For KJ1111 who answered my prayers for prompts, and this can follow canon after Crimes and Witch Demeanors, or her own story she'll be publishing soon.
He's not sure how long he waited alone at the bar - if he even was waiting. He'd started off like he normally had, orbing the drinks from the fridge to his hand, but like those other times, a couple of drinks later and half an hour sitting in silence, Chris finds himself longing for some form of company. He's even reduced himself to wishing for any company of any kind, whether it be one of his aunts, Eddie - the bartender prepping for the night ahead, or even a complete stranger.
But he takes the wish back when it's Leo who answered the silent prayer, because he isn't what Chris had in mind.
He takes another swig from the bottle, then returns it to the bar in front of him, albeit less that gracefully. "Hey." He mutters, far less welcoming.
Chris thinks he hears Leo stifle a sad sigh behind him, but doesn't bother to look back to check. He says instead, "What do you want Leo?"
"What happened to dad?" He replies quietly, taking a seat beside him like that one time they'd shared a drink - long before Leo and the rest of his family knew who he was.
He squints at his father, profoundly muddled, but that might have something to do with the vodka. "What?"
"You called me dad before," Leo explains, and for a moment it looked like a small smile graced his lips at the idea - before it falls. "Now were back to Leo again."
Chris snorts, "One moment of gratitude isn't going to change a lifetime of abandonment Leo." He sneers the name last, then freezes realising what he's just said - and reminds himself why he doesn't get drunk so often. Opposite to his being sober, he had the tendency to lose the filter between his head and his mouth when he begins to get the littlest bit tipsy. He was well past tipsy now, but his disturbance with his own words drifts away as he, contradictable to his last thought, took up the bottle again.
Leo makes a face at both the statement and his actions, but makes no move to stop him. "I know that Chris..." he says, and now Chris can see the sadness in the creases of his face, despite his drunken predicament. "I guess I just thought we were getting somewhere."
"I guess you were wrong." He snipes back bad-naturedly.
Leo sighs, "No matter what I do, I'm never going to bring you to understand that all I want is to get to know you, am I?" He pauses for a moment to see if Chris will interject, but when he says nothing, Leo sighs another time and begins talking again. "I haven't done anything-"
"Like hell you haven't." Chris interrupts, talking more to himself than Leo.
"Chris, you can't blame me-"
"I can blame you however much I like. You were never there, you didn't care - so suck it up. You don't know me because you never bothered to try."
"I haven't done any of that-I'm not that father Chris." Leo retorts back, and once again, ever since the Spider demon incident; his words hold no anger like they had done before. Now he just sounds sad and resigned and desperate. Chris's drunken brain thought he was pathetic (for the first time in his life), and the bottle wobbles on the bar as he puts it back down.
"But you will be."
"I won't." Leo counters, voice tinged with even more desperation, looking at him imploringly. It was as if he was begging him to forget everything he'd ever known, forget and disregard every disappointment, every forgotten birthday party, every ignored call and the bitterness that welled when his father materialised immediately whenever Wyatt gave a dull flat call.
Chris looks at him, ignoring how his vision blurs around the edges; and gives halfway between a smirk and a sneer. "Believe whatever you want, but you will. It's who you are-"
"-no matter how much you pretend to care." He continues, unfalteringly.
"I'm not pretending Chris, you're my son."
"Was your son before," Chris drawls, feels voice starting to slur. "Didn't change anything then, it w...won't now."
Just admitting that does sting a little, despite what he said to his family, even if he'd already known it deep down, and Chris reaches for the bottle as his head lolls back on his neck. He grasps blindly for it, and Leo's arm clasps over his before he spills it all over the bar and himself.
"You've had enough Chris."
"Fuck off." He snaps coldly, and tries to grab it again.
"I said that's enough." Leo shoots back, pulling the bottle from his reach on the other side of the bar. Chris growls quietly at him, eyes glinting in a challenge that threatened to bite, and the vodka began to slide towards him again. Leo, seeing it, orbs it away with a wave of his hand in retaliation, giving him an exasperated half-glare. Chris knows the look, the 'don't make me tell you again' one, but he's never seen it on Leo before. It grates and grinds his bones together somehow, because only his mom was allowed to look at him like that, and he refuses to let Leo take that from her.
"Stop what?" The glare fades, replacing it was a curiosity, but the exasperation lingers silently at the back, like a stalking shadow, as he wobbled on his bar stool.
"Looking at me like that..." Chris says, pausing to stop himself from slurring too much, "you don't get to do that."
Leo frowns, but he doesn't care, intoxicated and disorientated, but with enough clarity to want Leo gone so he doesn't have to talk to him anymore - or to hurt him. Not physically, but that little devil on his shoulder keeps whispering to him, willing him to do it. And he could, he could hurt him; damage Leo with never-ending stories and words and memories for as long as he wants, and for a drunk senseless moment Chris almost didn't care about future consequences.
The frown lingered, but Leo's face softens somewhat, "How come?"
Chris glares, digs his fingernails into his knee to stop himself from breaking his own rule too much. It only works to a degree. "'hats Mom's look, not yours."
"Okay." Leo allows softly, gazing at him unblinkingly. "What's my look then?"
Chris snorts and sneers, "You don't have one. 'eren't around to have one."
Leo's gaze breaks abruptly, and he looks away; almost as though not to let Chris see his face fall so much. He looks up again, and the pathetically sad look was back. Chris wants to smack it off his face at the same time as he gleefully prides himself on inflicting it. "I guess I should have seen that coming, huh?"
He doesn't receive an answer, and soft silence falls over them; not comfortable but not quite awkward either. It was just silence, like it had been before and Chris wishes he could have the bottle back just to fill up the silence with clinking, instead of their quiet breathing and down-turned heads. Leo breaks it, and says more softly than before, "Why did you come here?"
A stool, one away from where Leo's sat gazing at him, again, collapses in on itself; the legs splintered. Leo does nothing but glance at it, used to telekinetic bursts from Prue's time, but his eyes are startled. "You know why I'm here." Chris bites out, slowly and steely - fingers digging deeper.
"No I mean-" Leo tries, "I do know why your here, I mean - why did I let you come here?"
Chris raises an eyebrow, "You're kidding right?"
Leo leans forward in his seat, closer, "I get that I wasn't the most attentive father-" Chris scoffs openly "I do, but even I can't believe that I'd leave you-let you risk this by coming back here alone. I'm sorry but I can't see me letting my son openly just do this."
There's a lot of things Chris wants to say to this, a lot, but instead he says: "Like your opinion would have had any impact on anything I did or will do."
Which in itself is a lie, because when he was young - or will be young - he knows he lived for his father's approval all days and everyday; his absent father's opinion would have had the most impact out of all, but he can't say this. Leo nods, and Chris can imagine him thinking of scenario's where he can't have been the father he will be, that there's some secret-hidden reason, some matter of great importance Chris just doesn't know about - that he had no choice in the matter for being a crappy father. That he had to, for the good of the world, but Chris knows this isn't true. Just as he knows that these scenario's are flitting to and fro in his father's head like moths, burrowing deep when they find the best fabric. This is what Leo's thinking, and he is.
"So I didn't know then...that you were coming here." He says, almost hopefully "I would have stopped you otherwise, I would have done something."
This time, instead of deflecting, Chris says what he wants to and doesn't care about future consequences - doesn't care if he slurs. "You're too dead to know." He says coldly, watches Leo's face freeze, feels the logical, neurotic part of his brain frizzle with the information he's revealed. He broke his own rule. He doesn't care.
"Too dead to have done something," he continues, and can almost feel the icy cold of the night fuelling the frost in his voice. "But even if you...even if you weren't too dead to do something it wouldn't have made a difference. Because you wouldn't have cared."
Chris can't know if he's doing this to hurt his father or help, the devil says it's to hurt him, to make him watch over his shoulder the rest of his life; wary and wondering when the fireball will hit, but something else says he's done it to relieve his father. Yes, he knows he'll die, but no matter what Chris says he knows Leo will never grasp, will never believe that he was such a profound failure to him - that 'it wouldn't have made a difference' if he was alive, because Chris has even him an excuse. He was dead. He couldn't have done something, he couldn't have stopped him, he couldn't have done anything. He was dead.
In someway, it makes a difference to Leo.
He orbs away, just like the vodka did.
He sits, cross-legged and hood down on his favourite red beam, and feels the wind around him. There's only a breeze, and for a moment Chris wishes his mom would conjure another brilliant, spectacular storm to match the one she made as a god, just so he'd be able to feel like he's lurching off the beam when the winds hit him. He feels too safe, and doesn't know why that's a problem. The rear lights of cars passing by cast the lower beams in an even redder light, but it comes out paler and more tainted than it should, like copper or old crinkled leaves when autumn begins to end. Wyatt had loved nature when he was younger, and Chris had helped him catch crickets and worms, and fireflies when the seasons came, in little jars filled with grass his brother had wrenched from the ground. Wyatt hates nature now, his love for it died with the rest of him.
"What," Chris says, steadies himself with his hand when he wobbles, "is so difficult to understand? I want to be left alone, so go away."
"After what you just told me, no, it's not going to be that easy, Chris." His father says, and watches him carefully from the lower beam. Out of the corner of his eye, he'd seen Leo's hand go out, as if to catch him, when he'd first wobbled.
"So you die, get over it." Chris snaps, finally looking at him but the wind finally picks up some, right in his face, and he comes out squinting. "Everyone dies, even Elders. No matter how many times you guys claim to be invincible."
"Most of us died when you got here," Leo says, almost wryly, "I don't think any of us will ever be under that impression again."
Chris rolls his head to look at him, and that's enough to unbalance him in his intoxication without the wind. He catches himself on the beam again, and Leo's hands twitch by his sides. "Gonna blame me for that too?" He tempts, clasping his other hand on the beam in front of him too. His position - cross-legged, one arm forwards one backwards - must look ridiculous.
Leo sighs, as if he's been through this conversation many times, though Chris can't remember them having this disagreement before. "I'm not blaming you for anything Chris, you know that, you're-" He cuts himself off; a horn down below bleeps and Chris startles from it, rocking backwards, and Leo speeds up quickly. "-not in your right mind, will you just come down from there?"
Chris makes a face at him in his ridiculous position, "I'm fine."
Another horn blares after the first but he's ready this time, and doesn't do more than wince - feels some stupid satisfaction like he's proven Leo wrong. He remembers this childish feeling from when he was a pre-teenager, how it had remained even as his mother looked at him disapprovingly from the kitchen when he taunted his dad with everything and anything he could think of, then twisted it round until it was him standing in the golden light of good. His mom had called it unsavoury behaviour; said that wasn't the kind of man she wanted him to become - for once he hadn't listened to her.
Leo just looks at him, as if he's judging if Chris can hold the position, but it doesn't matter about Chris's seemingly invulnerability to car horns, the wind hits again and he topples over.
He lands and stumbles onto Leo's beam, the orb lights disappearing above him, and glares at his father who has his hand out. "I had it under control."
His dad doesn't argue for once, but after a moment he does say, "You're wrong you know."
"I said you're wrong. You might not think you are, but...if I was around I would have done something. I would've cared."
Chris's glare is still hot, but he doesn't have the energy to get into these imaginary scenarios Leo's still constructing for himself. "Whatever." He replies, and slides down to the floor of the beam; Leo moves forward, but Chris's glare stops him in his tracks. Probably the first time it really works.
"I can say your wrong all I like, your never going to understand though, are you?"
"Neither are you."
Leo nods, as if he's been expecting this; he's probably constructed and planned this whole conversation in his head, Chris thinks. "That," he says, "you're right about. I'm never going to understand what you feel for me, just like you're never going to understand what I feel for you. No matter how much I argue, and beg or anything - you believe I was never there for you."
'You believe', Chris thinks mockingly, 'you believe', he doesn't. He'll never believe he's to blame for any of this.
"And for that I'm sorry."
"I'm sorry you felt like I didn't care, but I do. I do care, Chris, you're my son. And if what it takes is me following you around until you start to understand that I'm not him, that I do care, I'm well prepared for that - for as long as it takes." Leo pauses, watching him imploringly again. "Do you understand that?"
Chris doesn't say anything, but he supposes, from Leo's expression, he doesn't need to. Silence surrounds them again, and even though there's horns blaring and wind whistling it's the same silence there was in the bar; but Chris doesn't wish for any clinking sounds to break it anymore.
That's the first time Leo's ever apologised to him. It's the first time he's said sorry.
Please review and request!