A/N: So I know it's been ages since I posted a new chapter. I hope you haven't forgotten the story! I actually had this sitting on my computer for a while, but I didn't know if it was any good so I was hesitant to upload it. I also lost inspiration for a while, but it's back now! Please review, it's so nice to know that there are people actually out there reading the story. Even if you hate it, let me know.
Oh, by the way, I don't own Charmed. Obviously. If I did, why would I be writing fanfiction? I could have written the actual show.
Rose and Chris arrived side-by-side on the landing of the staircase. They looked down at the sight before them: about half a dozen darklighters were fighting with the three sisters in the foyer of the house. One of them was advancing on Phoebe menacingly, while she was squaring off against him, her whole body tensed for a fight. Piper had been knocked into the wall close to where Chris was standing, and appeared to be unconscious, with a darklighter advancing towards her, while Paige was in the process of orbing a stray arrow back into the chest of her assailant. Three others were standing, crossbows in hand, looking for a chance to shoot down a witch: poison or not, an arrow in the chest could kill any one of them. In a split second, both Chris and Rose had joined the fray. With a wave of his arm, Chris sent the darklighter that was advancing on his mother flying into the opposite wall.
Chris looked around in time to dodge an arrow launched from another darklighter, and noticed Phoebe grab the crossbow off her attacker and stab him with it. Rose meanwhile, who had been briefly locked in hand-to-hand combat with one of the remaining three darklighters, had pressed the jewel of her ring to his heart. In a blinding red light and a scream, her darklighter exploded. Phoebe was stunned for a moment as she watched her daughter fight. Paige, meanwhile, had quickly vanquished her own darklighter and the one who had tried to shoot Chris. Only two remained: one passed out against the wall Chris had thrown him into, and one other standing in the centre of the foyer. He took in the remaining five witches, four of whom were bearing down on him. He hedged his bets and left in a swirl of dark orbs. The last darklighter had regained consciousness, however, and rose, aiming his crowbow squarely at Chris' back.
"Chris!" Paige called when she saw. Chris whipped around and slammed the darklighter telekinetically back into the wall. He then levitated the darklighter and held him against the wall, about a foot in the air. Chris looked over at Piper, just beginning to stir.
"Piper!" He called, "you okay?" The darklighter watched Chris and viciously spat in his face.
"Traitor!" the darklighter called.
"Sorry, Jasky buddy." Chris laughed. "I guess even teaming up isn't enough to kill Charmed ones." Chris was about to vanquish him when Jasky spoke again.
"What is it then? You and the boss team up to two-time us? No good elders and whitelighters!" He spat again. His words made Chris freeze in his attack.
"What!?" Jasky opened his mouth to speak again when Piper, having risen from the floor, blew him to nothing. Chris whipped around in frustration. "What did you do that for? He was finally starting to talk about his boss!"
"Chris," the rest of the girls were approaching, forming a loose circle in the hallway. "What are you talking about? How do you know them?" Chris sighed, and looked at them.
"They were from a group of darklighters I infiltrated about two months ago. It was weird… they had formed a group, some kind of band. But darklighters never work together, so I thought that whoever was organizing the darklighters might have had something to do with whoever gets Wyatt. I suspected it was Alessof. I asked around for a while about who their boss was but I never met him. I asked a couple too many questions so I had to leave before I arose too much suspicion. Besides, no one seemed to know who their boss was anyway, and anyone who did just told me that –"
Chris cut off in shock and turned sharply to his left as the foyer had just been filled with seven more darklighters, one of who was the darklighter that had just orbed away. They didn't poise for a fight, or pay any of the Charmed ones any attention. As soon as they arrived, they simultaneous raised their crossbows, aimed only at Chris, and fired. The group of witches had only seconds to react. Chris managed to deflect one back at the darklighter who launched it, Paige to orb another, and Piper to freeze one. It wasn't enough though, as the four remaining arrows buried themselves into Chris' body: one in the shoulder, one in the stomach, and two in his chest, dangerously close to his heart. Chris crumpled to the ground. Without wasting another moment, all the darklighters orbed away to safety. Piper, who had been standing behind him, rushed to his side.
"Oh my god, Chris!" Rose cried. She also rushed to his side and immediately began to pull the arrows out of him. All three of the sisters started shouting for Leo at the top of their lungs. Chris grunted from his position on the floor. He could feel the poison coursing quickly and surely through his veins. At least it would be quick, he thought.
"Where the hell is he?" Phoebe shouted.
"He never comes…" Chris murmured.
"Shh…shh… sweetheart he'll be here. God, why didn't you just orb away?" Chris couldn't even get up the energy to open his eyes.
"They would have hit you…" he slurred. Piper's eyes filled with tears as she felt the life drain from her estranged son.
"LEO!" she cried. When nothing happened, Piper turned to Paige. "Quick Paige, we don't have much time, heal him!" Paige blanched as she looked at her sister.
"I-I can't. I can barely heal a paper cut –"
"Paige! You have to try!" Piper was crying now, tears falling thick and fast down her cheeks as she sat, cradling her dying son's head. Paige had no choice but to try. She knelt nervously over Chris, and extended her hands. She closed her eyes and frowned as she attempted to channel a new and difficult ability. She was shaking violently, and her hands omitted only the faintest of glows. Her breathing became labored as she tried to purge the flowing poison from his blood. It was too much for her, and Chris looked only mildly better. Thankfully, after one final heart-piercing cry from Piper, Leo arrived in a swarm of blue orbs.
"No!" Piper shouted. "No blessed, no meditation. Heal! Now!"
Leo looked down on Paige, Piper, Phoebe and Rose, all huddled around the prone form of Chris, his son - though to Leo he was only their untrustworthy whitelighter. He bent down, and replaced Paige's hands with his own. Paige fell back, sweating and shaking from the effort. Phoebe put her arm around her sister comfortingly.
Leo calmly healed Chris' wounds and leaned back. Piper hit him hard in the arm.
"What took you so long? He nearly died!"
"Ow, Piper. I'm sorry, but I told you I shouldn't be coming down much anymore. I'm not even your whitelighter anymore–"
"Save it Leo." Piper snapped. She turned, her emotions changing on a dime, to support Chris as he coughed life back into his lungs. Chris sat up, and cradled his head with one hand.
"You okay sweetie?" Piper asked him lovingly. Chris gave her a look, and she removed her hand from his side.
"I'm fine." He looked up and saw Leo. His eyes narrowed, but he kept his compose.
"Leo." He nodded his head in cold acknowledgement.
Leo frowned, puzzled by his cold reception. He had felt that just before becoming an elder that he and Chris had reached an understanding, but Chris' demeanor certainly suggested otherwise. That was one thing, but Piper and the rest of the family's very warm and loving concern for him was equally puzzling. The last he could keep track, Piper still didn't trust him as far as she could kick him.
"Is everything okay?" He asked tentatively.
"Everything's fine," Chris answered quickly. "You can go now." Chris turned away, and braced himself against the wall as he recovered from his near death.
Leo looked around, hoping to find an ally, but instead he found nothing but angry glares from the three people he loved most in the world. The fourth face he did not recognize.
"Who are you?" He asked Rose. What he meant to be a simple question to change the topic only seemed to put everyone else more on edge. They looked around at each other, opening and closing their mouths a couple times as though deciding how best to answer. Rose was the quickest on her feet.
"I'm a, uh, friend of Chris'," she put her arm tentatively on Chris' shoulder. "He was saying he could help me out. My, um, my family's in some trouble. He thinks he can fix everything." Her understated judgment on Chris' character went unnoticed, and Leo still looked confused.
"Oh. Right, okay. I didn't realize Chris had… well, I mean, that's good that he's offered to help. Well I should probably go then." He looked around awkwardly. Chris still had his back turned, and Paige and Phoebe both seemed unable or unwilling to make eye contact. He was about to orb out when Phoebe spoke, her eyes still drilling into the floor.
"This is wrong, Piper."
Leo stopped orbing, and looked at Piper.
"What's is?" Leo could feel his irritation growing. "What aren't you telling me? I know I'm missing something. What did I do?"
"Well for one you could have been a little quicker on your toes with the orbing." Paige muttered. She was still pale from her attempted healing.
"Yes, okay, fine. I'm sorry about that. Really, Chris." Chris finally turned to look at Leo when he addressed him. "I'm sorry I didn't arrive faster."
"What else is new?" Chris replied with a shrug. This puzzled Leo still further, but he was determined to get an answer to his original question.
"There's something else, though." He pressed, "I know it. Piper, we were married for years. I know when you're not telling me something. What is it?"
Piper considered for a moment, and then opened her mouth, clearly resigned to telling him the truth. Chris, however, cut her off before she could answer.
"Piper. Please don't. Please." Chris was looking at her desperately, clinging to her arm. Piper looked at her son and placed a hand on top of his. She desperately didn't want to risk pushing him still further away, but she ultimately knew the right thing to do.
"I'm sorry Chris, but Phoebe's right. It's wrong for him not to know. You… you don't want him to not know you from the start. He deserves to know. To be…around. If he wants."
Chris felt ill at the idea of the ensuing conversation.
"I-I can't be here for this. I don't want to be here."
Rose stepped forward immediately, and took Chris' other hand.
"Come on, Chris. Come help me pick something to wear. Towels are not really practical demon-fighting wear." She smiled slowly, and the two of them went upstairs without another word or glance at anyone else.
Rose kept a hold of Chris's hand until they were safely in Phoebe's room. Rose collected some clothes from the closet and disappeared into the bathroom to get changed. Chris just sat, sullen and silent, on the edge of Phoebe's bed.
"It'll be okay, Chris." Rose called from the bathroom. "I mean, he's your father, it's not like he wasn't going to find out about you eventually."
"That's not the point." Chris answered after a lengthy pause. "It's just…different now. Once it's official. Once I'm really a part of the family, there's no going back. Leo'll feel guilty for how he treated me, he'll try to build bridges, to get to know me, get to know the future. I can't just be their wightlighter and get the job done. They'll want to bond. All of them. And I can't Rose. I mean I don't think I'm strong enough for that. What if – what if saving Wyatt only fixes so much? I mean we cant guarantee that any of our parents will survive, and I can't be sure that Leo wont turn out just as much of a dick as he's always been. I don't think I can get my hopes up again. It's better this way. It's easier if they don't see me as family. I'd rather they hated me than loved me. It's like torture, Rose. I can't take it."
Rose had emerged from the bathroom and stood, leaning against the doorframe. Her hair was tied into a ponytail, and her mother's jeans and dark-blue t-shirt were flattering on her. She stared at Chris as he finished speaking. When he lapsed into an agonized silence, Rose sighed.
"You always have had an amazing capacity for self-deception. Because honestly, that's crap. I mean, it. Serious, serious crap. They're our family. They always have been and always will be. Even if they don't know, or if you don't want them to, they'll always be our family. Family makes things complicated, but it's important. It's important for them to know the truth."
Chris rolled his eyes. "You sound like Piper."
"Well, she was one hell of a smart lady." Rose smiled sadly, and put her arm around Chris. "I know it's hard, but you never know. There's no way that this experience won't change Leo in some way. I'm not saying that Leo didn't make more than his fair share of mistakes, but maybe knowing the future will help him to avoid making them again. You can't hold things against him that he hasn't done yet."
"Yeah, I guess. What did I do to deserve you? After everything that's happened, everything we've seen, you still somehow manage to stay optimistic. I wish I had your faith."
"But you do, Chris. You must. I mean, you risked everything; your life, your future, your past, everything. And what hope did you really have? None. Nothing but faith."
"Correction," Chris looked at her earnestly. "I still have no hope. I still have nothing. I've been here for a year and a half now, and I don't think I've changed a thing."
"Well," said Rose, a sudden grin spreading across her features. "Maybe it's time we stop talking and start really changing things up around here. I think, Chris, the time for caution has passed. Come on, I have an idea."
Rose, without another word, turned and darted out of Pheobe's room and down the stairs. Chris had to sprint to catch up with her on the landing of the stairs. By time they both arrived back downstairs, every eye in the house had turned on them. Leo was sitting in an armchair in the living room. Piper was kneeled in from of him, her eyes level with him, and one hand on his knee. Paige and Phoebe were sitting on the couch nearby, looking nervous. All four of them had turned and looked at the sound of Chris and Rose running down the stairs. They both stopped when they entered the living room.
"Uhh, hey." Chris said, attempting a casual air. Leo barely seemed able to look Chris in the eye, let alone respond to him. The news was evidently still too fresh. "Look, really, Leo, don't worry about it. It's not a big –"
"Deal?" Leo interrupted. "Not a big deal?" His indignation was clear, but he was evidently still too shaken to drive his point any further.
"…Yeah. Look, If we could all move on, Rose says she has a plan about Wyatt." At this Leo seemed to snap to life.
"What? What does Rose know about Wyatt?"
"Oh, Leo, maybe this is too much, all at once…" Piper began, voice overflowing with sympathy.
"Don't tell me she's another one of my children from the future!"
"Well, no, not one of your children…"
"Phoebe in my mother." Rose said somewhat bluntly. Despite her role as a cupid, tact had never been one of her specialties. She had always left the politeness to her siblings.
"Oh." Was all Leo seemed able to say.
"Anyway," Chris tried to press on, "Rose says she has a plan about how to save Wyatt."
Rose sat down next to Phoebe, and pulled her legs into her chest, curling herself up into a tight ball.
"Well, actually, I said I had an idea, and actually, while I think it will help in our quest to save Wyatt, I don't think you're going to like it. At all." Rose began sheepishly.
Chris groaned, thinking he knew where this was headed. "Rose, no! Please, no!"
"I think it'll be for the best." Rose continued stubbornly.
"Rose! Think about yourself. If you do this, you won't be strong enough to fight – "
"Chris! If we do this, if it works, then I won't need to worry about returning to our future. There won't be that future to return to."
"Are you talking about what I think you're talking about?" Phoebe had turned to face Chris and Rose, her eyes lighting up with barely concealed excitement. Chris sighed; no way he was going to be able to convince all five of the people looking at him that this was a bad idea.
Quick thing: I'm going into the future next chapter. Any suggestions of what you want to/really don't want to see? I know Piper's death has been written practically every single time people write a future story, but I have a kind of interesting idea for a slight twist. We'll see...