A/N: Yay! My first Charmed fic. This is it: only one chapter, so no asking me for more. Enjoy please! And those of you that are about to mob me about my Harry Potter fanfic right about now, read the note at the end.
Chris Halliwell sat atop the Golden Gate Bridge, staring at the open ocean in front of him. Ignoring the biting cold wind that cut through his jacket, he tried to hold back his tears as long as he possibly could.
Everything was falling apart. Crumbling to ashes, like his heart. First, Bianca died. Then, when he tried to get Piper to bind Wyatt's powers, his own mother kicked him out. And now, his father, the one person that had spoken up for him, hated him. Sure, Leo Wyatt was not the best of fathers in the future, but what mattered to Chris was that his dad had vouched for him, protected him from harm.
That protection was gone. All of it. A tear rolled down the boy's—no, young man's—cheek. Chris took a deep and rattling breath, holding back the pain he had retained for so long. His mission was over. The Halliwells would throw him onto the streets. He would not be allowed into their lives ever again. And history would repeat itself.
A sob echoed in the air as Chris lost control. Tears ploughed his young face, created furrows that only an old man could claim. He sobbed, nearing hysteria, as his demons from the past twenty years erupted within his mind. The wind caressed his hair and wet cheeks, soothing the pain with its biting chill. The tears eventually slowed and stopped, but left red, dry eyes and a despondent youth shivering in the angry night.
Chris shivered again and pulled his jacket tighter around his torso, even though the cloth did not penetrate the weather. With a sniff and deep breath, Chris pulled a handkerchief from his pocket and wiped his face. He tucked it back in his jeans and whispered a quiet spell: Sign of my tears and pain / Leave my face regardless of gain.
Instantly, the young man's face was clear of redness and tears. Chris gazed once more over the ocean, and with a deep breath, disappeared in an array of blue and white lights.
Back at P3, Piper Halliwell's club, the three Charmed sisters were quietly chatting about the future.
"Yeah, I don't think she's gonna be teaching Wyatt any time soon. Suddenly I'm more concerned about separating him from his family, than raising him as an only child," Piper said frankly.
Phoebe answered her mysteriously, "Actually, there might be a day that you don't have to be concerned about that."
Piper started and looked at her sister, knowing that she had information about the future. "What do you mean?" she asked worriedly. Everything was over between her and Leo. Or was it?
Phoebe was distracted, however, as she glanced over at the door. Chris had just walked in, looking pale and exhausted. She had to ask him something. Now. Distractedly, she answered her sister, "I'm just saying."
Phoebe got up from her seat to follow the half-whitelighter, but Piper interrupted.
"What are you just saying?" the oldest sister asked in a you-better-spill-your-guts tone. Phoebe ignored her and walked off towards Chris, who had gone into the back room. "Excuse me!" shouted an indignant Piper.
Chris reformed in a dark alley near P3. He was tired, sore, and exhausted from crying. He hunched over against the cruel wind and walked to the club, rubbing his hands and blowing on them occasionally to feel a little warm.
Once arriving, he tried to sneak inside, hoping to go unnoticed by whichever watchful sister was at the club that night. He walked through the door, lightheaded from the sudden noise and heat the change of environment gave him. He glanced over to the bar, where the Charmed One would be, and to his sarcastic joy, he found all three of them there.
He swallowed thickly and stared for a few seconds, enjoying the happiness that radiated from his mother's face. But when Phoebe turned to look at him, his blood ran cold. The slight smile on his face dropped and he stumbled over to the back room. It used to be Piper's office, before he arrived. It was her office in the future too. She had let him stay there because he had no where else to go. And if she didn't let him stay there, he'd still be homeless.
Chris closed the door and turned away from it, hoping that Phoebe wasn't going to kick him out. He'd die out there, in the cold, or he'd die if he went back to the future. Neither were very good options.
The door opened and Phoebe carefully walked in. She shut the door behind her, cutting out the noise of the substitute band. "Hey," she said.
Chris took a deep breath and turned around. He shifted around from foot to foot, looking at the ground or at the walls. He took another breath, bracing himself for her answer, "Hey. So did you come here to kick me out?"
"Uh, no, actually. I came here to ask you a question," she said. As she did, Chris felt his muscles relax for a moment, glad that his aunt wouldn't be putting him out to die. He tensed again as he heard the second part.
He waited for her to continue, but when she didn't he asked, "What?" bracing himself for her conditions, as Aunt Phoebe always had conditions when she asked something this major.
"I need you to be honest with me. No games, no running away, just the truth," she said, exhaling deeply as she did so.
Chris, knowing that these stipulations meant revealing a secret, agreed calmly. At the moment, he was in deep water with the sisters. Having Aunt Phoebe on his side was the only possibility. If she didn't believe him, he could be out on the streets in no time. "Okay."
Phoebe braced herself and asked her question, "Are you Wyatt's little brother?" She remembered the little brown haired boy asking her for help, and watched as that little boy morphed into Chris, the handsome, brown haired, green eyed, half-Whitelighter, from the future, who stood in front of her.
Chris nodded, looking down at her, reluctantly adding, "Only if I can get Piper and Leo back together in time."
Phoebe exhaled and grew teary-eyed, realizing that the neurotic person she had tormented for the past few months was actually her nephew. In a sudden burst of emotion, Phoebe walked closer and hugged the boy, for he was a boy in her eyes. Surprised, Chris tensed at the touch, before relaxing into the hug. He laid his head on her shoulder, clutching her body tightly, as if she would leave if he let go.
Phoebe held, just as tightly, feeling so awful for what she had put him through. Neither wanted the hug to end, but it did. Withdrawing reluctantly from his aunt, he rubbed his head sheepishly and apologized for his neediness, "Uh, sorry about that. I just haven't had one of your hugs in so long…"
"So long?" Phoebe asked as he trailed off. Chris shook his head, keeping his mouth shut.
"I've given away too much of the future already. If I spill, I could endanger everything. Certain events should still plan to occur, no matter how bad…" Chris trailed off again, tears in his eyes.
Phoebe held his hand and rubbed it comfortingly. It was then that she noticed how cold his skin felt. "Oh my god Chris! You're freezing! How long were you outside?"
Within moments, despite his protests, she had him in his pajamas and wrapped up with a blanket on the couch in minutes. Chris felt his heart swell at her caring actions, even though he tried to get her to calm down. He hadn't been fussed over like that in a very long time and it was hard for him to get used to somebody doing it to him.
"I'm fine Aunt Phoebe," he protested weakly as she sat next to him, rubbing his arms through the blanket.
Chris couldn't help acknowledging, to himself, that he did feel much warmer from her care. Nevertheless, he tried to get her to stop. He hadn't been touched so personally in such a long time, and it was making him uncomfortable. The only person who had touched him recently was Bianca. And she was dead.
He pushed his mind in another direction, not wanting to relive what his nightmares made him see- the deaths of his loved ones. Mom, Aunt Phoebe, Aunt Paige, Aunt Sheila, Bianca, his cousins… and so many others.
It felt better to relax into the back rub his aunt was giving him, pushing away the tension that had settled in his back since he turned fourteen.
Chuckling sardonically, Chris commented, "I'm going to fall asleep if you keep doing that."
Phoebe smiled at her nephew, gazing at his sweet face, eyes half-closed in sleepiness. "You look like you could use it, dear nephew of mine."
Chris murmured under his breath incoherently before saying, "And if Piper catches you like this, she's going to be very curious."
Phoebe playfully nudged his shoulder, causing a smile to erupt on Chris's handsome face, "Oh, get me in trouble, why don't you?"
Chris just nodded sleepily and sank down in the couch. Phoebe put his head in her lap and fixed his blanket around him. The young man sighed and fell asleep slowly, his breathing eventually settling into a consistent rhythm. Phoebe ran her hand through his hair, comforting him unconsciously.
Lost in her thoughts, Phoebe thought about the possible future; Piper, with her two handsome boys, Paige as a teacher, and her as a mother. It was the future they had always wanted. It was hard for her to connect the peaceful world she had seen in the vision quest with the destruction that Chris had mentioned.
Startled out of her reflections by a bang on the door, Phoebe realized that she had been there too long already. Sighing, she carefully maneuvered herself off the couch, replacing her legs with Chris's pillow. Before leaving, she left a note telling her nephew to come to the Manor for breakfast. She would deal with Piper.
Chris sighed in his sleep, snuggling further into the pillow. Phoebe gazed at him for a moment before kissing him on the forehead. Chris unconsciously leaned into the offered comfort, the action almost breaking Phoebe's heart, at the obvious need of compassion her nephew displayed.
Smoothing his hair aside, Phoebe whispered, "Goodnight Chris. Sweet dreams," and snuck out the door, hoping that the already noisy music from the club would not wake him up.
After shutting the door, Phoebe realized how bad her nephew had it. She and her sisters had been treating him like he was a demon, Leo distrusted him on principle, Wyatt was a baby and therefore not much help, and he was all alone in the past. No family, no friends, and no hope.
He lived in the back room of a club: a place that offered no privacy, peace, or quiet. He spent every minute of every hour of every day, vanquishing demons or searching for any threats to Wyatt. He exhausted himself to do it, which was painfully clear. He also looked like he had lost weight. He was running himself ragged, and if he wasn't careful, he would become very sick, very soon.
His situation was desperate. The future was hell on earth, with Wyatt being the Source of All Evil and everything. It was all up to Chris. The weight of the world must be on his shoulders, Phoebe thought. If he didn't save Wyatt in this time, everything and everyone were screwed, and knowing Chris, if he was anything like Prue, he would blame himself.
Resolved to help her nephew as much as she could, Phoebe glanced around for her sisters. He wasn't alone anymore, and she, Phoebe Halliwell, would make sure of it.
Spotting her sisters, Phoebe walked over to them, smiling nervously at the expression on Piper's face.
"What the hell was that about?" asked the oldest Charmed One, exasperatedly waving her hands around.
"I just needed to talk to Chris," Phoebe said, lying through her teeth.
"Oh good. I hope you told him to pack up and get out, 'cause…." Piper said flatly.
"No!" Phoebe interrupted quickly. Piper looked taken aback as her sister stuttered, "He's from the future, and will be stranded if we don't let him stay here."
Piper gave Phoebe a 'look' and examined her sister's fake smile. "You're not telling me something," she concluded.
"What makes you say that?" Phoebe asked nervously, smiling.
"I can see your wisdom teeth," Piper deadpanned, looking sternly at Phoebe.
Phoebe's smile fell away and she looked cautiously at her older sister. "I invited him over for breakfast," she blurted out.
"You what!" Piper freaked. Phoebe tuned out her sister as she began bitching about safety, Chris being evil, and Wyatt's protection, etc.
Eventually tired of Piper's rant, Phoebe just said, "Yeah, well, he's coming over for breakfast so act civil why don't you? If you took a good look at him, you'd see that he's exhausted himself with his demon-hunting craziness. It's clear that he's lost weight from the way his clothes fit him. Piper, he's killing himself to save Wyatt, and the least you can do is feed him breakfast."
With that, Phoebe went over to Paige to get an orb home, leaving Piper shocked and lost in her thoughts.
Waking up the next morning, Chris felt a horrible feeling of foreboding settle on his mind. And it had nothing to do with the headache that had sprung up over night. Of course, the headache might have come from lack of sleep. Around midnight, he had woken up from nightmares and found it difficult to go back to sleep until four in the morning. He had spent the next five hours tossing and turning.
Sighing, Chris massaged his forehead as he sat up against the armrest. Giving up, Chris noticed the ache in his throat and located the origin of his headache—behind his eyes.
With growing horror, Chris tried to levitate, the easiest and most passive of his powers. Beads of sweat dotted his head at the effort, only succeeding to put an inch of space between his body and the couch. With a gasp, he fell back on the couch, shivering from the exertion, the sweat on his face glistening.
When he had recovered, Chris pillowed his head in his arms and groaned. Headache, sore throat, and fading powers equaled one thing: he was sick.
Wallowing in self-pity for a moment, he knew he didn't need a cold on top of everything that was happening. He had five weeks to be conceived, an idea that led to something he never wanted to think about ever again, the deadline for Wyatt's turning was getting closer, and Phoebe knew his secret. Getting sick just made everything so much worse.
It wasn't just the getting sick part he was worried about. Every time he got sick, his powers disappeared until he got better. And with the danger to Wyatt so strong, he needed his powers for defense; not to mention, to figure out who turned his brother.
Chris slowly got up from the couch, using the furniture to pull himself up. On shaky legs, he stumbled to the bathroom for a shower. As he was walking, he was surprised at how exhausted he felt. Using his powers must have been harder on his body than he realized, Chris figured.
The warm shower was quick, seeing as how little hot water the club had, and Chris dressed in his green T-shirt and jeans. He yawned and rubbed his tired eyes as he pulled on his blue jacket, socks, and shoes. Tired, he laid his head back on the couch, falling into a quick doze.
A bang was heard from the club's main room and Chris shot up, frantically preparing to throw a lamp at the demon. When he realized that the threat wasn't in the office, Chris calmed down, the cloudy haze in his mind making it hard to think.
Swallowing through his sore throat, he got up on tired legs and walked to the bar, hoping to god it wasn't Piper. Looking around, Chris saw a dirty-blond head from behind the counter. The man was cursing as he got up from the ground, a broken beer case spilled on the floor.
"Can I help you?" Chris asked, hoping his voice didn't sound as bad as his throat felt.
Turning around, he saw the kid that Piper hired to stock the club on weekends. Ryan, Chris thought his name was.
"Uh, no. Thanks," stuttered the nervous teenager. Chris felt for the kid; Piper was going to be furious when she saw the broken crate. "I'm going to clean this up. Sorry."
Chris waved away the apology and told him to call Piper and apologize right away. The longer a person lied to her, the worse her temper got. When Ryan nodded and went to get a mop from the closet, Chris went back to the office, hoping to take a nap before talking to Phoebe.
As he was about to lay down on the couch, he noticed a note taped to the coffee table.
Chris, it read, Come over to the Manor around 10. I'll get Piper to make breakfast. Love, Phoebe. Chris groaned as he looked at the clock. He had fifteen minutes to get to the Halliwell Manor without a car or his powers. He didn't have money to go by bus and it was 3.5 miles to walk.
Chris thought for a moment. If he orbed, with what powers he had left, as far as he could, he would be able to walk the rest of the way. Deciding to orb the first 2 ½ miles, he washed his face and went to the center of the room, bracing himself. With a deep breath he orbed, the blue and white lights slowly breaking apart and floating away.
It was a minute later that Chris reformed in a dark alley. He nearly collapsed, sweating profusely from the effort. Steadying himself against the wall, Chris stood on shaky legs and swallowed thickly. He wiped his face off on his jacket and stumbled towards the Manor, hoping that he didn't look as bad as he felt.
It was at ten o'clock exactly that Phoebe Halliwell answered the front door. She saw her nephew and smiled, the grin dimming as she saw how sick he looked. He was pale with dark circles under his eyes and the hands that were casually resting at his sides were shaking. He was giving her a weak grin, obviously exhausted more than he was willing to show. Phoebe ushered him in, guiding him into the kitchen.
She didn't want to push him into telling her what was wrong. He had to adjust to having a family to take care of him, not be bombarded with it all at once. He gratefully sank into the chair she indicated and put his hands in his lap to hide their shaking. Chris swallowed painfully and looked at his mother who was conveniently ignoring him from her position at the stove.
Paige walked in, still wearing her pajamas, and grabbed a cup of coffee before plopping into her chair. She muttered a greeting to the family and tried to wake up with the caffeine.
Piper began placing dishes full of pancakes, sausage, bacon, toast, and fruit on the set table. Chris jumped up to help, carrying the heavier dishes for her. She gave him a surprised smile and the two silently worked in tandem. As soon as the last dish was put down, Phoebe came in, carrying a dressed and awake Wyatt. She put him in his high chair and kissed his forehead.
When Piper came over to feed him, her younger sister shooed her away. "I want to feed my nephew today. You go eat."
Piper smiled at the moment of rest and sat down in Phoebe's vacated chair, right next to Chris. Paige, more awake after her coffee, started loading her plate with breakfast. Chris gestured to Piper, letting her fill her plate before he grabbed two pieces of toast and some sausage. He added a pancake at Piper's pointed look and dribbled on maple syrup. He started eating, carefully swallowing as his throat spiked in pain.
He wasn't hungry, but forced himself to eat the food, wanting to show his mother that he liked her cooking. Piper looked mollified when he drank two glasses of her homemade orange juice and complimented her on spectacular food.
Phoebe smiled at him from her chair and put another spoon of applesauce into Wyatt's mouth. The baby swallowed it and smiled, his tooth-less grin light and excited. Piper smiled and waved to her son and the toddler waved back, moving his fingers up and down.
Chris smiled at his brother's actions and wiped his mouth with a napkin. It had been so long since he had eaten his mother's cooking, so long.
Piper put cool hand on his arm startling him out of his thoughts. She looked worriedly into his tired and dazed eyes, ready to go into full mother mode.
Recognizing Piper's expression, Chris jumped his feet, trying to hide the dizziness that came with sudden movement. Piper noticed his paler face and the hands that were tightly grasping the table.
Before she could force him to sit down again, Chris began picking up the dirty dishes and taking them to the sink. He busied himself with the job and tried to ignore the sisters' attempts to talk to him.
Phoebe plunked Wyatt into his mother's arms and shooed her sisters out of the kitchen, so she could crack her nephew alone. Once the two women were safely out of the room, Phoebe turned on Chris and glared at him. Chris attempted to ignore the irate aunt, but was unsuccessful when she pulled the plate out of his shaking hands and pushed him into a chair.
"Chris, what is wrong? I know you don't feel comfortable with your mother and Paige, but at least talk to me," she said comfortingly, sitting next to him and putting a warm hand on his knee.
Chris gave a big sigh, looked into his aunt's imploring brown eyes, and relented at the expression on her face. He opened his mouth to speak, but his voice croaked, giving out. Not feeling up to rasping out an answer, Chris held Phoebe's hand and projected what he wanted to say to her, using her empathy.
She gasped as she felt his weariness, aches, and pains. The feelings he gave off simply confirmed the conclusion she had come to an hour or two ago, when she had seen his tired and pale face.
Recovering from the onslaught of feelings, Phoebe embraced her nephew, rubbing his back comfortingly as he returned the hug. He shivered under her warmth and buried his face into her shoulder, just as a child would do when wanting comfort. Phoebe felt his need for family and love, her heart breaking as the feelings intensified until she could completely sense everything about him.
Chris eventually pulled away, drawing a shaky breath to keep from crying. He ran a hand through his hair and shivered through his jacket. Worriedly, Phoebe leaned forward and felt his forehead. She frowned, the unnatural heat warming her fingers. Chris leaned into her touch, his eyes closing at the coolness of her hand. Phoebe's resolve strengthened; he was not going back to P3 alone and with a fever.
"Come on, let's get you into bed," she said determinedly, pulling lightly at Chris' arm to get him up.
Tiredly, the young man mumbled through lidded eyes, "No… too far to P3. Not tired… anyway."
"No, not P3. I'm going to put you in my room. Come on, let's get you into a nice, warm bed," Phoebe murmured softly as she helped Chris stand. She draped one arm over her shoulder to help him balance.
"No. Not tired," Chris said steadfastly, even though he was falling asleep standing up, his fever catching up with him.
"No arguments," Phoebe said. Chris didn't say anything, but sagged into his aunt as the two left the kitchen and went towards the stairs.
Paige and Piper were surprised to see Phoebe leaving with Chris leaning against her. Paige saw his pallor and immediately went to help her sister. Piper noticed the beads of sweat on Chris' face, the flushed cheeks, and his drowsiness. With the quick thinking of a mother and an older sister, she instructed the girls to put him in her bedroom, ignoring Phoebe's protests.
Paige and Phoebe, long used to Piper's stubbornness, took Chris upstairs and settled him in Piper's bed, lightly covering him with a quilt.
"Paige, why don't you orb to Chris' room at P3 and get his pajamas?" Phoebe asked while she pulled off her nephew's shoes.
Paige nodded and orbed, the blue and white lights shimmering away. Piper came in just as Chris' socks were off and a quilt was laid on top of him for the time being. She looked oddly at her sister as Phoebe ran a hand through his hair, soothing him in his sleep. She cleared her throat and raised an eyebrow as the middle Charmed One looked up.
Shaking her head, Phoebe said, "Long story."
Piper shrugged and sat down on Chris' other side, putting the bowl of cold water she had brought on the nightstand. Wetting a rag, Piper laid it on Chris' warm forehead. The young man stirred at the cold touch, but settled down, undisturbed.
She looked at her sister and replied, "Maybe you'll tell me some day."
"Where's Wyatt?" asked Phoebe to break the silence that had settled on the room.
"I put him in the nursery, so he's fine. I didn't want him to catch whatever Chris has," Piper said, framing the last statement as a question.
"He's sick, probably just a cold. His fever's what's worrying me, though," Phoebe said, running a hand through her nephew's hair. "It sprung up so quickly and all."
Piper frowned and felt the boy's cheek, not liking the heat radiating from him. "Why don't you get some aspirin and a glass of water? Call Leo too. Maybe he can help," she suggested.
Phoebe nodded and left for the kitchen, hoping that her nephew would be alright.
Piper looked at the despondent young man feverishly sleeping on her bed. He looked so young and vulnerable when he was asleep. Not the strong and neurotic person she knew him to be. She just had this urge, no matter how pissed off she was, to mother and comfort him. Piper caressed Chris' face, soothing him as he turned in the beginning of a nightmare.
Her touch calmed the Witch-lighter and he leaned into her hand. Chris mumbled incoherently, but Piper distinctly heard the word "Mom" at the end. Her face softened at the heartbroken way he said it, hearing the pain that could only come after loosing said parent.
Piper heard Phoebe's yell for Leo, watching as Chris stirred at the sound. He looked around, half-asleep, until he set his eyes on her face. She smiled a soft grin and he responded with his own smile. Chris struggled to sit up, but before she could push him back down, he hugged her with all the strength he could muster.
She hugged him back, not knowing what else to do. Piper heard him mumble, "Mom… I… you… gone…. Wyatt… you died… mom… I love you."
She felt her heart throb at the pain in his voice. She tried to reassure him, as he was probably delirious. She didn't want him to stress himself while he was in such a state. "I love you too, baby. Everything will be fine. I'm fine. You just rest and get better, alright sweetheart?"
Chris nodded against her shoulder, where he had rested his head. "Don't go mom. I don't want you to go," he whispered, tears in his voice.
"I'm not going anywhere, Chris," Piper said.
She tried to lay Chris back down, but he didn't want to leave her embrace. Finally, she just maneuvered herself until she was sitting against the headboard. Chris settled against her shoulder and soon fell asleep, still hugging her.
Piper brushed the wisps of hair off his face, noticing how familiar his features were. She shook off the niggling suspicion in her mind and focused on the sounds coming from the kitchen.
It didn't take more than a minute for sounds to echo off the stairs as Leo, Phoebe, and Paige came up the stairs and into Piper's room. She gestured for them to be quiet and the three hushed, Leo looking suspiciously at Chris, who was still half draped across Piper. Phoebe elbowed him in the gut and glared, making Leo soften his gaze.
"Phoebe, help me get him on his back again," Piper whispered to her sister.
Carefully, the two were able to lay the young man flat on his back and put the cold cloth on his head. Leo sat in a chair next to Chris and put his hands over the boy's chest for healing. Unfortunately, nothing happened when the golden light shimmered from Leo's hands.
Piper smiled grimly and whispered, "It was worth a shot."
"He's probably just sick; after all, he's not a total Whitelighter," Leo reasoned quietly.
He was still angry with Chris, after what he had done the day before. Bringing a demon near Wyatt when he had trusted the young man! But seeing Chris so vulnerable, his unwilling heart softened, the image in front of him creating paternal feelings. He couldn't help but reach out and pick up Chris's hand, carefully running his thumb across the back of his clammy palm.
The young man stirred at the feeling and murmured incoherently before settling down again. Piper, close enough to hear his words, looked stunned.
"What is it?" asked Leo; worried that Chris had confirmed their suspicions about him being evil. Even through his worry, he couldn't get himself to let go of the young man's hand.
"He said 'dad'," whispered Piper under her breath, tears coming to her eyes. She looked at Chris incredulously, shaking her head in disbelief.
"What's wrong Piper?" asked Leo, curious as to why that would make her cry. The boy was probably just delirious.
"He called me 'mom' before. I thought he was… and now he just… oh god!" she cried in a half whisper. Chris stirred at the sound of her voice, but was soothed when she ran her fingers through his hair.
Leo thought for a moment, Piper's words penetrating through his skull. Chris had called Piper 'mom' and himself 'dad'. It was too much to be a coincidence, was it? He looked at the young man, the lax face showing the truth more than his eyes did. He had Piper's hair color, her high cheekbones, her stubborn jaw, and attitude. And he had Leo's eyes…
Leo was glad he was sitting down at that moment, when he came to the revelation that Piper had come to moments ago.
"He's our son," Piper said, repeating the words Leo had heard echoing in his mind. "My boy, my baby boy."
The oldest Charmed One ran her fingers through Chris's hair, tears falling down her cheeks. Leo was silent, the pain and horror of what he had done to his second son settling in the lines of his face. He had hit his son. He had yelled at him. He was a horrible father…
While the two parents were lost in their thoughts, the two sisters stood at the edge of the bed, watching at the ensuing revelation. Paige was stunned and confused at the same time, only hearing the part that Chris was Piper and Leo's son.
Phoebe, on the other hand, had a nervous smile on her face, thinking 'oh crap, oh crap, oh crap' all the while. Chris would wake up, see the happy parents, and blame her for blabbing. And then Piper, Leo, and Paige would yell at her for keeping a secret like this from them, even if it had only been for a few hours.
Phoebe and Paige quietly left the room, giving Piper, Leo, and Chris some alone time. Paige went to tend to Wyatt while Phoebe went to work on her column.
Back in Piper's bedroom, Leo and Piper whispered, trying to come to terms with Chris's identity.
"Piper, what are we going to do?" Leo asked, absolutely dazed and confused.
Piper, the one who could think on her feet, answered. "First thing: once he is better, he's moving into the manor. I'm not having my son live on his own, in the club, if he can't take care of himself. Seeing how tired and thin he is, he clearly cannot manage it. Second: we're not going to question him until he is back on his feet. And third: let's go ask Phoebe. She looked suspicious. I think she knows something."
Leo gave her a small smile and kissed his ex-wife on the cheek. "I think I'll go talk to her. I can usually get her to spill within two minutes."
Piper gave a wide smile, knowing how true that was, before pulling Leo down by his collar, and giving him a sizzling kiss on the lips. The man looked stunned as she pulled back, an impish look on her face, "There's more of that later, if you're interested?"
Leo, still stunned, smiled and went downstairs, his shock morphing into a dazed happiness.
Piper turned back to Chris, questioning her actions mentally. She was angry with Leo, for taking the Elder position and leaving her alone to raise an infant, twice-blessed son. But she still loved him; despite the heartache he gave her. She looked at Chris and puzzled over how Leo got the Elder position… and then it hit her.
Chris had made Leo an Elder when the Titans showed up, so he could be their Whitelighter. It was all too convenient. Piper's temper rose as she realized that Chris, their son, had spilt his parents up. But looking at the young man, feverishly sleeping in her bed, she knew why he had done it.
As their Whitelighter, he would have access to their family, their powers, Wyatt, and the Book of Shadows. She knew that she would have blown him up if he wasn't only half-Whitelighter and family.
Piper realized another thing. Chris didn't mean to spilt up their marriage. He just needed to be closer to them. She didn't have to divorce Leo because of the whole Elder thing, but she did because she was mad at her husband.
Piper sighed. She knew divorcing Leo had been a mistake. She loved the man, even if he was an Elder. It was just… she just… she didn't want the family be second on Leo's priority list. It wouldn't be much longer before the Elders forced Leo 'Up There' forever. She wanted to stay with him, to be his wife again, but she didn't want Leo to be an Elder and sacrifice his family for his job.
She sighed. It was up to Leo: family or Elder land. And he chose the Elders. Piper sighed. There was nothing she could do then…
She brushed a hand across Chris's face, noticing that it wasn't as warm as it had been. Surprised at how his fever had escalated and then dropped, she wiped off his sweaty face and went to the bedroom door, where she stuck her head out and called for a sister.
Paige came over to her, carrying a giggling Wyatt in her arms. Piper stepped out of the room and shut the door behind her carefully.
"Paige, could you stay with Chris for a little bit while I make some soup for him?" she asked while taking Wyatt. Paige nodded in the affirmative and went into the bedroom while Piper took her older son downstairs and to the kitchen. She put the toddler in his playpen and started to cook her homemade chicken noodle soup.
It was a very hearty soup with vegetables, soft noodles, and small pieces of chicken. All the vegetables and meat were soft and chewy, nice for a sore throat. From comments made by family, Piper knew that it was amazing, a super cure for the common cold. She happily stewed the broth, and ladled the final product into a medium-sized bowl. She put it on a tray with some dry toast and orange juice. A water glass was also placed on it with aspirin for Chris's remaining fever.
Piper left Wyatt playing in his playpen, warning Phoebe, who was working in the conservatory, that she had left him there. Phoebe nodded distractedly and went back to her current letter, mumbling as she typed furiously. Piper shook her head bemusedly and carried Chris's tray upstairs to her bedroom. Relieving Paige, she sat next to her son on the bed and carefully shook his shoulder to wake him up. She wished she could let him sleep while he was doing it peacefully, but he needed to eat.
After a moment, the twenty-two year old woke up, blearily rubbing his eyes. He struggled to sit up, but made it without Piper's assistance, leaning against the headboard. He looked around the room in bewilderment and looked at Piper, sitting next to him calmly as if she had never hated his guts in her life.
"W-What am I d-doing here? In y-your bed I-I mean?" croaked Chris, his voice almost gone. He swallowed painfully and put a hand to his throat.
Piper shushed him when he tried speaking and answered, carefully putting the food tray on his lap. "You're sick, remember? You had a fever, so we put you down here. Eat something please. You are too thin."
Piper patted his leg through the blankets comfortingly as he ate the soup, forcing the tasty broth down even though he wasn't that hungry. He was able to eat most of the soup, take a few bites of the toast, and drink half of the orange juice before he couldn't eat any more. Piper, understanding, took the tray off his lap and put it to the side.
Chris was exhausted and leaned back against his pillows, wanting to lay down, but not having the strength to do so on his own. Piper, comprehending his inability to lie down, helped him onto his back and pulled the blankets over his feverish body, tucking him in. She wiped down his hot face and laid the cool cloth back on his forehead.
Chris smiled at her and eased into sleep, the grin still on his face. Piper sat in the chair next to him, holding his hand. It was an hour before she fell asleep, dozing with her head in an awkward position.
It was Leo who found them a little while later. He smiled at the sight and draped a blanket over Piper's sleeping form. He winced, realizing the crick she would have in her neck when she woke up later. He straightened her head slightly, easing the muscles in her neck. Piper didn't wake up and Leo kissed his ex-wife and son on the foreheads before taking the food tray and leaving.
When Chris woke up around seven o'clock that evening, everything seemed fuzzy and confusing. He saw Piper holding his hand and sleeping in a chair next to the bed he was lying on, a blanket draped over her.
Just realizing he felt wet, sticky, and warm, he threw the heavy blankets he was wearing, off. Shivering as the slightly cool air struck his sweat-soaked skin, Chris shakily sat up, much weaker than he normally was.
He swallowed thickly, causing his throat to tickle, leading to a spasm of coughs that wracked his frame. The coughs woke Piper up, but the woman was able to help him sip water that eased the tickling in his throat.
Chris sniffed and wiped his watery eyes, looking at his mother. "Thanks," he croaked.
Piper smiled and felt his cool forehead with a soft palm. Relieved that his fever had broken, Piper pulled a light blanket over him and made him rest against the pillows again. She fussed around him, asking him how he felt, completely confusing Chris, who had no recollection of the past few hours.
"Piper, not that I mind, but why are you fussing over me so much?" Chris asked, making to stand from the bed.
Piper pushed him back down and sat next to him, grabbing his hand for support. "When we brought you up here, you had a high fever. You called me 'mom' and Leo 'dad'. We put the pieces together," she said carefully.
Chris looked shocked, slowly panicking. Piper soothed him, giving him a hug and rubbing circles on his back. "Hey, it's okay. Your dad and I love you, now that we know you had good reasons for all the things you did. I'm so sorry for everything we said. I'm sorry for throwing you out. You didn't need all of that, and it wasn't fair of me to do it."
Chris pulled out of the hug reluctantly, tears in his eyes. "You don't hate me?" he asked shakily.
Piper gave a sincere shake of her head. "No, I love you peanut," she said, unconsciously using Chris's future nickname.
Chris let tears escape; grabbing a hold of his mother in the warmest hug he could muster, muffling his cries into her shoulder. Piper returned the hug, letting her son cry into her shirt, soothing him, even though she had no clue as to what was wrong. Into her ear, as his cries subsided, she heard him whisper, "I missed you so much. I love you Mom. I love you more than anything."
Piper clutched Chris closer, returning his words. "I love you too son. I love you so much."
End! Sappy and fluffy I know. I hope you all enjoyed my Charmed moment. As I have mentioned to a few people, now that Charmed is out of my head, I can focus on It Only Takes A Drop of Blood. Not to worry, all of you Charmed fans. I'm sure another Chris-muse will strike me again: thank god for TNT reruns! Well, goodbye for now… I have a Biology Test tomorrow… ugh.
Oh yeah, disclaimer: I don't own Charmed, nor the characters. Plus, the lines at the beginning (scene at P3 with Piper, Paige, and Phoebe, and scene in Piper's office-the first part-between Chris and Phoebe) belong to the writers of Charmed, whoever they may be.