Phoebe tucked the collar
of her sand-colored double-breasted
raincoat underneath the curls of her long, shoulder length red hair and cinched
the coat's belt at her waist. She adjusted the sunglasses that she was wearing,
even though the sky was overcast, and held her newspaper folded in quarters in
her right hand. She started walking purposefully, her head facing forward
straight in front of her, the sound of her shoes reverberating through the empty
piazza. Empty, that is, except for the dozens of pigeons congregating in her
path. They dispersed as she approached them and then, as soon as she had
passed, returned and stood about as if they had never been disturbed.
Phoebe had almost crossed the entire piazza when, turning
her eyes but not her head, she spotted Stuart some twenty-five yards off to the
side. He was standing in one of the identical archways that lined the entire
left side of the piazza. Seeing him raise and then lower his trenchcoat collar, she
She came to a small café at the piazza's far edge and looked
at the name on the sign above its doorway.
Café on the Square, Phoebe thought, remembering the rough translation
of the Czech name she had been given and what she had been told about it - one of Prague's
somewhat out-of-the-way, where it was less likely that 'they' would be looking for her.
Satisfied, Phoebe sat down at one of the three square tables
that was nearest to the café's wall. Despite there not being any bright
sunlight, the low hanging green and orange table awning had been deployed.
Though her back was to the piazza, Stuart was still visible to her from the
corner of her eye.
Phoebe ordered a cappuccino, then partially opened her
newspaper, leaving it folded in half. Acting as if she was reading the front page,
which of course she wasn't as she did not understand Czech, she took something small
from her coat pocket and slipped it into the newspaper's fold.
The waitress brought the cappuccino and Phoebe moved the
newspaper to the right side of the table, making room for the waitress to put
the cup down in front of her.
"Thank you," Phoebe said, but then remembered
the two Czech words she had learned.
"Dĕekuji váám," she repeated and the girl gave her
a small smile in acknowledgement.
Phoebe began slowly drinking her cappuccino, a few sips
at a time. After a moment a small man emerged from the café. A stubble of a
beard on his dark complexion cheeks, his large, bulging eyes darted nervously
across the piazza's expanse. Seemingly satisfied at what he saw, he took a few
steps towards Phoebe's table. Seeing her newspaper lying on it, he motioned
with his hand if he might look at it. Phoebe nodded and the small man sat down
at the side of the table to her right. The low hung awning obscured his face
from the piazza though from his chair he could see anyone who was there.
some more of her cappuccino, staring ahead at the café and ignoring her table
companion. As the man took the newspaper, he put his hand into the fold,
removed what Phoebe had put there, and discreetly held it below the table's
edge on his left thigh. The small, square translucent object fit easily into
the palm of his left hand. A yellow light was pulsing quickly in the square's
lower right corner.
The man turned the square clockwise and the light moved to
the right side of the square. He moved the square closer to his right pants
pocket. The light turned red and was pulsing so rapidly that it appeared to be
steady. He put his right hand into the pocket and pulled out a small ruby.
Satisfied, the small man put both the ruby and the square
into his pocket. He looked up and scanned the piazza, then looked to his right
at the café. Seeing no one approaching, he took out a small, folded over manila
envelope from the inside pocket of his suit jacket. Moving the newspaper closer
to him, he placed the envelope inside its fold. He flipped the newspaper over
as if to read the lower half of the front page, sat that way for a minute, then
replaced the paper on the table as it had been. He stood up and bowed his head
slightly to Phoebe in a courtly 'thank you'. She gave him a polite smile and as
he walked away, went back to her drink.
Finishing her cappuccino, Phoebe moved the newspaper closer
to her, discreetly took out the manila envelope and placed it inside her coat
pocket. She stood up, took the newspaper and left some money on the table. From
the corner of her eye she saw Stuart raise and lower his coat collar, giving
her the ‘OK’ signal again, and she began to walk back through the piazza.
Phoebe was halfway across the piazza when she heard a cry
from behind her. She turned around and saw two tall men in dark suits holding
the small man from the café up against the café wall. A light crackled from the
hand of one of the men to the small man's chest. The small man screamed again
and collapsed to the ground. The two men starting going through the small man's
Phoebe turned back and resumed walking. But presently the
sound of her steps was joined by the sound of other feet. Feet that were
running. She looked over her shoulder and saw the two men running towards her.
She turned her head back and started running away from them. She reached the
edge of the piazza and ran to a small red Citroën parked at the curb, pulled
out a key from her pocket and jumped inside. She started up the car and with a
screech of tires pulled away.
The two men had run two-thirds of the way across the
piazza when they saw Phoebe drive off. They stopped and one of them pulled
something out of his jacket pocket. A photograph of a large black sedan. The
two men placed their right hands on either side of the photograph, holding it
between their palms. Suddenly the picture began to expand in three dimensions.
A real car began to form. They each stepped backwards to give it room and in
five seconds a full car stood between them. They jumped into the black sedan,
drove across the rest of the empty piazza and took off after Phoebe.
Citroën was tearing down one narrow curving street after another. Phoebe barely
slowed down as she turned right on a sharp corner. Both left wheels of the car
lifted off the ground and the car began to tip over. But suddenly it righted
itself and the wheels hugged the street again.
The black sedan was following Phoebe and now it was gaining
on her. Two teenage girls started to cross the street in front of Phoebe and
she swerved, barely missing them. The girls saw the black sedan racing down the
street and, realizing it didn't care about them, jumped back just in time to
the safety of the narrow sidewalk.
Phoebe turned right at the corner, racing the red
Citroën down another narrow street. She had driven less than a block when she
saw, in her mirror, the black sedan turning onto the street behind her. The
sedan's driver thrust his left hand out of his window and a bolt of energy shot
from his hand towards the red Citroën. Phoebe saw it coming in the mirror and
swerved. But a second bolt of energy followed and destroyed the side mirror
next to her.
Phoebe screamed, startled. She floored the gas pedal and zoomed passed an
intersection. She drove another block and as she passed the next corner, a
white van pulled out from the cross street behind her and blocked the
intersection. Stuart jumped out of the van and ran back down the cross street
he had come from. He was not ten yards from the intersection when he heard the
crash. He looked over his shoulder and saw the car and van enveloped in flames.
Then he turned his head back and kept on running away.
Stuart ran another block, then turned right and ran another
half block until stopping by a small grey car. He jumped into it, started the
engine and pulled away. He made two right turns and then a left turn, pulled up
at the back of a warehouse two-thirds of the way down the block and waited with
the motor running. In a moment, the red Citroën turned onto the street from the
opposite direction, made a sharp U-turn and pulled over to the curb in front of
Stuart. Phoebe hurried out of her car and jumped into the passenger side of the
grey car. Stuart floored the gas pedal and they sped away.
It began to drizzle as they drove quickly through the narrow streets
of Staré Město - the Old City - and past the National Theater.
They continued across the Legions Bridge that spans the Vltava River that runs
through the heart of Prague. The bridge brought
them into the Mala Straná section of the
city on the river's west bank. Umbrellas began
popping open on the narrow sidewalks. Stuart had to slow down because of the
rain-slicked streets but in a few minutes they pulled up to a small brick structure
attached to larger buildings on either side of it. Phoebe stared at the garage
door painted on the small building's wall.
is gone but was here before,
again and open once more."
The painting shimmered and transformed into a real garage door.
Then it opened and Stuart drove the grey car into the garage. As Stuart shut
off the motor the door closed behind them, then changed back to being just a
painting. Phoebe pulled off her sunglasses and red wig.
"I got it," she said, pulling the folded manila
envelope from her coat pocket.
"Perfect," Stuart said. "Including dressing
for the part with that spy disguise so you wouldn't be recognized by any demons afterwards.
Just the way Hollywood would do it."
"Not quite," Phoebe said. "In Hollywood, they
would have shot a few closeups of me sitting in the Citroën. In post-production,
they would have edited them in before, during and after the car chase to make
it look like I was driving. Which I wouldn't have been. A stunt driver would
have really been driving the Citroën. And he would have controlled the car
better than I did. I had to use a spell to keep its wheels on the ground and
not roll over on those wild turns." She stopped and exhaled.
"And in Hollywood," she added, "they wouldn't
have been really trying to kill me."
"Here's one thing that I know Hollywood would
have us do after this kind of chase and intrigue," he said with a small
smile, "especially when we're wearing trench coats." He leaned over,
turned his head to her and gently kissed her.
"Well," Stuart said, "maybe after this you
won't need a stunt driver back in Hollywood."
"If we ever get back to Hollywood," Phoebe
said, staring at the manila envelope and fingering it in her right hand.
"If we ever get back to Hollywood alive."
Phoebe took off her coat as they came into the small flat
above the garage and threw it onto the sofa, along with her wig and sunglasses.
"I've seen this white-van-blocks-pursuing-car so many
times in movies and on television," Stuart said as he locked the door
behind them. "To think that this over-used chase-scene cliché actually
"Life imitating Hollywood," Phoebe said.
She carefully opened the manila envelope and took out a CD.
She went over to the cabinet, unlocked it, took out a laptop computer and
started it up.
"My spell to make that square find precious gems really
worked," she said. "Vadim tried it before he gave me the disc."
"A lot of good it did him," Stuart said.
"They killed him."
"Ruthless evil," Phoebe said.
"Ruthless evil," Keir said.
It was two days earlier. Two days before Phoebe's
cappuccino at the café. Two days before her life and death car chase through
the five-hundred year-old, narrow winding streets of the Czech Republic's capital, Prague.
They were in the house with the bagpipe and
the pictures of the girls dancing the Highland Fling, the house with the park
and walking oval outside. The house they had been brought to the day they had
met Melinda Warren.
Now they were there again, sitting on the sofa, opposite
Keir who was standing in front of the fireplace. Whatever humbling he had
experienced at their previous success in defeating Salem’s Abigail Eames was
not evident, Piper thought. He was as supremely self-confident and dogmatic as
he had been the first time. And he looked and sounded even more like Donald
Sutherland to her this time, if that was possible, though the condescending
tone was gone. Short, rotund and balding Meriwether, in the same ill-fitting
black suit he had worn when last they saw him, sat off in a corner.
They were listening to Keir tell them about who they
would have to vanquish. Only this time it wasn't a time-traveling witch from
"That's the difference between these demons and the
ones you've been up against until now," Keir said. "These demons
don't need a reason to torture or kill someone. They do it as normally as you
Piper exhaled. She was getting a bad feeling about where
this was leading.
"And the other difference is that these demons work
clandestinely," Keir continued. "They're much more hidden and
secretive in using their powers than are normal demons."
"Clandestine, secretive, torture," Stuart said,
with a hint of a smile. "It almost sounds like some secret spy
organization...like you're talking about the old Russian KGB."
"I am," Keir said. He stared coldly at
Stuart who quickly dropped the smile.
"Demons need to insinuate themselves into mortal
society," Keir continued, "to do their evil. They need money for
clothes and for places to live so that they can fit in. And they're willing to
invest time and effort for that. Working their way into the KGB was worth it to
"The KGB gave them the money they needed to live
like normal people. And just as important, it gave them the access to mortal
societies and the opportunities to do their evil. Torturing prisoners in
Lubyanka Prison until they died so that they could take their souls, fomenting
revolutions, upheavals, assassinations...leading to more death and
"You're saying the whole Russian KGB was made up of
demons?" Phoebe asked.
"No, not all of it," Keir said, "but
important parts of it. The chairman and deputy chairmen weren't demons. But
some of the directorate chiefs and a good number of KGB agents were. There are
at least half-a-dozen political murders done prior to nine years ago, when the
Soviet Union still existed, which
resulted in riots, revolutions or civil wars around the world, that your mortal
CIA attributes to the KGB. But they couldn’t figure out how the murders were
"And the reason they couldn't figure it out is because
they weren't accomplished by mortal methods. They were done by KGB demons using
This was all beginning to overwhelm Phoebe. Spies and
demons being mixed together, being one in the same. This all sounded like some
scary movie. But it wasn't. The scary part was that it wasn't a movie.
It was all very real. And they were being put right in the middle of it.
"When the Soviet Union imploded nine years
ago," Keir continued, "major changes were happening. The KGB started
being broken up into other organizations and its activities began to be
scrutinized, both because of the changed foreign policy and to be sure of
loyalty to the new government. Some of the demons wound up in the SVR, the
Foreign Intelligence Service or in the FSB, the Federal Security Service.
"Most of the demons decided that these new services
no longer gave them the facilities and opportunities they needed and so they
left. But a handful stayed on. After a while, the chief demon saw that he would
no longer be able to cover up these remaining demons' activities and protect
them from discovery. Lie detectors were being employed and the demons could not
Keir paused for a moment and took a deep breath.
"The chief KGB demon was afraid they would be
discovered," he resumed, "so he forced a warlock to cast a spell on
them. A spell that made them forget that they were demons. Not having anything
to hide, they could pass any investigation of them, even lie detectors, and
still keep their positions. Positions that would be key to any future evil
"Four days ago, the chief demon got a warlock named
Vadim to remove the spell from those demons so they would remember who and what
they are. He undoubtably has a plan for evil that is important enough to awaken
"Sleepers?" Leo asked.
"That's an espionage term for agents who for years
do nothing at all, living perfectly normal lives, until the time comes for
them to be activated," Stuart said.
"Hmmm...sort of like you," Leo said to the
girls. "Your powers were bound as children. You lived normal lives and
didn't even remember that you were witches who had powers until the time came
for you to become The Charmed Ones."
"We lived normal lives because we never were
witches to begin with," Piper muttered under her breath.
"I don't know why the chief demon chose right now to
execute his plan," Keir said.
"I can guess," Piper said. "The eve of the
solstice is approaching."
"Perhaps," Keir said.
"And you know about all of this through your demon
spy?" Phoebe asked. "The same one who told you about Abigail Eames
"Yes," Keir acknowledged.
"So," Piper said, "you want us to vanquish
these leftover KGB demons before they can put their plan into action."
"That's right," Keir said.
"OK," Prue said. "Tell us who they are and
we'll vanquish them."
"We don't know who they are," Keir said.
"What?!" Phoebe exclaimed.
"Your demon spy who told you all about this couldn't give you their names?
How can we vanquish them if we don't know who they are?"
"Your first job," Keir said, "is to find
out who they are. And then to vanquish them."
"And just how are we supposed to do that?"
Piper asked, squinting at him. Her bad feelings about all of this had just
"The chief demon has a computer file with the names
and positions of the three demons," Keir said.
"Demons use computers?" Prue asked, amazed.
"The demons were KGB," Keir replied.
"They've been using technology all along. It's perfectly natural for them
to keep their demonic information that way."
"I wonder if there's anything in the Book of Shadows
about vanquishing demon computers," Phoebe quipped.
"The chief demon offered Vadim something big for
reversing the spell," Keir said. "But Vadim was suspicious and
checked around. He found out that the warlock who cast the spell to make them
forget was never seen again. Vadim realized that the chief demon wasn't leaving
anyone around who knew who these demons were and that the same thing would
happen to him after he removed the spell. But it was too late for him to back
out of it. He already knew too much for the chief demon to leave him alive.
"The chief demon had a copy of that computer file on
a computer CD," Keir continued. "Vadim had planned how to escape
after removing the spell. When he did, he also stole the CD. He's offered it to
us in exchange for something that will let him become rich enough to go
someplace far away where the chief demon won't find him. And live there
"What does he want?" Leo asked.
"A way of locating precious gems," Keir
"That's all?" Prue asked. "Why didn't he
ask for something bigger."
"He did," Keir answered. "We told him no
deal. He negotiated with us through an intermediary. But he knows that this CD
will be worthless once the demons' plans are used and so he settled for the gem
"Do you have such a thing?" Phoebe asked.
"No," Keir said. "That's another job you
have. To come up with a spell to give some innocuous object this ability."
"Is that all," Piper said, with sarcasm.
"No, it's not," Keir said and Piper
squinted at him again. "Then you have to deliver it to Vadim and carry out
the exchange for the CD."
My bad feelings about all of this were right, Piper
"Look," Prue said, "those demons may have
been KGB spies but we aren't. We don't know anything about acting like spies.
Keir stared at Prue silently for five seconds.
"You're experienced," he said flatly. "You
can play the parts."
At those last three words Phoebe and Piper turned to each
other. Play the parts? Piper thought. Was that merely a figure of
speech? Or did Keir purposely choose those words? We never did figure out last
time whether or not he knew who we really were.
Experienced, Phoebe thought. Did he mean as
witches? Or as actresses?
"You'll handle the exchange," Keir said.
"Vadim is terrified that the demons will discover he has the CD and find
him. He refuses to travel anywhere lest he be spotted by one of them. It has to
be brought to him. And it has to be done by a witch who could handle the demons
if they did show up."
"Where is he," Phoebe asked.
"He's in Prague," Keir said. "You leave
for there tonight."
"Prague?" Prue repeated. "What's he doing
"That's where he's been hiding since he stole the
CD," Keir said. "It's not in Russia but it’s not that far away from
it, either. He apparently had connections to secretly get him there."
"Wait," Piper said. "We have to go to
Prague where we don't know our way around and where the demons who are trying
to kill Vadim will probably come after us to kill us, too?"
"No," Keir said. "You don't. And neither
does Prue. Only Phoebe is going."
"What?!" Phoebe exclaimed.
"Vadim doesn't trust us, either," Keir
explained. "He's afraid we'll send a witch who'll use her powers to steal
the disc from him. And he can detect witches' active powers. If he senses
either of your sisters' powers there he'll run away. And we won't get the CD.
But your power is not active. It can't do too much so he won't care about
"Thank you," Phoebe said. "I certainly
know who to come to when I need a boost for my morale."
"We are not letting Phoebe go halfway around the
world to meet a warlock who the demons are after all by herself," Piper
said with a steely look.
"She won't be going by herself," Keir said.
"Your mortal friend, Stuart, will be going with her. He won't frighten off
Vadim. And there may be some things that he will be able to do for this.
"Charmed spies, KGB demons," Phoebe said, as she
slipped the CD into the laptop's drive. "Brad Kern would never write an
episode like this. It would be too far-fetched for Charmed's viewers to accept."
"With everything that's happened to us the past few
weeks," Stuart said, as he hung up his trenchcoat in the closet, "and
with what we're in the middle of now, we've learned that truth is a lot
stranger than Brad's Charmed fiction."
The laptop clicked as the CD began loading.
"Well, at least we got to see some of Prague," he
said, "even if we were trying to
escape from demons while we saw it."
"Here it is," Phoebe said as an image appeared on
On the left side of the screen was a head shot of a middle-aged
man in a military uniform. On the right side of the screen were lines of words.
There were two words on the first line:
"It's in Russian," Phoebe said,
"as we suspected."
"Had all of this been part of a Charmed episode,"
Stuart said, "the writers would have come up with some lame excuse for
everything being in English so that we, and the audience, could read and
understand it. But this is real life. These demons were KGB. While I've no
doubt they speak English, they have no reason to write in it." He stared
at the Cyrillic-written words on the screen for a few seconds.
Kolichov," he read. "Directorate K, SVR.
"It's a good thing you have some knowledge of
Russian," Phoebe said.
"I can read names, titles and places," Stuart
said, "And I can get the gist of descriptive sentences with my limited
vocabulary. But in conversation I'm pretty weak. The Russian-English dictionary
we loaded down on the computer will help fill in the rest."
Stuart looked down the rest of the screen and his expression
suddenly changed. He became silent as his eyes fixed on two words near the
"What is it?" Phoebe asked, realizing it must be
something bad. Stuart pointed to the words.
"Khimicheskoye oru-zhi-ye," he read and exhaled.
The two words sent a chill down Phoebe's spine.
"What is this demon planning on doing with chemical
weapons?" she asked. Stuart shook his head.
"I don't know," he replied. "It doesn't say.
But there's a name just below it." He pointed to it.
"Polkovnik Ilya Lobachevsky," Stuart read.
"Polkovnik means colonel. Whatever Kolichov is going to do will somehow
involve this army colonel."
"What's that word under the name, on the last
line?" Phoebe asked.
"Novichok," Stuart said.
"What does it mean?" she asked. Stuart shook his
"I don't know," he said. "We"ll have to
use the downloaded dictionary for this one."
"OK. But let's have a look at the next page,
first," Phoebe said, and pressed the down key.
"Vladimir Petrokov," Stuart read. "FSO -
Federal Protective Service. They operate underground command centers and
protect strategic facilities."
Stuart looked down the screen at the rest of the Cyrillic
"There it is again," he said. "Chemical
weapons. And below it..." he paused for a second, trying to make out the
"Militziya baza...uh, that means army base," he
said. "Novgorod. That's the name of a city."
"Must be a base that's near it," Phoebe said.
"Anything special about it?"
"Not that I know of," Stuart said. "Novgorod
is somewhere in Russia but I'm not even sure where."
"This is getting to be...really...frightening,"
she said, slowly.
"Demons and chemical weapons," Stuart said.
"A recipe for a really big disaster."
"This certainly fits in the ‘major destruction’
category that we were brought here to stop," Phoebe said.
"It does," Stuart said. "But to stop this
we need to know just what ‘this’ is. How they're planning on using these
weapons. It would have been helpful had there been some reference to this on
The Demon Dimension."
"Maybe there's something more here that will help
us," she said, and pressed the down key again.
"Wow!" Stuart said. The waist up picture of the
blonde woman caught him by surprise. She was in her mid-thirties, slim, her
hair falling attractively across her forehead. Stuart thought her high
cheekboned, slightly oval face was beautiful, her lips sensuous, her expression
one of complete self-assuredness and self-confidence, complemented by a sense
of strength imparted by her army uniform.
But her eyes...her eyes were the coldest, most merciless
eyes he had ever seen in a girl.
Despite that, Stuart found her to be very seductive. And
found himself being seduced.
"Attracted?" Phoebe asked.
"Intrigued," Stuart answered, fudging the truth.
"Who is she?" she asked.
"Ivana Zhinovsky," Stuart read. He stared at her
picture silently for a few seconds, finding it difficult to look away from her.
"And?" Phoebe prompted.
"Uh..." he said, finally managing to shift his
attention from the picture to the text beside it.
"She's in the FSB - the Federal Security Service,"
he continued, "in its Counter-Intelligence Department."
"There's a lot more written here than on the prior
screens," Phoebe said. "What's it all mean?"
Stuart looked at the text for a moment then slowly shook his
"I can make out a few words here and there," he
said, "but not enough to interpret it all. It's time for the
Stuart had finished writing the translation on the computer
and Phoebe looked at it as he displayed it on the screen.
"Use spell to launch chemical weapons cannisters
through the air," Phoebe read, "open up when over major cities and
pour out the weapons over the populace." She stopped as the dimension of
the demons' plan hit her.
"This isn't just major destruction," she said.
"This Zhinovsky’s got to be one powerful demon to be
able to do that," Stuart said.
"Entire stockpile of chemical weapons will be
available," Phoebe said, reading the last line on the screen.
"How will they get the weapons, when will they do
this...and how do we stop them?" Stuart asked. "Those are the
questions we need answers to."
Phoebe exhaled and stared at the screen.
"The sooner we get back home to The Manor," Phoebe
said, "the sooner we can start trying to find those answers."
"Hello, Darryl," Prue said.
"Prue," Morris said, looking up from his
paperwork. "What brings you here?"
"I need your help," she said, sitting down on the
chair to the left side of his desk. "Big help."
"What's wrong?" Darryl asked, getting worried.
"Did something happen to Piper or Phoebe?"
"No, no, it's not them," Prue said. "They're
OK. At least for now. It's...everyone else."
"Everyone else?" Morris repeated. "Prue, what
did you get yourself into this time?" He stopped and looked at her.
"I know I'm going to regret asking you that question."
"You have connections in Washington," she said.
"Connections?" he repeated.
"Uh, huh. Andy told me," Prue said, making it up.
It was never explicit in a Charmed episode, she thought. But it was plausible,
even logical that in the Charmed past Morris had been given by The Elders he
would have worked with or would have known people in Washington. At least, she
had to take the chance that it was logical.
"He did?" Morris asked. "Why...would Andy
even talk about that?"
"It...just...came up in conversation one night over
dinner," Prue said.
"Andy was talking shop with you on a date?" he
asked, in surprise.
"We were in a restaurant and...the service was
slow," she said, shrugging her shoulders. "Uh, Darryl, it's really
important. I need information."
"Information from Washington about..." he said
slowly, bracing himself. Prue took a deep breath.
"Russian chemical weapons," she said. "I need
to know if there's anything that's supposed to happen to them."
Morris stared at her motionless. He wanted to say something
but was too taken aback.
"Uh...I must have not heard you right," he finally
said. "It sounded like you said...chemical weapons."
"I did," Prue said, with a slight grimace.
"You're involved with-" Morris stopped, gave a
quick look around the room and lowered his voice. "...with chemical
"It's important that they don't fall into the wrong
hands," Prue said, in a way of explanation.
"The...wrong hands," he repeated, staring at her
"And you want me...to get you information about
them?" he asked, with incredulity.
"Yes," Prue said, then hesitated. "I need to
know if there's anything unusual that's happened to the Russian ones, or if
anything is supposed to be happening with them."
"Oh," Morris said, "is that all."
"Uh, no...actually, it isn't," Prue said. "I
also need information about a Colonel Ilya Lobachevsky in the Russian army. I
think he's connected to their chemical weapons program."
Morris sat motionless for a moment, silently staring at Prue
"Look, Darryl," she said, "I can't explain it
"You never can explain it," he said.
"But it's very important," she said.
"It always is," he countered.
"Darryl, please," Prue said, "there isn't
much time. Millions of lives are at stake. Any information you can get from
your contacts on the Russian weapons and Lobachevsky will help."
"Russian weapons," Morris repeated. "American
chemical weapons aren't good enough?"
Prue shook her head.
"Prue," Morris said, "you want to me to start
asking questions about things that are not only none of my business, but that
must be so top secret classified that their none of anyone else's business,
"But if you try I know you can find out," she
Morris turned to the telephone on his desk and picked it up.
"Morris," he said into the mouthpiece.
"Then you are going to try, aren't you,"
Prue said to him.
"Yes," Morris said into the telephone.
"Good," Prue said, and stood up. "Thank
"Uh, no," Morris said. "Uh...I didn't mean
no," he said into the telephone. "I mean yes to you,"
"I know I can depend on you, Darryl," Prue said as
she hurried towards the door.
"Uh...wait," Morris called after her. "No...I
don't mean you should would wait," he said into the telephone. He
watched Prue walk out, then leaned back in his chair and exhaled.
Prue was sitting at the table in front of her laptop as
Stuart came into the conservatory.
"I thought I could find information on Internet about
chemical weapons that would help us," she said. "But there isn't much
out there. And the little there is in highly technical terminology that I don't
Stuart sat down next to her and briefly glanced at the
"Wendy could help," he said.
"Who's Wendy?" Prue asked.
"Wendy Zyczek, a girl I..." Stuart began, then
hesitated for a second. "...I knew a while ago in New York. She was
on her way to becoming a chemist. She really understood this stuff."
"You had a relationship," Prue said, sensing it in
his tone. Stuart nodded.
"How close?" she asked.
"Not as close as we thought it was," he said,
"or at least not as close as I thought it was. We had been seeing
each other for over five months. They were really...really good months. I've
never felt so secure...as when Wendy was lying next to me with her arms around
me." He stopped for a second and gently exhaled.
"But then Wendy decided that though she felt it had
been good and that she liked me," Stuart contined, "but that
long-term isn’t wasn’t going to be...’right’. Whatever...'right'...meant to
"You still think about her?" Prue asked. "Uh,
no...I'm sorry. I shouldn't have asked."
"It's OK," Stuart said. "Sometimes I do.
Because I get reminded of her."
"By Phoebe?" Prue asked.
"No, by Piper," he said. "There's some
resemblance between them. Similarities in the shape of their faces and their
features. They're almost the same height. And they even wear their long, dark
brown hair the same way."
"Breaking up must have been hard on you," she
"It hurt," Stuart said, simply. But from the look
on his face, Prue knew that it had hurt him a lot more than he was saying. And
"But there were no bad words or bad feelings," he
said. "We split up on good terms."
"Good enough that you could call her to get information
on these weapons?" Prue asked.
"Yes," Stuart said, "I could have. If the
real world hadn't been altered. But in this Charmed modified reality, Wendy
doesn't know me. I'm nobody to her. I never existed for her." He stopped
and exhaled. "I never existed for anybody."
Prue heard the melancholy in his voice. And she realized
that the whole time they’d been in this changed reality she hadn’t heard it
before. She took hold of Stuart's hand.
"You exist for us," she said, squeezing his hand.
Wendy's wound hasn't healed, she thought, and it's triggered his melancholy
about his not really being himself here.
"We may not be everyone you ever knew," Prue said.
"But you belong with us and we care about you."
Stuart took a deep breath.
"I'm sorry," he said. "Since we got here I've
been trying to be strong for the three of you, to give you support about what's
happened to you. I'm...I'm sorry, I had a weak moment."
"According to Connie Burge and Brad Kern,” Prue said, “I'm
supposed to be the strong, oldest sister who supports Piper and Phoebe. But I
miss my...my existence, as Shannen Doherty, too. We each have our weak
moments. And we help each other get through them."
Stuart looked at Prue and squeezed her hand.
"Thanks, Prue," he said, and she gave him a
"So," she said, "we don't have Wendy to help
"Umm, maybe we do," he said. "As she became
more involved in chemistry, Wendy, along with some of her budding
chemists-in-the-making friends, became interested in chemical weapons. Wendy
did a lot of research and compiled the information she found on a website she
created for them to share. But she felt that some of this information was not
safe for the whole world to see. So she set it up to require a userid and
password to access the site. Each of her friends had one.
"I didn't really have an interest in it," he
continued, "but given our relationship..." he paused for a moment,
the words stirring up the memories again."...given our relationship, Wendy
gave me a userid, anyway."
"This is going to be great," Wendy said. She
was sitting next to Stuart on the sofa, the PC on a small table in front of
her. She was wearing a tailored maroon blouse, charcoal grey pants and black
loafers, the outfit Stuart liked her in the most.
"We're going to be able to understand a lot of
what's really going on with all of these chemical weapons," she said.
"Is it really a good idea to have all of this
information?" Stuart asked. "I mean, the wrong people could learn
things they wouldn't otherwise have known."
"It needs a userid and password to get in to
it," she said. "I've giving them only to my trusted friends who are
in this with me. And I'm giving one to you."
"To me?" Stuart asked. "Uh...do you think
I should have access-"
Wendy turned to Stuart and gave him a coy smile. Then she
swung her left leg over his thighs, turning herself around as she did, and sat
herself squarely in his lap facing him, her knees hugging his hips, her long
dark hair swinging freely into his face, her lips and her eyes very close to
"If I can't trust you and give it to you,"
Wendy said, "who can I give it to?"
She put her arms around his shoulders and pulled him
closer to her. Her eyes smiled at him as their lips met, locked and kissed.
"Stuart," Prue called to him. "Stuart."
Stuart’s eyes were staring off into nowhere.
"Uh...uh..." he mumbled.
"You were back with her in your mind," Prue said.
"Uh...yeah," Stuart said and sighed. "I
was...back with Wendy."
"So," Prue said, bringing Stuart's mind back to
the present, "your userid would have given us access to the site and the
information on it. But since your relationship...didn't happen in the changed
reality, you can't logon with your userid."
"No," Stuart said, then hesitated for a moment.
"But I can logon with Wendy's userid. I know her password. If it didn't change
along with all the other things that changed when Charmed became real."
"Since the three of us don't know her, neither as our
real selves nor as The Halliwells, it should not have been affected in this
reality," Prue said.
"But I know her," Stuart said. "And
despite my not being part of The Elders' plan in making Charmed real, I am
"We have to try it, Stuart," Prue said. He
hesitated, then nodded his head, turned the laptop slightly to him and typed in
the website address. A screen came up requesting a logon.
"OK," Stuart said, "here goes," and
typed in chemist1 for the userid
"Now the password, l-o-n-e-l-y." He said each
letter as he entered it.
A new screen popped up. Welcome to Wendy's
Web World was prominently displayed on it.
"You did it," Prue said, "we're in."
"Wendy used to tell me," he said, "that I
gave her a reason to change that password. But she never got around to doing
it...and then we broke up." He exhaled. "It seems she hasn't found
anyone else to give her a reason to change it."
Prue put her hand at the nape of Stuart's neck and gave him
a supportive squeeze.
"Come on," she said, "let's see what Wendy
can tell us."
be the most powerful nerve gas in the world," Prue said. Phoebe and Piper
were listening carefully as Prue explained what she and Stuart, sitting next to
her on the sofa, had found on Wendy's website.
"It's called a V-gas," Prue continued,
"because it has some similarities to a chemical weapon agent called VX-gas,
which had been thought to be the most lethal nerve gas agent around. Until the
Russians secretly developed this one."
"Novichok," Stuart said, "Russian code name
Substance 33. No other country has it. It's classified as a persistent
agent, meaning that it remains effective and dangerous for about a week after
Piper's expression turned unpleasant.
"The thought of demons possessing this..." Piper
said, her voice trailing off without finishing.
"Or any other chemical weapons," Stuart said.
"The plan for Petrokov didn't refer to Novichok so there are probably
other types of chemical agents involved."
Piper closed her eyes for a moment then looked at Prue.
"This is...this needs...other people," Piper said.
"Professional secret agents," Phoebe said,
"who know how to deal with such things better than..."
"Better than three actresses turned witches,"
Piper said, finishing Phoebe's thought. "But...we couldn't tell them how
we know this, nor that they'd be up against demons."
"And they wouldn't be able to go up against
these demons," Prue said.
"And we can?" Piper asked. Keir had
arrogantly and un-caringly thrown them into this, she thought. It was a more
dangerous combination of evil than anything they'd been up against in the five
and a half weeks they’d been there - Russian KGB demons.
Piper closed her eyes again. In her mind, she pictured her
ranch, her horses in the stable, and the garden surrounding the main house,
beckoning her. She wanted so much to be there now, to be just Holly Combs, to
get away from all of this. She wanted to jump into that picture she saw in her
mind and not look back.
But she couldn't jump into it, any more than she could get
away from where she was. She had to look back. She opened her eyes.
Innocents, she thought. The Charmed Ones couldn't turn their backs on
innocents. Especially when the innocents were the whole world.
The world had to be saved from these demons. And, she
sadly admitted, if there was a chance that it could be saved, it was
going to take three witches, including one named Piper Halliwell, to do it.
"I'm afraid this is where I must say good-bye, Mr.
James Bond," the evil looking heavy set man said.
"Pity," Bond said, his hands securely fastened by
metal u-shaped rods attached to the wall. "We were having such a
"You don't have time for any more conversation,"
the man said. "See that small skylight above me? The sun will soon be
shining through it. When it does, its rays will strike the chemicals in that
dish on the table causing it to produce a most toxic fume that will fill this
room. It works very quickly,
Mr. Bond, so you won't suffer. At least, not much.
"As for the microdot with the plans for the super
missile warhead, it is safely locked up in my desk. A shame you won't get to
see the destruction it will produce."
"Neither will you," Bond said. "You will
never use that weapon against the world."
"Ah...your sense of superiority and total self-confidence
are legendary, Mr. Bond," the man said. "But even that will
not help you this time. Good-bye."
The man motioned with his head and his two henchmen followed
him out of the room.
Bond looked up at the skylight. He could see the sky
brightening and the sunlight approaching. He wiggled his left hand and with his
pinky managed to reach his cufflink. Pushing it onto the metal rod holding his
left hand, he pressed the cufflink and a small laser beam came out of it and
began burning through the rod.
The sky was getting brighter as the rod split in two and
fell to the floor. Bond pulled his left hand over the other rod holding his
right hand and aimed the laser beam again. The first rays of the sun were
beginning to peep over the edge of the skylight.
The second rod fell as the sun's rays became more visible.
Bond dashed over to the table where the dish with the chemicals sat. In one
motion he grabbed the dish and dove with it to the floor near the wall, just as
the full rays of the sunlight shown through the skylight and onto the table
where the dish had been.
"Phew," Bond said, calmly standing up and dusting
himself off. He tried the door's handle, slowly opened the door and walked into
an office. He hurried over to a desk and looked at a drawer with an electronic
Bond took the other cufflink from his right cuff, pressed a
small button on it and aimed it at the lock. The cufflink began to hum and
resonate as it connected to the lock's electronics. After ten seconds, the
drawer popped open. Bond saw the small plastic circle with the microdot inside
of it. He grabbed it and put it into his pocket just as the evil man's henchmen
came into the room.
The first henchman threw something curved and sharp at Bond
but he quickly lifted up the desk chair. The object sliced through the chair
but it deflected the object’s trajectory and it landed off to Bond's left. He
dove for the object and threw it directly back at the henchman, slicing him
straight across the chest.
The second henchman pulled out a gun and fired. But Bond
rolled over and over across the room, the bullets just missing him each time.
He finally reached the body of the first henchman, pulled the gun from the dead
man’s pocket and shot the second henchman squarely in the chest.
The sound of gunshots brought the evil man with more
henchman running into the room.
"Stop him!" the evil man commanded.
Before the henchmen could reach him, Bond pulled two tabs on
the back of his extra-thick pants belt and pulled two straps over his shoulders
and attached them to the front of his belt. He ran to the large picture window
and jumped through it, the glass shattering.
With bullets flying, Bond pressed a button on his belt and a
large, multi-colored canopy opened up. Attached to what was now a harness over
his shoulders, it immediately halted his fall. Bond manipulated it away from
the side he had jumped from and he slowly descended the mountainside to a
waiting speedboat on the shore below.
"That's easy for you," Piper said, looking at the
TV screen. "You have actors, stuntmen, special effects crew - and a
director using a nice script where everything works out in the end."
She squinted at the image on the screen.
"I challenge you be a secret agent in real life,
Double-O-Seven," she said, "with real Russians, real intrigue, real major
destruction weapons - and real demons. Try shaking your martini and doing what
you do with all of that without a safe script."
Piper leaned forward and placed her elbows on her thighs.
She cupped her chin in her hands, watched Bond escape safely and exhaled.
"I wish we were in Hollywood doing all of this
from a safe script," she said, wistfully.
The cell phone rang just as Prue reached the top step
outside The Manor. She paused for a second in the nighttime darkness under the
porch light and pulled the phone out of her pocket.
"Hello," she said into the phone, as she opened
the front door and walked inside.
"Prue, it's Daryl," the voice on the cell phone
said. "Don't go home. Stay away from The Manor. They're waiting for
"Too late," Prue answered, tersely. She closed the
cell phone and put it back in her pocket. Whoever it is who's here heard me
come in, she thought. There's no getting away now.
The Manor was pitch black. Prue took a deep breath, placed
her hand on the light switch and flipped it. Nothing happened. Cautiously, she
made her way in the dark towards the living room.
"That's far enough," a voice commanded. A man's
From the sound of it, Prue thought, he's not a young man.
Probably someone in his fifties. And from the voice's direction, he's sitting
in one of the living room chairs.
"Who are you?" Prue asked.
"I'm the one who'll be asking the questions," the
"Not in my house," Prue countered.
Prue detected an authoritarian tone in the voice. Someone
used to being in control and getting what he wants, she thought.
The voice continued slowly and deliberately.
"Why are you so interested in Russian chemical
weapons?" he asked, ignoring Prue's
Prue said nothing. Neither did the voice. For a moment there
was absolute silence in The Manor, each one using the silence as a display of
being in control. Each trying to out wait the other in a silent match of
strength and patience.
"I'm doing a story on chemical weapons and I need
information for it," Prue finally said, deciding that conversation to find
out who he was, was worth her submission. "I work for a magazine."
"Four One Five," the voice said, in a knowing
tone. "You've been there for less than a year. Before that, you worked at
Buckland Auction House. Your father walked out on your family when you were
six, your mother died when you were nine and you were then raised by your
grandmother. After she died two years ago your youngest sister Phoebe moved
back here from New York, even though the two of you didn't get along. You had
an on again/off again relationship with Inspector Andy Trudeau before he was killed.
You were once arrested for decking a neighbor on your block."
thought. Where did that come from? The writers never included my doing that
in any of Charmed's episodes.
"You often turn up in the middle of unsolved murders,
without any logical connection to the victims," the voice continued.
"And you were the target of a professional hit woman for reasons still
"You seem to have taken a lot of interest in me,"
Prue said, toughness in her voice. "The only thing you've missed is the tattoo
on my left ankle," she added, fibbing.
"You don't have a tattoo on your left
ankle," the voice said confidently, then exhaled.
"You do nice work," he continued un-rushed,
"even though you have no professional experience in photography." He
paused. "But you're a photographer. Not a writer. You're not writing any
story about chemical weapons or about anything else.
"So I'll ask you again. Why are you digging around the
Russian chemical weapons?"
"Which side are you on?" Prue asked.
"The side that wants to know what you're up to,"
the voice answered brusquely.
"I should think both sides want to know
that," Prue said.
"Don't play cutesy with me," the voice said.
"Oh, but I so love to play cutesy," Prue
said. "I always play cutesy with someone who breaks into my house."
"I didn't break in," the voice said, matter of
factly. "The front door was un-locked."
"Hmmph...right," Prue admitted. "I have to
get the writers to change that. They always have us leaving the door un-locked
so the storylines can have someone walk right in to The Manor and threaten
"What's that?!" the voice asked, reflecting a
little confusion mixed with a lot of annoyance. "Listen Halliwell, I don't
have much patience. And what little patience I do have you've already
used up. If you think we're not going to get the answers out of you...think
Prue heard a noise to the left of the voice. Someone else
was in the room. And he was doing something. Even in the Manor's darkness she
could detect some motion. She sensed the other person was coming towards her.
Was that something in the other person's hand?
"Think again?" Prue asked.
"OK, I will. And you want to know what I think? I think you're CIA. And
you've come here to try to bully me. But you can only do that outside of the
U.S. It's illegal for you to be nosing around domestically. So you want to stay
in the dark so I can't see you and you can deny having been here.
let's do something about that."
Prue aimed her hand at the bulbs in the lamps and made a
turning motion. Then she waved her hand at the switch and flipped it up. The
lights in the living room came on.
"What the..." the man started to say. Prue could
see him clearly now. And, she thought, her analysis was on the mark. He was
sitting on the chair, a bulge below his arm under his dark grey suit betraying
his gun. His worn, somewhat weathered slightly long face and thinning brown
hair put him in his mid-fifties.
The second man standing on the left was younger, in his late
twenties, about six feet tall, dirty blonde hair, handsome features but with a
take-no-prisoners look in his eyes. And he was wearing a dark, three-piece
suit. For a second a smile crossed Prue's face. Is it because of Charmed's
becoming real, she thought, that he looks exactly like the standard Hollywood
version of a bad-guy government agent? All that was missing from the TV
stereotype were the sunglasses, which she now found herself half-expecting him
to be wearing, even in the dark room at night.
But her smile evaporated when she saw the syringe in his
hand. And he was standing only three feet from her.
"You'd better put that away," she said to him.
"You might stick yourself."
The younger man stared at Prue then took a step towards her.
"No!" the man in the chair said, firmly. The
younger man continued staring at Prue, then carefully capped the syringe and
put it in his pocket.
"Care to show me identification?" Prue asked.
The man in the chair gave Prue an icy stare, exhaled, and
"I thought not," she said.
He approached Prue and placed his face just inches from
"If I find out that you had anything to do with the
missing chemical weapons..." he said, then paused. "Or if anything...anything
at all happens to stop their turning over the rest of them to us, I'll be back
for you. And with more people and more IDs than you can imagine. Only you'll be
out of here and locked up so fast you won't have time to read any of
He motioned with his head to the younger man, brushed past
Prue and walked towards the front door. The younger man followed and as he
passed Prue she stared incredulously at something sticking out of his vest
The middle-aged man walked outside and the younger man followed
him, not bothering to close the door behind them. Prue went to the door, stood
in the threshold and watched them walk down the steps.
"Good night to you, too," she said in a confident,
slightly superior tone. Satisfied that they were gone, she stepped back inside
and closed the door.
"The heck with the writers," Prue said, and locked
the door securely.
"Well, your little encounter with the CIA last night
confirms that some of the chemical weapons are missing," Stuart
said, then finished the last of his breakfast pancakes.
"And the demons must have them," Piper said,
taking a bite of her muffin.
Prue took a sip of her coffee and put the mug down on the
"But there are more weapons that they don't have
yet," she said.
"That the Russians are supposed to turn over to
someone," Phoebe said. "The demons are going to want to get those,
"I'll get it," Stuart said, getting up from the
"Maybe that's why the spell on the demons was removed
now," Prue said. "They need to get the weapons before whatever is
supposed to happen to them happens."
"And we don't how or when they're going to use
them," Piper said.
"Good morning, Darryl," Phoebe said, as Morris and
Stuart came into the kitchen. "You're up and about rather early, aren't
"Good morning," Morris said. "I'm glad you're
all right, Prue. I couldn't stop them from coming. All I could do was try to
warn you. I checked afterwards that they hadn't done anything to you. They came
after you because of my asking for that information. It made its way around
Washington and stirred up a hornet's nest. I warned you what you were asking
about would cause problems."
"It can't be helped, Darryl," Prue said.
"That's the risk we have to take."
"They're still keeping an eye on you," Morris
said. "Honestly, I don't know how you managed to get them out of here.
Those guys make their own rules and work in the shadows."
"Let's just say I threw some light on them," Prue
said. "Did you find out anything?"
Morris nodded his head.
"There's a guy in one of the agencies who I helped out
a few years ago," he said, pulling out a notepad from his pocket. "I
gave him some assistance - and cover - for something he was doing. It wasn't
exactly within his jurisdiction, if you know what I mean. He was actually on
the wrong trail and I helped him find the right one. Some people in those
circles can have short memories but he hasn't forgotten what I did for him.
He's the one Andy told you about."
"Andy told you?" Piper asked, somewhat
astonished, knowing that could never have happened.
Prue gave her a discreet half-wink. Phew, Prue thought. He does
have a contact. There really is some logic than can be used in what The
Elders did to reality.
"He has a friend in the DIA - the Defense Intelligence
Agency," Morris said. "They have a list of key Russian army officers
that as a matter of course they keep tabs on. This Colonel Ilya Lobachevsky is
one of them." Morris stopped and flipped a page in his pad. "He heads
up one of several army units that are responsible for the maintenance and
deployment of chemical weapons."
"And the weapons his unit was responsible for are
missing," Prue said.
"You know this already?" Morris said, surprised
and a little disappointed.
"It was an assumption," Prue said, "but this
confirms it. Is he under suspicion?"
"Not as far as his DIA friend can tell," Morris
said. "He told me the Russian military is not the most open to outside
investigations. This Lobachevsky hasn't done anything to point to him being
involved. And besides, the Russians don't really care. They're a signatory to
the Chemical Weapons Convention, a treaty to eliminate chemical weapons that
they ratified a couple of years ago. Russia is officially getting rid of it's
stock of chemical weapons by turning them over to us for a verified disposal.
So they're not interested in a few cylinders that disappeared."
"When is this turnover supposed to take place?"
"Tomorrow," Morris said. "At an army base
near a place called Novgorod."
"Bingo," Phoebe said.
Prue glanced at Phoebe and silently exhaled.
"Did he tell your contact anything else?" Stuart
"Just that there was one odd thing," Morris
said. "There's a diplomatic reception the Russians are throwing tonight in
conjunction with this turnover, to burnish their international image. It's for
all high level consular officials and their military attachés in Moscow, as
well as those of any other country that's a signatory to the treaty. High level
Russian officers will also be there."
"What's odd about that?" Phoebe asked.
"He had a list of the invitees," Morris said.
"Lobachevsky's name is on the list, along with one of his junior
"That's still not unusual," Prue said. "They
were probably invited because of his involvement in the turnover, before his
"That's what the DIA guy also thought," Morris
said. "But there are two lower level Russian officers who aren't related
to chemical weapons and were also invited. But they shouldn't have been. They
don't have any connection to the turnover."
"Somebody pulled some strings to get them
invited," Stuart said. "But why?"
"Did your contact give you their names?" Phoebe
"Yeah," Morris said, "but I don't remember
them. He was afraid to stay on the phone too long. I was writing down what he
was saying as quickly as I could and didn't get those names down. I remember he
said they weren't regular army. They're from some alphabet group, S-V
"SVR," Stuart said, "the Foreign Intelligence
Prue looked at Stuart. Their eyes locked for a moment and
then she turned back to Morris.
"Could one of the names have been Sergei
Kolichov?" she asked.
Morris thought for a minute.
"Yeah," he said. "That was it.
"Double bingo," Phoebe said. "Kolichov
was getting the chemical weapons from Lobachevsky. We thought he had already
"But maybe he hasn't," Prue said.
"Maybe Lobachevsky got Kolichov invited to the reception to give him the
"A trade," Stuart said. "Lobachevsky wouldn't
give them away. He'd insist on getting something in return."
"Money," Prue said. "He's selling the weapons
to Kolichov. And using the reception as a cover to make the transaction. A safe
place with lots of people around."
"So they don't trust each other," Piper said.
"We can use that to our advantage," Prue said.
"Prue," Morris said, "you're not thinking of
getting in between these Russians, are you?"
Prue just looked at Morris silently.
"Uh...Piper, Phoebe...talk some sense into your
sister," Morris said. "You've already got American agents ready to
pounce on you over this. You don't want to have the Russians after you,
"You're right, Darryl," Piper said. "We don't
want to have the Russians after us." She paused for a second. "But we
don't seem to have a choice if we want to save everybody from these weapons
falling into the wrong hands and being used."
"There you go, too, about falling into the wrong
hands," Morris said. "Look, you're not secret agents. You can't get
involved in something like this."
"We're already involved," Piper said.
"Then tell the CIA, the DIA - tell anyone in the
government," Morris said. "Tell them what you know and let them take
it from here."
"We can't," Prue said. "They wouldn't believe
us. And...we can't explain how we know what we do."
Morris looked at each of them in turn, then exhaled.
"Well," Morris said, "the reception is at
seven-thirty. At least I know you can't possibly make it to Moscow from San
Francisco by tonight." The girls responded with silence.
Morris slowly looked at each of them. "Don't tell me you..." he
started to say.
"No, Darryl," Phoebe said, "we won't tell
you. And you don't want to know, anyway."
"Here, at least, I can try to protect you," Morris
said, "with whatever influence I can muster. I can't protect you if
"We know you would help us if you could, Darryl,"
Phoebe said. "Thank you for caring about us. But we'll be fine."
"We will?" Piper asked. "I, uh...mean, we will,"
she said, forcing a half smile for Morris' benefit.
Morris turned to Stuart.
"Try talking some sense into them," Morris said to
him, then exhaled in frustration. "I'm making you responsible to
watch out for them and protect them."
Protect them? Stuart thought. It's the other way
around. They usually wind up protecting me.
"I'll do my best," Stuart said.
"I don't understand what you're doing," Morris
said. "But whatever it is...just be careful!"
"We don't have much time," Prue said, after Morris
left. "The reception is tonight."
"And the turnover of the other weapons is
tomorrow," Phoebe said. "And Petrokov is going to be there to get his
hands on them, instead."
"First things first," Prue said. "What time
is it now in Moscow?"
"San Francisco has a...a nine hour time difference,"
Stuart said. "So it's a little after six o'clock in the evening there. So
we're going to go to the reception and take the weapons?"
"It's enough we're going to have Kolichov and his
demons looking for us once we do this," Prue said. "We don't need to
have Lobachevsky and half the Russian army after us, too. We're going to do
this with finesse."
"Well, that would certainly disappoint Keir,"
Piper said sarcastically.
"Stuart," Prue said, "make up a list of words
in Russian that could refer to a bank account. Lobachevsky will want a lot of
money for stealing the weapons. It's unlikely that Kolichov would risk carrying
that much cash to the reception. And he doesn't have to. Former KGB demons
probably have something like numbered Swiss accounts set up for things like
this. They could let Lobachevsky transfer it if they give him the password and
"But Lobachevsky would have to bring the weapons with
him," Piper said. "Kolichov wouldn't make the deal without getting
"This Novichok doesn't take up much room," Stuart
said. "It might even fit in a large attaché case. Which would not raise
any suspicions at a reception with lots of high level military officers, some
of whom might well have need to be carrying their own attachés."
"Piper," Prue said, "we're going to call Leo.
He's going to escort you to the reception. Do you have something appropriately
designer-class to wear?"
"I do," Piper said, "in my closet, back at my
ranch. If The Elders want to send me back I'd be happy to get them. Piper
Halliwell's wardrobe is decidedly less fashionable."
"On Charmed," Stuart said, with a small smile,
"the writers usually have Piper and Phoebe borrowing your clothes, Prue,
for special occasions."
Prue gave him a squinting look. She thought for a second,
"Go through my wardrobe," she reluctantly said to
Piper, "and pick out something that will fit in at a diplomatic reception.
Phoebe, come up with a way for Piper to verify if the chemicals are real."
"Wow!" Stuart exclaimed as Piper came down
the staircase. It was all he could manage to say as her appearance left him
Piper was wearing a red, satin-like strapless gown. Her hair
was done up high, with a single curl coming down the side of each ear, reaching
her ear lobes. A golden linked necklace with a center diamond was around her
"Wow!" he said again, and Piper gave him a
smile. Phoebe and Prue came bounding down the staircase behind her.
"I had to use a spell to make the necklace,"
Phoebe said. "We didn't have anything that looked right with the dress.
But I set it to be undone in twenty-four hours so we don't risk having any
personal gain from it."
The light began to form and Leo, wearing an army uniform,
"Wow!" Leo exclaimed, looking at Piper.
"That seems to be everyone's favorite word here,"
Prue said. "Can we try some other words? Like, the other things that we
need now. Are they ready?"
"Here's the list of words in Russian," Stuart
said. He handed it to Leo and he put it in his uniform’s pocket.
"I came up with the potion," Phoebe said.
"Pour a little onto whatever Lobachevsky has and hope it turns
green." Piper took the vial from her and placed it delicately into her
"Uh, Leo...what are you wearing?" Prue asked.
"My old army uniform," he said. "You said I
have to look like I'm in the military and Piper is accompanying me."
"Leo," Prue said, "you were in the army in
World War II. That uniform is over fifty years old. It's not used anymore.
They'll spot you not belonging there right away."
"It's the only uniform that would fit that I could get
on such short notice," Leo said. "Besides, who's going to notice one
uniform among so many?"
'Leo's right," Phoebe said. "They"ll be a
hodge-podge of uniforms at the reception. With so many different countries'
military represented there, and each one's uniform different from the next one,
they"ll just think Leo is from yet some other country."
"Let's hope you're right," Prue said. "It's
seven-thirty now in Moscow. Ready, Piper?"
Piper nodded her head. Leo walked over to her and put his
arms securely around her.
"Piper," he said looking into her eyes, "may
I have the pleasure of escorting you to the Moscow reception?"
Piper felt herself melting in his arms.
"Yes, indeed, Leo," she said, gazing back into his
"Leo!" Prue exclaimed. "You're after demons
and chemical weapons. You're not taking Piper on a date!"
Leo paid Prue no heed and his smile widened as he and Piper
disappeared together in the light.
Piper could not help but enjoy herself. She had been the
object of more than a few men's approving looks, which also helped to keep
their attention away from Leo and his uniform. The hors d'oeuvres were
delectable and the caviar, of course, first class. The champagne was delightful,
though she refrained from taking more than a few sips so as to keep her mind
And of course, she was with Leo. He looked so extra handsome
to her in his army uniform. No reticence, no questioning, she set her feelings
about Leo free and happily submitted to them.
They had spotted Kolichov almost from the moment they had
discreetly orbed in. At first, he and the Russian officer presumably with him
had stayed more or less on one side of the ballroom, which made it relatively
simple for Piper and Leo to keep tabs on them.
But at a quarter past eight, the two Russians split up.
Kolichov remained where he had been, enjoying another drink, while the other
Russian seemed to be taking a tour of the ballroom. Leo remained near Kolichov
while Piper moved amongst the guests trying to follow the other Russian
But then a handsome tall man in a tuxedo, a drink in his
hand, stepped in front of Piper.
"Buona sera," he said, his eyes smiling at
her. "Piacere di conoscerla. Mi Chiamo Gavino Santavenere." He
paused for a moment and looked Piper over.
"Come sei bella," he said. "Come si
"Uh...I'm sorry," Piper said, trying to keep one
eye on the Russian. She didn't understand what the man had said but it sounded
Italian. "I don't speak Italian."
"Oh, you are American," the man said. "Pardon
me. I am Gavino Santavenere. You are so very beautiful. I am pleased to
meet you. What is your name?"
"Uh...uh...Holly," she said. She was getting
frantic. She couldn't see the Russian anymore. "Uh...excuse me. There's
someone I'm looking for. Uh...nice to have met you."
Piper left the somewhat startled diplomat and made her way
to the other side of the ballroom. She looked all around her and started to
panic. She had lost the Russian officer.
Leo, seeing Kolichov put down his drink and start towards
the staircase, moved across the room towards Piper. Getting her attention, he
nodded his head and Piper quickly made her way to the staircase to follow
Kolichov. As she reached the top of the stairs she saw him turning the corner
at the end of the corridor. She hurried to the corner, peeked around it and was
relieved to see the other Russian soldier with Kolichov approach the last door
at the end of the hallway. He must have gone up ahead of Kolichov to see that
it was clear, she thought. As Kolichov raised his hand to knock on the door
Piper raised her hand, too.
She rushed to the two frozen Russians and quickly began
going through the pockets on Kolichov's jacket. But there was nothing in the
outside pockets. Piper eased her hand inside his jacket and felt around. There
were upper and lower inner pockets on both the right and left sides.
Why do Russian uniforms need so many pockets? she thought.
They're too small to fit guns in them. All they can put into them are little
pieces of paper that I can't find. Urggh!
Having finished with both inner pockets on the jacket’s
right side, Piper was up to the inside bottom pocket on the left side when her
hand felt something and she pulled it out. It was half of a standard sheet of
paper folded in two. She unfolded it just as Leo turned the corner.
"No one followed you or them," he whispered. He
took out a piece of paper from his pocket and held it for Piper to see.
The paper Piper had taken from Kolichov's pocket had one
word on it, followed by a set of numbers. She glanced back and forth between it
and the paper Leo was holding, trying to see if one of the words on the list
Stuart had written for her matched what was on the paper she had taken from
"There," she whispered, "the third word on
the list. That's it. Now get these two out of here before they unfreeze."
Leo nodded silently, then grabbed Kolichov and orbed out.
After a few seconds he returned, took hold of the other Russian and orbed out
With them gone, Piper took a deep breath. She was about to
knock on the door when Leo orbed back in, startling her.
"I just wanted to tell you," he said, "not to
be nervous about your role. You're going to be fine. You can do anything you
set your mind to do. I know that if you had set your mind to become an actress,
you could have been a very good one."
"Could have been?" Piper said, her
reflexive indignance making her forget to whisper. "What do you mean could
have been?" she added, squinting at him.
Seeing the confused look on Leo's face she caught herself.
I'm Piper to him, not Holly, she remembered. But I have to be Holly
Combs again when I go through that door.
"Go," she said, making a shooing motion with her
Leo looked longingly at her as he orbed out. Piper turned to
the door, took a deep breath and cleared her mind. I'm an actress again, she
thought. And the set is just beyond this door.
She raised her hand to the door and knocked twice. After a
few seconds the door opened partially. Just enough for her to see a large face
and part of a Russian uniform jacket.
"Uydi-te!” (Go away!) the Russian barked and
tried to close the door. But Piper, anticipating his action, had wedged her
foot in the doorway. Now she pushed back the door against the Russian. He had
not been prepared for that and with her leverage Piper pushed both him and the
door back into the room.
"Major Kolichov sends his regards," she said, and
confidently walked passed the Russian and into the room.
"Amerikanskiy!" (An American!) the Russian
exclaimed, in surprise.
Piper walked over to the sofa, sat down and surveyed the
The Russian standing by the door was big. Big shoulders, big
chest, big face. He appeared to be about sixty. He was wearing a full military
uniform, with a series of medals pinned onto his jacket, but was without his
cap, which lay on an end table. At the other end of the room a young, slim
blonde Russian soldier in his mid-twenties, also in uniform but without his
cap, sat at a computer laptop set upon a small table.
The younger Russian stood up and glanced at the older
"I think it would be best if you closed the door,
Colonel Lobachevsky," Piper said to the older Russian, with a hint of a
smile. "Don't you agree?"
Lobachevsky eyed Piper carefully. He closed the door without
taking his eyes off of her, walked over to the sofa and looked down at her.
"Kotoriy vih? Gdye Mayor Kolichov?"
he asked, then stopped and exhaled. "Who are you?" he asked again, in
a heavily accented English. "Where is Major Kolichov?"
"I'm Holly Combs," she replied. "Major
Kolichov felt it would be best if he remained at the reception until we've
concluded our business."
"Hmmph," Lobachevsky grunted. "Kolichov does
not trust me. He fears for himself. But he sends a defenseless woman in his
"I'm not defenseless," Piper said, with a steely
"No?" Lobachevsky asked, looking her over.
"What could you do to defend yourself against us?"
"Trust me, Colonel," Piper said. "You don't
want to know."
Lobachevsky looked her over again with an experienced eye,
taking her measure. This was a beautiful and, in that red dress, sexy girl, he
thought. She has a lot of bravado, coming in here as if she is in control but
with no weapon to support herself.
He nodded his head slightly and sat down in a chair opposite
"You have account?" he asked.
"I do," Piper said. "Show me the
Lobachevsky gave a single nod with his head. The young
soldier went over to a narrow closet in a corner of the room and opened the
door. He removed a black case, brought it to Lobachevsky and placed it on the
floor between the Colonel and Piper. The case was almost square, about eighteen
inches in each dimension, and well padded. A chain was attached to one corner
of the case. An open bracelet dangled from the other end of the chain.
Lobachevsky undid the two buckles on the side and opened the
case. Piper saw three black cylindrical cannisters inside. On the end of each
cannister was stamped a bright yellow Н
Novichok, Piper thought, recognizing the Н as the Cyrillic letter for ‘N’, as
Stuart had shown her. The deadly V-gas in its liquid form. At least, that's
what was supposed to be in the containers.
Piper put her hand inside the bosom of her dress and pulled
out a small vial.
"Of course, I have to test it," she said. "To
"Test?" Lobachevsky asked. "Test...you cannot
"But I can," Piper said. "Mixing a
little of this with the agent."
"Nyet!" Lobachevsky said firmly. "This
is dangerous chemical, Novichok."
"That's exactly what I want to make sure," Piper
said. "That this is Novichok."
"Nyet!" Lobachevsky said again with more
emphasis, getting nervous. "You cannot open container. You cannot put
anything in container. Novichok will escape into air and kill us!"
"This will not activate the agent," Piper said.
"It will only confirm what it is. You'll be safe."
"Nyet!" Lobachevsky said again, and closed
the black case.
"Da!" Piper said forcefully, 'no' and 'yes'
being the only words in Russian she knew. "Or we have no deal."
"You are unarmed," Lobachevsky said, pulling out
his gun from beneath his jacket. "You do not make demands."
Piper squinted at Lobachevsky and raised her hand. She stood
up, took the two steps that separated them and took the gun from his hand. She
sat down again on the sofa and looked at the gun for a second. Then she crossed
her legs, looked at Lobachevsky and raised her hand.
"What were you saying about me being unarmed?" she
It took Lobachevsky a few seconds to react. He stared
incredulously, first at his empty hand, then at his gun that was now in Piper's
hand and aimed at him.
"Chto?!” (How?!) he exclaimed. The two Russians
looked to each other in disbelief.
"How...how did you do that?" a shaken Lobachevsky
"I warned you, Colonel," Piper said. "You
don't want to know what I can do. Nor how I do it.
"Now, we will test the agent. Take out the right
Lobachevsky stared at his gun in Piper's hand. Sweat broke
out on his face and forehead. He swallowed hard, then slowly re-opened the
black case and moved his hands to the right cannister. Carefully, he lifted it
out of the case and set it down on the floor.
"Open the lid," Piper commanded.
Lobachevsky stared at Piper, took a deep breath and did as
The liquid inside the cannister was colorless. It could pass
for plain water, Piper thought. But she hoped it wasn't. How strange, she
thought, that she didn't want it to be something innocent. That instead she
wanted it to be the most dangerous chemical agent in the world.
Piper removed the stopper on the vile with her right hand
even as she kept the gun pointed at the Russian. With her left hand she poured
about half the vile's content into the cannister.
Piper saw the fear on the Russians' faces, then glanced down
at the cannister. The colorless liquid was turning a bright green. The chemical
agent was real. It was Novichok.
"OK," Piper said, "the test confirms that
it's V-gas. Close the cannister and put it back in the case."
Lobachevsky gingerly replaced the lid. Piper put the stopper
back on the vile and returned it to her bosom as the Russian slowly lifted the
cannister and put it gently back inside the case. Then he took out his handkerchief
and wiped the sweat from his brow.
"Here is the account number," Piper said, handing
him the piece of paper.
Lobachevsky glanced at the paper, then back at Piper.
Without taking his eyes from her, he stretched out his hand to his left. The
soldier took the paper from him, sat down at the laptop and started to type on
Lobachevsky was silent as he stared at Piper. His earlier
Soviet army training and his more recent Russian army command of a chemical
weapons regiment had left him experienced at analyzing his enemies, analyzing
his adversaries...analyzing anyone who posed a challenge to him.
But Piper was an enigma. He looked her over carefully,
trying to find some clue as to who, and what, she was. His mind raced through
all sorts of possibilities. But it was to no avail. He could not reach any
satisfactory conclusion. Piper remained a beautiful, confident - and powerful -
"Sdelano, Polkovnik Lobachevsky (It
is done, Colonel Lobachevsky)," the soldier said, looking up.
"Khorosho (Good)," Lobachevsky replied.
"Done," he said to Piper.
"Good," Piper said. "I'll take the case,
Lobachevsky closed the buckles on the black case, then
lifted the chain and open bracelet. Piper stuck out her left arm and
Lobachevsky placed the bracelet around her wrist. He removed a small key from
his pocket, locked the bracelet and extended his hand with the key.
"We trade now," he said.
Piper looked at the gun she was holding. She gave it a good
twirl around her finger, then handed it to Lobachevsky as she took the key from
him with her left hand. Lobachevsky looked at his gun and felt it in his hand.
He stared at Piper for a few seconds, then exhaled, and put the gun back in its
Piper put the key in the bosom of her dress and motioned
towards the door. Lobachevsky got up from the chair and walked to the door,
opened it a crack and looked out into the hallway. Satisfied, he opened it
fully and Piper walked over to him.
"It's been a pleasure, Colonel," she said, with an
enigmatic, self-confident smile. She stepped past him into the hallway and
heard the door close behind her.
"Phew!" Piper said.
She walked quickly down to the end of the hallway. As she
turned the corner Leo orbed in.
"Got it," she said to him.
"I told you you could do it," Leo said."Now
I'm tempted to go back downstairs with you to the reception. It's not every
night that I get to take you to such an affair."
"Hmmm...that does sound good," Piper said.
"But this case chained to my wrist makes me conspicuous. Especially when
Kolichov and his friend get back from wherever you left them and start looking
She sighed. "We'd better get this out of here."
Leo exhaled and nodded. He placed his arms around her, holding
her even tighter than before, and looked into her eyes.
"Then we’ll have to do something to make up for
it," he said.
"That works for me," she said and smiled as they
disappeared together into the light.
"Darryl didn't know what time today the turnover would
be," Piper said, "so we may already be too late."
"I know," Prue said, "uh...we just have to
hope we're in time. And remember the plan."
"It's not much of a plan," Piper said. "We
see Petrokov and I freeze him. Unless he's out in the open that's too big to
freeze and he's about to do something. Then you wave your hand at him to stop
him. In front of the Russians, the CIA and whoever else is there. And then
they’ll all know that we’re witches and come after us."
"OK...OK," Prue said, "uh...let's hope it
doesn't come to that. Maybe, somehow, this transfer will really happen."
Crouching between the small open Russian Army trucks parked
at right angles gave Prue and Piper some cover. Beyond the trucks in the army
bases's parade grounds to their right were two larger Russian trucks, their
backs enclosed in camouflage canvas, parked alongside a low, rectangular
barracks building. Some fifty feet parallel to them was another large army
truck, this one sporting American flags on its fenders and sides.
American and Russian officers and a few civilians were
standing together by the two Russian trucks. The canvas was lifted from the
first truck and the group examined its contents. Piper could just make out
large cannisters stacked in the back. After about ten minutes the group moved
to the second truck and repeated the examination.
"Where is Petrokov?" Piper asked. "I don't
see him anywhere."
"Maybe he isn't here yet," Prue said.
"Maybe some other witch got to him first and vanquished
him," Piper said, half seriously.
"Wishful thinking," Prue said. "That would
make things easier for us. But at this point Keir wouldn't dare send someone
else after Petrokov without telling us." She paused, looking around at all
of the soldiers. "Truthfully," she said, "with what we could be
up against here, I wouldn't mind it if he had sent another witch."
The group completed their examination of the cannisters
in the second truck. Piper could make out some nodding of heads. Then one of
the Russian officers gave an order. Half a dozen Russian soldiers approached
the first truck while another soldier rolled over a high dolly to the truck's
back. The soldiers then began carefully unloading the cannisters from the truck
onto the dolly.
dolly was fully loaded, the soldiers began to roll it away from the truck.
"There he is!" Piper exclaimed. "On the side
of the other truck."
Prue looked over at the truck with the American flags.
Petrokov was standing to the left side of the back of the truck, watching what
the soldiers were doing. Prue saw his right hand begin to slowly twist.
"We wanted to avoid using your power," Piper said,
"but it's too big an area for me to-"
Before Piper could finish the sentence a fire suddenly appeared
above Petrokov. It quickly enveloped him and he gave a short scream. Then the
fire consumed him and he was gone.
Prue and Piper slowly stood up and stared in disbelief at
where Petrokov had just been.
"Uh...what...uh..." Prue stuttered.
him," Piper said slowly. "But...who..."
They looked all around the parade grounds. The Russian
soldiers were still rolling the dolly. All of the officers and civilians were
carefully watching them. No one was out of place. And no one else was around.
"Uh...how?..." Piper asked.
Prue started to shake her head. Then realizing that they
were exposed, she grabbed Piper and yanked her back down again with her.
"I don't know," Prue said.
From their crouching position, they watched the Russians
roll the dolly to the American truck, then carefully unload the cannisters and
place them in the truck. Then the soldiers went back and repeated the process
with the remaining cannisters from both Russian trucks.
The transfer completed, there were handshakes and salutes
between the Russians and the Americans. Camouflage canvas was pulled over the
back of the American truck and tied securely, so that the truck's load was not
visible. Some documents were placed on the dolly and two Russian and American
officers signed them.
Two Russian soldiers emerged from the barracks. Each tied
down the camouflage canvas covering each of the now empty Russian trucks. Then
each soldier climbed into each truck’s cab and got behind the trucks’ wheels.
Two American soldiers got into the cab of the American truck containing the
chemical weapons while the other Americans hurried into two black cars and a
second truck parked on the other side of the grounds. The Americans made their
way towards the base's exit. Clearing the guardhouse, they turned onto the road
that led away from the base.
Having waited for the American convoy to depart, the two now
empty Russian trucks started up and slowly made their way out of the base.
"I don't understand what happened," Prue said.
"What happened," Piper said slowly, "is that
Petrokov was stopped and the transfer made. The chemical weapons are safely in
American hands for disposal. But...I don't understand how."
"Neither do I," Prue said. "Let's get out of
"The Chemical Weapons Recovery Team reported back that
they are in control of the weapons and are proceeding as planned," Morris
said. "Given what they did with you the other night, Prue, I was able to
pry that information out of them."
"Thanks, Darryl," Prue said into the telephone.
"And thanks for all of your help. I owe you."
"No, you don't," Morris said. "You and your
sisters are my friends. I...I didn't want you to get hurt. I hope this is over
"It...may be. I'll be in touch," Prue said and hung
up the phone.
"So," Piper asked, "where are we?"
"The Recovery Team reported everything is secure and
under control," Prue said.
"Petrokov is vanquished," Stuart said.
"And we have the Novichok," Phoebe said.
"We do," Piper said. "And we really need to
do something about not having it. Like turning it over to the CIA."
"When we're done," Prue said.
"What's left to do?" Piper asked. "Zhinovsky
is still around but without any chemical weapons the demons' plan is
"Maybe," Prue said. "But
something...something isn't right."
"Petrokov?" Stuart asked.
"I checked," Leo said, "and neither Keir nor
The Elders sent, nor know of, any other witch who was there at the army
"So who vanquished him?" Phoebe asked.
"I don't know," Prue said and exhaled. "And
that’s what’s bothering me."
"Phoebe, Stuart wake up!" Prue shouted in the
hallway, then turned towards Piper's room. "Piper!" she called, then
hurried down the stairs.
In a moment, Phoebe and a half-asleep Stuart came down to
the living room.
"Leo! Leo!" Prue shouted as Piper came down
the staircase. Then Prue saw that Leo was just a step behind Piper.
"Uh...you, uh...orbed in...quickly," Prue said,
staring at him.
"I...uh..." Leo stammered.
"Spent the night with me," Piper said,
emphatically and squinted at Prue.
"Uh...uh...oh!" Phoebe said, raising her
eyebrows and making an oversized smile at Piper.
"What's wrong?" Stuart asked.
"Plenty," Prue said. "Morris just called. The
chemical weapons are gone."
"Gone?" Phoebe asked. "Gone from where?"
"From the American army truck," Prue said.
"The Recovery Team went to show it to someone this morning. When they
opened the truck there was nothing there."
"Someone stole it during the night?" Leo asked.
"It was under heavy guard the whole time," Prue
said. "Morris' contact told him they used some sophisticated equipment to
examine the truck. And there wasn't a trace of anything relating to chemical
weapons. It was as if they had never been there."
"Petrokov," Stuart said.
"We saw him vanquished," Piper said.
"Maybe what you saw...didn't really happen,"
"What do you mean?" Phoebe asked.
"Remember that Charmed episode...uh, Chick Flick,"
Stuart said, "the parody of teen slasher movies? Where you ran around
screaming like...like cliché Hollywood frightened girls."
"Episode? Parody?" Leo asked. "What are you
"Uh, Leo...just ignore that part," Piper said.
"And don't ask me to explain it. Because I can't."
Leo looked at Piper with a confused expression.
"Just trust me, Leo," Piper said strongly, then
turned to Stuart and squinted at him. "You were saying?" she said to
him, equally as strong.
"That...uh...time..." he said, getting
Piper’s message, "uh, that you had a run-in with the demon who could get
into the movies. You followed him to the movie theater and you said a spell,
Phoebe, and it looked like he had been vanquished."
"Only...he wasn't," Phoebe said, the episode
coming back to her. "But he was able to make it appear to us as if he had
"But Petrokov didn't even know we were there,"
"He couldn't have seen us," Piper said. "We
were well hidden."
"And even if he had seen you, he wouldn't have known
who you were," Phoebe said.
"Then maybe he wasn't doing it for you,"
Leo said. "Maybe...it was just part of something else that he was
"What something?" Piper asked. "You said
yourself there weren't any other witches there."
"No, not witches," Prue said, slowly. "But
there were Russian soldiers, American officers and CIA agents who were
"What's the connection?" Stuart asked. Prue was
silent for a moment, thinking. Then her expression changed and she exhaled.
"I think you're right, Leo," Prue said. "Petrokov
didn't know that we were there. But he did know that all those army
officers and CIA agents were there. And he had to get the weapons
without them stopping him." She hesitated for a moment.
"Remember that demon who was killing witches by making their
fears seem real?" she asked.
"The Fear Demon," Phoebe said.
"That Charmed episode-" Stuart stopped and
squished his face. "I mean, that time with the demon who could make
witches see or feel what they feared most. It was all real to them."
"That was the demon who almost made me drown because of
my fear of drowning like Mom," Prue said, looking at Leo as she carefully
chose her words. "He could make us see and feel what we didn't want to.
"Maybe the opposite can be true, too," she
continued. "Maybe Petrokov has a demonic power to make people see what
they do want to. Like that movie demon."
"I said it would be nice if someone vanquished Petrokov
and eliminate our problem," Piper said. "And you said, Prue, it was
wishful thinking. But you'd like it too."
"You both wanted to see Petrokov vanquished,"
Phoebe said. "And that's what you saw."
"Petrokov was twisting his hand before he...he
disappeared," Piper said. "I'll bet the Fear Demon did the same
"He did," Stuart said. "I remember watching
him...uh, I mean I remember you telling me, Prue," he said for
Leo's benefit, "that's what you saw him do to you."
"And the army officers, the CIA, us...everyone wanted
to see the transfer made successfully," Prue said. "And that's what
"Then...the weapons were never transferred,"
Stuart said. "They never left those two Russian trucks. It only looked
like they did because that's what you all wanted to happen."
"Those two Russian drivers who came out of the barracks
must have been working for Petrokov," Prue said. "That's why they
made a point of pulling the camouflage canvas over the back of the trucks and
tying them down, even though the trucks were supposed to be empty. They didn't
want anyone outside of the base, who wasn't affected by Petrokov's power, to
see that the cannisters were still in those trucks.
"And that would also explain the reaction to Petrokov's
scream when he was supposedly vanquished," she continued.
"There wasn't any reaction," Piper said.
"No one besides us seemed to hear it. It was as if it didn't happen."
"Exactly," Prue said. "The army, the
CIA...they wanted nothing to happen that could interfere with the transfer.
They saw what they wanted to see. And nothing else. That's why they didn't
react to it."
"Is this possible, Leo?" Phoebe asked.
"In theory, yes," Leo said. "He could have
such a power. There are demonic powers that we don't know about."
"But The Book of Shadows should know,"
"We couldn't find anything in it when we looked for
Petrokov," Prue said. "But now we know what power to look for. I'm
going to start going through it."
"No, Prue," Leo said, "you've got to get out
of here, now. With the cannisters missing those CIA agents are going to be
coming back for you. They said as much."
"Leo's right," Phoebe said. "We'll go through
The Book of Shadows. You get out of here. Leo, take Prue somewhere safe."
"We're going to handle Zhinovsky another way,"
Keir said. "You're going to go to three places in Russia that encircle
seven hundred miles of the general area where the chemical weapons were taken.
When you're all in place you'll say a spell to prevent her from sending those
"A spell?" Phoebe asked. "From seven hundred miles
"What spell?" Prue asked.
"This one," Keir said.
"Where did it come from?" Piper asked.
"From a witch who came up with it," he said.
"A witch," Phoebe repeated. "One of your better
"Not now, Phoebe," Prue said.
Keir gave Phoebe a long, cold look.
"She has experience with this," he said.
"Experience in being in three places at once so she
could use this spell?" Piper asked.
"Stop," Prue said, "it doesn't matter. As
long as it will work."
"We don't know that it will work," Phoebe said.
"If it doesn't-"
"It will work," Keir interrupted her.
"As long as Zhinovsky doesn't bring the weapons to the area around
"Staroye?" Phoebe asked.
"A place in Russia," Keir said.
"Why?" Stuart asked. "Is it outside of this
"No, it's within the circle," Keir said.
"Staroye is a gateway to a demonomy."
"What's that?" Stuart asked.
"A dominion of demons," Keir said his tone
implying that Stuart should have known that. "The word is in the
"Hmm...guess I must have skipped some of the words
under ‘D’ when I read it cover to cover," Stuart said, with a bit of
Keir gave Stuart another one of his long, exasperating
looks, then exhaled.
"The demonomy is a source of evil," Keir said,
"a mother lode of demonic power. All witches spells are powerless at its
gateway to overcome a demon. Think of it as the core of a volcano. You may be
able to divert the lava flow at some distance. But the energy at the volcano's
rim is too great to be contained."
Leo slowly nodded his head.
"You've heard of a demonomy?" Phoebe asked.
"I've heard there could be such a place," Leo
replied. "But as far as I knew it was just a legend."
"It's not a legend," Keir said. "And if
Zhinovsky goes there with the weapons the spell will not work. Nothing will.
She'll be un-stoppable."
"Why wouldn't she go there?" Stuart asked.
"Why don't all the demons go there to do their evil?"
"Because most demons don't know about the
demonomy," Keir said. "Those that do know also think it's a legend,
like Leo, or don't know where it really is. It's location has been lost over
"But you know that demonomy gateway is real and
exactly where it is," Stuart said, with a hint of skepticism.
"I know many things that no one else knows," Keir
said, staring at Stuart. "About places. And about people."
Was that another ambiguous hint that he knows who we really
are and where we came from? Piper thought.
"If demons don't know where it is, then why would
Zhinovsky know about Staroye?" Prue asked.
"She likely doesn't but it's a risk I can't take,"
Keir said. "The stakes are too high. I have to be sure that she doesn't
know about it."
"And how do you propose we find out?" Piper asked.
"By going to Zhinovsky's stronghold," he said.
"That data disk said where it is."
"And find a way to vanquish her there," Phoebe
"No," Keir said. "You can't vanquish her
until we know where the weapons are and get them back. There are other former
KGB demons that could be called in to do something with those weapons, even if
they don't have Zhinovsky's power."
"So then, what are we going to do there?" Phoebe
"Snoop around, listen, look," Keir said.
"Like the spies that we aren't," Piper said.
"Don't worry, you aren't going," Keir said.
"What?!" Phoebe said.
"His knowledge of Russian will let him pickup
information," Keir said.
"It's limited," Phoebe said. "He can't speak
"It's more than you and your sisters know," Keir
said, "which is nothing."
"I'm going along with him," Phoebe said.
"No, you're not," Keir said. "You have to
work on the logistics of saying this spell. And coming up with a way to
vanquish Zhinovsky. That has to be ready the minute you find the weapons."
"Prue and I can do that," Piper said. "Phoebe
can go with Stuart."
"He'll be less obtrusive by himself," Keir said.
"Forget it," Phoebe said. "Stuart's not going
"Keir's right," Stuart said. "I could blend
in better by myself."
"Exactly," Keir said. "Look for a round glass
with a pentagram inside of it. That could be a pointer to the demonomy."
"I don't like this," Phoebe said.
"It'll be OK," Stuart said.
"Fifteen minutes," Prue said. "No more. Leo,
stay there with Stuart."
"No," Keir said. "Thirty minutes. Leo, you'll
come back here. There are other things you have to do in preparation that can't
wait. You'll go back for Stuart in thirty minutes and meet him at the same
place you bring him to."
Phoebe turned to Stuart, put her arms around him and drew
"Be careful," she whispered, and kissed him
gently. "Don't take any chances."
"Chances and spies go together," he whispered
back, and exhaled. "At least, according to Hollywood."
"This isn't Hollywood," she said, "and this
isn't a Charmed episode. Be careful. I love you"
Stuart nodded his head, stepped back and turned to Leo.
"I need a little time to prepare," Stuart said to
him. "We'll go in fifteen minutes."
Leo orbed out and Stuart peered around the corner. The
hallway was clear. Carefully, he made his way down the corridor to a door on
his right. Putting his ear to the door, he listened carefully and heard
nothing. Slowly he turned the knob and opened the door.
No one was in the small room. A desk and chair stood in the
middle while a map lined the back wall. Stuart closed the door behind him and
made his way to the desk.
A few papers and a document lay strewn across the desk.
Stuart picked up the first and slowly read it, then did the same with the
second paper. Throwing it back on the desk, he glanced at the first page of the
document. Too big, he thought, to deal with a demonomy.
He turned around and looked at the map on the wall. A dozen
pins were stuck in cities across Europe, as far west as Iceland and as far
south as Sicily and Greece. Three words had been written in broad letters with
a black magic marker across the top of the map.
Weapons Targets, Stuart translated in his mind. Major destruction and
devastation more far reaching than he had imagined if Zhinovsky succeeds, he
thought. These demons must be stopped.
looked at the map again, trying to find Staroye on it. He looked around within
the circle Keir had shown them and after a minute he found it. There was
nothing marked around it, no pin stuck into it. Nothing to indicate that
Staroye had any significance in the demons' plan.
turned away from the map and started towards the door when it suddenly opened.
A Russian soldier peered into the room. Seeing Stuart, the soldier came inside
and stared at him. Stuart saw the sub-machine gun slung over the soldier's
dela-ete zdes? (What are you doing here?)" the soldier asked.
ostavil chto-to zdes (I left something here)," Stuart answered. He was
pretty sure he had understood the question and used one of the stock answers he
ne ot nashey grew-pih (You're not from our group)" the soldier said.
hesitated. He wasn't sure he understood him this time.
dolzhen poyti na-zad teper (I have to go back now)" Stuart said
slowly, picking another stock answer he hoped would work.
soldier looked at him for a second, then pulled the sub-machine from his
shoulder and pointed it at Stuart. He motioned with the gun for Stuart to get
in front of him and walk outside.
guess that was the wrong answer, Stuart thought.
(Go on!)" the soldier said firmly.
rope, which had been tied to a beam in the ceiling and from which Stuart hung,
was wound tightly around his wrists, cutting into his skin. Two Russians, one
in an army uniform and one in a dark suit, had been standing off to the side.
The soldier, about thirty, with a medium build and close-cut, blonde hair,
approached Stuart. A black truncheon was in his left hand as he circled Stuart.
vih? (Who are you?)" the soldier asked
looked at him but said nothing.
soldier's hand moved quickly and deliberately, the truncheon striking Stuart
across his ribs.
soldier struck the truncheon again across Stuart's back.
he cried, even louder. And then the soldier brought it to bear with all his
might across the side of Stuart's head.
screamed again and his head, blood trickling out, fell downward to his chest.
vih? (Again...who are you?)" the Russian demanded.
couldn't raise his head.
name...is...Stuart," he managed to whisper in his pain.
door to the room opened and Ivana Zhinovsky walked in.
(An American)" the man in the suit said.
walked over to Stuart and looked him over.
is with the ones who interfered before," she said. He is with the witches,
she thought to herself.
him down, untie him and bring him into my private room," she said.
private room?" the soldier asked.
she said, turned around and walked out.
two Russians dragged a hurt Stuart into Zhinovsky's private room. She motioned
towards the couch and the Russians threw Stuart down on it. She withdrew a
small bottle from her desk drawer, removed the cap, poured a few drops of its
contents onto her fingers and then dabbed them on her cheeks and neck. The fragrance
of a sweet yet subtle perfume could be smelled in the air.
should be torturing him to get information out of him," the man in the
suit said, speaking in Russian. "Instead, you are going to...have fun with him?" The
Russian soldier standing beside him chuckled.
gave an icy stare at the man. Then, without warning, she raised her hand and
smacked him hard across his face.
she said, speaking in Russian as well. "If these were the old days, I'd have you both sent to a
training station in Siberia for your impudence.
"Vi imyeyete uzkie umy. (You
have narrow minds.) Vi znayetye tol'ko stariye pooti.
(You know only the old ways.)
Oo myenya yest' namnogo loochshiy poot'.
(I have a much better way.)"
She turned and looked at Stuart.
we embrace and are together as one," she said, "his mind will be open to
me. I will be inside it. I will know what he thinks, what he knows. And I will
know all about him and those working with him.
poyditeh! (Now go!)"
two Russians, in fear of Zhinovsky, turned and silently left the room. She
locked the door behind them then slowly walked over to the couch where Stuart,
in severe pain, was lying. He was sure a rib had been broken and his head was
black and blue, blood continuing to trickle out from his wound. He tried to
steady himself against whatever she would do to him.
sat down on the couch and stared into Stuart's eyes. Despite the pain, despite
everything that had happened, despite knowing she was a demon, he felt his eyes
locked onto hers. And he couldn't look away.
didn't want to look away. It was just as it had been in Prague when he
had first seen her picture on the computer. He had felt himself being seduced
by her. Only now she was there with him. And now, being next to her, the
seduction was even stronger. Nothing else besides her mattered. All he wanted
was to feel her lips on his, to feel her arms around him.
Zhinovsky slowly un-buttoned her jacket and blouse and removed
her army uniform. She looked down at Stuart as she unbuttoned his shirt, took it
off of him and started removing the rest of his clothes. She stared into Stuart's
eyes and a small smile crossed her lips. But there was no warmth in her hard, ice
cold eyes. She leaned over,
slipped her arms under him, and lifted him towards her. And their lips met.
Stuart felt their lips becoming one, his mind becoming one
with her. His whole being was becoming one with her.
But he didn't resist. He knew he couldn't make it stop.
And...he didn't want it to stop.
was adjusting her uniform jacket in the mirror as the two Russians came in.
are three who are working with him," she said in Russian, turning to them. "I
know who and what they are. And I know their plans. We will use the weapons.
And then I will kill them.
are not going to the cavern. Have the trucks moved immediately to Staroye. I
will meet them there."
said it wasn't safe to move the weapons," the Russian in the suit said.
was before I knew what they were planning," she said. "Now do
about him?" the soldier asked, looking at Stuart lying weak and semi-conscious
on the couch.
have no further need for him," she said. "When you're packed up and
ready to leave for Staroye, put some clothes on him,
take him out and shoot him. And then dispose of
light shone as Leo orbed in.
Stuart?" Phoebe asked.
don't know," Leo said. "He was supposed to meet me at the place where
we orbed in but he wasn't there."
you look for him?" Phoebe demanded.
course I did," Leo said. "I checked some of the rooms but the place
is full of Russians. Mostly soldiers but some in civilian clothes. One of them
spotted me and pulled his gun. I had to orb out. Stuart's probably been
caught...maybe even taken to Zhinovsky."
not leaving Stuart there!" Phoebe said.
looked at his watch.
exactly what we're doing," he said. "Get your vanquishing
spells ready. You're all going to Staroye."
Piper asked. "The demonomy gateway? Why?"
what about saying the spell to stop Zhinovsky?" Prue asked.
isn't a gateway to a demonomy," Keir said. "And the spell I gave you
the three girls exclaimed together.
isn't any spell that can work from a distance of seven hundred miles to stop
Zhinovsky from using those weapons," Keir said. "The only spell you
have is what you come up with to vanquish her."
Staroye isn't a demonomy gateway," Piper asked with a confused look,
"then why would Zhinovsky go there?"
Stuart thinks it is a demonomy gateway," Keir said, and looked at
his watch again. "And by now, Zhinovsky should think so, too."
don't understand," Leo said, shaking his head.
of that demon's powers is be seductively irresistible," Keir said,
"and overwhelm any mortal. Make him think of nothing but her. And a second
power is to get into that mortal's mind when they embrace tightly. By now,
she's gotten into Stuart's mind. And knows what he thinks to be true."
used him," Phoebe said, angrily staring at Keir.
had to flush out the weapons," Keir said. "The only way to do that
was to get Zhinovsky to move them to a place I know and that I can send you to.
Staroye is a perfect, sparsely inhabited place in the middle of nowhere in
Vologda province. Two hundred miles east of St. Petersburg, thirty-five miles
southwest of Lake Beloye and over five miles from the nearest main road. Not
many people around there to take note of Zhinovsky bringing the weapons there.
And once you vanquish Zhinovsky the weapons will be safe there for a while.
only way to get Zhinovsky to move the weapons to Staroye was to make her think
that you had a spell to stop her unless she and the weapons were there.
The only way to get her to believe that was for her to get it out of
Stuart's mind. What she gets that way can't be faked."
why you insisted Stuart go alone," Piper said.
knew he'd be captured," Phoebe said. "You wanted him to be
captured. You...you sacrificed him."
of millions of people will die if those weapons are used," Keir said,
dispassionately. "One person's dying saves them all."
stared at Keir, her anger growing.
have no right to make that choice for him," she said.
and Piper made the same choice for Prue," he said. "Or have you
are you talking about?!" Phoebe asked angrily.
Prue said, "that episode-...uh, that time with the apocalypse."
Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse," Piper said, recalling the episode. They
had shot it in late March, less than three months before, so she remembered it
and one of the Horsemen were sucked into a vortex," Piper said. "The
only way to prevent the apocalypse was to leave that Horseman in it, because
they couldn't make it happen with just the three of them. But the only way to
save Prue's life was to say the spell to release her together with the other
Horsemen. That would have gotten both Prue and The Horseman out of the
you made the decision, Phoebe, to leave me there forever," Prue said.
"To sacrifice one life in order to save the world from the apocalypse that
would have happened if The Horseman had been freed with me."
something...some hurt, in her voice when she said that, Prue realized. On
Charmed, she had to deal with their sacrificing her, she thought. In that
scene, she had to show in her voice the difficulty she was having coming to
terms with it. But this is real life. Even if Charmed's past is now real, she
didn't really experience that past. Phoebe didn't really sacrifice her
and it shouldn't bother her.
So...why is it bothering
if a building was on fire?" Piper said slowly, repeating the script's
closing dialogue. "Do you save five strangers or one sibling?"
answer was five strangers," Keir reminded them.
do you know what we said?" Piper asked.
told you," Keir said, "I know a lot of things."
was different," Phoebe said. "This isn't the same...that was
seems more real to you?" Keir asked, with an un-expressive look.
"It's quite the same logic."
he goes again, Piper thought, ambiguously hinting that he knows who we are. Is
he trying to use a Charmed script to justify sacrificing Stuart in real life?
Or is it because that episode is now the past that really did happen
three months ago.
am not leaving Stuart there to die," Phoebe said, firmly. "I'm going
there and getting him out."
not," Keir said. "He's likely dead already. Either way you're staying
here and making sure you have spells to vanquish Zhinovsky, Petrokov and any
other demon around those weapons."
am going," Phoebe said, defiantly.
not," Keir said, un-emotionally, "and you have no way of getting
there." He turned to Leo. "Have I made myself understood?" he
looked at Phoebe then turned back to Keir.
Leo reluctantly said.
had clapped his hands and sent them back to The Manor to work on the spells
they needed. The Book of Shadows lay open in front of them but no one was
looking in it.
going for Stuart," Phoebe said emphatically, "and you're taking me
heard Keir," Leo said. "Taking you there means trouble for all of
not taking us there means death for Stuart!" Phoebe said.
work for The Elders," Piper said. "You don't have to take orders from
Elders assigned me to this joint effort," Leo said, "and it's being
run by Keir. He's in charge. Going to Zhinovsky's headquarters means breaking
you been breaking the rules, Leo..." Piper asked, "...every night...that
you've spent here with me?"
looked at Piper and thought for a few seconds.
right," he said, slightly nodding his head. He took a deep breath.
"I'll take you, Phoebe. And I'll stay there with you until we find
you, Leo," Piper said, softly. "But you're not going, Phoebs. There
are too many guns around there. I'm going with Leo. My power will be
needed against them."
go, too," Prue said.
Leo said. "The more trips I have to make taking each of you back and forth
the more risk of Keir finding out. And the more risk for whoever is staying
behind there waiting for me to come back to get her.
here, Prue, and work on those vanquishing spells with Phoebe," Leo
continued. "We're going to need them right away."
Stuart at that demon headquarters won't be easy," Prue said.
have an idea," Phoebe said. "I have that spell I used for Vadim, the
one that made that square I gave him find precious gems. I can change the spell
to make it find Stuart, instead. You just see on which side of the square the
yellow light is pulsating and go in that direction. When it turns red you'll
know you're close to him."
Vadim had the square," Prue said. "And he's dead."
just a translucent square, nothing special about it," Phoebe said. "I
picked it up at the potion store. They come two in a package so I have a second
one. It's the spell that made it work."
get it and use the spell on it," Piper said.
don't let anything happen to Piper," Prue said, as Phoebe went to get the
square. "Nor to Stuart."
won't," he said.
orbed into the spot where Leo had left Stuart. Piper held up the square.
she said. "It's not working."
we're too far away from Stuart," Leo said. Piper nodded her head and they
started down the corridor. They turned a corner and came upon two soldiers.
Piper raised her hand before the soldiers realized they were there.
turned to Leo and un-froze him.
go," she said. They continued and came to two doors, one on either side of
the corridor. The door on their right opened and a Russian in civilian clothes
came out. Seeing them he quickly pulled his gun as Piper raised her hand.
turned to Leo, un-froze him and exhaled.
is not going to work well having to keep un-freezing you every minute,"
she said, then looked at the square. A yellow light on its left side was
working," Piper said. "It's pointing to the other door."
Leo said. "I'll go first." He put his hand to the doorknob, turned it
and slowly opened the door.
were outside. Leo put his finger on his lips and motioned to Piper to follow
walked to the corner of the building and looked around. There was nothing
around the building but some fifty yards away from it was the beginning of a
pointing to the right," Piper said, looking at the square. They walked out
a little further to get a view of the right side.
turned red," Leo said, looking at the square in Piper's hand.
by those trees," she said, pointing. They saw Stuart on the ground,
propped up against a tree. A Russian soldier stood in front of him looking down
at him. He pulled out his gun and pointed it at Stuart.
Piper shouted and raised her hand.
too open, he's too far away for me to freeze," she said and was about to
run to them.
Leo said, grabbing her. "This is faster." He held Piper tightly and
orbed out, then orbed in beside the soldier. As Piper raised her hand she heard
the sound of the gun being fired.
ran over to Stuart, fell to her knees and looked at him. The bullet was frozen
but it had already pierced his chest and was partially inside of him.
was about to unfreeze Leo but stopped. I can't risk the bullet un-freezing too,
swallowed hard and took hold of the bullet. Slowly, she pulled the bullet out
of Stuart's chest. Blood started to come out from the wound. She turned towards
Leo and un-froze him.
knelt down beside her and looked at Stuart.
already been shot," Leo said.
know," Piper said, "The bullet hadn't gone in all the way yet and I
pulled it out. Save him, Leo."
I still can," Leo said, "it will take some time. And we're going to
be drawing attention here."
Stuart back to The Manor and heal him there," she said.
in danger here," Leo said. "I'm not leaving you."
can hold them off," she said. "Now go!"
put his arms underneath Stuart and orbed out.
Piper screamed as bullets whizzed by her. They're too far away to freeze, she
thought, and ran behind the cover of the trees.
bolt of energy hit the tree beside her chest.
she screamed again, startled. Soldiers and demons, she thought. I better
move further back into the forest.
carefully backed away from the tree, keeping it between her and the advancing
Russians. There were three trees together a few yards away and she started towards
them as more bullets filled the air.
the trees, she crouched behind them and could see the soldiers running towards
the tree line. But she didn't see the demon coming around from the side of the
tree behind her. He was just a few feet from her when Leo orbed in next to him.
demon aimed his hand at Piper but Leo quickly landed his fist across the
demon's jaw. The demon went down and Leo rushed to Piper.
you all right?" Leo asked.
am now," Piper said. "And Stuart?"
was very close but he's OK," Leo said.
she said, relieved. "Now let's get out of here."
put his arms around her and they orbed out.
have you come up with?" Leo asked.
was standing in the attic next to Prue and Piper. Phoebe was sitting on a
chair, holding a pen and pad.
we knew what Petrokov's power was we knew what to look for in the Book of
Shadows," Prue said. "And we found the spell to vanquish him."
it's not that simple," Piper said, "because he can make us think
we vanquished him, just like he did in Novgorod. So the Book of Shadows has the
ingredients for a potion to put in our eyes. It will let us see what's really
happening to Petrokov, not what we want to think is happening."
Leo said. "What about Zhinovsky?"
been working on the spell," Prue said, "but that's proving to be more
one powerful demon," Piper said. "We're going to need a powerful
spell and the Power of Three to vanquish her."
did come up with a spell to stop her from launching the
cannisters," Prue said. "As long as the spell is in effect those
cannisters can't leave the ground."
also will take the Power of Three to work," Piper said.
means you're going to have to be together the whole time we're in
Staroye," Leo said. "That's going to make it a lot harder to find the
weapons without being spotted."
to mention finding Zhinovsky," Piper added.
not expecting us to be there," Prue said. "With what she got out of
Stuart's mind she thinks we're going to be somewhere else. Which means she
doesn't have a reason to keep the trucks hidden."
said Staroye is sparsely inhabited," Piper said. "And big trucks in
the middle of nowhere shouldn't be too hard to find."
can separate to look for Petrokov," Prue said. "That
vanquishing spell doesn't need the Power of Three."
to Keir," Leo said, "it should take Zhinovsky about four hours to get
to Staroye. Assuming she left right after we rescued Stuart, she should be
there in a little over two hours from now."
don't know where the weapons are coming from," Prue said, "so we
don't know how long it will take them to get there."
why we have to be there when Zhinovsky gets there," Leo said. "The
weapons may already be there by then." He turned to Phoebe.
go to Staroye in two hours," he said. "You've got to have the spell
ready by then."
too," Stuart said.
Stuart," Phoebe said. "You're not coming."
do you mean I'm not coming," Stuart said. "Of course I'm
supposed to be dead," she said.
not," he said, "and I'm coming to help you. As I've done all
this time," Phoebe said. "Staroye is full of demons. Only our powers
will work against them. I don't want to be distracted...worrying about you
place is beside you when you fight demons," he protested.
always beside me," she said. "I feel you next to me whether or
not you're physically there."
leaving me here to worry about you is OK?" he asked.
be with them the whole time," Leo said. "And It's better than putting
Phoebe at risk. If she's distracted trying to protect you like..." Leo
hesitated. He didn't want to finish saying what he was thinking.
gave Leo a confused look.
Prue said. "The...water demon in the lake. She was distracted...trying to
protect Sam...and the demon killed her."
was a Charmed episode, Phoebe thought. Why is Prue getting emotional about it?
Phoebe looked at the emotion on Prue’s face.
become real for her, Phoebe thought. More than looking at pictures in an album
and feeling some connection to 'Mom', the way she did after Norwell almost
killed her. Mom has become as real to Prue as anything else in her life. As
real as Charmed has become for everyone. She really is Patty Halliwell's
extended her hand to Prue's and squeezed it. That seemed to snap Prue out of
it. Or at least, got her back to what they were about to do.
wanted to say something. But he saw the same thing in Prue that Phoebe had and
he let it go.
orbed in behind the trees where he had left Prue and Piper. Phoebe let go of
Leo and quickly crouched down together with them.
of the area was wooded but a small clearing lay off to the left. Two wooden
huts lay beyond the clearing.
are a few Russian soldiers and a few people in civilian clothes coming in and
out of those huts," Piper said, as Leo joined them. "Less than I
would have expected."
probably doesn't want anyone she can't trust to know about this," Phoebe
guess she doesn't trust too many people," Piper said.
too many demons," Prue said.
isn't expecting anyone to come here," Leo said. "She doesn't think
she needs much security."
will work for us," Prue said, and stood up. "First thing we do is to
find those weapons. Let's see what’s beyond those huts."
they walked to their left, staying within the trees as they circled the
clearing. They were behind the huts when the door to one of them opened and a
man came out.
Leo said, and they dropped to the ground. They watched the man walk to the
second hut, open the door and go inside.
let's go," Prue said.
got up and continued walking. When they got past the huts they saw the remnant
of a barn, the right wall in its length missing. Lined up against the other
wall were two trucks. Their camouflage canvas had been pulled back to reveal
their contents. Cannisters.
have to get closer to be sure the spell will work," Prue said.
no one near the barn nor the huts, they came out from the trees and approached
let's do it," Prue said. She pulled a piece of paper out of her pocket and
held it open for them all to see as they took each other's hand.
"Weapons of destruction and death
That we have now found;
Defy any demon’s spell
And not leave the ground."
wind suddenly blew across the trucks, the rolled back canvas briefly bellowing.
guess that’s an indication that it worked," Piper said. Leo nodded in
let's go find Petrokov," Prue said.
going to see what's beyond the barn," Piper said.
look around the other side of the hut," Phoebe said. "Stay out of
sight, Leo. I don't want to have worry about you."
and you stay close to the buildings and trees," Leo said. "Try not to
be out in the open."
know all about that," Phoebe said. "I was in a commando movie with
Schwartzeneger. Uh...I mean...I saw the commando movie," she added,
and Phoebe headed to the first hut. Piper circled around the barn on the side
of the trees. Parked outside along the far side of the barn were five Russian
Army vehicles. She carefully made her way from the trees to one of them and saw
that it was empty. Checking that no one was coming, she moved to each of the
other four and saw that they were empty, as well.
was about to circle back to Prue and Phoebe when she heard a voice coming from
inside the barn. She stealthily made her way alongside the barn's left wall,
around the back wall and came in the open side next to one of the trucks loaded
with the cannisters. She had edged her way a few steps in between the two
trucks when she saw someone near the front of the barn.
Pochemu ehto neh rabota-eht?! (What happened? Why
isn't this working?)" Zhinovsky asked aloud as she moved her hand in an
arc across the cannisters.
started to back out but her elbow banged the side of one of the trucks and
Zhinovsky turned towards her.
Zhinovsky said. "What...what are you doing here?"
turned and tried to run. But Zhinovsky turned her hand and the canvas from one
of the trucks fell out and blocked Piper's path. Piper tried to push it away
but it had become hard and stiff and wouldn't budge.
know who you are," Zhinovsky said as Piper turned around to her.
"Piper Halliwell, the witch. Your friend Stuart had a very good picture of
you in his mind. But you are not supposed to be here. You and your sisters are
supposed to be some two thousand kilometers from here making your spell."
we're not," Piper said. "We made our spell right here. And you can't
send these chemical weapons anywhere. They won't budge."
is not possible!" Zhinovsky said. "Your spell cannot work here. This
is the vorota."
suppose that means the gateway to the demonomy," Piper said.
"Surprise. We lied."
pushed her blonde hair off her forehead and stared at Piper. Those are the
coldest, most evil eyes I've ever seen, Piper thought.
had planned to launch the weapons and then come after you and kill The Charmed
Ones," Zhinovsky said. "I will kill you first instead."
raised her hand to freeze Zhinovsky but nothing happened.
power won't work, you can't freeze me," Zhinovsky said. "But I can
freeze you." She turned her fist over.
to you!" Zhinovsky said as something shot out from her hand at Piper. It
was clear, thin and cylindrical, about one-half inch in diameter, and some six
inches in length. Its one inch tip penetrated Piper's chest and imbedded itself
just above her heart.
Piper fell to her knees, her eyes staring straight ahead and her mouth slightly
open. She extended her left hand to try to steady herself against the truck but
couldn't reach it. Instead, she twisted half around and fell with her back
against the truck, sliding down helplessly against the truck's large front
walked over and looked down at Piper slumped against the truck's oversized
tire. Piper's eyes were half open and she began to shiver.
cold?" Zhinovsky asked. "You will be feeling very cold. Soon
you will be so cold that your body will stop working. You will be frozen. And
you will be dead."
kicked Piper in the ribs with the toe of her army boot.
will kill your sisters the same way," Zhinovsky said. "And when the
three of you are dead, your spell will be broken. And I will send these weapons
on their journeys of destruction."
and Prue made their way along the side of the hut, their backs hugging its
wall. They reached the corner just as they heard the door opening. They pulled
back and held their breaths. The heard the door close and someone take a few
steps away from the door.
edged to the corner and slowly peeked around it. She quickly pulled back,
turned to Phoebe and silently nodded her head. Pointing to her eyes, she took
the small vial out of her pocket. Phoebe did the same but Prue motioned to her
to put it away. Prue squeezed a drop of her vial's content into each of her
nodded silently to Phoebe who nodded back. Then they went around the corner of
was standing about a dozen feet away. He was looking off at the barn, then at
the sky and then again at the barn. As if something he expected to see happen
wasn't happening. Prue and Phoebe began to say the spell before he realized
that they were there.
"Demon who changes what seems real
And thus the truth doth he
turned towards them and began twisting his hand. Phoebe stopped and stared at
him for a second but Petrokov's face filled with disbelief as Prue ignored him
and continued saying the spell.
"I vanquish thee from our midst
As you spin and turn and
began coming out of Petrokov's head and he began spinning around. Faster and
faster he spun as more and more smoke came from his head. Until he became a
whirling funnel of smoke - and then he was gone.
screams, no cries - just gone.
Phoebe said, "first, when you started the spell, I saw a fire all around
him. Then, when you finished the spell, he was suddenly covered in smoke."
fire was the same thing Petrokov made us see in Novgorod," Prue said.
"I had the drops in my eyes so I didn't see it. He looked the same to me
as he did when we started the spell."
why you didn't want me to put the drops in my eyes," Phoebe said. "If
we didn't see the same thing then the drops were working and what you saw had
to be what was really happening. Smart idea, sis."
demon vanquished," Prue said. "Let's go find Piper and vanquish the
saw no one between the hut and the barn and so they quickly ran to its open,
right side and then around to the back of the right truck. Phoebe peeked around
the corner of the truck to see if anyone was in the barn. The canvas from the
truck that Zhinovsky had stiffened was lying limp against the side of the
truck, allowing Phoebe a full view of what was between the two trucks.
Phoebe cried and started running towards Piper and Prue quickly followed her.
Phoebe kneeled down and took Piper in her arms.
freezing," Phoebe said. She grabbed the cylinder sticking out of Piper's
freezing, too," she said and had to let go of it.
lifted up Piper's blouse, wrapped it around the cylinder to insulate her hand
from the cold and took hold of it. She pulled it as hard as she could to try to
get it out but it wouldn't budge.
get Leo," Prue said, and hurried out of the barn.
eyes were half open as she shivered in Phoebe's arms. Phoebe drew her closer,
trying to give her some warmth.
going to be OK," Phoebe said. "Leo will help."
looked up and saw Leo edging his way towards them between the trucks. He knelt
down and tried pulling out the cylinder from Piper’s chest. But he could not
budge it any more than Prue had. His hands moved onto Piper's chest and light
shown out from beneath his palms. He kept his hands on her for twenty seconds
before taking them off.
aren't you healing her?" Phoebe asked.
can't," Leo said. "This...Piper's freezing, isn't coming from
anything physical, like a wound. It's demonic. It's coming from a demon's power
that’s making her freeze."
must have run in to Zhinovsky," Prue said.
long as Zhinovsky’s power to do this is active," Leo said, "I can't
do anything to stop it."
cylinder must be her connection to Piper," Prue said.
it's getting shorter," Phoebe said.
must be melting into Piper's body," Leo said. "The more it melts the
colder she gets."
when it melts completely," Phoebe said, "and it's all inside
be dead," Prue said.
have to get it out before it melts," Leo said. "Zhinovsky's power
must be holding it in. The only way to get it out is to first vanquish
the only way to vanquish Zhinovsky is with the Power of Three," Phoebe
looked at Piper, shivering and half un-conscious in Phoebe's arms.
The only way we'll have the Power of Three," Prue said, "...is by
first vanquishing Zhinovsky."
had nervously been pacing back and forth across the attic. It wasn't helping
him be less worried, he realized, and so he stopped, walked over to the Book of
Shadows and opened it. He turned a page and looked at it, then turned another
and another. Suddenly ten pages flipped quickly by themselves.
he said, "Book of Shadow pages turning by themselves. Uh...I've seen that
looked at the open page.
to temporarily weaken a demon's powers, Stuart read. If you are not strong
enough to vanquish a demon, this spell will weaken the demon’s powers for a
short period. Use this time to become strong enough to vanquish the demon.
looked at what was written next, in a larger script.
Beware!! This spell can be used but once. After that it will not work
began to read the spell when something by the door caught his eye. Startled, he
looked up thinking it might be a demon. But then he recognized the short,
rotund man with the bald-on-top round head and slightly ill-fitting black suit.
Stuart said, then exhaled. "Keir knows that I'm here...and alive."
does not," Meriwether said. "Nor does he know that I am here.
The Elders sent me."
Elders?" Stuart asked, surprised.
are working together on this," he reminded him.
yeah...that's right," Stuart said.
spell on the open page of The Book of Shadows," the short man said,
"is needed by Phoebe." He came closer to Stuart and stood in front of
him. "Read the spell aloud."
the spell?" Stuart asked.
said that she always feels that you're beside her," Meriwether said,
"even when you're not physically there with her."
did you know she said that to me?" Stuart asked, surprised.
ignored the question and placed his hands on either side of Stuart's mouth.
the spell aloud," he said, "and she will hear you."
looked down at Piper as Prue and Leo were silent in thought.
did you say, Leo?" Phoebe asked.
didn't say anything," Leo said.
did," Phoebe said, "I heard you..." She stopped and listened
Phoebe stopped again, lowered Piper to the ground and turned to her left,
staring at the truck cab's door.
hear him," Phoebe said, "...it's as if he’s standing right beside
me." She realized what she had said without thinking, the words just as she
had told him earlier in The Manor.
don't hear anything," Prue said.
Phoebe said. "It's a spell. Stuart's saying a spell."
you are!" Prue and Leo looked up towards the back of the barn. It was
I will freeze you, just as your sister is frozen," Zhinovsky said.
"And you will die with her."
waved her hand at Zhinovsky but a semi-transparent wall appeared in front of
Zhinovsky for a second and nothing happened to her. Prue waved her hand again
and the wall re-appeared. Zhinovsky stood un-moved where she was.
still kneeling, looked up at Zhinovsky and hearing Stuart’s voice, carefully
repeated the words he was saying
. "With the Charmed power of these
that I now speak
For a brief time I make this demon weak"
cold eyes stared at Prue as she held up her hand and turned her fist over. She
stood that way for a few seconds expecting something to happen.
nothing happened. Zhinovsky's expression changed to one of surprise as she
lowered her wrist then raised it and turned it over again. But still nothing
spell weakened her powers," Phoebe said. "Now, Leo. Hurry!"
knelt down to Piper and grabbed hold of the cylinder.
only temporary," Phoebe said, "I don't know how long the spell will
enough to do this," Prue said, as she waved her hand again at Zhinovsky.
This time no semi-transparent wall appeared to deflect Prue's power and the
demon went flying backwards against the barn wall.
it," Leo said, as he pulled the cylinder out of Piper's chest. He placed
his hands on Piper's chest, the light again emanating from his palms.
that her power wasn't working, Zhinovsky got behind the back of one of the
trucks and pulled out her army gun. The sound of gunfire was heard and they all
ducked, the bullets ricocheting off of the trucks.
peeked around the truck and fired three more times. But Prue raised her hand,
stopping the bullets and sending them back. Zhinovsky pulled back behind the
truck and the bullets hit the barn's back wall.
up, Leo," Phoebe said.
almost healed," Leo said.
Phoebe's scream and the sound of a gun firing were simultaneous. She fell
forward on the ground between the trucks. Prue turned around and saw a Russian
soldier at the front of the barn, his gun, having been fired, still aimed at
them. She waved her hand at him, sending him flying and hitting the barn wall
hard. She turned towards the back of the barn just in time to deflect more of
Zhinovsky's bullets. Then she knelt down next to Phoebe.
blouse by her right shoulder blade was turning red from her blood. Prue lifted
her up in her arms.
Phoebe!" Prue called to her.
healed," Leo said, then turned to Phoebe.
isn't time to heal Phoebe," Prue said. "We're in a crossfire and
Stuart's spell may end any second. We have to say the vanquishing spell,
now." She looked down at Phoebe.
need the Power of Three," Prue said. "Can you do it?" Prue
caught Zhinovsky in the corner of her eye, turned and waved her hand at her,
sending her into the back barn wall, again.
Phoebe said, weakly.
took hold of Phoebe's right hand and Piper grabbed her left hand.
"Demon of strength, demon of
Demon who causes destruction
Your time is over your days are
Our three powers now
vanquish you as one."
looked around her in fear and disbelief as a fire surrounded her. It caught
onto her blond hair and she started to scream. The fire burned hotter and her
screams became more blood curdling. Then in an instant she, and the fire, were
quickly put his hands onto Phoebe and kept them there for half a minute.
all right" Leo said, looking up at Prue and Piper, and exhaled in relief.
He put his hand under Phoebe's arm and helped her up.
you both OK?" Prue asked her sisters.
warm," Piper said, nodding her head. "That’s all that matters."
girl soldier and a man in a suit came running in to the barn. Prue turned to
them, waved her hand and sent them crashing into the barn wall. Then she
started towards them. But they picked themselves up and ran outside before she
reached them. Prue chased after them and Leo, Piper and Phoebe followed her out
of the barn.
saw another seven or eight people, two soldiers and the rest in civilian
clothes, running towards the barn. She waved her hand back and forth, sending
them flying in all directions.
of the non-soldiers got up, raised his hand and sent a power bolt towards Prue.
But Prue quickly raised her hand, deflecting the bolt back at the demon. He
screamed in agony as the bolt hit him and consumed him.
the demon vanquished, the others picked themselves up and dashed towards the army
vehicles parked along the left barn wall. They jumped in whichever ones were
nearest, started the motors, and drove them out as fast as they could.
and the three girls watched them all depart. Satisfied that everyone was gone,
they went back to the barn and looked at the two trucks.
did it," Phoebe said.
did," Piper said, a little in awe at their success. "I guess we are
good at cloak and dagger stuff, after all."
will never complain about summer heat in LA again," Piper said, back in
The Manor’s attic. "I was so cold that I couldn't even feel how cold I
being shot for real is not anything like acting being shot," Phoebe
said. "It really hurts...and it's really frightening."
did you come up with that spell?" Prue asked Stuart.
didn't," Stuart said. "It was in the Book of Shadows. Here, I'll show
it to you. I left a bookmark at the page."
walked over to the stand and opened the Book of Shadows at the bookmark. They
joined him and all four stared at the page.
completely blank page.
is it?" Phoebe asked.
said the spell could be used only once," Stuart said. "It...must have
been erased after you used it."
same thing happened on an episode early this season, didn't it," Phoebe
Prue said. "Every little thing Brad and Constance wrote into Charmed is
happening for real."
a good thing they didn't write that the one who said the spell gets erased,
too," Phoebe said.
if we could use the spell only one time," Piper said, "this was
hopefully it's also the time that ends our having to be secret agent witches," Prue
door of The Manor flung open and the middled aged government agent who had been
there a few days earlier marched in. With him was the younger agent who had
been with him that night along with four other men.
warned you Halliwell," the older agent said, "that if anything
happened to those weapons I'd be back. Well here I am. You want IDs? You want
papers? Go ahead boys, show her."
of the men pulled out an ID holder from his pocket and flipped it open, showing
a badge and photo ID.
Agent Gilmore, FBI," he said. "You're under arrest for treasonous
acts against the United States of America." He motioned with his head and
one of the other men grabbed Prue's wrists, pulled them behind her back and
locked handcuffs onto them.
You can't do that to my sister!" Piper shouted as she came down the
can - and I have," the middle aged agent said.
is a search warrant to search the premises," Gilmore said.
inch of it," the middled aged agent said, with glee.
came running in from the kitchen just as a man came through the open front
doorway. With broad shoulders, square face, focused eyes, somewhat curly black
hair and standing over six feet tall, he appeared to be someone you did not
take seriously only at your own considerable risk.
need a word with you, Morgan," he said, to the middle aged agent.
now, Bancker," Morgan said.
has to be now," Bancker said.
me whatever it is right here," Morgan said. "I don't want to miss any
of this. I'm enjoying this collar too much."
isn't going to be any collar," Bancker said and turned to Gilmore.
"Remove the handcuffs and release Ms. Halliwell. And tear up that search
stared at Bancker to be sure he had heard right.
it!" Bancker ordered.
sir," Gilmore said and motioned to the man who had put the handcuffs on
are you doing?!" Morgan asked angrily as Prue's hands were freed.
Special Agent in Charge Landon Bancker of the FBI’s San Francisco Field
Office," he said to the girls, showing them his ID. Then he turned to
last night, identical phone calls were placed to the DIA and to FBI
headquarters in Washington," Bancker said. "The caller said where the
truckloads of chemical weapons that disappeared could be found. A half hour
ago, agents confirmed that the weapons were found precisely where the caller
said they were. All of the cannisters were intact and accounted for. And are
now in our possession." Bancker paused.
person who placed the call was Prue Halliwell," he said.
Morgan exclaimed. He paused for a few seconds. "I don't believe it!"
Bureau traced the call back to this house and also did a voice analysis of the
caller," Bancker said. "Prue Halliwell did make those
was silent for a moment as he fumed.
not good enough," he said. "Those other chemical weapons are still
Phoebe said, helpfully.
is involved in their being missing," Morgan said. "I'm sure of
not missing anymore," Bancker said. "They were found at the same
place together with the other weapons. That was also in Halliwell's
turned to Prue as anger filled his eyes.
did you know where they were?" he asked, holding back his rage.
told you," Prue said, "I was doing research for a story."
want to see that story," Morgan said forcefully. "I want to see your
on your life," Prue said. "First Amendment, freedom of the press,
freedom from illegal searches."
I'll read it thoroughly and carefully when it gets printed in Four One
Five," Morgan said. Every word of it. I know I’ll find something in it to
tell you the truth," Prue said, "I think my editor is going to spike
the story. He's the kind of person who wouldn't want to embarrass his
government about how the CIA managed to lose two truckloads of chemical
weapons, not to mention the Novichok, that they were responsible to get and to
dispose of. While at the same time managing to harass -" Prue paused and
made an obvious look at the handcuffs in the FBI agent's hands, "and
arrest the person who got them back for them."
cold eyes stared at Prue.
not getting away with this," Morgan said. "I'll find out what your
advice to you, Morgan," Bancker said, "is to cut your losses. You
know you have no jurisdiction. You're legally treading on thin ice here."
Francisco doesn't get cold enough to ever have any ice," Phoebe said to
Morgan with a small smile, "but you've managed to get some for yourself,
stared angrily at Prue and exhaled. He turned around, motioned to the younger
agent who had accompanied him, and stalked out of The Manor.
behalf of The United States Government," Bancker said, "I want to
extend an apology for what you've been subjected to by...others. And a sincere
thanks for what you've done for your country."
you, Agent Bancker," Prue said. "Apology accepted."
you don't mind," he said, "I am curious how you managed to
find the weapons."
work, lots of research...and good connections," Prue said.
to mention a lot of secret agent stuff," Phoebe said under her breath.
really matters," Prue said, smoothly deflecting his request, "is that
the weapons didn't fall into the wrong hands."
don't know whether you meant what you told Morgan about killing the
story," Bancker said. "But it would be greatly appreciated by the
President if you did kill it."
President knows about us?" Phoebe asked, a bit wide-eyed.
he does," Bancker said. "And he is very grateful."
worry," Prue said. "This episode will never see the light of
we suggest it to Brad as a Charmed episode when...uh, if...we get
back," Piper whispered to Phoebe.
again, I want to thank you and your sisters for what you've done," Bancker
always glad," Phoebe said, "to do our part to save innocents...uh...I
mean...to save freedom." She smiled. "And democracy, too!"
three of you are true American heroes," Bancker said. "You're what
makes America the great country that it is." He turned to the four men.
go," Bancker said and led them out the front door.
- the President really knows what we did," Phoebe said with a little awe,
after the agents had left.
don't think of myself as a hero," Prue said.
Piper said, "we just did what three actresses turned into Charmed witches
turned into secret agents are supposed to do."
turned to Piper with a small smile.
I do feel good about it," Phoebe said.
guess I do too," Piper admitted.
Phoebe said, "I just loved that look on Morgan's face when he
stalked out of here."
huh," Piper said, "almost as much as I loved the look on Keir's face
when he had to thank us for saving the world a second time."
first time he didn't even say it himself," Prue said. "Meriwether did
it for him. Keir couldn't bring himself to thank us."
get used to it," Piper said.
have to," Phoebe said, "as long as The Elders keep Charmed real. And
keep us as real witches along with it."
of The Elders," Prue said, "what did they do to Leo when they found
out he broke the rules and helped us save Stuart?"
Piper said. "Leo asked them to forgive him. And they did."
like that?" Phoebe asked. "Just because he asked them
Piper began slowly, "...because I reminded them that actresses can be
quite temperamental. That they've been known to walk off a set, stay in their
trailers and refuse to play their roles if they're upset about something. And
that The Manor looks just like a certain set we’re very familiar with. And that
we would be quite upset if they did anything to Leo."
actually spoke to The Elders?" Phoebe asked, surprised.
face to face," Piper said. "But I went up to the attic and said it
rather loudly. And they do tend to monitor us some of the time so I knew they'd
get the message."
for you," Phoebe said.
for all of us," Prue said.
Phoebe said, "since we're not off holed up in our trailers, let's
see what's in "the set's" kitchen. Now that all of this is over, I
could use a nice, relaxing dinner."
wasn't your fault," Phoebe said.
was lying on top of Stuart in bed, her elbows on either side of his chest and
her hands propping up her head. The low wattage light from the small night
table lamp to the left of the bed partially, and romantically, illuminated
demon put a spell on you," she said. "You couldn't help being attracted to
her like that. I understand. And I don't blame you...uh, I'm not upset with you for..."
Though Phoebe meant what she was saying, it was still a little hard for her to say the
words."...for...what you did...with Zhinovsky."
know," Stuart said un-comfortably, feeling the sudden tenseness in Phoebe's body.
He hesitated for a few seconds."But...I'm still...embarassed. I felt...that we were
part of each other. That we were one. That nothing else mattered except...our
I should make up a new spell to put on you to make you feel that way
about me," Phoebe said with a smile.
Seeing the smile on Phoebe's face, Stuart felt better,
exhaled lightly and relaxed.
don't have to put a new spell on me," he said. "I've been under your
spell since that afternoon we met in Beverly Hills five weeks ago."
he said, "being seduced by Zhinovsky was overwhelming."
does it," Phoebe said. "I am putting a spell on you."
seduce me?" Stuart asked.
she said. She closed her eyes, thought for a moment, then looked at Stuart and
"You desire to feel me,
You are helplessly seduced;
You cannot resist,
What my spell has induced."
looked at Stuart and he looked back at her.
what?" he answered.
are you feeling?" she asked.
same as I felt before you said the spell," he replied.
she said. "Ugh...my spell didn't work," she added with a look of
spells don't work when they don't have to," Stuart said. "Maybe they
aren't meant to work when the way things already, naturally are give the same
mean I'm seducing you?" Phoebe asked, with a smile.
bet," he said.
his right hand behind her, Stuart rolled Phoebe over onto her back. He
stretched out his left hand to the night table lamp and, finding the switch,
turned off the light.