Disclaimer: Not Mine.
A/N: Okay, this one really is the last chapter. It's taken me forever to get here and for a long time there I wasn't even sure if I knew where I was going. I know the last chapter probably seemed a little confusing since all the characters from both universes were there. I hope I was able to pull it off without giving anyone a headache. On to the last chapter now. I hope you all enjoy.
Chapter 23 ~ Never Alone
The switchover of the sons went rather smoothly in Leo's opinion. Within seconds of the younger boys crossing through the mirror his youngest had bounded into his arms and Wyatt had wrapped his long arms around his mother. The older versions of his sons stood back, both smiling at the sheer happiness the children demonstrated at seeing their parents again. "It's really gonna work this time, Chris," Wyatt commented wrapping an arm around Chris' shoulders.
Chris watched the scene play out, seeing the pure joy in his family's faces and had to admit that for once he actually felt hope bubbling into his chest. He glanced to his side taking in the happiness on his grown brother's face and the fact that he just looked so right. Maybe not innocent per se, but definitely 'good'. "Yeah, Wy, I think you might be right this time." Then a devious smirk quirked his lips and he couldn't help but add a small jab, "for once at least."
Wyatt's smile didn't fade but his eyebrow rose as he glanced at his teasing brother. "I'm always right and you know it."
"Keep telling yourself that, big brother," Chris chuckled. At those words Leo walked over to them. He had handed little Chris off to Piper. He still had work to do.
"I think I need to do something about that," he said motioning to the mirror, which was suspended in the open space between the two worlds. He could see that the Seer had wondered over near it and was deep in discussion with her other self.
"You might want to step back," Wyatt called a warning to the demon, who hadn't heard Leo's statement.
She turned towards them and a panicked look crossed her face as she saw Leo's hands rise. "Wait no," she yelled but it was too late as the bolts of electricity struck the mirror causing it to shatter in a million pieces around them. It wasn't hard to see how furious she was. "You just destroyed it. That was an important object. It could have been used for so much."
Chris and Wyatt shared a look that said they certainly weren't believing any of it. "Come off it. You just wanted to switch places with your good self so you could butter yourself up to the other Wyatt." He had hit the nail on the head with that one and her mouth snapped shut not arguing any longer. But the stricken look on her face as she glanced back to where the mirror had hung did cause the brother's to feel some pity for the demon. "Sorry, you'll have to wait for the next evil demon to rise in the ranks," but as he said those words Chris remembered something. He turned towards the front of the room looking at the spot where they had left Barbas. He half expected the Demon of Fear to have shimmered away while they were distracted, but no, he was still where they had left him, cowering on the floor, his hand grasping at an ugly burn mark on his chest.
The brothers and Leo moved forward to stand in front of the demon who had made their lives hell for way too long now. "Well look at that. The Tribunal must have decided he needed a matching wound to that of his counterpart in the evil universe. Balance and all, you know." Wyatt's voice saying those words didn't hold even an ounce of pity, not surprising to anyone present.
"Anybody mind if I finish frying him now?" Leo asked to no one in particular. If he were admitting the truth his words were more meant to strike fear in the demon than to actually ask for permission.
As there was no answer his hands began to rise but the demon spoke up at the last moment. "I can give you what you want."
There were several snorts of derision following that. But Leo paused none-the-less, more out of curiosity. "And how is it that we could want anything other than your death?"
The demon made a rough coughing sound and if they weren't mistaken it held an unmistakable wet sound. That didn't bode to well for the Demon of Fear. Apparently the Tribunal hadn't quite evened out the healing that Chris had administered to the Demon of Hope earlier. A suspicious thought entered his mind watching the demon before him. And when his voice came it was filled with scorn. "You could shimmer away right now but you aren't. Why?"
The innocent look the demon put on for the young Witchlighter proved his theory along with his next words. "Yes I could. But it seems my supporters from before have withdrawn their assistance. I leave now and Daddy Dearest there would just follow me and finish me off. I'm too weak to hide myself from his kind."
"And what, I'm supposed to feel pity for that?" Leo asked kneeling in front of the demon shaking his head. "You will never see an ounce of pity from me, not after the absolute hell you put my son through."
Barbas smiled an ironic smile at that. "Pity, the Demon of Fear doesn't want pity, you stupid Elder. I just want to live. Well and to maybe get this nasty hole in my chest healed."
The sisters had moved forward as they talked and Piper couldn't hold her tongue. "Not a chance in hell, you monster."
Barbas turned his face towards Piper and it unnerved her that he acted as if he knew something that would change their minds. "Nothing in this world would cause you to spare me. Not even the chance of regaining your lost memories?"
There was silence for a moment as shock settled into them all. But Leo was the first to overcome. "Making false promises will kill you even quicker."
"No no.. Do not doubt me, Elder. I may have lost the approval of those on high, but the cleaners are the ones that you need. They can either take or give. And I for one know that after that disaster with the dragon, that they tend to avoid your lot at all costs, now don't they?" he asked his voice gaining strength as his conviction seemed to rise. "I can fix that. I know them. Some will still listen to me."
Silence permeated the room for several moments as the demon's words were considered, until an unexpected source interrupted. "Are you kidding me? You're listening to him," the Seer squeaked in a high-pitched tone. "Have you all forgotten that just hours ago he stabbed one of you and was planning to turn your sons evil? You can't trust what he says."
Chris shook his head as if loosening cobwebs. For just a moment he had been considering it. He wanted it so much. The versions of his family that surrounded him were amazing. They had all accepted him and done their utmost to try to fix the harm that he had suffered over and over again. But still.. now that he had those other memories, the ones of the first time he traveled through time he wanted to share those with them. The days and nights that he had spent forming such a strong bond with them in the past were doing so very much to help his heart heal. He needed to be able to share that with them. But it was just plain crazy to make a deal with this demon. "She's right. Even if he kept his end of the bargain we'd be watching our backs for the rest of our lives, wondering when he'd try to kill one of us again."
Barbas wasn't ready to give up his chance though. He knew he almost had them hooked. "Ah, but the mercy you show me today would go a long way towards my avoidance of tangling with your family in the future."
Piper had crossed her arms over her chest and was staring daggers at the demon still not at all convinced. "Yeah well, after you tried to kill my sisters and failed, I sort of thought you'd be smart enough to leave us be. But apparently I overestimated your amount of common sense."
Barbas winced at her words knowing she was probably right. "Normally I'd have agreed with you, but when two demon members of the Tribunal come to you with such a tasty plot to get a little revenge, it tends to cloud the good senses a might." He shrugged slightly wincing as the motion pulled at the burn on his chest. "And besides, it was fun for a while. Your family always offers such exquisite fair for a demon of my type."
Those words didn't do much to help his cause but Chris had to admit that for once the demon was being honest. He motioned to his family to join him in a private conversation on the other side of the room. As they gathered he could see varying degrees of anger and distrust written plainly on the others' faces.
"We can't trust him. Not after everything he's done already," Phoebe spoke up first. Paige and Piper both nodded agreeing. They had known the demon for so long and had been burned by him too many times.
"Wyatt, in your future did we ever manage to get those memories back some other way?" Leo asked hoping that there was another way, any other way.
Wyatt shook his head sadly. "They tried countless spells, Dad. And after you finally killed Barbas you tried your best to get the Tribunal to cooperate. But none of that did any good. The Seer showed you all bits and pieces of what happened, but it wasn't the same as actually remembering. I don't think any of you were all that satisfied with how it was. Mom once told me that it was like watching someone else live a life that was supposed to be hers." Those words caused a large sad sigh to escape Piper and her sisters both looked as if they might cry.
"Even if he does get our memories back for us there's no doubt that he'll target us again in the future," Leo suggested. "The only question left, is whether it's worth it?"
With those words Leo looked to each of them gauging their reactions. Piper was the first to talk. "I want my memories back. I don't want to be an outsider looking in on the past life of my youngest child." With those words a few tears did roll down her cheeks and her sisters both wrapped their arms around her offering comfort. They each turned to Leo just nodding their agreement.
Leo sighed and looked towards his sons. "I want my memories back too, but I won't agree unless you do, Chris," he spoke up staring hard at the grown version of his youngest son. "You're the one he's hurt the most and there's no saying that he won't try again someday."
Chris was slightly taken aback by his father's words. Leo was right about Barbas hurting him the most, but not completely right about the possibilities of the future. He looked to the side slightly staring at the younger versions of he and his brother. The connection between he and the youngster was still open and their eyes met. It was actually the child that would be taking this risk, not him. He was the one that would grow up fighting off the evil that was Barbas. He could see understanding in the young boy's eyes. Even though they hadn't been included in the discussion they both could hear the entire conversation through the links with their older selves and they had been talking between themselves about it.
Younger Wyatt glanced towards the demon in question then back to his little brother. "I promise you, Chris, I'll protect you no matter what," he vowed knowing his brother really wanted the others to have his memories too.
With those words the younger brother just nodded to his older self. Chris turned back to his family who were waiting for his answer. "I wonder how long it'll take him to find a cleaner?"
Leo nodded understanding his son's answer and turned walking back to where Barbas was still slumped on the floor. He kneeled very close to the demon and reached out hovering a hand over the burnt whole in his chest. But before he started to heal he had a warning for him. "If you betray us, I will search the ends of the earth until I find you. Then I'm gonna continuously torture you only to heal you over and over again so I can make it last for as long as it takes me to purge my hate for you. Do you understand?"
The demon nodded at the Elder leaning over him menacingly and answered with a smile on his face. "Completely... And they say Elder's are Pacifists."
"I'm a father first, you monster," Leo answered as his hands began to glow with a healing light. His stomach flipped in disgust at the thought of actually saving the bastard, but it was a necessary evil unfortunately.
Once the healing was finished the demon stood slowly and tipped his head towards those he had just bargained with, then shimmered away from the chamber.
"I sure hope we made the right decision," Piper said still worried that they were messing everything up.
One day later, the Manor
"He's not gonna hold up his end of the bargain," Chris spoke out to the open air in frustration as he paced the attic floor. He had spent the last few hours doing nothing else, pacing and nervously running his hands through his hair, occasionally bursting out curses at the demon in question. None of the others bothered to comment. It wasn't the first time he'd said it. They didn't want to agree with him even if some of them feared the same thing.
He glanced around at the rest of his family who themselves had gathered around him. He knew they were worried about him. After everything that had happened the day before he was sure they probably expected him to fall apart. And maybe he should have. Seven lifetimes of pain, rejection, and eventual death should have broken him. But he wasn't broken and he wasn't even sure how to explain that to them.
The younger versions of the Halliwell brother's sat together in a corner playing with their toys and whispering together. Chris could hear what they were saying to each other through his link with his younger self. Neither of them seemed all that worried. In a way he envied the ability of children to let the future fall as it may without worries clouding their minds.
Piper and Leo sat on the beat up sofa very close to each other with Leo's arm wrapped around his wife, offering her strength. Paige and Wyatt were huddled together around the family's cauldron. Ever practical, Paige had took it upon herself to restock their potion supplies, just in case Barbas really decided to double cross them and launched an attack of some sort. Wyatt had volunteered to help her, and Phoebe was leafing through the Book of Shadows, not exactly looking for anything in particular, but needing to do something. The waiting was just becoming way too much.
Her family's emotions swirled around her in torrents that occasionally crashed into her own and a headache was building up in her temples causing small winces every so often. Piper and Leo were her first concern. They doubted themselves. Had they done what was best for their family, or had they just thought of what they wanted most? She understood those feelings. It wasn't the first time any of her family had flirted with personal gain including her too.
Paige and Wyatt didn't seem all that upset about the decision they had made, just prepared for whatever the consequences might have been. But she could also feel the wave of worry that Wyatt was sending out every time he looked towards his brother, and to Phoebe's surprise he seemed a slight bit helpless. He didn't know what to do to help his brother. It had been obvious what Chris needed the day before. He was dieing. He needed his brother to comfort him, to help him accept his family's love. Just the fact that Chris had succeeded in keeping his brother on the side of good had soothed Chris' soul. But there was no calming Chris' worries today, not when they shared the same.
But Chris seemed so strong now. Yeah, he was frustrated and nervous about whether or not Barbas would come through on his end of their bargain. But somehow the pain she had picked up on the day before from her future nephew had decreased ten fold. It was still there in a small amount but dampened in a way. She knew that a lot had been resolved in his mind by his family's actions, but she just didn't understand how he seemed so well adjusted after everything he had suffered.
Her mind turned to Leo though and she could still see the haunted look in his eyes. He had pretty much taken control of the situation with Barbas, knowing he couldn't leave all that responsibility on his son's shoulders. It was his job to protect his family, and going by Chris' various futures he had failed miserably in many ways. He wanted so much to make things right between he and this future version of his son. The Chris who hadn't grown up with his love. Yes, he had risked his own life to save Chris. He had been more than willing to die for him. That was something, but would it make up for everything else? She could feel that he doubted it.
Phoebe shook her head in frustration. Chris and Leo needed to talk. And going by the feelings she felt coming off Chris, she was sure Leo had very little to worry about. "Chris, if you keep pacing like that you'll wear a hole in the floor," she called to him trying to get his attention without being obvious about what she thought he needed to do.
He turned to her with a smart remark ready to fly but the concerned look on her face gave him pause. He could see her head tilted towards the sofa and he glanced that way. Piper stood up and crossed over to her small children and sat on the floor next to them intending to distract her self with their innocent play. That left Leo sitting alone and his face was downcast, his eyes holding a far off, sad look. That look tore at Chris' heart. Leo had offered him all the support he could ask for once this was over but he hadn't actually thought of what all of this must be doing to him. "Hey, Dad, can you help me with something?"
Leo's head immediately flew up at his son's voice. A small smile touched his lips hearing him call him Dad. He hadn't really expected him to be able to do that so easily, but he certainly wouldn't turn away the title. "Sure, Chris," he answered standing seeing his son turn and walk out of the attic.
Leo followed him down stairs and away from the others before Chris turned to him and placed a hand on his shoulder. "We need to talk, Dad." With those words orbs surrounded them and they left the manor.
When their orbs reformed Leo glanced around them and could see that Chris had brought him to one of his favorite places, the top of the golden gate bridge but the thought of the vision that Barbas had shown him that occurred in this very spot made his skin blanche white and his stomach rumble with nausea. Apparently his love of the peaceful spot had now been tainted by the Demon of Fear. Chris had hoped the new location would help put Leo's mind at ease but he immediately saw a pained look cross his face. "What's wrong?" he asked in concern.
Leo let out a large sigh and couldn't help the tears that began to form behind his eyes. "I'm sorry, Chris…," he stuttered out. "How can you bare to come up here?"
A look of confusion struck the young man and Leo could tell he had no clue what he was referring to. He hadn't wanted to tell Chris what he'd seen but he knew he'd have to now. "When I was searching for Barbas in his lair…. he showed me a vision from your future. The other Leo… from you future… that bastard. He… he..." There was no way he could finish that statement. His voice was so stuttered in the anger and pain he still felt over it.
Chris thought to his future and could only remember one instant where the other Leo had done something on top of the bridge that could have caused that kind of reaction. "Oh that… I'm so sorry that Barbas decided to show you that. None of that should have been laid on you. Listen, Dad, that wasn't you. I know you'd never do something like that to me. You and the Leo in my future.. you are nothing alike. Nothing!"
Leo turned away from him looking out over the city, finally letting out a small sob as the memory played out in his head again. "Barbas tried to convince me that it was too late for us. That you'd never forgive me. Suggested that I just let you die and start over fresh with the younger version of you." He swung back quickly hoping Chris didn't think he'd ever consider that. "I couldn't do that, Chris. I couldn't give up hope on you. It would be the end of me."
Chris nodded stepping forward placing both his hands on Leo's shoulders. "I know. You gotta realize, Dad, I've seen all the things you've done in the past few weeks. Giving the little guy all the love and protection he needs. You can't know it, but that's the one thing I wanted most when I was a kid. I wanted a dad who would love and protect me just like Wyatt had. Mom was the best. She loved me without question but there was always something missing. When I go back to my time I'll get all of that little boys memories too. I'll be able to feel everything he felt about you. You've given me what I needed the most already. There's no way I could ever see you like I did him. And remember one other thing. I never once called him Dad. Just you! You are my Dad!" Chris paused for a moment, letting that sink in and Leo reached up wrapping his hands around Chris' wrists squeezing gently accepting the comfort his son was offering him. Those words had struck Leo profoundly. Chris accepted him. He wanted him for a father, no matter what that monster in his future had done to him.
But Chris wasn't done. "And then there are my memories from the first time I traveled through time. Before I got those, I have to admit that I was still pretty messed up. Hesitant to trust, I guess you'd say. But you haven't seen those memories yet, Dad. You and I we worked everything out. You were just like you are now. And it wasn't because you fell in love with my child self first, like this time. It was before I was born. It was because you loved me. The crazy, neurotic, sneaky me that had invaded your life and your home." Those words made Chris chuckle. He couldn't help himself.
A huge smile spread over Leo's features hearing that another version of him had managed to offer Chris the father figure that he truly deserved and he knew no matter what he'd do just the same for his son. He couldn't help the urge to pull his son into a tight hug squeezing with all his might.
Chris didn't pull away from the hug. He knew it was good for both of them. "I love you so much, Chris," Leo whispered softly. "And I'm so proud of you."
"Thanks, Dad. I love you too," Chris whispered back and for the first time in this timeline he knew for sure that they were gonna be okay. His dad would make sure of that for him.
Back in the Attic
As Chris and Leo orbed back in they could see an argument had started while they were gone.
"I know, Mom. I understand how you feel, but this might be for the best," Wyatt was saying and Piper was standing right in front of her six foot something son, staring up at him with anger clearly on her face.
"No, Wyatt. I can't agree with that. You need to stay here until we see what happens," she demanded and it wasn't hard to hear the desperation in her voice.
"What's going on?" Chris asked frowning. He was greatly surprised to see Wyatt arguing with their mother. Even in his original timeline Wyatt had always deferred to her wishes.
Piper looked once again at her oldest son pointing a finger at him and sharply saying, "I said no, Mister."
Wyatt sighed in what could only be termed as exasperation and turned to Chris. "I only suggested that maybe you and I should go ahead and travel back to our time to find out if Barbas kept his promise," he spoke up in a rather plaintive voice. "This waiting around is just wasting time for us. We are gonna go back soon anyway. If we left now we'd know immediately if he kept his word, and if he didn't we could come straight back and kick his ass."
Chris crossed his arms over his chest and it seemed as if he were mulling the idea over. "You have a point, Wyatt," he agreed cautiously knowing Piper would explode hearing so.
"No, you can't just up and leave," she demanded turning to him. "It's too soon," she added in almost a whisper. "Please, Chris," she pleaded with both her voice and her eyes.
Her sisters had joined her offering their support and he could see matching looks of sadness on their faces also.
His eyes closed on the sight, knowing that watching them plead would break down his defenses way to quickly.
"We only just found out you were our nephew, Chris. And Wyatt just showed up yesterday. Can't you stay for a bit longer, so we can get to know you two better?" Phoebe pleaded trying to help her sister's cause.
"I've been here for months now, Phoebe. What you haven't already discovered on your own really isn't all that important to know," he answered, "and besides, you have the child versions of both of us right over there. You've got 16 years to get to know us till we are this age again."
Paige decided to take a chance at convincing them. "But you could start telling us about your original timeline, and the first time you came back here. Even if its not the same as having the memories it would be nice to hear about it anyway. And Wyatt, we know almost nothing about you yet."
"Aunt Paige, my eight year old self is right there. I'm not much different. Just bigger," Wyatt answered giving her a goofy grin. "I know you don't want us to go. But we won't really be gone. You've got all kinds of time to get to know those two. It won't be so bad after we leave."
Chris glanced over to Leo and could see both sadness but also acceptance in his eyes. "You okay, Dad?"
Leo nodded to him. "I don't want you two to leave either," he started and Piper brightened seeing that Leo was siding with them. Maybe he could convince them. She had noticed that he and Chris seemed to be getting closer as time went by. But her hopes were shattered as he continued. "But I know waiting like this is hard on you. Knowing you are so close to getting everything you wanted but not quite being able to reach it. It would only take seconds for you to either realize all your dreams have come true, or to decide you have to change it again. I'll miss you. Both of you. But I understand if it's easier on you to go ahead and leave."
"Thanks, Dad." Somehow Chris had known his father would understand. The sisters would have to learn to accept it and Leo could help them do that. "Wyatt, you want to do the honors," he pointed to a blank spot on the attic wall where his brother had come in the day before.
Wyatt nodded and walked to the wall grabbing a piece of chalk from the potions table as he walked by. While he was drawing the Triquetra Piper stepped forward and wrapped her arms around Chris hugging as tightly as she could. "It'll be okay, Mom. I know we've got it right this time. I can feel it."
Piper nodded her head against his chest but was too choked up to answer him. They stood like that until Wyatt was finished and came over to join in the goodbyes. Phoebe and Paige joined in the hugs and in Paige's case a dash of sarcasm to send them off. Leo wrapped Wyatt in a hug, seeing as Piper hadn't let go of Chris yet. He knew how hard this had to be for her because it was breaking his own heart. "Wyatt, stay just like you are, Son. And take care of your little brother. You know how he attracts trouble."
"Hey, I'm not that bad," Chris said indignation clear in his voice. Leo smiled a happy smile at him and Chris was so glad to see the teasing look those eyes held. His father would be okay, eventually.
Piper had finally let go of him and walked over wrapping her arms around Wyatt burying her face in his chest too. "Why can't I just keep you both here?" she whispered once her face came up again.
"I wouldn't complain about that, Mom, but the older version of you in the future might get angry if you never send us back," he answered her resting his chin on top of her head and hugging her tighter.
Piper couldn't believe the jealous spike that speared through her heart. How could she be jealous of herself? But she was. That woman she'd become someday was getting them back and she didn't get to see them again for 16 years.
Leo had traded places with Piper and his arms were wrapped around Chris in a tight hug again. "If you get there and things aren't fixed, you come right back here, okay. Right now, this day. You don't have to do it alone anymore. You never have to be alone again, Chris."
Chris had laid his chin on his father's shoulder as they hugged and he remembered a day not so long ago when he'd stood in this very room and told Leo that he was always alone. He hadn't known it at the time but those words had had an immense effect on the way Leo perceived him, and they had stuck with the man throughout the days to come. "I promise I will, Dad. I promise," he answered hugging the man even harder. "Thanks for this."
After the tearful goodbyes Wyatt and Chris were happy to face their younger selves. The boys understood their family's grief at their older selves leaving without feeling that grief themselves. They had each other and that was enough to make them happy. Chris kneeled in front of his younger self. "You gotta take care of them, okay?" he said motioning to their parents behind him. "They'll be sad for a bit, but I know you can help that."
Wyatt placed an arm around his younger counterparts shoulders. "And take care of your little brother. There's a lot of stuff he doesn't really know about yet."
Both versions of Chris rolled their eyes at that and the older spoke up again, "Remember, even though you're smarter than Wyatt, he is your older brother. So take it easy on him okay?" His younger version giggled at that as they received dirty looks from the Wyatts. "Learn to ask for help, okay. You don't have to do everything for yourself anymore and trust them. They love you! With their help your future should be much better than mine was."
The boy nodded at him and reached out hugging him tight. As Chris was about to let go of the child the kid whispered in his ear. "We get to be happy now, right?"
Chris felt a surge of joy in his heart. "Yes we do, kiddo. Yes we do," he answered hugging the boy tighter.
As they stepped into the attic both young men felt a pulling sensation and some disorientation as they merged with the versions of their selves that waited there for them. Wyatt blinked a few times and noticed that his brother was smiling at him. He looked down and saw that his clothes looked the same and felt his short-cropped hair, just to be sure. "Well that's one plus. I don't feel evil."
Chris laughed at that and then turned to face the sisters and Leo, who had all been hovering there too. "Hey," he simply said. "We're home."
"Finally," Piper whispered coming forward to wrap her arms around her sons.
Paige and Phoebe joined them and the happiness and laughter that wound through the room became contagious.
Leo stood back with a serene look on his face, waiting his turn with his sons. Chris broke away from the sisters and walked up to him. "Dad?" he asked with a small amount of hesitation.
Leo immediately wrapped his arms around Chris squeezing him to the point that Chris wondered if he'd break a rib. "Welcome home, Son."
Chris pulled back after a moment and searched his father's face wondering if Barbas had ever come through for them. "The memories?"
Phoebe didn't give Leo a chance to answer. "Young man, you are grounded. Wishing on a Genie to get your parents to sleep together is bad enough, but when I'm the Genie in question… You should be ashamed of yourself."
Chris looked to his aunt with a huge grin. "That answers my question."
Wyatt had a look like a deer in the headlights on his face. Apparently no one had mentioned that incident to him when the Seer originally showed them some of Chris' memories. "Hey, Paige is the one who served aphrodisiacs at your birthday party. You can't imagine how hard it is to get conceived in this family," Chris spoke up and the grin on his face got even larger.
"I could have done without that visual, Chris," Wyatt said shaking his head at his little brother.
Chris turned back to his father going to stand next to him as they watched the Aunts and Wyatt catching up. He knew it would take a little time for their memories to merge with those of their younger selves, who had grown up in this future, but there were a few things he just couldn't wait to know. "What about Barbas?"
Leo scowled slightly. "He's still around. He's tried to come after us a few times in the past few years, but I don't really think he's all that committed to the idea. Or at least he's not on his game anymore."
"If he's off his game, why haven't you fried him yet?" Chris asked in confusion.
Leo turned to face him then. "Chris, I don't have those powers anymore."
Chris' head snapped around and he looked at his father closer. He looked older somehow. Chris hadn't noticed before. "You're not an Elder anymore? I'm surprised they'd demote you after everything that happened."
Leo shook his head. "They didn't demote me, Chris. I took the fall from grace. I'm mortal now."
Chris' eyes widened in surprise and his mouth gaped slightly. He didn't know what to say.
"They wouldn't let me be the father and husband I needed to be. I made my decision," Leo said reaching out and tipping Chris' gaping mouth shut.
Chris couldn't believe what he was hearing. In none of his timelines had Leo ever given up being an Elder. He had always seemed so happy to have been chosen for such an honor. "But you always wanted to be an Elder."
"Chris, being an Elder is nowhere near as fulfilling as being a father and husband. It took me some time to figure that out, with some help from you. The things the Tribunal did to you, and after I got my memories back and I remembered what Gideon did. I couldn't be a part of something that had nearly destroyed my son," he explained in a soft voice and Chris began to understand. "And before you ask, Chris, I'm very happy."
"I think I am too, Dad," Chris whispered back. And he was.
A/N: Well that is the end of Lost Child and I am so happy with the way it turned out. I worried and fussed over this story for so long because I didn't know how I was gonna give it a proper ending. Nothing seemed right. I didn't really want to kill Barbas. He is my favorite demon from the entire show, but until yesterday I just didn't know how to make that work. I think I did. Not to mention fixing the pain the family had suffered. But somehow in the last three days it just all flowed together in my head and I put it on the paper. And viola we have an ending that I think I can be proud of. I hope everyone enjoys reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. Later this week I will be posting a new Charmed fic. Check out my profile to see descriptions of the three stories I have started. If you'd like you can leave me a note on which you'd like to see me work on first.