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Turn Back Time

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Chris can feel it the second Wyatt's power starts to fail. The crackle of magic that's always present in the air around his brother stutters, disappearing for a brief moment. Chris feels the absence like a punch to the gut, and can only imagine how wrong-footed Wyatt himself feels.

Chris snaps around to look at Wyatt, fear and desperation tightening like a vice around his chest. He's pretty sure he hears Melinda taking down three demons in her efforts to get to them, but he trusts her to stay safe while he looks out for Wyatt. For his part, Wyatt's staring blankly at the demon in front of him. The demon had flinched, presumably in response to whatever Wyatt had been about to do to him. As Chris watches, he can see the moment the demon realizes Wyatt's attack isn't coming. He smirks, ducking low and darting in close toward Wyatt.

Chris reacts instinctively, reaching out and unleashing a whip crack of magic to throw the demon away from Wyatt, and he feels Melinda mirror the motion. The demon flies away from Wyatt, slamming hard into the stone wall surrounding them. The sound seems to bring Wyatt back to his senses. He lowers his hand, staring at his fingers with a lost look in his eyes.

"Wyatt!" Chris yells, and Wyatt turns to look at him, blinking slowly. "The manor, Wyatt! We need to get back to the manor!"

Chris can see Wyatt's throat working as he swallows. After a moment he visibly gathers himself and nods, standing up a little taller. He closes his eyes as though to orb, but nothing happens.

Chris swears, glancing around and seeing the way the demons are beginning to realize their sudden weakness. In an instant, Chris makes a decision. He rushes over to Wyatt, diving at him and grabbing him by the hand as he calls on his own orbing magic. Melinda reaches out for him, and the second he feels her hand in his, Chris orbs them away. The light envelops them, depositing them unceremoniously on the floor of the entryway to the manor.

Wyatt shoves Chris away from him, stony silence surrounding him. Chris doesn't respond, waiting for the inevitable sound of their mom coming downstairs.

"Kids?" Piper calls sounding worried. "Is that you?"

"It's us, Mom," Chris calls, waiting for Piper to join them in the entryway.

"Is everything okay?" Piper asks, coming down the stairs. "That was much faster than I expected; were there fewer demons than we thought?"

Chris shakes his head. "Something's wrong, Mom."

Piper startles. "Wrong? What happened?"

"My magic's gone," Wyatt says, something bitter in his eyes. "Completely gone."

Chris swallows, sensing the fear in Wyatt's words.

Piper's eyes go wide, and she looks the pair of them over, something like understanding dawning in her eyes. "Chris, go get Aunt Phoebe and Aunt Paige. We're going to need all three of us to fix this."

Chris glances at Melinda, urging her to fill their mom in while he's gone. Melinda nods, standing a little taller as she turns toward Piper. Chris orbs away, letting his senses lead him to his aunts so he can bring them back to the manor.

An hour later, everyone has assembled in the attic, the Book of Shadows open between them. Piper, Phoebe, and Paige have all been talking in hushed tones while Chris and Melinda keep an eye on a sulking Wyatt.

"Kids," Piper calls, tension in her tone, "come on over here."

Melinda heads straight over, but Chris waits for Wyatt to drag himself to his feet and make his way over to the Book of Shadows before he follows.

"I'm afraid something's gone wrong in the past that may have… temporarily removed Wyatt's powers."

Wyatt perks up at that. "Temporarily?"

Piper nods. "We need to send you and Chris back in time to help us get you your powers back."

"Wait a minute," Melinda says. "Just Chris and Wyatt? What about me?"

Piper looks at her sadly, leaning in to press a kiss to her forehead. "It isn't time for us to meet you yet. Not at the time when we need to send the boys back to."

Melinda looks down and away, biting her lip.

Chris reaches out, wrapping an arm around her shoulders and pulling her in close. "We'll come back quick," he whispers to her. "Promise."

Melinda nods, but doesn't seem entirely soothed.

Piper glances at Paige and Phoebe, who both nod at her. "Okay, boys. You ready to do this?"

Chris looks over at Wyatt, catching the way his face goes briefly hard and firm before relaxing into his usual good-natured grin. "Always ready to save the future, Mom," he says, tossing a grin at Chris that doesn't fool him in the least.

"Just don't tell them anything they don't need to know, alright? We both know you've got a bad track record on that front."

Wyatt rolls his eyes. "Yeah, yeah, whatever. Just because you went a year without spilling anything but exactly what you'd planned—"

"You couldn't even go five minutes without—"

"Your trip was planned! Mine was an accident! I can hardly be held accountable—"

"Boys!" Piper shouts, though there's a smile on her lips. "A little calm and quiet, if you would?"

Both boys sober immediately, turning to face their mother. The sisters begin chanting, and Chris can feel the familiar warmth of Halliwell magic surging in his veins. He smiles, reaching out to touch a finger to the back of Wyatt's wrist, a silent reminder that they're in this together in the minute contact. Chris can feel some of the tension bleed out of Wyatt's body through the touch, but Wyatt doesn't look over at him. Chris looks back over at their mother, recognizing the smile on her lips as the one she uses when she's fondly amused by all of them. He holds that comfort like a flame in his chest and lets the magic wash over them.

The sound of their names in the younger voices of their aunts is enough to snap Chris back into the man he'd never wanted to be again. The one that did anything and everything for his brother no matter the cost. He looks around those assembled in the room, feeling concern bubble in his chest that this is much bigger than he'd realized. The words snap from his lips unbidden as he looks at his family.

"Somebody just screwed up our future."