Leo sighed again.
Looked at Chris, looked away… then looked at Wyatt and looked away again.
“This happened twenty two years ago for me, but of course only moments ago for you. Back in the past… you showed up at the Manor to warn us and help us save Wyatt from… heck you didn’t even know who it was you were supposed to fight.”
Leo softly chuckled at the memory, Chris waited.
“All you knew was, that you had to save your brother… and you risked everything for it.”
Chris looked up to glance at Wyatt, who still stood rigid as a pillar with his arms folded in front of him. Picturing the little baby that he was, and for Chris only a few minutes ago… was very difficult. This man watching him so keenly… had lost his innocence somewhere on the way… Chris was sure of that.
“Did I succeed?”
“Yes you did son… you came through for Wyatt, for us all!”
That’s when Chris looked back to his dad, with amazement in his eyes.
“But, you also lost your life in the end.”
Leo’s voice almost broke as he uttered the last words.
“I couldn’t save you then.”
Chris was right, his father had indeed blamed himself for not being able to save his son and had tortured himself with it for all this time. Leo placed a hand on Chris’ face and caressed his cheek with a thumb lightly.
“Just like that, you vanished from my arms and for twenty two years we wondered what had happened to you.”
Chris sniffed, and bowed his head.
“Two months ago, I told Wyatt the whole story…”
Chris looked at Wyatt again, he knows?
“And he created this spell…”
Leo nodded to Wyatt to continue. The latter picked up the narrative without delay.
“When someone dies out of their own timeline… their essence or soul is lost somewhere in between. We don’t really know what happens to them actually.”
Chris smiled wryly.
“Let me guess – loophole in the system?”
Wyatt shrugged, and looked at his brother with sad affection.
“Maybe, maybe not. We figured you got lost somewhere between the two timelines – the one that existed before and the one you affected and brought about – exactly at the time of your death – which also happens to be about the same time as your *birth*.”
“Today’s your twenty secondth birthday by the way.”
Chris glared some more.
Leo chuckled, Wyatt scowled and continued.
“Fine, so you know the classic ‘summoning a lost witch spell’ right?”
Chris nodded. He remembered aunt Paige telling him about this spell that his mom Piper used, to try and find Pru after she died. Only it found Paige instead.
“I tweaked it a bit…”
“Hah déjà vu.”
Chris remembered that is exactly what Gideon had said about the spell that was supposed to send him and Leo through the portal into the future.
Wyatt raised an eyebrow, but no explanation seemed to be forthcoming.
Leo quietly encouraged his oldest to ignore the interruption and go on.
“I was *saying*… I just added criteria for searching in all time as well as space dimensions and set it up to keep running constantly in the background. We knew you disappeared from the manor so it would be easiest to summon you right back here. With me still?”
Chris realized he was gawking a bit. Irritatedly he urged Wyatt to continue.
“Just get on with it.”
Wyatt retorted with equal agitation.
“Okay but for the record dad, I really don’t like this version of Chris at all. What happened to the hero worshipping guy who borrows my clothes and my cars and my girlfriends and…”
Warning tone in Leo’s voice. It suddenly occurred to Chris that his father hadn’t changed at all, neither voice nor appearance. Figured, he was after all technically an angel. And he was relieved that even as an Elder, he refused to dress like one. Chris then turned to look at his infamous brother and this time he *really* looked.
No doubt his brother was a devilishly handsome man, only one of the many reasons why Chris had felt inferior to him. The long glorious mane of hair still draped around his face but it was much neater. The blue eyes still shone with the immense power concentrated inside this being, but they didn’t seem as manical anymore.
And the smile… jeez Wyatt smiling?
//All you need is a fucking halo//
Wyatt cleared his throat and continued.
“Yeah where was I? Right, when you died there in the past, the spell tracked you down and brought you here. I set up alarms to let us know when you were found, and they went off and I ran down here to get you… you were… as expected… dead.”
His voice dropped and Chris realized his brother had truly been disturbed by the incident.
“You know the rest, I revived ya and you went banshee on me and then I called dad.”
That made sense, somewhat.
“You’re probably really weak from the transition still, that’s why your powers are down.”
Chris snorted. “Yeah, right.”
He still wasn’t ready to accept Wyatt’s apparent goodness… yet. What Bianca did to him in the past was painfully fresh in his mind.
“We could check you up in a few hours time , see how you’re doing?”
Chris did not believe him, he just shook his head. Wyatt was trying, really he was. Unfortunately, he did not know the depths of bitterness and distrust the other Wyatt had managed to seed in this Chris.
“So, if you guys hadn’t found me and brought me here – I would have been… gone forever?”
The other men in the room didn’t answer, which said enough. Chris got up and went to stand by the window. Lost deep in thought.
Leo spoke up.
“What is it son?”
“I was thinking, nothing had really changed by the time I was stabbed. Did you save Wyatt before I… before I died?”
Leo sighed, past regrets overwhelming him.
“No, I couldn’t get to him soon enough.”
The wheels were turning in the boy’s head. He would have ideally paced but was too spent for that.
“Which means, I died in my *old* timeline. And after you saved Wyatt and killed Gideon… you did kill that bastard didn’t you dad?”
“With my own hands.”
Leo’s voice was so low he could barely be heard. Chris knew his family would have avenged his death.
But there was something else, something much more alarming going through his head right now.
“Dad, that means the future was changed *after* I died. Which means… there must be a new Chris in this new world.”
Chris’ voice was low, but there was a growing panic in his eyes.
//What is this?//
Why is he always the one out of time and out of place?
The one world he did belong to was gone forever and he wasn’t too fond of it anyway. It was a bad, bad world… with evil rampant and good cowering in shadows of fear and misery and incomprehensible pain. But he was part of that world wasn’t he? What if… what if he died because the world he belonged to was also destined to die anyway? That world did not deserve to be… so by inference, neither did he!