Title: "Believe The Lie"

Author: Shaitanah

Rating: R

Timeline: Season 6, shortly before "Chris-crossed"

Summary: Chris reflects on his mission, his relationship with Wyatt & his family. Angst

Disclaimer: I don't own Charmed. I don't want to. Though I wouldn't mind to own Chris so that he hadn't died & had more screen time.

A/N: A possible explanation of why Chris was so depressed in the beginning of "Chris-crossed". A hint of slash if you look reeeeaaaly close & if you have a very good imagination:-D


BELIEVE THE LIE

He hated this world. He hated this time. He despised everything that reminded him of being miserable. She died and left him alone at the mercy of a father who never cared and of a brother who turned to Evil soon afterwards. He was lonely, scared, he wanted her back. Now that he observed her, so young, so full of vitality, he envied everyone who was blessed with time by her side. She had her sister, she had her powers, she had her son…

Something inside Chris creaked like a record that paused abruptly. He regarded the cute blond cherub sitting on his mother's lap. His lips moved quietly, forming a single word: 'Wyatt'. He had come to save Wyatt. He should never forget that. To save Wyatt. Not spend additional time with her, not gain his father's trust, not enjoy safety and peace of the past – but to save that little boy that would become someone dark and treacherous.

Chris gritted his teeth. He hated Wyatt! He wanted him dead – for all that blood spilling and humiliation! "You're guilty! You deserve to be vanquished like a demon!" he wanted to shout. His original idea was to go back to the past to kill Wyatt. It was Bianca who made him change his mind. He brought up the goodness in her, she repaid him by saving him from shedding his own brother's blood.

"Did you check the Book of Shadows?"

Chris turned around and faced Phoebe. She was looking at him inquiringly. It took Chris a while to figure out what she was talking about: a demon that attacked in the morning, smashing half of the mansion to pieces.

"Uh… Nope, I was just going to. Sorry".

"Well, go on! What are you waiting for?"

Chris chuckled. Auntie Phoebe, the lack of patience as always. He remembered her that way. She was no angel, for sure, but a good person. He wouldn't let her perish. He wouldn't let anything bad happen to this family. His family.

He orbed to the attic and flashed through the Book. It smelled like old paper, leather, ink, white magic. Altogether, it bore a touch of every Hallowell witch that worked on it. Chris's fingers glided over the trefoil, engraved in the cover, the symbol of the Power of Three. Sacred as magic itself.

Blue light distracted Chris. Leo. He pursed his lips. Why him? Why here and now? Chris put his common neutral mask on. He liked meeting Leo less than Leo liked meeting him, but he had to stay indifferent according to the legend.

"What are you doing?" Leo asked grudgingly.

Chris looked askance at him without actually looking up from the Book. Leo hadn't changed much. He seemed younger, no grey hair on his temples, no bitter wrinkles in the corners of his lips. No overwhelming sadness. Chris shut his pity down. He wasn't here to feel sorry for his future father.

"There's been a demonic incident today… Phoebe asked me to–".

"If I were Phoebe, I wouldn't have let you anywhere near the Book", the Elder stated. "I'm watching you, Chris. Mark my words: I'm going to find out your secret".

"Thanks. You keep reminding me so I won't forget".

Chris was proud of having stayed calm. However, if Leo went on pissing him off…

He was afraid to snap, to tell them everything. They should never learn the truth.

When the girls were off to vanquish another demon, Chris roamed empty corridors of the mansion, thinking of life he once had there. That life was never perfect, but it was his only memory of a family. 'You'll have it all eventually', Bianca reassured him. 'That's why you need to fix it. Before anyone else gets hurt'.

That brought back the memory of his last conversation with Wyatt in the future. His majestic brother sent for him late at night. Chris entered the darkened room where Wyatt usually retired 'to think'. His brother was sitting by the window, looking out in the street, his shoulder-length curly hair obscured his face. Chris needed no better view: his brother's face was grim and serious most of the time, he was well aware of that.

"You wanted to see me?" Chris asked on a cold voice. Wyatt motioned for him to sit down, but he stayed up on his feet, the only way he could ever feel taller than his brother.

"What sacrifices is one ready to make in pursuit of knowledge?" Wyatt spoke. "How many times should the story repeat itself, huh?"

Chris frowned. "I'm sorry, I–".

"One of my guards, those pathetic fools, tried to access the Book. I keep it safely hidden. You're the only one I can trust, Chris. Don't let me down".

Chris lowered his head, examining Wyatt casually. There it is, coated blood on his fingers. He killed the man. Ashes and dirt under his fingernails. He tortured him and then blew the twitching remnants of a human being up. Merciless, empty, a true Dark Lord beyond good or evil.

It sickened Chris. He looked away and murmured hoarsely: "I'll never leave you, Wyatt. You know that about me".

"I know a lot about you. Let's say I know enough".

Blood froze in Chris's veins. Wyatt had spies everywhere. Could he have already learnt of Bianca's and his plan? No, that was impossible. Chris was a strong witch, he did well to hide that dangerous piece of information.

Wyatt walked up slowly and stopped close to him.

"I'm surrounded by fools, boot-lickers and traitors. Is it any wonder that I feel suspicious?" His fingers brushed Chris's cheek. The youth stayed calm under Wyatt's searching gaze. "I need someone I can be sure of. You're every bit that person, my dear brother".

Chris felt Wyatt's hot breath on his skin. Something wasn't right. Was the witch testing him? If that was some kind of a trial, Chris had to pass. He had no right to fail now. Not now when they were so close to achieving their goal.

Wyatt carried on talking. "Betrayal is everywhere. I must make both demons and witches respect me. Otherwise, we're dead. We shall never have the position our family had once had unless I make them respect me and mine".

"By drawing blood?" Chris asked boldly. "Is there no other way?"

Wyatt's soft chuckle sent tingles of shiver through his body. "A simple law of life: eat or be eaten, kill or be killed. This is a hard time for all of us. Our family had always been a monument to power itself".

"A power used for greater good".

"It doesn't matter. What matters is whether you have it or not. Cuz if you don't, you're nothing. Good is a point of view; so is evil. It only depends on how you estimate the circumstances. My point is, you're either with me, or you're not".

"'Course I'm with you, Wy!" Chris hastened to assure him. God, please, don't let him suspect anything! He can't ruin it now. Please, please, please!

Wyatt leaned into Chris, their lips almost touching. It was so inexperienced. The witch spoke in a low, tentative whisper: "I'm asking you to follow me not because we're family but because I am Power. You should always follow power, Chris. There is no other way".

"What you're saying–", Chris murmured. "I can't accept that. All that blood. It's like a suicide being what we are. Who we are!"

"And who are we, brother? The Halliwells? The sons of the mightiest witch in the world?"

"Power", Chris spat, straining to maintain control. "All that power couldn't save Mom from dying!"

"Because she wasted it on someone else. On the innocents. Tell me, brother, what are the innocents? Are they really that innocent? Do they all deserve our protection? Our mother and her precious sisters wasted the greatest gift on the innocents mindlessly, cluelessly which eventually led them to their tragic demise. I will not repeat that blunder".

He went off from Chris, fixing his wary gaze on the horizon once more.

"We are the children of the Charmed One", Chris said slowly, picking words with care. "We can't deny our responsibilities".

"Good or evil", Wyatt drew out as if tasting the words' flavour. "The world's delicate balance. Do you remember the greatest love-story in our family? Apart from Mom and Dad, of course".

Chris gave a barely detectable nod. "Phoebe and Cole".

"Phoebe and Cole, right. She gave everything up for him, but she turned her back on him eventually. His name became a curse. Yes, he was evil, the Source of all evil. But it wasn't his own choice. The Source possessed Cole. But Phoebe was never reasonable, was she? When he tried to prove himself good, she rejected him. She drove him nuts, she made him long for death that wouldn't come!" Wyatt was almost shouting. His agitation hang in the air, coursing through Chris's tense body. If only he could conceive of Wyatt's intentions! "Now tell me: what is the point of being good or evil? Those are just labels that are no longer efficient these days".

"Are you implying that Cole could still have been the Source and Phoebe could have remained the Charmed One and they would have still been together?" Chris asked carefully.

A weary grin blossomed on Wyatt's lips. He nodded and sat back on his chair.

Thoughts raced through Chris's mind. He calculated variations, but he was still blind to Wyatt's wicked vision of perfection. A world like that was impossible. A world beyond good or evil was evil. No rules, no responsibility. It was Wyatt's own egocentric imagination that would proclaim him the Lord of such a world.

Chris pinched himself mentally: he should support delusional Wyatt no matter what until the past was undone.

He forced a smile. "I'm with you".

"Of course, you are. You must be".

Now that Chris recalled that conversation, he couldn't find as many flaws in Wyatt's pattern of a new world as he had back then. His faith had shattered. He'd been through so much.

The door slammed shut downstairs. Chris assumed the Charmed Ones were back from the demon-hunt. He peered at them cautiously from the stairs. Phoebe was twitchy as usual. She announced she had to make an urgent phone-call and retired to the kitchen. Chris guessed she dialed Jason's number. Paige examined her slightly torn jacket, her golden hair tousled and disheveled. Her other temporary job had gone down the toilet.

Enticed, Chris watched Piper as she walked the stairs to check up on Wyatt. The baby orbed to her, and she scolded him gently for having done so. She never wanted her power. She never quit believing life could be normal.

"Why are you so eager to believe the lie our parents always did?" Wyatt's question popped up in his mind. Chris rubbed his eyes fiercely. He wouldn't think of it now. He hadn't come here to make an attachment.

"Chris", someone called his name. he looked up and saw Paige standing beside him. She looked both puzzled and alert.

Chris sprang up on his feet smiling. "I… er… How was the demon-hunt?"

"Successful. What exactly were you doing here?"

Please, don't let her let it slip in Leo's presence! He'd rack him for all eternity.

"I was just… going to greet you, guys. Anyway, now I'm convinced that everything is fine so I'm just gonna… go".

He orbed out in a flash of blue light before she could utter a word of protest. He needed another session of his usual Golden Gate therapy. Such beauty… The city bathed in starlight and neon glitter, each house a shelter for a complicated being with his problems, fears, joys. Wyatt called people "a cunning mechanism". Chris shuddered. As if they were something artificial…

"How different are they from us?" Wyatt used to wonder. "They're no match for our powers, but united, they could be a threat".

"Are you implying that you are not human?" Chris asked, deliberately emphasizing the word 'you'. If Wyatt was going mad, he wanted to be no part of it.

Wyatt laughed. "Implying? No, I'm speaking very clearly. I'm more than that! I am the Power of Three coalesced into One".

Looking down at the city, Chris remembered those words with bitterness. Where had he been in that scheme all along?

He returned home to take his laundry (by perfectly sane reasons he couldn't do the laundry in the club). Hmm, they still didn't let him stay in the mansion. Too close to their precious little angel. Chris snorted: all those precautions seemed so ridiculous all of a sudden.

On his way through the hall Chris overheard Leo and Piper talk. Eavesdropping wasn't exactly his style, but he learnt a few dirty tricks over the past months. Besides, they talked about him. Such an odd, bittersweet sensation: his parents together, talking quietly about their son, not even knowing his true identity. Albeit the topic wasn't really nice.

"I seriously think we should get rid of him", Leo said. "I mean, Piper, how can you trust him? He goes back and forth in time almost every single day – but he explains nothing. He sociates with strange creatures. He killed a Valkyrie!"

"I though we already agreed to forget that".

Chris smiled warmly despite himself. Mom, protecting him as always, covering up her sweetie's little faults.

"We did, but his behaviour is getting more and more suspicious", objected Leo. "I'm not nagging at him, but… Well, why won't he tell us what happens to Wyatt in the future? Why won't he explain who sent him? Whitelighters don't take such assignments upon themselves without first having consulted an Elder advisor".

"I think you're just looking for trouble. Chris has been a lot of help".

"He makes you fight demons constantly! You've never sought demons who hadn't harmed you before!"

"You – are – exaggerating", Piper cut off, beginning to lose her patience. "Chris has taken your place by our side, that's why you're so displeased with him!"

Leo was speechless for a moment. Piper glared at him with triumph. This time she really pinned him. The though struck Chris with its simplicity: jealous! Leo was jealous!

Chris walked away. He needn't hear more. A flash of blue twinkles distracted him. A small figure of a two-year-old boy blocked his way. When Chris tried to come closer, Wyatt activated his magical defense.

"What do you want?" the youth snarled neurotically. "You won't even drop your stupid energy shield for me!"

Wyatt kept staring at him with obvious curiousity. It brought up the image of adult Wyatt. He moved closer. Chris could feel his breath at the back of his neck in the dark of that 'thinking' room. He wanted nothing of it, but Wyatt's tongue slithered across his skin and Chris let out a quiet moan. Wyatt's breath came out in a series of hoarse hisses.

"You're the first and the last", he murmured. "I trust only you, brother". He planted a soft kiss on Chris's cheek and left him alone in the empty room. Bracing himself with his arms, Chris fell down on his knees, choking with wet sobbing.

"Are you ready?" asked Bianca. Chris looked up, his eyes filled with tears. How long exactly had she been watching?

He nodded with painful conviction. Time to depart. "No, Wyatt", he said quietly. "I can't accept that. I'd believe that lie gladly rather than believe your 'truth'".

Baby Wyatt touched his leg. That snapped Chris back to reality. He looked down at the boy questioningly: how could someone so cute turn so insane?

Back at P3 Chris fell asleep almost in an instant as soon as his head touched the pillow. It felt good to sink into deep, refreshing sleep for a change. He dreamt of Bianca, clutching the engagement ring safely in his fingers, of Wyatt the way he used to be before Mom died, of everything that was so damn important to save…

To save Wyatt. He'd do all it took including believe the greatest, the most beautiful lie: a world free of demons, and evil, and power. Free of Wyatt.

June 1–8. 2006