Word Count: 1,611
Characters/Pairings: Chris, Wyatt, Melinda, Piper, Phoebe, Leo, Paige, Cole, Phoebe/Cole, Piper/Leo
Disclaimer: I don't own Charmed and never will. No copyright infringement intended.
Author's Note: Written for hc_bingo prompt severe/life-threatening illness.
Summary: Future fic. Chris comes down with a supernatural illness that could kill him, dredging up issues Leo has spent twenty-six years trying to bury.
Only two weeks after Chris Halliwell’s twenty-sixth birthday, something happened to the witch that sent his family into a tailspin. He and Wyatt had just vanquished a lower level demon when Chris collapsed. Wyatt went to go heal him, but nothing happened. “Chris, wake up, Kiddo.” He was suddenly extremely worried about his younger brother.
“Wy, I don’t feel so good,” Chris mumbled when his eyes did open. He turned to his side and threw up. Wyatt really panicked when he saw it was mostly blood.
“Somebody call 911!” he screamed. Leo came rushing up the stairs and turned pale as soon as he saw Chris laying on the floor.
“What’s wrong?” Leo went over to his sons’ side and looked over Chris. His son threw up again, and Leo got out his cell phone. He dialed 911.
The ambulance showed up about ten minutes later. “You’re going to be okay, Baby,” Piper murmured as she got into the back with her middle child.
“We’ll meet you at the hospital,” Leo promised. All three of his children had to go to the hospital at one point in their lives, but this felt different. He didn’t know why.
“I’ll call Aunt Phoebe and Uncle Cole,” Wyatt told his father as Leo got Melinda from her room. She had somehow slept through the panic of the last fifteen minutes.
All of the Halliwells arrived at the hospital within half an hour. “Have they found out what’s wrong yet?” Leo asked his wife.
A tearful Piper shook her head. “He threw up a few more times. They’re running some tests now.” She couldn’t believe this was happening. What could possibly be wrong with her peanut?
“Maybe there’s a supernatural cause for this,” Paige mused. Chris and Wyatt had been fighting a demon, after all.
“That could be it. We need to check the Book of Shadows. But the hospital can help for now. Cole, let’s go to the manor.” Phoebe smiled at her husband, and she and Cole shimmered out of the hospital. Luckily, no one else was around. It was a slow time in the emergency room.
Piper and Leo were allowed into their son’s room about an hour later. The tests had yet to come back, however. “Hey, Chris. You feeling okay, Buddy?” Leo smiled at his middle child.
Chris stirred and looked up at his parents. “I’m okay. Hurts a little,” he murmured. He hadn’t experienced this much pain before … except for when he died in the past. Was he dying again?
“That’s because the pain medication they have you on is working, Peanut.” Piper was grateful for that. She didn’t want her son to be in pain.
Cole and Phoebe suddenly shimmered into the room. “We figured out what’s wrong,” Phoebe explained, but she wasn’t smiling.
“It could be one of two things. Piper, stay here with Chris. Leo, come out into the hallway.” Leo followed his brother-in-law into the hallway.
“We’ve determined that Wyatt and Chris took out a lower level demon called L’adera. L’adera knows only two spells. They both make witches sick. Both illnesses are supernatural. One is called “El Muerte”. That one leads to death. The other is called “Proche de la mort.” That one means near death. Phoebe and I can’t figure out which one it is. We have to wait it out. Both last for seventy-two hours,” Cole explained.
Leo stared in shock. “I could lose my son?” He couldn’t handle losing his son. The voice in the back of his head that whispered “failure” every single time he thought of Chris dying in the past reared its ugly head for the first time in a long time. He hadn’t had the courage to bring it up to his son, even though Chris had memories of both time lines. He was worried that he’d still hate him, or that Leo was still a bad father.
“We’re going to make sure you don’t lose him, Leo. Phoebe and I are looking for the antidote to both since they have one. You have a certain window, though,” he explained. A crying Phoebe came out of the room about two minutes later, and she and Cole shimmered out again.
Leo went into his wife’s room. Piper was also crying. “We’re not going to lose him, Leo,” Piper told him. Her son wasn’t going to die. She wasn’t about to let him.
“I’ll be back soon. I’m checking out Magic School.” Leo couldn’t stand to be here and watch his son die again. He couldn’t handle that.
“Take Melinda with you.” Piper wasn’t about to let her husband go to the school by himself. He didn’t need to be alone.
Leo and Melinda rushed home and teleported to Magic School. Leo immediately headed to the library to research the spells that could have gotten Chris sick.
“Dad, we’ll save him. Don’t worry,” Melinda told her father. She was extremely worried about her older brother, but she had faith that he was going to be saved.
“I’m just going to go to the bathroom,” Leo lied a few hours later. He hadn’t been able to come up with anything yet, and it was driving him crazy. He needed to be alone for a minute.
As soon as Leo was by himself, he collapsed to the floor and put his face in his hands. He began sobbing. “I can’t lose him again. Please don’t let me lose him again. Please. Please. Please. Please.” And suddenly he was transported back in time to that moment twenty-six years ago when Chris died in his arms because of Gideon.
“Hey, Daddy. You’re going to be okay,” comforted Melinda. She rubbed her dad’s back to calm him down.
“I can’t do this again,” Leo choked out. He rushed to the bathroom to throw up. Melinda followed him there and waited outside the bathroom until he came out.
“You need to talk to Chris about this,” Melinda advised. She was telepathic and had known about the two timelines for years. She understood what her father was feeling right now.
“I can’t. What if he hates me?” Leo really didn’t want to be talking about this at all, let alone with his daughter, but he had been holding back for twenty-six years. He couldn’t do it anymore.
“He could never hate you, Dad. Chris loves you. Come on, let’s go back to the hospital. Chris needs you right.” She gave her father an encouraging smile.
Leo sighed. “Okay.” He and Melinda left Magic School and teleported back to the hospital to be with Chris.
“How is he?” Melinda questioned. She hoped her brother was getting better, but that was just wishful thinking without the antidote.
“He’s getting worse. I really hope Phoebe and Cole find that antidote soon.” Piper tried not to think about her son dying. She wouldn’t be able to handle that again. The first time had sent Leo off the deep end and her into an overprotective frenzy.
Leo sat by his son’s bed and refused to move. When Phoebe and Cole returned eight hours later, they held a bottle in their hands. “He’s going to be fine,” a smiling Phoebe promised.
“Mom, what’s going on?” asked a tired Chris. He had been sleeping for hours and was trying to ignore the pain that was coursing through his body.
“You need to drink this antidote, Peanut.” Piper ran a finger through Chris’ hair and helped him drink the liquid.
“It’s going to take a little while for him to get better,” Cole explained. He was glad his nephew wasn’t going to die.
“Mom, Chris and Dad need to have a little talk,” Melinda told her mother. She, Piper, Phoebe, and Cole left the room. Paige stayed.
“It brought up all those old issues for me too,” Paige explained to Leo, giving him a knowing smile. She thought she had put Chris’ death behind her until he had nearly died again.
“I just can’t deal with it, Paige.” Leo and Paige were the only ones who had watched Chris die, and it was still affecting them. Chris was alive, and they still couldn’t get over him dying by Gideon’s hand.
“Get better, Christopher. I expect to see you home tomorrow.” Paige kissed her nephew’s forehead and left the room.
“Dad, what’s up?” Chris was already starting to feel better. He was glad for the antidote. He hated getting sick like this, especially when there was a supernatural cause.
Leo sighed and sat down in one of the uncomfortable hospital chairs. “I want to apologize for letting you die all those years ago. For letting Gideon into your lives. If I had known he was going to kidnap Wyatt and kill you, I would have done something about it. I’m so sorry for getting you killed. It was my fault I couldn’t heal you. And no wonder you hate me. I screwed up as a father.” Leo took a deep breath.
Chris stared at his father. “You’ve been holding that in a long time, haven’t you? First of all, I don’t hate you. I never did. I was just hurt. I love you, Dad. It wasn’t your fault I died either. That was all Gideon’s fault. I never once blamed you.” He gave him a smile.
Leo reluctantly smiled back and felt his guilt lifting for the first time in over twenty-six years. He felt relieved. “Thank you for forgiving me. Really, I mean it.”
Chris needed to recover, but he and Leo had finally made peace over the issues they had experienced twenty-seven years ago.
Their relationship would be better from now on.