May 27th, 2004

JM: Young tilted head closeup

Charmed: Destiny Still Awaits - Chapter 7

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Chapter 7

He looked at his feet on the ground, yes they were still on the ground. With deliberate force, he held them there. A wave of giddiness came over him, and Chris had an acute suspicion it was less for exhaustion and more because of relief. Then just as suddenly he laughed. Short… barkish laugh, and just as soon it was gone and replaced with silence.

Was he losing his mind?

It had been twenty two long years since his *death* by Gideon’s athame. And yet, only moments for Chris himself! Blessed be… damn time dimensions and their damn paradoxes. He didn’t know if he could have handled the *dissolving* act any longer anyway. No wonder Einstein was half whacked. No wonder Nietzsche was totally whacked.
He laughed again.

“Maybe you should sit down.”
“I’m fine.”
After a moment of silence, Wyatt continued although he didn’t need to. Chris now knew what the spell had been about.
“Chris, the son that dad knows… the brother that I know, and love… he’s you. Or you’re him. Either way.”

“The spell… it brought back that part of you which was lost… and merged you together. Just the way it should have been, had you not died.”

//And I am grateful. But I wont tell you that.//
//I cant//
The words had frozen again.

“Look at your clothes Chris… are these the ones you were wearing back in the past?”
For the first time since his ordeal began, Chris looked down at himself. No… no they weren’t. They were… too clean, too hep and… boy he sure had excellent taste in this world.
//Leather pants?//

Leo was observing the same garment and scrunched up his nose.
“Do I want to know where you were tonight?”
Almost automatically, an answer he didn’t know he knew rose to Chris’ lips.
“I was at P3… celebrating with friends.”

The sudden rush of new knowledge… or rather… new memories… was mind-boggling to the boy. His family secretly reveled in the small victory.
It was working… the spell was working.

Chris remembered something he didn’t know he was supposed to remember.
“You pulled me out of my own birthday party. I was just about to kiss this really hot girl.”
“Umm, sorry?”
Then he remembered something else… vaguely.
“Jazz tonight… Mahogany is playing.”
Leo brightened up. “Hey I love that guy.”
Wyatt rolled his eyes. “Not Kevin Mahogany dad. Jimmy, the son.”
“Oh. He good?”
“Not as good as his old man but very good! Splendid on saxophone.”
“Sounds cool, I should check him out.”
“Yeah you should! You’ll love him.”
“Can we get back to me please?”

Wyatt and Leo turned to gape at Chris… slowly making up their minds as to what they needed to do to keep Chris in the present. *This* present. They needed to behave exactly how they would… as if nothing changed.

“Ever the narcissist Christopher, this world or the next.”
“Don’t tell me you got sibling issues with me in this world too.”
“Look who’s talking!”
“Break it up.”
Leo interrupted and the youngsters quit. Only they didn’t.
“He started it.”
“He started it.”
“Don’t care, just *end* it.”

The boys continued to glare at each other (though Wyatt’s was an act) and Leo shook his head in mock resignation.

“I think we’ve spent enough time bonding for today huh boys? I’d like to get back to the council meeting before they realize I’m missing, you guys okay here?”
“Wait you cant leave me here alone with… with…”
Damn it old memories conflicting with new ones. Not good.
Leo sighed.
“Chris you don’t have to resent your brother anymore. He is not evil here.”
“How can you be sure that he isn't?”
“Hello, I’m right here!”
“Alright you two!”
The kids quieted again.

“Chris, I *really* do need to go.”
For some reason, the thought of his dad leaving slammed his heart right back into his chest. The gravity of what he’d just been through came back to him full force.
Chris panicked.
“No dad please don’t go!”
Leo sensed the change (again) in his boy and relented, for the time being. Chris walked back to the couch and this time sat beside Leo.
“I’m sorry.”
“Nothing to be sorry about. It’s a lot to take I can understand.”

Mentally Chris still didn’t feel like the Chris of this time. The trauma of his past life and… well, death was simply too prevalent in his fragile mind. His hands shook with the intense-ness of it all, and he barely could contain another bout of insane laughter bubbling up in his throat.
“dear God.”

He sighed and massaged his temples, they hurt. Leo tenderly placed his hand on his forehead and soon the pain was gone. Pity the healer could take his pain, but couldn’t give him the peace he yearned for. Chris looked into his father’s eyes…
“Thanks, dad.”
//For everything.//

Leo smiled. He recognized the Chris he’d met and had several arguments with but nevertheless adored all those years ago.
“Welcome home son. And thank *you*, for a better future.”
Chris clung to Leo a long time, suppressing tears. He raised his head to look at Wyatt who still stood composed, attentive… studying him keenly.
Was there a look of admiration, perhaps even gratefulness in his blue eyes?
He knew there was a lingering sense of distrust in his own and Wyatt could actually sense it as well. He was hurt by it, but was willing to give Chris a chance to grow out of it. Chris thought of how Wyatt had saved him and held him so lovingly that he’d actually mistaken him for Leo.


Were they close? Him and Wyatt? In this world? How the heck did that feel?

Tentatively, he smiled at Wyatt. The most powerful wizard in the world gently smiled back. Chris saw his mother… he saw Piper in that face.
This night had been full of shocks and surprises, one after another. Was Chris hoping for another surprise, a pleasant one? Perhaps… and so despite the very nagging feeling at the back of his cerebrum which said he already *knew* the answer he sought, Chris spoke…
“Yes son.”
“So… where’s mom?”

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JM: Young tilted head closeup

Charmed: Destiny Still Awaits - Chapter 8

Previous Chapter

Chapter 8

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.
“I… how?”
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…
“Magic School.”
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.

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JM: Young tilted head closeup

Charmed: Destiny Still Awaits - Chapter 9

Previous Chapter

Chapter 9

Chris couldn’t keep it up anymore. He collapsed onto the couch, holding his middle with his arms as excruciating pain erupted in his guts. Wyatt looked up to see Chris falling and rushed to his side. But for all his exhaustion, the boy still managed to flinch as Wyatt approached. That just… totally pissed Wyatt off.

“Don’t come near me.”
“You’re not well…”
“And whose fault is that?”
Chris was totally drained and it bothered him his powers were still down. Wyatt sat beside him and put an arm around his shoulders to support him but Chris struggled. Wyatt refused to budge, now with a dangerous determination glinting in his eyes.
“I practically raised you boy. Don’t you dare shrug me off.”

Chris couldn’t understand the conflicting feelings he was having for this brother of his… on one hand he was completely convinced that Wyatt was still evil and wanted to get far away. On the other, there was this heart-wrenching longing to simply surrender… to sink into the warm comforting embrace and to… to trust.
Then, suddenly annoyed at feeling so weak and allowing himself to be manhandled… he pushed again, groaning loudly.

“Shut up now.”
Before the boy could argue again, Wyatt raised a hand over his middle and it glowed. Chris was surprised to know Wyatt also had healing powers and the pain soon subsided. He felt not so tired and restless, perhaps a bit more at peace even.

//He’s probably always had them, just never felt the need to use them before!//
Wyatt got up from the couch and was about to leave.
“Where you going?”
“You need to rest.”
“You haven’t answered my question.”
“We’ll talk tomorrow.”
“When you have a suitable cover story ready?”
Wyatt huffed and turned around again to look down at Chris.
“Look around you Chris… do you really see *nothing* changed? Don’t you a different father? A different me?”
When Chris didn’t reply, he went on.
“Maybe I was saved in time… maybe I am not as traumatized and *fragile* as you assume me to be! Maybe… maybe I’ve got you to… to keep me out of trouble. You ever think about that?”

Too many maybes, as far as the younger man was concerned. Chris managed to push himself up from a slouch.
“I see my mom’s still dead.”
Wyatt hesitated.
“There is nothing we can do about that.”
“Yes we can!”
And Wyatt could literally see the wheels turning in Chris’s head.
“We… I could go back… and warn Leo and you right before the attack! We could save her Wyatt… we could save mom!”

Wyatt sighed, his heart went out to his little brother… so this is what everything was about.
“We cant.”
“Why not?”
Wyatt rubbed his eyes with a tired hand.
“Well for one, the page with the only existing time travel spell is missing from the book. Dad says mom ripped it off right after you went back and *died* on her.”
Chris wasn’t about to give in so easily.
“We… we ask the Elders, they helped me go back once. Maybe Dad could…”
“You want to risk another rejection from the Powers that Be?”
“What if I cant handle it and turn all *scary evil* huh?”
Wyatt snickered, although there was a sadness in his eyes. He was being sarcastic, Chris knew that… but he couldn’t help thinking maybe he did have a point.
Wyatt turned away and his next words were uttered so quietly Chris nearly missed them.
“Besides, I already tried. They said they wont do it again.”

//oh shit.//
Alarm bells were going off in Chris’ mind. He cursed the stupid Elders for not seeing how fine a line they were treading. He hadn’t spent much time with this allegedly *good* Wyatt but even he could see the pain and the bitterness was all still there. He was like a ticking bomb! Could go off at the slightest tremor.
“They said it was in keeping with Piper’s *wish*. Whatever that means.”

Chris had to think fast. To his paranoid mind, saving Piper was the only way he could save Wyatt. He started getting up, his energy having been recently restored by Wyatt.
“What you doing now?”
“I’m going to check the book myself.”
With that Chris went out the room and walked towards the stairs to the attic. Wyatt pondered stopping him but then decided what the hell… he followed Chris.
“Alright, but I already looked okay. You can trust me on that.”
Chris almost laughed. They had just entered the attic door.
“I won’t trust you with a toothpick Wyatt Halliwell.”
Wyatt halted.
Chris felt the air go cold, he sure did hit a nerve there… but he didn’t stop. He kept walking until he reached the book which stood right where it always had. That’s where he turned around and quickly glanced up at his brother who still waited at the door, before he opened the book.
Silence stretched, and Chris started freaking out, something about a pissed off big brother not boring too well with him.

“You’re suppressing.”
Chris raised an eyebrow. “Excuse me?”
Wyatt looked like he’d just had an epiphany.
“You’re suppressing the new memories with your old ones. You are not even giving this new world a chance!”
Chris continued to thumb through the book. He noticed a whole stack of new pages appended at the end… Wyatt made those entries… the knowledge coming to him of a sudden from nowhere.

Nope… he didn’t think he was suppressing at all.

“Stop all this psycho-babble bullshit okay.”
Wyatt laughed at that.
“Hey you’re the one generally spouting off Freudian nonsense round here, I learned from you.”
“Why would I be spouting… oh… because… I’m studying? Behavioral psychology? In college?”
New memories alright.
Chris couldn’t help but smile… college was never an option back in his time. Heck he barely completed school and even that was thanks to his grandpa Victor… shit grandpa! He wasn’t in hospital with lung cancer this time around, this he was sure of. Kay that’s good. He mentally made a note to check up on how he was doing. But later.
Chris cleared his throat and went back to scouring the book. Wyatt tapped his feet, tapped at the doorframe, paced back and forth and finally just plopped onto the big plush… *bed in the corner*?

Chris blinked.
“You sleep here. You *live* here, in the attic.”
It wasn’t a question. Wyatt smiled in return.
“To protect the book with your force field?”
“I protect the whole manor with my force field. You know that.”
Chris swallowed, yeah that little detail needed reminding but… he did know that.
“Which room is mine?”
“The one you were in downstairs.”
“But that’s…”
“Yeah… used to be mom’s room. Then you made it yours.”
Chris looked down at the book, shuffled his feet.

“I helped you move in, remember? You wouldn’t let me change the bed covers and sheets for weeks. You… you missed her so much…”

Tears threatened to show at the rim of his eyes again. Wyatt took another step closer to where Chris stood. Chris suddenly felt a rush of memories he’d never known before…
He saw himself at fourteen years old, curled up around Piper’s pillow, crying hysterically on her bed. He saw a sixteen years old Wyatt walk into the room and hold him tightly to himself. He saw the grieving children console each other, wipe each other’s tears. He saw how Wyatt rocked the younger Chris until he fell asleep. That couldn’t have possibly happened in his old life, because *that* Wyatt had never liked him at all! There was something dark and brooding and standoffish about the boy for as long as Chris could remember. He barely used to acknowledge him as a brother.
This however… was so different. This was his new life.

Before he could stop himself, Chris was whispering his assent.
“Yes, I remember…”

Wyatt studied the change in his brother closely and wondered if he’d probably been given an opening. He walked slowly closer to Chris as if approaching a skittish pony.
“Chris, I can only imagine what you’ve gone through. And you probably think this new world is… maybe its too good to be true. But it is real, brother. Look at me…”
Chris raised his eyes to look at Wyatt’s. He so wanted to believe.
“You and I, we have a brothers’ bond… just like the sisters did. You know me, better than anyone. Better than dad!”
There was so much desperation in Wyatt’s voice, Chris’ resolution to resist almost crumbled.


“No… I don’t know you.”
Wyatt sighed in resignation and shook his head.
“You’re suppressing again…”
Chris sobbed. “Maybe, maybe I am.”
Wyatt waited.
“And maybe for good reason. My *mother* is still *dead*. And if it weren’t for you… she would have been alive.”
Wyatt froze.
“What did you say?”
“You… you were always off… killing something. First it was just insects, then animals! Then demons… your powers grew every day and with them your thirst for blood. I was there and I saw it… I saw it in your eyes…”
Wyatt looked away, his hair flying loose at the sudden movement. Something huge and painful lodged in his throat.
“You went down to the Underworld chasing this stupid demon… and dad went looking for you. He always did love you so much more. And that was it… that’s all it took…”

Chris felt the moisture on his cheeks and didn’t care.
Then he heard a sob and it wasn’t his.
When Wyatt looked at him this time, there was no soft pleading in his eyes, no love for his brother. There was coldness and Chris felt it.
“I am sick of you confusing me with this other person Chris. I wish you’d get over it but until you do… get your damn facts about *this* world straight.”
His voice was harsh.
“I am *not* a killer. And I probably have you to thank for that. As for mom’s death… I know I made a mistake.”
Wyatt looked down, his eyes burning with unshed tears… years of guilt all thrown up into his face by his own little brother! All rationale left the man as pain took over. There was only so much he could take.

“I shouldn’t… shouldn’t have fallen for the bait. I was young and arrogant in my newfound powers and I will carry that burden of guilt on my conscience for the rest of eternity. But what I will *not* do… is stand here and listen to you accuse me of *killing* my own mother just because it makes you feel better about your own guilt!”

Silence reigned.
Chris shook his head in denial.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“You blame yourself for not being able to save mom when the attack came.”
Chris hyperventilated. He bit his lower lip until it bled, and backed away from the book now forgotten.
“Shut up.”
“I know Chris… I know because, you told me! You told me you felt guilty and I’ve told you that it was not your fault a thousand times.”
“Shut up shut up shut the fuck up!”

Wyatt was advancing on him… Chris felt the walls closing in. He had to get out, out of this damn attic where his mother’s blood was spilt and he’d been helpless to do anything except scream.
//Leo! Leo!//
“Chris hold it… I’m sorry. It wasn’t your fault kiddo, it was not your fault!”
//Leo please!! We need you dad! Wyatt!!//
Chris kept shaking his head and trembling, backing away from Wyatt who was now very worried about this panic reaction Chris was having.
“Chris… look at me. Christopher…”
//Wyatt! Wyatt please, mom’s bleeding!! Mom hold on!! Hold on please!! Wyatt!!//
//Dad please!!//
//God no! No!!//

The room spun, where did all the air go? Chris had to get out, away from all the memories – old ones, new ones. God damn memories and Wyatt… who was holding him by the shoulders and saying something but he couldn’t hear a thing… he just had to get out.

With strength superhuman and from God knows where, Chris tore out of his brother’s hands and ran through the attic door… flew down the steps and then out the Halliwell Manor. He could hear Wyatt shouting, asking him to wait… to come back but he couldn’t. The Manor was the last place he wanted to be… yes he was suppressing… memories both old ones and new because they were all the fucking same! He’d been weak and incompetent in both of them… he’d let his mother down in fucking both of them. Wyatt would have been able to save Piper if he’d been there… Wyatt was stronger and smarter and… bigger and Dad would have listened when he’d called for him. Yes he would.

It was so easy to blame Wyatt for not being there… so easy… because he was evil!
Wasn’t he?

Chris ran… tears flowing down his face and into his beautiful blue shirt, his throat hurting with all the crying and yet he ran.

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