Chapter 1 of 2
Summary: Chris changed more than he ever expected with his trip to the past, which in turn lead to more changes to his future. Series finale fix.
AN: Major spoilers for season 8 finale because I hated the way it ended and Chris just seemed so unhappy.
Rating: T, PG-13 for some language.
Disclaimer: I don't own Charmed or any of the characters or get any money from writing this fiction.
AN: I promise to finish to DYRWTK2, but that's so hard to write. Tomorrow, I should have another chapter or 2 of DYRWTK2 posted. Now on with this one.
Chris flung the brute demon into the wall, wincing as it broke though the partition to the other side. He called out to his brother, currently trying to hide on the other side of the room, "Wyatt, come on, we have to get out of here!"
"I can't orb either!" he yelled back.
Chris ducked a knife thrown at his head and cursed in aggravation. He should have seen that one coming, but was distracted by Wyatt's defenseless position. He waived his hand and orbed his brother to safety, then followed quickly behind him.
"What the hell was that all about Wyatt?"
Wyatt glanced up at his brother with a casual grin that he knew would irritate the younger man. Despite the seriousness of the situation, he couldn't resist riling him up—one of his favorite past times. "It looked to me like we were loosing."
Chris glanced up at the amused expression wanting nothing more than to smack it off of him. Moments later, he found his own traitorous lips quirking up into an infectious smile. That was definitely one thing that Wyatt was good for—making him laugh even in serious situations. Though growing up, it did have the unfortunate result of getting them both into trouble for laughing at inopportune times. "No shit?"
"You're impossible. Ok, so how did you lose your powers? Did something hit you? A potion maybe—some kind of energy blast that drained them? Did you feel yourself losing them?"
"No. It was just when I went to use them, they weren't there. I do feel different now; like there's something I forgot to put on when I woke up. But I can't pinpoint when that actually happened."
Chris shrugged. "Ok, well we're never going to find out how until we find out when, so I think we should write a spell to take us to exactly when that happened."
A short time later, Chris' eyes widened when he saw how young his family looked. And from their hairstyles, it probably wasn't that long after the first time he made a trip to the past. Certainly wasn't expecting that. He was about to voice as much when Phoebe spoke, and it wasn't to him. Wyatt was the first name out of her mouth, as always. Paige only mentioned me because there really isn't anything left, is there? And mom—'what are you two doing here?' I died for this family and that's all they've got to say!
He bristled at his mother's tone and said defensively, "Someone just screwed up our future!"
An hour later, Chris was all too happy to be away from his mother and aunts as he sat with little Wyatt on his lap, rocking him back and forth trying to calm his own nerves. He was the only one not surprised when the toddler bared all of his teeth in a dimpled smile and reached out for Chris to pick him up. He remembers me…Chris smiled fondly.
The older version wrinkled his nose playfully and nodded to them, "Chris, please—you're scarring me for life here."
"Shut up and go pick up mini-me. He looks lonely over in the playpen by himself."
Wyatt grinned as he reached into the playpen, laughing outright as the baby gurgled happily, grasping the railing while he bounced up and down with excitement. "Mom was right, looks like you loved strangers."
"Well there's no one stranger than you, Wy. So that explains it."
Wyatt sat on the bed, staring at his younger brother curiously. "So how 'come grandpa remembers you and not me?"
Chris shifted uncomfortably, dipping his chin to avoid the intense stare. "Um…because—"
"…Because you came back to the past to fix something that you still won't tell me about?"
Huffing irritably at the familiar argument, Chris glared at the older boy. "I told you Wy, it's literally in the past. It's not important. Besides, it's none of your business."
"Well I think it is," Wyatt proclaimed stubbornly, his voice lowering in concern. "Whatever happened still bothers you, and that bothers me. So that makes it my concern."
"Just drop it Wyatt, ok?"
The blonde frowned before agreeing reluctantly. "For now…"
With both brothers rolling their eyes in frustration, neither noticed their grandfather back out of the doorway.
Little Wyatt watched his little brother munching on his older self's shirt with rapt attention. He climbed down off Chris' lap and took the toddlers little hand. "Chris hungry," he explained to the older two as he headed for the kitchen, dragging his little brother behind.
They passed Victor on the way and he thumbed his finger at them. "Where are they going?" he asked the adult version of Wyatt.
The taller man beamed proudly and watched them go. "To the kitchen to get Chris something to eat. Looks like I've always taken care of the little squirt. Oh look, he's going to fix it himself. Ain't that cute. I was always a genius."
Victor stared at his oldest grandson incredulously before he shoved him after them. "Go with them! And they're too messy to be anywhere eating but in the kitchen, so stay in there with them—please."
He continued shaking his head and walked into the bedroom to find his youngest grandson. He held his breath for a moment as he watched the brunette staring pensively out of the window. There was a sadness that radiated off of his entire being. The slump of his shoulders, the soft, almost wistful expression that seemed to tell far more than his young years should ever know.
He made as much noise as possible so as not to startle him. "Your brother's a trip."
"Tell me about it."
Victor cocked his head sideways, silently observing the young man for a bit. Of course he should look the same, but the attitude, the personality, all reminded him so much of the other Chris. But his daughters told him that it was impossible. That Chris had been part of a future that died when he did. But he overheard the conversation with Wyatt. This Chris had time traveled. In his mind, that made it entirely possible and he decided to find out for sure. "So Chris, am I still an awesome grandpa?"
The flash of nervousness, mixed with surprise in those familiar green eyes was enough to tell him that he was correct in his assumption.
He quickly tried to hide the expression with denial. "I don't know what you mean, grandpa. You've always been cool."
"You don't have to pretend around me, Chris. I can't for the life of me figure out how—but I know you're him, my grandson that came to me two years ago. But if you're here, and the girls say it's impossible for you both to exist…well, can you at least tell me, what happened to that little baby that's in the kitchen most likely wearing whatever he's eating?"
Sighing loudly, Chris turned to his grandfather, his shoulders slumping sadly as he spoke. "I'm him. Just 23 years later."
Chris' tone came out more bitter than he ever wanted to allow, but he felt at ease with his grandfather. And finally being able to share his secret with someone after so many long years of keeping it bottled up was cathartic. "Fate's idea of a big cosmic joke. 'Oh, here's an idea—let's give a five year old all of his memories of his past life. That way, he'll always know how much he screwed up."
"Chris, you're brother is good now. That has to be better than before."
He nodded his head, readily agreeing. "Of course it is. He's the best big brother I could have ever hoped for. Our world is even much safer from demons with him around—and don't tell him I said that, his head is big enough."
Victor laughed at the brotherly dig. He was glad that some things had worked out. But the way that Chris spoke and the sadness that seemed ingrained in him told a different story. "So what went wrong?"
Chris folded his hands in his lap while he stared down at the floor. If it were possible, Victor would have thought that the young man seemed even more despondent as a result of his question. He was too focused on the water pooling in his eyes and almost missed the soft-spoken voice that cracked ever so slightly. "I made them hate me. My family. I screwed it all up."
"Chris, no. No one hates you, especially not your family. We all know that everything you did, you did for your family."
"Well, maybe hate is too strong a word. I know they technically love me, but they don't like me. You forget grandpa; I have both sets of memories to compare to. And now, it's different this time than it was before."
Victor asked hesitantly, almost afraid to find out the answer. "What do you mean by different?"
"The first time, mom doted on me, almost to the point where it was annoying at times. I was the apple of her eye. I could do no wrong. Sometimes, I would just catch her staring at me—and I just knew she was thinking 'awe, how cute.' Sometimes she'd even say it. Then she'd run up and hug me as if her life depended on it. But in this one, she mostly just looks at me in disappointment. When she hugs me, it's like hugging a distant relative. It's only different if I've been hurt or something. Then she holds on tight—and it's almost as like it was before."
Victor sat up straighter in disbelief, fully prepared to defend his daughter. "Well, if she gets that upset, that doesn't sound like a mother who doesn't love her son. Maybe you're just reading more into it."
Chris shook his head sadly as he struggled to find the words he knew in his heart to be true. "I know she does. But loving someone because they're related to you isn't the same as liking them for who they are. The way she looks at me makes me feel like she wishes I were someone else, or that I hadn't turned out to be someone she didn't like. And if it were just a look, then maybe I'd think I was just paranoid. But—"
"But what Chris?"
Tilting his head curiously, the young man asked suddenly. "What powers did they tell you I had?"
Victor was taken aback by the sudden change in the conversation. The question seemed to have come out of the blue, but he decided to humor the young man to see where he was going with it. "Let's see: you orb. You do that tele-something."
Green eyes sparkled with amusement. He knew his grandfather would never quite get used to magic. "Telekinesis, grandpa. But that's not all. Wyatt may have gotten most of the heavy artillery, but I ended up with a Charmed power from each sister. Astral projection from Aunt Prue. Telekinesis from Aunt Paige. Freezing from mom. And Aunt Phoebe? Take a guess."
Victor's heart grew heavy when he finally realized what Chris' point was. He knew of his youngest daughter's power, and it was one that she often shared with him when trying to get him to admit his true feelings about anything. "Empathy, right?"
"You got it. They can't hide anything from me. Though I've never told them about it, so they don't know to take an empath-blocking potion. Wyatt's the only one who knows about it, but he swore he'd never tell."
He reached over and wrapped his arm around his grandson. He was beginning to understand why the young man seemed so melancholy, the frown almost permanently etched into his handsome features. He had a lifetime of hurt and despair that weighed on his shoulders. The older man didn't even need to prompt the younger to speak further. The words simply poured from his mouth faster than a white water rapid, as if it had been waiting a lifetime to be set free.
"It's the same thing with Aunt Phoebe and Aunt Paige. With them, it's completely different too. Like they just can't forget all of the things I did when I was here. With them, at least it was better when I was little. Before I started to grow into what I look like now. Back then, they could pretend."
"And Dad, I'm not sure what he gives me now is any better than before when he just ignored me all together. Now, it's like he thinks of me, but always second, almost as an afterthought. It's usually when he's teaching Wyatt something new, or they're sharing something Wyatt just learned—but always, he comes first. Dad's always said it was because Wyatt was the Twice-Blessed witch, and he's got to make sure that with all of that power—he uses it for good."
Victor listened with rapt attention, but the last statement caught him off guard. "Wait, I thought to be twice-blessed, you had to be the son of a Charmed One and Whitelighter. You're that too."
The young man shot him a wry grin, his cheeks reddening with embarrassment. "Technically, I'm the son of a Charmed One and an Elder. But yeah, you're right. I'm TB'd too. Not like anybody would ever remember that. Still, can you name one thing where second really counted for anything?"
Victor Bennett knew the feeling of being second best well. After all, he wasn't Paige's father. He allowed a small, sympathetic smile to grace his features. "So you feel left out…"
"Yeah, and I guess it hurts to know that after everything I did—that I only did it for my family, they still can't get past it. I feel their frustration when they look at me. And I feel how proud they are of Wyatt. He's always the first name out of their mouths when we're both in danger, or when they're saying hi to us. I'm always the afterthought."
"You know, they were never that way with Wyatt before. He always had just a little touch of evil in him, a harshness that made you want to run away screaming if you even thought about hugging him or something. But now, he's just a big goofy kind of guy—fun loving. So maybe, they only liked me before—that I was the favorite—because I was the only choice. Now that Wyatt is good, they don't need me anymore."
"And you've been living with this since you were five?"
"This has just been punishment, I guess. I time-traveled, messed with fate. No matter what the outcome, or how much better things are for the world in this timeline, I still changed something I wasn't supposed to change. So I don't get a happy ever after, but everyone else will."
"But it's not right…"
"Maybe not, but it's my life. And it's my penance."
Victor almost yelled in outrage, both at his grandson for being so accepting, and at his family for doing this to him. "Penance for what! You did nothing wrong. And there is no excuse for a family to neglect a child."
Chris shook his head adamantly. He furrowed his brow in genuine confusion. "They didn't neglect me. I've always gotten anything I ever wanted."
"Chris, emotional neglect is just as bad if not worse than physical neglect. I can't belief them. They all just make me so angry!" he hissed, pounding his fist into his thigh.
Chris' expression was gentle and calming, his tone light and airy. " It's not their fault. They don't know they're different. They don't even know what I remember. It would be too awkward. Grandpa, it doesn't matter. I'm 25 years old. It's in the past. And I've been thinking a lot lately about the future. I want to leave when I get back home. Get out on my own, someplace far away. Maybe start a family of my own. With someone who loves me for who I am, not in spite of it."
In the past, huh. We'll see about that, the older man thought bitterly. Before Chris had even finished speaking, Victor Bennett had already begun formulating a plan to change it.