Summary: What if Leo hadn't responded to Piper's call to heal Chris soon enough during 'Fantasies of the Flesh' only to find out too late the young Whitelighter's secret?

Authors note: I thought of this story when I caught the rerun after work one day. I hope you enjoy and I will soon post the next chapters to my other Charmed stories.

Disclaimer: I unfortunately do not own even the smallest sliver of Charmed. Oh darn for me.

Chapter 15

"Take my hand; live while you can."

Chris Halliwell waited impatiently for his sister, Mel. She had left on what she had called a 'routine vanquish', though that had been an hour ago and he was starting to worry. He had began this longer than expected wait in the attic, mulling through the Book of Shadows, but after a while made his way to the kitchen for coffee.

"Chris!" He jumped at the sound of his Aunt Paige's shout. "Could you give the drums a rest?"

"Huh?" he looked down at his hand that was resting on the table. He had been drumming his fingers there for the better part of the last fifteen minutes. "Sorry."

"What are you so agitated about, anyway?" she inquired. "You were just doing some serious brooding."

"Mel should be back by now." He muttered, glancing at the clock. "She never takes this long on a vanquish."

"Are you sure she's a whitelighter?" Paige asked, but suddenly wished she hadn't when a dark look passed over his features but was gone within a moment. She had momentarily forgotten that Mel's death was very real and recent for Chris.

"What are you talking about?"

"She's not much of a pacifist, is all I meant." Paige quickly responded. "She likes to hunt demons as much as you do."

"She used to be a witch, Aunt Paige, and she is my best friend." He smirked at his Aunt, just as a shower of orbs appeared next to him and formed into the young whitelighter in question.

"Where have you been?" Chris asked the moment she formed next to his shoulder.

"Around." She smiled sweetly at him, and then turned to look at Paige. "Do you mind if I borrow him for a few minutes?"

"Sure, but…" before Paige could even inquire as to what she needed Chris for, Mel had dropped her hand on his shoulder and abruptly orbed away. "Never mind then." Paige had yet to fully form an opinion of the young woman from the future. While she had saved Wyatt from The Order and pulled Chris back from the edge of insanity. Now Chris was just slightly more neurotic than usual. Paige knew there was something both of them were still hiding, but she rarely saw Mel. It was as if the young whitelighter purposely avoided the manor and the sister's themselves.

"A little warning would have been nice, you know." Chris told her when they reformed above Golden Gate Bridge. "And what took you so long?"

"It wasn't the Order that turned Wyatt." She said bluntly. "The future still sucks."

"You never went to vanquish that demon, did you?" Chris accused when he realized the implication of her words. They had just destroyed any chance that Demonic Priesthood had of resurrecting their leader, when they were all vanquished two nights before. Mel herself had been the only one able through little Wyatt's shield, thus gaining the sister's and Leo's favor.

"I did, but that only took five minutes." She explained.

"And then you decided to go and visit our sadistic brother in the future?" Chris couldn't believe it when Mel only placed her hands on her hips and glared right back at him, her blue eyes flashing dangerously. "How'd you get back there anyway, that spell only goes backwards in time?"

"I had help adjusting the spell, for our return, before I came back here." She snapped at him. "We had to know, Chris. They were powerful and I thought we would get lucky, for once. Wyatt is still Mr. Powerful."

"You should have told me." Chris continued seriously. "What if Wyatt had sensed you?"

"He can't," she said with conviction.

"Mel, we have always been able to sense one another." Chris said, thinking of the close bond between them that had formed into a slight empathic and at times telepathic connection.

"Can you?" she asked tilting her head to the side, never breaking eye contact with him.

"Of course," he said as he reached out with his senses. It suddenly became clear to him that he couldn't feel her, hadn't been able to since she had died in Halliwell Manor some twenty three years in the future. After a few moments he gave up and looked back at her. "Alright, I can't."

"And neither can Wyatt." She stated as if that made her case. "I can take of myself, Chris."

"Why?" he asked her.

"Because it needs to be that way." She said as she dropped her hands from her hips and began to nibble on her bottom lip. Chris looked closer at her. Her light brown hair was tied up in a messy ponytail, golden in the sunlight. Her jeans were dirty and her shirt was ripped, as if she had been in a scuffle. Her blue eyes seemed brighter than usual.

When it came to Melinda Prudence Halliwell, Chris knew everything one could know about her. But Mel, the future whitelighter, was different than his beloved sister. Where his sister would have shared anything with the younger of her two brothers, this Mel refused and Chris wondered just what she was hiding from him.

"What are you hiding from me?" He asked her suddenly, causing her to jump and look back up at him.


"Something, Mel." Chris said moving closer to her, reaching out to touch her arm. She shied away from him, shaking her head, a sad and worried expression on her face.

"Please just drop it." Mel pleaded with him softly.

"If it's important or in relation the future I need you to tell me. We're family and keeping secrets in this family is never a good thing. Tell me, Mel."

"Whatever I'm keeping from you is for your own good, Chris." She whispered as he tried to get closer to her again. She backed away, but stopped short when her back met the steal beam. Chris calmly closed the distance between them, and placed a soothing hand on her left shoulder. He frowned when she tensed under his touch and a grimace of pain flashed across her face.

"Are you hurt?" he demanded as he held her at arms length studying her features. Mel slowly shook her head, and while she seemed physically fine, Chris thought he could detect pain in her blue eyes. "Talk to me, Mel."

"I can't." she said softly after a moment, her eyes meeting his, and then she hung her head, shrugged his hands away and orbed out.

"MEL!" Chris yelled to the sky, knowing she wouldn't respond. "Damn her."

There was something clearly wrong with his sister. He could practically feel it, even though he couldn't actually sense her. Was she blocking him, or with the loss of her mortality had their connection been severed for good? Whatever it was Chris was only going to wait so long before trying again to get through to her.

Melinda Halliwell orbed into the attic, glad that the dusty and spacious yet cluttered third floor of her family home was empty. She wasted no time getting to the Book of Shadows to begin her search. After a few minutes Mel had a list of ingredients her father had given her in the future gripped firmly in one hand, and her scribbled notes from the book in the other. There were only a few things left to do, collect the specified herbs, make a very complicated potion, and keep Chris off her back long enough to make the potion and after all that she rather hoped she wouldn't die, again.

Melinda was running out of time, and she knew it.

While the potion would not heal her malady in would control the symptoms and give her more time, before she would ultimately die for good, unless Wyatt was saved or her curse was reversed. She had decided on making the potion her father had told her about and continuing her mission to help Chris save Wyatt. She knew the option of having the curse reversed was impossible.

Wyatt had learned of his sister becoming a whitelighter, and had performed powerful magic and had used her own blood to set a curse upon her. Wyatt had been prepared, before he had killed his younger sibling for her betrayal, thus ensuring Chris' punishment as well. Excalibur had been tipped with poison that only began to react as a curse if and when she was to be made into a whitelighter.

When her father had told her about the risks in becoming a whitelighter, that if Wyatt knew there would be repercussions. She had not thought he'd place such a horrendous curse upon her. A darklighter assassin was the worst she could have imagined before Wyatt decided on his foolproof plan.

A Curse of Death.

Where in the end Melinda Halliwell would exist no more.

Not even in the after-life.

She could have accepted dying again. Moving on to be with her family. From Great Grams, to Grandpa Victor, Auntie Prue, Paige and Phoebe, the cousins and her mother, Mel would have found peace with that. Wyatt had known this and in the end cursed her in a way that Cole had ultimately been. But while Cole's banishment was in the form of punishment, hers had not been rightfully earned.

Okay, so she had worked for Wyatt as well as helped form and eventually led the Resistance against him. But Mel also knew that what had really turned Wyatt against her was when he found she had helped Chris, had in the end given Chris her loyalty as a sister. Wyatt was jealous and Mel understood that Chris could never know of her ailment. He would be devastated if he knew, and her being here to help and bring hope would only destroy him if he had to lose her again, for good.

He wouldn't have the strength to save Wyatt.

Mel worried that he could even lose himself in his angry depression, and in the end all would be lost. She had to find a way to keep this from him.

It had been a close call on the bridge. She had suddenly felt the effects of time travel catch up with her, blurring her vision and making the scar that adorned her upper left chest burn. A scar that had suddenly gone from, just that, a scar to what appeared to be an infected and recent wound. When Chris had gripped her shoulder she had almost yelled in agony. It was the first time Chris had ever hurt her, even though it had certainly not been his intent. She'd have to remember to keep her distance.

She decided to sit down for a few minutes before leaving to find the potion ingredients she would need. It had been a long day, even for someone who wasn't fighting for their life, all the while hiding it from the one who knew her best. Mel was afraid Chris would find out, terrified that Wyatt would come to the past, to gloat and torment Chris if she didn't make it. Already she was starting to feel nauseous and dizzy, and from what future Leo had learned it was going to be far from pleasant.

Melinda felt bad she had gone behind Chris' back, and left for the quick future trip without discussing the situation with him first. Yes, she had gone to see if their time had changed but it had not been her only intent. She had started to feeling weird, having trouble keeping her mental barriers up at all times, the use of magic had slowly been draining her. She had known this was something her Dad had warned her about.

She had come through the portal, into the stillness of P3, her mother's club that was falling into disrepair, and immediately orbed outside the safe haven for what was left of good magic. It had only taken her mere moments to gain entry and only minutes more for her to find Leo.

He had known immediately from her worried expression, though he hadn't been shocked. When he had learned of what his eldest son had done, Leo and many others had worked tirelessly to find a cure, though had to settle with a potion that would stall the curse's full effect. The potion would have been ready and waiting had it not need a Halliwell and their magic to make it.

She hated lying to Chris, and felt horrible when she saw his hurt over no longer being able to sense her. She had missed their connection as well, but he would have felt her pain, known something was amiss had she not taken the precaution of learning to shield herself from both of her brothers.

She was so lost in thought she had not noticed Piper and Phoebe enter the attic. She was focusing on controlling her breathing and willing away the painful ache in her shoulder, when she felt a hand on her right arm. Startled, she jumped away too quickly and lost her balance as the room began to spin. She distantly her Piper calling her name and caught a glimpse of Phoebe's worried face. Valiantly trying to keep up her mental barriers, Mel found she had to work twice as hard to force air into her lungs. She never had a chance to regain her balance before she lost consciousness. She was vaguely aware of strong arms catching her from behind, then darkness.

Chris had sat on the bridge for another twenty minutes, staring at the spot his sister had just disappeared from. He had only just come to the decision of giving Mel some time alone, when he felt it.

Her presence.

So she had been blocking him, but for what reason?

She was at the Manor, in the attic and she was in a great deal of pain. He could feel it mixed with her fear and exhaustion. Worried he immediately orbed to her side, only to arrive in time to catch her falling body before she hit the floor.

A/N: Please review. Sorry about the length in updates, I'll try to pick up the pace. Let me know what you thought!