Charmed Role Reversal

Don't Cry For Me, San Francisco

Golden Gate Bridge

“I t is magnificent," Prue said, looking up at the Golden Gate Bridge.

It was eleven o’clock Sunday morning. Though she had a late Saturday night shoot for 415 Magazine - with a 9:00 AM deadline that morning for processing and selecting the photos they would run she had managed to get only five hours sleep - Prue was not feeling sleepy. The beautiful sky and clear morning air made her feel refreshed and awake. As did the smell of the water.

Prue was standing with Piper beside Fort Point, over which the distinctively orange bridge arcs as it begins its span across the waters of the Golden Gate. A small wave from the bay lapped at the rocks that extended from the fort, at the northern tip of San Francisco, and continued along The Presidio towards the city. Though the fort is of historical significance, being almost one hundred-fifty years old, and preceding by many decades the recently closed military reservation that The Presidio, now a park, had been, most people did not come there to see it.

Some simply came by virtue of their walking or bicycling along the park's partially completed promenade in Crissy Field, the former Army airfield portion of The Presidio, that ended at the fort’s red brick walls. But most came for the up-close underside view of the bridge, as seen from ground level at the foot of the bay.

As, too, had Prue and Piper.

Prue's eyes followed the bridge's majestic span across the water, then looked down to Fort Baker and the small, picturesque Horsheshoe Bay Marina at Point Cavallo, nestled below the bridge's northern tower on the Marin side of the bay.

"Stuart's right," Prue said. "San Francisco is beautiful."

Piper turned to her right and looked back, over the near side of the bay, at the city. In the distance she could see the Marina Yacht Harbor and the Bay Bridge behind it. Beyond the Marina and above it to it's right stood Coit Tower and Telegraph Hill.

"It's very different from Hollywood and The Valley," Piper said. "But I've grown accustomed to it."

Two tour boats, filled with tourists, plied their appointed routes as a score of sailboats played in the water, some making their way towards Angel Island across the bay. A lone tugboat, its work for the day done, passed slowly underneath the bridge.

"I've fallen in love with this city," Prue said. "I have to come back here soon. Maybe on a weekend."

"It won't be the same," Piper said. "After The Elders change us back into our real, actress selves and send us home, San Francisco will also change back to how it had been before we were brought here. The Manor won't be here, the club won't be here." In her mind she pictured both places. And how comfortable, and at home, she felt in them. "Even your Four One Five magazine won't exist anymore. It will strange."

A wave from the bay splashed hard against the rocks, throwing up a spray in their faces.

"Strange," Prue repeated, not flinching from the water, silently looking out at the bridge.

"It's amazing, isn't it," Prue said, "how our perceptions have changed over the months that we've been here. The real world being changed back to how it used to be without Charmed a part of it, how it should be, will seem strange to us. Yet living our lives as Charmed's TV characters seems perfectly normal."

"Maybe, in a way, our lives here have been more normal then we've realized," Piper said. "We've grown up in Hollywood, we live in Hollywood. Acting is pretty much the only life we've really known.

"Here, we've had to live and work like regular, normal people. People who aren't in the industry. And do the normal things that they would do. Like running a club, working for a magazine-"

"Vanquishing demons, casting spells," Prue interjected. Piper looked at her for a second and they both laughed.

A twinling light started to form to their side and Leo, their whitelighter and guide, materialized.

"Leo!" Piper greeted him with a big hug and an extra long kiss.

"I'll, uh, wait for you by the car," Prue said to her, but Piper didn't even hear her.

"Wow...that gives me what to look forward to for Tuesday night," Leo said.

"Tuesday night?" Piper asked.

"Now that you've vanquished the most dangerous demons and the world is safe, at least for a while, they’re giving me Tuesday night off.," Leo said.

"Uhhh," Piper made a face. "Your timing is terrible."

"Why?  What's happening?" he asked.

"Today is Saturday," she said. "Anything can happen in the three days between now and Tuesday night."

"It's not as if the world is going to end by Tuesday," Leo said. "You took care of that when you vanquished Argyris." He was the demon who was going to bring major destruction to the world. The actresses had been told they were transformed in real life to their Charmed characters to defeat him. "And the Triad is not making trouble now so they don't need your attention yet." The Triad were three powerful demons whose original powers had been diminished when the sisters went back in time to protect their ancestor from them.

"It might anyway," Piper said.

"What do you mean?" he asked.

What do I mean? Piper thought. She wanted to open up to him. But how could she explain that the world as far as who she was, might end. Or who Leo was, might end - whoever he really was.

Or...would it end for him?

"It's just that...we haven't seen each other, except for work, in almost a week," she said trying to come up with a plausible explanation. " like forever."

Leo took her in his arms, held her close to him and looked into her eyes.

"Nothing will keep me from you Tuesday night," he said. "I promise."

"Don't make promises you can't keep," she said with a little sadness.

"I'll keep this one," he said. "You can hold me to it."

Piper took a deep breath. "Then...I will," she said, looking into his eyes.

Leo kissed her again, then disappeared as the twinkling white light returned.

Piper slowly shook her head.

"Goodbye, Leo," she said sadly, a single, small tear forming in each of her eyes.

Click speaker for Opening Credits Theme Song

"It's going to feel strange not being here," Phoebe said to Stuart. Though he was engaged to young witch Kelly Anderson, he was still Phoebe's friend and she had asked him to walk with her that morning. She needed someone to talk to openly about her feelings, someone who knew that she really was an actress on Charmed, brought to San Francisco and turned into a real witch by The Elders. She took a deep breath of the fresh morning air as they walked along the Marina Green that runs beside the bay.

"Don't get me wrong," she continued. "I want to go home.

"I WANT TO GO HOME," she repeated loudly, emphasizing each word as she looked upwards, then giggled.

"I miss my mom, my dad, my home," she continued. "And it will be good to get back. I still want a career as an actress, not as a witch. There are a lot of things that I want to do with my life as Alyssa Milano."

"Fighting evil won't be one of them," Stuart said. "It won't be quite the same as vanquishing dangerous demons."

"No, it won't," she said. "But we know that there are other witches. They can do the vanquishing instead of me."

"Yes," Stuart said, "I suppose they can. But you also won't have your powers."

She thought silently for a moment. They reached the end of the Marina Green and continued walking alongside the Yacht Harbor.

"I suppose I am going to miss being Phoebe Halliwell, after all," she admitted.

"'ll still be Phoebe," Stuart said, "every time you step in front of the camera."

"That's going to feel so weird," she said. "Reading from a script and acting the role after having lived it. Shooting individual scenes instead of everything flowing naturally as it has in real life." She was silent for a moment again. "The changeover... it may be a lot harder emotionally than I imagined it would be."

"Huh..." Stuart said. "You're making me almost...feel sorry for you going home."

"No! I'm happy that I'm going home," she said emphatically as they passed a small bench. "Don't feel sorry for me!"

Phoebe stopped and jumped up on to the bench, then turned around and looked down at Stuart. In his head, Stuart could hear the melody start accompanying Phoebe as, with a play on the lyrics, she began to sing.

Click playbutton to play melody accompanying Phoebe

♫ It won't be easy, you'll think it strange

    When I try to explain how I feel

    That I have no regrets for all that I've done

    You won't believe me

    All you will see is a girl who is Charmed

    With powers and spells to stop Evil's plans

    And save innocents from being harmed ♫

Phoebe spread her arms outwards towards her audience of one.

♫ Don't cry for me San Francisco

    The truth is it's time I left you

    And left my powers

    And left the demons

    And left the danger

    All behind me


    I have to let it happen, I have to change

    Couldn't stay all my life chasing evil around

    Looking back at my acting, staying away from my career


    So I chose freedom

    Freedom to be who I used to be

    Because I was never asked

    When all this was thrust upon me


    Don't cry for me San Francisco

    I don't want to have these powers

    I want to go home

    I want to be home

    And be myself

    Just be myself ♫

Phoebe's arms remained outstretched as slowly she lifted her head and looked out dramatically across the Marina Green to San Francisco.

"Wow! Bravo!" Stuart said. "That was great. That's just like in a movie musical when an actress breaks out into song to say what she means." He turned around and was surprised that no one was looking at Phoebe.

"Uh...this is weird," he said. "This really is like a movie musical, where no one even notices that the actress was singing instead of speaking."

"Maybe not," Phoebe said, taking Stuart's hand as she stepped down from the bench. "Their attention is focused over there."

She pointed to a commotion at the end of the harbor and they started walking towards it to see what was happening. As they got closer they recognized someone in the middle of the crowd.

"What happened, Daryl?" Phoebe asked her friend Police Inspector Daryl Morris, after they made their way through the crowd to him.

"A missing child," he answered. "That woman over there was walking along the edge of the Marina with her three small children. One of them tripped and fell and scraped his leg. She gave him her attention and after she got him to stop crying, her two-year old was missing. I was a block away when the call came through.

"I've called for help to go down into the water," he added grimly.

Phoebe looked at the woman who was crying hysterically. After a moment, she turned back to Daryl.

"Give me something from the child," she said to him. Daryl looked at her for a second then walked over to the mother. In a moment he returned holding a small doll.

"The mother found it by the bricks," he said, pointing to the brick-lined edge of the Yacht Harbor. Phoebe took the doll from him and closed her eyes. After a few seconds, she opened them and looked around at the boats, a few of which were sitting on supports on the adjacent land. She saw what she was looking for and began walking quickly towards one of them. Daryl looked at Stuart for a second and then they both quickly followed her.

Three land-locked boats sat behind a small walkway fence. Phoebe hurried to the second boat and crawled underneath it. In a moment, she crawled back out and handed a sleeping child to Morris.

"She must have wandered off, found a comfortable spot under the boat and fell asleep," Phoebe said.

Morris looked at her silently for a moment and exhaled.

"I became a cop because I wanted to help people," he said slowly. "But I could never help anyone like this. Whatever your secret must feel wonderful knowing that you can help people like that...when no one else can."

Morris turned around and carried the baby back to his mother.

Phoebe stared after him silently for a few seconds, then turned back to Stuart.

"Had he been working from a Charmed script, he couldn't have had a better line to make me feel the responsibility to have my powers, could he," she said, sounding shaken. They heard the baby's mother's sudden cries and watched her grab her child from Morris and hug it.

Phoebe closed her eyes and just stood silently. Stuart could only guess at what was going through her mind. After a minute, she opened her eyes, stared at him and exhaled.

"Let's go," Phoebe said, barely audibly. As they reached the crowd, she turned to look at the mother's face, now filled with tears of relief and joy. They passed her without stopping and Phoebe took Stuart's hand for emotional support and held it tightly.

Click playbutton to play background music

What Phoebe had known that she wanted and what she hadn't wanted was so clear to her just a few minutes before - her happiness knowing that she was leaving San Francisco to return home, that she would not have powers any more but would be just a normal actress again. Now, it had all been turned upside down. And the only thing that was clear to Phoebe was the conflict she felt inside of her. Ready and wanting to go home - yet at the same time, realizing the need to stay in San Fransisco and keep her powers to save innocents.

Maybe San Francisco should cry for her, she thought.

Phoebe stared ahead blankly as they silently left the Yacht Harbor.