crystals in the four corners of the square glowed brightly.
The demon stood as close as he dared to the
boundary they marked. He knew what would happen to him if he tried crossing it.
Locked in the trap on one side of the room, he stared at the young woman
facing him. She stood with her back to the open door behind her,
a piece of paper held in her hand.
The young woman seemed startled. She looked around the room,
then at the paper she was holding. She seemed confused as she looked up at the
demon. She could see his eyes seething with hatred and desperation.
She looked once more at the paper, reading silently to
herself the words written on it. When she finished, she looked up at the
demon again. Then slowly, hesitatingly, she began to read the spell aloud.
"Take from us
this demon of death
Who kills young
Two hands from behind her were grasping the base of her
head, their fingers digging into it, excruciating pain shooting up to her
She twisted and turned, trying to move her hands.
But the two hands on her head would not let
go and turned with her, staying tightly behind her.
There was literally a fire burning inside of her head.
She could no longer think about what to do
to stop those hands. In fact, she could
no longer think at all.
Smoke was coming out of her head and her eyes bulged.
He felt her body go limp in his hands and threw her against
the wall. She slid down to the floor, her legs stretched out in front of her,
and her head dropped down onto her chest.
He kneeled down next to her, grabbed her black hair and
pulled her head up. Seeing her eyes
frozen open, he placed his hand at the side of her neck.
"One interfering, powerful - and very dead -
witch," he declared.
"Well done, Neville," the demon said.
"Your timing is excellent,
Now move one of the crystals
and open the trap."
"Not so fast, Marco," Neville said, letting go of
her head and standing up.
"I didn't follow you around for two days just for the
pleasure of killing this witch - as much as I truly enjoyed feeling her die in
"I knew she would trap you and try to vanquish
She was a smart witch, from a
family of smart witches.
a lot of demons and warlocks.
she'll never do again.
"I didn't take her powers before killing her," the
warlock continued, looking down at her.
"But there are others' powers that will make up for it. I should get an award for doing what no one
else, including you, was able to do.
"But I'll settle instead for the powder."
"Powder?" Marco asked.
"Don't try to play with me, demon," Neville said,
"or I might be tempted to leave you where you are. The powder. It's a small price to pay for my
having saved your life."
Marco put his hand into his pocket and pulled out a small
pouch. Laying it down near one of the crystals, he looked at the warlock.
"There it is, warlock," he said to him. Neville went over to the crystal and moved
it away, breaking the square. Eyeing Marco warily, he picked up the pouch and
stepped back away from him.
"I don't remember who each one is," Marco said as
he stepped over the crystal. "Which one is this?"
"Was," Neville corrected him. He turned back to the dead woman, bent down
and yanked her head up by her hair again.
"This one was Prue," he said.
"This dead witch...was Prue Halliwell."
Piper lost her balance and fell to the sidewalk. Phoebe kept
running, caught herself and stopped short.
"What?" Piper began.
"Are you...hhh...all right?" Stuart asked,
slightly out of breath, as he came running from behind them and helped Piper
Confused, Piper and Phoebe looked at each other.
"Hurry! Around the corner," Stuart said.
"Well?" he said, impatiently as they just
stood there. "What are you waiting for??"
Piper looked at Stuart and then at Phoebe. She hesitated for
a second but then decided.
"Let's go, Phoebe," she said.
They ran around the corner and came to the entrance of a small
house. An alley ran to the right side
of it and around behind it.
"Hurry upstairs, I'll check the alley," Stuart
Phoebe shook her head.
"Let's go up," Piper said, still confused,
They went into the house and slowly ascended the stairs. The
door to the apartment was open and they gingerly walked inside.
"Oh my God..." Piper exclaimed. She slowly approached Prue
and knelt down beside her.
"No. NO!!" Piper shouted, lifting Prue's head.
"Prue?...Prue?" Phoebe repeated in disbelief as
she slowly walked over to her.
"What is going on here?" Piper said, dazed.
"This is not what we left from."
Phoebe stared at Prue's body, at the burn marks around her
head, and her eyes filled with tears. She slowly turned and looked around the
"What is this? Where are we?" she
Piper held Prue's head in her hands. Overwhelmed, she closed her eyes as tears
began running down her cheeks.
Piper opened her eyes at the sound of Stuart's voice.
He stood staring at Prue and shaking his head.
"We're too late? We're too late?" he said
and started to sob.
"What is going on here?" Piper said to him, the pain she was feeling heard in her
voice. Stuart didn't answer but just
kept shaking his head.
Piper eased Prue's body down to the floor. She put her hands
over Prue's open eyes, hesitated and then closed them. Standing up, she grabbed Stuart by the
shoulders and shook him.
"Stuart! We have to know what is going on here!"
she shouted at him.
"What do you mean?" he asked.
"We just came back from the past," Piper said to
him. "We went back in time to save you from Jôlét."
"What are you talking about?" Stuart said.
"What happened here?" Phoebe asked. "What is
this place? Why did Prue come here??"
"What?..." Stuart said. "Marco must have done
something to you. Somehow confused you...made you forget.
"But even if he had such a power...how could he affect
you? You weren't even here with him."
"Stuart! We have to know what happened while we went
after Jôlét," Phoebe said.
"You both keep talking about Jôlét," Stuart said.
"Jôlét’s forcing you to get him Tallor’s power happened almost a week
"Stuart...Jôlét almost killed you and me
tonight," Phoebe said through her tears.
"We did go back in time to stop him and we should have
returned to exactly where and when we left from. In the living room in The Manor.
The three of us together.
"Not here. And not...like this."
"Stuart," Piper said, "you remember the
Charmed episode where we went to the future...and Phoebe was almost burned as a
Of course I remember it," he said.
"Watching it I couldn't stop crying. And when it was over, even though Phoebe was safe, I couldn't
stop shaking for ten minutes."
"Remember how we didn't know what was happening?"
Piper continued. "And Leo didn't believe us?"
"This is what's happening now," Piper said, taking
his hands in hers. "We don't know
what has happened. Except that
Stuart shook his head. "Are you saying that...that
we're in the future?"
"No," Piper said. "This is the present. But
it's the wrong present. It's not the one we left. It's not the one we
should have come back to."
"Everything has been...continuing normally since we
were brought to San Francisco almost three weeks ago," Stuart said. "Nothing has changed. Time hasn't changed."
He paused then tried to continue despite the tears.
"We were running here to...to save Prue," he said.
"Then, all of a sudden, you stop and tell me that this isn't what really
"Maybe...maybe it's the other way around," he
said. "This is what really happened. And what you think happened really didn't happen."
Piper said with resolve in her voice - and in her eyes. "This is not the present that existed
before. And you have to help us figure
out why it changed."
Phoebe saw a piece of paper on the floor near Prue's body.
She knelt down and picked it up.
"Spell to Vanquish Marco," she read. "You said something about Marco. Who is he?
Is this why Prue came here? To
Stuart looked at them feeling even more confused. Phoebe grabbed Stuart's wrist and looked at
"This is the time and day that we left from," she
said to him, and took his hands in hers.
Stuart's eyes closed as he felt Phoebe's hands, then
"I haven't...you haven't...held my hand since Jason
showed up," he said.
Phoebe said in astonishment.
"I haven't seen Jason again since that day I went out with
"Phoebe...what are you talking about," Stuart
said. "You've spent the last two
nights in Jason's hotel room. You
decided...you decided you were going to see him...and not me...while you were
here. That it was...best for everyone. Why are you denying it?"
"Because in the present we left that didn't
happen," Piper said, looking at him sternly.
"Show him," Piper said firmly and turned to
Phoebe. "Show Stuart who you really decided you were going to see while
you're here in San Francisco."
A few tears were still trickling from Phoebe's eyes as she
looked down at Prue.
"The same way I did in the scene on Charmed with Leo,"
"I can't...like this...” Phoebe said, “...with Prue-"
"Just do it!" Piper commanded her.
Phoebe took a deep breath and turned to Stuart. Slowly, she
put her arms around him, then drew him closer and kissed him.
Stuart, stunned, didn't react. Then slowly, he put his arms
around Phoebe, too.
After holding each other, Phoebe pulled away and he stared
at her for a few seconds. He started to
say something but stopped. After a moment, he swallowed hard and took a deep
"Tuesday," he began slowly, still staring at her,
"when you were out with Jason...you met Janet Montanelli and her teenage
daughter Sydney at a curio shop in Mill Valley. They had bought this peculiar object somewhere - Sydney thought
it was 'cool' - but they didn't know what it really was. They wanted the shop's owner to tell them
and also whether it had any value.
"It was a talisman.
A talisman that Marco - a demon -...that Marco was looking for. Somehow, he found out that they had it and
followed them to take it from them. You
were all in the shop's basement when he came in and demanded they give it to
him. When Janet Montanelli refused, he
used his power to shoot bolts of energy from his hand at them. The bolts hit the basement's wall and
ceiling instead, bringing down parts of it.
"A beam fell on Sydney and killed her. Jason barely escaped being killed also. You tried to stop Marco but he managed to
grab the talisman and flee before more of the basement ceiling collapsed."
Stuart stopped and closed his eyes. His mind was still having difficulty
accepting what, after Phoebe's kiss, his heart already had. He took another deep breath and forced himself
"After Jason was released from the emergency room, you
took him back to his hotel room. And since then...you've been with him.
"And you've all been hunting Marco."
“There...wasn’t anyone else in the shop when Jason and I
were there,” Phoebe said.
"Did the store owner or the girl's mother know what
Marco did?" Piper asked.
"No," Stuart said. "Phoebe used the
earthquake as a cover. It happened at almost the same time. She convinced
everyone that it was the earthquake that damaged the house and killed
"And Prue came here to vanquish Marco," Piper
said. "How did she know he'd be here?"
"Prue managed to bait Marco to come here and then set
the trap for him," Stuart said.
"Trap?" Piper asked.
"The demon trap," he said and pointed to the crystals. "Somehow, when they're set up as a
square, once a demon goes inside it the trap springs. If he tries to get out of the square he'll be burned by bolts of
Piper picked up one of the crystals.
"How did Prue know about this trap? And where did she get these crystals?"
"I...I assumed she found it described in the Book of
Shadows," Stuart said, "and that it told her what kind of crystals to
use. I didn't ask her. Haven't you seen
it in The Book?"
haven't," Phoebe said. "Had
we known about it, Prue would have used it to trap Tallor in the warehouse
instead of having to astral project around it while saying a spell."
"Prue had an extra crystal that she kept with her.
After it began to glow - that meant that the trap had sprung - Prue went to the
house to vanquish Marco," Stuart continued. "Then you got the premonition.
"Prue had forgotten her cell phone in The Manor. You had just come back from Jason's hotel room
and saw it on the stand. When you
picked it up, you got the premonition of Prue being killed while trying to
"And that's why we were running here," Phoebe
said, as tears began to fill her eyes again. "To save her from..."
Phoebe stopped, unable to finish the sentence.
She took another deep breath.
"Did I see in the premonition who...did this?"
"No. Just the back of someone burning Prue's head...and
her dying. But you heard...you thought it was Marco...say his name."
"What's the name?" she asked.
"I...I can't remember," he said. "You said it
quickly and then...then we rushed here."
Piper closed her eyes for a few seconds.
"We're going to take Prue...take Shannen...back to The
Manor," Piper said, holding back her tears. "We're going to get Leo.
And then we're going to figure out how - and why - this all
Numbed by what had happened, Piper, Phoebe and Stuart had
been sitting in the living room in silence for over fifteen minutes, staring into
the space in front of them, not a word said by anyone.
A silence relieved only by the ticking of a grandfather's
clock, the sounds echoing louder than they should have, underscoring the
At least, that's the dramatic touch that would have been
added to the scene had this been a TV show, Stuart thought. Had this been an
episode on Charmed.
But this wasn't Charmed. So there wasn't any
grandfather's clock. And there wasn't any ticking.
There was only silence.
Total, absolute silence.
But inside their heads there was no silence. Their heads were filled with thoughts. Trying to overcome the shock of what had
happened. Trying to understand
what had happened. Trying to deal with
their anguish of the un-thinkable happening - that Prue was dead.
"This isn't supposed to happen," Stuart said in a
low voice, unable to contain his anguish in silence any more. "Charmed is about three sisters who are
witches. Three sisters who protect and
save innocents. It's not about one of
the sisters being killed.
"And Charmed is real now. So..."
Stuart shook his head.
"So this isn't supposed to happen."
Kit came into the room but stopped abruptly. She looked back and forth between Piper and
Phoebe. Stuart could tell that she sensed something was wrong.
Kit gave a short cat's cry, the one cats make that sounds
like a baby's cry, then sat down silently at Phoebe's feet.
"It's my fault," Stuart said, a painful guilt
evident in his low voice. "If I wouldn't have made that wrong turn on
Filbert...we would have been there in time."
Piper said nothing. Lost in her thoughts, she continued
staring blankly ahead.
Phoebe looked at Stuart trying to understand.
"You mean...going to the house? You were driving the
car?" she asked. Stuart nodded.
"You don't know that we would have made it in
time," she said, not knowing if what she said was true. She was so
confused that she didn't know what was true anymore.
"And you know San Francisco much better than we
do," she added. "You got...us
there...faster than if Piper or I had been the one driving."
A light shone in the room and Leo appeared. Piper looked up
at him as he shook his head.
"They wouldn't give me any answers," he said.
"What?...How can they just leave us like this?"
Phoebe asked, angrily.
"All The Elders said was that you must understand
time," Leo said. "That all of
time is affected by anything anyone does."
Piper lowered her eyes again and went back to her thoughts.
"Look..I want to believe you, that things have
changed," Leo said. "And I want to believe that Prue shouldn't be
dead. But it's...very hard. I haven't seen anything change."
"Nor have I," Stuart said. "I couldn't accept
it either. But Phoebe convinced me and now I do."
"Leo, you have to help us...whether or not you
believe us," Phoebe said.
Leo pursed his lips, thought for a minute and looked at
Piper. Seeing that he couldn't get her attention, he turned back to Phoebe and
nodded his head slightly.
"I'll see what else I can find out about Marco,"
he said and orbed out.
"Maybe," Phoebe said after a moment, "it was
the spell we used to come back from the past. Maybe there's something wrong
with it, or something wrong about how we said it."
Stuart shook his head. "It's the same spell you used on
Charmed. The spell from that episode to
go back in time worked right, so the spell to return here had to work right,
"Tallor," Stuart said after a while, without
looking up. "He must have done something. This had to be a demon's doing.
A demon who has time powers and can change what happened."
Piper still didn't look up, didn't react to what Stuart
"Not Tallor," Phoebe said after a moment. "He saved my life tonight. And we just gave him back his power."
She shook her head.
"He had no reason to do this," she added.
Stuart didn't respond. He just looked at Phoebe and took a
"Maybe Jôlét got out of the pathway," Phoebe said,
"and he did this to get back at us."
"But you said you took the power back from him,"
Stuart said. "How would he be able
to change time?"
"I...don't know," Phoebe said, shaking her head.
"But it has to be a demon who did this."
"A demon didn't kill Prue," Piper said grimly,
still staring ahead.
"We killed her."
"What!?" Phoebe exclaimed.
Piper looked up at them.
"Time. It's all
connected," Piper said. "In ways we don't even realize. A trivial change to one thing can affect
many other things that...that to us seem unrelated.
"But they aren't un-related. Tallor told us that. He said that time is
intertwined in countless ways. And The Elders just told us that, too."
Piper took a deep breath.
"We stopped those people from coming into the
arcade," she continued. "The
two women and the girl. They ran out...maybe even stopped others who would have
come in, too.
"Leo said that all of time is affected by anything
anyone does. The present that we
left..." Piper paused and took another deep breath.
"It had to be predicated on those
people going into the arcade, spending time in the shops, maybe buying
things. And on a chain of events that
followed that were somehow connected. A
chain too intricate for us to comprehend.
"We changed all of that. We changed the past," Piper continued. "When we stopped
that past from happening, that chain of events was cut off. And a new chain began.
"A chain of different events that lead to a different
present. A chain that led to the talisman, to Marco, to Sydney Montanelli.
"And that led to Prue being killed."
Stuart and Phoebe were silent, trying to digest what Piper
"That has to be what happened," Piper said, with
"No," Phoebe said, "that can't be the
explanation. Jôlét did something to
Stuart, and then I almost died, because there was a direct connection to
Stuart's saving me from the demon car.
"But not here.
Those people have nothing to do with Marco. The girl I chased away from the arcade was about nine or ten
years old, not a teenager. She couldn't
have been Sydney Montanelli. Those were
"Your idea doesn't make sense."
"Connections through time do make sense,"
Piper said, "They're just too intricate and subtle for us to see and
understand. But this has to be
Piper stopped and thought for a moment. "We have to go
back and undo it," she said.
"If we went back again and let those people in to the
arcade they'd get hurt by Jôlét," Phoebe said, resisting the idea. "Or, more likely, killed by him. We can't do that."
"Then we'll have to get Jôlét out of there and away
from them," Piper said. "We'll have to lure him out of the
Piper took a deep breath.
"That will be my responsibility," she said.
"I'll do whatever I have to do to get him away from those people and
focused on me. Then you and...and
Prue...you'll take away his power and transfer it to Tallor."
Stuart was astonished as he listened to Piper. Numb from Prue's death, he only now realized
that in the changed real world, there was no Shannen Doherty, only Prue
Halliwell. And it was only Prue Halliwell, who was dead. And Piper...Piper was suddenly acting the
part of the older sister. No, not acting as in a role. She was taking charge,
just the way Prue would have.
Somehow, in real life, Piper was able to change, to evolve,
to act in a way that her character was never intended to act.
But was she? he
thought. Or was this Holly, in the shock of Shannen's death, discarding her
He looked at her closely.
No, he was sure she hadn't stopped being Piper. The role must have become so natural, so
real, that she hadn't even thought of dropping out of character.
Maybe the role had become so intertwined with who she was,
so integrated into her whole being, that she couldn't separate her real...
Stuart stopped. He
wasn't going to pursue that puzzle. Certainly not here. Not now.
But whatever the reason, he thought, this was Piper
taking charge, analyzing what had happened, laying out a plan, making the
decisions. And assuming responsibility
for everything - and for everyone.
"There was a vacant store on the other side of the arcade," Piper said. "We'll
deal with Jôlét there."
"I'm...not going to remember any of this, will I?"
Phoebe looked at him and shook her head.
"It's somehow part of our being The Charmed Ones that
lets us remember what happens to us, in time travel, and in spells, when others
"Be careful," he said. "Both of you...just be
"Let's get The Book of Shadows and find the time spell
again," Piper said.
"We don't have to.
I have it," Phoebe said, pulling it out of her pocket.
"It was still in my hand when we came
back to the present. Even though the present I took it from had changed."
"We have a bond with Prue, just as we have with Stuart, "
Piper said. "The spell will get us back to the moment
when we were the cause of its being undone."
She held the paper for both of them to see.
which was not to be done
Give us the
power to see it undone,
And turn back
To when it was
Piper and Phoebe looked at Prue. For a split second Piper was going to hug her but she stopped
herself as the people approached the far side of the arcade.
Prue looked at Phoebe, as if expecting her to do something.
"We have to stop those people from coming into the
arcade," Prue said. "They'll get hurt."
"No!" Piper said firmly. "Don't say anything
to them. I don't have time to explain."
"What?" Prue said.
"We've lived through this once, already," Phoebe
said to her. "Just trust Piper. And do exactly what she says."
Prue gave Phoebe a strange look and then turned to
Piper. But Piper was already peering
around the corner of the arcade. Jôlét was there and she raised her hand to
"Hurry!" Piper said, motioning to them. She ran across
the arcade to the vacant store. Phoebe grabbed a confused Prue's arm and ran to
the store too, with Tallor right behind them.
"Use your power to move the bolt and open the
lock," Piper said to Prue.
"This wasn't part of the plan," Prue protested.
"It is now," Piper said.
"Prue, there isn't time. Just open it," Phoebe
"What's going on..." Prue started to say. But the
looks on their faces told her this wasn't the time to ask. She raised her hand
and slid the bolt.
"Inside. Quickly!" Piper said, pushing the door
open. "Stay behind the door where Jôlét can't see you. When he comes in,
Prue, throw him against the wall."
They hurried inside the empty store. Piper stood in the
doorway and raised her hand.
"Jôlét," she called. "I know what you're going
to do to Stuart. I've come back through time to stop you. I'm using a spell to
take Tallor's power away from you."
Piper waited until she was sure she had Jôlét's attention.
"Take the power," she began slowly, making sure
that Jôlét heard her, "of time travel-"
A bolt of light shot out from Jôlét's sphere at her.
She wasn't fast enough in pulling back
inside the store and the bolt hit her in the chest just below her left
"Piper!" Phoebe shouted.
Piper shook her head at her. Clenching her fist from the
pain, she stuck her head out again.
"That this demon may hide," she continued slowly,
louder than before.
Another bolt shot out at Piper as Jôlét came running towards
her but this time she was faster in pulling back and it missed her.
She stepped back further away from the
doorway just as Jôlét came inside the store.
Jôlét's back was to the opened door - and to Prue. She waved her hand and he went flying across
the empty store. As he hit the wall his
grip loosened and the sphere fell to the floor. Phoebe ran over to him, kicked him three times and picked up the
"Piper - you're hurt," Prue said starting towards
"Transfer the power," Piper said, gritting her
Jôlét was on the floor and Phoebe held the sphere near him.
power of time travel
demon may hide,
Link it to this
And the power
The sphere glowed and as it started rotating the light
extended towards Jôlét. He was hurt
from Phoebe's kicks but he started to get to his knees. After a few seconds the sphere stopped and
Prue waved her hand, sending him back into the wall again. Phoebe turned to Tallor and held the sphere
up to him.
Contained in this sphere,
it whence it came
To the one who stands here."
The sphere glowed and revolved once again. The light
crackled as the low rumbling began. After a few seconds the sphere stopped.
"I have it!" Tallor proclaimed. "I have my
"Get out that vanquishing spell," Prue said.
"Don't bother," Tallor said.
He walked over and grabbed Jôlét as he was trying to get
up. They disappeared for a second, then
Tallor re-appeared alone.
"Where's Jôlét?" Prue asked Tallor.
"He's trapped in a time pathway he can't escape
from," Phoebe answered.
"How do you know?" Prue asked her.
Tallor looked at Phoebe in surprise.
"That's right," he said, in amazement. "You
understood what I did."
"Tallor," Phoebe said, "you have to return
Stuart through his pathway to our real present."
"Very well," he said. "He couldn't have gone
too far. I'll find him and take him back." Tallor walked out of the arcade
and headed down the pathway.
"Piper!" Prue said as she rushed over to her and
supported her with her arm. "We have to get you back to Leo to heal
Phoebe pulled out the paper with the spell from her pocket.
"Together Prue," she said.
everything it's place,
has been moved
Time and Space."
Phoebe looked around her at a familiar living room.
"We're back...in the right
present," Phoebe said, in amazement and relief.
"Piper!" Leo cried and rushed to her.
"Jôlét tried to kill her," Prue said.
Leo put his hands on Piper's chest and an aura of light
covered it. He kept his hands there for about fifteen seconds until the light
"Is she all right?" Prue asked.
"It...was bad," Leo answered, a little
stunned. "But she's OK now."
He threw his arms around her and hugged her.
"Well, we both got what we went after," Tallor
said. "I'll be going." He headed to the door and turned around.
"This was a unique experience," he said, "a
demon working together with good witches. Perhaps we'll even do this again, someday."
"Don't count on it," Prue said, giving him a look.
Tallor shrugged and walked out.
Phoebe threw her arms around Prue and hugged her, catching
her by surprise. And then Piper did the same.
"Why the hugs?" Prue asked. "And why did you
suddenly change our plan in the middle?"
"Because you were killed by a warlock while trying to
vanquish a demon," a voice from behind them said.
"And the new plan was Piper's."
Phoebe said, astonished, as she saw him standing on the staircase. "You...you remember?"
Stuart came down the rest of the stairs and joined them.
"I remembered the name of who killed Prue," he
said. "I knew I would forget everything once you put time back the way it
should be. So after you said the spell
to go back in time again, I quickly wrote down the name and a few notes about
what happened." He lifted a small
piece of crumpled paper that was in his hand.
"Enough to know that you went back once to save
me. And a second time to save Prue
after she was killed."
"Who killed her?" Piper asked.
"His name is Neville," he answered. "He's a
"You wrote that paper in a present that doesn't exist
anymore," Phoebe said. "That paper shouldn't exist, either."
"You're right," Stuart said.
"But remember what you said about how
you're not affected by time changing, that you remember what happened.
Kit is a witch's cat - your cat - and has
some abilities of her own. So I thought that just as you're not affected, she
wouldn't be either.
"When you came back from the past the first time, even
though the present had changed, you were still holding the paper with the
spells in your hand. A paper that came
from a present that no longer existed. Whatever you hold isn't affected, just
as you aren't affected. I figured the
same was true for whatever Kit held. So
I took the paper and put it under her collar against her body.
"When you came back now the second time and the present
was restored, Kit came over to me and jumped in my lap. She kept rubbing her
neck against me until I saw the paper under her collar."
"Will someone tell me what's going on?" Prue
"Me, too," Leo said.
"Time was changed and you were killed by a warlock
named Neville," Piper said.
"Phoebe and I went back in time again to save you."
"I was...killed?" Prue asked, stunned.
"Piper took on the older sister role and came up with
the plan and the responsibility to save you," Phoebe said.
"I'm so happy that you're alive," Piper said, and
hugged her again. "And you can have your 'older sister' role back."
"Before everything that's happened, we were supposed to
have a date tonight," Phoebe said to Stuart. "Would you mind if, instead, we all went out together? We could talk about everything that happened
"Sounds good to me," Leo said.
"And to me, too," Stuart said. "After all of
this, I think we all need to unwind together."
"Yes," Prue said. "I...need to understand
"So do I," Stuart said. "What I told you is
all that I know. That's all that...I wrote down."
Piper curved her arm and looked at Leo. "Then let's
go," she said, as he extended his arm and she hooked hers around his.
It was a typically lovely late May evening. Though a light
jacket was in order, it was, thanks to the city's unique weather, actually the middle
of San Francisco's summer.
Prue, Phoebe and Stuart were walking three abreast, with Leo
and Piper right behind them.
Columbus Avenue was alive with couples and small groups
going into or coming out of the restaurants, cafés and bistros that lined both
sides of the wide street. And whose
illuminated signs and occasional music left no doubt that Columbus Avenue was a
center of San Francisco nightlife.
"It's good going out together," Prue said.
Yes, Stuart thought, it was very good going out
together. A relaxing break from what they
had been through. And it was just the
way he had seen them do it on Charmed.
Only this time, he wasn't watching them. He was with them.
A trolley coach drove past them in the opposite direction,
its dual poles making their distinctive 'swish' sound as they rode across the
joints of their power wires strung above the length of the avenue. Its driver slowed down to maneuver the
electric bus around a double parked car and as he did something caught Phoebe's
"Look at that!"
Phoebe said, stopping and pointing to the large, rectangular
Dimension along the bus' side.
Pictures of Lori Rom and the show's other stars were prominently
displayed surrounding the show's logo.
"You never see anything like that done for Charmed."
"That's because you don't have, uh, you-know-who in
charge of promotion, the way they are here," Stuart answered.
"They have a vested interest in Demon
Dimension. When they changed, uh, the way things are, they arranged the
"They've had a vested interest in Charmed, too,"
Phoebe said. "As The WB hasn't
cared much about doing anything for it, maybe we can get them to, uh,
arrange promotions for Charmed, as well."
"It's a...TV show,"
"I don't get to watch TV
much," Leo said. "Is it any good?"
realistic," Prue said, with a slight smile. "The actresses literally bring their characters to
"Indeed we do,"
Piper said. " Uh...I mean, they do,"
"You really take quite an
interest in this Charmed." Leo said, as they continued walking up Columbus
"I, uh, know some of the
people on it," Stuart answered.
"What are they
like?" Leo asked.
"Aren't Hollywood people, well, sort of
different from ordinary people?"
"Oh, they're really
quite ordinary," Stuart said. "Just as ordinary as, say, your average
Phoebe covered her mouth in
an unsuccessful attempt to stifle her laugh.
"Well," Piper said,
changing the subject,
"there's a demon named Marco and a warlock named Neville out there.
Maybe they're even working together. One of
these days we're probably going to run into them for real."
"At least we can be
prepared for them," Phoebe said. "We know what their powers
As they came to the corner of
Vallejo, they stopped to wait for the light to change to green before crossing
"It's so strange,"
Stuart said, "to live through something that never happened. Something that only would have
happened had you not gone back in time and reset time to the way it had
Prue turned around to face
Piper and Phoebe.
"I just...I have to say
thank you," she said, "for everything you did tonight.
For risking your lives to save me."
"And I have to thank
you, too," Stuart added.
"That's just the
responsibility that comes with being a charmed witch," Piper replied.
There was something different
in Piper's tone, Stuart thought.
Something different in how she said that.
Acceptance. There was
acceptance of her - of their - responsibility. An acceptance of who they
were, without the reluctance and resistance.
An acceptance that hadn't been there before.
Maybe it was because Piper had evolved into being the older sister. Maybe that
process changed something inside of her.
And maybe now that Prue was alive again that something would go
away. And she'll go back to being how she had been.
But for now, it was
there. An acceptance, without
complaints, of what she had to do and of who she was. Her job was to protect
innocents and thwart demons.
Because she was Piper
The charmed witch.