It started out as a feeling
Which then grew into a hope
Which then turned into a quiet thought
Which then turned into a quiet word

~Regina Spektor: The Call

It started out as an inkling. Undefined, barely perceptible, hovering on the edge of her consciousness. His baby blue-green eyes stirring a sense of awareness in her for something that had slipped from her mind. She didn't know what it was or meant, this feeling of stunned familiarity. Each time she would look at him it would struggle to solidify and make its message clear. And each time, ultimately, it would fail. It would fade, forgotten, until the next unprepared glance she got of him.

By the time he was eight, it had grown into a suspicion, a forbidden hope that she dared not to speak nor think of. It was taboo. Yet each time she looked at him, really looked, the suspicion would return anew accompanied by an overwhelming sense of guilt. She barred the suspicion. Ignored it. Justified it. The name was easy. She and Leo had settled on Christopher immediately; it was both the name of Leo's grandfather as well as the man who had saved their son. She'd given him the middle name of Perry as a sole honor to the whitelighter she'd come to care deeply for against all odds. The similarities she ignored; skipping over the ones that ignited suspicion and focusing on the ones that were all her Chris and hers alone. He wasn't neurotic or secretive or deceitful. He was honest, open, and sincere. He meant the world to her family and family meant the world to him. Oddly enough it was Chris's comment when they'd first met that had made her ensure this.

"I never got to know my family."

She'd made sure that was not the case for her Chris; she made sure both her and Leo were always there no matter what. Oh sure they'd had their fights about it, dealing with Leo's job was tough, but they'd made it through together.

When he reached fifteen, the suspicion formed a quiet thought, It was him all along, and brought with it a cascade of questions and emotions. It was almost too obvious with his deep chocolate colored hair he'd decided to let grow out slightly despite her pushing for a haircut, the fine featured face she remembered only too well slowly shaping before her, the soft tenor of his voice emerging more and more as he grew older, and the startling green eyes that could peer effortlessly into her soul. But it was the personality, shining through in all the right places, that scared her the most. His devil-may-care smirk when he was enjoying something, his to-Hell-with-you attitude when he was annoyed, his dedicated determination to defending those he cared about, his fierce protectiveness for Wyatt in spite of being the younger sibling…

It terrified her. This quiet thought that her Chris was Chris Perry and that Chris Perry was her Chris. The implications it gave crushed her under wave after wave of emotions she didn't know how to handle. All the things Chris had ever said flooded back, and she wished so fervently now that she would have paid more attention to him. Every single phrase spoken surged through her mind with the tears that cascaded down her cheeks. The family he'd never gotten to know was them. Why had he never known them? Something she'd likely never know the answer to. There were so many things she never bothered to ask Chris. She'd never bothered to really get to know him. What's your favorite color? What do you like to eat? What did you want to grow up to be? Quick questions, simple answers. Never asked.

And all the things she'd said careened back as well. The threats she'd screamed, the insults she'd thrown, the hurts she'd inflicted. She'd blamed Chris for sending Leo away; for making him an Elder. She'd distrusted Chris to a whole new level of distrust even Prue had never attained. She'd verbally abused him, kicked him out of the manor, and all but tried to kill him. She really was a despicable person for never noticing, never realizing, never connecting the dots. It had been so obvious…

It only horrified her because she was wrong. Her Chris wasn't really Chris Perry, and so she'd never get the chance to right her wrongs against him. Chris Perry had died saving Wyatt, saving them all. His spirit had been returned, reborn in her Chris, but not as Chris Perry. He didn't have the same life or the same experiences. That's what she tried so hard to believe, but again she was wrong. He was different, yet, in essence, the same.

Same soul. Same memories.

She often wondered if he would remember when he was Chris Perry. There was always the possibility; his situation was so unique as it were, there was no guarantee either way. Part of her was scared, not wanting him to ever remember. She didn't want him to remember all the things she'd done. And, she was ashamed for thinking it, she didn't want him to be tarnished by what Chris had endured; the future he'd come from was so dark, brutal, and vile. But another part hoped he would remember, prayed even, that he would remember so she could try and make it right as much as she could.

She'd warred between the two for years.

By the time he was eighteen she knew she'd lost him in ways and gained him in others. Her secret dark hope had been granted. He never spoke of it, but she noticed the change. Gradual, she'd nearly missed it, but she had been watching him closely for so long she'd eventually seen it. Yet, she let him keep his silence and never brought it up. Kept silent in her own blanket of denial as he grew more distant from her in some ways and closer in others. He still talked to her, still called her mom, still bestowed upon her his much valued smiles and hugs, but the warmth and closeness was faded now, replaced with comfortable familiarity like that shared between dear friends.

She was a coward in the face of this. Unable to face it. She wanted to, needed to, but failed to summon up enough courage to do so. And she tried to carry on as normal as possible, wanting to forget past transgressions, to simply move past them.

But that wasn't an option. The quiet thought turned into a quiet word. Spoken it was undeniable. Irrevocable. Out in the open, it had to be faced, and she had to take the first step.

He was in the attic flipping quietly through the Book of Shadows, spinning an ornate athame on the tips of his slender fingers. His hair hung in front of his eyes, the chocolate hued fringe spilling across olive toned skin and camouflaging the intensity in his expression. So much like before…

She walked into the room softly, clearing her throat to gain his attention.

He jumped slightly, gaze snapping up from the book to land instantly on her. "Piper…" he said. Immediately he winced catching his slip. He opened his mouth again, but she shook her head closing the distance between them quickly. She wrapped her arms around him, pulling him close and squeezing her eyes shut at the damp sensation filling them. She cried, running her fingers through his hair as she held him.

"I'm so sorry, baby," she whispered. "I'm so, so sorry."

He was still a moment, hesitating, and then he nodded hugging her back just as tightly.

"I know you are Mom."

Now we're back to the beginning
It's just a feeling and no one knows yet
But just because they can't feel it too
Doesn't mean that you have to forget

Just a rather short piece that invaded my head and wouldn't get was kinda weird but oh well...

Review if you'd be so kind...I don't really care...though it is nice to receive feedback to know how I did...

Thanks for reading