Chris and Miguel have a heart to heart.
Chris sighed as he watched Cole lead the group from the past out of his office. As soon as the door shut he slump down into the chair behind his antique desk, for the first time in a long while showing signs of his exhaustion. If he had been in the presence of most anybody else who never would have dropped the faÃ§ade of never ending strength, his present company could always see through that though.
"You probably should have told them." Miguel stated as he walked back over to the desk after shutting the door. At Chris' incredulous look he specified. "That it could take months to find and/or create a proper time travel method. They do tend to be quite... temperamental."
Chris shook his head and his lips twitch upwards slightly. "Time travel's easy enough, it's the specifics that are a bitch to iron out."
"I'd hardly call it easy. Not for most people anyway."
"The travel part is easy enough. It's the other things you have to into consideration that cause trouble." He told the Elder offhandedly. "Precisely where and when to go, factor in powers, make sure you arrive with all your limbs in the right places... the little things."
"Little things right." Miguel rolled his eyes. "You don't have to tell me. I taught you as much about magic as your mother and aunts did."
At the sombre look that came across his self-appointed charges face Miguel regretted the comment. Taking a habit learned from that same charge he tried to deal with the tense situation with a poor attempt a humour. "Admit it. You just get a kick out of giving your family pointless busy work."
Chris couldn't stop the grin that appeared on his features, but to his credit he did manage to hold in his laugh. "Well, I can't say a part of me didn't enjoy that."
"Besides." Chris continued. "We have a whole research team assigned to them, hopefully they'll be able to figure out something. Or at least what the object that sent us here is."
"And, of course, you have a completely different direction you plan on researching yourself." It wasn't a question merely a statement. Miguel knew him all too well.
"Maybe one or two." Chris admitted sheepishly. "If I can find another significantly powerful concentration of magic like the Nexus we could just use the same spell."
He glanced at the multiple piles of loose papers, folders and books on his desk disdainfully. "Unfortunately I have to get through all that first."
"No." Miguel told him firmly. "The first thing you have to do is go home and get some rest."
"I can't I have protection spells to look at, battle plans and defence strategies to go over, interspecies disputes to find a compromise, personnel manifests, agricultural re-"
Miguel cut him off.
"All of which we have been able to handle since you've been gone."
"You need to get some rest."
"No more 'buts'. All that," He gesture to the mountains of papers on the desk. "Will mean at least another all-nighter. You. Need. Rest."
"Some of it is urgent." Chris tried.
"So do that then go home. You're no good to anybody if you burn yourself out."
Chris rolled his eyes while mocking hurt. "Gee thanks"
"You're welcome. And I'm right."
Another eye roll. "And you're right."
"And just to make sure you actually listen to me." Miguel takes one of the chairs across from Chris and pulls it closer to the desk. "Where do we start?"
Shortly before six that night two figure emerged on the path leading out of a densely wooded area of the park. They spoke quietly to each other as they took the path at a leisurely pace.
"I have to admit, I needed that." Chris told his companion.
"I told you."
"How did you find that spot anyway?" Chris asked. "It's way too secluded for you to have just stumbled upon."
Miguel actually looked embarrassed at the question. "Let's just say it involved an experiment, a spell, and a misdirection of orbs and leave it at that. I figured it was peaceful, a perfect spot for mediation."
"I'll give you that. I haven't felt this refreshed in awhile. Guess the mediation did me some good."
"So would sleep."
"Ya, ya, ya."
They walked in companionable silence for several minutes before Miguel spoke suddenly.
"So, do you want to tell me why you're avoiding going home yet?"
Chris stopped dead, taken aback by the blunt question.
"You always could see through me." He told the older man as he shook his head. "Like when you used to come down and work with me when dad would take Wyatt 'up there' for training. Even though I told you repeatedly it didn't bother me."
"Any fool could see that it did. And stop avoiding the question." Miguel told him.
Chris sighed. "Six months doesn't sound so long, but it feels like an eternity."
"She loves you. They both do." Miguel assured him, already having a good idea of where this was going. It was an issue long before he even went to the past and, god willing, it will be an issue long after. After all, it's only natural to worry about ones own child.
"I know. And I love them too. They're my world." Chris told him. "It's just that... my father missed so much of my life and it hurt. It hurt so much. I'm afraid to see how much I've missed of hers."
"Chris. Look at me. Look at me!" Miguel grabbed Chris' shoulder and turned him so that they were facing each other. "Chris you are not like your father. And even if you were the two of you made peace eventually."
"Yeah, it's the eventually part that bothers me." Came the bitter reply.
Miguel sighed. He'd never known a man stronger in will and character than Christopher. But he was still human, and despite what pretty much everyone else believed he does have fears. And ever since Bianca had first announced she was pregnant this had been Chris' biggest fear. Being a bad father.
That's not to say he wasn't ecstatic about the prospect of being a father. Quite the contrary in fact. Miguel had never seen him so happy. A joy that is still there to this day, plain for anyone to see on his face the second Chris sets sights on his little girl. It was just that sometimes those fears managed to work their way to the surface. He had the fears of a man who has lost nearly everyone he has ever loved at far too young an age. That he can't protect her.
Couple that with an absentee father who showed blatant favouritism over his children and you have a great deal of issues. For Chris going to the past, no matter how necessary it may be, would seem like abandoning Piper.
"You will never have to worry about that." Miguel assured the younger man.
"How can you be so sure?"
"How? Because I've watched you grow up, that's how." He told him as he gripped both Chris' shoulders. "You have become a strong, caring, compassionate person. I've seen you with Piper and you know what Chris? An idiot could see how devoted you are to that little girl. You'll never put your family second."
Chris still didn't meet his gaze. "They say that part of how you learn to be a parent is through the example of your own. The only thing is my father was never there. The closest thing I had to a father figure in my life was my grandfather... and you."
Miguel looked taken aback but said nothing, sensing Chris wasn't through. "With those examples maybe I'll do alright after all."
Neither man knew what to say after the round about admission. They just stood there awkwardly in an uncomfortable silence. They were soon saved by a loud yell.
Both turned to the source of the yell and smiled as they saw little Piper Hope Halliwell running their way. Chris smiled broadly as he knelt down with open arms that his little girl soon dove into. He forced out a playful grunt as he picked her up. "There's my Little Miracle! You're getting big."
Piper giggled and smiled happily at hearing her daddy's nickname for her again. "I am?"
"Yep." He told her as he kissed her forehead. After a moment of just holding his child in his arms he asked, more curious than angry. "What are you doing alone in the park at this time of night?"
"Mommy's cooking." She wrinkled her nose cutely as she said it. "Wants to s'pris you."
"Oh dear god no!" Chris exclaimed with a look of genuine horror. "We'd better go before somebody ends up in the hospital!"
"Later Miguel." He said before orbing off with his daughter in his arms.
Miguel smiled as he watched the blue and white lights vanish. "I love you too kid." He said before orbing off himself.
Neither noticed the onlookers who witnessed the whole thing.