Outside… the other man noticed something wasn’t right.
Leo got up and went to his son’s side. Just as the boy saw his father approaching, his strength gave away and he started to slip to his knees. Wyatt moved towards him then but remembering how Chris shrank from his touch, he paused only a foot away. Leo was right there and he caught the boy who was now trembling violently, before he fell.
“Gotcha… its okay son.”
He gathered Chris to himself and walked towards a couch nearby seeing the boy was too weak to stand any longer. Sitting down first Leo held Chris on his lap, never once letting go of his son even when Chris blushed, embarrassed at his new position.
“shh baby boy, just let me hold you.”
“shh, its alright, its okay.”
It was just one of those days, the boy rued… when nothing was going to be in his power. Chris sighed and gave in, leaning his right side against Leo and trying desperately to stem the flood of tears gushing into his eyes.
“Chris…? Tell me what you’re thinking…”
Chris focused his eyes just barely at Wyatt standing by his side.
“What you’ve done is unnatural… its against the laws of nature.”
The men were confused.
“You mean bringing you back? You’ve seen your aunts do that a thousand times back in the past. Its what the power is there for, to undo wrongs and save lives.”
“But what son? Every parent worries not just about their kids’ present, their future as well don’t they?”
Chris swallowed, he couldn’t find the words. How could he explain to his father he didn’t think he deserved to be alive?
“Technically you weren’t dead, bcos you’d only just been born right? So you were not up there with Grams.”
Leo rubbed his back, as if willing some of his strength and calmness to seep through his hand and into his son.
“Piper… she looked frantically for you everywhere… in all the spirit realms possible. It was killing us Chris… not knowing what had happened to our little boy.”
Chris took his time to compose himself, he had to say this.
“Dad, this is not right. This is not m-my t-time or my p-place!”
Leo could have shaken his son, he was so angry. But he also saw how miserable Chris was.
“Chris… are you even listening to me?”
The tears flowed unabated, and so did the words. Chris had to say this… he *needed* to say this.
“I am not supposed to *be* anymore daddy… I am supposed to be gone, alongwith the rest of my timeline.”
He grasped at the open ends of his father’s flannel, willing himself not to give in to the temptation of resting his head against his dad’s chest and sleeping for an eternity.
“The Chris that you know… t-that W-Wyatt knows… and l-loves as his b-brother…”
His voice broke again…
“He is out there somewhere. He b-belongs here… I d-don’t.”
Leo hugged his son tightly, kissing his temple and gently rocking him to soothe his troubled soul. Soul… that was the crux of all this wasn’t it? Leo looked imploringly at his other son… no one could really reach Chris except Wyatt. So what if this Chris did not remember it? He would listen to his big brother, he always did.
The son in question… Wyatt… was smiling?
“Well… Boo. Hoo.”
Chris was sobbing very very silently, there was hardly any sound. But *that* just… totally shut him up. Slowly, he raised himself to look at Wyatt. Questioning him with his glassy eyes, although the question wasn’t entirely clear to his own self.
“I know what you’re thinkin”
Wyatt’s eyes were twinkling. His tone… teasing. Chris’ was soft, curious.
“You’re thinking, oh shit. Two of me again? Like the mighty big brother Wyatt wasn’t enough to have to stand up against, now I gotta compete with me too??”
Chris screwed up his eyes in annoyance.
“How come everything is always about *you*??”
Wyatt laughed. Even Leo smiled making Chris look back at him with irritation. Wiping the remnants of the moisture from his face, he let go of his father and asked him sarcastically,
“May I get up now?”
And he was off Leo’s lap in a flash. Not as fast as he would have liked to be, considering he wasn’t firing on all cylinders.
Wyatt and his dad were only too happy to see some of the famous Christopher Wyatt Haliwell’s patented fighting spirit kick back.
“Don’t worry, this is still about you Christopher.”
“And what exactly is *this* Wyatt? Do enlighten me because you sure look smug enough in your all-pervading knowledge.”
Wyatt chuckled just a bit and took a step closer to Chris. Instinct drove the latter to step back, but he held his ground.
“What do you know about the soul Christopher?”
“Damn I knew I should have taken philosophy.”
Leo shook his head. His son always resorted to sarcasm as a defence mechanism.
“Well you didn’t, which means I have the honor of educating you.”
“Chris…” Leo warned.
“Sorry, go on.”
“You know that when a timeline changes, so do all the people with it. But you’re wrong in assuming that a timeline or a world could just vanish… or cease to be! That’s not how it works Christopher.”
“So you’re saying the world is still here, only changed?”
“YES. And with it you changed as well. No one else remembers but you did because you were not *in* the timeline while it was changing.”
“Yeah I knew that would happen.”
“You would have come back to this world and rejoined it with two sets of memories – the old ones from your previous life and the new ones from this one. Right?”
“Uhh guess so… yeah.”
Wyatt came another step closer, and this time Chris did not even flinch.
“The complication arose when you died back there. Leaving a portion of your soul lost between two worlds, two times! A new you was born with the rest of your soul. But the *same* soul Chris! No different.”
Chris stared, his lower lip quivering almost painfully.
Wyatt shook his head sadly, he so wanted to reach out and hold Chris but didn’t.
“No different kiddo. People die, mortal bodies get destroyed but the soul is eternal. It goes on. You were here with us all this time, just not all of you. And… mom and dad knew that…”
Chris completed the sentence… how he knew this, he didn’t know.
“… that somehow I wasn’t complete.”
Leo and Wyatt looked at each other, they weren’t sure how to answer Chris.
“That a part of me was still stuck in an endless trance, in a place called nowhere… where I was floating and falling all at once.”
Wyatt touched his little brother’s arm tentatively.
“Chris, you okay?”
He was. He wasn’t. He didn’t know.
He was reliving the moments right after his death when he had felt like he almost disintegrated, almost but not quite… it was more like *waiting* to be disintegrated which was worse.
Mankind is one stubborn species, fighting relentlessly for its right to exist… to survive… and simply refuses to go away quietly into the night.
In the plane of nowhere – Chris had felt the ethereal wrenching of death versus the determined grasp of life all at once… and he’d been afraid.
He’d been afraid he’d never know love… or friendship or brotherhood again. He’d been afraid he wouldn’t hit another ball to the fence again. That he’d forget the taste of chocolate, of hot dogs, and sheesh kebabs and champagne he’d sipped once and not quite enough…
But most of all, he had feared the inevitable… that hopelessness of not having a choice… of being slowly torn apart to shreds of nothing but white light… just before someone pulled him back from the brink.
Wyatt… It was Wyatt… who pulled him back from the brink.