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This is it. Thanks again to everyone who took the time to review, it means a lot :)
Her sisters were up to something and she knew it. More than knew it, she could feel it, and she didn't need Phoebe's powers for that. She was the oldest, and she knew them both, knew them well, and had likely more wisdom than the both of them put together. It hadn't escaped her notice that she'd been singled out somewhat today. She hadn't understood the anger, she hadn't really wanted to in all honesty. And then Leo joining the mix only fuelled her fury, what in the hell was going on!
But her questions fell on deaf ears while Paige's tone was low as she tried to calm Phoebe down, who was clearly more agitated by Chris' condition than Piper at that very moment. Yes, she had been worried for the man, seeing him as he was, she was not cold hearted. But she wasn't one to let go of grudges quickly either. In most cases she did the complete opposite especially when it concerned her son, and Chris had proven his distrust more than once.
Maybe she had been silent for too long, because when she looked back up, Phoebe and Paige were watching her carefully, and as Phoebe went to say something, Paige grabbed her arm and orbed her downstairs, and Piper, never one to let things go, quickly ran down the stairs, as quietly as she could, and listening out, followed the soft voices in the kitchen.
"If we tell her, then everything's okay, Leo knows, we know, Piper's the only one who doesn't know."
"Phoebe you weren't even supposed to tell me! How the hell do you think Chris will feel if we tell Piper?"
"Because lying has worked so well this far!"
"Look, when Leo comes back with Chris-
"How do you even know he will, Paige? He's the one who sent Chris to the future in the first place!"
"He didn't know!"
"That doesn't excuse it! Father or not, he almost had Chris killed!"
"We have to wait on Chris for this one, Phoebe! If we tell Piper, he'd be pissed, and if we hold a grudge when he wants to forget, then he'd be pissed, it sucks, but that's all there is!"
"Damn it, Paige."
But when Phoebe stormed out, the first thing she saw, was Piper sitting stock still on one of the dining table's chairs.
"Piper? What's wrong?" Phoebe asked, crouching in front of her sister, while Paige stood next to them, a hand on Piper's shoulder. "Piper?" She called.
"Father?" Piper whispered, looking Phoebe in the eye, who in turn looked up at Paige.
The rain fell, battering the sidewalk, falling fast and hard. The street lamps shone through the mist but to Chris, it wasn't anywhere near bright enough. Darkness seemed to follow him, depression lingering near. His body was tense as he walked through the darkened streets, wary.
Once again, the great Leo Wyatt had messed up. But honestly after years of being let down, what did Chris expect? Time and time again his father would choose Wyatt over him, the first to be healed the first to be rescued, the first to be believed, or noticed, listened to, and the last time he had seen his father, his father, not the Leo of the present, they had fought because Chris has saved his god damn life. He had long gotten over his need for pride, but it didn't stop him yearning for something he'd never now receive.
He wouldn't be surprised if right now, Leo was trying to convince the girls that Wyatt must have had a reason to trust his brother as such. Brother. Oh god, he knew. He knew everything, or at least, the main parts Chris had fought to keep hidden.
The rain continued to fall still, heavier, and the air seemed so much colder, breath fogging in front of him, as the reign on his powers slipped completely, almost destroying the city with the beginnings of a most-powerful storm. He had only done this twice before, the first, a complete accident, the second...well, as he realized when he came back to the future, it would seem he inherited that from his mother. Letting the fear and pain and anger drive him to destruction.
Just like Wyatt.
But he didn't stop. He kept walking, drenched, shaking, shivering, fuming. Every step took him closer to the San Francisco bridge, and he wondered how much longer he would walk before his own turmoil took him over the railings and into the water below.
The agony of his wounds was gone, though far from forgotten, but the aching in his chest at knowing what had caused them, who, hurt him even more. Not Wyatt, no that he could almost handle. He could almost forget his brother doing that, his brother, beating him, giving the order to let his fears come to life, because damn it, Chris was determined to save him, save his brother, the one he barely knew from his early years, and in the future, he wouldn't put it past his father to be so uncaring, but this past Leo was supposed to be different. A young Elder, Husband and Father. He was supposed to have more compassion. What had happened to the man who had told him trust worked both ways? Who had helped him escape from Wyatt's clutches once before?
He was blinded by what he saw as Chris' betrayal. Chris shuddered, not entirely from the cold. He looked up for a moment, his eyes squinting naturally as thunder boomed above, and lightening struck across the skies. It was his doing, and he had no intention of stopping. The rain soothed and froze him. Until he was numb, and he wanted to be like that, he wanted to stay numb, and unfeeling so that he could focus on falling rather than holding on.
Chris looked up, now so close to the bridge, as close as he would ever really get, he supposed. He had never been the suicidal type before, but before his purpose hadn't seemed so damned. So unreachable and fruitless. He knew how dangerous it might be to try and orb up there, but the looming red bridge called to him. As though being high up, and seeing the damage he was inflicting through his pain inadvertently might help him somewhat.
He had never been one for drowning his sorrows, but he wished he had a drink right now. Something to burn his throat, and get rid of the lump of raw emotions lodged there. He wasn't even sure if he could cry anymore. Years of hardening himself against Wyatt's cruel ways, steeling himself to look and see the dead. Not flinch at the corpses littering his doorstep every morning in the crumbling post-apocalyptic San Francisco.
If tears should come, he wouldn't notice, the rain made sure of that. The rain that was beginning to turn to hail as his emotions turned Mother Nature insane.
"Father?" Piper repeated, more than a little stricken and confused. "But-how?" and Paige gave her a look, that Piper wanted to correct suddenly.
"I know how, but, who-I mean, I can't be...his mother?"
Phoebe resisted the urge to smile at the indecision and different tones of voice Piper had displayed in that one sentence alone.
"Piper, listen, you are his mother. Maybe not yet, but, you are his mother."
"Oh god, I-but-god Leo sent him away-oh god, Wyatt did that to him? To his little brother? And I let it happen, oh god, what kind of mother-and he just-oh god." And she buried her face in her hands.
"No, Piper, look at me, this is not your fault, okay? You can't blame yourself!" And for some time, Piper simply stared at Paige and her calm, but forceful demeanor before she stood up, and ran off, heading for the attic.
"Piper!" Phoebe called after her, "Where are you going?"
And Piper span around already halfway up the stairs, she took a shuddering breath, wiped her tears, and pretended her heart wasn't breaking inside as she plastered on a smile. "You're still a genie, Phoebe." She said, rushing to the book of shadows, and both of her sisters sighed, realizing that Phoebe's comment over a year ago, regarding Piper's ability to face her problems, might have been wrong after all.
When he felt the bridge beneath his feet, he had almost fallen on the red steel, surprised he had not landed in the middle of the road, ready to be flattened by a car. No, he was here, and relatively safe. His own emotional backlash through the weather wouldn't harm him. Much. His control was improving the more his body recovered. He sat himself down on the bleacher, letting his legs hang a little over the edge, daring himself to jump, knowing he never would. On the edge of reason, logic forgotten...
He wasn't sure how long he had sat there, wanting to be alone, wishing to be somewhere else despite the comfort of being on the bridge gave him, and at the sound invading his silence save for the rumbling thunder, pummeling rain, and crackling lightening, he recalled that there used to be a time when the soft tinkling of orbs in the silence of day and night was a sound of relief. It meant his brother turning up in the nick of time to save him, or his Aunt coming to pick him up the unconventional way, keeping out of sight. Sometimes it meant visits from friends and those determined to rid the world of evil.
Sometimes it meant Dad was here for a few minutes. A quick hello to a wife no longer having the energy to berate him for his disappearing acts. A bitter eldest child who faked a smile whenever he dropped by, and Chris, a rebellious teen, hell bent on showing his own dark side, and rude qualities whenever the Elder appeared. Once, Piper had spoken to him about it, asked him to be a bit more civil, and he had said simply, "I will when he will." And Piper could ask for no more.
"Chris, I didn't know." He said, as though is excused all he had done.
But now you do, great! That's just great.
Chris ignored him, his back tense, but shaking in the cold. Healed or not he head been through a horrible ordeal and should be resting. Strange fatherly instincts took over and Leo edged forward towards Chris. He sat down, and for a moment he wondered if Chris would ever speak, but then he heard it. A timid choked whisper, that made his heart clench with guilt.
"Just go." He said much more firmly. Leo put a hand on Chris' shoulder but the younger man flinched violently, almost afraid at any touch, let alone from him. The sudden change in position was too much, Chris didn't react, and his feet strode forward in thin air, his body slipping, he span to grab hold of the bridge, but Leo got there first, grabbing his son's forearms in a grip so tight that Chris wondered if there would be bruises, but he supposed it was better than falling to an imminent death. After all he couldn't trust himself to orb in his state, not to mention the exposure to magic.
Leo hoisted Chris up onto shaky legs, a look of pure worry etched into lines and creases of wrinkles that Chris could have sworn weren't there before. Leo wouldn't relinquish his hold on his son, not when he could feel the cold beneath the fingertips, and the shivering that only increased ten fold. For a moment, both kept their eyes trained on each other, staring the other down, looking for something, and before Chris realized, his father's hands were glowing where they still held on to him, and he felt warmer for a moment, better.
"Let me take you back to the manor, the girls are worried." I'm worried.
"I'm fine." Chris bit out, turning away once more, not seeing Leo as he reached out to him, but held back, before touching him again, for fear the flinch might take him over the edge once more. Of tolerance, of the bridge physical and otherwise...
"Chris, just hear me out, I'm sorry, I'm so sorry, and nothing I say can ever take back what I did, but just know if I could, I would, I swear to you-."
"Just go," Chris said for the third time, pleading, looking up at Leo with clouded vision. "Please."He was desperate and Leo could see it, but he didn't want to leave him.
"If you-uh-if you need anything, just call, ok?"
Chris looked away, well aware of the words having been spoken to him a long time ago, from his Leo, from Dad. Broken promises, sugar-coated wonderful-ness, but nothing more than a lie.
Leo swallowed the lump in his throat, trying to catch Chris' eyes once more, but not succeeding. Reluctantly he orbed away.
He growled kicking at the air. He hated him. It was pure fury. Loathing. Nothing could make him forgive him. Nothing. Except something; something big enough, good enough, though he doubted such a thing existed.
No, he hated him.
The pacifist. The workaholic. The crappy husband. The crappy father. The abandoning asshole that was, and is, Leo Wyatt.
He fell to his knees in desperation, the turmoil of feelings, threatening to swallow him whole. He clutched his head as though it would easy his suffering to cradle himself somewhat.
His father was to blame, trying to protect Wyatt and taking it too far, not caring about those caught in the crossfire, not caring about the details. Not caring about how it was done, just knowing it needed to be done.
And was he any better? He had killed, oh yes, in the future and in past, some demonic, some truly evil, and others...
Collateral damage as he aimed to save the world.
He was no better than Leo himself.
Chris growled. He wouldn't turn away from his responsibilities and he wouldn't turn away from his family, he was saving them for gods sake, and they couldn't even-
Leo couldn't even trust him to do that.
Neither Leo ever could.
I'm not like him, I'm not like him.
Chris stood up, as the rain worsened. He looked up, blinking as the drops fell onto his eyes. He set his jaw, well aware of how Leo would hear him. Of how the Elders would hear him. He let out a scream, the single adamant statement, saying all he needed to say.
"I am not my father's son!"
Anguish released, and pain reverting as his conscious dwindles, and only a groggy nothingness remains. Fury abates and rage simmers. One sentence and everything stopped. One sentence and everything made sense and he could understand it all. He wasn't Leo's son, not yet, and he wouldn't be for some time. But hopefully, if he was lucky enough, should he fail, his existence would simply not come into play and he would be spared the future, as ruined as it was. If only. He orbed away from the bridge, from the rain and the lasting echoes of his screams. He orbed away in search of clarity and let the pouring rain wash away his pain as the storm clouds lightened somewhat just as the load did on his breaking back.
If you've been reading at all, and you loved it, hated it, found it okay, just please let me know, now or never kind of thing. Thanks.