Hey, this is mainly a fluff story but the idea I've got at the moment with the way Chris acts as a kid here may be explored into other stories. Because I don't believe that Chris simply faded away like that, I never had, so the idea that the two of them joined together when he was born is probably most likely since Chris knew how to get to Victor's when he came back in Forever Charmed. And in this story it's like the two Chris's are joined and just that fact has him a little messed up; but not in a overall bad way. You'll get it when you read the story...
Leo glanced up from the grueling bills on the table, catching sight of his youngest peeking out from the doorway. He could hear Wyatt's videogames from the other room, traces of crashes and smashes coming from the sound system; the place where Chris would normally be at this early hour of the morning.
"Um...are you..." Leo watched curiously as Chris's eyes flickered between two different points either side of Leo, not making eye contact with him. He shifted on his feet uncomfortably before he saw the stack of opened and unopened envelopes on the table, then shook his head, "Um, never mind. You're busy." He turned round and Leo saw the coming of a dash for escape.
Leo watched with a raised eyebrow as Chris twirled back round slowly, biting his fingernails nervously. Leo put the electricity bill down, "They can wait."
"But they need doing." Chris shot back, and Leo frowned, not in the least understanding what made his son so desperate for an escape all of a sudden.
"And I can do them later..." Leo said back, leaning forward with concern at his son's obvious jitteriness. "What's going on?"
"Chris, come on, talk to me. Do you want something?"
Leo saw Chris's hand twitch a little at the word 'want', and father considered son carefully as Chris shook his head, hair obscuring the bowed forehead.
Leo hesitated a little himself now too, "Is something wrong? You know you can tell me anything, right?" Leo watched as Chris nodded his head, then shifted uncomfortably again. Leo was aware that Chris knew that factor already so that wasn't really up for debate, and so his son's uncertainty continued to baffle him.
But then Leo remembered who Chris was, and that knowing that factor was very different to putting it into practice, especially when it came to Chris with his already scary independence at four years old.
And then Leo remembered the twitch. "Do you want me to get you something?"
Another twitch at the word, and Leo found it echoing strangely in his head with Chris's presence as well, not used to its place when dealing with this particular child. He frowned to himself, was it wrong to feel like that when his son actually seemed to come to him for something?
Was it really that strange?
With that, Leo came to the realization that it actually was; because at four years old his son had done more and had accomplished more than Wyatt had with his older age. He was always determined to do things himself, and Leo remembered dealing with countless mis-matched socks, inside-out jumpers and plastered bumps from falls off chairs as Chris would try to grasp something so obviously out of his reach before giving up and just orbing it to himself. And even when he would fall, he would cry, but he wouldn't scream for mummy and daddy to come as comfort.
Leo remembered the soft sobs when he'd walked into the dining room once, accompanied by a toppled chair, chipped corner table and his little son clutching at his bleeding forehead from when he'd fallen and whacked it. Chris hadn't called out for him when he'd fallen, instead trying to seek comfort from himself before Leo had come in with a worried horror. He'd had Chris bundled in his arms in an instant, rocking him and inspecting the cut at the same time; at that moment wishing with all his heart that he could still heal simply to cure his son's pain. Chris had walked around with a flowery plaster over his eyebrow for two weeks, and he'd complained about the pattern without restraint the first of the two weeks.
His son was a weird little guy Leo was willing to admit, because he revelled in the comfort once it was offered, but he would never ask for it. Leo really couldn't remember a time where Chris had asked him for something he wanted, it always seemed to be him who had to make the first move.
Leo watched Chris's thumbs twiddle, shifting another time; reminiscent of a young whitelighter. He shrugged, "I don't know..." He mumbled, fidgeting some more.
"No?" Leo asked softly, running over his question to Chris again. 'Do you want me to get you something?'
Chris shook his head gently, "Not really."
Leo watched him carefully, willing with all his heart for his little boy to make this easier and just come out to Leo himself, but Leo couldn't just open his arms up like he wanted to do, Chris had to get the words out, because Leo needed to know that Chris was capable of asking for help.
A spectacular crash rocked the house from the other room as Wyatt's virtual car found itself at the bottom of a massive pile up, followed immediately as Chris winced at the sound, almost like it hurt him.
"Wyatt, turn the volume down!" Leo called through the doorway, the only response being a frustrated growl from his eldest. "Wyatt, volume!"
His eyes returned to Chris as the volume turned down so it was only a quiet murmur in the kitchen, and Leo didn't fail to notice Chris's shoulders relax and slacken with the lowered noise. He leaned forward with concern as to why his son had winced and Chris edged away from the doorway slyly, finding his way further into the room; and Leo wasn't sure whether it was to further himself from the noise or an unconscious slink to get closer to his father.
Come on Chris, Leo willed his strange son, wishing he could just know so he could simply give in to his desire to scoop his son up and deal with whatever the problem was. Chris's suspense was killing him, and the wince and slink only made Leo's urge to coddle him grow to a new strength, even without establishing what the problem was. That's all he would have to do with Wyatt, his eldest would just walk up and tell him what he wanted and that would be it.
But Chris wasn't Wyatt, Leo reminded himself, Chris didn't ask for help easily.
Leo's patience kicked in again, coddling Chris like he would Wyatt wouldn't work in teaching Chris anything, only leaving them stuck on the same stone they were now and Leo needed Chris to prove to him that he could ask for help. "Maybe you don't actually want anything? How bout you just tell me what's going on and we can figure out if you do want something in a minute?"
He had to take this slow and careful, because Chris needed to learn it was okay to ask for help sometimes, as Leo remembered painfully that asking for help was something the Other Chris hadn't been able to do properly. Not until it was too late.
Chris looked at him speculatively, as if he were judging what to say next, like the absurd thought that he could do something wrong that would make Leo hate him. He smiled as his son nodded, detecting the little quirk of the lips on Chris's face - he liked the idea.
Slow and steady wins the race.
"So what's up?"
Leo clasped his hands together as Chris glanced around, determined to avoid eye contact. "I just..." Chris faltered, looking at his feet. Come on Buddy, Leo willed silently, still not being able to understand why Chris found it so hard to express himself when it came to this. Anything else and Chris had no problems, he was a happy child, Leo knew he was; just like he knew that he and Chris were close. Any other time there was giggles and laughs, but when it came to situations like this where Chris felt like he would be demanding attention, his little boy always seemed to get agitated. And as much as Leo loved his son, he needed to make Chris understand there was nothing wrong with asking for a little attention, and so, Leo needed to change Chris's feverent attitude. He just needed to make sure Chris could not only understand that he could come to Leo, but actually have the ability to do it as well.
"Come on Slugger, talk to me."
Chris's eyes flickered back to him almost vulnerably, and it was only now at this point that Leo noticed that his hand had been curled over his abdomen, and the fact that he was also looking suspiciously pale. Glistening green eyes saw Leo, "Daddy I don't feel good."
Leo's inner self took a step back in shock, was that it? Was that all that was wrong? But he still smiled, because either way, no matter how many over-dramatic scenarios of what it could have been ran through his head, and no matter how long it had taken Chris to get out - he'd done it.
He'd admitted that he'd needed help.
And Leo knew it would sound strange to anyone else, but he couldn't be prouder.
He smiled kindly, extending his arms; Chris had done enough for today, and Leo most definitely wouldn't deny him his comfort after all that obvious work it had taken him to get the words out. "Come here Buddy."
Chris didn't hesitate in dashing over to the table as Leo pulled him into his lap, hand still curled around his tummy as Leo kissed his mussed up hair; Chris snuggled into his jumper.
"What's hurting, huh?"
"My tummy." Chris mumbled quietly into the fabric, hand clutched protectively around said body part. "An' Wy's games were making my head hurt."
"Too loud, huh?" Leo asked softly, running his hand soothingly down his spine, the motion seeming to always have a calming effect on his baby boy. That explains the wince, Leo thought, calming a little now and shaking his head inwardly at his paranoia of fearing the worst whenever it came to Chris.
"Too bright too." Came another mumble.
"Okay..." Leo soothed as he rubbed the back of his baby, "Don't you worry okay, I got you. You'll be as good as new before you know it, okay? We'll get you some nasty medicine, and you'll be jumping around like Tigger again in no time."
He heard a little giggle followed by a distasteful, "Yuck."
He chuckled, smiling at the little boy, "How bout we get you to bed?"
"No!" The exclamation came quickly as a squeak, and Chris looked down in embarrassment. Leo cocked his head, waiting for something he didn't think would come; and just like that, his little boy proved him wrong. "I...I don't..."
"You don't wanna go to bed?" Leo finished for him, helping him along as much as he could.
A shaking of the head as Chris snuggled again into his jumper, and a mumble. Leo hands curled again, a brilliant smile lighting up his face as he heard the quiet muffled voice he'd actually almost missed. But he had heard, and he snuggled as well this time into Chris's hair, because Leo hadn't even needed to push his delicate insecurity of asking for attention for his youngest to say it, he'd done it all by himself.
'Can't I stay here with you daddy?'
Two large fingers stroked a small soft face, tracing the peaky cheek tinted with a rosy darkness. "Of course you can Buddy."
A little pale hand wound its way into his jumper as a response, the other one scrabbling as it tried to find its way round his neck, and Leo hoisted the little boy up so he could reach round. He kissed that soft hair again, smoothing circles curling over the arc of his son's back as Leo hugged him. Chris had done it, and now Leo could coddle to his hearts desire.
Nothing else needed to be said, and although the two-sides of Chris's personality differed spectacularly with strangeness, Leo wouldn't have his son any other way.
Chris would always be two parts, each signifying something different to Leo but neither would ever more important than the other. His independence would always be the Other Chris...and the side right now with his nose smushed up against Leo's cotton jumper; this would always be his Chris.
He was only four, but Leo's little boy didn't come for cuddles like Wyatt did, and so he really didn't get to see his Chris that often anymore.
But he really loved it when he did.
Hope you liked the story and please tell me what you guys think, so yeah, you know, review please. And thank you for anyone who did actually read the story.