A/N: I don't even know if people still read Charmed fic anymore. I was just rewatching season 6 and decided I wanted to write a Chris fic because I adored that whole storyline. Anyway, it's another one of those Halliwells-find-out-Chris's-true-identity-in-a-different-way stories. This one is AU from the end of Chris-Crossed.
Owls Shattered and Shrieking
Wyatt is seeing red. Chris doesn't have to be living behind his brother's eyes to know this.
Et tu. And you? The words play over and over in Chris's mind. Et tu. And you? And you, Brutus? And you, Chris? Betrayal from the unlikeliest of sources, but Chris has been hearing these words for far longer than Wyatt has. Chris has been hearing them for as long as he's been cognizant that familial grey areas can tread as fast and silent as a jungle cat into the dark.
The dark. Where Wyatt grew like a weed, magic blossoming like a million black flowers through his veins. Where Wyatt was always bigger than Chris, always stronger, and where bigger and stronger didn't hold that ethic, that affection. Big brothers should protect little brothers. It's the way things should be. Mom would always tell Wyatt to look out for Chris.
Chris was never as strong. And Dad never loved him as much.
"You promised you wouldn't hurt him," Bianca says. There's that broken note in her voice, of a girl holding two hands that are pulling her in opposite directions. She's tearing at the seams. Chris doesn't blame her. Not for anything. He's bleeding on the ground, past anger and accusation, splinters of broken table cast off by his limbs.
But Wyatt wanted him turned. Wyatt wanted Bianca to turn him dark, just as Wyatt turned her.
"Chris, please, I didn't bring you here to die," Bianca says, and she's by his side now. She still smells so sweet. And there's that squeak of the floorboard, as Wyatt shifts the weight of his foot onto it, filling Chris with hope. Mom understood. Mom or Aunt Phoebe or Aunt Paige, one of them understood.
Don't think about them like that, he immediately scolds himself, as he's been doing for so long now. Piper. Phoebe. Paige. The Charmed Ones.
"Don't worry," he tells Bianca, and he hopes she won't. "I know what I'm doing."
But he doesn't, apparently, because Wyatt is bigger. Because Wyatt is stronger. Because this Wyatt will always lack big brother ethic.
Chris is thrown across the room. It hurts like a son of a bitch and then he's dragged up by the energy flowing from his brother's fingertips, his feet off the ground, and he's dangling like a rag doll, like a puppet, helpless and bound by his brother's invisible strings.
He sees the energy ball collect, swirling blue and purple and white. An imminent end.
But Chris has Bianca. Bianca who still loves him, Bianca who gets a hold of the situation, her hand pushing through Wyatt's back for approximately three fifths of a second before Wyatt, with all his bigness and strong-ness, turns it right around on her.
And then Bianca is on the ground. Still. Silent.
The strings snap and Chris is dead weight on the floor. He feels liquid running down his face in little trickles, leaving his cheeks damp and sticky.
"I forgave her once," Wyatt says softly. Chris hears the sound of boots, heavy steps coming closer. "I couldn't forgive her again. I can still forgive you, though. You're my brother, Chris. You get chances."
"I don't want any of your stupid chances." He doesn't feel the words leave his mouth. He only hears them, and they sound dead and flat, like the words of a ghost twelve years past. I don't want to play your stupid game, Wyatt. Chris's eyes drift to Bianca's body, but he can't make them look at her face. They rest on her leg, her ankle, her foot. Just a limb and an appendage. That's all it is. That's not Bianca. That's not the girl he loved.
Soft goes hard. Wyatt's voice is like stone. "If you would only be smart and listen, Chris."
"I am smart. And I don't listen."
Chris is smart. And he doesn't listen. Both of these things are true. He has selective hearing. He finds his own way.
Sometimes he lacks for common sense.
Wyatt's voice is still stone, and smoother still. "Well, then. I suppose I have to teach you to, don't I? It's my duty as your big brother."
"Do you?" Chris asks, waiting for her foot to twitch. Waiting for her to not be dead. "Is it?"
Wyatt kneels down. He smells like cologne and mint and tea leaves. Clean. Polished.
Chris feels his brother's heavy hand on his shoulder, the nails biting into his skin as Wyatt squeezes just a little too hard. "It is," he says, and the squeezing stops. The hand is gone. It's in front of Chris's face now, drawing his attention. "Now listen carefully, Chris."
Wyatt jerks his hand at an angle, the movement sure and precise like he's cutting a slice of meat in a way that denotes he wants it to be aesthetically pleasing on the plate.
Chris feels the sharp cut in his upper right side, his blood warm as it spills, dampening his shirt. He hears his own cry, but it feels caught in his throat. How did it get out when it's still there?
Again, Wyatt slashes his hand. Again, Chris's skin opens and leaks. Again and again and again, and it's just when he thinks that his brother will never stop that he does. Chris doesn't know how many cuts are in him now, but it ends right above his right hip.
"Did you hear?" Wyatt asks, his voice not unkind. Chris doesn't respond. He doesn't know if he can. He wonders if he's bleeding to death.
He feels his brother's hand on his head, petting him patronizingly. "I know you did. I'll be right back, Chris. I have something to attend to. Stay here like a good boy. It's not like you have powers, anyway. Can't go anywhere. Can't do anything." And the hand is gone again. Chris flinches instinctively, but this time, Wyatt leaves with it.
It's just Chris in the attic. Just Chris and his dead fiancée.
Just a foot, he tries to tell himself. It's not her. It's just a foot.
He drags himself along the attic floor, each movement excruciating. He pries the floorboard open, pulls out the piece of paper he knew was there.
His voice is barely a voice as he croaks, "Powers of witches rise, come to me across the skies, return my magic, give me back, all those taken from the attack."
He feels the magic rush hot in its return. His body screams as he climbs to his feet. The Book of Shadows remains open and untouched, evidence of the fact that Wyatt's ego overpowers his sense of caution.
"Hear these words, hear the rhyme, heed the hope within my mind, send me back to where I'll find, what I wish in place and time."
The portal sparks open. Chris rips the spell out of the book, keeps his eyes averted from Bianca on the floor as he stumbles over and collapses through.
Mom. Mom's voice.
No, Piper. Piper's voice.
"Chris, sweetie, you're going to be okay. Leo's going to heal you."
"There's a lot of wounds." Dad's voice drifts into Chris's consciousness, warm and soothing. He feels like he heard it this way before, once. But that seems like a long time ago. "We have to get the shirt off of him. I have to see them…"
"Chris, honey, it's going to be okay." Aunt Phoebe.
No, Leo. Leo and Phoebe.
Multiple pairs of hands maneuver him gently from the ground and peel the shirt from his body.
A collective gasp fills the attic.
"Oh my god." Aunt Paige.
"Chris." Anger. Mom's angry. And concerned. "Chris, who did this to you?" He feels cool fingertips on his tear-stained cheeks. "Chris, who?"
His head is dark and full of cotton and he just wants to go to sleep. Piper, he reminds himself, relishing in her touch. Not Mom. Piper.
"Chris," she repeats. "Who?"
Leo's power laps over his bleeding side like warm ocean waves. His skin melds back into place, becoming whole again. Chris is vaguely aware that his head is in his mother's lap for the first time in so long, and she's asking him a question that he listened to. That he heard.
He doesn't feel it come out of his mouth, but he hears it.