From Beyond the Clouds

Epilogue

Fourteen Years Later

" Photo! Photo photo," Wyatt heard Chris call, " Come on dudes let's get together quick, before the others steal the spot!"

The graduates swarmed over, many of them friends, and Chris leaned over one of the girls so that his cap looked lopsided on his head. " First a goofy one!" He demanded.

Snap! " God that was so dorky." Said one of the graduates who took the picture. " Alright guys! For real this time! Smile!"

" I am so proud!" Phoebe was jumping up and down.

" Hey, he's our son." Piper said to her sister. Leo was distracted, taking his own pictures of the unsuspecting graduate. " What are you all excited about?"

" Cuz he's our Chris!" Phoebe stuck her tongue out at Piper. " Say, I had no idea Chris is so tall."

" It's because Wyatt here is taller." Piper patted Wyatt's arm.

" Seems like yesterday when the two of you were wee high—"

" Okay Aunt Paige." Wyatt interrupted in a semi-long-suffering tone. He brightened as his brother looked his way and gave him a thumbs up. " Yo Chris! Hurry the hell up so that we can take a picture too!"

" We have until tomorrow morning when I have to return the cap and gown!" Chris called back. " Some of my friends are leaving in an hour!"

" Pfft. Friends." Wyatt made a face at Chris. " You and your smelly friends!"

" Your friends smell!" Chris laughed, before getting tugged back by one of the boys.

" Come on we have to take a picture of us and the giant hairball!"

Wyatt grinned. It was a bit odd to see Chris so popular, but then he went to the right college for his personality. Stanford was a geeky school no matter how hip the kids try to be. He wrinkled his nose. Who uses the word 'hip' these days? I need to get that apartment and get out of mom's house.

" Hey Chris! Wait up!" Melinda and Hope called, and the girls ran after their cousin. Wyatt watched, keeping track of his brother through his own mental link. He had never felt Chris so excited. Perhaps it was just the contagion of adrenaline going around among all the new college graduates.

Ever since the Living Maiden handed over her staff to Chris, Chris had stopped having nightmares. It was strange and troubling because at first he would take that staff everywhere, to bed, to school, to the park, and refuse to let go of it. But eventually it became apparent that the staff was Chris's source of security, and knowing it was there made it easier for the boy to face the memories of his other self. Piper and Leo decided to let Chris grow out of this new habit on his own, which Chris did.

They never quite understood what the Sorceress meant when she said that she gave all friends from beyond the clouds, but they had a fairly good idea what that came with. The demons as well, gave the Charmed Ones no further trouble, even though Chris never gave them any commands or used his newfound authority in any manner. But as the years went by there were some newcomers to their world that certainly did not belong anywhere on Earth, just to see Chris or seek his advice, and even Elders seemed to take extra care of Chris. Aralyn might not have been pure good or evil, but she certainly had enough friends to last lifetimes, and now, apparently, they have all sworn allegiance and loyalty to her heir, who really only inherited her staff.

But it seemed the staff was enough.

Chris never used his power. And that was probably what ultimately made him so special in Aralyn's eyes, Wyatt decided. The Sorceress had ultimately not only helped Chris, but also helped Wyatt as well. Even when he learned of what his other self had done, all the acts of evil and cruelty he had committed to innocents and to his own family, it was hard to indulge in guilt when one realizes that his other self had been indirectly responsible for Chris's eventual prosperity. You will keep me in check and I will keep you in check. Chris had told him. You have your balloon Twice-blessed powers and I have everything else. We are evenly matched.

So glad we're on the same side. Wyatt had laughed.

We always were. Said Chris.

And he was right. Even from that alternate timeline, Chris was always on his side. To the end.

" Hey there mister," Piper hooked her around Wyatt's, " Whatcha thinkin' about?"

" Just what an absolute dork Chris is," Wyatt snorted.

" Uh huh." Piper smiled knowingly. " Come on. Let's go find him before his friends decide to drag him away from us for the rest of the afternoon."

" Yup." Said Wyatt, nodding.

Chris Perry Halliwell is twenty-one. He is very much alive and very much happy, and whatever the future brings, he now has both more family and friends than he can ever ask for. Family and friends who will always support him.

" Twenty twenty-five!" Cried the graduates, followed by whooping and yelling, and all of the sudden Chris was right in front of Wyatt.

" Yo, Wy," Said his little brother, " Can I borrow your car for this evening?"

" No."

Fin.