Charmed Role Reversal

A Family Affair

H e was a large man, just under six feet tall. His weight, somewhat more than was appropriate for his broad frame but evenly distributed across his body, made him seem even larger. Though in truth that was to his benefit as it kept his large oval head and ruddy complexioned face in proper proportion to his body. He appeared to be in his late fifties with some grey here and there in his reddish-blonde hair. His bulk would have completely blocked the doorway to The Manor had he remained standing in it.

But he did not remain standing in it..

"Lovely," he said, as he brushed Piper aside and strode into the hallway. "This will do nicely."

"What will do nicely?"  Piper asked. "And who are you?!"

"Hammond Mc Elroy," he said in an off-hand manner, barely taking notice of her, as he continued into the living room.

"Uh...wait a minute," Piper protested. "Where do you think you're going?"

"Umm...yes, this will do nicely, indeed," Mc Elroy said.

"What will do nicely?!" Piper demanded, trying to keep up with him.

"This house will do quite nicely for the orphans," he said.

"Wait," Piper said, scurrying in front of him to block him, then turning around to face him. "What are you talking about? You don't just walk in here like this. This is my home."

"I assume you're Prue Halliwell," he said.

"No...I'm Piper Halliwell," she said.

"Was your home," Mc Elroy said, as he stepped around her and went into the parlor.

"Was?" Piper practically shouted. "What do you mean was?" she said and hurried after him again.

"You have a mortgage on this house with the bank," Mc Elroy said.

"Mortgage?" Piper asked. Oh, she thought. She remembered a mortgage payment notice that had come shortly after they were brought to The Manor. They had paid it just last week. The mortgage had been taken out to pay for opening P3. At least, she thought, that's what happened on Charmed.

"I just bought your mortgage from the bank," Mc Elroy said, examining the walls of the parlor.

"Good morning, Piper," Phoebe said as she came into the room. "Uh...who are you?"

"Hammond Mc Elroy," he said, and glanced up at her. "Are you another Halliwell?"

"Uh, yes...I'm Phoebe."

"Uh...why did you buy the mortgage on The Manor?" Piper asked.

"He did what?" Phoebe asked.

"To go along with the houses on either side of you that I've bought as well," he said, as he checked the woodwork.

"You bought Dan's house, and the Lansfords'  house, too?"  Piper asked, completely surprised. "Well, The Manor is not for sale."

"It's not being bought," Mc Elroy said. "It's being taken. Hmm...this doorway will have to be widened to prevent crowding at dinner time."

"Crowding?...Look," Piper said, "whatever you've bought next door has nothing to do with us."

"It has everything to do with you," Mc Elroy said. He stopped his inspection and turned around to face them.

"I am a developer. I am also a manager and administrator of many of the things that I build. I have a contract with the city to convert those houses into a family-style home for orphans. Not an orphanage, mind you, with its nasty connotations, but something that will be run in the atmosphere of a true home.

"Those two houses will do very nicely but the contract is contingent upon this house being a part of it. It is the centerpiece and will serve as the locus for the Children's Family Homes, as they will be known."

"The Manor has been in our, uh, family for generations," Phoebe said, equally upset as Piper. "We're not selling."

"You don't have a choice," Mc Elroy said. "Look closely at your mortgage and you will see it contains a clause that says that it is compliant with San Francisco's eminent domain regulation."

"What regulation?"  Phoebe asked.

"Eminent domain," Mc Elroy repeated. "Most every city has one for acquiring property for urban renewal or highway building, subject to judicial-directed review and negotiation. But San Francisco's version is unique. It allows the city to declare any property for which it is in possession of the mortgage on that property necessary for the public good and to take the property without hearing. It also precludes the owner's recourse to sue. It is a little known regulation that was enacted in the nineteenth century as a way for the city to rid itself of many of its notorious citizens. And with them, cleanse San Francisco of it's infamous Barbary Coast image. It has hardly been used since then but it is still on the books.

"Having purchased your mortgage I have, as a good citizen, donated it to the city to use as it sees fit."

As angry as Piper was she was even more in shock.

"Why...would you do that?" she asked. "It doesn't make business sense to buy the mortgage and then give it away."

"I can assure you that I don't do anything that doesn't make business sense," Mc Elroy said, with a hint of a smile. "What the city will pay me to construct the necessary renovations and to administer the Homes are worth far more than the cost of your mortgage.

"The city will pay you the assessed value of the house. Minus the amount outstanding on the mortgage, of course."  He walked over to the windows and, with his back to them, began examining the frames.

"You have two weeks to vacate the premises," he said.

Click speaker for Opening Credits Theme Song

"Mc Elroy can't take away The Manor," Phoebe said to Piper in the living room, after leaving    Mc Elroy by himself in the parlor. "It's un-American. It's...un-San Franciscan."

"It's can't be un-San Franciscan," Piper said. "It's a San Francisco law that's letting him do it."

"Oh," Phoebe said, making a face. "Well, Brad and JP would never let this happen on Charmed."

"So we can't let it happen in real life, either," Piper said. "We have to find a way to keep The Manor. What we need is a good lawyer."

"What we need is a good spell," Phoebe said. "I'll go upstairs and tell Prue and Stuart. Keep an eye here on Mr. Public Good."

Piper went back into the parlor when she heard the front door close. She turned around to go see who was there but before she could a man walked into the room.

He was short, barely a few inches taller than Piper, and rotund. His equally round head was bald on top, with whatever dark hair that remained running along its sides. He wore a black suit, which seemed ill fitted to his proportions, a white shirt and a black tie.

"Who are you?"  Piper barked.

"Meriwether is the name," he calmly said. "Which Halliwell are you?  Prue, I suppose."

"No, I'm Piper," she said, annoyed. "Next time I'll wear a name tag for everyone's benefit!"

" matter," Meriwether said. "I must see you in private. Let's go in there."  He pointed to the conservatory.

"Why?"  Piper asked. "What do you want?"

"We really must be alone," Meriwether said, motioning with his head at Mc Elroy. Piper eyed Meriwether with suspicion. But whatever he wanted, she thought, it was probably best if          Mc Elroy wasn't present.

"OK," she said, and cautiously went into the conservatory. Mc Elroy watched them go in then went back to his examination. After a few seconds, Meriwether came back into the parlor. Curious, Mc Elroy peeked into the conservatory.

No one was in there.

"Where's Halliwell?" he asked.

"She had to leave," Meriwether said.

"How?"  Mc Elroy asked. "I didn't see her come out."

"Her leaving is not dependent upon your visual observation," Meriwether said. Mc Elroy was about to say something when Phoebe and Prue came into the parlor.

" must be Prue and Phoebe," Meriwether said.

"You're Mc Elroy?"  Prue asked.

"I'm Mc Elroy," the large man said, starting to feel confused.

"Then who are you?"  Prue asked.

"The name is Meriwether," he said, "and it is imperative that I see both of you alone."

"Why?"  Phoebe asked.

"If you step inside the other room with me everything will be explained," he said.

Prue gave them each a look.

"I'll be back for you in minute," she said to Mc Elroy. "After you," she said to Meriwether, eying him warily.

"As you wish," Meriwether said, agreeably.

Mc Elroy watched then go into the conservatory. After a few seconds, Meriwether emerged.

"Where are the other Halliwells?"  Mc Elroy asked, puzzled.

"They had to leave, as well," Meriwether said.

"Without coming out, either?"  Mc Elroy said slowly, a confused look on his face. " of them said she'd be back in a minute."

"You know how women are," Meriwether said as he headed towards the door. "They tend to change their minds rather quickly."  He walked out of the parlor, leaving a bewildered Mc Elroy all alone.


A large sofa with a coffee table in front of it stood against one wall. A lamp table with a Tiffany-style lamp and a rocking chair stood along another wall. A blue tartan kilt was draped over the arm of the chair. The lamp was turned off but there was ample, though subdued, light coming in through two curtain-covered windows to see everything in the room.

"What happened?"  Phoebe asked as they looked around the room.

"Meriwether clapped his hands," Prue said, "and suddenly we're here."

"He did that to me, too," Piper said. "Do you think he's a demon?"

"No, he didn't try to kill us," Phoebe said. "At least, I don't think he did."

"It looks like we're in someone's living room," Prue said. She walked over to the mantel and picked up a framed picture of teenage girls dancing.

One of the two girls in the picture was wearing a red tartan kilt, matching knee socks and a red vest with gold piping. The other was wearing a blue tartan kilt, white knee socks and a blue vest. Both girls wore white blouses under their vests and had their hair done up in buns. They were each dancing on one foot, the other foot touching the knee. Each had one hand on the waist and the other hand above the head.

"These girls are doing the Highland Fling," Prue said. "One of them is wearing the kilt that's on that rocking chair."  She replaced the picture and picked up another one. Two crossed swords lay at each girl's feet as each danced between them. "The same girls are in this picture, too. Here they're doing the Gillie Chalium, also known as the Sword Dance."  Prue put the picture down.

"What's this?"  Phoebe asked, picking up a black long hat that lay on the floor to the side of the sofa. Prue walked over to look at it with her.

"That's a glengarry," Prue said. "It's a Scots Highlander's hat. It's part of the dress of someone who plays the bagpipes. And this metal pinned into it is a hat badge. Each clan has a different badge."

"How do you know so much about this?"  Phoebe asked.

"I'm not unfamiliar with Celtic things," Prue said. "My name is Doherty."

"Well, what do they have to do with us?"  Phoebe asked.

Piper picked up a small framed parchment that was lying on the coffee table. "To Colleen Taylor-McMillan," she read aloud, "with appreciation. From her step dancing students. The College of Piping, Summerside."

"Whoever lives here is active in Celtic tradition and culture," Prue said.

"But who does live here?"  Phoebe asked.

"More important," Piper said, "where is here?"

The door to the living room opened and a man walked in. He was well over six feet tall and reasonably slim, with broad shoulders. He had wavy light brown hair, which seemed unable to stay down in place, and a full mustache on his long face.

Piper's first impression was that he reminded her of someone. Of...of an actor. Donald Sutherland. With his mustache and build, he had a resemblance to him.

"Who are you?"  Prue asked, raising her hand.

"My name is Keir and you can put your hand down," he said in an assured tone of voice. A voice that also reminded Piper of Sutherland.

"Not until you tell us what's happened and why we're here," Prue said.

"We brought you here because you are The Charmed Ones. You're needed to stop demons from doing evil," he said.

"Who's we?"  Phoebe asked.

"We are the ones who direct good in the battle against evil," he said. "There are jackets in the hall closet. Put them on and come with me."  He turned around and walked back out of the room.

The girls looked at each other, then followed him into the small hallway. Three down jackets greeted Prue as she opened the closet door. She looked at Keir as, without another word, he headed out the front door. She turned back to the closet and took an ivory jacket off of its hook.

"We have to find out where we are and what this is about," she said as she slipped into it. Piper and Phoebe took navy and powder blue jackets, respectively, and followed Prue outside the house.

The air was crisp, feeling to Prue like a late fall afternoon. The temperature, she thought, was around 40 degrees. Not at all like the June San Francisco morning where they had been just a few minutes earlier. The sky, though all clouded over, was fairly bright. In front of the small house was a park with a paved oval track about half a mile long surrounding a large inner green. Tall, mature trees, the remnants of a light snowfall on their branches, lined both sides of the track. Grass-covered areas extended beyond the outer row of the trees and surrounded the oval.

"Let's go," Keir said.

"Go where?"  Prue asked.

"Walking," Keir answered.

"Why are we walking?"  Piper asked.

"Exercise," Keir said. "It's good for the health."  He began walking along the track at a moderate pace. The girls stood for a moment with quizzical looks, but then hurried after him and quickly caught up to him.

" concerned about health?"  Piper asked. "I didn't think you...needed..."

"Everyone should be concerned about health," Keir said. "I walk everyday - wherever I am."

"And just where are we?"  Prue asked.

"In an alternative future," Keir answered.

"We've traveled to the future?!"  Piper asked.

"No," he replied. "This is a future that wasn't. There are always alternatives for the future. Depending upon what someone does in the present, one of the alternatives becomes real. The others never come about and therefore never exist."  He started to walk a little faster. Phoebe made a face, pulled up the zipper on her powder blue jacket and scurried to keep pace with him.

"But on a rare occasion," he went on, "when it seems quite certain that the future will be one particular alternative, that alternative is prepared and takes shape. And then, at the very last instant, when it would seem to be too late, when everything is already set, someone does something unexpected. And that forces a different alternative to be taken. That cannot be prevented. It is the prerogative of the present to change the future.

"Because that first alternative was about to become the future, and had taken shape, it virtually existed. But it never came to reality because of what that someone in the present did. Therefore, it can't remain. It has to be destroyed.

"Sometimes, we can grab it first, before it's destroyed, and hold on to it for our use."

"You're holding onto a future that never happened?"  Phoebe asked. "Where are all the people?"

"There aren't any," Keir said. "It's merely an instant in time that was about to happen but never did. People didn't get to live in it."

"What do you do with it?"  Prue asked.

"We use it for special this one," he answered, increasing the pace again. "I can bring you and someone from the past together here without disrupting the time continuum. If I brought you together in the present, or in the past, you might do something that would change what already happened. Or what should have happened had time not been interfered with.

"But here, because this instant never existed in time, and never will, your actions can't affect time. Bringing you together here is safe."

"So you have...hhh...hhh...the whole world here?"  Phoebe asked, her breathing quickening.

"We can't get that much," he said. "We just get to pick one small part of it."

"Why...hhh...of all the places you could choose from did you pick this place, and...hhh...what's the connection with that house with the Celtic culture?"  Piper asked. "Wait...don't tell me...hhh...It had nothing to do with the house. You chose the park so that you'd have a place to walk when you brought people here."

" can grasp some things, after all," he said. Piper made a face at Keir and squinted at the back of his head.

"What is it that we're going to have do?"  Phoebe asked.

"Stop an evil witch named Abigail from emerging into your time," Keir said. "If you can."

"If we can?"  Phoebe asked. "What's the catch?"

"You have to link up with a witch from the past. Together with her you'll create a time box that will extend from her time to yours. That time box will contain Abigail, preventing her from entering your time."

"OK," Phoebe said, "We can do that."

"Can you?"  Keir asked.

"Yeah...sure," Phoebe said. "We're good at making time boxes."  Piper gave her a look and Phoebe gave her back a shrug.

"You've tended to have an over-confident impression of your abilities since becoming Charmed," Keir said.

"What...over-confident?"  Phoebe exclaimed.

"Since we became..."  Piper repeated.

"Look," Prue said, "we were given a responsibility to stop the demons' plans of major destruction before the solstice. And we've been doing that."

"There have been generations of witches before you," Keir said, "who have had to stop demons' plans of major destruction. And they've done it with far greater finesse and class than you have."

"Finesse?"  Phoebe asked, as they reached the top right curve of the oval track. "You mean it's not good enough that we stop them?  You expect us to have more...flair as we vanquish a demon who's trying to kill us?"

He was tolerating them, Piper thought. She could tell from how he spoke to them. He would have rather been doing this with some other witches...any other witches. But for some reason he couldn't. For some reason he was forced to put up with them.

And now his actions complemented his looks and voice in reminding Piper of Sutherland. The manner in which he spoke to them, the forced sufferance that was just visible, the complete belief in his own superiority compared to theirs. This was the type of role she'd seen him play more than once and had come to associate with him. No, Keir wasn't Sutherland - it was only a resemblance. But had this been an episode on Charmed, he would surely have been cast for Keir's part.

"If these other generations had more panache than we have," Prue said, "why don't you take some of those witches to contain Abigail?"

"Because," Keir said, "Abigail is coming to your time. That's where she must be contained and how far the time box must reach. As you live in that time, your powers are stronger there than those of witches who don't live in it. And we need the strongest powers we can get to maintain the time box."

"There are other witches in our time," Piper said, as they passed a bench.

"Indeed, there are," Keir said, wishfully.

"Well, since you don't think that much of us," Prue said, sounding ticked off, "why are we here? It's obvious you'd rather be using the other witches from our time, so why don't you?"

They came to the top left curve of the oval and Keir stopped.

"Because for this time box to contain Abigail," he said, breathing heavily and quickly, looking straight ahead at the trees rather than at  them, "there has to be an inherently strong, binding connection between the witches establishing the box."

Keir turned around to face them.

"The witch from the past who will initiate the time box," he said, "is Melinda Warren. The bind between you is that you are her great-grandchildren."

"Wait a...hhh...minute," Prue said, her breathing now almost as fast as Keir's. "We...hhh...aren't really..."

"You are the Charmed Halliwells," Keir said, sounding, Piper thought, as if he wished they weren't. He turned around and resumed walking.

The girls looked at each other and Piper shook her head.

"We really shouldn't be so surprised," Prue said. "We saw that we have a family past with Mom."

"Hmmm...I guess you're right," Piper said, and realizing that Keir was getting ahead of them resumed walking.

"And we also saw that we have a family future with Piper's daughter," Phoebe said quietly. Prue nodded and they both hurried to catch up.

"Haven't you...uh, spoken to...Leo's..uh...The Elders about this?"  Phoebe asked. "About us?"

"They've been informed," he replied, "as a courtesy."

"Wait..."  Piper said. "You're telling us that you don't work together with them?"

"We each have our own territories," Keir said.

"Then you don't know about how we became Charmed-" Piper said.

"I know all about you," Keir interrupted her.

"If you know all about us," Phoebe said, "then why do you think we're connected to Melinda Warren?

"Because," he said, slowly and assuredly, "you are the Halliwell sisters. And the Halliwells are her direct descendants."

"Look...hhh...can we stop running...hhh...and just talk normally for a minute?"  Phoebe asked, between breaths.

"Walking," Keir corrected her. "We've been walking. And if you can't keep up with me, how do you expect to keep up with Abigail?"

"We have to contain her," Phoebe said, "not outrun her."

"Hmmph...How do you think she's coming to your time?"  Keir asked.

"She must have the power to jump through time," Phoebe said.

"No," Keir said, flatly. "She doesn't."

"How then?"  Phoebe asked

"She's running there," Keir said.

"She's running through time?"  Prue asked with disbelief.

"Yes," Keir said.

" is that possible?"  Piper asked

Keir exhaled.

"Think of someone standing on an escalator," he said, trying to keep his sufferance in check. "He's moving along at the pace of the escalator, the same as everyone else on it.

"Now he starts running up the escalator. He's moving ahead of those other people. But he's not going instantaneously from the bottom of the escalator to the top. He has to use the steps of the escalator to get to where he's going. But he's using his own ability to run faster than the escalator is moving to enhance the escalator's inherent speed for him. As he does that, he passes all of the people along the way.

"Think of whatever surrounds a step of the escalator as it is moving as a moment in time. You understand that, don't you?"

"Yeah..."  Prue said. She really didn't and saw that Piper and Phoebe didn't understand it either. But she wasn't going to let Keir know that.

"What I don't understand," Prue said between breaths, "is why you didn't contain her...hhh...while she's running through time. Before she gets to the present."

"Because we don't know where in time she is," Keir said.

"Then how you know she's heading here?"  Piper asked.

"That's confidential," he said.

"Not from us, it isn't," Prue said, her heart rate highly accelerated. "Not if we' be a part of this."

Keir quickened his pace slightly. Piper made a face at him as she forced herself to keep up.

"He should have given us running shoes to go with the jackets," she muttered.

"Intelligence," Keir said.

"Intelligence?"  Prue asked. "What does that mean?"

"It means exactly what I said," he answered.

"You don't mean that you have a spy?"  Phoebe asked.

"I do mean," he answered.

" have a spy...amongst the demons and warlocks?"  Piper asked.

"The concept of a covert agent should hardly be foreign to you," Keir said. "That's an often used premise where you come from."

Piper turned to Phoebe. "Does he or doesn't he know who we are?" she mouthed almost silently to her.

"And...uh, The Elders...hhh...have them too?"  Phoebe asked, her breathing now really fast.

"No," Keir said. "They don't use our methods."

"How can they not use them...hhh...if they give you...hhh...important information?"  Prue asked. "You're all trying to stop evil."

"So are the mortal's CIA and FBI," Keir said. "But they don't employ the same methods. Or even share all of their information."

"I don't believe this," Piper said. "This sounds like a plot from a bad script."

"That's something you would be familiar with," Keir said.

"What-" Piper began.

"You'd do well to put aside these questions," Keir said, cutting her off, "and just concentrate on thinking like the witches that you are."

A woman was sitting on a bench to the right side of the track, about thirty feet ahead of them. She wore a cream colored dress with a full skirt. A thick grey woolen shawl was wrapped around her shoulders and chest. She stood up as they approached her and Keir stopped his walk.

"Let's get the introductions over," he said. "This is-"

"Melinda Warren," Phoebe said, staring at her in amazement.

"Do not be so surprised that we can meet," Melinda said to her.

"It's not that," Phoebe said. "We've...sort of...met before."

Melinda shook her head.

"I don't remember that happening," she said.

"It...uh...hasn't happened yet," Phoebe said slowly, still staring at her, recalling in her mind the Charmed episode she had been in. An episode in which she looked exactly like the woman standing before them. "That has happened, for us. Uh...sort of happened for us. But it hasn't happened yet for you."

"Don't say any more about it," Keir said.

"Why not?"  Prue asked. "You said that nothing we do here can affect time."

"Nothing you do here," he answered. "But if because of something said here you go back and change something in your time, the continuum will be affected."

"It already has been affected," Piper said. "You've told Melinda that we are...we are her great-grandchildren."

"That doesn't change anything," Melinda said. "I have a daughter. So I already know that the Warren line will continue."

"I'm Phoebe."

"I'm Piper," she said. A feeling of affection and affinity to Melinda came over Piper. A feeling that she couldn't explain to herself why it suddenly was there.

"And I'm Prue."

"Prue," Melinda said. "That must be short for Prudence. That is my daughter's name. It's good to know that the name has continued in the Warren family."

"We're, uh, Halliwells, now," Phoebe said.

"Halliwell," Melinda said. "So now it is a Warren-Halliwell family line."

"Now that we're done with the family reunion," Keir said, a bit impatient, "you can put the time box into place."

"Since whatever we do while we're here can't change things in time," Piper asked, "what good is making the time box?  It won't be anywhere."

"That's right," Keir said. "While you're here, it will only exist in the few feet that stand between you. But once you return to your times, the time box will have to expand to encompass all of the time that will then separate you.

"That's why this requires a strong bind between you. To keep the time box from being torn asunder as you return to your times."

"Where is the spell for the time box?"  Prue asked.

"Right here," Melinda said, pulling a piece of paper from the folds of her dress.

"May I?"  Prue asked and Melinda gave it to her.

"This looks just like the handwriting in parts of the Book of Shadows," Phoebe said, looking at it with Piper.

"You recognize my handwriting," Melinda said. "I started the Book of Shadows and copied this spell from it. I am glad that the Book is still there to help you."

Prue handed the spell back to Melinda.

"We must hold hands," Melinda said. Prue and Phoebe each took one of Melinda's hands and then took hold of Piper's.

    "The ties that bind us now expand   

         To encompass time, we do command;   

      A Time Box to constrain she who runs inside   

         Held fast with powers that in us reside."

"There," Melinda said, "it is done."

"Now make sure that you keep it in place," Keir said.

"How?"  Phoebe asked. "And for how long?"

"Don't let anything weaken your powers," Keir said. "Until we can determine why Abigail is going to your time."

"Give us some more information," Prue said. "We'll find out what's happening."

"That won't be necessary," Keir said. "I have others who will do that. You're job is only to maintain the time box."

"You mean you expect us to go back and just wait around until you figure this out?"  Prue said. "Or more precisely, until the other witches you're bringing in figure it out."  She gave Keir an annoyed look.

"You don't think we can handle this," Prue said.

"And you won't," Keir said. "You'll wait until you're told that the time box can be undone."

"I don't think so," Prue said, a challenge in her voice.

"You don't have a choice," Keir said.

"There's always a choice," Prue said. "That's something we've learned since becoming Charmed. And we're going to make that choice. And maybe stick you with another alternative future that you can use for your walks!"

"Let us get back to the matter at hand," Melinda interjected. "Abigail."

"They don't need to know anything else," Keir said.

"These are my daughters and it is my choice as to what will I tell them," Melinda said, her suddenly cold tone conveying a determined will.

"You all have to go back now," Keir said.

"We will stay a while longer," Melinda said firmly, looking Keir in the eye. "I will tell you when I am done."

It was clear from the look Keir gave Melinda that he was not at all happy with her. But he said nothing. He exhaled, turned around and started walking on the track again.

"He let you have your way," Phoebe said, surprised.

"For the moment," Melinda said. "Strong will and stubbornness are Warren traits. I see that they have been carried down through the generations. Especially to you, Prue."

"Yes, I know," Prue said, amazed at the similarity of Melinda's words with the Charmed episode's dialogue. "You told us that the last time we met."

"Keir wants to do things his way," Melinda said. "And you will do things your way just as I always have. Keir knows that."

"You've had to do things with him before?"  Piper asked.

"There have been one or two occasions," Melinda answered. "I exercise good witchcraft at a critical and dangerous time."

"What do you mean?"  Piper asked.

"Abigail Eames, that is her full name, has used her powers for evil," Melinda said. "And because of that, there is hysteria building in Salem. The Elders are accepting all manner of accusation. They ascribe evil to all witchcraft and will not believe that there are witches who use their powers for good. And village women, and a few men, almost all of whom possess no powers at all, have been jailed by the magistrates.

"I have to be circumspect in using my powers to protect the innocent of my time, lest I, too, be accused. But I nonetheless continue to counter the prevalent evil. But the evil of the future must be stopped, as well. I know, now that I have Prudence, and the Book of Shadows, that I will be setting the foundation for that future. A future that includes you.

"Keir knows that as well. And therefore he must afford me my due."

"What power does Abigail possess?"  Prue asked.

"She can see someone's memories," Melinda answered. "She has a crystal ball of glass that she holds up and looks through. When she sees someone through the ball, she can also see that person's memories and thoughts. What the person did, what others did in the person's presence. Even the person's knowledge and abilities. And the ball retains whatever it sees - and the connection to that person's mind."

"Like a fortune teller's," Phoebe said.

"Only for what has already happened," Melinda said. "And, unlike the crystal balls of those who profess to see the future, this one is real."

"Hmm..."  Phoebe said, "I guess my power of premonition is the only authentic one."

"What does she do with these memories?"  Piper asked.

"She sees where valuables are kept," Melinda said, "and steals them. And she learns of peoples' weaknesses and exploits them to her benefit.

"And she can affect their minds as she sees inside them, leaving them acting strange. That is how the accusations of witchcraft began. A few young girls, Elizabeth Parris, Ann Putnam and their friends, had made fun of Abigail, as children sometimes are wont to do. It was behaviour that should not have been tolerated but somehow no reprimand was given them.

"Abigail took revenge by looking at them through her crystal ball and affecting their minds. They began acting strangely, diving underneath furniture, dashing about, and contorting in pain. When Doctor Griggs' application to their condition proved un-successful, he suggested that evil witchcraft had been used on them."

"Has Abigail been accused?"  Phoebe asked.

"There has been rumor of her being named by one of the afflicted, as the children are called," Melinda said. "That is why she has taken the opportunity to escape to the future."

"How was she able to do that?"  Prue asked.

"Someone sent her the knowledge," Melinda said, "but I do not know who. That is something you will have to find out."

"And when we do, what will we do with her?"  Piper asked. "We can't keep this time box in place forever."

"I have a spell to compress the time box," Melinda said. "When you use it, the time box will begin to shrink back to my time. Just as it is completely compressed, and there is no longer any room in it, Abigail will be forced out and back where she belongs. In my time."

"Where is the spell?"  Piper asked.

"In the Book of Shadows," Melinda replied. "I wrote it on the page facing the spell to make the time box. You will find it when you return home."

Keir had walked to the curve at the end of the oval and now they saw him turn around and start back to them.

"We will have to leave now," Melinda said.

"Uh...before we go..." Phoebe began, with some hesitation. "There's, need to know."  She took a deep breath. "It's about-"

"About my future," Melinda said. "About what will happen to me."

Phoebe looked at her and hesitated, uncertain whether she should continue.

"You are my good daughters," Melinda said. "You care about what happens to others. That is why you are Charmed. Why you have been given your powers. Because you let your good hearts guide you.

"But my future is already your past. And your past must not be tampered with. Changing even a small part of it can have disasterous consequences in your present."

"We know that," Phoebe said. "We almost lost Prue because of something insignificant we changed in the past."

"I have to accept what happens to me," Melinda said. "What is destined to happen to me. Just as you must accept what has happened, and what will happen, to you."

Our being witches?  Piper thought. Is she...trying to strengthen and support us?  But how could she know...?

"We can have our dreams of our future," Melinda said, taking hold of Phoebe's hands. "But our hopes and desires are forfeit for the safety of innocents."

Phoebe looked at Melinda for a moment, then put her arms around her. They hugged and then Prue did the same. Then Piper stepped closer to Melinda.

As they put their arms around each other, a feeling of family, of closeness, of love overcame Piper, catching her by surprise. She didn't understand why she suddenly felt that way. Then she found herself squeezing Melinda tightly. And when they let go of each other, there were some tears in Piper's eyes.

"Do not worry, Piper," Melinda said to her. "All will work out as it must."


 "Not so fast," Prue said as Meriwether started to leave. "I want to know about whoever sent for Abigail."

"There's nothing more that you're to be told," he said, as he continued on his way out of The Manor’s living room.

"Oh yes there is," Piper said, annoyed. "We've been put in the middle between a runaway evil witch and whoever is waiting for her. And whoever that is will sooner or later come after us to let Abigail out of the time box. So you're going to tell us what you know."

"I don't think so," Meriwether said.

"Think again," Piper said and raised her hand. She and Prue grabbed a frozen Meriwether and pulled him back into the room.

"Now then," Piper said, after she raised her hand to unfreeze him. "What were you saying?"

Meriwether looked around and realized what Piper had done.

"Keir will not be pleased with what you're doing," he said.

"And you will not be pleased with what I'm tempted to do," Prue said, raising her hand slightly. "Have you ever wanted to be Superman?  I can make you fly."

Meriwether took a deep breath and exhaled.

"It will do you no good," he said. "Others have already been dispatched."

"Others are not caught in the middle of this," Prue said. "What has your demon spy told you?"

"You know about him," Meriwether said, with a little surprise. He exhaled again.

"Baldric is the demon who sent for Abigail," he said. "He is planning something but we don't know what."

"What power does he have?"  Piper asked.

"He can block out part of a person's mind," Meriwether said. "Detach someone's memory, even knowledge, from the conscious part of the brain. And making that which has been detached accessible to outside interference."

"And Abigail can see people's memories," Phoebe said.

"There's a connection there," Prue said. "We have to figure out what it is."

"What else do you know?"  Piper asked.

Meriwether exhaled uncomfortably again.

"There is another," he said. "Someone working together with Baldric. I don't know who he is nor anything about him."

Meriwether adjusted the lapels of his suit jacket.

"That's all I can tell you," he said, and started walking towards the door.

"One more thing," Prue said, standing between him and the doorway. "How do we contact you?  And don't say that you'll contact us."

Meriwether exhaled again.

"Very well," he said. "Cup your hands together, speak the words 'Meriwether, I must see you' into them and then blow on them. And now, if you don't mind, I'm late for tea time."  Prue looked at him and shook her head slightly as he walked past her and out of the room.

"Where do we start?"  Phoebe asked.

"The Book of Shadows," Prue said. "Maybe someone since Melinda has come across Baldric."

"That's not likely," Piper said. "Meriwether would have known about it."

"Maybe not," Prue said. "The Book has been with the Warrens and Halliwells. Keir and Meriwether may not have been working with them since Melinda. As Keir said, they have their own territories."


"Nothing so far about Baldric," Prue said, as she turned another page in The Book of Shadows. "Hmmm...what's this?"

"You found something?"  Phoebe asked.

"Maybe," Prue said. "This is a spell to stop someone from opening portals in time and sending a message. What if Baldric can do this?  What if he opened portals here and in the past?  And if he had the knowledge of how to run through time, he could have sent it to Abigail."

"It doesn't mention Baldric," Piper said, looking over Prue's shoulder.

"It says that the power has been given over from one to another," Prue said, "to Kameron."

"Why would a demon give his power to another?"  Piper asked.

"What if it was traded for a different power," Phoebe said. "Or taken. The way Jôlét tried to take Tallor's power."

"That's a lot of ifs," Stuart said.

"Yeah, I know," Prue said. "But if we're right - uh, sorry about the if - it would explain how Abigail suddenly gained the knowledge and the ability to come to the present."

"And Kameron would be the one working with Baldric," Piper said. "And the one who opened the portals for him."

"I'm going to find out if he is," Prue said.

"How?"  Stuart asked.

"By asking him," Prue said. "The Book of Shadows says that he's a warder where the blue of the night meets the gold of the day."

"What is that?"  Phoebe asked.

"That's..."  Stuart began, "uh...that was...Bing Crosby's theme song."  He paused and shook his head. "Don't tell me that Kameron is part of a demon's Bing Crosby fan club."

A light began to form as Leo orbed into the attic next to Piper. He smiled at her and, seeing her smile back, put his arms around her and kissed her.

"I heard that Keir enlisted you to stop an evil witch named Abigail," Leo said.

"Ah, were informed," Piper said, a little testily. "Just what is going on between your  side and...Keir's side?"

"We have different methods," Leo said. "Keir tends to be more abrupt. He doesn't always prepare everyone for what will happen."

"And The Elders do?"  Piper asked, annoyed. "We were completely unprepared for what's happened to us the past month."

"This isn't the time to go into that," Prue said, and showed Leo the page in the Book of Shadows. "Does this mean anything to you?"

"Blue of the night..."  Leo read, then nodded his head. "That's a different plane from ours, where night and day come together and never change. Where it's always just before dawn. It's a tough place where only demons and warlocks go. And even some of them are afraid to go there. There are no rules there - it's a wide-open place. Think of it as the badlands of the planes of existence. It's not safe for anyone to be there."

"You sound as if you've been there," Piper said.

"I have," Leo said. "I once had to go after a darklighter who was hiding out there. It's not someplace I'd ever want to be again."

"Tell us how to get there," Piper said.

"You can't go there," Leo said. "I just told you it's not safe."

"I have to go there," Prue said. "The Book of Shadows says that Kameron's a warder there. I have to find out if he's the one who's been helping Abigail run through time."

"What does a warder do?"  Phoebe asked.

"He watches, and checks, who comes there," Leo said. "That makes him even more dangerous than the others there. I barely managed to avoid one catching me when I was there."

"Then I'll just have to be careful," Prue said. "Now tell me how to get there."

Leo thought for a moment as he looked at them and then shook his head.

"I can't let you go there alone," he said. "I'll come with you."


Much to Prue's surprise, her shadow was distinct as it fell against the ivory-colored outside wall of the building. She saw it as soon as she let go of Leo after orbing into the plane with him. Prue looked upwards, staring for a moment at the odd combination of day and night. It wasn't just that the sky wasn't getting any lighter that seemed abnormal. There was something strange, she thought, something un-natural about the blend of dark and light. And then she realized that there wasn't any blend. It was day and night at the same time. She had never seen anything like it.

The long, low building was the only structure that she could see and Leo guided her to its front door.

"Acting like you belong here won't be easy," Leo said. "You don't have any experience at role playing."

"I have more experience than you can imagine," Prue responded, a glint in her eye. Leo took a deep breath and pursed his lips.

"Remember," he said, "stay where I can see you."

Prue nodded, opened the door and walked inside. A dozen triangular tables were spread across a large room lit by a subdued purple light. Prue counted about fifteen figures that she assumed to be demons, most of whom were sitting at the tables. Two or three were rather hideous and frightening but the others looked normal. Glasses half-filled with a green or an orange liquid sat on some of the tables.

A few of the demons looked up at her. She very deliberately eyed them, then slowly looked around the room with a smug look of superiority.

On a table to her right was a rectangular device standing vertically, with revolving sides and corners. One of the demons at the table flicked his index finger at one of the corners. A bolt of light struck it, disintegrating it and two corners below it. The other demon at the table seemed surprised. He looked at what remained of the rectangle and made a face.

"That's the third round I've won," Prue heard the first demon say. "Now pay up."

The second demon made a face again, pulled something from his pocket and threw it onto the table. Prue watched the first demon pick it up and put it on his finger.

The demons who had noticed her come in went back to whatever they had been doing. Except for one, sitting alone at a table at the far end of the room. With his back to the wall, his seat gave him a good view of whoever walked in and Prue slowly made her way between the tables towards him. As she did, his attention was focused on her and he didn't notice Leo come in and quietly sit down at an empty table near the door.

Prue looked the demon directly in his eyes, the smugness still evident on her face.

"I'm looking for Kameron," she said, her voice exuding self-assuredness.

"That's me," he said, looking her over. "Who's doing the looking?

Prue continued staring at him for a few seconds, then slowly pulled a chair back from the table and sat down.

"The name is Shannen," she said, adding a feminine aura to her face, softening her look. "I've heard you could open portals in time, send someone a message and tell him how to travel through time."

"You've heard a lot, Shannen," he said, looking her over carefully. "What makes you think it's true?"

"My sources wouldn't lie to me," Prue said, hardening her look. "They wouldn't dare."

Kameron stared at Prue for a moment, his eyes unwavering from hers and then exhaled.

"The Time Locket can do that," he said and Prue softened her look again. "And much more. It can be a conduit for mental powers. It can even show if somebody had manipulated the timeline." He paused and leaned back in his chair. "It's really quite powerful."

"I want to make use of it," Prue said cooly.

"Do you, now," he said, eyeing her intensely. "Why?"

"There's a witch who's been making trouble for me," Prue said. "There's a talisman I need to stop her but it's been hidden for some time. I want to send a message to the one who hid it. I want him to come and tell me where it is."

"And why do you think he would do that for you?"  Kameron asked. Prue leaned forward slightly and gave an enigmatic smile.

"Because of my charm," she answered coyly. Kameron stared into Prue's eyes.

"And why do you think I would do that for you?" he asked. Prue leaned forward a bit more.

"Because...of my charm," she said in a sultry voice, tilting her head slightly, her smile becoming more seductive.

Kameron stared silently at her and she could feel his eyes piercing through her.

"Who's the witch who's bothering you?" he asked.

"Prue Halliwell," Prue replied.

"If one of the Charmed Ones is after you, Shannen, you are in trouble," he said.

"I can handle Halliwell," Prue said. "If I get that talisman."

"Hmph...I'd be half-tempted to do it for you," Kameron said. "If I still had the locket."  He picked up his glass and drank the remainder of the orange liquid.

"What happened," she asked.

"I lost it at palorak," he replied, motioning slightly with his head towards the table to his left. Prue glanced at it and saw it had that same rectangular device she had seen on the other table. A demon's betting game, she thought. A bottle of the orange liquid sat at the end of their table. Prue gently waved her hand and moved it in front of Kameron.

"Who did you lose it to?" she asked. Kameron stared at her for a moment, then lifted the bottle and re-filled his glass.

"Tara," he said. "It's still painful to think about it. She wasn't even a demon. Just a damn evil witch."  He lifted his glass and drank. "It was embarrassing, especially with Neville sitting there and watching."

Neville? Prue thought. The warlock who...who killed me in the other timeline. Was he involved with this, too?

"Neville would have done anything to get the locket for himself," Kameron said. "He challenged Tara to a round but she refused. No...she wasn't here for palorak. She was here for one thing - to get the Time Locket from me. And she did."

"Where can I find her?" she asked.

"You know," Kameron said, "I'd never seen Tara before that day. And I've never seen her since."  He took another drink from his glass. "So that makes me suspicious about anyone new who comes in here. Someone asking questions. Especially someone who's female."  He eyed her intensely and suspiciously.

"Let's see what you can do, Shannen. Show me your demonic power," he commanded.

"My power is minor," Prue said. "It isn't important."

"I just said it is," Kameron said and stood up. "Let's see it."

Prue saw two demons from a nearby table stand up and move behind her. As she started to get up she saw, from the corner of her eye, Leo coming over behind them.

"Excuse me," Leo said tensely, slipping between the two demons and getting next to Prue.

"Who are you?"  Kameron demanded.

"He's with me," Prue said. "You want to see my power?  OK, I'll show it to you."  She nodded to Leo and he slipped his arms around her. "We share the same power.

"The power to disappear," she said as the light formed around them.



"OW!"  Phoebe shouted.

"What's happening?"  Stuart asked.

"I don't know," Phoebe said, "but whatever it is it's hurting my head."

BANG...BANG...BANG. The sound reverberated throughout The Manor.

"What's going on here?"  Mc Elroy asked, worriedly running into the room.

"Uh, just the usual house noises," Stuart said.

"Usual?"  Mc Elroy asked. "What is it from?"

"It's Abigail," Piper said, hurrying into the parlor. "She's trying to break through."

"Break through?" Mc Elroy exclaimed. "You have someone locked up?"

"No," Stuart said. "She's, uh, locked out."

Mc Elroy went to the windows and looked outside.

"Somehow she know's that we're holding the time box in place," Phoebe said. "She must be looking for a weak spot to come through the portal."


"OW!"  Piper put her hands to her head.

"Locked out?" Mc Elroy asked. "Where?  I don't see anyone."

"You can't see her," Stuart said.

"I...can't?" Mc Elroy asked, a strange look coming over his face.


"OW!  Why is it hurting my head?"  Phoebe asked.

"Because it's your power that's holding the time box in place," Stuart said. "So when Abigail bangs against the time box she's really banging against you."

"Keir could have told us what to expect with Abigail," Piper said, as Leo walked into the parlor.

"When you said that Keir doesn't prepare people," Phoebe said, "that was an understatement."

"You just have to get through this and then you won't have to deal with him anymore," Leo said.

"Who are you?" Mc Elroy asked. "I...didn't hear you come in."

"This is Leo," Piper said, grabbing his hand and pulling him to her side. "He tends to, uh, just drop in suddenly."  Mc Elroy looked even more confused.

"Let's go into the conservatory," Phoebe said, "and see if we can figure out how to stop her banging."

"You're going in there again?" Mc Elroy asked. "That's the room you all disappeared from."

"We didn't disappear, you were just imagining," Phoebe said, and went inside with Stuart.

"Why don't you go up and check if Prue found anything," Piper said to Leo, deciding it was best to get him away from Mc Elroy. "I'll stay here with...the new owner."


"At least Keir could have given us some earplugs," Phoebe said to Stuart.

A purple translucent rectangle, about six feet tall and four feet wide, suddenly appeared, seeming to come out of the conservatory's right wall. Phoebe could make out two figures inside it but couldn't see who they were. A bolt of light came from the rectangle straight to her head. Phoebe became still and her eyes stared straight ahead. A green light came from the rectangle and focused on the far wall.

"Phoebe!"  Stuart shouted as the wall began to shimmer. Before he could do anything, another bolt of light struck him and pushed him backwards into the shimmer. As he disappeared into the wall, a woman came flying out of it. She wore a dark full dress with a lace collar, over which flowed her dark hair, and held a small leather pouch in her hands.

As the shimmering stopped, she quickly opened the pouch, pulled out a crystal ball and held it up towards Phoebe. As she did the rectangle disappeared.

"OWW!!"  Phoebe shouted. As her face contorted in pain, she ran to the table near the window and crawled underneath it.

"Abigail!"  Piper shouted as she came into the room. Abigail held up the ball and looked at Piper through it.

"AHH!"  Piper exclaimed, and ran to hide under the table with Phoebe.

A sardonic smile came across Abigail's face as she slowly walked over to the table and knelt down beside Piper and Phoebe. Images danced inside the crystal ball as she gazed at Piper and Phoebe through the glass. After a moment she stood up, put the ball back into its pouch, and walked into the parlor.

"Uh...uh...where did you come from?"  Mc Elroy asked, his mouth hanging open. Abigail stopped and stared at him.

"Salem," she said casually. "But of more importance, where have you been?"  She pulled out her crystal ball and held it up to him. Images began to appear inside of it.

"What's...that?"  Mc Elroy asked.

"Your life," she replied. "Hmm...and a greedy life it's been, hasn't it. This will be interesting to watch at my leisure."  She put the crystal ball away and walked out of the parlor.

With his mouth hanging open, Mc Elroy watched her leave. Then he slowly turned around and looked at the closed conservatory door. He hesitated, then walking as if in a trance, he made his way to it. He stuck out his hand to turn the doorknob but his hand started to tremble. After a few seconds, he put his hand down and slowly backed away from the door.


"You're sure you're OK?"  Leo asked.

"Yes," Piper said. "I just felt...afraid and in pain. I'm all right now. Abigail must have used her crystal ball to twist my mind the way she did to the children in Salem."

"How are you feeling?"  Prue asked Phoebe.

"Better," she said, rubbing her hand across her forehead. "I felt the same thing. But before that...I remember a bolt of light hitting me from the rectangle. After it hit me I was all confused. About who I was and what was happening."

"Did you try to get a premonition about whoever was in the rectangle?"  Prue asked.

"I...I didn't know that I could get a premonition," she answered. "I...didn't remember that I had powers."

"That's Baldric's power," Piper said. "Detach your memory and make you forget."

"And now Stuart's in the time box," Phoebe said, "and Abigail is on the loose. And we still have   Mc Elroy to deal with."

"Mc Elroy will have to wait," Prue said. "What we have to do now is to figure out what just happened."  She paused for a moment.

"If Baldric was in the rectangle, and he used his power on you," Prue began," it did more than just detach thoughts from your memory. He was able to detach your power itself from your consciousness. That must have stopped your power from supporting the Time Box. That weakened it enough for Tara to use the Time Locket to partially open a portal into the time box."

"With you and Piper still using your powers to support the Time Box Tara couldn't open it enough to pull Abigail out," Leo said. "So how did she get her out?"

"The spell we cast was only for Abigail," Piper said. "So while the Time Box spans centuries of time it probably has physical space for only one person. So when Stuart was pushed into it that forced Abigail to be pushed out of it."

"Tara must have been tracking Abigail to open a portal here for her," Prue said. "When Abigail couldn't get to the portal Tara must have seen where the Time Box blocking her was coming from. The Manor." Prue thought for a second.

"There is something odd," she added. "They didn't try to kill you."

"I, for one, am not complaining about that," Piper said.

"We have to find a way-" Prue stopped in mid-sentence as she saw someone walk into the attic. "Now what?" she asked.

"Keir wants to see you," Meriwether said. "Now!"


"You let Abigail out of the Time Box," Keir said, barely hiding his obvious displeasure with them.

"You could have told us what we'd be up against," Phoebe said. "Then maybe we could have done something about it."

They stood in the living room in the same house they had been in earlier. Prue noticed bagpipes sitting in the corner behind Keir that she hadn't noticed the first time.

"You had only one thing to do," Keir said. "To keep the Time Box in place with Abigail inside of it. And you couldn't even manage to do that."

"We have managed to do something," Prue said, testily. "We found out who opened the time portal for Abigail and sent for her."

"Hmpph...I don't need you for that," Keir said. He moved the tartan kilt aside and sat down in the rocking chair. "I'll have that name in a little while."

"What?...How?"  Piper asked.

"One of our thorough and experienced witches found someone who knows who it is," Keir said. "She's gone to meet him now."

Prue gave him a quizzical look. "Who?" she asked but Keir didn't respond. "The meeting is about to happen. It won't hurt to tell me."  Keir thought for a moment.

"His name is Neville," he said. "He's going to tell her who did it."

"Neville?"  Phoebe exclaimed. "Neville is a warlock."

"A warlock?"  Keir repeated. "Nonsense. Neville is a genie who heard that she was after the information. He sent her a message that he wants to help in return for some consideration. You don't know what you're talking about."

"I know exactly what I'm talking about," Prue said. "Neville could say anything he wanted to in a message. Neville is a warlock and not a genie."

"How would you know that?"  Keir asked.

"Because we're thorough witches," Piper said with a steely look, getting a little satisfaction at throwing Keir's words back at him.

"And we're experienced - in particular with Neville," Prue added. "Neville wants to get the Time Locket for himself and he wants to use your witch to do that. Once he realizes that she won't help him he'll burn up her brain and kill her."

Despite Keir's trying to control his expression Piper could detect a hint of worry on his face.

"Who's the witch meeting him?"  Prue asked. Piper could see him thinking about whether to answer her.

"Kelly Anderson," he finally said.

"We, uh, know about her," Phoebe said, avoiding details of their encounter with her with Piper's daughter Melinda. "Where is she meeting him?"  Keir didn't answer.

"Come on!"  Prue demanded, turning to Meriwether. "We have to get to her and warn her. Where did she go to meet Neville?"

Meriwether glanced at Keir then turned back to Prue.

"At one of the piers along The Embarcadero," Meriwether said. "I believe Kelly said Pier 23."

"Send us back, now," Prue said. "We have to get there quickly and try to save her."


Pier 23 was not in good condition. Work was well underway renovating the neighboring Pier 19 structure, but if anything was planned for this grey, weather-worn building it had not begun. A chain link gate nominally blocked the entrance to the building but the wooden wall to its side had long been eaten away by the elements and the three girls easily slipped inside. The building was really a single huge empty space, almost three stories high. The exception being a walled off area the width of the building at its far end. The girls looked around as they carefully walked towards the center of the building, stepping around broken glass and empty cartons that lay strewn on the floor.


"That came from the other side of that wall," Prue said and they raced to an opening at one end of it. As they went through th opening they saw a young woman falling backwards against a man, his hands holding her tightly at the base of her neck. Smoke was beginning to come from beneath her blond hair. Prue turned her hand around and waved it the man. The force made him let go of the woman and sent him flying backwards, landing on the floor. He looked up at them and as Piper raised her hand he disappeared.

"He blinked out," Piper said as they ran to Kelly.

"She's still alive," Prue said, lifting Kelly's head.

"Leo!"  Piper shouted. "LEO!!

The light formed and Leo orbed in.

"Neville was burning Kelly’s head," Piper said as Leo knelt down next to Kelly. He put his hands on her head as the aura formed around them. After a moment it was gone.

"She'll be OK," Leo said, still kneeling next to her.

"This time, at least, we weren't too late with Neville," Piper said.

"And now we know what Neville looks like," Phoebe said.

"When I saw Neville's hands on Kelly's neck," Prue said, "I could feel his hands on my neck. I could feel the fire in my head. I know, I shouldn't be able to remember anything from that other timeline that was undone. But I did. I had deja vu."

"We'll just add it to the list of things that we can't explain that have happened since we came here,” Phoebe said.

"Including how we came here," Piper added.

"Are you all right, Kelly?"  Prue asked.

"Yes...I am," she said. "Who are you?"

"I'm Prue Halliwell. These are my sisters Piper and Phoebe. We're also witches."

"What happened?"  Kelly asked as Leo helped her up. She was wearing blue jeans and a maroon shirt. Her short blonde hair was a little frazzled

"Neville is a warlock," Prue said. "He tried to burn out your head and kill you when he realized you wouldn't help him get the Time Locket."

"And you healed me and saved my life, Leo," Kelly said. She threw her arms around him and kissed him with much feeling. Leo didn't put his arms around her but he didn't try to push her away, either.

"Ahem...AHEM!!"  Piper loudly cleared her throat. Kelly didn't seem to notice and continued kissing Leo.

"AHEM!!”  Piper repeated, practically in Kelly's ear. After a few more seconds Kelly stopped and let go of Leo.

"Remember us?"  Piper asked sarcastically. "We're just the ones who came running here to warn you about your genie and who chased him away before he killed you."

"Oh, uh, thank you," Kelly said. "Thank you, really. The note that he left for me said that he was a genie. But you're right. He tried to make a deal with me. He'd tell me who got Abigail through time if I would get him the Time Locket that was used to open the portals for her."

"We already found out who sent for Abigail," Prue said. "A witch named Tara."

"Hmm...I've heard of her," Kelly said. "She's a scavenger witch. She picks up a power here, another power there, wherever and however she can find them."

"How does she do that?" Phoebe asked. "I'd like to pick up another power - an active power."

"Sometimes she trades for them," Kelly said, "giving up something less important to her. Sometimes she just takes them."

"She's strong enough to force demons to give her their powers?" Piper asked.

"She's smart enough," Kelly answered. "She doesn't force anyone directly. She just manipulates them to get what she wants. I heard she once maneuvered a demon named Dalya into a situation where she had no choice but to give Tara her power to affect dreams that Tara wanted."

"She certainly out-maneuvered Kameron to get her hands on the Time Locket," Prue said.

"And another thing," Kelly said. "She's very clear on what she wants and very determined in going about getting it. She doesn't let anything stand in her way. But I'm afraid that's all I can tell you about her."

"It helps," Phoebe said.

"Uh, I should report to Meriwether," Kelly said, "but I think I want to go home first. It was nice meeting all of you. See you later, Leo."  She smiled to him, then walked past them towards the pier's exit.

"See you later?, I'm not even going to ask," Phoebe said quietly to Prue as she watched Kelly leave.

"I need to get going, too," Leo said.

"Just a minute, Leo," Piper said, squinting at him. "Do you want to explain that kiss?

"Uh, that's, uh, just Kelly," Leo said. "She's sometimes...very emotional."

"And she always kisses her whitelighter like that when she gets emotional?" Piper asked.

"Uh, no...not always," Leo answered. "She only did it once before...or twice. Maybe, uh...three times," he added with a sheepish look, and quickly orbed out.

"Piper," Prue said, a bit amazed. "You're jealous!"

"No, I'm not," Piper said.

"Yes, you are," Prue said, with a smile.

"No, I'm not!"  Piper insisted. "Jealous of what?  Kelly isn't real, Leo isn't real, I'm not real! Nothing here is real!"

"Uh huh," Phoebe said. "Honey, when you stop making any sense in what you say that's a clear sign that you're hopelessly jealous."


The four inch tall Piper ran into the room and raised her hand and the equally small demon froze.

"Hold that image," Tara said and the image stood still. She herself was a good deal taller than four inches, standing almost five and one-half feet in her black penny loafers. In her late twenties, she wore a beige tailored pants suit with ivory blouse on her slender body and her black hair was neatly permed.

"Do it now, Baldric," she said. The demon, himself well over six feet tall, placed both of his hands around the crystal ball and the image began to get cloudy.

"Follow the path to her mind," Abigail commanded the crystal ball. The cloudy vapors began to disappear into the image. After a few seconds, the image began to float gently inside the crystal ball. Tara pushed Baldric aside, put her hands around the ball and stared at the image. After a few seconds, the image became steady again. Tara removed her hands and turned to Baldric.

"Well," Baldric began, "do you-" He stopped in mid-sentence, frozen, as Tara raised her hand. She turned to look at Abigail who was frozen, too.

"I have it!" Tara exclaimed. "I have Piper Halliwell's power!"


"We have to get Stuart back," Phoebe said. She was sitting on the armchair in the living room, opposite Prue and Piper who were sitting on the sofa.

"We can't open the Time Box to let him out," Prue said. "We'd never be able to send Abigail back to Salem. We have to concentrate on Tara and Baldric and figure out what they're after. Once we know that we can come up with a plan to handle them - and Abigail."

"All we need is that crystal ball," Phoebe said. "Then we could just read their thoughts and know what they're up to and how-"

Phoebe stopped in mid-sentence as she saw the look on Piper's face change. Piper seemed confused and as she slowly got up, she looked from Prue to Phoebe.

"Honey, do you feel OK?"  Phoebe asked as she stood up next to her.

"I...I...don't know," Piper answered slowly. She closed her eyes and shook her head. "I felt funny for a minute. I'm all right."

"And how to defend ourselves against their blocking our powers," Phoebe said, finishing her previous thought.

"Our powers?"  Piper asked. "What are you talking about?"

"Our powers," Phoebe repeated, with a concerned look. "Our witch powers."

"Witch powers?"  Piper asked.

"Piper, our powers," Phoebe said. "The Charmed Ones's powers. Your freeze things."

"Phoebe, why are you saying that?"  Piper asked.

"Because we're witches," Prue said, standing up.

"Is this some kind of joke?"  Piper asked. "If it is, I don't get it."  She looked at her watch. "I...I have to go to the club and prepare for tonight."

"Piper," Phoebe said, grabbing her by the shoulder, "don't you know who we are?"

"Well that's a silly question, Phoebs," she said. "It's the two of you who don't seem to know. What's all this witch stuff?"

"Piper," Prue said, "think. Just try to remember. The Power of Three, Charmed, Holly Combs." Piper squinted at her and shook her head.

"Just try," Phoebe said.

"OWW!!"  Piper screamed and put her hands to her head. "Uh...uh...just thinking about those things you said...whatever they head. It's like I touched something raw inside of it. OWW! hurts."

"It's OK, honey," Phoebe said, pulling Piper to her and glancing at Prue.

"What is this?" Piper asked in pain.

"Just lie down for a while and rest," Phoebe said. "Try not to think about anything. It will pass. You have time to go to the club later."

Her hands still pressing against the sides of her head, Piper took a deep breath, nodded and went up to her room.

"How could Baldric get to Piper?" Phoebe said, watching her go up the stairs. "He isn't here." She turned to Prue. "I remembered everything about myself right after whatever he did to me...and without any pain."

"Abigail's crystal ball has to be a part of this," Prue said. "Baldric didn't have it when he detached your memory but he has it now. And whatever he did to detach Piper's memory, it's left some kind of wound between her consciousness and those memories. She can't even try to remember without her thoughts touching that wound."

"And giving her that terrible pain," Phoebe said. "The crystal ball can see memories. And it has Piper's and my memories in it. What if Baldric can somehow combine his power with the ball's power?"

"We really don't understand what we're up against," Prue said. "And now we don't have Piper's help to figure it out. We have to find a way to protect ourselves until we can."

"Maybe I can come up with a spell to do that," Phoebe said. "I'll go upstairs and work on it."

"And I'll take another look in the Book of Shadows," Prue said. "After I check on Mc Elroy. He's down in the basement." 

Phoebe went up the stairs and Prue walked over to the basement door. She opened it, walked down a few steps and saw Mc Elroy looking over the far wall. Satisfied that he'd be busy for a while, Prue went back up the stairs and closed the door. She walked over to the staircase to go up to the attic when she saw Phoebe coming down.

"You finished the spell already?"  Prue asked. "That was fast."

"Spell?"  Phoebe asked. "What...would I be doing with a spell?"

"The spell to protect us," Prue replied, with concern.

"Protect us?" Phoebe asked. "From what?  And what do we have to with spells?"

" don't remember about you," Prue said. "Baldric's detached your memory, too."

"Charmed?...Baldric?" Phoebe repeated. "Prue...I don't know what you're talking about. Uh, excuse me, I get something to eat. I'm feeling...a little strange."  She walked past Prue and went into the kitchen.


 "Ooohh...down a flight of stairs," Tara said. "She's going to have one nasty little fall."  Tara stroked the scarf and smiled. "Whoever this scarf that I found belongs to won't be very happy. While I, on the other hand, am very happy."  She put the scarf down.

"I have Phoebe Halliwell's power of premonition."

Baldric stood up, walked to the far side of the room, then turned around.

"You have two of the Halliwells' powers," he said. "I still don't have anything. I'm getting tired of waiting."

"Are you looking for sympathy?" Tara asked, feigning concern. "Impatience is your big weakness Baldric. I saved your miserable demonic life when your impatience was about to get you vanquished. You owe me and you'll continue to help me until I get what I want. After that, you can go after whatever powers will make you happy."

"Then let's get on with attending to the third Halliwell," Abigail said. "I, too, am awaiting what you promised me."

"What I promised you was a way out of a hangman's noose," Tara said sternly. "Whatever else you get out of being in San Francisco in 2000 instead of being in Salem in 1692 will be a bonus to you."  She turned her attention to the crystal ball sitting in the middle of the table. "But it is time to deal with Prue Halliwell."


Mc Elroy made his way up the basement stairs and opened the door. He thought to go to his right and check the kitchen. But the parlor to his left caught his attention. He'd already looked it over but he hadn't gone into the conservatory beyond it. He still felt a fear of that room but not knowing what was in there bothered him. His instincts were telling him to stay away from it. Yet somehow he couldn't leave it alone. He slowly went into the parlor, stared at the conservatory door and began walking towards it. He was three-quarters of the way across the parlor when the conservatory door opened.

"You did you get back in there?" he stammered at Abigail. "And where did those people behind you come from?"

"You ask too many questions," Abigail said. "It's none of your concern."

"It most certainly is my concern," Mc Elroy retorted. "I'm taking over this house. Everything about this house is my concern."

"Taking over this house?" Tara asked, coming out from behind Abigail and standing beside her. "Ooohh, I don't think so. I like The Manor. In fact, I'm moving in with The Halliwells."

"The Halliwells will be moving out," Mc Elroy said, feeling more nervous. "So you can't move in. Who are you, anyway?  And...what's going on in that room?"

"Who we are is none of your business," Tara said. "As for the room, see for yourself."  She stood aside and motioned to Mc Elroy to take a look. He swallowed hard and with trepidation moved past her and looked into the room.

Tara held up the Time Locket, a green light shone from it and the conservatory immediately began to shimmer. She pointed the locket at Mc Elroy and a bolt of light struck him, pushing him into the shimmer. As he disappeared into it Stuart came tumbling out of it and the shimmering stopped.

"Now that I've seen Phoebe's memories," Tara said, "I know who you are. I have Phoebe's power I should have her lover, too."  As Stuart started to get up Tara turned to Baldric.

"Block his memories of her," she commanded. Baldric looked at Tara, hesitated for a second, then exhaled and sent a bolt of light to Stuart's head. Tara walked over to Stuart as he stood motionless and ran her hand down his cheek.

She put her arms around him, drawing him closer to her. "I'm Tara," she said and slowly began to kiss him. Stuart felt overwhelmed by her sensuality. But he also felt that, for some reason, he shouldn't kiss her. But he could not think of any reason why he shouldn't. So he relented, put his arms around her and kissed her intensely.

"Despite your not being tall and handsome, that was more enjoyable than I expected," Tara said after they separated. "Maybe after I've settled in I'll make you forget Phoebe permanently."  She turned to leave the room then stopped.

"I have to finish something with Prue and I don't want you getting caught in the middle of it," Tara said to him and raising her hand she froze him.


Prue came up the stairs, hurried into the attic and went over to the Book of Shadows. As she began turning the pages, something long and thin suddenly came at her. It pulled her hands down and wrapped itself around her body, keeping her hands tightly again her thighs.

Tara stood behind Prue and as she raised her finger in an upwards motion the grey thing stretched itself upwards. Tara drew a loop with her finger and the grey thing followed her motions. It looped itself over a beam and as it came down it hoisted Prue up by her feet. Dangling upside down, Prue's back was still to Tara. Prue turned her head to the left as much as she could and sent a chair flying to one side behind her, then turned to the right and sent an old lamp flying to the other side. Tara raised her hand and froze both of them in mid-air.

"That won't help you, Prue," Tara said. Prue felt the blood rushing to her head and lifted it up. As she did, Tara quickly pulled a scarf over Prue's eyes and tied it behind her head. She went over to the frozen chair and put it down, then went over to lamp and did the same.

"I don't want anything damaged, now that I'm moving in to The Manor," Tara said.

"Moving in?"  Prue asked. "You're not moving in here, Tara."

"You know my name," Tara said. "But I expected that you would. I would have been quite disappointed had you not been resourceful enough to learn that I was behind everything."

"You and Baldric," Prue said, her neck hurting from trying to keep her head up. "And your evil import Abigail."

"There were times," Abigail began as she took a couple of steps towards Prue, "when I would have given most anything to see Melinda Warren trussed up. But I could never bring it about. Seeing you, her great-granddaughter, like this does my heart good, indeed."

"What is this thing?"  Prue asked.

"I call it my magic silly putty," Tara said. "I picked it up from a warlock named Anton. He owed me and he had nothing to pay me with except this. It follows the motions of my finger, turning and expanding as I choose. I call it silly putty because it had no practical use."  She came closer to Prue and put her hand on it.

"And then this situation comes along and it's precisely what I need," she said. "To restrain you and your powers."

"What are you after?" Prue asked and Tara stepped back from her.

"Let's start at the beginning," Tara said, and began to slowly circle the dangling Prue. "Melinda Warren begot Prudence," she said. "Prudence begot Tarina. Tarina begot Merry. Merry begot Peyton. Peyton-"

"I'll concede that you know the family tree of Melinda Warren's progeny," Prue interrupted. "Get to the point."

"Have you no patience, Prue?" Tara asked in feigned surprise and stopped circling. "How ironic. Because that's what this is all about.


Tara resumed her circling of Prue.

"I'll omit the intervening generations for you," she said. "Talia begot Priscilla. And Priscilla begot Mercy. Mercy should have had the powers that belong to the eldest. She should have received the powers that came down the lineage from Melinda.

"But Priscilla decided that Mercy wasn't fit to have them. That she didn't care enough about others to dedicate her powers to help them. That she didn't have Priscilla's parochial view about how a witch should use her powers. So she bound Mercy's powers. And found a way to give all of her inherited powers to Mercy's younger sister.


Tara stopped circling and stared at Prue.

"Patience did nothing to help her sister. She did nothing to try to change Priscilla's mind. She kept the powers for herself and left Mercy forced to live as a mortal."  Tara paused for a moment and exhaled.

"Patience begot Penelope," she said as she resumed circling Prue. "Penelope begot Patty. And Patty begot you...and Piper and Phoebe."  Tara stopped circling and stared at Prue again.

"Mercy had a difficult life. When Priscilla died and she was unbound, she had none of the Warren lineage powers left. But being a witch again, she managed to pick up a few minor powers here and there. Her daughter Teige fared little better, always having to find and use second-rate powers to survive.

"Teige begot Tracey, who learned how to leverage what powers she had to get what she wanted. Tracey taught that to her daughter. A daughter who learned those lessons very well."

She paused, stopped circling and stood opposite Prue's blind-folded face. "A daughter...named Tara." She paused again for effect. "I'm Tracey's daughter. Melinda Warren's great-granddaughter.

"So you see, Prue, you and I...are cousins."

That Melinda Warren and her descendants had really existed, and that she was their grandchild, was still hard for Prue to fully comprehend. That Tara was her cousin, was her family, was too un-believable to accept. She knew who her family was, who her cousins were...Shannen's cousins. There was-

No...she couldn't think like that. She had to force herself back to the changed reality, to Prue's reality. To Prue's family. And being tied up, blind-folded and dangling upside-down helped bring it quickly back to her.

"We're family," Tara said. "Even our names are. You're named after Melinda's daughter and I'm named after Melinda's granddaughter, Tarina.

"Now I'm getting back the family powers that rightfully belonged to my great-grandmother Mercy," Tara said. "And that rightfully belong to me."

"You sent Abigail the knowledge of how to run through time," Prue said, "with promises of great things for her. No doubt you told Baldric the same. But no one is getting anything out of this but you."

"Divide and conquer?" Tara asked. "I expected better of you, Prue, than such an obvious and simplistic tactic. How to run through time is just one of those powers I picked up along the way. It was to Abigail's advantage to take the opportunity it afforded her to leave Salem at what was, shall we say, a trying time."  Tara allowed herself a small smile at the pun. "She and Baldric will eventually get what they want, too."

"So you managed to combine the crystal ball with Baldric's power," Prue said.

"That's more like you, Prue," Tara said. "The crystal ball not only remembers the memories and thoughts that it sees in someone's mind. It also keeps a connection to that mind."

"So if Baldric uses his power to detach a memory in the crystal ball," Prue said, "it doesn't stop when he's no longer there. He can keep that memory detached for as long as the crystal ball maintains the connection to that person's mind."

"Which is forever," Tara said. "And the same holds true for powers. Once they're detached from your memory, you no longer have a path to them. So there can be a new path to them from the crystal ball. It's simple to then hold the crystal ball up to me and connect the detached powers to my mind. I have Piper's and Phoebe's powers and now I'll have yours. And the Power of Three."

"Even with our powers you won't possess The Power of Three," Prue said. "That's something intrinsic that's more than just the three powers combined."

"I know," Tara said. "It's something Melinda Warren had. It was passed down the generations from daughter to daughter until Priscilla diverted it from Mercy to Patience. And so before Abigail left Salem, she looked at Melinda through the crystal ball. And after I get your power, I'm going to open time portals and re-establish the crystal ball's connection to Melinda. Baldric will use his power to detach the Power of Three from her mind - and give it to me."

"Mercy...all of could have lived normal lives without resorting to powers," Prue said. "The way most of the world does. The way...The Halliwells have."

"Powers are special and intended for special people," Tara said. "Just as one who has a talent, and a craving, to paint should not be precluded from basing her life upon that talent. Should not be forced to be, say, a seamstress. It's part of the world's order for her to paint. So too is it with witches' powers. Those who are ordained to have them should live by them. And not be forced to live a mundane, common existence."

Tara motioned to Abigail and she held the crystal ball opposite Prue's head. Prue let her head down and closed her eyes.

"It's tiring keeping your head up, isn't it," Tara said. "The blood that's rushing into it now won't let you feel any better but this will be over in a few seconds."

Abigail looked at Prue through the crystal ball and a little Prue appeared in it. When an image of her waving her hand appeared Abigail froze it. Baldric sent his light at the image for a few seconds.

"Now," Tara said. Abigail held the crystal ball up to Tara. After a couple of seconds Tara turned and waved her hand at the chair, sending it against the wall.

"I have all of the Warren powers," she said. "At last."

Prue raised her head and grunted. "!" she said.

"Help her down," Tara said. She motioned to her silly putty and as it unwound Baldric and Abigail eased Prue down.

"What...happened?"  Prue asked.

"Your feet got caught in some rope," Tara said. "I untangled you."

"Oh...uh...who are you?"  Prue asked.

"I'm your cousin Tara," she answered.

"My cousin?  I...don't remember," Prue said.

"I just moved into The Manor with you," Tara said.

"You did?  I...feel confused," Prue said, holding her hand to the side of her head.

"Probably from banging your head when you got caught in the rope," Tara said. "Go rest. You'll be fine."

"Rest," Prue repeated. She started to walk towards the door then turned around.

"Uh...thank you, Tara, for helping me," she said.

"I was glad to do it," Tara said with a slight smile. Prue turned and walked out of the attic and down the stairs.

Prue opened the door to her room just as Stuart came running up the stairs.

"Prue," he said, "Abigail and Baldric are here. Along with someone named Tara."

"Yes, my cousin is here," Prue answered. "Come inside and I'll tell you what she did for me."

"Your cousin?  What she did for you?"  Stuart asked. "Prue, what's going on-" Prue grabbed Stuart by his arm, pulled him into her room and shut the door.

"We can talk in here," Prue said. "Tara is a great-granddaughter of Melinda Warren. She's out to get our powers and the Power of Three that she thinks should be hers. The crystal ball keeps a connection to the mind of whoever it sees. Baldric uses his power through it so he can keep the memory and the powers detached from us. The ball is then used to link the powers to Tara. She's gotten all three of our powers. And Phoebe's and Piper's memories of being witches."

"Then your powerless against them," Stuart said.

"Not quite," Prue said. She waved her hand at a pillow on her bed and the pillow went flying off onto the floor. "I still have my power."

"I don't understand," Stuart said. "How can you still have it if Baldric detached your power and Tara took it?  And how can you remember who you are if Phoebe and Piper can't?"

"When I saw that Baldric was about to use his power on me," Prue said, "I slumped and astral projected out of the attic. I was dangling by my feet from the ceiling, so Tara thought I was just weakened and tired and didn't realize what I was doing."

"You were dangling...?"  Stuart asked.

"I'll explain later," Prue said. "When Baldric detached my memory, and my power, it was only from the part of me that was physically in the attic with them. But the part of me that astral projected out wasn't touched. Tara has my power but I have it, too. It's weaker, because part of me lost it. And my memory isn't all there, either - some things are mixed up and confused. But I can still use my powers.

"I played out a scene of having no memory of what happened in front of Tara. So she's convinced that I'm powerless."

"We're going to need a plan of how to use your powers to vanquish them," Stuart said.

"There's something I have to do before that," Prue said. "Tara is going to try to re-connect the crystal ball to Melinda and get the essence of the Power of Three from her. I have to tell Merri...uh Merri...uh, no, Merry was Melinda's granddaughter. I can't remember his name."

"Meriwether," Stuart reminded her.

"Uh, yes, Meriwether," Prue said. "I have to tell him to warn Melinda. And while I'm there with him you have to find a way to get the three of them out of the attic and away from the Book of Shadows."  Prue looked at Stuart with a slightly confused expression and exhaled. "Be careful," she said, put her arms around him and kissed him passionately. Startled, Stuart didn't know how to react. Reflexively, he put his hands around her shoulders. But Prue felt very good and he closed his eyes and let himself enjoy her kiss.

"What's wrong?"  Prue asked, as she realized he wasn't kissing her the same way she was kissing him. "Aren't love?"

"Uh, no," Stuart said gently. "It's Phoebe who's in love with me."

"Oh," Prue said, feeling more confused than embarrassed. "I told you that parts of my memory are mixed up."

"Tara and I were kissing the same way a little earlier," Stuart admitted. "I couldn't remember that I was in love with Phoebe, either."

"The more memory that's detached around here the more you get kissed," Prue said, with a smile. "But I won't tell Phoebe about you and Tara if you won't tell her about you and me."

"Deal," Stuart said. Prue turned her hands up and concentrated as she looked at them for a moment.

" head hurts trying to remember," she said. "But I do, now."  She cupped her hands and blew on them. "Meriwether, I must see you," she said.


"This is absurd," Phoebe said. "I won't accept such nonsense."

"You sound just like Prue did when we were brought to San Francisco," Stuart said.

"Brought to San Francisco?" Phoebe repeated. "Maybe we were kidnapped," she said facetiously.

"Not exactly, but that's close," Stuart said.

"You've been watching too much television," Phoebe said, "like that, uh, Demon Dimension. I know you're too mature to talk like this."

"Do you also still know that you love me?" he asked.

"Of course I do," she said, thought for a second and exhaled. "But...I can't remember how it came about. Or the reasons we're in love -

"OWW!!" she screamed.

"Don't try to remember," he said. He drew her head to his chest and put his arms around her. "'ll all somehow be OK."


"You're just in time for afternoon tea," Meriwether said.

"Uh no...I have to talk to you about warning Melinda Warren," Prue said.

"But first, sit down and have tea," he said, as he poured into a cup and put it before her.

"This isn't the time for tea," Prue protested.

"It is always time for tea," Meriwether said. "Sugar, one lump or two?"

Prue was getting upset but there was something in his eyes that made her stop. She stared into them and with her eyes transfixed on his she slowly sat down.

"Uh, one," she said.

"Milk or lemon?" he asked.

"Uh, neither," Prue said. Meriwether handed the cup to her and she slowly lifted it.

"Earl Grey," Meriwether said. "My favorite."  Prue put the cup to her lips and took a sip.

"This...doesn't taste like any Earl Grey I've ever had," Prue said. Meriwether looked at her with an amazed expression.

"That's quite perceptive," he said. "Something was added to the tea. I doubt that one in ten drinking it could tell the difference. I'm impressed."

"Why are we discussing tea?"  Prue asked. "Melinda has to be warned about Tara."

"Melinda already knows about Tara," Meriwether said. "That's why we're discussing tea. And what's been added to it. It seems your connection with Melinda in maintaining the Time Box is much more than we expected it to be. When you encountered Tara and Baldric, and you felt in danger, your thoughts were felt by Melinda through the connection to her you maintained through the Time Box."

"My thoughts...were connected to Melinda?"  Prue asked in disbelief.

"Yes," Meriwether replied. "It came as rather a surprise to Keir. Actually, it was quite a shock to him. He didn't want to believe that you could do that. In any case, Melinda devised a potion to be drunk that will protect you against Baldric's power."

"And that's what you added to the tea," Prue said.

"Precisely," Meriwether said. "Melinda gave some to Keir for you. So, drink up. Melinda already has."  He raised his cup and sipped, a contented smile on his face.


"Hi," Phoebe said with a big smile. She wore a bandana around her head and loose-fitting pants. "I'm Phoebe and you must be Tara. Prue told me that you're our cousin. That's great. I like family and we don't have much of it."

"Hello," Tara responded.

"I'm just going to do my martial arts practice," Phoebe said. "Hagh!  Hagh!" she shouted as she kicked first her left leg and then her right leg at an imaginary opponent.

"We're doing something here," Abigail said, with disdain.

"Don't mind me," Phoebe said. "Go right ahead. I always do my practice up here in the attic so that I don't break anything downstairs. My friends will be coming over soon to work out with me.

"Ooohh - Tara, maybe your friends would like to join us. I could show them the basics. But, uh, your friend would have to change out of that dress and get into something more appropriate."

"You can't be here-" Abigail began.

"That's all right," Tara interrupted. "We can look through the Book of, uh, that old book later. We'll go down to the conservatory and finish the last part of what we started. Just make sure we're not disturbed in there."

"OK," Phoebe said as they headed to the stairs. "Hagh!  Hagh!"

Stuart cracked open the bedroom door, watched them go past him down the stairs, then raced up to the attic.

"You did it," he said, to Phoebe. "You got them out of the attic just as I asked you to do. But I don't understand. You said you couldn't believe what I told you. Why did you do it?"

Phoebe looked into Stuart's eyes. "I decided that loving means doing something that's very important to the person you love. Even if you don't understand it and can't accept it."

"You are special," Stuart said, came closer to her and kissed her.


"After Phoebe got them out of the attic," Stuart said, "they went into the conservatory where they wouldn't be disturbed. I'm sure Tara is using the Time Locket to open a time portal to try to reach Melinda."

"Good," Prue said, "that's what I'm counting on."

"Counting on?" Stuart asked. "I don't understand."

"I'll explain in a minute," Prue said. She quickly turned to the page in the Book of Shadows that she had found earlier in the day. "This is the spell to compress the Time Box. But wait - what's this?  The bottom half of the page was empty when I looked at it before. This second spell wasn't there. How did it get here?"


"Why aren't I connecting to her?" Tara demanded, looking at the shimmer in front of the wall. "What's wrong with you, Baldric?  Your power is failing."

"There's nothing wrong with me or my power," Baldric replied testily. "It must be Abigail's crystal ball that isn't working."

"My crystal ball always works," Abigail said, standing next to the shimmering wall.

"Give it to me!" Tara commanded. She handed the Time Locket to Baldric and took the crystal ball from him, then moved to the center of the room.

Stuart and Prue approached the conservatory door.

"Ready?"  Stuart asked.

"Ready," Prue replied. "Be careful."  She paused. "I won't kiss you this time," she added. Stuart gave her half a smile, nodded and opened the door.

"I explained to Stuart that you're my cousin," Prue said as they barged in, "and that you saved my life."

"Get out!" Tara shouted.

"Tara," Stuart said, walking quickly over to her, "I felt something when we kissed before. You touched something inside of me."

"Not now!" Tara exclaimed.

"Don't tease me," Stuart said, forcing his hands on her shoulders and blocking her view of Prue. "I have to be with you-"

Prue waved her left hand and sent Abigail flying into the shimmer. As Mc Elroy came tumbling out of the shimmer, Prue waved her right hand at Tara, sending her flying into the chairs and back against the far wall, the crystal ball falling from her hands. Being so close to Tara, Stuart was sent flying into the wall, too.

    "Time Box that we have held in place 

         Roll back through time and leave no space,"

"Baldric, stop her!" Tara shouted. Baldric aimed his hand at Prue and a ray of light extended from it to her head. But it had no affect on her and she continued saying the spell.

    "From this end you will no more last,

         Compress and shrink back to the past."

Prue sensed that something that had been there, somewhere, was now gone.

Mc Elroy was shaking as he stood up and looked around him.

"AGGHH!!" he shouted hysterically and ran out of the room.

"UGH!"  Prue grunted as Tara waved her hand and sent Prue flying back against the wall. Tara waved her hand at the chairs, sending first one and then a second flying into Prue, as she lay at the base of the wall. Tara picked herself up and ran to Prue.

"How can you have your power?" Tara screamed as she sat straddling a stunned Prue's chest, lifting Prue's head up by her blouse collar. "How can you resist Baldric?  Why can't I get to Melinda?  Tell me!!"  She was about to slap Prue across the face when suddenly she stopped, her eyes frozen staring ahead.

"No," Tara said. "No, you won't. Never!"


Tara turned and saw Stuart kneeling to her left, pieces of shattered crystal strewn across the floor under his hands.

"NO!!" Tara shouted. She raised her hand and waved it at him but nothing happened.

"They're gone," Stuart said. "The powers have left you. The crystal ball is destroyed, and with it your connections to their minds. The powers are back where they belong. With Prue and her sisters."

Tara stared at the broken glass for a few seconds. Then she turned her attention to Stuart, her eyes filling with hate. Suddenly she lunged at him, knocking him down into the broken glass.


She stopped at the sound of the cry and they all turned to the other side of the room. Smoke was coming out of Baldric's head. A figure stood behind him with one hand on his neck. His other hand was on the Time Locket, trying to pull it from Baldric's grip. Baldric's eyes bulged and he began to turn to smoke. The locket fell into the figure's hand and as Baldric went up in smoke the figure smiled and disappeared.

Tara stood up slowly, dazed as the realization that she had lost everything set in. The door to the conservatory opened and Phoebe came rushing in and, seeing Prue on the floor, hurried over to her.

"Are you hurt?" she asked, and started to help Prue up. Stuart got up and lent a hand.

"My head hurts where the chair hit it but I think I'm OK," Prue answered.

"You were right, Stuart," Phoebe said. "Suddenly...I remember everything."

"The crystal ball was destroyed," Stuart said. "That broke Baldric's connection to your memory. But who was that with Baldric?"

"That was Neville," Prue answered.

"Neville, the"  Phoebe asked. "We'd better take some precautions."

"He wasn't interested in us," Prue said. "He was after the Time Locket. And he burned up Baldric's brain and vanquished him to get it."

Tara turned to Prue and stared into her eyes.

"I know what you plan on doing," Tara said. "I had a premonition when I held you. You're going to use a spell to vanquish me."  She paused and looked at Phoebe and back at Prue.

"You won't do that," Tara said. "We're family. You don't vanquish family."

"That spell that you saw me saying in your premonition," Prue said, "was written by Melinda Warren. She added it to the Book of Shadows for me to use on you. After what you tried to do she must believe you to be a danger to the world. A danger she may feel responsible for because you are her descendent. But she doesn't think of you as family. And I don't either."

Tara shook her. "No," she said. "I won't let you."

"You don't have Baldric's purple rectangle to escape with," Phoebe said. Tara looked at her and smirked.

"When you're forced to pick up powers here and there you come across the oddest things," Tara said. "Like a little thing that can take you to a harsh, in-hospitable and desolate dimension."  She put her hand into her pocket and took something small out, keeping it in her closed hand. "I couldn't think of a reason  why anyone would want this thing."  She paused. "Until now. It's a one-way only ticket but I'll worry about how to get back later."  She squeezed what was in her hand and a puff of smoke came out. It quickly encircled her and in two seconds she was gone.

"That's that," Stuart said and exhaled. "At least for now."

"Why didn't you try to stop her, Prue," Phoebe asked.

" really didn't want to stop her," Stuart said. "Maybe Tara was right. didn't want to use the spell on her...on family."  Prue exhaled.

"Maybe..."  Prue said, letting her voice trail off as she stared at the spot where Tara had stood.

"What happened here?" Piper asked as she walked into the room and saw the broken glass and strewn furniture.

"We just foiled Tara's plan and sent Abigail back to Salem," Stuart said.

"And Baldric's been vanquished by Neville," Phoebe added.

"Prue, what happened to your face?" Piper asked, looking at the large bruise on Prue's left cheek.

"Tara, uh, tried to stop us," she answered.

"How did that second spell, the one to vanquish Tara, get into the Book of Shadows?" Stuart asked.

"Melinda must have written it in after she felt my thoughts about Tara," Prue said. "Just as she made the potion to protect me from Baldric."

"Well...we'd better clean up the room," Phoebe said.

"Life imitating art," Piper said. "This is just the way it happens on Charmed. We're always cleaning up The Manor after a demon has attacked us and made a mess of everything."  She looked around the room. "Only this isn't a set and we don't have stagehands to do the actual cleaning." She exhaled. "I'll get the broom."  She started to walk out then turned around.

"I'm glad to be Piper Halliwell the charmed witch, again," she said.

"Piper," Phoebe said, "I don't believe my ears. You're happy to be Piper?"

"If I can't be Holly Combs," she answered, "and I have to be Piper, then I want to be Piper with powers. So that I can defend us."  She paused, looked around the room and sighed. "And we do need defending."


"You're in time for tea, again," Meriwether said as he poured from the kettle into their cups. "It's Prince of Wales. An excellent tea with a rich history."

Prue gave the teacup a suspicious look.

"It's pure tea, this time," he said. "There's no potion in there."  Prue and Phoebe lifted their cups and took sips.

"I guess it's OK," Phoebe said, "but I prefer Red Zinger herbal tea."

Meriwether visibly shuddered at Phoebe's remark but he politely refrained from telling her what he thought about her comparison.

"The danger is over," Prue said. "Abigail was sent back to Salem, Baldric vanquished and Tara banished to some forsaken dimension."

"Yes," Meriwether said, "you've done rather a splendid job."

"We have," Phoebe said, "and not the other witches that Keir was depending on."

"And with finesse and class," Piper said, putting in a dig.

"Indeed, I would say so," Meriwether said.

"I'd rather hear Keir say so," Piper said.

"I'm afraid you won't," he said. "Please don't repeat this but Keir...has difficulty admitting when he's wrong in his judgement of people."

"And of witches, too, I suppose," Phoebe said and Meriwether nodded.

"So we're not going to get so much as a 'thank you' from him?"  Prue asked.

"You just did," Meriwether said. "Through me."

"Keir owes us at least this much," Prue said. "How can we get to be who we want to be...where we want to be, again?" she asked, cautiously being ambiguous.

"The future is full of possibilities, of alternatives," he replied, without hesitation. "Which one becomes real, which one becomes the future, is dependent upon whatever is done in the present."

There isn't the slightest indication in his voice or in the expression on his face as to whether or not he knows who we really are and what I'm really asking, Prue thought. Meriwether has one heck of a poker face.

"The present sets the future," Meriwether continued. "That is the present's prerogative. It selects which of the alternatives the future will really be. And makes the others not exist."

"'re saying it's up to us?"  Prue asked.

"The future always is," he replied.

"But this...this is out of our control," Piper said.

"What can't be controlled," he said, "can be influenced."

The girls looked at each other.

"I guess that means," Phoebe said, "that if we stop the demons' plans of world destruction, and give The Elders what they want, then they'll give us what we want."

"Like a good cup of tea," Meriwether said. "Brew it the way it expects to be brewed and it will reward you with the enjoyment that you expect in return."  He raised his cup and sipped his tea with obvious content.


The moonlight shone in through the bedroom window and across Stuart's face and chest as he lay in bed.

"The longer we're here," Phoebe said, as she lay on her back to his left, "the more natural it's become  being Phoebe Halliwell. And looking at everything as she would. But meeting Melinda Warren as a real person, not as an actress...and somehow really being her granddaughter-" She stopped, groping for the right words to express what she was thinking.

"It must be how Piper felt when she found out that her daughter Melinda from the Charmed future was real," Stuart said.

"Yeah," Phoebe said, "you're probably right. But Piper has no memory of meeting her daughter Melinda to confuse her the way I'm feeling confused. It's curious, though, that she didn't have much of a problem accepting Melinda Warren as her great-grandmother. She even felt a strong attachment to her."

"It may be because of the direction of the relationship," Stuart said. "Discovering a great-grandmother you had no memory of is less of a shock than discovering that you have a daughter you didn't know about."

"Well," Phoebe said, turning onto her right side and putting her head on Stuart's left shoulder, "I'm glad I remember all about you."  She ran her left hand slowly across his chest.

"You mean you didn't love me as much when you couldn't remember?" he asked, turning towards her.

"Of course I loved you as much," she said. "It's just so much better remembering why I love you." She put her arm around his neck, drew him closer and kissed him.

"Hmmm..." he said, "it's good to see that even with everyone's memories restored I'm still getting kissed."

"What?" she asked.

"Never mind," he said with a smile, put his arm around her and kissed her.



Phoebe walked over to the door and opened it.

"Mc Elroy," she said.

"Who is it, Phoebs?" Piper asked as she also came over to the door. "Oh...uh...good morning."

"Come in," Phoebe said.

"No, not in this house," Mc Elroy said, making sure that he was standing back from the threshold.

"Uh...I can explain about yesterday," Phoebe said.

"You can?" Piper asked with a squint.

"No, you cannot," Mc Elroy said. "You cannot explain away what happened. I know what's going on in this house."

"You do?" Phoebe asked, becoming worried.

"I know your secret," Mc Elroy said.

"You do?" Piper asked, fear replacing worry.

"I do," Mc Elroy assured them. "I know what the three of you are up to. I know what you're trying to hide."

Piper and Phoebe gave each other a worried look.

"Look, uh..." Piper said, "let's talk about this before you tell anyone-"

"It's too late," Mc Elroy said. "I've already told the deputy mayor."

"You didn't!" Phoebe said. "You don't know-"

"I know everything," Mc Elroy persisted. "I know that this haunted."

"Haunted?" Phoebe repeated, not sure that she had heard right.

"This house is haunted by ghosts," Mc Elroy said. "They enter and leave through the conservatory. And you along with them. Maybe you're even ghosts, yourselves. And you're trying to hide it.

"But it won't work. You can't cover this up. I've seen them. I've been where they go. Where you go."  He stopped and took half a step back from the doorway, a fearful look on his face.

"You...actually told the deputy mayor that we have ghosts?" Phoebe asked, relief replacing her fear.

"And he believed you?" Piper asked in disbelief.

"He was skeptical," Mc Elroy said, "but it doesn't matter. The deal is off. I won't set foot in this house again. And I won't develop houses that are next door to a...a haunted mansion. I'm selling both of them."

"What about our mortgage?"  Piper asked.

"The city has no use for it. Not after what I told them," he said. "They'll just sell it to some unsuspecting bank and make a little money from it."

"If I were you," Phoebe said, "I wouldn't tell anyone else about this. If it got around, you might never be able to sell those two houses."

"And besides," Piper said, with a stern look, "the ghosts don't take kindly to people who tell others about them and their secret. They have a way of dealing with people like that."

Mc Elroy swallowed hard, his expression looking even more fearful. "No...of course...I...won't tell anyone else," he said. He looked from Piper to Phoebe, glanced upwards at The Manor, turned around and fled down the steps.

Piper and Phoebe chuckled as they watched Mc Elroy run down the block.

"Boo!"  Piper said, raising her hands near her head and making a face.

"Hmm..." Phoebe said, chuckling again, and putting her arm around Piper's waist and leaning against her, "maybe that's an idea for a Charmed spinoff. The Halliwell Ghosts."


Piper sat at the table in the parlor, looking intensely at the laptop's screen. She scrolled down through one screen and then carefully read what was on the next.

"What are you looking at?" Prue asked as she walked over to her.

"The history of the Salem witch trials," Piper replied. "This web site has a thorough description of them."  Prue looked over her shoulder at the screen.

"All reason seemed to have been lost," Piper said. "Justice ran amok and most any accusation was accepted. And the standards of evidence were so contorted that convictions were easy to come by."

"How long did it go on?" Prue asked.

"From early January until mid-October 1692 when Governor Phips stopped the madness," Piper said. "But by then it was too late for the nineteen people executed in four public hangings. And they don't know for sure how many more died languishing in jail."

Piper pressed the key and scrolled to the middle of the next page.

 Hanged on July 19 

Below it was a list of five names. One of the names was Abigail Eames.

"Abigail denied she could do witchcraft," Piper said, "but the court found her guilty, anyway. She proclaimed her innocense to the very end at Gallows Hill. It's ironic. With her crystal ball shattered, she really didn't have any witch's powers when she was put on trial."

Piper scrolled further down the page.

Hanged on September 22 

Eight names were listed below that heading.

Piper's eyes filled with tears but this time she was not surprised about her emotions. She did not wonder why she felt as she did. Seeing Piper's reaction, Prue ran her hand across Piper's back and squeezed her right shoulder.     

A few tears slowly rolled down Piper's cheek as she stared at the name of one of those hanged that terrible day.

The fifth name on the list.

Melinda Warren