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.”
“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.
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.”
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.”
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.
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*?
“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.”
“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.”
“And maybe for good reason. My *mother* is still *dead*. And if it weren’t for you… she would have been alive.”
“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!”
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.
“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.
“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!!//
//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!
Chris ran… tears flowing down his face and into his beautiful blue shirt, his throat hurting with all the crying and yet he ran. Next Chapter