, succeeding in binding his powers and throwing him into an icy, rushing river. It was only by the pure chance that the elder, Charity, had been alerted and saved him, clipping his first whitelighter's wings as the guardian had been in on the whole thing.

Now, whenever he saw a fish, he was forced to recall everything he had felt at that moment when water rushed past above, below, and beside him, when his consciousness was slipping away, the binds cutting deeply into his wrists and ankles. He was forced to remember the shock, the confusion, the betrayal, the raw anguish… everything.

Phoebe's mouth was slightly open as she stared at her young whitelighter, taken aback. "Oh… my… I had no-- idea…" she managed to say at last. Then, "But why? Were they--"

"Under a spell?" finished Chris for her. He laughed bitterly. "Of course not. They just never loved me."

And with that the boy orbed out, not caring whether she ran to tell her sisters or not.