Author's Note: This is it—the final chapter. I'm so sorry that it's taken me this long—but I hope that it'll be worth the wait. I thank all of you for your kindness and understanding. This would've been up sooner—but I lost my hard drive and everything on it. Hence, the longer delay. Again, thanks for the reviews, You are all amazing.
Evil had won once; destroying an innocent child and leaving behind something that Chris didn't recognize. It wasn't going to happen again.
He wasn't going to let it.
Even if it killed him.
Chris stood on the edge of the bridge, his eyes closed as he felt the breeze and cold rain fall on his face, so high in the air. For a moment, he could pretend that he was alone; that there was no responsibility, no fear, no hate; that he was in the past—a past where his brother loved him and took care of him. That his parents were alive—and even though he didn't see his father much, he could still hope that one day, he'd be just as important as Wyatt in his eyes.
The last few weeks had been hell; time was running out—this he could feel in his bones. There was only so much he could do; the secret he'd hid for so long was out in the open now. It was harder for him to escape the searing eyes of his 'family'. Leo had fallen back to his previous habit of following him—arguing that it was only to make sure that he was 'safe.' The man would not stop pleading with him to talk.
The thought alone made a harsh laugh escape his lips. Now he wanted to listen…Now they all wanted to listen to him. Now that they knew that he wasn't an evil threat to Wyatt.
Piper hadn't left Wyatt's side for over a week, determined that she'd protect him every minute of every day to keep him from becoming that—monster she'd seen from the future.
The tinkle of orbs appeared before him as he opened his eyes to blink away the bright light his father emanated before solidifying, the rain quickly soaking his dry clothing. "Chris," Leo spoke softly, as he'd been doing for the last few weeks, "What're you doing up here? It's freezing rain; you've got to be cold."
Turning away, for a moment, he thought of not answering. "Chris? Are you okay?" Leo walked in front of him, forcing him to face him.
"Yeah. Did you want something, Leo?"
Leo rubbed his chin, the way Chris remembered him doing so as a child. Usually it meant that he was thinking hard about something—trying to figure out how to word things correctly so he didn't upset Piper.
"Chris, please. Just come home. You're worrying your mother—and me. You can't keep doing this: you're going to get hurt. I mean—look at yourself, Chris. You're completely exhausted. You haven't stopped hunting demons since—well, since Wyatt was sent back to the future... Son, you can't keep doing this."
Chris pulled away from him; a small huff of air escaped his lips. "Son, huh? Now I'm your son—a son that you didn't want."
Leo immediately shook his head, "No!"
He looked him directly in the eyes, "Yes, Leo. I was a 'mistake'—a temporary lapse in birth control. You didn't plan me and you never wanted me. It's okay, though. I've gotten over it. I understand my place in your eyes. I'm second to Wyatt, I always have been. You know, when I first arrived here, I was so afraid that you or Piper would just look at me and know who I was. I'd never really considered that you'd distrust me from the start—hell, Leo you nearly killed me in Valhalla. You fought me every step of the way—you questioned every demon I vanquished, every decision that I made with the Sisters. I told you—I only wanted what was best for Wyatt. That I'd come to save him from a great evil, and that's what I'm going to do, Leo. Even if it kills me. I'm not going to quit—not until I know that the future is safe."
With a shake of his head, Leo grabbed him by the shoulders and forcefully orbed him off the bridge and back to the mansion. Leo pushed him from the hallway to the bathroom. "You know what Chris. I'm your father—and it's time that I acted like it." Leaning over the tub, he quickly set the temperature of the water to hot and then pushed his son—clothing and all—into the warm spray.
Chris fought to escape, trying to duck past his father. Leo countered by getting in himself and wrapping his arms around his body and forcibly keeping him in the shower. "Let me go, Leo!" Chris screamed and he fought, now punching and kicking his father.
"No, you're freezing cold and this is the fastest way to warm you up. So, shut up and hold still. After you get warm, you're going to sit down and eat something and then get some rest."
"You can't tell me what to do!"
All of the shouting alerted Piper, who'd run in to see about the commotion. "Leo! Chris! What are you doing?"
Her cries distracted Leo. Chris used it as an advantage, pushing his father away and climbing out of the shower. "You bastard."
"Chris!" Piper screamed. "He's your father! Stop it! Both of you, just stop." Her voice broke, a few tears sliding down her face.
It was enough to make Chris stop in his tracks. He never wanted to hurt his mother—that was never his intension.
"Chris—just—let's get you out of those wet clothes, alright?" She led him past Wyatt's nursery to her bedroom. She helped pull the wet shirt from his body. A gasp flew from her lips as she saw his chest. "Oh, god, Chris." Piper ran her hand gently down his chest, "You're skin and bones. How much weigh have you lost?"
Leo came up behind her, his breath caught in his lungs. "Oh, god."
"I'm fine!" Chris argued.
Piper stared at him in shock, "No. You're not fine, Chris. You're killing yourself."
"I'm trying to protect Wyatt! Don't you understand? I'm running out of time—I only have a couple more weeks. I can't stop."
Leo shook his head, trying to understand. "What do you mean, Chris?"
"In the future, whatever turns Wyatt will happen before I'm born. In this time, if you two don't—get back together soon, I'm going to cease to exist. I only have two more weeks to stop it."
Piper's mouth flew open, sounds escaping but not forming actual words. Leo rubbed his forehead. "Chris," he started, "you're going to cease to exist in a couple of weeks—and you're worried about Wyatt?" How could his son be so self-sacrificing to a man—a brother who'd come to the past to kill him.
Chris looked at him, confused, "The future…"
"No, Chris," Piper stopped him, "What about you? You're trying to save Wyatt—but you're not willing to save yourself? Why didn't you tell us about your…birth date?"
"I figured that neither of you were in the mood—you're getting a divorce."
"Wait a minute! You broke us up!" Piper yelled, "Why would you do that, Chris? Why would you risk your life like that?"
Chris looked completely blank, "I don't matter. Wyatt is the only one who matters; he's the most powerful being in the world. The Twice-Blessed son."
"Oh, Chris." Piper moaned, "You matter. You're my son, of course, you matter to me."
He tried to pull away, but was stopped by both of his parents. "Chris, listen to your mother. I just don't understand why you feel like you have to die in order to protect the future."
Chris turned away, his back to the both of them. "Because, it's my fault."
He turned again, eyes downcast. "The evil that turned Wyatt, it happened before I was born; but it was gradual—he didn't completely turn until--."
"Until what, Chris?" Piper's soft voice encouraged.
"Until I killed you."
"What?" Leo and Piper chorused.
"You die, Piper. You died because of me and that was the event that turned Wyatt."
They both stayed silent, absorbing the new information. Piper licked her lips, "So, I die. Okay… but how did you kill me?"
"I can't tell you—future consequences. I could've stopped it from happening—but I was too weak. I wasn't fast enough, and you died because of me."
Piper pushed him down to sit on the edge of her bed, wrapped a blanket around his shoulders, then pulled him into her arms. "You didn't kill me, Chris. I know that in my heart. It wasn't your fault, baby. Please, stop blaming yourself. Please."
Leo sat next to them and let his arm rest over the both of them. "Listen to me, Chris. Things are going to be different, I promise you that. I promise you that I'm going to be a better father to you. I'm never going to let you grow up believing that you don't matter to me."
Chris's eyes were blood shot and he was trembling. "I don't know…I don't know if I can believe you after all of these years."
Leo placed a small kiss on his head, "Trust me, Chris. Things are going to be better."
"What about Wyatt? I have to stop him from turning evil."
"We will, Chris." Piper promised as well. "This family is not going to fall apart! We'll stop any demon, witch, warlock, or the Source himself from hurting any member of our family. We'll work together, Chris. You don't have to be alone anymore. You have a family and together we'll create a better future, Chris. A future where you don't have to be afraid of your brother. Okay?"
He looked at them both, silently judging the both of them. "Okay."
Leo gave him a small hug, "Okay, let's get you warm and feed."
They stood together, hand-in-hand. Piper hugged him tightly. "Remember, Chris. We'll do this as a family."
"Yeah," Chris nodded, "we will."
A.N.: Well, what do you think? Good? Bad? Worst story ever? PLEASE review.