Title: The Lost Future
Disclaimer: I don't own anything
Author's note: So, I'm guessing you guys are all like, wait a moment, I thought this story ended a few months ago?
Here's the deal. After reading some reviews, I decided to rewrite the epilogue. Since it was the epilogue, I wanted it to be a satisfying chapter. Anyway, much thanks to bunn2007for her brilliant idea for this epilogue and, as always, please read and review.
The lyrics are still from the song Something Beautiful by Jars of Clay.
Also, the first chapter of the prequel, Shadows at Noon, is posted now as well.
Epilogue: Something Beautiful
What I get from my reflection
Isn't what I thought I'd see
About six months later
"Anything else about the attack?" Mel asked as she flipped through the Book of Shadows.
Paige shook her head. "No, it was pretty straight forward. Weird looking demons, fireballs, that sort of thing." She sunk into the sofa and shrugged, watching as Mel searched for the specific demons, and reflected on the fact that things had not turned out as she had expected. Mel and Pen did not participate in vanquishes, instead opting to take control of the research and potion brewing. And although they continued to train every day, they had no intention of joining in the active fighting until they were in their twenties.
"I think I found them," Mel said at last, pointing to the entry. "There's a potion here, doesn't look to hard too make."
Paige glanced at the entry and nodded. "Great," she said, pleased. "Let's get rid of the threat then, shall well?"
Mel nodded, and the two of them orbed out of the Manor and back to their apartment.
"Dad? Dad! Are you even listening to a word I am saying?" Prue demanded into the phone in annoyance.
Jason sighed, and she knew instinctively that he was rolling her eyes at her. "Yes, Prue," he replied, his voice echoing slightly from the other end of the phone line. "I heard everything you said."
"Well?" Prue asked. "Don't you have anything to say about being at my graduation when Mom is there also? You do know she is going to be there, right? Wait… you are coming, right?"
"Well, it is my daughter graduating from high school," Jason replied dryly, ignoring the comment about Phoebe. He knew exactly what Prue was getting at, but refused to take the bait.
"Well, it will be the first time that you two have been together at a social event in a long time," Prue pointed out. Her parents had managed to stay civil to each other for the past six months, but they limited their conversations to strictly business or Prue related topics.
"I'm just saying," Prue cut in as her father tried to argue the point. She knew that it wouldn't make a difference, that her parents weren't getting back together, but sometimes she still hoped for it. She had never thought that her parents would get divorced, despite all their problems. Not until the day she had seen those papers…
Of course, she hadn't ever imagined that she would strip her active powers either.
At least things with Chris had improved. He would speak to her now, he would be friendly and kind and listen to her complaints and give her advice, just like he used to. There was something about the way he did it, some sort of formality that still lingered in the air between them, and she didn't think it would ever go away. Sometimes he would look at her, and she knew he was remembering the past.
But they were cousins, and she loved him, and he loved her, and nothing would ever change that.
"You don't have to do this, Chris," Wyatt said as he and Chris entered yet another engagement ring store.
Chris gave Wyatt an incredulous look. "You're proposing, Wy. You're proposing to Courtney. I have to pick out rings with you because you have horrible taste. If I don't help, you'll choose some hideous looking thing and Courtney will say no just based on that."
Wyatt glared at Chris for a moment, then said, "Seriously, Chris, I appreciate it, but…"
"But you think I'm going to take one look at a ring and go insane?" Chris finished Wyatt's sentence.
Wyatt sighed. "Well…"
"I'm okay, Wy. Really," Chris protested.
"Are you?" Wyatt countered, giving his brother a shrewd look.
Chris averted his gaze, suddenly unable to meet Wyatt's piercing stare. "No," he muttered at last. "No, I guess not. I just… I'll be okay, it's just hard now." He waved his hand around at the engagement rings. "You're going to get married, Wy. That was… that was supposed to be me and Bianca."
"I know," Wyatt replied sympathetically. "Which is why you don't have to be here."
"You're my brother," Chris answered simply.
Wyatt was about to respond when a salesgirl walked over to them and offered a friendly smile. "Can I help you two?" she asked cheerfully.
"My brother here is getting married," Chris explain, clapping Wyatt on the back. "Or, at least, he's trying to convince his girl friend to marry him. So we need a ring. Something amazing enough to make Courtney lose her common sense long enough to say yes."
The sales girl laughed and gestured them over to one of the nearby cases. "Well, I have a few things here that are guaranteed to make any girl go temporarily insane…"
Give me reason to believe
Never leave me incomplete
"Did you get the ring?" Piper demanded the moment her two sons walked into the house.
Wyatt smiled proudly and extended a small box, which Piper snatched out of his hands and opened instantly. She stared at it for a moment, her mouth slightly open, then gasped out, "Wy, it is beautiful."
"Where's Dad?" Chris asked curiously.
"Um… he's Up There," Piper replied, not quite able to meet Chris' gaze. Wyatt frowned at his mother's strange behavior, but Chris just sighed.
"Doing what?" the younger witch-lighter asked.
Piper shrugged. "Who knows?" she asked, and both Wyatt and Chris could tell that she was lying.
"Mom," Chris murmured gently, "I know what day it is."
Piper nodded, and forced herself to blink back the tears.
"Did you talk to the Elders?" Piper asked in a hushed whisper the moment Leo orbed into their room. She shot a quick glance at the door to make sure that they weren't being overheard, then turned back to Leo anxiously.
Leo nodded and said slowly, "They couldn't tell me anything. Fate is… it is out of their hands."
Piper shook her head. "That's not good enough, Leo. That's not… no, I won't accept it."
"Don't you think this frustrates me too?" Leo demanded. "I was there, Piper, I saw… I saw him…" He shook his head and took a slow breath, trying to steady his rapidly fraying nerves. "I want an answer also, but maybe there just isn't one to give. We just… we need to get through today."
Piper shook her head again, unable to accept what he was saying. "I won't lose him, Leo. I just…"
"I know," Leo murmured, pulling his wife into a tight embrace. He glanced at the calendar sitting on the bedside table, and studied the date.
He had spent more than a decade dreading this one day.
"We won't lose him, Piper," Leo whispered, praying his words were actually true. "I don't care what the date is. I don't care about fate. I won't let Chris die."
Wyatt pocketed the ring, glanced over at Chris, and said, "Wish me luck."
"She'll love it, Wy," Chris assured his brother.
Wyatt nodded slowly, staring at Chris for a moment with a puzzled expression, then asked worriedly, "Chris, what day is it?"
Chris just shook his head. "It is the day that you are proposing to your future wife," he replied. The steely look in his eyes indicated to Wyatt that he was not going to give the real answer to the question, and Wyatt orbed away, unable to completely shake the growing unease that was plaguing him.
Chris looked around the empty attic for a moment and sighed.
And then the air rippled, and Sarina appeared, an athame in her hand.
In their bedroom on the floor below, Leo and Piper heard a cry and a crash and the sound of something… or someone… hitting the attic floor.
you untie this loss of mine?
It so easily defines me
Do you see it on my face?
"Chris! No…no, no, no… Oh, God…no, please no…"
Leo raced across the attic towards his wounded son. Chris was lying sprawled on the floor, his face pale, his shirt stained with blood. Standing over him was Sarina, a bloody athame in one hand. She had a strange look on her face, a mixture of regret and resignation.
But at Leo's appearance, she quickly shimmered away.
Leo paid no attention to the High Priestess of the Khail's brief presence in the attic. Instead, he dropped to his knees next to Chris and extended his hands towards the wound, praying the gray tinge of Chris' skin would fade away and he would be brought back to life.
The familiar golden glow extended from his hands, but Chris' wound refused to heal.
The young witch-lighter's life force was slowly fading away and the darkness was threatening to overtake him.
"You have to find Wyatt."
"We are going to find him together."
"It won't work. You've already tried. Gideon's magic did this to me. He's the only one who can stop it. Just… go. Saving Wyatt saves the future. You know that."
"Gideon doesn't know how to kill Wyatt, remember? We still have time."
"Only until the trauma turns him."
"I am not going to choose between you and Wyatt, Chris. I can't."
"You don't have to, dad. Find Gideon and you save us both."
"All right. All right, but I'm not leaving you alone. I'll be right back."
"Where are you going?"
"To get one of your aunts to watch over you. You're going to be fine. Okay? I promise."
"NO!" Leo screamed, turning to look up at the ceiling. "No! You do not get to take him from us. Not again! I won't let you."
Piper stood behind her husband, staring at her son's crumpled body, and felt her entire world turn upside-down.
This couldn't be happening. Not again.
And all I can think about
Is how long
I've been waiting to feel you move me
"You're not supposed to be here."
Chris spun around at the familiar voice and stared in surprise, scarcely daring to believe that she was really standing in front of him. White mist swirled around her feet, and her body was clothed in a long white dress. Her dark hair fell over her tan skin and her brown eyes gazed at him with love and concern.
"Were you expecting someone else?" the Phoenix asked with a laugh. Then she frowned, and repeated, "You're not supposed to be here."
"What do you mean?" Chris questioned, taking a few hesitant steps towards her. He reached out with one hand, and let his finger gently graze her cheek. He was almost afraid that she would fade away before he could feel her skin, but she stayed there, smiling at him, tears welling in her eyes.
"You can't die," Bianca replied. "It's just… it's not your time."
"I died this day in the other timeline," Chris replied. "Or, at least, I died at exactly this age." He didn't know why he was arguing this, it wasn't as though he wanted to die. But she was here, and while he was staring at her, he couldn't stand the idea of leaving.
"Not everything is fate, Chris," Bianca murmured. "Not everything is meant to be."
"I love you," Chris whispered, letting his hand fall to her shoulder.
"I love you too," Bianca replied. "I wanted to help you… after I died, I wanted to… I wanted to go to you and lead you away from that phantom that was plaguing you… but they wouldn't let me."
"Yeah, the Elders, they're really not so big on breaking the rules," Chris deadpanned, and she laughed at his words.
"No, they aren't, are they?" Bianca replied with a nod. Then she sighed and looked away. "Chris, you can't stay here. Your father is trying to heal you, and… you need to go back to him." It hurt her to say the words because she wanted him to stay here with her. She wanted it more than anything else in the world.
But Chris could still live. He could still lead a long and wonderful life, and she loved him too much to take that away from him.
"I don't want to go, I don't want to leave you," Chris whispered.
Bianca wrapped her arms around him. "I know," Bianca replied. "But you've got a chance, Chris. You've got a life. Don't walk away from that."
"I'll never stop loving you," Chris declared.
"But don't hold on to me, okay?" Bianca replied. "You can love me, and you can miss me, and you can remember me, but don't stop living."
"Sometimes I forget how to do this without you," Chris admitted.
"You have a family that loves you," Bianca reminded him. "You have a brother that is getting married. You really want to miss out on Wyatt's wedding?"
Chris shook his head. "No…"
"You have the chance for a future," Bianca continued. "I don't have that. We don't have that. But you do, and you can't waste it."
"Live for me, Chris. Live because I can't."
Chris nodded and Bianca slowly faded away, disappearing into the mist.
Chris opened his eyes groggily and watched as his father slowly healed his wound. Piper was leaning over him, relief etched into every line of her face, and then Leo was hugging him tightly and whispering that everything was okay now and they weren't going to let him die. Then Piper was crying and Leo was crying and Piper was cursing the Elders for letting her think that her son was going to die, and Leo was threatening a slow and painful death for Sarina, and Piper was offering to bake anything he wanted, and then Leo was again reassuring his son that everything was going to be alright.
"I know," Chris replied, managing to gasp out the words. "After Gideon stabbed me, you promised I would be okay, that you wouldn't let anything happen to me… I trusted you about that, Dad, and you were right. I'm going to be okay."
Into something beautiful
Author's note: Alright, I hope you enjoyed this version of the epilogue. Or were there elements of the other epilogue that were better? Should I post both of them? Let me know what you all think.
And hopefully I'll see you all over in my other story.