A/N: This is a missing moment from Chapter 26 in my story "If at First You Don't Succeed." You will need to read that first to fully understand this :)
Chris was half way up the stairs; just a few more steps to freedom. Certainly Wy would forget all about the vanquish by tomorrow. He could hear that his parents talking downstairs but not what they were saying. He was safe, right? There was no yelling, no lecturing and definitely no being sent to his room for any other kind of discipline. Two more steps, come on, luck hold out.
The tiny voice reverberated throughout the stair well, not because of the words were overly loud, just because what the words actually were, "Cwiss, lighs, fingwers… BOOM!" the baby voice of little Wyatt rang out.
There was a beat; maybe a heartbeat of time where Chris prayed that his parents hadn't heard what his little 'big' brother said.
The next word could be heard throughout the house when Piper yelled, "CHRISTOPHER!"
Chris shoulders slumped. No such luck for him. Of course his parents heard that. If he had to be honest with himself, they had to know more than just those four little words spoken by the toddler or Piper wouldn't have asked the question of 'where did the slime demon come from' in the first place.
He weighed his options quickly; no more than a second had passed since his mother yelled out his full first name. From past experience that was NEVER a good thing. It rated up there with being called 'Little Boy'. Those two names were second and third behind being called by his full name, Christopher Perry. Invoking the 'holy middle name' as he liked it to call it. He could run, or orb out but that would only make this worse. It would be later but much, much worse. Well, at least if they were anything like his Wy from the future it would be. Now two seconds had passed when he quietly answered, "Yes, ma'am?"
He still hadn't turned back; his only saving grace was that he was still holding Wyatt in his arms. Would it be a viable excuse to tuck the toddler into bed? That answer was quickly given to him when Piper said, "Get your ass back down here."
Apparently there would be no reasonable way for him to delay this chat with his parents. He perked up a bit when he thought those words. A chat! That is all this would be, Dad had said he would talk to him about his discipline now. He gave a silent relieved sigh as he turned to face his very angry parents.
When he reached the living room he began to speak, "Mom, I didn't…"
Piper wasn't having it. She gave him a cold glance that had him faltering for speech. She softened her look before she turned to Wyatt and said, "Hey buddy," she gave him a big reassuring smile, "What went boom?"
Chris groaned; this wasn't going to be good.
Wyatt lifted his hand and wiggled his fingers repeating the, "Cwiss, lighs, fingwers… BOOM!" He was smiling innocently as only a young child could do.
Piper contained her anger well as she tried to decipher the baby talk, "You saw Chris use his magic?"
The baby nodded enthusiastically as he wiggled his fingers in demonstration, "Fingwers… ligh… ligh… ligh-ning… BOOM!"
Leo sat up abruptly and tried to contain his anger as he realized what Wyatt was saying, "Lightning? Chris used lightning from his fingers?"
Wyatt again nodded in agreement as he said, "Uh hum," with a big smile.
Leo smiled back but it was a forced smile, hiding his anger.
Piper looked at Leo questioningly, what did lightning from his fingers mean?
Leo saw the look from Piper but didn't remove his gaze from Chris as he said, "An Elder power…" He left the statement linger for a moment before he told Chris, "Go put your brother to bed."
Chris looked to his mother then back to his father before he said, "Yes, sir." And he walked quickly back up the stairs. He took his time changing his brother to get him ready for bed and again considered running and hiding. Maybe it would be better to head back through the portal to the future and see what lay in wait for him there. He threw that thought out as soon as he had it. There was NO WAY he wanted to deal with Wyatt now. He had been gone, without permission, for months! And with Wyatt on this new power kick his big brother might actually kill him. No, it was better to deal with his current parents. "You made the choice, now face the music," isn't that what Wyatt had told him once?
Chris tucked the toddler in the crib, handed him his wuvy and turned to head back downstairs to face his parents. He kept reassuring himself, 'Dad said he wanted to talk discipline stuff with him. That's all, just talk…'
/ CHARMED / CHARMED / CHARMED /
When Chris left Leo and Piper to take Wyatt upstairs, Piper turned to Leo and asked, "What do you mean 'an Elder power'?"
Leo shook his head, "He is part Elder, part witch. The ability to shoot lightning through our fingers is an Elder power. It is something that is supposed to be used in dire emergencies only."
"And he used that to try to vanquish the green blob in the factory," Piper said. She paused to think everything over, "Darryl called to get help to deal with that demon. Chris answered the call and he took Wyatt with him?"
"I don't know, that is something we are going to have to ask him when he comes back down," Leo said calmly even though the very last thing he felt was calm.
"I am going to bind his powers! Let's see him try to solo demon hunt without any powers!" Piper said hotly.
Leo put a reassuring hand on her shoulder, "Let's just wait to see what he has to say." He lowered the next words to a whisper, "Besides, it won't be safe for him to be without magic."
Their conversation was halted when Chris came walking back into the living room. He stood there for a moment not knowing what to do when Piper pointed to the chair opposite them and said, "Sit!"
Chris did as instructed and suddenly found the small hole in the knee of his jeans very interesting. He stared at it and then moved one hand over to slowly pick at the fibers of the jeans fraying around the hole.
Piper watched her son nervously fidget but didn't feel any compassion for the boy at the moment. He took a baby demon hunting! She thought he knew better! She was just about to lay into him when she felt Leo's hand rub her arm soothingly. It took the edge of her anger; just enough for her to say, "I want answers, Christopher… Honest answers."
At the first word spoken Chris's eyes shot up to his mother's. He cringed when he heard his full first name again. There was no getting out of this so he said, "Yes, ma'am."
There was a pause while Chris waited for any questions. He could figure out how much they knew if they were asking the questions.
Piper saw the delay for what it was. She had tried this tactic in her youth with Grams. It wasn't going to work for him either. She raised her eyebrow and asked, "Well?"
Chris looked down at the hole in his jeans again as he asked, "What do you want to know?"
Leo again rubbed soothingly on Piper's arm as she was starting to get angry again. This time it was Leo that said, "Everything. We want to know what happened from the moment the phone rang this morning."
Chris slumped into himself. He knew they knew more than just what Wyatt had told them. If they knew about the phone call that meant that Darryl had spoken with them already, "Uncle Darryl called this morning about the demon, I answered and I thought I could handle it," Chris mumbled to his jeans.
"At what point did you think it was a good idea to bring your two year old brother to a vanquish with you?" Piper asked sharply.
Chris's sat up in his seat and began to race through his words, "I swear I didn't bring him with me. I would never do that! I was just thinking Seth and the demon hunting we used to go on and then about the pretend vanquish Wyatt took me on and suddenly he was there." His eyes went from his mother to his father as he repeated, "I swear!"
Leo listened to all of those words and suddenly he had an idea of how to handle Chris. Piper was about to speak again so he gently squeezed her arm to tell her he had an idea. She looked up at him and waited.
Chris looked panicked. His parents just had to believe he wouldn't have taken Wyatt there on purpose! They would never trust him around the baby again if they didn't believe him!
Leo thought back to the discussion they had with Chris about his bond with Wyatt. Chris had said that every time he thought about Wyatt, the baby just appeared. It seemed that when Chris was calling out to his brother, wishing him there, the baby version heard and heeded the call.
Leo then thought about what Chris had said about Wyatt setting up a pretend vanquish. He doubted that Chris realized how much he had just given away with that statement. Wyatt was always trying to keep him safe because it was Wyatt that had raised him. Decision made the next question Leo asked was, "What would Wyatt do?"
Piper held in her smile. She knew what Leo was doing. They both knew that Wyatt was the one to raise Chris, so what would the punishment be for this? She remembered how Chris had said Wyatt would have kicked his butt for yelling at him. Leo was right, this is the way they needed to handle Chris; by the rules that he was raised with.
Chris's jaw dropped; they couldn't be asking what big Wyatt would do, could they? "Wha- what?" was his elegant response.
Leo repeated himself, "I asked what Wyatt would have done if he caught you?"
Chris's eyes darted between both parents. They were both intently staring back at him. How did they know it was Wyatt? Oh crap! The thought of that wooden spoon flashed in his mind. But no, that was if caught in the underworld. He wasn't in the underworld and to be honest there is NO WAY he would tell his parents about that spoon! He had to think fast. He lowered his eyes so they didn't see the deceit as he said, "He would, uh…" Darn it! What would be a punishment for this? Oh! Right! "He would ground me." Chris said quickly.
Leo didn't pause, he knew the boy was not telling the truth, "And what would he do when you lied to his face when he asked a direct question?"
Chris's eyes shot back up to his father. He remembered what Wyatt had said about having time to finish his report and go play in the underworld: 'Lie to me and you will be getting that spanking with a bar of soap in your mouth.' This wasn't good!
"I didn't l-lie; I just wasn't f-finished yet…" Chris said panicky.
Piper was the one to respond to that, "Well then, by all means, finish you statement."
Chris blushed scarlet and he looked away so he didn't have to see his parent's reaction, "An- and he would sp- spank me." He was going to stop there, this was embarrassing enough but his mouth kept going without checking in with his brain, "But you can't spank me," he looked up at Leo. "You said… you said you wanted to talk… that's what you said."
Leo nodded, "Yes, I did say I wanted to talk. And we are talking. I need you to understand that we aren't punishing you because we are angry. We are punishing you because you are putting yourself in danger. I also told you I would do anything to keep you safe and I meant it. Even when that means you are going to get a spanking so you can remember that is what will happen the next time you decide to do something so foolish."
"But," Chris said as he looked to Piper for support. It was obvious that Piper was instead supporting Leo's decision. Chris tried again, "But…" Nope, he had nothing to add after that.
Unfortunately for him, Leo did, "Now you can take yourself up to your room and get ready for bed. As soon as we are through with your punishment you will be going to bed."
"But it's still early…" Chris whined but one look at his parents and he decided that he wasn't going to win that argument. He sighed and said, "Yes sir," as he turned to walk back up to his bedroom.
Chris trudged up the stairs and got into his pajamas. He hated waiting more than he hated getting a spanking. Ok, maybe not that much but still… Sitting here in his pajamas waiting to get his butt spanked made him feel like a little kid! Ugh! This had to be part of the punishment!
Piper and Leo watched as Chris solemnly walked up the stairs. Piper patted Leo on the arm and said, "You are doing the right thing. It wouldn't be safe for me to bind his powers; especially not with the threat of Gideon. He needs to be able to protect himself and Wyatt if needed."
Leo nodded his head in agreement. He was sure that Piper was right. And he was also positive that he needed to keep Chris safe. Leo remembered the talk about the way that he had disciplined him. Chris was worried that Leo didn't want to be his dad. What a sad statement on his parenting. He may not have been there before but he was going to be there from now on. If Chris couldn't make the decisions to keep himself safe then they were going to have to give him something he feared more than being hurt by a demon. If a spanking was what it took for Chris to think before he acted then that is what needed to be done.
Leo had one last thought before he could take care of their wayward son. "Do you think you could come up with a spell that will keep Wyatt from hearing Chris for a bit? I don't want this to wake him and cause him to come to Chris's aid again," he said with a slight grin.
"That I can do," Piper said and thought for a moment before she looked up the stairs and said,
"Close their bond without a peep,
Allowing little Wyatt to sleep."
She nodded back to Leo and gave him a supportive smile.
Leo gave a small smile back that looked more like a grimace before he walked up the stairs himself.
/ CHARMED / CHARMED / CHARMED /
Leo walked into the bedroom and sat down on the bed next to Chris. They sat in silence for a moment before Leo finally asked, "Why did you do it?"
Chris shrugged his shoulders.
"Well," Leo started, "I hope you come up with something or we are going to be here for a long time."
Leo helped Chris to his feet as Chris said, "Daaaad, we don't need to do this. I get it, no solo demon hunting." Chris wanted to fight him but Dad was right, if Wy had caught him doing what he had done he would be in the same position he was about to be in now. It didn't make it suck any less though.
Leo led a subdued Chris over his lap as he said, "Apparently I do need to do this. You were already told not to go on demon hunts by yourself. We explained to you that we do things together, as a family. And if that wasn't bad enough, you going by yourself caused Wyatt to follow you."
Chris had a moment of time to think that his dad at least believed him that he didn't take the toddler with him before the first smack hit. It didn't matter how many times he got spanked, he was never quite prepared for that first hit. "Ow," he shouted louder than was strictly necessary, "That was an accident. I didn't mean for him to come!"
Leo took up a steady tempo of swats as he said, "I know you didn't mean for it to happen but it did. He could have gotten hurt. You could have gotten hurt and then how would we find the two of you?"
Chris was already squirming, trying to avoid the well placed smacks to no avail. Now with the words just spoken by Leo it wasn't only his bottom that was hurting. Guilt makes your heart hurt too. Chris said nothing to the last comment because there was nothing he could say that would change what had happened.
Leo didn't like spanking Chris. He was already ready for it to end. There was just one more point he needed to make before that could happen though, "Why did you do it, Chris?"
Chris would have shrugged his shoulders again but Leo wouldn't be able to see him. Chris was near tears when he yelled, "I don't know!" He didn't want to show weakness to his father. There was still that little part of him that wanted to prove he was a man, not a little boy deserving a spanking.
"I think you do," Leo calmly said.
Suddenly Chris had a flashback to the spanking he had gotten when Wyatt found him in the Underworld with the Demon of Fear. Wyatt had said those same exact words. Chris's thoughts at the time were that he didn't know but when he was thinking about yelling exactly that (and maybe a swear word or two) he realized that he had almost died that night. But this was different! He hadn't been in any danger! Sure Wyatt had followed him but Chris protected him! Everything was fine! He didn't even think he would have gotten caught!
Just as that thought hit him so did a particularly hard smack, "Ow, Dad! Please stop! I'm sorry. I won't do it again, I promise!" he cried out.
Leo thought they were almost there, just one question needed to be answered, "Why did you do it, Chris?"
Chris was crying now and had thrown his hand back to protect his butt. Leo took the hand and placed it at the small of his back, never missing a beat. "I get it, Dad. I won't go out on my own ever again. Please stop," Chris cried out. He knew the answer to the question now, but he didn't think it would do his butt any favors by answering it.
Leo reached up and pulled Chris's pajama bottoms down and began the spanking again, "I can continue this longer than you can. Answer the question Christopher!"
With one less layer of protection to his bottom, Chris's resolve crumbled. He yelled out, "Because I thought I could get away with it!"
That is what Leo had thought. He needed Chris to realize that there would be consequences when he put his life in danger. He began to target the tender under curve between the thighs and butt as he asked, "And now?"
Chris howled as the first smacks hit, "Owww, Dad. I won't… I'll never try it again. I'm sorry." He sobbed and lost all fight, just accepting the spanking. He wasn't ever going to try to sneak out and demon hunt again.
Leo kept the same tempo as he said, "I never want to see you put yourself at risk again. There was no reason for you to go on your own. You need to let this be the last time you are punished for sneaking out, or you will find yourself here again? Do you understand me, Little Boy?"
"Yes sir. Never again, I promise," Chris cried out.
Leo stopped the spanking and rubbed soothing circles on Chris's back. He had tears in his own eyes as he took in the repentant form of his son. "It's ok, Baby Boy." He helped him right his pajamas again and sat him in his lap.
Chris snuggled in to his father as he softly cried, "I'm so sorry, Daddy. I won't ever put me or Wy in danger again, I promise."
Leo didn't think Chris had caught the name he called him, but Leo did. 'Daddy', the boy had called him Daddy. Leo hugged him tighter as he whispered, "I've just got to keep you safe. You and your brother mean everything to me." His breath hitched as a tear fell down his cheek, "I can't lose you. I love you."
And for the very first time in Chris's life he said these words, "I love you too, Dad."
A/N: This is only the end of this one shot. More chapters can be found in my story, "If at First You Don't Succeed."