Categories > TV > Charmed0 Reviews
No photographs of Prue—the only thing strange in what appears to be a perfect happily ever after future Piper stumbled upon using Coop's ring. But then again, isn't it also strange that nobody ha...
A/N: Not a first fanfic, but definitely a first Charmed fanfic. So be nice :-)
By now, I'm sure all you fans and even non-fans must know why there aren't any pictures, flashbacks or even a ghost of Prue Halliwell after season 3. If not, then you might've noticed the sudden absence of Prue's pictures and a few other things and found it very strange.
What I find much stranger and creepy is that for ten whole years, no one, not even the show's writers, grabbed the golden opportunity and attempted to incorporate this….umm….real-life issue into the show or a fanfic.
Almost makes me believe that either it's illegal to do this or there's something out there that prevented people from doing this o.0
Anyways, creepiness aside, whether you're a fan of the sisters, big or baby Chris or Wyatt, heck even evil Wyatt, I hope you all enjoy this possibly illegal work of fiction ;-)
Timeline: Set a few hours after Forever Charmed.
Piper Halliwell wasn't insane.
Once and only for a one minute, she had believed she was, courtesy of the Source of all Evil. But even without the Source's or any other demonic influence, anyone in her shoes would've doubted their sanity.
Still doubt it.
If they had witnessed, experienced—not to mention actually turned into—things she had over the last eight years, they would've checked themselves into a mental institute a long time ago.
Witches and warlocks; whitelighters and darklighters, cupids and demons of hate, fairies and gremlins, wendigos and vampires, mermaids and leprechauns, time traveling and parallel worlds, white and dark magic, yin and yang, heroes and villains…..
All of it sounded so surreal; something out of children's bedtime story crossed over with a comic book fan's supernatural fantasy, smothered with humor and adventure before being marinated in family drama.
From a grandmother memory-wiping and binding her granddaughters' special gifts to protect them from evil to a forbidden love affair of a mother resulting in a long-lost half-sister, who's existence a carefully guarded secret like the family's ancestry.
And then what's family without the bundle of joys known as kids?
Meeting your son before he was conceived, only to lose him after he was born; also it'd make any mother proud that her first born son will grow up to rule the entire world….minus the being evil than the Source of all Evil part.
It was right up there with having one of your sisters as the Queen of the Underworld.
Speaking of the Queen, what's battling the forces of darkness without a little love and romance?
First with a warlock who tries to kill you and your sisters, then a ghost who has to move on to the afterlife. Next in line is your extraordinarily attractive neighbor who was unable to stand the extraordinary. And then finally, the longest running forbidden romance—a heartbreak and heartache saga with her handyman revealed to be her whitelighter turned Elder turned Avatar turned Elder again before finally being turned mortal.
Of course after that he did get turned into a human icicle thanks to the Angel of Destiny.
And Greg, the fireman, was somewhere inbetween there too…
If it wasn't for the whole personal gain clause, Piper could've probably made millions out of the story of her life.
Even have a movie or a TV show.
Had things not gone to the dogs when magic was exposed, she probably would have by now. A show most certainly about her and her sisters.
The Charmed Ones.
Yes, she could see it now…..three sister witches…..battling the forces of evil while trying to lead normal lives.
Accompanied by a nice theme song, the opening credits of their show would begin by displaying the triquertra, the Book of Shadows, a few shots of San Francisco, then one by they would be introduced along with their powers, smiling as if fighting the forces of evil was every woman's dream since childhood.
And maybe if the show was really successful, a spin-off could follow revolving around Wyatt and Chris's lives known as the Charmed….err…Sons?
Whose success would ultimately lead to a swarm of squealing, giggling fan-girls, sleeping, eating, breathing outside the Halliwell Manor…forever.
And since fan-girls were mortals, vanquishing them would be out of the question, not to mention illegal.
Phoebe and Paige's children could have that spin-off show. Lately everything had been about her anyway.
But it will all begin with three sisters.
Because the Power of Three will set us Free rhymes quite nicely.
The Book of Shadows has a nice triquetra on it, a symbol representing the power of three.
The Trinus of the Dominus Trinus spell is Latin for triple and three.
Their ancestor, Melinda Warren, prophesized the arrival of three sister witches, who together would be the most powerful witches before being burned at stake during the Salem Witch Trails.
So three was a pretty important number.
Her, Piper Halliwell being the first sister.
Phoebe Halliwell the second one.
Paige Matthews the third one.
Prue Halli—Ah! Now that was the thing.
There weren't three, but four sisters. Three and a half if you want to get technical. But for simplicity's sake, four.
Prue Halliwell, being the first. Followed by her, then Phoebe and finally Paige.
So if there were four of them, why in the name of Shakti and Shiva in the very distant future did she see only three and not four Halliwell sisters?
So one was gone.
Not among the living anymore.
But so were Penny Halliwell and Patty Halliwell—Grams and Mom. But they were there, frozen forever in a single moment inside square photo frames alongside other family members.
All except for Prue, who was missing, for some bizarre reason yet to be explained…
"A demon…..he must've attacked the Manor and…set Prue's pictures on fire….all of them….even baby pictures. And for some odd reason, I didn't get the time to get another copy developed…for fifty whole years. Yup. That sounds right."
In a world where ridiculousness ruled.
Piper rubbed her hands tiredly over her face. "Or something did change that wasn't supposed to. We just…we just didn't notice." With a heavy sigh, she turned to the person well-versed on the perplexing subject of time travel. "Well….you're the expert on time travel. Any thoughts?"
Christopher Perry Halliwell giggled amusedly and tangled his mother's brunette hair in his chubby fingers.
"Sssh!" She quickly shushed the bubbly toddler before casting a glance toward the staircase. "Whisper! Whisper! There's no need to wake up your brother. Or your Dad and worry him…..about the possibility that Mommy might've potentially messed up something during all the time traveling. He just got back. He doesn't need the stress."
Neither did she. But stress seemed to just love her to death and always found a way into her life. Good thing she had sisters to share her number one fan with.
"Aunt Phoebe….she handles stressful, reality-altering situations. A-And she's an advice columnist and we need advice." Piper leaned forward to snatch the cordless off the coffee table. "So let's ask her." She pressed speed-dial. "Let's ask Phoebe."
Chris nodded absent-mindedly as he curiously examined the fistful of his mother's hair, wondering if it tasted similar to the fuzzball he had found on the carpet or the tiny eight-legged creature Wyatt had handed him once.
After another moment of contemplation, his tiny mouth stretched open.
"Mmm…" Chris acknowledged through mouthful of chocolate-colored hair.
Definitely a distinct taste.
Someone answered the phone, but didn't speak.
Piper frowned and spoke up first: "Phoebe?"
"Mmm…..Yeah…?" came the familiar, but sleep-induced voice of Phoebe Halliwell.
"Hey. Hi. It's me. Wake up."
"Sure….five more minutes Grams….." Three seconds later, however, the sound of Phoebe hanging up greeted her ears.
Piper's growl of displeasure brought Chris's tasting session to an end.
He blinked in confusion and disappointment as he was transferred from his mother's lap and into the playpen.
Grabbing unto the netted wall of what his brother called, time-out box for babies, Chris hoisted himself to stand on his toes, and get a clear view of his agitated mother.
"Okay it's fine….it's late." She paced madly, only pausing to glimpse at the grandfather clock. "It's very late. She's tired and probably wants to get a goodnight's sleep after our….supposed battle to end all battles."
Chris's head followed her movement like a pendulum.
All his one-and-a half year old mind could process was that Mommy wanted to talk to Aunt Phoebe, but Aunt Phoebe was sleeping.
The Bay Mirror sprawled over the couch caught his eye. A huge front page picture of Phoebe Haillwell looked back at him with a slanted smile.
He gazed at his Aunt's face before returning his attention back to his upset mother.
She had finally stopped pacing and now stood still. "Coop? If you can hear me, could you please send Phoebe? It's important."
"I'm gonna be your sister-in-law soon so you'll be hearing my voice a lot. Better get used to it now."
Still a big load of nothing.
Right there and then, Chris decided to take matters into his own little hands.
Furrowing his small eyebrows, he concentrated all his tiny being on the sofa until blue and white orbs swirled and formed into the person his mother so desperately desired to see.
"Great. Just perfect."
Unfortunately, she was still muttering and grumbling to herself to actually see.
Sighing, Chris concluded he had no choice, but to reveal one of his…secrets. Wyatt had advised him it would be best to reveal such things when everyone was present, to get the maximum amount of love and attention. But right now, it was an emergency.
Bracing himself, he opened his mouth and unraveled his deepest, darkest secret:
The revelation bought Mommy at his side faster than he could blink. And though he wouldn't have liked anything better than to stay forever in the warm and loving embrace she currently had him enveloped in, he had a mission to fulfill.
"Y-You always said Dada a-and I was afraid—"
Chris quickly placed a palm on her lips, effectively cutting off her emotional speech.
Sighing audibly, Chris cupped her puzzled face with his chubby hands and turned it towards the sofa.
Momentarily dumbfounded, Piper uttered the first thing which came to her mind: "Phoebe is sleeping on the sofa."
"Uh-huh," he confirmed, wondering how grown-ups would fare without him.
He just shrugged indifferently. Better to pretend Uncle Coop did it than hear Wyatt calling him a peanut butter dummy.
Unfortunately, his mother possessed the power to detect lies.
"Hmm….never mind, Uncle Coop," Piper grumbled mockingly at the ceiling and smiled down tenderly at Chris.
Suddenly, it didn't matter that neither his Dad nor his Aunts witnessed him speak a new word and dote all over him. Or if Wyatt groaned, 'Chris, you dummy!' if he saw him right now. All of their love and affection put together couldn't compare to one appreciative smile from his Mom.
"Thank you, peanut."
The toddler tried to scowl at the nickname which his brother had maligned, but ended up blushing when he received a grateful kiss on the forehead.
One thing he had learned right now was, Wyatt was the dummy. A butter peanut and…and jelly with chocolate dummy!
Unluckily, he couldn't form a whole sentence yet to tell his big brother just that.
But one day he will.
"Well….." After one last kiss, he was deposited in the playpen again. "Time to wake up Aunt Phoebe…."
Chris didn't mind this time. It was always fun watching his Mom and aunts talking about…..things he had yet to fully understand. He could just listen to them talk, make funny faces and frantic gestures all day.
It was much better than cartoons.
He quietly smiled to himself when he noticed his mother making one of her funny faces right now at Aunt Phoebe as she tried to wake her up…..
"Phoebe? Wake up….c'mon…..Wake up….now! Now would be a good time to….open your eyes and wake up!"
Two minutes of rib-poking, nose flicking and tickling later, the middle Halliwell sister finally stirred. Ever so slowly, one eye cracked open.
"Hey," Piper greeted, applying a lot of cheerfulness in her voice.
A groan followed and the eye shut again, tightly.
Piper rolled her eyes. "And a very good morning to you too."
"Oh…just…." Phoebe groaned again, like a dying animal. "We just…..we just vanquished the Triad, defeated the Ultimate Evil, saved Leo and all that is good in the world…." She trailed off, massaging her temples. "Okay maybe it was you who did most of the saving, but it hasn't even been twenty-four hours! Don't demons usually take a month or two to attack after we defeat the Big Bad?"
"Yeah well…..Charmed Ones. Evil attacking anytime anywhere part of the package," Piper stated the obvious fact. "Deal with it."
Yawning widely, Phoebe curled against the sofa, reminding Piper of Kit—when she wasn't a human. "Wake me up when you find something in the BOS."
"Boss?" Piper inquired confused.
"Book of Shadows."
"Caught it from future Chris and Wyatt," she explained briefly. "Well….I'll be dreaming about our wonderful perfect future if you need me."
"That's nice, you do that." Piper sweetly encouraged before dropping the bomb. "Oh and speaking of our bright and shiny, perfect future, guess who's missing from the picture? Literally."
Phoebe made no attempt to stifle another yawn. "Evil?"
It always surprised Piper how one name could hold the power of sucking the life and humor out of the conversation in a second.
Phoebe slowly raised herself to a sitting position, a somber expression shading her face. "Piper….." she began softly, like a mother about to tell a child about death. "She's…."
"Dead. I know that."
Prue was dead. Just like Mom and Grams. A reminder wasn't necessary every time her name popped up.
"I meant her physical memory, a picture…any evidence that we have—used to have another sister."
Phoebe looked fully awake now. "What do you mean?"
"In the future where Leo and I were…well senior citizens and playing scrabble, no pictures of Prue. Zilch. Nada."
Phoebe frowned, clearly confused like she had been before. Though unlike Phoebe, she didn't have the luxury to contemplate over the weirdness of the situation until everything was normal again.
"That…no…that just…..can't be right."
"I agree, but apparently in the future, the person who's been with us since we opened our eyes doesn't seem worthy enough to be among all the other past and future Halliwells. Oh…but why stop there? Let's also make sure everyone believes the Charmed Ones have always been Piper, Phoebe and Paige. As if Prue never—"
"No," Phoebe interrupted quickly, not wanting to even consider the horrible thought. "Piper, there could be a million and one reasons—"
"Alright. I told you one, now you tell me a million."
"Uh….…." Phoebe obviously didn't expect to brainstorm the next second. "Okay…." She began carefully, "Prue's pictures…..could've been somewhere else…..some other room. It's not like you had the time to check the whole house."
"Hmm…..yeah. Prue is such a disgrace to the Halliwell family. Makes sense to lock her in the basement or the farthest corner of the attic where no one could ever see her. Just remove every trace of her from plain sight."
Piper knew she was being the queen of cynical. Whoever said sharing a problem made you feel better deserved to be vanquished. She only felt angrier. And it was either venting out her anger through direct means or the usual indirect one: sarcasm.
"Phoebe, every family member was in plain sight. Everyone except our big sister."
"Or something might've happened," Phoebe finally admitted. "Some demon attack and…and her pictures got caught in the crossfire."
An outrageous theory she had debunked earlier.
"All of her pictures? Even negatives? A-And those on the computer? Not even one left that we could hang on the wall? C'mon!"
"Well….the Manor might've…..blown up when our future generation were fighting the Ultimate Evil of their time. And instead of going back in time to fix everything, they….rebuilt it."
Time travel. She was beginning to loathe it more and more.
"Right….I'm sure in the future they found way to preserve humans, let alone pictures."
"Okay so…uh…..maybe it's not demonic or evil. Hmm….Cleaners?"
"Unless Prue brought a dragon to life, highly unlikely."
And Prue had already paid a very high price for exposure of magic.
"If they had control over the world in the future. Which they didn't."
"Abbey the stalker went to the future and stole them?"
The light-hearted suggestion didn't amuse her one bit. "Any other theories?"
"Oh! Oh!" Phoebe exclaimed suddenly. "Our kids! O-Or grandkids. They did something."
Piper arched an eyebrow, highly skeptical, but undeniably intrigued. "You're blaming our grandkids for the disappearance of Prue's pictures?"
"Not on purpose of course!" she clarified defensively. "A-An accident. A magical accident. Either their powers….or a spell backfiring or potion." She visibly winced. "Or all of the above."
Her mind recalled a spell backfire a year ago, bringing a twenty-five year old Wyatt from the future.
The memory that stuck with her was how he simultaneously destroyed three demons—along with half of the attic—just by holding up his hands.
However, in the future beyond that, the house appeared like it hadn't seen a demon attack or magical accidents in years.
"No. Vanquishing Prue to another dimension is an accident. Strategically wiping all of her pictures from every nook and cranny—that's a calculated attack."
"It's fifty years later. Today's deliberate could be tomorrow's accident." Phoebe's brows creased as she concentrated on the issue deeply. "And maybe the accident made you hide them from plain sight? Hmm….."
"Phoebe, wake up and smell common sense! I would never do that! Never!"
Prudence Halliwell belonged on the wall with all the other Halliwells. Not the attic or basement. She was their sister, not some ancient ancestor.
"Let's see…" Phoebe was on a completely different planet however. "If Wyatt, Chris and Melinda makes three, the twins and Henry Junior another three from Paige's side, and then my three girls…..and if they all have three kids then that would make a total of…..t-that would make….a total of…whoa! T-Twenty-seven! Twenty-seven grandkids!" She breathed in amazement. "Magical accidents are bound to happen!"
Piper's mind reeled with the onslaught of future information. "W-what…how…when?"
"Err…." Phoebe smiled guiltily. "Inbetween family group hugs we shared?"
Piper only shook her head.
No wonder Future Chris wasn't so keen on sharing a hug with Phoebe and literally had to pry her off Wyatt's future version. Unlike Chris, Wyatt didn't care about future consequences and was more than happy to let things slip like, Uncle Coop.
"Did I mention you finally get your dream restaurant?" Phoebe added as a bribe. With a huge grin, she turned her focus toward her nephew. "And guess who's got something special planned there tonight…."
Chris made a delighted noise.
Phoebe, the insane baby-fanatic she was, couldn't resist and plucked him out of the playpen and into her arms.
"She's going to say yes! Despite the warlock attack ruining your plans. But the important thing is, a yes!"
Chris cooed happily, reaching out to grab a lock of her hair, wondering whether a different hair color also meant different taste.
"Oh that's not all mister." Phoebe adopted a mock stern voice. "We also need to have a nice long talk about you and Wyatt scaring your little sister's boyfriends away."
"Phoebe?" Piper clenched her fists, her patience wavering at the inability to decipher the issue and Phoebe being no help at all. "Can we please focus on the present crisis?"
Phoebe let out a frustrated sigh as she settled the sunny baby Chris next to her. "That's the thing. It's not a present crisis. It would occur in the future. A very…very distant future. And I'm not sure if it should even be categorized as a crisis. They're just pictures."
"Just pictures?" Piper repeated flatly, feeling a sense of betrayal. Here she was pouring her heart out, fearing the worst and hoping for some support and Phoebe didn't even care.
"Piper…." Phoebe started, obviously realizing her Freudian slip a little too late. "I didn't mean it like that….."
"It certainly sounded like it."
"It's just that…..How old were we in the future? Eighty going on…..death's doorstep? It really doesn't matter if Phoebe the third or Paige the second destroyed them by accident. Pictures really don't seem important when we're about to meet her in spirit."
"What if it's not just the pictures?"
A flicker of fear crossed Phoebe's face only to be replaced by unwavering determination. "Then I'm pretty sure everyone is working hard in the future as we speak to solve the…..crisis."
"I don't feel so reassured." Piper crossed her arms over her chest. She continued her pacing, musing about her future self. "How could I play demon scrabble with Leo without glasses and not notice someone so significant missing?"
"Umm…." The psychic's eyes shifted uneasily while her fingers played with Chris's hair. "You're stressing so much right now and if you stressed so much at that age….and with Grams having a heart condition too, wouldn't be a surprise the kids did something to….uh…you know, make sure Gramama Piper didn't have a stroke."
And…..that was it.
Piper stomped to a halt. "Get Coop's ring," she ordered.
"Wha—Why?" Phoebe seemed afraid to hear the answer. "What…what are you planning on doing?"
"Go to the future first. Find out what kind of magical mess would cause this second." She listed on her fingers. "Ground our future generation third," she spoke through gritted teeth. "Or tell our future selves so that they can ground our descendants for this mess. Then we come back and make sure it never happens. What do you think? Nice plan?"
After approximately ten seconds, she received feedback. "Are you crazy?"
"No. Our kids or grandkids are…..thinking they could hide this from us forever. Now …your future husband's ring, if you don't mind."
Her request fell on deaf ears.
"Y-You want us to go barging into the future, to tell our kids o-or….grandkids to be more careful with Prue's pics? Tell our future selves what they did, if they did so that they could snap at them to fix it?" Phoebe let out a sharp breath and collapsed against the sofa. "Oh boy…." She blocked Piper's pacing path and reached out to touch her sister's forehead. "Grams?" She narrowed her eyes at Piper, scrutinizing her. "Is that you in there?"
Piper swatted her hand away. "What?"
"What? Besides future consequences? Trust me when I say this sis…you're going to royally, royally piss off the next generation. Especially if it turns out to be not their fault at all. What then? What would happen then?"
"Then I would know it was me!"
The words decimated every noise in the room. Even the grandfather clock's ticking seemed to stop.
"You?" Phoebe finally questioned, disbelief written across her face.
"Me. And time travel."
"Coop took care of all that."
Piper shook her head. Phoebe didn't get it. "Coop just made sure Grams and Mom didn't remember. That's all he did."
"So there won't be any future consequences."
"Future consequences?" A bitter laugh escaped her lips. "Phoebe I…..I-I took Mom from one past…a-and then I accidentally ended up in the future where I was the Grams along with Mom…..from the past. And then we picked Grams from another past and went to change another past…." Her head spun as she recapped her journey. "And then again when Dumain stole Coop's ring and Wyatt's powers had disappeared and….you know the rest…."
"Yeah….." Phoebe blinked, dazed. "And it was confusing the last time you told me too."
Piper ignored the comment and continued, "I may not be an expert on time travel, but if Einstein was alive right now, he would've pulled out his brain and set it on fire if I asked him about the consequences of a time traveling trip like that."
"Uh…..first of all, Einstein was a super-genius not a witch. Umm…" Phoebe bit her lips, concern etching her features. "And if you asked him to explain how your time traveling trip is related to the disappearance of Prue's pictures…..he would lose his mind. Completely."
Piper didn't know if it was sixth sense, sisterly bond, but she could clearly make-out Phoebe's afterthought.
Kind of like you're losing it right now.
The last thing she needed right now was a sister with a degree in Psychology thinking she was insane. But the second last thing she wanted was to be the reason behind Prue's photographs mysterious disappearance.
Hopefully just photographs.
"He's a super-genius. He'll figure out a connection and make sense of everything. You think we can summon his ghost?"
"He'll more likely find evidence of you leaving Leo for Barbaras and having a litter of fear-inducing baby demons!" Phoebe snapped.
It was obvious being dragged out of sleep and Piper's stubbornness to feel responsible for an incident which didn't and would never occur were affecting her normally optimistic persona.
"I-It makes much more sense than….what you're suggesting you did….Okay…." She briefly closed her eyes, and exhaled. "Remember when you told me to tell you when you're obsessing?"
"Well it runs in the family!" Piper deflected, her temper rising at Phoebe's stubbornness to believe everything and everyone else in the world(including their kids and grandkids) could be the culprit, but not her own sister. "And who was obsessing about finding a husband a few months ago?"
"A husband! A daughter. Not Prue!" Phoebe's eyes literally pleaded her not to pursue this obsession. "Never Prue," she finished softly. Never turns out well. Let it go. Piper.….please just let it go.
"When you find out you're responsible for something bad happening to your sister, you tend to obsesses about it a lot and can't let it go!" Anger was taking the front seat to sarcasm now.
"You are not and will never be responsible for anything bad happening to Prue!" Phoebe's stated vehemently, her voice matching Piper's octave.
"I'll know for sure once your husband-to-be gives me his damn ring! Coop!" Piper shouted furiously. "Heart-orb your cupid ass over here!"
"Coop's ring works through love, not anger."
"Oh gee really? Why don't you do me a favor and ask Coop to appear so I could start feeling all lovey dovey?"
Phoebe appeared like she had prepared a retort, but instead she lectured: "There's no guarantee you'll end up exactly where you want to. A-And what if something happens to the ring? O-Or you need the Power of Three to get back here?"
"I took that risk for you and Paige. And I'll do the same for Prue." She then conveniently added, "even if it's just her pictures that need saving. As for the Power of Three….. nine kids and twenty-seven grandkids, right?"
By that point, Piper fully expected Phoebe to snap.
"Saving her pictures won't bring her back."
The sad true fact combined with Phoebe's sympathetic expression was the breaking point for her instead.
Her hands flicked forward, a reflexive action her body had adopted in cases of intense anger. The object of her anger—which usually always had been Leo—would freeze, while she took the time to cool down.
Unfortunately in the heat of anger, her rational mind seemed to have forgotten the little flaw of her freezing powers.
Phoebe folded her arms across her chest and fixed her with a glare, all her sisterly concern evaporating. "Are we forgetting something?"
An array of vicious retorts made their way to the tip of Piper's tongue, but she swallowed them before they slipped out.
The familiar green eyes of Leo Wyatt stared at them, anxiety and fear shining in the tiny orbs. The cheerful disposition displayed by him not mere minutes ago had vanished completely. …..
Oh Chris, Piper lamented inwardly. I'm so sorry.
Phoebe had already beaten her in the apology department. "Hey cutie….Don't frown like that, you'll get worry lines." She bent to Chris's eye-level and smiled at him, snuffing his nose. "Besides its grown-ups job to worry. And you don't qualify as a grown-up yet, do you?"
Only a small whimper escaped.
"We…we were really loud, huh?" Phoebe asked in a remorse-filled tone.
Reluctantly, Chris nodded.
"Well…..Me and your Mommy were just having a loud….sisterly chat," she provided. "You know, like you had with Wyatt over the fire truck last week? And the week before that it was Wuvey? Remember?"
"Mmm-Hmm…" Chris quietly acknowledged, nervously sucking on his fist.
"Same with us sisters. We yell, we shout, we bite and scratch, pull each others hair over silly little things. Okay maybe not bite and scratch anymore." The witch rephrased, seeing the child's eyes grow huge. "And for the record, I never bit your Mommy, just your Aunt Pru—The point is, it's completely normal. Nothing to worry about. I love Piper and she loves me, and if we do….rarely yell and be mean to each other, it's alright I still love her and she still loves me. Isn't that right, Piper?"
Chris exchanged a look with Piper, seeking reassurance for his aunt's words.
"We don't want him becoming a neurotic little worry wart like Perry Halliwell, now do we?" Phoebe emphasized the name, desperately hoping she would take the cue. "Huh Piper?"
The word triggered the creation of another theory.
Her actions right now…her obsessive, excessive, neurotic actions and spoken words…viewed live by her younger son and obviously not liked at all. And when there's something you don't like, you wish it would stop.
And with an older brother like Wyatt Matthew Halliwell, that wish wasn't far from becoming a reality.
From switching his parents' powers to halt their constant bickering to shrinking them to doll-size and imprisoning them in the dollhouse for their protection, three-year old Wyatt was well-experienced in the area of resolving domestic conflicts.
And if magically erasing Aunt Prue's pictures so that Mommy and Aunt Phoebe wouldn't worry anymore about her was the solution according to Wyatt, then shockingly, she'll understand.
If she had a brother or sister like Wyatt, she would've done the same thing: wish Dad never had to leave and had gotten along with Grams….wish Mom and Dad stayed together, Mom never died, neither did Prue…..
Piper closed her eyes and slowly exhaled.
Well, Chris didn't need to run to his brother. She wouldn't ever do anything like that to make him wish that ever again.
Phoebe was right.
She had to let it go.
For Chris's sake. For Phoebe's sake. For everyone's sake.
It was the next generation's job to handle this problem. Not theirs. It was over for them. Their happily ever after was now.
Leo was back. Phoebe and Paige were alive. She had two wonderful sons.
What more could she ask for?
"Right….." Piper slowly sunk down next to Chris. Lightly brushing his dark hair, she gave her anxious son an assuring smile. "Everything's fine honey. Aunt Phoebe and I were.…..just talking. And I'm sorry we got a little noisy."
"Ah! See? Your Mom says everything's alright." Phoebe gestured. "Now turn that frown upside down." She wiggled her fingers toward him. "Uh-oh...you see that? The tickling fingers don't like sad faces….."
Chris squealed in laughter as he unsuccessfully tried to push her hands away.
Grinning widely, Phoebe faced Piper, who noticed the mirth didn't quite reach her eyes. "So Mommy…..is everything alright?"
It took awhile, but Piper slowly nodded.
"And…are you alright?"
"If…..if you're worried you…..accidentally…..erased Prue from existence or something, then you wouldn't be here worrying about erasing her from existence. We wouldn't even know who she was right now."
Anger and fear made people think illogical things. Add Prue as the reason behind those two strong emotions and you've made a perfect cocktail to trigger irrational actions.
"And if you really believe…..all the time traveling could've done this, then wouldn't it be wise to postpone any further time trips? We can't risk accidentally changing the outcome of the final battle. Again."
Oh my God…Piper mentally berated herself and felt utterly grateful Phoebe had stopped her. "Y-Yes. You're right."
"And who's to say we haven't already been to the future and back? Our memories could've been erased. Just like we had to do with Mom and Grams."
If that was true, then Piper would be experiencing a warm and fuzzy feeling instead of a nagging and foreboding sensation that something was terribly wrong with the whole universe.
"And you're so adorable. I swear you would win first place in a baby contest." Phoebe spoke in her baby voice, to keep the façade of everything is alright infront of Chris.
"He most certainly will," Piper agreed, with a soft smile, watching Chris squirm and laugh under Phoebe's tickling fingers.
It always amazed her how a mere glimpse of her sons could always melt away the most awful feelings.
"So…..that means something would happen in the future which would cause this….."
"Uh-huh," Piper concurred distractedly, using the sound of Chris's laughter to vanquish the remaining feeling of doom and gloom.
"But not necessarily something bad. It could be something as simple as—"
"Our kids or grandkids doing a vanquishing spell and it backfiring and accidentally sucking all of Prue's photographs into a vortex," Piper concluded in one breath. "Got it."
"And if it's not just the pictures….."
"Then we should trust the children and our children's children to be able to deal with the crisis themselves." Piper felt like a kindergarten kid repeating what she had been taught in class. "Not interfere."
"Right. And if they need help, we're just a time travel away."
"Yes we are."
"And if something goes wrong with time itself, I'll be the first one to know. Either through déjà vu or the usual premonition about the future. Yes siree, the moment Phoebe Halliwell gets hit with feelings of déjà vu or a premonition, we'll know foul play is at hand with time."
"You can stop now, Phoebe." Piper put her sister's worries at ease. "I'm not going to try anything stupid."
"I don't know what you're talking about. But….." She trailed off to blow a raspberry against Chris's cheek, enticing further bouts of laughter. "Great!"
"I….I was probably at the wrong place and at the wrong time," Piper assumed, just to convince herself further.
"Well there you go!" Phoebe clapped her hands together, giving Chris a second to relax. "The best theory yet. I bet Phoebe the third is out there right now, getting another copy of her great grand-aunt Prue's pics."
"And probably getting distracted by a cute boy too," Piper mumbled dryly.
"You know teenagers." Phoebe chuckled, but abruptly stopped. "It's…..really not funny when you're the grandma." She visibly winced. "Think I'm starting to understand how Grams felt." She leaned close to Chris's ear and whispered conspiringly. "Grow-up soon so we can make plans together."
Piper could've sworn Chris's eyes twinkled mischievously in agreement.
"Hmm….But right now, why don't you go back to bed little guy?"
Chris shook his head, adamantly.
"Why?" Phoebe inquired. "Not sleepy?"
He only shifted restlessly, casting a glance at Piper.
"Oh…Aww…..that's so sweet," Phoebe gushed, understandingly.
"Yeah, a habit he inherited from Leo."
A tiny part of her felt glad she had accidentally dropped a little bit sleeping potion in Leo's midnight snack. For a day atleast, her husband deserved to be treated like a king; a king who didn't need to be kept awake due to the magical problems of his queen.
Obviously, he would discover this in the morning—or afternoon since the potion was a bit strong—and confront her. But she would swallow her pride and apologize for her actions when the time comes. They would kiss, make-up and live happily ever as the future proved.
Right now however, someone else deserved an apology.
Piper's eyebrow shot up. "For dragging you out of bed, overreacting, yelling at you…..trying to freeze yo—"
"Freeze? Really? I thought you were aiming for fire power." Even if the quip meant no harm, Piper still felt miserable.
"Aww…..come here….." Phoebe threw her arms around Piper, smothering her with a hug. "You know I can't ever hold a grudge against my favorite sister in the whole wide world."
"Right….." Piper squirmed in the affectionate, yet suffocating embrace. "I bet you say that to all your other sisters too."
"Nah. Just the sis who cooks for me, does my laundry….will let me live off her if I'm suddenly unemployed and….won't ever get mad even if I borrow and break something important of hers."
"D-Did you use break and important in the same sentence?"
As usual, her question remained unanswered.
"Did I mention how quickly we sisters forgive, forget, kiss and make-up too?" Phoebe told Chris. "Which reminds me."
"Phoebe….." Piper's warning went unheeded and her cheek was showered with kisses. "Phoebe!"
Chris giggled madly, losing his balance and falling on his back.
Piper's heart lurched, afraid he would tumble down the sofa next, giggling. "One more giggle mister and this is how you'll be apologizing to your brother in the future for the rest of your life!"
Baby laughter immediately seized.
Chris made a gagging sound, before his face contorted into a scowl. When he put his hands on his hips and fixed them with a glare, Piper's resolve crumbled and she burst into laughter.
"Piper….shush!" Phoebe snickered. "We don't want to be sent to our beds without supper."
Flustered by their reactions, Chris hid his face behind a sofa cushion.
"C-Chris…..I-I'm sorry…." Piper struggled to recover from the sudden grip of laughter. "I-It's just…..w-where did you learn to do that?"
After seeing a perfect imitation of Grams scolding stance on Chris's chubby face, it was hard to keep a straight-face.
"You don't think she got reincarnated do you?"
The wisecrack remark earned Phoebe an elbow in the ribs. Instead of retaliating, her eyes clamped shut, while her hold tightened around Piper's hand.
Piper inhaled sharply, clenching her sister's hand as she waited for the premonition to pass. She bit back a yelp of pain as Phoebe's fingers practically dug into her palm.
This was it.
The premonition which signaled something was terribly wrong in the future.
Something which involved Prue somehow.
Would they find a spell in the Book like the last time—seven years ago to be exact—and possess their future bodies?
Their…eighty year old bodies?
Piper suppressed a shudder.
Should they use Coop's ring again? Or create their own spell which hopefully will open a portal to the future and not a parallel world?
Perhaps they might be summoned by one of their kids? Like she accidentally summoned Wyatt from the future? And Phoebe simultaneously summoned a twelve year old and a very old version of herself from both past and future?
And when everything would be over, will they remember? Or would the adult versions of their kids make them forget?
And Prue….will…will they finally be able to see her?
Her million miles a second racing thoughts came to a halt when Phoebe's eyes fluttered open.
"What did you see?"
"You …." Phoebe shook the after-effects of the premonition. "And…Leo. A-And Mom…..wow….so that's what 2050 looks like…..."
Piper hurled a vicious glare at the ceiling, highly tempted to raise her hands and flip the bird at whoever sent Phoebe visions.
"I-I just saw Wyatt's and Chris's future. But seeing beyond that ….." Phoebe breathed amazed, struggling for words, "….t-that's…..that's…"
"Great," Piper muttered unenthusiastically.
"Great. Exactly! You and Leo were so adorable playing demon scrabble."
"That's nice Phoebe."
"A-And it's weird seeing Mom with the Grams version of you. But wonderful at the same time."
"And you don't look bad for an eighty year old. But Leo….."
"And…you were expecting another premonition?"
Piper huffed and let her head fall back. "Yeah, one where we all get married and have three sets of kids and our children also have three sets of kids." She grew serious. "Did it…..seem like anything was wrong? Anything at all?"
"Nothing sinister….or evil?"
"Not even a bad vibe."
"Maybe you should try again." Piper clasped Phoebe's hands in hers, hoping to trigger another premonition.
"Piper….." Phoebe interrupted calmly, wiggling her hands free. "You know the best way to get over an obsession?"
"No," she replied in an uninterested tone. "And I'm not obsessed."
"Get a new one."
Another obsession? Pretty much doubted it. "Like what?"
Amazingly, Piper managed to pull an excellent poker face. "Melinda Warren? Our ancestor?"
"Melinda Halliwell, your daughter."
Piper avoided eye-contact. "Oh, you're referring to one of the baby names we decided for Wyatt? When we thought he was going to be a she?"
"Uh…hello? Weren't you paying attention when I said Wyatt and Chris were ruining their little sister's romantic relationships?"
"Unless it's an innocent which needs saving, I tend to listen to any future information with one ear and throw it out of the other."
"She exists. She's real. This time," Phoebe insisted. "And definitely not a little girl anymore."
"Uh-huh….." Piper looked down at her feet, hoping her long hair would conceal any emotion her face couldn't. "That's why we didn't see her today with her brothers. She inherited the power of invisibility."
"She…..probably wanted to come but her overly protective brothers must've….done something," Phoebe reasoned. "I'm….I'm pretty sure there are many theories to explain that too."
Luckily, the strange 2050 future overruled any ache caused by her daughter not visiting. And Phoebe's premonition only managed to stir up the obsession she had promised herself to forget. She quickly tried a different forgetting strategy.
"So, who's this girl Chr—Perry," Piper quickly rephrased when Chris peered at her curiously, "is marrying again?"
Even if the future suddenly changed again, atleast she'll have a daughter-in-law to look forward to. Along with a house full of grandkids.
And thankfully, Phoebe respected enough not to delve deeper into the Melinda subject.
Piper almost toppled off the sofa. "B-Bianca!"
"Yeah." Phoebe didn't appear affected. "I thought it was really obvious." She smiled. "So great they found each other again in the new future. And…." On catching Piper's shocked look, she sighed. "Now what's the matter?"
"W-What's the matter?" Piper sputtered. "Look at him…" She motioned to Chris, who quickly dropped the sofa cushion he had been chewing on and looked away guiltily. "He's barely two. And the last time we checked, little Bianca had been four years old. And that was two years ago, which now makes her six! I-It's….it's practically robbing the cradle!"
Phoebe rolled her eyes. "Honey, didn't you marry the guy who's old enough to be our grandfather?"
"My guy is—was a whitelighter." Piper pinched the bridge of her nose, certain she would have this conversation with Chris twenty years later. "She belongs to a coven of assassin witches, tried to kill him, stripped away his powers and then dragged him back to the—" Realization dawned upon her. "Future."
Phoebe groaned. "Don't even go there….."
"Future in-laws. Specifically Bianca. Having something to do with Prue's pictures."
"No. Don't…don't be ridiculous!" Piper tried to feign nonchalance. "Why would Bianca do something so…so crazy? U-Unless, we have a very strained mother and daughter-in-law relationship in the future. A-And the only reason that would happen is if there's a strong reason to believe something is very wrong…with her." A thought occurred to her. "Who's Wyatt marrying again?"
"That's it." Phoebe stood up, grabbed a notepad and pen from the table and started to shuffle towards the kitchen.
"What are you doing?"
"Making coffee for me and a memory spell for you."
"There's a reason I received the power to see the future and you didn't. This is why."
"And your solution is to make me forget?" Piper asked, incredulously and angrily.
Phoebe froze in her tracks. "Or it…could also be the problem we're trying to avoid….." She wet her lips nervously. "Umm…On a scale of one to hundred, how many times have our spells not worked the way they were supposed to?"
"A hundred and one."
Tentatively, Phoebe laid the notepad next to the vase on the roundtable, as if it was a live grenade. "Okay….."
Her gaze connected with Piper's and she instinctively knew her sister had tangled herself in the same web of paranoia she had just escaped from moments ago.
One thing was certain, a memory spell was required for both of them.
If it didn't accidentally backfire.
"This…this is crazy." Phoebe frantically ran a hand through her hair. "W-We can't live worrying all the time whether the next spell, potion, or vanquish would…." She shook her head furiously. "Neither should our kids feel like this." She clenched her fists. "I'm putting an end to this right now."
"How?" What if using a spell to fix this actually is responsible? "Without magic? How?"
"The mortal way I guess!" Phoebe replied. "Make a million copies of Prue's photos. Put few in a secure vault, bury some in the backyard, upload the rest on our Facebook and Twitter accounts. Tell Paige to do the same—"
"Facebook?" Piper could only wonder. "Twitter?"
Phoebe waved her hand airily. "Just soon-to-be really addicting—"
Her ranting suddenly ceased.
"What? Addicting what?" Piper asked frantically. "Phoebe?"
But something on the staircase wall had captured her sister's undivided attention.
"Pheebs?" Piper tried again. "Are you alright?"
Phoebe quickly scaled the stairs and stopped before the last photograph.
"This picture…." She removed the framed image and held it up for Piper to see.
It featured her, Phoebe with Paige in the middle on the couch. Being a first time witch, Paige beamed at the camera. After three years as witches and suffering huge losses, she and Phoebe could only offer small smiles.
"What about it?"
"You said you saw a picture of only three of us. This was it, right?"
Puzzled, she nodded. "Yes. Why?"
"It's…..it's here right now. It was also there when I got premonitions off Wyatt. And few off Chris toda—yesterday. A-And…it would still be here, in the exact same spot, fifty years later."
"Wow….." Piper made no attempt to mask the sarcasm. "One picture we don't have to worry about getting destroyed or accidentally vanquished."
"Yeah….." A trance-like expression covered Phoebe's face. "And…there weren't any of Prue's…"
"Yes. Not with us," Piper verified. "Or without us."
Phoebe chewed her lip thoughtfully and sat down on the steps. "Uh-huh."
Piper could clearly visualize the wheels in Phoebe's head spinning, forming an idea. Yet having no clue as to what it was.
"We're in the past."
"Phoebe." Piper was now a bit concerned about Phoebe's mental well-being. "We're in the present."
"Present for us, but past for them."
"Our children. The future generation."
"Alright, okay. We're in their past…so what?"
"Lucky us, right? Being able to influence the future with whatever we do right now?"
"And?" Piper urged, waiting edgily for the dramatic reveal.
Excitement literally poured out of Phoebe, who slowly rose to her feet. "I think it's about time there's a picture of all four of us."
It took thirty seconds to process the response.
"Us! You, me, Prue, Paige together!" Phoebe stated as it was the most obvious thing. "Four of us! All four Halliwell sisters!"
"I know what you mean!" Piper snapped irritated as the hyper-active Phoebe came stampeding down the stairs and reclaimed her spot on the sofa. "That's…that's kind of hard. Not to mention impossible right now. And exactly why do we need a picture of four of us again?"
More importantly, how do they even get a picture of all four of them together?
"Anything's possible," Phoebe said mysteriously, answering only half of her question. "With a little bit of magic."
"Personal gain? Consequences ring a bell?" Along with a zillion other reasons, but most pressing of all, they couldn't summon Prue for a photo session.
"I'm going to use a different kind of magic." Phoebe closed her eyes, visibly relaxed herself and held out her hands in prayer.
"There's just white and dark magic. So unless you're planning on going evil—"
In a flash of pink, a laptop materialized in Phoebe's hands.
"Thank you," Phoebe whispered sincerely, to Piper could assume Coop, and flipped open the portable computer. "Now all I need are my…"
The twinkling of orbs sounded and Chris held her spectacles.
"Hmm….." Phoebe uttered impressed. "Looks like Coop isn't the perfect man in the world after all." She bent her head down to let Chris slip on the glasses. "Somebody is making it pretty hard for me not to play the favorite nephew gig…" She winked, making Chris blush before returning to—whatever she was planning to do.
"What…what are you doing?" Piper asked, curious and worried. Mostly worried.
"What every magazine on this planet does all the time. Photoshop."
Piper's mouth groped for the appropriate words to communicate her reaction.
"Hello Paige," Phoebe sang, clicking open an image of their grinning half-sister, oblivious to the reactions of her older sister.
"P-Photoshop?" Piper asked to confirm she had heard wrong.
"Photoshop as in taking someone else's head and sticking it on someone else's body?"
"Yup. Except this would be cutting a sis out of one pic and putting her in with the rest of her sisters in another. And one plus three effectively makes four."
And related synonymous of those words flashed through Piper's mind.
"…going to photoshop Prue in with the rest of us?"
"Wish I could, but can't seem to find the right….pose. Hmm…..I think I'm going to photoshop Paige in with the rest of us."
At the speed Phoebe was zipping through Prue's images, Piper was shocked she even caught a glimpse of Prue's hair to come to that decision. If she wasn't still deeply affected by the absurdity of the idea, she would've pondered more about it….
"That's….you know…..brilliant. Maybe after that, you can photoshop Prue with her arm around Paige and then put Chris and Wyatt on her lap," Piper suggested sarcastically.
"You know that's a really good idea," Phoebe agreed absent-mindedly. "By the way can you get a photo of Prue with us? Think I found the perfect picture of Paige to cut her out off. Oh and if you want any nip and tuck done to your face or body…you better tell me now. Hmm….What about that scar above your eyebrow—"
"Phoebe!" Piper stamped her foot down. "Phoebe!"
"What? What?" A highly annoyed Phoebe snapped back. "What is it?"
"Do the words, misleading, deception….lie mean anything to you?"
"Lie?" Phoebe scoffed. "What's misleading about a picture of all the four Halliwell sisters together?"
Piper could only gawk incredulously at her young sibling.
Did she seriously just ask that?
"I have three sisters. Three and me equals four. A picture of me with only two of my sisters would make people think I always had only two sisters and not three."
Well since Phoebe put it that way, what really could be misleading about a picture of her along with her three sisters?
It would be okay to ignore the little detail of Prue never having met Paige? Or Paige never meeting Prue? They probably might've never even known of Paige's existence if Prue had been alive. And it would've always been just Phoebe and her two sisters, making a total of three.
'But the number is still three.' The nagging voice which everyone possessed, but ignored most of the time, pointed out. 'Because three years after their destiny as Charmed Ones was revealed, one of them tragically met their demise.'
She pushed it away and concentrated on what her sister was saying.
"…And in a house under constant attack by demons and its occupants blessed with magical powers, isn't it strange for an object, like let say a certain photograph to stay in the exact same spot for fifty whole years? And miraculously in a good condition?"
"I-If magic was involved, not strange at all," replied Piper, trying to wrap her brain around everything.
"Yes, magic. Perhaps magically protected, like the Book of Shadows? Or by some spell devised by our super-smart, super-intelligent kids?"
"But…..why go to all that trouble for a picture?"
"Because it's a picture of the Charmed Ones…the most powerful good witches who ever walked the Earth," Phoebe indicated, with a hint of pride. "And I don't like to brag, but pretty good-looking too. And looks like the cosmos want the Charmed Ones to be remembered for all eternity or obviously there would've been consequences."
That…oddly made sense. And she could vaguely recall the picture of her, Phoebe and Paige had indeed survived the explosion.
"And how does photoshopping Paige fits in with all this?"
Phoebe grinned so widely, Piper was surprised the corners of her mouth didn't slip off her cheeks. "Well….if a photograph of the Charmed Ones is so sacred that it's going to fall under magical protection for possibly all eternity, shouldn't we make sure they've got the right picture to protect? One which has all the Charmed Ones? Incase oh—I don't know let's say one of our photos accidentally gets destroyed or mysteriously vanishes…..hmm?"
Comprehension finally dawned upon Piper.
Smiling knowingly, Phoebe idly scrolled through Paige's images. "Besides, a photo of three of us might be charmed, but four? Classic!"
Except it would be a big fat lie when the kids ask Aunt Paige about Aunt Prue…
"And…..admit it Piper. You're not the only one who secretly fantasizes about Prue."
"E-Excuse me?" She was definitely sure she didn't secretly harbor any sort of fantasies towards her oldest sister.
"Prue's return. Four of us together."
"Oh." Piper could feel her face burn.
Phoebe sighed longingly, wandering into a daydream. "Some evil threat which needs the Power of Four instead of Three…"
The only evil threat imaginable of that magnitude would be going against the Source, Triad and Titans at the same time. Not something she could ever look forward to in order to see Prue again.
"A spell or potion backfires one day and…..brings Prue back."
Sadly, just like they couldn't encounter the demon of cleanliness or housekeeping, resurrection can never be an accident. Especially not for good guys.
"Or with Leo a mortal, the Elders decide to send the Charmed Ones a new whitelighter. And it turns out to be our big sister."
After what the high and mighty Elders put this family through, Piper could fantasize Prue shouting, 'Screw you all!' and clipping her wings.
"And maybe if Andy is made a whitelighter too, he and Prue could get together and have little whitelighter kids. Live happily ever after."
"Uh-huh." Happily ever after fairytale beliefs of Phoebe's only led to her rolling her eyes. But she decided not to rain on Phoebe's parade.
With a resigned sigh, Phoebe rested her chin on top of Chris's head, who appeared fascinated by the slideshow of family pictures on her laptop. "Or we do a love spell which makes Odin fall for Grams."
That effectively stunned even Piper's thoughts into silence.
"What?" Phoebe chuckled. "Prue would definitely be allowed to visit us. And we could visit her, Mom….Grams, even Andy without the entry requirement of being dead." She titled her head back to look at the ceiling. "So do think about it Grams! Coop and I are both here if you need a hand!"
Piper wrinkled her nose in disgust.
She would rather have the Source as their Gramps than Odin the Elder who lobotomized her husband to trick him into leaving his family for the Greater Good.
"Please tell me that was the last one of your Prue returns fantasies."
"That depends," Phoebe replied cryptically.
"If Paige already met her."
Piper frowned at Phoebe seriously. "Why would you think Paige—?"
"She didn't really know Prue enough to move on so…."
Piper's eyes widened, her thoughts completing Phoebe's trailing sentence.
Paige might be able to summon her. Past tense, already done it. Or Prue was allowed to visit her—no correction, already visited and might've told her not to tell them.
"Did she?" Piper's heart raced like a wild horse.
Phoebe shook her head sadly. "Been interrogating her for years. Subtly of course. As far as I can tell, nothing. Five whole years and Prue's still a no-show. Not even to secretly visit the sister she never met."
Disappointment extinguished the little bit of hope which had begun to rise within Piper.
"Those divine rules are just too hard to outsmart." Phoebe sat erect, as if realizing something. "On our side maybe…..but what about the other side? If Prue can flip the pages of the BOS and close Manor doors, then why can't she just astral project to the land of the living for a simple hello? Or…or possess one of us? Possessing is easy. I've done it. And for once I would like to be possessed by someone good."
"Good spirits know possessing isn't fun for the possessor." Piper attempted to lighten the inevitable blow which came with discussing Prue. "If her telekinetic powers could grow in ten years time, then she probably could've astral projected to other planes of existence too."
"But….she died," Phoebe finished tonelessly, her eyes on the laptop screen, but her gaze faraway.
Piper hung her head low. "Yeah."
And what might seem impossible for Halliwell sisters or even sisters in general, both Phoebe and Piper, lapsed into a long silence.
As she waited for Phoebe to break the ice—and was certain Phoebe expected her to do the same—Piper idly observed Chris, who was curiously studying the family photos as the slideshow repeated…..
…..with Prue's pictures not showing up at all?
"Why didn't you bring Prue from the past?"
The question was asked so suddenly, it blindsided Piper.
"What?" She blinked rapidly.
"Bring Prue from the past?" repeated Phoebe. "Instead of re-creating the power of three with….well….Grams?"
"She was five. And…uh…" Piper did a quick math in her head, "twelve, in another past. I couldn't risk it."
"Why not? She always acted way older for her age. Unborn me, little Prue and thirty year old you, we not only could've easily created the Power of Three, but vanquished Triad's transparent butts back to the demonic wasteland."
The suggestion bought a grin to Piper's face, but it dissolved when she saw Phoebe wasn't smiling.
She….she really meant it?
"I just….I really thought we'd see her this time." Phoebe forlornly traced circles on Chris head. "Ultimate power. Ultimate battle. Whole family gathered to help…..Mom, Grams, Dad, big and baby Wyatt and Chris…" She smiled when Chris titled his head back, on hearing his name. "I really expected her to swirl in like ghosts do or come from the past…..older than twelve, yelling how we messed that up somehow with all the time traveling." She chuckled, but it was coated with sorrow. "But it umm….…it never happened. One Prue returns fantasy which will always stay a fantasy."
"Phoebe….." Piper began gently, not knowing what to say.
"Good thing technology can make fantasies come true. Not like magic, but atleast it's better than nothing." Phoebe quickly swiped at her eyes. "So umm….anytime now." She took a deep shuddering breath to return her voice to normalcy. "Get that threesome pic of ours and I'll turn it into foursome."
Just like Phoebe respected her wishes earlier, Piper took the cue to hop topics. "Wouldn't you have to make Paige a bit…..younger?"
Phoebe smiled, gazing at a shot of Paige sticking her tongue out at the camera before it blinked to the next picture. "I think she can pull off looking like a high school student."
"Shouldn't….you ask Paige for permission first?" Piper knew she was stalling. Changing the future this way just seemed….unnatural and somehow, illegal.
"Pfft! We're sisters. We don't need permission to use stuff. Well except for boyfriends and husbands—"
"Phoebe, this is different. Remember how you always complained about not having enough pictures with Mom? How would you feel if we photoshopped you with Mom?"
"If photoshopping was the only way to save her pictures, then I'd be okay eventually. And besides, photo manipulation is an art. Paige is an artist and appreciates art."
Piper could only give her a weary look.
Phoebe heaved an irritated sigh. "Okay, if she gets mad, and that's a big if, blame me. You were never here, you never saw me do this. And you never saw me too, Chris. Alright?"
Still mesmerized by the slideshow, Chris nodded distractedly.
Piper again noted the slideshow of photographs were repeating and strangely, Prue still hadn't made an appearance.
"So…are you ever going to get that picture?"
Unwillingly, and still mystified by the lack—or complete absence of Prue, Piper finally gave in. "The only good shot of Prue with us is the one Grams took before she—"
"Yeah okay," Phoebe spoke quickly, obviously not wanting to linger over anymore sad moments. "Bring it."
Piper slowly rose from the sofa. She looked over at the foyer.
The picture lay nestled in darkness, but it was there, on the corner table, right next to the Sitting Room's entrance.
Prue, Piper and Phoebe.
The original Power of Three.
It felt like a million years ago since she last saw it.
She could recall rushing past it, even flew past it twice, crashed into the table on which it stood, but never really got a chance to sit down and stare at it, trace it with her fingers….remember the past.
She had no idea.
Well with Phoebe about to perform digital surgery, there would be plenty of chances to gaze, linger and remise about the good old days…..
Piper blinked, suddenly realizing something.
….if only her feet would move toward it.
"Still waiting Piper." Her sibling's reminder washed over her head.
Baffled, Piper looked down and slowly lifted one foot. She lowered it, then inspected the other.
There was nothing stuck underneath. Nothing tugging at her pajamas.
She took a step back and then moved forward.
It worked without a hitch.
"Huh…" Dismissing the strange occurrence as nothing, she again headed for her destination.
Well Prue and her sisters…
Piper's eyes widened.
…..And right now one of her sisters seemed to be rooted to the floor. And this time, there was no piece of furniture near her or any critter stuck under her feet to hinder her progress.
"So….how long does it normally take to get something that's just two feet away from you?"
After five failed attempts to move, and six to speak, Piper finally found her voice. "I-I can't."
"I-I can't…..get…..the picture?" It sounded beyond preposterous, but her un-cooperating feet told a different story.
"Piper…..really…" Phoebe grumbled. "For the hundredth time, Paige will—"
"This isn't about Paige!" Fear and panic tightened their clutches around her. "W-When I say I can't, I really can't! I can't do it!"
"Okay…." Phoebe let out an exasperated sigh. "If you're having doubts about my photo manipulation skills, then fine, I'll get it done by a professional at work. Either way I need that picture."
"Phoebe! Are you even listening to me?" She squeaked. "I literally cannot make my feet move forward! I'm trying, but I can't! I actually can't!!"
The terror in her voice finally captured Phoebe's notice. "So you…..really can't move? You're…frozen?"
"Yes! No…no! I can move! Just not toward the picture!"
"Because…..something or someone is holding you back?" Phoebe probed cautiously.
"I can't go near it! I-I can't even move my eyes to look at it! So yes! I assume something or someone doesn't want us to touch or see it!"
"Really?" Phoebe breezed past her into the foyer and easily lifted the picture from its resting place. "Hmm…..so why does this someone or something not mind me touching the picture?" After a cursory scan of the picture, she cast a questioning look her way. "Or moving my eyes to look at it?"
Piper's mouth opened and closed like a fish.
Unless the invisible entity was dumb, Phoebe should've been petrified too.
Phoebe took her hand and laid it on the frame. "And now it doesn't mind you touching it either. Or looking at it."
The ten years younger version of herself and Phoebe stared back at her with happy smiles while Prue….well the living and breathing Phoebe's hand blocked her from view, but she could see her fingers.
"I-I don't understand," Piper stammered, running her hands over the frame. Gingerly, she tried to push away Phoebe's hand so she could get a proper look at Prue.
"I think I do." Phoebe pulled the photograph away, leaving Piper patting thin air. "And it's about time you got a power upgrade."
"To freeze myself?" Piper failed to see the silver lining.
"And if you can accelerate your self too, then you can…..you can move at super-speed!"
"No, just spontaneously combust."
"But once you work out the kinks, everything will be fine." Phoebe assured confidently. She bounced the photograph in her hand and wandered back to the sofa. "And once I work in Missy Paige into this picture, then everything will be better than fine."
Piper was aware that magic had a sick sense of humor. But now she fully suspected magic actually planned new strategies to screw up her life and enjoyed watching everything unfold:
'Hmm…after eight years of constant struggle and hardship….Piper Halliwell looks happy.' Magic mused. 'We can't have that. But already tried snatching Leo away so many times, made one of her sons evil twice and the other neglected, but she overcame those obstacles too. We need something new….fresh—Oh yes! Let's give her a new power that doesn't make an inkling of sense!'
Really, what else could explain her power advancement?
She couldn't do something as simple as go and pick up a random photograph and hand it over to Phoebe. But Phoebe could easily stroll over, pick up and see—
A realization slammed into her like the hind legs of a bunyip.
She didn't see any evidence of Prue's existence in the future. That was the whole point of going along with Phoebe's insane plan.
But exactly, when did she see Prue in the present?
The slideshow of pictures Chris had been watching…she never saw Prue.
When Phoebe was going through Prue's pictures on her laptop, it was too fast for even a witch with the power to freeze to catch a glimpse of.
And when she finally got up to fetch the image which contained Prue for Phoebe, she….froze herself?
And after she did get an up-close look, Phoebe's hand obstructed her view?
All in all, tiny seemingly meaningless things, which should be dismissed as her imagination playing tricks on her, if they didn't share one thing in common: Prue or rather the inability to see her.
Combine them together with the knowledge of the future and the verdict came to: whatever that was supposed to happen to Prue's pictures had already happened and….they might never be able to reverse it…..never see her pictures again.
And if she acknowledged the all-consuming dread and sifted in the fact they still couldn't summon Prue after five years, and connected it with the previous verdict, it formed a very chilling picture.
Prue wasn't coming back.
Not as a ghost for a tearful reunion with her sisters, or to secretly meet Paige, nor to meet and hold her nephews and nieces, neither to meet them in the afterli—
Piper forced away the overwhelming dark thoughts.
She couldn't, wouldn't, she refused to believe it!
Prue was safe and sound floating around in the afterlife with Mom and Grams.
It was just her photographs.
And she was the only one affected by whatever crazy spell this was.
She saw Prue.
How else could she see and hold the picture which had Prue?
"Hey Chris, have you seen my glasses? I put them right here….somewhere…..Oh nevermind! Found them!"
Piper buried her head in her hands in despair.
Unless Phoebe had been bitten by a radioactive spider recently, she needed those glasses. And she wasn't wearing them when she proved everything was alright.
"Oh Piper….you'll get the hang of this new power sweetie," Phoebe soothed. "C'mon, sit. And watch me make Paige stand next to Prue without magic. And then give Chris a moustache."
A cry of protest erupted from Chris.
"Alright, alright. Let's give Wyatt that moustache. Happy?"
Chris pouted, but then nodded.
Numbly, Piper realized it didn't matter if Phoebe's photoshop plan succeeded. What's the point of a classic all four Halliwell sisters picture, which they won't be able to see?
All that mattered now was marching up to the attic, finding an entry in the Book of Shadows about a demon who drove its victims insane and fed on their fear and paranoia after playing mind games that involved a loved ones images, then calling Paige and vanquishing the….Barbaras-wannabe.
But first, Phoebe needed to wake up.
"Sure. I'll join you in a minute." Piper craned her neck, to spy on the original P3 photo, but as luck—or rather a cunningly crafted demonic spell would have it, it was laid face-down on the coffee table. "But could….uh…could you do something for me?"
"Hmm?" Phoebe murmured, engrossed in her laptop. "Yeah….Sure."
Piper took a deep breath before voicing her request. "Look at Prue."
Phoebe peered at her over the rim of her glasses, obviously surprised. "Look at Prue?"
"That's what I said. Look at Prue."
"Uh…Okay. Which pic?"
"Doesn't matter. As long as you can tell me you actually saw her."
Puzzlement besieged Phoebe. "But…..I did see her, when I was going through her photos on my laptop. Remember?"
"No. You saw a blur. It was too fast. Y-You didn't—you couldn't have seen anything. Not even Prue."
"Piper, I would've known if I saw a blur instead of…her. Huh…it rhymes."
It wasn't the inability to see Prue that scared Piper more, but the obliviousness to accept something was wrong. Very…very wrong.
"Just…just look again," Piper urged.
Phoebe sighed, rolling her eyes. "Fine, I'm looking at her now, happy?"
Hope swelled within Piper, especially when she managed to scramble towards Phoebe and reached her without her feet freezing. However, on discovering how exactly Phoebe was able to see Prue, Piper wished her feet did freeze.
"You're looking at a peanut-sized thumbnail!" Piper burst. "It's too hard to see anything!"
"Jeez!" Phoebe rubbed her ears. "Calm down!"
Piper felt an urge to grab Phoebe's head and force her to look at Prue. Unfortunately, something wasn't letting her fulfill that urge completely. But it did let her grab Phoebe's head.
"Ouch! Hey!" Phoebe exclaimed.
"Phoebe, listen to me." Piper tightly grasped her sister's hair. "You need to wake up."
"I am wide awake!" Phoebe cried. "We made a pact twenty-years ago that we would never pull each other's hair! So let go!"
Piper hesitantly did. "I just need you to look at Prue. Just one good look. With your glasses. Try to enlarge her pictures! You'll understand what I'm talking about."
"I saw enough of Prue in the last ten minutes to give me eye-strain! And so did you!"
"No. You didn't. Neither did I! W-We never saw Prue. This….this is what happens to her. This is why there are no photographs of her!" Piper failed to conceal the hysteria from her voice. "We can't see her. We think we did, but we didn't!"
The anger vanished and Phoebe's expression softened into a very familiar one.
Piper couldn't decide what was worst. Phoebe not realizing something was wrong. Or Phoebe giving her the same sympathetic look from earlier, as her analytical mind formed some mumbo-jumbo theory about her not being ready for this.
"This….this really wasn't such a good idea. Paige won't like it." With a few clicks, Phoebe closed every active window. "I say we just do it the old-fashioned way and warn our kids."
Piper had crossed the threshold of desperate by now. "Phoebe…..please…." She slid down to her knees, praying she wouldn't be all alone in this crisis. She wanted…no needed her sister at her side. "I'm on my knees, begging and pleading. Please!" She punctuated each word. "Look. At. Prue. Look. At. Your. Sister!"
Her desperate act finally seemed to have gotten through.
But not to Phoebe.
Carefully easing himself down, Chris half-toddled, almost stumbled, but managed to reach the coffee table. His brows knitted as he examined the face-down framed photograph.
The sight made Piper's heart swell and ache at the same time.
Chris extended one chubby hand towards the picture.
And then her maternal instincts kicked in and her mouth opened, ready to unleash a scream to stop him.
"No Chris." Phoebe quickly tugged Chris away before his tiny hand could even make contact. "Don't."
Piper almost collapsed with relief. Without a shadow of doubt, she knew Chris had given Phoebe the jolt required to wake up.
In slow-motion—or that's how it appeared to Piper— Phoebe clicked on the photo gallery then on the folder titled, 'Prue' and then…nothing. She stopped. Her finger hovered over the touch-pad.
With grim fascination, Piper studied Phoebe's facial expression, as it transformed from puzzled to alarm, then something akin to fear.
"I-I can't do it," Phoebe finally whispered. "I….I can't enlarge her photo. A-Any…..photo."
After a long uncomfortable silence, Phoebe suddenly smirked.
Piper couldn't help but wonder if the shock had been too much for her.
"Haha Prue!" Phoebe laughed, looking around the room. "That's very funny. C'mon now, let us use your pictures. I promise, I won't mess up your face or make anything larger. Or smaller."
Not shockingly, Prue didn't magically appear.
The sick sense of certainty that Prue was somehow.….gone again haunted Piper, but she resolutely shoved it away.
Exactly what the demon wanted.
"C'mon. We're just afraid some incident will destroy all of your pics!" Phoebe chatted casually and simultaneously struggled to discover keyboard shortcuts to enlarge the digital pictures. "We're getting loads of grandkids and they would want to know what their great grand Aunt Prue looked like."
Piper's eyes widened when she noticed her sister's other hand sneakily tip-toeing toward the picture that had been lying flat on its face all this time.
For one glorious moment, Piper actually believed it would work.
Gritting her teeth, Phoebe tried again, and again, using both hands, then even her feet. But from her own personal experience, Piper knew it was a lost cause.
"O-Okay, t-this….i-isn't….funny anymore," Phoebe panted. "Let us use your pictures!"
While her sister argued with thin air, Piper silently relived the memories of the past five years from a different angle:
No pictures at the funeral….…..lingering over Prue's possessions, but instantly packing up her pictures without even a first glance at them when Paige was to be moved in…never caught Paige ever flipping through Prue's high school year book or a photo album…..sorting through everyone's belonging, but never touching the box marked 'Prue'….always telling, but never showing Prue to Wyatt or Chris.
They actually had not seen her in five years? And never even noticed?
"P-Phoebe, when was the last time you actually saw….?"
Phoebe's pale face confirmed her fears.
"I-It's going to be alright. We'll find this…demon, evil spirit, witch whatever and kill it." She weakly assured. "Then bring him back to life and kill him again. Then repeat the same process."
It was a cue for Phoebe to join her, chime in that everything would be alright.
Phoebe remained motionless, gazing off into space.
Like a woman condemned to death by being burned alive, Phoebe slowly stood up. With Chris tucked in her arms, she made her way toward the playpen and carefully lowered the child into it.
"Phoebe?" Piper called again, frightened more by Phoebe's silence than anything. "Say something."
"I'm not even sure if it's a demon."
"Of course it's a demon!" Piper insisted, ignoring how devoid of emotion Phoebe sounded. "Some some picture-stealing….demon. Or that demon…what's his name? Nomend. He's still out there. We'll vanquish him a-and this spell will wear off."
"No. That's not it Piper. It's….it's not just the pictures." Phoebe looked up to meet Piper's eyes. Piper feared, but vaguely guessed what she would say next. "I…I can't remember what Prue looks like."
Piper Halliwell wasn't insane.
But that didn't stop her mind from theorizing: if magical delusions could be a coping mechanism for her Grams death, according to Doctor Alaster, a psychiatrist at Halliwell Hospital, then the other way around could work also?
Especially to cope with this situation?
Of course her theory crumbled when another oversight she missed was revealed.
Doctor Alaster aka Source of all Evil, never could arrange a visit from her best friend and former mental buddy, Prue.
A/N: Umm…well since I'm not a psychic, I won't know whether you liked it or not and want me to continue. And I can't freeze you readers and unfreeze your hands so that you can type a review :-) So guess you'll have to review.
Even if it's just to let me know that Charmed fans are still alive out there after six years. Especially after reading this o.0