Disclaimer: I don't own Charmed. Lyrics are 'My Sundown' by Jimmy Eat World.
Summary: Your past affects who you are. Simple. But when who you were changes the past, he changes who you are in the future. If that future is at risk, then who you are needs who you were to fix it back to how is should have been…and you get one big headache.
Timeline: Changed future, Season 6.
A/N: This is my first Charmed fic, so any feedback would be appreciated. Also, if anyone knows of any sites for Charmed fanfic, it'd be great if you could let me know the addresses. Thanks.
it around me;
I see it in everything;
I could be so much more than this.'
"I love a good vanquish in the evenings." Wyatt quipped, chucking his jacket messily on the kitchen table in the apartment he shared with his brother.
"Speak for yourself." The younger Halliwell sounded grumpier and looked decidedly slimier.
Wyatt couldn't help but grin. "Well if you'd have been standing closer to me when you'd said the spell then my shield could have covered you as well and you wouldn't be covered in demon guts."
"I don't need you to hold my hand, Wyatt." Chris said a little tensely as he pulled slime out of his hair and chucked it down the sink. Hopefully it wouldn't block up the drains this time.
"You obviously do." Wyatt gestured to the soggy footprints leading into the kitchen. "Chris, what if it had been more serious?"
"I get it, Wyatt." Chris had heard this talk before. Honestly you would have thought he'd done something really reckless. He'd done everything right; he'd researched in the book of shadows, he'd fetched his brother for back-up and he'd even taken along extra vanquishing potions just in case. He thought he'd done the right thing and, yes, he may have gotten a little messy. But it was the underworld! Not exactly the cleanest place. "I'll be more careful next time."
"No, you don't get it. How am I meant to protect you if you're nowhere near me?" Wyatt continued, not noticing the hurt in his brother's voice.
"Sorry." Chris pushed the feelings of being second-best next to his powerful brother to the back of him mind, just as always. He loved his brother; he would neither begrudge him his powers nor make him feel guilty over them.
Wyatt gave his brother a side-long look and saw the slightly crestfallen expression. It was another 'open-mouth-insert-foot' moment for the famous Wyatt Halliwell. He knew that his baby brother had inferiority issues when it came to magic, why did he always push it?
"Quick thinking on that spell though. I don't know how you come up with them so quickly." Wyatt said, his casual tone sounding forced even to himself.
Chris gave his brother a knowing look, but accepted the compliment nonetheless. "Yeah, well, it's called intelligence, Wy. If I left the spells to you then you'd probably spend twenty minutes looking for something to rhyme with 'orange'."
"Hey, I'll have you know that I am perfectly capable of…" Wyatt trailed off, his smile fading as it became clear that his brother wasn't listening to him. "Chris?"
Chris was frowning; little worry lines creased his forehead. "Do you hear that?"
Wyatt pushed down the worry which had surfaced seeing the look on his brother's face. Nothing bad had happened yet, but his instincts were that something was about to and their mom had always told them to trust their instincts. "I don't hear anything…"
Chris started looking around, trying to find the source for the noise. Despite not being able to hear it, Wyatt did the same. He couldn't just stand there and do nothing when something was obviously about to happen. If felt like every nerve in his body was on red-alert and his fingers twitched at his sides, ready to blow up anything that moved. Wyatt subconsciously started biting his bottom lip, one eye on his little brother, one eye still sweeping the apartment.
Chris' frowned deepened as he realised what the sound was. "I think I'm being jingled."
"By the Elders?" Wyatt asked incredulously. It had been made clear that the Halliwell brothers did not want to be contacted with by anyone Up There; all the contact with the Elders went through Paige or via premonition.
"Do you know anyone else who jingles?" Chris asked with an edge of sarcasm.
"But why would they be jingling you?"
Chris' face hardened. "Don't know, don't care." He turned his face upwards to the ceiling and yelled: "Piss off!"
"That's telling them." Wyatt said in what was meant to be a sarcastic manner. He didn't quite pull it off as his mind was going a mile a minute trying to figure out what the Elders could possibly want with Chris.
As Wyatt thought, with each scenario becoming more ridiculous than the last, Chris continued yelling at the ceiling. Wyatt raised one eyebrow. He didn't know Chris knew that word… Or that one… Even his Dad wasn't old enough to hear that one… Ouch- that's not even anatomically possible.
"…And if you don't stop ringing your stupid effing bells, I will orb my Mom Up There and tell her about the time you tried to strip Wy's healing powers." Chris finished, a mental picture of his Mom blasting each and every Elder to smithereens happily playing out in his mind.
Wyatt grinned at the final threat. If his Mom ever found out that the Elders had tried to stop Wyatt healing his brother after a Darklighter attack in a bid to make them more 'accepting' of the Whitelighter who had just been assigned to them, well, lets just say she wouldn't be pleased. Especially when she found out that the Whitelighter in question had been bewitched by a warlock trying to get to the brothers and wasn't responding to their calls. Wyatt and Chris had gone 'Up There', pitched a temper tantrum and never been bothered with new Whitelighters since.
Chris smirked in a self-satisfied manner when the ringing in his head stopped. The threat of Piper Halliwell would always do it.
"They must be insane if they think I'm answering their calls. They know we don't like them and they know to go through Aunt Paige." Chris said casually, back to normal now the moment had passed. The Elders would probably call on his Aunt Paige and tell her whatever it was the wanted him to know. She'd relay the message.
"It must be something important if they called for you directly." Wyatt thought slowly. "They've never tried that before, Mom threatened to blast 'em if they ever tried to screw with our lives."
Chris shrugged unconcerned. "Aunt Paige will tell us whatever it was if it's important. There's no way I'm going Up There voluntarily- they might want to give me charges or go on some kamikaze mission; I might never come back!"
"Still, I don't think it'll be that easy to get rid of them." Wyatt said doubtfully. When had the Elders ever given up on something they wanted without a hell of a fight?
Chris still wasn't that worried. If it was truly anything important then word would get to him one way or another, it always had before. But he didn't trust himself around the Elders. Who were they to sit up there and criticise? What did they do to actually make things better? Nothing, that's what; in fact most of the time they just made things worse.
Chris was just about to voice his thoughts to his brother (and not for the first time) when the phone rang. Wyatt answered it and immediately their mother's worried face popped onto the screen.
"Hey Mom, what's up?"
"Is everything okay?" Chris asked, approaching the phone when he saw who was calling them.
Piper didn't waste anytime with small talk. "Did either of you boys summon your Dad?"
Wyatt and Chris exchanged looks. Their Dad was missing? "No, why?"
"He just vanished, like he was orbing, but he doesn't do that anymore." Piper rambled, causing her sons to worry. Their mother only babbled when she was worried.
Wyatt looked at Chris, the concern clear on his face. "Do you think this could have anything to do with the Elders jingling for you?"
"The Elders jingled you?" Piper said, momentarily forgetting her worry in her anger for the Elders which had been founded so long ago. If they ever did anything to make her boys' life difficult, well, more difficult…
"They stopped when I didn't respond." Chris said smoothly.
Wyatt raised one eyebrow. Chris had responded alright, just not the way the Elders had wanted him too. He grinned at the memory of his usually calm little brother screaming at the ceiling as the jingling in his head started to really get on his nerves. Chris only lost his temper like that at demons. Or at Wyatt when he did something particularly stupid.
"Why didn't they just call Aunt Paige? Why summon Dad?" Chris continued, shooting his brother a glare as the older stifled a grin still reliving what had happened just before their mother had called.
"To make our lives difficult." Piper said darkly, and neither of her sons doubted that she fully believed it. Piper turned her head to the ceiling just as Chris had done earlier to issue her own threat…err, promise. "If you harm him at all I will be so pissed off at you! Don't make me come up there!"
"That's telling them." Wyatt approved through his sniggers. His entire family, himself included, spoke to the ceiling on a regular basis, whether it to threaten, bargain or explain why it wasn't really personal gain. A shrink would have a field day.
"They better return him back soon… in the same condition they took him in." Piper said in the same low voice, directing the last bit to the ceiling once again.
Chris couldn't help but grin at that. That's just what his mother had said the last time Wyatt had borrowed the car without asking. "I'm sure they will, Mom, they really don't want to be on your bad side."
Piper gave her son a small smile, chewing her lip just had Wyatt had done earlier. "I hope you're right."
"I usually am." He said cockily, trying to lighten the mood.
It worked and Piper laughed. "Cheeky."
"And wrong." Wyatt added, quickly latching on to what his brother was trying to do. "Everyone knows I'm the brains of this outfit."
"Yeah right, you wish." Chris scoffed, his eyes twinkling as he entered into the familiar banter with his brother. Nobody did it better than the Halliwell boys.
"Boys, boys!" Piper interrupted, unable to keep the smile off her face at the playful bickering. "How old are you?"
They exchanged mischievous looks and responded in unison: "He started it!"
Piper rolled her eyes, but the twinkling of blue lights off to the side caught her glance. "Leo? Are you alright? What did they want?"
Her husband rematerialised right where he'd left. He looked around, grasping the situation quickly. "I'm fine, is that the boys?"
He didn't wait for an answer, it wasn't needed as he could clearly see his sons faces on the screen in front of his wife.
"Is everything okay?" Wyatt asked, already knowing that it wasn't by the grim look on his father's face.
Leo shook his head, his eyes on his youngest son. "We've got a problem. How soon can you orb here?"
This is my sundown;
I'm gonna be so much more than this.'
Five minutes later, the brothers orbed into their childhood home. They knew it was something serious from the grave look on their father's face. Leo had obviously told his wife something about what was happening; she looked noticeably paler than when she had been speaking on the phone earlier.
"Mom, Dad; what's up?" Wyatt asked, picking up on their unease immediately.
"You remember what we told you about the other timeline?"
"Where I was evil." Wyatt stated, his heart dropping. If the Elders had wanted to talk about that then it couldn't be good. He'd only just come to terms with it himself and for them to bring everything up again was not great.
Chris nodded, casting his brother an anxious look. It had taken a long time for them to move on from what they'd been told about the other timeline. Wyatt had become ridiculously overprotective of his brother and unsure of himself when it came to magic. Chris had felt like he had a lot to live up to, his parents spoke of 'him' with such pride and awe. The other-Chris was not perfect; he had a darkness in him that scared their parents at times, but he'd died to save his family. All this timeline's version of himself seemed to do was get into trouble and get bailed out by Wyatt.
When Leo continued he spoke so quietly, but everyone heard him it was so quiet in the room. "The Elder's said that we're about to enter a time loop. This future can't continue and neither can the alternate one. We'll all keep going around, the future always changing unless we do something to change it, or more accurately, to keep it the same."
"What?" Chris asked, knowing that he wouldn't like the answer.
Then Leo dropped the big bombshell: "They want Chris to go back in time."
you to show me the way from crazy;
I wanna be so much more than this.'
"If our-Chris doesn't go back in time, then the future doesn't change which means Gideon turns Wyatt evil and this gives alternate-Chris a reason to go back, which means the future does change but also means that there is now no reason for our-Chris to go back meaning the future won't change and they'll be a reason for alternate-Chris to go back and so on. That is the time loop. Do you follow?"
Chris nodded. "Yeah, I get it."
"You do?" Wyatt asked incredulously. It had seemed like gibberish to him.
"I get it, but I don't like it." Chris continued.
"None of us do, Chris." Leo said quietly.
"What's going on?" Wyatt asked firmly, not used to not getting an answer.
Chris was quiet for a minute. "So I go back? That's what you're saying, right?"
"No." Piper said firmly. "We'll find another way, Chris."
"In time? Because I hear we're running short on that." He gave his mother that grin, but it didn't quite reach his eyes. He had to go back in time, not only to save his future but to ensure that there would be one at all. Talk about responsibility.
"Have I missed something?" Wyatt asked of no one in particular. He'd realised that something was going on with Chris, something to do with the time line, but he'd almost given up asking what it was.
"That's what the Elders asked? For me to go back and make sure it ends up like this?"
"Yes." Leo said after a beat. He couldn't quite meet his wife's eyes.
"What else?" Piper asked immediately with an edge of steel in her voice.
"They need to be sure that everything is done in the exact same way or the timeline could alter." Leo admitted.
"But that's impossible." Piper said, the steely tone still very present in her voice. "Our Chris isn't like that one. He wouldn't do things the same."
Leo stayed quiet. He folded his hand in his lap. Then unfolded them and folded them again. He didn't like the situation either, but he'd always been able to view the bigger picture better than his wife.
"Not if they turn me into him." Chris said quietly, his eyes on his father's face, trying to see if he'd gotten to the right conclusion even though he already knew he had. The Elders couldn't risk anything changing the timeline- they needed to send the same person back as before or things could change drastically. "They'll use a spell to turn me into the other-Chris. Then I'd do everything exactly the same way that he did."
Piper's face whitened. "No." Her voice cracked. She couldn't turn her little boy into the secretive man that had lied to them for over a year. This Chris was happy, and though she did love the other version, she couldn't think of them as the same person. She couldn't wish this Chris away, or magic him away as the case may be, and turn him into the darker version. She just couldn't.
"The Elders said it was the only way." Leo said dully. "It's the only way to save the present."
"Or you could tell me what's going on." Wyatt suggested, frightened by his family's reactions to whatever it was they had just discovered. Chris was looking shocked, but that determined edge creeping into his eyes. His mom was on the verge of tears and their dad wasn't much better off. Whatever it was must be serious; and serious for the Halliwell's meant apocalyptic by everyday standards.
"The Elders want to turn me into the Chris from the other timeline and go back in time to make sure everything turns out the way it should do." Chris said simply as if he'd just been asked to baby-sit their cousins.
"No way." Wyatt said immediately, his tone booking no argument. His little brother would not go back in time and risk his life, not now, not ever.
"There's no other option, Wyatt." Chris said with a hollow laugh.
"Yes there is." Piper said immediately. "We'll find one."
"If you don't want to do it, we'll find another way, Chris." Leo promised, already knowing what his son's decision would be. And, though he was scared for him, he couldn't help but be proud.
"No, this is the best option. Everything has to be done exactly the same or the future might change." Chris said firmly, no doubt in his mind. "Mom, you said that in the other timeline you died. What if we do something different and you die again, or Wyatt dies, or me? It's too big of a risk."
"What if I go back?" Wyatt asked desperately. He couldn't risk losing his brother, he could go instead. "They could turn me into the other-Chris- give me his memories and his powers…"
"And that would be different to sending me back how, exactly?" Chris asked gently. He knew he'd be making the same offer for Wyatt if the tables were turned, that's just how it was between them. "You wouldn't have any more power; things would play out exactly the same."
"I can't loose you, Chris." Piper whispered, her voice barely holding out. "I won't send you back to die again."
"The Elders don't expect us too." Leo interrupted, placing his hand over hers. He couldn't bare the thought of watching Chris die again any more than she could. "Once the danger to the timeline has passed, once I've killed Gideon, Chris would be transferred back to us where he belongs. Then we give him the antidote for the poison."
"Why can't we just send a message to the past, tell them that Gideon's to blame? Or Chris could leave before Gideon has the chance to hurt him." Wyatt asked. He was grasping at any hope that meant his brother didn't have to go through that. He'd only been told the bare minimum about the alternate world, but he'd picked up on his parents' guilt over the way they'd treated the other Chris. One of the first lessons about time travel they'd taught him was to be nice to strangers from the future 'because you never know when they're going to be your future children'. To send Chris back to be alone, because otherwise he might turn evil…it wasn't fair.
Leo bowed his head, not able to look his family in the eye. He'd asked the Elders the same questions. "Because if Chris doesn't get hurt then I don't have the pain to motivate me to kill Gideon. I'm sorry, I'm too weak to-"
"No." Chris interrupted. "You're not a killer, Dad. Don't apologise for that. It has to be this way. You know I'll be coming back to you."
Piper stayed quiet. How different things may have turned out if Chris hadn't have died. She and Leo wouldn't have grieved for their son, Leo wouldn't have become an avatar and baby-Chris wouldn't have grown up being compared to the older version. But then maybe Chris wouldn't have that drive, that determination to prove himself that she admired so much and had gotten him through many a scrape when he refused to give up. How could she change her little boy? But how could she send him to die?
Chris saw the look on her face and guessed what she was thinking. "I wouldn't die, Mom. I'd come straight back here where you could heal me."
Piper bit her lip. If Chris didn't do this, then everyone in the world would suffer. The timeline would most likely revert to what it had originally been. She couldn't ask her son to sacrifice all those lives for her peace of mind. "I don't want you to go, but I can't ask you to stay. I'm behind you, whatever you decide."
"We all are." Leo promised and Wyatt nodded reluctantly in the background. If his parents could accept Chris' decision, then he could too.
"I'm going back." Chris said gently. Once his father had explained, there hadn't been an option for him not to go back. The other version of himself had had to make the same decision, and at least he knew that as long as the Elders turned him into the other-Chris, then he would succeed. It wouldn't be easy, his family wouldn't trust him and he'd have to live with what Wyatt was capable of, but he would succeed.
one hand high;
You'll show them your progress;
You'll take your time;
But no one cares;
No one cares.'
"Mom?" Chris looked into the kitchen, usually a safe bet when searching for Piper Halliwell and today was no exception.
Piper stopped beating the cake batter and looked up. "Hi honey." She said cheerfully.
He was thrown by her happy tone. He'd be leaving for the past in a few days. She should be sad, hugging the breath out of him even. "Is everything okay?"
She smiled at him. "Everything's fine. I'm just making a desert for your dinner tonight."
He managed to stop his jaw from dropping. He was about to leave the timeline and she was baking him a goodbye cake? Why not hang out a banner, give him a good swift kick to make sure he actually left. He was lost for words. She should be crying, dammit! Or at least mildly upset that she was not going to see her youngest son for over a year. The cheerful indifference to his immanent departure was more that a little hurtful.
"Oh, okay then. I'm just…going to find someone…else." He gave her a last hurt look before leaving the room.
If Chris had looked back, then he would have seen the tears which Piper had forced back, determined not to make this anymore difficult for her son, spill over her cheeks. Her baby was leaving, and he was taking a part of her with him.
"Hey bro." Wyatt said, forcing a smile onto his face as he remembered what their mother had said. 'Don't be miserable in front of Chris, it'll be hard enough for him to leave as it is without us making it more difficult.' "What's up?"
"What's up? Don't you care that I'm leaving?" Chris burst out. First his mother's cheerfulness, and now his brother's normal behaviour. Did they not get that he was leaving? "I need to get out of here." Chris mumbled, pushing past his brother. He orbed away before Wyatt could respond.
Piper came in a moment later. "Mel's home; we need to tell her… Where's Chris?"
"I don't think your 'acting normal' plan is working, Mom." Wyatt said wryly. "I'll go get him. You tell Mel what's been going on."
'I need you to show me the way from crazy;
I wanna be so much more than this.'
"Hey little brother." Wyatt said quietly, moving to sit next to his brother a top the Golden Gate Bridge.
"Hi." Chris responded just as quietly.
"Mom thought you'd prefer it if we acted normal." Wyatt said, jumping right in as usual. "She didn't want us worrying you."
After a moment Chris nodded. That seemed like something his mother would do and it explained the out of character behaviour. "Did you have to be so damn cheerful about it?"
"Sorry. We're just scared, I guess." Wyatt admitted. He wasn't scared of demons or spiders or heights, but the thought of loosing his brother scared the hell out of him. "We don't know how to act."
"So, how are you doing really?" Wyatt pressed when his brother didn't say anything.
"What if I can't do it, Wy? What if I screw it all up?" Chris admitted, turning to glare when his brother actually laughed.
"Sorry, Chris." Wyatt said when he stopped laughing. Honestly, sometimes his brother could be so dense. "It's just that the last thing I'm worried about in all of this is you screwing it up. Mom and Dad, maybe; me, definitely; but not you."
"How can you be so sure?"
"Because you're you!" It was the most obvious thing in the world to Wyatt. Chris didn't fail and he certainly didn't let his family down. Not ever. "Even if you forget that you…he…whoever has already succeeded once, then there's still the fact that you always come through. And you will this time too. I know it."
"Don't mention it. Now are you coming back? Mom was planning on telling Mel and the aunts what was going on. They'll want to see you."
"I'll come back in a minute."
Wyatt eyed him dubiously for a moment. If he returned empty handed then his mother would definitely worry about Chris and when she got worried she tended to get a little shrill and give people headaches. Once he'd decided that his brother was in fact okay and would return safely he nodded and orbed out leaving Chris alone with his thoughts.
It wasn't just his worries of failure that were playing on his mind. He was about to become a completely different person, one who'd lived life a lot more in the grey (to put it nicely) than Chris had had to in his present life. He'd done things that Chris did not agree with- killing Valkeries that hadn't done anything wrong being an obvious example. And now Chris was about to do those things. He was about to become a killer.
Leo orbed in, immediately seeing his son sitting cross-legged on one of the beams. He was forcibly reminded of another sitting just like that twenty-one years previously. Though the other Chris had looked largely less pleased to see him.
He remembered the first time the Other Chris had ever called him that, how happy and proud it had made him. It still had the same effect.
"How are you coping?"
Chris almost responded with the customary 'fine', but something told him that his dad wanted an honest answer. "Not great. I'm scared, Dad."
Leo leaned heavily against the bridge structure. He'd never wanted his for his family. He wanted them to be safe, but time and time again they put their lives on the line for innocents. "I'd be more worried if you weren't. You're about to time travel to a time where you know you won't be treated that well by people you love-"
"I can handle that." Chris interrupted. "I'm scared of what he's capable of, what I'll be capable of."
"Oh." Leo didn't really have an answer for that. He hadn't agreed with the other-Chris' methods, but now wasn't the time to tell his son that. "Chris, you'll do it for the right reasons. To save the future."
"The wrong things done for the right reasons are still wrong." Chris quoted monotonously. How many times had he heard that while he was growing up?
"Yes they are, but they're understandable. Would you sacrifice millions of lives in the future to save one innocent in the past?" Leo asked gently, trying to take the sting out of his words. Life was not a simple numbers game- loose one life to save a hundred. It's still a loss, and it still hurts. "Chris, I want you to know I'm proud of you, no matter what."
"Thanks." He said after a pause. "Dad; you said that we didn't get on that well but I need you to know that I love you. No matter what I say back then, I really don't mean it. It's not me and it's not you, things have changed and you're a great dad."
Leo was quiet, genuinely moved. He'd regretted not being there for the other-Chris so much. It meant everything to know that he'd gone some way to make up for it; that he wasn't a terrible father to this version of his son at least. "Thanks son, I love you too."
"I know." Chris said quietly. "And he did too, the other me. He was just mad and you can't be mad at someone if you don't care about them."
Leo stayed quiet; remembering the hate in the other-Chris' eyes after the spider demon's poison had worn off. But it had motivated him to spend more time with his family, speaking of…
"Your mother's been calling."
Chris scrunched up his nose. "I put her on mute."
"You know she hates it when you do that." Leo smirked. If it was anything truly important then the calls would get through.
"I know, I just needed a minute."
And just like that, the brief moment of normalcy was over and the seriousness of the situation was back in both of their minds. Leo clapped him on the shoulder, offering what support he could.
"Come on, son, let's go home."
They orbed into the attic and made their way downstairs, but stopped as they heard Piper by Melinda's door. Chris gestured for his father to carry on downstairs. He could deal with this one.
"Mel, honey, open the door." Piper coaxed. Her sisters had taken the news a lot better than her daughter had. They were shocked and very worried, but Mel was angry as well. "We'll all miss him, but he'll come back."
Piper was about to try again, when a hand on her arm stopped her. Chris stepped up and knocked on the door.
"Mel? It's Chris."
The lock immediately clicked open and Chris opened the door, smiling back at his mother as he went in. Piper gave him a nod of proud approval, just seeing her daughter throw herself into his arms before the door closed again.
"It's not fair." Melinda sobbed into her brother's neck, refusing to let him go as if he might disappear back in time right there and then.
"Life usually isn't." Chris said softly.
"For other people it is." Mel said stubbornly, finally letting go of her brother. "And don't tell me that you're okay with it, I'm a telepath, I know what you're thinking."
"I'm not okay with it, but I've accepted it."
"You shouldn't have to." Mel protested. A book flew off the shelves and smashed into the one opposite, dangerously close to Chris' head. "Why is it always us? Always our family? You know what Courtney's biggest problem in life is right now? Finding the perfect prom dress. Why can't that be my biggest problem?"
Chris winced as his sister channelled his powers again and used his telekinesis to smash a picture frame into the wall. He couldn't really blame her, it was great stress relief, but did she have to do it quite so close to his head?
"Because we're not them. With the good comes the bad, you know that. Would you sacrifice that feeling you get when you save an innocent? Become one of those people floating through life with their eyes closed with no clue about what really happens in the world?"
"Right now? Yes." Her eyes teared up. She knew this was dangerous, she'd read the worry in her mother's mind. "I don't want to loose you, Chris."
"And you won't. I'll be back in a year, it'll be just like I was going away to college."
"Only if you're sharing a dorm with a demon."
"And knowing our luck, that's exactly what would happen." He attempted a joke, but she didn't see the funny side. "Come on, Mel. I'm coming back, I promise." He almost pleaded. He couldn't put much more effort into convincing her when he wasn't all that sure himself.
Her chin raised a notch as that Halliwell fighting spirit returned. If Chris could be strong about this then so could she. "You'd better, or I'll summon your ass and kill you all over again."
He grinned. "You've got a deal."
one hand high;
You'll show them your progress;
You'll take your time;
But no one cares;
No one cares.'
Everyone watched as Paige finished touching up the triquetra on the attic wall, all dreading the moment when it was finished because once it was finished, there would be nothing more to put off those final moments before Chris would have to leave them.
"I guess this is it." Chris said as Paige reluctantly turned back towards them.
"You don't have to-"
"Yes, Mom, I do. You know I do." He said gently.
"You'll do great, honey." Paige said with a smile. "I know, I was there."
"Thanks Aunt Paige." Chris said moving forward to hug her. "Here comes the hugging part."
She started for a moment, flashing back to the last time she'd been waving Chris off through time, when he'd been sent to the alternate dimension by Gideon. She held him a little tighter, hoping to make up for the way she was going to act in the past.
Phoebe, always the most emotional sister, had silent tears running down her cheeks. "We love you, Chris, never forget that."
"I know, I love you too." He said, catching her in a hug also.
Now came the hardest part, saying goodbye to his parents and siblings. He'd already said goodbye to his uncles who were watching his cousins, most of whom were too young to really understand what was going on. They just knew that Chris was going back in time and he wouldn't be able to come back for a year.
"I'll be back soon." He promised his sister.
"You better be." She said quietly, surprising even herself with how well she was holding herself together. She wrapped her arms around his neck, allowing her telepathic connection to open, projecting all the thoughts to him that there wasn't enough time to say.
"Love you too." Chris said giving her one last squeeze. The Halliwells had always been a close family, this generation was no exception and Wyatt and Chris were protective over their only sister.
"Look out for Wy for me." He asked his sister. "He tends to get a little reckless when he's not thinking, and you know Wy..."
"He doesn't think often." Mel finished with a smile while Wyatt rolled his eyes.
"See ya later, kiddo." He turned to his brother and best friend. "Are we too manly to hug?"
Wyatt merely rolled his eyes and pulled his brother in. "Stay safe, Chris. I can't do this without you, you know that."
Chris smiled. Even now his brother was boosting him up. "I'll be back soon enough. Meanwhile, don't do anything stupid."
"Would I?" Wyatt asked wryly.
Chris shrugged with a cheeky grin. He didn't want this to end, the easy banter that had always been there between them. He would really be alone in the past. No Wyatt, no family- most of his friends wouldn't even be born.
"The only reason I'm letting you do this is because we already know how it plays out- you come back here and I'll be waiting to heal you. Just like always." Wyatt promised with conviction. He didn't care if he had to move back into the Manor- he would be here waiting for when Chris need him.
"I know you'll be here." Chris said, of all the doubts he had, that Wyatt wouldn't be here waiting was not one of them. He was always there, always.
"If you need anything, find a way to get in contact. I don't care what the Elders say."
"Have you ever?" Chris grinned. "See you later, bro."
"Count on it." Wyatt was distinctly watery eyed himself. This was his little brother, he was meant to protect Chris. But this time he couldn't. But it would be okay. It had to be. He wouldn't be able to live with himself if it wasn't.
Chris clapped his hand on his brother's shoulder, then turned to his dad who was staring at him intently, trying to memorise every little detail. "See you soon, Dad."
He nodded then reached for his son, pulling him into a tight bear hug so quickly that Chris almost fell over. Leo held on tight, wordlessly apologising for what he was about to do; for abandoning Chris in his former life, for doubting him, for threatening him, for letting him die.
He'd worked so hard to improve on his relationship with his sons, never wanting to see that look on either of their faces ever again. Now Chris was going to have to go back to that. What if when he came back he felt differently? Sure they'd got on better towards the end, but things weren't fixed between them. Things weren't like they are at the moment. He was scared of losing his son and Leo knew better than most that there was more than one way of losing a child.
When they pulled apart, nothing more needed to be said. At the sight of his father's glistening eyes, Chris felt a lump rise in his own throat. He was really leaving.
Piper took slow breaths, it was meant to be calming but at a time like this all the camomile tea and whale sound tapes in the world couldn't make her feel calm. This was her baby boy. She remembered him being born like it was yesterday; she remembered his death like it was yesterday. The joy tainted by the pain. But he'd be coming back, he had to come back.
He was the constant in the family. He always injected a calming word when she was yelling at Wyatt for his recklessness, or stressing over Mel's new boyfriend, or bickering with her sisters. The one who silently joined her baking in the kitchen when she said that she just wanted to be alone, but didn't really. The one who orbed to the Manor in the middle of the night when he sensed his mother was awake, just for a mug of hot chocolate and a chat.
Chris opened his mouth to say something, but she found herself shushing him. "No, anything you say will just sound like a goodbye and I don't want to hear that from you, you understand me?" She scolded, the tears finally spilling over her cheeks and her voice sounding cracked and muffled to her own ears.
Chris nodded, ducking his head and blinking back his own tears. "Okay." He offered her a watery smile and, unable to not say anything, added. "Love you, Mom."
She gave him a beaming smile, broken by little hiccoughing sobs. "And I love you, peanut."
He double checked that he had the spell that would transform him into the other-Chris safely in his pocket. That was all he was taking, all he was allowed. Nothing that could possibly trigger his soon-to-be dormant personality and risk the future.
He took a deep breath. "Hear these words, hear this rhyme. Heed the hope within my mind…"
Piper was leaning up against Leo for support, clutching on to him to prevent her from running right after her youngest son. Wyatt and Melinda stood close, drawing strength from each other the way siblings did, though there was a noticeable hole in their line up where Chris was meant to be. It didn't look right. Paige and Phoebe stood back, smiling in encouragement, their sadness betrayed by the tear tracks on their cheeks.
"…Take me back to where I'll find, what I wish though space and time."
Immediately the wall sprang to life, becoming a vortex of swirling blue. Chris took a couple of steps towards it, feeling a gentle tug coming from the magical energy it let off.
He looked back over his shoulder to where his family stood, none of them moving except Leo who gave him a proud nod.
"Stay safe, Chris." Wyatt said quietly.
"We'll miss you." Mel added.
He gave them a small smile hoping to reassure them. He didn't want them to spend the next year worrying about him; he loved them to much for that.
"I'll see you soon." Chris promised. He'd be back, even if he had to come back from the dead to manage it (that was always a possibility in this family).
He heard his mother give a heart wrenching sob as he turned back towards the portal so he hurried his step. If he stayed and saw her cry, he might not be able to leave. He'd always been a Momma's Boy at heart.
Two seconds later he was gone and so was the portal.
He landed in the attic, thankfully empty. He may have been thinking of a time when the attic was empty when he said the spell, but he'd been a little worried that he'd see his parents in front of him standing over the book.
Chris allowed himself a look around as he took the spell out of his pocket. The attic looked a little less cluttered than the one he'd just left; the toys from his, Wyatt's and Mel's childhood had yet to be brought, outgrown and put into storage and the additional junk that the sister's had picked up over the years still wasn't packed away in boxes and pushed up against the walls.
Chris read over the spell for the thousandth time. It should work, it was certainly long enough- 'War and Peace' by spell standards- but the Elders had wanted to cover all the bases; make sure that the spell couldn't be broken, turn him into the other Chris, make sure he'd return safely and erase his memories. He couldn't put it off any longer; it was time to make the change.
"This mission holds the future key,
So this spell must guarantee,
That whether mortal or magically,
Wards off any third degree."
"The 'Other Chris' I wish to be,
I am him, and he is me.
Parents vexed, the aunts agree,
Make me him, I do decree."
"Return home when wounded fatally,
But until the time I have to flee,
I no longer wish to see,
The life I have led so happily."
The paper vanished, but there was no other obvious sign that the spell had worked. Unless you looked into Chris' eyes that were much harder than they had been a minute ago.
Chris looked around the attic critically, ready for anything that might attack him, a habit he'd quickly picked up in his world. The attic didn't look like a museum anymore. He looked back towards to wall he'd just jumped through, hoping that Bianca was all right. Of course she would be, she was a good fighter and she'd certainly had enough practice in the recent years.
He had to leave soon before the sisters came home. If they saw him too soon then it could ruin his carefully laid plans.
His eyes darted around the attic one last time, his strategic mind looking for anything that he could use, and then he used the only gift his father had ever given him and orbed out of what used to be, of what was going to be, his home.
He had some Valkeries to find.
'No one cares (I could be so much more than this)
No one cares (I wanna be so much more than this)'
He orbed in, right next to his aunt, only she wasn't actually his aunt yet. She didn't know him from Adam; she didn't care about what happened to him.
No, he couldn't afford to think about that now. If he didn't save her from the Titans then that would be his in gone. His best chance to save the future, to save his family, gone. He had to focus.
Paige was stone, Phoebe was about two seconds from the same fate. Unless he stopped it. "Don't look her in the eyes!"
And then he threw the potion.
good bye, lovely time;
Good good bye, tinsel shine;
Good good bye, I'll be fine;
Good good bye, good good night.'
For now this is complete, but I may add another chapter about when Chris returns to his own time if inspiration strikes.
I read somewhere that you should always review oneshots so that the author knows you stuck with it through to the end, so please review! And if anyone knows of any Charmed fanfic sites then I'd really appreciate hearing about them. Thanks!!!