Pear Belle-Hélène is really good," Stuart
"Umm...it's delicious," Prue said. "I
shouldn't have another one...but I will."
"See," Phoebe said, "your culinary talents
have improved since you've become Piper."
"It's improved for only one recipe," Piper
said. "The one that I 'remembered'
while I was testing that spell to recall Mordun's memories from your sub-conscious."
"You can always use the spell again to get more
recipes," Stuart said.
"No, thank you!"
Piper said. "It's difficult
enough trying to remain Holly Combs without being overwhelmed by whatever else
I'd remember from Piper's memory that The Elders put into my sub-conscious."
"Even though I'd rather be home," Prue said,
"after a few weeks of being Prue I can see some good things about it. Even
about having to work at a job at the magazine the way normal people."
"It's a good thing you have a job and Piper has
the club," Phoebe said. "That's
the only money we have here and we need it.
Did you see the astronomical electric bill that came today? How can we be running up such a bill when
half the time we're out chasing demons and not even home."
"Maybe The Manor is really just a set after all,"
Prue said, with a twinkle in her eye, "and there are giant klieg lights above us
burning all the time."
"You wish," Piper said.
"Be careful what you wish for," Stuart said,
smiling. "Remember what happened
to you in the last episode of the season - Be Careful What You Witch For
- with the genie who gave you your wishes."
"Well," Piper said, "if that's all it takes
to change reality back to how it was then I wish, I wish, I wish!"
"Oh, look at the bright side," Prue said. "No seven-thirty a.m. shooting call,
for one thing."
"No, just a three a.m. close-up-the-club call,"
"And now I can walk in the street without worrying
about being recognized by some fan who wants to bother me," Prue
"Right," Piper said. "Now I can walk in the
street and only have to worry about being recognized by some demon who wants to
"Piper," Stuart said, "we all don't want to
be here. But still, why do you gripe so much about it?"
"Because," Piper said, "Charmed's scripts say
that I do a lot of that. And I'm being overwhelmed
now by the memory of Piper's griping that The Elders put into my sub-conscious.
I'm remembering all of it."
Stuart's expression quickly changed to one of empathy. Piper maintained her serious expression -
for three seconds. And then burst out
"Well," Stuart said, chuckling, "don't let it
be said that you're not a great actress."
"It doesn't much matter what anyone says about my
acting while we're here - good or bad," Piper said.
"You're griping again," Phoebe pointed out.
"OK," Piper said, "you want to see some
acting? I'll have Piper act like Holly. No griping."
"Now that will be interesting," Stuart
said. "Will it be Piper playing Holly or Holly playing Piper playing
"It will be Holly being Holly," she said.
"You don't think I can do it, do you?
"I didn't say that," Stuart said. "But now
that you mention it..."
"For the next twenty-four hours, you will not here me
gripe about being Piper Halliwell," she said.
"Even if a screaming demon comes after us?" Prue
asked, with a grin.
"Demons would be well advised to stay clear of us for
the next twenty-four hours," Phoebe said, smiling, "or they'll have
to contend with one very angry witch who will vent her un-expressed griping
frustrations on them."
"You do that for even the next twelve
hours," Stuart said, "and I'll, uh, find a special recipe for you.
And I'll even prepare it."
"Considering what I know about your cooking
skills," Prue said, with a smile, "I don't think Piper would gain
much by that."
"Maybe not," Piper said, "but it would be fun
to watch him do it."
Stuart was going to respond when he noticed the time.
"The Demon Dimension will be on soon," he
said. "I'd better go set up the
tape in the VCR."
"I've got the blank tapes," Prue said and
accompanied Stuart to the living room.
"Let's just stack the dishes for now and do them after
the show," Phoebe said. She and Piper took the remaining plates off of the
table and put them into the sink.
"Here," Prue said to Stuart, handing him a
tape. Taking it from her he inserted it
into the VCR.
Two flashes of light suddenly came from the kitchen.
"What was that?" Stuart asked.
"What was that?" Piper asked. She and Phoebe
turned around, their backs now to the sink.
Piper started to say. Phoebe
said nothing but just stood there with her mouth wide open.
"Cut!" a familiar voice rang out.
Phoebe and Piper stared motionless at the cameras and the
crew as Prue approached them.
"Cut!" the assistant director echoed to the crew.
"What was that all about?" Prue asked.
"Did you both suddenly forget your lines?"
"Our...lines?" Phoebe said slowly, in shock.
"We're...on the set," Piper said, looking around.
"The Manor isn't real...it's a set."
"Holly," Shannen asked, "is this one of your
practical jokes that you cooked up because I'm directing this episode? And you got Alyssa to play along with
you?" She waited for a response
but got none.
"OK," Shannen said, smiling, "I'll play
"Yes, we're on the set. And no, it isn't real."
"It's...supposed to be," Piper said slowly, in
Two makeup women came over to Holly and Alyssa and started
to touch up their faces.
"Holly, are you ready to try the scene again?"
"Uh..." Holly said. "Could we, uh...break for
a while?" she asked.
Shannen looked at her watch. "Sure," she said.
"We'll break for lunch." She motioned to the assistant director and
he announced it to the crew.
"Are you feeling OK?" she asked Holly with
"Uh...yes...I mean, not really," Holly said.
"I...just need a break."
"Prue," Alyssa began, "don't you remember
what happened to us?
"Why are you talking in character?" Shannen asked. "We're not shooting a scene."
"Don't you remember everything that's happened to us
the past few weeks?" Alyssa asked.
"What happened to us that I should remember?"
"About what The Elders did to us?" Holly said.
"About our powers? About the Halliwell Manor? And the demons?"
Shannen was about to say something when she was interrupted
by the assistant director.
"I need to talk to you about the equipment you wanted
for the park scene location shoot," he said to Shannen. "Maybe its
more than we really need. And Brad just came by with a dialogue change for
Holly when the dragon warlock stabs you there with the knife."
"Uh...OK," Shannen answered. "I'll come see you as soon as I'm done
with this," she said to Holly.
"What happened?" Alyssa asked, after Shannen
walked away. "How did the real Manor change into a set?"
Holly picked up a call sheet lying on a chair.
"Be Careful What You Witch For," she
read. "This is day four of the
shoot. We're...on the set of the last
episode of the season...in April. The
Manor didn't change. We've...gone back
in time again."
"Not again," Alyssa said.
"But how?” Holly asked. “We didn’t use the time travel
“Tallor has the power to send people back in time,” Alyssa
said. “But why would he suddenly do this to us?"
"Maybe there are other demons who have that power,
too," Holly said.
"But there wasn't any demon in the kitchen with
us," Alyssa said.
"There was something there," Holly
said. "I...saw it for an instant
during the flash. But I don't know
what, or who, it was."
"Shannen doesn't remember what happened to us,"
"Or she didn't get sent back in time with us,"
Holly said. "Maybe whatever it was
that sent us here happened only in the kitchen and not in the rest of The
Manor. So Shannen was left in the
"Uh, maybe this isn't the best time to fool
around," Brian said as he walked by them. "I think Shannen's a little
nervous about her first shot at directing."
Holly stared at Brian for a moment.
"Uh...maybe...you're right, Leo," Holly said
slowly, still staring at him. "Uh...I mean, Brian."
"So how do we get back?" Alyssa asked after Brian
was out of earshot.
"Maybe we don't," Holly said, and thought silently
for a few seconds. "What if we
just stay here. This is the unchanged
real world. Shannen is still
herself. And we're Holly Combs and
Alyssa Milano, again.Back at Ray-Art
Studios filming Charmed. Back to
"That won't stop us from being turned into
witches," Alyssa said. "Once
we reach the first week of May, The Elders will still change the world's
reality again. And then we'll have to relive everything we've gone through.
"And besides," Alyssa continued, "remember
what happened when we went back in time after Jôlét. The slight change we made from what had already happened in the
past made big changes in what had been our present."
"And we've already made changes to the past here,"
Holly said. "We flubbed the take
on the kitchen scene. That didn't
happen when we shot it the first time."
She thought silently for a few seconds and then exhaled.
"We'd better get back to the real present before we
change anything else here," Holly said.
"Do you remember the time spell?"
"Uh...no," Alyssa said. "On Charmed I always remember every spell I've ever
used. But in real life I don't. And we don't know if we even have
powers any more to use with a spell.
We'd better find out before we try to do anything."
Holly looked around the sound stage. Most of the crew had
gone to lunch but a few had lingered behind.
"Not here," Holly said. "Let's go to my
They made their way out the sound stage door into the sound
lock that connects five of the Ray-Art Studios’ sound stages with each other.
"Phoebe," the man said, cupping his hands and
bowing his head as he came through one of the sound lock's connecting doors,
"your wish is my command."
Seeing the confused look on their faces, French Stewart, the
episode’s guest star, smiled.
"That, Alyssa, is the classic line genies always
say," French Stewart said.
"And here I am cast in the role of a genie opposite you and the
writers don't give it to me in any of our scenes together. And not in my scenes with you, either,
"Brad, uh...is doing a re-write of the last scene," Alyssa
stammered, vaguely remembering the scene's dialogue.
"I'll...uh...tell him to give you that line."
"And, uh, besides," Holly said, thinking back to
the episode's storyline, "the genie you're playing doesn't want to help
us. He's working for the....Infernal Council demons and trying to hurt
"I know," French Stewart said. "But I just had
to say that line once. See you after lunch."
After testing Holly's power and seeing that she could no
longer freeze anything, the two actresses sat in the trailer trying, without
success, to come up with an idea of what to do.
"Everything we've thought of depends upon our using our
powers," Alyssa said. "And we don't have them anymore."
"It's ironic, isn't it." Holly said, "Here we are back to being our real selves and
we find that we're helpless without our witches' powers."
"Maybe we should ask one of the writers to come up with
a scenario for getting us out of this jam," Alyssa said and they both
"Let's take another approach to this," Holly
said. "Let's try to re-construct
what we did just before this happened."
"OK," Alyssa said. "Uh, we were talking
about...this episode. And you...you wished that the world was changed
back." Holly thought for a moment.
"I wish we were back in...in the changed present,"
she said. "As Piper and Phoebe."
They were both silent but Alyssa stared at Holly.
"That didn't help," Holly said. "Why are you
staring at me?"
"You...wished you were Piper," Alyssa said.
"That's not like you." She paused for a moment.
"You really meant what you said tonight about not
griping about being Piper. I'm
Holly took a deep breath. Alyssa could see that she was
restraining herself from saying something.
Alyssa turned to the table and picked up Holly's cell phone.
"What are you doing?" Holly asked.
"I...I want to call my mother. As long as we're back in
the past. I miss her."
"No," Holly said, "you'll change the past if
you do that."
"I don't think so," Alyssa said. "You know I often call her during the
breaks. So I must have called her while
we were shooting this episode. It won't
She dialed the number and put the phone to her ear.
"That's strange," she said, "it isn't
ringing. Hmmm...and there's no dial
tone. There must be something wrong
with your cell phone. I'll go get mine
from my trailer." She put the cell
phone down and opened the trailer door.
"Holly," she said, staring outside. Holly walked
over next to her and looked out the door.
"Where...is the studio?" Alyssa asked.
"There's...there's nothing there," Holly said, in
In an instant, something was there. The kitchen sink.
Holly gingerly extended her hand and touched it. Alyssa slowly turned around and looked at
the rest of the kitchen, the walls and the ceiling.
"The Manor," Alyssa said. "It's...real
"We're back in The Manor," Holly said. "But
when is this?" They turned and walked to the kitchen door and into the
"You're back!" Stuart shouted. He ran over to hug
Phoebe as Prue ran over to do the same to Piper.
"We're Piper and Phoebe, again," Piper said,
without any trace of complaint.
"What do you mean?" Prue asked.
"You disappeared from the kitchen. We didn't know what happened to you,"
Stuart said. "We tried to figure
out how to find you but we couldn't come up with anything."
"Then we thought there might be something on The
Demon Dimension that would help us so we watched the rest of it," Prue
"Was the episode about time travel?" Piper asked.
"No, not time travel," Stuart said.
"Then it didn't have anything to do with what happened
to us," Piper said. "We were sent back in time. To the Charmed
"The set?" Prue said, in surprise.
"We went back to April," Piper said. "When we
were shooting the last episode of the season."
"What happened then?" Prue asked.
"We were in the middle of a kitchen scene and we were
our real selves," Phoebe said. "We blew the scene and then got, uh
you, to break for lunch. We went to Piper's trailer but we had no powers and
couldn't figure out how to get back."
"You were talking about that episode just before you
disappeared," Prue said, and paused for a moment. "This Demon Dimension episode
may indeed have a lot to do with what happened." She picked up the VCR remote control and pressed rewind.
"How did you get back?" Stuart asked, as
the tape rewound.
"We don't know," Phoebe answered. "But something strange happened. I tried using Piper's cell phone but it was
dead. And when we opened the trailer
door there was nothing out there."
"What do you mean there was nothing out there?"
"Just that," Piper said. "There was nothing
outside the trailer. No studio, no parking lot, no anything.
Prue stopped the tape, played a few seconds, then pressed
"And then we were back here, in The Manor," Piper
Prue stopped the tape, then pressed play. She pressed fast
forward and after a few seconds pressed play, again.
"Watch this," she said.
"This is Captain Janeway," Samantha said as the
tape played, "identify yourselves."
"Lloyd, it's a good thing you're here," Laura
said. "Sam's been carrying on like this since I came back twenty minutes
"And she keeps calling me Lieutenant Torres,"
"Samantha, where are we?" Lloyd asked her.
"About five hundred kilometers from their ship,
Tuvok," Sam answered. "What's
"I don't know what's happened to her," Laura
"I do," Lloyd said.
"This is connected to Álvaro's plan, isn't it,"
Laura said. "What did you find out?"
"The Olakar Pyramid," Lloyd said. "It's only about two feet tall. But it has the power to make people
hallucinate. To believe that they are
whatever fictitious character that's in their mind, someone they were thinking
about, even sub-consciously. And start
acting as if they were that character.
"It was banished to another plane by a good force
centuries ago. Álvaro located it and is trying to bring it back to our
"Trying...he hasn't brought it back yet?" Laura
"He's brought it back, all right," Lloyd
answered. "He's practicing,
testing his power, but it keeps returning to the other plane. He isn't strong
enough to keep the Pyramid here. Not
"But come the solstice, all bets are off. There's no
telling how much power he'll have then. Maybe enough to control the Pyramid and
keep it here."
"So the Pyramid was here and it affected Sam?"
"Sam's a fan of Star Trek Voyager," Lloyd
said. "She must have watched it
earlier tonight. That was still in her
mind when the Pyramid came here. She's
acting out the part of one of the show's characters."
"But why did it come here?" Laura asked.
"I don't know," Lloyd answered.
"Maybe it has something to do with evil
being attracted to its equivalent power on the good side and trying to
"If Álvaro can control the Pyramid, there will be mass
schizophrenia," Laura said. "Nobody will be able to function,
everything will break down. People will go crazy. There'll be worldwide
"We may have to bend Federation rules, Tuvok,"
Sam said to Lloyd, then turned to Laura. "Lieutenant Torres, get back to
"How do we break Sam's hallucination?" Laura
"The Pyramid isn't here now so its affects will wear
off in a little while," Lloyd answered.
"But if Álvaro becomes strong enough to keep it in our world it
will keep everyone's hallucination from wearing off."
"We've got to devise a plan to stop him before the
solstice," Laura said. "We need Bart. Where is he?"
"He's trying to find the Stone of Xenon," Lloyd
said. "Since we don't have powers
to banish the Pyramid back to its plane again we have to destroy it.
To do that you have to grab onto it and hold
it without hallucinating. The
Stone is the only thing that can protect the person holding the Pyramid against the
Pyramid's power and let him destroy it.
"The Stone's been lost and found over the centuries,"
"sometimes by people who never even knew what it's power was. That may be how it was somehow lost in the
winding room. Bart is there now trying to
Prue stopped the tape and turned to Piper and Phoebe.
"Are you saying...that we didn't really go back in
time?" Piper asked. "That we hallucinated it all?"
"In a sense," Prue said. "When this...this Olakar Pyramid affects someone, the person
thinks that she really is this fictional character that's in her mind. The character isn't real so it only seems
to her, in her mind, to be real.
"But our lives as our real selves isn’t fiction. They're part of the real world that existed
before The Elders changed it. And that
real world still exists someplace - in our minds. So when you
were affected, what you had been thinking about wasn’t fiction but reality -
the reality that used to exist. So the affect of the Pyramid made it take
the form of a full reality, not of fiction.”
"So...we didn't go back in time," Piper said. "We
really didn't go anywhere. It was just...a projection of the reality that's in
"That's why you didn't have your powers," Prue
said. "Because you didn't have any in that reality."
"So because it had been reality, and still
exists as a reality, even if only in our minds," Phoebe said, trying to
understand, "the hallucination triggered it to take the form of
reality - with us in it. But none of it - not the Charmed scene, not our
being on the set - actually happened."
"And as the hallucination started to wear off,"
Stuart said, "that reality began to disappear. First the cell phone, then
the studio. And then you were back here."
"That hallucination was some 'trip'," Phoebe
"The whole world will be on a 'trip' if we don't
destroy the Pyramid," Prue said. "To do that we need the Stone of
Xenon, or whatever it is in real life."
"Lloyd said it was in the winding room," Stuart
said, and thought silently.
"The powerhouse in the cable barn," he said, after
a moment. "All of the machinery that
winds the cable car cables is in there.
The cable comes in to the powerhouse, is wound on giant pulleys and sent
back out under the street. There's a
museum on the top level that overlooks the machinery. That must be where it
"It's worth a try," Prue said. "I'll go there
and see if I can find it."
"I'll go with you," Stuart said. "It will be pretty dark in the museum
at night and you won't be able to see your way around. But I know the layout."
"I'll come, too," Piper said.
"No, stay here with Phoebe," Prue said. "If that Pyramid tries to find us again
I don't want people around us that it could affect. And if it does come here you'll be together and be able to help
each other if you're affected by it again."
"It's not going to be easy for you to find it,"
Piper said, "especially as we don't know what it looks like."
"You can use the Find a Needle in a Haystack
Spell," Phoebe said.
"The what?" Stuart asked.
"Find a Needle in a Haystack," Phoebe said. "There's a spell to do that in The Book
of Shadows. I saw it there last
"You've got to be kidding," Stuart said.
"In our past that was created when the real world was
changed," Phoebe said, "the Book of Shadows dates back to Melinda
Warren in Salem. There was no shortage of haystacks in her time."
"But there must have been a shortage of needles,"
Piper said, "for someone to bother creating a spell to find a lost
"I can change the spell to look for the Stone in the
cable barn," Phoebe said.
"Go ahead and change it, Phoebe," Prue said.
"We'll go as soon as its ready."
At eleven-thirty at night, there was hardly a soul walking
by the closed shops on Mason Street.
And no one at all was out on the purely residential block of Washington
Prue and Stuart stood on the corner where the two streets
crossed, and where the museum and powerhouse side of the block-long cable car
building had its entrance.
"The barn itself is on the Jackson Street side of the
building," Stuart said.
"That's around the corner at the end of this block. A lot of the cable cars have already been
brought in there for the night. But if
someone lost the Stone on one of these cars, its not likely that it would still
be on it. The cable cars are too small
for something like that not to be noticed by the crew or a passenger."
"Let's start with the museum," Prue said.
They slowly walked over to the museum's front door. Stuart
turned around to watch for anyone approaching them as Prue waved her hand a few
"Got it," Prue said. She slowly opened the door
and they both slipped inside into the darkness.
"A few feet to our right, there are six or seven steps
going up," Stuart said. He took
Prue's hand and led her up them. It was
mostly dark up there too, but a subdued light from a lower level cast enough
illumination to let them see the area in front of them.
"That light's coming from the powerhouse underneath
us," Stuart said. "There's an overview about ten yards that
way," he said, pointing in front of them. They walked towards the light
and stopped at a railing overlooking machinery.
"The winding room," Stuart said. "Or at
least, part of it."
Prue saw what looked like giant pulleys in pairs, each
pulley of a pair turning in the opposite direction of the other pulley of the
pair. Cables were passing over and
around them, then back out again in the direction they had come from.
"Those are sheaves," Stuart said, trying to speak
softly and still be heard over the loud sound of the machinery from below. "There are other sheaves that you can't
see from here, along with gears and a motor. Those cables come in from the
street and run back out again. This machinery, along with pulleys under the
street, is what keeps them going and the cable cars moving."
"This is more complex than I had imagined," Prue
said, the light from the powerhouse below giving her face an eerie illumination
in the darkness.
"Which is why it all needs a lot of nightly
maintenance," Stuart said.
"There may be someone in the powerhouse now. But most of the workers will be in the barn,
working on the cars as they're brought in for the night and preparing them for
the morning. They won't be working in
the powerhouse until the three lines shut down in about an hour."
"I hope the Stone's not down there," Prue said,
turning around. "Let's start up here."
The light let them see no more than a few feet in front of
them. Beyond that, it was pitch black.
"There are shelves with books and shirts that the
museum sells that go from here to the back wall," Stuart said, "and
there's a display case with small items along the left side of the room. There's a wide place to walk in between
"Hold my hand.
I know my way around." He
took Prue's hand and led her to their left, then turned abruptly right.
"It's a good thing I memorized the spell," Prue
said in the darkness. "I couldn't read it here in the dark."
barn with a lost magical stone inside,
Show me the
place where the magical stone does hide."
"I've heard better spells," Stuart said, making a
face. "Those lines seem forced and
not at all lyrical."
"There wasn't much Phoebe could do with it," Prue
said, "except make direct substitutions. It must have sounded better in
the original haystack version."
"What's supposed to happen now?" he asked.
"I don't know," Prue said. "Something should
happen if the Stone is here."
"Maybe the spell was written for a small
haystack," Stuart said, "and the museum is too big. We could try it
again on the other end by the display of the old cable car."
They turned around and held hands. Stuart, familiar with the
museum's layout, led Prue back to the old cable car near the steps they had
first come up. She held onto the end of the cable car and repeated the spell.
"I don't see anything," Stuart said. "Maybe
the spell works only for haystacks."
"I'm not giving up, yet," Prue said. "We'll try it by the
powerhouse." They made their way
back to the railing overlooking the machinery and Prue said the spell once more.
"There," she said, "That flashing light
coming from behind that second sheave. That wasn't there before."
"No, it wasn't," Stuart said. "That light
must be what shows where the needle is."
"I'll astral project down there," Prue said. "Just hold me." Stuart put his arms around her and she
slumped against him.
The din from the machinery was much greater on the
powerhouse's floor. As was Prue's appreciation of the size of the sheaves,
which were considerably taller than her. Now she could see the other, smaller
pulleys that lay beneath the museum's floor, all turning in different
And everywhere were the cables. To her left, to her right, wherever she turned, winding around
the sheaves and pulleys that surrounded her in what seemed to her like some
Rube Goldberg design. But which, she knew, was really a masterful feat of
The light was flashing from a side of the sheave that Prue
couldn't see. The only way she could
get to it was to step under the cables and get between the sheaves. Carefully, she did just that and she could
now see something lodged within the flashing light.
"Hey! What are you doing?!" a voice shouted at
Prue turned her head and saw a man about twenty feet from
her on the far side of the sheaves. Turning back to the flashing light, she
stretched out her hand and moved her fingers back towards herself. The object
came sailing across into her hand.
"Get out of there!" the man shouted and Prue
"OK. Whatever you say," she said to him and in an
instant she was back with Stuart.
"What's the matter, Charlie?" a second man
approaching the sheaves asked.
"I saw a...a woman standing over there," Charlie
"A woman?" the other man asked.
"Maybe...a ghost," Charlie answered.
"A ghost," the other man repeated, skeptically.
"Yeah, Denny," Charlie said, shaken. "One
minute she was there and the next minute she was gone. She just
Denny gave Charlie a long look.
"Did this, uh, ghost have any tools with her?" he
"Tools...no, uh...no I didn't see any tools,"
"Well, if she didn't come with tools to work then I
don't care if she's gone," Denny said. He gave Charlie another long look,
turned around and walked back into the
Charlie looked around the powerhouse and then up at the
railing on the museum level. But Prue and Stuart were already outside on Mason
Street on their way back to the car.
The stone was the shape of a hexagon, light gray in color
and about five inches wide. A leather
necklace was attached to it through two eyelets, allowing the Stone to be worn
around the neck. Prue, back in the living room, held the Stone in her hand and
looked at the inscription on it.
"I don't know what that means," Prue said, after
reading it aloud. "Nor the meaning
of these symbols on the other side."
"Let me see," Stuart said, taking the Stone from
Prue. "Hmm...this might be Latin." He turned the Stone over to the
reverse and saw nine symbols in rows of three.
"Could that middle one in the second row be some kind
of an eye?" Phoebe asked, looking
at it with him. "Hmmph...but the
others... I'll see if I can find any of them in The Book of Shadows tomorrow."
"I think I'll have more luck looking in the research
section of the library," Stuart said.
He picked up a pad from the end table and began copying down the words
and the symbols.
"Well, now that we have the Stone, what do we do with
it?" Piper asked.
"We have to wait for the demons to test their powers
with the Pyramid again," Phoebe said.
"We don't know how long that wait will be," Piper
"On The Demon Dimension," Prue said,
"Lloyd said that Álvaro was trying it every five hours. So if in real life it's the same, that would
give us...about another two hours."
"How do we use the Stone?" Piper asked.
"In the episode," Prue said, "Lloyd touched
the Stone to the Pyramid. That burned
the Pyramid and destroyed it. I'm going to have to catch the Pyramid when it
comes back here and do the same thing."
"Like grabbing the brass ring on the merry-go-round,"
Stuart said. Having finished his
copying, he put the pad down on the end table and gave the Stone back to
Prue. "Only it'll be reversed. You'll be standing still and the Pyramid
will be moving."
"You'll all get away from here," Prue said,
putting the Stone over her head and around her neck. "The Stone will
protect me from hallucinating but can't protect you."
"No," Piper said. "I'll do it. I can
freeze the Pyramid. You go with Phoebe and Stuart."
"None of us can go away," Phoebe said,
"except for Stuart. We don't know which one of us the Pyramid will be
attracted to so the three of us have to stay together."
"It's likely it will be attracted to-"
A flash of light cut Stuart off.
It's here too soon, Phoebe thought. Piper
reacted immediately and raised her hand.
The Pyramid was cream-colored with grey concentric circles
all over, about as wide at its base as it was tall. Prue went over to it, as it hung frozen in mid-air, took a deep
breath and touched the Stone along one of its sides.
The explosion was followed by a blinding light that filled
The Manor. Tiny particles began to drift around in the air. As they began to
settle in the living room, the light slowly began to dissipate.
Piper lay sprawled face up on the floor.
Phoebe lay next to her with her head
sideways, her face obscured by her left arm that covered it.
Prue lay face down at their feet.
Stuart lay a little distance
in front of them. The figure stepped
over him but without concern for being careful, not bothering to avoid stepping
on Stuart's chest and shoulder. The
figure knelt down and looked at Piper's blackened face for a few seconds.
Then the figure turned its attention to
Phoebe. It pushed her arm aside and, opening a button on her blouse to spread
her collar, ran a hand along her neck.
The figure stood up and
walked over to Prue. It placed a foot
underneath her chest and kicked her over on to her back. Looking down at her, the figure smiled with
The light surrounded Leo's
hands as they lay on Piper's chest. After a few seconds he moved to Phoebe and
placed his hands on her.
"Leo..." Piper said
as she slowly sat up. "What...happened?"
"I don't know," he
answered as he went to Prue and put his hands on her. "They just told me
to get over here fast, that something went wrong."
Piper stood up as Leo removed
his hands from Prue. She helped
Prue and Phoebe get up and Leo went over to Stuart.
"What happened?" Phoebe asked.
"I touched the stone to the Pyramid and...it blew
up," Prue said.
She knelt down and picked up a small charred object,
"But it worked," Prue said, turning it over in her
hands. "The Pyramid was burned and destroyed."
"And with it a demon's plan of major destruction,"
Piper said, looking at the Pyramid's charred remains that Prue was holding.
"What is that?" Leo asked.
"It was something that would have caused chaos and
catastrophe everywhere," Phoebe said. "And we destroyed it.
"But it came here earlier than it should have. And it wasn't supposed to explode like that,
"No, it wasn't," Prue said. "That's not how
we were shown...uh, told, it would work."
"Maybe that's why whoever banished the Pyramid didn't
try to use the Stone to destroy it," Piper said.
Aha, Stuart thought, here comes the gripe.
"But it doesn't matter...we have saved the world
from a demon's plan for disaster," Piper continued. "And that's why we were given our
powers." She took the charred remains of the Pyramid from Prue. "To save the world from this."
She didn't gripe, Stuart thought.
"You're right," Phoebe said. "Despite what happened we did
defeat a demon's plan. And thanks to
you, Leo, we survived the explosion."
"Yes," Piper said, "thank you for saving
us." Leo gave a half-smile and a small nod of his head.
"But I didn't save Prue," he said. "She
wasn't really hurt, just knocked out. I don't understand why."
"That is curious," Prue said. "But the important thing is that we
were successful tonight. Even though we
didn't vanquish the demon behind this, it's still one less of their plans to
worry about come the solstice. Now we
just have to find out what other plans for destruction they have."
"Maybe we can do that tomorrow," Phoebe said.
"It's been a long night."
"It's not the first long night we've had," Piper
said. Stuart waited for the gripe that
"But we can't expect vanquishing demons or defeating
their plans to be a nine-to-five job," she continued.
Stuart, surprised at Piper's reaction, just stared at her.
"You're right," Prue said. "Still, we could
use some sleep."
"Yes, we certainly could," Stuart said. "So
I'll be the first to say good night, Leo." He turned and took a
couple of steps towards the staircase.
"We'll clean everything up in the morning," Piper
said, looking at the mess the explosion left.
"Just like on Charmed," Phoebe said quietly to
Stuart. "The Manor is always a mess after we've finished with a demon."
Prue felt around her chest and neck with her hand and then
looked down at the floor.
"Uh, where's the Stone?" she asked.
"You don't have it?" Stuart asked.
"No," Prue answered, "and I don't see it
"Maybe it was destroyed together with the
Pyramid," Phoebe said.
"It's power was supposed to be strong enough to remain
in tact," Prue said. "And
even if it was destroyed, there should be something left of it, just
like something was left of the Pyramid.
And the leather neck strap wasn't part of the Stone. It should still be here somewhere,
"I don't see it," Piper said.
"Why do I feel a draft?" Stuart asked. He was
closer to the staircase than the others and now started to turn around.
"Look," he said. "The front door is wide
"Someone may have been here while we were all
unconscious," Phoebe said.
Stuart picked up the pad from the end-table.
"The page that I copied down the words and symbols from
the Stone on is gone," he said.
"There's just part of the top of the page left. This wasn't destroyed in the explosion. It was ripped out.
"Someone was here."
"And took the Stone from my neck," Prue added.
"DEFENSOR AB POLLENTIAE MA," Leo said, reading
what was left of the page.
"That was inscribed on the Stone," Prue said to
him. "That last word was...magusum."
"That's Latin," Leo said, and thought for a
second. "It means...'Protector
From Magical Powers'. What stone was
"We think its called the Stone of Xenon," Piper
answered. Leo turned his head slightly as he looked upwards.
"They're calling me," he said. "The Stone of
Xenon. I've heard of it." The white light began to form around him.
"It's a talisman," he said and disappeared.
"A talisman," Piper repeated and they were silent
for a few seconds.
"We know a demon who's after a talisman," Phoebe
"Could this have been the same talisman that, uh,
uh...Sydney Montanelli found in that other timeline that we were in with
Marco?" Stuart asked.
“The timeline we made when we changed the past going after
Jôlét,” Phoebe said.
"If it is, then we've run into Marco in the real
timeline, too," Piper said.
"But how could Marco have known that the Stone would be
here?" Stuart asked.
"We don't know who the demon trying to bring the
Pyramid here was," Prue began.
"What if...what if it was Marco. And what if he was controlling the Pyramid. It was only a theory on Demon Dimension
about evil being attracted to good.
Lloyd didn't really know how the Pyramid found Sam."
"But if Marco could control the Pyramid, why
would he send it here to be destroyed?" Phoebe asked.
Prue began, "maybe...Marco had just enough power to control the
Pyramid and bring it here. But he knew
that he wouldn't have enough power to keep it here, even on the
solstice. Lloyd only said that the
demon may have enough power then to do that. He wasn't sure. Maybe
Marco wasn’t sure either that he really would have been able to keep the
Pyramid in this plane.
"What he really wanted was the Stone of Xenon,
but he couldn't find it. So he sent the
Pyramid to us because he knew what we would do."
"He knew we'd use our powers to look for the Stone and
that we probably would find it," Piper said. "He didn't need
the Pyramid and didn't care about our destroying it. All he really wanted was
"So when we did find it, he was ready and waiting to
take the Stone while we were unconscious."
Everyone was silent.
"We were set up," Prue said, anger in her voice.
"This was never part of the demons' plans for major
destruction," Phoebe said.
"We didn't save the world from a disaster. We didn't save the world
"That inscription said the Stone protects against
magic," Piper said. "It may
protect against more than just the Pyramid.
Maybe it can even shield a demon from a witch's powers. And that's why Marco wanted it so much. So
he could do whatever he wanted to do without worrying about us or about any
"Without the Stone's symbols that Stuart wrote down, we
have no way of knowing," Piper continued. "And no way of finding out anything else about the Stone
that would help us find it. And find
"Maybe that's why you weren't hurt in the
explosion," Phoebe said to Prue. "You were wearing the Stone. It’s a
protection against any magic so it protected you from the explosion the Stone's
"Demons don't outsmart you on Charmed,"
Stuart said. "And this isn't how
it happened on The Demon Dimension, either."
"No, it isn't," Piper said. "But they're just acting from a script
on a sound stage. We have to face this
in real life..." She stopped, not
finishing what she had started to say.
After a pause she took a deep breath.
"In real life, things turn out differently," she
continued, speaking slowly and deliberately. "These are real, not
fictional, demons. And these are real risks that we take.
"But we also have real accomplishments."
"What did we accomplish tonight?" Phoebe asked.
"We let a demon completely manipulate us."
"We accomplished one thing," Piper said. "We learned that we can't blindly rely
on a TV script to tell us what to do in the real world, whether that script is
from The Demon Dimension or even from Charmed. We have to be thinking in character and then
add in our own intelligence, and our own experience and intuition as real
Stuart looked at Piper in amazement, not believing that she
would say that without complaining.
"I'll tell you one thing," Prue said, conviction
in her voice. "I won't ever let a demon do this to us again."
"Well," Stuart said, "if its any consolation,
Marco fooled The Elders, too. They
arranged The Demon Dimension's storylines when they changed the world's
reality. So they also thought that this
was about causing worldwide chaos with the Pyramid."
"We don't know for sure that it really was
Marco," Phoebe said.
"And we don't know that it wasn't," Prue
said. "But if it was, he may be
working with that warlock Neville."
"We're in the real timeline, now," Phoebe
said. "If they are working
together, we're not going to be able to undo whatever Neville does here the way
we undid it in that other timeline."
"Then we're just going to have make sure that nothing
happens here that has to be undone," Piper said. She paused for a
second. "And we will. We are,
after all, The Charmed Ones."
"That's it," Stuart said, surrendering, "you
win. I lose. You haven't griped once since dinner about being Piper Halliwell,
about being a real witch, about being here, even though you've had plenty of
occasion and reason to."
Piper said nothing but just smiled at him.
"Maybe that's another thing we've accomplished
tonight," Prue said.
"Fighting back to remain who we really are - as you did acting like
Holly. Not letting the characters we've become take over and control our
"Well," Phoebe said and sighed, "there's
nothing more that we can do about the Stone, or Marco. We may as well get some sleep." She
walked over to the front door and closed it.
Prue thought for a moment, the angry look returning to her
face, then reluctantly nodded her head in agreement. "Good night," she said, still smarting from being used,
and started upstairs.
"Good night," Piper said and started walking to
"Oh," she said, turning her head slightly to
Stuart as she passed him, "for that dish you owe me, a recipe for a French
Soufflé au Fromage would do nicely. And
prepare it for five - I'm inviting Leo to dinner." She continued to the staircase and followed
Stuart took a deep breath and exhaled, then shook his head
in amazement at his defeat.
Stuart repeated to himself as he watched her go up the steps.
mademoiselle," he said, slowly.