Note: This story is going to be very heavily focused on Chris, and on others' impressions of him. Wyatt, Paige, Phoebe, Henry and Bianca will be in most of the story, with secondary characters of Coop and one of Phoebe's daughters. I'll probably just gloss over the rest of the family, as they're not going to be the focus here. I'm sure Leo and Piper will get mentions, but in this unchanged future they are both already dead.
Also, this prologue takes place two years before the rest of the story, right when Wyatt is turning eighteen. So there will be a time jump for Chapter 1.
Prologue (New World Order):
They were having their usual Sunday dinner, when it happened.
Wyatt was late, which was typical, so they had already begun to eat. Then the walls started to shudder, with such an ominous thrum riding past all the windows that Chris was surprised when not one of them broke. They parted the curtains and that was when they saw the sky had gone dark, with wide, flat storm clouds blocking out most of the sun. There was just enough light left to glance the off the outlines of the dragons that were gliding past the suburban streets, looking just exactly as if they belonged there.
They called for Leo first, but he never came. They tried Wyatt desperately, but there was no answer. None of the doors would open, none of the windows would open, and no spell they tried would let them out.
The house across the street disappeared in a rush of fire and smoke, but nothing touched them. Debris bounced off the manor with a blue tinged glow and just ricocheted straight off.
That was when Chris knew.
The rest of the family kept rushing around, up into the attic and back to the kitchen, down to the basement and up again—searching for texts or spells or potions that would get them out, that would save them, save the world. They called for Leo every few minutes, for Wyatt with every other breath.
Chris just stood there by the window, watching the destruction. He knew there was nothing they could do, and he knew Wyatt would not answer their calls.
Because the only one that could have done this was Wyatt himself.
They weren't trapped here just so they couldn't help, they were trapped here so they'd be safe. Wyatt had locked them all up out of the way, and then set out to destroy everything else.
Chris looked out at the raging storm, at the broken innocents and their terror, and all he could think was this was Wyatt's pain, come to life. Come to haunt all the rest of them.
They were locked in the house for three weeks before Wyatt came for them. They had been rationing food since the beginning, but there was nothing left by the time he got there. They'd given most of it to the little kids, and Chris had refused to eat the last week. He knew his aunts and uncles probably hadn't anything substantial in even longer than that.
They were weakened and tired and distraught, and that was when Wyatt came. Chris knew it had been a calculated move on his part. He watched Wyatt shimmer into existence and it occured to him then that maybe he should have warned them.
He had told no one of his suspicions. He'd let them worry over Wyatt this whole time because somehow that had seemed better. That still left them hope, which Chris had lost.
There was no hope now, no making this better. It was time for damage control.
"Wyatt," Phoebe said with relief, jumping to her feet to greet him. She didn't seem to notice or care that he hadn't orbed in, but shimmered. She reached out and grabbed him in a hug, and Wyatt let her do it, with a strange, flat smile that set Chris's teeth on edge.
This wasn't his brother. It couldn't be. Chris went through possibilities: possession? corruption? a spell?
He couldn't understand how no one else noticed.
"I'm glad you are all safe," Wyatt said, so oddly formally that Chris had to catch his breath. It was like he was acting in a play, rehearsing a part. Chris narrowed his eyes as he edged across the room.
Paige was always more practical than Phoebe, so she was standing back, assessing Wyatt and his new clothes. He was head to toe in black—admittedly, these days he usually was, but there was something different about this. Chris watched the way the light hit the edge of his shirt, reflecting off it strangely, shimmering and painting it red. Like it was covered in dried blood.
Henry, always the cop, was putting the pieces together fast. Chris watched as things began to take shape in his mind, as he stood to make sure he kept the kids behind him. Paige stepped awkwardly up beside him, following his cues, coming to her own conclusions.
"Wyatt, what have you done?"
Chris startled at the voice, turning to see his cousin Prue, Phoebe's oldest daughter, looking at Wyatt in disbelief. She was an empath too, a stronger one even than Phoebe, though the trade-off was that it was the only power she had. She looked a little sick, like she was getting a read on Wyatt through whatever blocks he had up, and wasn't liking what she'd found.
Wyatt's eyes sought Chris as he gave his answer, though it was Prue who had asked. "I have avenged our mother," he said. "And brought order to the world."
"Oh my god," Phoebe gasped, her voice ending on a sob. She reached out with one hand to grab Coop. "Oh my god."
"No, you wouldn't do that," Paige said, but her voice was steel, like she already knew he could. "The Wyatt I know would never do that."
"I am the Wyatt you know," Wyatt said, pulling his eyes from Chris. "We no longer have anything to fear in this world. I have ended the reign of the Elders, of their guard dogs, the Cleaners. I have burned their Tribunal to dust."
"So many people, so many innocents," Phoebe said, her eyes filled with tears. "I don't understand. I don't understand how you could do something this evil."
Wyatt stepped forward and knelt in front of her, his expression almost kind. "There is no such thing as good and evil," he said, as though explaining something to a child. "They're just fairytales we tell ourselves to give us reason for things we've done. If the fighting is ever to end, we need to rise above that."
"What do you mean by that?" Phoebe asked. "Who told you that? Of course there's good, Wyatt, you've seen it, you must have—"
Wyatt just watched her with something like pity, and Chris could see that there was nothing they could say. Their reasoning would not work, because Wyatt was too far gone in his delusions. Chris had to discard his theories, because he could still see his brother somewhere beneath all of this façade. This wasn't possession or some spell, as much as he had wanted it to be.
"You bastard," Paige snarled, before raising a hand. "Table!"
She orbed the table into Wyatt, knocking him back from Phoebe. He only got hit a few feet away, and his eyes flashed as he wiped blood from the corner of his mouth.
"You're going to undo this," Paige said. "Whatever it is you've done. You're going to undo it."
"What's done cannot be undone," Wyatt said.
"Don't you quote Shakespeare at me," Paige said, looking angrier than Chris had ever seen her. "Your mother must be rolling in her grave."
It was the wrong thing to say. Chris knew that whatever else had happened, Wyatt had loved their mother. He had adored her every bit as much Chris. He had been devastated every bit as much as him. But where Chris had internalized his pain, Wyatt had let his loose on the world.
He could see an energy ball forming in Wyatt's hand, his eyes going unnaturally bright, and Chris knew it was time to act. He could throw Wyatt back with his power, but knew he could never win in a fight. He wasn't prepared for a battle, and even if he were, he didn't want to hurt his brother.
He had to buy them time.
Chris smoothly stepped into Wyatt's line of sight, putting himself between Wyatt and the rest of their family. "It's no use, Wyatt," he said softly. "They'll never understand."
Wyatt closed his palm and the energy ball sparked out of existence. He watched Chris carefully, uncertain what he was planning. Wyatt knew Chris had a tendency to play both sides. He'd been an expert at it with their parents.
"They don't know anything but this," Chris continued, not breaking eye contact. "Good and Evil."
"And you do?" Wyatt asked, and his voice was gruff, almost dismissive, but Chris could see the hope threaded beneath it.
"Yes," Chris said simply. "I understand why you've done this."
"You say you understand," Wyatt said, as he carefully got to his feet. "But that doesn't necessarily mean you agree. You forget I know how you play with words."
"If you want words, then listen to these," Chris said. "They aren't a threat to you, so let's just leave them to their lives. We don't need them."
"We," Wyatt said with a smirk, looking pleased. "Well then, little brother, how about you? What do you believe in?"
"I believe in you," Chris said, without flinching. And like all the best lies, it was even almost true.
Wyatt laughed and reached out and grabbed him. The last thing Chris heard before they shimmered away were the outraged cries of his family.
"This can't be happening," Phoebe said. "This seriously can't be happening. They couldn't just—"
"Didn't you feel him, mom?" Prue asked. "Wyatt's gone. It's like he's a black hole. He's just gone. We have to save Chris."
"Save Chris?" Paige sneered. She was trying to focus on her tasks—she had already put up an anti-orbing field, along with any other protection fields she could think of. "Chris is just as lost to us as Wyatt, or weren't you here for that?"
"Yes, I was here for that, though I seem to be the only one that understands what just happened," Prue yelled back. "Wyatt was about to kill you."
"Wyatt wouldn't—" Paige started.
"Wyatt was about to kill you," Prue repeated slowly. "And Chris stopped him. That's what I saw."
"He was siding with his brother," Paige said, though all her anger seemed to have deflated. "You know how close they are."
"That's not it at all," Prue said. "Don't you get it? Chris made a trade, him for the rest of us!"
"He said he understood Wyatt," Phoebe said uncertainly. "He went with him."
"He was lying!" Prue shouted. "It's practically his superpower."
"She has a point," Henry said. "And before Chris stepped in, I'm not sure…well, it didn't look like Wyatt was just going to let us all walk away."
"Yes, thank you," Prue said.
"It doesn't matter," Phoebe said softly. "Even if it's true, even if he's only stalling to give us time, it doesn't matter. We can't save him now he's with Wyatt, we can barely save ourselves."
"We can contact him, at least. We can call for him," Prue protested. "You have to lift the blocks so he can reach us."
"We can't take that chance, honey," Phoebe insisted. "If Chris is with Wyatt, well he's powerful too. We don't have any hope of stopping the two of them together without a plan, not without the power of three."
"Phoebe's right," Paige said. "We've got to get the kids somewhere safe, and then we'll figure out a game plan."
"This isn't fair," Prue shouted. "You can't just abandon him! He's only a year older than me. Would you abandon me?"
"You didn't go with him," Coop pointed out gently.
"I would have, if I'd thought of it first," Prue said, before dropping down on the couch, angrily turning away from her family.
"I'm not saying we're not going to save him," Paige said carefully. "Because we will. We're going to save them both. We just have to be smart about it."
"You still don't get it," Prue said quietly. "He's the one that's saving us."