A/N: So I just read a one shot by SJ Snugglebug, and it was really good (it's called Reaching Nirvana-Check it out!), and in it, she mentions "9 Crimes", by Damien Rice and so it's been on my itunes repeat for about, um, 2 hours lol. So a fic has come out of this, since TNT is the devil and whenever I catch old season 6 reruns, all I want to do is write oneshots about poor, tortured Chris. Here's one that's been done, plenty of times, a followup to "The Courtship of Wyatt's Father" since they just leave us hanging there at the end. Hope you enjoy! :)
*obligatory disclaimer*: not mine. Duh.
it's a small crime and i got no excuse
and is that alright yeah?
if i give my gun away when it's loaded
is that alright yeah?
if you don't shoot it how am i supposed to hold it?
is that alright yeah?
i give my gun away when it's loaded
is that alright?
is that alright with you?
"Is this a bad time?"
Bad times were common in the Halliwell family. Bad times like when he needed his mom to fix his favorite truck when he was 4 and she had just found out that a close, old friend had been diagnosed with breast cancer. Or when he had come home to show her his almost straight A report card and found her and his aunts in the middle of a fight in which he got caught in the crossfire. Or his epic wrong-place-at-the-wrong-time moment when he was 14 and he walked in to find her choking on her own blood, dying right in front of him with nothing he could do, and his dad trying to apologize later, crying and trying to make the excuse that he hadn't realized the urgency of the call, that it has just been a really bad time.
In the scheme of things, this wasn't really that bad of a time, and he almost found humor in the fact that her face reflected that this was something monumental, possibly horrible, something that bad times could be made of. She had no clue what his future held for her.
They stood there like an old western, both sides standing still, not knowing who would draw first. His first instinct was to apologize, or at least tell one of her sisters to help her stand because she looked like she would faint and he didn't want to touch her right now. It was just awkward and weird, and at the same time, something he had wanted the entire time he had been here, so he decided to stay rooted to the doorway until someone else made the move.
Piper, for her credit, didn't really freak. Her biggest concern was what to do; she wasn't angry or bitter, just very confused and lost. She stared at him, and her chest tightened. His eyes were darting around the room, he was fiddling with his hands-just like I do, she thought to herself-leaning against the doorway, and he was afraid. She wanted to say something, do something, and yet, her feet wouldn't move.
"I think we're gonna get out of here. Let you guys...yeah." Pheobe's voice came from far away, and sounded muffled in Piper's mind as she couldn't stop staring at him. Finding out she was pregnant one day after she was with Leo was shocking enough, and to find that Chris-Chris! of all people-was the result of that-was just...unbelievable.
She was looking at him differently now, as if she was trying to sort the ideas out in her mind and categorize them. He swallowed and decided he wanted to orb out, and he must've given his tell, because she shook her head ever so slightly, so he stopped. If it wouldn't have been such a tense moment, he would've smiled. His little self was going to have such a disadvantage at getting away with stuff!
"Christopher, did you take the last cookie from the plate in the kitchen? I told you that was for you and Wyatt to share." He remembered his mother when she towered over him when he was about 4, a frown on her face which he now identified as partial amusement. More than likely because he had chocolate all over his face and shirt, and it was obvious that, yes, he had in fact, taken that last cookie.
"No, Mommy." He shook his head furiously, but he grinned and played with his ear which was something he did when he lied. Not to mention the offending chocolate on his clothes.
"Are you sure? Because if you're not...the tickle monster may just show up."
"No!" He feigned fear as he let a small giggle slip and she lunged at him, grabbing him as he squirmed, more giggles erupting from him as she picked him up and carried him to the couch where she proceeded to tickle him until he relented.
"Okay, I did it, it was me, I did it! No more tickles!" He exclaimed through his laughter, and she was laughing to, and in the end, his punishment was to help her make another batch, which he decided wasn't really a bad punishment after all.
His eyes seemed far away as he stared at her in her room, as if he were somewhere else. She began to walk towards him now, and he tensed like he was caught in a spotlight, so she stopped. It was time for someone to make a sound, and because she was the mother and he was the son, she figured she was as good as anyone to do that.
"It's not a bad time, no." She replied to the question that had been asked a long time before. "I can't really think of a better time, actually."
He didn't look at her, but nodded, shifting his body so he was now in the room, not just in between the doorway, and he pulled the door closed in case his aunts decided to snoop. He finally looked at her, ever so briefly, and knew it was his turn. He cleared his throat.
"I hate this house sometimes."
She started. That wasn't what she expected. Not that she really knew what to expect, but that, was not it.
"Oh?" She offered, not really knowing what to say to it.
"Yeah. Not so bad that you told me to get out then."
Her chest clenched as she remembered a few weeks back, and she felt shame wash over her.
"Chris, we don't need your help. I will get my son back, and when I do, I don't wanna see you anymore."
"Chris, I didn't..."
"Yes you did. And it's okay, I understood it. Understand it. I'll try not to get in your way too much..."
"There's just too much here, you know?" He looked up at her now, his face relaxed and soft. "I'm sorry you had to find out about this."
He meant him. "I don't know what you mean, actually." She decided to be bold and walk to him now, no matter how much he flinched and soon she stood within arms length. He just kept looking at her, waiting for her to make the move, to let him feel like it was okay. "And this is not something bad, Chris. Don't say it like that."
He swallowed hard. "This house, there's just so much of everything here." He wanted to be careful of what he could say, because of his ever so favorite excuse, but he just was a bit of wreck. While this wasn't his mother, it was Piper, and she was pretty good at listening when she didn't hate him. "I mean, I spent my whole life here." Obviously.
"I'm so sorry, Chris." Her voice was tight, and almost broken, like she was about to cry and he shook his head.
"Please don't get upset. Please." He shook his head as he spoke, stepping away from her. "I'll just go. We can deal with this later."
"No!" She exclaimed, because she knew if he left, if he retreated back into himself like he did so well, then later would never come.
"No, please, Chris. I...I won't, I promise." But her voice was wobbly and she had to take a few deep breaths as the reality of this seemed to be setting in. Something that seemed to be so obvious now, that made so much sense.
"In all my life, I have never seen you take the bait the way that witch took it from you."
"What do you want from me?" He asked now, swallowing hard. "I mean it's out there, isn't it? You know, I know you know. It really makes no difference-"
"It makes every difference, Chris." She contradicted strongly. "I'm sorry we've all been so awful, but if we would've known that you were family-"
"It doesn't matter, it's over and done with." He replied flatly, hands held up in defense to her words. She just stared at him, suddenly aware of something and she changed the subject, her tone somewhat awed.
"You've got your father's eyes."
He stopped, tensed, stared at her, his fight suddenly gone. He felt his stomach twist. "Yeah, something like that." He replied thickly.
She smiled now, her hand going to his face. He drew back slightly, but she kept at it and soon, his eyes closed as she caressed his jaw. "Hm. Who would've thought I'd have such a good looking kid."
"So handsome..." Her voice was strained, blood was trickling from her mouth as she used her strength to touch his face. "And I won't be here to bat the girls away..."
He pulled back, his eyes flashing with pain. "I'm sorry, I thought I could do this, but I can't, Piper. I'm sorry. Please don't make this harder for me."
"Mommy, I can't do it!" Chris spoke, frustrated as his laces just wouldn't go together. He sat on his mother's bed as she applied mosturizer to her face in front of her vanity. "Please let me do it with magic."
"Christopher, I will not have you relying on magic for every little thing in your life." She turned around, a smile on her face as she knelt in front of him, grabbing his knees lightly. "Now, let's do this again. The bunny goes around the tree..."
She stepped back, realizing something had happened in the future that he didn't want to think about. She knew Wyatt was a dictator, she knew things were bad...and she finally understood what he meant about the house.
"There's just so much of everything here."
"You can go if you need to. I don't want to be the reason you're upset." She was short and neutral, obviously a little hurt, and she stepped back a few paces to give him the room he so obviously needed.
He hesitated as he turned to leave. "It's really not you, Piper. This whole thing...it's just easier that i'm not that person to you, you know? I'm still your whitelighter, and I still have a job to do."
Piper paused, choosing her words carefully. "Well, you certainly aren't going to be a stranger any longer. And we certainly won't have a problem trusting you. But you have to understand that we probably will worry and nag at you to be safe, to let us know what you're doing, to eat and sleep more than once or twice a week. But really, is that so much to ask? I mean, really, what would future me say if she knew the shape I'd let you get into?"
"Probably not as much as she'd say if she knew how you've all been treating me this past 6 months." He replied quickly, then flushed. "I'm sorry, that was-"
"Completely understandable." Piper assured, although it had felt a little like a slap. They had treated him like a criminal and all the while, he was something so much more precious than anything she could've imagined. "But really Chris; do you think she'd be happy to know you left your home there to come here and treat yourself so poorly?"
There was suddenly a glaze in his eyes, a hurt that Piper couldn't decipher, and he quickly looked away so she couldn't examine it further. He cleared his throat. "While it's not much different in the future as we're in the middle of war, I agree with you. She would be very upset." He looked back at her, the sadness under control for now. "I'll eat and sleep adequate amounts." He even smiled now, a genuine one even though it was small. "I'll even shower sometimes. Maybe even do that relax thing. But I wouldn't press your luck."
"Haha, you're funny." She replied dryly, and suddenly there it was. They had slipped so easily into a warm relationship, banter that had always existed even though Chris had always seemed more comfortable with it than she-hers now seeming more malicious than friendly in hindsight-and now it was so obvious. She felt so horrible, and she reached out for his hand, amazed that he didn't jerk away this time, only tensed. He met her eyes.
"I'm not trying to invade your space, I just wanted to ask if I could maybe have a hug." She assured quickly. "Or would that be asking too much?"
As the baseball team ran from the field in victory, Chris threw his arms around Piper as she did in return, not minding the dirt from the diamond, placing a kiss on the 12 year old's cheek.
"Moooooom!" He exclaimed at the offensive gesture, wiping his cheek dramatically. "Not in front of the guys!" He whispered through gritted teeth.
"Oh, I'm sorry that my youngest is too grown up to get kisses from his mother, who slaved through 18 hours of labor to bring him into this world, along with the 12 years it's taken to raise him." She teased, ruffling his hair. He threw his arms around her in response, slightly guilty, worried he'd truly upset her.
"I'm sorry, mom. I love you."
"I was only kidding Chris!" She said with a laugh, pulling him close, then placing a kiss on the top of his head too."But I love you too, Peanut."
He just stared at her, the guilt trip tone her voice took on too much for him to resist and he merely nodded, letting her step into him and wrap her arms around him. He closed his eyes, licking his lips, the familiar smell of lavender and vanilla invading his nostrils and he had to remind himself to breathe evenly to not betray the quick gather of tears to his eyes. He returned the hug softly, and felt her smell his shirt, as if she were memorizing him in another way. She pulled away first, knowing she needed to keep it short, a satisfied smile on her face.
"Not so hard was it?"
He smiled softly, swallowing a growing lump in his throat. "No, not at all. But I really do have to get going. I have a few meetings in the underworld, which i'm perfectly capable of handling," He added at her raised eyebrow. "And then that sleep thing you mentioned."
"You could sleep here, you know. This is your home. You could have the guest room." She offered, her voice tinged with hope. Tempting though it was, he shook his head.
"Too soon, Piper." Was all he said. "But I'm happy we got it out of the way tonight. Call me if you need anything, alright?"
She nodded, her emotions suddenly getting the best of her as tears filmed her eyes inexplicably. What was wrong with her?! "And you don't hesitate to come get one of us if you need us. Understand?" Her tone was stern, very mom like, and brooked no room for argument.
He nodded. "I promise, Piper. Get some rest. You've got a long couple of months ahead of you." He replied with a nod. Without breaking eye contact, he dissolved into a flurry of blue lights and disappeared from the room.
She sat on the foot of her bed, the tears finally surfacing and spilling over as Phoebe and Paige soon made their way into the room.
"How'd it all-oh honey, what's wrong?!" Phoebe asked quickly sitting next to her. Piper shook her head as she cried, a smile on her face.
"No, no, it's okay, i'm okay, it's just...I'm gonna have another baby." She replied with a short laugh. "And he's going to grow up to be so amazing. I'm just...overwhelmed."
Her sisters smiled back and suddenly began to laugh and shriek as they threw their arms around her, joining in her mini-celebration as they settled onto the bed, begging for details of the exchange.
Miles away, on the Golden Gate Bridge, Chris leaned against a steel pole, eyes burning with tears he refused to shed. He had anticipated the encounter would happen soon and knew he'd be in no shape to play the stern, unaffected man he needed to be in the underworld. What he needed was a plan; there was so much in his heart and his mind of them, so many christmas's and birthdays, of fights and of lesson's learned, of little moments that kept him going when all he wanted to do was give up. But he couldn't let her see any of that, he couldn't let them get that close, couldn't let them in because any ounce of comfort he allowed himself from them would be distracting, would be his downfall, and ultimately theirs as well.
He sat on the bridge, contemplating the situation he now found himself in, because the fact was while she wasn't his mother, she was at the same time. She had the same mannerisms, same attitude, same voice and habits and everything else that made her his mother and since he'd been around now for 6 months, he'd grown a fondness for her that made it difficult not to notice the connection between the two; the line between the present and the future wasn't as defined as he had been determined to keep it, and he realized now that that had been doomed goal to begin with. So he decided to avoid her, to throw himself into the job he had come here to finish, so that he could change what he needed to for the better, and perhaps, save that which he held most dear in the process.
He sighed. It was going to be a very long couple of months.
is that alright
is that alright
is that alright with you?
AN: The song, again, is "9 Crimes" by Damien Rice, and is so, so good, so I recommend it...the tone just matches the kind of tone I wanted for the story, and you all can leave the interpretations to yourselves. I hope it was alright! (pun intended :) ) Leave reviews! G'night all!