Title: As a Family
NOTE: I just bought Charmed season six on DVD, and while re-watching it, I was struck anew by how anticlimactic the revelation of his identity is on the show. There is absolutely no drama! I've been meaning to write a revelation fic for years now, but couldn't seem to get inspired. Then I saw "The Courtship of Wyatt's Father" where Paige makes a love potion for Piper and Leo (which they never use), and I wondered how Chris would have felt if he had been compelled to do that to get himself conceived. This story sort of grew from there.
I know revelation fics have been done a million times, but somehow, nobody seems to tire of them. I know I don't. I guess it's just one of those things which all we Chris lovers can't seem to get enough of. I hope you all enjoy this. Cheers!
Chris orbed back into his room and sank down on the bed dispiritedly. There was now no doubt about it- he was officially in trouble. And worse, he had no idea how to get out of this mess without betraying his family's trust; or at least what little was left of it, yet again. As if things aren't bad enough already on that front. He stood up and walked over to his desk, which was littered with star charts and maps and sheets of calculations. They, also, told him the same thing the oracle had just confirmed for him. If his parents didn't sleep together in the next three days, then he would cease to exist.
He buried his face in his hands, wishing that his conscience would allow him to take the easy way out; that he could just enjoy his last three days on earth, and then fade away, leaving all his troubles behind him. But he couldn't. He had responsibilities in the future which he couldn't abandon. He and his friends at the Resistance had done their homework before he traveled here. They had foreseen and prepared for this eventuality.
His goal, after all, had been to manipulate events and make Leo an Elder, so that he could make room for himself as the Charmed Ones' whitelighter. It had stood to reason that making Leo an Elder two years sooner than it had originally happened in their timeline might lead to Piper and Leo breaking up before Chris's conception. So they had created a Potion that would get the two of them sleep together if it should it become necessary. Chris had loathed the very idea of being conceived under such terms. Hell, he still did. But he knew that he didn't have a choice about the matter.
There was always a chance that the mission would fail. After all, his family hadn't had any idea that Wyatthad been touched by evil until some fourteen years after it happened. No one had been able to find out what had turned him. There was always a chance that he would miss it, too; if the legendary Charmed Ones hadn't picked up on something like that in their prime vanquishing days. If he failed to save Wyatt, then he would have to travel back to the future and wage the final confrontation with him; one of those great, epic battles between Good and Evil which kept happening every few decades in the history of magic. And no one but Chris could lead their side, because he was the only one powerful enough to stand a chance against his brother. So if he didn't want to risk screwing up the future in even worse ways, he had to make sure he was conceived, make sure that he survived. By whatever means necessary.
He glanced at his watch and noted the time. Half-past two. Piper and Baby Wyatt would be asleep now, and he couldn't sense Leo anywere in the manor. That meant he would be able to sneak in with little danger of getting caught. He was, for once, grateful that Phoebe and Paige were no longer living at the manor, as there was now less chance of someone catching him. Because he knew that if he was caught, it would be the end of the sisters' already strained tolerance for him. You don't have a choice. Brutally, he pushed aside all his doubts, and orbed into the attic. And tried not to think about what he was about to do.
Chris took a deep breath, praying that this would go smoothly. He had already spiked Piper's drink while she was at the club, and now she was at the manor, putting baby Wyatt down for the night. Now he was going to have to work on Leo. He carefully stirred the drink he had prepared, and set it on the deserted bar table.
Then, steeling himself, he called. "Leo! I need you to come down here!" He waited, and when the man didn't show up, he rolled his eyes. How entirely typical. "It's about the Sisters. I think demons are after them, but Piper keeps threatening to blow me up whenever I come close enough to try and warn her!" He waited, and then sighed in exasperation when the Elder failed to show up. "Come on, Leo, I wouldn't be calling you if it weren't serious!"
Finally, the Elder materialized before him in. "This had better be good," He said coldly.
"It is," Chris replied. "I was in the Underworld, trying to follow a lead on who turns Wyatt, and I heard-"
"You shouldn't bother with that anymore," Leo interrupted him, his eyes hard. "We figured out who turns Wyatt."
That caught Chris of guard. "You do?" He asked, trying to hide his alarm, "Who?"
"You do," Leo replied, with pointed hostility, "By bringing him into close contact with a demon when we trust you to watch over him."
Chris winced. Leo and the Sisters had yet to forgive him for that one. "It wasn't a threat," He defended himself; "He was just scanning for evil." Not wanting to get into this again, he added, "Look, that's not why I called you here. All I want is for you to warn the sisters about the demons."
Grudgingly, Leo sat down on a barstool next to Chris Chris. "What demons?" He asked.
"That's sort of the problem. This is going to take awhile, so I made you a drink." Hoping his well-honed acting skills wouldn't fail him now, he casually handed the carefully prepared martini to the other man, and then set about making a drink of his own in case Leo got suspicious. "So, the demons, right? They're supposedly immune to all known Potion ingredients. Which means…" He waited for the coin to drop. He knew it would; he had planned the story too carefully, with just enough facts to supplement the fiction, for Leo to buy it.
Sure enough, Leo's eyes widened as he caught Chris's drift. "The Nightshade Demons? But weren't they vanquished two centuries ago?"
"Well, apparently, they've been resurrected. And since there are no Elixir Arrows left to vanquish them with, the sisters will have to come up with a spell. And fast, because the rumor in the Underworld is that they're planning to attack in the next couple of days." He let out a silent breath of relief as Leo pensively took a sip of martini. Even that little would be enough to do the trick. Now all that was left was for Piper and Leo to catch sight of each other, and the rest would be history.
"Isn't there something about the spell?" Leo asked, "Doesn't it have to have the word 'night' in it to work or something?"
Thank God Elders aren't all-knowing; otherwise he'd know for sure I was lying through my teeth. "I'm not sure if it's 'night' or 'shade.' Or it could be shadow. I can check the Book of Shadows to find out; though you'll have to get Piper to lay off me."
Leo's face hardened immediately, and he set his glass down on the counter with more force than necessary. Although Chris had expected this, counted on it; he still felt a stab of hurt at his father's distrust and...hatred. "No way," Leo stated, "You're never entering my house; or going anywhere near my son, ever again. I'll go and warn Piper myself." He paused. "And Chris? If you're lying about this, then you should know that I've petitioned the other Elders to send you back to the future, and they are watching you very closely. One wrong move; and you can say goodbye to whatever your agenda was in coming here."
He orbed out, leaving a shell-shocked Chris in his wake. Chris hadn't known about that. He would have to be more careful from now on. If the Elders sent him back to the future now, it would be the end of his future. Grimly he concentrated on his parents, and grimaced as he sensed them both in Piper's bedroom. Clearly, the Potion had worked. Suddenly, the full meaning of what he had done hit him in a way it never had before. He sat down hard. You don't have a choice. You have duties, responsibilities, which are bigger than you or your family…But even though it was all true, it did nothing to change the fact that he was being conceived under the worst terms imaginable. At least, the first time around, his parents had been together when he was conceived. They had been happy at his birth, even his father had been. He had a photograph of all of them together, taken not long after his birth. Leo was bouncing him on his knees, and his mother was standing behind them with Wyatt balanced on her hip. All of them smiling happily into the camera, looking like the perfect family. It hadn't lasted long, because not long after that Leo had become a full-time Elder and his parents had broken up, and his 'family' had shattered like glass.
But this was infinitely worse. He had been conceived while his parents were under the influence of a Lust Potion. It was like being the result of a one- night stand. Worse, actually, because if he'd been the result of a one-night, he would at least have had the comfort of knowing that his parents had been genuinely attracted to each other, even if only briefly and under the influence of alochol. He sighed heavily, trying and failing to push back his worst fears. What if his mother would want to abort him, now that she didn't have Leo to count on? It would break his heart if she even considered it for a moment. Squeezing his eyes shut, he rested his head on his folded arms, and for the first time in a very long time, allowed himself the luxury of tears.
"I'm coming, I'm coming," Paige muttered as she hurriedly pulled on her jeans and ran a brush through her hair. As soon as she was looking presentable, she orbed to Jason's house, where her sister was awaiting her. "What's the big emergency?" She grouched.
"No emergency," Phoebe replied, "I just need an orb home. I need to get some Potions."
"You already ran out?" Paige asked, surprised. "Didn't you just stock up on them, like, last week?"
"Yeah, I did, but I think the Chinese Underworld just found out that a Charmed One is living in Hong Kong, because really powerful Chinese demons have been coming after me all week. I think they figured that since I'm not with you guys, I'm an easier target. But Jason's still a bit uncomfortable about the whole magic thing, you know; so I want to make some really inventive, painful type of Potions so that they won't keep attacking me at his house. It's really getting annoying. I need to send them a message."
"Okay, sure." She took Phoebe's hand and orbed her to the kitchen in the mnaor. "So how's it going with you and Jason?"
"Well, he's forgiven me for the whole Mata Hari incident," Phoebe said, as she began to rummage in the cupboard for Potions ingredients. "Which is a good thing, but I can tell he's still really uncomfortable with my empathy. We're working through it, though. What about you and Richard?" She asked, reaching for one of the cauldrons they used for Potion making.
"Well, it's going great, except that he…"
The moment Phoebe touched the cauldron, Paige's voice faded away, and she was pulled into a vision.
The clock on the wall of the kitchen read five a.m. Chris was standing at the kitchen counter, gently stirring what could only be a Potion. The counter was littered with other Potions ingredients. As she watched, Chris reached for a bottle
"And last of all, pheromones," He muttered, as he added the golden beads in. A cloud of smoke rose from the cauldron, and then the surface of the liquid abruptly stilled. Chris wiped his hands on a damp washcloth, and reached for an empty Potions vial in which to store the liquid. He hesitated for a long moment, his hand hovering at the edge of the cauldron. To Phoebe's confusion, his expression was one of unadulterated pain. He turned his face in the direction of Piper's bedroom and whispered softly, "Forgive me for this, but I'm afraid I have no choice." He dipped the vial in.
Gasping, Phoebe opened her eyes to find Paige staring at her in concern. "What did you see?"
"Chris," Phoebe said, "It was five in the morning, maybe last night? He must have sneaked in. He was making a Potion…He's up to something again, I'm sure of it. We have to get Piper."
She hurried towards her sister's bedroom, Paige not far behind her.
When Piper began to awaken, the first thing she registered was the pair of arms wrapped tightly around. Still half-asleep, she kept her eyes closed, reveling in the warmth and contentment that she had missed for so long. But as she grew more alert, she realized two things. First, that the last time she had felt this content was in Leo's arms. And second, that she wasn't married to him anymore. Her eyes snapped open, and she let out a startled, panicked shriek when she saw Leo's face two inches away from hers. She jerked away from him, quickly clutching the sheets around her as she realized, with dismay, that she was naked. Leo started awake at her shout, and he too, after realizing what had happened, jumped away from her in shock.
"Oh my God- oh my God- how did we-? What-?" Leo stuttered, panicking, quickly placing a pillow in his lap.
"I don't remember anything!" Piper wailed; more alarmed by the second, "What happened last night? Did we get drunk or something?" Or lose our minds?
"I don't…I don't know. I don't remember anything. Do you-?"
He was interrupted by the door opening. "Piper, I'm afraid we have a-" Phoebe began, but stopped short at the sight that met her eyes. "-problem. Oh my God! What the hell happened here?"
"I think that's pretty clear," Paige muttered in an undertone. Phoebe silenced her with a glare.
"I don't know what happened!" Piper wailed. "I don't remember anything!"
"Neither do I," Leo said, equally troubled. "I don't even remember orbing down here last night."
"Pheromones," Phoebe said suddenly. "He was adding pheromones to the Potion last night."
Piper looked at her, confused "What are you talking about?"
"She saw a premonition," Paige explained, "A vision of Chris making a Potion in the kitchen. Piper, I think he drugged you last night!"
"That son of a bitch!" Piper exploded, unaware of just whom she was calling a bitch. "He must have wanted to get us out of the way so he could get to Wyatt. I am going to kill him!"
"I think it is time to take some drastic measures," Leo agreed, his voice hard.
"What do you suggest?" Phoebe asked.
"A truth spell would tell us what the hell he did to Wyatt while he was distracting us. It'll also give the Elders irrevocable proof that he's dangerous. I've already petitioned them to send him back to the future, and they are watching him very closely. We just need to tip the scale in our favor, and then he'll be out of our hair for good."
"Okay, I'll go work on that," Phoebe nodded, taking charge. "Paige, you go and see if Wyatt's okay. And you two," She added, eyeing her sister and ex-brother-in-law with an expression of distaste. "Get dressed. We have work to do."
"Its time to say goodbye," The demon said menacingly, powering up a fireball in the palm of his hand.
In spite of the threat to his life, Chris spared a moment to be amused. "Oh, come on. 'It's time to say goodbye?' I mean, can you get more cliché than that line?"
Incensed, the demon roared and hurled the fireball at him, causing his amusement to fade quickly. Uh oh. But before he could duck, he felt himself being summoned away. "Goodbye!" He called and was just able to hear the ensuing roar of rage before he appeared in the attic before the sisters and Leo.
"Not that I'm complaining," He said, "Because I think you guys just might have saved my life by doing that, but is there any reason you summoned me instead of just calling me?" The sisters didn't reply, and neither did Leo. In fact, Chris noted, feeling the beginnings of alarm, they were all looking pissed. Really pissed. "Guys?" He said, "What's wrong? Why are you all looking at me like tha-?t"
Piper looked at Phoebe and Paige. "Shall we?"
The other two nodded, and then all three began to chant in one voice,
"Powers of Haliwell witches rise
Help us in our hour of need,
Take away this man's ability to lie,
So that we can find the truth we seek."
Chris stared at them, wide-eyed. "Tell me you didn't just cast a truth spell on me."
"Did you give Leo and me a Potion to make us sleep together last night?"
Panicking, Chris tried to orb out before he was forced to answer, but found himself unable to. "Yes, I did. Damn it! Why can't I orb?"
Piper's voice was hard, unyielding, causing his heart to clench in pain. "We put crystals around the attic to make sure you didn't. Now, what did you do to my son?"
Piper frowned. "Nothing?" She said incredulously, turning to her sisters. "It can't be 'nothing.'"
Paige shrugged. "Maybe you weren't specific enough. What did you do to Wyatt while you had Piper and Leo distracted last night?" She asked.
All three sisters stared at him. "Then why the heck did you make us sleep together?" Piper asked, confused.
Chris groaned inwardly, trying desperately to find away around this as he frantically tried to swallow back the words. "Because it was time for your second son to be conceived, and there was no way you two were going to sleep together if I didn't do anything!" Inwardly, he heaved a sigh of relief. Maybe he could keep his identity a secret after all, if he chose his words carefully.
In the meantime, Piper and Leo were both staring at him in shock. "Our…second son?" Leo stuttered, paling. "You can't be serious."
"I'm afraid I am, Leo," Chris said, coldly.
"I'm pregnant?" Piper all but screeched. "But...I can't be! Not...not now!"
At these less than joyful words, a flash of hurt showed on his face before he had time to conceal it, but thankfully everyone was too preoccupied to register it. "Yes."
"But…if they were meant to have a second son, wouldn't it have happened without a Potion?" Paige asked, troubled. Her eyes widened. "Unless…Leo wasn't supposed to be an Elder in your timeline. And you…you manipulated it so that he would become one? To make room for yourself as our whitelighter?" Her face was taut with fury.
"That's right," Chris responded evenly, bracing himself for the onslaught he knew would come.
"But you can't just play with people's lives like that!" Phoebe exclaimed, outraged. Piper, too, was looking furious.
"Did you banish me to Valhalla?" Leo asked suddenly. His fists were clenched, and in that moment, he looked nothing like the pacifist he was.
Chris cringed at the question. They are so going to kick my ass when this is over. "Yes I did."
Leo nodded, anger burning in his eyes. "And did you kill that Valkyrie?"
He closed his eyes in pain. "Yes."
Leo shook his head in disgust. "I can't believe I ever believed a word out of your mouth, or that I ever vouched for you. Does Wyatt even turn evil or did you just make that up, too?"
"I didn't make that up," Chris said quietly, "He really does turn evil." He looked away, so they wouldn't see how hurt he was by their distrust. "That's why I had to be your whitelighter, and make Leo an Elder to make room for me. That's why I did all this," He said almost inaudibly.
"And what about my second son?" Piper asked, "Phoebe's right, you're playing with people's lives here. How do you think my son will feel if he ever finds out how he was conceived?"
Chris froze. Had she really just asked him that question? Suddenly, he was furious. He had been forced to orchestrate his own conception, and now he was actually being asked to answer for it. "I think he feels awful!" He spat out before he could stop himself. His eyes were blazing. "He would far rather not have been conceived at all, if it had to have been like this, but the world needs him, and he doesn't have a choice. So could you please just get over yourselves and give him a fucking break!"
A ringing silence followed his angry words. Leo and the sisters stared at him with wide, uncomprehending eyes. "You mean he knows about what you did? And he's okay with it?" Paige finally asked.
"Yes, he knows about this. And no, of course he's not okay with it, but he recognizes that there isn't any other choice."
"Do you know him, in the future?" Phoebe asked.
"As well as I know myself," Chris replied wryly. Because he's me.
"What's his name?" Piper asked curiously.
Chris squeezed his eyes shut. No, no, no, no, no…There was no way he could evade this one. "Christopher Perry Haliwell."
A stunned silence shrouded the attic. Chris could feel his family's gazes burning into him, but he didn't look up. He didn't want to see the rejection in their eyes. He had done some terrible things since coming here, not least of which was killing the Valkyrie. He wouldn't blame them if they didn't accept him. But the thought still hurt more than it should have, because no matter which timeline, they were his family.
Piper was the first to regain some coherence, though it wasn't much. "Oh my God- oh my God-"
Leo was pale, disbelief etched in his eyes. "All this time…" He began, but trailed off, and sat down hard on the nearest chair, shaking his head wordlessly.
Chris inhaled sharply. "Look I know this must come as a terrible shock to you guys, but I want you to know that this doesn't have to change anything," He said, "I'm still your whitelighter; and you're still my charges. I'd just appreciate it if you could trust me a little more, and stopped working against me."
"Of course this changes things Chris," Piper said. Her face was a picture of guilt, and her voice, when she spoke, was full of self-reproach. "You're family. My son. And I've treated you worse than a criminal."
"I hit you," Leo said. He looked sick to the core. "I forced you to fight me. My own son."
"Yes, well, I know you would never have done it if you knew I was your son," Chris said. "So don't worry about it, okay?"
Leo may not have been around a lot when he was growing up, but he certainly hadn't been abusive. Chris didn't hate him nearly enough to give him grief about something like that, because he wasn't that bad of a father. Even though he had rarely been around, he had always come if they were in trouble. He had always come when called if there was a family emergency or a near-death encounter with demons. The problem was he hadn't come for anything else. But now was not the time to go into the issues he had with his father, so Chris forced himself pushed the years-old pain and resentment aside. Leo hadn't actually done anything yet.
"I am so sorry," Piper said. Paige and Phoebe nodded also. "We've made things so hard for you, and all long you were trying to save your brother-"
"Please don't, Piper," Chris said, sighing slightly at her hurt look when he called her that. "I don't need apologies," He said. "I know I've done terrible things, and I know you guys are totally disgusted with me -"
"What?!" Phoebe exclaimed. "We're not disgusted with you, Chris! Don't be ridiculous."
"Yeah, sweetie," Paige chimed in, "We're proud of you."
Chris shook his head. All at once, the guilt that he had been ruthlessly suppressing for so long rose to the surface like a flood, and he was powerless to stop it. "You shouldn't be," He said in a bitter, self-deprecating tone. "This hasn't been some great, heroic mission to save my brother. I've used any and all means- I've abandoned so many of the values you taught me, when it suited me. I've lied; I've manipulated you- my own family. I've killed innocents to get demons to trust me when I went undercover in the Underworld. I set a demon on you guys to teach you a lesson about your Wiccan duties, and nearly got you killed in the process when it backfired. I've done some terrible things, so don't say you're proud of me until you know everything."
"But we are proud of you, Chris. Because you had the strength to do those things. For every innocent you killed, didn't you save so many more by your actions? That's how I look at it, and that's how you should too."
Chris's head jerked up and he searched Leo's face desperately. Can you really mean that? You, of all people? If anyone but Leo had said those words, he wouldn't have been so affected by them. But not when they came from his pacifist father, who was justifying killing innocents for him. He was telling him that he was very proud of him, and he was looking at him in the same way that he looked at his firstborn son- his eyes shining with wonder, affection, and an overwhelming desire to protect. He always did love me as much as Wyatt, Chris realized, a lump rising in his throat. He just had a very poor way of showing it. And that's what made me doubt it so much.
He knew the realization shouldn't affect him this much. His father had been so absent in his life that he should have stopped having so much power over him a long, long time ago. But it still caused his chest to constrict beneath the weight of a thousand different emotions- anger, sorrow, joy, wonder, bitterness. Love. Because even though he had resented his father for not being there for him, he had never stopped acknowledging him as a father, and he had never stopped loving him as only a son can. He knew that someday, his issues with Leo would rise to the surface again and then they would both have to deal with them. But today wasn't the day for it. Today, all he could feel was a deep sense of gratitude for the fact that in spite of everything he had done, in spite of manipulating him, tearing him away from the love of his life; his father could still find it in his heart to love him.
"Thank you," He said softly. "That…that means a lot to me."
Leo nodded, looking gratified. Piper walked across the room and cupped his chin gently, forcing him to look up at her. "I know we haven't cooperated with you much. But that's going to change now, now that we know what's at stake. We are going to find out what turns your brother, and we're going to do it together. As a family."
As a family. He looked around at all of them, his mother, his aunts, and his father. They weren't the family he had grown up knowing, but…
They would do.
"I'll hold you to that, Mom," He said.
So, what did you guys think? I know my portrayal of Leo and Chris's relationship might be met with disapproval, but I am of the opinion that it take something really extreme for a person to disown their parents. To hate them. And I don't think Leo would ever hate Chris. I think Chris's feelings toward his father are complex, but in spite of everything, he still loves him.
I hope you liked the revelation part of the story, too. Like I said in the summary, every self-respecting Chris lover writes a revelation story at one point, and I hope this will be well-received.