"Morality Bites" has always been one of my favorite Piper/Leo episode so this piece was definitely fun to write. The inspiration for this was out of the blue, but I've been dying to write Piper and Leo, so I'm very glad for it. I hope I've done the characters--and the episode--justice. And of I course, I hope you guys enjoy it. Thank you for reading!

Spoilers: Set during 2x02, "Morality Bites"
Disclaimers: Charmed and the plot framework of this piece owned by Spelling Television and everyone who made the magic possible. I'm just a fan who has been deeply touched by the show.


Melinda

She could stand here forever if it meant not having to say the spell. It had been such a simple decision, such an obvious way to keep her safe. But now she was here and she wasn't so sure after all. Now she was seeing her, seeing her little girl—god, she was still getting used to that idea—and it was all suddenly very complicated. She wanted to do this morning over. She wanted to hold Melinda and tell her it would all be okay. Even though it was probably a lie. Even though an unshakable sense of dread was making a mess of her. She just wanted to protect her from the ugliness of what was happening, of what was going to happen. She had only known her for this one day, but she was her daughter, and that knowledge touched her deep inside.

Inside, Melinda smiled and played tea with her dolls, completely unaware that beyond the lacy, coffee-colored curtains and the glass of the window, Piper watched, heart fluttering. The page from the Book of Shadows felt large and awkward in her hand, like a burden instead of a solution. The words stared up with her, dark with finality.

I take your hands in mine
And with this string I will entwine,
Your powers I'll forever bind
From now until the end of time

It didn't seem fair to ask this of her, not when she had missed out on the last ten years. And even if she hadn't, even if it had been her future self standing here, would the choice have been any easier? As it stood, there were too many what ifs and gaping blanks. How could she know this was the right choice?

"You can't do it, can you?" The voice, unsurprisingly, belonged to Leo. The final complication.

Piper's throat inched closed as the sadness won and began to creep in. "No… our grandmother did it to us for protection." She had seen herself and little Prue with powers, happy and handling it. She understood now what it must have cost Grams to make the decision to bind their powers. But she understood also why she had done it and where she had found the strength to do it. Of course she must have wanted them to have their powers, but their safeties had mattered more. Wasn't that why Piper had torn the page out of the Book?

"You don't have to bind her powers, Piper. We agreed that I'd take care of her, and I will. I promise." He spoke with unexpected gentleness, and Piper knew with certainty that whatever had gone wrong between them, he was hurting too. He was here as Leo, her ex, not Leo, her guide, and she found that she was glad for it.

"I know you will." She didn't understand it, but she trusted him, ex or not, complicated or not. He was safe, had always been safe, and she guessed that her faith in his goodness was one thing ten years couldn't change, though other things between them certainly had. Reminding herself to keep it together, she breathed deeply. "So we were together… does that mean you clipped your wings for me?"

"No. You wouldn't let me. We, uh, tried to make it work with our powers, but it didn't, and then this all happened."

She had asked him once not to give up everything for her. She wondered if she would be able to make that choice again, knowing that sharing him with the world meant risking her future with him. A future she very much wanted to be bright and secure now that she saw what it could be. "Were we happy? Just for a little while were we happy?" The tears threatened to spill, and she couldn't make herself turn around though she badly wanted to see his face when he answered.

"Very." The affirmative came out whisper-soft, caressing her like a soothing promise, offering her hope, and most of all giving her the strength she needed to face him.

She swiped at her wet eyes and sniffled. "Are you gonna try and stop us?"

"I can't do that."

He could, of course. Piper was sure of it. But he wouldn't, and beneath the flimsy relief, she felt another stir of sadness. "Then I hope you understand why I have to do what I'm doing."

"Yeah."

"What are we gonna do?"

He shook his head and looked away, staring into the distance as if it provided answers. When he turned back, his familiar, green eyes were clouded with regret. "What we always do."

It was so wrong, so cruel, that it would have been comical if it had not been so mocking. "Talk about it later." Something else that ten years couldn't change. 1999 suddenly didn't seem so far away, and she thought that she and her future self weren't complete strangers after all.

There was nothing left to say except sorry and goodbye and all the things she knew they must have said too many times already. She saw the words, weathered and wistful, in his eyes and in the way he smiled or at least tried to smile. Nothing they could say was enough to explain away the space between them. It was so complicated, too complicated. So she walked away. From him. From Melinda.

The thump of his door closing, so soft but so loud, made her momentarily breathless. How had they ended up here? How had they gone from talking later to not talking at all? She should have at least told him that Melinda was beautiful and perfect and that whatever had happened between them, she wasn't sorry that they had had her. She wasn't sorry that they had tried to make it work.

She vowed fiercely that she and Prue would save Phoebe, and they would find a way back to the present. This time, she and Leo would try harder and not let it come to this. The memory of what he had said echoed in her head. Very. Very was a good place to start. They would find a way to make it work, powers or not, complicated or not. She believed that. For Melinda's sake, she believed that.