Leo slowly extricated himself from his son’s desperate clasps and looked him in the eye.
“I’m sorry Chris. But Piper…”
Chris knew what he was going to say. He wished the earth would open and swallow him right now so he wouldn’t have to hear the unforgiving truth. Leo sensed his son’s growing distress, and left the sentence unfinished.
“I’m so sorry.”
Wyatt lowered his head, ever the slightest frown gracing his flawless features. Either the man was *still* very well accustomed to hiding his pain… or he was over it.
And here he was hoping his big brother would give him another wonderful answer to allay his fears… another *happy* answer.
There was *no* suitable answer.
“You… you are supposed to be so powerful and all…”
Wyatt did not look up.
“Why… why didn’t you do something?”
“He wasn’t here! We both weren’t here Chris.”
But Chris had known that already. The men hadn’t been there in his world too.
“So then nothing changed did it.”
A long silence stretched as Leo got up and paced, and Wyatt continued to keep his distance and his head lowered. Chris shook his head in distress.
“I should have warned you, back in the past… I should have…”
“What’s done is done. Besides, you were told not to divulge any of the future Chris, and you shouldn’t have.”
Chris was yelling now.
“You were supposed to be here! Why were you not here?”
Leo looked away, Wyatt had turned to stone. There was not one indication he was even listening. What could the man possibly say?
Memories from his old life and new one concurred for a change – Wyatt at sixteen was ever restless to kill demons and in haste had followed a lead which took him down to the Underworld. Leo got wind of it and went after him down where… where he couldn’t be heard. The attack came fast and strong and while Paige and Phoebe were away at Magic School enrolling the girls – god the girls… his cousins Pru and Patti!
// God Pru? Where are you guys?//
Chris shut his eyes tight and hugged himself with extreme desperation trying not to shake so much. What happened before had happened again… surreal images inside his head surfaced and he winced with physical pain.
It was a decoy. The new Source had figured the only way to take out the Power of Three was to hit them individually. So he’d gotten Leo and Wyatt out of the way just when he knew Piper would be left alone at the Manor. Chris had only been fourteen and not powerful enough to save his mother. His mother… Piper had died a good death… fighting to save her son, to save the book… in the end she succeeded but she also lost her life.
// Just like me…//
Perhaps it was the fate of the Halliwells to die fighting. To be victorious but never staying alive long enough to see the glory. No goodbyes, no last words of comfort that Chris could offer his dying mother or even Piper could give to her grieving young… too young son.
It was a bloody, messy death.
Chris sat staring into nothingness. He felt numb. After everything that happened, everything he accomplished…
In his anguished mind’s eye, he could still see aunt Paige heartbroken and crying after she lost both Piper and her husband Richard… aunt Paige insane with insurmountable wrath… the bloody massacre the Halliwells left behind in the Underworld… aunt Paige finally succumbing to a nervous breakdown and being taken away to some undisclosed location for convalescing. And much much later, a somber aunt Paige returning to Magic School… as its new head.
Only Chris knew what it’d taken him not to break down, every time he’d looked at a cheerful Paige back in the past… knowing what tribulations lay ahead of her.
Pheobe fared relatively better since she had Jason and her daughters Prudence and Patricia to fall back on. Phoebe held herself together for the sake of the family… but two sisters down, she too was completely disillusioned, and she turned away from her destiny as a Charmed One forever. Pru and Patti were taken back out from Magic School and they’d never set foot in the Manor ever since.
By killing Piper, the Source had truly destroyed the Power of Three forever.
“Aunt Phoebe…” he softly enquired, as if to ensure.
“Hong Kong. They never returned.” Leo replied.
“… and… aunt Paige…” she was always his favorite, and he hers…
Chris laughed. Insanity surfacing again.
“Nothing changed. Nothing fucking changed!”
“Some things are meant to be Chris. They simply cannot be changed.”
Chris couldn’t distinguish Leo’s voice from Wyatt’s anymore. Though Wyatt hadn’t spoken once since the subject of his mother’s death had come up.
Leo continued to pace but kept a watchful eye on his youngest and Chris noticed. He then remembered his father was an angel – he could see mom any time he wanted. They were probably closer now than when she was alive, being together in paradise and all…
//Well that’s great… but it still sucks she’s dead.//
And then he froze… she’s dead… it also meant…
//oh God… Wyatt!//
His hands grew clammy and forehead drenched in cold sweat. Chris slowly glanced up to look at Wyatt through guarded eyes… the man who was The Source… where he came from. Time lost all meaning to the boy as frantic paranoia clouded all his senses.
All he could see was Wyatt and his smirking face as he killed a white lighter right before Chris’s very eyes. All he could hear were the screams of his friends who were incinerated at the hands of his evil elder brother. All he could feel… was horrible fear of impending doom.
No… Leo was wrong. His father was wrong about Wyatt.
Leo’s calling shook him out of his loathsome thoughts.
“You alright son?”
Chris wiped at his mouth and nodded. He was thirsty.
“I have to go Chris. Some very important business I absolutely must take care of.”
Leo waited for some reaction but got none. He frowned.
“You’re gonna be alright here Chris. Okay?”
“Yeah… yeah okay.”
Leo had to go. He wouldn’t listen to Chris right now. It was better for him to be away while he confronted the *imposter* himself.
Leo was reluctant but eventually he bid a farewell to his sons, reminded them he was only an orb away and that he was always there for them (which was a *big* change from Chris’ old life). The sons quietly nodded and Leo left.
Silence stretched between the brothers like it had never done before. Wyatt couldn’t remember a time his baby brother was so quiet. He put his hands on his hips casually and tried striking up a conversation.
“I know what you’re thinking…”
“You’e thinking - cant believe dad is still working for those jerks up there right?”
Chris was momentarily taken aback, he actually *was* wondering about that.
“Yes I was… considering you never forgave the Elders for mom…”
Wyatt’s confident gaze flickered, there was so much past pain there and Chris knew. Wyatt took a deep breath.
“Yeah well, with the power of Three gone, our connection to upstairs is very very important.”
“You never did forgive them did you?”
Wyatt didn’t respond, but nor did he look away from Chris.
“In fact, it brought back all the painful memories from your childhood right back didn’t it?”
Wyatt swallowed, his voice barely above a whisper.
“What do you mean?”
Chris got up slowly, his voice suddenly full of menace… his fists clenched by his sides.
“You don’t fool me Wyatt Halliwell. I know what you are… and I don’t trust you.”
Wyatt frowned and reflexively approached Chris who tried to back up but the couch was in the way and he fell back onto it.
“Chris what the hell are you talking about?”
Chris was momentarily taken aback by the anger in Wyatt’s voice, but he pulled himself back up to stand and attacked again.
“I know now what happened to you Wyatt. I went back in time to keep Gideon from getting you but I failed and he didn’t! You were deeply traumatized by the attack you suffered at Gideon’s hands when you were a child. I know you have this awesome memory and you remember absolutely everything about your life right from when you were in the *womb*.”
Wyatt was shaking his head in frustration.
“Whats that got to do with anything?”
“Everything!” Chris screamed with tears in his eyes.
“When mom died and the Elders said they couldn’t bring her back, you went mad. You felt betrayed by them once again… the so-called leaders and protectors of the Light who tried to kill you when you were just a baby… and now who stood in shadows and did *nothing* as mom bled to her death!”
Wyatt was shaking. He put his hands on his ears as if to block out Chris’ poisonous words and turned away from him.
“Stop it Chris…”
Chris continued as if he hadn’t heard. He was screaming again.
“You went mad with rage and grief and all that power in you just… *soured* and became evil! That’s how you turned dark in my world brother.”
And now it was Wyatt’s turn to scream. He turned back around to face Chris.
“Your world! The world that does not exist anymore! Why the fuck do you want me to be the same evil guy in *this* one?”
Chris laughed painfully.
“I don’t *want* you to be evil! Why would I?”
“Then why are you pushing me? What do you want from me Chris? What will it *take*… for you to *trust* me?”
Chris convulsed, this screaming match was taking away his last reservoirs of energy. But he needed to do this… he needed to be sure. He lowered his voice until it was barely a cold hiss.
“Just answer my question Wyatt. Back in my world, the death of my mother, OUR mother… was what caused you to run away to the underworld. You *left* me… you left us, and you ran.”
Wyatt was quiet, his eyes brimming with tears of frustration and… pain of eight years ago that simply refused to abate. This was way too close to the truth. Yes he’d been tempted. He had so *wanted*… to run away.
“Piper’s death drove you insane, then it drove you *evil*. So tell me… if this is supposed to a new world, a *better* world… what changed?”
Wyatt lowered his eyes, his hands falling limply by his sides.
“WHAT, DAMN IT?!?”