The Importance of Family

Chris sat on the Golden Gate Bridge sulking. Piper had just kicked him out of the house and told him she never wanted to see him again. He tries so hard to keep Piper and Mom separate, but it's just so difficult. For a man who lost his mother as a child, seeing her again and having her treat him like garbage is almost unbearable. If only they would just trust him. They should know by now that he would never hurt them. Suddenly Paige's voice sounded in his head calling for help.

Chris orbed into the attic at the manor where he sensed the sisters. He arrived to find Phoebe on the floor unconcious and Paige and Piper fighting an upper level demon. The demon sent a fireball at Piper and Chris screamed "NO!" and jumped in front of her taking the fireball in the stomach. Chris crumpled to the floor just as Piper finished off the demon in his distraction.

Piper just stood there and looked at Chris for a moment. Why would he jump in front of a fireball for her? She understood his whole thing about how they are needed in the future, but sacrificing his own life for hers? There was no doubt that he was going to die if they didn't do something soon. With that thought she broke out of her daze and ran to Chris' side calling for Leo. She knelt next to Chris and took his hand. "Hold on Chris. Leo will be here soon and he'll heal you." She assured him.

"I'm sorry," Chris gasped out. "I'm sorry I couldn't save him. Please you have to keep trying though. My notes are in the office in P3. Use them." Chris could barely speak by now.

"You're gonna make it Chris. Don't worry. Just hold on." Piper told him. "For gods sakes LEO!"

"Don't...have...much...time. Save...Wyatt. Please." Chris said just as he lost conciousness.

Finally Leo orbed in and took a look at the room. He ran to Phoebe first. "Chris first." Piper called to him.

Leo ignored her and healed Phoebe. "Damnit Leo, I'm not gonna let him die for me. Heal Chris now!"

When he finished with Phoebe he went to Chris. He barely got there in time. "What do you mean die for you?" Leo asked her.

"He jumped in front of that fireball that was headed for me and with his last breaths begged us to save Wyatt and told us where to find his notes. We have really misjudged him." Piper said.

Leo finished healing Chris and he sat up taking a deep breath. Chris looked around and saw everyone watching him. He muttered a quick sorry and orbed out. Piper called for him to wait but he was already gone. Leo turned to Piper and said, "Maybe we did misjudge him as far as being evil, but he still lies and manipulates everything."

"Well maybe he's right and he has his reasons and they are more important. I'm not saying he's my best friend now, but I will at least give him a chance." Piper said sternly.

Leo looked at her in exasperation. "Fine. You give him a chance, but don't expect me to. I don't trust him and I don't like him and that's not gonna change." He orbed out.

Piper looked to her sisters. Phoebe was the first to speak "If you think we should give him a chance I'm with you." Paige nodded her agreement as well.

"Chris!" Piper called. When he orbed back in she said, "I'm sorry for kicking you out and telling you I didn't want to see you again. I was upset. Don't take me at my word. You are still welcome here."

"Thank you Piper, and I'm sorry for trying to manipulate you into binding Wyatt's powers and they way I told you about the future. I probably could have handled it better." Chris said.

"Well if what you said about Wyatt is true, and mind you I won't fully believe it until I have some proof, and we can't save him, I will consider binding his powers. But it will be our decision and we won't be manipulated into it understood?" Piper stared him down. Chris nodded. "And you have to start telling us more. I understand that you can't tell us everything, but you need to be honest with us whenever possible. Why didn't you tell us that Wyatt was evil?"

"Because it would have hurt you to know that. I wanted to spare you all that pain." Chris said sadly staring at the floor.

"Don't worry about our feelings. If it's something we need to know then tell us. No matter how badly it will hurt." Phoebe said.

Chris stopped to think about that for a moment. Was there anything else he should tell them? He couldn't tell them who he was. That was out of the question at least until his mother was pregnant. He couldn't tell them when they die because it would either be changed or it was meant to be. No one needs that hanging over their heads. "There's nothing else I can tell you right now." He said finally.

"Okay, now what was this about notes and research?" Paige asked him. "We want to help."

"Well some of it involves specific events from the future that you can't know about, but the demon research you can help with." Chris said glad that they were finally taking things seriously. "I'll bring my books by tomorrow." They were being nice to him and it was making him nervous. He wasn't used to it. Of course he was sure that it would wear off. Right now they were grateful that he saved Piper, but they would go back to hating him and being suspicious of him soon. He was sure of it. At least he could get some research out of them in the meantime.

The next morning Chris showed up with an entire box full of books. Luckily Chris Perry was his pen name for the books he wrote. He didn't want the fame of being a Halliwell writing demonology books. This way the girls could read them also without betraying his secret. While they were reading the girls tried to make conversation. "So tell us about yourself. I just realized we know nothing about you." Phoebe said.

"I can't tell you about the future," Chris said exasperated thinking this was another plot to learn about the future.

"No, not about the future, about you. You don't need to tell us about any major events or anything." Paige said.

Chris looked at them suspiciously. He would just have to watch what he said. "Well what do you want to know?"

"Well what are your hobbies?" Phoebe asked.

"When I was a kid I loved to draw and write. Mixing potions was great too, and cooking."

"What about when you grew up? Did you still do those things?" Paige asked.

Chris laughed. "The only hobby anyone has in my future is trying to survive."

"Is it really that bad?" Piper asked. At Chris' look she added, "No specifics. Just generalities.

"Yes it's that bad. Think about the worst slum area in the city, multiply it by ten and the whole world over."

Piper nodded sadly as she picked up the next book. "Hey this book is by Chris Perry. Is that you?" She asked him.

"Yeah. Between my photographic memory and lots of detentions in magic school I have a pretty good repertoire of demons. There are a few written by me in there."

"So you were a little troublemaker then?" Paige smirked at him.

"Nothing bad, just a few pranks here and there. My brother and I used to have a lot of fun and some people just didn't appreciate it."

"What kind of pranks?" Piper asked.

"Just little stuff like orbing the test papers away to the library, turning the teachers desk into various animals, that kind of stuff. We just liked to get laughs." Chris smiled fondly remembering better days.

Paige chuckled thinking about how much she would have loved to do stuff like that in school. "You don't strike me as the prankster type."

"War changes people." Chris said sadly. "There isn't much time for pranks when everyone spends all their time fighting for their lives. A prank on a mission can cost lives."

"Still you should relax a little. All work and no play you know." Paige said putting a hand on Chris' shoulder.

"I can't relax. Not until I succeed in my mission. It's too important. Wyatt has to be saved at all costs."

"I know that and believe me I want him to be saved as much as you do, but you can't burn yourself out either. I am curious about one thing if you can tell me. Why were you the one to come back? Why not someone else?" Piper asked.

"Because anyone else wouldn't have bothered trying to save him. They would have just killed him and been done with it." Chris sighed. He hated having to give that much information, but he didn't want their more accepting attitudes to go away. He liked having them care.

"Why are you different? Were you and Wyatt friends or something?" Phoebe asked him.

"Yeah and I can't tell you any more than that so please don't ask." He pleaded with them. They all nodded and went back to the research.

When Chris left that evening the sisters sat around discussing everything that they had learned about Chris that day. "He seems like a great kid who has just seen a lot of bad stuff. He has been thrown into a situation that no one should ever have to be in and is doing his best. I do know that he loves Wyatt deeply. He let his guard down when we were talking about Wyatt and I was able to read that much. I think that they were more than friends." Phoebe told her sisters.

"You mean my son is gay?" Piper asked.

"Maybe. There is no question that Chris loves him very much, but it may be one sided. I don't know."

"So Chris is gay?" Paige asked.

"I don't see any other explanation for a love that strong." Phoebe shrugged.

"Well either way, I'm warming up to him now that we are actually giving him a chance and getting to know him. Have you noticed how skinny he is by the way?" Piper said.

Phoebe and Paige laughed. "You will mother anyone that sits still long enough." Phoebe remarked.

"Well think about it. He's from the future. He has no family or friends here. He can't possibly have a job with as much research and everything else as he does here. How does he afford food or clothes. I can't believe I never thought about it before." Piper said feeling very guilty for not noticing.

Piper went in to start supper and when it was finished she called for Chris. "What's up Piper?" he asked confused as to why they called him.

"Eat." Piper told him.

"You don't have to.." He started.

"Eat." She interrupted a little more forcefully so Chris sat down and made a small plate. At Piper's disapproving look he added more. It was the best meal he had eaten since he was fourteen and ate the last meal Piper cooked.

"How long has it been since you've had a home cooked meal?" Piper asked curiously.

"Eight years. Since my family was killed on my fourteenth birthday." He said sadly and then looked up in alarm. He never meant to let that much information slip, but they had him at ease and he didn't even think about it.

"I'm so sorry Chris. That must have been horrible. And on your birthday too." Phoebe said putting a hand on his arm. Chris got up quickly made an excuse and left.

Piper sighed. "At least he finished his food." She said sadly wishing she had never asked that question.

Piper made sure to feed him at least once a day after that no matter how much he protested. A few weeks passed and they were getting to know little bits more about their neurotic whitelighter and were really enjoying their time with him. Leo still refused to give him the time of day, but no matter. Chris was relaxing a bit more around them as long as Leo wasn't there. He refused to give up any time that could be spent working on the Wyatt issue, but he wasn't as tense doing it and he was eating more even if he still wasn't sleeping any more than he had been.

One day Piper came home to find her sisters and Chris in the attic going through the book. They were adding some information from Chris' books into the book of shadows and Chris was adding illustrations for the current entries. She burst in crying. "What's wrong?" they all chorused together.

"I'm pregnant." She sobbed. Chris cringed. Well that answers that question. He was never going to tell her who he was if she was already upset over the pregnancy.

"Why are you so sad Piper? This is a good thing. Another baby to spoil." Phoebe said happily.

"No I know. I'm happy about the baby, but I'm alone. Leo is gone and he's not coming back. I can't be a single mom to two kids. I don't know what to do." Piper cried.

"Oh honey. You're not alone. Me and Phoebe will be here to help the whole time. I'm sure this baby will turn out great." Paige assured her.

"Well Wyatt turns out evil. What if this baby does too? What if it's because I can't do it without Leo?" Phoebe and Paige looked at Chris for help.

"Piper, Wyatt's turning evil had nothing to do with you. I promise. And this baby will most definitely not be evil." Chris tried his turn as reassuring her.

"That's right. You were friends with Wyatt so you probably knew his siblings too. Do you know this baby." Piper said starting to cheer up a bit.

Chris suddenly felt very self conscious. If he gave them too much information they would figure out his secret and even though they were getting along better lately he still didn't think she would want to know that he was her son. Maybe he could just give them the bare minimum of information and they wouldn't figure it out. "Yes." he said.

"Ohhh. Is it a boy or girl?" Phoebe asked excitedly.

Chris looked to Piper. "Do you want to know?"

"Yes. Please. It will make things so much easier. We had to redecorate after Wyatt was born and he still had to wear pink the first few days." Piper laughed at the memory.

"Okay then. It's another boy." Chris smiled at the thought of his megalomaniac brother in pink as a baby. He would tell them anything to avoid that fate for himself.

"What is his name?" Paige asked.

"I can't tell you that." Chris said looking distinctly uncomfortable now.

Piper looked at him curiously. Now that she knew she would have another son the signs were easy to spot and she noticed the similarities between Chris and the rest of the family. "Chris." She said softly.

"What?" He asked her thinking she was talking to him.

"We name him Chris" She said in awe looking straight at Chris. "Don't we?"

Chris looked at her panicking. What could he say to that? What if she didn't want him? He didn't know if he could handle that rejection. Apparently Piper saw what she was looking for in his eyes and went forward and embraced him. All fears of rejection left his mind in that moment and he just relished being in his mothers arms once again. "Yeah. Yeah you do." He said as he wrapped his arms around her.

"I love you" She told him.

"I love you too" He said back.

Unfortunately Leo orbed in at that moment and saw them hugging and professing their love and went into a rage. "What the hell is going on here?!" He yelled. "What you just jump onto the closest whitelighter as soon as I leave?" he said to Piper.

"Don't you dare talk to her like that!" Chris cried stepping in between Piper and Leo.

Just as Leo drew back to hit Chris Piper screamed. "Leo don't! He's our son!"

Leo looked flabbergasted for a moment then recovered and glared at Chris. "Yeah I'm sure that's what he told you. You know he can't be trusted. He's probably just lying again just like he was lying about Wyatt turning evil."

"Of course dad," he sneered at Leo. "Because I've never been anything but a liar. You don't know me. You never cared to, so don't you dare come in here and presume to." Chris was getting pissed.

Piper stepped back in front of Chris as Phoebe and Paige came over to stand between Leo and Chris too. "For your information Leo, I figured it out. He didn't have to tell me anything." Piper told him.

"Yeah. Think about it Leo. Think of all the things he's said and done since he's been here." Phoebe said. " 'you guys keep this stuff forever, you know that?' or when he told Piper, 'Never in my life have I seen you take the bait the way that witch took it from you' and a hundred other little things. Who else would come back through time risking everything to save Wyatt if not his brother? The way he knows the book of shadows so well. He even looks just like Piper with your eyes. We just never saw it because we were so busy following your lead and mistrusting him. Just think about it and look at him Leo."

"Don't worry Aunt Phoebe. He never wanted me anyway. It doesn't matter." Chris said bitterly.

Leo looked at him closely and finally saw the resemblance. His eyes got wide and he orbed away. Piper turned to Chris. "Don't worry baby. He'll come around. It's just a shock."

Chris scoffed. "You guys are taking it fine."

"Well we already liked you, and we do still feel guilty about the way we treated you until recently, but we have some good memories with you too so it's not so bad. If I know Leo he is feeling so guilty that he needs time to process." Piper assured him.

"I doubt it," Chris said. "He was never there growing up. Too busy being an elder. It really doesn't matter. I'm used to not having a father."

Unknown to everyone else Leo didn't orb far and he was still listening. He just needed to take the focus off of him long enough to think. After hearing that, however, he did orb out to the golden gate bridge to think. A few hours later he finally decided. He called Chris who orbed out of arms reach with a defensive posture. "I just needed you here to give me a hand" Leo said as he jumped off the bridge. Chris sat there with a look of shock on his face for a moment before he orbed to the bottom of the bridge. Leo landed with an oof and was pretty banged up, but otherwise fine. "Orb me back to the manor please." He asked Chris.

Chris, still too shocked to speak, did as he was asked. When they reformed he finally squeaked out a soft "Why?"

"I don't want my sons to have to get used to not having a father. I want to be able to know my sons and this is the only way I will be able to without interference. Please, just give me a chance to be there?" he pleaded with his son.

"Do right by my younger self and you'll have my forgiveness when I reenter the timeline. That's the best I can do." Chris said stiffly.

"I will and I will also not give up on you. You are still my son no matter where in the timeline you are."

"Just don't expect too much." Chris said as he went back up to the attic to get his mom and aunts and tell them what Leo did. He would need some first aid.