Charmed Role Reversal

Home, Bittersweet Home

Piper was cleaning up in the kitchen after dinner, stacking dishes in the sink, when she saw it.

"It's here! They've come for us!" she shouted. The yellow capsule was over the sink as Piper dashed into the living room and grabbed the Book of Shadows she had prepared on the coffee table.

"My pictures!" Prue shouted as she ran up the stairs to her room to get them, a second yellow capsule following her.

"Stuart's by Kelly," Phoebe said. "If he's not here when we go back...he could be lost."

The yellow capsule had followed Piper from the kitchen and as she held The Book of Shadows tightly to her chest it surrounded her in it's yellow light.

A third capsule went after Phoebe. She ducked and ran away from it.

"NO!!" she cried. "Stuart's not here. You have to wait for him." She ran towards the door to run to try to get him. But before she got ten feet the yellow light reached her arm and then covered her body. And then she couldn't run anymore.

Click speaker for Opening Credits Theme Song

Piper found herself in bed, The Book of Shadows still clenched in her arms. It felt like her bed. The room was dark and she got up and tentatively felt for the light switch, then turned it on. It was her bedroom. Holly was home.

Shannen got up from the bed, turned on the lights and walked into her living room. "I'm back," she said to herself flatly. "It's over."

"Stuart? Stuart!" Alyssa shouted. She turned on the lights and ran all through her house. "Stuart!" she called, as she ran outside looking for him.

Alyssa slowly walked back into the house and sat down on a chair. He wasn't there.

Stuart, lying on the ground, looked up at the clouds covering the moon, making the night seem even darker. What happened? he thought. He got to his feet and looked around. He was standing on the side of a road. He didn't have any idea where he was.

Stuart walked back and forth shouting for anyone for five minutes. I'm out in the middle of nowhere by myself.

He turned to his right and started walking down the road, not knowing in which direction he should be going. He walked for fifteen minutes without seeing so much as a single house. Maybe they're set back from the road, he thought, but he knew that in the darkness he would get lost even more if he tried looking for them.

Suddenly, he thought he heard a noise behind him. He turned and saw two small lights off in the distance. He watched them as they started getting bigger. Something's coming, he thought. Now, if he could only flag it down before it went by. He pulled out his handkerchief and started to wave it, hoping that it would get caught in the high beam's light.

It was close now and Stuart could hear the brakes being applied. They saw me, he thought, they're stopping.

The truck pulled to a halt about thirty feet in front of him. Slowly, he walked towards the cab, the engine still running. Two men were seated in it and Stuart could see them looking at him suspiciously.

"Hi," he said to the driver. "I'm lost. Uh, where am I?"

"A couple of miles south of Sisquoc," the driver replied.

"Sisquoc?" Stuart asked. He had no idea where that was.

"About seventy miles north of Santa Barbara," the driver added. "How'd you get out here?"

"I'm...not sure myself," Stuart said. "Uh...where are you headed?"

"Thousand Oaks."

He took out his wallet and found a folded over piece of paper stuck in the back. But it was a place with an address. And a name. Maybe if he went there he could find out what happened. And how he got from Beverly Hills to the Sisquoc.

"Could I hitch a ride with you?" Stuart asked. "I have no way of getting back." The driver turned to his companion. Stuart could see that he had no interest in picking up a stranger in the middle of the night.

"Look, I'll ride in the back," Stuart said. "You won't have to worry about me. Just please, don't leave me out here."

"We've been haulin' asphalt," the driver said. "It ain't too clean back there and it sure ain't comfortable."

"I don't care," Stuart said. "Whatever it is. I...just need to get to Canoga park. I think it's in The Valley."

The driver looked back at his companion who shrugged and motioned with his head towards the trailer. The driver opened the door and jumped down from the cab. "Come on," he said. "Let you know when we get there." He opened the door to the back and helped Stuart climb inside. Then he slammed the door shut, went around to the front of the truck and got back into the cab.


Stuart was sure he felt every bump there was on the road. He tried to sleep but the constant jarring didn't let him. That he was locked in the pitch black trailer from the outside didn't help him relax, either.

Stuart felt the truck make a sharp turn and come to a stop. Soon the tailgate opened. The sudden sun light hurt his eyes. "It ain't exactly legal to have you ridin' in the back," the driver's companion told him, "so you got to get out here." Stuart got up and the companion helped him down.

"Go back there to the road, then left for about two miles."

"Thanks a lot," Stuart said. He took out his wallet to give him something and saw that he had only a few dollars in it.

"Don't bother," he said to Stuart. "You'll likely need whatever you got left." He slammed shut the tailgate, climbed back into the cab and the truck took off.

The driver had told him the date. It was the third week of July. The last thing he remembered was walking down a street in Beverly Hills in early May.

Tired and hungry, his clothes dirty from the asphalt, Stuart looked and felt like a mess. But all he could think about was finding out what had happened to him. And how had he lost over two months of his life.


Shannen sat dejected, staring at the table in her trailer at Ray‑Art Studios, her jaw resting in her left hand. Every once in a while she would futilely flick her right hand towards the can of soda in front of her. But the can didn't move.

I'm back where I wanted to be, she thought. I have my home, my friends, my career. She gave a sigh.

I miss it, she thought. I miss not being a Charmed witch.

There was a knock on the door and Holly walked in. She looked at Shannen and sat down opposite her.

"Me, too," Holly said glumly. "Withdrawal blues." She was silent for a few seconds. "The Book of Shadows is empty. Every page has been erased."

"My pictures, too," Shannen said. "Every one is blank.”

"On Charmed, Piper would give up her powers if she could to be able to have a normal life," Holly said. "And when I was Piper...I felt the same way. At least, most of the time I did." She paused. "Until we vanquished Argyris. And then...everything felt different.

"These two months," she continued, "I changed...the world. I made a difference. I was never looking to change the world. But having done it, I felt something I never felt before."

"Useful?" Shannen asked.

" making a real difference. A difference that really mattered," Holly said and sighed. "I'd never done that before. And this morning, I can't make that difference anymore. And..." she closed her eyes and took a deep breath. "Two weeks ago, I wouldn't haven't believed that I would say this.

"I miss it. I miss having my powers. I miss being Piper Halliwell."

"Important," Shannen said. "Having the powers...felt important. No, I don't mean that I was important. But what I could do...what I was doing, was important.

"And it was making a difference," Shannen continued. "I never thought about making a difference ‑ except in my life, in my career. But having the powers was important. Important that...that I had the responsibility and the ability save people. And to make things...make people's lives, come out better.

"I felt things being Prue that I never felt ‑ never even thought about ‑ acting as Prue." She paused and looked at Holly. "And I miss it, too."

"How do you think Alyssa feels?" Holly asked.

"Probably the same but I'm not sure," Shannen answered. "She's been very quiet all day. She's pretty upset about Stuart's disappearance. Maybe losing him made her realize that she was ready to make a commitment to him, after all."


"Alyssa," Derry, one of the production assistants called. "Do you have a few minutes‑" He stopped when he saw the look on her face. "What happened? he asked.

"It''s...nothing you can help with," she said. "But thanks." Derry shook his head.

"Do you have a couple of minutes?" he asked. "Brad's cousin and her family are here. Brad asked me to show them around and they want to meet you."

"Uh...sure," Alyssa said. Derry led her around the corner where a man, a woman and two small girls were standing. Alyssa stopped in her tracks and stared at them in disbelief.

"This is Alyssa Milano, the star of Charmed," Derry said. "Alyssa, this is Brad's cousin Lorna Palmer, her husband Neil and their daughters Nicole and...uh..."

"Marion," Lorna said.

"Marion...sorry," Derry said. "They're visiting from San Francisco."

From San Francisco, Alyssa thought. I knew Lorna in San Francisco. Last month we saved the girls from that ghost in their house. And after that, the girls came over to The Manor. And I told them a pirate story.

"It's a pleasure to meet you, Ms. Milano," Neil said.

"'s, uh...Alyssa," she said, trying to recover from her shock.

"Nicole and Marion are great fans of yours," Neil said. "They watch Charmed every week. Even more, because they tape the shows and watch them again in between.

"Frankly, and forgive me for saying it, but they watch it too much," Neil continued. "It's made them think that witches and demons are around them everywhere. And it's let their imagination go too far. They told us that two weeks ago, while Lorna was in Portland and I was at work, a ghost tried to harm them right in our house."

"Daddy," Nicole said, "I told you, we were...just joking."

"You didn't sound like you were joking every time you spoke about it," Neil said, "and neither did your sister."

And she didn't sound like she was joking now either, Alyssa thought.

"Lorna called Brad and asked if we could bring the girls to the studio," Neil continued, "so that they would see that's it's all make‑believe. Brad said it was OK so here we are.

"Alyssa," Neil asked, "could you speak to Nicole and Marion and explain to them that everything they see you do on Charmed is just you acting? That you're Alyssa Milano and that Phoebe doesn't really exist?"

"Uh...sure," Alyssa said. "Uh...Derry, why don't you show the Palmers around the rest of the studio. I'll talk to the girls privately."

"Thank you," Lorna said. "we really appreciate this." Derry took the Palmers down the hallway and Alyssa kneeled down next to the girls so no one would hear them. She looked at Marion and then at Nicole, faces she had come to know very well in San Francisco.

Alyssa exhaled. She had to know. She had to know. Everything that had happened to them...Nicole and Marion could have the answer.

"Did this ghost have a name?" she asked them.

"I said...I was only...joking," Nicole said, defensively.

"No. This was not a joke," Alyssa said seriously, shaking her head slightly. "What was the ghost's name? I won't tell your parents."


"You watch Charmed," Alyssa said, "so you know that Phoebe wouldn't lie. You know I can be trusted."

There was silence for a few more seconds.

"Fiona," Marion finally said, slowly

Fiona, Alyssa thought. That was the name of the ghost in the Palmers' home.

"How were you saved?" Alyssa asked. Nicole looked at Marion who nodded to her.

"We can't remember," Nicole said. "It's all in a dream."

The Elders altering minds to match the restored reality, Phoebe thought.

"But we know that a witch saved us," Marion said.

"A witch," Alyssa repeated. "Nicole, Marion, your parents love you very much. But they can't understand these things about witches and ghosts. So you can't tell them about it. I understand these things so you can tell me." Alyssa hesitated, then decided to chance it and took a deep breath. "And you can tell Harmony, too."

"Harmony is the one who told us that a witch saved us," Marion said.

Alyssa exhaled. She felt a sense of relief ‑ a feeling that it had all really been necessary.

We were right, she thought. We weren't in some different, Charmed‑fantasy world. Everything that we lived through was in the real world. A changed reality, yes; it was a Charmed modified world. But it was the real world; just as we believed ‑ just as we knew ‑ it was. Those demons really existed ‑ and had to be vanquished by us ‑ in the real world. This real world. The same real world that I'm in now; with Brad and the studio and the show, all just as it was before ‑ and with Marion and Nicole. Had we not succeeded as real‑life Charmed Ones in vanquishing those demons who planned major destruction in the real world, this real world, the way it was ‑ and still is ‑ would not exist.

"How do you know about Harmony?" Nicole asked, surprised. She looked at Phoebe for a few seconds, seemingly confused.

"Ohh!" Nicole gasped, her hand going to her mouth. "I...I remember was you! You're the witch who saved us."

"Shhh!" Alyssa said, placing her finger on her lips. The Elders' power to alter minds isn't so perfect after all, she thought. I’ve connected the Charmed‑modified reality with the restored reality and beaten The Elders at their own game, despite their efforts to prevent it. And after everything The Elders had put the three actresses through, that gave Alyssa a lot of satisfaction.

"And Prue and Piper, too," Nicole said, in a lower voice but no less excited. "You were all there in our house. You are real witches. And you saved us from Fiona."

" told us the story about the Witches of The Carribean," Marion added excitedly.

"And the red suit," Nicole said, the memories flowing, "that gave you super powers to defeat that demon...uh..Oralius."

"You're right," Alyssa said, "we were there with you. But this has to be our secret. You can't tell anyone about us."

"Except Harmony?" Marion asked.

"Except Harmony," Alyssa agreed.

The small smile on Nicole's face combined with a look of relief and vindication.

"Don't worry," Nicole said. "Your secret, Phoebe, will always be safe with us."


Shannen was walking through one of the sound locks that connected the Ray‑Art Studios' sound stages, her mind's replaying of her life of the past two months increasing her sadness, when she passed Shawn Papazian, the studio's Vice‑President and Studio Manager.

"Hey, welcome back," Shawn said . Shannen barely grunted a 'hello' in return.

"Hey, it's not so bad being back here. At least on the set you get to work your spells, again," he joked. "You couldn't do that during the break."

"But...I could," Shannen said, a faraway look in her eyes. "I did."

Shawn gave her a quizzical look as she continued on past him.


It was later that day when Alyssa was on the sound stage talking to Jennifer, one of the production crew.

"Good luck with the college course," Alyssa said. "I'm sure you'll do well.”

"Thanks," Jennifer said.

"And thanks again for caring to ask," Alyssa added. She's a nice person to ask what was wrong and wanting to help, Alyssa thought, as she clasped Jennifer's hand. But no one can help me with‑

"Oh!!!" Alyssa stood motionless for a few seconds.

"Are you OK?" Jennifer asked.

"Uhh...uhh...excuse me," Alyssa replied and quickly walked away.

"Todd," she called to one of the assistants who was standing nearby. "Get Shannen and Holly. Hurry. Tell them it's urgent!"

Todd looked at Alyssa with a puzzled expression but went quickly to call them. In a minute they came running.

"What is it?" Shannen asked.

"I just had a premonition," Alyssa said.

"That's impossible," Shannen replied. "We're back in our real lives. We don't have our powers anymore."

"Well, after over two months of having my powers I know a premonition when I have one," Alyssa said.. “And I definitely had one. I was talking to Jennifer and when I took her hand I had a premonition. I saw a klieg light fall down right over her."

Alyssa turned back to Jennifer. She had walked away from where she and Alyssa had been talking and was now standing alone directly under the overhead klieg light.

"She moved!" Alyssa said. “She’s right underneath ‑“

As Alyssa said that, there was a loud, snapping noise. They looked up and saw the klieg light come loose and start to fall directly over Jennifer.

"Ohh!!" Holly said. After two months of being Piper Halliwell, she reacted instinctively and raised her hand towards Jennifer and the klieg light.

And then the three actresses stood there staring, unable to believe what they were seeing. Everything...was frozen.

"What is happening here?" asked Holly in bewilderment.

" froze them," Alyssa said.

"That can't be," Holly said. "I tried all morning, hoping that I could freeze someone, anyone, but I couldn't."

"You did?" asked Alyssa, surprised that Holly wanted to still have her power.

" we now?" Shannen asked.

"Shannen...try moving the klieg light away from Jennifer," Holly said.

"No," Alyssa said, "not Shannen. Prue. You're Prue."

Shannen looked at the klieg light suspended in mid‑air. I'm Prue again, she thought, and easily slipped back into the real‑life role she'd lived for over two months. She raised her hand and slowly flicked it towards the klieg light, which began to move away. When it was well clear of Jennifer ‑ and everyone else ‑ Prue put her hand down.

"Someone will be coming in here any minute and will see everyone frozen," said Alyssa. "You'd better un‑freeze them."

Holly stared at her hand for a second and then gave it a wave towards the frozen scene in front of them.


The klieg light hit the floor with a thunderous impact.

"What...what happened?" someone shouted.

"The klieg light fell," another said. "I saw it hurtling straight down."

"How did it get over there‑" the first person asked.

"It was falling right on Jennifer," a makeup woman said. "She would have been killed. It was falling straight down on her. And then suddenly it landed way over there.”

"How can that be?" one of the grips asked.

Everyone rushed over to Jennifer and then gathered around what was left of the klieg light, countless pieces strewn all over the floor. Everyone, that is, except for the three women who were now standing all by themselves.

"What...was all of that?" Holly asked.

"I don't know," Shannen answered. "Try freezing them now." Holly raised her hand but nothing happened. She tried a second and a third time but no one froze.

"One minute I'm back to being Holly, the next minute I'm Piper again, then the next minute I'm Holly."

"Let's go someplace where we can think this over," Shannen said.


Alyssa closed the door behind her as the others grabbed chairs in Holly's trailer.

"Alyssa," Shannen began, "you had a premonition. Because of it you called us so that Holly could be there to freeze everything and I could be there to move the klieg light. We each had to have, and use, our powers to save Jennifer.

"Maybe we're not quite through being the Halliwells."

"Maybe The Elders feel that we still can ‑ or still want to ‑ do some good," said Alyssa. "Maybe they saw that we were willing to take risks to protect the innocent, to save the world, to do what was right. And that maybe...we still...wanted to protect the innocent, and save lives," she added tentatively. “And they gave us the chance to save Jennifer...and find out what we really wanted.”

Shannen and Holly glanced at each other, then looked at Alyssa and nodded their heads in agreement.

"We just saved someone's life," Alyssa went on. "It feels...I can't describe it. It's what I felt for the past two months when I was Phoebe. It's something I never knew I was missing. Until this morning...when I didn't have my powers...and I couldn't help anyone. And I felt so helpless."

"Having and using my powers feels like what I do really matters," Holly said. "Saving Jennifer's life just''s..."

"It's giving a special, new meaning to your life, to my life," Shannen said. "The press, with their bias and outdated impression of me as I used to be, would never believe this, would they." She smiled and paused.

"But there are responsibilities and risks that come with the powers."

"I want to have a normal life," said Alyssa. "I plan to be a successful actress, both in television and movies. But if saving someone ‑ and feeling the way I do afterwards ‑ means having a power when the situation needs it, and the risks and responsibilities that go with it, then I accept."

Holly looked off to one side and took a deep breath. "Me too," she said turning back to them, "as unbelievable as it may seem to you ‑ and maybe even to me ‑ that I feel this way."

They both looked at Shannen.

"I looked in the mirror this morning and saw my old self," Shannen said, "back in my own surroundings, able to once again be the 'wild Shannen Doherty', as the press likes to call me, that I had been before all of this happened.

"And you no longer felt so good. I felt I was taking a step backwards in my life. I've changed a lot these past two months being Prue Halliwell. I'm not the same person I was before.” She paused for a few seconds, then took a deep breath.

“I don’t want to be the same person I was before,” she said.

"Maybe this is what these two months were all about," Shannen continued. "It was more than only saving the world from demons. Maybe it was a lesson for us, to find out what we could really be, what we could really do. For others, for innocents...and not least for ourselves. What is really important in our lives. And then it would be our choice if we wanted to do it."

Shannen took another deep breath and looked at Alyssa and Holly.

"Well then, I guess it's unanimous," Shannen said. They clasped each other's hands tightly and smiled.

"But let's not count on it yet," Shannen said. "Alyssa may be wrong. This may have been a one‑time thing."

"She's not wrong," Holly said. She had opened the Book of Shadows and was looking at a page in it. It wasn't blank. Alyssa and Shannen looked on as she turned page after page, each one bearing the hand‑written text. "It's back, Holly said. “They put it all back."

Shannen ran out to her trailer and in a moment returned with a large envelope in her hand.

"My pictures are back," she said as she spread a few on the table for them to see.

"Maybe we're not real witches the way we were," Holly said, "and we don't have powers all the time. But when an innocent is in danger, we're given our powers back to save that person. That's why The Book of Shadows is back.

"I brought it back with me from The Manor and they saw that we’re willing to use our powers to save people. Now they put it back so that we can have it to use whenever they give us our powers back."

"And I brought these pictures," Shannen said, "and now they’re back as a sign that we will have the powers when someone needs our help.

"Remember the rules," Shannen continued. "No personal gain, no punishing anyone. Just‑"

"Be ourselves with them," Holly cut in, "the same way we've been for over two months."

"Well, it looks like you're still our big sister," Alyssa said.

"And it looks like we still really are The Charmed Ones," Shannen said, smiling.


It was early afternoon when Stuart found himself outside the gates of Ray‑Art Studios in Canoga Park in The Valley. After coming back from 1998, when they had saved Connie Burge from Dalios and stayed at Alyssa's house, he had written down the address of the studio. And indeed, he had forgotten about everything that had happened since the day he had saved Alyssa's life and that the yellow light had transported him, with her, to the Charmed‑modified world.

Looking at the paper, he remembered that Charmed was shot at Ray‑Art. That must be why the name "Alyssa" is on the paper, he thought. It's referring to Alyssa Milano, one of Charmed's stars. Though he had no idea why he had the address in his pocket. So this was the only straw he could grasp to try to find out what had happened to him for over two months.


"I told you half an hour ago you can't come in," the lobby guard said.

"But you don't understand," Stuart said to her, “I don't know what's happened to me. Someone in the studio will know. Maybe... Alyssa Milano."

"All of her fans want to see her," the guard replied. "Go watch Charmed on TV."

"No, but the studio is my only clue..."

"If you don't know who you are, go get a shrink," the guard said. "Like everyone in Hollywood does."

"At least just let me wait outside‑"

"You'll do nothing of the kind," she said, coming around from behind her desk. "This is private property. And there's shooting going on outside. If I see you lurking around I'll call the Sheriff's deputy who's parked in front of the studio.”

Stuart slowly walked out the studio's front door and down the steps. He walked left towards the corner, past the crews setting up their equipment on Variel Avenue, crossed Kittridge Street and, feeling completely lost and dejected, kept walking away from the studio.


The wigwag light that indicates that shooting is taking place on the sound stage was turned off. After a few minutes, Alyssa came out through the sound stage’s opened elephant door, the twenty foot by twenty foot huge doors that allowed equipment, props and sets to be easily brought in or taken out. She walked out to her trailer behind the sound stages and was about to go in but then changed her mind and stood outside. She closed her eyes but she wasn't thinking about her next scene. Her thoughts were on Stuart as Holly and Shannen caught up with her.

They stood talking to her, trying to get her mind off of Stuart and back onto the day's shooting. After a few minutes, a white van pulled up along side them and they hopped in for the thirty second ride to the location setup on the corner of Variel Avenue near the studio’s entrance.

From Stuart's angle a block away on Variel, he could see the Assistant Director checking some things with the crew as they prepared for the shoot, but not much else. The white van pulled up at the corner of the studio but it held no interest for him. Some people got out and as the van pulled away he watched one of them sit down in a chair placed on the grass at the curb. He stared at what he saw, almost not believing that it was true.

The Charmed actresses, he thought. I have to try. Maybe she'll know. The studio address wasn't in my pocket without reason.

"Alyssa Milano!!!" he shouted at the top of his lungs. "Ms. Milano!!" He started to run up the block towards her.

Alyssa turned at the sound of her name and looked down the street. "Stuart?" She stood up and started towards him, afraid to believe that it really was him. She took a few steps more and now she could see him clearly.

"Stuart!" she shouted. He was ten feet from the cameras when the Sheriff's deputy, who had jumped out of his patrol car, and a studio guard grabbed him and tackled him to the ground.

"Stop it! Let him go!" Alyssa shouted as she ran towards him. "I said let him go!!!"

The deputy and the guard looked up at her, then reluctantly let go of Stuart. Alyssa reached him as he stood up and threw her arms around him.

Shannen and Holly had run over to them and now the others who were preparing for the shoot came over to see what was happening. "I thought you were lost ‑ I didn't know what happened to you," she said.

"Uh...Ms. Milano...I'm overwhelmed...and confused," Stuart said. "I was hoping you, or someone here, would know me and could tell me what happened to me. I didn't expect...uh...this kind of welcome."

"You don't remember?" Alyssa asked. "Our...time together?"

"What is going on in this place?" Dorian Gregory, who played Darryl Morris, asked Brian Krause, who played Leo, as they stood watching. "She comes in this morning like her life is all over. But not just her ‑ all three of them were going around as if the world was about to end.

"And Alyssa's hair," Brian said "She dyed it blond on her own. JP almost choked when he saw her. I was sure Brad would have a fit." Brian slowly shook his head. "JP" was Jon Paré, the Unit Production Manager and sometimes episode Director. Brad Kern was Charmed's Showrunner and Executive Producer. "But no, Brad says that's a great idea and we'll keep it. The new look will not only freshen up the third season but nicely underscore the character changes they're making in Phoebe.

"Go Figure. It's just...all so weird."

"And that's not the half of it," Dorian added. "The klieg light falls and almost kills one of the crew, only it doesn't because it suddenly swerves in mid‑air and misses her.

"Then the Sheriff's deputy tries to stop a scruffy‑looking, dirty guy from crashing the shoot, only it turns out that he's ‑ what? Alyssa's long lost love? Only I've never seen him before or heard of him. And he sure doesn't look like Alyssa's type. This has been one un‑believably weird day."

"And this is only our first day back," Brian said. "I'm afraid to think what it's going to be like the rest of the season if this continues."

"I haven't slept or eaten since yesterday," Stuart said to Alyssa. "I apologize for how I look. I've been walking and hitchhiking to get here. All I had was the studio address and your name. I still don't know why I have it nor how you know me. But it's an honor to meet you, Ms. Milano. And," he continued as he looked at the other two actresses, " you as well Ms. Doherty and Ms. Combs. I'm a great fan of Charmed and never miss it."

Shannen and Holly looked at Stuart with surprise. He remembers nothing, Holly thought. "And we're happy to meet you," Holly said, giving him a warm smile. Whatever happened to him, he needs warmth and support, she thought.

Alyssa exhaled. "Let's go into my trailer and we can talk all about it.

"Bring back the van," she said to one of the crew.

"I'm sorry," the guard who had stopped Stuart said, "but he's going to have to get a pass. I'll call the office and see if they'll authorize one."

"Maybe," Stuart said, looking down at how dirty and dis‑shelved he was, "it's better if you not be seen inside with me. It's not good for your image, not to mention what the press might do to you. It's kind of you to take the time to talk to me," he said, still bewildered, "but I'll wait a few blocks away until you're done."

Alyssa took his hand in hers. Stuart looked at her in surprise as she did. "You'll do no such thing," she said. "You're coming inside with me."

The van returned and pulled up next to them. Alyssa motioned for Stuart to get in.

"I'm sorry, Ms. Milano," the guard interrupted, "but he has to have a pass and I have to‑"

"We are his pass," Holly said cutting him off, her steely look and tone of voice making it clear that anything further the guard had to say was irrelevant. She slid open the van door, helped Stuart get in and then got in beside him. Alyssa and Shannen jumped in after her and they drove onto the studio lot.


"At least Stuart is safe and not lost somewhere between the Charmed‑modified world and the 'normal' world," Shannen said. "That was our big fear."

"You're right," Alyssa said. "But still, I don't understand why he can't remember. Nicole and Marion did."

"Being the Halliwells in real life was the real world," Shannen said. "But a Charmed‑modified world. I think the way to understand it is to think of The Elders using a multi‑faceted prism. They turned it a bit and anyone seeing us saw us as our Charmed characters. When The Elders restored the world to as it really was without Charmed, they turned the prism a bit back. People now saw us as three actresses on a successful TV show."

"The girls broke through that and remembered who were," Alyssa said.

"The girls were very close to us," Shannen said. "And they had their own connection to Harmony, their fairy godmother. She wasn't part of Charmed. I'll bet that they still secretly see her in the normal world."

"They do," Alyssa admitted. "But so what? Stuart was even closer to us."

"The Elders veiled all memories of the Charmed modified world," Shannen said. "But we were at the center of the Charmed‑modified world. When we were brought back in the yellow light, we, and the Charmed‑modified existence, were reversed. Because we are witches, or were witches, or...still are sort of witches, we remember everything. We know that being witches shields our memories.

"Stuart was also in the center ‑ that's why he had no personal history there. But he also wasn't supposed to be there. That's why he didn't have a Charmed‑based existence. He didn't come back to the unmodified real world through the yellow light as we did. His...prism was turned back, just like everyone else's. So his memories were affected the way the memories of everyone else who came in contact with us were affected when the prism was turned back.

"Everything he did with us was not seen through the prism because he came with us in the yellow light. So because he saw everything in the past three months 'real', and not through the prism, the turning back of the prism couldn't give him back any memories of those three months"

"You can't do that!" Alyssa shouted, looking upwards.

"You know The Elders didn't want him," Shannen said. "And on more than one occasion refused to help him. They're not going to do anything for him now, either."

"I'll go out with him," Alyssa said. "He still likes me. It will spark and we'll connect again."

"It was different before," Shannen said. "You were in danger together, saving each other's lives. That forges a bond between people that can't be forced.

"And remember what Livia told us about trying to force changes. If something is meant to be, then it will be, regardless of what we do to try to change it."

"There isn't any Kelly Anderson in the real world so I have a second chance," Alyssa said. "And I won't make the same mistake again. And even if Kelly Anderson exists in the real world, she won't be a witch, she won't be in LA and she won't know Stuart."

Then someone caught Shannen's eye. A tall, young blond woman talking to one of the production assistants. A young woman who should not have been there. A young woman who should not have been anywhere near Charmed. A young woman who probably should not even exist.

"Don't count on that," Shannen said. "If something is meant to be..." she said slowly, staring at the blond girl. "Excuse me a minute." She left Alyssa and walked over to the girl.

As the young woman finished her conversation, Shannen walked over to her.

"Hello. I'm Shannen Doherty," she said.

"Kelly Anderson," the young woman replied. "So nice to see you."

"Thank you," Shannen said, taken aback at Kelly's presence.

"Are you...joining the show?" Shannen asked.

"Not really. I'm just consulting for a day or two," Kelly answered. "I'm giving them advice on witch related things, such as spells and potions and believable demons."

Kelly Anderson was a witch in the Charmed modified world, Shannen thought. I'm not sure she should even exist here. And if she does, she isn't really a witch when everything is back to normal. Or is she?

"That's your specialty?" Shannen asked, trying to lead her on to reveal something about herself.

"I'm actually an art historian but I have some small expertise in that area," Kelly said, in what Shannen felt was sincere modesty.

An art historian, Shannen thought. That's what Kelly was in the Charmed‑modified world. "Anything to make Charmed more realistic is good," Shannen said.

"Charmed is synonymous with realism," Kelly said, giving away nothing in her expression, Shannen observed.

"I'm sure they'll want you to come back again to give them more advice," Shannen said.

"Perhaps. But there are others here who can, and I expect will, give them accurate insights as the season progresses," Kelly said, looking Shannen directly in her eyes.

Shannen saw a small smile in the corner of Kelly's lips and a knowing look on her face. A very knowing look, Shannen realized. She knows? Shannen thought. She knows! She knows who we are, who we were. And who we still are. The Palmer girls remember us. And now Kelly does, too. And she really is a...witch!

"I see you're holding a script so I'm sure you need to get to your rehearsal," Kelly said, ending the awkward silence. "So I'd best let you go."

" was nice meeting you," Shannen said. "I hope again."

"I've no doubt that our paths will cross again," Kelly said. Shannen felt there was something Kelly wanted to say but didn't. Was there some rule, some admonition she had been given that was holding her back?

"Good luck to you and to your co‑stars," Kelly said. "In everything that you do."

Prue saw that knowing look on Kelly's face as she turned and walked away towards one of the sets.

Shannen exhaled. Kelly had taken my advice and had faith and patience when she came back from the alternate reality and Stuart didn't remember their two years together. Nor his love for her. And she was rewarded when Stuart's memory was returned to him.

Faith and patience - those were the only two words that could even begin to explain how Kelly, in the restored reality, managed to have a temporary consulting job on Charmed. And on the one day when Stuart showed up at the studio.

Some things that are meant to be, she thought watching Kelly, despite all odds, will be. And maybe she'll be rewarded again.

Feeling confused, Stuart took a walk around the sets. He peeked into the set for the Halliwell Manor living room, finding it interesting that it had one‑sided walls and no ceiling. He was backing away from the set when a blond, young woman bumped into him.

"Oh...I'm so sorry," he said. "I should have been looking more carefully."

"It's fine...I bumped into you," she said. "I'm Kelly Anderson."

"Stuart Weston," he said. She must be in her early twenties, if that, he thought. With her blond ponytail and slim figure, he found her quite attractive.

"Are you working on Charmed?" she asked.

", just...sort of visiting," he answered. "Are you part of the show? It's my favorite must be new to the cast."

"I've just been here for a day or two providing consulting services to the producers," she said. "Will you be visiting the set for a while?"

"I...I don't know," he answered. "I'm sorry if I sound vague. It's because I...I'm not sure why I'm here. I know that sounds dumb."

"No. It just sounds like you're missing some information," she said.

"That's right. I am," he said. That was kind of her to put it that way. Others here probably think I'm nuts. "I'm missing the past two and a half months of my life," Stuart said.

"Really," Kelly said. "What happened?"

"I don't know," Stuart said. "The last thing I remember was walking down a street in Beverly Hills in the beginning of May. Then yesterday I woke up on a road somewhere in the Valley. I had a piece of paper with the studio name and address. I came here to see if that would help me figure out what happened.

"Alyssa Milano was very kind to me. She acted like she knew me," he continued, "as did her co‑stars. She seemed especially disappointed ‑ no, she seemed devastated ‑ that I didn't remember her. Apparently some time during those two and a half months I did things with her ‑ and with them. But I don't remember any of it. It's all a blank since the beginning of May."

"You have amnesia," Kelly said. "I feel that I can help you. I have some experience working with amnesia." Kelly was referring to her time in the alternate reality, where she was taking the place of that reality's Kelly ‑ who had been killed by a demon ‑ and had to act as if she was recovering from amnesia.

"Really?" Stuart asked. "You would take the time to try to help me?"

"Yes," Kelly said, a smile spreading on her face. "But let's get away from here. We need some place quiet. We'll go to my hotel."

"You don't live in LA?" he asked.

"No, I'm from San Francisco," she said. "It's a wonderful city."

"Actually it's my favorite," Stuart said.

"Give me a couple of minutes to finish up something and then we'll go," Kelly said. "Meet me by the kitchen set."

"Great ‑ thanks," Stuart said, as Kelly left him. She hurried over to a corner where she wouldn't be seen and pulled something out of her pants pocket. It was a kelly green velvet ring box. She held her breath as she opened it. Lying in the box was an engagement ring. And the ring began to glow.

Kelly let out her breath. A small tear came to her eye. In the alternate reality, she had put a spell on the ring to transfer Stuart's memories of their two years together to the ring and then return them to him when he touched it.

But it hadn't happened when they had returned from the alternate reality. The ring had been just a ring; his touching it did nothing to return his memories. Until Piper had helped her to get the spell to work at Stuart's touch.

But her spell wasn't made to work twice. The ring, once having transferred the memories back to Stuart, would have been "used up" and wouldn't be able to do it again.

And yet the ring was glowing.

"That's a lovely ring," Shannen said.

"Uhh!" Kelly gasped, startled by Shannen. She thought the corner hid her from everyone's view and hadn't seen Shannen come over to her.

"Yes...uh, it is...thank you," Kelly said.

Shannen thought back to the night Kelly and Stuart had returned from the alternate reality. How she had held Kelly, her tear stained faced on her shoulder, one arm holding the young girl tightly to her. Something's that's meant to be will be, Prue had told her, if there's faith and patience.

Now Shannen understood how Kelly had crossed over from the Charmed modified world to the normal world with all of her memories intact. She had taken Prue's words to heart. Words that were more powerful than Shannen had imagined. And Kelly had done both.

"Something's that's meant to be will be," Shannen said, taking Kelly's hand into hers. "Sometimes it needs a little boost. But because there was faith and patience, it will be."

She squeezed Kelly's hand as she gave her a small smile. Then she turned and walked away.

She said "a boost", Kelly thought. She was trying to help me. Was she hinting...? Yes...she was. A boost. And it's in my hotel room.


"What's your technique for treating amnesia," Stuart asked Kelly when they were in her hotel room.

Kelly took the ring box from her pocket and opened it. "Take it out," she said.

"Oh...that's lovely," Stuart said. "Are you engaged?"

"A ring has memories," she said, deflecting his question. "Hold it."

"Well...seeing a ring can bring back memories," he said, as he lifted it from the box and held it between his fingers. "But it doesn't have memories."

"Hold it like this," Kelly said, placing the ring in the palm of Stuart's hand.

"It's...glowing," he said in surprise, as it reacted to his hand. Kelly went to her suitcase, opened a pocket and took something out. A flat triangular object. The object that she had found in the safe of the dead Kelly in the alternate reality. The object that Kelly had used before.

"Hold this together with the ring," she said, as she put the object in his hand with the ring.

"What is that?" he asked.

"An amplifier," Kelly answered. The ring's glowing means that somehow, something is still there, she thought. will work again with "a boost".

With the ring and the amplifier in Stuart's hand, Kelly closed her hand securely around his.

"What..." he started to say. Then he froze, his eyes staring ahead. He took a deep breath then closed his eyes. He stayed that way for a full minute, not moving, while Kelly held her breath.

"Kelly?" he said when he opened his eyes. "Kelly! I...I remember. The two years ...with you. I remember our time together. I remember how much I loved you.

"No...I feel how much I still love you," he said.

Tears streamed down Kelly's face as she threw her arms around Stuart and embraced him. And then he threw his arms around her.

"We're...supposed to get married," he said. " wonderful."

"It's still July," she said. "We still have three months to plan an October wedding. The way we had planned in the alternate reality."

"I love you Kelly Anderson," Stuart said. "An October wedding sounds just right."